Weekly Review — April 30, 2019, 12:51 pm

Weekly Review

A white nationalist shot up a San Diego synagogue during Passover services; 15 people killed during a raid near the hometown of the suspected instigator of last week’s attacks in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Joe Biden announced his third presidential campaign

During Passover services at the Chabad of Poway synagogue outside San Diego, John Earnest, a 19-year-old who claimed he had previously set fire to an Escondido mosque in support of Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch shooter, killed one and wounded three as he sought to destroy, in the words of his New Testament–quoting open letter posted on the internet forum 8chan, “anyone who seeks the destruction of my race.”1 Witnesses to the shooting say that the 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye was murdered when she stepped in front of Earnest after he fired his assault rifle at the temple’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, an act that may have saved the rabbi’s life.2 At a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, President Donald Trump said, in reference to the synagogue shooting, “We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate,” a day after responding to a question about his 2017 remarks on the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, protests organized by white supremacists with a reiteration of the claim that the protesters were limited to those upset about the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, who, Trump said, “Whether you like it or not [was] one of the great generals.”3 4 At the same Green Bay rally, Trump indicated his continued support for Saudi Arabia, whose government executed 37 people on terrorism charges in one day, including at least one by crucifixion, because “they have nothing but cash [and] buy a lot from us, four hundred fifty billion dollars they bought.”5 6 At the rally, Trump also criticized the alleged support among Democrats, including that of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, for what he called “extreme late-term abortion,” in which “the baby is born, the mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby,” before making a chopping guillotine motion with his hands.7 In a six-to-one ruling that now stands as the law of the land in Kansas with no path for an appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitution protects abortion rights, blocking a law that would have banned the most commonly used procedure for second-trimester abortions.8

Fifteen people, including six children, were killed in Sainthamaruthu, Sri Lanka, when suspected militants detonated explosives in a raid near the hometown of the suspected instigator of last week’s attacks that killed at least 250 people, responsibility for which was claimed by the Islamic State (though the National Thowheed Jamath group carried it out).9 10 In Sunnyvale, California, a U.S. Army veteran drove his Toyota Corolla into a crowd of pedestrians because he thought some of them were Muslim.11 Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin blamed the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl by her 11-year-old brother on teachers protesting for better funding for their classrooms and pensions, saying that the children, who were at home, “were somewhere that they weren’t intended to be and because the parent didn’t have any option, and put them into a situation so they could go to work.”12 Former Reagan Administration National Security Council staffer Oliver North’s term as the president of the National Rifle Association ended after NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre wrote a letter to the board alleging an extortion plot by North to remove him, which included claims of sexual harassment against another staff member and of more than $200,000 of wardrobe purchases.13  Former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. became the 20th Democrat to announce a campaign to join a presidential race that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said is at risk of meddling by the Russians, who remain “a very significant counterintelligence threat.”14 15 The Paper Moon strip club in Richmond, Virginia, booked Roger Stone, a political operative indicted on charges related to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, for a speaking engagement.16 17 A helicopter returned a polar bear, nicknamed “Umka” after a Soviet cartoon bear, to the Russian Arctic after he had drifted more than 400 miles south on an ice floe.18 Students in Mozambique beset by the poverty, hunger, and disorder exacerbated by Cyclone Idai are afraid the next big weather event “will blow us all away.”19

In Brazil, a parrot was taken into custody after it it squawked, “Mama, police!” in Portuguese to warn its owners about an undercover drug raid.20 A woman who posed as a German heiress to obtain thousands of dollars in bank loans, live at a Manhattan luxury hotel, and travel on a private plane, was convicted of attempted grand larceny, three grand larceny counts, and a misdemeanor charge of theft of services.21 A mother whose nine-year-old son didn’t want to go to school was ordered to serve 30 days in jail for running over the child, who suffered a traumatic brain injury; a high school principal in Houston, issued a dress code for parents entering school grounds that forbids pajamas, hair rollers, leggings, bonnets, shower caps, sagging pants or shorts, revealing tops, torn jeans, and short-cut dresses; and a school administrator in Pearland, Texas, used permanent marker to color in a shaved letter on the head of a student who was in violation of the dress code.22 23 24 Spain’s ruling socialist party, PSOE, won a snap general election but fell short of a majority.25 In Indiana, Dick Cheney’s daughter, Representative Liz Cheney, told an audience at the Allen County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner that socialism “is just as big a threat” from Democrats today as it was from the former Soviet Union during the 1980s, and said that “we are very proudly the party of Lincoln and of Reagan and of Donald Trump.”26 The Internal Revenue Service granted the same nonprofit status given to churches, synagogues, and mosques to the Satanic Temple, a nontheistic religious organization in Salem, Massachusetts.27 A movie theater manager in Dickson, Tennessee, altered the spelling of the film Hellboy on the theater’s marquee to Heckboy.28Justin Stewart

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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!”

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