Ryann Liebenthal

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Readings — From the July 2015 issue

Bleakness Stakes

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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

Weekly Review — December 9, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Americans protest police brutality, 188 Muslim Brotherhood supporters are sentenced to death in Egypt, and 14 people are arrested for using the Domino’s pizza-ordering app to test stolen credit card numbers.

Weekly Review — October 28, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Ebola arrives in New York, a high school student opens fire on classmates in Washington, and protestors in Hong Kong worry that Kenny G is an agent of the Chinese government

Weekly Review — September 16, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Obama announces air strikes in Iraq; a monsoon superfloods India; and California nudists cover up for the Man

Weekly Review — June 10, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Unity and disunity in Palestine, NYRB vs. CIA, and John Roberts marries art criticism with jurisprudence

Weekly Review — April 22, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Boko Haram steps up its attacks in Nigeria, South Korea mourns a ferry disaster, and Gabriel García Márquez dies at 87

Weekly Review — March 18, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Crimeans vote to join the Russian Federation, the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 deepens, and Joseph Jambon tackles the fornicating slipper snail

Conversation — March 5, 2014, 2:37 pm

Living with a Wild God: A Conversation with Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich on writing, social activism, and the possible existence of a mystical Other

Weekly Review — February 11, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Winter Olympic Games open in Sochi, Al Qaeda splits with ISIS, and a cat named Quiver survives an arrow shot

Readings — From the February 2014 issue

This Will Be the Last

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Readings — From the January 2014 issue

Snark de Triomphe

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Weekly Review — December 31, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

War and peacekeeping in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, a brief truce in the Syrian civil war, and bells hell in Manhattan

Weekly Review — November 12, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

One of the most powerful storms on record strikes the Philippines, the mayor of Toronto has a problem, and cheeseburgers as post-coital couture

Weekly Review — October 22, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. government shutdown ends, Saudi Arabia turns down a U.N. Security Council seat, and an Alaskan town debates a successor for its cat-mayor

Weekly Review — August 13, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. government responds to an alleged terrorist plot, Ramadan ends in violence in parts of the Muslim world, and Swedish men guard their testicles from pacu fish

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

Weekly Review — May 14, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Pakistan’s first democratic transfer of power, the IRS and DOJ overstep their bounds, and the Pope comes out against spinsters

Weekly Review — March 19, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

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THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2019

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Constitution in Crisis·

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

Article
Power of Attorney·

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In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

Article
Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Article
Carlitos in Charge·

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I was in Midtown, sitting by a dry fountain, making a list of all the men I’d slept with since my last checkup—doctor’s orders. Afterward, I would head downtown and wait for Quimby at the bar, where there were only alcoholics and the graveyard shift this early. I’d just left the United Nations after a Friday morning session—likely my last. The agenda had included resolutions about a worldwide ban on plastic bags, condemnation of a Slobodan Miloševic statue, sanctions on Israel, and a truth and reconciliation commission in El Salvador. Except for the proclamation opposing the war criminal’s marble replica, everything was thwarted by the United States and a small contingent of its allies. None of this should have surprised me. Some version of these outcomes had been repeating weekly since World War II.

Article
Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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