Weekly Review — November 6, 2018, 1:08 pm

Weekly Review

Pittsburgh protesters forced Trump’s motorcade to take a detour; “Whitey” Bulger murdered in prison; Kentucky Fried Chicken paid the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders

A  self-described misogynist who had been arrested several times for grabbing women on the Florida State University campus shot and killed two people at a Tallahassee, Florida, yoga studio; a 16-year-old in Matthews, North Carolina, shot and killed a classmate in response to bullying; and an 11-year-old boy in Litchfield Park, Arizona, fatally shot his grandmother after she had told him to clean his room, and then turned the gun on himself.1 2 3 4 Clarifying when he called for troops being deployed to the US–Mexico border to “consider it a rifle” if a migrant throws a rock, President Donald Trump said, “That doesn’t mean shoot them”; the Nigerian Army tweeted the former speech as justification for firing upon one thousand Islamic Shiite activists who had been marching in Abuja and threw rocks at soldiers.5 6 On the same day that an estimated two thousand protesters in Pittsburgh forced his motorcade to take a detour, Trump announced a planned executive order that would attempt to end birthright citizenship.7 8 Donald Trump Jr. criticized “the Democrats” for not disavowing Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has made anti-Semitic statements and who praised Trump Jr.’s father during his campaign in 2016.9 

The son of a truck driver murdered by the former gangster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger said he hoped to put money in the canteen account of Freddy Geas, a 51-year-old serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in West Virginia, who “hated rats” and is suspected of killing the 89-year-old Bulger.10 “I think it’s justice,” said the son. In Illinois, a judge ruled that the state prison system is still not caring properly for the mentally ill after a settlement agreement made in 2016; in Georgia, it was reported that female guards in state prisons are persistently sexually harassed by their co-workers and by inmates; in North Carolina, it was revealed that inmates were regularly ordered to fight other prisoners by sheriff’s office employees.11 12 13 “Let’s rock,” said the first man executed by electrocution in Tennessee since 2007.14 The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran that were lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that was praised by Benjamin Netanyahu, who also stated that “blocking Iran is uttermost on our agenda for security, not merely for Israel but, I believe, for Europe and the world as well,” and that Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was “horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable.”15 16 In one of the largest cases of financial fraud in history, Goldman Sachs bankers were charged with bribing Malaysian officials with more than $2.7 billion, taking $4.1 million in gold jewelry “for the wife of Malaysian Official #1,” and siphoning off funds for their personal use, including the buying of yachts and the funding of the film The Wolf of Wall Street.17 The president of Turkmenistan, a former dentist who succeeded the previous lifetime president in 2007, lifted a gold weight-lifting bar before his applauding cabinet, shortly before the start of the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in the capital, Ashgabat.18 There is an ongoing constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka.19

The Brazilian federal judge who spearheaded the Car Wash corruption investigations that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has accepted a position in Jair Bolsonaro’s new government.20 Researchers estimated that humanity has destroyed as much as 60 percent of the world’s animal population since 1970, and a study found that oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than was previously thought.21 22 The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it will not stop health research experiments that involve killing dogs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken gave $11,000 to the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders.23 24 In Kansas City, Missouri, a man fell asleep while loading bags into a Boeing 737; when the flight landed an hour later in Chicago, he told the police he had been drunk.25Jacob Rosenberg

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Podcast November 15, 2018, 1:17 pm

Checkpoint Nation

Not satisfied with toeing the line, US Customs and Border Protection agents are expanding their reach into the country’s interior

Weekly Review November 13, 2018, 3:45 pm

Weekly Review

The unresolved midterms; Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III replaced; the debut of the world’s first AI television anchor

Podcast November 8, 2018, 2:30 pm

The Tragedy of Ted Cruz

Is any victory great enough for the man we all love to hate?

Get access to 168 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2018

Rebirth of a Nation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Tragedy of Ted Cruz

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Combustion Engines·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On any given day last summer, the smoke-choked skies over Missoula, Montana, swarmed with an average of twenty-eight helicopters and eighteen fixed-wing craft, a blitz waged against Lolo Peak, Rice Ridge, and ninety-six other wildfires in the Lolo National Forest. On the ground, forty or fifty twenty-person handcrews were deployed, alongside hundreds of fire engines and bulldozers. In the battle against Rice Ridge alone, the Air Force, handcrews, loggers, dozers, parachutists, flacks, forecasters, and cooks amounted to some nine hundred people.

Rice Ridge was what is known as a mega-fire, a recently coined term for blazes that cover more than 100,000 acres. The West has always known forest fires, of course, but for much of the past century, they rarely got any bigger than 10,000 acres. No more. In 1988, a 250,000-acre anomaly, Canyon Creek, burned for months, roaring across a forty-mile stretch of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness in a single night. A few decades on, that anomaly is becoming the norm. Rice Ridge, for its part, swept through 160,000 acres.

At this scale, the firefighting operation is run by an incident management team, a group of about thirty specialists drawn from a mix of state and federal agencies and trained in fields ranging from aviation to weather forecasting and accounting to public information. The management teams are ranked according to experience and ability, from type 3 (the least skilled) to type 1 (the most). The fiercest fires are assigned to type 1s. Teams take the name of their incident commander, the field general, and some of those names become recognizable, even illustrious, in the wildfire-fighting community. One such name is that of Greg Poncin, who is to fire commanders what Wyatt Earp was to federal marshals.

Smoke from the Lolo Peak fire (detail) © Laura Verhaeghe
Article
Rebirth of a Nation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Donald Trump’s presidency signals a profound but inchoate realignment of American politics. On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason. On the other hand, Trump’s reign may be merely an interregnum, in which the old white power structure of the Republican Party is dying and a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.

Illustration by Taylor Callery (detail)
Article
Blood Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Over the past three years, the city of South Tucson, Arizona, a largely Latino enclave nestled inside metropolitan Tucson, came close to abolishing its fire and police departments. It did sell off the library and cut back fire-truck crews from four to three people—whereupon two thirds of the fire department quit—and slashed the police force to just sixteen employees. “We’re a small city, just one square mile, surrounded by a larger city,” the finance director, Lourdes Aguirre, explained to me. “We have small-town dollars and big-city problems.”

Illustration by John Ritter (detail)
Article
The Tragedy of Ted Cruz·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

Cruz recited almost verbatim the same things Trump lists as the administration’s accomplishments: the new tax legislation, reduced African-American unemployment, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court. But, in a mirror image of those in the #Resistance who refuse to ennoble Trump with the title “president,” Cruz only called him that.

Photograph of Ted Cruz © Ben Helton (detail)
Article
Wrong Object·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

H

e is a nondescript man.

I’d never used that adjective about a client. Not until this one. My seventeenth. He’d requested an evening time and came Tuesdays at six-thirty. For months he didn’t tell me what he did.

The first session I said what I often said to begin: How can I help you?

I still think of what I do as a helping profession. And I liked the way the phrase echoed down my years; in my first job I’d been a salesgirl at a department store counter.

I want to work on my marriage, he said. I’m the problem.

His complaint was familiar. But I preferred a self-critical patient to a blamer.

It’s me, he said. My wife is a thoroughly good person.

Yawn, I thought, but said, Tell me more.

I don’t feel what I should for her.

What do you feel?

Photograph © Joseph S. Giacalone (detail)

Chance that a homeless-shelter resident in a major U.S. city holds a full- or part-time job:

1 in 5

Turkey hunting was deemed most dangerous for hunters, though deer hunting is more deadly.

The unresolved midterms; Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III replaced; the debut of the world’s first AI television anchor

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today