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The Week USA - April 13, 2018

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A growing
The gun
debate gets
p.16 Laura
What Roseanne’s return
reveals about TV,
politics, and America
APRIL 13, 2018 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 868
Editor’s letter
President Trump has a long enemies list, but Jeff Bezos has now
shot up to number two, right behind Robert Mueller. Over the
past week, the president unleashed a Twitter rant against Bezos
and his company, Amazon, and threatened to use the federal government to punish him—thereby causing the company’s stock to
plunge 8 percent and lose $75 billion in market value. (See Business.) Trump, aides say, is “obsessed” with Amazon and Bezos—
largely because Bezos also owns The Washington Post, which
has covered this administration aggressively. “How can I f--- with
him?” the president has asked aides, sources tell Vanity Fair.
The options under discussion include an anti-trust action, raising
postal rates, and the cancellation of Amazon’s multibillion-dollar
Pentagon contract. “It’s war,” White House sources warn.
Say this about President Trump: He doesn’t hide his cards. His
Twitter feed is a running MRI of his mind, revealing his obsessions, personal vendettas, and motives. The same week he was
hurling threats at Amazon, he was tweeting lavish praise of the
Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose owners have ordered its 173
stations to run pro-Trump commentary and attack “fake” news
from other media, such as CNN. (See Best U.S. Columns.) Sinclair, as it happens, is seeking both Justice Department and FCC
waivers to acquire another 42 stations. Does anyone doubt Sinclair will get a green light? Meanwhile, the Justice Department is
blocking a merger of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, with
AT&T. Is that because Trump despises CNN? Other presidents
have criticized individual companies and complained about press
bias, but Trump’s blatant use of state power to punish specific TV
networks, newspapers, and private companies who don’t kowtow
to his will has no precedent—except in autocracies like Russia,
Turkey, and Venezuela, where it was the first step in the erosion
of freedom. That couldn’t happen here, of course. William Falk
Trump’s own party wouldn’t stand for it. Would it? Editor-in-chief
4 Main stories
Trump calls for troops
on the border; teachers
strike in Oklahoma and
Kentucky; VA upheaval
Editor-in-chief: William Falk
Managing editors: Theunis Bates,
Carolyn O’Hara
Deputy editor/International: Susan Caskie
Deputy editor/Arts: Chris Mitchell
Senior editors: Harry Byford, Alex
Dalenberg, Andrew Murfett, Dale Obbie,
Hallie Stiller, Frances Weaver
Art director: Dan Josephs
Photo editor: Loren Talbot
Copy editors: Jane A. Halsey, Jay Wilkins
Researchers: Christina Colizza, Joyce Chu
Contributing editors: Ryan Devlin,
Bruno Maddox
6 Controversy of the week
Is a hit Roseanne reboot
a vindication of red-state
7 The U.S. at a glance
Mueller tells Trump he’s
not a criminal target; a
shooting at YouTube HQ
8 The world at a glance
London’s bloody knifecrime surge; Trump
pushes for a Syria pullout
Getty, Newscom
10 People
Tiffany Haddish’s
nightmare childhood;
why Barry Diller misses
old Hollywood
11 Briefing
The U.S. is still recovering
from the 2008 financial
crisis. Could another
crash happen?
12 Best U.S. columns
Sinclair’s pro-Trump TV
propaganda; how to raise
“free-range” children
15 Best international
Israel’s deadly response to
a Palestinian mass protest
16 Talking points
Conservatives vs. the
Parkland survivors;
citizenship and the
census; a call to repeal
the Second Amendment
EVP, publisher: John Guehl
Amazon shares sank after President Trump slammed the company. (p.34)
21 Books
An intoxicating memoir
of addiction and recovery
22 Author of the week
The greatest living
English-language writer
you’ve never heard of
23 Stage & Music
Kacey Musgraves goes
psychedelic on Golden
24 Film
A fatal Kennedy
revisited in
26 Food & Drink
Three restaurants that
keep it all in the family
27 Travel
Touring Paleolithic cave
art in southern France
30 Consumer
The best women’s rain
jackets for spring showers
31 News at a glance
The U.S.-China trade war
heats up; Spotify becomes
a Wall Street hit
32 Making money
Tips for shopping for new
and used cars
34 Best columns
Trump declares war on
Amazon; how to judge the
corporate tax cuts
Sales development director:
Samuel Homburger
Account directors: Shelley Adler,
Lauren Peterson
Account manager: Alison Fernandez
Midwest director: Lauren Ross
Southeast directors: Jana Robinson,
Corinne Smith
West Coast directors: James Horan,
Rebecca Treadwell
Integrated marketing director: Jennifer Freire
Integrated marketing managers:
Kelly Dyer, Caila Litman
Marketing design director: Joshua Moore
Marketing designer: Triona Moynihan
Research and insights manager: Joan Cheung
Sales & marketing coordinator:
Alma Heredia
Senior digital account manager:
Yuliya Spektorsky
Programmatic manager: George Porter
Digital planners: Jennifer Riddell, Talia Sabag
Chief operating & financial officer:
Kevin E. Morgan
Director of financial reporting:
Arielle Starkman
EVP, consumer marketing & products:
Sara O’Connor
Consumer marketing director:
Leslie Guarnieri
HR manager: Joy Hart
Operations manager: Cassandra Mondonedo
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U.K. founding editor: Jolyon Connell
Company founder: Felix Dennis
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THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The main stories...
Trump orders the Guard to the border
What happened
It wasn’t all bad
QVirginia police officer Jacob
Moore had just gotten to work
when he heard that a house in his
neighborhood was on fire. Moore,
28, raced to the scene and rescued
the elderly homeowners before
re-entering the burning building
to find their beloved dog, Zoey.
Footage from Moore’s body camera shows him rushing upstairs
through the smoke and grabbing
the barking dog. Moore sprinted
out, and handed Zoey to her grateful owners. “It felt great to be able
to do my job to its fullest,” he says.
“Especially that close to home.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
QIn his day job, Scott Foster is an accountant. But last week
the 36-year-old became an NHL legend. The former college
hockey player from Oak Park, Ill., had been tapped as an
emergency goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks before, but had
never been called on to play. That changed when Blackhawks
backup goalie Collin Delia
started cramping up in the
third period and needed
a substitute. With only 14
minutes left on the clock,
Foster managed to block
seven shots from the
Winnipeg Jets, helping his
team clinch a 6-2 victory.
“This is a dream,” says
the father of two. “This is
something I can go home
and tell my kids.”
Foster: Accountant on ice
QAn Iowa tattoo artist is helping wipe away hate, one tattoo
removal at a time. Robert “Woodstock” Bader, 40, recently opened
Retrospect Tattoo Removal, where
people with racist or gang-related
tattoos can have the symbols
burned off with a laser—free.
Bader came up with the idea after
talking at his Dubuque parlor with
a client who wanted a tattoo in
honor of his baby granddaughter,
next to an old inking of a racist
symbol that he was now deeply
ashamed of. “It’s basically good
versus evil,” Bader says of his
new venture. “Everybody deserves a second chance.”
Illustration by Howard McWilliam.
On the cover: Roseanne Barr.
Cover photos from Newscom, Reuters, Newscom
Getty, AP
Trump’s dreaded “caravan” is also an
invented crisis, said the Los Angeles
Frustrated by his inability to get
Times. It’s an annual protest staged by
funding for his border wall, President
the activist group People Without BorTrump threatened this week to take
ders to draw attention to people fleeing
tough action against illegal immigraviolence in countries like Honduras,
tion, directing states to put National
Guatemala, and El Salvador. Some of
Guard troops on the southwestern
the 1,200 people involved will attempt
border and declaring efforts to protect
to seek asylum in the U.S.—which the
young undocumented immigrants
U.S. government can deny—but many
“dead.” Trump vented his anger
have already been given visas to stay
on Twitter over the course of three
in Mexico. The Border Patrol appredays, with a series of tweets blaming
hended 37,000 people at the border
Democrats and the Mexican governin February, so the numbers involved
ment for a “massive inflow of drugs
The ‘caravan’: Central American refugees in Mexico
aren’t frightening. That’s still way too
and people” into the U.S. In particular,
many people, said “A country without
the president pointed to the threat posed by a “caravan” of about
borders, Trump repeatedly says, is no country at all.” That’s true,
1,200 Central Americans headed north through Mexico, who
Trump claimed want to take advantage of DACA protections, even and we should do what it takes to enforce our laws.
though the program is in limbo and new migrants wouldn’t qualify
anyway. “Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their What the columnists said
Looks like “President Fox News Grandpa saw something on televijob at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws,”
sion again,” said Jack Holmes in Trump’s favorite
Trump tweeted. “NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
cable news network has been running frantic coverage of the immiTrump later told reporters that he wanted the U.S. military to
grant “caravan,” triggering his tweetstorm. But Trump isn’t totally
guard the U.S. border until the massive wall he promised during
addled. He knows his most ardent supporters feel let down by his
the presidential campaign could be built. The Posse Comitatus Act inability to get funding for his “Big, Beautiful Wall” in the recent
bars the military from civil law enforcement on U.S. soil without
budget bill, so he’s trying to reassure them he still hates immigrants.
approval from Congress, but the National Guard can provide supThat caravan of migrants marching toward the U.S. border is
port services. The White House says Guard units will conduct air
and camera surveillance of the border but will not have direct con- not imaginary, said John Daniel Davidson in,
and Trump is smart to seize on it. Even if these people are denied
tact with migrants. “Until we can have a wall and proper security,
asylum, the law requires them to be detained while their requests
we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump
are considered, and many will eventually be released into the U.S.
said. “That’s a big step.”
When will Democrats opposed to real immigration reform admit
What the editorials said
they want “open borders, mass immigration, and amnesty?”
Trump’s unhinged immigration tweetstorm is “fact-free fearmonIf Trump were serious about border security, said Eugene Robinson
gering,” said The Washington Post. Illegal immigration at the
in The Washington Post, he would have taken Democrats’ offer
southwestern border is the lowest it’s been since 1971, and has
to fund his wall in exchange for enshrining DACA protections
been falling for years thanks to an improved Mexican economy
in law. But Trump couldn’t take yes for an answer, and piled on
and beefed-up U.S. security. Border Patrol arrests—the best meadeal-breaker demands like major cuts to legal immigration. As long
sure of illegal immigration flows—fell from 700,000 to 409,000 a
year under President Obama and have already dropped to 304,000 as there’s no wall, he can rail against brown invaders to rile up his
white base. “His antipathy toward Latinos and non-whites is genuunder President Trump. Trump’s fever dream of a “porous border
ine, I trust,” but his wall “is pure counterfeit.”
overrun with drug runners and criminals” simply doesn’t exist.
... and how they were covered
Teacher walkouts spread across red states
What happened
homa has slavishly followed conservatives’
tax-cutting philosophy, slashing rates for oil
Tens of thousands of public-school teachers
and gas companies and top earners. The ineviin Oklahoma and Kentucky left classrooms
table budget shortfall has starved public serand swarmed their state capitols this week, the
vices of funding and led to Oklahoma’s current
latest in a wave of teacher protests in GOPeducational crisis: “four-day school weeks,
dominated states against cuts to pay, benefits,
cold buildings, and decades-old textbooks.”
and school funding. Oklahoma’s Republican
Gov. Mary Fallin tried to head off the walkout
The real problem is that public schools aren’t
by signing a bill last week that gives the state’s
good stewards of public money, said Benjateachers—who earn an average of $41,834
min Scafidi in Look at West
a year, making them among the country’s
Virginia: The number of students in public
lowest paid—an average raise of $6,100, their
Protesting at the Oklahoma State Capitol
schools there dropped by 40,000 from 1992
first pay hike in a decade. The bill also adds
$51 million in education funding, paid for in part by a tax on oil and to 2015, yet the number of nonteaching staff—new assistant pringas production. But for teachers fed up with overcrowded classes and cipals, curriculum specialists, district officials—in the public school
tattered textbooks, it wasn’t enough. They demanded a $10,000 raise system increased by 2,500 during that period. The cost of all those
extra employees is more than $232 million annually, enough to give
and an extra $200 million in school funding, and ringed the capitol,
all West Virginia educators an $11,620 raise—“much more than the
chanting, “No funding, no future!” In Kentucky, teachers rallied
teachers recently received.”
against pension reforms, shutting down dozens of school districts.
