[Weekly Review ]Weekly Review | Harper's Magazine

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Police armed with locally produced slingshots were deployed to prevent Trump from being attacked by monkeys at the Taj Mahal.

President Donald Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of 11 mostly white-collar criminals, including Michael Milken, the “junk-bond king” at the center of the savings and loan crisis; Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who attempted to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat and later appeared on a series of reality shows, including The Celebrity Apprentice; Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who was convicted of tax fraud and once took control of an apartment intended for first responders so that he could continue an extramarital affair; and Edward DeBartolo Jr., the ex-owner of the San Francisco 49ers who was convicted of failing to report a felony after he paid the governor of Louisiana a $400,000 bribe to secure a riverboat gambling license.1 2 “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” said Trump.3 After the attorney general, William Barr, intervened to have Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation drastically reduced, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison, whereupon Trump himself suggested that the “bad jury” was “tainted,” and that Stone ought to be “exonerated.”4 5  Trump appointed Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and a former public-relations professional whom a Reuters reporter once called “the most dishonest and deceptive press person I ever worked with,” to the position of acting director of national intelligence, despite having no background in intelligence.6 7 Trump made his first official visit to India, where ahead of his arrival a brick wall was constructed to conceal a slum, and police armed with locally produced slingshots were deployed to prevent Trump from being attacked by monkeys at the Taj Mahal.8 9 Trump addressed a crowd of 100,000 in Ahmedabad, where he was introduced to the tune of the Village People’s “Macho Man.” Trump gave a speech in which he mispronounced the names of top Indian cricket stars, an Indian philosopher, and the city in which he was speaking, and called the Vedas “Vestas.”10 A parliamentary working group in Russia proposed constitutional reforms that would make ex-presidents immune from legal prosecution.11

Senator Bernie Sanders won the Nevada Democratic caucuses with 47 percent of the county convention delegates.12 Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, who lost by 33 percentage points, requested a recount and complained that the Sanders campaign, which in Nevada won a plurality of white and Latino voters and came in second among black voters, “leaves out most Democrats,” and the MSNBC host Chris Matthews compared Sanders’s victory to Nazi Germany’s successful invasion of France.13 14 15 The coronavirus outbreak spread to Italy, Iran, and South Korea.16 The virus caused U.S. stock markets to tumble, China’s greenhouse gas emissions to decline by a quarter, and requests for private jets in China to soar.17 18 19 In South Korea, roughly half of new coronavirus cases were linked to the Shincheonji, a religious sect whose leader claims to be the second coming of Christ.20 A Kentucky man whose request for a license plate reading IM GOD had initially been denied was awarded $150,000 to cover his legal fees.21 The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment warned of the rise of cybertorture, and an Iraqi man complaining on live television about the country’s health services died on air.22 23 A Cedar Rapids, Iowa, man was accused of kidnapping a woman and forcing her to watch the 1977 television miniseries Roots so that she would “understand her racism.”24 Virginia’s state legislature voted down a ban on assault weapons and bump stocks, voted to repeal bans on public cursing and private fornication, and voted to maintain a ban on spitting in public.25 “I work in the world of spit,” said one representative, who works as a dentist, “and I think it should be sucked out, not spit out.”26 The Boy Scouts of America, facing at least 300 sexual-abuse lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy.27

More than 30 migrants to the United Kingdom were apprehended in Calais, France, after trying to leave the country for fear of a post-Brexit backlash against immigrants; Greece was pressing for the return of the Elgin Marbles to be a requirement of a European Union trade deal with the United Kingdom; and archaeologists speculated that an empty tomb discovered in a Roman temple belonged to Romulus.28 29 30 It was reported that a Cambridge don who quit in 2015 during a sexual-harassment investigation had, that same year, self-published an erotic campus novel called First Time: Ooh-la-la!31 “It needs to be emphasised that an author rarely thinks the same way as his main character,” he said. A real estate developer turning Philadelphia’s Beury Building into a Marriott hotel promised that its redesign would pay tribute to the building’s iconic “boner 4ever” graffiti.32 “We have had ‘Boner Forever’ on every presentation we make,” said the CEO of the interior-design firm working on the project. Psychologists discovered that Western-style diets high in fat and sugar can diminish brain function; researchers found that a French helmet design from World War I provides better protection from explosive blasts than contemporary American army helmets; and doctors warned that a new viral phenomenon on TikTok called the “Skull Breaker Challenge” could prove fatal.33 34 35 A California daredevil was killed when he tried to launch himself into space in a homemade rocket to verify that the world is round.36 “I don’t want to take anyone else’s word for it,” he said.—Matthew Sherrill

More from