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CIA director George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and again took responsibility for President Bush’s false claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger, but he admitted that he didn’t know the claim, which he successfully removed from at least one of the president’s previous speeches, would be included in the State of the Union address.Tenet said that his staff should have told him about it.Washington PostIt later emerged that the White House and the CIA had negotiated over the line, which “the CIA knew to be incredible.” The White House, one senator said, wanted to know “how far you could go and be close to the truth.”Associated PressPresident Bush said that “the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence and the speeches I have given are backed by good intelligence,”New York Timesand he told a group of surprised reporters that Saddam Hussein had refused to permit weapons inspectors to return to Iraq: “And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”Washington PostA White House official noted that the president “is not a fact checker.”New York TimesBritish prime minister Tony Blair addressed the United States Congress and predicted that history will “forgive” him even if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq.He received 19 standing ovations; after the first one he responded: “This is more than I deserve and more than I’m used to, frankly.”GuardianDr.David Kelly, a British Ministry of Defense scientist who was accused of being the source of news reports that the British government had doctored its intelligence on Iraq, was found dead two days after he was interrogated by a parliamentary committee.GuardianAmid calls for his resignation, Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked by a reporter whether he had “blood on his hands.”Sunday Herald
General John Abizaid, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, admitted that his troops face “a classical guerrilla-type campaign” and said that troops might have to double their expected tours of duty in order to pacify the country.New York TimesSeveral U.S. soldiers complained on television that morale was low and that they wanted to go home.”If Donald Rumsfeld were here, I’d ask him for his resignation,” said one.”I would ask him why we are still here,” said another.”I don’t have any clue as to why we are still in Iraq.”Reuters“This is the future for the world we’re in at the moment,” a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld said about the unrest in Iraq.”We’ll get better as we do it more often.”Los Angeles TimesA new study found that fast foods with high fat and sugar content “alter brain biochemistry with effects similar to those in powerful opiates such as morphine.”UndernewsThe Department of Homeland Security announced that Microsoft was chosen as its exclusive supplier of desktop and server software;GovExec.comshortly thereafter Microsoft acknowledged a critical security flaw that permits hackers to take over computers running the latest version of its Windows operating system.Associated PressVertebrae of a plesiosaur, a long-necked sea reptile that lived 150 million years ago, were found at Loch Ness, in Scotland.Daily Telegraph
The Bush Administration revised its estimate of the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year and said it was likely to be $455 billion.New York TimesAmerican teenagers were having a hard time finding summer jobs,New York Timesand it was noted that the current job-market contraction is the worst since the Great Depression and that Bush could well become the first president since Hoover to leave office with fewer people working than when he took office.UndernewsNorth and South Korean troops had a gunfight at the border.Sydney Morning HeraldNorth Korea announced that it has made enough plutonium to construct several nuclear bombs,New York Timesand United Nations weapons inspectors said they had found traces of enriched uranium in samples taken in Iran.Washington PostFederal authorities said that 1,100 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the explosive chemical used to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, were stolen from quarries in Colorado and California.Associated PressThe Justice Department said that it will defy an order by a federal judge to allow Zacarias Moussaoui, who is being tried in connection with the September 11 attacks, to cross-examine a captured Al Qaeda member who is a witness in the case.New York TimesAn internal Justice Department report identified 34 “credible” complaints of civil-rights violations by department employees related to new powers under the USA Patriot Act; more than one thousand complaints were reviewed.New York TimesPat Robertson called on his disciples to mount a “prayer offensive” against the Supreme Court aimed at forcing three of the justices, who Robertson said have “opened the door to homosexual marriage, bigamy, legalized prostitution and even incest,” to retire.Associated PressAriel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, traveled to Norway but refused to visit Oslo.New York TimesIsrael’s transportation minister offered to provide buses to take Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea, “whence they will not return.”Ha’aretzA German tourist was arrested for trying to steal a crematorium door from a former Nazideath camp in Poland.Associated PressBritishscientists built a better, baitless mousetrap that uses plastic mixed with a high concentration of chocolate essence.New ScientistNewly declassified documents revealed that during the Cold War Britishscientists planned to bury ten nuclear land mines in Germany.The plan, code-named Blue Peacock, was abandoned in 1958, after it was judged to be “politically flawed.”New ScientistA truck driver stopped in the middle of Interstate 65 in Knoxville, Tennessee, took off his clothes, and ran around naked.UndernewsIreland’s environmental minister called for a tax on chewing gum.New York TimesAustralian researchers found that masturbation prevents prostate cancer.New Scientist
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”