Weekly Review — February 13, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Ariel Sharon, a known war criminal, was elected prime minister of Israel; Sharon declared that the peace process was dead and that the Palestinians must submit to Israeli domination before negotiations could resume. Palestinians set off a car bomb in Jerusalem; Israeli soldiers shot and killed a teenage Palestinian goatherd. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell defended President George W. Bush’s plans to deploy the national missile defense system despite its technical and political flaws: “I don’t consider it as being an arrogant position,” he said. “Or one where we are trying to force anything on the rest of the world.” Russiandefense minister Igor Sergeyev warned that Russia still had “three mighty programs to asymmetrically counteract U.S. national missile defense forces,” which were developed to defeat President Ronald Reagan’s pie-in-the-sky Star Wars program. President Bush sent his tax cut plan to Congress. About fifteen American states that were enjoying surpluses last year suddenly found themselves with large deficits this year after a decline in tax revenue. Democrats were said to be confused by the contradiction between President Bush’s sweet-talking, inclusive rhetoric and his hardline, right-wing deeds. A lunatic fired a handgun outside the White House and was shot by Secret Service agents. Former president Ronald Reagan turned ninety. President Bush was enjoying his daily naps.

A drug used to cure sleeping sickness??which infects about 300,000 Africans a year, makes them go crazy, and kills them??was back in production after its former manufacturer discovered that it removes facial hair on women, thus ensuring a lucrative Western market for the drug; Doctors Without Borders had been down to its last 1,000 doses. A British hospital apologized to plastic-surgery patients for selling their surplus skin to the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency for chemical-weapons research. Drug-resistant strains of HIV were on the rise. A new report found that experiments with lethal biological agents such as anthrax, plague, and botulism, in national laboratories such as Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Brookhaven, lacked proper safety controls and endangered lab personnel and the general public. The Roman emperor Claudius was poisoned by his wife Agrippina, the mother of Nero, a medical researcher announced after studying Claudius’ symptoms. Japan banned a Chinese soft drink that contains 64.3 mg of sildenafil, the active ingredient of Viagra, per serving; a Japanese Viagra tablet contains 25-50 mg of sildenafil. Bill Clinton was still being pursued by his enemies: Congress was investigating his corrupt last-minute pardons; the press was excited about whether he stole some furniture from the White House; and Morgan Stanley, which reportedly paid Clinton $100,000 for a speech, apologized to its customers for doing so. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as president of Haiti; the opposition, which believes the election was rigged, formed an alternative government. Joseph Estrada, the former president of the Philippines, asked for more time to answer corruption charges but was refused; Estrada is said to be having a hard time finding a lawyer willing to defend him. Political violence continued in Afghanistan, China, Colombia, Congo, Ecuador, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Kashmir, Liberia, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. A television station in Israel broadcast a home video of a rape. A cougar on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, attacked and tried to eat a man.

Workers at the Miami Seaquarium made turtle stew from an endangered leatherback sea turtle that died there after it was struck by a boat. France set up a special commission to devise a five-point plan to address an alarming drop in truffle production. Alain Passard, a famous French chef, announced that he would no longer cook meat. Two Thais were found to have variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease. Spanish bullrings, which traditionally have defrayed costs by selling the meat from bulls killed in bullfights, were going broke after the practice was banned due to mad-cow concerns. Human proteins were produced by a genetically modified rubber-tree plant; Hoong-Yeet Yang of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, who said the technique involved the use of gene switches from viruses, had high hopes of producing valuable raw materials for pharmaceuticals. New experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, indicated that the “standard model” of quantum physics, i.e., the basic structure of reality, was incorrect. The Pope was considering naming Saint Isidore of Seville the patron saint of Internet users and computer programmers. Sixteen Dominicans who were lost at sea survived for twelve days by sucking at a nursing mother’s breast. A new species of camel was discovered that can survive on salt water. A device was patented that can produce female orgasms at the push of a button. A Dutch man was hospitalized in the Hague after he jumped, three times, from a bridge in three successive suicide attempts; police found him back up on the bridge, suffering from hypothermia, staring down at the icy depths.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2018

The Bodies in The Forest

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Minds of Others

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Modern Despots

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Before the Deluge

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Notes to Self

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Within Reach

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Pushing the Limit·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
The Minds of Others·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

Illustration (detail) by Lincoln Agnew
Article
Within Reach·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Before the Deluge·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
Article
Monumental Error·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner

Cost of a baby-stroller cleaning, with wheel detailing, at Tot Squad in New York City:

$119.99

Australian biologists trained monitor lizards not to eat cane toads.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today