Weekly Review — June 4, 2019, 3:35 pm

Weekly Review

A mass-shooting in Virginia Beach; the White House ordered the Navy to cover up the name of the U.S.S. John S. McCain; Exotic Pet Amnesty Day was held at the Central Florida Zoo

An engineer employed by the city of Virginia Beach resigned via email and, later in the day, fatally shot 12 people at Building Number 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center; for most of the siege, one survivor, who made eye contact with the shooter twice, believed that it was an elaborately staged mass-shooting drill.1 2 After playing golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, Donald Trump made an unannounced appearance at the McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia. The president, who removed his white golf hat that read usa as he walked across the church’s stage, did not give an address to the congregation.3 4 Anonymous sources from the Navy and the White House revealed that, during Trump’s recent visit to Japan, the White House had directed the Navy to hide the name of the U.S.S. John S. McCain with a tarp and a barge, and that when sailors who worked on the destroyer attempted to attend the president’s speech, wearing the McCain’s insignia, they were turned away; the president later denied knowledge of this on Twitter, and he also denied that he had called Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex, “nasty,” despite the existence of a recording in which Trump says, “I didn’t know that she was nasty. I hope she is OK.”5 6 7 The State Department initiated a new policy that requires U.S. visa applicants to proffer information about any social-media accounts they have used in the past five years; the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that an El Paso Border Patrol processing facility, designed for a maximum of 125 migrants, was holding “approximately 750 and 900 detainees” on two separate days in May; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the United States would continue to “reverse the malign activity” in the Middle East.8 9 10 While promoting an Israel–Palestine peace plan that he had helped design, Jared Kushner, a 38-year-old who holds a B.A. in government, said of the Palestinian people, “The hope is that they, over time, will become capable of governing.”11 12

Israel announced its second election of the year, scheduled for September 17, following Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a coalition government with the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party.13 Algeria canceled its presidential elections, which were scheduled for July 4, in a concession to protesters.14 Rodrigo Duterte said that a gay person had assured him that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a frequent critic of Duterte who has been accused of masterminding a non-U.S. backed plot to remove him from office, was definitely gay.15 16 17 Sixty-nine containers of garbage, part of a shipment of refuse from Canada that had been falsely declared recyclable, departed from Subic Bay in the Philippines and are headed for Vancouver.18 An event at a gas station in Edmonton to celebrate the repeal of Alberta’s consumer carbon tax was canceled in response to heavy smoke from uncontained wildfires elsewhere in the province.19 It was discovered that a nurse who had worked at a hospital in Jonquière, Quebec, had been forging her qualifications for the past 20 years, and the leaders of Walt Disney World’s private government warned that its fire department is understaffed.20 21 A new study argued that the disproportionate use of male mice in medical experiments could result in drugs that are less effective for women.22 Tickets to a pop-up bar in San Francisco that will be overrun by rats were priced at $49.99.23

A high school principal accused of plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher’s speech from the 2013 Teen Choice Awards apologized and said, “I did not get all my ideas from Ashton. Format, yes, thoughts and ideas were from my heart.”24 A lobbyist and former chairman of the Idaho Republican Party was charged with first-degree stalking after repeatedly masturbating in or near the bushes of his estranged wife’s apartment complex, sometimes while wearing a wig; when questioned by the police, the man said he was there to scare a different woman.25 The CEO of Make California Great Again and her husband were arrested after the police raided their mansion and found nearly 140 dogs covered in urine and feces.26 27 Twenty-eight animals were surrendered to the Central Florida Zoo on its annual Exotic Pet Amnesty Day.28 The police in Viersen, Germany, said that “the Holy Ghost” had guided a pigeon who had obscured the face of a man who was photographed by a traffic camera while speeding.29Violet 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,
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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!”

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