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The Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, the nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. G.O.P senators attacked Kagan by comparing her with former justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked in the 1980s. According to Republicans, Marshall, the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court judge and prior to that the civil-rights lawyer who successfully argued against segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, was a “well-known activist” and the “epitome of a results-oriented judge.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) asked where Kagan had been last Christmas Day, when a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up a plane arriving in Detroit. “Like all Jews,” Kagan answered, “I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” By the final hearing, Republicans admitted that Kagan’s wit had charmed them: “You kind of light up a room,” Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) told her.CBSWash PostWash PostTPMnytThe Supreme Court announced a 5â??4 decision guaranteeing individuals’ rights to own guns and declaring unconstitutional any comprehensive attempt by state and local governments to restrict that right. NYTWyoming opted to stop collecting sales taxes at gun shows after several of the state’s Department of Revenue employees “experienced some animosity.”Billings GazetteStray bullets fired in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, crashed through the windows of City Hall in El Paso, Texas, and Sergio “El Shaka” Vega, a singer of “narcocorridos”â??odes to Mexican drug traffickersâ??was gunned down in his red Cadillac hours after he told an entertainment website that rumors of his murder were false.El Past TimesBBCScientists in Australia said they had bred the perfect prawn. Science Daily
The BP oil spill became the worst in Gulf of Mexico history, surpassing the record set in 1980 when the Ixtoc I oil well leaked 140 million gallons of oil into the sea.USA TodayJoey Chestnut successfully defended his title at Nathan’s International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest. Former record-holder Takeru Kobayashi was barred from this year’s competition because of a contract dispute with Major League Eating, the “body that oversees all professional eating contests.” After Chestnut’s victory, Kobayashi, wearing a “Free Kobi” shirt, was arrested for trying to rush the stage; spectators chanted, “Let him eat” and “U.S.A.” NYTCNNAt an Independence Day parade in Iowa, a 60-year-old woman was killed and 23 people (including several children) were injured when startled horses trampled the crowd; a Long Island man blew off his left arm while igniting illegal fireworks; and 100 people suffered yellow-jacket stings when a fireworks demonstration at a California county fair disturbed the wasps’ nests.NYTTelegraphMercury NewsPaleontologists discovered the skull of a new species of sperm whale that once hunted smaller whales with its 14-inch teeth. The whale has been named Leviathan melvillei, after “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville. AP“The Ghost Downstairs” author Molly Ringle won the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest prize for writing the worst sentence: “For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kissâ??a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.”Seattle Times
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was sworn in as president of the Philippines. More than 500,000 people attended his inauguration, at which he announced that there will be “no more wang wang” in the country, a reference to the sirens and flashing lights used by business and government elites to run red lights while the masses remain in gridlock. On the third day of his presidency, Aquino arrived late to a military ceremony after his convoy got stuck in traffic.Philippine Daily InquirerNYTPhilippine Daily Inquirer“Obama Anak Menteng,” or “Little Obama,” an Indonesian film based on Barack Obama‘s childhood in the Southeast Asian nation, premiered in Jakarta. The film shows how Obama was able to adapt to life in a new country with the help of his Indonesian stepfather, who taught him to fight, and of Turdi, his transgender nanny. “Thanks should go to Turdi,” said one viewer. “He’s the only character who spices up this film.”Christian Science MonitorJakarta PostAt least 230 people died in the Congolese town of Sange when gasoline from an overturned tanker truck was ignited by the cigarette of a resident who had rushed to collect the leaking fuel. A search for “more charred bodies” was ongoing.GuardianA US Airways flight in Atlanta was delayed when maggots fell out of an overhead storage bin and onto passengers’ heads. “As they’re telling us to stay calm and seated, I see a maggot looking back at me and I’m thinking, ‘These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae,’” said passenger Donna Adamo. “It only takes one maggot to upset your world.”BBC
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. âThere was a âwoofâ sound,â said a witness, âlike falling on your face into your pillow.â
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âAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â