Weekly Review — November 14, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Midterm elections were held in the United States; the Republican Party lost its majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Six incumbent Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, were defeated, and Santorum’s daughter cried. Nancy Pelosi of California, who is expected to become the first female Speaker of the House, had lunch with President George W. Bush.Reuters via Yahoo!MSNBCBoston.comIn Iraq the parliament extended the nationwide state of emergency by 30 days, and eight soccer players and fans were killed by mortar rounds. “We are the Shiite nation,” yelled a man from his hospital bed.MSNBCThree U.S. soldiers, four British soldiers, and 159 Iraqis were killed on a Sunday; Aljazeerah.infoThe Toronto StarBaghdad’s morgues were clogged. “Every day, there are crowds of women outside weeping, yelling, and flailing in grief,” said a morgue director. “They’re all looking for their dead sons and I don’t know how the computer or we will bear up.”AP via Seattle Post-IntelligencerThe Saddam Husseingenocide trial resumed, even though Hussein was sentenced to death two days before the U.S. election.MSNBCABC News OnlineFifty performances of “Saddam at the Gallows,” a new play due to open in Kolkata, India, had already sold out.Reuters

The principal of a high school in North Carolina apologized after an excerpt of a speech by Joseph Goebbels was played over the PA system during a soccer game,CNNand the walls of a prison in Missouri were painted pink and accented with stenciled teddy bears. “We made it like a day care,” explained Sheriff Mike Rackley.CourtTVNewsZama Ndebele, the wife of Premier S’bu Ndebele of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, promised to return her herd of Nguni cattle to the state in the wake of a cows-for-favors corruption scandal.Business DayIOLDespite the objections of the Vatican, a gay rights rally was held in Jerusalem under the guard of nearly 3,000 police. Rabbi Yehuda Levin flew from Brooklyn to denounce the rally. “They are not,” said Levin, “being tolerant of our feelings.”The New York TimesIn Beit Hanun, Gaza, Israeli forces accidentally killed 18 civilians, including seven children; Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the killings as a “technical failure.” The U.N. Security Council drafted a resolution condemning the attack, but the United States, represented by Ambassador John Bolton, vetoed it.The Jerusalem PostBBC NewsDemocraticsenators made it clear that they would not confirm Bolton (who was installed as U.N. ambassador via recess appointment) to his position in 2007.ABC NewsRepublican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman resigned,CNNand in Patna, India, twenty eunuchs were hired to sing, beat drums, and collect municipal taxes.MSNBC

Ed Bradley and Jack Palance died.CBS NewsLos Angeles Times.Officials in Sydney, Australia, refused to allow a cargo ship to dock until a rogue monkey on board was captured or killed; the ship’s crew later said that the monkey–a “small brown blur”–had probably been blown overboard during a typhoon.The AgeSMH.com.auThe moon appeared to be leaking gas,PhysOrgthere was a hurricane on Saturn,ABC News Onlineand fourteen ducklings were stomped to death in Florida.TBO.comThe civil war in Iraq was breaking up marriages. “I love my husband, but my family has forced me to divorce him,” said Hiba Sami, a Shiite woman who was married to a Sunni man for 18 years. “We have four children and every day they cry because they miss their father.”Reuters AlertnetDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned, and to replace him President Bush nominated Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group and former head of the CIA, who was investigated in 1991 by the office of the independent counsel for his role in the Iran-contra scandal, and was suspected to have passed military intelligence to Saddam Hussein’sIraq.GlobalSecurity.orgMercury NewsThe New York TimesBBC NewsNewsdayTo protest the Iraq war, a man named Malachi Ritscher committed suicide in Chicago by setting himself on fire next to a 25-foot-tall sculpture called “Flame of the Millennium.” Along with a self-penned obituary, the 52-year-old Ritscher posted a farewell message on his website in which he described the “deep shame” of a day in 2002 when he stood, knife in hand, next to Donald Rumsfeld, but was unable to bring himself to slash the defense secretary’s throat. “I too love God and country,” wrote Ritscher, “and feel called upon to serve.”Malachi RitscherChicago ReaderChicago Sun-Times“Who’s Rumsfeld?” asked Marine Lance Corporal James L. Davis Jr., who is serving in Zagarit, Iraq.The New York Times

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

January 2020

Click Here to Kill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Vicious Cycles

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Oceans Apart

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Forty-Year Rehearsal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Whale Mother

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Click Here to Kill·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a sunny July day in 2018, Alexis Stern was sitting behind the wheel of the red Ford Fusion her parents had given her the previous year when she’d learned to drive. Robbie Olsen, the boy she’d recently started dating, was in the passenger seat. They were in the kind of high spirits unique to teenagers on summer vacation with nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. They were about to take a drive, maybe get some food, when Stern’s phone buzzed. It was the police. An officer with the local department told her to come down to the station immediately. She had no idea what the cops might want with her. “I was like, am I going to get arrested?” she said.

