Today is Thursday, Dec. 22, the 357th day of 2016 with nine to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Frank Kellogg in 1856; opera composer Giacomo Puccini in 1858; former Philadelphia Athletics Manager Connie Mack, the "dean of baseball," in 1862; British film executive J. Arthur Rank in 1888; former first lady Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1912; TV game show host Gene Rayburn in 1917; actors Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver in "Leave it to Beaver") in 1915 and Hector Elizondo in 1936 (age 80); baseball Hall of Fame member Steve Carlton in 1944 (age 72); former TV news anchor Diane Sawyer in 1945 (age 71); Rock and Roll Hall of fame members Robin and Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees) in 1949; actor Ralph Fiennes in 1962 (age 54); and singer Jordin Sparks in 1989 (age 27).
On this date in history:
In 1785, the American Continental Navy fleet was organized, consisting of two frigates, two brigs and three schooners. Sailors were paid $8 a month.
In 1894, French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason by a military court-martial on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular trial and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged crime of passing military secrets to the Germans. Dreyfus was released from prison in 1899 and officially exonerated in 1906.
In 1944, ordered to surrender by Nazi troops who had his unit trapped during the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division replied with one word: "Nuts!"
In 1972, a series of earthquakes killed about 5,000 people and left the Nicaraguan capital of Managua in ruins.
In 1984, "subway vigilante" Bernard Goetz shot and wounded four would-be holdup men on a New York City subway. He served eight months in prison for carrying an illegal weapon but was cleared of assault and attempted murder charges.
In 1986, political dissident and Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, were allowed to return to Moscow after seven years of internal exile.
In 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, the last hard-line communist holdout against East Bloc reforms, fell from power in the face of massive demonstrations.
In 1992, all 158 people aboard a Libyan Boeing 727 died when the jetliner crashed, apparently following an in-flight collision with a military plane.
In 2001, American Airlines passengers and attendants overpowered a man trying to light a match to detonate powerful explosives hidden in his sneakers on a flight from Paris to Miami.
In 2005, Walmart was ordered to pay more than 100,000 California employees $172 million for depriving them of breaks to eat.
In 2008, a federal jury in New Jersey convicted five Muslim men of plotting to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., a plot prosecutors said was inspired by al-Qaida. The defendants were acquitted of attempted murder.
In 2013, Denver's Peyton Manning, leading the Broncos to a 37-13 victory over the Houston Texans, set an NFL single-season record with his 51st touchdown pass. He finished the season with 55.
In 2015, SpaceX successfully returned the company's Falcon 9 rocket to Earth, landing it vertically on a landing pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla., -- just 10 minutes after it blasted-off for its jaunt to space and back.
A thought for the day: "Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open." -- Scottish businessman Thomas Dewar