Weekly Review — June 17, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

ISIS launches a major offensive in Iraq, the 2014 World Cup begins, and Florida keeps on being Florida

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and stole $450 million from its central bank, then captured Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, and other cities as they advanced toward Baghdad and consolidated territory near the Syrian border. Iraqi soldiers abandoned government checkpoints and sold their service weapons, and the military bombed one of its own bases in an attempt to keep militants from seizing more arms. As many as 500,000 residents fled Mosul, and ISIS fighters posted photos online of what they claimed were the mass executions of 1,700 soldiers in Iraq’s northern Saladin Province.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] President Barack Obama announced that the United States would send an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf and deploy about 275 soldiers to provide support for embassy and military personnel, and Iran sent two units from its elite Revolutionary Guard to help fight militants. “We have to turn to the heavyweights,” said an Iraqi cabinet minister. “Iraq has not emerged from the fog at any point after Saddam.” “To just go in and burn up more resources on a place that seems bent on destruction? We had an opportunity there,” said Howard McKeon (R., Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “We blew it.”[8][9][10] Five American Special Operations personnel and at least one Afghan soldier were killed by a U.S. Air Force bomber that accidentally struck their position in Afghanistan’s southern Zabul Province.[11] Syrian president Bashar al-Assad issued a decree granting amnesty for all crimes except terrorism, announced the release of an equestrian who had been imprisoned for 21 years after winning a race against Bashar’s brother Bassel, and reportedly ordered the bombing of northern Syrian ISIS strongholds in coordination with the government of Iraq. [12][13][14] Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford urged the United States to provide arms to moderate forces fighting Assad’s government. “More hesitation and unwillingness,” said Ford, “simply hasten the day when American forces will have to intervene.”[15]

Al Shabab militants killed 48 people in an assault on the Kenyan coastal town of Mpeketoni.[16] In Ukraine, security services thwarted an assassination attempt on President Petro Poroshenko; pro-Russian rebels shot down a military aircraft, killing 49 soldiers; and the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom stopped supplying natural gas over what it claimed was an unpaid $2 billion bill. “This is not about gas,” said Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk. “This is a general plan for the destruction of Ukraine.”[17][18] Organizers of an event at the University of Reading claimed that software designed by Russian and Ukrainian programmers had become the first to pass the Turing test, by convincing more than 30 percent of its interrogators during a series of keyboard conversations that it was actually a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy.[19] The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot request private information from Internet service providers without a warrant, and YouTube denied the Egyptian government’s request to remove a video of a woman being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during a celebration for the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.[20][21] Guccifer, the Romanian hacker who leaked images of paintings by former president George W. Bush, was sentenced to four years in prison for breaching the email accounts of world leaders.[22] A 10-year-old Sacramento boy graduated from high school, and a California superior-court judge eliminated the state’s tenure and seniority system for public-school teachers.[23][24] A mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail cell while serving a 48-hour sentence related to an unpaid $2,000 bill for her children’s truancy.[25] A 15-year-old Oregon boy brought an AR-15 rifle in a guitar case to his high school and shot and killed another student before killing himself, and the Oklahoma-based manufacturer of the Bodyguard Blanket, a $1,000 bulletproof cover designed to protect children in the event of a school shooting, revealed that sales in the product’s first ten days had been “very spirited.”[26][27][28] Pope Francis announced that he would no longer use the bulletproof Popemobile. “Let’s face it,” said Francis, “I don’t have much to lose.”[29]

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

In Brazil, the 2014 World Cup began; doctors, housing advocates, and transit employees went on strike to protest the government’s overspending on the games; and a police officer was filmed firing a live round on demonstrators in Rio de Janeiro.[30][31][32] Two macaws, three Gentoo penguins, and a loggerhead turtle accurately forecast a victory for Brazil in its opening game against Croatia, and the Chinese government barred panda cubs at a Chengdu zoo from offering match predictions.[33][34][35] House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that he would step down from his position after he lost the Republican primary for his seat by 11 percentage points to Tea Party–backed candidate Dave Brat.[36][37] The Minnesota Republican Party denied knowing that its state Supreme Court candidate, Michelle MacDonald, had a DUI case pending. “When I was being interviewed,” said MacDonald, “they were saying this is a good thing.”[38] A Massachusetts law firm that specializes in processing foreclosures was evicted for failing to pay its rent.[39] In Fresno, California, a burglary defendant was stabbed to death by his sister’s boyfriend hours after being mistakenly freed by a jury that had checked the wrong box on a court form.[40] Florida authorities discovered 23 grams of marijuana hidden in the rolls of a 450-pound man’s stomach fat, confirmed that a woman named Crystal Metheney had fired a BB gun into a car carrying three children last month, and arrested a man who had attempted to solicit a prostitute without money. “You got food?” the undercover agent had asked. “I’ll give you a blow job for a salad.”[41][42][43][44]


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
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
Post
CamperForce·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

After losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, seniors Barb and Chuck find seasonal employment at Amazon fulfillment centers.

Cost of a baby-stroller cleaning, with wheel detailing, at Tot Squad in New York City:

$119.99

Australian biologists trained monitor lizards not to eat cane toads.

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