Weekly Review — August 4, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

Congress defied President Barack Obama and adjourned for the summer without passing a health-care-reform bill. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved its own version of the bill 31-28 (with five Democrats and all 23 Republicans voting against it); its bill is one of five already produced or soon to be produced by the House and Senate. President Obama and congressional Democrats planned to tour the country to talk about the issue, while Republicans planned to identify the health-care plan as a failure akin to the $787 billion stimulus package, which after six months has yet to reverse unemployment. Health-insurance companies, described by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “immoral” and “the villains in this,” were spending $1 million a day to lobby lawmakers. A poll found that 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress. Thirty-nine million Americans were on food stamps.FOXNews.comCNNCNNThe New York TimesCQ PoliticsPoliticoFox NewsPoliticoUSA TodayThe remains of Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher, whose plane crashed in Iraq in 1991 and whose status had been changed from “killed in action” back to “missing in action” and then, under pressure from Congress, to “missing-captured,” were found in the Anbar province of Iraq, where he was buried by the Bedouin.The Christian Science MonitorComputer records showed that Venezuela was offering assistance to Colombian FARC rebels, and Hugo Chavez revoked the licenses of 34 radio stations.New York TimesThe GuardianCorazon Aquino died.The New York Times

Twenty-eight people died in mosque bombings in Iraq,.The Times of Indiaand Iranian authorities announced that 20 people would be tried for protesting election results.APTwo people died in Tel Aviv when a gunman opened fire at a gay club, and 50 Palestinians were evicted from their East Jerusalem homes, some at gunpoint; Jewish families moved in soon after. “Now our future,” said one evictee, “is in the streets.”The New York TimesAPFormer House Majority Leader Dick Armey appeared at a hearing on Capitol Hill to speak out against the “eco-evangelical hysteria” about climate change. “If the Lord God Almighty made the heavens and the earth,” said Armey, “and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God??s creation.” AlternetSea levels continued to rise.Science DailyScientists in Georgia found that eating too much fructose makes a rat forgetful, and scientists in St. Louis were driving fruit flies crazy.Science DailyScience DailyThe Obama Administration was shopping for a new prison to hold the Guantanamo Bay inmates, either in Kansas or in Michigan,MSNBCand the Army’s base in Fort Irwin, California, was invaded by wild burros.San Jose Mercury NewsA Hartford man smashed his SUV into parked cars after baby snakes escaped from his pockets.San Jose Mercury NewsA researcher found evidence that haggis is English, not Scottish,BBC Newsand British Children’s Secretary Ed Balls put forth a plan to monitor 20,000 “problem families” with 24-hour video surveillance, or “sin bins,” at a cost of $677 million.Daily ExpressMichael Jackson’s nose was missing.KansasCity.com

A court in India issued a warrant for the arrest of Warren Anderson, head of Union Carbide in 1984 when a leak at the company’s plant in Bhopal killed 10,000 people and injured 555,000. “This is 25 years of unfair treatment,” said Anderson’s wife, Lillian, from their home in the Hamptons.Common DreamsAPResearchers found that organic food is no healthier than regular food, and that the swine-flu medication Tamiflu gives children nightmares.ReutersTimes OnlineSwedish sperm banks were facing shortages due to high lesbian demand,The Localand Germans were hoarding incandescent bulbs before they are banned.Spiegel OnlineAn Alabama woman was arrested with $13,000 of methamphetamines in her bra;MSNBCan unemployed New York woman was suing her college for $70,000 for not trying hard enough to help her find a job;BBC Newsand a Pennsylvania woman had plans to marry the rollercoaster she loves.MetroNew York City was giving out one-way plane tickets to the homeless, The Guardianand a 90-year-old discotheque impresario and Auschwitz survivor named Felix Brinkman was found strangled in Manhattan.CNNMedical official Shi Bing Bing said that China’s astronauts can be disqualified for 100 different reasons, including runny noses, ringworm, and bad breath.The TelegraphJapanese astronaut Koichi Wakata revealed that for a month in space he wore the same underwear, which was flame-resistant, controlled odors, killed bacteria, and absorbed water. Wakata said that he also ate a number of curries. “My station crew members never complained,” he said, “so I think the experiment went fine.”Times OnlineA federal appeals court in Texas ruled to permit the sacrifice of goats.Fresno Bee

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 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Gangs of Karachi

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Neoliberal Arts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“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.”

Subscribe Today