Today is Thursday, Sept. 9, the 253rd day of 2004 with 113 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include the Duc de Richelieu, French statesman and Roman Catholic cardinal, in 1585; Capt. William Bligh of the HMS Bounty, in 1754; Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 1828; Alf Landon, the Kansas Republican who lost the 1936 presidential election to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1887; Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders in 1890; composer Arthur Freed in 1894; oddsmaker Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder in 1919; actor Cliff Robertson in 1925 (age 79); rhythm & blues singer Otis Redding in 1941; singer/songwriter Billy Preston in 1946 (age 58); and actors Michael Keaton and Tom Wopat, both in 1951 (age 53), Angela Cartwright in 1952 (age 52), Hugh Grant in 1960 (age 44), and Adam Sandler in 1966 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1776, the second Continental Congress officially changed the new American nation's name from "United Colonies" to "United States."
In 1850, California became the 31st state.
In 1956, rock 'n' roll singer Elvis Presley appeared on national television for the first time, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
In 1971, more than 1,000 convicts took over the state prison at Attica, N.Y. and held 35 convicts hostage. Four days later, 28 convicts and nine hostages were killed as state police re-took the prison.
In 1976, Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Tse-tung died at age 82.
In 1990, President Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in a quickly arranged summit in Helsinki, Finland, to present a united front against Iraq.
Also in 1990, Liberian President Samuel Doe was captured and later killed by Prince Johnson's rebels after visiting the headquarters of West African peacekeeping forces in Monrovia.
In 1991, Iraq grounded foreign helicopters carrying U.N. weapons-plant inspectors.
In 1992, veteran rocker Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" was named best male video at the ninth annual MTV Video Music Awards.
In 1993, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security. In turn, Rabin declared the PLO the representative of the Palestinian people.
In 1994, the United States and Cuba reached an agreement aimed at discouraging Cubans from trying to flee to the U.S. by rafts or other vessels.
In 1995, Steffi Graf of Germany defeated Monica Seles to win her fourth U.S. Open women's singles title. Seles' appearance at the tournament was her first in a Grand Slam event since being stabbed by a fan in 1993.
In 1996, Susan McDougal was jailed for contempt after she refused to appear before the Whitewater grand jury on the grounds that she thought the special counsel was out to get the Clintons.
In 1998, independent counsel Kenneth Starr sent to the U.S. House his report on his investigation into President Clinton. He said it contained "substantial and credible information...that may constitute grounds" for impeachment.
In 1999, more than 90 people died in the bombing of a Moscow apartment building. The blast was blamed on terrorists from the breakaway republic of Chechnya.
In 2001, Venus Williams defeated her sister Serena for the U.S. Open tennis championship, 6-2, 6-4, the first time since 1884 that sisters had met in a Grand Slam finale and first ever for two African-Americans.
In 2003, The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston and lawyers for about 550 victims of sexual abuse by priests reached an agreement that could run as high as $85 million.
A thought for the day: former Chrysler Corp. chairman Lee Iacocca said, "A country's competitiveness starts not on the factory floor or in the engineering lab. It starts in the classroom."