Weekly Review — May 20, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

L. Paul Bremer, the new American overseer of Iraq, informed Iraqi leaders that the United States and Britain had changed their minds about setting up an interim government made up of Iraqis and that he would remain in control until further notice. Bremer toured Mosul and praised it as “a great example of embryonic democracy”; elsewhere in the city a crowd chanted “America is the enemy of God.”New York Times Kurdish leaders, who have been running their own affairs for about 12 years, were particularly irritated, and there were widespread accusations that the United States was now revealing its true agenda to occupy Iraq and exploit its oil supply. Looters continued to dismantle Iraq’s infrastructure, and most of the equipment needed to restore the national electric grid, such as the computers that regulate power distribution, has been stolen. Nostalgia for the days of Saddam Hussein was spreading among the people. Donald Rumsfeld denied reports that U.S. soldiers in Iraq were going to start shooting looters on sight, though he did tell the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that American forces in Baghdad “will be using muscle to see that the people who are trying to disrupt what is taking place in that city are stopped and either captured or killed.” Previously a nameless administration official told the New York Times that American forces “are going to start shooting a few looters so that the word gets around.” China threatened to execute people who knowingly spread SARS.

Car bombs killed 34 people, including nine terrorists, at foreign compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Al Qaeda was blamed for the attacks, which were carried out by 15 Saudi citizens. Robert Jordan, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, accused Saudi Arabia of ignoring a recent request for more security in Riyadh, and the State Department warned of Bali-style bombings in Malaysia.Toronto Star A truck bomb in Chechnya killed 41 people, and 18New York Times Shell gas stations were bombed in Karachi, Pakistan.The Hindu Seattle and Chicago staged simulated terrorist attacks.New York Times In Taipei, Taiwan, a man drove a truck containing 15 barrels of gasoline into the Ministry of Transport building, killing himself and setting the building on fire.New York TimesForty-one people died in simultaneous suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco; the targets included a Jewish community center and the Casa de Espaa club.New York TimesIsraeli prime minister Ariel Sharon cancelled a meeting with George W. Bush in response to a new round of suicide attacks and restated his long-standing position that Israel will make peace with the Palestinians only after there is peace with the Palestinians.New York Times

Fifty-one Democratic state legislators fled Texas for Oklahoma to prevent the Texas House of Representatives from achieving a quorum; Texas Rangers were sent to fetch them, and theFt. Worth Star TelegramDepartment of Homeland Security admitted that it had been enlisted to track down the fugitives.New York Times People named “David Nelson” were having a hard time getting on airplanes because that name now appears on a federal anti-terrorism “no fly” list. Applied Digital Solutions announced that it has tested a prototype GPS tracking device designed to be implanted in a person.New Scientist Former president Gerald Ford experienced a dizzy spell.Associated Press A proposal was published in Nature to send a grapefruit-sized probe to the center of the Earth using the world’s largest nuclear bomb and 10 billion tons of molten iron.New ScientistNew York TimesThe Federal Reserve issued a warning about “the probability of an unwelcome substantial fall in inflation.” A new study found that widespread industrial-fishing operations have succeeded in reducing by 90 percent the world’s population of large tasty fish such as tuna, swordfish, blue marlin, and cod.New Scientist Governor Jeb Bush of Florida asked a court to appoint a guardian to safeguard the rights of a fetus.New York TimesWhite House aides asked people listening to a speech by the president to take off their ties so that they would look like the regular folks who the president claims will be the primary beneficiaries of his latest tax cut for the wealthy.New York Times The British government issued a special set of stamps bearing the face of Prince William, who turned 21,Reuters and admitted that medical authorities had stolen 22,000 brains from dead bodies between 1970 and 1999.New York Times Tommy Chong pled guilty in a Pittsburgh court to paraphernalia charges for conspiring to sell bongs.BBC The Wall Street Journal reported that women are sexually attracted to the Commander in Chief. “Hot? SO HOT!!!!! THAT UNIFORM!” said one New York mom. Said another: “I mean, that swagger. George Bush in a pair of jeans is a treat to watch.”Wall Street Journal

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