Weekly Review — December 18, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]
An American cattleman.

Members of a North African faction of Al Qaeda detonated bombs at the U.N. complex in Algeria and at the country’s Supreme Court, killing at least 26 people and injuring more than 170.Washington PostNew York TimesA top Lebanese army general was assassinated by a car bomb as he was leaving his home,Washington Postand a triple car bombing in southern Iraq killed at least 46 people. “I don’t think,” one resident said, “there will be any safe place in Iraq after what happened today.”Washington PostThe U.S. Postal Service was throwing away hundreds of thousands of holiday cards addressed to “Any Wounded Soldier.”Washington PostArchbishop Desmond Tutu railed against the use of detention centers by the United States. “Whoever imagined that you would hear from America,” asked Tutu, “the same arguments for detention without trial that were used by the apartheid government?” news.com.auJohn Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who participated in the interrogation of an Al Qaedaterrorist suspect who was waterboarded, conceded that waterboarding was torture but asserted that its use “probably saved lives.” Washington PostPresident Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to France on Human Rights Day.Washington PostIke Turner died.New York Times

In Colorado Springs, 24-year-old Matthew Murray killed four Christians, including two teenaged sisters, and injured five others before Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard at New Life Church, shot him. “It seemed like it was me, the gunman, and God,” said Assam. “God made me strong.” During his 12-hour killing spree, Murray paused to post a plagiarized screed to an Internet forum, copying almost verbatim the note left by one of the Columbine High School killers.ABC NewsWashington PostPresident Bushpardoned 29 criminals, including carjackers, drug dealers, an election-laws violator, and a moonshiner. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was not one of the 29 people pardoned, nor, despite being a runner-up, did he win the American Bar Association’s newsmaker of the year award; the title went to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.Washington PostABA JournalVífill Atlason, a 16-year-old Icelandic high school student, was taken into custody by the police and questioned after he dialed President Bush’s private number and, claiming to be the President of Iceland, asked to “chat” with Bush. “I don’t see,” Atlason said, “how calling the White House is a crime.” ABC NewsPresident Hugo Chavez decreed that Venezuela would permanently set its clock back half an hour, creating a country-specific time zone,BBC Newsand President Vladimir Putin selected his protege Dmitry Medvedev to be the next president of the Russian Federation. “It’s almost a monarchical succession,” said the director of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of Elites, adding that Putin has “nominated his adopted son.” Medvedev, a 42-year-old, 5’4″ fan of the band Deep Purple, quickly said that he would make Putin his prime minister.Washington PostNew York TimesNearly 300 inmates, most of them communists, escaped from a prison in India.BBC News

A surprising number of very young actors were among those nominated for the Golden Globe Awards. “If you are old enough to pick up a gun and go to Iraq and kill someone,” explained the chief executive of Focus Features, “you should have the resources to express yourself in the grandest possible way.”New York TimesThe Mexican man arrested for seasoning and eating his girlfriend, and who had been writing a book entitled “The Cannibal Poet,” was found hanging from his belt in his jail cell.Houston ChronicleResearchers in Chicago used drugs and manipulated genes to control the sexuality of fruit flies, making them gay and then straight again within a few hours. “It was very dramatic,” said scientist David Featherstone. “They even attempted copulation.”Fox NewsScientistscloned fluorescent cats, developed an antidote for zombieism in cockroaches, and revealed that evolutionary changes in the lower backs and hip joints of females prevent pregnant women from toppling over. “When you think about it,” said Harvard anthropologist Katherine Whitcome, “women make it look so very damn easy.” New ScientistYahoo NewsCNN

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The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

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"All our friends are saying, load up with plenty of ammunition, because after the stores don’t have no food they’re gonna be hitting houses. They’re going to take over America, put their flag on the Capitol.” “Who?” I asked. “ISIS. Oh yeah.”
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He made them groom and feed the half-dozen horses used to transport the raw bricks to the furnace. Like the horses, the children were beaten with whips.
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The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

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With its lens shifting from the courtroom to the newsroom to people’s back yards, the series evokes the way in which, for a brief, delusory moment, the O. J. verdict seemed to deliver justice for all black men.
Still from The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story © FX Networks

Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:

$62,000

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