Weekly Review — July 24, 2019, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Protesters across Puerto Rico called for the resignation of their governor; the head of Iowa’s Department of Human Services was fired after at least one complaint about his expressions of love for rapper Tupac Shakur

At a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, where Donald Trump repeatedly referred to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez simply as “Cortez” because “too much time—takes too much time,” the president’s supporters chanted “send her back!” as he discussed Representative Ilhan Omar.1 2 When asked about the audience’s behavior later, the president, who stopped speaking for 10 seconds and glanced around the arena during the chant, said that he disagreed with the sentiment and tried to stop it by “speaking very quickly.” 3 According to a new poll, Republican support for Trump has risen in the past week.4 “I want more lol,” joked a prison official in a group text about the beating of an inmate.5 In Puerto Rico, protesters across the island called for the resignation of their governor after hundreds of his instant messages were leaked that reveal that he made light about the number of dead bodies at the San Juan morgue following Hurricane Maria and homophobic jokes about Ricky Martin; the governor has said that he will not seek reelection.6 7 Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who at age 12 saw Babe Ruth call his shot in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, died.8 Antonin Scalia’s son, who was legal counsel for SeaWorld after one of its killer whales killed a trainer, was nominated to replace Alexander Acosta as secretary of labor.9 10 The United States accidentally revealed the apparent sites of its nuclear weapons in Europe in a NATO report, and El Chapo wore his trademark mustache for a sentencing hearing at which he got life in prison.11 12 Scientists showed that two earthquakes that took place in California earlier this month caused some 16,000 aftershocks.13

 The man who set the Kyoto Animation studio on fire and killed 34 people reportedly said “drop dead” as he lit the blaze, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia apologized after accidentally livestreaming a press conference about a double murder with a cat filter turned on.14 15 16 The Justice Department announced that it would not pursue charges against the officer who choked Eric Garner to death, a decision reportedly made by the attorney general; the former prime minister of Pakistan was arrested on corruption charges; and a police officer admitted that, while waiting at the London home of a family whose child had died, he had purchased four pornographic movies on their Virgin TV account.17 18 19 “These porn sites need to think more,” said the author of a paper that showed that 93 percent of pornography websites sent data to third-party domains, including Google, which had a tracker on 74 percent of porn sites.20 Elon Musk revealed a technology that could connect the human mind directly to a smartphone with thin threads, which would be installed by drilling small holes in the skull.21 Newly public emails showed that Palantir, a company founded by Peter Thiel, created an iPhone program that helps ICE track down immigrants.22 According to an internal memo, USAID will divert funds intended for humanitarian efforts in Central America to the promotion of the opposition party in Venezuela.23 The largest U.S. banks posted billions of dollars in profits in the first half of the year as a result of Trump’s tax cuts.24 In West Palm Beach, Florida, the local government continued to loudly play two annoying songs—“Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos”—outside a pavilion to deter homeless people from sleeping there.25 26 “I still lay down in there,” said one homeless man. Berkeley, California, voted to change all instances of “manhole” to “maintenance hole” in its municipal code.27 A fire in Greenland that lasted for over 10 days ended.28 In Sydney, a man crashed a van filled with more than $20 million of methylamphetamine, also known as “ice,” into a parked police car.29

“I always try to assume the best of everybody, and I can’t imagine that [the governor] would base her decision on the Tupac incident,” said Jerry Foxhoven, who was recently fired from his job leading the Iowa Department of Human Services after at least one complaint about his expressions of love for rapper Tupac Shakur, which included quoting Tupac lyrics in work emails and celebrating his birthday with Tupac-themed baked goods.30 Between 50 and 100 hundred people joined hands off the Florida coast to rescue two swimmers who had been swept out to sea by a rip current; both swimmers, upon returning to land, were arrested for going into the water after being warned about dangerous conditions.31 In Gujarat, India, a man was unloading corn from a truck when a snake emerged from the brush, and while others ran away, he grabbed the snake; the snake bit him in the face and hands, and he bit the snake back.32 Both died.—Jacob Rosenberg

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I was tucked in a blind behind a soda machine, with nothing in my hand but notepad and phone, when a herd of running backs broke cover and headed across the convention center floor. My God, they’re beautiful! A half dozen of them, compact as tanks, stuffed into sports shirts and cotton pants, each, around his monstrous neck, wearing a lanyard that listed number and position, name and schedule, tasks to be accomplished at the 2019 N.F.L. Scout­ing Combine. They attracted the stunned gaze of football fans and beat writers, yet, seemingly unaware of their surroundings, continued across the carpet.

