Weekly Review — September 11, 2018, 11:21 am

Weekly Review

Trump struggles to pronounce “anonymous”; a Sackler stands to profit from a new drug to treat opioid addiction; housing development workers in the Bronx are accused of having orgies on the clock

Bob Woodward, the Washington Post journalist known for breaking the Watergate story, with Carl Bernstein during the Nixon Administration, published Fear: Trump in the White House today, which compiles documents and interviews with Trump Administration officials.1 In the book, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, compares the president to a “fifth or sixth grader”; John Dowd, Trump’s former attorney, refuses Robert Mueller’s request to interview the president, fearing Trump would be seen as a “goddamn dumbbell”; Rex Tillerson, former US secretary of state, calls Trump a “fucking moron”; John F. Kelly, current White House chief of staff, complains “[Trump]’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had”; and Jared Kushner tells Steve Bannon that his father-in-law “doesn’t have a lot of cash.”2 3 4 At a rally in Billings, Montana, President Trump addressed the anonymous op-ed written by a senior administration official, which revealed that the author and his or her colleagues had “vowed to thwart” Trump’s agenda and had only decided not to invoke the 25th Amendment and have the president removed from office to avoid creating a constitutional crisis, by stating, “The latest act of resistance is the op-ed published in the failing New York Times by an anonymous—really an anonymous, gutless coward. You just look. He was—nobody knows who the hell he is, or she, although they put he, but probably that’s a little disguise. That means it’s she. But for the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once.”5 6 The president mispronounced the word “anonymous” in both instances.7

The US will cut $25 million in funding to hospitals in East Jerusalem that aid the city’s Palestinian population as well as all funding for UN Palestinian humanitarian and economic projects.8 9 In Gaza, a 17-year-old was killed by Israeli soldiers’ live fire in the latest of the weekly Great March of Return protests at the Israeli-Gaza border, bringing the total number of Palestinian deaths since the protests began in March to 179, and in West Jerusalem, Monica Lewinsky, whose black negligee was up for auction in June in a lot that also contained a box of “slightly crushed” M&Ms she had given her former teacher and lover Andrew Bleiler, “abruptly” walked off the stage during a live interview at an Israel Television News Company conference in response to a question about the former US president Bill Clinton.10 11 12 The US State Department has increased the estimate of the number of Uighur and other Muslim ethnic minorities who are being arbitrarily held in “counter-extremism centers” and “re-education camps” in western China, which require them to write “self-criticism” essays and perform singing routines, from the hundreds of thousands to millions.13 China has said the camps provide job training.14 Liu Jiaqi, a Chinese man living in Kenya, had his work permit revoked and was deported after he was filmed criticizing President Uhuru Kenyatta and describing the citizenry as “poor, foolish, and black.”15 In Dallas, a white police officer was put on administrative leave after she broke into her black neighbor’s apartment because she mistook it for her own, then shot and killed him.16

Richard Sackler, former president of Purdue Pharma, which invented the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and paid over $600 million in fines for “misbranding” its use, is listed as one of six co-creators of a new drug to treat opioid addiction.17 18 Lithuania asked Walmart to stop selling shirts with the Soviet hammer and sickle, Russia is investigating a hole it claims was deliberately drilled into the International Space Station that created an air leak, and France passed a law banning phones from middle schools.19 20 21 “It’s pretty easy to talk instead,” said one student. A school resource officer discharged a Taser a few feet away from a sleeping high school student in Ohio after he slept through attempts by his teacher and interim principal to wake him.22 The FBI recovered a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz after a Minnesota man tried to extort the shoes’ insurance company; a Connecticut woman sustained serious injuries after mistaking a stick of dynamite for a candle during a power outage; and a man who lost most of his penis to a flesh-eating superbug he contracted during a prostatectomy in the UK won his suit against the hospital.23 24 25 Bird Life International revealed the “confirmed or suspected extinctions” of eight bird species, including a pygmy owl and the cryptic tree hunter, in this decade.26 NYCHA supervisors and workers at a housing development in the Bronx were accused of having orgies on the clock, which caused garbage to pile up and repairs to go unfinished.27 “I don’t have a problem with people having orgies,” Throggs Neck Tenant Association president Monique Johnson said. “I have a problem with work not being done. People were neglecting to do their jobs.” Three NYCHA supervisors have been suspended for 30 days. In New Mexico, a statue of the Virgin Mary began to weep for the fourth time this year.28Maud Doyle

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Podcast January 16, 2020, 11:24 am

Trumpism After Trump

More than four more years? A look at the philosophy and die-hard adherents of National Conservatism

Weekly Review January 14, 2020, 11:20 am

Weekly Review

The Iranian military admitted it shot down a passenger plane; a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Puerto Rico; 10,000 feral camels were shot in Australia

Podcast January 9, 2020, 3:00 pm

Oceans Apart

The Comoro Islands are a microcosm of the global climate crisis to come

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2020

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

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.

A decorated veteran of the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq had his prosthetic limbs repossessed from his home in Mississippi when the VA declined to pay for them.

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