View Full Version : Harpers summary for the week of 9/5.09

10-06-2009, 10:32 AM
The International Monetary Fund said that the global economy was improving and that banks would probably have to absorb another $1.5 trillion in losses in addition to the $1.3 trillion already written off. There remained, the IMF said, "risk of a reintensification of the adverse feedback loop between the real and financial sectors." At Anadolu University in Istanbul, a student threw a white Nike shoe at IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and shouted, "Get out of the university, IMF thief!" U.S. unemployment rose to 9.8 percent, underemployment rose to 17 percent, and the average American workweek shrank by six minutes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, raising its earlier estimates, reported that eight million jobs had vanished in the recession so far, the largest mass layoff since the end of World War II. "This is what a recovery looks like," said former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Ninety-nine of the hundred largest metropolitan areas had lost jobs in the past year. The exception was the area around McAllen, Texas, a border town where per-capita income is $12,000 and the incidence of heavy drinking is 60 percent higher than the national average. President Obama called the new jobs figures "sobering." John "Bootsie" Wilson, the last surviving member of the Silhouettes, the soul group that sang the 1958 hit "Get a Job," died. Sarah Palin announced that the co-author of her forthcoming memoir "Going Rogue" will be a fundamentalist Christian named Lynn Vincent. "Many Muslims are kind and gentle people," Vincent co-wrote in an earlier book, "but about one in ten, according to scholars who study Jihad, have declared war on our way of life." Alaskan porcupines were in heat, and David Letterman told a long joke about his affairs with coworkers. Lovebugs near Hilton Head, South Carolina, emerged en masse to mate and die.

An earthquake in Indonesia killed more than six hundred people, floods in India killed 271, a tsunami in the Samoas killed more than 160, and soldiers in Conakry, Guinea, fired on pro-democracy marchers, killing 87. "What upsets me most," said opposition leader Sidya Toure, "is that they destroyed my library." The United Kingdom opened a new Supreme Court with carpets by Sir Peter Blake, who also designed the cover of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and one hundred thirty-one walruses in northern Alaska died in a walrus stampede. Chicago's Field Museum announced that it would exhibit the body of a one-month-old woolly mammoth, possibly dislodged from Siberian permafrost by climate change, and Catholics and Episcopalians brought pets to church to be blessed, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Columnist William Safire, who called himself a language "maven"--a word of Yiddish origin, first popularized in a 1960s ad for pickled herring--died, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accidentally revealed that his original, Jewish surname is Sabourjian, Persian for "weaver of the prayer shawl."

Scientists announced the discovery of a 4.4-million-year-old hominid primate skeleton that is 1 million years older than the Australopithecus afarensis known as Lucy. The bipedal creature, named Ardi, had more useful big toes than we have. Kraft Foods agreed not to call a new mix of Vegemite and cream cheese "iSnack2.0," after Australian consumers complained. The creator of the name, said one protester, should be made to run down the street "wearing nothing but a generous lathering of old-fashioned Vegemite as retribution for his cultural crime." Chicago lost to Rio de Janeiro in a bid to host the 2016 Olympics. "If they have Obama," said soccer superstar Pele, "we have Pele." China celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the socialist People's Republic of China under the democratic dictatorship of the Communist Party and Chairman Mao, and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, under chairman Max Baucus, finished its proposed health-care reform bill, after striking down the "public option" favored by 57 percent of Americans. The Senate Finance version of the bill will now be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, then melded with a more liberal version by the Senate Health Committee, and sent to the Senate floor for debate. Elk in the Rocky Mountains were gathering their harems for mating, and tourists gathered to listen to their eerie bugling. "At the end, they let out two to three grunts and spray urine on their abdomen, chest, and neck," explained Bob Kreycik, a retired veterinarian in Loveland, Colorado. "The more they smell, the more the cows like it."