Weekly Review — May 26, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Democrats in Congress denied President Barack Obama the $80 million he sought to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and move its prisoners to maximum-security prisons in the United States. “We don’t want them around,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said of the prisoners. Obama, speaking in the rotunda at the National Archives where the Constitution is kept, insisted that he would move the prisoners despite resistance from Congress and put forth a new policy of “prolonged detention,” whereby terrorism suspects can be held indefinitely without trial. Vice President Joe Biden said that the White House had been evaluating Guantanamo prisoners with a “fine tooth comb.” “It’s like opening Pandora’s Box,” he said. “We don’t know what’s inside.”Fox NewsNew York TimesNewsweekThe Republican National Committee released an ad comparing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with Pussy Galore from the James Bond film Goldfinger,CBS NewsPoliticoand Secretary of State Hillary Clinton circulated a memo indicating that the State Department will start offering equal benefits and protections to the same-sex partners of diplomats.New York TimesAfter a Republican-written energy bill failed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, committee chairman Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and Edward Markey (D., Mass.) drafted 946 pages of compromise legislation that proposes to reduce CO2 emissions to 17 percent of their 2005 level by 2050; House Democrats hired a speed reader in case Republicans force the bill to be read aloud.Wall Street JournalHouston ChronicleWall Street JournalIn Sandy, Utah, 11-year-old Fin Keheler set a new world record by putting 43 snails on his face for ten seconds,Associated Pressand in Artesia, New Mexico, former president George W. Bush told high-school students that his life was “returning back to normal.”MSNBC

Police in western Germany arrested a 26-year-old man suspected of being the “rabbit ripper,” responsible for the deaths of 58 rabbits (31 of which were found without heads) since January 2008; when arrested the man was carrying two boxes of guinea pigs.Australia Herald SunHorst Koehler, of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, was re-elected as president of Germany,.The Telegraphand German officials announced that a Romanian teen who auctioned her virginity on the Internet to help fund her education in Mannheim will be taxed at a rate of 50 percent, with the possibility of an additional 19 percent value-added tax.Daily MailA commission investigating child abuse in Ireland’s church-run state orphanages, reformatories, and schools released a 2,600-page report that documents physical, emotional, and “endemic” sexual abuse of thousands of children over a 60-year period; the forms of abuse include “punching, flogging, assault and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear pulling, hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes…[and beatings] while hanging from hooks on the wall.”New York TimesIn Britain MP Peter Viggers admitted that he had attempted to seek state reimbursement of $2,600 spent at his country estate for a duck hut. “I am ashamed and humiliated, and I apologize,” said Viggers, who sought $47,660 for gardening expenses over three years. “As has been reported, my claim for the duck house was rightly ‘not allowed’ by the Fees Office. I paid for it myself, and in fact it was never liked by the ducks.”New York TimesDaniel Carasso, the 103-year-old Catalan who popularized yogurt, died, as did Edwin Shneidman, a 91-year-old authority on suicide, and Wayne Allwine, the actor who voiced Mickey Mouse for 32 years.New York TimesNew York TimesAssociated PressBelgium’s bodybuilding championship was canceled when anti-doping officials appeared unannounced and all twenty competitors grabbed their belongings and ran away.ESPN

Iran tested medium-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe or Israel,.The Telegraphand North Korea announced that it had successfully conducted a second nuclear test.New York TimesA Japanese company introduced toilet paper printed with novellas by Koji Suzuki, the author of the “Ring” series, intended to provide “a horror experience in the toilet.”Associated PressThe former president of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun, committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. “Don’t be too sad,” wrote Roh, who was accused of corruption, in a note to his wife and two children. “Don’t be sorry. Don’t blame anyone. Accept it as fate.”New York TimesAfter a Chinese government investigation determined that Love Land, the country’s first sex-themed park, “had an evil influence on society,” the park was shut down, leading to the immediate demolition of a giant pair of women’s legs wearing a red thong. The GuardianTraffic on Haizhu Bridge in the Chinese city of Guangzhou was stopped while a man named Chen Fuchao, who had amassed debts of $293,000 in a failed construction project, decided whether or not to jump. After five hours, a man named Lai Jiansheng broke through a police cordon, greeted Chen, and shoved him off the bridge onto an emergency air cushion. “Jumpers like Chen,” explained Lai, “are very selfish.”BBC

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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.

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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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