Today is Thursday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2011 with 107 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Mars.
Those born on this date in history are under the sign of Virgo. They include Italian explorer Marco Polo in 1254; novelist James Fenimore Cooper in 1789; William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States, in 1857; humorist Robert Benchley in 1889; mystery writer Agatha Christie in 1890; country music star Roy Acuff in 1903; actors Fay Wray in 1907 and Jackie Cooper in 1922; writer Orhan Kemal in 1914; comedian Nipsey Russell in 1918; singer/pianist Bobby Short in 1924; comedian Norm Crosby in 1927 (age 84); jazz saxophone player Julian "Cannonball" Adderley in 1928; baseball Hall of Fame member Gaylord Perry in 1938 (age 73); football player-turned-actor Merlin Olsen in 1940; soprano Jessye Norman in 1945 (age 66); filmmaker Oliver Stone and actor Tommy Lee Jones, both in 1946 (age 65); football Hall of Fame member Dan Marino in 1961 (age 50); and Prince Henry, called "Harry," second son of Britain's Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, in 1984 (age 27).
On this date in history:
In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow in an effort to keep out Napoleon and his invading French troops.
In 1942, the armies of Nazi Germany began their siege of the Russian city of Stalingrad.
In 1954, the famous scene in which Marilyn Monroe is shown laughing as her skirt is blown up by a blast of air from a subway vent was shot during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch." The scene infuriated her husband, Joe DiMaggio, who felt it was exhibitionist. The couple divorced a short time later.
In 1963, four black girls were killed in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala. Two black teenage boys were shot to death later that day as citywide rioting broke out.
In 1971, the environmental organization Greenpeace was founded by 12 members of the Don't Make A Wave committee of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In 1972, two former White House aides and five other men were indicted on charges of conspiracy in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex, touching off the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
In 1993, Katherine Ann Power, a Vietnam War opponent and a fugitive for more than 20 years in the death of a police officer during a bank robbery in Boston, surrendered. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison.
In 1999, a Fort Worth, Texas, man opened fire during a youth service at a Baptist church, killing seven people and wounding seven more before killing himself.
Also in 1999, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to deploy a multinational peacekeeping force to the Indonesian island of East Timor.
In 2000, the 27th Summer Olympic Games opened in Sydney, Australia, with a record number of female athletes participating and with North and South Korea marching together in the opening procession.
In 2003, more than 100 prisoners were killed in a fire at a maximum-security prison outside the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.
In 2006, Iraqi officials reported at least 100 bodies found on the streets of Baghdad over a 3-day period. Most of the victims were said to have been shot in the head and appeared to have been tortured.
In 2008, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 504 points, or 4.4 percent, in the biggest decline since 2001.
Also in 2008, officials blamed at least 195 deaths on Hurricane Ike, a storm that cut across Haiti before reaching the United States. The storm caused more than $37 billion in damage across the Caribbean and United States.
In 2009, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession, which began in December 2007, was "very likely over" but the American economy would appear weak "for some time."
Also in 2009, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told a congressional hearing that more troops probably would be needed in Afghanistan to deal with stepped up insurgency attacks blanketing the country.
In 2010, typhoon-triggered floods and landslides killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in North Korea.
Also in 2010, U.S. voters were reported more inclined than they had been in 20 years to replace their own member of Congress but held both major parties in low regard, a New York Times/CBS News poll indicated.
A thought for the day: California Gov. Jerry Brown said, "Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases."