Weekly Review — June 25, 2019, 2:37 pm

Weekly Review

President Donald Trump vs. “Ayatollah Khomeini”; a U.N. report found that Saudi Arabia had murdered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the island of Sommaroy, Norway, planned to abolish time

Over the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shot down a $130 million RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone that it claimed had flown into its airspace without authorization.1 2 President Donald Trump rejected the explanation, called the attack a “big mistake,” approved a military strike in response and then tweeted that he had called off the strike because it would kill too many people, launched a cyberoffensive, and announced a new round of sanctions against “Ayatollah Khomeini,” who died in 1989.3 4 5 6 7 “I’m not looking for war,” said Trump. “If there is, it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”8 A U.N. report found that Saudi Arabia had murdered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom a Saudi intelligence operative had referred to as a “sacrificial animal,” and then covered it up; when asked about Saudi involvement in the killing, Trump refused to comment but explained that he’d be a “fool” to ruin his business relationship with a country that purchases billions of dollars worth of U.S. weapons, and stated that the Middle East is a “vicious, hostile place.”9 10 11 The White House announced, and then delayed, a plan to have Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents round up, arrest, and deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants, and documents leaked from Trump’s transition team suggested that they were wary of hiring the former general David Petraeus because of his opposition to torture.12 13 Trump, who in 2016 pledged to fight for the “forgotten” working class and then a year later signed into law more than $1 trillion worth of tax breaks for corporations, bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Arthur Laffer, the economist who, in the 1970s, popularized the “Laffer curve,” a widely discredited theory that claims higher tax rates can lead to less tax revenue.14 15 “I’ve heard and studied [it] for many years in the Wharton School of Finance [sic],” said Trump, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Wharton in 1968. “Still a very, very highly respected economic curve.”

Eleven Republican state senators in Oregon were believed to be hiding out in Idaho with the assistance of right-wing militias to avoid voting on a measure limiting greenhouse gas emissions.16 “Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” said one fugitive senator during a televised interview, implying that the group would attack any law-enforcement official sent after them.17 Alleged child molester Roy Moore announced that he would again run for the United States Senate as a Republican.18 A House panel convened to discuss the possibility of reparations and a national apology for slavery, and leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden alleged that his expressions of fondness for the segregationist senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, the former of whom once alleged that “the white race is a superior race” and the latter of whom claimed that “non-segregation in our schools will never work as long as red blood runs in white men’s veins,” were taken out of context.19 20 21 22 Seventy-two Philadelphia police officers were put on administrative duty for posting racist or offensive material on social media; Alabama passed a law allowing a Presbyterian megachurch to create its own police force; and in Allentown, Pennsylvania, 10 people were shot outside the Deja Vu nightclub.23 24 25 More than 20 emergency personnel rushed to a park in Queens, New York, to investigate a dead baby that turned out to be a doll.26

In Myanmar, a country that the World Health Organization has found is facing “critical health workplace shortages,” a 28-year-old doctor had her license revoked for posting modeling photos of herself on Facebook that “did not fit with Burmese tradition.”27 “Did I dress in sexy outfits when I was meeting my patients?” she asked reporters. “Never.”28 Porn actors, sex workers, and artists picketed the offices of Instagram to protest its nudity policy, and the United Kingdom delayed adopting new rules establishing age verification for viewing online pornography.29 30 San Francisco broke ground on a new public park commemorating the city’s leather community.31 A major train disruption in Japan last month, in which close to 30 trains were put out of commission, was found to have been caused by a slug.32 Some one hundred orcas and other whales previously intended for sale to Chinese zoos began to be released from a Russian “whale jail”; scientists studying the “midnight zone” of the deep sea captured the first footage of a giant squid in U.S. waters; and a vast freshwater sea was discovered beneath the Atlantic Ocean.33 34 35 The island of Sommaroy, Norway, planned to abolish time.36

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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.
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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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