Weekly Review — February 20, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Russia warned that the United States was reverting to Cold War rhetoric after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denounced Russia as an “active proliferator” of dangerous technology. “They are part of the problem,” he said, defending President George W. Bush’s plans, over Russia’s objections, to deploy an anti-missile system. “Why they would be actively proliferating and then complaining when the United States wants to defend itself against the fruit of those proliferation activities it seems to me is misplaced.” It was “foreign-policy week” at the White House: President Bush went down to Mexico for a visit, personally authorized what he called a “routine” bombing of five Iraqi anti-aircraft sites, and appointed John D. Negroponte to be his ambassador to the United Nations. Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras in the early 1980s, where he helped orchestrate Ronald Reagan’s covert war against Nicaragua. Russia’s Federal Security Service, the heir to the KGB, said it would once again investigate anonymous accusations against Russian citizens, a practice banned by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988. DARE, the anti-drug organization, admitted that its program does not work. School officials in Virginia Beach were paying students to turn in their classmates for drug offenses. A Virginia state senator complained that “spineless pinkos” in the House of Delegates education committee were ruining his efforts to require that public school children recite the pledge of allegiance every morning. Virginia’s legislature apologized for the state’s eugenics policies, including the sterilization of 7,450 people; the eugenics law, passed in 1924, was repealed in 1979. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals somehow managed to leave a voice-mail message from Jack Lemmon in 18,000 Environmental Protection Agency telephone mailboxes; Lemmon complained about the EPA’s chemical-toxicity tests, which are conducted on cute, furry little animals.

France said it would kill 10,000 head of cattle a week in an attempt to raise beef prices, which have been depressed by the mad cow panic. Scientists announced that they had sequenced a mouse genome. The Human Genome Project announced that there are only 27,000 to 40,000 human genes, not 100,000 as had been previously thought, 223 of which were acquired directly from bacteria. The European Parliament approved strict rules on genetically modified organisms. The Kansas state board of educationvoted to restore the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Hindu extremists ran amok in India to protest Valentine’s Day, which they said undermines Indian culture. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was upset about a picture in the Brooklyn Museum of Art and was threatening to set up a decency panel to police the city’s museums. Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia demanded that sexy women be banished from Cambodian television. An admitted virgin who rarely watches R-rated movies was named Utah’s new “pornography czar.” Czech officials arrested a Slovakian man who was attempting to smuggle 1,400 pairs of women’s panties into the country. Proctor & Gamble filed patent applications for panty liners that will be able to tell when a woman is pregnant or about to ovulate or when she has infections such as chlamydia, thrush, or HIV. A Massachusetts man was arrested for using a hidden camera to film up a woman’s skirt on a crowded commuter train while watching the action on his laptop.

A criminal investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich was opened; former president Bill Clinton expressed confusion over the hubbub and said that he pardoned Rich because Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak asked him to. Republican governors such as Tommy Thompson and Christie Whitman, both of whom are now Bush cabinet members, were embarrassed by revelations that they, too, had made a number of apparently corrupt pardons. A Palestiniansecurity officer was sentenced to die for collaborating with the occupying Israeli security forces. Israelassassinated a Palestiniansecurity official; Prime Minister Ehud Barak congratulated the army on a job well done. A Palestinianbus driver ran down a crowd of Israelis at a bus stop, killing eight. Islamic rebels in Algeria murdered three men, twelve women, and twelve children in their homes; a new book published in France claims that similar attacks have been carried out by soldiers disguised as rebels. The author, Habib Souaidia, says that he took part in such massacres when he was an officer in the Algerian army. India’s minister of external affairs visited Burma and inaugurated the Myanmar-India Friendship Center for Remote Sensing and Data Processing. NASA landed a spaceship on an asteroid. An Austrian scientist found in a recent study that women typically begin encounters with strange men by emitting positive courtship signals such as head-tossing, hair-flipping, and fiddling with their clothes, though they are often unaware of doing so. San Francisco announced that it would pay for the sex-change operations of municipal employees.A lawyer defending three Serbs on trial at the Hague for sexual slavery argued that “rape in itself is not an act that inflicts severe bodily pain.” Theodore J. Kaczynski, the Unabomber, failed to win a new trial. Psychologists at the University of California revealed that Samson, the Biblical hero, suffered from antisocial personality disorder.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2015

The Quietest Place in the Universe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Black Hat, White Hat

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beyond the Broken Window

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Search of a Stolen Fiddle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Displaced in the D.R.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Displaced in the D.R.·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“How is it possible that my birth certificate is invalid if I was born here?”
Photograph by Pierre Michel Jean
Article
The Quietest Place in the Universe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Gaitskell and his colleagues are approaching the revelation of a new order, a new universe, in which even light will be known differently, and darkness as well.”
Painting by Sebastiaan Bremer
Article
The Test of Time·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“One by one his books dismantle the idea that art consoles, that art contains truths, that art expresses the soul. He insists on the artificiality and createdness of his narratives.”
Article
Saving the Whale, Again·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“While the other Wall Street behemoths are currently tapering their derivatives trading, Citi has been expanding its own.”
Illustration by Ross MacDonald
[Browsings]
On Broadway·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Photograph by the author

Chance that an American would give up at least one week of life to avoid taking a pill every day:

1 in 3

Iowa urologists reported that only a minor portion of locker-room teasing arises from “the presence of excess foreskin”; most teasing targets small penises.

A pair of Russian film directors asked President Vladimir Putin to invest $18 million in a new restaurant chain intended to drive McDonald’s out of the Russian market. “Every project these days,” a Russian television personality said of the proposal, “must be smothered in patriotic sauce.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today