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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Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

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On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

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In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

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