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Is this a great country, or what? Even though Alabama’s Jeff Sessions was blocked from a federal judgeship because of kooky statements about the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan, he could still go on to become a U.S. senator, and lead a racially tinged charge against the first Latina Supreme Court nominee. Equal opportunity, indeed!
I thought that Sessions’ bullying and blundering in the first two days of the Sonia Sotomayor hearings might get the GOP to ask him to hide his light under a bushel for a bit, but there he was on Wednesday, holding a quick press conference in the hearing break to announce he continues to be “troubled” by Sotomayor’s views on race, as if there was any doubt about that.
Not to be outdone by Sessions, though, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn shamed himself with an unbelievable reference to Desi Arnaz’s ancient Cuban stereotype, Ricky Ricardo, husband of Lucille Ball on “I Love Lucy.” During a surreal exchange on gun rights, in which the theoretical example was what might happen to Sotomayor if she (wrongly, illegally, but maybe understandably) got a gun and shot Coburn, the right-wing senator told her, “You’d have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do,” referring to Arnaz’s refrain when Lucy got in trouble with one of her crazy schemes.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”