Current Events Cheat Sheet: Are Bert and Ernie Coming Out of the Closet?

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Cities across England turned dangerous as violent riots, spurred by the death of a black man by police, spread throughout the country. Mobs took over the streets, setting buildings and cars on fire, shattering windows, and looting stores. Things were particularly bad in London, where the Prime Minister sent 16,000 policemen on Tuesday to calm things down. It worked- the worst is over- but the cost of clean up is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Even though the riots began because of one man’s death, the social and economic inequality may have been what really heated things up. That’s an issue pretty familiar to those living in the U.S., and now, many are wondering, could the same thing happen in the states?

A  9,000 signature-strong petition got attention this week for it’s forward-thinking idea: Bert and Ernie should get married on Sesame Street. There have been rumors for a while now that the best buds are actually in a relationship, and their constant bickering is reminiscent of an old married couple. The LGBTQ activists who started the petition claim that an on-screen marriage between the two male puppets would teach acceptance and tolerance to children, but the show disagrees, insisting that such a union is impossible- “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.” Wait… what about Kermit and Miss Piggy? You can still sign the petition here!

The 12 Congressmen who will make up the “super committee” have been announced. The group was part of the last-minute, we-must-avoid-the-implosion-of-our-economy deal to raise the debt ceiling last month. Despite their name, they’ll be searching for savings, not evil villains, though that’d be much more exciting. (Can you imagine if politicians were actually superheroes? Hello Hollywood, this is obviously a great movie idea…) To be exact, the committee, which is half Republican and half Democrat (and btw, only includes one woman and one African American- typical!), is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over the next ten years. Maybe they will need super powers for that.

The main stage at the Indianapolis State Fair collapsed on Saturday night, killing 5 and injuring 40. Chaos erupted on the fairgrounds after the huge, metal structure- which was soon planned to hold the country-pop duo Sugarland- came crashing down due to a “freak gust of wind.” Visitors caught the unbelievable, horrifying event on video (here), but as a warning, it’s pretty scary and upsetting. The fair reopened this morning with a memorial service for those lost.

Warren Jeffs, the leader of the 10,000-member polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday. The jury took less than half an hour to decide that Jeffs, 55, deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage female members of his church. In court, prosecutors showed evidence that he fathered a child with a 15-year-old and played a recording that was supposedly him having sex with a 12-year-old. For the past 2 years, Jeffs has been leading his followers from inside of a jail cell, and no one is quite sure what will happen to the group now that there’s no way he’s getting out. A former church-member told USA Today that “he will definitely remain a prophet behind bars, and they will be telling everybody that God’s going to tear the prison down and let him loose.”

Pic o’ the Week:

The U.S. has been in mourning for the past week after the deadliest day in the war in Afghanistan, when the above 30 U.S. servicemen died in a helicopter attack. The tragedy has come to be known as the Chinook Crash, named after the type of chopper the men were flying in.  This happened over a week ago, but it’s all people have been talking about this week, as more and more details- like the identities of the lost soldiers and the possible identity of the gunman who shot down the plane- have been coming out. In addition to the 30 Americans lost, 8 Afghanis were killed. Among the men who died were 22 members of Navy SEAL Team 6, the same group that took out Osama Bin Laden.

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