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Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s top general, revealed that the United States was developing a plan to keep at least 100,000 soldiers in Iraq through 2009. Senator Chuck Hagel (R., Nebr.) called the plan “complete folly.” “It would further destabilize the Middle East,” he said. “It would give Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position.”APAPPresident George W. Bush had yet to meet Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan, even though Bush is on vacation and presumably has the time. “I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say,” said Bush, “but I think it’s also important for me to get on with my life.”The Birmingham NewsIt was reported that Bush was losing his mind,Capitol Hill Blueand a man in Columbus, Georgia, was in trouble for smearing feces on his body and walking through a mall.Ledger-Enquirer.comA fourteen-year-old German boy was ordered to tear down the 300-foot-long roller coaster he had built in his back yard.AnanovaIn Iraq ten people were shot dead north of Baghdad, a family of five was killed by gunmen in Samarra, and the U.S. military denied bombing a wedding party in Hit.MSNBCReutersReutersIn Afghanistan four more U.S. soldiers were killed, bringing the year’s total to 65.The New York TimesIn Richmond, Virginia, a sale on used laptops led to 17 injuries and one woman wetting herself.AP
Secret documents revealed that Jean Charles De Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot and killed as a terrorist by police on a London train, was not carrying any bags, was not wearing a bulky winter coat, and did not jump any turnstiles. He was, however, still shot seven times in the head.ITNVictoria Beckham, also known as Posh Spice, said that she had never read a book in her life, although she had written a 528-page autobiography.The GuardianA file folder describing the affirmative-action work of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts went missing from the Reagan Library after it was reviewed by White House lawyers, and it was revealed that Roberts had once refused a request from Michael Jackson for a special letter of commendation from the Reagan White House.The Washington PostBBC NewsA study found that white people tend to get better, more thorough health care than African-American people.The Washington PostMetropolitan Theofilos became Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, replacing Patriarch Irineos I, who was ousted after leasing property in East Jerusalem to those looking to increase the Jewish presence there;BBC Newsthe last of Gaza’s Jewish settlers left their homes on armored buses.Herald SunCanada was considering sanctions against the United States after it refused to comply with a NAFTA ruling in favor of the Canadian lumber industry.Boston.comIn Victoria, Canada, methamphetamine addicts were stealing large numbers of bicycles because disassembling the bikes soothes them while they tweak.Canada.comRobert Moog died,The New York Timesand Chinese authorities were criticizing the televised Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl Contest for its worldliness. The Australian
In Kansas Dennis Rader, the B.T.K. serial killer, was sentenced to ten consecutive life sentences; he will be eligible for parole in 2180. Rader believed that his victims would serve as his slaves in the afterlife, performing roles like “sex toy and boy servant.” The Wichita EagleJapanese scientists were able to control the direction a person walked by using a handheld remote control. NewScientist.comProponents of the theory of “intelligent design” continued to insist that their ideas regarding the origin of life had merit,The New York Timesand hundreds of people in Florida attended a museum exhibit of preserved corpses encased in silicone.The Los Angeles TimesIn Edinburgh, Scotland, 10,000 bagpipers piped against cancer,BBC Newsand in Switzerland a historically important boulder called Unspunnenstein was stolen by French-speaking separatists.BBC NewsIn Germany a man drowned while trying to get his fishing pole back from a fish; a police spokeswoman described the fish as “ordinary.”ReutersElephants rampaged through a resort town in Zimbabwe, destroying homes,BBC Newsmice were being taught to surf in Australia,Local6.comand a toad infestation struck Big Sandy, Montana, and made the roads sticky.The Washington PostA seventy-eight-year-old Georgia woman, angry that her eighty-five-year-old ex-boyfriend was cheating on her, shot and killed him with an antique handgun. “I’d do it again,” she said.MSNBCSioux Falls, South Dakota, banned cage fighting without a permit.Minnesota Public Radio
More from Paul Ford:
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”