View Full Version : Harpers summary for the week of 3/1/10

03-02-2010, 06:03 PM
An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile, killing at least 700 people and displacing more than 2 million. At least 100 aftershocks followed, including one that measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, and a Pacific-wide tsunami alert was issued for the first 24 hours after the quake. A four-inch wave struck Japan. Heavy downpours (beginning several weeks before Haiti's traditional rainy season) triggered floods that killed at least eight Haitians; storm system Xynthia killed more than 45 people in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and France; and following a blizzard that left New York City covered with more than 2 feet of snow, a 46-year-old busboy was killed when a snow-laden tree branch snapped and fell on his head. The five-foot-tall Taylor Glacier in Antarctica was spewing a blood-red waterfall. Democrats and Republicans met for the first-ever health-care summit, a televised event that ran well past its scheduled six hours and in which lawmakers, led by President Barack Obama, debated the merits of health-care legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) complained that Democrats were being given more time to speak, a point Obama conceded. "You're right," he said, "there was an imbalance on the opening statements because I'm the president." Senator John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), an orthopedic surgeon, argued that the public would make better health-care decisions if citizens had catastrophic coverage that required them to pay for most health services out of pocket. "Would you feel the same way if you were making $40,000?" asked President Obama. California's state assembly passed a resolution to make the first week of March a "cuss-free" week.

A new jobs bill, calling for tax exemptions for businesses and $20 billion in transportation funds, passed in the Senate with the support of many Republican senators, including the newly elected Scott Brown of Massachusetts,and was sent to the House. The Senate failed, however, to extend unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans who are set to lose them next month, an outcome in large part due to Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning's blocking of the vote during a debate that went until midnight. Complained Bunning: "I have missed the Kentucky - South Carolina game that started at 9:00." Two thousand federal transportation workers were furloughed without pay. Scientists determined that a mid-day nap boosts learning power. Former president George W. Bush, who was scheduled to reunite with Dick Cheney at the inaugural breakfast for the Bush - Cheney Alumni Association, instead visited the former vice president at his home after Cheney's fifth heart attack left him incapacitated. "Lookin' good," Bush told Cheney. Later, at the Alumni Association event, Bush commented on his legacy, telling attendees, "No Child Left Behind was the most advanced civil rights legislation since the Voting Rights Act." California's Negrohead Mountain (whose original name was changed in the 1960s to make it less offensive) was renamed Ballard Mountain, after John Ballard, a blacksmith and former slave. A British man admitted to beheading his family's slave. One of Marie Osmond's eight children committed suicide, and Lieutenant Kermit Tyler, the Army pilot who said, "Don't worry about it," when servicemen told him on December 7, 1941, that a large squadron of planes was approaching Hawaii, died. Researchers reported that 74-year-old people are the happiest.

In search of a signature stench for its SAW Alive (billed as the world's most extreme live-action horror maze), a British theme park was offering a $500 cash prize to the person who submitted the foulest-smelling urine sample. A Florida woman live-tweeted her abortion. "Definitely bleeding now," read one tweet. Scientists discovered the first monogamous amphibian, the mimic poison frog. An Italian chef's television show was canceled after he shared a recipe for cat, telling viewers that the feline meat could be tenderized by running spring water over it for three days, and the Israeli Defense Forces destroyed a Gaza zoo, killing its animals, including a pregnant camel and a monkey mother and her baby, who were hiding in a pot. A California grandmother survived being shot in the chest at close range when the bullet became lodged in her size-D breast implants, and Samantha Lynn Frazier, a thirty-five-year-old woman on vacation in Atlantic City, survived being shot in the abdomen because of her love handles. "I'd been hollering how I want to lose weight," she said. "I don't want to lose weight anymore. I want to be as big as I can if it's going to stop a bullet." While audiences watched, a 40-year-old Sea World trainer drowned after Tilikum, a 22-foot orca that has been linked to two other deaths, pulled the woman into the water. "This," said Richard Ellis, a marine conservationist, "was premeditated."