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 168 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2018

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Combustion Engines·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On any given day last summer, the smoke-choked skies over Missoula, Montana, swarmed with an average of twenty-eight helicopters and eighteen fixed-wing craft, a blitz waged against Lolo Peak, Rice Ridge, and ninety-six other wildfires in the Lolo National Forest. On the ground, forty or fifty twenty-person handcrews were deployed, alongside hundreds of fire engines and bulldozers. In the battle against Rice Ridge alone, the Air Force, handcrews, loggers, dozers, parachutists, flacks, forecasters, and cooks amounted to some nine hundred people.

Rice Ridge was what is known as a mega-fire, a recently coined term for blazes that cover more than 100,000 acres. The West has always known forest fires, of course, but for much of the past century, they rarely got any bigger than 10,000 acres. No more. In 1988, a 250,000-acre anomaly, Canyon Creek, burned for months, roaring across a forty-mile stretch of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness in a single night. A few decades on, that anomaly is becoming the norm. Rice Ridge, for its part, swept through 160,000 acres.

At this scale, the firefighting operation is run by an incident management team, a group of about thirty specialists drawn from a mix of state and federal agencies and trained in fields ranging from aviation to weather forecasting and accounting to public information. The management teams are ranked according to experience and ability, from type 3 (the least skilled) to type 1 (the most). The fiercest fires are assigned to type 1s. Teams take the name of their incident commander, the field general, and some of those names become recognizable, even illustrious, in the wildfire-fighting community. One such name is that of Greg Poncin, who is to fire commanders what Wyatt Earp was to federal marshals.

Smoke from the Lolo Peak fire (detail) © Laura Verhaeghe
Article
Rebirth of a Nation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Donald Trump’s presidency signals a profound but inchoate realignment of American politics. On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason. On the other hand, Trump’s reign may be merely an interregnum, in which the old white power structure of the Republican Party is dying and a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.

Illustration by Taylor Callery (detail)
Article
Blood Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Over the past three years, the city of South Tucson, Arizona, a largely Latino enclave nestled inside metropolitan Tucson, came close to abolishing its fire and police departments. It did sell off the library and cut back fire-truck crews from four to three people—whereupon two thirds of the fire department quit—and slashed the police force to just sixteen employees. “We’re a small city, just one square mile, surrounded by a larger city,” the finance director, Lourdes Aguirre, explained to me. “We have small-town dollars and big-city problems.”

Illustration by John Ritter (detail)
Article
The Tragedy of Ted Cruz·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

Cruz recited almost verbatim the same things Trump lists as the administration’s accomplishments: the new tax legislation, reduced African-American unemployment, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court. But, in a mirror image of those in the #Resistance who refuse to ennoble Trump with the title “president,” Cruz only called him that.

Photograph of Ted Cruz © Ben Helton (detail)
Article
Wrong Object·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

H

e is a nondescript man.

I’d never used that adjective about a client. Not until this one. My seventeenth. He’d requested an evening time and came Tuesdays at six-thirty. For months he didn’t tell me what he did.

The first session I said what I often said to begin: How can I help you?

I still think of what I do as a helping profession. And I liked the way the phrase echoed down my years; in my first job I’d been a salesgirl at a department store counter.

I want to work on my marriage, he said. I’m the problem.

His complaint was familiar. But I preferred a self-critical patient to a blamer.

It’s me, he said. My wife is a thoroughly good person.

Yawn, I thought, but said, Tell me more.

I don’t feel what I should for her.

What do you feel?

Photograph © Joseph S. Giacalone (detail)

Chance that a homeless-shelter resident in a major U.S. city holds a full- or part-time job:

1 in 5

Turkey hunting was deemed most dangerous for hunters, though deer hunting is more deadly.

The unresolved midterms; Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III replaced; the debut of the world’s first AI television anchor

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“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.”

Subscribe Today