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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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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