Weekly Review — March 21, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Eighty-six corpses–most shot, some strangled–were found around Baghdad over a 30-hour period. CNN“We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more,” said Iyad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq. “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”BBC NewsDonald Rumsfeld denied that Iraq was in a civil war.CNNThe United States launched Operation Swarmer against the Iraqi insurgency. While the operation was described as the largest air assault since the beginning of the Iraq war, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were captured.TimeA videotape emerged purporting to show that in November of 2005 Marines in Haditha, seeking revenge for the deaths of their comrades, killed 15 unarmed Iraqis, including seven women and three children. “I watched them shoot my grandfather,” said an eyewitness, “first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.” The Marines promised to investigate.TimeIt was revealed that in 2004 a U.S. Special Operations unit imprisoned Iraqis in Hussein-era torture chambers, then used them as targets in paintball games. “The reality is,” said a Pentagon official, “there were no rules there.” Posters around the detention area read NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.The New York TimesThe judge in the Saddam Hussein trial closed the trial to the public after Hussein spoke against Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. “You will live,” Hussein told Iraqis, “in darkness and rivers of blood for no reason.” ABC NewsIn France between 260,000 and 500,000 students demonstrated and vandalized buildings and cars to protest a new employment law that makes it easier for young workers to be fired.Democracy NowEighty thousand people mourned Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade,ABC Newsand several thousand people around the world protested on the third anniversary of the Iraq war.ABC NewsIt was reported that the U.S. military is less likely to discharge homosexuals than it was in the past. “They are under enormous pressure,” explained a legal analyst, “to retain people.”The Boston GlobeIn the Netherlands organizers were planning to encourage tolerance by holding a soccer game matching homosexuals against Muslims. Gay Muslims, said organizers, will be able to choose which team they will join.Seattle PI

The Israeli army attacked a Palestinian jail to seize six militants,BBC Newsand doctors planned to move Ariel Sharon to a long-term care facility.AP via Sign On San DiegoIn California authorities were fitting gang members with GPS anklets,Reutersand the U.S. Navy said that it had killed a pirate off the coast of Somalia.BBC NewsA man named Allen Abney, who went AWOL from the Marines in 1968 before his unit was sent to Vietnam, was arrested for desertion and placed in a Marine jail when he tried to cross into Idaho from Canada. He was released a week later.The Globe and MailA government study found that FEMA had wasted millions of dollars in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort; among other things the organization was accused of spending $3 million for 4,000 beds that were never used and awarding hundreds of contracts without competitive bidding.Democracy NowGoogle was ordered to provide selected search data to the federal government,BBC Newsand 46 percent of Americans polled said President George W. Bush should be censured over the NSA warrantless-wiretapping program.Democracy NowSenator Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) proposed a resolution to censure the President.USA TodayA federal appeals court ruled that Tennessee may issue “Choose Life” license plates.AP via First Amendment Center

UNESCO met to discuss how to preserve world heritage sites, like the Tower of London and the Great Barrier Reef, from the effects of global warming; the United States said that the organization had no brief to discuss an unproven theory.BBC NewsPresident Bush nominated Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, who raised $86,000 from the timber, mining, and energy industries during his last campaign, to oversee the Department of the Interior.Democracy NowJapanesescientists extracted sweet-smelling vanillin from cow dung.The New Zealand HeraldIn New Mexico a Mescalero Apache family was suing the producers of the Steven Spielberg-produced TV show “Into the West” for cutting the hair of eight-year-old actress Christina Ponce. Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl’s hair before she reaches puberty; the filmmakers trimmed Ponce because they were short of Indian boys.BBC NewsIn Texas, where wildfires have burned 3.5 million acres of land since December,AP via Yahoo! NewsMiss Deaf Texas was struck and killed by a train. “They sounded the horn,” said a police detective, “and got no response.”Seattle PIIn Chicago a man named Jakub Fik, upset with his girlfriend, was arrested for smashing car windows; he also cut off his penis and threw it at police officers.Chicago Sun TimesA 38-year-old Californiaclown kidnapped the 14-year-old girl who is carrying his child,NBC San Diegoand at least 2.5 million American children were taking antipsychotic drugs.MSNBC

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

November 2019

Men at Work

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To Serve Is to Rule

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Bird Angle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The K-12 Takeover

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The $68,000 Fish

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Men at Work·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“You’re being reborn,” the voice says. “Exiting the womb of your mother. Coming into the earth as a small baby. Everything is new.” It is a Saturday morning in mid-March, and right now I’m lying on a yoga mat in a lodge in Ohio, surrounded by fifty other men who’ve come to the Midwest for a weekend of manhood-confirming adventures. The voice in question belongs to Aaron Blaine, a facilitator for Evryman, the men’s group orchestrating this three-day retreat. All around me, men are shedding tears as Blaine leads us on a guided meditation, a kind of archetypal montage of Norman Rockwell boyhood. “You’re starting to figure things out,” he says, in somniferous baritone. “Snow, for the first time. Sunshine. Start to notice the smells, the tastes, the confusion. The fear. And you’re growing. You’re about ten years old. The world’s huge and scary.”

Even though it’s only the second day of the Evryman retreat, it’s worth noting that I’ve already been the subject of light fraternal teasing. Already I’ve been the recipient of countless unsought hugs. Already I have sat in Large Groups and Small Groups, and watched dozens of middle-aged men weep with shame and contrition. I’ve had a guy in the military tell me he wants to be “a rock for his family.” I’ve heard a guy from Ohio say that his beard “means something.” Twice I’ve hiked through the woods to “reconnect with Mother Nature,” and I have been addressed by numerous men as both “dude” and “brother.” I have performed yoga and yard drills and morning calisthenics. I’ve heard seven different men play acoustic guitar. I’ve heard a man describe his father by saying, “There wasn’t a lot of ball-tossing when I was growing up.” Three times I’ve been queried about how I’m “processing everything,” and at the urinal on Friday night, two men warned me about the upcoming “Anger Ceremony,” which is rumored to be the weekend’s “pièce de résistance.”

Article
To Serve Is to Rule·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The WASP story is personal for me. I arrived at Yale in 1971 from a thoroughly mediocre suburb in New Jersey, the second-generation hybrid of Irish and Italian stock riding the postwar boom. Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.

I used to visit one of those friends in the Hamptons, in the 1970s, when the area was about wood-paneled Ford station wagons, not Lamborghinis. There was some money in the family, but not gobs, yet they lived two blocks from the beach—prime real estate. Now, down the road from what used to be their house is the residence of Ira Rennert. It’s one of the largest private homes in the United States. The union-busting, pension-fund-looting Rennert, whose wealth comes from, among other things, chemical companies that are some of the worst polluters in the country, made his first money in the 1980s as a cog in Michael Milken’s junk-bond machine. In 2015, a court ordered him to return $215 million he had appropriated from one of his companies to pay for the house. One-hundred-car garages and twenty-one (or maybe twenty-nine) bedrooms don’t come cheap.

Article
The Bird Angle·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I slept for a good seven hours on the overnight flight from Spain to Peru, and while I slept I dreamed that I was leading American visitors around a park in Berlin, looking for birds on a hazy, overcast day. There wasn’t much to see until we noticed a distant commotion in the sky. Large raptors were panicking, driven back and forth by something threatening them from above. The commotion moved closer. The clouds parted, an oval aperture backed with blue. In it two seraphim hovered motionless. “Those are angels,” I told the group.

They were between us and the sun, but an easy ­I.D. Size aside, no other European bird has two sets of wings. The upper wings cast their faces into shadow. Despite the glare I could make out their striking peaches-­and-­cream coloration. Ivory white predominates, hair a faint yellow, eyes blue, wings indescribably iridescent. Faces blank and expressionless, as with all birds.

Article
The K-12 Takeover·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Last May, the families of students at Cypress Academy, an independent charter school in New Orleans, received an email announcing that the school would close when classes ended the following week and that all its students would be transferred to another nearby charter for the upcoming year. Parents would have the option of entering their children in the city’s charter-enrollment lottery, but the lottery’s first round had already taken place, and the most desirable spots for the fall were filled.

Founded in 2015, a decade after New Orleans became the nation’s first city to begin replacing all its public schools with charters, Cypress was something of a rarity. Like about nine in ten of the city’s charter schools, it filled spaces by lottery rather than by selective admission. But while most of the nonselective schools in New Orleans had majority populations of low-income African-American students, Cypress mirrored the city’s demographics, drawing the children of professionals—African-American and white alike—as well as poorer students. Cypress reserved 20 percent of its seats for children with reading difficulties, and it offered a progressive education model, including “learning by doing,” rather than the strict conduct codes that dominated the city’s nonselective schools. In just three years, the school had outperformed many established charters—a particular feat given that one in four Cypress students had a disability, double the New Orleans average. Families flocked to Cypress, especially ones with children who had disabilities.

Article
Five Stories·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

how high? that high

He had his stick that was used mostly to point at your head if your head wasn’t held up proudly.

I still like that man—Holger! He had been an orphan!

He came up to me once because there was something about how I was moving my feet that wasn’t according to the regulations or his expectations.

The room was a short wide room with a short wide window with plenty of artificial light.

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.

The limited edition Nike Air Max 97s, white sneakers that have holy water from the Jordan River in their soles and have frankincense-scented insoles, sold out in minutes.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today