• U.S.

Milestones May 8, 2006

4 minute read
Melissa August

CHARGED. Steven Jordan, 50, U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who ran the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; with 12 counts of military violations, including abuse of detainees, making false official statements, dereliction of duty and interfering with investigators; in Washington. Jordan is the highest-ranking person to be charged in the two-year-old prison scandal, for which several low-ranking soldiers have been convicted.

SETTLED. A charge against Rush Limbaugh, 55, conservative radio host; for allegedly concealing information to obtain prescription drugs; in West Palm Beach, Fla. Prosecutors say Limbaugh, who denied the charge, received 2,000 painkilling pills in six months from four doctors. As part of a deal, the charge will be dismissed in 18 months if he stays in treatment for his drug addiction and pays $30,000 toward state investigative costs and $30 a month for his supervision.

RELEASED. Xiang Xiang, 4, 176-lb. giant panda; into the wild, marking the first time a member of this endangered species has been bred in captivity and freed; in a forest in Sichuan province, China, as bamboo shoots, the animal’s favorite food, were starting to sprout. Officials at Wolong Giant Panda Research Center will monitor Xiang Xiang with a satellite tracking system.

DIED. Fausto Vitello, 59, founder of the cult punk-skater magazine Thrasher, who in the late ’70s sparked a thrill-seeking urban subculture of skateboarders who jumped curbs and railings instead of just ramps in specialty parks; of a heart attack, while riding his bike; in Woodside, Calif. The motto of the still vibrant movement: Skate and Destroy.

DIED. Phil Walden, 66, brash impresario and co-founder of Capricorn Records, based in Macon, Ga., a label known during its 1970s heyday as the citadel of Southern rock; of cancer; in Atlanta. Intent on providing a haven for an array of blues, country and pop artists, the former manager for Otis Redding launched the Allman Brothers Band and popularized such acts as the Dixie Dregs, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Charlie Daniels Band.

DIED. Alida Valli, 84, intelligent, incandescent Italian actress who appeared in more than 100 films, including Carol Reed’s The Third Man, Luchino Visconti’s Senso and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Spider’s Stratagem; in Rome. A baroness who went into hiding during World War II to avoid being recruited for Mussolini’s propaganda efforts, she received a career Golden Lion award at the 1997 Venice Film Festival.

DIED. Jane Jacobs, 89, self-taught urban-planning guru whose clear, sensible voice–most famously in her seminal 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities–miffed the powerful and revolutionized the field; in Toronto. She challenged the accepted wisdom on urban renewal–razing areas and erecting isolated, uniform housing projects–arguing instead for restoring old buildings, creating new ones of similar scale and mixing residents and merchants in a happily messy universe of neighborhoods. During a 12-year battle with powerful city planner Robert Moses, whose bid to build a highway through her former neighborhood of lower Manhattan she helped defeat, Jacobs was arrested for storming the podium at a hearing. She said, “We had been ladies and gentlemen and only got pushed around.”

DIED. John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, best-selling Harvard economist and unabashed liberal who spent his career fighting “conventional wisdom,” a phrase he coined in 1958; in Cambridge, Mass. At 6 ft. 8 in., he was–quite literally–a big thinker. In his examination of the intertwining of economics and politics, he once termed America a “democracy of the fortunate,” and his ideas underpinned Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program. He was known for his witty, often acerbic directness, once noting, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” The concepts in his watershed book, The Affluent Society, became so pervasive that to subsequent generations of readers, “It’s like reading Hamlet and deciding it’s full of quotations,” said Nobel-laureate economist Amartya Sen. “You realize where they came from.”

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