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Amnesty International released a report calling the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay “the gulag of our time.” General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the prison camp was “a model facility” and pointed out that 1,300 Korans had been handed out at the prison in the last four years.BBC NewsBrigadier General Jay Hood, the camp’s commander, said that an investigation at Guantánamo Bay had uncovered five incidents of Koran abuse, but none involved toilets; protesters rallied against Koran abuse in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Malaysia, and in Lebanon, where they chanted “America is the biggest Satan.”BBC NewsMecca Cola was on sale in fifty-six countries, and was the second most popular soft drink in France.ForbesPresident George W. Bush promised $50 million in aid to Palestine.BBC NewsThe commander-in-chief of Bolivia’s armed forces denied that the military was planning a coup,BBC NewsJapan announced it would close down its fund for WWII-era sex slaves,BBC Newsand North Korea refused to rule out a pre-emptive nuclear strike.APHundreds of thousands of people marched for gay rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil.BBC NewsA man caught a 124-pound catfish in the Mississippi River,APand Sylvester Stallone was making a movie about Edgar Allen Poe.The GuardianRepresentative Spencer Bachus of Alabama said that a routine by television host Bill Maher bordered on treason. Maher had said that the Army had already picked all of the “low-lying fruit” like Lynndie England, and now needed “warm bodies.”ABC NewsIsraeli finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview with a lit cigar in his jacket. “Can’t you smell the smoke?” asked his interviewer. “What do you mean?” replied Netanyahu. “You are burning up,” said the reporter.ReutersIn Syracuse, New York, President Bush gave a speech so boring that it reduced a little girl named Brittany Fish to tears,Syracuse.comand in Greece, New York, Bush discussed his plan for Social Security. “You got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in,” he explained, “to kind of catapult the propaganda.”WhiteHouse.govScientists uncovered the part of the brain that allows people to perceive sarcasm,BBC Newsand experts on humor said that the joke was dead.New York TimesIn California, the owners of a chicken were fined for letting it cross the road; the fine was later dismissed.Herald SunOfficials in Zurich decided that a massive teddy bear in bondage regalia could not be put on display as part of the city’s “Teddy-Summer” project,Reutersand a researcher found that Malcolm X had enjoyed sex with men.The GuardianNASA planned to put a laser in orbit around the moon.Red Nova
In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers broke into the home of a Palestinian family so that they could watch a soccer game. ReutersA San Diego doctor was training a dog named Ginger to detect cancer by sniffing human urine,Sign On San Diegoand two teenagers in Marysville, California, hacked into their school’s computer system to change their grades. They accidentally altered the grades of all 18,697 students in the school district, and were arrested.Monterey HeraldA judge ruled that stickers that encourage students to question the theory of evolution, placed on science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, violated the principle of the separation of church and state. Thirty-four thousand, four hundred fifty-two stickers must be scraped off in order to comply with the ruling.MSNBCA hamster-bornevirus, transmitted through donated human organs, was linked to the deaths of six people since 2003.MSNBCIn New Jersey, State Assemblyman Craig Stanley was fighting to rename the Devils hockey team. “The merchandise, the paraphernalia,” he said, “is based on the actual demonic devil.”APThree hundred thousand residents of Beijing have been moved out of their homes to make room for the 2008 Olympics; some of those who protested the evictions have been jailed.Times OnlinePretoria, South Africa, changed its name to Tshwane, which means “we are the same.”BBC NewsIn Denmark, a Lutheran minister who was suspended for preaching that God does not exist was allowed to return to the pulpit,APand in London, Big Ben broke down for ninety minutes.BBC NewsThere was a public masturbation festival in San Francisco.Reuters
In North Carolina a man was released from prison after serving thirty-five years of his life sentence for stealing a $140 TV set,WRAL.comand in Waxahachie, Texas, the high school student yearbook neglected to include a girl’s name in a photo caption, referring to her instead as “Black Girl.”AZCentral.comIn Indianapolis, the parents of a nine-year-old boy were appealing a judge’s ruling that prohibits them from raising their child as a Wiccan.Indystar.comA study of eighty-five infant boys found that the chemical phthalate, which is found in plastics and cosmetics, leads to smaller penises,New Scientistand a road crew in San Jose, California, dug a fresh 10-by-15-foot pothole so that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could be photographed filling it.San Francisco ChronicleThe nine members of Thailand’s anti-corruption commission were found guilty of corruption.ReutersIn Iraq, bombs killed dozens of civilians and soldiers;New York Timestwo soldiers died when an Army helicopter was shot down northeast of Baghdad,BBC Newsand forty thousand Iraqi troops and ten thousand United States soldiers launched Operation Lightning, which is intended to seal roads in and out of Baghdad.Radio Free EuropeIraqi militants bragged of eating wild raw cats with their bare hands.News.telegraphFrance rejected the proposed constitution for the European Union, Germany ratified it,BBC NewsBBC NewsKing Mswati III of Swaziland married his eleventh wife,BBC Newsand the space probe Voyager 1 entered the heliosheath, 8.7 billion miles from the sun.BBC News
More from Paul Ford:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Clausâ€™s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from â€śTwelve Days of Christmasâ€ť went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."