Weekly Review — September 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

Weekly Review

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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.[1][2] 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.”[3][4] 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.”[5][6] 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.”[7][8] 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.[9] The Original Condom Company was fined $12,600 for falsely advertising that its Malaysian-made prophylactics were produced in the French town of Condom.[10][11]

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.[12][13] Iraqi vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, who fled the country last year, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in absentia.[14] 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.”[15] 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.[16][17][18] 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.[19][20] The Yangtze River turned red.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23][24][25] The U.S. Department of Agriculture disclosed that in June a record-high 47 million Americans used food stamps.[26] 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.[27][28][29] 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.”[30][31]

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

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For time ylost, this know ye,
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I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

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