Today is Sunday, July 1, the 183rd day of 2012 with 183 to follow.
The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. Evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz in 1646; French novelist George Sand, a pseudonym for Amandine Dupin, in 1804; grammarian William Strunk Jr. in 1869; pioneer aviator Louis Bleriot in 1872; French Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leon Jouhaux in 1879; actor Charles Laughton and blues, gospel musician, composer Thomas Dorsey in 1899; film director William Wyler in 1902; cosmetics executive Estee Lauder in 1906; blues musician Willie Dixon in 1915; actors Olivia de Havilland in 1916 (age 96) and Leslie Caron in 1931 (age 81); filmmaker/actor Sydney Pollack in 1934; actor/writer Jean Marsh and actor Jamie Farr, also in 1934 (age 78); choreographer Twyla Tharp in 1941 (age 71); actors Karen Black in 1939 (age 73) and Genevieve Bujold in 1942 (age 70); singer Deborah Harry in 1945 (age 67); actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd in 1952 (age 60); Britain's Princess Diana in 1961; nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, also in 1961 (age 51); actors Andre Braugher in 1962 (age 50), Pamela Anderson in 1967 (age 45) and Liv Tyler in 1977 (age 35); and rapper Missy Elliott in 1971 (age 41).
On this date in history:
In 1847, the first U.S. postage stamps were issued.
In 1859, the first intercollegiate baseball game was played in Pittsfield, Mass. Amherst beat Williams, 66-32.
In 1867, Canada was granted its independence by Great Britain. It consisted at the time of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and future provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
In 1874, the Philadelphia Zoological Society, the first U.S. zoo, opened to the public.
In 1893, U.S. President Grover Cleveland underwent secret surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his mouth. The operation didn't become public knowledge until a newspaper article about it was published on Sept. 22, 1917 -- nine years after Cleveland's death.
In 1898, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders led the charge up Cuba's heavily fortified San Juan Hill in a key Spanish-American War battle.
In 1916, in the worst single day of casualties in British military history, 20,000 soldiers were killed, 40,000 wounded in a massive offense against German forces in France's Somme River region during World War I.
In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt for president. FDR eventually was elected to four consecutive terms.
In 1941, NBC broadcast the first FCC-sanctioned TV commercial, a spot for Bulova watches shown during a Dodgers-Phillies game. It cost Bulova $9.
In 1946, the United States conducted its first post-war test of the atomic bomb, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
In 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman, known as the Soundabout, in U.S. stores. It sold for about $200.
In 1990, the West and East German economies were united as the deutsche mark replaced the mark as currency in East Germany.
In 1991, the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist.
In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton unveiled a plan for logging in federal old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest that would also protect the northern spotted owl.
In 1994, the U.N. Security Council authorized a commission to investigate "acts of genocide" in Rwanda.
In 1996, a dozen members of a paramilitary organization were arrested in Arizona and charged with plotting to bomb government buildings.
In 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China after 99 years as a British territory.
In 2002, cannon fire and bombs from a U.S. Air Force AC-130 struck a town in southern Afghanistan, killing about 50 people, including members of a wedding party. U.S. officials said the plane had been fired on.
Also in 2002, in a rare high-altitude accident, a passenger airliner collided with a cargo plane over Germany, killing all 71 aboard.
In 2004, dynamic Hollywood legend Marlon Brando died of lung failure. He was 80.
In 2005, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, announced she planned to retire.
In 2006, a car bomb killed 62 people and injured another 114 at a popular market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in northwest Baghdad.
In 2007, British authorities arrested six doctors in the botched bombings in London and at the Glasgow airport in Scotland.
Also in 2007, Moshe Katsav stepped down as president of Israel, a post he had held since 2000. Rape charges against him were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to sexual harassment.
And, violent deaths were reported on the increase in Afghanistan where officials said NATO airstrikes over the last two days of June had claimed the lives of 45 civilians and 62 Taliban.
In 2010, a U.S. government report said 60 American military personnel died in Afghanistan in June -- the war's highest monthly toll. Overall, 102 coalition forces were killed during the month, also a record, attributed in part to expanded military operations against the Taliban.
Also in 2010, torrential rains lashing China with flooding and landslides caused economic losses of nearly $13 billion and left more than 500 people dead or missing.
In 2011, as rebels advanced on Tripoli, Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi threatened to take the fighting to Europe in retaliation for NATO support of the uprising. And, in Syria, human rights groups said 24 more civilians were killed during protests that drew thousands against the Assad regime.
Also in 2011, Rhode Island became the latest state to allow same-sex civil unions, giving gay and lesbian couples most of the rights and benefits to married couples.
A thought for the day: H.L. Mencken wrote that "It is the dull man who is always sure and the sure man who is always dull."