Stern had graduated from high school the month before, in Big Lake, Minnesota, a former resort town turned exurb, forty miles northwest of the Twin Cities. So far she had spent the summer visiting family, hanging out with her new boyfriend, and writing what she describes as “action-packed and brutal sci-fi fantasy fiction.” At sixteen, she’d self-published her first novel, Inner Monster, about a secret agent named Justin Redfield whose mind has been invaded by a malevolent alter ego that puts the lives of his loved ones at risk. “It isn’t until his inner demon returns that he realizes how much trouble he really is in,” the synopsis reads. “Facing issues with his girlfriend and attempting to gain control of his dark side, the tension intensifies. Being the best agent comes at a price, a price of kidnapping, torture and even death.”

Article
Oceans Apart·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I had been in Domoni—an ancient, ramshackle trading town on the volcanic island of Anjouan—for only a few summer days in 2018 when Onzardine Attoumane, a local English teacher, offered to show me around the medina. Already I had gotten lost several times trying to navigate the dozens of narrow, seemingly indistinguishable alleyways that zigzagged around the old town’s crumbling, lava-rock homes. But Onzardine had grown up in Domoni and was intimately familiar with its contours.

Stocky in build, with small, deep-set eyes and neatly trimmed stubble, Onzardine led me through the backstreets, our route flanked by ferns and weeds sprouting from cracks in the walls and marked by occasional piles of rubble. After a few minutes, we emerged onto a sunlit cliff offering views of the mustard-colored hills that surround the town, dotted with mango, palm, and breadfruit trees. We clambered down a trail, past scrawny goats foraging through piles of discarded plastic bottles, broken flip-flops, and corroded aluminum cans, toward a ledge where a dozen young men were waiting for the fishing boats to return to shore, gazing blankly out across the sea.

Article
Vicious Cycles·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

This is what I feared, that she would speak about the news . . . about how her father always said that the news exists so it can disappear, this is the point of news, whatever story, wherever it is happening. We depend on the news to disappear . . .
—Don DeLillo, “Hammer and Sickle”

What a story. What a fucking story.
—Dean Baquet, on the election of Donald Trump

a circular conversation

What is the news? That which is new. But everything is new: a flower blooms; a man hugs his daughter, not for the first time, but for the first time this time . . . That which is important and new. Important in what sense? In being consequential. And this has been measured? What? The relationship between what is covered in the news and what is consequential. Not measured. Why? Its consequence is ensured. Ensured. . . ? It’s in the news. But then who makes it news? Editors. Editors dictate consequence? Not entirely. Not entirely? It matters what people read and watch—you can’t bore them. Then boredom decides? Boredom and a sense of what’s important. But what is important? What’s in the news.

Article
The Forty-Year Rehearsal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On the evening of May 8, just after eight o’clock, Kate Valk stepped onstage and faced the audience. The little playhouse was packed with hardcore fans, theater people and artists, but Kate was performing, most of all, for one person, hidden among them, a small, fine-boned, black-clad woman, her blond-gray hair up in a clip, who smiled, laughed, and nodded along with every word, swaying to the music and mirroring the emotions of the performers while whispering into the ear of the tall, bearded fellow who sat beside her madly scribbling notes. The woman was Elizabeth LeCompte—known to all as Liz—the director of the Wooster Group, watching the first open performance of the company’s new piece, Since I Can Remember.

It had been a tense day, full of opening-night drama. Gareth Hobbs, who would be playing a leading role, had been sick in bed for days with a 103-degree fever, and he’d only arrived at the theater, still shaky, at three-thirty that afternoon. During the final closed rehearsal, performer Suzzy Roche fell on her elbow, then felt faint and had to lie prone while her colleagues fanned her and fetched ice. At one point, Erin Mullin, the stage manager as well as a performer, shouted: “We have one hour left, and we’re on page eight of fifty!” Not to mention that the piece still had no ending.

Article
Election Bias·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the spring of 2018, Tequila Johnson, an African-American administrator at Tennessee State University, led a mass voter-registration drive organized by a coalition of activist groups called the Tennessee Black Voter Project. Turnout in Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom among U.S. states, just ahead of Texas. At the time, only 65 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered to vote, the shortfall largely among black and low-income citizens. “The African-American community has been shut out of the process, and voter suppression has really widened that gap,” Johnson told me. “I felt I had to do something.”

The drive generated ninety thousand applications. Though large numbers of the forms were promptly rejected by election officials, allegedly because they were incomplete or contained errors, turnout surged in that year’s elections, especially in the areas around Memphis and Nashville, two of the cities specifically targeted by the registration drive. Progressive candidates and causes achieved notable successes, capturing the mayor’s office in heavily populated Shelby County as well as several seats on the county commission. In Nashville, a local measure was passed introducing a police-accountability board.

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 Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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