The Earth Has Us Quaking in Our Boots

Is it just us, or do things seem a little shaky lately? And no, we’re not just talking about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, sending out shock waves that gently rocked New York City and taught us that East Coast disaster response is largely limited to Tweeting ironically and wondering aloud if we should order in lunch. Toss in Hurricane Irene gaining on Florida’s shores, microscopic brain-eating amoebas lurking in our lakes and ponds (the Contagion marketing has really gotten out of hand, Warner Bros.) and Gerard Depardieu’s making headlines for using an aircraft cabin as a urinal, we’re pretty sure Harold Camping is kicking himself right about now.

Possible End Times aside, there were some other notable shake-ups this week. Libyan rebels stormed Muammar Qaddafi’s Tripoli compound, forcing media outlets around the world to once again take sides on the spelling of the dictator’s name. Charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were suddenly dropped after prosecutors decided that their star witness, Nafissatou Diallo, wasn’t credible. (In fact, the former I.M.F. chief could be flying first-class to Charles de Gaulle as you read this—assuming the tremors didn’t send him running to King Cole Bar.) Eliot Spitzer got hit with a $60 million libel suit. Standard & Poor’s president Deven Sharma stepped down Monday, just weeks after stripping the United States of its AAA credit rating (we give him a C for attendance). A memorial statue of Martin Luther King, oddly reminiscent of Han Solo frozen in carbonite, debuted on the National Mall in D.C. ABC made the stunning announcement that Katie Couric’s fall talk show will be called … Katie. And, of course, Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan started a wealth management firm. (If that doesn’t restore your faith in finance, nothing will.)

The only place that didn’t seem to see any action was the 2012 presidential race. President Obama is off playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard, and after heavy speculation that he would stuff himself into the clown car that is the G.O.P. candidate pool, Congressman Paul Ryan finally announced that he won’t join the fray, possibly so as not to compete with Rick Perry’s immaculate hair. Of course, there are still some (very slow) dark horses who could make a run for it, like Sarah Palin, Chris Christie and—oh, hey, former governor George Pataki, who’s planning a big speech in Iowa this weekend! Sure, it seems late in the game, but to put it in perspective, the Second Avenue subway line has been pushed back to 2018, so in New York time, Mr. Pataki is doing just fine.

He may not make the earth move, but we’ve had enough excitement for this week anyway.