Weekly Review — December 6, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

At the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, President George W. Bush gave a speech on the Iraq war. “As Iraqi forces grow more capable,” he said, “they’re increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists.”CNN.comOperation Steel Hammer, intended to end Al Qaeda operations in Hit, west of Baghdad, was launched with a force of 1,500 U.S. Marines, 500 U.S. Army soldiers, and 500 Iraqi soldiers.ABC NewsNineteen Iraqi soldiers were killed in an attack north of Baghdad,Turkish Press/AFPand ten U.S. Marines were killed by a roadside bomb in Fallujah.BBC NewsIn New York City, a defense contractor named David H. Brooks rented out two floors of the Rainbow Room for his daughter Elizabeth’s bat mitzvah. Tom Petty, Kenny G, and members of Aerosmith performed, as did 50 Cent. The total cost of the party was reported as $10 million. “Go shorty,” rapped 50 Cent, “it’s your bat mitzvah, we gonna party like it’s your bat mitzvah.”New York Daily NewsTwo women told a reporter that Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the CaliforniaCongressman who resigned after he was found to have accepted bribes from defense contractors, once changed into pajama bottoms and a turtleneck sweater and offered the women champagne by the light of a lava lamp.NewsweekKTLAThe House Ethics Committee had not opened a new case in the last 12 months. “I would say by the early part of January, we will be fully organized,” said Representative Alan Mollohan (D., W. Va.). “Or should be really close to that.”The Washington PostSenator John McCain said that he didn’t think “the ethics committees are working very well.”Bloomberg.comIn Tennessee a man was arrested for firing a gun at traffic while wearing only a pair of socks.AP

In North Carolina Kenneth Boyd became the 1,000th prisoner executed since the United States reintroduced the death penalty in 1976. “It’s a milestone we should all be ashamed of,” said Boyd’s lawyer.BBC NewsFacing criticism over the United States’ network of secret prisons in Europe, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointed out that intelligence gathered from terrorism suspects has helped prevent attacks in not only the United States but Europe as well. Rice also asserted that the United States does not transport detainees from one country to another for the purpose of torture.APThe U.S. Transportation Safety Administration decided that screwdrivers under seven inches long and scissors with blades under four inches long will again be permitted on airplanes.ReutersRussia confirmed plans to sell $1 billion worth of surface-to-air missiles and other weapons hardware to Iran,The Sydney Morning Heraldand it was reported that Iraqi militants, before they carried out raids or suicide bombings, were taking a methamphetamine-based drug called “pinky” that made them feel superhuman.The Daily MirrorA U.S. federal judge determined that it is constitutional for the New York CityPolice to randomly search passengers’ bags on the subway,Reutersand a Jasper County, Georgia, eighth-grader was dismissed from school after he took down a video camera installed in the school’s boys’ bathroom; it turned out that the camera had been placed there by the school principal so that he could observe the boys.WMAZ.comA theological commission planned to ask Pope Benedict XVI to eliminate limboâ??where unbaptized infants are thought to go after deathâ??from the catechism,Reutersand an atheist student group at the University of Texas was handing out pornography to anyone who gave them a Bible as part of a “Smut for Smut” program. “We consider the Bible to be a very negative force in the history of the world,” said a student.XBiz [NSFW]In Fremont, California, Iron Crotch Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng pulled a rental truck several yards with his penis. “He’s very special,” said student Shawnee Wang.Tri-Valley HeraldAn Indiana man was found guilty of murder for shooting a 15-year-old boy who threw eggs at him.Local6.comPresident Bush was called for jury duty but asked to delay his service until he was out of office,BBC Newsand a Wausau, Wisconsin, hunter shot and killed a buck that lacked testicles.Wausau Daily HeraldIn Russia a pack of squirrels attacked and, according to an eyewitness, “literally gutted” a large dog that was barking at them. When humans approached the squirrels ran away, some carrying flesh.BBC News

The National Security Agency released papers related to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident; one previously secret history, written in 2001, argued that intelligence regarding the incident was “deliberately skewed” to cover up 90 percent of intercepted North Vietnamese communications, so that President Lyndon Johnson and Congress could be more easily pushed into the Vietnam War.SFGateIt was revealed that the U.S. Army was writing positive news stories about the Iraq war, and was then paying to have the articles translated into Arabic and published in Iraqi newspapers. Abdul Zahra Zaki, editor of the newspaper Al Mada, said that if he had known the storiesâ??with titles like “Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism” and “More Money Goes to Iraq’s Development”â??were written by the Army he would have “charged much, much more.”LA TimesPresident Omar Bongo of Gabon won another term in office,Reutersand a South African court ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutional.APIn Phoenix, Arizona, a 14-year-old freshman at Barry Goldwater High School was arrested for raping a 75-year-old woman,AZCentral.comand in Manchester, New Hampshire, a man named Ronald MacDonald was arrested for stealing $133 from a safe at a Wendy’s restaurant.The Union leaderScientists in London were planning to insert nose cells into damaged human spines in the hope that the cells will stimulate the growth of nerve fibers,The Guardianand surgeons in France performed a partial face transplant, taking the nose and lips of a brain-dead donor and grafting them onto the face of a woman who had been severely disfigured by a dog.BBC NewsIn Gabon and Congo, scientists traced the origin of the Ebola virus to three different species of fruit bat; by stopping people from eating the bats, a scientist suggested, the spread of the virus could be slowed.LA TimesThere was a shortage of Santas in Perth, Australia; current Santas said that the risk of litigation was too great. “Once upon a time you’d walk through the mall saying â??Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmasâ??,” said Santa John Gomez, “but now you say nothing.”The Daily TelegraphIn Gavle, Sweden, vandals burned a huge straw Christmasgoat.BBC NewsThe White House put up nearly 600 feet of garland and erected an 18-and-a-half-foot fir tree decorated with tulips and azaleas in honor of this year’s Christmas theme, “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”The New York TimesAn Amtrak train struck a bald eagle in Fredericksburg, Virginia.Fredericksburg.com

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 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dead Ball Situation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today