Weekly Review — September 20, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

At least 167 Baghdad residents were killed in 14 separate bombings, with 570 wounded. The next day 40 people were killed with car bombs and guns. Twenty-one more were killed the next day, 52 more the day after that, and 7 the day after that. At least 30 more people were killed the following day.The IndependentSenator Robert Byrd called on the Bush Administration to withdraw from Iraq. “We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq,” he said, “when our own people are so much in need.”Democracy Now!It was reported that $1 billion had been stolen from Iraq’s defense ministry, and $500 to $600 million had been stolen from the electricity, transport, interior, and other ministries.The IndependentSeventy-two percent of African Americans polled said that George W. Bush does not care about them,Democracy Now!and Texasexecuted Frances Newton.CBS NewsAt least 128 prisoners at Guantnamo Bay were on hunger strike; 18 of them had been hospitalized and were being force-fed. “We’re going to take care of everyone,” said a prison spokesman.LA TimesChicago was considering a proposal to ban foie gras. “Our culture,” explained an alderman, “does not condone the torture of innocent and defenseless creatures.”The New York TimesChuck E. Cheese restaurants were showing Defense Department footage. “We support what our troops are doing over there,” said a Chuck E. Cheese representative. “Helping kids.”New YorkMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney suggested wiretapping mosques.Democracy Now!Newly declassified portions of the 9/11 Commission Report revealed that the FAA had warned in 1998 that Al Qaeda operatives could “seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark,” although the FAA thought this was “unlikely.”The Smoking GunAfghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in over three decades; about 6 million people went to the polls to elect 249 people to the Wolesi Jirga.Muslim American SocietyThe Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda crossed the White Nile River into southern Sudan and attacked the city of Juba;BBC NewsNorth Korea announced that it would halt its nuclear programs in exchange for oil, energy aid, and diplomatic recognition;Reutersand Delta and Northwest both filed for bankruptcy.Forbes

A summit of world leaders met at the United Nations in New York City.Democracy Now!At the summit, President George W. Bush was photographed writing a note to Condoleezza Rice. “I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?” read the note.ReutersThe U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy gave $100,000 to Sumate, a Venezuelan group that opposes President Hugo Chavez. “If the imperialist government of the White House dares to invade Venezuela,” said Chavez during an interview, “the war of a hundred years will be unleashed in South America.”Democracy Now!Democracy Now!Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was under criticism for saying that rape victimhood was “a money-making concern”; “A lot of people,” he explained, “say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”BBC News Musharraf also shook hands with Ariel Sharon.BBC NewsSupreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. was questioned by members of the Senate and managed to avoid direct answers to many of the questions posed to him. He did reveal, however, that “Dr. Zhivago” and “North by Northwest” were his favorite films. Antiabortion groups felt that Roberts was doing just fine.KPAXThe Washington PostA federal judge in California ruled that requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. “Undoubtedly,” read the court’s decision, “the pledge contains a religious phrase.”CNN.comThe Dutch government announced that it would track every citizen from birth in an electronic database.APEighty-seven journalists were arrested for protesting against Nepalese restrictions on the media,CTV.caand the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that it was “evil” to force menstruating women to live in cow sheds.BBC News

The Vatican was investigating all 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for evidence of homosexuality,The Washington Postand Pope Benedict XVI spoke to an exorcists’ convention, encouraging the audience to “carry on their important work.”IOL.co.zaThe confirmed death toll from Hurricane Katrina rose to 883, with 663 of those in Louisiana. About $9.8 billion had been spent so far on the relief effort, and it was estimated that up to $200 billion remained to be spent. President Bush promised to rebuild the communities that had been destroyed by the hurricane. “To the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right,” he said, “I take responsibility.”KPLCTimeDemocracy Now!A poll showed that only 35 percent of Americans approved of the President’s handling of the Katrina crisis.Rasmussen ReportsKarl Rove was named to head the relief effort in New Orleans.Washington PostMany uninsured evacuees from New Orleans were receiving medical care for the first time in years. NOLA.comA 73-year-old New Orleans woman was being held on $50,000 bail for allegedly looting sausages.Democracy Now!In Spokane, Washington, a man was in trouble for breaking into another man’s house and smearing the man’s naked, sleeping body with chocolate frosting, then opening a dog pen in the hope that a dog would eat the frosting.KXLY.comA broken light bulb at a school gym in Tennessee caused severe sunburns and swollen eyes in 18 people.SunHerald.comIn Alaska a 20-foot-long treadmill was installed at a zoo to help an elephant named Maggie lose a few hundred pounds,Reutersand two plague-infected mice were missing in New Jersey.MSNBCJudith Miller was still in jail.Editor & Publisher

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On a sunny July day in 2018, Alexis Stern was sitting behind the wheel of the red Ford Fusion her parents had given her the previous year when she’d learned to drive. Robbie Olsen, the boy she’d recently started dating, was in the passenger seat. They were in the kind of high spirits unique to teenagers on summer vacation with nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. They were about to take a drive, maybe get some food, when Stern’s phone buzzed. It was the police. An officer with the local department told her to come down to the station immediately. She had no idea what the cops might want with her. “I was like, am I going to get arrested?” she said.

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I had been in Domoni—an ancient, ramshackle trading town on the volcanic island of Anjouan—for only a few summer days in 2018 when Onzardine Attoumane, a local English teacher, offered to show me around the medina. Already I had gotten lost several times trying to navigate the dozens of narrow, seemingly indistinguishable alleyways that zigzagged around the old town’s crumbling, lava-rock homes. But Onzardine had grown up in Domoni and was intimately familiar with its contours.

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This is what I feared, that she would speak about the news . . . about how her father always said that the news exists so it can disappear, this is the point of news, whatever story, wherever it is happening. We depend on the news to disappear . . .
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On the evening of May 8, just after eight o’clock, Kate Valk stepped onstage and faced the audience. The little playhouse was packed with hardcore fans, theater people and artists, but Kate was performing, most of all, for one person, hidden among them, a small, fine-boned, black-clad woman, her blond-gray hair up in a clip, who smiled, laughed, and nodded along with every word, swaying to the music and mirroring the emotions of the performers while whispering into the ear of the tall, bearded fellow who sat beside her madly scribbling notes. The woman was Elizabeth LeCompte—known to all as Liz—the director of the Wooster Group, watching the first open performance of the company’s new piece, Since I Can Remember.

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In the spring of 2018, Tequila Johnson, an African-American administrator at Tennessee State University, led a mass voter-registration drive organized by a coalition of activist groups called the Tennessee Black Voter Project. Turnout in Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom among U.S. states, just ahead of Texas. At the time, only 65 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered to vote, the shortfall largely among black and low-income citizens. “The African-American community has been shut out of the process, and voter suppression has really widened that gap,” Johnson told me. “I felt I had to do something.”

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