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 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2017

Pushing the Limit

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Bumpy Ride

Bad Dog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Preaching to The Choir

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Monumental Error

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Star Search

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Monumental Error·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner
Article
Star Search·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 3, 2016, less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president, Amanda Litman sat alone on the porch of a bungalow in Costa Rica, thinking about the future of the Democratic Party. As Hillary Clinton’s director of email marketing, Litman raised $180 million and recruited 500,000 volunteers over the course of the campaign. She had arrived at the Javits Center on Election Night, arms full of cheap beer for the campaign staff, minutes before the pundits on TV announced that Clinton had lost Wisconsin. Later that night, on her cab ride home to Brooklyn, Litman asked the driver to pull over so she could throw up.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Pushing the Limit·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Bumpy Ride·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles. He wore a faded blue baseball cap, so formed to his head that it seemed he slept with it on. Brickyard Road, the street in front of Slater’s home, was a mess of soupy dirt and water-filled craters. The muffler of his mud-splattered maroon pickup was loose, and exhaust fumes choked the cab. He gripped the wheel with hands leathery not from age but from decades moving earth with big machines for a living. What followed was a tooth-jarring tour of Muskegon County’s rural roads, which looked as though they’d been carpet-bombed.

Photograph by David Emitt Adams
Article
Bad Dog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Abby was a breech birth but in the thirty-one years since then most everything has been pretty smooth. Sweet kid, not a lot of trouble. None of them were. Jack and Stevie set a good example, and she followed. Top grades, all the way through. Got on well with others but took her share of meanness here and there, so she stayed thoughtful and kind. There were a few curfew or partying things and some boys before she was ready, and there was one time on a school trip to Chicago that she and some other kids got caught smoking crack cocaine, but that was so weird it almost proved the rule. No big hiccups, master’s in ecology, good state job that lets her do half time but keep benefits while Rose is little.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Estimated portion of French citizens with radical-Islamist beliefs who grew up in Muslim families:

1/5

Human hands are more primitive than chimp hands.

Trump declared flashlights obsolete as he handed them out to Puerto Ricans, 90 percent of whom had no electricity in their homes; and tweeted that he wouldn’t keep providing federal hurricane relief “forever” to Puerto Rico, a US territory that the secretary of energy referred to as a “country.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today