Weekly Review — November 4, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Iraqi guerrillas hiding in a grove of date palms shot down an American military helicopter near Fallujah; 16 died and 20 were wounded. Most of the soldiers were leaving Iraq on furlough. Two civilian contractors and one U.S. soldier were killed the same day by roadside bombs. “In a long war,” said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “we are going to have tragic days. But they’re necessary.”Associated PressTrent Lott suggested that more U.S. troops be moved to the area around Tikrit. “Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”The HillPresident Bush denied that his political operatives had been responsible for the erection of the “Mission Accomplished” banner that flew behind him on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, when he dressed up like a fighter pilot and declared victory in Iraq. He said that his advance men “weren’t that ingenious” and that the banner was put up by crew members, “saying that their mission was accomplished.” Scott McClellan, the president’s press secretary, later admitted that the banner was in fact created by the White House.New York TimesShoko Asahara, the guru of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, claimed that he had lost control of his followers shortly before they released nerve gas in the Tokyosubway eight years ago.Associated PressPopulation ecologists concluded that the famous boom and bust cycle in the lemming population is a result of predation.New York TimesAmerican scientists deliberately engineered a new extra-deadly form of mousepox; much the same thing has been done with cowpox and rabbitpox.New ScientistHistorians were upset that the Smithsonian Institution’s new exhibit of the Enola Gay bomber fails to mention that the B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.New York TimesThe CIA celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Directorate of Science and Technology by exhibiting such devices as a mechanical dragonfly listening device and a 24-inch-long artificial catfish; the exhibit was not open to the public.Reuters

Israel’s highest-ranking military officer, Lt. Gen Moshe Yaalon, declared that his country’s policy toward the Palestinians is making things worse. “It increases hatred for Israel and strengthens the terror organizations,” he said. “In our tactical decisions, we are operating contrary to our strategic interest.”New York TimesThe Bush Administration indicated that it has no plans for a “regime change” in Iran.New York TimesArnold Schwarzenegger paid a visit to Washington, D.C., where he posed for pictures with lawmakers and signed autographs for congressional pages.New York TimesThe French government unveiled a plan to make the French more European.New York TimesMembers of the House Ways and Means Committee decided to give tax relief to manufacturers of bows and arrows; makers of fishing tackle boxes were also expected to see relief, as were liquor and wine distributors and movie studios.New York TimesDonald Rumsfeld was asked whether he’s lost his “mojo“; the defense secretary responded that he didn’t know, because he didn’t know what mojo means.ReutersA gang of Catholic schoolgirls chased down and pummeled a flasher in Philadelphia.CNNIn Mississippi, a woman driver penetrated President Bush’s security and crashed her car into a wall about 50 feet from where the president was sitting in his limo.New York TimesA clown robbed a bank in Virginia.Ananova

A new study from the Center for Public Integrity revealed that the 70 companies that have benefited the most from $8 billion in government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan collectively contributed more than $500,000 to President Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.Boston Globe, New York TimesCongressional negotiators stripped a measure criminalizing war profiteering from the final version of the $87 billion spending bill for Iraq.U.S. Newswire, Office of Sen. Patrick LeahyIsraeli police questioned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for seven hours as part of two corruption investigations.New York TimesArgentina’s presidential jet was grounded, forcing President Néstor Kirchner to take a commercial flight, after two of his three pilots were removed as part of a crackdown on corruption.ReutersRussian financial markets dropped after police arrested the country’s richest man, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, the CEO of Yukos Oil, on charges of fraud and tax evasion.New York TimesPrime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who is considered pro-business, said he was “deeply concerned” about the case, but experts agreed that most Russians hate the rich.New York TimesThe Food and Drug Administration issued a preliminary conclusion that clones are safe to eat; it was noted that some companies plan to use clones’ milk to manufacture pharmaceuticals.New York TimesShropshire lads were warned by British police to stop throwing eggs or face prosecution; parents were asked to keep a close watch on the household egg supply, and police cautioned shopkeepers to be suspicious of egg-buying children.BBCAn alligator got loose in the cargo hold of an American Airlines jet in Newark, New Jersey.Associated PressThe Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop,Associated Pressand Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy, released a new CD of love songs.ReutersResearchers from the University of Chicago reported that male Guinea baboons fiddle with one another’s genitals when they perform a complex greeting ritual; the fiddling follows face pulling and rump presentation. White-faced capuchin monkeys, in contrast, stick their fingers up one another’s noses.Nature.comA horde of rhesus macaques was tormenting workers in New Delhi, and neuroscientistsReutersdetermined that motherhood makes female ratssmarter, calmer, and more courageous.Reuters

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Body Language

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trash, Rock, Destroy

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Make Way for Tomorrow

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Red Dot

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Gimme Shelter·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Post
Perhaps the World Ends Here·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

Article
Body Language·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

Article
Trash, Rock, Destroy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

Article
The Red Dot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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.

An eight-foot minke whale washed ashore on the Thames, the third beaching of a dead whale on the river in two months.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today