Weekly Review — July 3, 2018, 11:09 am

Weekly Review

Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, AMLO wins in Mexico, and Ivanka Trump copresents a report denouncing family separation

Three days after US president Donald Trump called journalists “the enemy of the people” at a rally for South Carolina governor Henry McMaster, a man shot and killed five staff members of Maryland’s Capital Gazette.[1] “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” Trump stated at a news conference the day after the shooting.[2] The Supreme Court upheld the president’s ban on travelers from North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Venezuela, and struck down a California law requiring reproductive health clinics to inform patients about the availability of abortion services.[3][4] Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would be retiring, and it was reported that, as an executive at Deutsche Bank, Justice Kennedy’s son Justin Kennedy had presided over $1 billion in loans to President Trump, who has publicly referred to Justin as a “special guy.”[5][6]

Far-left anti-corruption candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has vowed to turn the presidential palace into a public park, was elected president of Mexico with a more than 30-point lead, the largest margin in a Mexican presidential election since 1982; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist bartender from the Bronx, defeated a ten-term congressman in the Democratic primaries with a 15-point lead.[7][8][9] Ivanka Trump copresented a 68-page report written before the family separation policy was enacted at the State Department’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony, denouncing family separation as harmful; a federal judge ordered the government to reunite separated undocumented families currently in custody within 30 days; and, ordered to appear alone in court for a deportation hearing, a three-year-old climbed on a table in the middle of proceedings.[10][11][12][13] Taco Bell was named the best Mexican restaurant of 2018 in the Harris Poll, an annual survey originally founded to conduct polling for political candidates.[14]

A new report estimated that, unchecked, climate change would depress the living standards of one in every two Indians by 2050.[15] Parents in Sri Lanka marked the 500th day of roadside protests over the disappearance of more than 60,000 people believed to have been abducted by the government during and after the civil war.[16] A Missouri State University professor stopped soliciting photos of penises for a study on self-esteem, stating that public fervor had compromised the reliability of the survey responses; a former security guard at a CVS in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was sentenced to four years in prison for taking nude photos of female shoplifters in exchange for not calling the police; and in Madison, Wisconsin, a man attempting to take “upskirt” photos suffered a foot injury when the hidden camera in his shoe exploded.[17][18][19] According to the police chief’s blog, “The subject was counseled on his actions and released from the scene as no illicit video had been taken.”[20]Whitney Kimball

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

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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.

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Power of Attorney·

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In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

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I was in Midtown, sitting by a dry fountain, making a list of all the men I’d slept with since my last checkup—doctor’s orders. Afterward, I would head downtown and wait for Quimby at the bar, where there were only alcoholics and the graveyard shift this early. I’d just left the United Nations after a Friday morning session—likely my last. The agenda had included resolutions about a worldwide ban on plastic bags, condemnation of a Slobodan Miloševic statue, sanctions on Israel, and a truth and reconciliation commission in El Salvador. Except for the proclamation opposing the war criminal’s marble replica, everything was thwarted by the United States and a small contingent of its allies. None of this should have surprised me. Some version of these outcomes had been repeating weekly since World War II.

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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.

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