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 168 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2019

Where Our New World Begins

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Truce

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Lost at Sea

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Unexpected

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Where Our New World Begins·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The river “flows up the map,” they used to say, first south, then west, and then north, and through some of the most verdant and beautiful country in America. It is called the Tennessee, but it drains some forty thousand square miles of land in seven states, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Alabama, and from Mississippi to the Ohio River, an area nearly the size of En­gland.

Before the 1930s, it ran wild, threatening each spring to flood and wash away the humble farms and homes along its banks. Most of it was not navigable for any distance, thanks to “an obstructive fist thrust up by God or Devil”—as the writer George Fort Milton characterized it—that created a long, untamed run of rapids known as Muscle Shoals. The fist dropped the river 140 feet over the course of 30 miles, and therein lay the untapped potential of the Tennessee, the chance to make power—a lot of it—out of water.

Article
Slash Fictions·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. As closing time at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery approached on May 25, 2018, Igor Podporin, a balding thirty-seven-year-old with sunken eyes, circled the Russian history room. The elderly museum attendees shooed him toward the exit, but Podporin paused by a staircase, turned, and rushed back toward the Russian painter Ilya Repin’s 1885 work Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581. He picked up a large metal pole—part of a barrier meant to keep viewers at a distance—and smashed the painting’s protective glass, landing three more strikes across Ivan’s son’s torso before guards managed to subdue him. Initially, police presented Podporin’s attack as an alcohol-fueled outburst and released a video confession in which he admitted to having knocked back two shots of vodka in the museum cafeteria beforehand. But when Podporin entered court four days later, dressed in the same black Columbia fleece, turquoise T-shirt, and navy-blue cargo pants he had been arrested in, he offered a different explanation for the attack. The painting, Podporin declared, was a “lie.” With that accusation, he thrust himself into a centuries-old debate about the legacy of Russia’s first tsar, a debate that has reignited during Vladimir Putin’s reign. The dispute boils down to one deceptively simple question: Was Ivan really so terrible?

Article
The Truce·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When I met Raúl Mijango, in a courtroom in San Salvador, he was in shackles, awaiting trial. He was paunchier than in the photos I’d seen of him, bloated from diabetes, and his previously salt-and-pepper goatee had turned fully white. The masked guard who was escorting him stood nearby, and national news cameras filmed us from afar. Despite facing the possibility of a long prison sentence, Mijango seemed relaxed, smiling easily as we spoke. “Bolívar, Fidel, Gandhi, and Mandela have also passed through this school,” he told me, “and I hope that some of what they learned during their years in prison we should learn as well.”

Post
Civic Virtues·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Green-Wood Cemetery, where objectionable statues are laid to rest

Article
Lost at Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A few miles north of San Francisco, off the coast of Sausalito, is Richardson Bay, a saltwater estuary where roughly one hundred people live out of sight from the world. Known as anchor-outs, they make their homes a quarter mile from the shore, on abandoned and unseaworthy vessels, doing their best, with little or no money, to survive. Life is not easy. There is always a storm on the way, one that might capsize their boats and consign their belongings to the bottom of the bay. But when the water is calm and the harbormaster is away, the anchor-­outs call their world Shangri-lito. They row from one boat to the next, repairing their homes with salvaged scrap wood and trading the herbs and vegetables they’ve grown in ten-gallon buckets on their decks. If a breeze is blowing, the air fills with the clamoring of jib hanks. Otherwise, save for a passing motorboat or a moment of distant chatter, there is only the sound of the birds: the sparrows that hop along the wreckage of catamarans, the egrets that hunt herring in the eelgrass, and the terns that circle in the sky above.

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.

The Cairo, New York, police department advised drivers to “overcome the fear” after a woman crashed her car when she saw a spider.

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