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The Mexican government was upset about a Mexican citizen on death row whom Texas failed to notify of his right under the Vienna Convention to contact his government’s embassy; the Mexican government did not find out about his arrest until a year after he was condemned.Germany has sued the United States in the World Court over a similar case involving two brothers executed last year in Arizona.A fifteen-year-old boy with a loaded 9mm pistol took a pregnant teacher and eighteen other children hostage in a Dallas school; police saved the day.Governor George W. Bush admitted that he was convicted in 1976 for drunk driving; he had previously told a reporter that he had not been arrested after 1968.Thomas Connelly, the Maine lawyer who alerted the media, said he recently protested a local Bush visit by shouting “You wiener!” to which Bush responded, rolling down his window as he was driving away, “Who are you calling wiener, boy?” Ralph Nader was denounced once again in a New York Times editorial for insolently daring to run for president; the editorial labeled Nader a “political narcissist.” Elderly men were increasingly committing violent crimes.Anthony Dwain Lee, an actor, was shot through a glass door by Tarriel Hopper, a Los Angelespolice officer, at a Halloween party, when Hopper arrived at the party in response to a noise complaint and saw Lee, through a glass door, holding a fake gun.Questions emerged about the safety of Lotronex, a drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome; in its first eight months on the market, five patients died, several had surgery on their bowels, one colon was removed entirely, and forty-nine people came down with ischemic colitis, which can kill.An economist at Carnegie Mellon found a high correlation between the number of gays in a given region and its prominence as a high-tech center.Computer vandals known as the Pakistan Hackerz Club defaced the website of the Israel Public Affairs Committee and stole email addresses and credit card information, which they posted on the Web.Black city council members in Chicago were blocking a proposal to require the council to recite the pledge of allegiance at meetings because the phrase “liberty and justice for all” was factually inaccurate.
South African museums were busy trying to return or at least to bury some 2,000 skeletons of black men and women whose bodies in many cases were stolen from their graves for study by scientists.Ebola fever continued to kill people in Uganda; eighty have died in the recent outbreak, which is spreading south.People in Galway, Ireland, dug up the carcass of a mad cow and placed it in the owner’s farmyard; burying a cow suffering from bovine spongiform encephalapathy could contaminate ground water with the prions that apparently cause the disease.Frenchpolice arrested a father and son who knowingly sold mad-cow-infected beef for slaughter; over a ton of the beef was processed and sold. Much of it was eaten.Scientists warned again that chronic wasting disease, a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy infecting deer and elk in the American West, can probably be transmitted to humans, much like its cousin mad cow disease; up to half the deer in some areas are infected with the disease.A man who killed his family in 1975 was found guilty of killing his second family last year; he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in his previous trial.A car bomb, apparently set by the Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna terrorist group, killed three people in Madrid, including a supreme court justice.Protestant paramilitaries were killing one another in Belfast.Irish republicanterrorists put a bomb in a traffic cone that blew the leg off a Royal Ulster Constabulary officer when he picked it up.A car bomb killed two Israelis in Jerusalem.More Palestinians were killed.Physicians for Human Rights issued a report that documented the Israeli Army’s practice of using live bullets to disperse unarmed rioters.Israelis marked the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist.A seventy-seven-year-old Polish man who beat Jewish prisoners, stripped them, and escorted them to the gas chambers was arrested and charged with collaborating with the Nazis; the man said he simply did what he was told: “I was only 16 then.”Police in Zanzibar, Tanzania, opened fire on unarmed demonstrators who were protesting rigged elections.Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission accused police of abetting a massacre of twenty-seven Tamil rebel prisoners by a mob.Britain and the United States bombed Iraq again.Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to open Soviet archives to researchers for data about the millions murdered by Joseph Stalin.Yugoslavia rejoined the United Nations.
A report by the General Accounting Office found that massive aid by the West failed to prevent corrupt Russians from squandering their chance at normal capitalism.Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky, two Russian oligarchs, were called to appear before the deputy prosecutor general of Russia for unrelated investigations into financial crimes.Garry Kasparov lost the world championship of chess to his former assistant Vladimir Kramnik; Kasparov was previously beaten by Deep Blue, an IBM computer.Fifty thousand Chinese attended a performance of Verdi’s Aida, which featured a cast of 2,200 and a trained elephant, Bactrian camels, lions, tigers, and Olga Roanko, a Russian soprano.Fat people were still suffering discrimination.Archaeologists found a largely intact 1,500-year-old single-masted ship on the bottom of the Black Sea; the deep water has little oxygen to support insects that eat wood.The Marine Corps was trying to contact people who were born at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to inform them that they might have been polluted by water containing dry cleaning chemicals.Veterans of the Korean War were offered free testing for exposure to Agent Orange after the Pentagon admitted that soldiers applied the toxic herbicide along the Korean border.Dozens of Minneapolis residents received letters bearing the name of Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton telling them that they were infected with AIDS; the letters were fake.Rotenone, a common pesticide, produced all the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in laboratory rats, according to a new study, suggesting that such poisons may cause the disease in humans.An Italian cargo ship was leaking 6,000 tons of toxic chemicals into the English Channel.
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.”