Weekly Review — August 19, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Police crush protests in Ferguson, Missouri, an Iranian woman wins the Fields Medal, and jihadis appreciate the work of Robin Williams

ALL IN MY EYE.Missouri Governor Jay Nixon imposed a curfew in and deployed the National Guard to the city of Ferguson in response to rioting and violence following the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man who was shot by a white police officer. Police shot rubber bullets and released tear gas and flash bombs on the crowds hours before the curfew was set to take place. After initially withholding the name of the officer who shot Brown, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson identified Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the department, and the nonprofit Ethical Society of Police, which represents African-American officers, clarified that the officer in question is not the society’s president, who is also named Darren Wilson. “We would like to assure the world,” read a statement posted on Facebook, “that this is a horrific coincidence.” Concurrently with the release of Wilson’s name, Jackson announced that Brown was suspected of stealing several boxes of cigars from a convenience store less than an hour before he was shot. He later admitted that the robbery was unrelated to the shooting and that Wilson had stopped Brown because he was “walking down the street, blocking traffic, that’s it.” The results of a private autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family and conducted by the former chief medical examiner of New York City showed that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, and that his hands may have been up at some point during the shooting. “It confirms what the witnesses said,” said a lawyer for Brown’s family, “that this was an execution.” “Look at how US govt treats black community!” tweeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Still ppl are unsecure for having dark skins.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Iranian-born Stanford University professor Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal in mathematics, and Iranian newspapers digitally obscured Mirzakhani’s hair, ears, and neck or photoshopped a hijab onto her portrait to comply with the country’s press censors.[8] European Union leaders agreed at an emergency meeting in Brussels to back weapons deliveries to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters resisting militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the United States launched air strikes to support Iraqi and Peshmerga forces conducting ground operations with guerilla fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the United States has designated as a terrorist group. “The U.S. doesn’t do business with terrorist organizations,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs, “but there’s a lot they could turn a blind eye to.”[9][10][11][12]

A group of Twitter users who regularly post in support of ISIL discussed the apparent suicide of comedian Robin Williams, who was found dead in his home in Tiburon, California, aged 63. “Shame,” wrote @Ibn_Fulaan, “I liked Jumanji.” “‘Jumanjihadi’?” responded @mujahid4life. “It’s kinda catchy.”[13][14] The anti-abortion website Life News published an article suggesting that Williams’s depression was caused by a girlfriend’s abortion in the 1970s, and radio host Rush Limbaugh argued that the suicide was a result of Williams’s having a “leftist worldview.” “They’re never happy, are they?” said Limbaugh.[15][16] The Simon Wiesenthal Center petitioned the French government to change the name of the town La Mort aux Juifs (“Death to Jews”), Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean martyrs, and Catholic leaders inspected the Liverpool home of a woman who was being taxed by the government for under-occupancy but claimed a demon had taken up residence in her spare bedroom.[17][18][19] It was reported that an Australian hospital erroneously sent out death notifications for 200 living patients, and 71-year-old Kathy Patient was mistakenly told she had Alzheimer’s disease and cancer by a nurse at Frimley Park Hospital who had read the wrong medical records.[20][21] At the Norway Chess Olympiad, two players died within 24 hours of each other, and at the Gay Games in Akron, Ohio, 99-year-old Ida Keeling finished last in the 100-meter dash but claimed to have set a record time for sprinters her age.[22][23] All India Radio fired all of its broadcasters over the age of 35 but allowed that it would consider letting older presenters keep their jobs if they passed a test to prove they don’t sound “too mature and boring.”[24]

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Swedish police in Gothenburg charged a 55-year-old man with buying sexual services after he called them to complain of overcharging by prostitutes.[25] A Portland, Oregon, man called police to report a chicken crossing the road; a Chula Vista, California, woman called 911 because she and her adult daughter were being held hostage by their cat, Cuppy; and a Seattle woman was jailed for stealing a cell phone after she reportedly called 911 to complain of being harassed by the person from whom she had taken it.[26][27][28] In Texas, a woman stole a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 from a Shell station and drank it while waiting for police to arrive because she hoped to meet her boyfriend in jail, and in Petrozavodsk, Russia, a drunk woman bit a police officer and died instantly.[29][30] James and Gina Goldring of Queens, New York, filed a lawsuit in which they claimed that police entered their home, poured out cereal, broke a muffin maker, dumped cinnamon on the kitchen counter, pulverized a night-light, stole $680 in cash, and stomped on an Xbox after James was advised not to provide details about having accidentally shot the couple’s son. “So,” the officers allegedly said, “you’re lawyered up?”[31]


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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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