Weekly Review — March 12, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Chávez cancer conspiracy theories, drone droning, and coitus leo interruptus

Babylonian LionFourteen years and one month after taking power, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez died of cancer at the age of 58 in a military hospital in Caracas. On state television, interim president Nicolas Maduro stated that Chávez’s cancer was the work of “the historical enemies of our homeland,” adding that Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, who died in a coma in 2004, was likewise “inoculated with an illness.” In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared a national day of mourning and said he had “no doubt that [Chávez] will return alongside Jesus Christ.” The mortician who embalmed Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos volunteered his services to Venezuelan authorities after they announced that Chávez’s corpse would be displayed in a glass case in the country’s Museo de la Revolución. “I was told they preserved Lenin using resin,” he said. “I would do it differently.” Outside Caracas’s military academy, mourners waited six hours to see Chávez’s body for five seconds. “This is a big joke,” said a resident of the city’s wealthy La Floresta district. “I feel ridiculous as a Venezuelan.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] In Rio de Janeiro, a woman in a long skirt was leaving gift-wrapped human skulls at foreign consulates.[9] Uhuru Kenyatta, who is facing charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court for allegedly inciting violence after the 2007 Kenyan presidential election, was elected president of Kenya.[10] North Korea nullified the armistice it signed in 1953 with South Korea, and an investigation by the Guardian newspaper revealed James Steele, a top adviser to U.S. general David Petraeus while he was the commander of coalition forces during the Iraq War, to have trained paramilitary death squads in El Salvador, and alleged that both men knowingly allowed prisoners to be tortured in Iraq. “While this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele in the room,” said an American reporter, “there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting: ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!’ But it wasn’t religious ecstasy.”[11][12] The United Nations counted the one millionth refugee from the Syrian civil war.[13]

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) protested Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil were “possible” with a 13-hour filibuster of John O. Brennan’s confirmation as director of the CIA. Paul began by reciting from an amended version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “ ‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen. ‘I won’t!’ said Alice. ‘Release the drones,’ said the Queen.” The following day, Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to Brennan on a copy of the Constitution drafted in 1787, four years before the ratification of the Bill of Rights.[14][15] A drone was spotted over New York City, and federal authorities approved the use of 58-inch-long surveillance helicopters over Arlington, Texas.[16][17][18] Police in Bakersfield, California, began an inquiry into the death of an 87-year-old woman who experienced shortness of breath at her assisted-living community, prompting a nurse to dial 911 rather than administer CPR. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” asked the dispatcher. “Not at this time,” said the nurse.[19] A Philadelphia woman stole a police officer’s car while the officer was apprehending her boyfriend for helping her steal a different police car, and an Ada, Oklahoma, woman was arrested with a loaded .22-caliber revolver concealed inside her vagina and bags of “a crystal substance” between her buttocks. “Ms. Harris stated several times,” said the police report, “that she needed to go to the bathroom.”[20][21][22]

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

A 350-pound African lion named Cous Cous killed an intern at the Cat Haven sanctuary in Fresno, California, and a lion attacked a couple in flagrante near Kariba, Zimbabwe, killing the woman but allowing the man to escape wearing only a condom. “They were doing it sideways,” said a witness. “The lion came from behind.”[23][24] A French judge ordered the seizure of assets belonging to a former wife of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, after she failed to pay a $7.5 million bill for a six-month stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris.[25] Bolshoi Ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko confessed to having hired a man to attack Sergei Filin, the company’s artistic director, but argued that his instructions had been misconstrued. “When he said, ‘OK, let me beat him up, hit him over the head,’ I agreed,” said Dmitrichenko. “It’s not true that I ordered him to throw acid.” Observers speculated that the attack was motivated by Filin’s failure to cast Dmitrichenko’s girlfriend in leading roles. “But,” said ballet teacher Marina Kondratyeva, “she was just plain fat.”[26][27] A British inventor was accused of selling for as much as $40,000 bomb detectors adapted from $20 golf-ball finders, and an Indian subsidiary of the British confectioner Cadbury was found to have fabricated a chocolate factory in order to save $46 million in corporate taxes.[28][29] In England, York University student James White was banned from owning a pet for eight years after telling a court he was drunk to “the point of madness” when he fried his roommate’s hamster. “What if I fucking fried it?” White had told police. “I fried it.”[30]


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

Share
Single Page

More from Jesse Barron:

Weekly Review November 18, 2014, 10:43 am

Weekly Review

World leaders plan to boost GDP, the E.S.A. lands on a comet, and an artist looks for a needle in a haystack

Weekly Review September 30, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Student protests in Hong Kong, two sex-scandal resignations, and the CIA’s lust for lemon pound cake.

Weekly Review August 12, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Police in Missouri kill an unarmed teenager, the U.S. government expands its terrorist database, and Justin Bieber saves a Russian fisherman

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2019

The Last Frontier

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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
The Last Frontier·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The San Luis Valley in southern Colorado still looks much as it did one hundred, or even two hundred, years ago. Blanca Peak, at 14,345 feet the fourth-highest summit in the Rockies, overlooks a vast openness. Blanca, named for the snow that covers its summit most of the year, is visible from almost everywhere in the valley and is considered sacred by the Navajo. The range that Blanca presides over, the Sangre de Cristo, forms the valley’s eastern side. Nestled up against the range just north of Blanca is Great Sand Dunes National Park. The park is an amazement: winds from the west and southwest lift grains of sand from the grasses and sagebrush of the valley and deposit the finest ones, creating gigantic dunes. You can climb up these dunes and run back down, as I did as a child on a family road trip and I repeated with my own children fifteen years ago. The valley tapers to a close down in New Mexico, a little north of Taos. It is not hard to picture the indigenous people who carved inscriptions into rocks near the rivers, or the Hispanic people who established Colorado’s oldest town, San Luis, and a still-working system of communal irrigation in the southeastern corner, or a pioneer wagon train. (Feral horses still roam, as do pronghorn antelope and the occasional mountain lion.)

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.

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