Weekly Review — December 5, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Twisted Creature]

The Iraqi parliament voted unanimously to extend the country’s state of emergency, and President George W. Bush, who declared himself a “realist,” disavowed a leaked White House memo that suggested that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was either dumb, weak, or a liar. Maliki responded by canceling a dinner date with the president.New York TimesCybercast News Service and New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneIran’s supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that “the continuation of Iraq’s occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow.”Breitbart.comMarine Corps intelligence in the Sunni Triangle determined that U.S. forces were “no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency,”Washington Postand Matt Lauer, host of the Today Show, declared the onset of civil war in Iraq. Lauer’s former co-host and current CBS anchor Katie Couric refused to agree with Lauer, insisting instead that Iraq had only slipped “ever closer” to civil war; ABC’s Charles Gibson, another former morning television host, said, “You can call it anarchy, you can call it chaos, you can call it civil war . . . “Boston Globe and Newsbuster.orgThe U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness team issued a “situational awareness report” warning of an Al Qaedacyber threat,”BBCand Technical Mujahid, a magazine designed to “break the siege placed upon [Muslims] by the media of the Crusaders and their followers,” released its first issue.MemriIranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to the American people claiming that Jews have inordinate control over international finance, media, and culture. New York TimesIn Mexico, “donnybrooks and yelling matches” preceded the four-minute swearing-in ceremony of President Felipe Calderon,New York Timesand the Mexican Committee for the Study of Kimilsungism hosted a seminar on the deceased North Korean dictator’s seminal academic tome, “The Workers’ Party of Korea Is the Party of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.”North Korea News ServiceSouth Korea’sAgriculture Ministry announced plans to kill all the cats and dogs in Iksan, Korea. Minister Kim Chang-sup defended the action, undertaken in response to an outbreak of avian flu, by saying, “Other countries do it. They just don’t talk about it.”New York TimesA “bizarrely festive” atmosphere was noted on the streets of Beirut, where one million Hezbollah supporters rallied for the ouster of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.New York TimesPoisons were felling Russians around the globe.This is London

Revised fiscal estimates from the Department of Commerce showed that the economy was “gently slowing” and not in a “crash dive”; New York Timesa federal judge ruled that American paper currency discriminates against blind people;CNNand Barry Diller, at one time the highest paid CEO in the world, said corporate compensation consultants should be “flushed into the East River.” Reuters via GawkerA North Carolina judge ruled that Guy T. LeGrande, a convicted murderer who wore a Superman costume to his trial, might be too crazy to execute,New York Timesand a lawyer representing five policemen who shot and killed an unarmed black man in Queens, New York, said he was “confident” his clients would go unpunished.New York TimesIn California, former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis successfully led a fight against parking scofflaws, Los Angeles Timesand a “yearlong rash of nut robberies” ended when police recovered 136,000 pounds of stolen nuts with a street value of $400,000 from a warehouse in Sacramento. New York TimesConservative rabbis in Beverly Hills called for an end to the religious edict forbidding oral sex between men; anal congress, however, would still be forbidden.Los Angeles TimesRepublicancongressmen were attempting to define a twenty-week-old fetus as a “pain-capable unborn child,”CNNand the Department of Health and Human Services refused to ensure that its reports on abstinence for young people were factually and scientifically accurate.TPM muckrackerThe Center for the Digital Future announced that the average Internet user will make 4.6 “virtual pals” this year.BBCThe Department of Homeland Security was ranking the terrorist potential of American air travelers,CNNa serial foot fetishist was stalking women in Philadelphia,NBC 10and the National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that electronic voting machines “cannot be made secure.”Washington PostExperts warned people with pacemakers that refrigerator magnets “can be a killer.”BBCA herd of domesticated pigs attacked and ate a three-year-old boy in Delhi, India.BBC

Researchers at the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that they had developed explosive-sniffing bees.CNNThe Sundance Film Festival announced it would air a documentary on the perils of man/horse love,Seattle Timeshunters in Michigan, North Dakota, shot a female deer with a “well-developed rack” of antlers,Yahoo Newsand sheriff’s deputies in Polk County, Florida, rescued a naked, drug-addled man from the jaws of an attacking alligator.CNNMel Gibson was addressing his demons.CNNScientists said that a “primordial meteorite” may hold clues about the “raw organic molecules needed for life,” that humpback whales may be every bit as intelligent as humans, dolphins, and great apes, and that women speak three times as much as men.BBCThe AgeDaily MailDanny Devito called the president a “numbnuts.”National Ledger

Share
Single Page

More from Theodore Ross:

Weekly Review June 22, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 4, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review February 9, 2010, 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