The walkouts came a month after West Virginia teachers staged
a nine-day strike that closed schools across the state, winning a
5 percent pay raise. The unrest shows that teachers have reached “a
tipping point,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National
Education Association, a leading union. The next red state to erupt
could be Arizona, where teachers have threatened to strike if they
don’t get a 20 percent raise and more money for schools.
What the columnists said
This growing revolt is the “predictable result of the Republican model
of governing,” said Paul Waldman in Okla-
This isn’t just about pay, said Valerie Strauss in The Washington
Post. Teachers have a host of grievances, including the loss of
collective-bargaining rights and an education secretary, Betsy DeVos,
who’s spent decades bashing public schools and promoting alternatives. The result may be “a period of sustained activism that is as
much a defense of the public education system” as it is a demand
for bigger paychecks. These protests could “subside as the school
year ends,” said Ed Kilgore in But if GOP legislatures
fail to quell teachers’ anger, Republicans could pay a steep price
in this fall’s elections, “when 36 governorships and most of the
national state legislatures are up for grabs.”
Shulkin cries foul over his ouster at the VA
What happened
In his latest Cabinet shake-up, President Trump last week ousted
beleaguered Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and tapped
as his replacement Ronny Jackson, the chief White House physician. Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, had
been embroiled in infighting with politically appointed aides and
mired in scandal over his use of taxpayer money for a trip to
Europe last summer with his wife. The former hospital administrator claimed his firing—which Trump announced on Twitter—was
caused by “political forces” who want to privatize the struggling
agency. “They saw me as an obstacle to privatization,” Shulkin
wrote, “who had to be removed.”
Democrats immediately questioned whether Jackson has the management experience to oversee the government’s second-largest
department, which has 378,000 employees and has struggled to
provide care to 9 million veterans. An active-duty rear admiral
in the Navy, who served as White House physician for Presidents
George W. Bush and Obama, Jackson made headlines in January
for his effusive comments on Trump’s annual physical, in which
he praised the president’s “incredibly good genes” and joked that
if Trump’s diet were better “he might live to be 200 years old.” At
a fundraiser last month, Trump showered praise on the physician,
saying, “He’s like central casting—like a Hollywood star.”
What the columnists said
Shulkin “had to go,” said Noah Rothman in Commentary His 10-day “business” trip to Europe last year—
half of which he spent sightseeing—cost taxpayers $122,000.
During the outing, he improperly accepted tickets to a Wimbledon
match as a gift. And to try to justify Mrs. Shulkin’s airfare, his chief
of staff doctored an email to suggest the secretary was receiving a
nonexistent award from the Danish government. Yet by claiming
he was the victim of a “brutal power struggle” over VA privatization, Shulkin “made himself out to be a martyr.” Don’t be fooled.
Shulkin’s travel scandal was undeniably “embarrassing,” said John
Cassidy in But he was an “able” secretary who
garnered praise from major veterans’ groups. “Given all the grift
and chaos” elsewhere in the administration, it seems strange that
the president would be so upset over airfare to Europe. That’s why
Shulkin’s theory about his dismissal seems perfectly plausible. During his tenure, he “approved the contracting out of some services
to private providers,” but resisted the widespread privatization
being pushed by conservative think tanks and the Koch brothers.
That earned him some “influential enemies,” who may well have
“used the expenses scandal” to bring him down.
Either way, the Senate should block Jackson’s nomination, said
Mikki Kendall in The VA is a sprawling
bureaucracy, with 1,200 health facilities and a budget of nearly
$200 billion. It’s also “deeply dysfunctional,” thanks to “chronic
understaffing, limited investment in infrastructure,” and confusing guidelines governing the allocation of benefits. Jackson’s
“only apparent qualification” for running the department is his
knack for presidential flattery. “Veterans deserve better.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Controversy of the week
The new Roseanne: Paying attention to Trump’s America
most toxic elements of Trumpism, said Roxane Gay in The
If Hollywood truly cared about diversity, said Kyle Smith in
New York Times, Roseanne ends up just “normalizing Trump, it would be “wise to take note of the largest
and his warped, harmful political ideologies.”
minority it’s currently ignoring: Trump voters.” Last week,
after a 21-year hiatus, the show Roseanne returned to a
The show also normalizes Roseanne Barr herself, said
monster audience of more than 18 million and a daring
Rob Sheffield in Once upon a time,
message: “Trump supporters are human.” The reborn
Barr, now 65, was “the most abrasively left-wing
show reunites Roseanne Barr and John Goodman
presence on network TV,” an unapologetic champion
as Roseanne and Dan Conner, heads of a big,
of every woman trying to keep a home and a family
messy, blue-collar family in the Illinois rust belt,
together in post-industrial America. Since leaving our
still squabbling, loving each other, and trying
screens, Barr has “swerved right with a vengeance.”
to make ends meet. But something has changed.
The new Roseanne can often be found spouting off
Once an obvious Democrat, Barr’s titular charon Twitter, said Dan Fishback in, calling
acter has morphed—like Barr herself—into a passionate supporter of President Trump, who, she explains,
Her views have changed. Clinton aide Huma Abedin a “filthy Nazi whore” and
peddling lunatic conspiracy theories from the far-right
“talked about jobs” and promised to “shake things
Just this week, she tweeted that Trump “has freed
up.” With wit and humor, she trades insults with her sister, Jackie
so many children held in bondage to pimps”—a claim stemming
(Laurie Metcalf), a liberal Democrat who finds Trump horrifying.
from the #Pizzagate conspiracy theory that leading Democrats,
The show’s instant popularity holds a lesson for TV producers,
including Hillary Clinton, are running a global pedophile ring.
said The Washington Times in an editorial. Rather than cater
solely to coastal elites, maybe they might make a few shows for
“the deplorables” in “flyover country”—working-class people who Lots of other actors say “nutty things,” said Gary Abernathy in
The Washington Post. Look: Roseanne may be a Trump supelected a president that “Hollywood doesn’t approve of.”
porter, but the show is not highly partisan and does “a good job
representing various points of view,” including her liberal sister’s.
Naturally, our “notoriously ratings-obsessed president” took
For the show to reach its potential, it should seek to do what All
Roseanne’s success as a personal triumph, said Will Bunch in
in the Family did in the early 1970s. Archie Bunker, the bigoted Trump called Barr to congratulate her and later
bragged to a rally that the show “is about us.” But is it really? The Richard Nixon supporter, and his liberal son-in-law, Mike, start
out hating each other, but over time, they both evolve, become
Conners now have a black granddaughter and a “gender-fluid”
less extreme, and “eventually understand and respect each other.”
grandson, both of whom they treat with love and compassion. If
If the new Roseanne is skillfully written, sometimes “Roseanne’s
the goal is to give an honest portrayal of “Trump’s America,” the
point of view will make Jackie stop and think, and Jackie’s
Conners should have Fox News blaring all day long and spend
opinions will occasionally give Roseanne cause for reflection.”
each episode spewing venom about illegal immigrants, Muslims,
Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?
ungrateful blacks, and transgender soldiers. By filtering out the
QA federal judge has ruled
that Carl and Janice Duffner
of St. Peters, Mo., must obey
a city ordinance and plant
grass in their front yard, even
though Mrs. Duffner has a
severe grass allergy. The
couple’s lawyer, David Roland,
calls the ruling “outrageous,”
saying his clients face fines
and a jail term “for what
they’ve chosen not to plant on
their personal property.”
QThe founder of Liberty
Counsel, a conservative legal
group, is calling for a boycott
of Girl Scout cookies, claiming
Girl Scouts USA “promotes
abortion and sexual promiscuity.” Liberty founder Mat
Staver argues that Girl Scouts
affiliates once attended a U.N.
conference on women, and
that the group once shared on
its Facebook page an image
of a girl participating in the
“vulgar and profanity-laden”
2017 Women’s March.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Good week for:
Ten-mile runs, after the Army said it may extend Basic Training
by two weeks, to cope with an influx of flabby, unfit recruits.
Officials said the recruits were so out of shape and undisciplined
that trainers and dieticians might be posted to active units abroad.
Lou Dobbs, with the news that President Trump is so enamored
of the firebrand populist Fox Business cable star that he patches
him through on speakerphone to meetings of Cabinet members and
senior aides. Trump “cherishes Lou,” said a White House official.
Manual transmission, after two Florida boys, ages 12 and 14,
tried to steal a Domino’s truck while the driver was delivering
a pizza, only to be foiled by their lack of stick-shift experience.
“When they go back to get the first gear, they cannot drive,”
recounted driver Javier Ortez.
Bad week for:
Parrish, Ala., where a trainload of 10 million pounds of sewage
sludge from New York City has been stalled for the past six weeks
as a legal battle rages over where it will wind up, filling the town
with an overpowering stench. “We didn’t produce it,” said Mayor
Heather Hall. “We don’t want it here.”
Diversity, with the release of the official Spring 2018 White
House intern photograph. Of the 91 interns posing with a beaming
President Trump, only three appear to be nonwhite.
Kellyanne Conway, after author Ronald Kessler claimed the
senior aide is the “No. 1 leaker” in the White House. In one recent
interview for his pro-Trump book, Kessler said, Conway forgot she
was on the record and “lit into” Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Boring but important
Obama-era fuel
standards reversed
The Environmental Protection Agency moved this week
to roll back strict emissions
standards for automakers that
were put in place during the
Obama administration. The
regulations required new cars
and trucks sold in the U.S. to
average more than 50 miles
per gallon by 2025 in order to
reduce the industry’s carbon
footprint. “Those standards
are inappropriate and should
be revised,” EPA director Scott
Pruitt said in his announcement, describing the existing
requirements as too draconian. Pruitt did not say what
the new standards might
eventually be. The U.S. auto
fleet for model year 2017 averaged 31.8 miles per gallon. The
38-page document explaining
the EPA’s rationale for rewriting the existing rules does not
mention “climate change.”
ABC/Robert Trachtenberg
Only in America
The U.S. at a glance ...
Newscom, AP (3)
Mendocino County, Calif.
SUV crash: An entire family of eight
was feared dead this week after their
SUV plunged off a cliff along the Pacific
Coast Highway,
a crash that
officials believe
may have been
intentional. The
bodies of mothers Jennifer and
Sarah Hart, both
38, and at least
The Hart family
three of their six
adopted children were recovered on the
rocks below. The couple’s other three children remain unaccounted for. One of the
missing children, Devonte, a 15-year-old
African-American, attracted global attention in 2014 when he was photographed
sobbing in the arms of a white police
officer during a protest in Portland, Ore.,
against the police shooting of Michael
Brown. Investigators say the Harts’
SUV appeared to have stopped on
a dirt pullout before it accelerated
and fell over the cliff. There
were no signs of skid marks,
suggesting that the driver
didn’t lose control. Authorities
in Washington state, where the
Harts lived, had unsuccessfully
tried to contact the family in
March after receiving a report
of child abuse.
San Bruno, Calif.
YouTube shooting: A woman who
apparently held a grudge
against YouTube opened
fire with a handgun at the
company’s headquarters
this week, wounding three
people before shooting
and killing herself. Nasim
Najafi Aghdam, a 39-yearold from San Diego,
regularly published videos
on the site about a wide range of topics,
including fitness, veganism, and animal
cruelty. She also posted long diatribes
against the Google-owned company,
accusing it of discriminating against her
videos to keep them from getting more
views. Family members said she’d been
living off the ad revenues generated by
her videos and had been angry in recent
weeks that she had stopped receiving payments as a result of YouTube’s February
decision to demonetize smaller channels.
Aghdam did not appear to have known
any of her victims. Her father, who
reported her missing before the shooting,
had warned police that she might go to
YouTube because she “hated” it.
