Weekly Review — September 28, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

Republican senators blocked a $726 billion defense bill containing provisions to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and provide U.S. citizenship to some foreign-born children of undocumented immigrants.WSJLady Gaga lobbied senators to support the legistlation, arguing that it made more sense to ban U.S. soldiers who do not believe in equality; the new ban, she suggested, could be called “If You Don’t Like It, Go Home.” ABCStephen Colbert testified before Congress in support of migrant workers. “I like talking about people who donâ??t have any power,” he said. NYTCuba detailed plans to license private entrepreneurs in 178 professions, including music and clowning. NYTIn the Gulf of Mexico, scientists speculated that an underwater “blizzard” of gooey organic matter (commonly known as marine snow or sea snot) was an effect of the BP oil spill. “I suspect,” said sea-snot expert Alice Alldredge, “the bottom-dwelling organisms might not be so happy.” National GeographicHBO released a previously unaired 1998 television clip of Christine O’Donnell, now a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware, in which she said evolution is a myth. “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” she demanded to know. HBO via ThinkprogressScientists announced the discovery of two new dinosaur species in Utah. One had fifteen horns on its large head and has been named Kosmoceratops; the other, with no remarkable features, has been named Utahceratops. CSM

Computer worm Stuxnet was reportedly targeting Iranian nuclear facilities. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it is the first known worm designed to infect industrial-control systems. Computer-security experts said the complexity of the worm suggested it was probably made by a government agency. SymantecPC MagNYTCSMCSMGuardianJames Heselden, owner of the Segway company, died in a mysterious Segway accident; his body was found in a river along with his Segway. CNNThe Justice Department “reluctantly” invoked “state secrets” in asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit on behalf of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi, a cleric now living in Yemen who was targeted for assassination by the CIA,WPWPand it was revealed that the CIA was maintaining an elite paramilitary force of 3,000 soldiers known as “Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams” for use in the war in Afghanistan and the “secret” war in Pakistan.WPThe Justice Department reported that “a significant number” of FBI employees had conspired with supervisors to cheat on a skills-assessment exam, TPMand the University of Illinois denied emeritus status to retired professor and former Weatherman William Ayers, after university trustee Christopher Kennedy complained that Ayers had once dedicated a book to Sirhan Sirhan.Chicago Tribune

Eight thousand laptops sent by the United States to the children of Babil, Iraq, were missing; at least half had been auctioned off by Iraqis for about $10 each. NYTThe United Nations was $180 million short of funds needed to feed 6 million Pakistani flood victims through the end of this year.AFP via GoogleNewly released documents itemized the more than $1 billion that Canada spent to host the G-8 for three days in June, including $60 million for lodging and food, $4 million for a steel fence, and $42,000 for a harpoon system to disable speedboat attackers. NYTIt was estimated that the costs of dementia worldwide would reach $604 billion this year, or one percent of global GDP,Reutersand scientists confirmed that four-year-olds can understand irony.TelegraphVideo-rental chain Blockbuster declared bankruptcy,Newsweekand Brooklyn beekeepers fought in vain to save a bee colony after its hive was wrecked by a tornado, but all its honey had already been stolen by “robber bees” from other colonies . NYTFrench chocolatier Georges Larnicol launched a boat made out of chocolate in the port of Concarneau. BBCA poorly designed luxury hotel in Las Vegas, covered in reflective glass, condensed the rays of the sun and beamed them down on the resort’s swimming pool, causing plastic in the vicinity to melt. One hotel guest said that his hair had been scorched, and that hotel employees laughed at him, saying “Yes, we call it the death ray.” Las Vegas Review-Journal

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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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