Weekly Review — March 1, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

A photo of a smiling George W. Bush standing at a podium, with a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. behind him.

White House photo.

A suicide bomber in Iraq killed over one hundred people as they stood waiting to join the Iraqi National Guard,New York Timesimesand four American soldiers and thirteen Iraqis were killed in other incidents.Khaleej TimesRichard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out that insurgencies tend to last from seven to twelve years,Reutersand the U.S. military increased its bonuses to encourage reenlistment.USA TodayAmerican forces opened negotiations with Iraqi insurgents.TimeCanada declared that the U.S. must get permission before launching missiles over Canadian airspace,Canada. comand Pakistani soldiers were ordered to shoot at U.S.troops who enter Pakistan without permission.HindustanTimes.comAn earthquake in southeast Iran killed six hundred people,ReliefWeband the Iranian military was preparing for an attack by the United States.SFGateIn the U.K., Bournemouth University announced that it has developed two artificial mass graves, each containing about thirty fake skeletons, to be used to train Iraqiwar-crimes investigators.GuardianBhutan banned public smoking,BBC Newsthe president of Togo stepped down,USA Todayand Tom Ridge joined the board of Home Depot.MarketWatch

The Anglican Communion was nearing a schism.BBC NewsThe attorney general of Kansas demanded that clinics in his state turn over the medical records of girls who have received abortions and women who have had late-term abortions.CNNDennis Rader, an active Lutheran and a Cub Scout leader in Wichita, Kansas, confessed to six killings as the BTK (“bind, torture, and kill”) serial killer, wanted for thirty-one years.An Illinois court ruled that a man could sue his ex-lover for using his sperm, acquired via oral sex, to impregnate herself,Chicago Sun-Timesand Britain’s Labour party was forced to drop Christine Wheatley as a candidate for Parliament after it was revealed she had once worked as a prostitute in Paris. “It was usually only three minutes,” said Wheatley.TelegraphThe pope underwent a tracheotomy,BBC Newsand the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging the Alabama law that makes it a crimeâ??punishable by a year in jail and a $10,000 fineâ??to sell vibrators, dildos, anal beads, and artificial vaginas.ReutersUNICEF reported that 180 million children aged five to seventeen are forced into the “worst forms” of labor, including the sex and slave trades.HindustanTimes.comProgressive rock was making a comeback.New York TimesimesNASAscientists resurrected bacteria that had been frozen for 32,000 years,New York TimesimesRussia agreed to sell nuclear fuel to Iran,LA Timesand at a summit in Bratislava, Vladimir Putin accused George W. Bush of firing Dan Rather.Washington PostA Swiss court lifted the ban on using “Bin Ladin” as a brand name. The name is registered to Osama bin Laden’s half-brother.CANOEIsrael planned to build 6,391 new homes for settlers in the West BankReutersand refused to hand over security control of the West Bank to Palestinians.CTV.caWest Banksettlers were given stickers to prove their residency, so that they might drive more quickly through checkpoints,Ha’aretzand a suicide bomber killed five in Tel Aviv. Israel blamed Syria, which hosts Islamic Jihad, for the attack. Syria handed over Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother, to Iraqi authorities,Economistand the pro-Syrian government of Lebanon dissolved itself.ABC NewsGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he had no regrets about his past steroid use,Sports Illustratedand a New Hampshirecrematorium was found to be throwing pacemakers and metallic hips into a dumpster.7 News Boston

Maoists killed fifteen in Nepal, Times of Indiaand Nepalese soldiers killed dozens of Maoists .ReutersThe financial records of 1.2 million federal employees were stolen from or lost by the Bank of America; Senator Pat Leahy’s credit-card number was among the missing.BBC NewsHalle Berry received a “Razzie” award for the worst actress of 2004 for her role in the film “Catwoman.” “I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit,” she said. George W. Bush won the worst actor award for his role in “Fahrenheit 9/11,”Reutersand a poll found that 57 percent of parents would not like their children to grow up to be president.Chicago Sun-TimesUSA Next, a group with ties to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, attacked the AARP for its position against Social Security reform,Newsweekand Arthur Shawcross, a cannibalserial killer, was writing a cookbook.New CriminologistCanadianscientists announced that they could treat depression by electronically stimulating the brain.Scotsman.comSenatorJohn McCain called for permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, The Guardianwhere one woman dies of a pregnancy-related illness every thirty minutes.ArabNews.comQueen Elizabeth announced that she would not attend the wedding ceremony of her son, Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles, but insisted this was not a snub; New York TimesimesPrinceCharles complained that the British had “tortured” him over his relationship with Parker Bowles.News.com.auAtrocities continued in Darfur, BBC NewsSomalia denounced plans to deploy foreign peacekeepers, BBC Newsand Eritrea was facing a major food crisis.BBC NewsAn Orangeburg, New York, man beat his toddler daughter to death for refusing a peanut-butter sandwich, The WGAL Channeland in Edinburgh, Scotland, a blind man bit his guide dog.The Scotsman

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Iraqi man complaining on live television about the country’s health services died on air.

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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. 

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