Today is Tuesday, Dec. 14, the 349th day of 2004 with 17 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. The evening stars are Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include French astrologer and prophet Nostradamus in 1503; Danish astronomer and mathemetician Tycho Brahe in 1546; World War II American air ace "Jimmy" Doolittle in 1896; former Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine in 1897; slapstick bandleader Spike Jones in 1911; comedian Morey Amsterdam in 1914; horror novelist Shirley Jackson in 1919; actress/singer Deanna Durbin in 1921 (age 83); TV news producer Don Hewitt in 1922 (age 81); country singer Charlie Rich in 1932; and actresses Lee Remick in 1935, Patty Duke in 1946 (age 58), Dee Wallace Stone in 1948 (age 56), and Helen Slater in 1963 (age 41).
On this date in history:
In 1799, George Washington, first president of the United States, died at his Mount Vernon home in Virginia.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole.
In 1984, bank robbers killed four customers and wounded three others in Geronimo, Okla., to grab $17,000. Two suspects were arrested in San Francisco three days later.
In 1986, Nicaragua announced the arrest of American Sam Hall as a spy. Hall, a former Ohio state lawmaker, was freed less than seven weeks later.
In 1988, the United States announced the start of a "substantive dialogue" with the PLO for the first time.
In 1989, Andrei Sakharov, father of the Soviet H-bomb, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner for defending human rights, died at age 68.
In 1993, Israel and the Vatican agreed to establish full diplomatic relations.
Also in 1993, members of the United Mine Workers union ratified a new five-year contract, ending a seven-month strike.
In 1995, in a ceremony in Paris, the four-year civil war in Bosnia-Herznegovia officially came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty.
In 1996, a runaway freighter crashed into the Riverwalk on the New Orleans waterfront.
In 1998, a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced Johnny Chung, a Democratic Party donor, to five years' probation on charges that included $20,000 in illegal gifts to the Clinton-Gore campaign. The Democratic Party had returned nearly $400,000 in gifts from Chung that were of dubious legality.
In 2002, some 330 members of 50 opposition groups in Iraq met in London to discuss a new government in the event Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
In 2003, violence continued uninterrupted in Iraq with a series of bombings and other lethal attacks, showing little effect from the capture of Saddam Hussein .
Also in 2003, an assassination attempt on the life of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf faijled when a bomb blew up a bridge only seconds after the presidential motorcade had passed.
A thought for the day: William James said, "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook."