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 JournalVfill 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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“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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Subways Are for Sleeping


“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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