Weekly Review — September 10, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Syria debate continues, the NSA breaks encryption routines, and a Windischeschenbach tubist complains about sex

Babylonian LionThe Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved, by a vote of 10 to 7, a resolution whose passage in both houses of Congress would authorize the Obama Administration to attack Syria for 60 days. The White House released 13 videos that showed men convulsing and dying after an alleged sarin gas attack outside Damascus on August 21, and a deserter from Syrian antigovernment forces leaked a video that showed fighters shooting seven government soldiers in the backs of their heads. Bashar al-Assad denied to American talk-show host Charlie Rose that he was responsible for any use of chemical weapons. Russia said that it had provided a 100-page report to the United Nations in July detailing the use of sarin gas by antigovernment forces in a March attack on a suburb of Aleppo, and deployed four warships to the eastern Mediterranean. “There is no viable path forward,” said the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Sure, [Assad] could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” said secretary of state John Kerry, “but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.” Russia and Syria announced their support for Kerry’s proposal that Syria give up its chemical arms, and the two millionth refugee fled the Syrian civil war. “I dream,” said a five-year-old boy who had been displaced to a refugee camp in Iraq after being separated from his parents, “that Bashar al-Assad is bombing my mother, my brother, and my father.” During a Senate hearing on the proposed U.S. intervention, John McCain (R., Ariz.) was photographed playing a smartphone game called VIP Poker. “I had fun,” he said.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] Coordinated suicide bombs killed 60 Baghdad residents, and in Egypt, assassins tried and failed to kill the interior minister with a remote-controlled bomb.[14][15]

The New York Times and the Guardian revealed that the National Security Agency had defeated encryption technologies that were previously believed to protect emails, searches, chats, and online phone calls from government surveillance, in part by offering consultation services to manufacturers of encryption software and leveraging those relationships to insert vulnerabilities into Internet security programs. “I think there are legitimate concerns,” said President Barack Obama, “that technology is moving so quick.”[16][17] A remote-controlled-helicopter enthusiast decapitated himself in Brooklyn, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was revealed to have traveled by helicopter to last year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada in order to serve grilled-cheese sandwiches.[18][19] A Croatian ice-cream shop debuted a Facebook flavor, Chobani recalled yogurt manufactured in its Idaho plant because it contained unwanted mold, and a Houston man discovered a chilled dead snake inside an 18-pack of Bud Light.[20][21][22][23] A drunk driver struck and killed a Colorado marijuana activist.[24] A 107-year-old man in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who had threatened to shoot his granddaughter with a handgun because he didn’t want to move to an apartment, was killed exchanging fire with a SWAT team.[25][26] In New York City, a jury awarded $280,000 to a woman whose boss called her a “nigger” during a lecture on unprofessionalism, and in Casper, Wyoming, NAACP representatives met for the first time with members of the Ku Klux Klan. “I’m not trying to push my issues on anyone,” said Imperial Wizard Bradley Jenkins.[27][28] NAACP president Benjamin Jealous announced that he would step down in December. “We’ve spent five years,” he said, “in the black.”[29]

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

A white-magic practitioner on the Maldivan island of Guraidhoo declared an immature coconut that had been inscribed with Koranic verses and left near a polling station to be black-magic-free.[30] Indonesia’s health ministry announced that it would require high school students to self-report the size and shape of their genitals, Spain raised its age of consent to 16 from 13, and an Indian village council ordered a six-year-old girl to marry the eight-year-old son of a 40-year-old man who had raped her.[31][32][33] In Windischeschenbach, Germany, a fire-brigade tubist filed suit against two neighbors who had damaged his Citroën Picasso by having sex on its hood. “The windscreen was so smeared you couldn’t see through it,” he said.[34] In London, where glare from a skyscraper melted a Jaguar, a woman sued her date for stealing her BlackBerry because she couldn’t pay for drinks.[35][36] Officials at men’s prisons in England and Wales were found to be separating same-sex couples, and a Bedfordshire retiree spoke out against a judge who had fined him $117 for shampooing his semi-erect penis on a bus. “I was treated,” the man said, “like a hardened criminal.”[37][38]


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

Share
Single Page

More from Jesse Barron:

Weekly Review November 18, 2014, 10:43 am

Weekly Review

World leaders plan to boost GDP, the E.S.A. lands on a comet, and an artist looks for a needle in a haystack

Weekly Review September 30, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Student protests in Hong Kong, two sex-scandal resignations, and the CIA’s lust for lemon pound cake.

Weekly Review August 12, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Police in Missouri kill an unarmed teenager, the U.S. government expands its terrorist database, and Justin Bieber saves a Russian fisherman

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2016

The Improbability Party

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trump’s People

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Old Man

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Long Rescue

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

New Television

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Helen Ouyang on the cost of crowd-sourcing drugs, Paul Wood on Trump's supporters, Walter Kirn on political predictions, Sonia Faleiro on a man's search for his kidnapped children, and Rivka Galchen on The People v. O. J. Simpson.

The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

Photograph (detail) © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos
Article
Trump’s People·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"All our friends are saying, load up with plenty of ammunition, because after the stores don’t have no food they’re gonna be hitting houses. They’re going to take over America, put their flag on the Capitol.” “Who?” I asked. “ISIS. Oh yeah.”
Photograph by Mark Abramson for Harper's Magazine (detail)
Article
The Long Rescue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

He made them groom and feed the half-dozen horses used to transport the raw bricks to the furnace. Like the horses, the children were beaten with whips.
Photograph (detail) © Narendra Shrestha/EPA/Newscom
Article
The Old Man·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

Illustration (detail) by Jen Renninger
Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

With its lens shifting from the courtroom to the newsroom to people’s back yards, the series evokes the way in which, for a brief, delusory moment, the O. J. verdict seemed to deliver justice for all black men.
Still from The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story © FX Networks

Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:

$62,000

Kentucky is the saddest state.

An Italian economist was questioned on suspicion of terrorism after a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight witnessed him writing differential equations on a pad of paper.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today