Washington, D.C.
starting with a report on
Trump a ‘subject’: Special
Trump’s actions in office
counsel Robert Mueller
and possible obstruction of
has told President Trump’s
justice, potentially as early
lawyers that the president
as June, and then moving on
continues to be a “subject”
to Russian interference.
of his investigation, but that
Mueller’s probe also
he is not a criminal “target”
secured its first sentencing
at this time, The Washington Van der Zwaan outside court this week, as a Dutch lawyer
Post reported this week.
was ordered by a federal
Prosecutors view someone as a subject
judge to spend 30 days in jail and pay a
when they are investigating the person’s
$20,000 fine for lying to the FBI. Alex van
conduct but lack sufficient evidence to
der Zwaan, 33, pleaded guilty to misleadbring charges. Mueller’s team made the
ing investigators over his contacts in 2016
disclosure to Trump’s attorneys last month, with a business associate of former Trump
during ongoing negotiations over a poscampaign chairman Paul Manafort and
sible presidential interview. Some of the
his deputy, Rick Gates. Manafort, who
president’s advisers are reportedly conis facing charges of conspiracy, money
cerned that the special prosecutor could be
laundering, and bank fraud relating to
trying to bait Trump into agreeing to sit
his lobbying work in Ukraine, is seekfor a legally perilous interview, noting that
ing to have his charges dismissed on the
subjects of investigations can easily become basis that Mueller’s probe is exceeding
targets. Mueller reportedly also suggested
its legal authority. But in response to the
that he would release his findings in stages,
legal challenge, Mueller revealed this week
that Deputy Attorney General
Rod Rosenstein explicitly
authorized him last August to
investigate whether Manafort
colluded with Russia during the
presidential campaign.
Pulse widow acquitted: In a rare defeat
for federal terrorism prosecutors, the
widow of the Pulse nightclub shooter was
acquitted last week of aiding and abetting her husband’s ISIS-inspired attack in
2016, and of obstructing the FBI’s investigation. Jurors found Noor Salman, 31,
not guilty on all charges over her alleged
involvement in Omar Mateen’s rampage at the Orlando club, which left 49
people dead and 53 injured. Prosecutors
had argued that Salman actively helped
Mateen plan the atrocity and that she
confessed when she wrote in an FBI interview that she wished she could “go back
and tell his family and the police what he
was going to do.” Defense attorneys successfully countered that the evidence linking Salman to the attack was circumstantial and that investigators had misread her
“confession.” The jury foreman said after
the verdict that jurors were “convinced”
Salman knew her husband was considering an attack, but couldn’t find her guilty
of aiding and abetting this shooting.
Washington, D.C.
EPA scandals: Scott
Pruitt, the head of the
Environmental Protection
Agency, faced mounting ethics questions
this week, amid
reports that he
bypassed the White Pruitt: ‘Sweetheart’ deal?
House to give political appointees substantial raises and took
advantage of a discount condo rental
provided by a lobbyist’s wife. Pruitt,
who was already facing scrutiny for his
frequent first-class air travel, reportedly
used an obscure provision of the Safe
Drinking Water Act to grant pay hikes of
$28,130 and $56,765 to two of his closest aides, after the White House denied
the request. One of the beneficiaries is a
26-year-old staffer who oversaw Pruitt’s
personal housing hunt last year during
her official work hours, in violation of
federal rules. ABC News reported that
Pruitt has been paying just $50 a night to
stay in a Capitol Hill condo owned by a
woman whose energy-lobbyist husband
has extensive business before the EPA,
including a proposed natural gas pipeline
approved last year. Trump appears to be
standing by Pruitt, telling reporters “I
hope he’s going to be great.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The world at a glance ...
Anti-Macron strikes: The French
commute could be in chaos for
the next three months. State railway workers launched a massive
series of strikes this week against
the labor reforms of President
Emmanuel Macron. Employees
with state rail giant SNCF, including train drivers, will walk off
SNCF workers rally against reform.
the job two days out of every five
for the next 90 days. Only one in eight high-speed trains will run
during the strike, and only one in five regional trains. Buses are
packed, and car traffic has soared. Macron has proposed phasing
out job-for-life guarantees and other benefits for new hires at state
rail firms. It’s the second big test of Macron’s reforms: Last fall,
strikes failed to prevent the passage of laws that made it easier for
companies to hire and fire employees.
More dangerous than NYC? London’s murder rate has overtaken that of New York City
for the first time since records began in 1800,
largely because of a spike in knife attacks in
the British capital. There were 22 murders in
London in March and 15 in February, one
more than New York for each month; 31 of the
London killings were committed with knives.
Both cities have similar populations of about
Site of a stabbing
8.5 million people. But while New York’s
murder rate has dropped by nearly 90 percent since the 1990s,
London’s has increased by about 40 percent in only three years.
Experts blamed the surge on a rise in gang violence and cuts to
police funding by the ruling Conservative Party.
Yes, there is a hell: The Vatican this week denied that Pope Francis
had told a prominent Italian reporter that “There is no hell” and
“Souls are not punished.” La Repubblica published a front-page
story last week in which Eugenio Scalfari—a 93-year-old left-wing,
anticlerical journalist who prides himself on not taking notes or
recording interviews—claimed the pope made those surprising comments during a recent meeting. The Vatican said they were not “a
faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.” Catholic Church
doctrine affirms the existence of hell, where the souls of sinners suffer “eternal fire.” Scalfari, a longtime friend of the pope, has previously reported that Francis wants to allow divorced Catholics to
receive communion, which the Vatican also later denied.
San José, Costa Rica
Liberals prevail: A center-left former cabinet minister and novelist
won Costa Rica’s presidential runoff this week, roundly defeating a conservative evangelical pastor who shot to prominence
by campaigning against same-sex marriage. Carlos Alvarado
Quesada of the ruling Citizen Action Party took 61 percent of the
vote, while the National Restoration Party’s Fabricio Alvarado
Muñoz took 39 percent. Alvarado Muñoz had pledged to oppose
attempts to legalize same-sex marriage if elected, and said he would
tighten Costa Rica’s already strict
abortion laws. Alvarado Quesada,
38, who supports marriage equality, said his election victory sent a
“beautiful” message to the world.
“My commitment is to a government for everybody,” he said, “in
Alvarado Quesada: Winner
equality and liberty.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
La Paz, Bolivia
Ex-president convicted:
Indigenous activists in Bolivia
celebrated this week after the
conviction in the U.S. of former
Protesting Sánchez de Lozada
Bolivian President Gonzalo
Sánchez de Lozada and former Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez
Berzain. A federal court in Florida found the two guilty of directing the so-called October Massacre, when the Bolivian military
killed at least 64 indigenous peasants and wounded some 400
more during widespread antigovernment protests in 2003. It’s the
first time a former head of state has been held legally responsible
in the U.S. for human rights violations under the Torture Victim
Protection Act, which allows human rights abuses abroad to be
prosecuted in U.S. courts. The two must pay $10 million in damages to the families of the victims.
Newscom (2), AP, Getty, Reuters
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Populist against Trump: Campaigning for Mexico’s
July 1 presidential election officially began last
week, and the front-runner kicked off his campaign with a rant against President Trump.
“Mexico won’t be any foreign government’s
piñata,” said left-leaning populist Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, known in Mexico as AMLO, at
López Obrador
a rally in the border town of Ciudad Juárez. “No
threat, no wall, no arrogant attitude from any foreign government will prevent us from working and being happy in our homeland.” López Obrador, 64, has been running on an anticorruption
platform for decades and finally has a chance to win; he came in
a close second in 2006 and 2012.
The world at a glance ...
Strongmen unite: Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan praised his country’s deepening ties with Russia this week during
a visit from Russian President Vladimir
Putin. The two leaders launched the
construction of Turkey’s first nuclear
power plant, which Russia’s state-owned
Rosatom is building at a cost of $20 bilPutin and Erdogan
lion. And they said Turkey’s purchase of
a Russian missile-defense system—which has drawn concern from
Turkey’s NATO allies—would be speeded up. The two also met
with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Ankara this week to
discuss the war in neighboring Syria. Moscow and Tehran have
backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has supported rebel forces fighting his regime.
Mingora, Pakistan
Malala returns: Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai returned to her
hometown in Pakistan last week for the
first time since 2012, when the Taliban
shot the then-15-year-old schoolgirl in
the head for advocating girls’ education. She and her family traveled with
heavy security for the unannounced,
Home after six years away
four-day visit to the Swat Valley. “It is
still like a dream for me,” said Yousafzai, now 20 and studying
at Oxford University. “Am I among you?” Yousafzai has lived
in the U.K. since she was attacked. Many Pakistanis admire her,
but many others believe her to be part of a Western conspiracy
to make the country look bad. One official in Swat said last year
that the shooting was staged.
Manbij, Syria
U.S. troops to leave? The future of America’s military campaign
in Syria was uncertain this week after President Trump said he
wanted to quickly withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops now in the
country, only for the White House to say a day later that the
U.S. was committed to continuing the fight against ISIS there.
“I want to bring our troops back home,” Trump said during a
news conference. “It’s time. We were very successful against ISIS.”
His announcement apparently took military leaders by surprise:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said repeatedly over the past
few months that troops would remain indefinitely. A U.S. and a
British soldier were killed last week and five others wounded in a
bomb blast in northwestern Syria during a mission to kill or capture an ISIS commander. The American, Master Sgt. Jonathan J.
Dunbar, was part of the Army’s elite counterterrorism Delta force.
Reuters, Getty, Reuters, Newscom
No deal on migrants: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
this week canceled an agreement with the United Nations to
resettle thousands of African migrants in Western nations, just a
day after making the deal. The agreement would have seen some
16,000 of the 38,000 mostly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants and
asylum seekers in Israel settled in countries including Germany
and Canada, and the same number would have been given
residency status in Israel. That outraged hard-line members of
Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, who saw the deal as rewarding illegal immigrants, and Netanyahu backtracked. He said he would
now consider other options “to remove the infiltrators.”
State funeral for Winnie: South Africa held a state funeral this
week for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the 81-year-old former
wife of Nelson Mandela and a leading figure in the fight against
apartheid. She was thrust into the spotlight in 1964 when her husband of six years was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage. She
continued the struggle and rallied blacks against white-minority
rule during Mandela’s 27-year detention, and
was arrested herself in 1969. She was held for
18 months—16 in solitary confinement—and
was tortured. Madikizela-Mandela could be
brutal toward those suspected of betraying
the movement. She advocated “necklacing”—
putting a flaming tire around informants’ chests
and arms—and she was convicted of kidnapping after her bodyguards tortured and killed
a 14-year-old boy falsely accused of snitching.
Mandela filed for divorce in 1996, saying she
Liberation icon
had become cold and was unfaithful.
El-Sissi wins sham election: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah elSissi won re-election this week with an implausible 97 percent in
a vote that international observers said was neither free nor fair.
El-Sissi, a former general who took power in a 2013 coup and was
elected president a year later, faced only a token opponent after all
credible challengers were pushed out of the race. He has governed
much like former strongman president Hosni Mubarak—who
was ousted during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising—banning critical media and jailing or disappearing political opponents.
President Trump congratulated
el-Sissi on his victory in a phone
call and “affirmed the strategic
partnership” between the two
countries, said the White House.
Egypt is a key ally of the U.S.
and receives some $1.6 billion in
American military and economic
El-Sissi supporters in Cairo
aid each year.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Diller’s Hollywood nostalgia
Barry Diller thinks Hollywood is becoming irrelevant, said Maureen Dowd in The New York
Times. The former boss of Paramount and Fox
Broadcasting Co. says movie studios are losing
the creative and financial battle to online streaming giants making original content. Netflix
simply “cannot be outbid,” he says. “No one
can compete with them.” Diller, 76, is disdainful of this year’s Academy Award nominated films—“Essentially,
no one went to see them”—and sees today’s studio executives as
poor imitations of their colorful predecessors in the 1950s and
’60s. The old studio heads “were real characters—overblown,
exuberant, nasty, but in their own way they were genuinely interesting people,” he says. “These people operated completely out
of instinct. As against today, when people operate out of research
and marketing.” One studio head he did not admire, however, was
Harvey Weinstein. After Weinstein berated one of Diller’s female
executives at Universal, Diller says, he confronted the bully on a
hotel terrace and told him never to do it again. “Harvey, about
6 feet away, said, ‘I’m going to throw you off the terrace.’ And
this gorilla, because he looks like a gorilla, starts walking toward
me. And truly, I was scared.” Diller pulled himself into a menacing
stance, consciously imitating an enraged bear. “It so surprised him
that he stopped and I got out with a small amount of honor.”
