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I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements.The Los Angeles TimesSenator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi called for Karl Rove to be stripped of his security clearance.KHON2/Fox NewsJudith Miller was expected to return to her job at the New York Times.The New York ObserverSir Christopher Meyer, the former British ambassador to the United States, said that the Iraq war was inspiring acts of terrorism: “God,” he said, “it does not look good.”BBC NewsThe FBI, under the Patriot Act, was issuing 30,000 “national security letters” a year, 100 times as many as it has issued historically. The letters, which recipients are ordered never to discuss, often demand the release of banking data, credit reports, and other private information.The Washington PostU.S. and Iraqi forces launched Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in Husaybah, a town on Iraq’s Syrian border that serves as a transit point and staging area for militants. The offensive began on the third day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan. “Instead of having my family for a picnic in an amusement park,” said a refugee named Omar Obaidi, “I am taking them out of the town, walking and expecting death every moment.” A statement promising retaliation for the offensive, purported to be from Al Qaeda, was posted on a local mosque. In Baquba the spokesman for the Iraqi National Dialogue Council was shot five times.The Washington PostA South African woman tried to help a seal back into the sea only to have it bite off her nose.MSNBCIt was reported that the CIA had set up a secret system of prisons, called “black sites,” around the world. Originally intended solely for Al Qaeda leaders, the prisons now detain a number of people whose link to terrorism is less certain. “It’s just a horrible burden,” said an intelligence official.The Washington PostVice President Dick Cheney was pressuring Republican senators to grant the CIA an exemption from a proposed ban on torturing terrorism suspects. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, suggested that Cheney was ultimately responsible for the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere. “There was a visible audit trail,” he said, “from the vice president’s office through the secretary of defense down to the commanders in the field.”The Seattle TimesThe mayor of Las Vegas called for vandals who deface freeways to have their thumbs cut off on TV. “They would get a trial first,” he offered.The Guardian
Louisiana was told that it owes FEMA $3.7 billion for the aid organization’s help after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.USA TodayPresident Bush asked Congress for $7.1 billion to fight bird flu.ReutersIn Ethiopia, 23 people were killed during protests over government vote-rigging;Reutersthe same number of people had died in Brazil from rabies transmitted by vampire bats.BBC NewsOregon officials forced a father and son to give up the pet bear, Windfall, that had lived with them for two years. While at their home the bear showered, had her hair blow-dried, and slept in a bed. “The only thing we did wrong,” the father said of the bear, “was love one another.”KIROTV.comIn Maryland the first kill of bear season was credited to Sierra Stiles, an eight-year-old girl, who shot a 211-pound bear twice in the chest with a .243-caliber rifle. “They won’t eat now,” Sierra said of bears. “They won’t eat a thing.”The Washington PostIn Japan a 16-year-old girl was found to have rendered her mother comatose by dosing her with rat poison over several months. The girl kept track of the poisonings on her blog: “To kill a living creature. The moment of sticking a knife into something. The warmth of the blood. The little sigh. It is all a comfort to me.”Times OnlineA study found that over the last 15 years the breasts of the average American woman had swelled from a 34B cup to 36C; D-cup breasts, it was pointed out, are equivalent in weight to two small turkeys.Discover MagazineChefs in Michigan baked a 600-pound pumpkin pie.WLTX.com
Rioters near and around Paris set thousands of cars and dozens of buildings on fire after two teenagers of African descent were electrocuted while trying to escape the police.The GuardianOff the Somali coast, pirates fired a rocket launcher at a cruise ship filled with American and British tourists. The ship’s crew scared the pirates off with loud noises, and no one was injured.BBC NewsIn Finland a dog named Sonar sniffed out her 95th drowned corpse,Reutersand Dr. Phil said that he had information that Natalee Holloway, a teenager who went missing in Aruba, is alive; he seemed to imply that she might have been sold as a sex slave.WorldNetDailyIn Maryland, $75,000 worth of bull semen was stolen from a farm,The Washington Postand 47 schoolchildren were stung by bees.ReutersEmails showed that in 2002 U.S. Representative Tom DeLay asked lobbyist Jack Abramoff to raise money for him through a charitable foundation.Bloomberg NewsIt was revealed that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito once led a student conference that called for sodomy to be legalized.IndyStar.comWal-Mart released a study showing that Wal-Mart is good for the U.S. economy.Arkansas News BureauA tornado killed at least 22 people in Indiana.The New York TimesIn the Philippines five U.S. Marines were arrested for raping a woman they met at a karaoke bar,BBC Newsand a U.S. Army captain stationed in Germany was sentenced to five years in prison for forcibly sodomizing three U.S. soldiers; the soldiers had asked him for counseling in his capacity as an Army chaplain and Roman Catholic priest.TheDenverChannel.comDemocratic leaders called for a closed session on the Senate floor, which they used to force the creation of a bipartisan committee; the committee will report on the ongoing Congressional investigation (which the Democratic leadership believes is being purposefully delayed) into the Bush Administration’s misuse of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. “They have no convictions,” Senator Bill Frist said of the Democrats. “They have no principles. They have no ideas.”CNN.comPresident George W. Bush ordered his staff to take a refresher course in basic ethics,and he visited Argentina, where tens of thousands of people protested his presence and policies.ReutersHe also visited Brazil, where he looked at a map with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. “Wow,” said Bush. “Brazil is big!”The San Francisco ChronicleA poll found that 58 percent of Americans doubt President Bush‘s honesty,The Guardianand another poll found that 53 percent of Americans want Congress to consider impeachment if it turns out that Bush lied about his reasons for going to war.AfterDowningStreet.orgConstruction began on the new World Trade Center building in downtown Manhattan.The New York TimesScientists confirmed that Sagittarius A, the object at the center of our galaxy, is indeed a black hole.CNN.com
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