Weekly Review — July 7, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska announced that she would not seek reelection and that she would resign by the end of July. “‘We’re not retreating,'” she said, citing General Douglas MacArthur, who was not the author of the quotation. “‘We are advancing in another direction.'” No one knew why she resigned. “Everybody Iâ??ve talked to thinks itâ??s a little crazy,” said conservative pundit William Kristol. “But maybe not. What is she going to accomplish in the next year as governor?”AP via NO Times-PicayuneLATLATWPPoliticoAnchorage Daily NewsNYTNYTThe U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.5 percent, and reports for June showed that 6.5 million jobs have been lost in the recession so far, wiping out the previous nine years’ gains. Rank-and-file workers in the private sector averaged 33 hours of work per week, the fewest since records began in 1964.BloombergNYTAmish former factory workers in Indiana said that life has improved since they were laid off. “We were all going way too fast,” said Freeman Miller, who started making wooden caskets for pets after he was fired from his manufacturing job.WSJUSA TodayIn an attempt to reduce rampant bribery, staff at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport were issued pants without pockets, BBCand a study found that perceived signs of guilt in dogs are probably reactions to subtle cues from their owners. “The most guilty look,” noted Barnard College assistant professor of psychology Alexandra Horowitz, “was when the owner scolded an innocent dog.”WP

Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, recipient of the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal, died,ReutersNYTTimeAFPWPand in Vietnam, where 1.12 boys are born for every girl, the government was confiscating books on how to choose your baby’s sex.Boston GlobeFour thousand U.S. Marines were deployed to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where they are under orders to counteract the influence of the Taliban by befriending the locals. “We’re not going to drive to work,” said the brigade’s commander. “We’re going to walk to work.” NYTWPA court in New Delhi overturned a colonial-era law banning gay sex, NYTand at least 140 people were killed in Urumqi, in the Xinjiang region of China, when predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs protesting discrimination clashed with Han Chinese and security forces. NYTWSJ

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya attempted to stage a dramatic return to his country but was prevented from landing by the military and landed in El Salvador instead.BBCAustralian authorities decreed that anyone who comes within 500 meters of the white humpback whale Migaloo (“white fella” in an aboriginal dialect) will be fined $13,500. BBCThe Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled Al Franken the victor in his close senatorial race against Norm Coleman,AP via WPand Glasgow lifted a thirty-year-old ban on Monty Python’s film The Life of Brian.BBCFormer Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was found dead in Nashville, possibly a victim of a murder-suicide by his girlfriend.TennesseanDallas Morning NewsThirty-one Xhosa teenagers in South Africa died from botched circumcisions performed without anaesthesia,NYTand an FDA advisory panel voted to ban Percocet and Vicodin.NYTOfficials in Britain said that the number of new cases of swine flu in that country was doubling weekly and could reach 100,000 new cases per day by the end of August; Dr. Richard Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association’s public-health committee, cited reports of people throwing “swine flu parties” to expose themselves to the virus and build their immunity. “I don’t think it is a good idea,” he said.Hindustan TimesAP via Star-TribuneBBCUp to one thousand species in the United Kingdom were imperiled by the spread of the ravenous harlequin ladybug. Scientists suggested that the harlequin, an invasive species originally introduced to Europe from Asia to kill other pests, could be controlled by infecting the population with sexually transmitted mites.The Harlequin Ladybird SurveyBBCA flight from Marseille to the Comoros Islands crashed, killing 152 passengers but sparing one, 12-year-old Bahia Bakari, who survived at sea for more than nine hours before being rescued by the Madagascar merchant marine. “I grabbed on to something,” she said, “but I donâ??t know what.” AP via YahooNYTAP via YahooWSJScientists said that a single super-colony of billions of Argentine ants had conquered Europe, the United States, and Japan, forming the largest insect colony ever.BBC

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“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.”

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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.

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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.

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how high? that high

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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. 

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