The man who sells jets to billionaires
Haddish’s hellish upbringing
If you want to buy a private jet, Steve Varsano is your man, said
Ben Machell in The Times (U.K.). Over his 40-year career, the
New Jersey native has sold more than 300 luxury planes, worth
$4 billion in total. And unlike other aircraft brokers, his firm has
a showroom: a big space in London’s swanky Mayfair district,
containing a fully furnished Airbus A319 cabin. “We want people
to walk in,” he says. “That’s why we’re here.” Varsano, 61, fell
in love with flying on his first flight, at age 14. He secured a job
at a plane broker in his early 20s, but initially had to wait tables
to make ends meet. “At 4 p.m. I’m trying to sell an airplane
for $3 million, then at 7 p.m. somebody’s yelling at me because
I didn’t refill his coffee cup.” His customers today are much
younger than they were when he started out, thanks to Silicon
Valley. Many of them, he says, are surprisingly blasé about their
purchase. Varsano insists private jets aren’t a waste of money for
those who can afford it. “If you’re waiting for someone to arrive
in a jet, you’re thinking, ‘Wow, this person must be really successful,’” he says. “People like to do business with successful people.”
Tiffany Haddish survived an extremely traumatic childhood, said
Caity Weaver in GQ. The breakout star of last year’s hit comedy Girls Trip essentially grew up without parents. Her father
left when she was 3, and when she was 8, her mother suffered a
serious brain injury in a car accident, leaving her with a volatile
and abusive personality. “I swore she had a demon in her,” says
Haddish, 38. “It’s so scary.” Five years later, Haddish and her
siblings were placed in foster care. She spent about two years shuttling among group homes and foster families, before moving in
with her grandmother. When aid to her grandmother was cut off,
Haddish left, and in the following years she found herself homeless
three times and sleeping in her car. “I think that was God teaching
me a lesson over and over,” she says. “I wasn’t paying attention
the first two times.” Now financially secure, Haddish spends most
of her money on her brain-damaged mother and her grandmother,
who has Alzheimer’s. Providing housing and care for them was
always one of her goals in pursuing an acting career. “Everything I
said I wanted to do,” she says, “I’m literally doing.”
says that Prince Harry’s betrothed is
much more calculating than the starryeyed, soon-to-be princess of the public
imagination. In Meghan: A Hollywood
Princess, famed royal biographer Andrew Morton depicts the 36-year-old
American actress as a relentless social
climber, unafraid to discard longtime
relationships that were no longer
useful in advancing her ambitions.
“A networker to her fingertips, she
seemed to be recalibrating her life,
forging new friendships with those
who could develop her career,”
writes Morton. When Markle’s acting
career began to take off, Morton
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
QEthan Crouch, the infamous “affluenza
teen” who killed four people while driving
drunk in 2013, has been released from prison
after serving just two years. Crouch, now
20, gained worldwide infamy when his legal
team argued that the young man’s privileged
background gave him “affluenza,” making
him incapable of distinguishing right from
wrong. Crouch was initially sentenced to rehab and probation for driving a pickup truck
into a group of people helping a stranded
motorist outside Fort Worth. When video
surfaced of him playing beer pong, he fled to
Mexico with his mother. U.S. marshals later
brought him back to the U.S.
QReviewers are mocking Sean Penn’s debut
novel, calling its prose nonsensical, its plot
outlandish, and its politics disturbing. Bob
Honey Who Just Do Stuff is a political satire
about a septic worker turned assassin who
kills retirees with a mallet to offset their
carbon footprint. Referring to a Trump-like
fictional president, Penn writes that America
is a “nation in need of an assassin” and calls
#MeToo a “toddler’s crusade.” Penn should
“never quit his day job” writes Mark Athitakis in The Washington Post, while Huffington
Post’s Claire Fallon calls the book “a 160page self-own.” Penn has fired back at critics,
saying, “I’m 57, my pool’s heated—you can
say anything you like.”
Newscom (3)
QA new biography of Meghan Markle
says, she abruptly dumped her first husband,
film producer Trevor Engelson, mailing back
her wedding ring. Morton also writes that the
young Markle was obsessed with Princess
Diana. “She was always fascinated by the
royal family,” a childhood friend says in the
book. “She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0.”
The long shadow of the financial crisis
It’s been 10 years since the global economy nearly collapsed. Could it happen again?
ions to protect against future crises,
with regular “stress tests” to assess
The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble
their ability to withstand a severe ecotriggered a chain reaction that nearly
nomic downturn. In 2017, the Federal
brought down the global financial sysReserve judged that all 34 of the finantem. Between 1997 and 2006, a comcial institutions deemed “systemically
bination of low interest rates, relaxed
important” by Dodd-Frank would be
lending regulations, and government
able to keep lending in a crisis similar
policies designed to encourage home buyto 2008’s. Dodd-Frank also put greater
ing fueled a housing boom that saw the
restrictions on trading derivatives such
average price for a U.S. home increase by
as credit default swaps, which were vir124 percent. Amid the speculative frenzy,
tually unregulated before the crisis. But
financial institutions issued hundreds of
not everyone is satisfied. “This is not an
billions of dollars in questionable loans
industry that has examined itself and
to so-called subprime borrowers with
remade itself in the wake of the crisis,”
poor credit histories. Borrowers’ abilBush at a crisis Cabinet meeting in 2008
says Phil Angelides, who chaired the
ity to repay didn’t matter to lenders,
U.S. government’s official investigation into the causes of the crisis.
because they were able to get subprime mortgages off their books
by repackaging them into wildly complex derivative financial
instruments like mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt What hasn’t changed?
obligations. Corporate and institutional investors gobbled up these Bank consolidation, for one. More than 20 of the 30 banks that
offerings, which not only offered attractive returns but also received are still considered “too big to fail” are significantly larger than
they were 10 years ago, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo,
high safety ratings from the major credit-rating agencies. In 2007
and Bank of America. The Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill
and 2008, the inevitable wave of foreclosures finally arrived—
rolling back parts of Dodd-Frank that lawmakers believe unfairly
exposing the entire financial system to catastrophic losses.
burden smaller banks, although some critics say larger banks
could exploit loopholes in the proposed rules. Meanwhile, Wall
Then what happened?
Street hasn’t lost its appetite for risk. In 2012, a single trader at
The worst financial panic since the Great Depression. Already
JPMorgan nicknamed the “London Whale” created $6.2 billion
dangerously over-leveraged from years of risky bets, banks were
in losses through enormously risky bets involving credit default
unable to absorb the huge losses. The first big domino to fall
swaps. New breeds of exotic financial products have also emerged,
was the investment bank Bear Stearns, which collapsed in March
including exchange-traded funds that allow investors to bet on
2008. Later, Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in
everything from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to market volatility.
U.S. history, and the government bailed out insurance giant AIG,
which had sold enormous amounts of credit default swaps insurIs another crisis possible?
ing the bad investments. As panic spread, lending and investment
The same kind of collapse isn’t likely; banks are no longer saddled
screeched to a halt, and the country was plunged into the worst
with a massive amount of subprime housing debt. But if a differfinancial crisis since the stock market collapse of 1929.
ent kind of debt crisis does emerge, the lingering damage from the
last crisis has left the government ill prepared to confront it. The
How did the government respond?
Federal Reserve has only begun to raise interest rates again after
The U.S. government took extraordinary measures to prevent a
cutting them to near zero during the
full-scale economic collapse. Under
recession. It could be years before
President George W. Bush, Congress
The recession’s lingering scars
they return to precrisis levels, leavapproved a $700 billion bailout purThe economy appears to be booming again, with
ing the central bank with few tools
chasing toxic assets to restore confiunemployment hovering just above 4 percent and
to stimulate the economy in another
dence in the market; under President
corporate profits at record highs. But the recovery
crisis. Congress and the president
Barack Obama, it authorized a
hasn’t been distributed evenly. The government’s
would also be hard-pressed to
$787 billion stimulus package to
rush to prop up failing markets primarily benefited
wealthy Americans, who own most of the country’s
respond: Although the Wall Street
stimulate spending in the private secstocks and other assets, while many workers who
bailouts eventually were paid back,
tor. But massive damage had already
lost homes and jobs in the crisis saw their income
they were so politically toxic that
been done. The economy slipped
take a permanent hit. More than a million workit’s hard to imagine another round
into a deep recession. The Dow
ers were knocked out of the labor force altogether
of them. “The biggest regret I’ve
Jones industrial average and the S&P
and still haven’t returned. The top 10 percent of
got is that life is going to be much
500 lost more than half their value.
Americans have seen their share of the country’s
more difficult for any regulator
Unemployment peaked at roughly
wealth increase from 71 percent before the crisis
sitting in the seats facing another
10 percent by October 2009.
to 77 percent today, while the bottom 90 percent
crisis, because what we did was so
suffered a corresponding decrease. The median
unpopular,” said Hank Paulson,
Is the system safer now?
lower-income household now has just $10,800 in
who was secretary of the Treasury
In many ways, yes. Obama signed a
assets—down almost $8,000. “The average effects
under George W. Bush. “I stand
series of sweeping financial reforms
[of a recession] are severe and very long-lasting,”
guilty of not being able to explain
known as the Dodd-Frank Act.
says Jennie Brand, a sociologist at the University of
why the financial system was good
Among other things, it required
California, Los Angeles. “There’s no quick recovery.”
for Americans.”
banks to carry bigger capital cush-
What caused the crisis?
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Erik Wemple
Why cops
kill unarmed
David French
How to raise
Lenore Skenazy
New York Post
Best columns: The U.S.
Sinclair Broadcasting wants its 173 local TV stations “to parrot its conservative, pro-Trump view,” said Erik Wemple. To guarantee partisan
uniformity, Sinclair—run by a family of wealthy Republican donors—
regularly issues dictates to the stations, including a script it recently
demanded that local anchors read on the air. Ironically, the script decries “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories” and
“fake stories,” and claims that other media try to “control exactly what
people think.” The website Deadspin this week put together a chilling
video of dozens of anchors robotically reading the same words, as if
reciting state propaganda. Sinclair also mandates that stations run “political analysis” from former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, who echoes
White House talking points. Naturally, President Trump tweeted his
endorsement of Sinclair, saying it “is far superior to CNN” and other
“Fake News Networks.” Not incidentally, Sinclair is currently seeking
federal approval to buy most of Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations, which
would give the company more than 200 stations and access to 72 percent of U.S. households. Would Sinclair’s unabashed support of the
president perhaps influence his administration’s decision? To even ask
that question, of course, is to be guilty of “fake news.”
While “deeply disturbing,” the Sacramento police killing of Stephon
Clark was not a crime, said David French. But “was the shooting
proper? Is this how we want to train police to respond?” Clearly not.
Police fired a fusillade of 20 shots at Clark in his grandparents’ backyard after responding to reports he broke car windows. Police said they
thought that the confused and frightened Clark was holding a gun; it
turned out to be an iPhone. Yes, routine arrests “can and do escalate.”
But the two officers had other options than to shoot. They could have
stayed behind cover and issued “strong verbal commands” to Clark
rather than jump out and start firing when he didn’t quickly respond.
Their approach—and that of too many police departments—was akin
to the “immediate escalation and engagement you’d find in a war
zone.” In Iraq, my fellow soldiers and I were trained to exercise more
restraint than the Sacramento cops while on patrol, so that we didn’t
kill civilians instead of terrorists. Cops, by contrast, are trained to believe every suspect is a potential killer and to shoot to kill whenever
they feel threatened. “It’s time to change the rules.”
