Weekly Review — May 23, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

Talks with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, grew tense after Barack Obama called for the country’s pre-1967 borders to be the starting point for peace negotiations with Palestinians. Netanyahu rejected the proposal, saying, “Remember that before 1967, Israel was all of nine miles wide; it’s half the width of the Washington Beltway. These were not the boundaries of peace. They were the boundaries of repeated wars.” President Obama resolved to continue pressuring the Israelis, but stated, “Obviously there are some differences between us in the precise formulations and language, and that’s going to happen between friends.”CNNThe world failed to end, despite predictions of its demise by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old Christian radio entrepreneur. The Calvary Bible Church in Milpitas, California, organized a Sunday morning service to comfort disappointed believers. A church deacon said, “We are here because we care about these people. It’s easy to mock them. But you can go kick puppies, too.” Camping admitted the experience had unsettled him, but said “I’ll be back to work Monday.”NY TimesNY TimesDominique Strauss-Kahn resigned his role as managing director of the I.M.F. and was placed under house arrest in New York City pending trial for the sexual assault of a hotel maid. It was reported that just before police boarded his plane to apprehend him, Strauss-Kahn said of a flight attendant, “Quel beau cul!” (“What a nice ass!”). The euro fell slightly on news of his predicament.BBCSF ChronicleBoston Globe

Chinese artist and government critic Ai Weiwei, who was detained in early April by state authorities, was granted a visit with his wife at an undisclosed location. The Chinese foreign ministry asserted that Ai’s case was due to the evasion by his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development, of a “huge amount” of taxes and had “nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression.” Ai’s sister pointed out that he is neither the company’s legal representative nor its chief executive. Also in China, watermelons treated with growth accelerants were exploding “like landmines,” and Ming Ming, the world’s oldest panda, died at his home in a reserve in Guangdong at the age of 34.BBCLe PointBBCBBCGuardianNPRGuardianKenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru died after falling out of a window following a confrontation with his wife; professional wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage, known for his catchphrase “Oooh, yeahh,” died at age 58; and retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard admitted he was sexually abused as a young fighter.BBCTMZNY Times

A woman in Salt Lake City attempted to buy $10 worth of cocaine from an undercover police officer with $2 and an Olive Garden salad, but promised the officer she would return with more money and some Olive Garden gift cards.Boston GlobeA Los Angeles service station mistakenly sold premium unleaded gasoline for $1.10 a gallon, prompting drivers to mob the station and the owner to lose $21,000 in sales in four hours.Boston GlobeThe Tennessee Senate passed a bill forbidding the state’s public school teachers and students in kindergarten to eighth grade to discuss the fact that some people are gay,WMCTV while Charles Barkley came out in support of gay players in the NBA. Barkley admitted that many pro basketball players are homophobic, but rejected such intolerance, stating, “Man, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports.”Washington PostA Pennsylvania woman settled her groping lawsuit against Donald Duck, and McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner defended the company’s right to advertise to children, asserting that parents are responsible for deciding what to feed their kids. “Ronald McDonald is an ambassador to McDonald’s,” Skinner said, “and he is an ambassador for good.”Boston GlobeLA TImesNY MagThe U.S. Navy named a new vessel after labor activist Cesar Chavez, and Don Gorske, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, ate his 25,000th Big Mac, 39 years to the day after eating his first. Said Gorske: “I plan on eating Big Macs until I die.”Journal Sentinal

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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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