Today is Friday, Dec. 29, the 363rd day of 2017 with two to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars and Venus. The evening stars are Mercury and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh, who patented a waterproof fabric, in 1766; industrialist Charles Goodyear in 1800; Andrew Johnson, 17th president of the United States, in 1808; Gen. Billy Mitchell, father of the U.S. Air Force, in 1879; golf course designer Pete Dye in 1925 (age 92); actor Inga Swenson in 1932 (age 85); actor Ed Flanders in 1934; actor Mary Tyler Moore in 1936; football Hall of Fame member Ray Nitschke in 1936; actor Jon Voight in 1938 (age 79); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Rick Danko (The Band) in 1943; singer Marianne Faithfull in 1946 (age 71); actor Ted Danson in 1947 (age 70); actor Jon Polito in 1950; singer Yvonne Elliman in 1951 (age 66); comedian Paula Poundstone in 1959 (age 58); actor Michael Cudlitz in 1964 (age 53); television journalist Ashleigh Banfield in 1967 (age 50); actor Jude Law in 1972 (age 45); actor Mekhi Phifer in 1974 (age 43); actor Danny McBride in 1976 (age 41); actor Diego Luna in 1979 (age 38); actor Alison Brie in 1982 (age 35); actor Jane Levy in 1989 (age 28); actor Dylan Minnette in 1996 (age 21).
On this date in history:
In 1170, Anglican churchman/politician Thomas Becket was killed at Britain's Canterbury Cathedral.
In 1845, Texas was admitted into the United States as the 28th state.
In 1848, gaslights were installed at the White House for the first time.
In 1851, the first chapter of the Young Men's Christian Association -- the YMCA -- opened in Boston.
In 1890, more than 200 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by the U.S. 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek, S.D.
In 1940, London had its most devastating air raid when Germans firebombed the city.
In 1975, a terrorist bomb exploded at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, killing 11 people and injuring 75.
In 1983, the United States announced its withdrawal from UNESCO, charging the U.N. cultural and scientific organization was biased against Western nations.
In 1989, playwright Vaclav Havel was sworn in as the first non-communist president of Czechoslovakia since 1948.
In 1992, a Cuban airliner was hijacked to Miami as part of a mass defection. Forty-eight of the 53 people aboard sought and were granted political asylum.
In 2002, Kenyan voters ousted the party that had ruled the nation since 1963 in an election that ended the 24-year presidency of Daniel Arap Moi.
In 2006, AT&T won U.S. approval to complete an $85 billion takeover of BellSouth Corp. after it made a series of consumer-friendly concessions.
In 2007, the New England Patriots became the first NFL team to finish the regular season with a 16-0 record. Quarterback Tom Brady also set the record for most touchdown passes in a season at 50, a record broken in 2013 by Peyton Manning.
In 2012, Pakistani officials said tainted cough syrup killed up to 36 people over a four-day period. Authorities shut down about a dozen medical stores and seized 8,000 bottles of the syrup.
In 2013, retired German race driver Michael Schumacher, one of the top stars in Formula 1 history, sustained severe head trauma in a skiing accident in the French Alps. Schumacher was in a medically induced coma for months before being taken to his home in Switzerland for continued treatment.
In 2016, the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 25 Russian diplomats and news sanctions as punishment for meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
A thought for the day: "Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food -- that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way." -- Pope Francis (on May 17, 2014)