We shouldn’t have to clarify that it’s legal to let kids play without adult
supervision, said Lenore Skenazy. But Utah just became the first state
in the nation to pass a “free-range parenting” law, which says parents
can’t be arrested for letting well-cared-for children go to the park by
themselves, bike to school, or briefly stay at home alone. It seems crazy,
but such arrests have occurred with increasing frequency. These days,
people believe that unsupervised kids “are automatically in danger”—
even though the crime rate is much lower now than when today’s adults
were growing up. One explanation is a 24/7 news media that thrives
on fear and bad news, making rare tragedies seem commonplace. But
the biggest factor is “the illusion of control” parents have gotten from
technology. Before smartphones, parents accepted that when kids went
out the door, they were on their own and out of touch. Now, anytime
you aren’t monitoring their every move, “you are making a conscious
decision to opt out of your role as omniscient protector.” That creates
fear and guilt. To make your children safe, make them “street smart”:
Teach them how to cross the road safely and how to respond to creepy
strangers. A child can’t grow up inside a cocoon.
“Trump feels as though he now ‘gets’ what being president entails. He is no
longer cowed or wowed by the office. Instead, he feels entirely comfortable
steering the ship of state with little to no input from advisers—especially those who don’t agree
with him. We are now getting the live feed of Trump at all times—not the edited version. You can
like that reality. You can hate that reality. You can be encouraged by that reality. You can be anxious
with that reality. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is now our collective reality.”
Chris Cillizza in
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
It must be true...
I read it in the tabloids
QA Florida woman who
thought she’d been sickened
by a bad batch of General
Tso’s chicken discovered the
true cause of her stomach
troubles when she gave birth
to a healthy baby boy. Crystal
Gail Amerson, 29, had no
idea she was 37 weeks pregnant when she woke early
one morning with excruciating gut pain and rushed
to the bathroom. Amerson
initially blamed her previous
night’s Chinese dinner, but
three hours later delivered
her second son in the back of
an ambulance. Amerson says
she probably won’t order
General Tso’s for a while. “I
think I’m traumatized from
Chinese food.”
QAn Australian
veterinarian had to
perform emergency
surgery on a wild
carpet python after
it snuck into a home
and swallowed a
senior citizen’s slipper. The serpent was
taken to vet Josh Llinas after
a man noticed he was one
slipper short and then found
the 7-foot-long snake outside
his house with a bulge in
its belly. An X-ray revealed
the footwear in the python’s
gut; it was removed in an
hour-long operation. Llinas
says he’s previously cut a pillowcase and a tennis ball out
of snakes. “You name it,” he
says, “they will eat it.”
QA Canadian chef who was
fed up with vegans protesting
outside his restaurant staged
a carnivorous counterprotest
by cutting up a deer leg in
the eatery’s front window
as the horrified non–meat
eaters looked on. Demonstrators had repeatedly targeted
Michael Hunter’s Antler restaurant, waving signs reading
“MURDER.” Hunter hit back
by showcasing his butchery skills and then eating a
venison steak in full view of
the protesters. The vegans
were disgusted. “That was an
individual,” one vegan said of
the deer turned dinner. “She
may have had a partner.”
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The eggplant
that gummed
up the courts
Gian Antonio Stella
Corriere della Sera
dealings with
a dictator
Ann-Dorit Boy
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Best columns: Europe
Italy’s legal system is creaking at the seams, said
Gian Antonio Stella, largely because our courts
are clogged with absurdly trivial cases. In the
southern region of Puglia, for example, a man has
just been acquitted for stealing a single eggplant
from a field—after a nine-year legal battle that
cost taxpayers about $9,000. Police caught the
jobless suspect leaving the field with the offending vegetable in a bucket in 2009. He claimed
he’d only taken it to feed his starving family, and
the farmer didn’t press charges. Yet he was still
prosecuted, sentenced to five months in jail and
fined about $600—penalties that were reduced on
appeal. His lawyer, incensed at the unfairness of it
all, lodged the case at the supreme court in Rome,
where it languished for years, until the justices
finally threw it out. The court has accumulated a
backlog of more than 100,000 of such crazy cases.
Most are domestic spats, like the man who sued
his daughter-in-law for serving him shop-bought
rather than homemade pasta, or disputes between
neighbors over such petty things as wet laundry
dripping onto the balcony below. No one wants arbitrary limits on court time. But is it really so hard
to distinguish between important cases of principle
and those that just waste time and money?
Something dark in Nicolas Sarkozy’s past may
finally have caught up with him, said Ann-Dorit
Boy. For years, rumors swirled that the former
French president illegally accepted $62 million
for his 2007 election campaign from then Libyan
dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Qaddafi is said to
have confirmed the handout months before his 2011
death, and references to payments were found in a
notebook belonging to Libyan oil minister Shukri
Ghanem, whose body was discovered in the Danube River in Vienna in 2012. Then two years ago, a
French-Lebanese businessman told French reporters
that he’d carried suitcases full of cash from Tripoli
to Paris. Investigators kept digging, and new leads
must have emerged, because Sarkozy was recently
taken into custody for police grilling. Sarkozy—who
is facing corruption, influence peddling, and illegal
campaign-financing charges in unrelated cases—
denies any wrongdoing. But if the allegations are
true, they may explain why Sarkozy behaved with
such “embarrassing obsequiousness” to Qaddafi,
rolling out the red carpet on his state visit to Paris,
and why, conversely, in 2011 he campaigned so hard
for military intervention in Libya, hoping perhaps
to erase that memory. Could Ghanem’s death, once
thought an assassination, also be connected? If this
affair continues to develop, it could leave France’s
previous corruption scandals in the shade.
Europe: Have immigrants rekindled anti-Semitism?
vanished, but we are now also facing a
French Jews are under assault, said
“new anti-Semitism, fueled by the obLe Monde (France) in an editorial. The
sessions of Muslim fundamentalists and
brutal killing last week of 85-year-old
tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll,
stabbed 11 times in her Paris home by a
Both types of this ancient hatred are
Muslim neighbor and his friend, was not
surging in Germany, said Sina Arnold
an isolated incident. At least 11 French
in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Jews have been murdered in anti-Semitic
(Germany). The Right talks about
attacks over the past 12 years, including
“imported anti-Semitism,” blaming
three children and a rabbi who were shot
Muslims and ignoring the fact that
dead by an Islamist extremist at a Jewish
most anti-Semitic hate crimes here are
school in Toulouse in 2012, and 65-yearcommitted by neo-Nazis. At the same
old Sarah Halimi, who was beaten to
time, the Left “relativizes hatred” by
death and thrown from her balcony last
Marching in memory of murder victim Knoll.
claiming Muslim migrants are just enyear by a Franco-Malian man shouting
gaging in political speech when they burn Israeli flags in German
“Allahu akbar!” France has also seen a resurgence of “ordinary
streets. Our government, meanwhile, is failing in its historic misanti-Semitism”: hateful insults hurled in the street, threatening
sion to educate all Europeans about the horrors that such hatred
graffiti painted on Jewish stores, the bullying of Jewish children
can cause. More than half of German 14- to 16-year-olds don’t
in schools. It’s encouraging that thousands attended a march in
know that Auschwitz-Birkenau was a Nazi death camp. That is
honor of Knoll in Paris last week, but it’s not enough. French
not the fault of migrants, and that’s why we can’t “deport our
authorities must devote themselves to a “relentless struggle”
way out” of our anti-Semitism problem.
against anti-Semitism to “soothe the legitimate concern and
anger of the Jewish community.”
Anti-Semitism is a European constant, said Zoe Strimpel in The
Daily Telegraph (U.K.). Sometimes it simmers under the surface;
This is “humiliating and agonizing for the Republic,” said Laurent Joffrin in Libération (France). How can we live with the fact now it is blazing in the open. Since Jeremy Corbyn took over
that 10 percent of French Jews—some 60,000 people—have emi- as leader of U.K.’s opposition Labor Party in 2015 and shifted
the party from the center-left to the far left, “anti-Semites of the
grated, mostly to Israel, in the past decade? Have we become a
crudest cut have been crawling in their thousands out of the
country people flee? While it is painful to point out, we must acknowledge that the common thread in all these attacks is that the British woodwork.” They may claim to be against Zionism, not
Jews, but there’s no real difference. Israel was a refuge for Jews
assailants have been either Muslim immigrants or their Frenchborn children. The traditional anti-Semitism of the far right hasn’t when Europe wasn’t. Will that be true again?
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Best columns: International
Israel: Deadly response to Gaza border protest
dead Palestinians make Israel look
“What is the cost of spilling the blood
bad. The strategy works, said Gerald
of defenseless civilians?” asked The
Steinberg, also in the Post. Yes, at
National (United Arab Emirates) in
least 10 of the dead were known
an editorial. “Nothing, if you are Isterrorists, but Israel’s image took a
rael.” Some 30,000 Palestinian men,
beating in the world’s press, which
women, and children gathered in Gaza
portrayed “Palestinians in their stanlast week to peacefully demand “the
dard role as the innocent victims.”
most basic human rights from one of
the most ruthless colonial regimes in
These protests are only going to
history.” Most of the demonstrators
intensify, said Gaza-based activstayed in a tent city several hundred
ist Muhammad Shehada in Israel’s
yards away from the border with Called the “Return
rael, which has created a humanitarian
March,” last week’s gathering was
catastrophe through its 11-year blockA wounded protester is carried away from the border.
just the start of six weeks of demade of Gaza. Medicine is scarce in the
enclave “and there are crippling shortages of electricity and fuel.” onstrations leading up to the May 15 anniversary of the Nakba,
or “catastrophe,” when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs
During the protest, a few angry young Gazans hurled stones at
fled or were expelled from their homes following Israel’s 1948
Israeli troops and burned tires along the border fence. Israeli
declaration of independence. When we mark the Nakba this year,
soldiers retaliated with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunidesperate but peaceful protesters “will approach the fence, lift the
tion, killing at least 18 people and wounding more than 1,000. It
was “a completely disproportionate response in an occupied land gates, and walk into Israel” to reclaim their birthright. Nothing
will deter them. “Not even death.”
where they are the invaders.” Chilling video shows one young
man fatally shot in the back as he ran away from the border.
Hamas is largely to blame for Gazans’ misery, said Amos Harel
That’s just what Hamas wanted, said The Jerusalem Post (Israel). in Ha’aretz (Israel). It spends tens of millions of dollars a year on
its military wing, money that should be used to rebuild Gaza’s
The Islamists who run Gaza can no longer hurt Israel with rockets, thanks to our Iron Dome missile defense system, so they have crumbling infrastructure and to provide jobs for the territory’s
2 million people. But as long as Israel refuses to ease its near-total
a new tactic: swarm the border, hurling Molotov cocktails and
blockade of the enclave, the anger and agony of ordinary Gazans
planting explosives. During last week’s protest, “thousands of
will continue to swell. “This abscess is bound to burst, whether in
young Palestinian men, many of whom were known Hamas terrorists, attempted to rush the fence.” The goal was death, because a humanitarian disaster or another military clash.”
undermined by
dirty tricks
Rasna Warah
Daily Nation
The dangers
of a graying
Lee Jong-wha
JoongAng Ilbo
Did President Uhuru Kenyatta win the 2013 and
2017 Kenyan elections “by unethical means?”
asked Ranah Warah. That is the conclusion we
should draw from a British news program’s recent
undercover sting against Cambridge Analytica,
the political consultancy accused of using plundered Facebook data to help Donald Trump’s
U.S. presidential campaign and of deploying dirty
tricks to boost other candidates around the world.
Cambridge executives were recorded telling an
undercover journalist from the U.K.’s Channel 4
news how they ran “just about every element” of
Kenyatta’s last two campaigns and how they used
voters’ “deep-seated hopes and fears to manipulate
them.” That strategy was certainly on show in ads
the consultancy created for Kenyatta, which presented his opponent, Raila Odinga, as corrupt, violent, and dangerous. Those ads were likely targeted
at voters based on their tribal identities—Kenyatta
is a Kikuyu, Odinga a Luo—a grossly irresponsible
act “in a country like Kenya, where ethnic tensions
have led to violence and bloodshed.” More than
1,000 Kenyans were killed in clashes between supporters of rival candidates following the 2007 election, and the fear of similar violence grew so high
around the 2017 vote that entire neighborhoods
were deserted. Clearly, there is no line that Cambridge “will not cross to get its clients elected.”
