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President George W. Bush held a prime-time press conference and refused several times to apologize or accept responsibility for his government’s failure to prevent the September 11 attacks; theNew York Timespresident defended his decision to conquer Iraq and said that the Iraqis were “deceptive at hiding things. We knew they were hiding things. A country that hides things is a country that is afraid of getting caught. And that was part of our calculation.”New York TimesBush also said that “freedom is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.”New York TimesA Pentecostal minister in Virginia was killed by a rattlesnake he was handling on Easter as a test of faith.New York TimesBob Woodward reported in a new book that Colin Powell warned President Bush that if he invaded Iraq he would have to face the “you break it, you own it” rule. “You’re going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,” Powell told the president in the summer of 2002. “You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You’ll own it all.” Powell also let it be known that Dick Cheney was the “powerful, steamrolling force” behind the decision to invade.New York TimesIraqi militants continued to kidnap foreigners, though some hostages were released.New York Times Al Jazeera broadcast a videotape showing an American soldier who was captured west of Baghdad. “I came to Iraq to liberate it,” said Pfc. Keith M. Maupin. “But I didn’t want to come here because I wanted to be with my son.”New York TimesRussia said that 605 people were kidnapped in Chechnya last year, and 253 were kidnapped in nearby regions.New York TimesThe Spanish government said that the bombers in Madrid sold hash and ecstasy and drank holy water from Mecca, andNew York Timesthe new Socialist prime minister ordered the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.Washington PostPresident Hugo Chávez of Venezuela expressed his support for the Iraqi insurgency.New York TimesA Democratic club in south Florida took out a newspaper ad saying that Donald Rumsfeld should be “put up against a wall” and shot.Associated PressThree crewmen died on a South Korean freighter after inhaling rotten squid gas.Mainichi Shimbun
George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, told the 9/11 commission that he received a briefing in August 2001 entitled “IslamicExtremist Learns to Fly” but failed to act on the information.New York TimesThe North American Aerospace Defense Command admitted that in April 2001 it rejected a training scenario in which foreign terrorists were to hijack a commercial airplane and try to crash it into the Pentagon; the scenario was considered unrealistic.Navy TimesThe 9/11 commission concluded that the harsh immigration policies put in place after September 11 were useless.New York TimesIn Kansas City a man went on a crime spree and shot two women for wearing blue.Associated PressThe U.S. porn industry was shut down after a performer tested positive for HIV.New York TimesOfficials in Northern Ireland apparently refused to let a woman with Down’s syndrome register to vote because of a rule barring “idiots and lunatics” from voting.ScotsmanScientists concluded that young female chimps are smarter than young males.New ScientistIt was reported that President Bush does not even read his “President’s Daily Briefs,” which are apparently quite short, but has them orally summarized for him.GuardianSerbia’s constitutional court suspended a law that gave financial benefits to Slobodan Milosevic and other Serb war criminals;Associated PressSlobodan Milosevic submitted a list of 1,631 witnesses that he plans to call in his defense at The Hague.ReutersPresident Bush saved $35,000 on his 2003 taxes as a result of his tax cuts.New York TimesIn Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s corruption trial resumed; three months ago the Constitutional Court ruled that the law that was passed to protect Berlusconi from bribery charges was unconstitutional.New York Times Twenty-one poor Indian women died in a stampede to collect free saris.Times of India
President Bush announced his support for Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and his approval, “in light of new realities on the ground,” for the idea that Israel will never withdraw from its larger settlements in the West Bank.New York TimesIsrael assassinated Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who succeeded Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as the leader of Hamas in Gaza after he was killed by an Israeli missile last month;Washington Postthe Bush Administration “strongly urged” Israel to show “maximum restraint.”New York TimesThe Federal Election Commission was debating whether to regulate the political speech of many nonprofit organizations.New York TimesBartholomew, the Eastern Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, accepted the pope’s apology for the sacking of his city by crusaders in the 13th century.Associated PressSupreme Court justice Antonin Scalia apologized to two reporters whose recordings of a recent speech were erased by a federal marshal; Scalia had lamented in the speech that people just don’t revere the Constitution the way they used to.New York TimesA chickenfarmer in Alaskainjected eggs with dye to produce orange, red, green, purple, pink, and blue chicks. Colored ducklings were also available.BBCChildren in Flint, Michigan, found two loaded pistols during an Easter egg hunt,Flint JournalIrish farmers were outfitting their newborn lambs with blue overcoats, and aBBCpiranha was found in a petting-zoo aquarium in Berlin.ABC.net.auScientists using a new technique called microlensing found a planet in the constellation Sagittarius.New ScientistResearchers at Harvard University found that drinking alcohol can double a man’s chances of getting gout.Associated PressThe FDA admitted that it refused to permit its lead expert on the subject to testify publicly that antidepressant drugs cause children to become suicidal.New York TimesMattel and Tek Nek Toys International recalled thousands of Batman cars and trucks after dozens of children were hurt playing with them; one child died.New York TimesThe Department of Health and Human Services held a hearing on the recent decision by Abbott Laboratories to quintuple the price of its essential AIDS drug Norvir, which used to cost about $1,500 a year but now costs $7,800.New York TimesA man in Ocala, Florida, was in trouble after his fiancée caught him raping her rottweiler dog.Ocala Star BannerZanzibar outlawed homosexuality.BBC
More from Roger D. Hodge:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â