Weekly Review — January 31, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

The Conservative Party won a plurality of seats in Canada’s federal election, making Stephen Harper Canada’s next prime minister.CBC.caThe Islamic group Hamas won 76 of 132 parliamentary seats in Palestine’s parliamentary elections, unseating the Fatah party. U.S. President George W. Bush, whose administration supported open democratic elections in Palestine, said that the United States would not negotiate with Hamas until the organization renounced its chartered goal of destroyingIsrael,BBC Newsand U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the United States would cut off aid to Palestine if Hamas assumed power without changing its policies. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” said Rice, even though publications like The Guardian and the The New York Times had, since at least 2003, published regular reports on the increasing popularity of Hamas in Palestine. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.” CNN.comThe New York TimesGawker.comThe GuardianSenator Joseph Biden (D., Del.) said Hamas would have to change its stripes.The Los Angeles TimesIn Iraq, the United States was negotiating with Sunniinsurgents.Newsweek via MSNBCA new judge took over the Saddam Hussein trial and had Hussein and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim removed from the courtroom after Hussein began shouting and Ibrahim called the court “a bastard.”The Washington PostHussein also Saddam Hussein said through a lawyer that he wanted to sue President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for authorizing the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as white phosphorus, in Iraq.The Washington PostU.S. auditors found that of $120 million in Iraqioil revenue allocated to fund reconstruction $97 million had gone missing. The Los Angeles TimesEleven people died in a bombing at an Iraqi sweets shop, and at least 17 people died in other attacks. Four Christian churches were bombed.Reuters AlertNetAP via ForbesABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were severely injured in an explosion in Taji,ABC Newsand a teenage girl in northern Iraq was reported to have died of bird flu.ReutersIn Gary, Indiana, an Iraq war veteran killed a 79-year-old man when the man refused to give him money for crack.IndyStar.comMarine James Blake Miller, whose face became emblematic of the Iraq war after he was photographed smoking a cigarette during the November 2004 attack on Fallujah, was at home in Kentucky, where he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had cut back to a pack and a half a day.SFGate.comHalliburton announced that 2005 was its best year ever.SignOnSanDiego.com

The White House refused to release photographs of President Bush with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, despite requests from Senate and HouseRepublicans,Reutersand a Senate committee investigating the government response to Hurricane Katrina criticized the Bush Administration for ignoring the findings of a hurricane-preparedness exercise called “Hurricane Pam,” which had warned that New Orleans would be flooded. “It is apparent that a more appropriate name for Pam should have been ‘Cassandra,'” said Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine). USA TodayVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to jail anyone who spies for the United States,BBC Newsand Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised not to have sex until elections were held on April 9.AP via ForbesThe UPN and WB television networks were slated to merge, AP via Yahoo! NewsDisney announced it would buy Pixar,E! Online via Yahoo! Newsand Google agreed to censor its Chinese search results to please the Chinese government.BBC NewsWith support from the ACLU, a boy in New Jersey won the right to wear a skirt to school; the boy wears the skirt to protest the school’s policy banning shorts.AP via Yahoo! NewsA grandfather in Florida died of a heart attack after all seven of his grandchildren were killed in an automobile accident,News Channel 5and a starving woman in Kangundo, Kenya, placed a curse on God as she hit a cooking pot with a stick, then died in her sleep. Reuters via MSNBCIn southern Poland, 66 people were crushed to death when an exhibition hall collapsed during an international pigeon fanciers’ fair.The New York Times

James E. Hansen, a director at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that NASA had ordered its public-affairs staff to review and possibly censor his upcoming speeches and papers after he called for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.The New York TimesMassachusetts Junior SenatorJohn Kerry, in Switzerland for the Davos economic forum, called for a filibuster to stop the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.The Salt Lake TribuneRepresentative Marty Meehan’s staff was caught removing unfavorable facts about Meehan from his Wikipedia entry; in the past the entire House has been banned from editing Wikipedia due to rampant abuse of the online public encyclopedia’s editing policies by House staffers.LowellSun.comIt was revealed that SenatorBill Frist’sAIDS charity had paid almost a half-million dollars in consulting fees to Frist’s political friends,CBS Newsand it was reported that one quarter of the Bush Administration’s $15 billion in AIDS-fighting money had been given to religious groups.AP via Yahoo! NewsPresident Bush said that he had not yet seen the filmBrokeback Mountain.”NBC13.comFrench police realized that they had spent the last two years trying to identify a female murder victim–whose skeleton was found during a low tide in Plouezoc’h–who actually died in the 15th century. “We reckon it was pirates,” said a policeman.AFP via Yahoo! NewsU.S. murderers were learning how to cover their tracks by watching television crime shows.AP via Yahoo! NewsAuthorities in Mexico City arrested a woman named Juana Barraza, a 48-year-old former wrestler who is thought to be the serial killer known as Mataviejitas, or “the Killer of Little Old Ladies,” and who may be responsible for strangling up to 30 of them.BBC NewsHawaiians were attempting to have the humuhumunukunukuapuaa (HOO-moo-HOO-moo- NOO-koo-NOO-koo- AH-poo-AH-ah) appointed as Hawaii’s state fish on a permanent basis after its five-year term expired. “It kind of looks like a pig and it squawks and everything,” said a humuhumunukunukuapuaa advocate.ABC NewsA substitute teacher in Santa Cruz, California, was sentenced to a year in jail for filming young boys licking whipped cream off each other’s toes. “I used very poor judgment,” said the teacher.The Mercury NewsMozart turned 250,CTV.cathe FBI was spying on vegans in Georgia,11Alive.comand several women in Missouri were sick with infections after receiving tattoos from a door-to-door tattoo salesman.TheKansasCityChannel.comA firecracker explosion killed 16 people during a New Year celebration in China,Reutersand the year of the dog began.The Star Online

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
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.

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.

Post
Poem for Harm·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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.

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 group of researchers studying the Loch Ness Monster did not rule out the possibility of its existence, but speculated that it is possibly a giant eel.

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