Weekly Review — November 22, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

Egyptian troops killed at least 30 people and wounded at least 1,250 when demonstrators descended on Cairo’s Tahrir Square following an attempt by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to delay a presidential election and increase the military’s power under Egypt’s forthcoming constitution. The country’s interim civilian cabinet submitted its resignation, and a Supreme Council spokesman urged protesters to consider the damage they were doing to the economy. “There is an invisible hand in the square,” he said, “causing a rift between the army and the people.”MSNBCNew York TimesNew York TimesA police officer at the University of California, Davis was suspended after casually pepper-spraying a row of seated Occupy protesters who were blockading their tents; Seattle police pepper-sprayed an 84-year-old woman, a priest, and a pregnant teenager while clearing Occupy Seattle; and New York City police swept into Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park with noise cannons and Klieg lights, forcing out Occupy Wall Street protesters. Police vans obscured street-level views of the operation, the airspace above lower Manhattan was closed to news helicopters, and a half-dozen reporters were arrested. In a press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said health and safety concerns took precedence over free speech. “New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself,” he said. “What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.” Two days later, as thousands of protesters marched past the New York Stock Exchange, Bloomberg spent the morning tweeting about the dangers of tobacco.Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostNew YorkerGuardianJosh SternsNew York TimesGuardianTwitterTwitterTwitter

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho was charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama after it was discovered he had fired nine rounds at the White House, cracking a window, while the First Family was out of town. In an “Oprah” audition tape uncovered by journalists, Ortega-Hernandez said, “I am the modern-day Jesus Christ that you all have been waiting for,” and, “When humans party, they party hard.”AP via New York TimesNew York MagazineBrazilian troops took control of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela, to clean it up in advance of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. In the middle of the slum, police searched a mansion belonging to Sandro Luiz de Paula Amorim, a kingpin in the Friends of Friends drug gang, and found a copy of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.”AP via Yahoo NewsIn China, where officials presented Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin with the Confucius Peace Prize for his “iron hand and toughness” during the Second Chechen War, a nine-seat van packed with 62 kindergartners collided with a truck, killing at least 18 children.NY TimesAP via MSNBCA signed copy of alleged child molester and former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s memoir, “Touched,” sold on eBay for $510.eBayMichele Bachmann shared her family’s Thanksgiving pie preferences with reporters, while Herman Cain discussed his pizza preferences. “My husband likes French silk,” said Bachmann, “so if he’s really good, he gets French silk.” “The more toppings a man has on his pizza, the more manly he is,” said Cain, adding, “A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.”US NewsGQPETA requested that Turkey, Texas, change its name to Tofurky in time for Thanksgiving, offering in exchange meals of Tofurky with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes with vegan margarine, and vegan apple pie with non-dairy ice cream. “We are insulted,” said one Turkey resident. “We like Turkey. We are proud to be Turkey.”PETAConnect Amarillo

Moody’s downgraded its outlook on Pilgrim’s Pride, Congress determined that tomato paste was a vegetable, a man in California was arrested after skinning and eating a bobcat while high on meth, and sailors on the USS George H. W. Bush continued to look for a working toilet.Business WeekAP via MSNBCSan Jose Mercury NewsUPIThe Dutch convened history’s biggest Zumba class, and the Irish assembled the largest-ever group of people dressed as leprechauns.ReutersKarl Slover, one of four surviving Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” died at the age of 93.AP via Access AtlantaA great horned owl named Dakota was kidnapped from a rehabilitation center in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. “He’s very talkative,” said the center’s director, “for an owl.”Milwaukee Journal SentinelIn Switzerland, where dolphins Shadow and Chelmers were fatally injured during a rave, scientists concluded that bumblebees eat their colonies’ feces to protect themselves from the intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi.Daily MailDiscoverSaudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice claimed the right to detain women whose eyes were too tempting, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority demanded that the country’s wireless carriers block text messages containing any of 1,500 expressions including the English terms “fatso,” “barf-face,” “strap-on,” “cyber slimer,” “ass puppies,” “monkey crotch,” “finger food,” and “axing the weasel,” and an Urdu phrase meaning “sweat of a lizard’s pubic hair.” “Nobody,” said PTA spokesman Mohammed Younis, “would like this happening to their young boy or girl.”Bikya MasrBBCThe GuardianThe World

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For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.

One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.

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