Today is Thursday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2017. There are 24 days left in the year.
Birthdays: Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky is 89. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 85. Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi is 80. Broadcast journalist Carole Simpson is 77. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is 70. Actor-director James Keach is 70. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 68. Republican Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine is 65. Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics is 61. Former ‘‘Tonight Show’’ announcer Edd Hall is 59. Former NFL player Terrell Owens is 44. Actor Chris Chalk is 40. Singer Sara Bareilles is 38.
In 43 B.C., Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero was slain at the order of the Second Triumvirate.
In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.
In 1909, chemist Leo Baekeland received a US patent for Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic.
In 1941, during a series of raids, Imperial Japan’s navy launched an attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing 2,400 people, about half of them on the battleship USS Arizona. (The United States declared war against Japan the next day.)
In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, killing 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.
In 1972, America’s last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
In 1987, 43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash.
In 1993, a gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six people. (The shooter was sentenced to 200 years in prison.)
In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president.
In 2007, two window washers fell 47 stories from a Manhattan skyscraper when their scaffolding failed; Edgar Moreno was killed, but his brother, Alcides miraculously survived.
Last year, President-elect Donald Trump selected retired Marine General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.