Weekly Review — March 5, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Sequestration remonstration, shticklomacy in North Korea, and the menagerie of Nutzu the Pawnbroker

"What Though I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear"

“What Though I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear”

The United States Congress failed to reach a deal that would avert automatic budget cuts to federal departments and programs before a March 1 deadline established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The $42 billion in cuts scheduled for the current fiscal year includes an estimated 8 percent cut to defense spending and an estimated 2 percent cut to Medicare-provider payments, and may also affect such programs as air-traffic control, border control, scientific research, environmental inspection, offshore oil exploration, and FBI wiretap translation. President Barack Obama blamed the sequestration on the intransigence of House Republicans; House Republicans blamed Obama’s desire for new tax revenues in addition to budget cuts and Senate Democrats’ failure to pass a replacement bill; House Democrats blamed House Republicans for spitefulness and Obama for underestimating House Republicans’ spitefulness; Mitt Romney blamed Obama for poor leadership; and lexicographers blamed the prevalence in the media of the noun “sequester” on the complexity of the more proper “sequestration.” “I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved,” said House Majority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio). “I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks,” said Obama.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Neuroscientists infused the brain of a rat in North Carolina with the thoughts of a rat in Brazil, and a Florida man fell through the floor of his house into a sinkhole from which his body could not be recovered.[8][9] Static electricity was found to have caused the explosion of the Hindenburg airship in 1937, and the maiden voyage of the replica ship Titanic II was scheduled for 2016. “Anything will sink,” said Blue Star Line owner Clive Palmer, “if you put a hole in it.”[10][11]

Kenyan officials reported turnout of over 70 percent for the initial round of voting in the country’s first presidential election since the 2007 ballot that led to weeks of ethnic violence and resulted in the deaths of more than a thousand people.[12][13] Chad’s army claimed to have killed Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a commander of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Zeid’s rival and former fellow commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who planned the January attack on the Amenas gas plant in Algeria that killed 60 people.[14][15] The United Nations ended its sanctions against Osama bin Laden, and Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine published tips for “open source” jihadis on how to burn parked cars and cause accidents with strategically placed oil slicks. “The sliding will surprise the [nonbelievers],” wrote AQ Chef. “Maybe even causing a down the mountain Chitti Chitti Bang Bang flying special.”[16][17][18] The United States began providing aid to groups fighting to depose Syrian leader Bassar al-Assad; a hot-air-balloon crash over Luxor, Egypt, killed 19 tourists; and 30 million locusts swarmed Giza. “I ask the families living in the locust-plagued areas not to burn tires,” said Egyptian agriculture minister Salah Abd Al Mamon. “This does not chase away the locusts.”[19][20][21] The Vatican opened a vacant see. “The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and light breezes,” said Pope Benedict XVI in his final address before retiring, “but also times . . . when the Lord seemed to be sleeping.”[22][23][24] Pessimistic German seniors were found to live longer, and historians cataloguing Nazi internment and execution facilities reported that the Holocaust was more widespread than previously believed, encompassing some 42,500 sites and the imprisonment or death of between 15 million and 20 million people.[25][26] In North Korea, where gulags were expanding and old men were granted permission to wear their hair as long as 2.75 inches, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un hosted three Harlem Globetrotters, NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman, and a film crew from Vice magazine. “Everybody’s so concerned with geopolitics that we forget just to be human beings,” said Vice co-founder Shane Smith. “I am sitting in a hotel room,” tweeted Vice producer Jason Mojica, “watching the end of Rocky IV . . . crying.”[27][28][29][30]

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

An eight-year-old Siberian girl died in the belly of an ice turtle.[31] Doctors declared cured a Mississippi baby born with HIV.[32] Former U.S. surgeon-general C. Everett Koop died at 96, and former Temptations singer Richard Street died at 70.[33][34] An Englishman calling himself Moody Blues was reported to have advised former New York City policeman Gilbert Valle, who is on trial for conspiring to kill and eat women, that face meat is “great for sandwiches.”[35] Food inspectors discovered that South African burgers and sausages are adulterated with soy, and that some Icelandic beef pies are meatless.[36][37] The heart of Richard the Lionhearted was found to have been embalmed in daisy, mint, and myrtle.[38] The English town of Bognor Regis held its final clown parade, and Romanian authorities seized the bears and lions of Nutzu the Pawnbroker.[39][40] The ear of a teenager in Banbury, England, was bitten off at the Sound Exchange dance club, and a riot broke out at a Chicago shopping mall during an autograph signing by the band Mindless Behavior.[41][42] Citing health concerns, the School of Visual Arts in New York City temporarily confiscated a thesis project consisting of 68 vials of semen by student Marc Bradley Johnson. “I’ve been working on this,” said Johnson, “for months.”[43]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Jeremy Keehn:

