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Former CIA Director George Tenet published a book accusing the Bush Administration of taking his phrase “slam dunk”â??referring to intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destructionâ??out of context in order to justify a war that the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense had resolved to wage before September 11, 2001. Tenet complained that the White House and the Pentagon made him their scapegoat when the Iraqi arsenal turned out to be imaginary. A group of former intelligence officers sent Tenet a letter calling him “the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community,” reminding him that he had often lied to the public at the administration’s behest, and encouraging him to return his Medal of Freedom and donate half his royalties to wounded veterans and the families of dead soldiers. Washington PostTPMNational Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was trying to hire someone new to run the Iraq war,New York Timesand Saudi Arabia arrested 172 men suspected of plotting to fly planes into oil wells, execute mass prison breaks, and assassinate members of the Saudi royal family.ReutersCampaigning in New Hampshire, Rudolph Giuliani said, “I listen a little to the Democrats, and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense. We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation, and we will be back to our pre-September 11 attitude of defense.” PoliticoThe nine Democrats running for president held a debate in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton faulted the people of Iraq for not making good on “the chance to have freedom, to have their own country” provided by the U.S. invasion, and John Edwards suggested that hedge funds could help alleviate poverty. Asked why he was at the debate, Mike Gravel, a 76-year-old who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, pointed to the rest of the candidates and said, “Some of these people frighten me,” especially “the top-tier ones.” He singled out Joseph Biden for his “arrogance” and asked Barack Obama, “Barack, who do you want to nuke?” Obama replied, “I’m not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike. I promise.” “Good,” said Gravel, “then we’re safe, for a while.”WCNC
In a Ha’aretz op-ed, Gilad Sharon, son of vegetative former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, advocated stripping Arab Israelis of their citizenship. Hamas declared an end to its ceasefire with Israel, armed protestors dropped the corpse of a murdered man named Hassan Abu Sharkh in the Palestinian Authority Parliament, several rockets struck Israel from Gaza, and the Israel Defense Forces killed three Hamas agents planting a bomb by the Gaza border fence. Ha’aretzInternational Herald TribuneJerusalem PostA suicide bomber killed 26 people in Peshawar, Pakistan, in an attack targeting Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, who was wounded. “We have got the severed head of the bomber, and it is identifiable,” said Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai. ReutersThunderstorms destroyed a shantytown outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, leaving 500 people homeless; ten slum-dwellers were killed by drowning, a collapsing building, and a falling tree. Malaysia SunDavid Halberstam and Jack Valenti died.The New YorkerWashington PostA man with a rifle opened fire in a Kansas City Target, killing at least two people before police killed him. Los Angeles TimesA television station in St. Louis received a letter full of misspellings from a woman who claimed that she “was in dept” and requested the station pay her $10,000 not to kill her children and her boyfriend; a 29-year-old mother whose name was signed on the letter denied writing it.St. Louis Post-DispatchHunters in Russia killed a rare wild Amur leopard; six remain at large.Daily Times
The Vatican revised its teachings on limbo, raising hopes that the souls of unbaptized dead babies could be saved.Catholic News ServiceKryptonite was discovered in a Serbian mine,Reutersthe Office of Special Counsel opened an investigation of Karl Rove,Los Angeles Timesand a man dining at the London restaurant “Zizzi” amputated his penis with a kitchen knife.BBCResearchers investigating the collapse of honeybee colonies in Europe and the Americas identified several possible reasons for the catastrophe: poor diet; radiation from mobile phones that disturbs bees’ sense of navigation so they cannot fly home; increased solar radiation due to the thinning of the ozone layer; bee AIDS; stress from cross-country travel in trucks; falling queen fertility; the microsporidian fungus Nosema ceranae; or imidacloprid, a pesticide sold under the brand name Gaucho and banned by France in 1999 for spreading “mad bee disease.” Investors were advised to put their money in gold and corn futures to profit off the recession that may result from the disruption of the food chain caused by the vanishing bees. Grapes, which self-pollinate, and olives, which are pollinated by the wind, will not be affected by the bees’ disappearance; Christians pointed out that the Book of Revelation predicts that a famine sparing grapes and olives will precede the apocalypse.New York TimesThe RegisterThe StockmastersChristian News Wire
More from Christian Lorentzen:
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