Weekly Review — September 3, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The United States debates a military strike in Syria, Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiates at a same-sex marriage, and KFC Japan begins selling deep-fried soup

Harpers-CarriageCostume-1850-07-400x400

Carriage Costume (July 1850)

President Barack Obama announced that he would request congressional approval for a punitive military strike against the Syrian government for the August 21 poison-gas attack that killed 1,429 people in Damascus. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked weapons inspectors to expedite a report on their findings following four days of investigation in Syria, and Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the United States had obtained independent proof that Bashar al-Assad used the nerve agent sarin against his own people. “I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors,” said Obama. “The words ‘slam dunk’ should be retired from American national-security issues,” said Kerry. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Obama’s Syria strategy “mindless,” and 43 percent of U.S. Department of Defense employees participating in an online game failed to locate Damascus on a map. “Our biggest problem is ignorance,” said the dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. “We’re pretty ignorant about Syria.” French president François Hollande pledged to assist in any U.S.-led intervention, the British parliament voted not to intervene, defense ministers in Syria and Iran threatened to attack Israel if Assad’s life was endangered, and crowds of Israelis mobbed gas-mask-distribution points in Haifa and Jerusalem.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] An 18-year-old Indian man who participated in the gang-rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus last December was sentenced to three years in a reform home, and a former Montana high school teacher who had confessed to raping a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide was sentenced to spend 31 days in jail. The girl, said the judge, was “older than her chronological age.”[11][12] A South Korean newspaper reported that North Korea had executed the ex-girlfriend of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and 11 others for making and distributing a pornographic video.[13] Bo Xilai, a former Communist Party chief on trial in Jinan, China, for bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power, revealed an affair between his wife, who murdered a British businessman in 2011, and his former deputy, who Bo punched in the face while attempting to cover up his investigation into the case. “They were,” said Bo, “like glue and lacquer.”[14][15]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex marriage ceremony, and the Department of the Treasury announced that federal tax provisions for married couples would apply to same-sex spouses regardless of their state of residence.[16][17] The New York Police Department was revealed to have spied on several mosques it labeled “terrorist enterprises.”[18] In protest of low wages, eight Paraguayan bus drivers had reportedly nailed themselves to crosses, thousands of American fast-food employees staged a walkout, and four exotic dancers filed suit against Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club in Grand Junction, Colorado.[19][20][21] Dunkin’ Donuts apologized for having a model in blackface promote its “charcoal donut” in Thailand, Italian chocolatier Ferrero withdrew a German ad for white-chocolate kisses featuring the slogans “Yes White Can” and “Germany Votes White,” a black New Jersey high schooler running for student government was found to have sent racist texts to himself, and a Glaswegian man complained to Scottish officials that an Edinburgh chip shop was charging for ketchup but not brown sauce. “It reeks of racism,” he said.[22][23][24][25] KFC Japan announced that it would start selling deep-fried soup, and psychologists determined that people who hate Japan are likely also to hate the fictitious Monahan LPI-800 Compact 2/3-Cubic-Foot 700-Watt Microwave Oven.[26][27]

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

A University of Washington student moved the hand of another student over the Internet.[28] Swedish scientists confirmed the existence of ununpentium, Austrian molecular biologists successfully grew miniature human brains in a laboratory, and Viennese ethologists determined that female Mus musculus mice choose to mate with multiple virgin males in order to reduce the likelihood of infanticide.[29][30][31] Nine police-dog couples were married in Sri Lanka.[32] A Stockholm man was threatened by a gang of drunken elk, and a New Zealand man was rescued from a remote Australian island where he had been trapped for two weeks by a 20-foot-long crocodile. “We gave him a cold beer,” said the man’s rescuer, “which was probably the wrong thing.”[33][34] Bino, an albino alligator at the São Paulo Aquarium, received acupuncture for his scoliosis, and a former lab chimpanzee named Brent was awarded $10,000 for an abstract tongue painting.[35][36] A Maine lobsterman caught a half-orange, half-brown lobster.[37] Pennsylvania high school sophomore Brandon Silk was hospitalized for anaphylaxis after his classmates failed to honor a request that they not wear Axe body spray, and members of the Franconian Fränkische Bund association expressed concern that German girls were buying cheap foreign-made costumes for Oktoberfest. “At the very latest [the craze will be over],” said a board member, “when a dirndl-making factory burns down in Pakistan.”[38][39]


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

Share
Single Page

More from Camille Bromley:

Conversation October 3, 2016, 11:00 am

Unofficial Stories

“The suffering cannot disappear without a trace, we need to understand how and why,” says Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 Nobel laureate in literature and author of Secondhand Time.

Weekly Review April 12, 2016, 1:32 pm

Weekly Review

Leaked documents reveal that heads of state around the world hide money in offshore accounts, NASA researchers report that climate change has altered the Earth’s wobble, and scientists find that touching the genitals of robots arouses humans.

Weekly Review December 15, 2015, 10:51 am

Weekly Review

An Oklahoma police officer is convicted of raping women while on patrol, Chinese officials accuse the Dalai Lama of sympathizing with the Islamic State, and a burglar hiding in a lake is eaten by an alligator 

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2017

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.

Pushing the Limit

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Bumpy Ride

Bad Dog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

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
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
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
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

Number of cast members of the movie Predator who have run for governor:

3

A Georgia Tech engineer created software that endows unmanned aerial drones with a sense of guilt.

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively.

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