Wha’ Happened This Week? So You’re Never LATE TO THE PARTY.
You know what this all means: We’re out of the recession! Pas de problemo! Now all I need is 500 million bucks… thought everyone everywhere. Despite the fact that, as this New York Times article points out, the odds of winning the lottery jackpot on Wednesday were “longer than the odds of picking an American man completely at random and having him happen to be Alan Alda” — a so much funner-sounding game than being struck by lightning, by the way — record numbers of folks bought their now-price-hiked $2 tickets for the chance to not lose. And two of them actually happened upon Alan Alda! Althought a lot was written to console the rest of us preemptively (winning causes more problems than it solves, right? RIGHT?) the Powerball lottery captured the nation’s imagination this week and a lucky winner of lottos past, Richard “It’s not luck, it’s skill” Lustig offered some advice to beat the odds next time.
And what a delightful distraction from the non-news about our financial future coming out of Washington. Which can basically be summed up as: oh, look, there’s a cliff up ahead, just like yesterday. Actually, it looks a little bit closer. Huh. President Obama tried to start a viral Twitter campaign to get us talking about the $2000 we stand to lose every year if we fall over the cliff care of the Republicans — but the campaign didn’t go so well since conservatives nipped it in the bud showing impressive (by which I mean rare) social media bravado. And, relatedly, they’re doing some nipping in Congress too. Specifically, when not discussing the wildly lame question of legitimacy surrounding potential Hillz replacement for Secretary of State Susan Rice (who they’re scapegoating for the whole game of telephone that followed the Benghazi terrorist attacks in September), the conservatives are engaging in a different sort of de-legitimizing debate. Over… the filibuster! Ooh ooh! That barely believeable post-constitutional oddity wherein members of the legistlative branch of our government can obstruct a vote on the floor simply by talking till they’re the last man/woman standing. Like a dance-a-thon except instead of raising money for some worthy cause you’re probably hindering one. Unless you’re Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and then you’re amazing. The filibuster used to be a thing and then became just a “thing” — as in, the threat of one was enough — and if the Dems have their way, it might go back to being a thing. (The argument being, no one would use it as much if it required physical exhaustion a la Mr. Smith.) This has been a weird week for news. Like, it’s been a lot of non-news.
2. And, for some good non-news: there was a day this week when there was no murder or violence in New York City. It was Monday. Apparently this is a first in “living memory.” (Which I’m guessing means the memory of those who’ve lived through the implied murders of days prior to Monday. Oooh snap.) No no, the news is actually pretty heartening considering all the turmoil the city (and the surrounding area) has experienced of late. And it makes this image that went viral (and the story therein) all the more de-Scroogifying:
And just when everyone was set to call this week the boringest on record, as we pick at the Thanksgiving leftovers and get back to work and try to keep straight Cyber Monday & Giving Tuesday & Completely Arbitrary Wednesday, suddenly there was NEWS: the United Nations voted Thursday to recognize Palestine as a nonmember state — which doesn’t sound all that impressive but for them, it’s a majorly big step in the direction of getting to be their own country and not just a territory fighting for space. Word on the street is that although the vote was historic, and an undeniable landslide of international support for Palestine, and, alas, not at all what the US or Israel wanted since Palestine has a little habit of severe anti-semitism, it’s highly questionable what it really means. Says foreign correspondent and LA Times journalist Carol Williams, the divide among members of the U.N. “may be more an expression of frustration with the stalled peace process than evidence of divergent views among the allies on how the 65-year-old conflict over territory and sovereignty should be resolved.” So is this a good thing or a bad thing? In addition to being the first step toward statehood (which makes the Palestinian people super excited)…
…the Palestinians could also gain access to U.N. agencies and international bodies, most significantly the International Criminal Court, which could become a springboard for going after Israel for alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land. However, Abbas [the relatively moderate Palestinian president] has signaled that he wants recognition to give him leverage in future talks with Israel, not as a tool for confronting or delegitimizing Israel, as Israeli leaders have alleged. He told the U.N. on Thursday that the Palestinians will “behave in a responsible and positive ways in our next steps.”
So… TBD. Welcome to the Middle East.
3. Oy. Something fun, please! A few gems from the week — in case you were wondering where best to raise that kid currently gestating in your tummy, have I got some stats fa’ you. (Ps. The answer is not the United States of America.) Also, if you’re worried technology is making you dumber (like how ’bout that hoax legalese that went around Facebook this week re: copyright protection) read this and mend your errant ways. Or else a masked avenger will do it for you: apparently serving as the vigilante for all us grammar nerds, this tweet tweaker who goes by the handle “@yourinamerica” has been shaming lazy language users on Twitter (well, lazy and douchey) and it’s delightful. And while we’re on the subject of satisfying grammatical silliness, behold the genius, and the get-in-the-holiday-spirit-ness, of the following:
QUOTE of the week, a la FDR:
I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.