Today is Thursday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2001 with 25 to follow.
The moon is waning, moving toward its last quarter.
The morning star is Jupiter.
The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include England's King Henry VI in 1421; French chemist Joseph Gay-Lussac in 1778; Western movie star William S. Hart in 1870; poet Joyce Kilmer in 1886; lyricist Ira Gershwin in 1896; actress Agnes Moorehead in 1906; jazz pianist Dave Brubeck in 1920 (age 81); comedian Wally Cox in 1924; actors James Naughton in 1945 (age 56) and Tom Hulce in 1953 (age 48); comedian Steven Wright in 1955 (age 46); and actress Janine Turner in 1962 (age 39).
On this date in history:
In 1811, the first in a series of earthquakes rocked the Midwest, in and around New Madrid, Mo.
In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.
In 1917, more than 1,600 people died in an explosion when a Belgian relief ship and a French munitions vessel collided in the harbor at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
In 1922, the Irish Free State, forerunner of the modern Republic of Ireland, was officially proclaimed.
In 1933, Americans crowded into liquor stores, bars and cafes to buy their first legal alcoholic beverages in 13 years, following repeal of Prohibition.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a message to Japanese Emperor Hirohito expressing hope that gathering war clouds would be dispelled. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the next day.
In 1969, an all-star concert headlined by the Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore, Calif., was marred by tragedy when a spectator was stabbed to death by members of the Hell's Angels, which had been hired as security guards for the event.
In 1973, Gerald Ford was sworn-in as vice president under Richard Nixon, replacing Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in the face of income tax evasion charges.
In 1975, the Senate authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.
In 1986, President Reagan admitted "mistakes were made" in executing U.S. policy involving arms sales to Iran.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein asked the Iraqi Parliament to authorize the release of all hostages being held by Iraq. The legislature acted the next day and all Americans that wished to leave were out a week later.
In 1991, the Food and Drug Administration issued sweeping changes in food labeling rules that required more detailed listing of contents.
In 1994, U.S Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen announced his resignation, effective Dec. 22.
In 1997, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, measuring 8.5 to 9 in magnitude. Probably because the area is sparsely populated, there were no reported deaths.
A thought for the day: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson wrote, "The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion."