Weekly Review — July 20, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Wire Master and his puppets, 1875]

The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

BP successfully capped its hemorrhaging Deepwater Horizon wellhead with an 18-foot, 150,000-pound stopper, 86 days after the rig exploded. The Obama Administration pushed for temporarily reopening the cap and piping oil to the surface to ease pressure on the unstable well, but BP dissented. “No one,” said a spokesman, “wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico.” Fishermen learned that the money they’ve earned helping to clean up the spill will be deducted from the amount they will receive from the $20 billion compensation fund set up by BP, and a new poll showed that 73 percent of Americans disagree with President Obama’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, believing the disastrous oil spill to be a “freak accident.”CNNAP via Yahoo NewsBloombergBP admitted that it had lobbied the British government last year on behalf of Libya to secure the release of the only person ever convicted in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, to protect a $900 million oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya??s coast, and workers excavating the World Trade Center site discovered the keel of an eighteenth-century wooden ship, presumably used as landfill material when Manhattan’s shoreline was expanded.NYTNYTCordoba House, a Muslim community center and mosque planned for part of the redeveloped site, was still sparking debate. “Peaceful Muslims,” tweeted Sarah Palin, “pls refudiate.”WSJNew York TimesDubai’s Al-Arabiya television released the premature farewell video recorded by failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and British researchers concluded that the chicken came before the egg.WaPoCNN

The Vatican issued a new set of ecclesiastical laws that categorized both the ordaining of women and the sexual abuse of children as “grave crimes,” and Switzerland refused to extradite Roman Polanski to the United States to face charges of having sex with a minor.New York TimesAOL NewsArgentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. In Guatemala, President Álvaro Colom, who once posited that “God said ??Adan and Eva,?? not ??Adan and Esteban,??” apologized. “Esteban,” he said, “I ask you to pardon us for centuries of mistreatment and discrimination.”NYTBy a vote of 335 to 1, France’s lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing an Islamic full-face veil in public, and fines and jail terms for men who force their wives to wear a burqa.BBCOxytocin, known as the “cuddle chemical” because it helps mothers bond with their babies, was shown to help schizophrenics, and a study found that a male penguin’s voice reveals how good a dad he will be by indicating how fat he is and hence how long he can incubate eggs without needing food. Psych CentralLive Science

Former leader Mark Williams was expelled from the Tea Party movement for writing an imaginary letter to Abraham Lincoln, calling slavery a “great gig” for “us coloreds.” Yahoo NewsWaPoGeorge Steinbrenner died, and Rush Limbaugh reflected that “that cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires. He fired a bunch of white guys as managers left and right.”AP via Fox NewsSewer cleaners were digging out an estimated 1,000 tons of putrid fat from underneath London, and Venezuelan officials exhumed nineteenth-century independence hero Simon Bolívar to determine whether he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia. “My God, my God… my Christ, our Christ… This glorious skeleton must be Bolivar because you can feel his presence. My God,” tweeted President Hugo Chávez.The IndependentReutersScientists speculated that Alexander the Great was poisoned by bacteria from the Styx River, and comic-book artist Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his mundane life in the series American Splendor, died.Discovery NewsLATExposure to antidepressants in the ocean was making shrimp suicidal, causing them to swim toward the light, despite its association with birds and fishermen.i09.comIt was determined that last month was the hottest June on record worldwide and the worst month for Armysuicides since the Vietnam era.CNNCNNAl Qaeda in Mesopotamia issued a fatwa telling its fighters to marry the widows of those who have died for their cause, and Omar bin Laden told a British newspaper that “I would love to meet Drew Barrymore. I am single now and she is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.”NYT via Times of IndiaThe Telegraph

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More from Margaret Cordi:

Weekly Review May 10, 2011, 12:00 am

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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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I had been in Domoni—an ancient, ramshackle trading town on the volcanic island of Anjouan—for only a few summer days in 2018 when Onzardine Attoumane, a local English teacher, offered to show me around the medina. Already I had gotten lost several times trying to navigate the dozens of narrow, seemingly indistinguishable alleyways that zigzagged around the old town’s crumbling, lava-rock homes. But Onzardine had grown up in Domoni and was intimately familiar with its contours.

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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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