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With a blue “Tedstrong” bracelet around his wrist and 22 pens (19 to be handed out as souvenirs, two for posterity, and one for himself), President Barack Obama signed a health-care reform bill that will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. “This is a big fucking deal,” said Vice President Joe Biden. Republican lawmakers, not one of whom voted to pass the law, were outraged. Corey Poitier, a Florida GOP candidate for Congress, compared Obama to a Little Rascal: “Listen up, Buckwheat. This is not how it is done!” Poitier, who is black, defended the remark. “People love Buckwheat,” he said, then looked at his palms to prove he wasn’t racist. “This isn’t a spray tan. This is real.”NYTGawkerCBS NewsSarah Palin urged her supporters to act, Tweeting “Don’t retreat, insteadâ??RELOAD!” A propane line was cut at the house of Representative Tom Perriello’s (D., Va.) brother after right-wing bloggers mistakenly identified the home as that of the congressman; a coffin was left in front of Representative Russ Carnahan’s (D., Mo.) house; a Minnesota congresswoman received a letter containing an unwrapped condom and reading, “Betty McCollum, you’ve been dry fucked by the liberal party”; and an anonymous caller told the anti-abortion Representative Bart Stupak (D., Mich.), “I hope you bleed out your ass, got cancer and die, you motherfucker.”TwitterNYT via APWCBSTVPoliticoCNNFox NewsPoliticoA Texas newborn with a heart defect was denied health insurance because of his pre-existing condition.Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Documents surfaced showing that when Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich in 1980, he was notified that a pedophile priest receiving psychiatric care in the Munich archdiocese would be returned to pastoral duties, and that in 1996 (when he headed the Vatican’s disciplinary office) he chose not to defrock a Wisconsin priest who had molested 200 deaf boys after the priest requested “to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood.” NYTNYTA California man in possession of a “huge, staggering stash” of child pornography and hundreds of Chuck-E-Cheese game tokens was arrested, as was an Indiana man who entered a supermarket and stabbed packages of hamburger meat to “save young girls from the beef.”KTLA.comWTHR NewsA pair of 300-year-old dildos sold for more than $5,000 at a British auction.BBCNewly released reports on the Internet porn usage of Securities and Exchange Commission employees revealed that while at work financial regulators had viewed such sites as trannytit.com, erectionphotos.com, and scatmen.com.GawkerThe Pentagon announced that changes to the enforcement of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law would make it more difficult to expel gay soldiers from the military. The Marine Corps commandant, General James Conway, announced he wouldn’t want gay and straight Marines to share rooms. “I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that’s homosexual if we can possibly avoid it,” he said.NYTCNNZimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, political rivals, agreed that gay rights had no place in the country’s constitution. “Why should a man seek to have a relationship with another man,” Tsvangirai asked, “when women make up 52 percent of the population?”NYT
Female suicide bombers blew themselves up in two Moscow subway stations, killing dozens of people. “I remember,” said Kirill Gribov, who survived the attack, “a cloud of gas coming from the wrecked train in front of us, colored in pink, maybe because of blood.”NYTPresident Obama announced a new arms-control treaty with Russia, under which he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to reduce their countries’ deployed nuclear warheads by one third.WhiteHouse.goveThe Indian military planned to make grenades out of the bhut jolokia, the world’s spiciest chili pepper, and British intelligence claimed Al Qaeda was equipping female suicide bombers with nearly undetectable, exploding breast implants.APFox NewsFox’s “24″ was canceled.The Hollywood ReporterThe city of Beijing announced the installation of 100 high-powered deodorant cannons at the Asuwei dump site to counteract landfill odor; Minnesota businesses that remove canine waste from people’s lawns were thriving since the thaw, with some yards yielding “hundreds of pounds of dog poop”; and paleontologists used 79-million-year-old fossilized dung to confirm the existence of Deinosuchus, a 29-foot prehistoric crocodile that ate sea turtles and dinosaurs.GuardianSt. Paul Pioneer PressNational GeographicDairy farmer Tony Goltstein worried Indiana environmental officials and his neighbors by proposing to take a paddleboat into his manure lagoon and use a Swiss Army knife to pop gas-filled bubbles as big as small houses. “If that thing back there blows,” said next-door neighbor Allen Hutchinson, “God help us all for miles.”WSJ
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
â€śThe triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), â€śthe rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversityâ€ťÂ â€” what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Scienceâ€™s crisis of faith