Weekly Review — April 19, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Two suicide car bombs blew up in central Baghdad, killing fifteen and injuring thirty.BBC NewsA bomb in Kirkuk killed twelve Iraqi guards,Al Jazeeraan American contractor was kidnapped north of Baghdad,BBC Newsand Marla Ruzicka, an activist from California who made it her mission to count the number of civilian casualties in Iraq, was killed in Baghdad by a suicide bomber.GuardianThe Iraqi army intervened to end a widely publicized hostage crisis in al-Madain, south of Baghdad, but found no hostages.ReutersIn the United States, Eric Rudolph, a Christianterrorist, pleaded guilty to several bombings, including those at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, an abortion-clinic bombing in 1998, and an attack on a gay nightclub in 1997.BBC NewsPrompted by the credit-card industry, which made $30 billion in profits last year, the House approved new legislation that will make it much harder for families to declare personal bankruptcy.American Progress ActionNew York PostFewer than half of all Californians approved of the job Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing as governor,Guardianand zoo officials in Johannesburg, South Africa, were pressuring one of their chimps to stop smoking.ReutersThe president of Brazil visited Senegal, where he apologized for Brazil’s role in the slave trade.BBC NewsAs pilgrims washed away their sins in India’s sacred Narmada River, a dam was opened upstream, releasing a wall of water that drowned fifty-two people.ABC NewsCatholic cardinals convened a conclave,ABC Newsand a Christian radio talk-show host was fired for questioning whether the dead pope would go to heaven.Local6.comOne-foot-tall talking Jesus, David, Mary, and Moses dolls will be sold in June.Messengers of FaithThe United Nations released a video game called “Food Force” that lets players pretend they are feeding the starving,BBC Newsand the International Monetary Fund announced that sub-Saharan Africa’seconomy had grown 5 percent last year, with inflation at its lowest in twenty-five years.BBC NewsThe Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 420 points; pharmaceutical stocks, however, continued to rise.APA study found that executions by lethal injection carried out in the United States did not meet veterinary standards. BBC NewsThe European Union decided to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.BBC NewsBosnia was exporting snails.BBC News

The Governor of Wisconsin announced that he opposed cathunting.The Charlotte ObserverResearchers found that parents tend to take better care of their better-looking children.EurekAlert!American and Japanese scientists proclaimed clonedcattle safe to eat,BBC Newsa Danish study found no link between cell phones and brain tumors,InformationWeekand scientists at Yale University used lasers to control headless fruit flies.ABC OnlineBritain stopped importing United Statescorn after discovering that the United States had been sending banned, genetically modified corn to the U.K. for the past four years,The Independentand brewer Anheuser-Busch, America’s number one buyer of rice, announced that it will no longer buy rice from Missouri if that state allows genetically modified rice to be grown within its borders.CNN.comA new species of titi monkey, golden-crowned with a white-tipped tail, was discovered in Bolivia; it will be known as the GoldenPalace.com monkey.CNewsScientists used infrared technology to read lost works by Sophocles, Euripides, and Hesiod,The Independentand a London grandmother coldcocked a burglar with a garden gnome.CNN.comA scientist cataloged 395 different species of bacteria in the lower intestines of three healthy humans,EurekAlert!and entomologists named three newly discovered species of slime-mold beetle after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.USA TodaySupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to answer when asked if he sodomized his wife Maureen.New York PostHungary was planning to let prostitutes solicit in shopping malls,Daily Timesand Jenna Bush, the president’s daughter, got on all fours and did the “butt dance.”New York Post

Samples of the deadly Asianflu were accidentally mailed out to 3,700 labs worldwide. Several samples were missing.ReutersA garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing at least one hundred people;Reuterssix died when an election rally in Togo turned violent;BBC Newsand Indonesian children, traumatized by last December’s tsunami, were talking about their feelings with puppets.BBC NewsResearchers found that keeping pigs cool helps them grow fatter.Netherlands Organization for Scientific ResearchU.S. marshals arrested more than 10,000 people on outstanding warrants, nearly half of them for minor drug offenses,KRT Wireand the $90 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened in Springfield, Illinois. It features special effects created by Stan Winston Studios–which did the effects for Jurassic Park–and a life-sized model of Navy Secretary Gideon Welles with a terrible toupee.LATimes.comOne hundred thirty-seven million people were overweight in China,Medical News Todayand America’s 7 million vending machines were being visited by 100 million people a day.Medical News TodayAfter returning to Afghanistan from the United States, where he underwent heart surgery, an Afghan toddler died.BBC NewsIn Wales, a drunken man stood before an open window, dropped his trousers, and cried out, “who wants some of this?” before he fell from the window, impaled himself on a railing, and died,Daily Recordand a Vermont teenager was accused of breaking into a tomb and beheading a corpse. He apparently wanted to use the skull as a bong.The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

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

February 2020

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

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.

In response to a major volcanic eruption, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines vowed he would “eat that ashfall. I’m even going to pee on Taal, that goddamned volcano.”

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