Weekly Review — April 2, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Supreme Court considers skim-milk marriage, a Guantánamo Bay hunger strike expands, and Egyptian scuba divers sabotage SEA-ME-WE-4

"What Though I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear"

“What Though I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear”

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and of a provision of the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act that withholds from gay married couples federal benefits guaranteed to heterosexual married couples. “There’s two kinds of marriage,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the situation created by DOMA. “There’s full marriage and then there’s sort of skim-milk marriage.” Same-sex marriage supporters rallied outside the courthouse with signs bearing such slogans as “Hey Supremes, you can hurry love” and “Marry me Rachel Maddow.” “You are entitled,” said New York cardinal Timothy Dolan, “to friendship.”[1][2][3][4] The governor of North Dakota signed into law three bills comprising the most stringent abortion restrictions in the United States, and a Colorado man claiming to be the illegitimate son of Dwight Eisenhower was detained for threatening the life of Barack Obama.[5][6] The U.S. military confirmed that 37 of the 166 prisoners incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay were participating in a hunger strike whose numbers have been growing for several weeks, and that it was force-feeding 11 of them, while a defense attorney claimed that in fact 130 prisoners were refusing food. “The hunger strikers have created an unfortunate situation with no clear path to resolution,” said Captain Robert Durand. “Progress has been made under this and the previous administration,” said White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest.[7][8][9][10][11] A Brazilian investigator said that a doctor charged with murdering seven patients in order to free up hospital beds may have been responsible for as many as 300 deaths. “Our mission,” said Dr. Virginia Soares de Souza in a recorded phone conversation, “is to be go-betweens on the springboard to the next life.”[12] A Muscovite was arrested for exposing his friend to radon in an attempt to help him achieve immortality, and Saudi Arabia beheaded a Yemeni man accused of murder, robbery, and sodomy, then crucified his body.[13][14]

In his Easter homily, Pope Francis called for peace in Israel, the Korean Peninsula, and Syria, where more than 6,000 people were reported to have been killed in March, and criticized human trafficking and the reckless exploitation of natural resources.[15][16] An Exxon oil pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, and three oil tanker cars ruptured during a train derailment near Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.[17][18] American beekeepers were blaming the prevalence of bee colony collapse disorder on the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides. “If you have whiskey every night, 365 days a year, your liver’s gone,” said a co-owner of the largest U.S. beekeeping concern.[19] A Wisconsin woman named Elizabeth Hoen was observed stealing three steaks while clothed soon after being observed on a street corner while pantsless, and Geico released a motorcycle-insurance ad set to a song by the Allman Brothers Band, two of whose members died in motorcycle crashes.[20][21] New studies cast doubt on the constancy of the speed of light in a vacuum and confirmed that the Xenoturbella bocki “paradox” worm is the progenitor of humankind. “Maybe we’re more closely related to the Xenoturbella bocki worm, which doesn’t have a brain,” said a Swedish biologist, “than we are to lobsters and flies.”[22][23] A Chinese fishmonger found a bomb inside a squid, and American scientists reported the discovery of a two-headed shark in the uterus of another shark.[24][25] British researchers developed a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease. “What we have achieved here,” said biologist Dave Stuart, “is close to the holy grail of foot-and-mouth vaccines.”[26]

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

North Korea said it had entered a “state of war” with South Korea, compared the security of the U.S. mainland to that of a boiled pumpkin, and released a photo showing a map with missile traces leading to Austin, Texas.[27][28] Hackers carried out against the Dutch antispam firm Spamhaus one of the most powerful distributed denial-of-service attacks in the history of the Internet.[29][30] The Egyptian military caught three scuba divers accused of disrupting Internet service in Africa and Asia by sabotaging the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic cable off the coast of Alexandria.[31] Lahoris were fighting over a proposal to rename after a Sikh revolutionary, who was hanged on the site by the British, a traffic circle that currently honors the Muslim student who coined the name “Pakistan.” “If a few people decide one day that the name has to be changed,” said merchant Zamid Butt, “why should the voice of the majority be ignored?”[32] Following a complaint from Google, Sweden removed the word “ogooglebar” (“ungoogleable”) from its official list of new words.[33] Germany confiscated the monkey of singer Justin Bieber.[34] In Rome, a penis added at the behest of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to an ancient statue of Mars was reported to have been removed, and in Missouri a probationer was charged with using a forging instrument after he wore a prosthetic penis to excrete drug-free urine for a compulsory test.[35][36] Conservatives were criticizing the U.S. National Science Foundation for granting $384,949 to fund a study of duck-penis plasticity. “Sometimes you have to look at the big picture,” said NSF spokeswoman Debbie Wing.[37][38][39]


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 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