Weekly Review — August 27, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

After reviewing the devastation caused by the biggest wildfire in Oregon’s history, President George W. Bush announced his plan to protect 190 million acres of national forest land by allowing more logging to do away with flammable old trees and by protecting the timber industry from environmentalists’ lawsuits that could delay such logging. “There is a fine balance between people expressing themselves and using litigation to keep the United States . . . from enacting a common-sense forest policy,” he noted. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf rewrote his country’s constitution, creating 29 amendments that allow him to dissolve the elected parliament, to appoint military leaders and supreme-court justices, and to give military officials political power. Musharraf, who came to power after a coup in 1999 and who declared himself president last year, also extended his term in office. “Obviously, to the extent that, you know, our friends promote democracy, that’s important,” President Bush responded, and assured the American public that Musharraf is “still tight with us in the war against terror, and that’s what I appreciate.” Lawyers for President Bush determined that he can launch an attack on Iraq without approval from Congress, since the permission his father received in 1991 to engage in the Persian Gulf War remains in effect. Saudi investors withdrew between $100 billion and $200 billion from the United States to protest criticism of the kingdom following September 11; at a Pentagon briefing two weeks ago, a Rand Corporation analyst called Saudi Arabia the “kernel of evil.”Six Jehovah’s Witnesses selling Avon door-to-door in the Philippines were abducted by the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf, which decapitated two of the victims and left one head in the fruit stall of a public market accompanied by a note reading, “This is what will happen to those who do not believe in Allah.” A former U.S. Army scientist publicly identified as a “person of interest” in the FBI’s anthrax investigation filed ethics complaints against Attorney General John Ashcroft and others, claiming they violated Justice Department regulations by leaking inflammatory information about him. Plans were under way for a U.S. Army helicopter to drop a Welsh man’s one-ton ball of rubber bands into the Grand Canyon, to see if it will bounce.

A retired general who participated in a recent $250 million U.S. war game claimed that the simulation, involving 13,500 military personnel, was rigged to ensure an American victory, and to legitimize the new tactics that the exercise was designed to test. The general, who led “enemy” forces, pointed out that he was not allowed to use his own tactics during the three-week experiment and that when many of the American ships ended up at the bottom of the ocean, officials stopped the exercise to “refloat” them before continuing. A center for asylum seekers in Westende, Belgium, was allowing paid visitors to live as refugees and to mingle with the 300 residents, eating bread and cheese with them, and playing soccer and basketball to help pass the time. McDonald’s apologized for the timing of its new “McAfrika” launch in Norway; the sandwich, made of beef, cheese, and tomatoes, and ostensibly based on an African recipe, offended groups raising money to aid the 13 million Africans currently facing starvation. Children in Malaysia were skipping school after sightings of “hungry, headless ghosts” that coincided with the Hungry Ghost festival, held to raise awareness that spirits from hell roam the earth during August. NASA announced that it had located a missing $159 million comet-seeking spacecraft that turned out to be orbiting the sun. Researchers speculated that increased exposure to radiation might do us some good. Swedish scientists identified what may be a new form of life, a tiny particle in the spinal fluid of schizophrenics. In China, a vending machine was dispensing medicine to users who described their symptoms on a touch screen; more machines were expected to be installed in supermarkets. India’s supreme court was investigating the painting of the Coca-Cola and Pepsi logos directly onto the rock face in the Himalaya mountains. Cadbury apologized for an advertisement that compared the disputed land of Kashmir to chocolate that was “too good to share.”

Concerned about health risks, the Thai government was asking its citizens to please not buy giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which walk, spit, and defecate on food before feeding, as pets. More than a dozen people were killed during rioting and lynchings following attacks in Lucknow, India, by a mysterious “muhnochwa,” or “face-clawing monster” that flashes blue, red, or green and strikes only at night. Although police surmised that the attacker was an extraterrestrial being, scientists suspect that the victims were assaulted by lightning balls, which are sometimes created during droughts. A mother from the town of Brilliant, Ohio, was arrested for allowing her three children to get sunburned. Children were being killed in Swaziland so that their bodies could be used in good-luck potions by candidates preparing for upcoming elections. Calling him “a good man” who can “bring a breath of fresh air” to politics, President Bush campaigned for Bill Simon Jr., a California candidate for governor who codirects an investment firm that was ordered to pay $78 million last month for fraud. Indonesian officials were following the advice of a soothsayer who counseled them to dig under a 15th-century stone in search of a buried treasure that would cover the country’s $155 billion debt. A river was discovered flowing 700 feet under the Sahara. Human waste was coursing through Prague’s Vltava River after the city’s sewage-treatment plant was incapacitated by recent flooding. “Building on the simple fact that all living creatures are carbon-based and diamonds are carbon-based,” a company was offering people the chance to have their cremated remains converted into diamonds for surviving loved ones. Cambridge University scientists studying the effects of amphetamines on the brain were reprimanded for an experiment in which they subjected 238 mice to loud electronica music until seven of the drugged mice died and others were left brain-damaged; mice who were exposed to Bach instead also died, but those who were injected with salt water simply fell asleep. President Bush noted that as a jogger, “It’s interesting that my times have become faster right after the war began” and lamented that his job prevents him from running more than three miles a day: “It’s sad that I can’t run longer. It’s one of the saddest things about the presidency.” Bill Clinton was said to be negotiating a deal to host a television talk show. New Zealand was seeking a new official wizard.

Share
Single Page

More from Margaret Cordi:

Weekly Review May 10, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review March 15, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review February 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2017

Monumental Error

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

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