The most pressing threat facing South Korea
today is not war with our northern neighbor, said
Lee Jong-wha: It’s “demographics.” People talk of
Japan as an “ultra-aged” society, but South Korea
is going the same way fast and is not nearly as
well prepared to deal with it. The country’s fertility rate—the number of babies a woman is expected to have in her lifetime—is now a mere 1.05
births per woman, one of the lowest in the world.
When South Korean Baby Boomers hit retirement
age in 2030, nearly one-third of the population
will be age 65 or over, similar to Japan’s today.
Already, we’re seeing a rapid decline in day care
centers for children and a matching increase in the
number of nursing homes for the elderly. It’s time
to act to ameliorate the effects of this dangerous
demographic shift. “Japan can offer guidance.”
The nation introduced reforms to make workplaces both more family-friendly and more open
to senior citizens. It assigned a minister the specific
job of keeping the population above the 100 million mark. These efforts have paid off: Japan’s
fertility rate has risen from 1.26 in 2005 to 1.44
last year. South Korea should follow suit without
delay. “We can’t wait until it’s too late to respond
to an aged society.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
QDonations to the National Rifle Association’s
PAC spiked after 17 people
were killed in the Valentine’s Day mass shooting
in Parkland, Fla. The NRA’s
political arm, the Political
Victory Fund, raised roughly $779,000 in February
compared with nearly
$250,000 in January, according to Federal Election
Committee filings.
QA taxpayer’s chances
of being audited by
the IRS have plunged
due to budget cuts and
staff reductions at the
agency mandated by the
Congress. In the fiscal year
ending Sept. 30, the IRS
audited just 1 in 160 individual returns—down from
1 in 90 in 2011. Households
making $1 million or more
were scrutinized 4.37 percent of the time, down
from 12.48 percent in 2011.
New York Post
QThe Russian
ambassador to the
U.S. is so frustrated
by senior U.S.
lawmakers and
government officials refusing to
meet him that
he has sent a
letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
asking for help. Anatoly
Antonov listed 20 top U.S.
elected and administration
officials that have refused
or ignored his requests for
meetings, including White
House Chief of Staff John
Kelly, Vice President Mike
Pence, House Speaker Paul
Ryan, and House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi.
QJust 32 percent of
employed adults report
having more take-home
pay because of the tax
cuts, according to a CNBC
poll. More than half say
they see no change in their
paychecks, and 16 percent
are unsure.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Talking points
Parkland survivors: Conservatives hit back
gun campaign, Hogg has
The survivors of the Parkland,
described the National Rifle
Fla., school shooting “are
Association as “child murderstill under attack,” said Lauers” and called Republicans
rie Roberts in The Arizona
who disagree with him
Republic. Rather than engage
“sick f---ers” with blood on
with the young activists’
their hands. Throwing out
“impassioned call” for tighter
insults and smears is Hogg’s
gun-control laws, conservaprerogative—but liberals
tives panicked by their elocan’t complain when this
quence have showered them
Ingraham, Hogg: Fighting words
“bully” receives a little back.
with personal smears, vitriol,
The media and gun-control activists are “using”
and ad hominem attacks. Fox News host Laura
Hogg as “their sword and their shield,” said David
Ingraham last week mocked Parkland student
French in They egg him
David Hogg for being rejected by four colleges
despite his 4.2 GPA. Hogg then called for advertis- on to say “vicious, cruel, and often false things”
ers to boycott her show, and at least 19 companies about gun-rights advocates, and then claim conservatives who respond are “attacking the Parkland
obliged—forcing the right-wing provocateur to
apologize and take a week’s vacation. The attacks kids.” These teens are “powerful” only because
on the Parkland kids began with far-right conspir- they’re doing the work of “powerful adults.”
acy theorists, said Jeet Heer in,
Actually, the Parkland teens are “winning the
and then spread to mainstream conservatives.
culture war,” said Benjamin Hart in
Some falsely claimed Hogg wasn’t even at school
Their passion and organizing ability has “superduring the Valentine’s Day shooting, and that he
and his fellow activists are actually actors hired by charged the gun-reform movement.” Polls show
large majorities of Americans support their stated
liberal adults. Emma González, another activist
goals of universal background checks and banning
Parkland survivor, was sneeringly described by a
assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines.
Republican candidate for the Maine State House
The “Gunshine State” of Florida has adopted
as a “skinhead lesbian.”
several new restrictions on firearms. Walmart and
other stores are limiting their gun sales. As the say“When you choose to enter the public arena, no
ing goes, when you’re “personally attacking the
one is above criticism,” said Joseph Wulfsohn
survivors of a school shooting, you’re losing.”
in In his simplistic anti-
Census: A question of citizenship
“How many people live in the United States of
America?” That shouldn’t be a political question,
said Jill Filipovic in, but the Trump
administration has turned the U.S. Census into a
“political football.” Commerce Secretary Wilbur
Ross announced last week that the next countrywide population survey, in 2020, will ask respondents if they are U.S. citizens. This question hasn’t
been on the census since 1950 for good reason:
The Constitution requires a count of all residents;
and a citizenship question will spook many illegal
and legal immigrants into not taking part in the
census, over fears ICE agents will come to drag
them away. Those fears would create a “vast
undercount” in immigrant-heavy areas. Since the
census is used to determine how many House
seats each state has, and how to allocate $675 billion in federal funding, those areas would suffer
significantly. This is “just another way” for Trump
to punish blue states and cities, said the Newark,
N.J., Star-Ledger in an editorial. At least 17 states
and seven cities are suing, and the courts must
block the president’s “census sabotage.”
“There is nothing wrong with asking about
citizenship,” said Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post. Canada, Australia, and other U.S.
allies do it. The Census Bureau has continued to
ask about citizenship on smaller-scale “community surveys”—ones that still involve millions of
people—in the years since 1950. Besides, if people
don’t respond to the census, workers visit their
house or ask their neighbors who lives there. So
asking about citizenship “is not likely to produce
inaccurate data.” Why should illegal immigrants
have “fair representation in Congress”? asked
Jonathan Tobin in That
notion is inherently fraudulent. Once again, the
Left is trying to “blur the distinction between citizens and noncitizens.”
It’s the Right’s agenda that’s the problem, said
Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker. The census
added the citizenship question at the suggestion of
Justice Department official John Gore, who has
been involved in Republican redistricting efforts
in several states and in efforts to pass voter-ID
laws designed to reduce voting by blacks and
Hispanics. That agenda has been wholeheartedly
embraced by President Trump, who nonsensically
insists that 4 million undocumented immigrants
voted for Hillary Clinton. Why change a census
policy that’s been in place since 1950? The administration’s motives are utterly transparent.
Newscom, AP
Talking points
Second Amendment: Stevens’ call for repeal To say the Sec“Progressives are finally
ond Amendment must be
coming clean,” said Kyle
repealed is to “falsely imply
Smith in the National
that the existing text and
Review—they really do
precedents don’t allow for
want to take your guns.
sensible gun control.” In
When retired Supreme
reality, the Supreme Court
Court Justice John Paul
has ruled that Congress
Stevens called for a repeal
and the states can outlaw
of the Second Amendment
“dangerous and unusual”
in a New York Times op-ed
weapons, and has let stand
last week, he was speaking
Do progressives want to grab his guns?
a wide variety of state laws,
for the Democratic Party’s
including bans on assault-style rifles and large
“fervent base.” Usually, progressives couch their
magazines. Meanwhile, the odds of repealing the
demands for gun restrictions carefully, claiming
amendment—which would require the support of
they support the right to own weapons for selfdefense. But now Stevens has told the truth about 38 states—are nil. To declare it as an aim “simply
sets up the gun-control movement for failure.”
the Left’s extremism, and conservatives should
thank him. While they rarely admit it, “guns and
Still, Stevens deserves credit for understanding
gun culture appall most liberals,” said Jonathan
how our system is supposed to work, said Jonah
Tobin in The Federalist. And in the aftermath
Goldberg in the New York Post. The retired jusof Parkland, their “coyness about the Second
tice “seeks to change the meaning of the ConstiAmendment may change.”
tution in the way the Founders intended: through
the amendment process,” not by finding some
Stevens “has handed the gun lobby a rhetorical
new, trendy meaning in a “living and breathing”
howitzer,” said Laurence Tribe in The WashConstitution. Americans banned slavery and gave
ington Post. For years the NRA has blocked
women the right to vote through constitutional
gun-control measures by falsely insisting that
amendments, after long, fierce national debates. If
any regulation is the gateway to total prohibiliberals would prefer to have Europe’s gun laws,
tion. Now here comes Stevens to give “aid and
as most would, they should try to amend the
comfort to the gun lobby’s favorite argument.”
Constitution. It would be hard, but “difficulty is
That’s not the only way Stevens is playing into
a feature, not a bug.”
the gun lobby’s hands, said Matthew Yglesias in
Conservatism: Is ‘Never Trump’ dead?
It’s past time for “Never Trumpers” to make peace
with the president, said Rich Lowry in National Like many Republicans, I was initially skeptical that Donald Trump would govern
as a true conservative. But he’s given Republicans
nearly everything they wanted on judicial appointments, social-conservative causes, regulation relief,
and tax cuts. His approval rating among rankand-file Republicans has risen to 86 percent. Yes,
he’s taken populist stances on trade and immigration and conducts his administration “like a reality
TV show.” But “Never Trumpers” should remember that Republican presidents have always tapped
into the party’s Archie Bunker wing. Even the
Waspy aristocrat George H.W. Bush ran in 1988
as a flag-waving, anti-crime crusader. Trump is no
longer “an outlier” in the GOP, and if you think
Trumpism will soon fade, you’re “in denial.”
We just witnessed the conservative movement’s
“final surrender” to Trumpism, said Jonathan
Chait in During the 2016 GOP
primaries, Lowry—as editor-in-chief of National
Review—devoted an entire issue to “Never
Trump” essays. Conservatives warned that
embracing an unscrupulous grifter and racial demagogue would taint the Republican Party forever,
and warned of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies.
“Nothing in Trump’s presidency has quelled these
fears.” Trump has demanded personal loyalty
from the FBI and Justice Department, and threatened networks, newspapers, and private companies with retribution. But since it’s the Constitution
that Trump is trampling, not the conservative
agenda, Lowry has decided that “an authoritarian
can be a Republican in good standing.”
No, he can’t—and that’s why I’ll always be
“Never Trump,” said Michael Gerson in The
Washington Post. It’s not normal or tolerable for
an American president to compare immigrants to
“dangerous vermin,” to characterize federal law
enforcement as a “deep state” plotting against
him, or to describe our free press as an “enemy of
the people.” Trump’s crude cultivation of “anger
and tribalism” will leave a lasting stain. Principled
conservatives cannot keep silent while their party
slips into “moral squalor and (eventually) electoral
irrelevance.” Taking back the GOP “won’t be
easy,” said Mike Murphy in But if
Republicans get crushed in the midterms this fall,
and/or a war erupts, they may view Trump differently. We’ve “seen how fast support can crumble
when a party sees its very survival at stake.”
Wit &
“Our chief want in life is
somebody who shall make
us do what we can.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted
in The Wall Street Journal
“Decide who you’re not
before you decide
who you are.”
The musician Questlove,
quoted in
“Painting is poetry that is
seen rather than felt.”
Leonardo da Vinci,
quoted in
“Families are about
love overcoming
emotional torture.”
‘Simpsons’ creator Matt
Groening, quoted in
“All love is doomed, seen
in the light of death.”
Novelist Anita Shreve, quoted
in The Boston Globe
“You need someone
who believes in this
country, again, to begin
to change it.”
James Baldwin, quoted in
Boston Review
“Polarizing people is a
good way to win an election, and also a good way
to wreck a country.”
Columnist Molly Ivins, quoted
in the Roanoke, Va., Times
Poll watch
Q68% of Americans say
teachers in their communities are underpaid. 21%
think they are paid “about
right.” Just 5% think they
are paid “too much.”
