View Full Version : Harpers summary for the week of 8/31/09

09-01-2009, 09:08 AM
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D., Mass.) died of brain cancer at age 77 and was buried near his brothers John and Robert at Arlington National Cemetery. He served 46 years in the Senate, where he was an advocate for voting rights for minorities (and 18-year-olds), the rights of the disabled, the abolition of the draft, and--less successfully--health care reform. "The place won't be the same without him," said Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.). Rush Limbaugh said that Kennedy was "the lion of the Senate" and that "we were his prey." "He left a woman to drown," tweeted Fox News analyst Tammy Bruce, "and now he's left us to drown." "Hopefully," said Eric Sanger, a director at the Sean Hannity Show, "this event will mark the end of this repugnant family." Shortly before he died, Kennedy (who received his first communion from Pope Pius XII) sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI. "I know that I have been an imperfect human being," he wrote, "but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path." The Pope had no comment. The White House announced that the economy would shrink by 2.8 percent this year, and President Obama reappointed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. A new, less-redacted version of a 2004 CIA report on interrogation methods was released. "I'm very proud of what we did," said Dick Cheney of the torture program, which involved guns, shackles, mock executions, and drills. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., against the supposed wishes of the White House, appointed a prosecutor to investigate the CIA's practices, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for those who protested his sham victory, including opposition leaders, to be vigorously prosecuted.

Forty people died in a bombing in Afghanistan. Jets from Israel bombed an alleged tunnel in Gaza, and Scientologists were digging tunnels in southern California, which was still burning. Romanians booed Madonna after she asked them to stop discriminating against Gypsies. Dominick Dunne died, as did 36-year-old DJ AM, whose passing was much tweeted. "Don't know how i am gonna play 2night but i am for AM," wrote Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. "My brother is gone. i love u and miss u." Edward Rondthaler, a proponent of spelling reform, died at age 104. "Foenetic speling," he once wrote, "wil maek reeding and rieting neerly automatic for evrybody." A man who was sniffing gas from an aerosol can was tasered by Ohio police, at which he burst into flames, and Oklahoma methamphetamine addicts discovered a new method--"shake-and-bake"--for making meth quickly in a soda bottle. "If there is any oxygen at all in the bottle, it has a propensity to make a giant fireball," said a Missouri police sergeant. "You're not dealing with rocket scientists here anyway." India lost contact with the Chandrayaan-1 moon probe, and South Korea's first satellite failed to reach orbit.

British apocalypse scientists found that mixotrophs--organisms that derive energy from dead organic matter--can live for six months in total darkness. Thousands of people signed a petition asking the British government to issue an apology for how it treated gay mathematician Alan Turing, and a Welsh man named Roland Mery, facing a two-year wait before he could have gender-reassignment surgery, chopped off his own penis. "Ring 999, Julie," he yelled to his wife, "I've done it!" Sean Lynde, a graphic designer and a former roadie for the band Guster, was arrested in New York City for poisoning and beating to death his girlfriend's four kittens, six months after someone posted a notice on Craigslist that read "KEEP CATS AWAY FROM THIS MAN." A deaf, blind, 16-year-old dog named Louie died after being left alone for hours in the hot car of Robin Starr, CEO of the Richmond, Virginia, SPCA. Parts of a baby were found in the sewage works of the English town of Hull, and wealthy Ugandans were sacrificing children. "They say if you don't take blood, the wealth will go," explained an investigator. The U.S. Forest Service warned campers to look out for marijuana growers, who can be identified by "tortilla packaging, beer cans, Spam, tuna, Tecate beer cans," and the sound of Spanish music. "When I go camping," said an immigrant-rights activist, "I'll be sure to play nothing but Bruce Springsteen." Twin monkeys in Oregon were born to two mothers by means of a new technique that will one day allow for a child to have three parents. IBM took a picture of a solitary molecule, and scientists at CalTech found that the amygdala regulates our sense of personal space.