Weekly Review — August 28, 2017, 5:19 pm

Weekly Review

A storm brews

Days before the Mexican government offered to send aid for the victims of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in eastern Texas and caused catastrophic flooding in up to 50 counties and drove an estimated 30,000 people from their homes, one-time pornographic-film extra and current U.S. president Donald Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County who, during his 24-year tenure, held inmates in Korean War tents that reached temperatures of 141 degrees; referred to those tents as a “concentration camp” and the place “where all the Mexicans are”; called complaints from Latinos “civil rights crap”; said it costs more to “feed the dogs than it does the inmates,” whom he fed rotten green bologna; ran on his office’s website a “Mugshot of the Day” contest inviting visitors to vote for their favorite inmate images; shot footage of female inmates that could be viewed online; forced hundreds of inmates not yet convicted of any crime to march from one jail to another in pink underwear; oversaw guards who referred to Latino inmates as “wetbacks” and “Mexican bitches,” strapped to a chair a paraplegic inmate and then tightened the restraints until his neck broke, and forced a female inmate to give birth in shackles; said he was the “first in the world” to put women in a “chain gang”; admitted that his counsel had hired a private agent to investigate the wife of a judge who ordered him to stop racially profiling Latinos, a ruling he was later found in contempt of court for ignoring; claimed that all people crossing the Mexican border had swine flu; said he was “doing something good” because the Latino community was “leaving town”; asked a Latino waitress if it was “safe” to drink a glass of iced tea she had given him; was found to have inadequately investigated or ignored hundreds of sex crimes; opened a rape investigation into a political opponent and investigated for child molestation a former Phoenix mayor who disagreed with his treatment of Latinos; oversaw deputies who threatened to arrest a reporter for viewing public records and forced a man’s dog back into a burning house that they had set on fire; ran a jail with four times the suicide rate of county jails for Chicago or Miami; banned his inmates from drinking coffee and possessing pornographic magazines, and created an in-house radio station that broadcasted songs by Frank Sinatra; referred to his Italian-American bodyguards as his “mafia”; and chained together teenage inmates and forced them to bury the corpses of poor people. “More rain coming,” tweeted Trump.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

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Secrets and Lies·

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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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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.
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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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