Weekly Review — November 7, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Cloaca Maxima, 1872]

The Cloaca Maxima, 1872

Iran criticized Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France, Italy, and the United States for carrying out a practice naval exercise in the Persian Gulf, then announced ten days of “Great Prophet II” war games.AP via International Herald TribuneBreitbartThe International Atomic Energy Agency said that it has been approached by at least six Arab countries interested in developing their own nuclear programs,Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand the U.S. government shut down its “Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal” website after the New York Times pointed out that it contained instructions for building an atomic bomb. “It’s a cookbook,” explained a senior diplomat in Europe.New York TimesIran began offering cash incentives in a program designed to bring in more foreign tourists; travel agents will receive $20 for every Western vacationer but only $10 per Asian.CNNThe White House announced that there is mounting evidence that Iran and Syria are conspiring with Hezbollah to overthrow the government of Lebanon.The AgeTwo of the suspects arrested in Britain in August for plotting to blow up U.S.-bound airplanes were released due to insufficient proof,New York TimesCNNand Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging.ABC NewsA leaked “Index of Civil Conflict” from Central Command in Iraq indicated that the country is sliding from the green zone of “Peace” towards a red zone marked “Chaos.”New York TimesU.S. Army personnel were accused of telling potential recruits that the war was over, ABC Newsand John Kerry apologized for implying that American soldiers in Iraq are stupid.New York Times

Republicans were “glum” as the party prepared to lose at least fifteen seats in the House of Representatives.New York TimesMachines used for early voting began to malfunction in Florida,.Miami HeraldTennessee G.O.P. officals claimed smart cards were missing from a Memphis polling place,WMCTVand a paper-shredding service truck was seen approaching the Cheney compound at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.WonketteThe Homeland Securitywebsitetexasborderwatch.com began broadcasting live footage of the United StatesMexico border.AP via Yahoo! NewsSt. Louis was named America’s most dangerous city. “You made my day!” said Mayor Gwendolyn Faison of Camden, New Jersey, which was formerly ranked most dangerous. “There’s a new hope and a new spirit.”AP via Yahoo! NewsBangalore, the high-tech capital of India, renamed itself “Bengalooru,” to more closely resemble the city’s medieval name, “Bendakalooru,” or “town of boiled beans.”Reuters via Yahoo! NewsCornfarmers in the Midwest were resisting bids for their ethanol plants by Wall Street firms;New York Timesscientists claimed that at the current rate of consumption, global seafood supplies will be obliterated by the year 2048;Washington Postand the World Meteorological Organisation said that the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had hit a record high.BBC NewsChannel 4, Britain’s second largest television network, announced that Google’s U.K. advertising revenues would outstrip the broadcaster’s own by some hundred million pounds this year. “People need to wake up and realize that this is not just a cyclical issue,” said the network’s chief executive. “There is deep structural change, rather like global warming.”Times of LondonDue to the Lebanon war, Israel was facing an eight-fold increase in the cost of marijuana.Reuters via Yahoo! News

Australia announced plans to detain up to 1,200 deadbeat moms and dads at airports during the upcoming holiday season,Northern Territory Newsand the United States said it would fund millions of dollars’ worth of abstinence-only sexual education for adults.USA TodayIn Beijing, volunteers giving out free hugs were detained by police. “Embracing is a foreign tradition,” said one citizen. “Chinese are not accustomed to this.”Reuters via Yahoo! NewsJapanese law enforcement arrested a fetishist who had filled a warehouse with 5,000 pairs of stolen children’s shoes,Mianichi Daily Newsand in South Korea, where miniskirts will soon be legalized, police have begun using “cyber terror units” to curb the rise of online bullying by the mob.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsBBC NewsIn Aurora, Colorado, chubby girls robbed younger children of their trick-or-treatingcandy,ABC 7 Denver and a New Hampshireorthodontist bought back local kids’ spoils for two dollars per pound.WSBTV AtlantaGrieving Maya in Mexico exhumed the bodies of their beloved in order to clean them;Reuters via Yahoo! Newsa Frenchnewspaper declared the death of Halloween.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsRising floodwaters trapped a herd of 100 horses on a Netherlands islet,New York Timesa cache of unsent letters to God was found off the Atlantic City shore,AP via Yahoo! Newsand researchers in Japan captured a dolphin with legs.Chicago Tribune

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More from Miriam Markowitz:

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

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The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

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When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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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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