Weekly Review — November 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Cloaca Maxima, 1872]

The Cloaca Maxima, 1872

Friday marked Mexico‘s Day of the Dead, which was celebrated as hundreds of thousands of people attempted to flee the flooded state of Tabasco by boat, helicopter, jet ski, tractor, or by swimming through murky, snake-infested currents.AP via Yahoo! The town of Orme, Tennessee, which has suffered from a prolonged drought, announced that it had run out of water.APFormer FEMA director Michael D. Brown, who now works for a disaster recovery company, was made available for comment regarding the wildfires raging in California,.PR Newswireand the ten-year-old boy who started a fire that spanned 60 square miles and destroyed 21 homes near Santa Clarita was declared by a neighbor to be, to the best of the neighbor’s knowledge, a good kid.AP via Yahoo! News A professor of clinical psychiatry suggested that 60 percent of boys between kindergarten and fourth grade have experimented with matches. “Fireplay is a common and absolutely normal part of human development,” said the professor.New York TimesThe U.S. Navy pursued and seized a North Korean tanker hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia; AP via Yahoo! News three-hundred American diplomats protested the possibility of involuntary transfer to the Green Zone;BBC Newsand Sunni leaders in Anbar province lobbied the United States for billions of dollars as a reward for joining the fight against Al Qaeda.Yahoo! NewsIn a speech publicizing October’s record low of civilian deaths, President George W. Bush, commenting on sectarian violence, made his “disappointments clear to the Iraqi leadership.” Yahoo! News

The Venezuelan National Assembly overwhelmingly approved constitutional reforms that would greatly expand the power of President Hugo Chavez and permit him to run, repeatedly, for re-election.AP via Yahoo! News In Lahore, Pakistan, police armed with clubs and tear gas attacked the thousands of lawyers protesting General Pervez Musharraf’s imposition of martial law.New York Times60 Minutes aired an interview with Nicolas Sarkozy that was cut short by the French president after he was asked to discuss his wife. “Bon courage,” said Sarkozy, and declared the interview over.Yahoo! NewsRudy Giuliani conceded that although his campaign’s statistic for prostate cancer survival rates in Britain was seven years old and 30 points off, Americans should still be wary of “socialized medicine.” “If we ever got to Hillarycare in this country,” said Giulani, “Canadians will have nowhere to go for health care.”Reuters via Yahoo! NewsLate President Gerald Ford was reported to have ascribed “unlimited ambition” to Hillary Clinton in a 2002 interview. “The Republicans will make a mistake if they think she is gonna be a pushover,” said Ford, although he didn’t think the country was “ready for a lady president.” Clinton told reporters that the other Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination were not targeting her because she was a woman, but because she was winning, and Mitt Romney launched an ad impugning her leadership experience. “The idea that she could learn to be president as an internship,” says Romney, “just doesn’t make any sense.”Reuters via Yahoo! NewsReuters via Yahoo! News

Hollywood screenwriters went on strike. “I’m really scared,” said Oren Ashkenazi, a dry cleaner who caters to Warner Brothers.New York TimesFourteen children were rescued from a New Delhi sweatshop that was subcontracted by The Gap.TelegraphSelf-proclaimed real-life superheroes such as “Red Justice” and “Direction Man” gathered for an anonymous meeting in Times Square. “I donâ??t have many friends,” explained “The Super,” who fixes faucets in a cape.New York TimesDuane “The Dog” Chapman’s cable show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, was suspended indefinitely after a tape surfaced in which Chapman used a racial slur to describe his son’s girlfriend. “It’s not ’cause she’s black,” said Chapman. “It’s because we use the word ‘nigger’ sometimes here. I’m not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I’ve worked for for 30 years because some fucking nigger heard us say ‘nigger’ and turned us in to the Enquirer magazine.” Chapman’s son subsequently sold the tape of the conversation to the National Enquirer.ReutersStar BulletinNational PostRapper Jay-Z was flashing euros in a recent video, and supermodel Gisele Bundchen was refusing to accept payment in dollars.YouTubeTelegraph.co.ukThe New York Times Style section published a feature on the rise of the term “vajayjay” to describe female genitalia. “The reason that vajayjay has caught on, I think, is because there is a black–Southern especially–naming tradition, which is to have names like Ray Ray and Boo Boo and things like that,” said John H. McWhorter, a linguist at the Manhattan Institute. “It sounds warm and familiar and it almost makes the vagina feel like a little cartoon character with eyes that walks around.”New York TimesIn Johannesburg a contestant on the reality-TV show Big Brother Africa was caught on camera digitally penetrating an unconscious female housemate and then, after heeding the pleas of another female contestant to desist, sitting alone sniffing his fingers. The contestant explained his behavior by telling his fellow housemates, “Well, this is Africa.”First PostBritish police documents revealed that the DNA of suspects accused of crimes such as picking wildflowers or defacing coins will be stored for life in a national database.TelegraphAlexander Feklisov, the Soviet spy handler of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, died at 93, as did Washoe, the signing chimp, at 42, and Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr., the pilot of the Enola Gay, at 92. Tibbets remained unapologetic about his role in the 66,000 deaths and 69,000 injuries wrought by the atomic blast at Hiroshima. “I never,” he once said, “lost a night’s sleep over it.”AP via Yahoo! NewsNew York TimesLos Angeles Times

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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

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