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Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared the winner of the election to succeed ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, thereby becoming the country’s first democratically elected leader. Tens of thousands of Egyptians celebrated the announcement in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where they had assembled to protest recent decrees by the country’s high court and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that dissolved parliament, implemented martial law, and stripped the presidency of most of its powers. “The onus now is on the new president to unite the nation,” said a military source, “and to rebuild the country economically and politically.” Protesters vowed to continue occupying the square until parliament was reinstated, and analysts expressed skepticism that Morsi, who earned the nickname “spare tire” during the campaign, would be able to govern effectively. “Meet Egypt’s next non-president,” said one scholar. Egyptian media reported that Mubarak was comatose, on life support, clinically dead, and much improved. In Pakistan, the chief justice of the supreme court fired the prime minister and dismantled the country’s cabinet. In Paraguay, Congress fast-tracked impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo and voted to remove him from office. In Greece, it was announced that newly elected prime minister Antonis Samaras and his incoming finance minister would miss an upcoming European Union summit because of eye surgery and hospitalization for fainting, respectively. Greece was defeated by Germany in the quarterfinals of the Euro 2012 soccer championship. “Without Angie,” chanted Germany’s fans, referring to German chancellor Angela Merkel, “you wouldn’t be here.”
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts related to his sexual abuse of ten boys. After the jury was sequestered, Sandusky’s youngest son revealed that he had also been sexually abused by his father. North Carolina’s state legislature aborted plans to compensate victims of the state’s forced-sterilization program. “If you start compensating people who have been victimized by past history,” explained a state senator, “I don’t know where that would end.” An online weapons dealer who sold a handgun and other equipment used in three U.S. mass shootings since 2007 was found to have ceased operations; the Florida police chief who failed to arrest George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin was fired; and Ron Barber, the former congressional aide who almost died in the shooting that wounded Gabrielle Giffords, assumed her seat in the House of Representatives. A House panel voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to divulge documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-trafficking investigation during which federal agents lost track of more than 2,000 weapons that were eventually obtained by drug cartels. The Mexican government accidentally arrested a used-car-dealership employee it had misidentified as the son of the country’s top fugitive drug lord, and a New Mexico district judge ruled legal Southwest Companions, a prostitution website run by a retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor and a former president of the University of New Mexico. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5–4 to reverse a Montana Supreme Court decision preventing the Citizens United decision from being applied to state campaign-finance laws, and struck down several key provisions of a controversial Arizona immigration law while sustaining a requirement that law-enforcement officials review the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. “I would have preferred,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of the Arizona decision, “to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less.”
Romney turned down an invitation to speak at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a Politico reporter was suspended for saying Romney is comfortable only around white people. The Vatican hired a Fox News correspondent as a media adviser. A Wisconsin woman attacked her husband for having copies of The Onion newspaper in his car, and a Massachusetts cyclist was attacked by a man wielding sausage links. Some 20 Zimbabwean legislators were circumcised in the country’s parliament building, and President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade, known in Zimbabwe as “Bob and the Wailers,” was involved in its third fatal crash of the past two weeks, smashing into a commuter bus and killing at least one person. “It was a minor crash& we regret death of few who died,” tweeted a spokesman for Mugabe’s political party. An online campaign to create a vacation fund for a Rochester, New York, school-bus monitor who was seen being verbally abused by teenage boys in a widely circulated cell-phone video raised about $600,000, while a thank-you campaign for the man who organized the fund raised $4,000. A Michigan lawmaker who was barred from speaking on the floor of the state legislature after she used the word “vagina” during debate performed The Vagina Monologues on the statehouse steps, and a Chinese TV news program apologized for reporting the discovery of a rare double-headed mushroom known as taisui lingzhi after the object was revealed to have been an artificial vagina and anus. “Our reporter is still very young and unwise to the ways of the world,” read the show’s apology. Confusion was found to be beneficial to learning.
More from Jacob Z. Gross:
Weekly Review — July 29, 2014, 8:00 am
The quixotic quest for a Gaza ceasefire; West African doctors face mortal peril; and Russian gecko porn, restored
Weekly Review — June 17, 2014, 8:00 am
ISIS launches a major offensive in Iraq, the 2014 World Cup begins, and Florida keeps on being Florida
Weekly Review — April 29, 2014, 8:00 am
The U.S. Supreme Court and L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling remark on race and opportunity, the FCC prepares to end net neutrality, and white supremacists propagandize children’s Easter eggs
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”