Weekly Review — June 21, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

In New Delhi, India, children and adults carrying both lit candles and hydrogen-filled balloons marched to mark the World Day Against Child Labor. At least twenty-five people were subsequently hospitalized for exploding-balloon-related burns.ReutersDennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, former executives at Tyco, were found guilty on thirty counts of grand larceny, conspiracy, falsifying business records, and securities fraud.Houston ChronicleA llama was found on the freeway in Pennsylvania,TheWGALChannel.compolice in Tennessee arrested 144 people at a cockfight,Wired Newsand the sixty-two-year-old man who was attacked and mutilated by two chimpanzees in March was brought out of his coma.News4Jax.comBritish potato farmers held protests against the Oxford English Dictionary; they were offended by the term “couch potato.”The GuardianAn achondroplastic dwarf in Florida named Molly Beavers sued Wal-Mart for firing her from her job at Sam’s Club because she did not smile enough; Beavers cannot smile because her face is partially paralyzed.St. Petersburg TimesFlorida police found six endangered gopher tortoises in the back of a car. The owner of the car said that he was planning a soup.Chicago Sun-TimesA British man pleaded guilty to unloading a fire extinguisher into his friend’s anus. “It was just horseplay that went wrong,” said the man’s lawyer.The Daily RecordAnother British man was sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison for making his friend Ernest dress in a skirt, forcing him to strip, shaving him all over, and painting him green so he would look like Shrek.The Sun

An autopsy showed that Terri Schiavo had never been abused, was blind at the time of her death, and had a brain half the normal size.New York TimesWhen asked about his earlier statements on Schiavo, Senator Bill Frist, who on March 17 said from the floor of the Senate that he had reviewed videotapes of Schiavo and that the “footage, to me, portrays something very different than persistent vegetative state,” said, “I never, never, on the floor of the Senate made a diagnosis.”Washington PostThe Senate apologized for not making lynching a federal crime, although eight senators, including Trent Lott, did not take part in the voice vote or the signing of an apology.The New York TimesRalph Nader said that the efforts of the Democratic Party against him had made him feel like a nigger.Daily News Daily DishA two-faced kitten was born in Oregon,SFGate.coma six-legged puppy was found in Malaysia,Boston.coma county commissioner in Marion County, Florida, was promoting his plan to send sex offenders to Mexico,Local6.comand four cheerleaders in Texas were in trouble for smearing human feces on a pizza in an attempt to frame a rival cheerleading squad.WOAI.comA man in Shreveport, Louisiana, attempted to rob a beauty school at gunpoint only to be severely beaten by nearly thirty women with sticks, table legs, and curling irons. “They kept pulling him back in and beating him,” said a policewoman. “I wore him out with that stick,” one woman said.TodaysTHV.comA nun in Romania, undergoing exorcism, died after she was tied to a cross, gagged, and left alone for three days in a cold room. “I don’t understand why journalists are making such a fuss about this,” said the priest who organized the exorcism.BBC NewsDeep Throat and the Runaway Bride were both working on movie deals,Sify.comABC Newsand a bar of soap allegedly made from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sold for $18,000.BBC News

A Kansas teenager was in trouble for vomiting on his Spanish teacher,Boston.comand Philip Cooney, the chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who achieved notoriety when he revised government reports on global warming to cover up the link between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures, quit his job to become a lobbyist for ExxonMobil. “Perhaps he won’t even notice he has changed jobs,” said the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.Washington PostA report prepared for the London Metropolitan Police Service expressed concern that young African boys were being sacrificed in England.The GuardianScotland’s Cottle and Austin Circus fired Todd the Human Cannonball because he was afraid of flying and replaced him with Diego the Human Rocket.The TimesA four-year-old boy died after passing out on the Mission: Space centrifuge ride at Disney World,Chicago Sun-Timesand in Britain a ten-year-old boy began to bang his head into a car dashboard. “It’s eating me, it’s eating me,” he yelled as blood trickled down his face. Doctors later removed a hornet (or possibly a horsefly) from his inner ear.ICBerkshire.co.ukDuring a White House press conference, journalist Terry Moran asked Scott McClellan whether the insurgency in Iraq was in its “last throes,” as had been claimed by Vice President Dick Cheney, or was not. McClellan gave a vague answer, so Moran repeated his question five more times. “Is there any idea,” he finally asked, “how long a last throe lasts for?”The White HouseCNNDonald Rumsfeld admitted that, statistically, things were just as bad in Iraq as they were at the time Saddam Hussein was deposed. However, he said, “a lot of bad things that could have happened have not happened.”BBC NewsSeveral U.S. soldiers went public with their experiences guarding Saddam Hussein. “He’d eat a family-size bag of Doritos,” one soldier said, “in ten minutes.”The GuardianIt was reported that as many as one thousand teenage boys have been thrown out of a fundamentalist Mormon community so that their fathers could marry more wives.The GuardianPorn star and former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey attended a Republican fundraiser where George W. Bush was speaking. “I was told that they had people ready to tackle me if I tried to get up close to him,” she said. “I was getting propositioned to have threesomes with wives or mistresses. I was offered money from oil tycoons.” Carey also said that she would one day like to become president. “I’m very friendly,” she offered.Jossip.comWorldNetDailyIn Bullskin Township, Pennsylvania, four men were accused of butchering a pet pygmy goat so that they could trade its meat for either money or crack cocaine.Post GazetteMore than one million people were estimated to be living with HIV in the United States,APone thousand people were dying every day in Congo,Christian Science Monitorand nearly one hundred people died in suicide bombings in Iraq.BBC NewsOsama bin Laden was safe.Seven News

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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.

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Ihave had many names, but as a sniper I went by Azad, which means “free” or “freedom” in Kurdish. I had been fighting for sixteen months in Kurdish territory in northern Syria when in April 2015 I was asked to leave my position on the eastern front, close to the Turkish border, and join an advance on our southwestern one. Eight months earlier, we had been down to our last few hundred yards, and, outnumbered five to one, had made a last stand in Kobanî. In January, after more than four months of fighting street-to-street and room-by-room, we recaptured the town and reversed what was, until then, an unstoppable jihadi tide. In the battles since, we had pushed ­ISIS far enough in every direction that crossing our territory was no longer a short dash through the streets but a five-hour drive across open country. As we set out to the north, I could make out the snowy peaks in southern Turkey where they say Noah once beached his ark. Below them, rolling toward us, were the wide, grassy valleys and pine forests of Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris where our people have lived for twelve thousand years.

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

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Life after Life·

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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.

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Power of Attorney·

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In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

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