Weekly Review — April 25, 2018, 6:40 pm

Weekly Review

A naked man kills four people at a Waffle House, a wildfire spreads across Oklahoma, and NASA launches a satellite to search for new planets

In a Waffle House parking lot in Nashville, Tennessee, a man who was described by a witness as “naked except for a jacket” exited his vehicle and began firing an assault rifle, killing four people and wounding at least seven.[1][2] Nashville’s mayor called for stricter gun-control laws, and Tennessee lawmakers voted to cut $250,000 from their budget for Memphis because the city removed Confederate monuments. “Bad actions,” said a state lawmaker, lead to “bad consequences.”[3][4] A three-judge panel stopped the Justice Department from withholding money from sanctuary cities, saying the department wrongly used “the sword of federal funding to conscript state and local authorities to aid in federal civil immigration enforcement”; the US Supreme Court said that a federal law allowing the government to deport noncitizens who are found guilty of committing a “crime of violence” was too vague; and it was reported that since October, more than 700 children at the US border have been separated from adults claiming to be their parents.[5][6][7] Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and the former head of the White House’s voter fraud commission, was held in contempt of court for not following an order to register voters.[8]

The Democratic National Committee filed suit against Russia, WikiLeaks, and US president Donald Trump, accusing the three parties of colluding with one another to help Trump win the 2016 election; former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team and said he hoped to end a special counsel investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia in “maybe a couple of weeks”; US attorney general Jeff Sessions reportedly told the White House that he would resign if Trump fired the deputy attorney general, who is overseeing the special counsel investigation; and declassified memos written by former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired, revealed that Trump believed one of his former national security advisers, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia, had “judgment issues.”[9][10][11][12] South Korea said that upcoming talks with North Korea may lead to a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War; and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that his country will stop testing its nuclear weapons.[13][14] NASA launched a planet-hunting satellite.[15]

A fan blade in the engine of a Southwest Airlines plane broke off midflight and sliced open the cabin, killing one passenger.[16] Researchers announced that climate change caused the collapse of 29 percent of reefs off the coast of Australia.[17] A wildfire in Oklahoma spread to more than 283,000 acres of land and produced 70-foot flame walls.[18] A Washington, D.C., lawmaker who claimed that a rich Jewish family controlled the weather ignored a reporter’s question about why he ended his visit to the Holocaust museum early; and, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the German music industry’s award for best hip-hop album was given to a duo who have rapped about being “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners” and created a video in which a London banker creates evil in the world while wearing a Star of David.[19][20] It was reported that bull sharks are mating closer to the shore.[21]

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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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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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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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