Weekly Review — April 9, 2019, 4:14 pm

Weekly Review

Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation, and a newly elected civil court judge in Texas accidentally resigned

Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., who called Representative Ilhan Omar’s office, spelled his name to an aide, and threatened to shoot the congresswoman, was arrested after he told an FBI agent interviewing him about the incident that “if our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head.”1 Cesar Sayoc, who has pleaded guilty to mailing 16 bombs to politicians, journalists, and other public figures, told a judge that he never intended to hurt anyone.2 3 During a guest sermon at Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, Pastor Hope Carpenter told the congregation, “I cut people. I got a knife right in that pocketbook. Greenville News, come on. We done went through this. I’m still here, and guess who else is still going to be here?”4 A group of analysts in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis who specialized in domestic terrorism were reassigned, and Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation as the agency’s secretary.5 6 The Trump Administration labeled the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s military that has had indirect business ties to the Trump Organization, as a foreign terrorist organization.7 8 “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” President Trump wrote in a statement.9 Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has commended Trump’s decision to name the Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization and created a coalition between the ultranationalist parties Jewish Power and Jewish Home, has promised to annex the West Bank if elected to a fifth term.10 11

Senator Kamala Harris missed a vote that reduced debate time on President Trump’s nominees because she was campaigning in Nevada, and a student at the University of Iowa asked Robert Francis O’Rourke, who was speaking on campus that day, “Are you here to see Beto?”12 13 14 Joe Biden, who has not officially declared his candidacy for president, spoke to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and told the audience, “I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done.”15 Anthony Weiner was ordered to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 20 years.16 At her trial, a middle school teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy testified that she continued their relationship because she felt flattered by his attention.17 A police officer in Richmond, Virginia, was put under investigation after he was filmed telling a group of black middle school students, “Wait until your asses turn 18, then you’re mine,” and an illegally operated drone, flown during the funeral of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, struck a New York City police officer in the head.18 19 In Genoa, a baby allegedly died after a botched at-home circumcision, the second such incident in Italy in two months.20 A mother and son returning to Quebec from the United States were stopped from reentering Canada after customs agents discovered the dead body of the family’s octogenarian patriarch; they had not sought treatment for their relative because they believed U.S. health care was too expensive.21 Motel 6, which gave guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from 2015 to 2017, was ordered to pay $12 million to Washington State.22

A newly elected civil court judge in Texas accidentally resigned; an English judge said that it was a “fundamental human right” of a man to have sex with his wife; and Zimbabwe’s Judicial Service Commission spent $155,000 on 64 horsehair wigs for judges, which has upset some citizens.23 24 25 A new report suggests that Russians offered at least six Malagasy presidential candidates money, and Vladimir Putin’s press secretary responded to a new study authored by the country’s official statistics agency that showed that one-third of Russian citizens cannot afford two pairs of shoes for each family member every year by saying, “Why shoes? Why one third? Where are these figures from?”26 27 Some of Robert Mueller’s investigators have complained that Attorney General William P. Barr’s summary of their findings fails to convey their severity.28Violet Lucca

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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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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.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
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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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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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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!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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