Weekly Review — September 6, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

A kinkajou, 1886.

As Libyan forces converged on Muammar Qaddafi’s last redoubts countrywide, documents recovered in Tripoli showed that the CIA and MI6 had helped Qaddafi persecute dissidents, including Abdul Hakim Belhaj, military commander of Libya’s national transitional government, whom the CIA rendered back to the country from Asia in 2004. “I wasn’t allowed a bath for three years and I didn’t see the sun for one year,” said Belhaj. “They hung me from the wall and kept me in an isolation cell. I was regularly tortured.” “It can’t come as a surprise,” said CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood, “that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats.” Human Rights Watch, which found the documents, reported that a letter from former senior operations official Stephen Kappes to then Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa began “Dear Musa” and was signed “Steve,” and that as Qaddafi began losing his grip on power he tried to draft 10,000 fighters from the Somali Salvation Front in Puntland.New York TimesCNNAP via Globe and MailGuardianWall Street JournalAl Jazeera EnglishAn Associated Press investigation concluded that 120,000 people have been arrested and 35,000 convicted on terrorism-related charges worldwide since 9/11, U.S. airstrikes helped kill 30 suspected Al Qaedaterrorists in Yemen, the U.S. military completed its first month without a fatality in Iraq since the start of the war there, and WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable backing claims that U.S. troops shot at least ten handcuffed Iraqi civilians, including five children, in the town of Ishaqi in 2006, then called in an airstrike to cover up the act.AP via Globe and MailAP via Washington PostAl Jazeera EnglishNY TimesMcClatchyThe document was one of 250,000 published by WikiLeaks’the organization’s entire, unredacted U.S. diplomatic-cable archive, which contained informants’ names and which reporters learned had been posted online months earlier, encrypted with a publicly available password. “If I had a very nervous person, who had secret documents I wanted to share,” said journalism professor C.W. Anderson, “I would not come near them with a 10-foot pole.”GuardianNPRScientists turned a mouse brain transparent.Science Daily

World markets fell after the Labor Department reported no growth in the number of U.S. jobs in August, while census data showed that local and state governments cut more than 200,000 jobs in 2010. President Barack Obama agreed to delay an address to Congress on employment at the insistence of House Speaker John Boehner, and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency not to enforce new limits on smog emissions.Associated PressReutersDetroit Free PressHuffington PostA man in Virginia beheaded himself with an SUV while towing a burning trailer.WAVY-TVA bodyboarder was torn in half by a shark in Australia; an LDS missionary returned home to Utah after losing an arm and part of a leg to two lions at a Guatemalan zoo; a dismembered foot washed ashore in Vancouver, the eleventh to turn up on the Pacific Northwest coast since 2007; and a Colorado logger amputated the toes from his right foot with a pocketknife after a trailer fell on him in the forest. “The three smaller toes were easy, but it took some work to cut through the tendons on the two big toes,” he said. “Plus, at that point the blade was getting dull.”AP via Idaho State JournalDaily MailNational PostReutersThe U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it would sue 17 banks over losses on mortgage-backed investments, while an Institute of Policy Studies report claimed that 25 U.S. CEOs made more money than their companies paid in taxes last year, and that the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay increased from 263:1 to 325:1.BBCWashington PostCanada lifted a ban on “Money for Nothing,” Germany lifted a ban on “Doom,” and a Canadian-{Germany|German} research team hunted Black Death in the U.K.Rolling StoneWired GameLifeMcClatchy via Miami HeraldTransylvanians fought to keep Canadians from exploiting a massive lode in a historic gold-mining village. “It’s unbelievable that a Canadian company would have the nerve to come and teach us how to extract gold,” said retired miner Eugen Cornea. “We have been doing it for 2,700 years. What was Canada in 700 B.C.?”Le Monde via Worldcrunch

An Edmonton hair salon defended its ad showing a man standing between a woman with a black eye and the tagline “Look good in all you do,” and an Indiana man was charged with child abuse after allegedly beating his three grandchildren during a Grand Canyon hike, forcing them to walk on ulcerated blisters and to vomit, and denying them water despite their lips being sunburned off. The boys also had severely chafed groins because they weren’t permitted underwear.Canadian Press via Globe and MailArizona Daily SunResearchers determined that children who experience accelerated puberty are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and four-year-old Maddy Jackson padded her chest and bum for “Toddlers and Tiaras,” an American reality-television show about child beauty pageants. “When she wears the fake boobs and the fake butt it’s just like an added extra bonus,” said the girl’s mother. “Hopefully the judges will perceive it in good taste,” said her stylist.Developmental Psychology via Science DailyDaily MailABC NewsThe Guinness Book of World Records agreed that Tajikistan had a longer flagpole than Azerbaijan, and an Ohio man was caught having sex with an inflatable raft, nine years after being caught having sex with an inflatable pumpkin.Moscow TimesWAFB-TVA Dublin bar where a 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped in June was found to be hosting parties where patrons could exchange panties for drinks, Ohio police puzzled over the origin of 1,700 pairs of panties strewn along a road outside Columbus, and the AARP counseled people over 50 never to say the word “panties.”Evening HeraldAssociated Press9news.comMale MPs in Zimbabwe fulminated against a call from the country’s female deputy prime minister that they be circumcised to set an example in the fight against HIV. “It has to be a circumcision of the mind rather than circumcision of the organ,” said MP Nelson Chamisa.BBCNepalis’ love for “Summer of ’69” was reportedly lasting forever. The Muscular Dystrophy Association revealed during its first telethon without Jerry Lewis as host that Jerry quit, Gene Simmons announced that he was getting married, and UCLA math student Chris Jeon was discovered far from home, fighting alongside anti-Qaddafi forces in Libya. “It is the end of my summer vacation, so I thought it would be cool to join the rebels,” said Jeon. “Whatever you do, don’t tell my parents. They don’t know I’m here.”BBCNPRHollywood ReporterThe National (UAE)

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I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

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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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No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

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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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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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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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