The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Uranus and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include English poet Thomas Gray in 1716; English inventor Charles Babbage, who developed the first speedometer, in 1791; Adm. George Dewey, the U.S. naval hero of Manila, in 1837; British writer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Angell in 1872; writer Henry Miller in 1891; Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese communist revolution, in 1893; actor Richard Widmark in 1914; entertainer Steve Allen in 1921; College Football Hall of Fame member Frank Broyles in 1924 (age 89); comedian Alan King in 1927; puppeteer Caroll Spinney in 1933 (age 80); "America's Most Wanted" creator John Walsh in 1945 (age 68); baseball Hall of Fame member Carlton Fisk in 1947 (age 66); TV journalist Candy Crowley in 1948 (age 65); baseball Hall of Fame member Ozzie Smith (age 59) and dogsled racer Susan Butcher, both in 1954; writer David Sedaris in 1956 (age 57); and actor Jared Leto in 1971 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In 1776, American forces under Gen. George Washington, having crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night, defeated Hessian mercenary troops fighting for the British at the Battle of Trenton, N.J.
In 1917, the federal government took over operation of U.S. railroads for the duration of World War I.
In 1972, Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States, died at age 88.
In 1974, legendary comedian Jack Benny died of cancer. He was 80.
In 1996, child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, 6, was found slain in a basement room of her family's Boulder, Colo., home.
In 2001, a man captured as he tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneakers aboard an American Airlines jet was identified as Richard Reid, a 28-year-old unemployed British citizen.
In 2003, more than 26,000 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake struck the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran, and the death toll was reported at 135 after a Boeing 727 crash in the West African country of Benin.
In 2004, an earthquake-triggered tsunami with 40-foot-high waves slammed into India, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries, killing at least 23,500 people, with thousands injured and missing.
In 2006, former U.S. President Gerald Ford died at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at the age of 93.
In 2010, a suicide explosion that killed at least 46 people at a U.N. food distribution point in Pakistan was the work of a teenage girl, an official reported.
In 2012, Brian Schatz, 40, was chosen to succeed U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died Dec. 17 of respiratory complications at age 88. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie picked Schatz, who had been the state's lieutenant governor.
A thought for the day: Michel Eyquem de Montaigne said, "A man of understanding has lost nothing if he has himself."
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