Weekly Review — August 30, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 5.9 and an epicenter in Mineral, Virginia, shook much of the East Coast, and Irene, a Category 1 hurricane, made landfall in North Carolina and continued up the Atlantic seaboard, killing at least 38 people in 10 states. The unusually large and slow hurricane caused an estimated $7 billion in damages, mostly due to flooding, and left millions of people without power. In Tuxedo Park, N.Y., Irene pushed at least 15 heating-oil trucks into the Ramapo River, spilling large amounts of fuel into the water. “An environmental disaster is floating down the river,” said Tuxedo Park mayor Tom Wilson. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul questioned the need for a federal response to hurricanes. “We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” he said.ABC NewsSlateAssociated PressAll Things DigitalMyFoxNYWall Street JournalNew York TimesMSNBCAustralian geoscientists uncovered 3.4-billion-year-old petrified bacteria, the world??s oldest known fossils; astronomers spotted a zombie supernova 21 million light years from Earth and a diamond planet 4,000 light years away; Northwestern researchers learned that bisexual men exist; World Wildlife Fund scientists observed a new species of titi monkey in the Brazilian Amazon; and Libyan forces hunting for Muammar Qaddafi uncovered a photo album dedicated to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in the deposed colonel??s Tripoli compound. “I don??t need to see the photos,” said a State Department spokeswoman. “But ??bizarre?? and ??creepy?? are good adjectives to describe much of Qaddafi??s behavior.”Science DailyReutersScience DailyThe GuardianNew York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesAP via The Australian

A CIA drone in Pakistan killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, Al Qaeda??s second-ranking figure and top operational planner.New York TimesDozens of Syrian soldiers defected after being ordered to open fire on civilian protesters, and the secretary-general of the Arab League traveled to Damascus to urge Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to end the bloodshed “before it is too late.” Turkish president Abdullah Gul told his country??s Anatolia news agency that he had lost confidence in Assad. ????Today in the world there is no place for authoritarian administrations, one-party rule, closed regimes,???? Gul said. Iran called on Assad to answer his people??s “legitimate” demands, but continued to provide material support for his crackdown.ReutersSydney Morning HeraldNew York TimesDrug-cartel enforcers burned down a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, killing 53 people.Associated PressA car bomb set off by a Boko Haram suicide attacker at the United Nations?? headquarters in Nigeria killed 23 people, a suicide attack on a Sunni mosque in Baghdad killed 28, and former vice-president Dick Cheney predicted that heads would be “exploding all over Washington???? when his memoir is released on August 30. In the book, Cheney reveals that he was unconscious for several weeks following a 2010 heart attack, expresses regret that the Bush administration didn??t bomb Syria, and details friction in the federal government in the days after 9/11. “Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma asked why the executive branch had the right to decide when members of Congress, a coequal branch of government, could come back to Washington,” Cheney writes, adding that he answered, “Because we??ve got the helicopters, Don.”NPRChannel 6 newsWashington PostLA TimesPolitico

An Iowa woman was fined for a towel assault on a salon worker after being denied a bikini wax because she was intoxicated, federal agents raided two Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee in search of illegal wood, and a Nashville interstate on-ramp was briefly closed after four canisters of bull semen fell from a Greyhound. “The bus did not know it lost its load,” reported WKRN-TV.The Smoking GunWall Street JournalWKRN-TVPolice said that the parents of a ten-year-old Dallas boy who died last month of dehydration had denied him water as punishment for wetting his bed, and an Alaska jury convicted an Anchorage mother who had sent in a video of herself disciplining her screaming adopted son with hot sauce and a cold shower for a “Dr. Phil” segment. “They concluded that it is child abuse,” said the prosecutor, “to hurt your child as an audition for a television show.” “The way the law is written,” said the woman??s lawyer, “makes it really difficult for a parent to discipline your kids and not be subject to other people’s subjective ideas of what is right or wrong.”Dallas Morning NewsSydney Morning HeraldGlenn Beck??s Restoring Courage tour arrived in Jerusalem for a rally in the Old City. “The world is burning,” he told a crowd of mostly American Christians. “Whatever we??ve grown to think is solid and strong and durable is under siege.”GuardianThe Washington Monument cracked, and actress Kate Winslet rescued the 90-year-old mother of Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson from a fire on his private Caribbean isle. “I’d jumped out of bed naked and rushed to the [burning] Great House,” said Branson, “and ran straight into a cactus bush.”PoliticoAP via Globe and Mail

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Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Seeking Asylum·

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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

Poem for Harm·

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:


A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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