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The top military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, apologized for a NATO airstrike that killed 27 civilians and wounded 14 near Kandahar; the victims’ convoy was mistaken for Taliban vehicles. “I have made it clear to our forces,” said McChrystal, “that… inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission.”CNNMullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was second in command to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullar Muhammad Omar, was captured in a joint U.S.-Pakistani raid in Karachi.BBCAfter posting to the web a 3,000-word manifesto about the federal tax code, Catholicism, and government bailouts, a 53-year-old software engineer and honky-tonk bassist, Joe Stack, set fire to his house in Austin, Texas, then crashed his plane into a nearby building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, killing himself and one other person. “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man,” he wrote, “take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesRapper Sky Blu, of LMFAO, was escorted off a plane after an altercation with Mitt Romney, who was seated behind him; according to Blu, Romney inflicted a “condor grip” on his shoulder when he refused to return his seat to an upright position.Wall Street Journal
Told that she would be denied tenure, a University of Alabama biology professor shot and killed three colleagues and wounded three others. “She’s wacko,” said her defense attorney, who hypothesized that “high IQ… is sometimes not good for people.”CNNAfter complaints by Sarah Palin, Andrea Fay Friedman, the voice actress with Down syndrome who played the daughter of a former governor of Alaska on “Family Guy,” said that “My parents raised me to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”Huffington PostRepublicans rallied in Washington at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which some likened to a right-wing Woodstock. Dick Cheney paid a surprise visit to the gathering, and his daughter Liz analyzed President Obama’s plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay: “Man, use your brain, dude, that’s totally stupid.”New York TimesABC NewsA British anti-bullying helpline revealed that it has received multiple calls for help from the staff of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.The GuardianScientists were working on a morphine alternative made from scorpion venom.Science DailyEvan Bayh of Indiana became the latest Democratic senator to announce that he would not seek reelection. “I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives,” said Bayh, “but I do not love Congress.”Washington PostCNNBritish church leaders were encouraging people to go on a carbon fast for Lent, by giving up their iPods, eating by candlelight, cutting meat thinner so it cooks faster, and flushing the toilet less often.Reuters
The FBI was investigating a Pennsylvania school district for remotely activating webcams on some of the 2,300 laptops it issued to high school students; according to a lawsuit brought against the district, a vice principal scolded one student for being “engaged in improper behavior in his home.” The student’s lawyer claims that officials suspected the boy was selling drugs because they saw him handling Mike & Ike candy, which they mistook for pills.Daily TechThe inventor of the Easy-Bake Oven died, as did Alexander Haig and the crusader behind New York City’s “pooper-scooper” law.Cincinnati.comAP via NY Daily NewsAP via ABCDNA testing determined that King Tut was a sickly boy whose parents were likely siblings; he had a cleft palate and club foot, and died at age 19 of complications resulting from a broken leg and malaria.AP via Yahoo NewsScientists decoded the genomes of !Gubi, G/aq’o, D#kgao and !Ai, four Bushmen in Namibia, as well as that of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Bantu, and identified more than 1.3 million new genetic variants thereby providing a framework for understanding why so many drugs do not work as well for Africans as they do for Caucasians, who have historically been the main test subjects for medications.Science NewsA Ugandan preacher showed his congregation same-sex pornography in order to disgust them into supporting a bill that would mandate life imprisonment for anyone engaged in gay sex.The GuardianThe Knack’s Doug Fieger, who was responsible for “My Sharona,” died.VarietyPresident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia released his third pop album, “I Believe I’ll Get There,” and a hiker fell 1,500 feet to his death after posing for a photo on the rim of Mount St. Helens’ crater.Washington PostMSNBCTiger Woods apologized for his infidelity and promised to recommit himself to Buddhism, the Dalai Lama tossed some snow at White House reporters, and an escaped circus zebra galloped along an Atlanta highway during rush hour. “It was an inconvenient time for this to happen,” said spokeswoman Monica Luck, “because the downtown connector southbound usually gets backed up on its own, that time of day.”CNNNew York TimesNew York TimesIn advance of a visit from 5’4″ President Dmitry Medvedev, a Russian town, Omsk, took down posters for a children’s theater show that read, “We await you, merry gnome.”Reuters
More from Margaret Cordi:
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.”