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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:
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