Weekly Review — September 27, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian Lion, March 1875]

Hurricane Rita, the third-most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, struck Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, killing 36 people and causing flooding, tornadoes, and storm surges, and re-flooding parts of New Orleans. Hurricane evacuations caused miles of traffic jams in Texas, and a bus filled with elderly people exploded when an oxygen tank caught fire, incinerating at least 24 passengers.WikipediaHouston ChronicleIn the wake of Hurricane Rita, which damaged a number of oil refineries, President George W. Bush called on Americans to conserve gas. “I mean,” he said, “people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they’re able to maybe not drive when they–on a trip that’s not essential, that would helpful.”The White HouseIt was reported that President Bush, exhausted from job stress, was back on the bottle. “Stop, George!” Laura Bush allegedly yelled as she walked in on him drinking straight whiskey.The National EnquirerWikipediaSlate.comThe Bush Administration raised $600 from U.S. citizens to help rebuild Iraq, where at least 42 people died in the fighting this week.The GuardianThe Washington PostOne hundred thousand people marched in Washington, D.C., to protest the war.APCindy Sheehan was arrested.APIn Poland an 18-month-old child ran over three family members with a car,Reutersand in India a 12-year-old girl killed herself after her mother told her that she could not afford to give her a single rupee for lunch.BBC NewsAn earthquake struck Peru.BBC News

A Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, killing the entire crew.BBC NewsMembers of the Army??s 82nd Airborne Division admitted that while in Iraq their battalion regularly tortured prisoners. “Some days,” said a sergeant, “we would just get bored, so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. This was before Abu Ghraib, but just like it. We did it for amusement.” Another sergeant said that he had seen a soldier beat detainees with an open chemical light. “That made them glow in the dark, which was real funny,” he said, “but it burned their eyes, and their skin was irritated real bad.”The New York TimesNASA announced that it wanted to return to the moon,Reutersand China was preparing to send the manned Shenzhou VI spacecraft into orbit.Red NovaNew York City announced that it would install up to twenty public pay toilets, one for every 405,203 people.1010 WINSIn Wichita Falls, Texas, a man named Roderick Johnson was suing prison officials for allowing him to be made into a sexual slave. Johnson testified that he had once been the “property” of a prison gang called the Gangster Disciples, who rented him out at rates ranging from $3 to $7 per rape. A defendant in the case said that Johnson??s testimony was not credible because he never showed the “bruises,” “possible broken bones,” or “a little worse” that would prove that the sex was nonconsensual.The New York TimesA man in Butte, Montana, was charged with killing and beheading a dog, then throwing the severed head at the dog??s owner. “Here,” said the man, “is your f——- dog back.”The Independent RecordThirty-six military-traineddolphins with toxic dart guns were reported missing in the Gulf of Mexico.The Guardian

Hamas announced that it would stop using the Gaza Strip to stage incursions into Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised to crack down on the group. LA TimesThe National Rifle Association convinced a district court to stop gun confiscations in New Orleans,The National Rifle Associationand the Irish Republican Army laid down its arms.The Washington PostA man in Portland, Oregon was calling people, telling them he had kidnapped an 11-year-old girl, and threatening to hurt the girl unless the recipients of the calls engaged in phone sex.The Corvallis Gazette-TimesThe FDA was criticized for naming a veterinarian trained in animal husbandry as acting director for the Office of Women??s Health.The Washington PostGreece won the Eurobasket.FIBA.comAn Australian surfer avoided a shark attack by punching the shark.CNN.comA Des Moines, Iowa, high school teacher was in trouble for confronting the students who toilet-papered his house with a sword,The Iowa Channeland the skeleton of a schizophrenic man was found in Wales; he had handcuffed himself to a tree. Deep scuff marks on the tree made it clear that the man had tried to free himself.Liverpool Daily Post

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
Long Shot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ihave had many names, but as a sniper I went by Azad, which means “free” or “freedom” in Kurdish. I had been fighting for sixteen months in Kurdish territory in northern Syria when in April 2015 I was asked to leave my position on the eastern front, close to the Turkish border, and join an advance on our southwestern one. Eight months earlier, we had been down to our last few hundred yards, and, outnumbered five to one, had made a last stand in Kobanî. In January, after more than four months of fighting street-to-street and room-by-room, we recaptured the town and reversed what was, until then, an unstoppable jihadi tide. In the battles since, we had pushed ­ISIS far enough in every direction that crossing our territory was no longer a short dash through the streets but a five-hour drive across open country. As we set out to the north, I could make out the snowy peaks in southern Turkey where they say Noah once beached his ark. Below them, rolling toward us, were the wide, grassy valleys and pine forests of Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris where our people have lived for twelve thousand years.

The story of my people is filled with bitter ironies. The Kurds are one of the world’s oldest peoples and, as pioneers of agriculture, were once among its most advanced. Though the rest of the world now largely overlooks that it was Kurds who were among the first to create a civilization, the evidence is there. In 1995, German archaeologists began excavating a temple at Göbekli Tepe in northern Kurdistan. They found a structure flanked by stone pillars carved with bulls, foxes, and cranes, which they dated to around 10,000 bce. At the end of the last Ice Age, and seven thousand years before the erection of Stonehenge or the pyramids at Giza, my ancestors were living together as shamans, artists, farmers, and engineers.

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.’ ”

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