Weekly Review — May 31, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect, former general Ratko Mladic, was arrested for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. Supporters said the 68-year-old Bosnian Serb had suffered two heart attacks and three strokes over the years, and that his condition should preclude a jail sentence. “If you put a bird in a cage you can give them whatever it wants, but itâ??s not going to be happy,” said his lawyer and friend Milos Saljic.New York TimesNew York TimesA U.S. federal judge ruled that Jared Loughner was not competent to stand trial for attempting to assassinate Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a decision that came after Loughner was evicted from the courtroom for an outburst in which he reportedly said “Thank you for the freak show.” New York TimesThe final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” aired.New York TimesFewer than 15 minutes before the expiry of the Patriot Act, President Barack Obama signed an extension to the law from Paris with an autopen, the first time a president has used the instrument to ratify legislation.New York TimesObama was on a six-day trip to Europe, during which he flubbed a toast to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, continuing to speak even though the orchestra had started playing “God Save the Queen.” “That’s very kind,” said the Queen to Obama.Althouse

Democrat Kathy Hochul won a special election to become the CongressionalRepresentative for New York’s District 26, a seat Republicans have held for four decades. Republicans denied that Hochul’s victory was a response to their proposal to privatize Medicare, even though Hochul was thought certain to lose until she began attacking her opponent for supporting the plan. New York TimesTests revealed that DNA found on the shirt of a Manhattan hotel maid belonged to former I.M.F. leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whom the maid had accused of sexual assault. The Globe and MailTwo New York City police officers were acquitted of charges that they raped a drunken woman after helping her into her apartment; one officer had admitted to snuggling with the woman while she wore only a bra. New York TimesA Kansas womenâ??s group launched a campaign to send spare tires to state representative Pete DeGraaf for his defense of a bill that prohibits general health insurance plans from covering abortions, even for victims of rape and incest. “We do need to plan ahead, donâ??t we, in life?” DeGraaf had said, suggesting women buy a separate plan to cover abortions. “I have a spare tire on my car,” he added. Wichita EagleScientists revealed that to avoid unwanted sexual advances, female copper butterflies close their wings. BBC

Ninety-four-year-old Surrealist (and former lover of Max Ernst) Leonora Carrington died, as did 104-year-old heiress Huguette Clark at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center, surrounded by the French dolls she had collected since childhood.New York TimesParaguay’s AsunciĂłn zoo sought a mate for Coco, the last known male hyacinth macaw in the country, and officials said the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, would take place despite a deadly outbreak of horse herpes in the West. Associated PressDenver PostA truck driver in New Zealand was almost killed after falling buttocks-first onto an active compressed-air hose. Doctors said they were surprised the manâ??s skin didnâ??t burst, since the air separated his fat from his muscle. BBCInfrared satellite images of Egypt revealed 17 previously unknown pyramids. BBCIn England, police used a helicopter to apprehend a teenager who accidentally broke a window while playing soccer outside with his friends, and a school banned pupils from exchanging handshakes, high-fives, and hugs. AnanovaAnanovaA 34-year-old high school chemistry teacher in California was arrested for helping three students get high with chloroform; a Salt Lake City mother tried to sell her 13-year-old daughter’s virginity for $10,000; and activists fought to get a measure outlawing circumcision for boys younger than 18 onto Santa Monica’s November 2012 ballot. In response to concerns that HIV rates would rise as a result, measure-supporter Jena Troutman said, “If you’re raising a dumb kid who won’t use a condom, then go ahead and cut off two thirds of his nerve endings and one half of his penile skin.” Merced Sun-StarWLS 890AMLA Times

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I.

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

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