Weekly Review — September 15, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]
A Christian martyr.

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and implored Democrats to pass their own health-care legislation. During the speech, the president noted that the bill would not extend health insurance to illegal immigrants, at which South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie!” Afterwards, Wilson received $1 million in campaign contributions. Shares in health insurance companies went up, and the number of Americans without health insurance rose to 46.3 million.New York TimesCNNMarketwatchCNNNew York TimesThe HillCNNFox NewsPoliticoTens of thousands of people gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest health-care reform, the expansion of government, illegal immigration, abortion, the size of the national deficit, limitations on gun ownership, the linguistic plurality of the United States, the Wall Street bailout, the energy bill, and the appointment of White House czars. Signs carried at the protest depicted Obama as Adolf Hitler, as Che Guevara, as the Joker from the most recent Batman movie, and as an African witch doctor. “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy,” read one sign. “Joe Wilson for president” read another.The HillSamoans began to drive on the left side of the road in spite of a late appeal by the People Against Switching Sides (PASS).BBC

The Treasury Department announced plans to phase out its bank-bailout programs. “It is clear,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, “that we have stepped back from the brink and that we are pointed in the right direction.”MarketwatchThree more banks closed, adding to the 89 that failed so far this year,MarketWatchand investment firms revealed plans to buy life-insurance policies from elderly and sick people and package them into securitized investment products. “We’re hoping to get a herd stampeding after the first offering,” said a banker. New York TimesIn Pakistan, at least nineteen women trying to collect free handouts of flour were killed in an actual stampede.New York TimesA developer in London was found guilty of murdering his tenant so he could move ahead with plans to flip the property,BBCand a group of men in Florida were holding up pawn shops in various costumes, including hospital scrubs, child safety-seats, and sinks.St. Petersburg TimesThe U.S. was growing more pot. “The need to… distract yourself is pretty much a constant in human behavior through good times and bad,” said one marijuana-eradication official.CS MonitorScientists at Stanford University determined that stem cells could be made from fat cells removed during liposuction.CNN

Jim Carroll died, as did Nobel Prize-winning agronomist Norman Borlaug, and Gertrude Baines, who at 115 was the world’s oldest person.CNNThe GuardianNew York TimesA 107-year-old woman in Malaysia was looking for her 23rd husband.BBCAuthorities in Sudan were planning to lash a woman for wearing tight pants.CNNA German AIDS awareness campaign was criticized for portraying Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Joseph Stalin having sex with naked women. BBCPolice in Turkey rescued nine women from a villa where they had spent the last two months being made to fight each other, wear bikinis, and dance by a swimming pool for what they falsely believed was a reality-TV show. BBCCalifornia state legislator Mike Duvall, a Republican, resigned after he unwittingly bragged about having sex with much younger women–including one who wore “little eye-patch underwear”–into a hot microphone before a hearing.LA TimesA former jail deputy in Ohio was charged with two health-code violations after he fed a prisoner a bologna sandwich that had been rubbed on another prisoner’s penis.Columbus DispatchA man in Wales was sentenced to prison for murdering his partner after she changed her relationship status on Facebook to “single.”BBCWalmart employees beat a shoplifter to death,AFPand two Massachusetts teenagers were killed in a dispute over a parking space.Boston GlobeAfter successfully praying for his release from a stuck elevator, a devout Catholic in Vienna went directly to church, where, giving thanks to God, he embraced an 860-pound altar, which fell over, killing him instantly.Daily TelegraphCanadian scientists discovered the smell of death.BBC

Share
Single Page

More from Genevieve Smith:

From the May 2014 issue

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

Inside the industry that’s making therapy obsolete

From the June 2012 issue

In recovery

Twelve steps to prosperity

Commentary May 23, 2012, 3:44 pm

The Underearners Test

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

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

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 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.

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