Weekly Review — September 7, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

One of the busiest vacation weekends of the year was marred by Hurricane Earl, which prompted evacuations from Puerto Rico to North Carolina, a suspension of Amtrak service between New York and Boston, and the cancellation of dozens of airline flights. Yet the storm waned quickly and moved out to sea, and weekend weather was pleasant. NYTimesNYTimesPresident Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the leaders of Jordan and Egypt to urge them all to talk to one another. NYTimesNYTimesJames Lee, 43, was shot and killed by police after entering the offices of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, with starter guns and pipe bombs and taking at least one hostage. Lee was upset at the channel??s environmental programming and its lack of “programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility.” He had written on MySpace: “I believe that it is totally possible to save the world. Not because I am a delusional maniac high on something, but because I had a practical idea on how to do it.” APNYTimesMore than 10,000 vehicles, mostly coal trucks, got stuck in a 75-mile traffic jam on China’s Beijing-to-Tibet motorway.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand, causing widespread damage but killing no one.APTrapped Chilean miners were denied requests for alcohol and cigarettes, and will instead be sent “high protein, high-calorie foods delivered to them in narrow plastic tubes,” along with nicotine smoking patches and gum. One of the miner??s wives met his mistress. ” title=”Chilean Miners”>NY PostTelegraphAnother oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay, blew up. WSJWDSUBP claimed it may have trouble covering the costs of the Deepwater Horizon spill if it is prevented from further drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.BBCOhio strippers protested in bikinis outside a church whose members want to put their strip club out of business. “Light and darkness cannot exist together,” Pastor Bill Dunfee said, “so the Fox Hole has got to go.”BBCEight Pakistani military officers, including a two-star naval admiral, were detained on their way to meet with U.S. Central Command; hysteria ensued aboard their U.S. Airlines flight when one of the officers, exhausted from the trip, commented, “I hope this is the final plane to the destination.”TelegraphMalaysian Keng Liang Wong was arrested after his luggage burst open at the Kuala Lumpur airport, revealing 95 boa constrictors and a turtle. APDarius McCollum, who has a long history of commandeering vehicles, mainly New York subway trains, was arrested for the 27th time after stealing a Trailways bus in Hoboken and driving it to Queens. “I’ll bet they won’t leave the keys in the ignition,” he told the arresting officer. “I’ll bet they’ll be more careful now.”NYDailyNews

Veteran British Liberal politician Sir Cyril Smit, who once described Parliament as “the longest running farce in the West End,” died at the age of 82. GuardianArizona Governor Jan Brewer bungled her opening statement during a televised debate, at one point pausing for more than ten seconds before saying, “We have, uh, did what was right for Arizona.”APA UCLA study found that people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are 20 times more likely to contract monkeypox than they were in 1986, and the rise in hydraulic fracturing, or “frakking,” in the Northeast United States was causing fears that the process would render drinking water flammable.MSNBCCNNPenn State??s Nittany Lion mascot was suspended after being found passed out in the bed of a truck and blowing a .187 in a Breathalyzer test the morning after his birthday, and a collector at a Liverpool auction paid more than $14,000 for John Lennon’s toilet.Centre DailyBBCMultinational African pop group Freshlyground had a hit with its song “Chicken to Change,” directed at Robert Mugabe. “An iridescent example of honour for the coming generation/You promised always to open the doors for us/Indeed it is you and only you who sleeps with the key/You are chicken to change!”GuardianAn Australian teacher changed the lyrics to the famous song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree,” substituting the word “fun” for “gay” in the chorus. “I knew if we sing ‘Gay your life must be’ the kids will roll around the floor in fits of laughter. I wasn’t trying to insult gay people.”BBC

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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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