Weekly Review — August 11, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

With Congress in recess, opponents of and advocates for health-care reform stepped up their media campaigns. Angry citizens, led by industry front groups, former “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” organizers, and Rush Limbaugh, shouted down Democratic lawmakers at “town hall” meetings across the country. “Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!” shouted protesters in Tampa, Florida. “Forty million illegals!” (Even though the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are specifically excluded from the health-care plan.) Protesters waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags gathered at the closed offices of the Service Employees International Union in St. Louis, claiming that union members had attacked conservative activist Kenneth Gladney at a recent health-care forum. Gladney, who does not have health insurance, took up a collection for the treatment of his injuries. WaPoTPMWaPoHuffington PostUSA TodayTNR St. Petersburg TimesCNNWaPoBloombergSt. Louis Post-DispatchWashington ExaminerBusinessweekSt. Louis Post-DispatchPresident Barack Obama confirmed a deal with drug companies, promising not to make them cut drug costs by more than $80 billion; drug companies promised to spend more on TV ads supporting Obama’s plan than John McCain spent on TV ads in his entire presidential campaign. “Anything that increases coverage,” said CVS CFO David Rickard, “will be good for our company’s business.”NYTBloombergNYTScreenwriter Budd Schulberg, whose 1957 film A Face in the Crowd depicted the rise to power of a fascist hillbilly drug-company spokesman, died, as did film director and Republican John Hughes. In a eulogy, actor and economist Ben Stein said that Hughes was “to the postwar middle class white kid what John Keats was to the age of upheaval during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars,” and that his film Home Alone had captured “the mindset of the rich pre-teen child: total paranoia combined with almost Hitlerian fantasies of power and sadism.”AP via FoxYouTubeNYTThe American SpectatorLATVariety

Bombings in Baghdad and northern Iraq killed 47 people, wounded hundreds, and obliterated the entire village of Khazna, near Mosul. NYTGeneral Stanley McChrystal, top commander of the war in Afghanistan, called Vietnam War historian Stanley Karnow for advice. The main lesson to be learned from Vietnam, Karnow said, was that “we shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”AP via Boston GlobeGeorge Sodini, a 48-year-old computer analyst, shot twelve women at a gym near Pittsburgh, killing three and then himself. “Christ paid for EVERY sin,” he reasoned on his blog before the crime, “so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid?” CNNPittshburgh Tribune-ReviewA man was found dead near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign,Las Vegas Review Journaland Sun Studios rockabilly pioneer Billy Lee Riley died. “My gal is red hot,” Riley sang in his 1957 hit “Red Hot.” “Yo’ gal ain’t doodleysquat,” responded a chorus. YouTubeLATThe city of Mobile, Alabama, dropped public lewdness charges against Lula Mae Battle, 81, who peed in a park after her bank refused to let her use their restroom. “Thank you, Jesus,” said Battle. “Glory, Hallelujah!” NYTAerosmith’s Steven Tyler, who should qualify for Medicare in four years, injured himself after falling off a stage in South Dakota while singing “Love In An Elevator.” NY Post

Russiannuclear submarines were caught patrolling off the eastern coast of the United States,.NYTand two American journalists held in North Korea were freed after a meeting between Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-Il. WSJLATNYTSonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, LATNYTand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as president of Iran. NYTA daughter of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat demanded an apology from the U.S. embassy for the film I Love You Man, in which a character names his dog Anwar Sadat,BBCand the film version of G.I. Joe topped weekend box office sales. “One of the best markets on the movie was Russia,” noted Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. “How far G.I. Joe has come.”AP via GoogleA Canadian company claimed that an unnamed “Saudi businessman” had commissioned a solid-gold, diamond- and ruby-encrusted penis-enlarger, AVNand a group of more than 1,000 wealthy Americans, including Oscar Mayer wiener heir Chuck Collins, lobbied the White House for higher taxes.LAT Demand for lobster was low, Miami Heraldand four Uyghurs formerly held at Guantanamo Bay were hired at a golf course in Bermuda to help with preparations for the PGA Grand Slam.ReutersThe popular “Cash for Clunkers” stimulus program received $2 billion more in funding, sparking a surge in both sales of fuel-efficient vehicles and misleading television ads. “It was like locusts coming through the lot,” said Alaskan Toyota salesman Jerry Cagle, who ran out of Priuses. In keeping with the requirement that old engines be destroyed, mechanics across the country poured sodium silicate into crankcases and revved engines, causing mass car death. “It just don’t make sense,” said a used-car-parts salesman in Dayton, Ohio. In Glenview, Illinois, mechanics watched a blue 1994 Chevy Lumina van wheeze and choke for five minutes before stopping. “That’s a good American GM product,” said service manager Mark Rolla, “that won’t die.”LATChicago TribuneAnchorage Daily NewsWSJWSJUSA TodayCNNBloombergBloombergAP via Newsday

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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