Weekly Review — September 24, 2012, 6:19 pm

Weekly Review

eye_350x382 Mother Jones magazine posted online a leaked video in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tells guests at a fundraising dinner that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on federal aid and see themselves as victims. “My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney says. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney also reminds guests that his father was born in Mexico: “Had he been born of Mexican parents I’d have a better shot of winning this,” he says. “I say that jokingly, but it’d be helpful to be Latino.”[1] Two days later, Romney was accused of appearing in “brownface” for an interview on the Spanish-language TV channel Univision. “If we can’t win this election,” said Obama campaign co-chairman Ted Strickland, “God help us.”[2][3] As violent protests against an American film mocking the prophet Muhammad spread throughout the Muslim world, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo published cartoons depicting the prophet naked, including one captioned MUHAMMAD: A STAR IS BORN, in which a prostrating man displays his genitals and anus. “What are we supposed to do when there’s news like this?” asked editor-in-chief Gérard Biard. “Are we supposed to not do that news?”[4][5] The French government closed schools, embassies, consulates, and cultural centers in 20 countries, Interior Minister Manuel Valls banned domestic demonstrations, and the Louvre opened a new wing dedicated to Islamic art.[6][7] In Pakistan, at least 20 people were killed at rallies honoring a new national holiday, Love for the Prophet Day.[8][9] Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued that America’s protection of derogatory religious imagery as free speech is “clearly a deception,” and Iran’s government planned to block access to Google and build the country’s own internet.[10] A court ordered New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display controversial ads sponsored by conservative blogger Pamela Geller in the subway system. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” read the ads. “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” “We recognize the free-speech issues,” said a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “And her right to be a bigot and a racist.”[11]

Belarus held a parliamentary election in which opponents of notoriously corrupt President Alexander Lukashenko urged constituents not to bother voting and suggested instead that they pick mushrooms or make beetroot soup.[12] Singer Fiona Apple threatened to expose the perpetrators of “inappropriate and probably illegal” treatment she claimed to have received in a Texas jail after being arrested for possession of hash. “I’ll make you fucking famous anytime you ask,” said Apple. “Honey,” replied Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Rusty Fleming, “I’m already more famous than you.”[13] Pink Floyd’s old house was put up for sale, and former Duran Duran bassist John Taylor told the press he had decided to start thinking of himself as middle-aged. “It was actually a really good decision to make,” said Taylor, “because I’d been feeling like a very tired young man.”[14][15] British researchers found that a significant percentage of headaches are caused by pain-relief medication, climatologists explained that the hole in the ozone layer keeps Antarctic ice from melting, and a police officer from the South Pacific nation of Kiribati claimed that a shark saved his life while he was stranded at sea.[16][17][18] The Teachers Foundation of Malaysia began hosting seminars for parents and educators on how to spot homosexual tendencies, noting that gay men favor V-necks and “big handbags,” and an Italian study revealed that penis size has shrunk by 10 percent in the past 50 years. “Has to be the feminazis,” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh of the statistic. “I mean, the chickification, everything else.”[19][20][21]

Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced that a fourth-century scrap of papyrus given to her by an anonymous donor contains a line written in Coptic in which Jesus, heretofore believed to be unmarried, refers to “my wife.” “There are thousands of scraps of papyrus,” said Coptic linguist Wolf-Peter Funk, “where you find crazy things.”[22] An Akron, Ohio, woman revealed that she had been married unknowingly for several years to her own father, and in Sweden two women were implanted with their mothers’ wombs.[23][24] Less than an hour after giant panda Mei Xiang sounded a distress honk in her den at the Smithsonian zoo, her cub died unexpectedly. “We’re going to make it a point,” said one visitor, “to buy as [many] panda things as we possibly can today.”[25] A man who was mauled by a tiger and suffered a collapsed lung and broke a shoulder, a rib, an ankle, and his pelvis after jumping from the monorail into the tiger den at the Bronx Zoo was charged with trespassing. “The tiger,” said the zoo’s director, “did nothing wrong in this episode.”[26][27] Two hunters, one in Utah and another in Bordeaux, France, were shot by their own dogs. “It wasn’t the dog’s fault,” said the French sportsman, whose hand had to be amputated. “He’s adorable!”[28] In Largo, Florida, a woman named Hope O’Kelley pieced together $300 that her beagle had eaten out of her purse following “relentless” scrutiny of his excrement. “We found a pile of vomit,” said O’Kelley, “and I was like, ‘Yes.’”[29][30]

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Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

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Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

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