Weekly Review — May 14, 2019, 1:20 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump criticized Rashida Tlaib, then welcomed Viktor Orbán to the White House; Georgia banned abortions after six weeks; 46 million Australian bills were printed with a typo

During an interview, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan remarked that the thought of her Palestinian ancestors giving up their homes and livelihoods to help Jews after the Holocaust gave her a “warm feeling,” which was roundly criticized by Donald Trump and other G.O.P. politicians as anti-Semitic.1 “She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?” Trump tweeted; several hours later, the president welcomed Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, who used the slogan “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh!” on a campaign poster, to the White House.2 3 “You’re respected all over Europe. Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that’s okay. You’ve done a good job, and you’ve kept your country safe,” said Trump, whose tax information from 1985 to 1994, which showed losses of $1.17 billion and allowed for no deductions for charitable giving, was made public; in 1991, his loss was 1 percent of all losses declared by individual taxpayers that year.4 5 6  A survey reported that 1 in 15 borrowers considered suicide because of their student loan-debt; for the second month in a row, there were over 100,000 arrests at the U.S.–Mexico border; and the CDC reported that about 420 women die each year from preventable pregnancy complications.7 8 9 “Who am I to hold that against someone when they’ve turned their life around?” said Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, explaining his decision not to fire his chief of staff after it was revealed that, as recently as three years ago, he had sent text messages asking for oral sex from an intern, tried to have sex with a lobbyist, and said he’d try to have sex with another intern; Casada has not yet signed a bill, approved by the Tennessee Senate, that would require drivers to use a hands-free device for cell phones.10 11 Uber had the worst initial public offering in U.S. stock market history.13 Physicists found that gravitational waves leave more observable “memories” when passing through space than was previously thought.14

Outside of Argentina’s National Congress, a legislator and his aide were fatally shot in what local officials described as a “Mafia-style” hit, and Israel and Palestine agreed to a ceasefire so that Israel could host Eurovision.15 16 17 A Chicago judge used eyewitness testimony from a legally blind man to sentence a teenager to 76 years in prison.18 Representative John Becker of Ohio, who sponsored a bill that would ban nearly all forms of nontherapeutic abortion, incorrectly stated that ectopic pregnancies could be implanted into the uterus; Georgia passed a law that would imprison women who obtain an abortion after six weeks; and, following a procedural debate, the Alabama Senate postponed a vote on a proposal that would ban most abortions, including in cases of rape or incest.19 20 21 “As a mother, you know,” said a woman whose son’s death in a Florida Panhandle prison was revealed this week to have been potentially staged by guards to look like a suicide; the same report also detailed starvation, the beating of inmates, and the harassment of black employees, which included the dangling of nooses made from toilet paper in front of them.22 The United States is nearly drought-free for the first time in decades and is experiencing unprecedented levels of flooding.23 The only cemetery in Lares, Puerto Rico, which was damaged during Hurricane Maria, finally reopened.24 In Mongolia, a couple ate raw marmot and died of the plague.25

B-52 bombers traveled from Louisiana to Qatar as a warning to Iran, and the Army introduced new uniforms that closely resemble its World War II–era uniforms.26 27 Kendrick Castillo—a high school senior and a member of his school’s robotics team—was fatally shot while lunging at one of two gunmen who entered the school to kill their fellow students.28 In Milwaukee, a gun owner with a concealed-carry permit threatened to shoot people he was arguing with, tried to pull out his weapon, and, in the ensuing struggle, shot and killed himself.29 In a Bavarian hotel, three guests were shot with a crossbow.30 The Australian $50 note was printed with a typo on 46 million bills.31 In Florida, a judge ruled that a couple hoping to use CBD oil, alkaline water, and fresh food to cure their three-year-old of cancer must send their child to chemotherapy; a man pulled over for having a bumper sticker reading “I Eat Ass” says his rights were violated; and after being chased by a stolen Orange County sheriff’s vehicle, a different thief crashed into two cars and a house, and then fled the scene.32 33 34 An ad agency for the National Rifle Association, according to leaked documents, was billed over half a million dollars by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre for, among other things, a nearly $40,000 shopping spree in Beverly Hills and $13,800 in rent for an intern.35Jacob Rosenberg

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In 1989 I published a book about a plutonium-producing nuclear complex in En­gland, on the coast of the Irish Sea. The plant is called Sellafield now. In 1957, when it was the site of the most serious nuclear accident then known to have occurred, the plant was called Windscale. While working on the book, I learned from reports in the British press that in the course of normal functioning it released significant quantities of waste—plutonium and other transuranic elements—into the environment and the adjacent sea. There were reports of high cancer rates. The plant had always been wholly owned by the British government. I believe at some point the government bought it from itself. Privatization was very well thought of at the time, and no buyer could be found for this vast monument to dinosaur modernism.

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Early in the morning on June 28, 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street, the city’s most popular gay bar. The police had raided Stonewall frequently since its opening two years before, but the local precinct usually tipped off the management and arrived in the early evening. This time they came unannounced, during peak hours. They swept through the bar, checking I.D.s and arresting anyone wearing attire that was not “appropriate to one’s gender,” carrying out the law of the time. Eyewitness accounts differ on what turned the unruly scene explosive. Whatever the inciting event, patrons and a growing crowd on the street began throwing coins, bottles, and bricks at the police, who were forced to retreat into the bar and call in the riot squad.

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The squat warehouse at Miami’s 5th Street Terminal was nearly obscured by merchandise: used car engines; tangles of coat hangers; bicycles bound together with cellophane; stacks of wheelbarrows; cases of Powerade and bottled water; a bag of sprouting onions atop a secondhand Whirlpool refrigerator; and, above all, mattresses—shrink-wrapped and bare, spotless and streaked with dust, heaped in every corner of the lot—twins, queens, kings. All this and more was bound for Port-de-Paix, a remote city in northwestern Haiti.

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My father decided that he would end his life by throwing himself from the top of the parking garage at the Nashville airport, which he later told me had seemed like the best combination of convenience—that is, he could get there easily and unnoticed—and sufficiency—that is, he was pretty sure it was tall enough to do the job. I never asked him which other venues he considered and rejected before settling on this plan. He probably did not actually use the word “best.” It was Mother’s Day, 2013.

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