Weekly Review — September 19, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caricature of Louis IV, by Thackeray. 1875]

Caricature of Louis IV, by Thackeray. 1875.

Twenty-three people were killed in bombings in Kirkuk, Iraq, and 180 bodies, some showing signs of torture, were found in Baghdad,.BBCwhere interfaith dating has become extremely difficult. “There is no hope in this country anymore for Sunnis and Shiites to fall in love,” said Husham al-Gizzy, holding his face in his hands.The New York TimesThe Washington Post“We have to embrace,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, “the culture of dialogue and reconciliation.” CBS NewsThe Abu Ghraib prison was placed under Iraqi control. “I heard shouting,” said a recent visitor, “like someone had a hot iron on their body.”Telegraph.co.ukPresident George W. Bush complained that Part I, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention was too vague. “What does that mean, ??outrages upon human dignity???” he asked at a news conference. “That’s a statement that is wide open to interpretation.”The New York TimesFormer Texas governor Ann Richards died,CNN.comand Princeton professor Edward Felten said that he and his students had successfully hacked a Diebold voting machine.NBC 6Pope Benedict XVI apologized for the reactions to a speech that quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus’s description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”The Telegraph

Amnesty International accused Hezbollah of war crimes,The New York Timesand neo-Nazis won seats in the regional parliament in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.Australia Herald-SunThe dwarfplanet Xena was renamed Eris, for the Greek goddess of discord, and the planet’s moon was named Dysnomia, for the spirit of lawlessness.The New York TimesAstronomers announced a new fluffy planet called HAT-P-1 that is very far away,AP via Yahoo! Newsand Russia said that it could send Madonna into space as early as 2009.Russia-InfoCentreAustralian officials suspected that ten stingrays found dead with their tails cut off had been killed to avenge television personality Steve Irwin.Irwin’s death sparks bout of stingray mutilations Carlos Lage, the vice-president of Cuba, said that the United States was a “morally decadent empire,”BBC Newsand Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against a man who, after security guards mistook his penis pump for a bomb, was detained at O’Hare International Airport. “Humiliation aside,” said the man’s attorney, “the system worked.”MSNBCTwo years after it started, Project BioShield, the $5.6 billion Bush Administration effort to develop and stockpile medical supplies in case of biological attacks, had shown little progress. “The inept implementation of the program,” said the director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, “has led the best brains and the best scientists to give up.”The New York TimesThere was a chemical spill on the International Space Station.The New York Times

In Indonesia gray mud seeping from the ground had inundated an area the size of Monaco; the chief of the hamlet of Kedungbendo met with psychics for advice. “Moses had a stick to part the sea,” explained Haji Hasan. “So, probably there is someone with powers out there who could help.”ReutersA judge in Easton, Pennsylvania, sentenced a 73-year-old woman to life in prison for beating her 84-year-old neighbor to death with a claw hammer,CNN.comand at Dawson College in Montreal a blogger named Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage, wounding 19 people and killing an 18-year-old woman and himself. It was later revealed that Gill had listed “crushing my enemies’ skulls” under the “likes” section of his website profile.CTV.caAn Ontario woman died after choking during the Chubby Bunny marshmallow-eating contest. “It was just an unfortunate incident that happened,” explained a fair manager.EdmontonSun.comLondon Free PressOn the advice of his witch doctor a Serbian premature ejaculator had sex with a hedgehog and had to be hospitalized for pricks.The SunFertility clinics in Britain were low on sperm.BBC NewsA Nigerian man accused of murder explained to authorities that he had actually killed a rogue goat with an axe, but the dead goat had then turned into the corpse of his brother.AP via the BuzzPatricia Kennedy Lawford died of natural causes,The New York Timesand Patricia C. Dunn, the chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, agreed to resign in January after it was revealed that Hewlett-Packard had spied on its own board in order to stop leaks.The New York TimesScientists in India announced that they had discovered a new species of bird,The New York Timesand more polar bearsdrowned in the Arctic.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsThe United States was running out of troops to send to Iraq,.Won’t Deploy? Can’t Deploy.President Bush insisted that the search for Osama bin Laden had not slackened its pace,Reutersand police in Green Bay, Wisconsin, chased a pig around a highway for more than an hour.AP via Yahoo! NewsA British man died when he fell off a cliff while flying his kite.The Guardian

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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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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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