Weekly Review — April 23, 2019, 3:19 pm

Weekly Review

Notre Dame burned; a journalist was killed by the New I.R.A.; “the Crazy Mueller Report” was made public

At the start of Holy Week, the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was not insured, burned for several hours.1 2 The church’s spire collapsed, but three beehives located inside its roof were untouched.3 Individuals and corporations have donated over $1 billion to rebuild the 856-year-old structure, a sum that has drawn international criticism and prompted protests by the Yellow Vests.4 5 A journalist was killed during riots in Derry, Northern Ireland; the New I.R.A. have claimed responsibility and apologized to her family and friends.6 7 On Easter Sunday, bombs at churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed at least 321 people.8 The Sri Lankan government disabled Facebook and other social media sites to prevent the spread of misinformation, and officials suggested that the attacks were a response to the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.9 10 The leadership of Impact City Church in Pataskala, Ohio, apologized after Jaddeus Dempsey, an associate pastor, asked children to cut him with a knife during a lesson about the crucifixion of Jesus.11

During a press conference held an hour and 45 minutes before special counsel Robert Swan Mueller III’s report was posted online, Attorney General William Pelham Barr told reporters, “there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.”12 13 14 The president, who, upon learning of the special counsel’s investigation, was quoted as saying, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked,” was neither implicated in a crime nor exonerated by the report, and responded to its public release by reiterating his innocence, condemning its methods, and referring to it as “the Crazy Mueller Report.”15 16 17 The non-redacted findings also revealed that Mueller’s investigation had precipitated 14 related federal investigations, two of which were ongoing; the “pee tape,” which former spy Christopher Steele alleged was used by the Russian government to blackmail Trump, never existed; and George Papadopoulos, an unpaid policy adviser for the campaign, could not read some of his own handwriting when asked to do so by investigators.18 19 20 21 A copy of the special counsel’s report with an introduction written by Alan Dershowitz, priced at $9.20, was the number one book on Amazon.com; other publishers’ copies of the 448-page report, which is available on the Department of Justice’s website for free, also made the bestseller list.22 U.S. representative Seth Moulton became the 20th Democrat to announce a campaign for president, and a comedian who plays a president on TV won Ukraine’s presidential election.23 24 “Anything is possible,” said the president-elect. Russia’s foreign minister criticized the United States’ role in international policy, citing, among other things, economic coercion.25

Liberia’s president has been forced to work from home after two snakes were found in the foreign affairs ministry building.26 A dog groomer in Draper, Utah, was arrested after she reportedly pulled a gun on a customer who was late picking up his pet.27 A new study showed that, between 2011 and 2018, the number of human feces left on San Francisco streets increased by more than 400 percent.28 A couple in Uhrichsville, Ohio, were charged after they gave striking school employees near their home sugar cookies laced with laxatives.29 Scientists preserved or restored some brain function in slaughtered pigs, and Tinder, a popular dating app, deleted George Zimmerman’s account.30 31Violet Lucca

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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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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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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

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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