Weekly Review — June 17, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

The Supreme Court ruled 5â??4 that detainees held as “enemy combatants” by the United States in Guantanamo Bay,Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their detention through habeas corpus petitions in federal courts. “Liberty and security can be reconciled…within the framework of the law,” wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in the court’s decision. “The Framers decided that habeas corpus…must be…a part of that law.” Dissenting, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, “So who has won? Not the detainees. The Court’s analysis leaves them with only the prospect of further litigation.” Defense lawyers for the detainees moved to establish that their clients have the right to other constitutional protections and sought to halt ongoing military-commission trials, which permit hearsay and evidence gained from torture.John McCain called the ruling “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” Barack Obama said, “I think the Supreme Court was right.”New York TimesNew York TimescnnObama, who admitted to smoking cigarettes in recent months, also told supporters that he anticipated a “brawl” with McCain and the Republican National Committee: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” ABCPoliticoJacob Bertrand, an employee at a home-improvement store in Colorado, was arrested for shooting a coworker twenty times in the chest and nose with a nail gun, throwing a garbage can at him, and attempting to set him on fire by dousing him in lacquer thinner.MyFOXColorado.comKing Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pledged to calm the world by raising his kingdom’s oil production,Independentand geneticists were developing bugs that eat woodchips and excrete petroleum.Times

Taliban forces raided a prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, allowing 870 prisoners to escape. Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened to send troops across the Pakistan border to fight the Taliban, Christian Science Monitorand British and American special forces were operating in Pakistan in an attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before George W. Bush leaves office. “If he can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden,” a U.S. intelligence source told the “Times” of London, “he can claim to have left the world a safer place.” TimesSheikh Ali al-Neda, the head of Saddam Hussein’s tribe, was killed by a car bomb, and it was reported that Pakistani smuggler A. Q. Khan possessed blueprints for nuclear warheads more advanced than those he is known to have sold to Libya, though it was unclear whether he had sold them to North Korea or Iran.Fox NewsDozens of passengers died when a plane careened upon landing and exploded in Sudan. ReutersIt was announced that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Omri, who was jailed for campaign-finance corruption, will be released early for good behavior, and Hamas declared that the elder Sharon’s three-year vegetative coma is “a sign from Allah” in punishment for Sharon’s ordering the death in 2004 of wheelchair-bound Hamas cofounder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. International Herald TribuneIsrael National NewsA German sportswriter, late for a flight to Vienna to cover the European soccer championships, was arrested for calling in a hoax bomb threat from his cell phone in an attempt to delay his plane. ReutersThe Treaty of Lisbon, which reiterates many of the reforms proposed in the discarded European Union Constitution, was rejected by voters in Ireland,The Heraldand a corpse-laden “quake lake” in the Sichuan province of China was being drained.Washington Post

Kyrgyz novelist Chingiz Aitmatov and television journalist Tim Russert died. New York TimesNew YorkerTwo Anglican priests married in London,.Telegraphand research showed that same-sex marriages are more egalitarian than opposite-sex marriages. New York TimesInvestors from Abu Dhabi were seeking to purchase Manhattan’s Chrysler Building.BreitbartFormer New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was planning to start a vulture real estate fund, backed by labor unions, to profit off foreclosures resulting from the national credit crisis; the manager of the prostitution ring Spitzer patronized, Mark Brener, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges; and the prostitute who serviced Spitzer, Alexandra Ashley DuprĂ©, photographed enjoying a day at the beach with her mother, was observed to have a tattoo in Latin on her upper pelvis that reads “tutela valui”â??or, loosely translated, “I used protection.”New York SunCNNNew York TimesOne in four adults in New York City were infected with the virus that causes genital herpes, Breitbartand floods forced tens of thousands of Midwesterners from their homes.ReutersAfter twice watching a video that, prosecutors alleged, showed R&B singer R. Kelly having sex with and urinating on his then 13-year-old goddaughter, a jury in Chicago acquitted the 41-year-old on 14 counts of child pornography.CNNResponding to a Father’s Day 911 call in Stanislaus County, California, about a man who was kicking and beating his toddler by the side of the road, police descended in a helicopter, shot and killed the man, and found that his son, beaten beyond recognition, was dead. Mercury NewsRats, it was discovered, are more likely to cannibalize their young if their cages are clean. New Scientist

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Secrets and Lies·

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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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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

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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.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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Life after Life·

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

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.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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