[Weekly Review] | April 8, 2015, by Joe Kloc | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Goodluck Jonathan becomes the first Nigerian president to lose an election, Boy Scouts hires its first openly gay camp counselor in New York, and a study finds that people who love grilled cheese have more sex


In response to a four-year-long drought in California, which was worsened by a winter of record-low snowfall, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to reduce water consumption across the state by 25 percent, restrict water usage by cemeteries and golf courses, and replace 50 million acres of ornamental grass with “drought-tolerant” landscapes. Carly Fiorina, the state’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010, blamed the water shortage on the opponents of recent reservoir projects. “It is liberal environmentalists,” she said, “who have brought us this tragedy.”[1][2] Aid workers reported that there was a shortage of food and water in Yemen, where at least 100,000 people have been displaced since Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against Houthi rebels in late March.[3] Following an attack by the Somali Islamist group Al Shabaab on Kenya’s Garissa University College, a student spent two days hiding in a closet without water, drinking lotion to keep herself hydrated.[4] A judge ruled that a North Carolina man charged with killing three Muslim college students over a parking space is eligible for the death penalty; the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal of a Texas man who was sentenced to death for strangling a 93-year-old woman and stealing her purse; and a judge dismissed the charges against one of Alabama’s longest-serving death row inmates, a man who spent 30 years imprisoned in a five- by eight-foot cell for the murders of two restaurant employees. “The sun,” he said upon his release, “does shine.”[5][6][7]

In Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan became the first sitting president to be defeated in a popular election. “I am yet to see somebody,” he said in his Easter speech, “luckier than me.”[8][9] President Obama announced that Iran has agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions by the United States. “The truth of the matter is,” he said, addressing concerns that the deal will allow Iran to build a nuclear bomb, “Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion.”[10][11] A jury in Boston began deliberations in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old man accused of setting off a homemade pressure-cooker bomb at the Boston Marathon in 2013; two women in New York City who referred to themselves as “bad bitches” were arrested for planning to build a bomb out of a pressure cooker; and a mom in Philadelphia was arrested after communicating with an Islamic State fighter who asked if she wanted to become a martyr. “A girl,” the woman said, “can only wish.”[12][13][14] The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations asked China to release five female activists who face up to five years in prison for walking around Beijing in bloodstained wedding dresses to oppose domestic violence and for creating Styrofoam toilets to advocate for more female restrooms.[15][16] The founder of Bikram Yoga denied allegations that he raped and sexually assaulted six former students. “Women,” said Bikram Choudhury, “love me.”[17] The creator of a “revenge porn” site that hosted illicit photographs of women and charged hundreds of dollars to have the pictures taken down was sentenced to 18 years in prison, and the Phi Kappa Psi chapter at the University of Virginia announced that it would sue Rolling Stone for a now-retracted article published in 2014 that accused fraternity members of gang rape. “It’s time,” the fraternity said in a statement, “to get serious.”[18][19]

A survey found that 73 percent of Americans who like grilled-cheese sandwiches have sex monthly, compared with 68 percent of those who don’t enjoy the food.[20] A bakery in Florida received threats for refusing to write I hate gays on a cake; pizza-shop owners in Indiana who announced they would not cater a gay wedding received over $840,000 from supporters and went into hiding; and the New York Boy Scouts chapter hired its first openly gay summer-camp counselor.[21][22][23] Two New York City residents whose apartment was near a gas explosion that destroyed three buildings and killed two people in Manhattan’s East Village filed a $40 million suit against Con Edison, alleging physical and emotional injuries from the blast.[24] Police in Oklahoma seized a package containing two meth-filled condoms hidden in an Easter bunny; a marijuana distributor in Boston hid edible-filled plastic eggs around the city; and fighting broke out in Sacramento at a 500,000-egg hunt organized to combat child trafficking. “The little two- and three-year-olds were crying and crying,” said a witness, “and it was horrible.”[25][26][27]

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