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President George W. Bush defended his executive order authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without a warrant; Bush said that he “absolutely” had the right to authorize the program, and that whoever leaked news of the program’s existence had committed a “shameful act.”The New York TimesDick Cheney visited Iraq and informed American soldiers that he was not Jessica Simpson. He also watched as Iraqi soldiers holding imaginary guns practiced a vehicle sweep.SFGate.comThe Iraqi military announced that they had captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, but accidentally released him,BBC Newsand 24 top officials from the Hussein regime, including “Dr. Germ” and “Mrs. Anthrax,” were released from jail without charges.APIt was reported that agents from the Department of Homeland Security visited a college student in New Bedford, Massachusetts, soon after he requested a copy of “Mao’s Little Red Book” through interlibrary loanâ??although many librarians felt the story might be a hoax.The Standard-TimesBoingBoingThe Senate voted not to extend portions of the Patriot Act. “It is time,” said SenatorPatrick Leahy, “to have some checks and balances in this country.”APPresident Bush was forced to approve the McCain Amendment, which will ban “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism detainees.”APLeaked Pentagon documents showed that the U.S. military was routinely collecting intelligence on antiwar groups and putting it into a database. The Pentagon also launched 1-800-CALL-SPY, a hotline that allows U.S. citizens to report suspicious activity directly to the military.Democracy Now!Columnist Doug Bandow resigned from his position as a Cato Institute Fellow after it was revealed that he had accepted money from lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 newspaper columns favorable to Abramoff’s clients. Peter Ferrara, a senior policy advisor at the Institute for Policy Innovation, said that he had also taken money from Abramoff to write op-ed pieces, but felt no remorse. “I do that all the time,” he explained.Business WeekSenatorHarry Reid said the current U.S. Congress was “the most corrupt in history.”ReutersIraq held parliamentary elections.AP
Tookie Williams was executed in California,CourtTV.comand 77-year-old John B. Nixon Sr. was executed in Mississippi. Nixon was the oldest person executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated.CourtTV.comIn Houston, Texas, a receptionist named Kristina Roberts was suing her boss, Jorge Garcia, for ejaculating on her as she worked. Garcia insists the ejaculation was consensual.CourtTV.comIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a myth,BBC Newsand Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a stroke. Palestinians celebrated Sharon’s stroke and leaders of Kahane, the ultra-nationalist Jewish group, called on members to pray for the Prime Minister’s death.Y Net NewsEvo Morales appeared to have won the presidency of Bolivia; he plans to legalize coca farming. Morales, who admires Fidel Castro, said that he wanted to maintain Bolivia’s ties to the United States but did not want “a relationship of submission.”BBC NewsAn Ohio man named Wayne Green was suing a police drugdog for illegal search. “They’ve got a mean ol’ dog,” he explained. “You know what I’m saying?” The dog, Andi, signed with a paw print when served with the complaint.CourtTV.comNorth of London, thieves used a crane to steal a two-ton Henry Moore sculpture, “Reclining Figure,” that was valued at more than $5 million; authorities fear the thieves may melt it down for scrap metal.APA Romanian shepherd found 80 human fetuses in a forest,The New Zealand Heraldand a passerby found 30 dog heads in a Tokyo moat.Japan Today
Scientists decoded the mitochondrial DNA of the woolly mammoth and confirmed that the mammoth was more closely related to the Asian elephant than to the African elephant,BBC Newsand researchers discovered that the lack of ice floes in the Arctic Ocean was causing polar bears to drown.Times OnlineA Floridaowl was found to be high on marijuana.9News.comForty Santas rampaged in Auckland, New Zealand,Auckland police arrest bad santasa flasher dressed as Santa was on the loose in London,Reutersand a man who works as a Santa at a New YorkWal-Mart was arrested after he exposed himself to a 15-year-old boy and asked for oral sex.Record OnlineFor the second time this year, someone stole the life-sized Jesus from a nativity scene in Cincinnati, Ohio, although this time they left behind baby Jesus’s leg.The Canton RepPolice in New Windsor, New York, destroyed a snow penis,Record Onlineand a frog-shaped baby was born dead in Yemen.The Yemen TimesAn increasing number of U.S. women were having their hymens reattached. “It’s the ultimate gift,” said one woman who underwent the surgery, “for the man who has everything.”Arizona Central/Wall Street JournalBritish scientists discovered that little girls like to torture their Barbie dolls by scalping, decapitating, burning, breaking, and microwaving them. “Girls,” explained a researcher, “feel violence and hatred towards their Barbie.”Times OnlineEBay was selling 85 toys a minute.Click2Houston.com
More from Paul Ford:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez 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 JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” 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 didnâ€™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 duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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â€śMatt 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. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť