The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars and Saturn, the evening stars Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include French playwright Moliere (born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) in 1622; signer of the Declaration of Independence Philip Livingston in 1716; outlaw Cole Younger in 1844; Swedish clergyman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nathan Soderblom in 1866; Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis in 1906; nuclear physicist Edward Teller in 1908; drummer Gene Krupa in 1909; actor Lloyd Bridges in 1913; Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1918; civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martin Luther King Jr. in 1929; actor Margaret O'Brien in 1937 (age 75); rock musician Ronnie Van Zant in 1948; actors Andrea Martin in 1947 (age 65), Mario Van Peebles in 1957 (age 55) and Chad Lowe in 1968 (age 44); pro football quarterback Drew Brees in 1979 (age 33).
On this date in history:
In 1759, the British Museum opened.
In 1870, a cartoon by Thomas Nast appeared in Harper's weekly with a donkey symbolizing the Democratic Party for the first time.
In 1892, Dr. James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball. He invented the game at a YMCA in Springfield, Mass.
In 1919, 21 people were killed and scores injured when a vat holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses exploded and sent torrents of molasses into the streets of Boston. The event is known as the Boston Molasses Disaster.
In 1922, the Irish Free State was formed.
In 1943, the Pentagon, the world's largest building of its kind, was completed on the Virginia side of the Potomac River just outside Washington.
In 1967, the first Super Bowl, pitting the NFL and AFL champions, was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.
In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon called a halt to U.S. military offensives in Vietnam.
In 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed a sweeping arms control plan to eliminate all nuclear weapons by the year 2000 and rid "mankind of the fear of nuclear catastrophe."
In 1993, four-time Oscar-winning songwriter Sammy Cahn, who wrote such hits as "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Three Coins in the Fountain," died of heart failure at age 79.
In 1999, Serb forces killed 45 ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo.
In 2002, John Walker Lindh, a 20-year-old American seized with the Taliban in Afghanistan in December, was charged with conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and abetting terrorist groups.
In a 2006 runoff, Chile elected Michelle Bachelet as its first female president.
In 2008, meat and milk from cloned animals were ruled safe for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after years of debate.
Also in 2008, Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion.
And, an Israeli Gaza strike killed as many as 20 Palestinians, including several Hamas fighters, in retaliation to the firing of rockets and mortar bombs into southern Israel.
In 2009, all 155 people aboard US Airways Flight 1549 escaped serious injury when pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger gently landed his disabled aircraft in the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey.
Also in 2009, the U.S. Senate voted to release the second half of the federal bailout money, $350 million, to aid President-elect Barack Obama's economic plan.
In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama said a special fee he proposed on major U.S. financial firms to help recoup bailout funds isn't intended to punish the financial industry. The White House said it would be part of Obama's budget proposal.
Also in 2010, an Arkansas man, Paul Schlesselman, pleaded guilty to plotting to kill several blacks in 2008, including presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In 2011, voters in southern Sudan overwhelmingly approved a referendum to secede from Sudan and become an independent African nation.
Also in 2011, at least 104 people were reported killed when a runaway Jeep triggered a stampede at a pilgrimage center in southwestern India.
And, Ronald Reagan's son said he thinks his father's Alzheimer's disease began while he was president. Ron Reagan wrote in a new memoir "My Father at 100" that he saw evidence that his father was losing his mental edge in his first term.
A thought for the day: John Milton wrote in "Paradise Lost":
"Here at last
"We shall be free;
"the Almighty hath not built
"Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
"Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
"To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
"Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven."
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