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A gunman with a semiautomatic pistol attacked a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people and seriously injuring three more. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, entered the temple before a Sunday morning service and began firing on priests as others ran for cover. Police killed Page in a firefight in the parking lot,* moments after he wounded the first officer on the scene. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Page, a former U.S. Army psychological-operations specialist who was demoted in 1998 for being drunk on duty, had been a member of the white-supremacist band End Apathy, and that it had been tracking him since 2000, when he attempted to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a hate group. “I can’t imagine what made him do this,” said Page’s stepmother. The Los Angeles Times reported that Jared Lee Loughner would be declared competent to stand trial for the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people and wounded 13, and that he would plead guilty as a result. Major Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in the 2009 shooting at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, was fined $1,000 for attending a military hearing unshaven. Masked gunmen killed 16 Egyptian soldiers at a checkpoint along the Israeli border. In Syria, a mortar attack killed 21 people at a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, and government forces continued to shell Aleppo in preparation for a ground invasion. “What is happening now is just the appetizer,” said one officer. “The main course will come later.” The White House reportedly authorized the CIA to provide support to antigovernment forces in Syria, who kidnapped forty-eight bus passengers they claimed were members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard. Syria’s prime minister defected, and Kofi Annan resigned as the United Nations’ and Arab League’s special envoy to the country. Ultra-Orthodox Jews vowed to go to jail en masse after Israel’s defense minister announced that they would no longer be exempt from the country’s military draft. “Religious elders will sit together,” said activist Shmuel Poppenheim, “and declare war.”
At the Summer Olympic games in London, American swimmer Michael Phelps won his twenty-second career medal and became the most decorated Olympian of all time, while American gymnast Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win the gold medal in the individual all-around event. “I have an advantage,” said Douglas, “because I’m the underdog and I’m black and no one thinks I’d ever win.” Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the men’s 100-meter dash in 9.63 seconds, and it was reported that Sarah, an eleven-year-old cheetah, had run the same distance in 5.95 seconds on a track outside Cincinnati. The website Ancestry.com claimed that U.S. president Barack Obama is a direct descendant of John Punch, the first documented slave in colonial America. The Democratic National Committee named Julián Castro, the Mexican-American mayor of San Antonio, the keynote speaker of next month’s party convention, and announced that its platform would endorse marriage equality.  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Poland, where one of his aides scolded reporters for shouting out questions. “Kiss my ass,” said traveling press secretary Rick Gorka. “This is a holy site for the Polish people.” Former adult-film star Jenna Jameson endorsed Romney, and a rogue algorithm in an automated stock-trading program caused financial markets to fall when it repeatedly bought and sold millions of shares in such companies as Best Buy and RadioShack. “The machines,” said a market expert, “have taken over.” India’s minister of power was promoted to home minister during a blackout that left some 670 million people without electricity.
NASA celebrated the Mars landing of its plutonium-powered rover, Curiosity. Lawyers for Pussy Riot, a punk band on trial for hooliganism after an anti-Putin performance at a Moscow church in February, accused the trial judge of appearing bored. “Are you drawing circles?” asked one defense lawyer. “Are you forbidding me to do so?” asked the judge. Former U.S. senator Larry Craig (R., Idaho) refused to return campaign funds he spent on legal fees associated with his 2007 arrest for soliciting sex from a man in an airport washroom. “Senate rules,” wrote his lawyer, “sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator’s use of a bathroom.” Police in China’s Zhejiang province were searching for a man’s penis after he reported that it had been stolen while he was sleeping. “I was so shocked I didn’t feel a thing,” said the man. Italy’s supreme court ruled it a crime to tell a man he has no balls. A Vermont farmer destroyed seven police vehicles by driving over them with his tractor. Police in St. Louis tasered a 12-year-old girl while arresting her mother for outstanding traffic tickets, and a Virginia woman who was arrested for letting her four-year-old daughter draw on rocks with chalk at a city park claimed that the girl had been traumatized by the incident. “She’s very scared of chalk,” said the woman. “And she’s very nervous around cops.”
More from Jacob Z. Gross:
Weekly Review — July 29, 2014, 8:00 am
The quixotic quest for a Gaza ceasefire; West African doctors face mortal peril; and Russian gecko porn, restored
Weekly Review — June 17, 2014, 8:00 am
ISIS launches a major offensive in Iraq, the 2014 World Cup begins, and Florida keeps on being Florida
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”