Weekly Review — January 18, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Photo: A large blue creature, presumably a person in costume, sits next to a woman in the White House Green Room.]

Cookie Monster in the Green Room (White House photo).

Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. was sentenced to ten years in military prison for his role in torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.USA TodayGraner threatened to rape prisoners and made them eat pork, and made one prisoner eat from a toilet.New York TimesimesHe insisted that he was only following orders. “There’s a war on,” he said. “Bad things happen.”USA TodayMore reports surfaced detailing torture in Iraq, this time with Navy SEALs and the CIA as the instigators, andSacramento Beethe Pentagon was considering whether to fund special, El Salvador-style Iraqi death squads.MSNBCSixty Afghans were released from Guantánamo Bay and returned home, andThe Malaysia Star detainees from other nations were released without being charged.ABCFurther allegations of torture at Guantánamo Bay were made by the FBI.The Kansas City StarIraqi insurgents were killing at least one hundred people each week, and New York Timesimesthe Bush administration announced that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction had been a total failure.APIraqi polling places were bombed, andNew York TimesimesIraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi announced that $2 billion would be spent to add 50,000 troops to the Iraqi army.New York TimesimesUkraine pulled its troops out of Iraq.Washington PostA soldier who sued the Army for requiring him to return to Iraq was sent back to serve another tour of duty, andArmy Timesin Mosul, a Syrian archbishop was kidnapped.New York TimesimesThe Army was planning to deploy knee-high robots equipped with machine guns to fight Iraqi insurgents, andModesto BeeOsama bin Laden was rumored to have returned to Afghanistan.USA Today

The White House continued to work towards a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, andNew York Timesimesthe Supreme Court ruled that the Ku Klux Klan could adopt a highway in Missouri.ReutersA federal judge ordered Cobb County, Georgia, schools to remove from biology textbooks all stickers that question the theory of evolution.The GuardianSir David King, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the United Kingdom, was under attack by American lobbyists for saying that global warming is a problem, andThe Independenta police officer in the Philippines was accused of stealing a fellow officer’s bomb-sniffing dog, then eating it.Sun Star DavaoUnited States Special Forces teams were conducting secret missions in Iran, whereGuardianHalliburton, operating through a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, was to start drilling for oil.ReutersIn Hempstead, New York, two legal-reform activists were detained for telling old lawyer jokes outside a courthouse, including: “Why do they bury lawyers 100 feet into the ground? Because down deep, they’re good people.” An offended lawyer had the men arrested.NewsdayRwanda said that it will attempt to try one-eighth of its population for genocide. Trials will be held in small village courts, called gacacas.The GuardianE! Television and Britain’s BSkyB announced plans to broadcast 30-minute dramatizations of Michael Jackson’s childmolestationtrial, based on the testimony from the previous day, in order to get around a ban on cameras in the courtroom.ReutersA 64-year-old webmaster sued the Tallahassee, Florida, Department of Elder Affairs for age discrimination, andTalahassee.coma New Mexico woman was sued for embezzling Girl Scout cookies.KOBTV.comThe FBI announced that Virtual Case File, an incomplete, $170 million software application intended to help agents share information, was likely to be scrapped. A British contractor was hired to define requirements for a new system.LA TimesAll 790 men in Truro, Massachusetts, were asked to submit to a DNA test so that they could prove their innocence in a three-year-old murder case.BBC NewsSatanists were upset to learn that the Regina Apostolorum, a Vatican university, was going to offer courses in Satanism and exorcism. The church, said a prominent Satanist, “has the blood of countless millions on its bejeweled fingers.”Telegraph.co.ukA man jumped from the Millau viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge, to become its first suicide, andAFPthe last reel-to-reel tape manufacturer in America went under, forcing indie rockers to hoard tapes.The Wall Street JournalNasmarried Kelis.USA TodayIn Colombia, a Black Hawk helicopter crashed while on a counter-narcotics mission, killing all twenty onboard.Washington PostA four-legged, anus-less, double-penised baby was born in Nigeria, andnews.xinhuanet.comPrince Harry, third in line to the British throne, was revealed to have gone to a party dressed as a Nazi.New York Timesimes

In India, men were calling tsunami relief help lines, offering to marry women who lost their husbands in the recent disaster. “I have no caste barriers, and my parents are very supportive of my decision,” said one caller.Times of IndiaPresident George W. Bush nominated Michael Chertoff, a former aide to John Ashcroft and former Senate Republican counsel for the Whitewater investigation,PBS to head the Department of Homeland Security.New York TimesimesThe White House was preparing for the president’s inauguration, and it was revealed that Laura Bush’s inaugural gown is an ice-blue and silver embroidered tulle V-neck dress with matching satin coat, by de la Renta; Jenna and Barbara Bush are being dressed by Lela Rose, de la Renta, Derek Lam, and Badgley Mischka. President Bush will wear a business suit.The Ledger“Not all the new clothes are in the house,” said Mrs. Bush, “but they’ve all had their last fitting.”New York TimesimesForty agencies were working together to provide security for the event.The News-HeraldThe White House refused to reimburse Washington, D.C., for inauguration expenses, which will require $11.9 million to be diverted from homeland security funds, andWashington Postit was announced that no one may carry a cross along the parade route.The News-HeraldPerformers in the inaugural parade, including marching bands, bell ringers, and Civil War reenactors, were instructed not to look directly at Bush as they pass the parade stand, nor to make any sudden moves.The News-HeraldA head, hands, two legs, and a torso were pulled from latrines in Botswana, andMMEGIBill Clinton and George W. Bush were becoming friends.MSNBCThe parents of a baby born on January 6, and officially named the 1.3 billionth citizen of China, turned down sponsorship deals from diaper makers. “Zhang Yichi is too young, and too many commercial activities will have negative impact on the boy’s healthy growth,” said Zhang Tong, the boy’s father. China DailyWomen were freezing their eggs in order to have them fertilized when it’s convenient, andNY Observerstorms ravaged California, where the resulting mud slides killed at least nine while dislodging boulders up to twenty-five feet in diameter.APHerpes struck the horses of Michigan, andSan Jose Mercury Newsan iceberg the size of Long Island was about to smash into an Antarctic glacier.NASAA Florida man, upset over hurricanes, beat a puppy with a hammer, andSt. Petersburg Timesa Floridaminister died at the pulpit. His last words were, “And when I go to heaven. . .”AP

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
Waiting for the End of the World·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

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.

The commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

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