Weekly Review — January 27, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Boko Haram attacks Maiduguri, Nigeria, winter storm Juno blankets the northeastern United States, and a Chihuahua in Idaho gets gender reassignment surgery

SharonRiley-WR-avatar

President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, in which he mentioned the economy 18 times, jobs 19 times, and hope 4 times, and called climate change the greatest threat to future generations.[1][2] The U.S. Senate voted 98 to 1 in favor of an amendment stating that climate change is “not a hoax.” Supporters included Senator James Inhofe (R., Okla.), author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. “The hoax,” he said, “is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think … that they can change climate.”[3][4] King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died at age 90 and was replaced by his 79-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, who, according to analysts, is expected to continue the country’s policy of flooding the world market with low-cost oil. Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison last year for insulting Islam, had his second set of 50 lashings delayed because of injuries sustained during his first lashings.[5][6][7] A video released by the Islamic State showed a captive Japanese journalist holding a photograph of what appeared to be the beheaded body of another man whom the group had tried unsuccessfully to ransom to the Japanese government for $200 million. “They are being fair,” the surviving hostage said of his captors, who are now seeking to exchange him for a militant imprisoned in Jordan. “They no longer want money.”[8] Boko Haram militants attacked the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing 15 soldiers and several civilians.[9][10] In Greece, where youth unemployment is near 50 percent, the anti-austerity party Syriza won 149 seats in a national parliamentary election, falling two seats short of an absolute majority. “I was asked to hold a hot potato,” said the outgoing Greek prime minister, who led the conservative New Democracy party, “and I did that.”[11][12][13]

Blizzard warnings were issued from Maryland to Maine for what forecasters said could be the worst storm ever seen in some areas. Thousands of flights were canceled; all non-essential vehicles, including taxis and food delivery bicycles, were ordered off the streets of New York City; schools were closed; and up to three feet of snow was predicted. States of emergency were declared in advance. “We’ve got our bread, we’ve got our milk, we’ve got our water, we’ve got my mother coming over today,” said Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, “and I’d ask every Rhode Islander to do that.”[14][15][16][17] In Dallas, a federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”[18] Guards at an Australian immigrant-detention facility on Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea, broke through a barricade erected by detainees who were protesting their treatment. Several hundred immigrants at the facility continued a hunger strike, 20 sewed their mouths shut, and two swallowed razor blades.[19][20][21] In Whiteville, North Carolina, a 70-year-old man was released from prison after serving 37 years for a double murder he has been proven not to have committed. “Going home. Relaxing. Sleeping in a real bed,” he said of his plans upon release. “Probably get in a pool of water and swim for a little while.”[22]

Toxicology reports confirmed that four bears found dead in New Hampshire last fall died of chocolate overdoses, an eight-week-old Chihuahua hermaphrodite in Idaho named Charcoal underwent surgery to become female, and in Newfoundland a hermaphroditic kitten named Mittens was scheduled to undergo gender-assignment surgery. “I’d like for it to be a female,” said the cat’s owner. “But it really don’t matter.”[23][24][25] Male runway models at Paris Fashion Week wore garments that exposed their penises, and Lebanon’s tourist minister said that Miss Lebanon would not be stripped of her crown for appearing in a photo with Miss Israel at a Miss Universe event.[26][27] The in-flight catalogue SkyMall filed for bankruptcy.[28] A Spreading Wings S900 drone manufactured by a Chinese aerial-photography retailer crashed in a Mexican supermarket parking lot near the U.S. border while carrying six pounds of methamphetamine.[29][30][31] Californian and Australian chemists announced that they had succeeded in unboiling egg whites, the New Hampshire Lottery’s $1 lottery tickets were scented with bacon, and professional golfer Brooke Pancake announced a sponsorship deal with Waffle House. “To be quite honest,” said Pancake, “I prefer waffles.”[32][33][34]

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

Share
Single Page

More from Sharon J. Riley:

Weekly Review June 12, 2018, 11:56 am

Weekly Review

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump meet at a former POW site, Jeff Sessions denies asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence, and the National Sheriff Association announces a new initiative to protect pets

Weekly Review April 17, 2018, 2:23 pm

Weekly Review

Trump fires missiles at Syria, a former FBI director likens Trump to a Mafia boss, and New Yorkers mistake a racoon for a tiger

Weekly Review March 20, 2018, 1:38 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump says teachers should carry guns, a school resource officer mistakenly fires his gun at a middle school in Virginia, and the United States receives its worst-ever ranking on the World Happiness Report

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2020

Click Here to Kill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Vicious Cycles

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Oceans Apart

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Forty-Year Rehearsal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Whale Mother

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Click Here to Kill·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a sunny July day in 2018, Alexis Stern was sitting behind the wheel of the red Ford Fusion her parents had given her the previous year when she’d learned to drive. Robbie Olsen, the boy she’d recently started dating, was in the passenger seat. They were in the kind of high spirits unique to teenagers on summer vacation with nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. They were about to take a drive, maybe get some food, when Stern’s phone buzzed. It was the police. An officer with the local department told her to come down to the station immediately. She had no idea what the cops might want with her. “I was like, am I going to get arrested?” she said.

