Weekly Review — July 12, 2016, 1:46 pm

Weekly Review

Philando Castile and Alton Sterling are killed by police officers, Donald Trump says Saddam Hussein was good at fighting terrorism, and a woman in Florida hits her boyfriend with her baby

A FAMOUS PLAY ILLUSTRATED - "THE LYON'S MAIL."

An officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, fatally shot a 32-year-old black cafeteria supervisor named Philando Castile during a traffic stop. The immediate aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him, along with her four-year-old daughter. “He was reaching for his wallet,” she said, “and the officer just shot him.”[1] In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man whom they had tasered and pinned to the ground outside a convenience store.[2] At a Dallas protest organized in response to the shootings, a gunman armed with an assault rifle fatally shot five police officers and fled to a parking garage, where he was killed by a robot carrying explosives.[3] A white North Carolina man who fired a pistol at a sheriff’s deputy was arrested without injury, and in Bristol, Tennessee, a black man upset by police violence opened fire on cars driving on a local freeway, killing one motorist before being shot and arrested by police. “I ain’t condoning nothing,” said the suspect’s brother. “But frustration, we can all understand that.”[4][5] Australia, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates warned travelers to the United States to avoid large gatherings.[6] FBI Director James Comey announced that Hillary Clinton had sent or received 110 emails that contained classified information over her private server, but didn’t recommend that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges.[7] The Democratic Party revised its platform to support a pathway to marijuana legalization, and Donald Trump praised Saddam Hussein for his alleged ability to effectively fight terrorists. “He did that,” said Trump, “so good.”[8][9]

After seven years of investigation, the U.K. government’s Chilcot inquiry released a 2.6-million-word report on the Iraq War, finding that the invasion was launched based on fabricated intelligence that might have been inspired by the 1996 action film The Rock.[10][11] Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a Shia shrine north of Baghdad, killing at least 37 people; renewed fighting broke out between rival factions in Juba, South Sudan, killing more than 300 people; and the White House announced that the Islamic State was losing the war on Twitter.[12][13][14] A Cyprus hotel that promises visitors a “diverse range of shows, fun and activities” apologized to guests after employees dressed in dark clothing burst into the dining room shooting fake guns.[15] Seven members of a gang in Los Angeles were indicted for firebombing a public-housing complex, and a 100-resident tent city in Victoria, British Columbia, was ordered to be evacuated under suspicion of gang activity.[16][17] A 36-year-old man in San Diego was arrested for setting four homeless men on fire, killing three of them.[18] A husband and wife from North Carolina were arrested after attacking each other with pizza rolls, a Kentucky woman was charged with assault after hitting her husband over the head with a burrito and stabbing him, and a Florida woman was accused of hitting her boyfriend with her baby, which, a witness said, she “swung like a bat.”[19][20][21]

Gambia, Tanzania, and the U.S. state of Virginia banned child marriage.[22][23] Parents in Denver discovered that their children’s Cub Scout camp was sponsored by Hooters after viewing Facebook photos of the kids posing with Hooters waitresses. “I’m like, ‘Are they wearing Hooters visors?’” said one mother.[24] Microsoft apologized after a recruiter sent an email to interns promising an evening of “hella noms,” “lots of dranks,” and the “best beats.” “HELL YES TO GETTING LIT ON A MONDAY NIGHT,” it read.[25] Police in the Northern Territory of Australia warned users of the mobile game Pokémon Go to stay out of a police station that the game encouraged users to visit. “You don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokéballs,” read a police statement.[26] A Wyoming teenager playing the same game discovered a dead body in the Wind River, and muggers in Missouri were using the app to lure potential victims.[27][28] Timmonsville, South Carolina, passed an ordinance that would fine anyone wearing sagging pants up to $600, and the Danish government was criticized for the difficulty of its new citizenship test, which asks questions related to Danish films, the 16th-century astronomer Tycho Brahe, and the composer Carl Nielsen.[29][30] The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of a KKK chapter’s attempt to participate in the state’s “Adopt-A-Highway” program.[31] In Indonesia, twelve people died during a three-day, 13-mile-long traffic jam at an intersection nicknamed Brexit, and in Italy a Northern Irish jockey was kicked in the face by a horse and then run over by the ambulance sent to help him.[32][33] Sixteen people were injured during Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, a man was killed during a bull run near Valencia, and a professional Spanish bullfighter was gored to death on live television.[34][35] A group of Buddhist monks on Prince Edward Island purchased over 600 pounds of live lobsters and set them free in the ocean.[36] In Boston, a cab driver returned the $187,786.75 cash inheritance of a homeless man who left his backpack in the cab. “I’m going to do what I always said I’m going to do,” said the heir of his future plans. “Die in Prague.”[37]

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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1.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

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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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