CBS News
Q77% of Americans
think major newspapers
and TV networks report
“fake news.” 25% define
“fake news” as stories
in which journalists get
the facts wrong. 65% say
that “fake news” applies
to how news outlets
“make editorial decisions
about what they choose
to report.” 83% believe
outside agents are trying
to plant “fake news” in
the mainstream media.
Monmouth University
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Social media: Why is it so hard to quit?
time feels different, though, said Charlie
“Something is wrong with social media,”
Warzel in “The impulse to
said Kevin Roose in The New York Times.
unplug is nothing new”; humans wanting
Recent polls have found a precipitous
to understand the importance of something
drop in popularity among the industry’s
that takes up a great deal of their time have
Goliaths—Facebook, Twitter, and Google—
always tried to remove it temporarily and
over the past few months. Once envisioned
reflect on it. There used to be a fun, curious
as a space capable of “producing healthy
element to unplugging from our online lives.
discussions” and “connecting people to othToday, though, the rising level of toxicity in
ers with similar interests,” social media is
our “maddening, all-consuming, and unsusnow seen by a wary American public as a
tainable” internet ecosystem means that getsource of discomfort. A scroll through Twitting offline has far more urgency “and even
ter will render you “anxious, twitchy, a little
‘An endless and addictive scroll’
a hint of desperation to it.”
world-weary,” not unlike the unease you feel
watching your child watch YouTube videos, knowing she is only
If you can’t “stop cold turkey,” start by setting boundaries, said
“a few algorithmic nudges away from a rabbit hole filled with
lunatic conspiracies and gore.” Then there’s Facebook—its recent Ash Rao in Trying avoiding social media bescandals a reminder “you’ve entrusted the most intimate parts of fore lunchtime; early in the day, it will “cloud your thoughts” and
hamper morning productivity. Mute or unfollow those who post
your digital life to a profit-maximizing surveillance machine.”
nonstop, and physically log out of your accounts to reduce the
temptation to check your feeds again and again. Deleting every
“Here we go again,” said Shyam Sundar in TheConversation
social media app from my phone “is the best thing I’ve done” this
.com. Yes, Facebook users are rankled at being reminded that
year, said Jake Swearingen in Now I access my sothe social network tracks their every online move and that their
cial media accounts only in small bites, like when I’m on my lapdata has for years been available to the highest bidder. But most
top, rather than every time I get in line at the supermarket or step
will end up staying. “As in all abusive relationships, users have
onto an elevator. I was tired of feeling like a hostage, spending
a psychological dependence that keeps them hooked despite
portions of my day on “an endless and addictive scroll.” If you
knowing that, at some level, it’s not good for them.” The truth
vacantly graze through social media too often, give this strategy a
is that billions of people get gratification from using Facebook,
shot. It’s “the smartest decision I’ve made so far in 2018.”
and that will make it unattractive to log off permanently. This
Amazon has
secured a
patent for a
new delivery drone
that can
respond to human gestures, said
Thuy Ong in The
e-commerce giant is working on a
fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles
that can get packages to customers
in 30 minutes or less, and its latest patent offers some clues about
how the flying robots will be taught
to interact with human bystanders
and delivery customers. The patent suggests that the drone could
adjust its behavior depending on a
person’s gestures, including frantically waving arms, pointing, and
even a “shooing” motion. The drone
could also release the package it’s
transporting, change its flight path
or flying speed, and ask humans
a question. The drone’s communication system would comprise
an array of sensors, including for
depth and sound, and cameras to
detect infrared and ultraviolet light.
Amazon is currently testing the
drones in Britain.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Bytes: What’s new in tech
Atlanta emerges from cyberattack
Atlanta is still recovering from “one of the
most sustained and consequential cyberattacks
ever mounted against a major American city,”
said Alan Blinder and Nicole Perlroth in The
New York Times. For five days last month,
the city’s municipal government was “brought
to its knees” by a ransomware attack. Security experts linked the attack to “a shadowy
hacking crew” known for selecting targets
“that are the most likely to accede to its high
ransom demands”; the group is believed to
have demanded roughly $51,000. That attack
“left parts of the city’s network tied in knots”:
Residents could not pay their traffic tickets or
water bills online, the municipal court couldn’t
validate warrants, and police officers had to
write reports by hand. Atlanta city officials
have “disclosed few details about the episode,”
including whether the city paid the ransom.
More layoffs at Snap
Snap is handing out another 100 pink slips,
said Sarah Frier in Having
already pruned its engineering and content departments earlier this year, the California-based
parent company of the social media platform
Snapchat is now laying off 100 members of its
advertising department. Snap says “the rolling
cuts” are in response to an ill-advised hiring
spree last year, when Snap was focused on trying to grab some of the ad market from rivals
Google and Facebook. The company has in
recent months lost key executives and released
a widely panned redesign. After Snap’s IPO
last year, it reported three straight quarters of
“disappointing revenue growth” before beating
growth expectations in February.
Tesla’s mounting troubles
Tesla announced last week that it will recall
“almost half of all the vehicles the company
has so far produced,” said Paul Eisenstein in The electric vehicle maker
said 123,000 of its Model S sedans would
be recalled because of an issue with corroding bolts that could lead to the loss of power
steering—the third time that the Model S
has been recalled since it came to market.
California-based Tesla said the problem was
likely only limited to cars in “very cold climates” where road salts are commonly used.
But the announcement still comes “at a particularly inopportune time” for the automaker,
which has been plagued by production problems with the mass-market Model 3 and a
fatal crash of a Tesla in Autopilot mode that is
now being probed by federal regulators.
Getty, Amazon
Innovation of the week
Health & Science
An ancient visit by an alien star
A wandering binary star sideswiped the
solar system some 70,000 years ago,
knocking dozens of far-flung comets and
asteroids into unusual orbits. The glow
of the red star’s fleeting flyby may have
been witnessed by early human ancestors and Neanderthals, and scientists
believe the gravitational effects of the
prehistoric close encounter are still evident in the outer solar system today. The
red dwarf and its smaller brown dwarf
companion, jointly known as Scholz’s
star, was first identified back in 2015.
The star is currently 20 light-years from
Earth, but researchers used its motion
and velocity to trace its path backward
through space. They calculate that it
came within less than one light-year of
the sun as it passed through the Oort
cloud—a swarm of more than a trillion
icy objects surrounding the outer edge of
the solar system. Based on their unusual,
V-shaped orbits, scientists suspect that
at least 36 objects were nudged into new
positions by the passing star’s gravity, reports. The
positions of these bodies “fits the close
encounter with Scholz’s star,” says study
author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos. His
team also identified eight unusual comets
Ancient Amazon settlements
Fluid-filled spaces make up the interstitium.
Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester, Jill Gregory/Mount Sinai Health System/licensed under CC-BY-ND, Newscom
Discovery of a new organ?
A vast network of fluid-filled channels
that surrounds muscle and lines the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts may
be a previously undetected human organ,
known as the interstitium, say scientists at
New York University Langone School of
Medicine. The researchers believe that this
newly found structure, which appears to be
an “open, fluid-filled highway,” serves as
an internal shock absorber for other organs
and also plays a major role in the immune
system. Interstitial fluid is the source of
lymph, which dispatches white blood
cells to fight infections. The interstitium
could help explain how cancer cells spread
throughout the body. “Once they get in, it’s
like they’re on a water slide,” the study’s
co-author, Neil Theise, tells NewScientist
.com. “We have a new window on the
mechanism of tumor spread.” The interstitium holds about 20 percent of all the
fluid in the human body, but it has evaded
detection until now since tissue samples are
typically dehydrated before being examined under a microscope. More research
is needed to understand its role and determine whether it is indeed a distinct organ.
Either way, Theise says, this discovery may
lead to “a significant reassessment of anatomy affecting every organ of the body.”
Long before the arrival of Europeans, up to
a million people thrived in large, complex
villages buried deep within the Amazon
rain forest. A team of archaeologists
found 81 ancient settlements in the Upper
Tapajós Basin, along Brazil’s border with
Bolivia, reports.
The settlements, which are roughly 500
to 750 years old, challenge long-standing
views of the Amazon as pristine wilderness.
“There is a common misconception that
the Amazon is an untouched landscape,
home to scattered, nomadic communities,”
says study author Jonas Gregorio de Souza.
“This is not the case. We have found that
some populations away from the major
rivers are much larger than previously
thought, and these people had an impact
on the environment which we can still find
today.” Satellite images reveal dozens of
geoglyphs, or geometric-shaped trenches
carved into the landscape. Ground surveys
revealed abandoned stone tools, broken
ceramics, buried trash, and terra preta—
a type of charcoal-enriched, fertile soil
made by ancient Amazonian civilizations.
Freezing the ‘hunger nerve’
Diets often fail as long-term solutions for
many people trying to lose weight. But new
research suggests that freezing the so-called
hunger nerve could suppress hunger and be
an effective new treatment for those struggling with obesity. When the stomach is
empty, a branch of the vagus nerve called
the posterior vagal trunk kicks into action,
sending hunger signals to the brain. Guided
by CT scan images, researchers used a
probe to freeze this nerve in 10 obese
women and men, with the aim of dampening its signal. “We’re not trying to eliminate
this biological response, only reduce the
strength of this signal to the brain,” the
study’s lead author, David Prologo, tells The preliminary results
An artist’s conception of Scholz’s star
that may have originated outside our
solar system.
of the study suggest the nerve-freezing
procedure may do just that. None of the
subjects experienced side effects, but all
of them reported feeling more satisfied
and less hungry 90 days later. They also
slimmed down. On average, the subjects
lost 3.6 percent of their body weight and
experienced a 13.9 percent drop in their
body mass index (BMI). The researchers
say their findings must be confirmed with
larger, long-term studies.
Health scare of the week
Grilling causes inflammation
Regularly eating grilled,
broiled, or roasted
meat, chicken, or fish
may increase the risk
for high blood pressure, a new study
shows. Harvard
researchers came to
this conclusion after analyzing the diet and cooking
methods of more than 86,000 women
and 17,000 men who were followed for
up to 16 years. They found those who ate
foods cooked by high heat more than 15
times a month were 17 percent more likely
to develop high blood pressure than those
who ate them less frequently. The people
who preferred their meats well-done were
also 15 percent more likely to become
hypertensive, reports “The
chemicals produced by cooking meats at
high temperatures induce oxidative stress,
inflammation, and insulin resistance in
animal studies, and these pathways may
also lead to an elevated risk of developing
high blood pressure,” says the study’s lead
researcher, Gang Liu. Lowering the heat
could help reduce these health risks. The
researchers advise cutting back on barbecued burgers and fillets and opting for
stewed, steamed, and poached meats and
vegetables more often.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Pick of the week’s cartoons
For more political cartoons, visit:
Review of reviews: Books
through A.A., and after chafing at the program’s platitudes, accepted the constraints
of the A.A. template because using them to
explain her addiction made escape possible. “Accompanying Jamison on her flight
to discover those constraints is thrilling.”
But her narrative flags, “briefly but tellingly,” when she hands storytelling duties
over to other addicts, whose struggles are
real but whose insights seldom match hers.
Book of the week
The Recovering: Intoxication
and Its Aftermath
by Leslie Jamison
(Little, Brown, $30)
Leslie Jamison’s new book buzzes with
urgency, said David Ulin in the Los
Angeles Times. Small wonder, “for
Jamison is writing to survive.” Even so,
her relationship with the substance that
imperils her—alcohol—remains “something of a love story.” She describes her
first sip of Champagne, experienced at 12,
as akin to magic (“hot pine needles down
my throat”). As a 21-year-old student at
the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she thrilled
at the chance to follow in the footsteps
of forebears she thinks of as “legendary
writer-drunks.” But heavy drinking doesn’t
inspire; it destroys, and so Jamison eventually committed to sobriety. Mixing memoir,
testimony from fellow addicts, and profiles
of famous alcoholic writers, she’s engineered
a deep and fruitful investigation into the
lure of intoxication—in all forms—and the
struggle to adequately resist that lure.
