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Israel, a few days before Yom Kippur, declared that the Gaza Strip is now a “hostile entity,” and the office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who is under investigation for corruption) announced a collective-punishment plan that includes “limiting the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, cutting back fuel and electricity, and restricting the movement of people to and from the Strip.” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned Israel’s “criminal, terrorist Zionist actions.”BBC NewsBBC NewsABC NewsU.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who recently was denied an audience with the Pope, went to Jerusalem to bring peace,BBC Newsand it was reported that not long ago Vice President Dick Cheney considered asking Israel to launch missiles at an Iraniannuclear site to kick-start a new war.ReutersThe Senate failed to pass a bill restoring habeas corpus to military detainees but voted to denounce MoveOn.org. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl filed an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill to classify Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization,The Huffington Post via Yahoo! NewsAPThe New York Timesand Iran shut its border with northern Iraq after an Iranian national was detained by U.S. troops and accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Guard.AFPIranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the United Nations in New York City and gave a speech at Columbia University. “There is,” he said in an interview, “no war in the offing.”Herald SunMarcel Marceau died quietly.BBC News
Both Iran and mercenary firm Blackwater USA were accused of smuggling weapons into Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking from a Manhattan hotel, criticized the United States for the recent deaths of civilians at the hands of Blackwater. “Success is shared,” he said. “God forbid, failure is also shared.”APGeneral Motors workers went on strike,BBC Newsand Raytheon unveiled Silent Guardian, a device that radiates unbearable pain. “You don’t have time to think about it,” said an executive. “You just run.” The ray gun, Raytheon promised, will not be sold to countries with questionable human rights records, although it will be used by the United States in Iraq.Daily MailSherri Shepherd, one of the hosts of “The View,” was criticized for not knowing for sure whether the earth is round,AFPThe Seattle TimesThe Huffington Postand a dismissed trial-court judge in the Philippines was fighting to be returned to the bench along with his three elves, Angel, Armand, and Luis the Avenger.The Wall Street JournalThere were reports of a restaurant in Tokyo where patrons could rape an animal before eating it. “When people have got money and done everything else,” said a lawyer who’d had the pork, “they turn toward bestiality.”Mainichi Daily NewsApple co-founder Steve Wozniak was dating actress Kathy Griffin.The Daily Dish
Contestants on “American Idol”-style talent shows, said China, must henceforth demonstrate “perseverance, maturity, confidence, and health.”BBC NewsA rare and valuable white koala was discovered in Australia,BBC Newsand FOX talk-show host Bill O’Reilly ate a meal in Harlem. “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea,’” said O’Reilly. “You know, I mean, everybody was–it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun.”Talking Points MemoU.S. Homeland Security was noting what some people read when they fly,Wired.comand a University of Florida student was Tasered after his question for Senator John Kerry went on too long. An Ocala, Florida, man accused police of Tasering him after he refused to drop his Koran; police in Tustin, California, Tasered a 15-year-old autistic boy; and a Taser dart fired at a Vancouver, Washington, man ignited the cigarette lighter in his pocket, setting his pants on fire. Sales at Taser International were expected to reach $90 million this year.The Boston GlobeWRAL.comOC RegisterSeattle Post-IntelligencerTimes OnlineOne million cribs made by Simplicity Inc. and Graco Children’s Products were recalled due to the risk of infant suffocation,APand Denver police were searching for a three-year-old girl abandoned by her mother and mother’s boyfriend. “Walk out into your back yard,” said police. “Look through your Dumpsters, help us find this little girl. She’s probably in a black plastic bag or white plastic bag.”The Denver ChannelA man in St. Paul, Minnesota, faced $5,000 in fines for ripping the head off a tame duck in a hotel lobbyStar Tribuneand a British man named Anthony Anderson was arrested for urinating on a 57-year-old woman as she lay dying of pancreatic failure. “This,” yelled Anderson as he was filmed, “is YouTube material.”BBC NewsTwenty thousand people marched against the junta in Burma; about 400 monks were pushed away from the house where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is imprisoned. “Love and kindness,” read the monks’ yellow banner, “must win over everything.”The Guardian
More from Paul Ford:
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.”