Weekly Review — January 11, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Twisted Creature]

Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority. He dedicated his victory to “the soul of the brother martyr Yasir Arafat and to our people.”New York TimesEarlier in the week, Abbas called Israel the “Zionist Enemy” at an election rally,The Indian Expressthen announced he would pursue peace talks with it.ReutersIsrael shut the border at Gaza,Xinhuathen offered Abbas personal security in Jerusalem, which he refused.Azcentral.comKofi Annan visited the site of the South Asia tsunami disaster and said, “I have never seen such utter destruction.”CBS NewsColin Powell toured Indonesia and called it “amazing” and “heartbreaking.”ABC NewsHe also said providing disaster relief was a good public relations move.The Washington PostReligious leaders blamed God for the tsunami,The Washington Postthe United Nations said pirates were threatening relief supplies,CDNNand the Indonesian government made it illegal to leave Aceh province with a sixteen-year-old.CFRA.comAid efforts were temporarily halted when an airplane carrying emergency supplies hit a herd of cows.Abqtrib.comNearly 25 percent of Iraq will not be secure for the election, according to one U.S. military commander, who still insisted the poll date should not be changed. “I think there is a greater chance of civil war with a delay than without one,” he said.The New York TimesIraqi Security Force General Mohamed Shahwani said the insurgents outnumber the U.S. military,The Telegraphand President Bush called the upcoming Iraqi elections “hard.”New York TimesA suicide bomber killed twenty people at the Baghdad Police Academy,New York TimesIraq’s thirteen police dogs weren’t getting enough to eat,WYFFand the U.S. Army Reserves were “rapidly degenerating into a ‘broken’ force,” a high-ranking officer said.BBCThe Iraqi government extended a state of emergency for the country for another 30 days.The New York TimesThe U.S. killed as many as fourteen people in one family when it bombed the wrong house in northern Iraq,The Los Angeles Timesand the second assassination attempt on the governor of Baghdad succeeded.The New York Times

Congress officially ratified President Bush‘s election victory after a two-hour debate about voting irregularities in Ohio.The New York TimesSenator Richard Lugar called the lifetime detention of untried terrorism suspects a “bad idea,”The Washington Postand Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales said he did not approve of torture.The New York TimesFederal authorities arrested a New Jersey man for menacing a jet with a hand-held laser.The New York TimesA U.S. appeals court told Evel Knievel that a website that called him a pimp probably meant it as a compliment and that he could not sue.CNNScientists discovered that gecko feet are self-cleaning.The New York TimesThe Chilean Supreme Court ruled Augusto Pinochet fit to stand trial for his crimes,The Guardianand Edgar Ray Killen was arrested in connection with the 1964 murder of three voter-registration workers in Mississippi.BloombergAirlines cut pricesUSA Todayand tried to cut pensions.National Public RadioThe U.S. decided not to classify the sage grouse as endangered,GJ Sentineland the evolution of the great tit, a kind of bird, contradicted Darwin.London TimesChina said it would make aborting a female fetus a crime.CBCFrancois Vacavant won a Parisian bakers’ confederation award for the best Epiphany cake,The New York Timesa Pennsylvania man tried to kill workers in a fast-food restaurant when they ran out of french fries,Ananovaand a $20 million art project described as a “visual golden river” broke ground in New York’s Central Park.The New York Times Veteran foreign policy experts met with Kofi Annan to teach him how to lead,The New York Timesand gun sales in South Africa were down.The New York TimesPolitical leaders in Sudan signed a peace deal that did not include Darfur.News.com.auShirley Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in Congress, died,ABC Newsas did Nelson Mandela’s last surviving son.ReutersAndrea Yates’s conviction for murdering her five children was overturned because an expert witness didn’t watch enough television.National Public Radio

Representative Alan B. Mollohan said recent congressional rules changes “would seriously undermine the ethics process in the House.”The New York TimesCongressman Zach Wamp said the changes made him feel like he had “just taken a shower.”The New York TimesTom DeLay was still not indicted.The Christian Science MonitorDonations to the Bush inauguration reached $18 million,The Washington Postand federal regulators made it easier to kill wolves.The New York TimesJennifer Aniston dumped Brad Pitt,News.com.auSandra Bullock gave $1 million to charity,News 8 AustinScott Peterson’s ex-girlfriend called him a liar,MSNBCand Bill Gates announced the arrival of the digital lifestyle.Smart MoneyThen his computer crashed.VNUnet.comDirector Oliver Stone blamed audiences and the critics for the box office failure of “Alexander.”New Age Media ConceptsRecent studies showed that women are using less birth control.The Washington PostThe Dingman family of Virginia was auctioning off the right to pay for surgery on a tumor infecting their 9-year-old son. Bids reached as high as $200.The Washington PostKrispy Kreme Doughnuts announced that it has bad credit and that the Atkins diet was not to blame.The New York TimesHouston was named the fattest city in the U.S. for the fourth time in five years,The New York Timesand researchers found that commercial diet programs don’t work very well.New York TimesSales of Ford automobiles were down.MSNBCOnline jewelry sales were up.Jeweler’s Circular KeystoneThe American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry told consumers to watch out for bad veneer jobs.The New York TimesThe song “Snappy the Little Crocodile” made the Top Ten in Germany, with its signature lyric “Schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp.”AnanovaBoston announced a crackdown on illegally parked garbage cans,The New York Timesand scientists found that organic ketchup fights cancer better than the regular kind.The Daily TelegraphThe Vietnamese government executed 450 ducks.Reuters

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

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