Anyone who has been China returns with hair-raising stories of people driving on the sidewalks and trucks careening around with massively overloaded beds. However, even for China, this truck driver had people shocked after he tried to save money in transporting trucks separately and instead stacked them on top of each other.
One of the most impressive characteristics of religious extremists is the ability to hold facially contrary positions without any sense of contradiction or hypocrisy. Saudi Arabia decries any limitations on Muslims worshipping in other countries while banning churches and public worship of non-Muslims in its own country. Iran is particularly prone to such contradictions like executing homosexuals while denying that there are any homosexuals in Iran or objecting to the treatment of protesters in the West while jailing, beating and killing protesters in Iran. This week Iran offered another such example. In refusing to censor a Holocaust-themed cartoon festival, Iran (which has ordered the killing of authors and cartoonists for insulting Islam) insisted that it had to stand with free speech and would not think of interfering with an author or cartoonist in expressing their views. The same week, Iran has called for the arrest and punishment of models who allow themselves to be photographed without religious scarves. Likewise, it previously ordered the flogging of a model for a public kiss.
Politicians being barred from office for misconduct is unfortunately not new, but Iranian politicians Minoo Khaleghi, who won a seat in the city of Isfahan in February, transgressed by allegedly allowing a picture to be taken of her without a head scarf. While Khaleghi insists the photos are fake, Dispute Settlement Committee of Branches ruled that she cannot be sworn into office for violating Islamic values. A religious body previously made clear that they would not allow voters to elect Khaleghi.
As many of you know, one of my chief focuses as an academic is the separation of powers and that I hold a robust view of legislative authority under Article I. Indeed, I view the erosion of legislative authority in the United States to be one of the most dangerous trends in our country. That is why I noticed a story out of New Zealand where the Prime Minister John Key was actually tossed out of Parliament for not adhering to the rules of the body. It was an incredible moment at a time where executive powers are being consolidated around the world. For those who still believe in equal legislative power in a tripartite system, it was a rare contemporary assertion of independent authority.
There is another bizarre free speech case out of Europe. This case involves a 28-year-old man in Coatbridge Scotland who taught his pug to give a Nazi salute to a screen showing Adolph Hitler. He was arrested after posting a video for hate speech.
Islamic State militants gave the world yet another shocking atrocity this week by executing a 7-year-old Syrian boy in front of his parents because he cursed. ISIS insists that Islamic justice, or Sharia, demanded that the boy be shot.
We have previously discussed the destructive narcissism of tourists who write their names on historic locations or art. This includes the Chinese tourist who wrote on an ancient Egyptian temple or the Russian who carved his name into the Colosseum. An unidentified 55-year-old man from Missouri snapped the finger off a 14th or 15th century marble masterpiece when he decided to measure it by grabbing the hand. The latest victim is a 126-year-old statue of Dom Sebastian that crashed to the ground and shattered after man climbed on top of its pedestal to take a selfie with the 16th century Portuguese King. Now, no one else will be able to see the beautiful piece of art and history outside the ornate Rossio railway station in central Lisbon.