Weekly Review — June 22, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

President Barack Obama premiered a new political narrative of the BP oil spill during a nationally televised address. Instead of portraying government efforts as a cleanup, Obama described a “battle plan”: the oil flowing from the destroyed BP wellhead was not an industrial accident but a “siege” and an “assault [on] our shores.” BP announced that it would cease paying dividends to shareholders and instead hoard money for use in future lawsuits. Americans remained in favor of offshore drilling, members of Congress sold their shares in oil and gas companies as quickly as they could, and Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that he was a politician and proud of it.NY TimesNY TimesNY TimesNY TimesNY TimesWashington PostDrudge ReportAfricans were accused of wasting “obscene” amounts of food, and a “cooker malfunction” in a Campbell’s Soup factory in Paris, Texas, forced the recall of 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs with meatballs.USA TodayMy Way News via DrudgeAn American man arrested in Pakistan in possession of a pistol, a sword, night-vision equipment, and Christian religious books, who was believed to be trying to find and kill or convert Osama bin Laden, was found to have a history of mental problems.CNNAli Larijani, speaker of the Iranian Parliament, warned “certain adventurous countries” not to inspect his country’s cargo ships at sea.English News via Drudge

The Supreme Court of California heard arguments as to whether only people capable of procreating should be allowed to marry, and Catholics in New York State came out against legislation that would abolish fault-only divorce. “New York State has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country,” said Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference. “While we see that as a cause for state pride, sadly some may see it as a problem to be corrected.”NY TimesNY TimesThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that “female Viagra” makes women depressed, dizzy, and lightheaded but does not increase their sexual satisfaction, and Harvard scientists determined that American doctors will work harder if they are paid less.USA TodayNY TimesA study commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed that New York City’s administrators know far less about rats than previously assumed, and Andrew Cuomo, a gubernatorial candidate in the state, clarified his stance on pasta cookery. “As an independent Democrat,” he said, “I eat everybodyâ??s lasagna. I eat conservatives’ lasagna. I eat liberal lasagna.”NY TimesGothamist via eaterResearch showed that fat women have a much harder time finding sexual partners than do fat men, and childhood educators dismissed the importance of best friends. “Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We say he doesnâ??t need a best friend.”USA TodayNY TimesIn Munich, a young man dressed only in his underwear mooned a group of Hells Angels, threw a puppy at them, and then fled on a stolen bulldozer. BBC

Incidences of suspected fraud by American soldiers, mercenaries, and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan were up 18 percent over last year, and a funeral-home director in Findlay, Ohio, was arrested for failing to wear clothes in the presence of a corpse.USA TodayCNNThe U.S. Department of Transportation debated the legality of serving peanuts on commercial airliners, and food scientists at Penn State University found that “supertasters” who “live in a neon taste world” experience salty and bitter flavors more intensely than their “pastel” non-supertaster counterparts.LA TimesCNNIn Chicago, the Honorable Richard M. Daley told local reporters that they hate Walmart because they live in the suburbs.Chicago News CoopA growing “epidemic” of Web pornography prompted the decency group Enough is Enough to lobby Congress in favor of censoring the Internet; as many as 60 severed human heads were discovered on a Southwest Airlines flight to Fort Worth, Texas; and Warren Buffett and Bill Gates established a foundation whose purpose is to shame rich people.Washington Times via DrudgeDFW via DrudgeLA TimesIncarcerated men were spending more time with their children.USA TodayIn Botswana, England’s Prince William agreed to blow a young boy’s vuvuzela. “There you go,” the prince said after playing the three-foot trumpet. “Iâ??ve embarrassed myself again.”Telegraph via Drudge

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On a sunny July day in 2018, Alexis Stern was sitting behind the wheel of the red Ford Fusion her parents had given her the previous year when she’d learned to drive. Robbie Olsen, the boy she’d recently started dating, was in the passenger seat. They were in the kind of high spirits unique to teenagers on summer vacation with nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. They were about to take a drive, maybe get some food, when Stern’s phone buzzed. It was the police. An officer with the local department told her to come down to the station immediately. She had no idea what the cops might want with her. “I was like, am I going to get arrested?” she said.

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This is what I feared, that she would speak about the news . . . about how her father always said that the news exists so it can disappear, this is the point of news, whatever story, wherever it is happening. We depend on the news to disappear . . .
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In the spring of 2018, Tequila Johnson, an African-American administrator at Tennessee State University, led a mass voter-registration drive organized by a coalition of activist groups called the Tennessee Black Voter Project. Turnout in Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom among U.S. states, just ahead of Texas. At the time, only 65 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered to vote, the shortfall largely among black and low-income citizens. “The African-American community has been shut out of the process, and voter suppression has really widened that gap,” Johnson told me. “I felt I had to do something.”

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