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Celebrate rationality, skepticism, critical thought, and the joyous wonder they can bring.

It is a “meh” week, and I’m still not feeling the blogging love.  I repost what Harper’s sends me every week for your viewing pleasure.

 

Weekly Review:
Republicans took control of the House after picking up
60 seats in midterm elections, the largest gain in the
House since 1948. Democrats maintained control of the
Senate (though they lost six seats), and Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid did not lose to Tea Party candidate
Sharron Angle. “Harry Reid isn’t just Dracula. He isn’t
just Lazarus; he’s our leader,” said Senator John
Kerry. “Our whole caucus is thrilled that he’s
unbreakable and unbeatable.” Three Iowa Supreme Court
judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage were
voted out of office, and exit polls suggested that 31
percent of self-identified homosexuals and bisexuals
voted Republican. MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann
without pay for contributing $2,400 to the campaigns of
three Democrats; the Republican National Committee
showed its support for Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become the
Minority Leader by hanging above their entrance a “Hire
Pelosi” banner; and on election night in Long Island, a
retired New York policeman and his sons beat a
38-year-old Turkish immigrant with American flags,
telling the recently naturalized man to “get out of my
country.” “It would be hard to argue that we’re going
backwards,” said President Barack Obama after the
elections. “I think what you can argue is we’re stuck in
neutral.”

U.S. unemployment remained at 9.6 percent, despite the
addition of 151,000 jobs in October. Obama and First
Lady Michelle began a 10-day tour of Asia (with stops in
India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan), touted as an
“economic mission” to convince foreign markets to import
American goods. In India, the couple checked into the
Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, the primary site of
terrorist attacks two years ago, and staff at Bombay’s
Ghandi museum took precautions to keep Obama safe on his
visit. “We told the authorities to remove the dry
coconuts from trees near the building,” said the
museum’s executive director Meghsyam Ajgaonkar. “Why
take a chance?” The Eighth Sex Culture Festival, in
Guangzhou, China, featured a blow-up doll screen-printed
with Obama’s face. Mount Merapi, a volcano on the border
between Java and Indonesia, erupted, killing at least 64
people, forcing airlines to ground their planes,
requiring some 75,000 to relocate, and inspiring
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to
announce that if farmers from affected villages promised
not to go home, the government would buy all of their
cattle. Irish citizens, faced with high unemployment,
were upset by the announcement that their government
would give away chunks of cheese to the poor. “It’s
about how they’re going to tell their children or
grandchildren that Santa has very little money,” said
one Irish man in response to the plan. “What are they
going to tell their children and grandchildren: that
Santa has cheese instead?” A McDonald’s Happy Meal
photographed every day for six months showed no signs of
decomposing.

Glenn Little, better known as Frosty the Clown, one of
only four Ringling Brothers clowns to be deemed a
“master clown,” died at the age of 84. A teenage belly
dancer who was given a diamond bracelet and more than
$19,000 by Silvio Berlusconi revealed that the Italian
prime minister has a marble statue of himself as
Superman, and two years after hiring a waste-disposal
company to search through 12,000 gallons of sewage, a
British woman was reunited with the diamond ring she had
flushed down the toilet. “Two of the smaller diamonds
had fallen out,” said company employee Jule French, “but
apart from that, it was just in need of a good clean.”
Polish coffin makers Lindner released a 2011 calendar
featuring caskets alongside sexy models dressed in
lingerie, and a West Virginia woman was charged with
assault for brandishing a knife at her former husband
and his friend after they refused to perform oral sex on
her. The friend told police that he had originally
agreed but declined after being “overwhelmed” by her
“horrible vaginal odor.” A Zimbabwean man on safari was
eaten by a pride of lions while showering, a caged bear
in Azerbaijan died after being forced to sit in its own
excrement, drink cola, and eat leftover sandwiches, and
a female boa constrictor had multiple virgin births,
producing 22 baby snakes with no father. Artist Jiri
Boudnik, who was born in the Czech Republic but lived
for decades in the United States, returned to his birth
country to perform his art show: painting Czech flags on
women’s crotches while listening to a string quartet
perform patriotic music. “This, I hope, will answer many
questions for people about where they come from,” said
Boudnik. “They come from that space between the legs
that was home to us all.”

— Claire Gutierrez

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