Weekly Review — November 9, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]
An American cattleman.

Republicans took control of the House after picking up 60 seats in midterm elections, the largest gain in the House since 1948. Democrats maintained control of the Senate (though they lost six seats), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not lose to Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle. “Harry Reid isn’t just Dracula. He isn’t just Lazarus; he’s our leader,” said Senator John Kerry. “Our whole caucus is thrilled that he’s unbreakable and unbeatable.”TimeNew York TimesThree Iowa Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage were voted out of office, and exit polls suggested that 31 percent of self-identified homosexuals and bisexuals voted Republican.Washington PostWashington PostMSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann without pay for contributing $2,400 to the campaigns of three Democrats; the Republican National Committee showed its support for Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become the Minority Leader by hanging above their entrance a “Hire Pelosi” banner; and on election night in Long Island, a retired New York policeman and his sons beat a 38-year-old Turkish immigrant with American flags, telling the recently naturalized man to “get out of my country.” New York TimesTalking Points MemoNew York Pos “It would be hard to argue that weâ??re going backwards,” said President Barack Obama after the elections. “I think what you can argue is weâ??re stuck in neutral.”New York Times

U.S. unemployment remained at 9.6 percent, despite the addition of 151,000 jobs in October.New York TimesObama and First Lady Michelle began a 10-day tour of Asia (with stops in India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan), touted as an “economic mission” to convince foreign markets to import American goods. In India, the couple checked into the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, the primary site of terrorist attacks two years ago, and staff at Bombay’s Gandhi museum took precautions to keep Obama safe on his visit. “We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building,” said the museum’s executive director Meghsyam Ajgaonkar. “Why take a chance?” New York TimesTimeThe Eighth Sex Culture Festival, in Guangzhou, China, featured a blow-up doll screen-printed with Obama’s face.The TelegraphMount Merapi, a volcano on the border between the Indonesian provinces of Central Java and Yogyakarta, erupted, killing at least 64 people, forcing airlines to ground their planes, requiring some 75,000 to relocate, and inspiring Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to announce that if farmers from affected villages promised not to go home, the government would buy all of their cattle. BBCIrish citizens, faced with high unemployment, were upset by the announcement that their government would give away chunks of cheese to the poor. “It’s about how they’re going to tell their children or grandchildren that Santa has very little money,” said one Irish man in response to the plan. “What are they going to tell their children and grandchildren: that Santa has cheese instead?”The GuardianA McDonald’s Happy Meal photographed every day for six months showed no signs of decomposing.Daily Mail

Glenn Little, better known as Frosty the Clown, one of only four Ringling Brothers clowns to be deemed a “master clown,” died at the age of 84.New York TimesA teenage belly dancer who was given a diamond bracelet and more than $19,000 by Silvio Berlusconi revealed that the Italian prime minister has a marble statue of himself as Superman, and two years after hiring a waste-disposal company to search through 12,000 gallons of sewage, a British woman was reunited with the diamond ring she had flushed down the toilet. “Two of the smaller diamonds had fallen out,” said company employee Jule French, “but apart from that, it was just in need of a good clean.”Daily MailAnanovaPolish coffin makers Lindner released a 2011 calendar featuring caskets alongside sexy models dressed in lingerie, and a West Virginia woman was charged with assault for brandishing a knife at her former husband and his friend after they refused to perform oral sex on her. The friend told police that he had originally agreed but declined after being “overwhelmed” by her “horrible vaginal odor.” Orange NewsThe Smoking GunA Zimbabwean man on safari was eaten by a pride of lions while showering, a caged bear in Azerbaijan died after being forced to sit in its own excrement, drink cola, and eat leftover sandwiches, and a female boa constrictor had multiple virgin births, producing 22 baby snakes with no father. BBCThe SunBBCArtist Jiri Boudnik, who was born in the Czech Republic but lived for decades in the United States, returned to his birth country to perform his art show: painting Czech flags on women’s crotches while listening to a string quartet perform patriotic music. “This, I hope, will answer many questions for people about where they come from,” said Boudnik. “They come from that space between the legs that was home to us all.” Orange News

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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