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Republicans formally nominated George W. Bush as presidential candidate at their convention in Philadelphia; a display of dark-skinned speakers elicited much comment from journalists who noticed the contrast with rank-and-file Republicans on the convention floor. Former President Gerald Ford suffered a mild stroke. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, made a brief appearance, much to the delight of bored journalists, before he was removed by Republican officials. It was the tenth anniversary of Iraq’sinvasion of Kuwait; Alaa Hussein Ali, who led Kuwait’s puppet government during the occupation, filed suit against Saddam Hussein for compelling him to collaborate with Iraqi forces. Ali is currently on death row. German foreign minister Joschka Fischer suggested that many Germans silently support recent anti-immigrant violence. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service naturalized 180,000 immigrants without performing proper background checks, according to a Justice Department report; the report failed to support the Republican charge that the Clinton administration rushed the approvals in hopes of acquiring additional Democratic voters in the 1996 election. A Justice Department investigation was announced in response to charges of discrimination against Asians at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. Chinese protestors set fire to Hong Kong’s immigration office, after dousing its lobby with gasoline, injuring fifty. The NAACP will move its annual convention from its customary location in South Carolina to protest the continued presence of the Confederate Battle Flag on a Civil War monument near the state capitol. Democrats complained that George W. Bush plagiarized President Clinton in his nomination acceptance speech. The company that manufactures Wonder Bread was ordered to pay $120 million in a racial discrimination law suit.
Voters in the Kansas Republican primary selected pro-evolution candidates for the state school board, ensuring thereby that the state’s current science standards, which for the last three years have required the teaching of creationism in the schools, will be overturned. Scientists sequenced the genome of the cholera bacterium. Microbes survived a brief experimental space flight. Monsanto said it would release patent rights to golden rice, a strain of genetically-altered rice that is rich in vitamin A, in order to help poor countries fight malnutrition. According to a new study, viruses may cause obesity. DNA Sciences, a new dot com company in California, established a “gene trust” and invited people to volunteer DNA samples for scientific study; the company, which expects to make a profit, will not compensate DNA donors. A new drug to combat troublesome female facial hair was introduced. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of England turned 100. The world’s largest fungus was discovered in Oregon; the fungus, which covers 2,400 acres, is believed to be 2,400 years old. Argentine ants have formed a 600-mile-long colony in California.
Beaches were closed on both East and West coasts due to high concentrations of bacteria associated with sewage. A federal judge ruled that laws regulating kosher restaurants were unconstitutional. California was in the midst of a power shortage; residents faced the prospect of rolling black outs and many began, hesitantly, to question the wisdom of energyderegulation. The supreme leader of the Taliban said that Afghanistan’s severe drought was sent by God to punish the people for neglecting their religious duties and failing to show proper gratitude toward their rulers. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the rightist Israeli Shas Party, declared that the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust were reincarnated sinners who rightly suffered the wrath of God. Islamic law was adopted in yet another Nigerian province. Organizers of the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders failed to invite the Tibetan Dalai Lama because doing so would offend China. Scientists learned that women who are abused at an early age are likely to suffer from stress later in life. Political massacres continued in India, as did heavy rains, which led to the displacement of 2.5 million people. Wild fires were burning across the American West.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”