Weekly Review — March 13, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Storks, 1864]

An audit by the inspector general of the United States Justice Department charged that the FBI has engaged in “serious misuse” of the USA Patriot Act to collect the confidential phone, bank, and credit records of U.S. citizens without first obtaining a search warrant.CNN.comThe scandal surrounding the firing of eight federal prosecutors continued to unfold as it became clearer from congressional testimony that the attorneys had resisted political pressure from the White House to subordinate law enforcement priorities to partisan politics. Karl Rove admitted that he had passed along complaints from the New MexicoRepublican Party chairman about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who had referred to the scandal as an “overblown personnel matter.” One day there will be a new attorney general,” said Senator Arlen Specter. “Maybe sooner rather than later.”Baltimore SunScooter Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame investigation; jury member Denis Collins suggested that Libby might have been a fall guy. “Where??s Rove?” he asked.BBCnews.comKevin Kiley, the three-star general in charge of all Army medical facilities, testified to his lack of responsibility for the Walter Reed hospital scandal, stating, “I command by commanding through my commanders and trusting them to execute the mission.”Washington PostWhen accused of stealing lingerie from a shop, a Irish man told a court that his elf alter ego may have been to blame,BBCnews.comand a woman in Boston was suing Planned Parenthood and two doctors for childrearing costs after finding out she was still pregnant following an abortion.Boston GlobeGovernor Haley Barbour was expected to sign a passed state congressional bill that would ban abortions in Mississippi if Roe v. Wade were overturned.Commercial appealA Pennsylvania mother pled guilty to swinging her infant son like a bat to hit her boyfriend,AP via CNN.comand after stabbing his wife multiple times a Connecticut man gave the knife to his son and said, “Now you stab mommy.”AP via CNN.comA study claimed that girls shown videos of women suffering from eating disorders became more likely to view these women as “very pretty” and thought it would be “nice to look like” them,Reutersand low-dose estrogen and progesterone birth control pills were reported to reduce ovarian cancer risk.ReutersNewt Gingrich admitted that he was carrying on an extramarital affair while pursuing the impeachment of Bill Clinton but maintained that his behavior was “not related to what happened.”Reuters

A man in Serbia pierced former President Slobodan Milosevic’s grave with a wooden pole to ensure he would not rise from the dead;Townhall.coma Swiss court was prosecuting a Turkish politician for Armenian “genocide denial”;BBCnews.comand the chestnut tree in Amsterdam that comforted Anne Frank during her time in hiding was to be cut down.BBCnews.comThe United Nations reported that 2 million Iraqis, including the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death, have fled their country since the war began; according to the State Department, the United States has accepted 500 of those refugees.CNN.comAl JazeeraCNN.comHouse Democrats proposed legislation that would mandate an Iraq withdrawal no later than August 2008,Reutersand the Navy was researching an electromagnetic beam that would penetrate walls and cause people to fall over and vomit.Wired.comA human rights group in Israel accused the country’s army of using Palestinians, including an 11-year-old girl, as human shields,BBCnews.comand the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador was recalled after police found him in the embassy, drunk and naked except for bondage gear, with a rubber ball stuffed in his mouth.BBCnews.comA BBC World Service poll of twenty-seven countries suggested that a majority of people believe Israel and Iran have a “mainly negative” influence in the world. Canada and Japan were the most positively viewed countries.BBCnews.comCitizens in France were complaining about their government’s decision to build a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi;BBCnews.comHalliburton announced it was moving its headquarters to Dubai;BBCnews.comand Vice President Dick Cheney, 66, was being treated for a blood clot in his leg.BBCnews.com

Postmodernist sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard died in Paris at age 77,BBCnews.comCaptain America was killed by a sniper on the steps of the New York City federal courthouse,Houston Chronicleand a man in England who had demonstrated against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad was found guilty of soliciting murder.BBCnews.comA prisoner in Paraguay was freed after nineteen years of being held without trial,Reutersand alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and thirteen other Guantánamo inmates were facing hearings to decide whether they were enemy combatants and could face trial.BBCnews.comThe Swedish authorities were seeking the power to spy on any email or phone call into or out of the country,BBCnews.comand in France a new law made it a crime??punishable by up to five years in prison??for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and put the images on the Internet.AP via CNN.comFor the first time in more than fifty years, talks aimed at normalizing U.S.-North Korea relations were taking place,BBCnews.comand President Bush was touring Central and South America. At a news conference in Brazil he said, “My trip is to explain as clearly as I can that our nation is generous and compassionate.”AP via CNN.comHugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, was also on tour. Speaking to a crowd in Uruguay he said, “The little imperial gentleman from the north must be across the river by now. Let’s send him a big shout: ‘Gringo go home!'”BBCnews.comMicrosoft attacked Google, saying that its book-scanning service “violates copyright,”BBCnews.comand China accused the United States of trampling on Iraq??s sovereignty and violating the rights of its own citizens.Boston HeraldThe United Nations announced that Afghanistan’s yield of heroin poppies rose 25 percent last year.BBCnews.comOsama bin Laden turned fifty.Reuters via CNN.com

Share
Single Page

More from Chantal Clarke:

Weekly Review August 12, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 8, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 20, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2020

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

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.

In response to a major volcanic eruption, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines vowed he would “eat that ashfall. I’m even going to pee on Taal, that goddamned volcano.”

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