Weekly Review — October 12, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web.

The Labor Department reported that the economy created a mere 96,000 jobs last month, thus failing to keep pace with the expansion of the nation’s work force and confirming that George W. Bush has the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. The White House reacted to the bad news by declaring that the poor job numbers prove that the president’s tax cuts have been working.New York TimesThe Iraq Survey Group issued its final report and concluded that Saddam Hussein dismantled his nuclear weapons program in 1991 and did not attempt to revive it. The inspectors said that there was no evidence that Iraq continued to possess chemical or biological weapons, and they concluded that Hussein refused to admit he had disarmed because he wanted to maintain a deterrent against Iran.New York TimesPresident Bush said that the report proved that Iraq was “a gathering threat.”New York TimesL. Paul Bremer, President Bush’s former proconsul in Iraq, told an audience of insurance agents that “we never had enough troops on the ground” and that “the single most important change â?? the one thing that would have improved the situation â?? would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout.” Bremer said that he had argued for more troops but that his requests were denied. The Bush Administration first denied that Bremer asked for more troops and then admitted that, yes, in fact, he did.Washington PostJacques Derrida died of pancreatic cancer.New York TimesSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq and told soldiers that the violence there will probably get worse; while he was in the country two car bombs went off in Baghdad, killing 11 people.Los Angeles TimesAlu Alkhanov was sworn in as president of Chechnya.New York TimesOpposition politicians complained that the Afghan presidential election was fraudulent, and anNew York TimesIraqi politician was indicted for suggesting that the country open negotiations with Israel.New York TimesBombings in three Egyptian resort towns killed at least 33 people and wounded 149. Many of the victims were vacationing Israelis.New York TimesA suicide car bombing killed at least 39 people at a rally in central Pakistan, and theReutersgovernment banned public meetings except for Friday prayers.New York TimesRebels and government soldiers were abducting, torturing, and killing civilians in Nepal.ReutersThe genocide in Sudan was continuing.New York TimesIn Haiti, supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide were going after policemen with machetes; some were beheaded.New York TimesA Washington, D.C., policeman arrested, cuffed, and jailed a woman for eating a candy bar in the subway.Associated Press

The Bush campaign denied rumors that the president was wired with an earpiece to receive help during his first debate with Senator John Kerry.Associated PressRepublicans in Michigan were calling on authorities to prosecute Michael Moore for offering to give clean underwear to college students if they would promise to vote.Associated PressRepublicans in Oklahoma were running television ads showing dark-skinned hands accepting welfare checks, andAssociated PressHouse majority leader Tom DeLay was again rebuked by the House Ethics Committee for having “created an appearance that donors were being provided special access to you regarding” pending legislation.New York TimesVice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards had harsh words for each other during their debate;New York TimesCheneyclaimed that he had never before met Senator Edwards; newspapers then published a photograph of the two men smiling and speaking together at a prayer breakfast.New York TimesMartha Stewart began her five-month prison sentence for telling lies.Associated PressSwaziland’s police commissioner was detained for several hours in the Atlanta airport when he was traveling to the Interpol General Assembly in Mexico.New York TimesKing Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated his throne.New York TimesRodney Dangerfield died.New York TimesFederal tax revenue was lower than it was in 2000,New York TimesChicago experienced its first murder-free night in five years, andNew York TimesSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that “sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”Guardian

Britain suspended the license of the factory in Liverpool that was supposed to manufacture almost half the American supply of this year’s flu vaccine.New York TimesPublic health experts have long warned that it is insane for the United States to depend on two companies for the country’s flu vaccine.New York TimesThe World Health Organization released a study, based on an unscientific “spot-check” sampling, concluding that Indonesian villagers in Buyat Bay, Sulawesi, have not been poisoned by a gold mine, owned by the Newmont Mining Corporation, that dumped about 2,000 tons of mine tailings a day into nearby waters.New York TimesThe Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations called on hospitals to prevent “anesthesia awareness,” which is the term for when a patient can feel the pain of surgery but is unable to move or cry out.Associated PressCongress agreed to permit the Energy Department to redefine some highly radioactive nuclear waste in South Carolina and Idaho so that it can be left in tanks rather than being pumped out for deep burial.New York TimesThree hundred pounds of weapons-grade plutonium from the United States arrived in France.New York TimesMexico declined to stop the construction of a Wal-Mart next to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán, and paleontologistsReutersin China discovered 130-million-year-old fossils of Dilong paradoxus, an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, with impressions of feathers all over its body.New York TimesScientists sequenced the genome of a Hereford cow.Associated PressWeather experts said that the United States experienced a record number of tornadoes in August and September, andNew York TimesElfriede Jelinek, the Austrian novelist, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.Associated PressScientists were investigating the appearance of hermaphrodite fish in Colorado’s South Platte River; the fish were found near two wastewater discharge pipes.USA TodayKorean and Italian researchers developed a tiny robot with multiple legs designed to crawl through a patient’s guts.New ScientistScientists with NIZO Food Research developed an artificial throat that breathes, salivates, and swallows.New ScientistA nineteen-year-old Singapore man set a world record for the number of hamburgers he could stuff in his mouth. “I’m on top of the world right now,” he said,” because everyone’s going to know that I can shove more than three burgers in my mouth.”Associated Press

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
Waiting for the End of the World·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

The commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today