Weekly Review — July 2, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. Supreme Court gets in on the Voting Rights and Defense of Marriage acts, Egypt threatens revolution, and a harsh Crimean punishment for borscht-dumping

Saluting the Town (Weekly)The U.S. Supreme Court voided a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that determined which states and counties were required, based on their histories of curtailing voting rights “on account of race or color,” to obtain federal preapproval for changes to their election laws; nullified Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage; and overturned the portion of the 1996 U.S. Defense of Marriage Act that denied same-sex partners the federal rights extended to married couples. “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” wrote Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Voting Rights Act dissent. “The Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol,” wrote Antonin Scalia in his DOMA dissent, which referred to the majority opinion as “legalistic argle-bargle.”[1][2][3][4][5][6] A secret CIA memo about the leaking of secrets was leaked.[7] A U.S. Treasury inspector general found that IRS employee credit cards had been used to purchase stovepipe hats, kazoos, bathtub toys, romance novels, Internet porn, and diet pills.[8] A California immigration officer was indicted for soliciting a bribe of 200 egg rolls, and the U.S. Senate voted 68–32 to pass a comprehensive immigration-reform bill.[9][10] The Texas state senate failed to pass a stringent antiabortion bill before the midnight end of a special legislative session. The vote was delayed by Senator Wendy Davis (D.), who held a nearly 11-hour filibuster that required her to speak continuously while standing without the aid of a platform or a restroom break, and that ended after Republicans claimed she’d broken rules by going off-topic and accepting help in donning a back brace. Hours after the bill failed to pass, governor Rick Perry announced a second special legislative session commencing July 1. “It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example,” said Perry of Davis, whose mother received only a sixth-grade education. “What if her mom had said, ‘I just can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.’ ”[11][12][13][14][15]

In Egypt, at least seven people died amid demonstrations to protest fuel lineups, power outages, unemployment, and sectarian divisions, and to demand the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi on the one-year anniversary of his election. Police openly revolted against the government and refused to intervene as protesters shone laser pens to identify targets inside the darkened headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood party, then hurled Molotov cocktails at them. Party members discharged birdshot to defend their offices and assembled to defend the presidential palace armed with batons, pipes, and woks. Defense Minister and Army Commander-In-Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned on state TV that if Morsi didn’t respond to protesters within 48 hours, the military would impose its own “road map” for Egypt’s future. “Do you have an initiative?” a Morsi spokesman asked journalists at a midnight news conference. “We’re willing to consider it seriously.”[16][17][18][19][20] Palestine’s prime minister resigned two weeks into his appointment because of conflicts with his deputies, and the emir of Qatar transferred power to his 33-year-old son.[21][22] Costa Rica accused a Venezuelan state company of attempting to launder $9.7 million by purchasing 10 million bars of soap, prosecutors in Rome were investigating Monsignor Nunzio Scarano for plotting to shelter $26 million at the Vatican Bank, and the owner of the Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira, Portugal, was fined €700 for gambling with biscuits on a bingo game with other British and Irish expats.[23][24][25] A black bear broke into the Knoxville Zoo, a memorial was held for 50,000 bees killed in an Oregon parking lot by the pesticide Safari, and seven hikers were rescued in Hawaii’s Palolo Valley after they got lost while fleeing a group of wild pigs.[26][27][28] Transport Canada investigated three claims that Mississauga, Ontario, was being bombarded by fecal matter leaking from airplane restrooms. “There’s no way one bird could have done it,” said a man whose driveway was soiled, “unless it was a pterodactyl.”[29][30]

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

A Crimean man stabbed his neighbor to death after she dumped his homemade borscht into a toilet.[31] A man in Erie, Pennsylvania, had his condom stolen at knifepoint; a naked man high on hallucinogenic mushrooms broke into an Ypsilanti, Michigan, middle school and tore off part of his penis; and a California woman who cut off her ex-husband’s penis and dumped it into a garbage disposal was sentenced to life in prison. “Deep down,” said her former spouse, “I was hoping for a stronger sentence.”[32][33][34] Two brothers who busk in New York City’s Times Square as the film characters Alien and Predator were questioned by police about a ballpoint-pen attack allegedly committed by a busker named Beer Man against a rival busker named Weed Man in a Box.[35] Scientists revealed that plants are capable of complex arithmetic, and Wales’s Powys Council admitted that it had been trimming the wrong lawns for 15 years.[36][37] “Cooling centers” were opened in Arizona, California, and Nevada to help residents prepare for a record-breaking heat wave.[38][39] In the Indian state of Uttarakhand, where more than 1,000 people died in flash floods and landslides, a TV reporter was fired for filming a broadcast from atop the shoulders of a flood survivor. “You have to be a part of the people,” said the reporter’s boss, “and not ride on them.”[40]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Ryann Liebenthal:

From the July 2015 issue

Bleakness Stakes

Weekly Review May 19, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

An Amtrak train derails, a Bangladeshi blogger is hacked to death, and an African-American boy who was maced at an anti–police-brutality protest is grateful he wasn’t shot

Weekly Review February 17, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A Muslim family is killed over a parking space in North Carolina, Netflix launches in Cuba, and an Indian woman who is 95 percent genetically male gives birth to twins

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Weed Whackers

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.

In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.

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

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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.

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