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Hurricane Rita, the third-most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, struck Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, killing 36 people and causing flooding, tornadoes, and storm surges, and re-flooding parts of New Orleans. Hurricane evacuations caused miles of traffic jams in Texas, and a bus filled with elderly people exploded when an oxygen tank caught fire, incinerating at least 24 passengers.WikipediaHouston ChronicleIn the wake of Hurricane Rita, which damaged a number of oil refineries, President George W. Bush called on Americans to conserve gas. “I mean,” he said, “people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they’re able to maybe not drive when they–on a trip that’s not essential, that would helpful.”The White HouseIt was reported that President Bush, exhausted from job stress, was back on the bottle. “Stop, George!” Laura Bush allegedly yelled as she walked in on him drinking straight whiskey.The National EnquirerWikipediaSlate.comThe Bush Administration raised $600 from U.S. citizens to help rebuild Iraq, where at least 42 people died in the fighting this week.The GuardianThe Washington PostOne hundred thousand people marched in Washington, D.C., to protest the war.APCindy Sheehan was arrested.APIn Poland an 18-month-old child ran over three family members with a car,Reutersand in India a 12-year-old girl killed herself after her mother told her that she could not afford to give her a single rupee for lunch.BBC NewsAn earthquake struck Peru.BBC News
A Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, killing the entire crew.BBC NewsMembers of the Armyâ??s 82nd Airborne Division admitted that while in Iraq their battalion regularly tortured prisoners. “Some days,” said a sergeant, “we would just get bored, so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. This was before Abu Ghraib, but just like it. We did it for amusement.” Another sergeant said that he had seen a soldier beat detainees with an open chemical light. “That made them glow in the dark, which was real funny,” he said, “but it burned their eyes, and their skin was irritated real bad.”The New York TimesNASA announced that it wanted to return to the moon,Reutersand China was preparing to send the manned Shenzhou VI spacecraft into orbit.Red NovaNew York City announced that it would install up to twenty public pay toilets, one for every 405,203 people.1010 WINSIn Wichita Falls, Texas, a man named Roderick Johnson was suing prison officials for allowing him to be made into a sexual slave. Johnson testified that he had once been the “property” of a prison gang called the Gangster Disciples, who rented him out at rates ranging from $3 to $7 per rape. A defendant in the case said that Johnsonâ??s testimony was not credible because he never showed the “bruises,” “possible broken bones,” or “a little worse” that would prove that the sex was nonconsensual.The New York TimesA man in Butte, Montana, was charged with killing and beheading a dog, then throwing the severed head at the dogâ??s owner. “Here,” said the man, “is your f——- dog back.”The Independent RecordThirty-six military-traineddolphins with toxic dart guns were reported missing in the Gulf of Mexico.The Guardian
Hamas announced that it would stop using the Gaza Strip to stage incursions into Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised to crack down on the group. LA TimesThe National Rifle Association convinced a district court to stop gun confiscations in New Orleans,The National Rifle Associationand the Irish Republican Army laid down its arms.The Washington PostA man in Portland, Oregon was calling people, telling them he had kidnapped an 11-year-old girl, and threatening to hurt the girl unless the recipients of the calls engaged in phone sex.The Corvallis Gazette-TimesThe FDA was criticized for naming a veterinarian trained in animal husbandry as acting director for the Office of Womenâ??s Health.The Washington PostGreece won the Eurobasket.FIBA.comAn Australian surfer avoided a shark attack by punching the shark.CNN.comA Des Moines, Iowa, high school teacher was in trouble for confronting the students who toilet-papered his house with a sword,The Iowa Channeland the skeleton of a schizophrenic man was found in Wales; he had handcuffed himself to a tree. Deep scuff marks on the tree made it clear that the man had tried to free himself.Liverpool Daily Post
More from Paul Ford:
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