Weekly Review — February 1, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

Approximately eight million people turned out to vote in Iraq. International monitors gave the election their seal of approval, though all 129 of them stayed inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.The New York TimesSecurity measures included sealing the country’s borders, banning travel between provinces, prohibiting private vehicle traffic, and imposing curfews in cities.ReutersFake polling stations were set up with snipers positioned to guard the real ones, which were revealed 24 hours before opening. Many of the candidates kept their identities secret until election day, though two had made it known they were direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed.The New York TimesIraqi insurgents, who had been promising death to anyone who came within five hundred yards of a polling station,The New York Timessucceeded in carrying out nine suicide bombings, one of which was performed by a handicapped child.Associated PressProminent Sunni leaders who boycotted the election said they would be happy to help the elected National Assembly draft the new constitution.The New York Times“Two of the great ironies of history,” said President George W. Bush, “is there will be a Palestinian state and a democratic Iraq.”New York Times World leaders gathered in Poland to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where Dick Cheney was criticized for wearing a green parka with fur trim instead of the more somber black coats everyone else had on.The Chicago Sun TimesVladimir Putin noted that “as there were no good and bad fascists, there cannot be good and bad terrorists. Any double standards here are absolutely unacceptable and deadly dangerous for civilization.”The Globe and MailA group of Russian legislators demanded that Jewish organizations be investigated, and possibly closed down, for carrying out ritual killings and hate crimes against themselves.The New York TimesCommercial flights opened between China and Taiwan for the first time in 55 years,Reutersand the government of Nepal shut down the Dalai Lama’s offices in Kathmandu.BBC NewsMore than 250 people were trampled or burned to death during a Hindu festival in western India when a stampeding riot was triggered by pilgrims slipping on spilled coconut milk.The New York TimesChina overtook the United States as Japan’s biggest trading partner,The Washington Postand scientists discovered that drinking green tea turns mice into better swimmers.CBC News

An international task force of scientists, politicians, and business leaders warned that the world has about ten years before global warming becomes irreversible. By then, average global temperatures will have risen two degrees Celsius since the start of the Industrial Revolution, resulting in major droughts, increased disease, and the termination of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream.New Zealand HeraldMeteorologists were forecasting record thinning of northern Europe’s ozone layer in the coming weeks,BBC Newsand astronomers concluded that Saturn’s largest moon had all the ingredients for life.Associated PressSenate Majority Leader Bill Frist declared that biological warfare is “the greatest existential threat we face today.”ReutersThe world’s first mad goat was diagnosed in France.United Press InternationalAt the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tony Blair and Bill Gates shared the stage with Bono and Bill Clinton and called for more aid to Africa.The New York TimesSharon Stone raised a million dollars for mosquito nets,BBC News and a special dinner was organized to promote dialogue between the U.S. and Iran; the idea backfired when Senator Joseph Biden, the American representative, showed up an hour and a half late, and wine was served to the Muslim guests.CNNScientists solved the mystery of the Venus Flytrap.The Boston GlobeSwaziland’s King Mswati chose his thirteenth wife and sent her to South Africa for an AIDS test.BBC NewsResearchers found that fidgety people are less likely to be obese,The New York Timespolice in Rome were cracking down on unlicensed tour guides,The New York Timesand Joseph Massino, the “Last Don” of New York, snitched on the mob.The New York Times

President Bush ordered his cabinet to stop paying off journalists after syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher admitted she had a $21,500 contract with the Health and Human Services Department to endorse the agency’s marriage initiative.The Washington PostTwo days later, another columnist admitted he’d been paid $10,000 for the same purpose.The Globe and MailScientists synthesized a pheromone produced by young women that helps post-menopausal ladies attract men.The Globe and MailSocial Security Administration workers testified that they had been ordered “to promote the idea that Social Security is in crisis and that Social Security privatization is the answer.”ReutersChristian groups were threatening to withdraw their support from any privatization scheme whatsoever unless Bush tries harder to ban gay marriage,The New York Timesand chimpanzees were found to have a sense of fair play.BBC News Condoleezza Rice was sworn in as secretary of state, despite Senator Mark Dayton’s objection during her confirmation hearing that “I really don’t like being lied to repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally.”The New York TimesThe Justice Department threw a going away party for John Ashcroft. His term in office, said one assistant, “served as a full employment program for cartoonists and pundits.”The New York TimesThe Bush Administration requested an additional $80 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year,The New York Timestotaling 13 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s allotment,Swissinfoand making the 2005 budget deficit the biggest in history.The New York TimesThe State Department offended Mexico by issuing a travel warning along the border;CNNU.S. Ambassador Tony Garza tried to ease tensions by clarifying that “the wave of border violence is a result of successful efforts by President Fox’s administration in the fight against organized crime.”ReutersThe Sudanese government dropped bombs on women and children in Darfur,Reutersand the European Union reestablished diplomatic ties with Sudan for the first time since 1990.The New york TimesCommercial airlines were told they should be worrying about shoulder-fired missile attacks,The New York TimesHuman Rights Watch declared meatpacking to be “the most dangerous factory job in America,”The New York Timesand Ringo Starr was planning to become a cartoon superhero.The Guardian

Share
Single Page

More from Arno Kopecky:

Weekly Review January 4, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review December 21, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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
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.

Minimum number of shooting incidents in the United States in the past year in which the shooter was a dog:

2

40,800,000,000 pounds of total adult human biomass is due to excessive fatness.

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