Today is Saturday, July 17, the 199th day of 2004 with 167 to follow.
The moon is new. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English clergyman and author Isaac Watts in 1674; financier John Jacob Astor in 1763; mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner in 1889; actor James Cagney in 1899; Nobel Prize-winning Yiddish storyteller Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1904; TV personality Art Linkletter in 1912 (age 92); comedian Phyllis Diller in 1917 (age 87); actor Donald Sutherland in 1934 (age 70); actress/singer Diahann Carroll in 1935 (age 69); rock musician Spencer Davis in 1942 (age 62); actress Lucie Arnaz in 1951 (age 53); actor David Hasselhof in 1952 (age 52); and singers Nicolette Larson and Phoebe Snow (age 52), both in 1952.
On this date in history:
In 1918, Russian Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were executed by firing squad in the Ural Mountains of Siberia.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began with an army revolt led by Gen. Francisco Franco.
In 1938, Douglas Corrigan took off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York for a return flight to California but lost his bearings in the clouds, he said, and flew instead to Ireland. He became an instant celebrity and was forever after known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan.
In 1955, Arco, Idaho, a town of 1,300 people, became the first community in the world to receive all its light and power from atomic energy.
Also in 1995, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif.
In 1975, three American and two Soviet spacemen linked their orbiting Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft for historic handshakes 140 miles above Earth.
In 1981, 111 people were killed and 200 injured when two suspended walkways collapsed at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
In 1986, Dallas-based LTV Corporation, $4 billion dollars in debt, declared the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history at the time.
In 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Ritcher scale hit the Philippines. It killed more than 1,600 and left more than 1,000 missing and feared dead, more than 3,000 injured and more than 1 million homeless.
In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, refused a pregnant social worker access to the unlicensed French abortion pill RU-486.
In 1993, the Midwest flood knocked out the Bayview Bridge connecting Quincy, Ill., with West Quincy, Mo., the last remaining crossing over the Mississippi River for about 200 miles.
In 1994, daylong rioting by Palestinian workers at an Israeli checkpoint left two people dead.
Also in 1994, Brazil beat Italy to win the first World Cup soccer championship ever held in the United States.
In 1996, TWA Flight 800, New York to Paris, crashed off the Long Island coast, killing all 230 people aboard.
In 1997, a Republican power struggle in the House claimed a victim when GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich forced his handpicked lieutenant, Rep. Bill Paxon, from his leadership post.
In 1998, President Clinton became the first sitting U.S. president to be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury as independent counsel Kenneth Starr continued his investigation into the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Also in 1998, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 9337.97, its 28th record finish in 1998.
In 1999, New York Rep. Michael Forbes switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party.
In 2003, an attack on a convoy in Iraq killed one soldier and pushed the death toll of U.S. troops in the Iraqi conflict to 148, one more than died in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Also in 2003, a new Harris Poll showed most Americans felt good about First Lady Laura Bush though she doesn't stand out as did some predecessors. She got very high marks in the survey with an approval rating of 70 percent.
A thought for the day: Goethe called architecture "frozen music."