Weekly Review — March 16, 2017, 2:17 pm

Weekly Review

South Korea’s president is removed from office, Kellyanne Conway suggests that Barack Obama could have spied on Donald Trump using “microwaves that turned into cameras,” and a lake in Australia turns pink.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

The Constitutional Court of South Korea voted unanimously to remove President Park Geun-hye from office, stripping her of immunity from bribery and extortion charges.[1] Thousands of people took to the streets outside the courthouse to hear the decision, and three people were killed after protesters attacked police with flagpoles and ladders. “Sorry,” said Park.[2][3][4] In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy and the Democrats proposed calling the legislation the Republican Pay More for Less Care Act.[5][6] “It’s not about branding,” said White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, defending the administration’s reported desire not to name the act after Donald Trump, whose name has appeared on lamps, wine, steaks, mattresses, ties, perfumes, bottles of water, and a multilevel-marketing company that claimed to tailor vitamin regimens to customers’ health needs based on samples of their urine. [7] It was reported that Trump had spent 22.8 percent of his time since taking office in Florida, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari re-emerged after disappearing for seven weeks while on holiday in England, and Brazilian president Michel Temer said ghosts forced him to move out of the 75,000-square-foot presidential palace. “Bad vibes,” he said.[8][9][10]

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked a revised executive order signed by Trump temporarily banning new refugees and immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, and Trump requested that 46 U.S. attorneys hand in letters of resignation.[11][12][13] WikiLeaks published 8,761 leaked CIA documents revealing that the agency had developed tools to hack into phones and cars, and to listen to citizens through their TVs while the devices appeared to be switched off; and Conway said that former president Barack Obama could have spied on Trump through “microwaves that turned into cameras.”[14][15][16] On International Women’s Day, schools were closed in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia because teachers requested the day off en masse, dozens of nurseries and children’s centers closed in Australia after women went home early to protest the gender wage gap, and Trump, who has referred to women as “dogs,” “big fat pigs,” and “pieces of ass,” tweeted that he had “tremendous respect” for women.[17][18] It was announced that women visiting prison inmates in Maine would no longer have to remove their bras before entering.[19]

Algae turned a lake in Melbourne, Australia, hot pink; people who ate Peeps-flavored Oreos reported their mouths, tongues, and excrement had turned pink; and officials told residents of a small town in Canada that their tap water, which was contaminated with hot-pink potassium permanganate, was safe for consumption. “They assured me that everything was very good,” said one resident. “It wasn’t going to turn me into Spider-Man.”[20][21][22] A five-foot-long shark’s carcass was found in a shopping cart in a Walmart parking lot in Florida.[23] Legislation was introduced in Maine to require that dogs wear seatbelts, and a team of sled dogs in Alaska reached a checkpoint on the Iditarod race without their musher, who had gone to sleep and fallen out of his sled and arrived an hour later.[24][25] Scientists announced that there is a variety of potato capable of growing on Mars, that music makes curry taste spicier, and that the Mona Lisa is smiling.[26][27][28] An Ohio couple was arrested for faking the wife’s murder in a bathtub using ketchup and texting photos to their friends, and it was reported that a funeral home in Memphis, Tennessee, was offering drive-through viewings of the deceased.[29][30] In Mexico, the town of Tultepec honored 31 people who died in a recent explosion at a fireworks factory by putting on a fireworks show. “Fireworks,” said one resident, “is what we do.”[31][32]

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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