Weekly Review — June 2, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Baltimore records its highest monthly murder total since 1971, Oklahoma police shoot an assistant pastor, and 30 people are kicked out of a hotel for fighting over a waffle maker.

HarpersWeb-WeeklyReview-Popkey-big The U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 officials and corporate associates of FIFA, the international soccer governing body, on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and offering an estimated $150 million in bribes and kickbacks over a 24-year period. Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who was accused of accepting $10 million from South Africa in exchange for his support of the country’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup, turned himself in to authorities in Trinidad. “Nelson Mandela made jail. Gandhi made jail. Castro made jail,” Warner said. “So who’s Jack Warner?”[1][2][3][4][5] The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois charged former Speaker of the House of Representatives J. Dennis Hastert with trying to conceal $1.7 million in bank-account withdrawals, which the FBI alleged he paid to a male acquaintance in order to cover up misconduct he committed during his tenure as a teacher and wrestling coach between 1965 and 1981. “It was,” said a law-enforcement official, “sex.”[6][7][8] Former New York governor George Pataki and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum both announced they would seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, former Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Baltimore recorded 43 murders in the month of May, the highest monthly total since December 1971.[9][10][11][12] Violent storms and tornadoes hit central Texas, Oklahoma, and the Mexican state of Coahuila; a homecoming queen in Texas was killed on her way home from prom when a flood swept her car off the road; and an assistant pastor was shot by an Oklahoma highway patrol officer who claimed he was urging the man and his brother to abandon their stalled truck and seek higher ground.[13][14][15]

The IRS said that it had paid nearly $50 million in refunds on fraudulent income-tax returns, and a report by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general revealed that $20.2 million in benefits were paid to U.S. residents suspected of being Nazis. [16][17] The credit-reporting agency Equifax agreed in a lawsuit settlement to enter New York City resident God Gazarov’s name into its database, and Secretary of State John Kerry removed Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. “Iran’s leaders,” said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, “are surely taking note.”[18][19][20] Authorities in England rescued two teenage boys who got stuck up to their waists in mud, an employee at Tokyo’s main train station discovered the body of an elderly woman in an unclaimed suitcase, and a 68-year-old woman was found in the California desert with the body of her 79-year-old husband. “I’m hoping she’s going to make a full recovery,” said one of the off-road drivers who discovered the couple, “but she’s going to do it alone.”[21][22][23] A Philadelphia man with a machete severed two of his neighbor’s fingers after the neighbor accused him of vandalism, a 69-year-old Utah woman fought off a carjacker, and a woman in New York suffered broken bones when her 50-year-old son intentionally drove his Chevrolet Tahoe into her living room, running her over. “He drove right in,” said a relative, “like it was a garage.”[24][25][26]

It was reported that a Vatican-approved exorcist warned against playing Charlie Charlie Challenge, a game in which players attempt to conjure a Mexican demon using a Ouija board fashioned from two pens and a piece of paper.[27] Singer Enrique Iglesias was injured trying to grab a drone camera during a concert in Mexico, and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced on his personal Instagram that he is set to star in a feature film titled Whoever Doesn’t Understand Will Get It.[28][29] The Japan Dairy Association said they were facing a butter shortage, a Muslim chaplain aboard a United Airlines flight was told she could not be served an unopened Diet Coke because it could be used as a weapon, and 30 people in Michigan were ordered to leave an America’s Best Value Inn after a dispute broke out over a waffle maker.[30][31][32] At Biglerville High School in Pennsylvania, dress-code guidelines for an awards assembly told female seniors that “we don’t want to be looking at ‘sausage rolls,’” and in Denver, four first-grade students found a 27-year-old teacher’s aide unconscious in a bathroom with a syringe hanging from her arm and a clear plastic bag containing white powder by her side.[33][34][35] A tribunal in DeKalb County, Georgia, recommended that a teacher who allegedly bought condoms for students and allowed them to have sex in the storage closet next to his classroom be fired, and a Muslim televangelist in Turkey warned viewers against masturbation. “Those who have sexual intercourse with their hands,” he said, “will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife.”[36][37]


Read the Weekly Review in the Harper’s Magazine app, or sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Miranda Popkey:

From the December 2018 issue

Butt Ends and Cast-Off Bits

Mary Robison’s fiction of the superfluous

Weekly Review March 29, 2016, 1:31 pm

Weekly Review

A suicide bomber kills at least 72 in Pakistan, Microsoft’s chatbot endorses genocide, and a cat is accidentally mailed across England 

Weekly Review February 23, 2016, 11:42 am

Weekly Review

A cyclone makes landfall in Fiji, three people protest Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and a knife-wielding monkey chases patrons around a bar

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