Weekly Review — November 12, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Defying historical trends, the Democratic Party managed to lose control of the Senate during a midterm election. Richard Gephardt responded to his party’s catastrophic failure by announcing that he will not seek reelection as House minority leader; he will instead prepare for a presidential run in 2004. France and Russia, after weeks of dickering, voted in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq after the United States agreed to change the word “and” to “or” and the word “secure” to “restore.” “This would be the 17th time that we expect Saddam to disarm,” said President George W. Bush. “This time we mean it. This time it’s for real.” American officials claimed that the resolution was a “mousetrap” that gives the U.S. the right to go to war unilaterally; Europeans pointed to assurances from American diplomats that the document contains “no hidden triggers.” President Bush settled on a war plan for Iraq that will include a short air campaign followed by rapid ground operations involving about 250,000 troops. Administration officials confided that they were hoping for a defiant challenge from Saddam Hussein rather than a slow drawn-out refusal that could fritter away the strategically important winter months, which are the best time for fighting a war in the Middle East. “I think a lot of people are saying, you know, gosh, we hope we don’t have war,” President Bush said. “I feel the same way.” A million people converged on Florence, Italy, to protest the coming war. French prostitutes took to the streets in Paris to protest new restrictions on the sex trade. Communists in Russia marched to protest the betrayal of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting.

It was reported that Admiral John M. Poindexter, who was convicted in the Iran-Contra affair in 1990 but later acquitted on a technicality, joined the Bush Administration earlier this year as head of the Office of Information Awareness at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Poindexter is in charge of a new system called Total Information Awareness, which would permit the military to spy on the civilian population of the United States without search warrants by scanning personal information such as email, credit-card statements, banking and medical records, and travel documents for patterns that suggest criminal or terrorist activities. Deployment of the surveillance technology would require new legislation, since the military traditionally has not been allowed to spy on ordinary American citizens. “This could be the perfect storm for civil liberties in America,” said Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “The vehicle is the Homeland Security Act, the technology is Darpa, and the agency is the FBI. The outcome is a system of national surveillance of the American public.” A British court declared that the American detention of prisoners at Camp X-Ray in Cuba, which it called “a legal black hole,” is in clear violation of international law and the concept of habeas corpus. The author of The Story of Stupidity and Understanding Stupidity was arrested for trying to solicit sex on the Internet from an undercover cop who was posing as a 15-year-old girl. A judge in Michigan was in trouble for smoking pot at a Rolling Stones concert. Police in Racine, Wisconsin, cracked down on fans of. techno music and issued 445 tickets. “Rave parties,” said a cop, “are not going to be part of our community and are not going to be tolerated.” The White House was thinking about abandoning its prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, which was not going so well, and trying him instead before a military tribunal, where victory would be assured.

The CIA, using a Predator drone, assassinated an Al Qaeda leader and several of his companions in Yemen; it turned out that one of the men was an American citizen. Amnesty International accused Israeli security forces of committing war crimes during offensives in Jenin and Nablus last spring. A suicide bomber killed two people at an Israeli mall. Irv Rubin, the leader of the Jewish Defense League, was declared brain dead after he apparently slit his own throat and jumped from a balcony. Rubin was in jail for allegedly trying to blow up a mosque. His wife refused to believe that he had attempted suicide: “This was a hit,” she said. “This was a hit.” Rubin’s brain was later reported to be “very much alive,” and he was listed in critical condition. Harvey Pitt resigned as commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Federal investigators issued subpoenas to Duke Energy, Reliant Resources, and the Williams Company in connection with an investigation into price manipulations during the recent California energy crisis. China closed the Yangtze River as part of its ecocidal Three Gorges dam project. It rained in Los Angeles. A large study of Danish children determined that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine does not cause autism. A new study found that smoking pot is probably more dangerous than smoking tobacco. British researchers found that having a positive attitude does no good whatsoever in fighting cancer. Two people in New York City were diagnosed with bubonic plague. A judge ruled that a Barbie doll dressed as a dominatrix wearing a “lederhosen-style Bavarian bondage dress and helmet in rubber with PVC-mask” does not infringe on Mattel’s copyright because the parody poses no threat to Barbie sales. Germany’s supreme court ordered Bavaria to end its ban on wife-swapping.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2016

Tennis Lessons

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Tearing Up the Map

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Land of Sod

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Only an Apocalypse Can Save Us Now

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Watchmen

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Acceptable Losses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
 
Andrew Cockburn on the Saudi slaughter in Yemen, Alan Jacobs on the disappearance of Christian intellectuals, a forum on a post-Obama foreign policy, a story by Alice McDermott, and more
Artwork by Ingo Günther
Article
Land of Sod·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

Photograph by Mike Slack
Article
The Watchmen·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

Illustration by John Ritter
Article
Acceptable Losses·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

Photograph by Alex Potter
Article
The Origins of Speech·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"To Chomsky...every child’s language organ could use the 'deep structure,' 'universal grammar,' and 'language acquisition device' he was born with to express what he had to say, no matter whether it came out of his mouth in English or Urdu or Nagamese."
Illustration (detail) by Darrel Rees. Source photograph © Miroslav Dakov/Alamy Live News

Chances that college students select as “most desirable‚” the same face chosen by the chickens:

49 in 50

Most of the United States’ 36,000 yearly bunk-bed injuries involve male victims.

In Italy, a legislator called for parents who feed their children vegan diets to be sentenced to up to six years in prison, and in Sweden, a woman attempted to vindicate her theft of six pairs of underwear by claiming she had severe diarrhea.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today