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In Baghdad, at a gathering place for poor Shiite laborers, the owner of a truck filled with wheat announced that he was looking for workers. A crowd gathered around the truck and it exploded, killing 70 people and wounding 236.NYTIt was revealed that billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues had not been spent, and the head of Iraq’s Commission on Public Integrity was accused of graft.NYTOutgoing Representative Cynthia McKinney (D., Ga.) introduced a bill to impeach President George W. Bush for misleading Congress on the war in Iraq and implementing an illegal domestic spying program.Newsvine.comPresident Bush said that any new strategy for Iraq would have to wait until early next year.NYTDonald Rumsfeld gave a farewell speech in which he warned that the threat of terrorism is not gone. “Not once, in public or in private,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace about Rumsfeld, “did I ever hear this man try to shift responsibility to anyone else but himself.”MonstersandCritics.comThe Taliban established a “mini-state” in Peshawar.NYT
A study found that standard-sized condoms were too large for the men of India.SlateThe National Institutes of Health said that circumcision is an effective method to limit heterosexual transmission of HIV,MSNBCbut Kevin De Cock, HIV/AIDS director of the World Health Organization, warned that circumcision was “not a magic bullet.”BBCAn Oregon fraternity brother shot a homeless man who was collecting cans behind the frat house,local6.coma hunter in Wisconsin shot a seven-legged deer,Yahoo Newsand a Texas lawmaker introduced legislation that would allow the blind to participate in “the fun of hunting.”Reuters via YahooNewsThe Marine Corps ordered a sergeant to call off an online auction that gave the highest bidder the right to rename him; bids included “King Taco” and “Sgt. Finest Freshest Fastest.”NYTThe governor of Alaska announced she would sell a private jet that had been used for state business on eBay,Bloombergand federal investigators announced that airline pilots should follow procedures to make sure their airplanes take off on the right runway.NYTSeattle-Tacoma International Airport removed fourteen Christmas trees after a local rabbi threatened a lawsuit if officials did not add an eight-foot menorah to the arrangement,Seattle Timesand Iran held a conference to examine whether the Holocaust happened.AP via CBSPaul Barnes, a senior pastor at a 2,100-member evangelical megachurch in Colorado, stepped down after admitting to sexual relations with men, Denver Postand Dr. Tony Campolo, a Baptist minister and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, said that evangelicals had been “very, very mean to the gay and lesbian community.” NYTAn international war crimes court sentenced a Rwandan Roman Catholic priest to 15 years in prison for ordering his church crushed by bulldozers while 2,000 ethnic Tutsi remained inside,NYTand former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who is said to have strangled Emperor Haile Selassie with his bare hands and buried him under a toilet, was convicted of genocide by an Ethiopian court.NYT
The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly was found to have downplayed the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia.NYTBritishgeneticists investigating the case of a 10-year-old Pakistani boy who could walk on burning coals announced that they had discovered a gene that influences the perception of pain. They could not examine the boy directly because he had died after leaping off a roof to impress his friends.NYTThe NBA decided to replace its new microfiber composite basketball with the previous leather version after players complained about the new ball’s grip and the way it hurt their skin. Ralph Nader, calling himself “an advocate for all workers, no matter their salary,” wrote a letter in support of the old ball.BreitbartLA TimesThe British police concluded that Princess Diana’s death was an accident,NYTand in response to the deaths of three anorexicmodels, the fashion industry held a forum that called for internal regulation. “We would much rather come up with a way of self-policing ourselves,” said one modeling agency chief, “than have regulations rammed down our throats.”NY PostLettuce, rather than green onions, was deemed responsible for the Taco Bell E. coli outbreak; however, suggested a health official, “it would be folly at this point to drop the cheese completely.”reutersMoses Hardy, who at 113 was the second oldest man in the world and the last surviving black U.S. veteran of World War I, died in Mississippi.local6.comPolice and firefighters on Long Island rescued a veteran who had walled himself in with a seven-foot-high pile of fecal matter and other debris,NYPostand Representative Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) said President Bush was in “deep shit.”TPM CafĂ©The baiji, a species of blind white dolphin extant for 20 million years, was declared extinct,AP via NYTand two dolphins who had swallowed toxic plastic were saved by the world’s tallest man, who used his long arms to retrieve shards from their stomachs.BBC
More from Gemma Sieff:
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