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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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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On December 3, 2016, less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president, Amanda Litman sat alone on the porch of a bungalow in Costa Rica, thinking about the future of the Democratic Party. As Hillary Clinton’s director of email marketing, Litman raised $180 million and recruited 500,000 volunteers over the course of the campaign. She had arrived at the Javits Center on Election Night, arms full of cheap beer for the campaign staff, minutes before the pundits on TV announced that Clinton had lost Wisconsin. Later that night, on her cab ride home to Brooklyn, Litman asked the driver to pull over so she could throw up.

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In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

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One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles. He wore a faded blue baseball cap, so formed to his head that it seemed he slept with it on. Brickyard Road, the street in front of Slater’s home, was a mess of soupy dirt and water-filled craters. The muffler of his mud-splattered maroon pickup was loose, and exhaust fumes choked the cab. He gripped the wheel with hands leathery not from age but from decades moving earth with big machines for a living. What followed was a tooth-jarring tour of Muskegon County’s rural roads, which looked as though they’d been carpet-bombed.

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Abby was a breech birth but in the thirty-one years since then most everything has been pretty smooth. Sweet kid, not a lot of trouble. None of them were. Jack and Stevie set a good example, and she followed. Top grades, all the way through. Got on well with others but took her share of meanness here and there, so she stayed thoughtful and kind. There were a few curfew or partying things and some boys before she was ready, and there was one time on a school trip to Chicago that she and some other kids got caught smoking crack cocaine, but that was so weird it almost proved the rule. No big hiccups, master’s in ecology, good state job that lets her do half time but keep benefits while Rose is little.

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Number of cast members of the movie Predator who have run for governor:

3

A Georgia Tech engineer created software that endows unmanned aerial drones with a sense of guilt.

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively.

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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