Weekly Review — May 20, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Storks, 1864]

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake centered in Sichuan Province, China, left 50,000 dead and 5,000,000 homeless. Outside Beichuan Middle School, where 1,000 students and teachers died, parents waited for the bodies of their children to be pulled from the rubble, lighting a single firecracker each time a body was found. A married couple lay under their workers’ dormitory for 28 hours, their limbs crushed and entwined. “I tried bending my neck against the wall to kill myself,” said the husband after being rescued. Three minutes of silence and three days of mourning were observed throughout the nation, and the Olympic Torch relay was suspended. “Other people who know their relatives have died can call this a memorial day or a funeral,” said a farmer named Wang Hongchen, who wandered the ruins shouting his son’s name, “but not me yet.” Predictions of a powerful new earthquake sent tens of thousands of Chengdu residents rushing to the streets in panic.Telegraph.co.ukNytimes.comNytimes.comReuters via NYTimes.comA three-day period of mourning was also declared for 130,000 dead or missing victims of the cyclone in Myanmar, where the country’s military junta, under protest by the United Nations, continued to turn away much foreign aid.The New York TimesAs oil prices reached $127 a barrel, President George W. Bush pleaded with Saudi Arabia to increase pumping, but was rebuffed; he also told Middle Eastern leaders that their economies would not be successful until they gave women equal opportunities. “This is a matter of morality,” he said, “and basic math.”The New York TimesA 19-year-old college freshman was elected mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma. “Right now I’m between girlfriends,” said John Tyler Hammons, who is president of both the Young Republicans and the Young Democrats at his university. “I’m looking to fill that position.”MSNBC.comCherie Blair revealed that her husband, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, had announced her miscarriage to the press in order to deter speculation about an early invasion of Iraq,.Telegraph.co.ukand perennial U.S. presidential candidate Alan Keyes declared that he represents, “in political terms, the abortion. You’re invited in, but they kill you.”Wonkette.com

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said that Karl Rove had a week to appear before the committee. “Someoneâ??s got to kick his ass,” said Conyers.Politico.comHouse Republicans began using a new slogan, “the change you deserve,” which turned out to be the slogan of the antidepressant Effexor.FoxNews.comThe California Supreme Court struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage, surprising legal experts because six of the seven judges are Republican,.CNN.comand the Vatican’s chief astronomer said that it’s not a contradiction of faith to believe in aliens and that we may have intelligent, God-created “extraterrestrial brothers.”BBCnews.comMorehouse College in Atlanta named its first white valedictorian. “I support him and his mission to be successful in life,” said a junior. “I just kind of wish he had done it at a different institution.”CNN.comThe invasion of tasteless Chinese truffles threatened the primacy of the European Perigord black truffle,BBCnews.comand billions of hairy, reddish-brown “crazy Rasberry ants” (named for a local exterminator) were swarming through the greater Houston area. “They have nowhere to go, just running crazy wild,” said one resident. “You know what it’s like to sit down on the commode with crazy ants running everywhere?” Chron.comU.S. Air Force pilots were testing the Advanced Mission Extender Device, the result of a $5 million program to replace unhygienic “piddle packs” with a system that converts urine into a gel.CNN.comLos Angeles was considering whether to turn its raw sewage into drinking water.The New York Times

Robert Rauschenberg died at the age of 82,The New York Timesand the former head of UCLA’s cadaver program was indicted for selling over $1 million in body parts.CNN.comNatascha Kampusch, who prior to the recent emergence of the Josef Fritzl case was the most famous Austrian to have been imprisoned in a cellar sex dungeon, felt compelled to buy her once-captor’s house so that it wouldn’t be torn down or vandalized.Guardian.co.ukThe Pentagon announced that it will build a permanent 40-acre detention complex in Afghanistan to replace crumbling Bagram prison. “This place,” explained a military official regarding Bagram, “was not made to keep people there indefinitely.”The New York TimesCurators at the Museum of Modern Art pulled the incubator plug on a tiny coat made of living mouse stem cells after it grew too fast,The New York Timesand scientists at Cornell University created the first genetically modified human embryo.Russia TodayAt an NRA convention in Kentucky, Mike Huckabee made a joke after hearing a noise off-stage. “That was Barack Obama,” he said. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”The HillA poem written by Obama in 1981 was discovered and republished:

Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Rushing water
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.The New York Times

Share
Single Page

More from Chantal Clarke:

Weekly Review August 12, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 8, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review April 8, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

Stop Hillary!

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

How the Islamic State was Won

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cage Wars

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Everyday Grace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Stop Hillary!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"What Hillary will deliver, then, is more of the same. And that shouldn’t surprise us."
Photograph by Joe Raedle
Article
Cage Wars·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"In the 1970s, “Chickens’ Lib” was a handful of women in flower-print dresses holding signs, but in the past decade farm hens have become almost a national preoccupation."
Photograph by Adam Dickerson/Big Dutchman USA, courtesy Vande Bunte Farms
Article
Paradise Lost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Suffering Sappho! Here we still are, marching right into yet another century with our glass ceilings, unequal pay, unresolved work and child-care balance, and still marrying, forever marrying, men."
Illustration by Anthony Lister
Article
Off the Land·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Nearly half the reservation lives below the poverty line, with unemployment as high as 60 percent, little to no infrastructure, few entitlements, a safety net that never was, no industry to speak of, and a housing crisis that has been dire not for five years but since the reservation’s founding in 1855."
Illustration by Stan Fellows
Post
Introducing the November 2014 Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Doug Henwood on stopping Hillary Clinton, fighters and potential recruits discuss the rise of the Islamic State, the inevitability of factory farming, and more

Cover photo by Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Chances that a doctor’s diagnosis of Lyme disease is erroneous:

4 in 5

Engineers were said to be at greater risk of becoming terrorists.

A deaf dog belonging to a deaf owner was shot and killed in Alabama, and an Indiana dog’s skin troubles were found to be caused by an allergy to humans. “It’s just not his fault,” said the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”

Subscribe Today