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Wading Through the News

   So much to read, so little time. Here are a few recommendations. Mark Leibovich in Style has a nifty piece about John Roberts becoming not just Supreme but Ultra-Supreme. Those of you who can't stand Wal-Mart should not read the story about the company's efficient, generous relief operations on the Gulf Coast. [Sometimes I suspect, fleetingly, that the private sector does things more efficiently than the government. I know, slap me!] Sports fans please note that Jerry Rice has retired at the age of something like 53. Didn't he start out catching balls thrown by Roman Gabriel? We should give him his due: One of the greatest athletes of all time, with more touchdowns than anyone in the history of the game.

    From a couple of days ago: Sally Jenkins, the sportswriter, has a vivid narrative of a journey along Highway 90 in Mississippi. Ms. Jenkins is worth reading just about anytime, on anything. Peter Slevin recounts a horrible week in New Orleans; Peter parachuted into NOLA early and has done of lot of the heavy lifting for the Post there. One of the most evocative eyewitness pieces is by James Nolan, a writing teacher who managed to buy his way out of New Orleans on a stolen school bus. Jack Shafer in Slate summarizes what's wrong with the TV coverage.

    More to come. Or send in your own recommendations. 

    Finally, if I can throw this out AGAIN, just to see if it incites a comment, my column the other day addressed the question of whether human beings are special in the cosmos. It drew almost no reaction from the Boodletariat, so here's a couple of grafs from that column that might yet jog someone's noggin:

  "Two discoveries are particularly upsetting: Human beings are related to the lowest orders of pond scum, and the Earth is a trivial little speck, a nodule on the edge of a mote of dust, in the vast cosmic sea. Scientists are pretty blunt: The universe doesn't appear to be about us.

   "Naturally there are various folks who would like to restore our primacy, our centrality, our self-respect. They're not eager to embrace the multiple diminutions of mankind offered by science. This battle has been going on, under one name or another, since Copernicus kicked the Earth to the curb in 1543. The central question never goes away: Are we special? Or are we just totally beside the point?"

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 6, 2005; 10:16 AM ET
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