November 9, 2018

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by Abigail Staggemeier
Director of Operations

The U.S. Democratic party succeeded in claiming the House majority, while Republicans continue to hold the Senate. Reporter’s have deemed the 116th Congress-elect the most ‘diverse congress’ as the midterms were marked by countless noteworthy ‘firsts’. Young Kim, a California Congresswoman-elect, is the first Korean-American woman to ever be elected to Congress. Colorado’s Jared Polis is the nation’s first openly gay governor,  Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress, while Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women to represent Michigan and Minnesota, respectively. Another first, however, was less precedent. Dennis Hof, a congressional candidate in Las Vegas was elected to office with one unexpected twist: after polls revealed he was the winner, it was discovered that he was dead. Hof, the owner of several Vegas strip-clubs and brothels, reportedly died a full month prior to the election though voters failed to take notice.

Brent Taylor–Mayor of North Ogden Utah–was killed in action while on his fourth deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan. A major in the Utah National Guard, Mayor Taylor departed for the year-long tour in January, telling constituents that “service is really what leadership is all about.” Taylor’s remains were returned to the U.S. via military aircraft on November 6th– the day of the U.S. midterm elections. “It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death now represents something so much greater than any of our own individual lives, has come home to U.S. soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day,” his wife, Jennie, told the New York Times. Taylor is survived by his wife and their seven children.

A five year old boy living in Shanghai has taken the world by storm with his resumé . According to Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, the little guy has read upwards of 10,000 books, and already has a superior command of both Chinese and English. The 15 page resume includes a map of all the places the boy has travelled and boasts of his independent personality, ability to quickly adjust his mood, dedication to school and his bravery–demonstrated by the lack of tears shed when receiving injections. The resumé phenomenon grew quickly, attracting criticism against the Chinese ‘tiger parent’ movement whose proponents pressure their children to achieve and succeed in the often competitive Chinese private schooling system.

India’s latest artistic enterprise is causing quite a stir, and not only in the artistic community. The statue, a 600 foot tribute to independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel entitled the “Statue of Unity”, has surpassed China’s 420 foot “Spring Temple Buddha” and is now the tallest in the world. Patel has achieved national icon status on account of his persuading more than 550 of the region’s states to form the independent state of India as opposed to merging with Pakistan in 1947. Accompanying the installment was a hefty $430 million price tag and a slew of protests. Present at the unveiling was a crowd of angry tribal community members, farmers and social justice advocates who argued that the installation was a colossal misuse of funds when much of the country is afflicted by poverty, food shortages and overcrowding.

Image by Abigail Staggemeier

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