Weekly Review — September 13, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

Emergency officials in Louisiana requested 25,000 body bags for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and a total evacuation of New Orleans was ordered. Much of the city was still underwater, though several people who lived on high ground objected to the evacuation. “I haven’t even run out of weed yet,” said one woman.The GuardianThe New York TimesHouston, Texas, the headquarters of contractors Halliburton and Baker Hughes, was preparing for a boom; one real-estate firm was offering special financing deals “for hurricane survivors only.”IHTWealthy residents of New Orleans were devising ways to rebuild the city with a minimum of poor people.Raw Story/WSJBarbara Bush visited the Astrodome and said that, given that the evacuees were “underprivileged anyway,” things were “working out very well” for them,Editor & Publisherand Representative Richard Baker gave the hurricane credit for finally cleaning up public housing in New Orleans. [Link] The government began to award no-bid contracts for the reconstruction,WebIndia123.comand President George W. Bush signed an executive order to allow federal contractors working in the wake of Katrina to pay their workers less than the prevailing wage.CNN MoneyWhen questioned by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over his administration’s response to the storm, Bush asked, “What didn’t go right?”USA TodayHe also declared September 16 to be a national day of prayer.BBC NewsDick Cheney toured the South. “Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney,” yelled Ben Marble, a Mississippi physician who lost his home in the hurricane. “Go fuck yourself.” Marble was handcuffed and later released.OpEdNews.comRepublicans promised to probe themselves.Washington Post

It was revealed that evacuees from the hurricane had been flown to Charleston, West Virginia, where no one expected them, instead of Charleston, South Carolina, where accommodations and doctors were waiting.The ScotsmanDoctors in New Orleans admitted that they had euthanized critically ill patients rather than leaving them to suffer. “Those who had no chance of making it,” said an emergency official, “were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die.”Daily MailBob Denver, best known for his role as the hapless, incompetent, shipwrecked Gilligan, died.SFGate.comMichael Brown, director of FEMA, was found to have lied on his resume and was removed from the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and sent back to Washington, D.C., to administer FEMA at a national level. “I’m going to go home,” he said, “and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night’s sleep.” He later resigned.CTV.caTimeSFGate.comThe New York TimesFEMA officials asked journalists not to take pictures of dead bodies,Reutersand China announced that the death tolls from natural disasters would no longer be classified as state secrets.BBC NewsGermany surpassed the United States to become the world’s number-one exporter,The Daily Telegraphand California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.Democracy Now!A large bulge appeared in Oregon.LiveScience.com

Up to 3.7 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the lower Mississippi River.Democracy Now!A car bomb in Iraq killed 16 people,BBC Newsthe last Israeli troops left Gaza,The New York Timesand 32 police officers were injured during riots in Belfast, Northern Ireland.CNN.comRussia announced that it will build a small floating nuclear power station in the White Sea.MOSNews.comThe Pentagon held a “Freedom Walk.” Walkers were forced to register online ahead of time, to march along a fenced-in route, and to listen to Clint Black perform his song “Iraq and Roll.” The Washington PostOracle was buying Siebel, and eBay was buying Skype.Business Week OnlineThe New York TimesYahoo! admitted that it had helped China track down a journalist, Shi Tao, who had anonymously redistributed a message from the Chinese government suggesting journalists be careful about what they write. Shi is serving a 10-year sentence for revealing “state secrets.”The Washington PostIt was revealed that, several months before it issued a warning, the FDA had been aware that the Guidant Ventak Prizm 2 DR heart defibrillator had a tendency to short-circuit.The New York TimesPassport applicants in Britain were being told not to smile for their pictures, because smiles confuse security equipment.The Jamaica ObserverEncephalitis had killed at least 600 people in India,BBC Newsand a typhoon killed at least 21 people in southern Japan.AFPSaparmurat Niyazov, President for Life of Turkmenistan, declared that a zoo for penguins would be built where the Kara Kum desert begins.Mail and Guardian OnlineA Brussels woman urinating in a graveyard was crushed to death by a falling gravestone,Reutersa woman in India was freed from the outhouse where she had been confined for more than 25 years,BBC Newsand a British man died when he fell into a giant blender.BBC News

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

October 2019

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Good Bad Bad Good·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Article
Constitution in Crisis·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

Article
Life after Life·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Article
Power of Attorney·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

Article
Secrets and Lies·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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.

A federal judge authored a 69-page ruling preventing New York City from enforcing zoning laws pertaining to adult bookstores and strip clubs.

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

“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