Weekly Review — July 21, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Sonia Sotomayor, who is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in August, was interrogated for four days by Democratic and Republican senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans grilled Sotomayor on her legal positions. Democrats lauded her; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) said that her life story gave him “piel de gallina,” or goose bumps. Sotomayor was, however, not able to answer when Senator Al Franken (D., Minn.) asked her to name the one case that Perry Mason lost. “Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?” he said. Reporters noted that Sotomayor was “a big toucher” who responded to Republican senators’ proffered handshakes with a warm smile and a squeeze of their shoulders, and they also pointed out that on the second day of the hearings, when the judge was asked by Senator Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) to explain her “wise Latina woman” comment, she blinked at least 247 times while answering, averaging 90 blinks per minute in the morning; that rate decreased to 50 blinks per minute in the afternoon. At least four anti-abortion protesters were arrested at the hearings, including 61-year-old Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal.Washington PostWashington PostWashington PostWashington PostWashington PostA tiny species of Mexican shrew, previously thought extinct, was rediscovered.BBC

At the convention to honor the hundredth anniversary of the NAACP, President Obama admonished African Americans for their poor parenting, telling them they had to start “putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour.”New York TimesSome worried that Obama was no longer cool after he appeared at the All-Star baseball game (where he threw a lob ball that didn’t clear the plate) wearing “dad jeans.” “I suppose President Obama is indeed a father, so we should allow him such a strike against humanity,” said one blogger. “I thought he was cooler than that, somehow.”PoliticoAuditors questioned whether Crocs Shoe Company, which lost more than $185 million last year, could remain solvent.Washington PostThe Pope fractured his wrist;The Telegraphthe Episcopal Church voted to overturn a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops.New York TimesAn amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that extends federal hate-crimes protections to gays was under consideration in the Senate;Miami Heraldand Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages during his presidency, said he is “basically in support” of gay marriage. CBS NewsHarry and Pepper, gaypenguins who since 2003 have nested together at the San Francisco Zoo, broke up after Harry had an affair with Linda, a recently widowed penguin who seduced Harry in her deceased husband’s burrow. “To be completely anthropomorphizing,” said zookeeper Anthony Brown, “Linda seems conniving.”The Daily TelegraphSeventeen-year-old lesbian Cheyenne Cherry pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty for baking her former lover’s kitten in a 500-degree oven,Gothamistand scientists found that cats have developed a “soliciting purr” (different from regular purrs because they are embedded with a “cry”) that can manipulate humans into giving them food and affection. BBCWalter Cronkite died.New York Times

North Korea launched its first television commercial for Taedonggang beer, the “Pride of Pyongyang,” which promises to relieve stress;BBCstress-relief was also the reason offered by Japanese manufacturer Wishroom for the success of its line of male bras. AnanovaThe unemployment rate was rising for Japan’s robots,New York Timesand, following reports suggesting that EATR, a steam-powered, biomass-consuming military robot, could feed on dead bodies, its makers released assurances that the robot is a vegetarian.Fox NewsThick dark blobs of unidentifiable goo were floating in the Arctic Ocean,Anchorage Daily Newsdivers off the coast of San Diego were attacked by jumbo flying squid,BBCand at least nine shark-bite survivors went to Capitol Hill to lobby Senators in defense of sharks.Washington PostA German “molecular” chef, using liquid nitrogen to prepare a dish, blew off his hands,The Localand scientists found that swearing alleviates pain.AnanovaBefore police rescued him, a three-year-old Canadian boy spent two hours floating down Peace River atop his toy truck.Yahoo NewsTwo Chicago teens sneaked into a 66-year-old man’s home while he was watching television in bed, pulled off his prosthetic legs, and ran off with them.Chicago Sun-TimesA brothel in Berlin began offering a discount to customers who arrive by bicycle.AnanovaResearchers found that amphibians enjoy mating by the light of a full moon.BBC

Share
Single Page

More from Claire Gutierrez:

Weekly Review May 31, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 30, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review March 22, 2011, 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
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
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
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.

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
Secrets and Lies·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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 federal judge authored a 69-page ruling preventing New York City from enforcing zoning laws pertaining to adult bookstores and strip clubs.

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