Weekly Review — March 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

In a videoconference with Hong Kong investors, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that America might sink into recession by year’s end; a frenzied worldwide sell-off ensued. The Shanghai Composite lost 8.8 percent of its value in a day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.3 percent, its worst drop since September 17, 2001. “Alan Greenspan really needs to sit down,” said one economist, “and be quiet.” Others marveled at the ability of “the Maestro” to cause upheavals even in retirement; Greenspan later held another videoconference, for which he charges fees of $150,000, and said that a recession was “not probable.” New York Times APNPRMarkets continued to decline,New York Timesand a tornado ravaged Alabama.New York TimesA suicide bomber attacked Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, killing twenty Afghans, a South Korean, and two Americans but missing his prime target, Vice President Dick Cheney, who has taken to speaking in the first person on the condition of anonymity. “I’ve seen some reporting,” said the “senior administration official” of his meeting with Pakistani authorities, “that says, ??Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.’ That’s not the way I work.”New York TimesSan Jose Mercury NewsThe Bush Administration announced it would reverse its policy of the last several years and discuss stabilizing Iraq with high-level diplomats from Syria and Iran, which it was blaming for manufacturing a cache of roadside bombs found in Hilla, Iraq, inside a fake boulder made of polyurethane. The later discovery of a makeshift weapons factory indicated that insurgents were making their own weapons,New York TimesNew York Timesand disclosures about North Korea’splutonium bomb suggested that U.S. intelligence about other countries’ weapons programs is frequently wrong.New York TimesSheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah told an interviewer he believed the United States had embarked on a secret plan to break up Iraq,Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, before doing the same to the Arab nations of northern Africa. “Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other,” he said. “This is the new Middle East.” New YorkerThe State Department was fighting terror by posting comments on Arabic blogs,PR Watchthe Defense Department selected a winner in its nuclear warhead design competition,New York Timesand Switzerland accidentally invaded Liechtenstein.BBC

Jurists in The Hague ruled that a genocide occurred when Bosnian Serbs massacred Bosnian Muslims at Srebrinca in 1995. Serbia, said the court, was responsible for not preventing the genocide??but not directly responsible for the genocide itself??and is thus absolved of any obligation to pay reparations. New York TimesEthnic Albanian Ramush Haradinaj, a former bouncer who became prime minister of Kosovo, awaited trial for cleansing Serbs.Washington PostSenator Joe Biden (D., Del.) boasted that as president he would pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and send them to “take out the janjaweed” in Darfur, which he mistakenly placed in Somalia, not Sudan, where visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a cooperative agreement on the environment and said, “Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan.”PrezVidDeutsche Presse-AgenturAfter the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Sudanese officials, Sudan’s Minister of the Interior said that any party who tried to enforce the charges would be beheaded.AllAfrica.comSudan TimesPerfect hair” was among the potential liabilities outlined in a PowerPoint document leaked from Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The former Massachusetts governor, according to the document, intends to avoid being called “Slick Dancing Mitt” or “Flip-Flopper” and will instead promote himself as “the anti-Kerry,” a “get-it-done CEO” who hates France and possesses “intelligence,” unlike President Bush.Boston GlobeAn Indiannumerologist forecast that Hillary Clinton would win the 2008 election because her birth number is eight; he claimed he had also correctly predicted Princess Diana’s death, Bush’s election, and that America would lose the Iraq war. Asian TribuneOn The Late Show with David Letterman, Senator John McCain confirmed that he is running for president. Candidly discussing the war in Iraq, he said, “We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.” In response to Democrats who scolded him for using the word “wasted,” McCain replied, “I should have used the word ‘sacrificed’.”CNNOutgoing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan advised blacks to stay out of the military,New York Timesand the New York City Council banned the word “nigger.” BBCArthur M. Schlesinger Jr., author of The Vital Center, died,New York Timesand the New Republic, a 93-year-old independent American liberal weekly, was sold to a Canadianmedia conglomerate that will publish it half as often.New York ObserverFifty million honeybees vanished.New York Times

The United States projected that it would emit 19 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 2000,New York Timesand pollution was cited as the reason that the Dutch are now taller than Americans. Daily Kent StaterDelivering Lenten meditations at the Vatican, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi warned Pope Benedict of an Antichrist who would come as “a pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist” to rally the “masses” to destroy the Christian faith. Times, UKA woman in Naples found a live World War II-era hand grenade in a bag of potatoes,BBCand mothers in Rome were leaving unwanted babies at a hospital booth that resembles an ATM.New York TimesA television documentary reported that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, the couple had a son named Judah, and the three were buried together with Mary and Joseph in Israel.New York TimesJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the 200,000 women staffing the Japanese military’s World War II brothels had not been coerced into service; surviving comfort women countered that they had been raped en masse and demanded compensation. The AustralianVladimir Putin installed Ramzan Kadyrov, a 30-year-old reputed warlord and torturer, as president of Chechnya.Moscow TimesFemale koalas in Australia were ignoring males in favor of five-bear lesbian orgies,The AdvocateAnn Coulter called former Senator John Edwards a faggot, Fox Newsand social scientists found that Americans born after 1982 have succumbed to an epidemic of pathological narcissism.Christian Science Monitor

Share
Single Page

More from Christian Lorentzen:

Weekly Review November 4, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 29, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review June 17, 2008, 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

Percentage of Republicans who said they prioritized gun control over gun rights in 1999:

53

The kangaroo’s tail is a fifth leg.

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