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Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination for the 2012 presidential race at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Times have changed, and so have I,” said Obama in his acceptance speech. “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.” Obama drew 35.7 million television viewers, 5.4 million more than did Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention one week earlier, but 2.7 million fewer than for his 2008 acceptance speech. Hundreds demonstrated against Charlotte’s financial industry, and 25 protesters were arrested, as was a local man who tweeted that he would “hit president Obama with that Lee Harvey Oswald swag.” Bill Clinton spoke at the convention for 49 minutes, praising Obama’s health care reforms, economic policies, and ethic of cooperation. “If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility,” said Clinton, “you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.” “I actually thought parts of the Clinton speech were eerily anti-Obama,” said Newt Gingrich, “if you just listened to the subtext.” Hours after G.O.P. nominee Mitt Romney called the Democratic Party “out of touch” for excising references to God from its platform, convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa put to a voice vote the reinsertion of those references as well as the affirmation that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but had to repeat the vote twice before ruling in favor of the amendment. “That’s nice to know,” said Villaraigosa of assertions by reporters that they did not hear the required two-thirds support. “I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.” An anonymous self-described hacker who claimed to have stolen Mitt Romney’s tax returns demanded a ransom of $1 million in Bitcoins, and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offered a $1 million reward for the release of the returns. The Original Condom Company was fined $12,600 for falsely advertising that its Malaysian-made prophylactics were produced in the French town of Condom.
Israel granted asylum to two women and a teenaged boy from a group of 21 Eritrean refugees it had kept for a week behind a barbed-wire fence with no food; the other 18 returned to Egypt, where previous refugees have been kidnapped and murdered by Bedouin traffickers. Iraqi vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, who fled the country last year, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in absentia. In Yalvac, Turkey, a woman repeatedly shot a man who had raped her, including in his genitals, before decapitating him and leaving his head in the village square. “That is the head,” the woman reportedly said as she was arrested, “of one who toyed with my honor.” Colombian drug trafficker Griselda Blanco, “the queen of cocaine,” was fatally shot as she left a butcher’s shop in Medellín; a Nigerian man was taken into custody in Lagos airport for attempting to smuggle several pounds of cocaine stuffed inside roast chickens; and in Mombris, Germany, police ordered a 74-year-old farmer to plow over a field of ten-foot cannabis stalks he had mistakenly grown instead of sunflowers. An Ohio teenager caught in an overflowing creek passed through a two-foot-wide drainpipe and 1,500 feet of sewer pipe before emerging largely unharmed, and an 83-year-old woman swimming in a Virginia lake was attacked by a rabid beaver. The Yangtze River turned red.
Police grounded a flight from Philadelphia to Dallas after receiving a prank tip, made by the new boyfriend of a passenger’s ex-girlfriend, that the passenger was carrying explosives; upon arriving in Dallas hours later, the man was arrested on drug-possession charges. Researchers determined that microcredit loans deter Indian witch hunters, that watching reruns can be motivational, and that African Americans who are under stress retain too much sodium. The U.S. Department of Agriculture disclosed that in June a record-high 47 million Americans used food stamps. Honduras announced that it was developing three privately owned cities, an Iranian inventor reportedly created a perfume that can mask the smell of gunpowder, and McDonald’s opened its first vegetarian restaurant, in Amritsar, India. Ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s filed suit against the creators of the pornographic video series Ben & Cherry’s, claiming trademark infringement by such films as Boston Cream Thigh and Peanut Butter D-Cup, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who went hang-gliding in a white jumpsuit to train Siberian cranes bred in captivity to migrate south, condemned a notorious protest orgy but reflected on its perks. “Some fans of group sex say that’s it better than one-on-one,” Putin said, “because, as with any collective work, you can skive off.”
More from Justin Stone:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”