Weekly Review — July 16, 2019, 1:26 pm

Weekly Review

Pelosi vs. the squad; Trump vs. the squad; Alexander Acosta resigned

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called for “unity” among Democrats less than a week after she had been quoted criticizing fellow Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib: “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world . . . They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”1 2 A senior Democratic aide anonymously told a journalist that Ocasio-Cortez is a “puppet” of “elitist white liberals” and compared her to a brown mushroom character from the video game Super Mario Bros.3 Donald Trump also recriminated the four freshman congresswomen, tweeting, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” despite the fact that three of the four were born in the United States; Trump responded to the widespread condemnation of his remarks by asking when the congresswomen would apologize to him, America, and the country of Israel.4 5 As part of a new initiative to reduce online bullying, Instagram now asks “Are you sure you want to post this?” before finalizing some posts; a federal appeals court ruled that the president cannot block people on Twitter, as it is unconstitutional; and the Police Commission of Los Angeles approved a report advocating for the use of drones in law enforcement work, which the police chief said would not infringe on the public’s constitutional rights.6 7 8 An official for U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that a data breach had compromised images of the faces and license plates of up to 100,000 people.9 The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History inquired about acquiring marker drawings made by migrant children while in detention; it was reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has expanded into three for-profit detention facilities in states that do not share a land border with Mexico; and after visiting two Border Patrol detention centers where migrants are being held, Vice President Mike Pence said that the facilities were “providing care that every American would be proud of” and decried congressional resistance to border funding.10 11 12 13 Publishers of religious texts warned that tariffs on Chinese imports could cause a shortage of Bibles.14

The mayor of Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to Trump saying that the Independence Day celebrations the president had ordered, which were inspired by French Bastille Day military displays, had depleted the district’s special fund for priorities such as protection from terorrism and security at state funerals; the mayor also reminded the president that the district was never reimbursed for Trump’s inauguration.15 16 Flooding inundated Washington and parts of the Deep South; record temperatures in Alaska exacerbated the nearly 120 uncontained forest fires there; and the governor of Hawaii publicly thanked Oprah Winfrey, for allowing citizens to use her private road on Maui to avoid a wildfire.17 18 19 20 Colorado officials announced that an email account established to receive reports of possible child abuse had gone unchecked for more than four years; the state is now looking into five cases submitted to the account.21 Alexander Acosta resigned from his Cabinet position as labor secretary following the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, for whom he had arranged a plea deal in 2008 while serving as a federal prosecutor in Florida.22 Attorney General William P. Barr recused himself from overseeing a review of that 2008 decision, because he had worked for a law firm that has represented Epstein; Barr declined to recuse himself from overseeing Epstein’s current case.23 The president, who, according to a lawsuit filed in 2016, allegedly called Epstein a “Jew bastard” while the two argued over who would take the virginity of the then 13-year-old plaintiff, said of Epstein, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”24 25 “What’s the point?” said Senator Tim Scott, who is paid at least $174,000 per year as an elected official, when asked whether he had read the Mueller report.26 27 The University of Texas announced it would offer free tuition for children of families making $65,000 or less per year.28 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who opposes reparations for slavery, compared himself to former President Obama, saying, “We both are the descendants of slave owners.”29 A fire truck carried the bishop in a Colombian city through the streets as he sprinkled holy water to exorcise neighborhoods with high crime rates.30 31 Egypt said it would sue the auction house Christie’s for selling a 3,000-year-old bust of Tutankhamen, because Egypt claims the bust was stolen in the 1970s; Christie’s said that the provenance of the bust over the past 30 years is well documented, and it was not stolen within that period.32 

UNESCO announced 29 new World Heritage sites, including a landscape in the Czech Republic for breeding and training ceremonial carriage horses.33 An animal shelter in Utah received a baby bird delivered by Uber after a man decided he had had too many drinks to drive the bird there himself.34 A poll revealed that one in eight men believes he could win a point playing tennis against Serena Williams, whose loss to Simona Halep at Wimbledon delayed her bid to win a twenty-fourth grand slam title.35 36 Police officers in Missouri apprehended a suspect when he gave away his position by farting, an officer in Arizona who had been fired for fatally shooting an unarmed person was rehired so that the officer would be able to access a pension fund, and the police in Copenhagen, Denmark, arrested 28 people for riding scooters while drunk.37 38 39 A man in Cambridge, England, was banned for a third time from city council meetings, this time for attending with a wooden snake named Sammy draped around his neck; a man in Oklahoma was found to be driving with a canister of radioactive uranium, a rattlesnake, and an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey; and a snake that a thief had thrown at a driver during a carjacking in Greenville, South Carolina, was released into the woods.40 41 42 In Australia, a car being used in a gender reveal party burst into flames.43Cameron French

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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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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.

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

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