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Thirty miles from the coast, on a desert plateau in the Judaean Mountains without natural resources or protection, Jerusalem is not a promising site for one of the world’s great cities, which partly explains why it has been burned to the ground twice and besieged or attacked more than seventy times. Much of the Old City that draws millions of tourists and Holy Land pilgrims dates back two thousand years, but the area ­likely served as the seat of the Judaean monarchy a full millennium before that. According to the Bible, King David conquered the Canaanite city and established it as his capital, but over centuries of destruction and rebuilding all traces of that period were lost. In 1867, a British military officer named Charles Warren set out to find the remnants of David’s kingdom. He expected to search below the famed Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, but the Ottoman authorities denied his request to excavate there. Warren decided to dig instead on a slope outside the Old City walls, observing that the Psalms describe Jerusalem as lying in a valley surrounded by hills, not on top of one.

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I passed through the Western Wall Plaza to the Dung Gate, popularly believed to mark the ancient route along which red heifers were led to the Temple for sacrifice. Outside the Old City walls, in the open air, I found light and heat and noise. Tour buses lined up like train cars along the ridge. Monday is the day when bar and bat mitzvahs are held in Israel, and drumbeats from distant celebrations mixed with the pounding of jackhammers from construction sites nearby. When I arrived at the City of David, workmen were refinishing the wooden deck at the site’s entrance and laying down a marble mosaic by the ticket window.

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The Black Axe·

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Eleven years ago, on a bitter January night, dozens of young men, dressed in a uniform of black berets, white T-­shirts, and black pants, gathered on a hill overlooking the Nigerian city of Jos, shouting, dancing, and shooting guns into the black sky. A drummer pounded a rhythmic beat. Amid the roiling crowd, five men crawled toward a candlelit dais, where a white-­robed priest stood holding an axe. Leading them was John, a sophomore at the local college, powerfully built and baby-faced. Over the past six hours, he had been beaten and burned, trampled and taunted. He was exhausted. John looked out at the landscape beyond the priest. It was the harmattan season, when Saharan sand blots out the sky, and the city lights in the distance blurred in John’s eyes as if he were underwater.

John had been raised by a single mother in Kaduna, a hardscrabble city in Nigeria’s arid north. She’d worked all hours as a construction supplier, but the family still struggled to get by. Her three boys were left alone for long stretches, and they killed time hunting at a nearby lake while listening to American rap. At seventeen, John had enrolled at the University of Jos to study business. Four hours southeast of his native Kaduna, Jos was another world, temperate and green. John’s mother sent him an allowance, and he made cash on the side rearing guard dogs for sale in Port Harcourt, the perilous capital of Nigeria’s oil industry. But it wasn’t much. John’s older brother, also studying in Jos, hung around with a group of Axemen—members of the Black Axe fraternity—who partied hard and bought drugs and cars. Local media reported a flood of crimes that Axemen had allegedly committed, but his brother’s friends promised John that, were he to join the group, he wouldn’t be forced into anything illegal. He could just come to the parties, help out at the odd charity drive, and enjoy himself. It was up to him.

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I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t get up—­just couldn’t get up, couldn’t get up or leave. All day lying in that median, unable. Was this misery or joy?

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The Catholic School, by Edoardo Albinati. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1,280 pages. $40.

In a quiet northern suburb of Rome, a woman hears noises in the street and sends her son to investigate. Someone is locked in the trunk of a Fiat 127. The police arrive and find one girl seriously injured, together with the corpse of a second. Both have been raped, tortured, and left for dead. The survivor speaks of three young aggressors and a villa by the sea. Within hours two of the men have been arrested. The other will never be found.

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