Today is Thursday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2002 with five to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto. The evening stars are Mercury, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune.
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 1792; Adm. George Dewey, the American naval hero of Manila, in 1837; novelist Henry Miller in 1891; Mao Tse-tung, leader of the Chinese communist revolution, in 1893; actor Richard Widmark in 1914 (age 88); entertainer Steve Allen in 1921; comedian Alan King in 1927 (age 75); music producer Phil Spector in 1940 (age 62); and sled dog racer Susan Butcher in 1954 (age 48).
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 American railroads for the duration of World War I.
In 1972, Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States, died at age 88.
In 1974, comedian Jack Benny died of cancer.
In 1990, Nancy Cruzan, the focus of a right-to-die case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, died in a Missouri hospital.
In 1991, businesswoman Barbara Franklin was nominated as U.S. commerce secretary.
In 1993, members of China's Communist Party gathered in Beijing to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mao Tse-tung.
In 1996, child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, age 6, was found slain in a basement room of her family's posh Boulder, Colo., home.
In 2000, the White House killed a drug-import plan, saying the congressional measure for low-cost prescription drugs would neither be safe nor cut costs.
Also in 2000, police in China arrested two suspects in a disco blaze in the city of Luoyang that killed 309 people.
In 2001, the 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-oild unemployed British citizen.
A thought for the day: Michel Eyquem de Montaigne said, "A man of understanding has lost nothing, if he has himself."