The moon is waxing. 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 Salmon P. Chase, sixth Chief Justice of the United States and whose image is on the U.S. $10,000 bill, in 1808; Horatio Alger, author of rags-to-riches stories, in 1832; Alfred Fuller, the original Fuller Brush Man, in 1885; singer Sophie Tucker in 1886; Hollywood columnist Army Archerd in 1922; television executive Brandon Tartikoff in 1949; and actors Robert Stack in 1919, Gwen Verdon in 1925, Frances Sternhagen in 1930 (age 83); Charles Nelson Reilly in 1931, Rip Taylor in 1934 (age 79); Richard Moll in 1943 (age 70), Kevin Anderson in 1960 (age 53), Julia Louis-Dreyfus in 1961 (age 52), Penelope Ann Miller in 1964 (age 49), Patrick Dempsey in 1966 (age 47) and Orlando Bloom in 1977 (age 36).
On this date in history:
In 1864, composer Stephen Foster ("My Old Kentucky Home") died in a New York hospital, three days after he was found sick and almost penniless in a hotel room.
In 1910, radio pioneer and electron tube inventor Lee Deforest arranged the world's first public radio broadcast, a performance by the New York Metropolitan Opera.
In 1915, nearly 30,000 people killed in an earthquake in Avezzano, Italy.
In 1941, Irish novelist James Joyce died at age 58.
In 1953, Josip Broz Tito was chosen president of Yugoslavia. He would serve until May 1980.
In 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737 crashed into a Potomac River bridge in Washington, killing 78 people.
In 1987, seven top New York Mafia bosses were sentenced to 100 years in prison each, including the heads of the Genovese, Colombo and Lucchese crime families.
In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder took office in Virginia, becoming the first elected African-American governor of a U.S. state.
In 1991, a Soviet crackdown in the Baltics killed 15 and injured 140.
Also in 1991, at least 40 South Africans were killed and 50 injured when fighting erupted during a soccer game in Orkney.
In 1993, U.S. and allied fighter planes bombed targets in southern Iraq to punish Saddam Hussein for his repeated violations of U.N. resolutions that ended the Persian Gulf War.
In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to seven African-American soldiers for their courage in action in Italy during World War II. It was the first time the medal was given to black WWII servicemen.
In 1999, Michael Jordan, regarded by many as the greatest basketball player ever, announced his retirement. He had led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships.
In 2001, more than 800 people were killed when an early morning earthquake shook the coast of El Salvador.
In 2003, Pope John Paul II argued forcibly against war in Iraq except as "the very last option" and said such a conflict would be "a defeat for humanity."
In 2005, the 15-year-old boy accusing Michael Jackson of child molestation, vividly described sexual encounters in testimony before a grand jury.
Also in 2005, U.S. major league baseball players agreed to stricter policy for steroids and other drugs that includes testing and tougher penalties.
In 2009, Timothy Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for treasury secretary, was questioned about allegedly failing to pay taxes from 2001-04 on his salary from the International Monetary Fund, classified as self-employment. Officials said the matter was resolved and Geithner was confirmed.
In 2010, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said in a report that stimulus legislation added around 3 percentage points to the gross domestic product over the final two quarters of 2009 and raised employment 1.5 million-2 million jobs in the fourth quarter.
In 2011, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent but the U.S. Labor Department said numbers reflected more workers giving up on looking for work.
In 2012, the cruise ship Costa Concordia slammed into a rocky shoal near the Italian coast and capsized, killing 32 people. The ship's captain was accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before over 4,000 passengers and crew were evacuated.
A thought for the day: in "The Guardian," Alec Issigonis wrote that, "A camel is a horse designed by committee."