Today is the 343rd day of 2012 and the 78th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1941, the U.S. Congress declared war on Japan and the United States officially entered World War II.
In 1980, former member of The Beatles John Lennon was shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building.
In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
TODAY'S BIRTDHAYS: Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587); Eli Whitney (1765-1825), inventor; James Thurber (1894-1961), humorist; Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990), singer/dancer/actor; Jim Morrison (1943-1971), singer; Kim Basinger (1953- ), actress; Ann Coulter (1961- ), writer/commentator; Teri Hatcher (1964- ), actress; Sinead O'Connor (1966- ), singer; Dominic Monaghan (1976- ), actor; Ian Somerhalder (1978- ), actor.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1940, the Chicago Bears crushed the Washington Redskins in the National Football League championship game, 73-0, for the biggest victory margin in NFL championship history.
TODAY'S FACT: The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), encompassing the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States, was ratified by the last country, Costa Rica, on Oct. 7, 2007.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself." -- James Thurber
TODAY'S NUMBER: $1.1 trillion -- value of total U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico in 2011.
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Dec. 6) and new moon (Dec. 13).