The almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2013 with 24 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1598; Theodor Schwann, German physiologist and co-originator of cell theory, in 1810; novelist Willa Cather in 1873; composer Rudolf Friml ("Indian Love Call") in 1879; department store chain founder Richard Sears in 1863; actors Eli Wallach in 1915 (age 98) and Ted Knight in 1923; linguist Noam Chomsky in 1928 (age 85); actor Ellen Burstyn in 1932 (age 81); rock/folksinger Harry Chapin in 1942; baseball Hall of Fame member Johnny Bench in 1947 (age 66); singer/songwriter Tom Waits in 1949 (age 64); basketball Hall of Fame member Larry Bird in 1956 (age 57); and actor C. Thomas Howell in 1966 (age 47).


On this date in history:

In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1909, Leo Baekeland patented the process for making Bakelite, giving birth to the modern plastics industry.

In 1925, five-time Olympic gold medalist and future movie Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in 150-yard free-style swimming.

In 1931, U.S. President Herbert Hoover refused to see a group of "hunger marchers" at the White House.

In 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, catapulting the United States into World War II. The Japanese attack left 2,403 people dead, destroyed 188 planes and a crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet. President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it as "a date that will live in infamy."

In 1972, Apollo 17 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on the last scheduled manned mission to the moon.

In 1983, the first execution by lethal injection took place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to officially visit the United States since 1973.

In 1988, as many as 60,000 people died in a powerful earthquake in Armenia.


In 1992, the destruction of a 16th-century mosque by militant Hindus touched off five days of violence across India that left more than 1,100 people dead.

In 1993, U.S. Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary revealed the United States had conducted 204 underground nuclear tests from 1963-90 without informing the public.

In 2002, Azra Akin, a 21-year-old model from Turkey, won the Miss World competition two weeks after Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria killed more than 200 people, forcing organizers to move the pageant to London.

In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president.

In 2007, the South Korean coast guard struggled to contain the largest oil spill in Korea following a collision between a barge and an oil tanker that spilled 10,000 tons of oil into coastal waters.

In 2011, Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach accused of being a serial child molester, was returned to jail after two more alleged victims testified before a grand jury.

In 2012, Arizona Lottery officials said a 37-year-old suburban Phoenix man claimed his half of a record-breaking $587.5 million Powerball drawing but wished to remain anonymous (he was later identified as Matthew Good of Fountain Hills). It was announced earlier that Mark and Cindy Hall of Dearborn, Mo., won the other half of the big prize.


A thought for the day: Roscoe Pound said, "The law must be stable but it must not stand still."

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