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The Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, the nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. G.O.P senators attacked Kagan by comparing her with former justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked in the 1980s. According to Republicans, Marshall, the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court judge and prior to that the civil-rights lawyer who successfully argued against segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, was a “well-known activist” and the “epitome of a results-oriented judge.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) asked where Kagan had been last Christmas Day, when a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up a plane arriving in Detroit. “Like all Jews,” Kagan answered, “I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” By the final hearing, Republicans admitted that Kagan’s wit had charmed them: “You kind of light up a room,” Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) told her.CBSWash PostWash PostTPMnytThe Supreme Court announced a 5â??4 decision guaranteeing individuals’ rights to own guns and declaring unconstitutional any comprehensive attempt by state and local governments to restrict that right. NYTWyoming opted to stop collecting sales taxes at gun shows after several of the state’s Department of Revenue employees “experienced some animosity.”Billings GazetteStray bullets fired in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, crashed through the windows of City Hall in El Paso, Texas, and Sergio “El Shaka” Vega, a singer of “narcocorridos”â??odes to Mexican drug traffickersâ??was gunned down in his red Cadillac hours after he told an entertainment website that rumors of his murder were false.El Past TimesBBCScientists in Australia said they had bred the perfect prawn. Science Daily
The BP oil spill became the worst in Gulf of Mexico history, surpassing the record set in 1980 when the Ixtoc I oil well leaked 140 million gallons of oil into the sea.USA TodayJoey Chestnut successfully defended his title at Nathan’s International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest. Former record-holder Takeru Kobayashi was barred from this year’s competition because of a contract dispute with Major League Eating, the “body that oversees all professional eating contests.” After Chestnut’s victory, Kobayashi, wearing a “Free Kobi” shirt, was arrested for trying to rush the stage; spectators chanted, “Let him eat” and “U.S.A.” NYTCNNAt an Independence Day parade in Iowa, a 60-year-old woman was killed and 23 people (including several children) were injured when startled horses trampled the crowd; a Long Island man blew off his left arm while igniting illegal fireworks; and 100 people suffered yellow-jacket stings when a fireworks demonstration at a California county fair disturbed the wasps’ nests.NYTTelegraphMercury NewsPaleontologists discovered the skull of a new species of sperm whale that once hunted smaller whales with its 14-inch teeth. The whale has been named Leviathan melvillei, after “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville. AP“The Ghost Downstairs” author Molly Ringle won the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest prize for writing the worst sentence: “For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kissâ??a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.”Seattle Times
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was sworn in as president of the Philippines. More than 500,000 people attended his inauguration, at which he announced that there will be “no more wang wang” in the country, a reference to the sirens and flashing lights used by business and government elites to run red lights while the masses remain in gridlock. On the third day of his presidency, Aquino arrived late to a military ceremony after his convoy got stuck in traffic.Philippine Daily InquirerNYTPhilippine Daily Inquirer“Obama Anak Menteng,” or “Little Obama,” an Indonesian film based on Barack Obama‘s childhood in the Southeast Asian nation, premiered in Jakarta. The film shows how Obama was able to adapt to life in a new country with the help of his Indonesian stepfather, who taught him to fight, and of Turdi, his transgender nanny. “Thanks should go to Turdi,” said one viewer. “He’s the only character who spices up this film.”Christian Science MonitorJakarta PostAt least 230 people died in the Congolese town of Sange when gasoline from an overturned tanker truck was ignited by the cigarette of a resident who had rushed to collect the leaking fuel. A search for “more charred bodies” was ongoing.GuardianA US Airways flight in Atlanta was delayed when maggots fell out of an overhead storage bin and onto passengers’ heads. “As they’re telling us to stay calm and seated, I see a maggot looking back at me and I’m thinking, ‘These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae,’” said passenger Donna Adamo. “It only takes one maggot to upset your world.”BBC
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
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 Californiaâs 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 âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â 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 âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â 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 âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â