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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:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature