Weekly Review — May 21, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

President George W. Bush announced that the United States and Russia will sign a new arms-control treaty that will reduce both countries’ nuclear arsenals by two thirds. The weapons will not be destroyed, however, but simply put in storage. It was reported that an F.B.I. agent in Phoenix, Arizona, wrote a memo last summer warning his superiors about the enrollment of possible terrorists in American flight schools and cited Osama bin Laden by name. The White House acknowledged that President Bush received warnings in August that bin Laden was planning to hijack aircraft. Some members of Congress called for an investigation. “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile,” said Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser. The next day it was reported that in 1996 an Al Qaeda operative confessed on videotape to the F.B.I. that he had planned to use his American flight training to fly a plane into C.I.A. headquarters. In 1999 that confession and other information led to a widely distributed intelligence analysis by the Library of Congress warning that “suicide bomber(s) belonging to Al Qaeda’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency or the White House.” Vice President Dick Cheney warned that a new Al Qaeda attack on the United States was “almost certain.” A trucking industry group offered the services of the nation’s truckers in the war on terrorism. Thieves in Mexico stole a truck that was carrying ten tons of sodium cyanide. The truck was later found, but most of the poison was missing. Lawyers for John Walker Lindh, the young American who fought with the Taliban, used the Justice Department’s new interpretation of the Second Amendment to argue that firearms charges against him should be dismissed. American Green Berets landed in Tblisi, Georgia, to begin training the army there to fight terrorism. After NATO agreed to give Russia a more active role in the alliance’s decision making, particularly concerning terrorism and arms control, Secretary of State Colin Powell observed that “we don’t yet quite have a cliché to capture this all.”

Former president Jimmy Carter, who was visiting Cuba, expressed skepticism about an accusation last week by a State Department official that Cuba has been developing biological weapons. Colin Powell also cast doubt on the charge. President Bush signed a bill increasing subsidies to farmers, even though his party has been trying to do away with such subsidies for six years. A senior official said that the President signed the bill because to do otherwise was “political suicide in the November election.” German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder managed to get an injunction banning the German media from making any speculations as to whether or not he dyes his suspiciously youthful-looking hair. He submitted affidavits, including one from his hairdresser, Udo Walz, attesting to the authenticity of his hair color. “I am absolutely sure the chancellor does not dye his hair,” affirmed Walz. Belgium legalized mercy killing. People and birds were dropping dead in India because of a heat wave. A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded market in Netanya, Israel, killing two and wounding at least 50 people, including a number of young children. Israel arrested several suspected Jewish terrorists for planting a large bomb next to a Palestinian girls’ school in East Jerusalem; the bomb was set to go off at 7:45 a.m., just as the little girls would be arriving at school. India expelled Pakistan’s ambassador in retaliation for a terrorist attack that killed 32 people, mostly women and children. A man in Hiroshima, Japan, was murdered with an umbrella, apparently in a dispute over a parking spot. A 13-year-old boy in California was facing jail time for shooting a spitball that accidentally hit another boy in the eye; the boy, who has a heart condition and has undergone heart surgery twice, was convicted of causing serious bodily injury and mayhem and could be sent to prison for eight years. A British woman who was imprisoned for failing to make her daughters attend school was denied bail. The University of California at Berkeley established the Center for Peace and Well-Being.

French police were searching the Rhône-Rhine Canal for stolen artworks. After Stéphane Breitwieser was arrested for trying to steal a bugle from a museum in Switzerland, his mother threw much of his collection of stolen art into the canal and chopped up drawings and oil paintings by Watteau, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Police estimated the value of the art at $1.4 billion. A federal judge in West Virginia ruled that the Bush Administration’s recent decision to allow mining companies to dump the waste from mountaintop-removal mining into nearby streams and valleys is an “obvious perversion” of the Clean Water Act; he also said that the new rule was an attempt “to legalize their longstanding illegal regulatory practice.” Medicalmarijuana advocates were complaining about the quality of the government-grown pot being provided to patients in California. “It’s unconscionable that they would be giving this marijuana to patients,” said one. “It’s stale, low-potency ditch weed.” A government spokesman defended the marijuana and asserted that the government’s pot “does not contain sticks and seeds.” Other patients were protesting that the government’s pot is too strong. Orthodox priests in Bethlehem said that the Palestinian fighters who hid out in the Church of the Nativity “ate like greedy monsters” until the food ran out, drank all the clergy’s Johnnie Walker scotch, and tore up Bibles for use as toilet paper. Roman Catholic officials from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati declared that priests who molest postpubescent minors are “ephebophiles” not “pedophiles” and as such they are more amenable to treatment and can sometimes be returned to the ministry. Prominent psychiatrists said the distinction was nonsense. An influential Vatican canon lawyer published an article arguing that bishops should not cooperate with law-enforcement officials in sexual molestation cases involving priests, nor should a parish that receives a pedophile priest be told about his history because that would ruin the priest’s “good reputation.” After failing to diagnose mad cow disease in a dairy cow, a Japanese vet killed herself. “I’m so sorry for my unforgivable fault as a veterinarian,” she wrote in a suicide note. Lithuania did away with a law that required women drivers to undergo a gynecological examination. Some scientists said they thought the moon has a warm heart. Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, overturned a twenty-year-old law banning pets from defecating. A species of bald parrot was discovered in Brazil.

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

November 2017

Star Search

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Pushing the Limit

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Bumpy Ride

Bad Dog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Preaching to The Choir

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Monumental Error

= 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
Star Search·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 3, 2016, less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president, Amanda Litman sat alone on the porch of a bungalow in Costa Rica, thinking about the future of the Democratic Party. As Hillary Clinton’s director of email marketing, Litman raised $180 million and recruited 500,000 volunteers over the course of the campaign. She had arrived at the Javits Center on Election Night, arms full of cheap beer for the campaign staff, minutes before the pundits on TV announced that Clinton had lost Wisconsin. Later that night, on her cab ride home to Brooklyn, Litman asked the driver to pull over so she could throw up.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
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
Article
Bumpy Ride·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles. He wore a faded blue baseball cap, so formed to his head that it seemed he slept with it on. Brickyard Road, the street in front of Slater’s home, was a mess of soupy dirt and water-filled craters. The muffler of his mud-splattered maroon pickup was loose, and exhaust fumes choked the cab. He gripped the wheel with hands leathery not from age but from decades moving earth with big machines for a living. What followed was a tooth-jarring tour of Muskegon County’s rural roads, which looked as though they’d been carpet-bombed.

Photograph by David Emitt Adams
Article
Bad Dog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Abby was a breech birth but in the thirty-one years since then most everything has been pretty smooth. Sweet kid, not a lot of trouble. None of them were. Jack and Stevie set a good example, and she followed. Top grades, all the way through. Got on well with others but took her share of meanness here and there, so she stayed thoughtful and kind. There were a few curfew or partying things and some boys before she was ready, and there was one time on a school trip to Chicago that she and some other kids got caught smoking crack cocaine, but that was so weird it almost proved the rule. No big hiccups, master’s in ecology, good state job that lets her do half time but keep benefits while Rose is little.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Number of cast members of the movie Predator who have run for governor:

3

A Georgia Tech engineer created software that endows unmanned aerial drones with a sense of guilt.

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively.

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