Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, March 10, 2008

Harper's Weekly - 3/11/08


After John McCain swept Republican contests in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont and secured by some counts the delegates required for his party's nomination, his rivals Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul withdrew from the presidential race. McCain visited the White House to eat a lunch of hot dogs with George W. Bush and accept the President's endorsement. “If my showing up and endorsing him helps him, or if I'm against him and it helps him, either way, I want him to win,” said Bush. 1 2

“It's harder and harder trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan,” McCain said of Washington, D.C., to supporters gathered at the headquarters of Chick-fil-A Inc. in Atlanta.3

Alburn Edward Blake, a 60-year-old Jamaican-born landscaper, strolled out of the bathroom of a Wendy's in West Palm Beach, Florida, and opened fire on the lunchtime crowd, killing a local firefighter and wounding five others before taking his own life. “Looks like this was just another random shooting like we've seen around the United States,” said Paul Miller, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County sheriff's office. 4

A bomb went off at a military recruiting station in New York's Times Square, shattering glass doors and breaking a window but injuring no one; surveillance camera footage showed a hooded bicyclist near the scene of the attack. Suspicions briefly fell on a man who sent antiwar letters, containing a picture of the station and the text “we did it,” to more than 200 Democratic congressmen, but the FBI said the message referred to the Democrats' victory in the 2006 election. “This was a citizen,” said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, “exercising his right to make a political comment to his representatives.”5

The Democratic presidential candidates split six primaries and caucuses, and abandoned the veneer of civility recently attributed to their campaigns. By most counts, Barack Obama maintained a lead of more than 100 delegates, but Hillary Clinton implied to an interviewer that she would win the party's nomination when delegates pledged to her opponent changed their minds and voted for her. “Even elected and caucus delegates,” she said, “are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to.”1 2 3

Responding to the Obama campaign's calls for Clinton to release her tax returns, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said, “I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”4

Referring to the Obama campaign's treatment of the North America Free Trade Agreement, Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize–winner and an unpaid adviser to Obama, told an interviewer for The Scotsman, “We fucked up in Ohio. . . . In Ohio, they are obsessed, and Hillary is going to town on it because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win. . . . She is a monster too—that is off the record—she is stooping to anything.” After the newspaper published her remarks, Power apologized, asserted her admiration for Clinton, and resigned from Obama's campaign.5

Asked if his comments were as egregious as Power's, Wolfson said, “I did not say that Senator Obama was like Ken Starr, and I think there is a difference.” 6

Eliot Spitzer refrained from resigning as governor of New York after he was linked to the Emperors Club VIP prostitution ring; he was identified as “Client-9,” who, according to a defendant quoted in an affidavit related to the federal investigation of the ring, “would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think were safe.”7

A Palestinian gunman killed eight Israeli students, seven of them teenagers, at a religious school in Jerusalem. “The attacker didn't come to Mercaz Harav Yeshiva by chance,” said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, calling the school the “flagship of religious Zionism.” 1

Israel declared it would build 750 new housing units in the West Bank,2 and residents of Beijing, warned of health risks posed by felines, were dispatching their pet cats to death camps. 3

Officials in Indian-administered Kashmir halted plans to poison thousands of stray dogs, in an effort to stamp out rabies, after animal-rights groups threatened legal action; a new program to sterilize the dogs is in the works. 4

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan pledged free utilities, public transportation, dental care for life, and a one-time bonus of $25 to all Turkmen women who give birth to more than seven children.5

ThruVision, a British firm, unveiled a surveillance camera, developed using research into dying stars, that can see through people's clothes. They claim that the technology does not reveal physical body details but could be used to detect materials such as explosives or cocaine by distinguishing among the low levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted by all things everywhere.6

Astronomer Peter Tuthill warned that the explosion of WR104, an unstable binary spiral star system 8,000 light years away in the Sagittarius constellation, threatens to destroy the planet. A supernova within the system will fire gamma rays along the spiral's polar axis, which, Tuthill discovered, points directly at Earth. “I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form,” he said, “but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel.”7 8

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