Weekly Review — May 22, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Paul Wolfowitz announced that he would resign as president of the World Bank on June 30; the Bank in turn said that it accepted Wolfowitz’s assurances that he had acted “in good faith” when he oversaw a promotion for his girlfriend Shaha Riza.Fin24MSNBCThe GuardianJames B. Comey, deputy for former attorney general John Ashcroft, testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that on March 10, 2004, Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card had attempted to persuade Ashcroft (who was hospitalized and had temporarily given up his authority as attorney general to Comey) to reauthorize the Bush Administration’s domestic surveillance program, even though the Justice Department had just determined that the program was illegal; Ashcroft, Comey said, refused.The Washington PostSenateDemocrats called for a vote of no confidence in Gonzales, and Senator Charles Schumer called the Attorney General a puppet.The New York TimesJimmy Carter said the Bush Administration was “the worst in history” in terms of its impact on the world but later said that his words were “careless or misinterpreted.”Times OnlineJerry Falwell died. “Dr. Falwell,” said Senator John McCain, “was a man of distinguished accomplishment.”The New York TimesThe HillArizonadogs were advised to not swallow hallucinogenic toads.Tucson Citizen

For the first time since the Korean War a train traveled between North and South Korea and a North Korean cargo ship docked in a South Korean port.ABC Radio AustraliaHamas was fighting Fatah in Gaza and sending Qassam rockets into Israel, which was bombing Gaza in return,Reutersand troops in northern Lebanon were fighting against Fatah Islam, a splinter group from a Syrian-backedPalestinian splinter group.BBC NewsKazakhstan’s parliament voted to allow President Nursultan Nazarbayev to stand for unlimited terms,BBC Newsand Jeb Bush joined the board of Tenet Healthcare Systems, which in 2006 agreed to pay $725 million to resolve claims that it cheated Medicare.Seattle Post-IntelligencerIn Sre Leav, Cambodia, villagers were raiding the graves of those killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. “I’m afraid,” said a farmer named Srey Noeun, “that the owner will take revenge on me because she died with nothing but her earrings, and now I have taken them. She’ll say, ‘Please give them back. They are all I had.'” On the other hand, Noeun pointed out, she had been able to buy some pork.The New York TimeObserving the bent light from cluster CL0024+17, astronomers inferred that a ring of dark matter 5 billion light years away had been formed by colliding galaxy clusters.Physorg.comOff the coast of Monterey, California, a new kind of sea anemone–small, white, and cube-shaped–was found inside a whale’s corpse,LiveScienceand scientists in the Antarctic discovered hundreds of new worm and crustacean species, along with a new kind of gourd-shaped carnivorous sponge.Reuters via Scientific AmericanMicrosoft announced that it would acquire online media and advertising firm aQuantive for $6 billion,MediaWeekThomson Corp. agreed to buy Reuters for $17.2 billion,Reutersand the editor of a California news website, explaining that editors and interns “are extremely demanding and produce inferior work,” hired two new reporters who will cover Pasadena from India.The GuardianOnly 38 pupfish remained in Devil’s Hole, Death Valley.AFP via Yahoo! News

Ten people, including a schoolboy, were killed in an Afghanistansuicide bombing,New York Timesat least 15 U.S. troops died in Iraq,AP via Yahoo! Newsand Iraqi President Jalal Talabani flew to the United States, where he hopes to lose weight.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsHillary Clinton released a video on YouTube. “So now I’m turning to you, the American people,” said Clinton in the clip. “Here’s the issue: what do you think our campaign song should be?”YouTube.comThe Defense Department said that it was cutting off soldiers’ access to YouTube and MySpace because the military wanted to “get ahead of the problem before it became a problem.”Wired.comKuwait stopped pegging the dinar exclusively to the dollar, raising doubts that a Gulf currency union will take place by 2010,FT via Yahoo! Newsand China announced that it would invest $3 billion in the New York?based private equity group Blackstone.The New York TimeA group of deep-sea explorers in Tampa, Florida, announced that they had recovered $500 million in sunken treasure from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean,China Viewand the 138-year-old tea clipper Cutty Sark burned in London.BBC NewsA Galveston, Texas, man microwaved his daughter,Click2Houston.comand in Orange County, Florida, a woman was helping her father move out of his home when she discovered photographs of both her father and her deceased mother molesting her daughter.Local6.comNew stars were hatching near the head of Orion,Science Dailyand a gorilla named Bokito ran amok at a Rotterdam zoo, biting a woman and breaking her arm. “He is and remains,” said the woman from her hospital bed, “my darling.”The GuardianReuters

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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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