Weekly Review — December 20, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

President George W. Bush defended his executive order authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without a warrant; Bush said that he “absolutely” had the right to authorize the program, and that whoever leaked news of the program’s existence had committed a “shameful act.”The New York TimesDick Cheney visited Iraq and informed American soldiers that he was not Jessica Simpson. He also watched as Iraqi soldiers holding imaginary guns practiced a vehicle sweep.SFGate.comThe Iraqi military announced that they had captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, but accidentally released him,BBC Newsand 24 top officials from the Hussein regime, including “Dr. Germ” and “Mrs. Anthrax,” were released from jail without charges.APIt was reported that agents from the Department of Homeland Security visited a college student in New Bedford, Massachusetts, soon after he requested a copy of “Mao’s Little Red Book” through interlibrary loan??although many librarians felt the story might be a hoax.The Standard-TimesBoingBoingThe Senate voted not to extend portions of the Patriot Act. “It is time,” said SenatorPatrick Leahy, “to have some checks and balances in this country.”APPresident Bush was forced to approve the McCain Amendment, which will ban “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism detainees.”APLeaked Pentagon documents showed that the U.S. military was routinely collecting intelligence on antiwar groups and putting it into a database. The Pentagon also launched 1-800-CALL-SPY, a hotline that allows U.S. citizens to report suspicious activity directly to the military.Democracy Now!Columnist Doug Bandow resigned from his position as a Cato Institute Fellow after it was revealed that he had accepted money from lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 newspaper columns favorable to Abramoff’s clients. Peter Ferrara, a senior policy advisor at the Institute for Policy Innovation, said that he had also taken money from Abramoff to write op-ed pieces, but felt no remorse. “I do that all the time,” he explained.Business WeekSenatorHarry Reid said the current U.S. Congress was “the most corrupt in history.”ReutersIraq held parliamentary elections.AP

Tookie Williams was executed in California,CourtTV.comand 77-year-old John B. Nixon Sr. was executed in Mississippi. Nixon was the oldest person executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated.CourtTV.comIn Houston, Texas, a receptionist named Kristina Roberts was suing her boss, Jorge Garcia, for ejaculating on her as she worked. Garcia insists the ejaculation was consensual.CourtTV.comIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a myth,BBC Newsand Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a stroke. Palestinians celebrated Sharon’s stroke and leaders of Kahane, the ultra-nationalist Jewish group, called on members to pray for the Prime Minister’s death.Y Net NewsEvo Morales appeared to have won the presidency of Bolivia; he plans to legalize coca farming. Morales, who admires Fidel Castro, said that he wanted to maintain Bolivia’s ties to the United States but did not want “a relationship of submission.”BBC NewsAn Ohio man named Wayne Green was suing a police drugdog for illegal search. “They’ve got a mean ol’ dog,” he explained. “You know what I’m saying?” The dog, Andi, signed with a paw print when served with the complaint.CourtTV.comNorth of London, thieves used a crane to steal a two-ton Henry Moore sculpture, “Reclining Figure,” that was valued at more than $5 million; authorities fear the thieves may melt it down for scrap metal.APA Romanian shepherd found 80 human fetuses in a forest,The New Zealand Heraldand a passerby found 30 dog heads in a Tokyo moat.Japan Today

Scientists decoded the mitochondrial DNA of the woolly mammoth and confirmed that the mammoth was more closely related to the Asian elephant than to the African elephant,BBC Newsand researchers discovered that the lack of ice floes in the Arctic Ocean was causing polar bears to drown.Times OnlineA Floridaowl was found to be high on marijuana.9News.comForty Santas rampaged in Auckland, New Zealand,Auckland police arrest bad santasa flasher dressed as Santa was on the loose in London,Reutersand a man who works as a Santa at a New YorkWal-Mart was arrested after he exposed himself to a 15-year-old boy and asked for oral sex.Record OnlineFor the second time this year, someone stole the life-sized Jesus from a nativity scene in Cincinnati, Ohio, although this time they left behind baby Jesus’s leg.The Canton RepPolice in New Windsor, New York, destroyed a snow penis,Record Onlineand a frog-shaped baby was born dead in Yemen.The Yemen TimesAn increasing number of U.S. women were having their hymens reattached. “It’s the ultimate gift,” said one woman who underwent the surgery, “for the man who has everything.”Arizona Central/Wall Street JournalBritish scientists discovered that little girls like to torture their Barbie dolls by scalping, decapitating, burning, breaking, and microwaving them. “Girls,” explained a researcher, “feel violence and hatred towards their Barbie.”Times OnlineEBay was selling 85 toys a minute.Click2Houston.com

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
What the Camera Saw·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“They shot him behind the left ear, and he fell.”
Post
The Glitch in the Video-Game Graveyard·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Rolls of toilet paper Chicago’s city government has produced this year from recycled City Hall wastepaper:

19,000

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today