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President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor, a Bronx-born, divorced, childless, diabetic, Hispanic federal judge on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Analysts studying Sotomayor’s decisions were unable to determine whether she would uphold Roe v. Wade, or whether she was distinctly pro- or anti-business, but much was made of a 2001 speech at the University of California at Berkeley in which she expressed hopes that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” During the speech she also expressed fondness for “platos de arroz, gandoles y pernil,” a dish made with rice, beans, and pork. “Her word choice in 2001 was poor,” offered White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, but many Republicans were unconvinced. “The comments she made about the quality of her decisions being better than those of a white maleâ??I mean, we need to go further into her record to see whether this is a trend,” said Senator John Cornyn (R., Tex.), one of 98 non-Hispanic senators, who was considered for the Supreme Court in 2005 but not appointed. Newt Gingrich, who in 2007 spoke out against bilingual education by suggesting that students should “learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” criticized Sotomayor via Twitter. “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw,” tweeted Gingrich. “Latina woman racist should also withdraw.” The New York TimesThe New York TimesThe New York TimesThe GuardianThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostFox NewsThe White HouseThe Washington PostThe New York TimesFJC.govWikipedia.orgLeading the newsThe GuardianAbortionist George Tiller was shot dead in the lobby of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he was an usher,The Guardianand the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, thereby maintaining the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.California Supreme Court upholds gay marriage banGeneral Motors filed for bankruptcy, and President Obama unveiled his plan to save the former industrial giant by nationalizing it, closing plants, and firing workers.The New York TimesAmerican scientists promised to develop robotfarmers.New Scientist
A white tiger killed a zookeeper in New Zealand,White tiger kills New Zealand zoo keeperand a man in Munich received a two-year suspended sentence for beating another man with a swan.SpiegelSomeone was skinning Miami’scats.The GuardianOsel Hita Torres, 24, who as a toddler was enthroned by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe, had left his order and was studying film in Madrid. “They took me away from my family and stuck me in a medieval situation,” said Torres, who complained that the only movie he was shown was Eddie Murphy’s “The Golden Child.”The GuardianThe Tiananmen Square massacre would soon turn 20,The Wall Street Journaland Phil Spector was sentenced to at least 19 years in prison for murder.BBC NewsSix people were killed in the West Bank when Fatah raided a Hamas hideout.The New York TimesFairfax County, Virginia, sued Krispy Kreme for dumping massive quantities of “doughnut grease and other pollutants” into the sewer system,Washington Examinerand Bausch & Lomb reportedly had so far paid out $250 million to settle nearly 600 lawsuits over its contact-lens cleaner product ReNu with MoistureLoc, which prior to its recall caused hundreds of fungal infections, necessitating 60 corneal transplants and seven eye removals.The New York Times
The United Kingdom placed the cuckoo on its list of endangered birds but was culling gray squirrels, which taste good in a pie. “They are going to top restaurants, butchers, the working man,” said conservationist Paul Parker. “They don’t belong here.”Science DailyThe GuardianThe Archbishop of Canterbury called for Christians to chat less and take God seriously. “It’s like being on an ocean liner,” he said of the church, “where all the staff are talking brightly and smiling rather too cheerfullyâ?? you think ‘what’s wrong?’, as you feel the great swell underneath you.”The GuardianThe last survivor of the Titanic died at age 97.The GuardianAOL split from Time Warner,The Washington Timesand President Obama announced a new Pentagon command that will fight in cyberspace, led by a cyberczar; defense contractors were advertising for “cyberninjas”–hackers who will work for the government to protect the nation against foreign and domestic cyberweapons. “These attacks start in other countries,” explained one intelligence analyst, “but they know no borders. So how do you fight them if you can’t act both inside and outside the United States?”The New York TimesThe New York TimesRussia agreed to export uranium to the United States, a Russian firm bought nearly 2 percent of Facebook, and a five-year-old Russian girl was discovered who speaks in barks and hisses because she was raised as a pet.CNNThe New York TimesTelegraphBritish scientists found that cats, like babies, have a poor understanding of the relationship between cause and effect.New ScientistResearchers in Leipzig, Germany, inserted human language genes into a mouse, resulting in baby humanized mice that squeak at a lower ultrasonic range than normal.The New York TimesGeneticists in Kawasaki, Japan, announced that they had used an engineered virus to insert a jellyfish gene into marmoset embryos, producing monkeys that glow green in ultraviolet light and that can pass on the glow to their offspring. “It’s hard to put your finger on what is it about this research that is likely to stimulate ethical debate,” said a bioethicist in Kentucky, “besides the sort of gut feeling that this is not the right thing to do.”Washington Post
More from Paul Ford:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Clausâ€™s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from â€śTwelve Days of Christmasâ€ť went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."