Weekly Review — January 16, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Federal agents in Missouri found two kidnapped adolescent boys in the apartment of Michael Devlin, a 41-year-old pizzeria manager. “I still feel like I’m in a dream, only this time it’s a good dream, not the nightmare I’ve had to live for the past four-and-a-half years,” said the mother of one of the boys. New York TimesThe Bush Administration announced plans to increase U.S. forces in Iraq by 20,000 troops,New York TimesAmericans in Erbil arrested six Iranians working at a diplomatic office, New York Timesand Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.) asserted that the authority Congress granted the Bush Administration to invade Iraq did not extend to invading Iran or Syria. “I just want to set that marker,” he said.SlateU.S. air strikes in Somalia killed seven people. Somali officials believed the dead included Al Qaeda operative Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, reputed mastermind of the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but U.S. officials said they were still chasing him.Yahoo! NewsCBS NewsIn the Persian Gulf, the USS Newport News, an American nuclear submarine, collided with the Mogamigawa, a Japaneseoil tanker.Boston GlobeVladimir Putin threatened to cut Russia’soil production,Business Weekand in Venezuela, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Hugo Chávez embraced. “Welcome, fighter for just causes,” Chávez said. New York TimesEhud Barak announced that he is seeking leadership of the Israeli Labor Party, which was trailing Benjamin Netanyahu??s Likud Party in polls, Ha’aretzReutersand Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israeli calls for a temporary Palestinian state.New York TimesMengistu Haile Mariam, the former dictator of Ethiopia who now lives comfortably in Zimbabwe, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment on genocide charges.New York TimesMercenaries in Iraq lost their immunity from war crimes prosecution, Boston GlobeMuslim villagers in Bihar, India, were changing their sons?? names to “Saddam Hussein,.”BBCand a new video emerged that showed Hussein’s corpse with a gaping circular neck wound.Washington PostA rocket-propelled grenade struck the U.S. Embassy in Athens,New York TimesHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi banned smoking in the Speaker’s Parlor of the Capitol,Washington Postand President George W. Bush cried.Yahoo! News

Shahwar Matin Siraj, a 24-year-old clerk at an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for discussing phony plans to bomb a subway station with a police informant; Siraj??s father, mother, and sister, all asylum-seekers, were arrested for deportation to their native Pakistan.WNBCIn Illinois, Derrick Shareef, a 22-year-old Muslim convert who was arrested last month after trading two stereo speakers to a federal agent for a pistol and four nonfunctioning grenades that he planned to set off at a local mall, pleaded not guilty to attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. Saulkvalley.comOn a radio program for federal employees and contractors, a Department of Defense official listed the names of law firms whose lawyers have represented detainees at Guantánamo Bay. “Quite honestly,” he said, “when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.”Washington PostSealand, a sovereign country declared 40 years ago on a derelict anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea, was for sale, Yahoo! NewsDavid Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy,New York TimesRobert Anton Wilson died, New Fnord Timesand an astronomer speculated that the last space probe to Mars failed to find life on the planet because it was looking for the wrong kind of life.CNN

Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D., Conn.) announced his candidacy for president,Houston Chronicleand Senator Barack Obama was featured shirtless in People Magazine’s Beach Babes issue. “It’s embarrassing,” Obama said. Washington PostCal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame; Mark McGwire and Jim Rice were not.Boston HeraldDan Gulley Jr., an Alabama septuagenarian, turned himself in to police after shooting his friend David Brooks Jr. twice in the stomach during a quarrel about the height of deceased soul singer James Brown,Breitbartand former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attended a gun show. “As a boy, I worked on a ranch in Idaho and shotrabbits with a single shot .22 rifle,” Romney said. “After a while my cousin said, ‘You’re not very good at that. Try using this semiautomatic.'”NewsMaxUnder the influence of truth drugs, an Indian butler accused of serial murder, necrophilia, and cannibalism told police that the first time he tried to eat one of his victim’s organs (the liver of a four-year-old girl), it made him vomit. BreitbartSenatorHillary Clinton said that “we want to be able to continue to export democracy, but we want to deliver it in digestible packages.”The New YorkerCapsaicin, a substance in jalapeño peppers, was said by scientists to thwart cancer by attacking mitochondria in cancer cells, triggering cell death.BBCMembers of the Baker’s Dozen, an all-male Yalea cappella group recuperating from injuries they suffered when a gang of prep school students attacked them on New Year’s Eve, were asked by police to return to San Francisco to identify their assailants. “The kids are scared shitless,” said a father of one of the singers.San Francisco ChronicleA California woman died from water intoxication after a water-drinking contest, L.A. Timesdepressed American zoo animals were taking Prozac,L.A. Timesand poor Zimbabweans were happily eating dogfood.Institute for war and peace reporting

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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.

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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 . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

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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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