Weekly Review — September 14, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

At the World Trade Center site, bells tolled at 8:46 a.m. to commemorate the exact moment that the first plane struck the north tower, and the names of nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks were read. Many victims’ relatives used the occasion to protest plans to build a Muslim community center near the site. “A mosque is built on the site of a winning battle,” said Nick Chiarchiaro, whose wife and niece worked in the north tower. “They are symbols of conquest.”New York TimesNew York TimesIn Amarillo, Texas, 23-year-old skateboarder Jacob Isom stole a Koran from David Grisham, director of Repent Amarillo, before Grisham could burn the book. “I snuck up behind and told him, ??Dude, you have no Koran,?? and took off,” Isom said. Think ProgressReligious leaders held an emergency summit in Washington, D.C., to denounce the “anti-Muslim frenzy.” “We know what it is like when people have attacked us physically, have attacked us verbally, and others have remained silent,” said Rabbi David Saperstein. “It cannot happen here in America in 2010.”New York TimesThe House of Representatives was evacuated after an unidentified white powder was found in the chamber. Some thought the substance was yellow.Talking Points MemoTea Party activists rallied in front of the Capitol. “When we got here last year, at Union Station we could hear the roar,” said Tea Party supporter Rob Pittman, who traveled from Long Island. “I??m not hearing the roar this year.” PoliticoAn invasive species of predatory shrimp, which often leaves its prey uneaten after killing it, was found in the waters off England.BBC

In his first press conference since May, President Obama argued that tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 should be allowed to expire, announced that he would name Austan Goolsbee to be the next chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, and admitted that he failed to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. “It’s not for lack of trying,” he said. “It’s because the politics of it are difficult.”Associated PressThe media noted that Obama was not wearing his wedding ring at the press conference. PoliticoEmployees of the London Tube walked out at rush hour in the first of a series of 24-hour strikes; Greek unions in Thessaloniki staged a 20,000-person march to protest the government’s austerity program; and a 24-hour national strike in France closed schools and disrupted train and airplane service, coinciding with rallies to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. “Slave-driving?” shouted protestors in Paris. “No, no, no.”New York TimesBBCBBCFormer Cuban leader Fidel Castro said that the “Cuban model” doesn’t work; when international media took this to be a repudiation of Communism, he said that he meant “exactly the contrary” and was “amused” by those who took his remark “literally.” The Raw StoryRichard M. Daley, Chicago’s “Mayor for Life,” announced that after 22 years he would not run for re-election. New York TimesRoger Federer lost in 5 sets to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semi-final, and the Liberace Foundation said that it would close the Liberace Museum.New York TimesLas Vegas Sun

A 54-year-old, 30-inch steel gas pipeline in San Bruno, California, ruptured, causing a fireball that killed 4 people, leveled 37 homes, destroyed the subdivision of Crestmoor, and melted the fleece jacket of neighborhood resident Gayle Masunu onto her back. New York TimesSheyla Hershey, who had the largest fake breasts in the world (38KKK, also known as 38M), had her implants and almost all her own breast tissue removed after a severe infection nearly killed her. “I just want a normal size like a housewife has,” said Hershey.GawkerContestants prepared for Miss Mafia, a Hungarian beauty contest for women who have been convicted of mafia-related crimes.AnanovaItalian mattress company Sogniflex released a mattress for lovers, which includes straps, handles, extra-strong springs, and a trench near the foot of the bed where knees can be placed. “I wanted to invent something that could really help them,” said company president Paolo Tonelli, “because most beds are designed for sleeping, not for making love.”AnanovaScientists found that women are attracted to men who can dance well, and speculated that good dancing could be a sign of virility.BBCBritish scientists said that a firm handshake could predict a long life, and researchers in New Zealand found that female snails exposed to the chemical TBT were growing penises from their heads.BBCStuffThe Guinness Book of World Records declared Colombian Edward Nino Hernandez, who used to dance in department stores for money, the shortest man alive, at 27 inches tall. “It bothers me,” said Hernandez, “when people touch me and pick me up.” AnanovaA 90-year-old man who bludgeoned his 89-year-old wife to death with a hammer after 68 years of marriage was sentenced to 17 years in prison, and a man at a mobile-home park in Kentucky shot his wife, stepdaughter, two neighbors, and then himself, after his wife did not cook his eggs to his liking. “I have to admit, a little grin came across my face when I saw his brains go flying,” said neighbor Steve Smith. “He’s been trouble ever since he’s been here.” Daily MailLexington Herald-Leader

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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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