Weekly Review — November 6, 2018, 1:08 pm

Weekly Review

Pittsburgh protesters forced Trump’s motorcade to take a detour; “Whitey” Bulger murdered in prison; Kentucky Fried Chicken paid the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders

A  self-described misogynist who had been arrested several times for grabbing women on the Florida State University campus shot and killed two people at a Tallahassee, Florida, yoga studio; a 16-year-old in Matthews, North Carolina, shot and killed a classmate in response to bullying; and an 11-year-old boy in Litchfield Park, Arizona, fatally shot his grandmother after she had told him to clean his room, and then turned the gun on himself.1 2 3 4 Clarifying when he called for troops being deployed to the US–Mexico border to “consider it a rifle” if a migrant throws a rock, President Donald Trump said, “That doesn’t mean shoot them”; the Nigerian Army tweeted the former speech as justification for firing upon one thousand Islamic Shiite activists who had been marching in Abuja and threw rocks at soldiers.5 6 On the same day that an estimated two thousand protesters in Pittsburgh forced his motorcade to take a detour, Trump announced a planned executive order that would attempt to end birthright citizenship.7 8 Donald Trump Jr. criticized “the Democrats” for not disavowing Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has made anti-Semitic statements and who praised Trump Jr.’s father during his campaign in 2016.9 

The son of a truck driver murdered by the former gangster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger said he hoped to put money in the canteen account of Freddy Geas, a 51-year-old serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in West Virginia, who “hated rats” and is suspected of killing the 89-year-old Bulger.10 “I think it’s justice,” said the son. In Illinois, a judge ruled that the state prison system is still not caring properly for the mentally ill after a settlement agreement made in 2016; in Georgia, it was reported that female guards in state prisons are persistently sexually harassed by their co-workers and by inmates; in North Carolina, it was revealed that inmates were regularly ordered to fight other prisoners by sheriff’s office employees.11 12 13 “Let’s rock,” said the first man executed by electrocution in Tennessee since 2007.14 The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran that were lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that was praised by Benjamin Netanyahu, who also stated that “blocking Iran is uttermost on our agenda for security, not merely for Israel but, I believe, for Europe and the world as well,” and that Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was “horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable.”15 16 In one of the largest cases of financial fraud in history, Goldman Sachs bankers were charged with bribing Malaysian officials with more than $2.7 billion, taking $4.1 million in gold jewelry “for the wife of Malaysian Official #1,” and siphoning off funds for their personal use, including the buying of yachts and the funding of the film The Wolf of Wall Street.17 The president of Turkmenistan, a former dentist who succeeded the previous lifetime president in 2007, lifted a gold weight-lifting bar before his applauding cabinet, shortly before the start of the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in the capital, Ashgabat.18 There is an ongoing constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka.19

The Brazilian federal judge who spearheaded the Car Wash corruption investigations that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has accepted a position in Jair Bolsonaro’s new government.20 Researchers estimated that humanity has destroyed as much as 60 percent of the world’s animal population since 1970, and a study found that oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than was previously thought.21 22 The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it will not stop health research experiments that involve killing dogs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken gave $11,000 to the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders.23 24 In Kansas City, Missouri, a man fell asleep while loading bags into a Boeing 737; when the flight landed an hour later in Chicago, he told the police he had been drunk.25Jacob Rosenberg

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Early in the morning on June 28, 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street, the city’s most popular gay bar. The police had raided Stonewall frequently since its opening two years before, but the local precinct usually tipped off the management and arrived in the early evening. This time they came unannounced, during peak hours. They swept through the bar, checking I.D.s and arresting anyone wearing attire that was not “appropriate to one’s gender,” carrying out the law of the time. Eyewitness accounts differ on what turned the unruly scene explosive. Whatever the inciting event, patrons and a growing crowd on the street began throwing coins, bottles, and bricks at the police, who were forced to retreat into the bar and call in the riot squad.

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In 1989 I published a book about a plutonium-producing nuclear complex in En­gland, on the coast of the Irish Sea. The plant is called Sellafield now. In 1957, when it was the site of the most serious nuclear accident then known to have occurred, the plant was called Windscale. While working on the book, I learned from reports in the British press that in the course of normal functioning it released significant quantities of waste—plutonium and other transuranic elements—into the environment and the adjacent sea. There were reports of high cancer rates. The plant had always been wholly owned by the British government. I believe at some point the government bought it from itself. Privatization was very well thought of at the time, and no buyer could be found for this vast monument to dinosaur modernism.

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My father decided that he would end his life by throwing himself from the top of the parking garage at the Nashville airport, which he later told me had seemed like the best combination of convenience—that is, he could get there easily and unnoticed—and sufficiency—that is, he was pretty sure it was tall enough to do the job. I never asked him which other venues he considered and rejected before settling on this plan. He probably did not actually use the word “best.” It was Mother’s Day, 2013.

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