Weekly Review — May 1, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Former CIA Director George Tenet published a book accusing the Bush Administration of taking his phrase “slam dunk”??referring to intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction??out of context in order to justify a war that the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense had resolved to wage before September 11, 2001. Tenet complained that the White House and the Pentagon made him their scapegoat when the Iraqi arsenal turned out to be imaginary. A group of former intelligence officers sent Tenet a letter calling him “the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community,” reminding him that he had often lied to the public at the administration’s behest, and encouraging him to return his Medal of Freedom and donate half his royalties to wounded veterans and the families of dead soldiers. Washington PostTPMNational Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was trying to hire someone new to run the Iraq war,New York Timesand Saudi Arabia arrested 172 men suspected of plotting to fly planes into oil wells, execute mass prison breaks, and assassinate members of the Saudi royal family.ReutersCampaigning in New Hampshire, Rudolph Giuliani said, “I listen a little to the Democrats, and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense. We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation, and we will be back to our pre-September 11 attitude of defense.” PoliticoThe nine Democrats running for president held a debate in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton faulted the people of Iraq for not making good on “the chance to have freedom, to have their own country” provided by the U.S. invasion, and John Edwards suggested that hedge funds could help alleviate poverty. Asked why he was at the debate, Mike Gravel, a 76-year-old who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, pointed to the rest of the candidates and said, “Some of these people frighten me,” especially “the top-tier ones.” He singled out Joseph Biden for his “arrogance” and asked Barack Obama, “Barack, who do you want to nuke?” Obama replied, “I’m not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike. I promise.” “Good,” said Gravel, “then we’re safe, for a while.”WCNC

In a Ha’aretz op-ed, Gilad Sharon, son of vegetative former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, advocated stripping Arab Israelis of their citizenship. Hamas declared an end to its ceasefire with Israel, armed protestors dropped the corpse of a murdered man named Hassan Abu Sharkh in the Palestinian Authority Parliament, several rockets struck Israel from Gaza, and the Israel Defense Forces killed three Hamas agents planting a bomb by the Gaza border fence. Ha’aretzInternational Herald TribuneJerusalem PostA suicide bomber killed 26 people in Peshawar, Pakistan, in an attack targeting Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, who was wounded. “We have got the severed head of the bomber, and it is identifiable,” said Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai. ReutersThunderstorms destroyed a shantytown outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, leaving 500 people homeless; ten slum-dwellers were killed by drowning, a collapsing building, and a falling tree. Malaysia SunDavid Halberstam and Jack Valenti died.The New YorkerWashington PostA man with a rifle opened fire in a Kansas City Target, killing at least two people before police killed him. Los Angeles TimesA television station in St. Louis received a letter full of misspellings from a woman who claimed that she “was in dept” and requested the station pay her $10,000 not to kill her children and her boyfriend; a 29-year-old mother whose name was signed on the letter denied writing it.St. Louis Post-DispatchHunters in Russia killed a rare wild Amur leopard; six remain at large.Daily Times

The Vatican revised its teachings on limbo, raising hopes that the souls of unbaptized dead babies could be saved.Catholic News ServiceKryptonite was discovered in a Serbian mine,Reutersthe Office of Special Counsel opened an investigation of Karl Rove,Los Angeles Timesand a man dining at the London restaurant “Zizzi” amputated his penis with a kitchen knife.BBCResearchers investigating the collapse of honeybee colonies in Europe and the Americas identified several possible reasons for the catastrophe: poor diet; radiation from mobile phones that disturbs bees’ sense of navigation so they cannot fly home; increased solar radiation due to the thinning of the ozone layer; bee AIDS; stress from cross-country travel in trucks; falling queen fertility; the microsporidian fungus Nosema ceranae; or imidacloprid, a pesticide sold under the brand name Gaucho and banned by France in 1999 for spreading “mad bee disease.” Investors were advised to put their money in gold and corn futures to profit off the recession that may result from the disruption of the food chain caused by the vanishing bees. Grapes, which self-pollinate, and olives, which are pollinated by the wind, will not be affected by the bees’ disappearance; Christians pointed out that the Book of Revelation predicts that a famine sparing grapes and olives will precede the apocalypse.New York TimesThe RegisterThe StockmastersChristian News Wire

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“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:


The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.

The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper 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.”

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