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The House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 220 to 215, a $1.1 trillion health-care bill that requires employers to provide insurance coverage or face a tax penalty, expands Medicaid coverage, establishes a government-run insurance plan, and blocks the use of federal insurance subsidies for abortions. “A lot of Blue Dogs in this country,” said Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, “are going to have a lot of ‘splaining to do.” Protesters outside the Capitol chanted “Kill the bill,” and fat activists voiced concerns about the bill’s “weight-loss agenda.”New York TimesCNNNew York TimesFox NewsRepublicans were voted in as governors in Virginia and New Jersey but lost one House seat in New York. “The Republican renaissance has begun!” said Steele. “If you don’t think last night was sweet, you need to go see a doctor!”New York TimesWashington PostVoters in Maine blocked same-sex marriage. “We all know we were the little guy going up against the big guy,” said Marc Mutty of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, “but we prevailed.”Bangor Daily NewsAfter forcing legislation to end term limits and spending $90 million of his personal fortune–fourteen times the budget of his Democratic opponent–Michael Bloomberg won a third term as mayor of New York.New York TimesWithout term limits, said former president Bill Clinton, “I would have stayed until I was carried away in a coffin. Or defeated in an election.”ReutersA woman in South Korea passed her driving test on the 950th try.BBC
The Department of Labor announced that more than one in ten Americans are now officially unemployed, with the figure rising to one in six if the underemployed are included.New York TimesThe FBI searched for a serial “granddad bandit” who has robbed nine banks since April; police recovered over 1,000 pieces of luggage stolen from a Phoenix airport; and Los Angeles customs agents recovered a 1965 VW bus stolen from a dealership in Spokane, Washington, in 1975.CNNCNNCNNFannie Mae asked for another $15 billion in aid from the federal government, and AIG posted a quarterly profit of $92 million.MarketwatchBBCThe value of the virtual goods market (such as “gifts” on Facebook and costumes for avatars) was estimated at $5 billion. “The marginal cost for every one you sell is zero,” said one Silicon Valley venture capitalist. “So you have 100 percent margins.” New York TimesA laser-beam-powered robot ascended a half-mile cable dangling from a helicopter to win $2 million.Washington PostA Japanese firm designed spectacles that can project translations onto the wearer’s retinas,BBCand a graduate student in California unveiled a hat that pokes you in the head if you don’t smile.NY Daily NewsA study found that children who receive tough love are more likely to be successful, and an 11-year-old Bulgarian girl gave birth on her wedding day. “I’m not going to play with toys any more,” she said. “I have a new toy now.”BBC NewsDaily Telegraph
An army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, upset that he was about to be deployed to Iraq, killed 12 people and wounded 31 at the Fort Hood, Texas, military base before he was shot and subdued by police.ABC newsJason Rodriguez, an unemployed man in Florida, entered the engineering firm where he used to work and shot six people, killing one, then drove to his mother’s house, where he was arrested. “I’m just going through a tough time right now,” he told a police officer. “I’m sorry.”Washington PostA bear in Kashmir killed two militant separatists who were hiding in his den, and Dolores, Bianca, and Lolita, three bears at a German zoo, went bald.BBCBBCA couple in Oklahoma City, driving home from church, narrowly missed hitting an elephant that had escaped from the circus. “At the very last second,” related the driver, “I said, ‘Elephant!’”Boston GlobeA man in Wales was jailed for using cameras hidden in smoke detectors to spy on the people who rented his cottage, and a shop assistant at a Christian bookstore in California was arrested for placing a hidden camera in the bookstore bathroom. BBCMetro UKA bricklayer in Brazil, mistaken for the victim of a car crash, attended his own funeral.CNNSeven members of the endangered Amazonian Yanomami tribe died of swine flu,BBCand British archeologists said that excessive logging of the Peruvian hurango tree probably caused the collapse of the Nazca society 1,500 years ago. BBCAnthropologist and philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss died at age 100. “The world began without the human race,” he once wrote, “and will certainly end without it.”Bloomberg
More from Genevieve Smith:
From the May 2014 issue
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”