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John G. Roberts, Jr. was sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States,CNN.comand President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers, a White House lawyer who has never been a judge, to the Supreme Court. Miers has allegedly described Bush as “brilliant.”David Frumâ??s Diary/NROJapanese scientists photographed a giant squid and managed to tear off one of its tentacles.MSNBCA New York judge ruled that several suppressed photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq must be released,BBC Newsand the U.S. Army was looking into claims that its soldiers had traded digital pictures of burned and dismembered Iraqi and Afghani bodies in exchange for online access to amateur porn.BBC NewsSenator Bill Frist was under investigation for insider trading,CNN Moneyand Tom DeLay stepped down from his post as House Majority Leader after being indicted for criminal conspiracy related to campaign fundraising. “This is not going to detract from the Republican agenda,” said DeLay’s spokesman. DeLay was soon after indicted on a separate charge of money laundering.CNN.comTwo goats, strangled and drained of blood, were found in Nebraska.NBC4.TV
During his radio program William Bennett, former U.S. Education Secretary, said, “You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”WLTX.comA white South African farmer was sentenced to life in prison for killing one of his black employees and feeding the corpse to lions.CNN.comDr. David Nabarro, the United Nations representative in charge of coordinating the response to bird flu, said that a bird flu pandemic could kill from 5 to 150 million people. “It’s like a combination of global warming and HIV/AIDS,” he said, “ten times faster.”BBC NewsSomali pirates relinquished a ship–filled with food intended for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami–that they had hijacked 98 days earlier.ReutersThe Hurricane Katrina death toll reached 964 in Louisiana, and the search for more bodies was called off.Tuscaloosa NewsScientists agreed that an “era of super-hurricanes” had started in the 1990s in the Atlantic Ocean, but could not agree why.San Francisco ChronicleTwenty-one people drowned when their tour boat capsized in upstate New York;CNN.com62 people died near Baghdad in a concerted triple-bombing attack;BBC News31 suspected Taliban members were killed in fighting in Afghanistan;BBC News36 people were killed by exploding bombs in tourist areas in Bali;CNN.com16 people were killed by a train crash in Madhya Pradesh, India;BBC News11 people were killed during a stampede at a South Korean concert of songs popular with the elderly;SFGate.comand at dozens of students at a police training school in southeast China were swept away by typhoon Longwang.BBC News
A Fresno, California, man who stabbed a cross-dressing man to death with a pair of scissors was sentenced to only four years in prison after his attorneys argued that the murder was the result of “gay panic.”Fox NewsKaren Hughes visited Saudi Arabia and expressed hope that women in that country would someday be able to “fully participate in society.” A woman in the audience countered, “We’re all pretty happy.” Another audience member charged that the United States had become “a right wing country” that did not allow freedom of the press.The New York TimesJournalist Judith Miller was released from jail and said she wanted to hug her dog.Editor & PublisherIn England three teen girls were convicted of manslaughter for bullying to death a girl with a heart condition.Science DailyA volcano erupted in El Salvador, killing two people,Reutersand novelist Michael Crichton was called before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works so that he could criticize the theory of global warming.The New York TimesBritish scientists found that watching television slows the development of children’s brains.The AgeThe Danish Air Force paid a Santa 31,175 kroner after the noise from fighter jets frightened his reindeer, Rudolph, to death.APA suicide bomber in Oklahoma blew himself up at a Sooners game,ESPN.comthe Marines were recruiting on Craigslist,WCBSand Burt Bacharach was recording a protest album with Dr. Dre. “Burt’s pissed,” explained a friend.IOL.CO.ZA
More from Paul Ford:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. âThere was a âwoofâ sound,â said a witness, âlike falling on your face into your pillow.â
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âAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â