Today is Saturday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2006 with 22 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Pluto, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include English poet John Milton in 1608; journalist Joel Chandler Harris, author of the "Uncle Remus" stories, in 1848; Clarence Birdseye, industrialist/inventor, noted as "the father of frozen foods," in 1886; circus clown Emmett Kelly in 1898; bandleader Freddie Martin in 1906; actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in 1909; actor Broderick Crawford in 1911; former Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, D-Mass., in 1912; actor Kirk Douglas in 1916 (age 90); comedian Redd Foxx in 1922; actors Dina Merrill in 1925 (age 81), Dick Van Patten in 1928 (age 78), John Cassavetes in 1929, Judi Dench in 1934 (age 72), and Beau Bridges in 1941 (age 65); Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, sportscaster and actor Dick Butkus in 1942 (age 64); actors Michael Nouri in 1945 (age 61) and John Malkovich in 1953 (age 53); singer Donny Osmond in 1957 (age 49), and actor Joe Lando in 1961 (age 45).
On this date in history:
In 1907, the first Christmas Seals to raise money to fight tuberculosis went on sale in the post office in Wilmington, Del.
In 1920, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1958, in Indianapolis, retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H. W. Welch, Jr., established the John Birch Society, a right-wing organization dedicated to fighting what it perceived to be the extensive infiltration of communism into U.S. society.
In 1974, White House aide John Ehrlichman testified at the Watergate trial that U.S. President Richard Nixon was responsible for the coverup.
In 1985, OPEC oil ministers abandoned the struggle to control production and prices, setting the stage for a global oil price war.
In 1987, in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, the first riots of the Palestinian intifada began one day after an Israeli truck crashed into a station wagon carrying Palestinian workers, killing four and wounding 10.
In 1990, Lech Walesa won Poland's first direct presidential vote.
In 1992, the U.S. Marines landed in famine-wracked Somalia to ensure the delivery of food and medicine.
In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton fired U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for reportedly suggesting that masturbation be taught in the schools.
In 2002, United Airlines, which said it was losing $22 million a day, filed for bankruptcy.
In 2003, the U.S. Defense Department indicated that only nations that supported the United States in the war in Iraq would be allowed to bid on the $18.6 billion in contracts for reconstruction projects there.
In 2004, the U.S. Congress released documentation to back up reports of glaring armor shortages for military transport trucks ferrying fuel, food and ammunition in Iraq.
Also in 2004, police said a man rushed a Columbus, Ohio, night club bandstand and opened fire, killing at least five people, including two members of the heavy metal band Damageplan.
In 2005, published reports said a key prewar Bush administration claim about ties between Iraq and al-Qaida came from a prisoner who said he made it up to avoid harsh treatment.
A thought for the day: English poet John Milton wrote, "No man who know aught can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free."