Stern had graduated from high school the month before, in Big Lake, Minnesota, a former resort town turned exurb, forty miles northwest of the Twin Cities. So far she had spent the summer visiting family, hanging out with her new boyfriend, and writing what she describes as “action-packed and brutal sci-fi fantasy fiction.” At sixteen, she’d self-published her first novel, Inner Monster, about a secret agent named Justin Redfield whose mind has been invaded by a malevolent alter ego that puts the lives of his loved ones at risk. “It isn’t until his inner demon returns that he realizes how much trouble he really is in,” the synopsis reads. “Facing issues with his girlfriend and attempting to gain control of his dark side, the tension intensifies. Being the best agent comes at a price, a price of kidnapping, torture and even death.

Article
Oceans Apart·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I had been in Domoni—an ancient, ramshackle trading town on the volcanic island of Anjouan—for only a few summer days in 2018 when Onzardine Attoumane, a local English teacher, offered to show me around the medina. Already I had gotten lost several times trying to navigate the dozens of narrow, seemingly indistinguishable alleyways that zigzagged around the old town’s crumbling, lava-rock homes. But Onzardine had grown up in Domoni and was intimately familiar with its contours.

Stocky in build, with small, deep-set eyes and neatly trimmed stubble, Onzardine led me through the backstreets, our route flanked by ferns and weeds sprouting from cracks in the walls and marked by occasional piles of rubble. After a few minutes, we emerged onto a sunlit cliff offering views of the mustard-colored hills that surround the town, dotted with mango, palm, and breadfruit trees. We clambered down a trail, past scrawny goats foraging through piles of discarded plastic bottles, broken flip-flops, and corroded aluminum cans, toward a ledge where a dozen young men were waiting for the fishing boats to return to shore, gazing blankly out across the sea.

Article
Vicious Cycles·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

This is what I feared, that she would speak about the news . . . about how her father always said that the news exists so it can disappear, this is the point of news, whatever story, wherever it is happening. We depend on the news to disappear . . .
—Don DeLillo, “Hammer and Sickle”

What a story. What a fucking story.
—Dean Baquet, on the election of Donald Trump

a circular conversation

What is the news? That which is new. But everything is new: a flower blooms; a man hugs his daughter, not for the first time, but for the first time this time . . . That which is important and new. Important in what sense? In being consequential. And this has been measured? What? The relationship between what is covered in the news and what is consequential. Not measured. Why? Its consequence is ensured. Ensured. . . ? It’s in the news. But then who makes it news? Editors. Editors dictate consequence? Not entirely. Not entirely? It matters what people read and watch—you can’t bore them. Then boredom decides? Boredom and a sense of what’s important. But what is important? What’s in the news.

Article
The Forty-Year Rehearsal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On the evening of May 8, just after eight o’clock, Kate Valk stepped onstage and faced the audience. The little playhouse was packed with hardcore fans, theater people and artists, but Kate was performing, most of all, for one person, hidden among them, a small, fine-boned, black-clad woman, her blond-gray hair up in a clip, who smiled, laughed, and nodded along with every word, swaying to the music and mirroring the emotions of the performers while whispering into the ear of the tall, bearded fellow who sat beside her madly scribbling notes. The woman was Elizabeth LeCompte—known to all as Liz—the director of the Wooster Group, watching the first open performance of the company’s new piece, Since I Can Remember.

It had been a tense day, full of opening-night drama. Gareth Hobbs, who would be playing a leading role, had been sick in bed for days with a 103-degree fever, and he’d only arrived at the theater, still shaky, at three-thirty that afternoon. During the final closed rehearsal, performer Suzzy Roche fell on her elbow, then felt faint and had to lie prone while her colleagues fanned her and fetched ice. At one point, Erin Mullin, the stage manager as well as a performer, shouted: “We have one hour left, and we’re on page eight of fifty!” Not to mention that the piece still had no ending.

Article
Election Bias·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the spring of 2018, Tequila Johnson, an African-American administrator at Tennessee State University, led a mass voter-registration drive organized by a coalition of activist groups called the Tennessee Black Voter Project. Turnout in Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom among U.S. states, just ahead of Texas. At the time, only 65 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered to vote, the shortfall largely among black and low-income citizens. “The African-American community has been shut out of the process, and voter suppression has really widened that gap,” Johnson told me. “I felt I had to do something.”

The drive generated ninety thousand applications. Though large numbers of the forms were promptly rejected by election officials, allegedly because they were incomplete or contained errors, turnout surged in that year’s elections, especially in the areas around Memphis and Nashville, two of the cities specifically targeted by the registration drive. Progressive candidates and causes achieved notable successes, capturing the mayor’s office in heavily populated Shelby County as well as several seats on the county commission. In Nashville, a local measure was passed introducing a police-accountability board.

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 Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today