Weekly Review — November 2, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Mail bombs sent from Yemen and addressed to a Chicago synagogue were intercepted by law enforcement officials in Britain and Dubai acting on a last minute tip, by way of Saudi intelligence, from Jaber al-Faifi, a “repentant” Al Qaeda operative and former Guantanamo Bay detainee. The bombs, which appear to have been intended to explode mid-air in transatlantic cargo flights, had already been on four planes, two of them carrying passengers, before they were discovered.New York TimesYemeni officials detained engineering student Hanan al-Samawi, whose name and cell phone number were found on one of the packages, but released her when a shipping agent confirmed that a different woman had used al-Samawi’s name when signing the shipping manifest.Christian Science MonitorAmerican officials believed that the bombs were made by top Al Qaeda in Yemen bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the likely maker of last year’s underwear bomb, and said they did not know how many more explosives were in transit. “We’re trying to get a better handle on what else may be out there,” said deputy national security adviser John Brennan. “We’re trying to understand better what we may be facing.”Washington PostAs Iraqi forces stormed a church in Baghdad, gunmen holding hostages there set off two suicide vests filled with ball bearings, killing 58 and wounding 75 more. “It’s a horrible scene,” said Iraqi police officer Hussain Nahidh. “Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands.” Iraqi defense minister Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi called it “a successful operation with a minimum of casualties.” The militant group Islamic State of Iraq called the church “the dirty den of idolatry” and promised further attacks against Iraqi Christians.New York TimesA Nebraska man was arrested for waterboarding his girlfriend.The Smoking Gun

The most expensive midterm election in the country’s history neared an end with both parties expecting Republicans to regain control of the House and contend for control of the Senate.New York TimesAmong the vulnerable Democratic incumbents was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, whose opponent, Sharron Angle, campaigned in Las Vegas with Jon Voight.PoliticoPresident Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and OhioRepresentative John Boehner, who is expected to become the new Speaker of the House, all campaigned in Ohio. “Remember when Ronald Reagan was president?” Boehner asked. “We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Think about where we are today. We have got President Obama. But we have no hope and we have no cash.” New York TimesPresident Obama declined to endorse Frank Caprio, the Democratic candidate for governor in Rhode Island, who is running against former Republican senator and Obama supporter Lincoln Chafee. Caprio replied that Obama could “shove it.”LA TimesVince McMahon, the head of World Wrestling Entertainment and the husband of Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon, challenged the state’s policy that bans on election paraphernalia near polling places could extend to WWE t-shirts.New Haven RegisterA volunteer for Rand Paul’s Kentucky Senate campaign stomped on the neck of a liberal protester,New York Timesa 23-year-old Rochester man was arrested and charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush,CNNand Comedy Central’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” drew an estimated 215,000 to the Mall in Washington.CBS NewsKennedy Administration advisor and speechwriter Ted Sorensen died.Washington Post

The thirty-three recently rescued Chilean miners played a soccer match against their rescuers and were welcomed at the national palace by President Sebastian Pinera.Yahoo NewsPinera apologized for writing “Deutschland ber alles” in the guest book of German President Christian Wulff while on a visit to thank Germany for its help in the rescue efforts.Der SpiegelA pastor in South Africa declared that Jesus was HIV positive, BBC Newsand police in the Maldives promised to investigate after a video surfaced of a British couple participating in what they seem to have believed was a marriage-vow renewal ceremony. “You fornicate and make a lot of children,” the officiant was really saying, in a local language that the couple did not understand. “You drink and you eat pork. Most of the children that you have are marked with spots and blemishes. These children that you have are bastards.”BBC News

Share
Single Page

More from Christopher Beha:

Commentary May 22, 2015, 1:10 pm

Part of the Problem

Jonathan Chait’s flawed attack on David Bromwich’s critique of Barack Obama’s presidency

Commentary May 4, 2015, 12:53 pm

A Legitimate Distinction

In defense of the PEN America Center’s decision to give Charlie Hebdo its Freedom of Expression Courage Award

From the February 2015 issue

How Much Damage Can It Do?

On the intellectual element in modern fiction

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Gangs of Karachi

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Neoliberal Arts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today