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The United StatesSupreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is legal.Washington PostAttorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the firing of federal prosecutors; Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) told Gonzales his ability to lead was in question, and Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) asked Gonzales to resign. One prominent Republican said the hearing was like “clubbing a baby seal.”New York TimesRaw StoryA series of attacks in Shiite districts of Baghdad killed at least 158 people, the largest number of people killed in a single day since President Bush increased the number of troops in Iraq three months ago.Washington Post“I wish the war was over,” said Karl Rove. “I wish the war never existed.”Akron Beacon JournalShiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, upset that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not support a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops, convinced six cabinet members to quit. “We are free because we are not in the government,” said Bahar al-Araji, a Sadr legislator. “If the prime minister doesn’t do what we want, we can do something to the prime minister. We can make him leave the government.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that if the vacancies were filled with members who could broaden representation in the cabinet, it “probably would be a positive thing.”Washington PostWashington PostWashington PostBritain banned the phrase “war on terror,”Sky Newsand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that the United States has lost the war in Iraq.New York Times
Boris Yeltsin died.New York TimesIn Rio police clashed with drug gangs in a shootout that left at least 19 people dead. Brazilian Justice Minister Tarso Genro announced that the federal government would send hundreds more police officers to the city. “For young people,” said a spokeswoman for nonprofit Observatory of the Favelas, “this is a genocide. And I don’t mean that as a metaphor. It really is a genocide.” Washington PostWashington PostPresident George W. Bush, who had planned to unveil sanctions against Sudan during a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, agreed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s request for more time to pursue diplomacy,Washington Postand Sudan agreed to allow more than 3,000 armed U.N. and African peacekeepers into Darfur, where government-supported militia are accused of killing as many as 400,000 civilians.Washington PostPresidential candidate Dennis Kucinich shut down his campaign website for 24 hours in order to create a virtual “moment of silence” to honor the dead at Virginia Tech.Washington PostRepresentative Louie Gohmert (R., Tex.) argued against a hate crime bill from the floor of the House. “If you are going to hurt someone,” he characterized the bill as saying, “if you are going to shoot them, brutalize them, please make it a random, senseless act of violence like Virginia. Don’t hate them while you hurt them.” Washington PostA senior U.N. inspector revealed that in the past two months Iran has doubled its capacity to enrich uranium,Washington Postand Senator John McCain entertained a crowd at a campaign rally in South Carolina by singing “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys.Georgetown Times
A Stanford study concluded that pollution from ethanol could be a worse health hazard than that from gasoline, San Francisco Gateand a report detailing the effects of global warming in North America predicted the end of “a reliable snowmobile season” by mid-century.Washington PostOne centimeter of snow accumulated on the drought-stricken Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in what China claimed to be the first artificial snowfall.The GuardianA 12-foot-long minke whale spent two days frolicking near the polluted waters of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, then died. “These are days for tears,” said an onlooker.New York TimesIn Hungary, a truck on its way to a slaughterhouse overturned, releasing 5,000 bunnies; 500 were killed and 4,400 recaptured, but 100 hopped to freedom.ABC NewsRestaurant owners in Hong Kong were fining customers who did not eat all their food, Christian Science Monitorand Toto, Japan’s leading toilet maker, was offering free repairs for 180,000 bidet toilets after several burst into flames.Fox NewsRepublican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson gave a speech at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “I’m earning money,” he said, referring to his life in the private sector. “You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition, and I do not find anything wrong with that.” HaaretzAngry crowds in India were burning Richard Gere in effigy,Breitbart.comand doctors in New York Cityremoved a woman’s gallbladder through her vagina.New York Times
More from Claire Gutierrez:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”