Weekly Review — November 8, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

Greek prime minister George Papandreou agreed to step down following a week in which he proposed a referendum on EU measures to save his country’s collapsing economy, narrowly won a confidence vote, retracted his referendum proposal, and signed a coalition deal to approve the bailout. “I am not tied to my chair,” said Papandreou. ReutersCNNReutersGuardianAmid sex scandals and corruption allegations, and ahead of a key budget vote, Silvio Berlusconi denied rumors he would step down as Italian prime minister. Berlusconi was also reported to have delayed the release of his Greek-folk-influenced album, “True Love,” over concerns about the European financial crisis. Available online was the lead track, “Music,” which begins, “Listen to these songs, they are for you/ Listen to them when you have a thirst for caresses/ Sing them when you are hungry for tenderness.”LA TimesGuardianG.O.P. presidential contender Herman Cain responded to allegations of sexual harassment in front of the National Press Club, saying he “would be delighted to clear the air” and singing the gospel song “He Looked Beyond My Faults.”Washington PostThe StrangerFollowing speculation Texas governor Rick Perry might have been drunk or otherwise impaired during a speech he giggled and meandered through in Manchester, New Hampshire, Perry said he??d “felt good” when he spoke. “This is such a cool state,” he said during the speech. “I mean, come on, ??Live Free or Die??? You gotta love that, right? I come from a state where they had this little place called the Alamo, and they declared ??Victory or death.?? You know, we??re kinda into those slogans, man, it??s like ??Live Free or Die,?? ??Victory or death,?? bring it!”CBS NewsFor the second time in ten years, Congress reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the national motto. “Is God God?” asked Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) during the House debate. “Or is man God?”Washington Post

Two and a half million Muslims began the annual hajj pilgrimage from the holy city of Mecca to Mount Arafat; an American company introduced ArKay, the world??s first alcohol-free “halal” whiskey; and the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed following its publication of a cover featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed saying “100 lashes if you??re not dying of laughter.”Raw StoryDaily MailCNNNewfoundland lieutenant-governor John Crosbie apologized for telling a joke in which a caller to a suicide hotline in Pakistan is asked whether he can drive a truck, and an Iranian judiciary official said that two of his country??s soccer players, accused of inappropriate celebratory behavior after one pressed his hand between the other??s buttocks following a goal, may be publicly lashed on the field where the incident took place. “When I was playing in Germany,” said former national-team member Mehdi Mahdavikia of the groping, “such things happened all the time.”Globe and MailWashington PostTexas state representative Larry Taylor (R.) explained the compensation process for windstorm victims by saying, “Don??t nitpick, don??t try to Jew them down,” adding, “That??s probably a bad term.”Mother JonesAfter being declared “tobacco free” by his physician, President Barack Obama was reportedly observed chewing nicotine gum at the G-20 summit in Cannes, while scientists at Columbia University discovered that nicotine causes changes in gene regulation that enhance subsequent responses to cocaine, lending credence to the notion of “gateway drugs.” “People think it??s backed by conservative movements to make a case for making marijuana illegal,” said researcher Amir Levine, “when it is simply the sequence of adolescent drug use as found in epidemiological studies.”USA TodayUSA TodayScientific American

Former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine resigned as head of MF Global, the recently bankrupted securities firm now under investigation by the FBI. With some $600 million in MF Global investor funds still unaccounted for, Corzine declined a $12 million severance package and hired a criminal-defense lawyer.Washington PostBusiness InsiderDiscount service Groupon launched the most successful Internet IPO since Google, netting $700 million; Bank of America dropped plans to charge debit-card users a $5 monthly fee; and a nine-foot-tall, 900-pound, $900,000 statue of Ronald Reagan debuted at the airport named after him in Washington, D.C.AP via NPRPublic Radio InternationalGuardianRaw StoryHacker collective Anonymous threatened the Mexican Zeta drug cartel, Kenya tweeted warnings to nine Somali towns harboring members of the terrorist group al-Shabab before launching attacks, and Detroit Lions fans campaigned online for the cancellation of Canadian rock band Nickelback??s halftime performance at the team??s Thanksgiving game.BBCBBCGlobe and MailPETA sued SeaWorld, claiming the marine-park chain is violating the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to a PETA spokesperson, performing whales Corky, Kasatka, Katina, Tilikum, and Ulises “are denied freedom and everything else that is natural and important to them while kept in small concrete tanks and reduced to performing stupid tricks.”Sky NewsNicholas Modrich and Jamie Hughes of Snellville, Georgia, denied police reports that they had fed LSD to their dog, Oscar, who died after being hit by a car while they were tripping. “When [Modrich] went outside naked, I went chasing after him,” said Hughes. “I think that??s when the dog got out.”Smoking GunWSB-TV

Share
Single Page

More from J Gabriel Boylan:

Weekly Review February 27, 2012, 9:36 pm

Weekly Review

Weekly Review January 3, 2012, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review September 13, 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
Long Shot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ihave had many names, but as a sniper I went by Azad, which means “free” or “freedom” in Kurdish. I had been fighting for sixteen months in Kurdish territory in northern Syria when in April 2015 I was asked to leave my position on the eastern front, close to the Turkish border, and join an advance on our southwestern one. Eight months earlier, we had been down to our last few hundred yards, and, outnumbered five to one, had made a last stand in Kobanî. In January, after more than four months of fighting street-to-street and room-by-room, we recaptured the town and reversed what was, until then, an unstoppable jihadi tide. In the battles since, we had pushed ­ISIS far enough in every direction that crossing our territory was no longer a short dash through the streets but a five-hour drive across open country. As we set out to the north, I could make out the snowy peaks in southern Turkey where they say Noah once beached his ark. Below them, rolling toward us, were the wide, grassy valleys and pine forests of Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris where our people have lived for twelve thousand years.

The story of my people is filled with bitter ironies. The Kurds are one of the world’s oldest peoples and, as pioneers of agriculture, were once among its most advanced. Though the rest of the world now largely overlooks that it was Kurds who were among the first to create a civilization, the evidence is there. In 1995, German archaeologists began excavating a temple at Göbekli Tepe in northern Kurdistan. They found a structure flanked by stone pillars carved with bulls, foxes, and cranes, which they dated to around 10,000 bce. At the end of the last Ice Age, and seven thousand years before the erection of Stonehenge or the pyramids at Giza, my ancestors were living together as shamans, artists, farmers, and engineers.

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.’ ”

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