Weekly Review — January 24, 2012, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner whose capsizing off the Italian island of Giglio killed at least 15 people, was revealed to have deviated from the ship??s authorized route in order to salute a former captain who lived on the island. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera released an audio recording in which Schettino, speaking to the Coast Guard from a lifeboat, defied commands to return to the ship and direct the evacuation of passengers. “Listen Schettino, you saved yourself from the sea,” says the Coast Guard captain, “but I am going to… I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, dick!” Schettino later claimed he had not intended to abandon ship but had tripped and fallen into a lifeboat and was unable to climb back aboard. Press reports noted that after coming ashore, he took a taxi to a hotel, where he asked the manager for an espresso and a pair of dry socks. A group of Swiss survivors recalled that Céline Dion??s “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song from the movie Titanic, was playing in the dining room when the Costa Concordia hit the rocks.BBCAP via Boston HeraldAssociated PressSydney Morning HeraldHuffington PostSpiegel OnlineThe SunThe Iowa G.O.P. admitted that it had misplaced the January 3rd caucus results from eight precincts, and that a new tally showed Rick Santorum had won, not Mitt Romney, as was previously reported.Washington PostNewt Gingrich defeated Romney in Saturday??s primary in South Carolina, despite allegations from Gingrich??s ex-wife that he had asked her for an open marriage in order to continue seeing his mistress, who is now his wife.ABC NewsRick Perry dropped out of the race and endorsed Gingrich, joining him in attacking Romney for inconsistencies in his stance on abortion. “You??re pro-abortion and then you change over to pro-life in your 50s?” asked Perry.ReutersCNNRick Santorum??s wife, a pro-life activist, was discovered to have had a six-year relationship with an abortion doctor and obstetrician 41 years her senior, who also delivered her, before marrying Santorum.Daily MailA Ron Paul hot-air balloon was deflated after causing a four-mile traffic jam on a South Carolina highway.WYFF

One day after Wikipedia led a number of websites in going dark for 24 hours to protest the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act, the Department of Justice charged Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and six other executives from the file-sharing site with copyright infringement and conspiracy. “We have some good ideas,” the company wrote in a statement denying the allegations and addressing content providers. “Please get in touch.” Fifteen minutes after the announcement that Megaupload had been taken offline, the hacker collective Anonymous crashed the Justice Department??s website.NPR onlineA role-playing exercise staged by an Israeli think tank to evaluate the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran predicted that Iran would chose to negotiate economic sanctions rather than deploy an attack. “Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb will be like driving in Tel Aviv,” quipped one expert. “It could be very dangerous, but precautions can be taken to reduce the danger.”Christian Science MonitorInstitute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv UniversityIran??s morality police cracked down on the black-market trade in Barbie dolls, which are widely favored over their government-created counterparts, Dara and Sara. “My daughter prefers Barbies,” said an Iranian mother. “She says Sara and Dara are ugly and fat.”Los Angeles TimesDuring the United Kingdom??s Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, Lucie Cave, the editor of Heat magazine, defended the publication of photographs and commentary about celebrities?? weight, noting that a recent article on certain stars?? “wobbly bits” was “very empowering.”BBCA paramedic in Wales was accused of asking a patient whom he suspected of faking her injuries “Why are you being such a silly bitch?” then slapping her across the face.BBCColombian prosecutors questioned a $2,000 contract awarded to a man for keeping rain away from the closing ceremony of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Bogotá, stating that the professionalism requirement for public expenditures “doesn??t include shamans.” “Don??t call me a shaman,” the man once told reporters. “Nor am I a wizard.”BBC

A flotilla on the Thames was being planned for Queen Elizabeth II??s Diamond Jubilee this year, a Delta flight was grounded after an “unruly” German couple in first class asked for champagne, and the head of a left-wing political party threatened to smoke pot in the Polish parliament. “We??re trying to get into room 143 to burn some grass,” said Janusz Palikot, who burned incense instead.AP via CBSMSNBCAssociated PressA couple in Metal Township, Pennsylvania, tried to blow up a 2009 Ford Fusion with flaming tampons, and astronomers were setting up a planet-wide virtual telescope that will allow them to take the first picture of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. “Everybody??s super-excited,” said one astrophysicist.Daily MailMSNBCThe Miller??s Grizzled Langur, a “Dracula-esque” relative of the Hose??s Leaf Monkey long believed to be extinct, was re-discovered in eastern Borneo.AP via Washington PostAn American man sustained only minor injuries after jumping off Table Mountain in Cape Town in a winged suit and falling 197 feet; Italian doctors reported that a man with two hearts had survived a two-heart attack; and a religious-studies major died after collapsing in class at a Christian college in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, on her 21st birthday. “Thank you God,” she had tweeted that morning, “for another year of life.”BBCMSNBCAP via MSNBC

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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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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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