Weekly Review — September 18, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker testified to Congress about progress in the war in Iraq; Crocker summarized 2006 as “a bad year,” but blamed ongoing sectarian violence on Saddam Hussein’s “social deconstruction” of the country. Petraeus cited progress in the Anbar region as evidence that his surge strategy is working. He suggested that one Army brigade might be home for Christmas, and that the surge might be over by next July. Barack Obama proposed removing at least one brigade per month, starting now, until all troops are out by the end of next year. President Bush supported the Petraeus plan, also citing progress in the Anbar Province and his recent meetings with leaders there. WaPoNYTBoston GlobeNYTWaPoUSA TodaySunni sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the “Anbar Awakening,” who had recently been photographed shaking Bush’s hand, was assassinated. “His death has squeezed our heart,” said Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, head of a rival tribal organization. “Now, I swear to God, if we will hear anyone is with Al Qaeda, even if he is still inside his mother’s womb, we will kill him.”BBCWaPoA new British poll estimated that 1.2 million people had died so far in the war, and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan wished that politicians would admit that the war was “largely aboutoil.” TimesGuardian

Thousands of people joined veterans in an antiwar march in Washington, D.C., at which 189 people were arrested, and Geoff Millard, president of the D.C. chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, urged the peace movement to “take the next step past protest and to resistance.” WaPoA U.S. State Department official speculated that North Korea was helping Syria develop nuclear weapons, NYTand an elite presidential guard unit in the Central African Republic was charged with various atrocities, including summary executions and burning whole villages.NYTBush nominated former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General, WaPoand Russian president Vladimir Putin dissolved his government, appointing a little-known technocrat, Viktor Zubkov, as new Prime Minister.BBCCS MonitorMoscow TimesThe governor of Ulyanovsk, Russia, urged everyone to skip work and make love.Reuters via YahooYale University exhibited tools used by Ivan Pavlov to measure dog drool, including one saliometer given as a gift to the daughter of a Yale professor,Hartford Courantand Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, an outspoken advocate of Cuban sanctions, defended his large collection of Cuban cigars. “You know,” he said, “if it’s good, I smoke it.” St. Petersberg TimesAt a gala hosted by Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek,” the Japanese American Citizens League saluted Sen. Larry Craig (R., Idaho), and tourists flocked to the airport men’s room stall where Craig was recently arrested for attempted cruising. “I checked it out,” said Jon Westby of Minneapolis, who was with his wife, Sally, visiting the stall for his second time. “It’s the second stall from the right.”The HillIdaho Statesman

Arctic ice was found to be melting about ten times faster than in previous years, leaving the Northwest Passage conveniently ice-free.The AustralianAP via GoogleLeftists in Mexico sabotaged oil pipelines for the third time in three months,NYTand tech workers in Seattle threw a luau in Gas Works Park, despite toxic blobs oozing out of the ground nearby. “I’m not afraid of it,” said Tim Chovanak, who works for Safeco. “Just don’t eat the dirt.”Seattle P-IA museum in Argentina exhibited three Incan children perfectly frozen in their sleep 500 years ago. “These are dead people, Indian people,” noted Gabriel E. Miremont, the museum??s director. “It??s not a situation for a party.”NYTPine beetles infested Georgia, webworms infested Maine, and crypto parasites infested swimming pools in Idaho. Atlanta Journal-CourierBoston GlobeIdaho StatesmanFoot-and-mouth disease resurfaced in Surrey, England, BBCand a major outbreak of ebola killed more than 150 people in Congo.BBCNYTScientists predicted that ebola would also kill the last remaining western lowland gorillas.BBCNear Grand Forks, North Dakota, at least 1,600 catfish died of unknown causes, ruining the fishing season, Minneapolis Star Tribuneand evening traffic slowed in Santa Barbara, California, as commuters watched the carcass of a 70-foot blue whale drift south along the highway.FOXLAT

Share
Single Page

More from Sam Stark:

From the February 2015 issue

A Weimar Home Companion

Walter Benjamin on the air

Commentary January 21, 2011, 3:43 pm

United We Brand!

Weekly Review September 28, 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

October 2019

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

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
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.

Article
Power of Attorney·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

Article
Carlitos in Charge·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I was in Midtown, sitting by a dry fountain, making a list of all the men I’d slept with since my last checkup—doctor’s orders. Afterward, I would head downtown and wait for Quimby at the bar, where there were only alcoholics and the graveyard shift this early. I’d just left the United Nations after a Friday morning session—likely my last. The agenda had included resolutions about a worldwide ban on plastic bags, condemnation of a Slobodan Miloševic statue, sanctions on Israel, and a truth and reconciliation commission in El Salvador. Except for the proclamation opposing the war criminal’s marble replica, everything was thwarted by the United States and a small contingent of its allies. None of this should have surprised me. Some version of these outcomes had been repeating weekly since World War II.

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