Weekly Review — September 9, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

The Treasury Department seized control of mortgage and loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, firing the companies’ chief executives and promising to provide as much as $200 billion to prevent insolvency.New York TimesThe jobless rate rose from 5.7 percent to a five-year high of 6.1 percent, with more than 84,000 jobs lost in August,Yahoo and Senator John McCain accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency.KTLA.com“This campaign is not about issues,” said McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”Washington PostIt emerged that McCain did not properly vet Alaska governor Sarah Palin in selecting her as his running mate, and that he interviewed her in person only on the same day he offered her the position. Despite McCain’s opposition to earmarks, Palin, when mayor of the 6,700-resident town of Wasilla (known to state troopers as Alaska’smeth capital”), hired lobbyist Steven Silver to help win federal earmarks totaling $27 million. It also emerged that Palin, 44, received her first passport in 2006.Washington PostBoston GlobeJuneau EmpireTalking Points MemoXiguang, an elephant undergoing treatment on the Chinese island of Hainan, was off heroin and headed home.MSNBC

American commanders returned control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi army and police, celebrating with a large parade during which soldiers marched along a newly paved street without their body armor, helmets, or guns.New York TimesThe United States promised $1 billion in aid to Georgia, and Vice President Dick Cheney visited Tbilisi to pledge continued support. “It’s Cheney,” said Russian politician Konstantin Kosachyov, “who was behind all the recent events on the former Soviet turf.”Washington PostAmerican missiles struck a seminary in Pakistan, killing twenty people, including two children, but not Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani,Washington Postand Paris Match published a glossy eight-page spread of Taliban fighters wearing the uniforms of the French soldiers they had killed.TelegraphTropical storm Hanna struck Haiti for four days, felling fruit trees and bridges, flooding the city of Gonaives, forcing 54,000 people into shelters, and killing 137 people.New York TimesDetroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felonies, including lying under oath, and agreed to spend four months in jail, pay $1 million, and resign from office. “I want to tell you, Detroit,” he said, “that you have set me up for a comeback.”Washington PostVirginia Tech students were falsely told by the local registrar of elections that if they voted at college their parents would no longer be able to claim them as dependents on their tax returns, and that they could lose their scholarships and their health- and car-insurance coverage.New York TimesCambridge University, seeking to attract a more diverse student body and to shed its elitist image, asked the producers of leading Britishsoap operas to mention the school in their storylines. Southeast MissourianA federal judge, responding to Jack Abramoff’s pleas for mercy, gave the former lobbyist only four years in prison instead of the maximum 12.5 years. “My name,” said Abramoff, “is the butt of a joke.”New York TimesFor the first time in a century, a month passed without a visible spot on the sun. An ice age, said scientists, may be forthcoming.Daily Tech

Satellite images revealed that global-warming-induced melting had left the North Pole an island.TelegraphTens of thousands of copies of a Swedish food magazine were recalled after an error in a recipe for apple cake sent four readers to hospitals with nutmeg poisoning,New York Timesand a British teenager’s head swelled to the size of a soccer ball after she consumed a Baileys-chili-tequila-absinthe-ouzo-vodka-cider-and-gin cocktail.BBCA new biography of writer Roald Dahl revealed that Dahl, in his work as a British spy, seduced many American women. “I think,” said Antoinette Haskell, whose father, Charles Marsh, introduced Dahl to influential Americans, “he slept with everybody on the east and west coasts that was worth more than $50,000 a year.”TelegraphThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would not spend the $300,000 needed to correct cards that mistakenly list the number of a phone-sex company (1-800-TRAMP24) in place of the number of the agency (1-800-STAMP24). “That’s a lot of money,” said a spokesperson, “we can be using for wildlife conservation.”TimeThe Victorian Aboriginal Education Association warned Australian girls not to play the didgeridoo because it was “men’s business” and could lead to infertility;Yahoopolice in Florida checked for fingerprints on a water-filled condom that had been used as a fake breast by a cross-dressing thief who snatched the purse of a 74-year-old woman;New York Timesand a murder investigation in Japan ended when pathologists discovered that the decomposing corpse was actually a life-sized sex doll.The GuardianThe author of the book 100 Things to Do Before You Die, having completed about 50 of the things on his list, fell, hit his head, and died.Telegraph

Share
Single Page

More from Claire Gutierrez:

Weekly Review May 31, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 30, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review March 22, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2019

Men at Work

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To Serve Is to Rule

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Bird Angle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The K-12 Takeover

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The $68,000 Fish

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Men at Work·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“You’re being reborn,” the voice says. “Exiting the womb of your mother. Coming into the earth as a small baby. Everything is new.” It is a Saturday morning in mid-March, and right now I’m lying on a yoga mat in a lodge in Ohio, surrounded by fifty other men who’ve come to the Midwest for a weekend of manhood-confirming adventures. The voice in question belongs to Aaron Blaine, a facilitator for Evryman, the men’s group orchestrating this three-day retreat. All around me, men are shedding tears as Blaine leads us on a guided meditation, a kind of archetypal montage of Norman Rockwell boyhood. “You’re starting to figure things out,” he says, in somniferous baritone. “Snow, for the first time. Sunshine. Start to notice the smells, the tastes, the confusion. The fear. And you’re growing. You’re about ten years old. The world’s huge and scary.”

