Weekly Review — March 25, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Malaysia declares Flight 370 lost, the Westboro Baptist Church loses its patriarch, and Hawaiian police officers fight for their right to have on-duty sex with prostitutes

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak announced that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. The airline sent a text message to inform the missing passengers’ relatives, a few of whom had been briefly locked up in a hotel room three days earlier after they stormed a press conference. “I tell you, this was the wrong way to release this information,” said a sobbing representative of the families. “Don’t film,” shouted a man as he kicked a TV camera operator. “I’ll beat you to death!”[1][2][3][4] Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty formally annexing Crimea and ordered a fireworks display in celebration. Ukraine began withdrawing its troops from the region and reported that a group of “aggressive women” had overtaken its naval headquarters in Sevastopol. “Putin gives us hope,” said a woman in the breakaway Moldovan republic of Transdniester. “He is reuniting the Soviet Union.” The G7 nations suspended their participation in the G8, and U.S. president Barack Obama announced expanded sanctions against several members of Putin’s inner circle, prompting Putin to bar nine American officials, including Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.), from entering Russia. “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off,” said McCain. “The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock,” said a sanctioned Russian official. “I don’t need a visa to access their work.”[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] Documents released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed details of a voice-interception system called MYSTIC that allows the NSA to record every telephone call made in a foreign country and play it back up to a month later, and revealed that the United States had hacked the servers of Huawei, a telecommunications company suspected of having ties with the Chinese military.[12][13] An Israeli real-estate agent threatened to sue the attorney of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy after learning that, in an effort to avoid wiretaps, Sarkozy had conducted business on a phone registered in the agent’s name, and former American president Jimmy Carter offered advice on evading government surveillance to panelists on NBC’s Meet the Press. “When I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately,” he said, “I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it.”[14][15] Microsoft was found to have uncovered the identity of a former employee who leaked secrets to a tech blogger by searching the blogger’s Hotmail account.[16]

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was allegedly heard alluding to his involvement in corruption in recordings that circulated last month on social media, ordered that Twitter be blocked, prompting traffic originating from Turkey on the microblogging service to increase 138 percent, and announced that Turkish forces had shot down a Syrian warplane after it crossed into Turkey. “If you violate my airspace,” said Erdogan, “our slap after this will be hard.”[17][18] Syrian government forces captured the Crac des Chevaliers, a twelfth-century Crusader castle near Homs, from antigovernment fighters; Israel shut down all 103 of its foreign missions after its diplomats went on strike; and an Egyptian court sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for the murder of a police officer last August.[19][20][21] American authorities arrested a 20-year-old National Guardsman from California who was allegedly planning to join up with Islamist militants fighting in Syria. “I would love to join Allah’s army,” he posted on Instagram under the name Assad Teausant bigolsmurf, “but I don’t even know how to start.”[22] Police in Houston raided a 1,200-square-foot house where more than 100 people smuggled into the country from Latin America were living and sharing a single toilet, and Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission opened an investigation into the apparent suicide of an eight-year-old girl after she was detained while trying to cross into the United States.[23][24] New York City authorities admitted that a Rikers Island inmate named Jerome Murdough had likely died because the temperature in his cell had risen above 100°F. “He basically baked to death,” said an official.[25]

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

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, which filed for bankruptcy last month, discovered $116 million worth of bitcoins in an old wallet.[26] Police officers in Hawaii lobbied to retain a provision in the state legal code that permits them to have sex with prostitutes while on duty, and customs officials in Leipzig were reported to have seized a package of cocaine-filled condoms destined for the Vatican.[27][28] Catholic League president Bill Donohue called for a boycott of three beer companies that pulled their sponsorship from St. Patrick’s Day parades over bans on the participation of gay and lesbian groups, and applied to march in New York City’s gay-pride parade carrying a banner reading “Straight Is Great.”[29][30] Hundreds of gay couples in Michigan married after a federal judge struck down a state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and before an appeals court temporarily reinstated it.[31] A man stole meat from a New Jersey grocery store by claiming to have AIDS and threatening employees with a syringe, and preacher Fred Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funerals of military service members and AIDS victims in order to spread its antigay message, died at 84. “There will not,” said Phelps’s daughter, “be a funeral.”[32][33]


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

Share
Single Page

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2018

The Bodies in The Forest

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Minds of Others

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Modern Despots

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Before the Deluge

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Notes to Self

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Within Reach

= 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
The Minds of Others·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

Illustration (detail) by Lincoln Agnew
Article
Within Reach·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Before the Deluge·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
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

Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class:

$40,000

A daddy longlegs preserved in amber 99 million years ago was found to have an erection.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

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