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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Five years ago, Jean-Sebastien Hertsens Zune went looking for his parents. He already had one set, a Belgian church organist and his wife, who adopted him as a baby from Guatemala and later moved the family to France. But he wanted to find his birth mother and father. When Zune was a teenager, his Belgian parents gave him his adoption file, holding back only receipts showing how much the process had cost. Most people pay little attention to their birth certificates, but for adoptees, these documents, along with notes about their relinquishment, tell an often patchy origin story.

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Once, in an exuberant state, feeling filled with the muse, I told another writer: When I write, I know everything. Everything about the characters? she asked. No, I said, everything about the world, the universe. Every. Fucking. Thing. I was being preposterous, of course, but I was also trying to explain the feeling I got, deep inside writing a first draft, that I was listening and receiving, listening some more and receiving, from a place that was far enough away from my daily life, from all of my reading, from everything.

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All his life he lived on hatred.

He was a solitary man who hoarded gloom. At night a thick smell filled his bachelor’s room on the edge of the kibbutz. His sunken, severe eyes saw shapes in the dark. The hater and his hatred fed on each other. So it has ever been. A solitary, huddled man, if he does not shed tears or play the violin, if he does not fasten his claws in other people, experiences over the years a constantly mounting pressure, until he faces a choice between lunacy and suicide. And those who live around him breathe a sigh of relief.

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Thirty-two years ago my newborn daughter was discharged from Boston Children’s Hospital after an operation to repair a congenital birth defect and a lengthy period of recovery. Her mother and I had prepared for this—we knew the diagnosis from the ultrasound, had done the research you could do in 1986, asked the questions we could learn to ask—and got a good outcome. We went home to the western end of the state to raise twin daughters, one with a major disability (“our third child,” her mother says), and found ourselves in a system whose existence we hadn’t known of: Early Childhood Intervention. Physical therapists, psychologists, licensed practical nurses, and the state and public–private agencies that supplied and paid them. They cared for our child, but more than that, they taught us how to, and the teaching was as much mental and emotional—call it spiritual—as it was practical. They taught us to watch, to observe, to learn this particular child; to have patience, not to see too much and fall into useless anxiety, not to see too little and miss the signs of trouble. Close watching actually changed our experience of time. I learned what mindfulness meant, even if my practice of it fell short.

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