Even though it’s only the second day of the Evryman retreat, it’s worth noting that I’ve already been the subject of light fraternal teasing. Already I’ve been the recipient of countless unsought hugs. Already I have sat in Large Groups and Small Groups, and watched dozens of middle-aged men weep with shame and contrition. I’ve had a guy in the military tell me he wants to be “a rock for his family.” I’ve heard a guy from Ohio say that his beard “means something.” Twice I’ve hiked through the woods to “reconnect with Mother Nature,” and I have been addressed by numerous men as both “dude” and “brother.” I have performed yoga and yard drills and morning calisthenics. I’ve heard seven different men play acoustic guitar. I’ve heard a man describe his father by saying, “There wasn’t a lot of ball-tossing when I was growing up.” Three times I’ve been queried about how I’m “processing everything,” and at the urinal on Friday night, two men warned me about the upcoming “Anger Ceremony,” which is rumored to be the weekend’s “pièce de résistance.”

Article
To Serve Is to Rule·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The WASP story is personal for me. I arrived at Yale in 1971 from a thoroughly mediocre suburb in New Jersey, the second-generation hybrid of Irish and Italian stock riding the postwar boom. Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.

I used to visit one of those friends in the Hamptons, in the 1970s, when the area was about wood-paneled Ford station wagons, not Lamborghinis. There was some money in the family, but not gobs, yet they lived two blocks from the beach—prime real estate. Now, down the road from what used to be their house is the residence of Ira Rennert. It’s one of the largest private homes in the United States. The union-busting, pension-fund-looting Rennert, whose wealth comes from, among other things, chemical companies that are some of the worst polluters in the country, made his first money in the 1980s as a cog in Michael Milken’s junk-bond machine. In 2015, a court ordered him to return $215 million he had appropriated from one of his companies to pay for the house. One-hundred-car garages and twenty-one (or maybe twenty-nine) bedrooms don’t come cheap.

Article
The Bird Angle·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I slept for a good seven hours on the overnight flight from Spain to Peru, and while I slept I dreamed that I was leading American visitors around a park in Berlin, looking for birds on a hazy, overcast day. There wasn’t much to see until we noticed a distant commotion in the sky. Large raptors were panicking, driven back and forth by something threatening them from above. The commotion moved closer. The clouds parted, an oval aperture backed with blue. In it two seraphim hovered motionless. “Those are angels,” I told the group.

They were between us and the sun, but an easy ­I.D. Size aside, no other European bird has two sets of wings. The upper wings cast their faces into shadow. Despite the glare I could make out their striking peaches-­and-­cream coloration. Ivory white predominates, hair a faint yellow, eyes blue, wings indescribably iridescent. Faces blank and expressionless, as with all birds.

Article
The K-12 Takeover·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Last May, the families of students at Cypress Academy, an independent charter school in New Orleans, received an email announcing that the school would close when classes ended the following week and that all its students would be transferred to another nearby charter for the upcoming year. Parents would have the option of entering their children in the city’s charter-enrollment lottery, but the lottery’s first round had already taken place, and the most desirable spots for the fall were filled.

Founded in 2015, a decade after New Orleans became the nation’s first city to begin replacing all its public schools with charters, Cypress was something of a rarity. Like about nine in ten of the city’s charter schools, it filled spaces by lottery rather than by selective admission. But while most of the nonselective schools in New Orleans had majority populations of low-income African-American students, Cypress mirrored the city’s demographics, drawing the children of professionals—African-American and white alike—as well as poorer students. Cypress reserved 20 percent of its seats for children with reading difficulties, and it offered a progressive education model, including “learning by doing,” rather than the strict conduct codes that dominated the city’s nonselective schools. In just three years, the school had outperformed many established charters—a particular feat given that one in four Cypress students had a disability, double the New Orleans average. Families flocked to Cypress, especially ones with children who had disabilities.

Article
Five Stories·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

how high? that high

He had his stick that was used mostly to point at your head if your head wasn’t held up proudly.

I still like that man—Holger! He had been an orphan!

He came up to me once because there was something about how I was moving my feet that wasn’t according to the regulations or his expectations.

The room was a short wide room with a short wide window with plenty of artificial light.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

The first person awarded the title of royal consort in Thailand had her title removed for trying to “elevate herself to the same state as the queen” and “disloyalty.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today