Weekly Review — May 4, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

In New York City, a Nissan Pathfinder filled with gasoline, propane, dud firecrackers, alarm clocks, and eight bags of fertilizer failed to explode in Times Square. Janet Napolitano, U.S. secretary of homeland security, characterized the attempted car bombing as a “one-off,” not indicative of an organized terrorist plot, while New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly called it a “sober reminder” that “people want to come here and do us harm.” A “furtive” man in a red shirt was being sought in connection with the bombing, and in Albany, Kevin Parker, an African-American state senator, claimed that he was “fighting the forces of evil,” by which he meant “these long-term, white-supremacist, you know, Republican senators.”NY TimesNBCCBS via DrudgeCongressman Duncan Hunter, a CaliforniaRepublican, advocated amending the Constitution so that American-born children of illegal immigrants would not be citizens and could be deported along with their parents. “You can look and say, ‘You??re a mean guy, that??s a mean thing to do’,” Duncan said. “[But] it takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen.”NBCArizona’s undocumented immigrants were “biding their time” and “weighing their options.”Reuters Florida independent senatorial candidate Charlie Crist was considering whether he should accept Republican money, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rendered Manuel Noriega to France so that he could be tried on drug-trafficking crimes related to his presidency in Panama.USA TodayBBC NewsPresident Barack Obama continued his efforts to channel money to Muslim business interests, the United Nations distributed “rugged laptops” to Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, and a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom confirmed that Muslims hate Christians, that Christians hate Muslims, and that they all hate the Jews.BBC NewsBBC NewsCNN

Senior executives from Goldman Sachs testified before Congress about the realities of the American financial system, noting that major banking firms have no ethical, fiscal, or legal obligations to act in the best interest of their clients. Democrats, who were trying to pass a finance-reform bill, acted aghast to learn that banks often bet against investments that they sell to their clients. “They were all doing this,” said Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. “It was lemminglike.”NY TimesNY TimesOil leaking from a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico reached the shores of Louisiana and Mississippi after the Coast Guard failed in its attempts to stanch the flow by lighting the Gulf on fire. “If this oil comes ashore, it’s all over for us,” said Jimmy Rowell, a shrimp and oyster fisherman in Pass Christian, Mississippi. “Nobody wants no oily shrimp.” CNNMiami HeraldUSA TodayNY TimesIn Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO and U.S. forces, struggled to understand a PowerPoint presentation depicting the interplay of cultural, military, and political relationships in that country. “When we understand that slide,” said the general, “we??ll have won the war.”NY TimesThree Israeli military officers were disciplined for killing Palestinian civilians in the village of Burin last March, wealthy Qataris were eating themselves into Western-style obesity, and a mob in southern Lebanon lynched an Egyptian man suspected of killing two children.BBC NewsNY TimesBBC NewsIraqis continued to live in fear.BBC News

Reporters in Washington, D.C., complained that President Obama didn’t provide them with enough information and that he gave too much to the New York Times.Politico via DrudgeThomas Hagan, the only person jailed for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, was released from prison.NY TimesA British schoolteacher who attacked a 14-year-old student with a barbell while making a “low-level howling noise” and shouting “die, die, die” was described by a colleague as “detached from reality.”BBC NewsThe American Lung Association announced that Los Angeles remained the most dangerous American city for breathers.Los Angeles TimesResearchers learned that a giant earthworm wasn’t giant, that chocolate doesn’t cure depression but makes it worse, and that the earth’s oceans may have been seeded with ancient extra-terrestrial liquid.NY TimesBBC NewsBBC News“Total crop failure” was threatening Niger.BBC NewsTexas Governor Rick Perry used a laser-sighted .380 Ruger to kill a coyote who appeared to threaten his puppy. “Something catches my eye and it’s this coyote,” Perry said. “I did the appropriate thing and sent it to where coyotes go.”Washington Post

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Thirty miles from the coast, on a desert plateau in the Judaean Mountains without natural resources or protection, Jerusalem is not a promising site for one of the world’s great cities, which partly explains why it has been burned to the ground twice and besieged or attacked more than seventy times. Much of the Old City that draws millions of tourists and Holy Land pilgrims dates back two thousand years, but the area ­likely served as the seat of the Judaean monarchy a full millennium before that. According to the Bible, King David conquered the Canaanite city and established it as his capital, but over centuries of destruction and rebuilding all traces of that period were lost. In 1867, a British military officer named Charles Warren set out to find the remnants of David’s kingdom. He expected to search below the famed Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, but the Ottoman authorities denied his request to excavate there. Warren decided to dig instead on a slope outside the Old City walls, observing that the Psalms describe Jerusalem as lying in a valley surrounded by hills, not on top of one.

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Eleven years ago, on a bitter January night, dozens of young men, dressed in a uniform of black berets, white T-­shirts, and black pants, gathered on a hill overlooking the Nigerian city of Jos, shouting, dancing, and shooting guns into the black sky. A drummer pounded a rhythmic beat. Amid the roiling crowd, five men crawled toward a candlelit dais, where a white-­robed priest stood holding an axe. Leading them was John, a sophomore at the local college, powerfully built and baby-faced. Over the past six hours, he had been beaten and burned, trampled and taunted. He was exhausted. John looked out at the landscape beyond the priest. It was the harmattan season, when Saharan sand blots out the sky, and the city lights in the distance blurred in John’s eyes as if he were underwater.

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The Catholic School, by Edoardo Albinati. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1,280 pages. $40.

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