Just in the nick of time, President Obama and congressional leaders agreed on a deal to raise the debt ceiling before the August 2nd deadline. If they hadn’t come to an agreement, the U.S. would have defaulted on it’s loans, and the world would’ve exploded (just kidding…) The compromise comes after a week-long standoff when it seemed like both sides, the Democrats and Republicans, were unwilling to budge. The plan, which Congressional leaders now have to sell to their parties, includes a $2 trillion cut in spending over the next 10 years and the creation of a 12-member Congressional panel that will work to reduce the budget deficit even further.
David Wu, a Democratic representative from Oregon, announced that he will resign from Congress in the face of allegations of “unwanted sexual behavior” from his friend’s daughter. Ugghhh, not another one! Yep, like Weiner, Spitzer, and Clinton before him, we can add 56-year-old Wu, who has served seven terms in Congress, to the ever-growing list of sex-crazed politicians who have resigned amid scandals. According to the Oregonian, Wu’s hometown newspaper that broke the story, the girl graduated from high school in 2010. Wu was visiting her father, a longtime donor and friend, in California, and followed her outside where the sexual encounter took place. The allegations came to light after she left a voicemail at his D.C. office describing the incident. Wu, in response, claims that the encounter was entirely consensual (ummm but still completely inappropriate!) and will step down once the debt ceiling crisis is resolved (if that ever even happens…) Wu is no stranger to scandal- in February, he sent female staffers a series of bizarre e-mails, one of which included him dressed up as a furry tiger with a huge grin on his face.
Sunday was one of the deadliest days of the Syrian protests, after government forces stormed the city of Hama to crack down on dissent. On the eve of Ramadan, one of Islam’s most sacred holidays, approximately 150 people were killed, bringing the total number of Syrian protesters who have died to over 1,500 since riots began in mid-March. The violence came after Hama was crowded on Friday with over 500,000 protesters, inspired by a Muslim leader who said that the Syrian “regime must go.” In a statement from the White House, President Obama agreed, saying that he was “appalled by the Syrian government’s use of violence and brutality against its own people. The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the [government’s] true character…In the days ahead, the United States will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime.”
Is The Smurfs the worst movie of the year? Some critics think so. The animated film, which came out Friday and stars Neil Patrick Harris and Glee star Jayma Mays, has been hyped, hyped, hyped- besides the endless television commercials, Harper’s Bazaar editors ran a strange fashion spread featuring the lead female Smurf in “the season’s best accessories”, and Katy Perry even wore a special Smurf-themed dress to the premiere. Bet they wish they could take it back now. As more reviews have come out, reception has been improved a little- the film has risen from a terrible 0% on Rotten Tomatoes to a paltry, but better, 20%. But still, as for me, I’ll take NPH’s advice in the trailer when he says “Don’t be fooled by their cuteness!!!!” (notice the many exclamation points). And they’re not even that cute.
Pic o’ the week:
In Somalia and surrounding countries, including Kenya and Ethiopia, citizens have been suffering from the worse drought in 60 years, and a week ago, the UN officially declared a famine in Somalia. Here, emaciated cattle linger outside a a refugee camp in Kenya. (Photo Credit: Global Post)