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L. Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Iraq, in one of his final acts before handing over “sovereignty” to Iraq’s new interim government, decreed that American forces will remain immune from prosecution by Iraqi courts for crimes against Iraqi citizens or destruction of property. It was noted that a similar grant of immunity in Iran in the 1960s had unfortunate consequences. “Our honor has been trampled underfoot; the dignity of Iran has been destroyed,” said the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1964. He said that the order “reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog.”Washington Post “My understanding of this issue,” said General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “is that the CPA orders cannot be repealed or modified until Iraq’s permanent government is in place to enact legislation.”Agence France-PresseThe White House disavowed a Justice Department memorandum that argues that it’s okay to torture terrorism suspects.Washington PostPaul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, apologized for saying the reporters in Iraq were just repeating rumors because they’re too afraid to travel, andReutersColin Powell said that declaring martial law in Iraq would make things worse.ReutersIraqi insurgents killed more than 100 people in one day in attacks all across the country, aWashington PostSouth Korean hostage was beheaded, threeNew York TimesTurks and a Pakistani were kidnapped, and militants threatened to kill a captured U.S. Marine.ReutersA poll showed that most Americans now think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake that has made the country more vulnerable to terrorism.USA Today
President George W. Bush was questioned by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as part of the investigation into who in the White House exposed the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative, as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who criticized the decision to conquer Iraq.ReutersThe Supreme Court declined to make Dick Cheney release the records of his 2001 Energy Task Force and sent the case back to a lower court for further consideration;ReutersCheney said he felt much better after he told Senator Patrick Leahy, who has been critical of Halliburton’s war profiteering in Iraq, to go fuck himself.ReutersLos Angeles police officers were videotaped beating a black man after he surrendered peacefully.New York TimesMonica Lewinsky denounced Bill Clinton’s new memoir and said that he had destroyed her life.ReutersA judge in Oklahoma was accused of using a penis pump in court.USA Today
Al Gore said that George W. Bush is a liar for repeatedly suggesting that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden and that the president’s “consistent and careful artifice is itself evidence that he knew full well that he was telling an artful and important lie.”ReutersScientists discovered that rats who snort a special virus do not get as high on cocaine.New ScientistIt was reported that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was crowned in the Senate office building after announcing that he is the “savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.” Several lawmakers from both major parties were present, including Rep. Danny Davis, who wore white gloves as he placed the crown on Moon’s head.The HillTwo bombs went off in Istanbul.Agence France-PresseHealth experts warned of a possible polio epidemic in western and central Africa, and theNew ScientistDepartment of Health and Human Services took steps to limit free contact between American scientists and the World Health Organization.ReutersToxic chemical pollution was up 5 percent in 2002, the EPA announced.Associated PressHappy married women have healthier hearts than lonely unhappy women, and anReutersIranian mother claimed to have given birth to a frog.BBCNew research suggested that needle biopsies might help spread breast cancer to the sentinel node.ReutersAnother mad cow was apparently discovered somewhere in the United States, but the USDA refused to say where until more tests were completed.Associated PressBritish researchers found that sudden infant death syndrome is more likely to happen on weekends.BBCThe first privately funded astronaut made it into space.New ScientistA Japaneseteacher forced a student to write an apology in his own blood after he was caught sleeping in class.MSNBCA Germanzoologist announced that bees are really quite lazy,Telegraphand scientists said that SARS was found in tears.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 California’s 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 “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — 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 “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” 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 “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“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.”