Weekly Review — September 26, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Killing Ground, May 1874]

Killing Ground.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at the United Nations in New York, proclaimed his love for all the world’s peoples, and suggested that the United States halt domestic fuel production and buy its energy from him “at a fifty percent discount.”BBC NewsVenezuelan president Hugo Chavez objected to the smell of sulfur in the U.N.’s General Assembly hall, and offered to relocate the U.N.’s headquarters to Caracas. New York timesFox NewsTed Turner called the Iraq war one of the “dumbest moves of all time,”CNNand a spokesman for the Iraq Study Group, a think tank created to analyze events in Iraq, announced that it had “made no judgment of any kind at this point about any aspect of policy with regard to Iraq.”Washington PostThe judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein was removed because “he hurt the feelings of the Iraqi people.”New York timesIn Afghanistan,Marine General James L. Jones claimed to have killed as many as a third of the Taliban’s “hardcore” fighters, leaving only the “weekend warriors.”New York timesA British major described the Royal Air Force as “utterly, utterly useless.”The IndependentIn Thailand, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin staged a coup d’etat, dismissing the prime minister and revoking the constitution. “Democracy has won!” said one coup supporter.Reuters and the Washington PostHungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that his campaign was based on lies. “We lied in the morning,” said Gyurcsany. “We lied in the evening.”New York timesBritish Home Secretary John Reid declared that England’s “fight is not with Muslims generally,”BBC Newsand in Jordan, a failed suicide bomber was sentenced to be hanged.New York timesIsraeli tourism officials circulated a sightseeing pamphlet bearing the slogan, “Jerusalemâ??there’s no such city!”BBC NewsPalestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that Hamas would never recognize Israel.monsters and critics.comPakistani president Pervez Musharraf said it was “very rude” for former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to threaten to bomb his country “back to the Stone Age.”Times of LondonHezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah attended a rally in Beirut to commemorate the “divine and historic victory” in the war with Israel,.New York timesand President George W. Bush said he now knew that the stability he believed to exist in the Middle East was a “mirage.”Washington Post

The United States Justice Department claimed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “had his timeline mixed up” when he denied the United States had deported a Canadian citizen to Syria, where he was tortured.New York timesThe Food and Drug Administration announced that it had found the “smoking gun” of bacteria-infested spinach in a refrigerator in New Mexico.CNNThe Federal Emergency Management Agency made final preparations to demolish the town of Elkport, Iowa,CNNand in Fernald, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency was planning to cart away 5,800 tons of contaminated soil so that a former nuclear production facility could be turned into a “natural” park.New York timesIn California, accused pedophile John Karr was described by his lawyer as a “southern gentleman with a sense of humor,”New York timesand VirginiaSenator George Allen acknowledged his Jewish ancestry.Washington PostThe Boeing Company was awarded a congressional contract to build a 6000-mile “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexico border.Washington PostFruit farmers rallied in Washington, D.C., to protest a shortage of low-wage, uninsured, illegal immigrantlaborers.New York timesIn Maryland, the National BlackRepublican Association ran radio ads claiming that Martin Luther King was a Republican and that Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan.nbc4.com via google newsNawar Shora of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said that “the average Yousef” thought of an FBI agent as a “middle-aged white guy talking in their sleeve.”Washington PostIn the basement of the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unleashed his deadly squash drop shot.New York times

President Bush predicted that, given the opportunity, Democrats would raise taxes.ReutersBill and Hillary Clinton both agreed that they were “sick of Karl Rove’s bullshit.”The Examiner via the Drudge ReportResearchers in Massachusetts successfully gave a mouse a tan without exposing it to the sun; other scientists partially restored the sight of blind rats.BBC NewsA man believed to have ingested four glasses of draft beer jumped into a pen at the Beijing Zoo and bit Gu Gu, a six-year-old panda.Yahoo News via the Drudge ReportBBC NewsHybrid lions were dying from a mystery disease in northern India. The Drudge ReportThe recipient of a penis transplant in Guangzhou, China, requested doctors remove the organ after he and his wife began experiencing “severe psychological problems.”The GuardianAustralian researchers determined that lesbian women were 10 percent more orgasmic than their straight female counterparts.Daily MailA survey showed that rap music fans are unlikely to recycle.Innovations Report via Nerve.comBusinessman Richard Branson pledged to donate $3 billion to alternative energy development,ABC News via google newsParis Hilton gave a homeless man $100,The Superficial via Nerve.comand Michael Jackson was considering opening a leprechaun-themedamusement park in Ireland.MSNBCTelevision sets outnumbered people in American homes.Breitbart.com via Nerve.comKatelyn Kampf, 19, of Yarmouth, Maine, accused her parents of hog-tying and gagging her, forcing her into a car, and taking her to New York for an emergency abortion.Local6.comAnousheh Ansari, a communications entrepreneur from Texas, became the world’s first female Muslimspace tourist.BBC NewsBig box retail stores were employing anthropologists to help sell their products.New York timesA poll conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery found that 46 percent of American women wanted to be surgically altered to resemble Jennifer Aniston.CNNA pedigree bull mastiff deefer from Nottingham, England, underwent emergency surgery to have two pairs of ladies’ underwear removed from his small intestine,BBC Newsand scientists announced that breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day.Los Angeles Times

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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.”

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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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