Weekly Review — July 28, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

The Congressional Budget Office announced that a proposed plan to control health-care spending would save only $2 billion over ten years, compared to a proposed $1 trillion in spending, although the agency also pointed out that the legislation could increase the proportion of people receiving insurance through their employers, despite Republican claims to the contrary. Democrats, with control of both the House and Senate, fought among themselves. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman threatened to move the bill to the floor without a committee vote if the Blue Dogs, seven conservative Democrats, refused to cooperate; Nancy Pelosi vowed that the bill would pass without them. In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid simply caved to Republican pressure and announced that there would be no vote on a new health-care bill until after the August recess.PoliticoThe New York TimesTalking Points MemoCBS NewsTalking Points MemoG.O.P. Chairman Michael Steele gave a speech at the National Press Club, reciting a Republican memo verbatim. “Slow down, Mr. President,” said the memo and Steele, even though health-care reform has been a national issue since 1912. “We can’t afford to get health care wrong.” BnetWashington PostA two-year federal corruption investigation resulted in the arrest of 44 New Jerseyites including three mayors, two state assemblymen, and five rabbis. “This is so massive,” said political scientist Joseph Marbach, “It’s going to just reinforce the stereotype of New Jersey politics and corruption.”New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesThree Ohio adults were charged with child endangerment for allowing rats in their mobile home to chew off the toes of a six-week-old baby girl. New York Post

It was National Poker Week.NewsweekHenry Louis Gates Jr., an African-American professor at Harvard, was arrested by Jim Crowley, a white police sergeant, in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home after a passerby saw Gates forcing open his own front door. President Barack Obama said the police had “acted stupidly,” and Sergeant Crowley announced that he had once tried to save the life of (black) Celtics star Reggie Lewis. Neither Obama nor Crowley would apologize, though Obama said that he, Gates, and Crowley may get together at the White House for a beer. Obama did apologize for wearing “dad jeans.” “For people who want a president to look great in tight jeans,” he said, “I’m sorry.”Washington PostNew York PostChoreographer Merce Cunningham died. “It gives you nothing back,” Cunningham said of dancing. “No manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold. Nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.”New York TimesAdam Yauch of the Beastie Boys announced that he has cancer. “It’s a pain in the ass,” he said.Sky NewsBoise’s ombudsman issued a report concluding that the city officer who tasered a man’s buttocks used excessive force,Idaho Statesmanand an Albany, New York, man who received an unwanted colonoscopy was awarded $125,000 in compensation for an incident in which doctors, at the request of police, forcibly sedated him, searched his rectum for drugs, then sent him a bill for $6,792 and a diagnosis of hemorrhoids.Times UnionNASA said that something had probably smashed into Jupiter and left an Earth-sized hole, confirming the discovery that an Australian amateur made with a telescope in his backyard. New York TimesAn earthquake shifted New Zealand one foot closer to Australia.Ananova

Large areas of India and China were plunged into darkness for nearly 7 minutes during the century’s longest total eclipse of the sun. Pregnant women were advised to stay home for fear that the eclipse would harm their unborn babies; tens of thousands waded into the Ganges, because it is auspicious to watch an eclipse while immersed in sacred waters.Boston GlobeNew York TimesNew York TimesBBCJohn Berry, the businessman who popularized WD-40, died,Los Angeles Timesand more than seven 55-gallon drums of gooey oil blobs were removed from Texas beaches.New York TimesThe Taco Bell chihuahua died of a stroke.PeopleRescuers searching a Michigan home found 110 live dogs (and 150 in freezers),WFTVand officials in South Korea deployed the world’s first cloned sniffer labrador retrievers.BBCA five-legged puppy was rescued from a Coney Island freak show after a woman paid $4,000 to outbid sideshow owner John Strong, who had intended to include the puppy in his “Freaks of Nature” show. “Sometimes,” said a rueful Strong, “you just gotta say, ‘OK, I still have nine live two-headed animals’, and move on.”NBC New York NewsA Chinese couple got married wearing a coat of 1,000 living honeybees. Ananova

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 limited edition Nike Air Max 97s, white sneakers that have holy water from the Jordan River in their soles and have frankincense-scented insoles, sold out in minutes.

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