Weekly Review — December 30, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Short-Horn Bull, September 1886]

A bovine idyll.

Mad cow disease was discovered in the United States for the first time, in a Holstein cow that was too sick to walk but was nonetheless slaughtered and sold for meat. The mad Holstein’s brain and spinal column were sent to a rendering plant somewhere, possibly to be turned into dog or chicken food; there was no word on whether the cow’s blood was processed to be fed to young calves as a milk supplement. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venemen, a former lobbyist for the beef industry, insisted that even meat from a mad cow is safe to eat, and she promised to feed beef to her family for Christmas.Guardian, New York TimesGovernment and other beef industry officials claimed that there were “firewalls” in place to prevent infectious prions from reaching American hamburgers; Dr. Stanley Prusiner, the Nobel laureate who discovered prions, contradicted those claims and explained that he believes the disease is already widespread in the United States. “They treat the disease as if it were an infection that you can contain by quarantining animals on farms,” he said. “It’s as though my work of the last 20 years did not exist.”New York TimesTen thousand pounds of beef were recalled in eight states,Reutersand about 100 people called hot lines to say they might have eaten some of the meat.New York TimesPresident Bush, a spokesman said, “continued to eat beef,”Washington Postand agriculture officials were hoping to blame Canada.ReutersBritish health officials reported the first possible transmission of mad cow disease to a human via blood transfusion, andNature.comChina reported a new SARS case.ReutersA Swedishmother was arrested for trying to bake her five-month-old baby.Sydney Morning HeraldFrat boys at the University of Georgia killed and ate a rabid raccoon.Associated Press

Several American soldiers were killed by Iraqi guerrillas in various attacks around the country. One died in a car accident. ReutersTwo Thai and five Bulgarian soldiers and seven Iraqis were killed in four major coordinated car-bomb attacks by guerrillas in Karbala; 500 Bulgarians were evacuated from the area, because their base was destroyed.Washington Post, ReutersGrenades, rockets, and mortars were fired at the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel in Baghdad.Associated PressPrime Minister Tony Blair claimed in a Christmas message to the British military that the Iraq Survey Group had found “massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories”; L. Paul Bremer, the American proconsul, dismissed Blair’s claim as a “red herring.”GuardianFive Afghan soldiers died when a man they had detained blew himself up.ReutersA bomb went off near some UN housing in Kabul.New York TimesGeneral Pervez Musharraf, the dictator of Pakistan, survived another assassination attempt.TelegraphFour Israelis died in a bus-stop suicide bombing outside Tel Aviv, andAssociated Pressan Israeli soldier shot a peaceful, unarmed protester. A national controversy erupted when it turned out that the protester was Jewish.New York TimesChina said it had broken up a Taiwanese spy ring, andNew York TimesSpain foiled a Basque terrorist plot to blow up a train in Madrid’s busiest station on Christmas Eve.New York TimesBritish police asked the government to grant them the power to stop cars by using remote control.Guardian

Britain’s Beagle 2 spacecraft apparently landed on Mars, though it failed to transmit its nine-note homing signal, which was composed by a pop band called Blur.Daily TelegraphAt least 138 passengers died on Christmas Day when an airliner hit a building on takeoff in Cotonou, Benin, and then crashed into the sea.Voice of AmericaCalifornia suffered an earthquake that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale; 3 people died when they were crushed by a clock tower.New ScientistHundreds of Filipinos were buried in landslides, and hundredsMalaya.com.phof Chinese were killed by poison gas emitted from a natural gas well.Financial TimesMost of Bam, an Iranian city, was destroyed in a massive earthquake; between 20,000 and 40,000 people were lying dead in the rubble.Washington PostParmalat, the Italian dairy company, went bankrupt and its founder, Calisto Tanzi, was arrested on suspicion of fraud.TelegraphMarriage makes women happier, a new study found, but men feel better while living in sin.New ScientistMichael Jackson said that when he was a boy he slept with grown men many times, and he complained that the police had locked him in a room that had “doo doo” all over the walls.CBS NewsA psychiatrist declared that Armin Meiwes, the famous German cannibal, is sane but would benefit from psychotherapy.Associated PressScientists in Texas cloned a white-tailed deer.ReutersPrincess Anne’s English bull terrier Dotty mauled Pharos, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite corgi, which had to be put down as a result; the princess was convicted last year under the Dangerous Dogs Act after Dotty attacked two children in a park.BBCA South African beauty queen was mauled by a hippo in Botswana, and aReuterslarge crocodile ate a young man in Australia.GuardianPiranha attacks were on the rise in Brazil.BBC

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 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.

The Bodies in The Forest

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

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
Post
CamperForce·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

After losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, seniors Barb and Chuck find seasonal employment at Amazon fulfillment centers.

Amount Arizona’s Red Feather Lodge offered to pay to reopen the Grand Canyon during the 2013 government shutdown:

$25,000

A Brazilian cat gave birth to a dog.

Trump’s former chief strategist, whom Trump said had “lost his mind,” issued a statement saying that Trump’s son did not commit treason; the US ambassador to the United Nations announced that “no one questions” Trump’s mental stability; and the director of the CIA said that Trump, who requested “killer graphics” in his intelligence briefings, is able to read.

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