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March 4, 2008 · Weekly Review · Previous · Next  

Weekly Review

By Paul Ford

Responding to rocket attacks on Ashkelon, once the largest seaport of Canaan, Israel sent tanks, troops, and fighter jets to northern Gaza. Fifty-four Palestinians—eight of them children and sixteen of them militants—and two Israeli soldiers died in one day of fighting; Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that the Palestinians were risking a “shoah,” the Hebrew word for “big disaster.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described Israeli raids as “more than a holocaust” and, as the number of Palestinian dead rose to about 100, suspended contact with Israel. 1 2 3 4 The U.S. Navy fired missiles into southern Somalia, targeting what the Pentagon called a “known Al Qaeda terrorist,”5 and a man who calls himself “Osama bin London” was convicted of running terrorist training camps in England.6An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck England and Wales, with its epicenter in Market Rasen; the event caused one couple, Rob Wilkinson, 19, and Charlotte Green, 17, to momentarily think that their lovemaking was special. “Did the earth,” Rob reportedly asked, “just move for you, darling?”7 Storms killed eight people across Europe; gusts blew one elderly man into the path of a lorry.8 A Virginia task force identified hardcore child pornography on 20,000 computers across the state,9 and a report found that one in 100 American adults was in prison or jail.10

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his first state visit to Iraq and assailed the Bush Administration. “They will have to accept the facts in the area,” he said. “The Iraqi people do not like the Americans.”11 12 White House aide Timothy Goeglein, a liaison to conservatives and Christian groups, was found to have plagiarized 20 of the 38 columns he wrote for the Fort Wayne, Indiana, News-Sentinel,13 and a Belgian woman now living in Massachusetts apologized for fabricating her memoir, Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years; researchers examining her story discovered that she is not Jewish and that she was not, as a child, adopted by a pack of wolves that accompanied her across Europe as she searched for her parents.14 Questions arose as to whether John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, was a “natural-born citizen” and thus constitutionally eligible for the presidency. McCain held a casual barbecue for the press, cooking Costco ribs on a low heat with a dry rub of equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For dessert the press ate brownies and cookies.15 16 William F. Buckley Jr. and didgeridoo master Alan Dargin died.17 18 British researchers hypothesized that a form of spongiform encephalopathy—akin to mad cow disease and transmitted by cannibalism—killed off the Neanderthals,19 20 and Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, speaking before Congress following the recall of 143 million pounds of beef packed at the Westland/Hallmark plant in Chino, California, refused to support an outright ban on processing “downer” cows for food, even though such cows are by definition too weak or sick to stand.21 The World Health Organization announced that virtually untreatable drug-resistant tuberculosis could now be found in 45 countries with a half-million new cases each year, and that the highest rate of infection was in Baku, Azerbaijan.22

Prince Harry of Wales, once photographed dressed as a Nazi, was called home after press accounts revealed that he was serving as a British Army forward air controller in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. “We ask God to enable our beloved brothers in Taliban to seize this priceless booty,” wrote user Sweeping Army on an Internet jihadist message board, “because nothing would break the heart of his grandmother [more] than if she lost him. My dear brothers in Allah, carry on provoking to kidnap this precious infidel.”23 Allison, a sea turtle missing three limbs who lives at a Texas turtle sanctuary, was to be fitted with a prosthetic flipper. “The problem,” explained a curator for the sanctuary, “is she doesn't swim very well.” 24 The United Technologies Corporation bid $3 billion for voting-machine manufacturer Diebold.25 NASA announced that it would fire thousands of contractors; the space agency also found itself unable to explain the mysterious force that has caused five different probes to accelerate or decelerate unpredictably as they flew around the earth.26 Japanese scientists studying the path of space debris over the last four billion years postulated an undiscovered “Planet X,” between 30 and 70 percent the size of Earth, at the edges of the solar system,27 and two teams of physicists, one in Calgary and the other in Tokyo, successfully stored nothing within a gas, in the form of squeezed vacuum composed of uncertainty. They then retrieved the nothing.28

SEE ALSO: Afghanistan; Al Qaeda; United States Army; Great Britain; Bush Administration; California; United States Congress; Europe; Iraq; Israel; Japan; London; United States Navy; bin Laden, Osama; Palestine; Panama; U.S. Department of Defense; Sex; Terrorism; Texas; Virginia; World Health Organization
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Archive > 2008 > Jan · Feb · Mar · Apr · May · Jun

JUNE 2008

Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church
By Garret Keizer

Hazing America's Last Wild Herd
By Christopher Ketcham

A story by Joyce Carol Oates

Also: Jonathan Rowe on our phony economy