Weekly Review — August 28, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned.New York TimesThe CIA’s inspector general released a report recommending that former CIA director George Tenet and other senior officials be held accountable for failing to prepare for the threat of Al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks,New York Timesand the Pentagon announced it would close Talon, the database created after September 11 to monitor and store information about security threats and peace activists. Washington PostGrace Paley died.New York TimesIn a motion filed by the Justice Department, the Bush Administration argued that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, even though the office is listed as one of six presidential entities subject to FOIA on the White House website.Washington PostThe American Psychological Association ruled that many of the interrogation techniques used against detainees at U.S. facilities??including mock execution, simulated drowning, sexual and religious humiliation, stress positions, sleep deprivation, hooding, forced nakedness, exposure to extreme heat or cold, physical assault, and the use of mind-altering drugs??are immoral.Washington PostAt the court-martial of Army Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the only officer to be charged in the Abu Ghraib scandal, witnesses for the prosecution said that Jordan did not “sign off on anything,” and that he had “nothing to do with the interrogations,” and “nothing to do with those detainees being abused.” The prosecution later rested its case.IHT

Two humanitarian groups in Iraq announced that the “surge” in the number of American troops has led to a large increase in the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes, furthering the country’s division into sectarian enclaves, and a new National Intelligence Estimate predicted that Iraqi politicians would be unable to fix sectarian rifts any time soon. New York TimesNew York TimesReturning from a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan, Senate Chairman of the Armed Services Carl Levin (D., Mich.) declared the Iraqi government “non-functional” and recommended that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet be replaced. “We care for our people and our constitution,” said Maliki, who was visiting Syria, “and can find friends elsewhere.”Washington PostWashington PostThe U.S. Justice Department released documents showing that Dr. Ayad Allawi, Maliki’s chief opponent and the man most likely to replace him as prime minister, is paying the G.O.P. firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers $300,000 to lobby on his behalf.ABC NewsDemocratic presidential candidate John Edwards dubbed himself the “candidate for change,”Daily Heraldand the hip-hop magazine Vibe dubbed Barack Obama “B-Rock.”CNN.comAs part of President Bush‘s $15 billion anti-AIDS program, the United States will begin paying for African men to be circumcised,Washington Postand researchers in Uganda said that washing the penis after sex increases the risk of HIV infection. “Don’t just finish and jump out of bed,” advised Dr. Ronald Gray, co-author of the study. “There ought to be a little time left for postcoital cuddling.”New York Times.Bob Allen, the Florida state representative who was arrested in July after offering to fellate an undercover police officer, was stripped of his legislative-committee appointments but remained unfazed. “I’m waiting,” he said, “for the politics to say it’s okay to hug Bob Allen again??and they will.”Orlando SentinelPatrick Leahy, the 67-year old Democratic senator from Vermont who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is pressing the Bush Administration to turn over documents relating to its warrantless wiretapping program, revealed that he has a small part in the upcoming Batman movie, and that he had to let his remaining hair grow out for the role.Washington PostResearchers found that cornrows can cause permanent bald patches.BBC

Two bears at the Belgrade Zoo, Masha and Misha, spent the annual beer-festival weekend feasting on a 23-year-old Serb, who was discovered naked, dead, and half-eaten in their cage. “Only an idiot,” said zoo director Vuk Bojovic, “would jump into the bear cage.”CNNMelting ice in the Arctic revealed previously unknown islands that have yet to be claimed.Yahoo NewsStudies in the U.S. showed that one in four adults read no books last year, that white youths are happier than the youths of other races, and that senior citizens are enjoying an active and varied sex life that includes masturbation, vaginal intercourse, and oral sex.Yahoo NewsYahoo NewsWashington PostAfter waiting 55 years for a Purple Heart, Nyles Reed, a 75-year-old Korean War veteran and former Marine, received a form letter from Navy Personnel Command saying the medal was out of stock and suggesting that he buy his own.Houston ChronicleVacationers aboard a Taiwaneseairliner in Okinawa slid down escape chutes and sprinted to safety moments before the plane exploded. “I ran so hard,” one passenger said, “my sock tore.”Washington PostScientists in England determined that Tyrannosaurus rex would have been able to outrun a professional soccer player.BBCThirty years after murdering six people, David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, sent a letter to amNew York in which he apologized for his misdeeds,AM New Yorkand previously unpublished letters by Mother Teresa revealed that beginning in 1948 and continuing until the end of her life in 1997 she was unable to sense the presence of God. “Repulsed??empty??no faith??no love??no zeal,” she wrote. “Heaven means nothing.” Time MagazineScientists found a very big hole in the universe.Yahoo News

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