Weekly Review — February 15, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Small Family, May 1874]
A Small Family.

Seventeen days after protests began in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, after more than 300 fatalities, and with hundreds of protesters thought to have been secretly detained by the military, President Hosni Mubarak gave a seventeen-minute speech in which he talked in great detail about the changes he planned to make to Egyptâ??s constitution, causing thousands of protesters to wave their shoes in the air and shout “Get out!” and “We’re not happy!” He stepped down the following evening. “I have friends on anti-depressants who, over the last 20 days, forgot to take their pills and have now thrown them away,” said Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif. “Such is the effect of the Egyptian Revolution.” Mubarak, whose assets in Switzerland were frozen by the Swiss government, escaped to his villa in Sharm el-Sheikh; Egypt’s military announced that it would dissolve parliament and suspend the constitution; bank, transport, and tourism workers staged their own “mini-revolutions” to call for higher pay; and several protesters carried placards reading “Sorry for the disturbance.”HRWGuardianNYTimesAPYahoo NewsWashington PostBBCSacramento BeeUSA TodayBBCAOLYemeni police armed with sticks and daggers clashed with protesters calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Algerian police beat back 2,000 demonstrators in central Algiers, and Iranian activists planned to go ahead with a rally in Tehran despite warnings from the regime, which arrested dozens of activists and journalists as a preemptive move.NPRGuardianGuardianPalestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad resigned, announcing the dissolution of Palestine’s 24-member cabinet, and the Taliban warned that the U.S.-backed Afghan government would be next in line to be toppled by its people, urging Egyptians to “foil the plots of the foreign enemies.”CSMonitorRTBAsked whether she expected to become Queen of England, Camilla Parker Bowles answered, “You never know.”Daily Mail

Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker carrying $200 million worth of crude oil off the coast of Oman, suspected tribal militants exploded two major natural gas pipelines in Pakistan’s southwest, and a boy in a school uniform blew himself up at a Pakistani army recruitment center, killing 31 cadets.BBCReutersReutersThe founder of a New York television station launched to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims was convicted of beheading his wife in what was described as “a mix of domestic violence and honor killing.” “He separated the mind,” said attorney Nadia Shahram, “which he saw as worthless, and kicked it.”GuardianRepresentative Christopher Lee (R., N.Y.), resigned after it was discovered he answered a woman’s Craigslist ad with a shirtless photo of himself flexing his muscles. Lee, who is 46 and married, described himself as a 34-year-old, unmarried, “very fit fun classy guy.”ABCThousands of Italian women chanting “Italy is not a brothel” marched against Silvio Berlusconi.ReutersA 19-year-old was sentenced to 22 years in prison after confessing to have searched for a hit man on Facebook to kill a girl he had raped when she was drunk,and Julian Assange’s lawyer, Björn Hurtig, used as evidence a text message sent by one of the two women who accused Assange of rape, in which the sender claimed that she was “half asleep” when Assange had sex with her. “That, to my mind,” said Hurtig, “is the same as saying ‘half awake.’”Philadelphia InquirerGuardianGuardianIn Tulare County, California, a man was killed by a rooster with a knife attached to its leg. Guardian

President Barack Obama released his proposed budget for 2012, projecting a deficit of more than $1.6 trillion for the current fiscal year, the largest shortfall since 1945.NYTimesFour hundred policemen led 6,000 people from their homes in the outskirts of Paris at dawn after an unexploded World War II bomb was discovered, and a local authority in England approved plans for a swimming pool to be heated by energy from a next-door crematorium.TelegraphReuters Life! A Catholic bishop in Indiana approved of an iPhone app costing $1.99 designed to walk users through the sacrament of confession; a 16-year-old boy in Michigan claimed that his mother handcuffed him to a kitchen chair for a week as punishment for shoplifting, allowing him outside only to shovel snow; and a shy 18-year-old girl in Pontypridd, Wales, died of a rare heart condition after being kissed for the first time.The Washington PostChicago TribuneTelegraphPleasures, a drive-thru sex shop in Alabama, offered customers the opportunity to exchange their firearms for store credit. “You never know,” said Sheri Williams, the store-owner. “Maybe there will be someone who says, ‘I’ve got this gun that I could go rob a liquor store with, or maybe I can get me a blow-up doll for Valentine’s Day instead.’”AFP

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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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