Weekly Review — July 29, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The quixotic quest for a Gaza ceasefire; West African doctors face mortal peril; and Russian gecko porn, restored

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

More than 459 Palestinian civilians and militants and 76 Israeli soldiers were killed as Israel continued Operation Protective Edge, its assault on Gaza. Israel shelled three United Nations schools being used as refugee shelters; Hamas and Israel blamed one another for an explosion at a Gaza city park that killed nine children; Delta, U.S. Airways, and United canceled flights to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv following reports that a rocket had landed nearby; and U.S. secretary of state John Kerry failed to negotiate a proposed seven-day humanitarian ceasefire. “There is no option for a political solution,” said the director of an Israeli policy institute. “With Hamas there, there is no option but ‘mowing the grass.’ ”[1][2][3][4][5][6] In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists handed over black-box recorders from the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to a Malaysian delegation and sent 282 bodies and 87 body parts to the Netherlands via the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for examination. Thirty Dutch policemen sent to examine the crash site reportedly turned back because the Ukrainian government was failing to respect the unilateral ceasefire it had imposed on its conflict with the separatists, and two Ukrainian fighter-bombers were shot down by shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles within 25 miles of the Flight 17 site.[7][8][9][10][11] Arizona inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood gasped and snorted for nearly two hours before dying from a state-administered lethal injection. Wood’s attorneys filed an emergency appeal to stop the execution once it became clear the injection wasn’t working properly, and Arizona governor Jan Brewer (R.) ordered a review of the state’s execution process. “This man conducted a horrifying murder and you guys are going, ‘Let’s worry about the drugs,’ ” said the brother-in-law of the woman Wood was convicted of killing in 1989. “Why didn’t we give him Drano?”[12] The chief judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals suggested that states return to using firing squads.[13] Indian parliamentarians condemned Rajan Baburao Vichare, an MP from the Hindu-nationalist Shiv Sena Party, after a video surfaced of him force-feeding a Muslim cook who was fasting for Ramadan. “This was only,” said Vichare, “a protest against the quality of food.”[14]

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) blew up the reputed tomb of the prophet Jonah in Mosul, Iraq, and beheaded as many as 50 Syrian government soldiers in Raqqa. “The Islamic State has a clear vision to establish a state in the real meaning of the word,” said a Raqqa resident.[15][16][17] A doctor treating Ebola patients in Liberia died of the disease, the doctor in charge of Ebola treatment in Sierra Leone contracted the disease, and thousands of people in Kenema, Sierra Leone, threatened to burn down an isolation center after a former nurse told the crowd that the disease was a hoax. “Ebola was unreal,” she said, “and a gimmick aimed at carrying out cannibalistic rituals.”[18][19][20] Doctors quarantined 30,000 people in the Chinese city of Yumen after a man died of pneumonic plague.[21] A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., struck down the U.S. government’s right under the Affordable Care Act to provide subsidies for health insurance purchased on the national marketplace, and a federal appeals court in Virginia upheld the same provision of the act in a separate case decided hours later.[22] President Barack Obama signed an executive order that bars all federal contractors, including religious organizations, from discriminating against employees on the basis of their gender identities or sexual orientations.[23] The White House announced that the United States would start assessing the refugee status of potential immigrant children from Honduras while they were still in their home country, and Texas governor Rick Perry (R.) announced that he would activate 1,000 National Guard troops to monitor the Mexican border.[24][25] The incoming operator of a Mexican railway network known as the Beast announced that it would triple the speed of the network’s trains in order to discourage migrants en route to the United States from jumping on board.[26]

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In Setauket, New York, a 21-year-old woman who refused a ride from a friend she suspected of being drunk was struck and killed by his car as she walked home.[27] In Gainesville, Florida, a drunk man who jumped out of his pickup truck to yell at the driver in front of him was run over by his own vehicle.[28] A Pennsylvania couple was placed on probation for locking their five-year-old son in the trunk of their car in order to cure his fear of the dark.[29] It was reported that surgeons in India had removed 232 teeth from a growth inside a 17-year-old boy’s mouth, and that surgeons in Scotland had removed a sex toy that had been lodged inside a woman’s vagina for 10 years.[30][31] The musician Kid Rock was subpoenaed to produce a glass dildo as evidence in a sexual-harassment case against the band Insane Clown Posse.[32] Two New York City infants were diagnosed with herpes contracted when they were circumcised using the direct oral-suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews, the fifteenth and sixteenth such cases since 2000, and an Alabama man sued the hospital where he’d awoken from circumcision surgery to find that his penis had been amputated.[33][34] Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.[35] Queen Elizabeth II’s racehorse Estimate failed a drug test.[36] In Los Angeles, a memorial pine tree dedicated to George Harrison was killed by an infestation of beetles.[37]


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I.

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

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Discussed in this essay:

Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Paul Hendrickson. Knopf. 624 pages. $35.

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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