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In Iraq, the sixth suicide chlorine attack in two months killed 20 people in the Anbar province, New York Timesthe resurgent Mahdi army clashed with U.S. soldiers in Sadr City,Washington PostAmerican fighter jets bombed Shiite militiamen in Diwaniya,New York Timesand in Baghdad, a U.S. congressional delegation outfitted with bulletproof vests, flanked by 100 soldiers in armored Humvees, and watched over by attack helicopters, visited a local bazaar to demonstrate the success of the current security plan. It was, said Representative Mike Pence (R., Ind.), just like an “outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”New York TimesVice President Dick Cheney attacked the “self-appointed strategists” in Congress who were hampering the Bush Administration’s efforts to prolong the war in Iraq,.CNN.comand Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed that the U.S. military was violating its “dwell time” policy, which guarantees soldiers a year between combat postings.Los Angeles TimesNorth Korea ordered its diplomats to send all but one child home as collateral against defection,BBC Newsand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad released 15 abducted Britishmarines.Los Angeles TimesItaly banned reality programming on public television,BBC NewsThailand blocked access to YouTube,New York Timesand at the CNN Center in Atlanta, a woman died after being shot in the face by her estranged boyfriend.CNN.comLapsed AlbanianCommunists were rediscovering God,Washington PostFidel Castro called American biofuel policy an “internationalization of genocide,”BBC Newsand the market price for children in India slipped below that of buffalo.Reuters
The Food and Drug Administration proposed new labeling rules that would allow irradiated foods to be categorized merely as “pasteurized,”Washington Postand the Supreme Court forbade the Environmental Protection Agency to shirk its responsibility to regulate greenhouse gases.New York TimesResearchers used infrared and atomic-emission spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, electron microscopy, pollen analysis, and the leading “noses” in the perfume industry to determine that a rib bone unearthed at the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake actually belonged to an Egyptian mummy.New York Times and XinhuaIn Beardstown, Illinois, federal agents arrested 62 undocumented immigrants in a pork plant,Reutersand in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Hillary Clinton accused President George W. Bush of “vetoing the will of the American people.”New York TimesFrench archaeologists were using dung-eating mites to study ancient Incan relics,New York TimesBritishscientists were “baffled” by the discovery of five-footed frogs,Breitbart.comand Dr. Zahi Hawass of Egypt dismissed the Exodus story of the Jews as a “myth.”New York Times
Dr. John Billings, creator of the “Billings Method” of natural birth control and father of nine, died,New York Timesand Durex, a contraceptive company located in Knutsford, England, began assembling a “massive” panel of volunteer testers for its condom and lubricant products.BBC NewsA Chicago woman filed suit against her dance partner for “negligent dancing,”CNN.comand the estate of deceased actor James Doohan, who was best known for his performance as the space mechanic “Scotty” on Star Trek, paid $495 to have his ashes rocketed into orbit.Playfuls.comSinger/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, author of such hits as “Georgia on a Fast Train” and “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)” was sought by police in Texas after he shot a “drunk, aggressive stranger.”CNN.comThe North Carolina Senate expressed “profound contrition” for the state’s slave history.Washington PostA 13-year-old girl in Brooklyn, New York, was brought up on criminal mischief charges after being caught writing the word “okay” on her school desk,WCBS-tvand an elementary school principal in Toronto admitted to pelting an unruly student with feces. Toronto StarPolish burglars knocked over a sex shop in Austria, then used vibrators, prophylactics, and a vacuum cleaner to elude the police in a high-speed car chase.Metro UKXXXChurch.com, an online ministry, staged a “Porn and Pancakes” event for evangelicals in Morton, Illinois.CNN.comGaytanamo: Hardcore, a film set in the “sexiest secret military prison ever,” was being sold at a discount on the Internet.Dark Alley.com via nerve.comIn Miami, the Department of Corrections was housing registered sex offenders under a bridge.CNN.comHerding dogs were being used to control the spiraling goose population in New York’s Central Park,New York Timesand a South African farmer received a 20-year sentence for killing a man he mistakenly believed to be a baboon.BBC NewsThe Walt Disney Company announced that it will begin offering “Fairy Tale” weddings to homosexuals.Reuters
More from Theodore Ross:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â