Weekly Review — December 13, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

Saddam Hussein refused to appear in court to defend himself against war crimes, complaining of a lack of clean underwear. “Go to hell, all you agents of America,” he said.CNN.comAt least 66 people were killed in suicide bombings in Iraq,PakTribuneand 625 prisoners were found packed in a small space in Baghdad.The New York TimesIraq’s Victorious Army Group was holding a contest to see who could design the best website to promote their message of jihad. The contest winner will receive Allah’s blessings and be allowed to fire three rockets at an American military base.The New York TimesThe probe into the U.S. policy of paying Iraqi newspapers for positive coverage widened to include the Baghdad Press Club, a military-created P.R. organization; the military admitted that the club compensated reporters, but made clear that it did not insist on positive coverage. An Iraqi journalist said that the club paid $25 for each story that ran ($45 for stories with photos), and $50 for television reports.USA TodaySecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld criticized the media in a speech, claiming that news is “reported and spread around the world, often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact.”ReutersIn Iran a military plane crashed into an apartment building, killing at least 115 people, most of them journalists.The New York TimesAustralianwhites rioted against people of Arab descent.The New York TimesPakistan extended its ban on kites due to the deadliness of kiteflying; in February, 19 people died and over 200 were injured during a kite festival.The New York TimesCondoleezza Rice made a deal with Romania that will allow the United States to use military bases there.BBC NewsIt was reported that there were 80,000 names on the United States’ list of possible terror suspects.AFP

A conference on global warming was held in Montreal. The United States was represented by Harlan Watson, whose appointment as U.S. climate negotiator was suggested by ExxonMobil; Watson’s presence led to complaints by environmentalists.The Washington PostCanadian Prime Minister Paul Martin criticized the United States for its reticence in dealing with global warming. “There is such a thing as a global conscience,” he said, “and now is the time to listen to it.”ReutersThe European Sound Climate Policy Coalition, an ExxonMobil-funded lobbying group, was working to destroy Europe’s support for the Kyoto treaty on climate change.The New Zealand HeraldThe Inuit people filed a suit against the United States over its role in global warming,Breitbart.comand an increasing number of Americans were heating their homes with corn.IndyStar.comA religious studies professor at the University of Kansas was beaten up on a roadside after he mocked creationism in an email,CantonRep.comand at least eight American megachurches planned to cancel their Sunday services on Christmas day.The New York TimesChristmas activists were upset to receive White House greeting cards that wished them a happy “holiday season” instead of a Merry Christmas,The Washington Postand the office of the Governor of Georgia issued a press release to announce the lighting of a holiday tree; a half-hour later the office announced that the tree was “in fact a Christmas tree.”The New York TimesA passenger jet slid off the runway at Chicago’s Midway Airport and hit a car, killing a six-year-old boy as he ate some McDonald’s food and sang “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”KVIA.comA Funyun shaped like the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus sold online for $609.The Miami HeraldFidel Castro said that Florida Governor Jeb Bush was fat; Bush, who at 225 pounds is between 18 and 44 pounds above the ideal weight for his height and frame, said he was flattered by the criticism. “It is not a criticism,” clarified Castro, “rather a suggestion that he do some exercises and go on a diet, don’t you think? I’m doing this for the gentleman’s health.”APElian Gonzalez turned 12.CNN.com

Police in Guangdong, China, fired into a crowd of demonstrators who were protesting the sale of government land for a wind-power plant; villagers said that at least ten people had been killed.SFGate.comNinety-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives were planning to challenge the provision of the 14th amendment that provides those born in the United States with citizenship. “Addressing this problem,” said Representative Lamar Smith (R., Tex.), “is needed if we’re going to try to combat illegal immigration on all fronts.”Former Senator Eugene McCarthy,The New York Timescomedian Richard Pryor,The New York Timesand science-fiction author Robert Sheckley died.UPIIn San Francisco a group of lesbian motorcyclists successfully trademarked the name “Dykes on Bikes,”Reutersand Ford began to cut back its advertising in gay publications.Breitbart.comThe supreme court of Italy ruled that it is not necessarily racist to call someone a “dirty negro.”ReutersA police officer in Hamtramck, Michigan, tasered his partner during an argument over whether to stop their car to buy a soda.MSNBCIn Miami an air marshal shot and killed an American Airlines passenger, Rigoberto Alpizar, who, according to the air marshal, claimed to have a bomb in his backpack. Before the shooting, Alpizar’s wife attempted to explain that her husband was bipolar and off his medication. No bomb was found.Detroit NewsA Memphis, Tennessee, woman was arrested after she hired a hit man to kill four other men and take their cocaine; the hit man turned out to be an undercover police officer, and the cocaine turned out to be queso fresco cheese.The Washington PostIn Boston a man named Jason Strickland asked a court to recognize him as the father of 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre after Strickland’s wife, who was the aunt and legal guardian of Poutre, shot herself and the girl’s grandmother in a murder-suicide. If Strickland, who is accused of beating Poutre into a permanent vegetative state, is recognized as the girl’s father, he can order that she be kept on life support and thus avoid a murder charge. ReutersIn the rainforests of Borneo, scientists were attempting to trap a newly discovered carnivorous cat-fox creature; the creature appears to have a muscular tail.CNN.comIt was announced that the Dutchsparrow that was shot and killed after it knocked down 23,000 dominoes will be preserved and displayed at Rotterdam’s Natural History museum, perched atop a box of dominoes.BBC NewsIn West Virginia five deer leaped to their deaths from the top of a five-story garage,The Mercury Newsand veterinarians in Rome inserted 50 24-karat gold pellets into a lion named Bellamy to treat his arthritis. “The lion,” explained a veterinarian, “is getting old.”AP

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 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
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

Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class:

$40,000

A daddy longlegs preserved in amber 99 million years ago was found to have an erection.

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