Weekly Review — August 20, 2019, 2:26 pm

Weekly Review

The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interpreted the sonnet affixed to the Statue of Liberty; John Hickenlooper ended his presidential campaign

India celebrated the 72nd anniversary of its independence from Britain, temporarily relaxed, and then reimposed restrictions it had placed on residents of Jammu and Kashmir, which prevent them from using the internet, making phone calls, receiving prescriptions from doctors, and moving around freely.1  Several musicians released songs praising the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which had given the Muslim-majority state its own flag, constitution, and internal administration; the songs also celebrate the opportunity to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir and for men from other states to marry Kashmiri wives.2 More than 4,000 Kashmiris who have staged protests every day since the revocation were arrested under a law that allows extended imprisonment without charge or trial.3 “Today every Indian can proudly say, ‘One India, One Constitution,’” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address that could not be viewed in Jammu and Kashmir.4 In Bangladesh, 10,000 people were left homeless after a fire razed a slum during Eid al-Adha.5 “May God ruin him,” said Muftia Tlaib, the 90-year-old grandmother of U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, about Donald Trump, who pressured Israel to ban Tlaib and fellow representative Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel and Palestine, where Tlaib’s grandmother lives; Israel offered Tlaib the opportunity to visit the West Bank so long as she would not advocate for boycotts of Israel, which she at first accepted and then declined.6 7 8 The Israel Defense Forces allegedly prevented Palestinian ambulances from accessing an enclave in the north of the Gaza Strip for hours after an I.D.F. helicopter and a tank attacked the area, killing three Palestinians.9 “I never thought I would start my week defending the bald eagle and end my week defending the Statue of Liberty,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said after committing the state to take legal action against the Trump Administration for weakening protections ensured in the Endangered Species Act and asserting that immigrants who use or are likely to use government benefits such as Medicaid, housing vouchers, and food stamps may be denied green cards and visas come October.10 11 12 The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who announced the latter measure, said that the sonnet affixed to the Statue of Liberty, written by a woman whose ancestors fled to America from Brazil, refers only to the European tired, European poor, and European huddled masses.13 A family was forced to abandon their Florida vacation home after a committee of black vultures vomited and defecated in their back yard and pool.14

It was reported that, in the days leading up to Jeffrey Epstein’s death inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, he gave at least three other inmates money and repeatedly emptied the two vending machines adjacent to the attorney-client room where he and his team of lawyers would meet for up to 12 hours at a time.15 The night of his death, 18 workers, 10 of whom were working overtime, were guarding 750 prisoners in the jail; one of the two guards assigned to check his cell every 30 minutes reportedly fell asleep on the job. Following an autopsy, the New York City medical examiner determined that Epstein committed suicide by hanging, and his lawyers vowed to conduct an investigation that would arrive at a more satisfactory conclusion.16 An A.C.L.U. test of facial recognition technology on police body cameras incorrectly identified 26 California legislators as suspected criminals, and a federal court case revealed that the police in Portland, Oregon, digitally removed a black man’s extensive facial tattoos from a mugshot used to connect him to a spate of bank robberies.17 18 More than 2,000 people signed a petition to reinstate Sergeant Butters, a tabby cat, to the Mocksville Police Department in North Carolina.19 20 Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who was once mistaken for a journalist at a debate, ended his Democratic presidential campaign.21 Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced that, instead of joining the 23 Democrats still competing for the nomination, she would helm a new nationwide initiative to end voter suppression.22 23

Eleven thousand people attended the ninth and final BronyCon, a convention for adult fans of the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.24 A woman survived a 5,000-foot fall from a plane over Quebec after her skydiving parachute failed to deploy.25 A girl in a wheelchair survived falling off a dock during a cruise stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands after two local men jumped in to save her from drowning.26 NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family survived his private jet’s crash landing by escaping the plane minutes before it burst into flames on a Tennessee highway.27 A man rescued a family of four from a wolf attack in a Canadian national park by kicking the wolf’s butt.28 Tennessee police implored locals to not flush drugs down their toilets and so risk creating “meth-gators,” and scientists worried about the implications of an Israeli lunar lander accidentally letting thousands of tardigrades, microscopic animals that can survive for years without food or water, loose on the moon.29 30 It was reported that a Chinese tanker surreptitiously changed its name from Pacific Bravo to Latin Venture in the middle of the Indian Ocean in a failed attempt to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil.31 A federal judge in South Carolina ruled in favor of personal-injury lawyer George Sink Sr., who had sued his son, George Sink Jr., for using his own name at his competing law firm.32 A county commissioner in Florida who once referred to Parkland student activists as “little monsters” received a box of dildos.33Jordan Cutler-Tietjen

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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!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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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.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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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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