Today is Thursday, Oct. 15, the 288th day of 2009 with 77 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Roman poet Virgil in 70 B.C.; German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in 1844; boxing champion John L. Sullivan in 1858; English writer and humorist P.G. Wodehouse in 1881; film producer Mervyn LeRoy, in 1900; picture archivist Otto Bettmann in 1903; writer and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1917; author Mario Puzo ("The Godfather") in 1920; former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca in 1924 (age 85); actress Linda Lavin in 1937 (age 72); actress/director Penny Marshall in 1942 (age 67); Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer in 1945 (age 64); pop singers Richard Carpenter in 1946 (age 63) and Tito Jackson in 1953 (age 56); and Sarah, Duchess of York, in 1959 (age 50).
On this date in history:
In 1917, the most famous spy of World War I, Gertrude Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, was executed by a firing squad outside Paris.
In 1946, Nazi Reichsmarshal Herman Goering, sentenced to death as a war criminal, committed suicide in his prison cell on the eve of his scheduled execution.
In 1951, "I Love Lucy," TV's first long-running sitcom and still seen in syndication, made its debut.
In 1964, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was ousted and replaced by Alexei Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev.
In 1984, astronomers in Pasadena, Calif., displayed the first photographic evidence of another solar system 293 trillion miles from Earth.
In 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1991, the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48, the closest confirmation vote in court history.
In 1992, a man who terrorized the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don for more than a decade with a series of more than 50 grisly killings was sentenced to death.
In 1993, South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Also in 1993, the Pentagon censured three U.S. Navy admirals who organized the Tailhook Association convention in 1991 during which scores of women had been subjected to abuse and indignities by junior officers.
And in 1993, Russia's ousted vice president, Alekandr Rutskoi, and the speaker of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, were charged with ordering mass disorders in the bloody street fighting between supporters and opponents of President Boris Yeltsin that left almost 200 people dead.
In 1994, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti three years after being driven into exile by a military coup.
In 1999, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the international group Doctors Without Borders.
In 2001, a package containing a substance believed to be anthrax was opened in the personal office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
In 2002, the Washington-area sniper claimed his ninth fatality, a female FBI analyst, as the massive manhunt continued.
Also in 2002, former ImClone Chief Executive Officer Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading as part of an ongoing investigation into the trading of shares from his biotech company, which also involved home decor diva and Waksal friend Martha Stewart.
In 2003, 10 people were killed and dozens injured when a New York ferry, transporting passengers from Manhattan, slammed into a pier on Staten Island.
Also in 2003, China became the third nation to launch a man into space. He landed safely the next day after orbiting the Earth 14 times.
In 2004, the United Nations said it was getting reports of attacks against internally displaced people in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region where tens of thousands had been killed and 1.6 million others displaced.
In 2005, millions of Iraqis went to the polls to vote on a new constitution. There were incidents of violence but they were not widespread.
In 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao, in his inaugural address to the 17th party Congress, said his nation needed to improve institutions of democracy.
In 2008, the U.S. government racked up a record $455 billion deficit in fiscal 2008, an even larger shortfall than expected, officials report. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called the situation "a fiscal and economic mess of historic proportions" that would "take years to dig our way out." The previous year's shortfall was $162 billion.
Also in 2008, analysts said the $700 billion U.S. bailout designed to put the financial market back on its feet isn't going to help the underlying economy. The New York Times said that while credit markets show signs of improvement, the economy remains on the brink of recession.
A thought for the day: Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself but talent instantly recognizes genius."