Magazine August 10, 2009, Issue

Summertime Blues

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The thing one always hears about the long school summer vacation is that it is a relic of the time when farmers needed the youngsters to help bring in the harvest. Historians, however, pooh-pooh this. Fear of summertime disease transmission, unavailability of air conditioning, and downward influence from the vacation habits of the rich seem to have had more to do with it.

Whatever its origins, the summer vacation is now a fixture in our culture. Ever since our teachers’ unions armed themselves with thermonuclear weapons and captured one of our major political parties, it is likely to remain so, though

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Of course Obama hasn’t read the health-care bill — he’s probably still working his way through the stimulus.

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