Weekly Review — November 29, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

The congressional supercommittee assigned to devise a plan for reining in the federal deficit failed to reach an agreement, triggering $1.2 trillion in budget cuts that will take effect in 2013, including cuts to defense spending and Medicare. Senate Democrats planned to follow up the failed talks by introducing $400 billion in new spending legislation over the coming weeks, while Republicans indicated that they would try to reconfigure the automatic cuts in order to spare defense programs. “The knives,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), “are over our heads.”Los Angeles TimesThe HillReuters via NBCPoliticoProtesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement ate donated Thanksgiving dinners in encampments across the country, while occupations in Philadelphia and Los Angeles faced eviction deadlines. “We??ve been sitting around, drinking coffee,” said a Philadelphia occupier. “This is bringing us back together.”CNNRaw StoryNew York TimesIn the course of Black Friday sales across the United States, police knocked a grandfather unconscious at a Walmart in Arizona and tasered a man at a Walmart in Alabama; an off-duty police officer pepper-sprayed unruly shoppers at a Walmart in North Carolina; a woman pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers to get to a discounted Xbox 360 at a Walmart in California; and customers rioted over $2 waffle irons at a Walmart in Arkansas.CNNWAFFBBCCBSWBTVAndrea True, singer of the disco song “More, More, More,” died.BBCI.B.M. noted a downward trend in the height of high-heeled shoes.New York Times

Egypt’s military installed a Mubarak-era prime minister to head the country??s interim government, fueling protests that have seen thousands of people wounded and at least 40 killed.Associated PressCNNCNNNew York TimesYemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, agreed to step down after 33 years in power, and Swazi officials denied that Queen Nothando Dube, the twelfth wife of King Mswati, was kicked out of the royal palace by the Queen Mother for pepper-spraying a guard.Associated PressBBCAn Australian hospital aborted the wrong fetal twin, and a Connecticut town accidentally elected the wrong man because of a ballot typo.BBCCBSThe FBI arrested seven Amish men for a series of beard attacks on other Amish men.Fox NewsThe bodies of 50 men were found in western Mexico, some naked and some marked with the names of drug gangs. Raw StoryThe mayor of a Peruvian coastal town said the drinking water was turning residents gay, and a Pakistani woman attempted to cook and eat her husband. “There could be two factors behind her intention to cook the husband,” explained the local police chief. “One is to destroy the evidence and the other could be her immense hatred against him.”Wisconsin GazetteAFP via Raw StoryScientists discovered a 150,000-year-old skull bearing signs of head trauma from a projectile, which would make it the earliest known evidence of violence between humans.BBC

Psychopaths were found to have uniquely structured brains.Science DailyAn English woman was found guilty of microwaving a kitten.BBCEngineers unveiled plans to create cyborg insects, and South Korean researchers were building a prison-guard robot. “We are now working on refining its details,” explained one of the scientists, “to make it look more friendly to inmates.”BBCBBCA self-proclaimed doctor was under arrest in Florida for injecting a mixture of cement, superglue, and flat-tire sealant into a woman??s buttock as part of an augmentation procedure.Miami HeraldFifteen Indian eunuchs died when a fire broke out at an annual eunuch convention in New Delhi.AFP via Express TribuneAudience members were experiencing seizures during the film “Twilight: Breaking Dawn.”CBSTwo Illinois lawmakers proposed that Chicago become a state, and Scottish students who burned Barack Obama in effigy apologized to the president.WAND TVDaily MailMitt Romney??s barber, Leon de Magistris, revealed that Romney does not use gel or dye in his hair. “I will tell him to mess it up a little bit,” said de Magistris. “He wants a look that is very controlled. He is a very controlled man.”New York TimesThe Vatican’s chief exorcist warned Catholics about the dangers of yoga. “You think you are doing it for stretching,” said Father Gabriele Amorth, “but it leads to Hinduism.”Daily Mail

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No one would talk to me for this piece. Or rather, more than twenty women talked to me, sometimes for hours at a time, but only after I promised to leave out their names, and give them what I began to call deep anonymity. This was strange, because what they were saying did not always seem that extreme. Yet here in my living room, at coffee shops, in my inbox and on my voicemail, were otherwise outspoken female novelists, editors, writers, real estate agents, professors, and journalists of various ages so afraid of appearing politically insensitive that they wouldn’t put their names to their thoughts, and I couldn’t blame them. 

Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original? 

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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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The shooter discarded his AR-15 semiautomatic weapon, the model used in six of America’s ten deadliest mass shootings and referred to by the NRA as “America’s rifle,” and then fled to a nearby Walmart, where customers can buy rifles but cannot purchase music with lyrics that contain the word “fuck.”

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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