Weekly Review — September 25, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Israel, a few days before Yom Kippur, declared that the Gaza Strip is now a “hostile entity,” and the office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who is under investigation for corruption) announced a collective-punishment plan that includes “limiting the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, cutting back fuel and electricity, and restricting the movement of people to and from the Strip.” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned Israel’s “criminal, terrorist Zionist actions.”BBC NewsBBC NewsABC NewsU.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who recently was denied an audience with the Pope, went to Jerusalem to bring peace,BBC Newsand it was reported that not long ago Vice President Dick Cheney considered asking Israel to launch missiles at an Iraniannuclear site to kick-start a new war.ReutersThe Senate failed to pass a bill restoring habeas corpus to military detainees but voted to denounce MoveOn.org. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl filed an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill to classify Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization,The Huffington Post via Yahoo! NewsAPThe New York Timesand Iran shut its border with northern Iraq after an Iranian national was detained by U.S. troops and accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Guard.AFPIranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the United Nations in New York City and gave a speech at Columbia University. “There is,” he said in an interview, “no war in the offing.”Herald SunMarcel Marceau died quietly.BBC News

Both Iran and mercenary firm Blackwater USA were accused of smuggling weapons into Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking from a Manhattan hotel, criticized the United States for the recent deaths of civilians at the hands of Blackwater. “Success is shared,” he said. “God forbid, failure is also shared.”APGeneral Motors workers went on strike,BBC Newsand Raytheon unveiled Silent Guardian, a device that radiates unbearable pain. “You don’t have time to think about it,” said an executive. “You just run.” The ray gun, Raytheon promised, will not be sold to countries with questionable human rights records, although it will be used by the United States in Iraq.Daily MailSherri Shepherd, one of the hosts of “The View,” was criticized for not knowing for sure whether the earth is round,AFPThe Seattle TimesThe Huffington Postand a dismissed trial-court judge in the Philippines was fighting to be returned to the bench along with his three elves, Angel, Armand, and Luis the Avenger.The Wall Street JournalThere were reports of a restaurant in Tokyo where patrons could rape an animal before eating it. “When people have got money and done everything else,” said a lawyer who’d had the pork, “they turn toward bestiality.”Mainichi Daily NewsApple co-founder Steve Wozniak was dating actress Kathy Griffin.The Daily Dish

Contestants on “American Idol”-style talent shows, said China, must henceforth demonstrate “perseverance, maturity, confidence, and health.”BBC NewsA rare and valuable white koala was discovered in Australia,BBC Newsand FOX talk-show host Bill O’Reilly ate a meal in Harlem. “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea,'” said O’Reilly. “You know, I mean, everybody was–it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun.”Talking Points MemoU.S. Homeland Security was noting what some people read when they fly,Wired.comand a University of Florida student was Tasered after his question for Senator John Kerry went on too long. An Ocala, Florida, man accused police of Tasering him after he refused to drop his Koran; police in Tustin, California, Tasered a 15-year-old autistic boy; and a Taser dart fired at a Vancouver, Washington, man ignited the cigarette lighter in his pocket, setting his pants on fire. Sales at Taser International were expected to reach $90 million this year.The Boston GlobeWRAL.comOC RegisterSeattle Post-IntelligencerTimes OnlineOne million cribs made by Simplicity Inc. and Graco Children’s Products were recalled due to the risk of infant suffocation,APand Denver police were searching for a three-year-old girl abandoned by her mother and mother’s boyfriend. “Walk out into your back yard,” said police. “Look through your Dumpsters, help us find this little girl. She’s probably in a black plastic bag or white plastic bag.”The Denver ChannelA man in St. Paul, Minnesota, faced $5,000 in fines for ripping the head off a tame duck in a hotel lobbyStar Tribuneand a British man named Anthony Anderson was arrested for urinating on a 57-year-old woman as she lay dying of pancreatic failure. “This,” yelled Anderson as he was filmed, “is YouTube material.”BBC NewsTwenty thousand people marched against the junta in Burma; about 400 monks were pushed away from the house where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is imprisoned. “Love and kindness,” read the monks’ yellow banner, “must win over everything.”The Guardian

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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!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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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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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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