Weekly Review — April 14, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

On the sixth anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s fall from power, tens of thousands of Iraqis loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested the continued U.S. occupation. “When America came, they didn’t do anything for Iraq,” said one protester. “This is not democracy.”Christian Science MonitorIn Moldova, thousands of young people, angry over the parliamentary victory of the Communist Party in recent elections, destroyed government buildings and clashed with police in a protest organized using Twitter and Facebook. “If it would have been planned in advance,” said one Moldovan, “they would have used Molotov cocktails.” The Associated PressProtesters in Tbilisi demanded the resignation of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, APand in cities across the United States, people dressed in Boston Tea Party-themed costumes to protest President Barack Obama‘s economic policies.USA TodayBolivian President Evo Morales began a hunger strike that he plans to continue until his nation’s congress passes a new election law that will increase the number of seats in the indigenous regions of the country where he is popular. The president of Fiji revoked the constitution and abolished the judiciary.BBCAnti-government protests in Thailand forced Asian leaders from sixteen nations, who had gathered for an economic summit, to be evacuated by helicopter,Washington Postand in North Korea Kim Jong Il was unanimously elected to a third term.NYTimesA swarm of bees invaded the White House lawn.CNN

For the first time in eighteen years, television networks broadcast images of the coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in combat.Washington Post Britain’s top antiterrorism official was forced to resign after reporters photographed him holding confidential documents that detailed covert operations. NPRThe Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles refused to permit a vegan woman to put ILVTOFU on a vanity license plate. “We don’t allow ‘FU’,” explained a Department of Revenue spokesperson, “because some people could read that as street language for sex.” San Francisco ChronicleA Virginia teenager was suspended from school for two weeks and recommended for expulsion after she was caught taking a birth-control pill. Washington PostIn Canada, a father who was sued by his twelve-year-old daughter after he grounded her and refused to let her go on a class trip lost his appeal to reinstate the grounding. “The trip was very important to her,” said the girl’s lawyer.CBCA New York judge refused to give a former police officer his job back after he tested positive for cocaine, which he says he accidentally ingested via oral sex.NY Daily NewsThe Obama Administration announced plans to appeal a court decision that gives some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to sue for their release,NYTimesand a jury of two men, three women, and the studio audience of the Dutch television show Devil’s Advocate determined that Osama Bin Laden was not guilty of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Hollywood ReporterAfter months of speculation, the White House announced the selection of the First Dog, a Portuguese water dog named Bo. NYTimes

The BBC uncovered documents revealing that American commanders during World War II reorganized the forces that liberated Paris in 1944 so that no black soldiers would participate. “It is more desirable that the division mentioned above consist of white personnel,” said the U.S. Army’s chief of staff in a secret memo.BBCDave Arneson, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died. San Francisco ChronicleA man in Florida safely landed a plane after the pilot died mid-flight,and U.S. Navy Seals successfully rescued a container-ship captain who had been captured by Somali pirates, killing three pirates in the process. “We will take quick revenge on American ships if we don’t receive apologies,” said one pirate commander. BloombergAn Illinois teenager robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts but came back the next day, returned the money, and apologized. Fox NewsWBBM News RadioAs part of a plan to pay back investors who lost money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Madoff’s opening-day Mets tickets were sold on eBay for $7,500. UPIThe Fox television network announced plans for a new reality show in which employees at real companies will be given the ability to lay off co-workers. “It??s safe to say,” said one of the show’s producers, “it hasn??t been difficult to find companies willing to participate.” NYTimesA man in Poland bit off his friend’s penis during an argument over a borrowed trailer.MetroDuring an Easter-egg hunt in Austria, a 13-year-old girl severed her hand in an animal trap that had been baited with eggs. Daily StarAn Israeli Arab hotel food manager named Jaaber Hussein signed an agreement with Israel’s chief rabbis to become the temporary owner of all the leavened bread of Israel,Hotels Magazineand according to participants in the Jewish celebration of Birchas Hachama, the sun returned to the position it held in the Book of Genesis on the fourth day of creation, when God created light. Baltimore Sun

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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