Weekly Review — September 23, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]
Caught in the Web, 1860.

After many years of increasing borrowing and at least thirteen months of evidence of an impending catastrophe, American financial institutions faced the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression. “The world,” explained Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “no longer has the capacity to absorb fake U.S. dollars.”EconomistThe Wall Street JournalBloombergGlobal stock markets lost $3.1 trillion in four days, and American International Group (AIG), the world’s biggest insurance company and a leader in the $62 trillion credit-default swap market, was nearly bankrupted. “The private market has screwed itself up,” said Representative Barney Frank (D., Mass.), “and they need the government to come help them unscrew it.” The Federal Reserve loaned AIG $85 billion at 11 percent interest and took control of the company, which was founded in China in 1919 and driven out thirty years later by Mao. AIG was replaced in the Dow Jones Industrial Average by Kraft, the makers of Cheez Whiz. Der SpiegelThe New York TimesThe New York TimesDer SpiegelBoston GlobeCNNBloombergCentral banks poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the market, and the Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily banned the short-selling of 799 financial-institution stocks. The Bush Administration announced that it had a plan.BBCDer SpiegelThe Los Angeles TimesBloombergSECThe International Herald TribuneThe Washington Post“My first instinct,” said President George W. Bush, “was to let the market work, until I realized, being briefed by expertsâ?¦ It turns out that there’s a lot of interlinks through the financial system.” The Bush Administration’s three-page draft bill would permit the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billionâ??$2,000 per Americanâ??in bad, mortgage-related debt, and would exempt the Treasury from administrative supervision, from legal challenges by any court, and from rules pertaining to government contracts. BloombergThe Wall Street JournalThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostPoliticoBloombergThe New York TimesFinance industry lobbyists tried to stop lawmakers from limiting executive salaries at bailed-out companies, and fought to get their companies hired to control the assets that the Treasury will oversee.The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalMorgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the two remaining major U.S. investment banks, transformed themselves into traditional commercial banks, and a Lehman Brothers Fire Safety Team trucker hat sold on eBay for $84. “Lehman,” said Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, “rest in peace.” The Washington PostReutersBloombergeBayThe Wall Street JournalBloomberg

The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad,Pakistan, was destroyed by a huge truck bomb, killing at least 53 people and wounding at least 266.The Washington PostThe Christian Science MonitorBBCAP via YahooThe New York TimesTwo car bombs near the U.S. embassy in Sana, Yemen, killed 17 people, including Susan Elbaneh, a high school senior from Lackawanna, N.Y., who had a cousin allegedly in Al Qaeda. Elbaneh had recently entered into an arranged marriage with a Yemeni man, who was also killed in the attack. AP via Detroit Free PressAP via Star-TribuneThe Christian Science MonitorThe Los Angeles TimesThe New York TimesWaPoOil facilities and pipelines in Nigeria were attacked by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which declared that it would “continue to nibble every day at the oil infrastructure in Nigeria until the oil exports reach zero.”The New York TimesThe New York TimesA truck carrying 20 tons of money from the Philadelphia Mint to the U.S. Treasury in Miami crashed, killing one passenger and spilling 3.7 million nickels onto I-95. “It’s shiny,” said Florida Highway Patrol trooper Kim Miller.Philadelphia InquirerWFTVMiami Herald

The presidential candidates scrambled to blame each other for the financial crisis and to clarify their positions on the proposed recovery plan; John McCain said that if he were president, he’d fire the chairman of the SEC, who is not technically under presidential jurisdiction.The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Washington PostCNNPoliticoThe Wall Street JournalABCThe wife of international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild endorsed McCain for president because she finds Barack Obama to be an elitist.CNNReporters traveling on McCain’s Straight Talk Air, who had not had time with the candidate for over a month, staged a protest. “Bring Mac back!” they chanted, in the coach cabin of the plane. “Bring Mac back!”PoliticoAt a Ford factory in Macomb County, Michigan, Senator Joe Biden jumped in a red Mustang convertible and revved the engine. “I like muscle cars,” he said, as factory workers whooped. “I tell you, man, this is nice.” NewsweekThe New York TimesFormer Justice Department terrorism prosecutor Ed Oâ??Callaghan tried to stall a pending ethics inquiry into Alaska Governor Sarah Palin‘s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, BloombergBBCABCAnchorage Daily NewsTPMNewsweekAP via Detroit Free Pressand Vice President Dick Cheney watched a reenactment of the Battle of Chickamauga, the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, in which his great-great-grandfather fought for the losing Union side. Atlanta Journal-CourierIn parts of Texas hit by Hurricane Ike, an estimated 20,000 cows and horses roamed free. Four thousand cows had been found dead, and officials thought that many more would never be found. “They’re being eaten,” said Texas AgriLife Extension Service spokeswoman Kathleen Phillips, “by alligators.” AP via Star-Telegram

Share
Single Page

More from Sam Stark:

From the February 2015 issue

A Weimar Home Companion

Walter Benjamin on the air

Commentary January 21, 2011, 3:43 pm

United We Brand!

Weekly Review September 28, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2016

Division Street

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Innocents

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quiet Car

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Psychedelic Trap

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Hamilton Cult

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Held Back

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Hamilton Cult·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell
Article
Division Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
Photograph © Robert Gumpert
Article
Held Back·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"'We don’t know where the money went!' a woman cried out. 'They looted it! They stole our money!'"
Artwork by Mischelle Moy
Article
The Quiet Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
Article
Innocents·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Amount of laundry an average American family of four washes in a year (in tons):

1

A study of female Finnish twins found that relative preference for masculine faces is largely heritable.

It was reported that visits from Buddhist priests could be purchased through Amazon in Japan, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra began streaming performances through virtual-reality headsets.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”

Subscribe Today