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The Texas Defender Service issued a report on the death penalty; the report said that the Texas system was “a national embarrassment” due to racial bias, prosecutorial misconduct, and other problems.One psychologist, who was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association for producing diagnoses without performing examinations, testified for the prosecution in 390 capital cases.According to a newspaper analysis of Texas governor George W. Bush’s time records, Bush spent an average of fifteen minutes reviewing each death-penalty case that crossed his desk; as governor, he worked about six hours a day.The town of Jarrell, Texas, hosted a “Running of the Bulls, Texas Style” in imitation of the annual event held in Pamplona, Spain; Hereford, Watusi, and Brahman bulls reluctantly shambled after uncomfortably sober cowboys in a large set of portable pens.No one was injured.A man who spent four days climbing Mount Everest skied down the mountain in five hours.A survey of the scrotal contents of mountain bikers found that 96 percent had “pathological abnormalities,” including sperm-containing cysts, calcium deposits in the epididymis, swelling, and benign tumors.According to the study, the vibration of the testicles against the bicycle seat and rough terrain were probably to blame.A new study found that children whose mothers received opiates or barbiturates during childbirth were up to five times more likely to abuse drugs later on.Three Falun Gong members died while in the custody of Chinesepolice; 57 have died in custody since the government banned the meditation cult last year.Amnesty International said that torture was increasingly popular worldwide.
The United Nations General Assembly was considering a motion to condemn Israel for using excessive force against Palestinians; of the 134 people who have died in the recent uprising, all but 8 were Arabs.Lori Berenson, the New Yorker convicted of aiding rebels in Peru, was released from prison in preparation for a new trial; she wore a blue turtleneck, a plaid skirt, and white, dangling fish-shaped earrings.Vice President Al Gore was still mad at President Bill Clinton for getting oral sex from an intern and lying about it.The Vatican announced that Sir Thomas More will be designated the patron saint of politicians.The Most Reverend John Ward, Archbishop of Cardiff, was being urged to resign by other BritishCatholic officials for having ordained a known pedophile who subsequently abused at least two young boys. The priest, Joseph Jordan, was also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by hiding a computer containing childpornography from investigators.Amnon Chemouil was convicted in a French court of raping an eleven-year-old girl in Thailand while on a “sex holiday.” Greenpeace claimed that it had caused two biotech companies to withdraw plans to patent embryos for a human-pig hybrid; both companies denied making “mixed species embryos,” though one did admit to introducing a human nucleus into a pig cell.
Farmers who planted StarLink, a type of genetically modified cornsold by Aventis CropScience, said they were not told the corn was unfit for human consumption; millions of bushels of the corn may have contaminated the nation’s corn supply.The Kellogg Company, maker of Corn Flakes and Froot Loops, temporarily closed a factory after mills were shut down to ensure they were free of StarLink.Aventis CropScience reached an agreement with government officials concerning the cleanup of California’s Iron Mountain copper mine, one of the most toxic Superfund sites in America; water from the mine is so acidic it will dissolve a steel shovel in less than a day.The U.S. Department of Energy found that it had underestimated the amount of plutonium and other radioactive elements stored in flimsy containers that either are leaking or are in danger of leaking; the actual amount of such waste is ten times higher than previously thought.The House of Representatives approved a $7.8 billion program to restore the Everglades.South Africans in KwaZulu-Natal were dying of cholera.The Ebola virus was killing people in Uganda; scientists speculated that outbreaks of the virus might be linked to abnormal weather conditions, which could lead to Ebola forecasts.Russianspace experts said that it was time to bring down the Mir space station before it crashed into a populated area; a spokesman for MirCorp, an Amsterdam company that plans to send tourists and game-show contestants to the station, said that Mir was just fine.Richmond, California, unveiled a monument to Rosie the Riveter.The Guggenheim Museum announced that it would open a branch in Las Vegas; a retrospective of the work of Giorgio Armani opened at the Guggenheim in New York City; Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiral ramp was draped with stretch scrim; 400 selections from Armani’s oeuvre illustrated the designer’s “timeless vision of modern dress.”
More from Roger D. Hodge:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”