Weekly Review — January 20, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Israel and Hamas agreed to a one-week ceasefire in Gaza, where Gazan officials estimated that 1,300 Palestinians had died.Hamas Agrees to One-Week Cease-Fire in Gaza Conflict“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow,” said Sir Gerald Kaufman, a British MP who was raised as an Orthodox Jew. “A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers.”UK Jewish lawmaker: Israeli forces acting like NazisA Berlin court ruled to allow the display of Hamas flags and paraphernalia at anti-Israel protests, while at a pro-Hamas rally in the city of Duisburg, German police stormed an apartment to tear down an Israeli flag hanging from its balcony.Germany OK’s Hamas Flags at Rallies… Rips Down Israeli Flags South Korea put its military on alert after North Korea announced it had “weaponized” enough plutonium for four to five nuclear weapons and threatened “an all-out confrontational posture.” SKorea army on alert after North’s military threatTom Cruise, visiting Seoul, said “I’ve always wanted to kill Hitler.”North Korea says plutonium “weaponized” and off-limitsTom Cruise ‘Always Wanted to Kill Hitler’ At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., President-elect Barack Obama greeted joyful crowds gathered in anticipation of his inauguration. Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Jon Bon Jovi, Mary J. Blige, and Garth Brooks performed. “Anything,” said Obama, “is possible.”‘Anything possible,’ Obama tells joyous crowdThe Obama family prayed at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. “Martin Luther King walked so that Barack Obama could run,” said one boy. “Barack Obama ran,” said another, “so that all children could fly.”19th St. Baptist’s Glory: The ObamasA Mississippi man was arrested for posting his plans to kill the President-elect on a UFO-spotting website. “It’s not because I’m racist that I will kill Barack,” wrote the man, “it’s because I can no longer allow the Jewish parasites to bully their way into making the American people submit to their evil ways.”Man charged with threatening Obama on websiteVice-president-elect Joe Biden announced that he was “the most experienced vice president since anybody.” He continued: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Bush-Cheney relationship hasnâ??t tasted very good. Not a single person you can name for me… can tell you that the pudding has tasted good.”Biden Outlines Plans to Do More With Less PowerMore Americans were joining the military,More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle and more Missourians were eating raccoon.The other dark meat: Raccoon is making it to the table

In New York City, a plane collided with a flock of “big, dark-brown” birds and crashed into the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were successfully rescued. One passenger cried with relief as he imagined reuniting with his daughter. “When I get home, I am going to take my nose and put it by her ear, her little warm body and give her a nice kiss from Daddy. I’m alive.”All 155 safe after pilot ditches jet in NYC riverBird strike confirmed in US crash U.S. Airways crash: survivor accounts in their own wordsAt a monster-truck rally in Tacoma, Washington, a metal part flew loose from a truck doing doughnuts, killing a six-year-old boy. “You go out for a night of fun,” said Jessie Hizey, the boy’s father, “and you lose your son.”Parts of Monster Truck Examined After Boy’s Death Little Debbie snacks containing peanut-butter paste were recalled after they were linked to an outbreak of salmonella,F.D.A. Cautions on Peanut Butter and a study warned that Vicks VapoRub may cause bronchial inflammation and suffocation if used on children younger than two.Vicks VapoRub may put infants at risk, study findsAllergan, the drug company that developed Botox, announced the release of Latisse, a new prescription medication for growing longer, thicker eyelashes.Love the Long Eyelashes. Whoâ??s Your Doctor? A judge in New York refused to jail Bernard Madoff, who is under house arrest until he can be tried for securities fraud, saying that the financier was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. Prosecutors had argued that Madoff broke the terms of his bail by mailing more than $1 million worth of diamond-studded jewelry to family and friends. Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, defended his client by telling the judge that many of the items mailed were relatively inexpensive, such as a pair of $200 mittens.U.S. loses another bid to jail Madoff$173 Million in Madoff Checks Reportedly Found

Environmental researchers announced that performing two Google searches generates the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle.Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searchesAndrew Wyeth died,Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91 and the former rock star Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in prison for imprisoning a Norwegian escort, handcuffing him to a bed, and beating him with a chain.Boy George: A hero destroyed by drug ‘degradation’Sri Lanka’s army killed eighteen civilians in attacks on Tamil Tigers bases,Civilians ‘killed’ in Sri LankaPeru’s highest court ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job,You can’t fire me, I’m drunk!and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof announced his third “Win A Trip” contest, offering college students the chance to accompany the reporter around the world. “If you want to save the world, you first must understand it,” wrote Kristof. “For my first win-a-trip journey I chose a Mississippi student, Casey Parks, who had never been out of the country. In rural Cameroon, we came across Prudence Lemokouno, a mother of three who was dying in childbirth. We gave money and donated blood in hopes of saving Prudence. We failed, and we watched Prudenceâ??s life ebb away.”Win a Trip You Wonâ??t Forget Astrophysicists said that the aural jitters picked up by a German gravitational-wave detector may indicate that we all live in a giant and blurry cosmic hologram.Our world may be a giant hologram

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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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On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

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In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
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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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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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