MONDAY, MAY 25 This week of defensive swordfish, lousy cinema, and widespread deadly weather kicked off in Turkey, where a Muslim televangelist ascended to religious-kook superstardom by asserting that men who masturbate will wind up with pregnant hands. Details come from Hurriyet Daily News, which identifies our handy televangelist as Mücahid Cihad Han, who was fielding viewers' questions during a broadcast yesterday when a male caller asked about the propriety of masturbation. Han began by citing Islam's strict prohibition against masturbation and then got into specifics: "Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife." Han tied his pregnant-hand theory to the teachings of Muhammad. "The Koran has no clear reference to masturbation, and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable," reported Hurriyet Daily News. Thank you, Mr. Han, for proving that batshit televangelists aren't just Christian.
TUESDAY, MAY 26 The week continued in Vermont, where today Bernie Sanders kicked off his presidential campaign with a speech packed with statements of the sort you don't normally hear from sitting senators hoping to become leader of the free world. Three of the most striking: "My fellow Americans: This country faces more serious problems today than at any time since the Great Depression, and if you include the planetary crisis of climate change, it may well be that the challenges we face now are direr than any time in our modern history." Continuing with, "The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time—and we will address it." And, while railing against the democracy-imperiling decision in favor of Citizens United: "What the Supreme Court essentially said was that it was not good enough for the billionaire class to own much of our economy. They could now own the US government as well." Sanders wrapped up his speech with a call to create a country with respectable health care and benefits for veterans, equal rights for everyone ("no matter their race, their religion, their disability, or their sexual orientation"), and health care for all. "That is the nation we can build together," said Senator Sanders. "I ask you to join me in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us and not just the few on top."
•• Speaking of the planetary crisis of climate change, this entire week will be filled with heartbreaking updates from Texas (where floods created by a record-breaking month of rainfall swept away hundreds of homes and killed at least 22 people) and India (where brutally high temperatures melted roads, scorched crops, killed wildlife, and led to the deaths of more than 2,000 people).
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27 In stupider news, the week continued with the busting of FIFA, the multibillion-dollar organization that governs association football (aka "soccer" and "the world's most popular sport"), which was today hit with federal corruption charges in the United States. "The indictment names 14 people on charges including racketeering, wire fraud, and money-laundering conspiracy," reported the New York Times. "In addition to senior soccer officials, the indictment is also expected to name sports-marketing executives from the United States and South America who are accused of paying more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major soccer tournaments." Finally, soccer gets interesting.
THURSDAY, MAY 28 In grosser news, one week after the Josh Duggar revelations, this week brought another beloved right-wing figure stained by allegations of child sexual abuse. Actually, that's not fully accurate, as Josh Duggar transcended allegations with a somewhat vague admission that he had "acted inexcusably." (On Twitter, writer Tim Appelo offered this translation: Josh Duggar: 5 Victims and Counting.) Whatever the case, today we're dealing with Dennis Hastert, the Illinois representative who became the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history, and who was today indicted by federal prosecutors for lying to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed person to "cover up past misconduct." Tomorrow, CNN will offer details on the alleged misconduct: "Hastert was paying a former student to keep quiet about allegations of sexual abuse from the time when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois... A federal law enforcement official confirmed to CNN early Friday evening that the former student was a male and a minor when the alleged abuse took place." Hastert is free on bail, and "investigators decided not to pursue a possible extortion case in the matter," CNN will report tomorrow. Stay tuned!
FRIDAY, MAY 29 The week continued in Hawaii, where today a fisherman attempted to catch a swordfish and wound up fatally stabbed by a swordfish. Details come from CNN, which identifies the fisherman as 47-year-old Randy Llanes, an experienced fisherman and captain of a deep-sea fishing charter, and the swordfish as six feet long and weighing about 40 pounds. How it played out, according to CNN: Llanes shot the swordfish with a spear, after which the swordfish fatally stabbed Llanes in the chest. Condolences to all.
SATURDAY, MAY 30 Speaking of tragedies set in Hawaii: Today we turn to Aloha, the new Cameron Crowe film that first earned public notoriety during the Great Sony E-mail Hack of 2014, which found evidence of now-former Sony chief Amy Pascal denouncing the in-production film for its "ridiculous script" that makes "no damn sense." Yesterday, Aloha opened in cinemas and cemented Pascal's reputation as a producer who knows her shit. "Crowe seems to have expunged all evidence of his distinctive filmmaking talents," wrote Indiewire. "Equally hobbled by an amateurish script and vaguely defined characters, the movie's long list of mediocrities have an anonymous quality, as though the director has been completely reborn as a hack." Beyond its lack of style and coherence, Aloha was also called out for its remarkable approach to race, from the "whitewashing" of the Hawaiian population (which is 75 percent non-Caucasian) to the ridiculous casting. "Aloha actually features one of the more prominent Asian/mixed-heritage female leads in any studio movie in recent memory," wrote Jen Yamato at the Daily Beast. "She just happens to be played by Emma Stone."
SUNDAY, MAY 31 Speaking of insane scenarios, the week ended at the intersection of Broadway and East Pine Street in Seattle, where early this morning, witnesses called police to report watching a bicyclist crash into a jaywalking pedestrian, after which the cyclist repeatedly stabbed the pedestrian with a knife. "The two involved men were found shortly after police arrived—one with a folding knife and one with abdominal stab wounds," reported KIRO. "The man with stabbing wounds was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The 40-year-old cyclist was booked into King County Jail for investigation of assault."
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