Weekly Review — June 20, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Devil Spanker]

In Iraq an Islamic militant group claimed that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers, 23-year-old Kristian Menchaca and 25-year-old Thomas L. Tucker. The Army sent 8,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops, supported by fighter jets and drones, to search for the missing soldiers,The New York Timesand the Pentagon announced the 2,500th American death in Iraq. “It’s a number,” said White House press secretary Tony Snow.Toronto StarIraqi prosecutors called for Saddam Hussein to be sentenced to death,Daily Mailand President George W. Bush visited Iraq because he wanted to “look at Prime Minister Maliki in the eyes.”The New York TimesIt was reported that a man named Abu Hamza Al Muhajer would take over for Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, the assassinated leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. “He has left behind lions,” said Al Muhajer of Al Zarqawi, “that have been trained in his den.”Middle East TimesThe House passed a resolution that rejected “cutting and running” from Iraq,Los Angeles Timesand PennsylvaniaRepresentative John P. Murtha criticized Karl Rove for “sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside saying, ‘Stay the course.'”The New York TimesIt was revealed that in 2003 the Bush Administration refused an offer by Iran to end Iranian support of Palestinianterror organizations and recognize Israel in exchange for an end to sanctions and permission to peacefully develop its nuclear program.The Jerusalem PostPresident Bush approved new legislation that allows the FCC to fine broadcasters up to $325,000 for each indecency,SFGate.comand Marine Corporal Joshua Belile apologized for appearing in “Hadji Girl,” an Internet-distributedvideo in which he plays guitar and jokes about killing an Iraqi family. “They should have known,” he sang, “they were fuckin’ with a Marine.”The Mercury NewsFormer Army First Lieutenant William Calley was said to wander at night through Benning, Georgia, haunted by his memories of the My Lai massacre.The Kansas City StarAt least 52 United States agencies were mining data about U.S. citizens, searching for criminals, terrorists, and potential military recruits,The Washington Postand the United States added the secret phone number for its Homeland Security hotline to the federal Do Not Call Registry. “Every time that phone rings,” said Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, “it’s telemarketers.”USA TodayAnalysts said that $2 trillion in wealth had been lost on the global stock market over the last month.ReutersRome was troubled by seagulls and lice.Wanted in RomeWanted in Rome

At the World Cup in Germany over 400 people were arrested for violence and drunkenness related to the Germany-Poland soccer match (which Germany won 1-0).BBC NewsIn Thailand a man killed two soccer fans because he was annoyed by their cheering.USA TodayBaboons in Saudi Arabia ruined a picnic.Arab NewsIn Rangamati, Bangladesh, villagers fled in boats after their town was destroyed by rampaging elephants,Reuters via MSNBCand in Thiruvananthapuram, India, the recently captured rogue elephant Master Killer died in a cage.The HinduGayEpiscopalian bishop Gene Robinson said that he is “not an abomination before God,”BBC Newsand scientists found that African-American adults hear better than white adults.All Headline NewsVandals were emptying the water tanks that volunteers place in the Arizona desert; the volunteers maintain the tanks so that illegal immigrants from Mexico do not die from dehydration when crossing into the United States.KVOA TucsonArchaeologists said that ancient Mexicans wore decorative dentures made from wolves’ teeth,AP via MSNBCand Nestlé announced that it would buy weight loss firm Jenny Craig.The New York TimesBird flu was discovered in Prince Edward Island,GlobeAndMail.comand the Lakeland, Florida, Englishswan population, which is descended from swans given to the city by the Queen of England in 1957, was being eaten by alligators at three times the normal rate.NewsNet5.comPaul McCartney turned 64.The New York Times

A mine in Sri Lanka blew up a bus, killing 58 people,Reutersa minivan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was bombed, killing ten people,CNewsand at least six people died during anti-government riots in Conakry, Guinea.CNN.comPrince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Italy’s last king, was arrested for allegedly helping guests at a casino to procure prostitutes,BBC Newsand bBananarustlers were on the loose in Australia.Times OnlineThe Israeli military absolved itself of responsibility for the deaths of seven members of the picnicking Ghalia family from explosions on a beach in Gaza. An Israeli committee admitted that Israeli forces fired six shells on and around the beach, but found that a mine planted by Hamas (or possibly a buried shell) had, by coincidence, exploded and killed the family at around the same time as the shelling. A former Pentagon battlefield analyst said that the shrapnel and craters he found at the scene of the explosion were consistent with shelling by Israelis, as were the wounds suffered by survivors.The GuardianIt was reported that for two years China has deployed a fleet of Golden Champion “death vans” to allow rural communities to carry out lethal injections.USA Today via AOLKazakhstan launched a satellite into orbit.BBC NewsPresident Bush designated 140,000 square miles encompassing several Hawaiian islands as a national monument and marine sanctuary.BBC NewsScientists found that the sea level in the Arctic Ocean was dropping, even as global sea levels rise.BBC NewsItalianscientists said that they had developed a technique for isolating potent sperm.PhysOrg.comNorway began to build a guarded, fenced-in concrete bunker intended to store three million seeds,BBC Newsand a Norwegianhen laid an egg twice normal size, then was killed to stop her suffering.Aftenposten

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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