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After maintaining for three years that Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen captured in Afghanistan, was so grave a threat to the United States that merely permitting him to meet with his lawyer would fatally compromise national security, the Bush Administration (having been told by Justice Antonin Scalia that “the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive”) declined to defend its case against Hamdi in open court and announced that he will be stripped of his citizenship and released in Saudi Arabia.Boston Globe, Washington Post, ZNetCharges were also dropped against Ahmad al Halabi, a Syrian-American airman who was accused of spying at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. ReutersColin Powell said that the Iraqi insurgency is “getting worse,” and U.S. forces arrested a high-ranking officer in the Iraqi National Guard, one week after he was appointed commander of the Diyala province, because he supposedly has ties to insurgents.BBCPresident Bush said that John Kerry’s criticisms of his policies in Iraq are hurting the war effort.ABC NewsAn expert panel appointed by the Pentagon concluded that the United States lacks the troops to maintain its current military commitments, andNew York TimesHalliburton was thinking about selling its KBR subsidiary, which handles the company’s contracts in Iraq.New York TimesThe Pentagon announced that it will issue microwave pain guns to its forces in Iraq.Daily TelegraphThe United States military was planning a large new offensive in Iraq to prepare for the scheduled January elections, andWashington PostSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the ongoing war could result in a “limited” election. “Well, so be it,” he said. “Nothing’s perfect in life, so you have an election that’s not quite perfect.”Reuters
The Transportation Security Administration announced that it plans to force airlines to provide personal information about passengers so that it can test a new system for identifying potential terrorists; in some cases the airline records will be compared with private databases.ReutersYusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was refused entry to the United States because his name appears on a list of terrorism suspects.ReutersThe federal government refused to admit that a regulation exists requiring airline passengers to show a form of picture ID before they board planes.Sacramento BeeThe inspector general of the Homeland Security Department reported that airport screeners are still permitting knives, guns, and explosives to be smuggled through security checkpoints by government testers.New York TimesMore flaws were found in Diebold Election Systems’ electronic voting machines.Wired NewsThe Israeli government seized 80,000 cans of dog food that had been labeled as foie gras.Christian Science Monitor2004-09-27HaaretzThe BBC cancelled a satirical cartoon series called “Popetown,” which featured corrupt bishops and depicted the pope jumping around the Vatican on a pogo stick.Guardian, Associated PressAn academic conference at Yale University was devoted to Michael Jackson, andAssociated PressJimmy Swaggart said that he would kill any gay man who “looks at me like that.”The AdvocateWal-Mart agreed to stop selling The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a nineteenth-century anti-Semitic forgery, on its website; a spokesman said the company had “made a business decision to remove this book.”Jewish Telegraph AgencyDavid Koresh’s 1968 Camaro was sold at auction to a car wash owner from San Antonio, Texas, for $37,500.Houston ChronicleIsrael used a car bomb to assassinate a Hamas official in Syria.Christian Science MonitorA Malawianpothead decapitated two women with an axe.Reuters
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria said that the African Union will send thousands of troops to keep the peace in Sudan.New York TimesNigerian rebels threatened to attack oil wells in the Niger delta.ReutersCalifornia regulators announced that car makers must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2016, and crudeWashington Postoil closed at $48.88 a barrel, a new record.BloombergArmed gangs rioted in Haiti outside a food distribution center in Gonaives, which was largely destroyed by tropical storm Jeanne.NewsdayAnother hurricane hit Florida.Washington PostIn Italy, an old woman was killed by a falling crucifix, and theIndependentcompany that makes Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread went bankrupt.ReutersNew research concluded that low-birthweight babies are twice as likely to commit suicide.BBCIt was discovered that Israelitraffic fatalities rise by 35 percent in the days following a terrorist attack.New ScientistScientists said that over the last 15 years several glaciers in Antarctica have increased the rate at which they are sliding into the sea.Wired NewsThe discovery that methane and water vapor are concentrated together on Mars suggested that methane-producing bacteria may be present on the planet.New ScientistA group of Australian scientists developed a vaccine to cut down on the methane emitted by sheep when they belch and fart.New ScientistChina opened its first Formula One raceway.New York TimesAmerican researchers developed a device that uses spinach to generate electricity, and scientistsNew Scientistwere hoping to use rat brainwaves to find people buried by earthquakes.New ScientistCalifornia banned necrophilia.Scotsman
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature