Today is Thursday, Oct. 29, the 302nd day of 2009 with 63 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Scottish biographer James Boswell in 1740; singer/composer Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the words and music for "Dixie," in 1815; comedian/singer Fanny Brice in 1891; Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in 1897; political cartoonist Bill Mauldin in 1921; singer Melba Moore in 1945 (age 64); actor Richard Dreyfuss in 1947 (age 62); and actresses Kate Jackson in 1948 (age 61), Finola Hughes in 1960 (age 49), Joely Fisher in 1967 (age 42) and Winona Ryder in 1971 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded in London. He had been charged with plotting against King James I.
In 1901, Leon Czolgosz was electrocuted for the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley.
In 1923, the musical "Runnin' Wild," which introduced the Charleston, opened on Broadway.
In 1929, the sale of 16 million shares marked the collapse of the stock market, setting the stage for the Great Depression.
In 1969, the first connection on what would become the Internet was made when bits of data flowed between computers at UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute. This was the beginning of ARPANET, the forerunner to the Internet developed by the Department of Defense.
In 1991, in a first meeting between Soviet and Israeli heads of state, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Israeli Prime Minister Yizhak Shamir conferred at the Soviet Embassy.
In 1992, Alger Hiss said Russia had cleared him of the charge of being a Communist spy that sent him to prison for four years and helped propel Richard Nixon's political career.
In 1994, a Colorado man was arrested after he sprayed the White House with bullets from an assault rifle. U.S. President Bill Clinton was inside at the time but no one was injured.
In 1998, Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, who in 1962 became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, returned to space aboard the shuttle Discovery. At 77, he was the oldest person to travel in space.
In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush, elected in a chaotic tableau of ballot mishaps and court challenges, signed legislation said to help reduce ballot-counting errors and ensure greater citizen participation in the election process.
In 2003, digging through more than 164 feet of rock, rescuers liberated 11 of 13 Russian miners trapped underground for six days after a methane gas explosion.
Also in 2003, the third-largest recorded solar blast slammed into the Earth causing a severe but short-lived geomagnetic storm.
In 2004, Osama bin Laden, in a videotape to the American people, admitted publicly that he ordered the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Also in 2004, EU leaders signed the European Union's first constitution.
In 2005, three explosions in New Delhi hit a bus and markets crowded with holiday shoppers, killing at least 65 people.
Also in 2005, a reported 102 people died in a train wreck in southern India, where heavy rains caused major flooding.
In 2006, a Boeing 737 crashed near Nigeria's Abuja airport killing 96 of the 104 people aboard. Officials said the pilot took off after disobeying an air traffic controller and crashed moments later.
Also in 2006, 17 instructors and two translators were gunned down at a British-run police academy at Basra, Iraq.
In 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a police brigade in Iraq, killing 29 people, including 26 police officers.
In 2008, U.S. forces are struggling to deal with an intensified Taliban insurgency and need about 20,000 additional troops in Afghanistan to counter it, officials say. U.S. troop casualties at their highest levels since the conflict began.
Also in 2008, the death toll from a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan topped 200, officials said, as hundreds of people were hurt and more than 20,000 were left homeless.
And, as nations around the world worked on ways to avoid severe economic woes, the International Monetary Fund announced it would allocate $100 billion to countries with basically healthy economies but short-term problems.
A thought for the day: Scottish biographer James Boswell wrote, "I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation."