Weekly Review — May 25, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

A van filled with 1,650 pounds of explosives rammed into a NATO convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people, including five Americans, and bringing the total number of American dead in Afghanistan to more than 1,000. “What do you want me to do with this?” an Afghan soldier carrying a bloody bag of brains asked an ambulance driver who had already carried off six bodies. “Do you want me to bury it, or do you want to take it?”New York TimesNew York Daily NewsCommentators declared that a wave of “outsiders” was toppling incumbents in the Senate, as Democratic Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania lost a primary to Representative Joe Sestak, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln was forced into a runoff with Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, and Rand Paul won the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky. New York TimesPaul, son of libertarian Congressman Ron Paul and a Tea Party supporter, was lambasted for hosting his victory celebration at a country club. “I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that,” said Paul in defense of the private club, “in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities.” Paul then criticized the Americans With Disabilities Act, federal mining regulations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and offered his thoughts on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and President Barack Obama‘s criticism of BP. “This sort of, you know, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’ I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business,” Paul said, adding, “Maybe sometimes accidents happen.” Talking Points MemoTalking Points MemoThe website of the House Energy and Commerce Committee crashed shortly after a live video feed of the BP oil spill was posted. A young brown pelican was found dead at Louisiana’s Breton National Wildlife Refuge, its neck and one wing matted with oil.FoxNew York Times

Obama signed the Press Freedom Act and exited without answering questions from reporters. CBSScientist Craig Venter created the first synthetic living cell, an essential step toward what he describes as a “new industrial revolution,” in which microbes designed and built by scientists will be used to make products like vaccines and biofuels. “He isn’t God,” said scientist Helen Wallace of Venter. “He’s actually being very human; trying to get money invested in his technology and avoid regulation that would restrict its use.”BBCIn a 59â??39 vote, the Senate passed a financial regulatory bill, and the inventor of the ATM, John Shepherd-Barron, died, as did Arakawa, a Japanese conceptual artist whose work was meant to stop aging and prevent death. “This mortality thing is bad news,” said his wife.New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesForensic anthropologists working with skeletal remains found at Scotland’s Stirling Castle unveiled the reconstructed face of a medieval knight. BBCA hooded, black-clad burglar smashed a window at the Paris Museum of Modern Art, squirmed through, and stole five paintings (including works by Picasso and Matisse) worth more than $100 million.BBCJulio Aparicio, one of Spain’s most famous matadors, was gored by a bull’s horn, which went through his tongue and penetrated the roof of his mouth. Aparicio survived; the bull did not.Huffington Post

Thirteen million viewers tuned in to watch the series finale of “Lost,” in which Kate chose Jack.Entertainment WeeklyWitnesses saw an unidentified man run off the edge of the Grand Canyon, and the opening of a Moscow metro station named for Fyodor Dostoevsky was delayed when people complained that the platform’s mosaics (which include a man striking a woman with an axe and a man holding a gun to his own head) were too depressing. Grand Canyon NewsTimesThe Federal District Court in San Francisco was flooded with two inches of raw sewage after inmates flushed a bedsheet and two orange jumpsuits down the courthouse toilets, a 35-year-old mother died of massive blood loss after doctors failed to notice the broken-off handle of a toilet brush lodged in her buttocks, and a gang of teenagers forcibly tattooed a 14-year-old New Hampshire boy’s buttocks with the words “Poop Dick.” San Francisco GateDaily MailThe Smoking GunScientists in Germany announced that a 30,000-year-old siltstone phallus, the world’s oldest sex toy, was also used to start fires. New York Daily NewsAustrian traffic authorities revealed that they had hired a full-time team of druids to drain “negative energy” from accident-prone areas, and British police debuted a five-gear pedal-powered patrol car with a roll bar, siren, flashing blue light, and a top speed of 20 mph, to be used to combat “antisocial behavior.” “It makes me look cooler,” said policeman Keith Waller.AnanovaAnanovaResearchers found that people with beer bellies are more likely to develop dementia, and that women who marry much older or younger men have an increased risk of death.BBCDaily BeastDong Changsheng, a 50-year-old Chinese martial arts expert, pulled a half-ton airplane five meters with a rope attached to his eyelids. “To be honest,” said Dong, “I didn’t use my full strength and I think I could probably pull it three times the distance.”AnanovaFoucault’s pendulum was irreparably damaged. Times Higher Education

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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.
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