Today is Friday, July 24, the 205th day of 2009 with 160 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Neptune and Uranus. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include South American revolutionary and statesman Simon Bolivar in 1783; French novelist Alexandre Dumas the Elder, author of "The Three Musketeers," in 1802; air pioneer Amelia Earhart in 1897; poet/author Robert Graves in 1895; feminist and former U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., in 1920; comedian Ruth Buzzi in 1936 (age 73); actors Chris Sarandon in 1942 (age 67), Robert Hays in 1947 (age 62) and Lynda Carter ("Wonder Woman") in 1951 (age 58); pro basketball star Karl Malone in 1963 (age 46); actress/singer Jennifer Lopez in 1969 (age 40); and actress Anna Paquin in 1982 (age 27).
On this date in history:
In 1679, New Hampshire became a royal colony of the British crown.
In 1847, After 17 months and many miles of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
In 1956, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis performed together for the last time.
In 1969, Apollo 11 returned to Earth after the historic moon-landing mission.
In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. President Richard Nixon should surrender White House tapes for the criminal trials of his former associates.
In 1989, the Exxon Corp. estimated that its cleanup of the Alaskan oil spill would cost $1.28 billion.
In 1997, the Scottish scientists who produced Dolly the cloned sheep announced they had cloned a sheep with human genes.
In 1998, a gunman opened fire at the Capitol in Washington, killing two police officers and wounding a tourist. Police shot the gunman, who survived and was later charged with murder.
In 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives expelled Rep. James Traficant, an Ohio Democrat, by a vote of 420-1. Traficant, who had been convicted of racketeering, bribery and corruption, was the second House member expelled since the Civil War.
In 2003, House and Senate intelligence committees said the FBI and CIA had disregarded warnings before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that al-Qaida planned to strike directly at the United States.
In 2005, a powerful car bomb blast targeting a Baghdad police station killed at least 40 people and injured another 30.
And, in 2005 sports, cyclist Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France.
In 2006, deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was hospitalized on a forced feeding tube in Baghdad as his massacre trial resumed without him.
In 2007, a national minimum wage increase raised the hourly figure to $5.85 from $5.15. The wage goes up 70 cents each of the next two years when it will be $7.25 an hour.
Also in 2007, U.S. Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzales was roundly criticized during a Senate Judiciary Committee appearance as he denied pressuring his ailing predecessor to sign off on a controversial warrantless wiretap program.
In 2008, a barge and a tanker carrying 400,000 gallons of fuel oil collided in the Mississippi River near New Orleans causing a massive oil spill. Shipping traffic was resumed partially within three days as officials worked to contain the spill.
A thought for the day: Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, "There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness, revelry, high life."