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Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq unveiled a 24-point national reconciliation plan designed to end his nation’s civil war, and in Baghdad nearly 100 people were abducted by gunmen dressed as police officers.Islam Online via Google NewsThe Iraqi military recovered the bodies of two kidnapped U.S. soldiers; a spokesman said they had been “tortured in a barbaric fashion.”The New York TimesThe New York TimesIn Baghdad a car bomb detonated next to an ice cream shop, killing at least three people of indeterminate age, and insurgents beheaded two Russian diplomats and shot another.Houston Chronicle via Google NewsSaddam Hussein skipped a meal.Reuters via Google NewsMirror UK via Google NewsSenator Rick Santorum insisted the United States had in fact discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and Senator John McCain said the U.S. had two options there: “Withdraw and fail, or commit and succeed.” The New York TimesFour men suspected of aiding a Canadian terrorist cell were arrested in London,.The New York TimesBBCand seven men were arrested in Florida for talking about blowing up the Sears Tower.The New York TimesSwedish researchers announced that the Toxoplasma parasite hijacks human cells and forces them to commit suicide.The New York TimesNorth Korea reserved the right to test missiles capable of hitting the United States.The New York TimesThe mother of a five-year-old Palestinian girl killed by an Israeli air strike told reporters, “If I [got] my hands on an explosive belt, I would go and explode myself inside Israel to tear the hearts out for their children.”Forbes via Google NewsPolice from the tropical island of St. Kitts used M-16 semi-automatic rifles, batons, and a tear gas launcher to apprehend ten Greenpeace activists protesting an international whaling conference.Reuters via Google NewsPresident Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan assured a live television audience that he was neither corrupt nor incompetent.Washington PostAn Italian prosecutor said the Mafia was “down on its knees” after police arrested 45 organized criminals in Palermo, Sicily.BBCFrench Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin questioned the bravery of a fellow member of Parliament. “Cowardice! Cowardice!” Villepin shouted. “I say it again, cowardice!”The New York TimesThere was a bumper coca crop in Colombia,Washington Postand President George W. Bush said that he wanted to release all the detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, except for the “cold-blooded killers.”BBC
AT&T revised its privacy guidelines, removing a stated promise not to “access, read, upload or store data contained in or derived from private files.”CNNThe U.S. Senate voted for the ninth consecutive year to keep the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour,The New York Timesand House Republicans declined to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act because it was unfair to Southerners.The New York TimesThere were discrepancies between the lie detection tests of U.S. security agencies. “The CIA doesn’t respect the NSA’s polygraph and the NSA doesn’t respect the CIA’s polygraph,” said Tara Wilk, a computer engineer with Defense Department clearance.Washington PostDonald Rumsfeld called it “strange” that he was required to give sworn testimony to the Pentagon’s inspector general about $30 billion in mismanaged government contracts.Washington PostVice President Dick Cheney discussed his similarities to Darth Vader, and said that reporters offend him.CNNHillary Clinton described Republicans as negligent, irresponsible, and similar to monkeys.The New York TimesWashington PostA Canadian bear was caught stealing oatmeal,CNNand London’s mayor cracked down on a “radical” pigeon-feeding “splinter group” in Trafalgar Square.The New York TimesCongressman Steve King said Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s heavenly reward would be 72 virgins who “all look like Helen Thomas,” the 85-year-old White House correspondent.WKMG-TV via RafilThe Federal Aviation Administration forbade the sheriff of Los Angeles to fly his model airplanes.Los Angeles TimesThe Orlando City Council proposed rules to limit the feeding of homeless people,CNNand State Representative Kathi-Anne Rheinstein introduced legislation that would designate Fluffernutter as the official sandwich spread of Massachusetts.The New York TimesThe Scripps Institution of Oceanography predicted that a massive earthquake will strike southern California some time in the next ten years.Discovery Reports via Google NewsThe Episcopal Church elected its first female primate, Katherine Jefferts Schori,The Desert Sun via Google Newsand the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to allow experimental liturgies that would permit the Holy Trinity to be evoked as Mother, Child, and Womb, or Rock, Redeemer, and Friend.Episcopal News ServiceFOX NewsTom Cruise accepted a “happi” coat from the Japanese Transport Minister,Reutersand Daryl Hannah was forcibly removed from a walnut tree in South Los Angeles.Philadelphia InquirerA six-toed cat named Lewis was placed under house arrest in Fairfield, Connecticut.The New York TimesAngelina Jolie called her income “stupid,”The New York Timesactress Reese Witherspoon denied reports of a “baby bump,”People News via Google Newsand scientists told women who are interested in having babies to relax.The Australian via Google NewsMen who undergo vasectomies were found to have increased levels of genetically abnormal sperm.BBCThe Pentagon classified homosexuality as a mental defect akin to retardation.AP via MSNBC via Daily Rotten
Scientists announced that the Earth is surrounded by giant fizzy space bubbles; the bubbles swell to nearly 620 miles in diameter, explode, and are replaced by a cooling solar wind.CNNResearchers in Texas successfully convinced fringe-lipped bats that poisonous sympatric cane toads were edible.Washington Post“Nerve-friendly” cells helped partially paralyzed rats walk,Chicago Tribune via Google News25 of Britain’s 4,000 beetle species were missing,BBCand the World Health Organization said that Indonesians who contracted bird flu were ignorant.Reuters via Google NewsA federal court ruled that the penile plethysmograph, a test used to measure male arousal levels, may not be used to supervise sex offenders.Los Angeles TimesA study by Pfizer found that most women between the ages of 25 and 74 prefer their sex partners to have hard penises,Malaysia Star via Google Newsand a Rhode Island handyman won $400,000 in compensation for his ten-year erection.CNNLance Corporal William Windsor, a billy goat in the British army, was demoted for “lack of decorum.”BBCThe theme of the 2006 World Refugee Day was hope.VOA via Google News
More from Theodore Ross:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didnâ€™t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be â€śpredatorsâ€ť and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as â€śknuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.â€ť
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť