Weekly Review — May 13, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]
Caught in the Web, 1860.

The military junta in Myanmar put the official death toll from last week’s Cyclone Nargis (Urdu for “daffodil”) at 28,458, while foreign observers, taking into account that heavy rains were expected to continue, with malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery to follow, expected that as many as 100,000 people would die. Before distributing foreign-aid packages, the junta re-labeled them with the names of its generals; a referendum on a new constitution that will perpetuate the junta’s rule was not delayed. “Let’s go cast a vote,” sang two female pop vocalists on state-run television. “With sincere thoughts for happy days, let’s go cast a vote.”Reuters IndiaThe New York TimesIrrawaddyUS State Dept.The Christian Science MonitorBBCThe New York TimesDer SpiegelBBCPopular ScienceJohn Goodyear, whom Senator John McCain had chosen to manage this year’s Republican convention and who once managed public relations for the Myanmar junta, stepped down, and one in four Republicans voted against McCain in primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.NewsweekPoliticoSenator Barack Obama crushed Senator Hillary Clinton in the North CarolinaDemocratic primary, lost by a small margin in Indiana, and then took the lead in pledged superdelegates. Clinton pointed out that she still enjoys support from hard workers and white people. “A woman is like a teabag,” she said, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. “You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” New Yorker via MSNBCUSA TodayABCThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostThe HillChicago TribuneThe New York TimesOne hundred seventy-eight House Republicans voted against a resolution “celebrating the role of mothers in the United States,.”The Washington Postand Yup’ik-speaking voters in Alaska demanded better bilingual election materials, citing a 2002 ballot in which “natural gas” had been rendered as “this gas in the stomach.” Anchorage Daily News

U.S. military reports on the interrogation of four captured Shia militia members concluded that Hezbollah was training small groups of Iraqi insurgents in Iran. John Bolton, ex-ambassador to the United Nations, said that attacking Iran was “really the most prudent thing to do”; the Iraqi government said that it would conduct its own inquiry. “We do not want to start a conflict with Iran,” said Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. “We need our own government documentation of this interference, not from the Americans, not from the media.” The New York TimesReutersThe Christian Science MonitorFox via ThinkprogressThe U.S.-backed government of Lebanon tried to dismantle Hezbollah’s extensive telecommunications network there, and Hezbollah temporarily seized half of Beirut. “The hand that touches the weapons of the resistance,” said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, “will be cut off.” BBCHaaretzNYTHaaretzThe Washington PostBloombergOne Wing, a bald eagle that lost its other wing in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, died of a heart tumor, shortly after the death of its mate, The Old Witch;Anchorage Daily Newsthree northern elephant seals were found shot in the head, lying in pools of blood, in San Simeon, California, near the Hearst castle.The Los Angeles TimesOil exceeded $125 a barrel. Refined french-fry grease was 32 cents per pound, up 20 cents from 2006.BloombergBBCThe Christian Science Monitor

The FBI raided the headquarters of the Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog agency charged with protecting government whistleblowers, and the home of its director, Scott J. Bloch, after Bloch was accused of destroying evidence on government computers.The Washington PostThe New York TimesDavid S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties,The Washington Postand the Humane Society of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, increased to $1,500 its reward for information about the torture and murder of a ten-year-old blind pony named Kahlua.Pittsburgh Post-GazetteDNA tests revealed that a skull long thought to be that of German playwright Friedrich Schiller was not his. “Such an exact double,” said anthropologist Ursula Wittwer-Backofen, “couldn’t have got into the coffin just by accident.” Der SpiegelThree home-schooled teenagers in Texas were accused of digging up the corpse of an 11-year-old boy and smoking pot out of the skull. “He regurgitated in his plate of food when I asked him about it,” a policeman said of one of the boys. “So I knew there was some truth to the story.” Houston ChronicleMildred Loving, a black woman whose 1958 marriage to a white man led the Supreme Court to declare bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, died at age 68, Boston Globeand two women in Denver, Colorado, were found guilty of trespassing after they refused to leave the office of a county clerk who denied them a marriage license. “They held hands as long as they could,” said Rev. Michael Morran, who was there to conduct the ceremony, “until the officers put their hands in handcuffs and led them away.” Rocky Mountain NewsPop country singer Eddy Arnold, known for such hits as “Make the World Go Away,” died just days before his ninetieth birthday. “He died,” said Grand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown, “of a broken heart.”Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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Chances that college students select as “most desirable‚” the same face chosen by the chickens:

49 in 50

Most of the United States’ 36,000 yearly bunk-bed injuries involve male victims.

In Italy, a legislator called for parents who feed their children vegan diets to be sentenced to up to six years in prison, and in Sweden, a woman attempted to vindicate her theft of six pairs of underwear by claiming she had severe diarrhea.

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