The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, Dec. 2, the 337th day of 2008 with 29 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning star is Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat in 1859; circus co-founder Charles Ringling in 1863; engineer Peter Carl Goldmark, the inventor of the long-playing record, in 1906; actor Ray Walston in 1914; composer/lyricist Adolph Green in 1914; opera singer Maria Callas in 1923; former Secretary of State Alexander Haig Jr. in 1924 (age 84); actress Julie Harris in 1925 (age 83); former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III in 1931 (age 77); artist and dog photographer William Wegman in 1943 (age 65); actress Cathy Lee Crosby in 1944 (age 64); figure skater Randy Gardner in 1957 (age 51); actress Lucy Liu in 1968 (age 40); tennis player Monica Seles in 1973 (age 35) and pop singer Britney Spears in 1981 (age 27).


On this date in history:

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France.

In 1823, during his annual address to the U.S. Congress, President James Monroe proclaimed a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that became known as the "Monroe Doctrine."

In 1859, abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, W.Va.

In 1927, the Model A Ford was introduced as the successor to the Model T. The price of a Model A roadster was $395.

In 1942, the Atomic Age was born when scientists demonstrated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at a laboratory below the stands at the University of Chicago football stadium.

In 1954, the U.S. Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., for conduct unbecoming a senator. The condemnation, which was equivalent to a censure, related to McCarthy's controversial investigation of allegedly suspected communists in the U.S. government, military and civilian society.

In 1961, Fidel Castro disclosed he was a communist, acknowledging he concealed the fact until he solidified his hold on Cuba.

In 1982, 62-year-old retired dentist Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart. He survived 112 days.


In 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein declared that the chance for war was "50-50," depending on U.S. willingness to negotiate the Persian Gulf crisis.

Also in 1990, Aaron Copland, the dean of American music, died at age 90; and actor Bob Cummings died at age 80.

In 1993, Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar was killed in a shoot-out with police and soldiers in the Colombian city of Medellin.

In 1997, representatives of 41 countries met in London to discuss the whereabouts of gold and other valuable assets seized by the Nazi government from Jews in Germany and other occupied countries before and during World War II.

In 2001, U.S. forces in Afghanistan captured John Walker Lindh, 20, a U.S. citizen from San Anselmo, Calif., found fighting with the Taliban.

Also in 2001, Enron, the giant Houston energy trading company, its stock nearly worthless, became the largest firm to file for bankruptcy.

In 2002, U.S. President George Bush said "the signs are not encouraging" that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is ready to fully comply with U.N. resolutions on disarmament despite the prospect of military action should he fail to do so.

Also in 2002, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston reportedly considered bankruptcy protection in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal. More than 200 alleged victims were involved.


In 2004, John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, resigned.

Also in 2004, NATO officially handed over peacekeeping duties in Bosnia to European forces known as Eufor.

In 2005, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration decided to allow passengers to carry scissors and some tools on planes.

In 2006, at least 32 people died and 16 were injured when a 150-year-old pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a passenger train near Bhagalpur, India.

Also in 2006, three Baghdad car bombs, detonated in quick succession, killed at least 51 people, many shopping at a food market in a Shiite neighborhood. Close to 90 were reported injured.

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin's party dominated parliamentary elections. Putin, who cannot seek another consecutive term, is expected to name his successor and run for prime minister.

Also in 2007, Venezuela voters rejected a referendum pushed by President Hugo Chavez that would have abolished presidential term limits and given Chavez new power to build a socialist economy.

A thought for the day: Casey Stengel once remarked, "There comes a time in every man's life and I've had many of them."

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