Weekly Review — October 17, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Storks, 1864]

Research by U.S. epidemiologists and Iraqi physicians found that 654,965 Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq war, though half of households surveyed were unsure of who to blame for the deaths of their family members. President George W. Bush said that he did not consider the study “a credible report.”Johns Hopkins UniversityReutersThe United StatesArmy was planning to maintain current troop levels in Iraq through 2010, and to replace its advertising slogan, “An Army of One,” with a new slogan, “Army Strong.”APInsurgents in Baghdad fired a mortar round at an ammunition dump on a U.S. military base, setting off large explosions that were felt miles away,Army TimesChina Dailyand the judge in Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial once again expelled Hussein from the courtroom; one of Hussein’s co-defendants then called the prosecutors “pimps and traitors” and punched a bailiff. Another defendant declared, “I wish to be executed and finish with this court.”AFP via BreitbartNorth Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong Il was said to be at risk of losing his access to McDonald’s hamburgers and Hennessy cognac if sanctions on luxury goods are imposed in response to his country’s recent nuclear testing.All Headline NewsU.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld showed reporters a satellite image of North Korea. “Except for my wife and family,” said Rumsfeld, “that is my favorite photo.”Daily MailCanadian troops in Afghanistan were finding it difficult to destroy forests of ten-foot-tall marijuana plants where the Taliban hide. “That damn marijuana,” said one soldier.Reuters via CNN.comRight-wing columnist Christopher Hitchens confessed that he had eaten a dog.Daily Mirror

Two trains collided while traveling in opposite directions between the French city of Nancy and the grand duchy of Luxembourg, killing six people.AFX via Hemscott.comFloods killed 37 people in Thailand, and Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed nine people.AFP via Yahoo! NewsAP via CBS NewsLibya announced that it would provide laptop computers for 1.2 million schoolchildren,AP via local6.comand ChineseWal-Mart workers unionized.International Herald TribuneAmericans were claiming political asylum in Britain.Sun OnlineIn China’s Shanxi and Shaanxi Provinces, families with dead sons complained that corpse brides were in short supply.scotsman.comA study suggested that an increasing number of British students are working as prostitutes in order to pay their university tuition,timesonline.co.ukand California researchers found that women dress more fashionably when they are ovulating.ReutersA Vietnamese death-row inmate convicted of possessing heroin worth more than one billion dong had her sentence commuted to life in prison when she was discovered to be pregnant.BBCA Virginia couple were trying to give back their fifteen-year-old adopted son, who turned out to be a sexual predator. “They just told me he was hyperactive,” said the boy’s mother. Washington PostA Pennsylvania woman was arrested for beating her baby’s father with the baby.AP via New York TimesIn Bombay, where the city courts faced a backlog of 16,234,223 cases, police arrested a drunk three-foot-tall man for extorting money from people with a meat cleaver. “Everyone pampered him because he was so small and cute,” said the man’s brother. “But he has brought great misfortune for the family.”Mumbai MirrorMumbai MirrorA Minnesota school principal resigned after shooting two orphaned kittens on school property.AP

In Israel, four doctors were arrested for carrying out illegal, non-consensual medical experiments on their patients;Haaretzthe U.S. Department of Justice accused blacks of suppressing the white vote in Mississippi;New York Timesand Adam Pearlman, the “American Al Qaeda,” was charged with treason, making him the first U.S. citizen so indicted since World War II.CBS NewsDubai’s ruling family was sued for enslaving children as camel jockeys. A family representative argued that the suit was spurious, since Dubai has replaced child camel-jockeys with robots.BBCIndia’s Supreme Court ordered the seizure of 300 macaques who had terrorized bureaucrats and destroyed top-secret defense documents,BBCand the Philippines rejected a plan to help a monkey-infested island by importing monkey-eating eagles.gulfnews.comIn Uganda, a mob armed with spears, machetes, and clubs killed a lioness, mutilated the carcass, and imprisoned the remains.The Monitor via allAfrica.comThousands of villagers in the Indian state of Jharkhand fled their homes in order to avoid a herd of rampaging elephants. “The elephants,” said a forestry official, “are out to avenge.” “They destroy our crops in the field,” complained a farmer. “Sometimes they damage our houses also.” ReutersANI via DailyIndia.comDonkeys were increasingly popular with Mexican farmers.Christian Science Monitor via Arizona Daily StarSwiss researchers in Syria discovered the remains of an extinct species of giant camel, iol.co.zaand a Virginiabiologyteacher was suspended after compelling her students to pose with the bones of a century-old corpse in Pocahontas Cemetery.North Country GazetteWalnut-related crimes were on the rise in the United States,.Appeal-Democratand a pile of jelly left over from a wedding party’s jelly-fight sparked a terrorism alert near Leipzig, Germany.One Bakersfield OnlineMumbai MirrorAn Italian sociologist moved into a cave, where he plans to spend the next three years;BBCtwo Indianapolis morticians ran into a burning building to save three corpses;Metro.co.ukand fish leapt from the ocean near Hawaii in anticipation of an earthquake.local6.com

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

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Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

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$1,500

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