Weekly Review — December 11, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

A new National Intelligence Estimate by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Iran ended its secret nuclear weapons program in 2003, in contrast to a 2005 report that claimed with “high confidence” that such a program was still active. Former CIA officials explained that at the time the earlier report was written the agency’s Iran Task Force had been reduced from nearly a hundred analysts and officers to fewer than a dozen, and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, attempting to explain why the earlier report was not “so wrong,” reminded reporters that Iran is “very good at this business of keeping secrets.” “It is all right,” responded Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “It is enough that you are confessing to your mistakes.” In Iowa,Democratic candidates debated the Iranian nuclear threat as well as the safety of toys made in China. “My toys,” said Senator Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), “are coming from Iowa.” At a dinner in Des Moines, a reporter summarized the Iranian nuclear report for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who hadn’t heard the news. Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, also recalled that he was still learning about the AIDS virus in 1992, when he proposed putting AIDS patients in quarantine.WPWhite HouseLATNYTWPLATPoliticoAP via YahooIt was revealed that the CIA destroyed at least two videotapes of harsh interrogations of suspected Al Qaeda operatives. CIA director Michael Hayden claimed that this was done to protect CIA employees from possible retaliation by militants, and that congressional oversight committees had been notified. Representative Rush Holt, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, recalled asking “many times” whether such tapes existed. “They said, ‘What tapes?'” NYTWPNYTLATNYTA hundred-ton pile of horse manure mysteriously appeared in an empty lot in Anchorage, Alaska.Anchorage Daily NewsThe Supreme Court debated the limits of habeas corpus,WPand an inmate at Guantanamo Bay was placed under observation after he slashed his own throat with a sharpened fingernail.BBC

A 19-year-old man recently fired from McDonald’s visited a mall in Omaha, where he shot and killed eight people then himself. Dr. Joseph Stothert, director of the trauma ward that reconstructed one survivor’s arm, noted that bullets from an assault rifle move two to three times as fast as bullets fired from handguns. “Velocity,” he explained, “is transmitted to the tissue as energy.” NYTDes Moines RegisterThere was talk of breeding the last known female Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle, an 80-year-old displayed behind bulletproof glass at a zoo in Changsha, China, with the last known male, a 100-year-old who lives in Suzhou. “The main problem,” said a herpetologist, “is really to get a viable sperm sample from the old male.” Methods under consideration include a series of electric shocks and manual massage.The Sydney Morning HeraldPresident George W. Bush put forth a plan developed by mortgage lenders to freeze interest rates for some homeowners, and watched Hootie and the Blowfish perform “California Girls” for ex?Beach Boy Brian Wilson.NYTThe Washington PostA dancing blue dreidel joined Attorney General Michael Mukasey as he helped light a giant Chabad-Lubavitch menorah in front of the White House,.Chabad.organd a Georgia man who had been issued the license plate HA8 JWZ two months ago became aware that it could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. “I would be at a grocery store or the Wal-Mart and people would say ‘Hate Jews?'” he said. “I had no idea what they were talking about. You know how people just say things that don’t make any sense.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A new poll showed the very rich were planning to spend an average of $10,000 on their pets for Christmas, WPAFP via Raw Storyand eleven slaughterhouse employees in Austin, Minnesota, were diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare neurological disorder that they appear to have contracted as part of their work airblasting brain tissue from pig heads in order to get at the meat.WPMinneapolis Star-TribuneSix French charity workers held prisoner in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, went on hunger strike to protest the charges against them, which include trying to kidnap 103 children from Chadian villages near Darfur. The prisoners claim that they thought the children were orphans. BBCUnited Forces for Democracy and Development, a Chadian revolutionary group, declared war on France, NYTand scientists discovered a mysterious black fungus growing on the cave paintings of Lascaux. Some thought it might be the effect of global warming, noting that soil temperatures around the caves have risen two degrees centigrade since 1982. NYTAs a tribute to Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who was shot and killed last month, the team’s defensive line took the field against the Buffalo Bills with only ten players. After the Bills gained 22 yards on that play, an eleventh man was brought in, and the Redskins went on to lose 17?16. “It makes your heart drop all the way to your feet,” said quarterback Jason Campbell. “We wanted to come out here and win one for Sean.”AP via Miami Herald

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

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
More Than a Data Dump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

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.

An Iraqi man complaining on live television about the country’s health services died on air.

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