Weekly Review — November 8, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

Greek prime minister George Papandreou agreed to step down following a week in which he proposed a referendum on EU measures to save his country’s collapsing economy, narrowly won a confidence vote, retracted his referendum proposal, and signed a coalition deal to approve the bailout. “I am not tied to my chair,” said Papandreou. ReutersCNNReutersGuardianAmid sex scandals and corruption allegations, and ahead of a key budget vote, Silvio Berlusconi denied rumors he would step down as Italian prime minister. Berlusconi was also reported to have delayed the release of his Greek-folk-influenced album, “True Love,” over concerns about the European financial crisis. Available online was the lead track, “Music,” which begins, “Listen to these songs, they are for you/ Listen to them when you have a thirst for caresses/ Sing them when you are hungry for tenderness.”LA TimesGuardianG.O.P. presidential contender Herman Cain responded to allegations of sexual harassment in front of the National Press Club, saying he “would be delighted to clear the air” and singing the gospel song “He Looked Beyond My Faults.”Washington PostThe StrangerFollowing speculation Texas governor Rick Perry might have been drunk or otherwise impaired during a speech he giggled and meandered through in Manchester, New Hampshire, Perry said he??d “felt good” when he spoke. “This is such a cool state,” he said during the speech. “I mean, come on, ??Live Free or Die??? You gotta love that, right? I come from a state where they had this little place called the Alamo, and they declared ??Victory or death.?? You know, we??re kinda into those slogans, man, it??s like ??Live Free or Die,?? ??Victory or death,?? bring it!”CBS NewsFor the second time in ten years, Congress reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the national motto. “Is God God?” asked Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) during the House debate. “Or is man God?”Washington Post

Two and a half million Muslims began the annual hajj pilgrimage from the holy city of Mecca to Mount Arafat; an American company introduced ArKay, the world??s first alcohol-free “halal” whiskey; and the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed following its publication of a cover featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed saying “100 lashes if you??re not dying of laughter.”Raw StoryDaily MailCNNNewfoundland lieutenant-governor John Crosbie apologized for telling a joke in which a caller to a suicide hotline in Pakistan is asked whether he can drive a truck, and an Iranian judiciary official said that two of his country??s soccer players, accused of inappropriate celebratory behavior after one pressed his hand between the other??s buttocks following a goal, may be publicly lashed on the field where the incident took place. “When I was playing in Germany,” said former national-team member Mehdi Mahdavikia of the groping, “such things happened all the time.”Globe and MailWashington PostTexas state representative Larry Taylor (R.) explained the compensation process for windstorm victims by saying, “Don??t nitpick, don??t try to Jew them down,” adding, “That??s probably a bad term.”Mother JonesAfter being declared “tobacco free” by his physician, President Barack Obama was reportedly observed chewing nicotine gum at the G-20 summit in Cannes, while scientists at Columbia University discovered that nicotine causes changes in gene regulation that enhance subsequent responses to cocaine, lending credence to the notion of “gateway drugs.” “People think it??s backed by conservative movements to make a case for making marijuana illegal,” said researcher Amir Levine, “when it is simply the sequence of adolescent drug use as found in epidemiological studies.”USA TodayUSA TodayScientific American

Former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine resigned as head of MF Global, the recently bankrupted securities firm now under investigation by the FBI. With some $600 million in MF Global investor funds still unaccounted for, Corzine declined a $12 million severance package and hired a criminal-defense lawyer.Washington PostBusiness InsiderDiscount service Groupon launched the most successful Internet IPO since Google, netting $700 million; Bank of America dropped plans to charge debit-card users a $5 monthly fee; and a nine-foot-tall, 900-pound, $900,000 statue of Ronald Reagan debuted at the airport named after him in Washington, D.C.AP via NPRPublic Radio InternationalGuardianRaw StoryHacker collective Anonymous threatened the Mexican Zeta drug cartel, Kenya tweeted warnings to nine Somali towns harboring members of the terrorist group al-Shabab before launching attacks, and Detroit Lions fans campaigned online for the cancellation of Canadian rock band Nickelback??s halftime performance at the team??s Thanksgiving game.BBCBBCGlobe and MailPETA sued SeaWorld, claiming the marine-park chain is violating the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to a PETA spokesperson, performing whales Corky, Kasatka, Katina, Tilikum, and Ulises “are denied freedom and everything else that is natural and important to them while kept in small concrete tanks and reduced to performing stupid tricks.”Sky NewsNicholas Modrich and Jamie Hughes of Snellville, Georgia, denied police reports that they had fed LSD to their dog, Oscar, who died after being hit by a car while they were tripping. “When [Modrich] went outside naked, I went chasing after him,” said Hughes. “I think that??s when the dog got out.”Smoking GunWSB-TV

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

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