Weekly Review — August 24, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

A kinkajou, 1886.

The developers of the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero–whose project continues to lack a lobbyist, engineer, architect, blueprint, and, according to their most recent disclosure, $99,981,745 of the $100 million they intend to raise–did not agree to meet with Governor David Paterson, who hopes to persuade them to build somewhere else. BloombergNYOPoliticoAs Israel prepared for the drilling of the large gas reserves discovered last year off its northern coast, the parliament of Lebanon voted to outline the country’s maritime borders.EarthTimesNYTIran celebrated the opening of its first nuclear power plant, and President Obama invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United States for peace talks. “When they reach an impasse, and they will, the expectation will be that the president has to come in and fix these things,” said Middle East scholar Aaron David Miller. “Does he really understand what he??s getting himself into?”NYTUSA Today One in five Americans believed Obama to be Muslim.PewA Thai appellate court ordered the extradition of alleged weapons-trafficker, money-launderer, and sanction-flouter Viktor Bout to the United States, and the security firm formerly known as Blackwater paid the U.S. government $42 million to avoid criminal charges over hundreds of export violations.WPWSJNYTThirty-three Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for more than two weeks turned out to be alive, though engineers said they won??t be rescued for at least four months.TelegraphThe body of a registered Japanese centenarian was found in her son??s backpack.BBC

On the fourteenth day of deliberation, jurors found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of lying to the FBI; on 23 counts of wire fraud, bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy to extort, they were unable to reach a verdict.NYTSeven crates of Blagojevich’s belongings were auctioned by a moving company to which he owed thousands of dollars; his life-size statue of Elvis fetched $20,500, and a neon sign of the ex-governor??s name went for $375. “I??m going to put it next to my Nixon poster,” said the buyer of the sign. “I liked him too.”NYTChicago S-TFrench police officers delivered expulsion orders to about 100 Roma encamped northeast of Paris; each Rom had the option of being flown to Romania and given $385 for resettlement or being forcibly expelled in a month. “God will protect us,” said Ioan Lingurar, who managed to avoid an expulsion order. “Even from Sarkozy.”NYTGeneral Motors announced it would return to the stock market with an initial public offering of an estimated $110 per share; the government, which bailed out the company in exchange for 61 percent ownership, will have to sell its 304 million shares at $165 to break even.WPWSJHip-hop artist Wyclef Jean was barred from seeking the Haitian presidency, and a Californian financial worker was arrested for twice ejaculating into a female officemate??s water bottle.NYTNYM

Bobby Thomson, who hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” homerun, died, as did literary critic Frank Kermode.PPGGuardianIt was revealed that James Patterson is the highest-paid author in the world.NYTIn Laguna Beach, California, a deer bolted through two stores, got hit by a car, and fled into the ocean to die; during a bullfight in Tafalla, Spain, an 1100-pound bull leaped into the stands and injured 40 people before it was killed; and in Orlando, Florida, ten days after it got stuck, the head of Jarhead, a bear, was liberated from a plastic jar.LATNYDNGuardianNPTwo women, exploring the contents of an old trunk in a Los Angeles building, happened on the seventy-year-old remains of an infant; LAPD officers subsequently discovered a second long-dead infant.LATTwo Iowa companies recalled 400 million eggs following an outbreak of salmonella, and the Department of Defense responded to an outbreak of bedbugs in Cincinnati, where some residents had started to sleep on the street.NYTWPTimeIn southern Sudan, where nine-tenths of the population lives on less than a dollar per day, authorities unveiled a $10 billion plan to build cities in the shapes of fruits and animals.BBCDozens of people were injured during ding-dong battles in Anantnag, and a 21-year-old Washington State man dressed in a banana suit exposed himself to a woman at a Wendy??s and then went to Four Seasons Ranch to wave a shotgun around. “All we know is he was drinking earlier in the day,” sheriff??s Sgt. Randy Pieper said, “but he didn’t really have a reason for the costume.”The HinduSeattle Times

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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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When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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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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