Weekly Review — July 21, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

Sonia Sotomayor, who is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in August, was interrogated for four days by Democratic and Republican senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans grilled Sotomayor on her legal positions. Democrats lauded her; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) said that her life story gave him “piel de gallina,” or goose bumps. Sotomayor was, however, not able to answer when Senator Al Franken (D., Minn.) asked her to name the one case that Perry Mason lost. “Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?” he said. Reporters noted that Sotomayor was “a big toucher” who responded to Republican senators’ proffered handshakes with a warm smile and a squeeze of their shoulders, and they also pointed out that on the second day of the hearings, when the judge was asked by Senator Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) to explain her “wise Latina woman” comment, she blinked at least 247 times while answering, averaging 90 blinks per minute in the morning; that rate decreased to 50 blinks per minute in the afternoon. At least four anti-abortion protesters were arrested at the hearings, including 61-year-old Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal.Washington PostWashington PostWashington PostWashington PostWashington PostA tiny species of Mexican shrew, previously thought extinct, was rediscovered.BBC

At the convention to honor the hundredth anniversary of the NAACP, President Obama admonished African Americans for their poor parenting, telling them they had to start “putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour.”New York TimesSome worried that Obama was no longer cool after he appeared at the All-Star baseball game (where he threw a lob ball that didn’t clear the plate) wearing “dad jeans.” “I suppose President Obama is indeed a father, so we should allow him such a strike against humanity,” said one blogger. “I thought he was cooler than that, somehow.”PoliticoAuditors questioned whether Crocs Shoe Company, which lost more than $185 million last year, could remain solvent.Washington PostThe Pope fractured his wrist;The Telegraphthe Episcopal Church voted to overturn a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops.New York TimesAn amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that extends federal hate-crimes protections to gays was under consideration in the Senate;Miami Heraldand Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages during his presidency, said he is “basically in support” of gay marriage. CBS NewsHarry and Pepper, gaypenguins who since 2003 have nested together at the San Francisco Zoo, broke up after Harry had an affair with Linda, a recently widowed penguin who seduced Harry in her deceased husband’s burrow. “To be completely anthropomorphizing,” said zookeeper Anthony Brown, “Linda seems conniving.”The Daily TelegraphSeventeen-year-old lesbian Cheyenne Cherry pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty for baking her former lover’s kitten in a 500-degree oven,Gothamistand scientists found that cats have developed a “soliciting purr” (different from regular purrs because they are embedded with a “cry”) that can manipulate humans into giving them food and affection. BBCWalter Cronkite died.New York Times

North Korea launched its first television commercial for Taedonggang beer, the “Pride of Pyongyang,” which promises to relieve stress;BBCstress-relief was also the reason offered by Japanese manufacturer Wishroom for the success of its line of male bras. AnanovaThe unemployment rate was rising for Japan’s robots,New York Timesand, following reports suggesting that EATR, a steam-powered, biomass-consuming military robot, could feed on dead bodies, its makers released assurances that the robot is a vegetarian.Fox NewsThick dark blobs of unidentifiable goo were floating in the Arctic Ocean,Anchorage Daily Newsdivers off the coast of San Diego were attacked by jumbo flying squid,BBCand at least nine shark-bite survivors went to Capitol Hill to lobby Senators in defense of sharks.Washington PostA German “molecular” chef, using liquid nitrogen to prepare a dish, blew off his hands,The Localand scientists found that swearing alleviates pain.AnanovaBefore police rescued him, a three-year-old Canadian boy spent two hours floating down Peace River atop his toy truck.Yahoo NewsTwo Chicago teens sneaked into a 66-year-old man’s home while he was watching television in bed, pulled off his prosthetic legs, and ran off with them.Chicago Sun-TimesA brothel in Berlin began offering a discount to customers who arrive by bicycle.AnanovaResearchers found that amphibians enjoy mating by the light of a full moon.BBC

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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