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 Scottish engineer James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, in 1736; Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1807; American short story writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe in 1809; English metallurgist Henry Bessemer in 1813; French post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne in 1839; billiards player Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone, in 1913; singer and Broadway actor John Raitt in 1917; Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson in 1918; former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1920 (age 92); actors Jean Stapleton in 1923 (age 89), Fritz Weaver in 1926 (age 86) and Tippi Hedren in 1930 (age 82); television newscaster Robert MacNeil in 1931 (age 81); singer Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers in 1939 (age 73); British stage singer and actor Michael Crawford in 1942 (age 70); singers Janis Joplin in 1943 and Dolly Parton in 1946 (age 66); actors Shelley Fabares in 1944 (age 68) and Katey Sagal in 1954 (age 58); chef Paula Deen in 1947 (age 65); singer/actor Desi Arnaz Jr. in 1953 (age 59); comedian Frank Caliendo in 1974 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy.
In 1920, the U.S. Senate voted against the country joining the League of Nations.
In 1938, the Spanish Nationalist air force bombed Barcelona and Valencia, killing 700 civilians and wounding hundreds more.
In 1975, China published a new constitution that adopted the precepts and policies of Mao Zedong.
Also in 1977, snowfall was recorded in Miami and the Bahamas. It was the first recorded snowfall in Miami.
In 1995, Russian forces captured the presidential palace in the rebel republic of Chechnya.
In 2001, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced he had made a deal with the independent prosecutor that would prevent him from being indicted after he left office.
In 2005, the Southeast Asian tsunami death toll was raised to 220,000, including more than 166,000 killed in Indonesia.
In 2006, monitors for the Dec. 15 Iraq parliamentary elections validated the vote despite reports of "irregularities."
In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush said that although the economy was growing, the rate of growth has slowed and "there's a risk of a downturn." He called it "a challenging period for our economy."
In 2009, Iranian intelligence officials said their forces had dismantled a U.S.-backed spy network involving several nations aimed at toppling the country's Islamic regime.
In 2010, Republican Scott Brown, a little known former state senator, scored a major political upset by winning a special Massachusetts election over a heavily favored Democrat to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Democratic legend Ted Kennedy.
Also in 2010, U.S. soldiers arrived by helicopter in Port-au-Prince to provide security and humanitarian aid in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
In 2011, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to repeal healthcare reform legislation enacted during the last Congress. The Senate, however, blocked the proposal.
A thought for the day: In "As You Like It," William Shakespeare wrote:
"All the world's a stage,
"And all the men and women merely players
"They have their exits and their entrances,
"And one man in his time plays many parts,
"His acts being seven ages."