Weekly Review September 23, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Scotland rejects independence, Sierra Leone issues a three-day lockdown, and Iran lashes its citizens for doing a “Happy” dance

Weekly Review September 9, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

ISIL murders journalist Steven Sotloff; Satan in Moscow and Detroit; and Florida police play Cherries Waffles Tennis

Weekly Review August 5, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Alternating shelter bombings and ceasefires in Gaza; a do-nothing Congress whimpers feebly into recess; and India hires a troupe of black-faced-langur imitators

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2019

A Play with No End

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Call of the Drums

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Brutal from the Beginning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Alps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
A Play with No End·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When I caught up with the Gilets Jaunes on March 2, near the Jardin du Ranelagh, they were moving in such a mass through the streets that all traffic had come to a halt. The residents of Passy, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Paris, stood agape and apart and afraid. Many of the shops and businesses along the route of the march, which that day crossed seven and a half miles of the city, were shuttered for the occasion, the proprietors fearful of the volatile crowd, who mostly hailed from outside Paris and were considered a rabble of invaders.

Article
The Call of the Drums·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Great Kurultáj, an event held annually outside the town of Bugac, Hungary, is billed as both the “Tribal Assembly of the Hun-­Turkic Nations” and “Europe’s Largest Equestrian Event.” When I arrived last August, I was fittingly greeted by a variety of riders on horseback: some dressed as Huns, others as Parthian cavalrymen, Scythian archers, Magyar warriors, csikós cowboys, and betyár bandits. In total there were representatives from twenty-­seven “tribes,” all members of the “Hun-­Turkic” fraternity. The festival’s entrance was marked by a sixty-­foot-­tall portrait of Attila himself, wielding an immense broadsword and standing in front of what was either a bonfire or a sky illuminated by the baleful glow of war. He sported a goatee in the style of Steven Seagal and, shorn of his war braids and helmet, might have been someone you could find in a Budapest cellar bar. A slight smirk suggested that great mirth and great violence together mingled in his soul.

Article
Brutal from the Beginning·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Celebrity sightings are a familiar feature of the modern N.B.A., but this year’s playoffs included an appearance unusual even by the standards of America’s most star-­friendly sports league. A few minutes into the first game of the Western Conference semifinals, between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston ­Rockets—the season’s hottest ticket, featuring the reigning M.V.P. on one side and the reigning league champions on the other—­President Paul Kagame of Rwanda arrived with an entourage of about a dozen people, creating what the sports website The Undefeated called “a scene reminiscent of the fashionably late arrivals of Prince, Jay-­Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna.”

Article
The Alps·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Toyota HiAce with piebald paneling, singing suspension, and a reg from the last millennium rolled into the parking lot of the Swinford Gaels football club late on a Friday evening. The HiAce belonged to Rory Hughes, the eldest of the three brothers known as the Alps, and the Alps traveled everywhere together in it. The three stepped out and with a decisive slam of the van’s side door moved off across the moonscape of the parking lot in the order of their conceptions, Rory on point, the middle brother, Eustace, close behind, and the youngest, ­Bimbo, in dawdling tow.

Article
Hurrah for the Plaza·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

There has been a proliferation of plazas in the past twenty years, here in New York City but also elsewhere in America, even in Minnesota, where I’m from. Maybe in the zoning laws there is provision for the apportionment of sunshine, or maybe it’s just leftover space waiting to be developed, but here it is, an open ­plaza where people can mingle freely, enjoy face-­to-­face encounters, take a break from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram—­the national unconscious with its fevers of conspiracy and ancient hatreds and malignity—­and walk out into the fresh air of democracy, where the general looseness—­no security personnel, no ropes, no questions—­testifies to the inherent good manners of one’s fellow citizens. There is no sign reading: your consideration of your neighbors is appreciated. thank you for not engaging in abusive talk or elaborate paranoia. People just behave without being told, as if their mothers were watching them.

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.

“What’s the point?” said Senator Tim Scott, who is paid at least $174,000 per year as an elected official, when asked whether he had read the Mueller report.

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