Novel of the week
The Female Persuasion
by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead, $28)
Meg Wolitzer’s latest is “the best kind
of social novel,” said Marion Winik in
Newsday. “A brilliant book about relationships set against a backdrop of principles,
movements, and change,” The Female
Persuasion revolves around a mentormentee dynamic. Greer Kadetsky is a
freshman at a third-tier New England college when she crosses paths with a Gloria
Steinem–like figure who will play an outsize role in her life. But that relationship
isn’t entirely beneficial to Greer, who’s
eventually forced to decide how far she’s
willing to bend to please her benefactor.
“Wolitzer is at her best when dropping
wry but casual observations,” said Amy
Gentry in the Chicago Tribune. Her style
is “oddly resistant to intensity,” though,
which is a problem whenever tragedy
strikes. And when the story’s focus shifts
to any of three secondary characters,
“years of change whoosh by on generalizations.” Still, people in real life are like
that—weathering countless surprises
before becoming exactly who they were
destined to be. “If we never quite catch
them in the act, there’s still something
satisfying about seeing them arrive.”
Booze and writing: A temptation distilled
Such is Jamison’s talent, “she could rivet a
reader with a treatise on toast,” said Gary
Greenberg in The New Yorker. She’s acutely
aware, though, that she’s covering well-trod
ground here: Every story about addiction,
she writes, boils down to “Desire. Use.
Repeat.” But there are lessons in the patterns she finds when she turns to the many
writers—John Berryman, Raymond Carver,
and Elizabeth Bishop among them—who
glimpsed potential transcendence in drinking only to discover the portal was a trap.
Jamison sought escape from that trap
Tiger Woods
by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
(Simon & Schuster, $30)
“Who is Tiger Woods?”
asked Dwight Garner
in The New York
Times. Woods himself
might not be able
to answer that, but
the latest biography
of the fallen golf
superstar charges so
confidently through
the first half-century
of the drama that,
“like a well-struck
golf ball,” it demands admiration. Jeff
Benedict and Armen Keteyian vacuumed up
everything written about their subject and
then interviewed 250-plus people to bring
“grainy new detail” to the tale. Though they
get too brash in their delivery at times, the
saga they’ve crafted manages to be almost
simultaneously “exhilarating, depressing, tawdry, and moving.” This is “a big
American story that rolls across barbered
lawns and then leaves you stranded in some
all-night Sam’s Club of the soul.”
That story, for a good 150 pages, “could
be plucked out of a heartwarming chil-
The book also indulges a strain of
magical thinking, said Clancy Martin in
Bookforum. “I applaud Jamison for not
romanticizing drunks,” and she’s right
that Carver, Denis Johnson, and many other
writers hit their stride only after cleaning
up. But she shapes other stories to fit her
belief that everyone writes better sober. “To
my mind, this is a very dangerous kind of
idolatry. Whether you’re idolizing booze or
you’re idolizing booze-free, you’re still idolizing.” None of this negates the value of The
Recovering—“if you’re interested in the relationship between artists and addiction, you
must read it.” But “it’s too reductive, and
probably harmful, to understand writers,
artists, or any human beings as either failure
or success, drunk or sober, crazy or sane.”
dren’s movie,” said John Paul Newport in A boy of modest means
uses talent and an iron work ethic to change
the face of an elitist, white-dominated sport
by becoming its greatest player ever. His
parents pushed, and Tiger complied, logging
10,000 hours of links practice by age 12.
Still, “what Benedict and Keteyian do better than in any biography I’ve read about
Woods is detail the human costs of this
machine-like focus.” Rude, entitled, at times
outright callous, Woods eventually had
affairs with dozens of women before a 2009
altercation with his wife exposed his secret
life. Yet because his misery is also vividly
drawn, “readers may find their sympathies
for Woods growing as the Shakespearean
tragedy of his life unfolds.”
Not that he gets a fair hearing, said Leigh
Montville in The Wall Street Journal.
Because people close to Woods are bound
by confidentiality agreements, the testimony readers get comes disproportionately
from ex-associates who’ve been burned by
Woods. Meanwhile, redemption is still possible, at least professionally. At 42, Woods
suddenly has somehow emerged from a
decade-long funk to enter this weekend’s
Masters as a bettor’s favorite. In this story,
“the final chapter is yet to be written.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The Book List
Gerald Murnane
This story could well be the
only chance you get to take
note of Gerald Murnane,
said Mark Binelli in The New
York Times. “A strong case
could be made for Murnane
as the greatest living Englishlanguage writer most people
have never
heard of,”
and unless
the 79-yearold wins a
Nobel Prize—
as some
expect he
will—he may well remain
a cult figure. For the past
decade, he has lived in
tiny Goroke, Australia, and
though he enjoys tending
bar at the local golf club,
he strongly prefers not to
travel. “I have a reputation
in some quarters as an aloof
recluse,” he says. “But that’s
only because I refuse to go to
writers’ festivals and talk the
fake-intellectual [expletive]
that most writers talk.” Fortyfour years after Murnane
published his first novel,
however, readers are gradually finding him. “It seems,”
he says, “like things are starting to work out.”
The two Murnane books
arriving in the U.S. this
month are typical in being
both autobiographical
and highly introspective,
said Jamie Fisher in The
Washington Post. Border
Districts, a novel, is narrated
by a man in his 60s who has
never traveled more than a
day’s journey from his birthplace yet has moved to a
remote town with the intent
of dismantling received ideas
and finding everything he
needs in his own imagination. Murnane’s other new
book, Stream System, bears
a cover blurb that labels the
author a genius and “a worthy heir to Beckett”—yet its
stories, too, rarely leave the
brain space of their creator.
“People are a mystery to me,”
Murnane says. “I don’t know
what anyone is thinking.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Best books...chosen by Jan Morris
Jan Morris’ new book, Battleship Yamato, tells the story of World War II’s most powerful warship. Below, the celebrated Welsh-born historian, travel writer, and author of
Manhattan ’45 names six favorite books about her favorite American metropolis.
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas (Monacelli, $35). The book that launched the Dutch
architect’s renown is a wonderfully eccentric and
influential analysis of the physical and symbolic
development of New York City. Illustrated with
paintings, photographs, plans, and imaginative
propositions, it amounts to a dashing manifesto
of Manhattanism.
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (Scribner, $17).
Published in 2016, this brilliant first novel by
a much-admired nonfiction writer includes an
extraordinarily vivid reconstruction of the city
in the last years of British rule.
Naked City by Weegee (Da Capo, $17.50). A
celebrated New York photographer portrays
his city with its figurative clothes off. Arthur
“Weegee” Fellig (1899-1968) was famous for
capturing scenes of crime and violence, and most
of the pictures in this 1945 book were taken at
night. But they are so infused with humor, sympathy, and understanding that they demonstrate
a profound love for the city and its people.
The New York Kid’s Book (out of print). Nearly
170 contributors, many of them eminent, were
featured in this 1979 anthology. A compendium
of essays, photos, jokes, poems, and puzzles, it
was distributed free to the children’s rooms of
libraries throughout New York.
The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky (Random
House, $17). By no means a joke, The Big
Oyster is a scholarly analysis of the importance of the local oyster beds in the development of New York, from their first exploitation in the 18th century to their destruction
by pollution in the 1920s. The book is rich in
social and culinary history and includes many
maps and other illustrations, so that no shell is
left unturned.
The New York Pop-Up Book edited by Marie
Salerno and Arthur Gelb (out of print). A commemorative book published to mark the 100th
anniversary of the unification of New York’s
five boroughs, The New York Pop-Up Book
contains all manner of cut-outs, snippets, and
incidental notes. Featuring contributions from
E.L. Doctorow, Tom Wolfe, Wynton Marsalis,
and others, it brings to life the goings-on of New
York from its beginnings to today.
Also of West Africa rising
Children of Blood and Bone
by Akwaeke Emezi (Grove, $24)
by Tomi Adeyemi (Holt, $19)
“In its barest outline, this is simply the
coming-of-age tale of a brilliant but
troubled young woman,” said Sam
Sacks in The Wall Street Journal. But
because Akwaeke Emezi’s “witchy,
electrifying” novel uses both conventional psychology and the folklore of Nigeria’s
Igbo people to interpret its heroine’s actions,
it reinvigorates a familiar story. We see Ada’s
erratic behavior through the eyes of malevolent
gods, and events that might appear merely sordid
instead possess “a hideous grandeur.”
Tomi Adeyemi, who’s only 24,
“already writes like an author who
is 10 books deep in her career,” said
Caitlyn Paxson in In a
novel that’s poised to be the next
big thing in young-adult fiction, two
young heroines in a fictional West African nation
embark on a journey to end the oppression of a
people who once wielded the powers of the gods.
A “fast-paced, excellently crafted” adventure
ensues, and the brilliant climax will leave readers
gasping—and placing pre-orders for the sequel.
Fisherman’s Blues
The Away Game
by Anna Badkhen (Riverhead, $27)
by Sebastian Abbot (Norton, $27)
Hope springs eternal in the Senegalese
fishing community portrayed in this
“memorably beautiful” tribute to
a vanishing way of life, said Steve
Donoghue in Though
commercial operations are emptying
the sea of fish, the locals forever believe in the
next big catch, and reporter Anna Badkhen sails
with them to capture the rhythms of the work
and its passed-down wisdom. As their traditions
disappear, “readers will have the small comfort of
visiting their world in the pages of this book.”
For many teenagers in Africa,
there is no greater dream than to
be the next global soccer star, said
The Economist. Sebastian Abbot’s
engrossing book follows three hopefuls who were recruited to participate
in a Qatari-funded program that held tryouts for
half a million youngsters a year. Abbot neglects
to show that the program’s chosen few weren’t
the only African players exploited, yet “that is a
minor shortcoming” in an otherwise “masterful”
account of the drama and science of scouting.
David Hurn, Ian Hill
Author of the week
Review of reviews: Stage & Music
The Park Avenue Armory, New York City, (212) 616-3930 ++++
Stephanie Berger
On a Manhattan stage, Billie Piper is
currently delivering the type of performance that leaves you “bruised,
breathless, and grateful for an experience you wouldn’t have missed for the
world,” said Ben Brantley in The New
York Times. In Yerma, the 35-year-old
Olivier Award winner plays a journalist and blogger undone by her inability
to conceive a child, and just how far
the character will go to avoid accepting her reality becomes a matter of
grave suspense. “The answer: further
than you dare imagine.”
dant fuels her growing sense of failure by blogging about her pregnancy
bid and subjecting herself to the withering judgments of an online village.
Piper’s “simply staggering” work
puts us inside a woman’s unraveling.
“Her character, at first delightfully
and sexily full of life, devolves in
such heartbreaking, visceral fashion
that the evening takes on the feel of
Greek tragedy.”
Though the Park Avenue Armory
is sprawling, the production “packs
so much searing emotion that it
easily fills the space,” said Frank Scheck
in The Hollywood Reporter. The story
opens on a scene of enviable domesticity:
Piper’s character, known to us as Her, has
just moved with her husband into a large,
newly purchased home and surprises him
when she suggests they should try to have
a baby. Her spouse, played by Brendan
Cowell, quickly comes around to the idea,
ceremoniously crushing his partner’s packet
of birth control pills underfoot—“and then
the nightmare begins.” The couple’s fruitless
effort to conceive stretches for years, eventually distancing Her from family members
and friends and undermining the marriage
as in-vitro treatments deplete the couple’s
bank account. In the original play, written
in 1934 by Federico García Lorca, the protagonist was a Spanish peasant burdened
by the scrutiny of neighbors in a tight-knit
community. Here, in Simon Stone’s bold
adaptation, the character’s modern descen-
The play’s sexual politics “lag a
bit,” said Helen Shaw in Time Out
New York. The story traffics in a
“she-can’t-have-it-all prurience” that
flourished in the 1980s. Still, “if you
can stomach a portrait of a woman
letting the procreative drive steer her completely round the twist, you won’t do better
than Piper’s powerhouse performance, a
thing of such hectic emotional commitment
that you fear for her actual sanity.” When
Piper is weeping and screaming—crumbling
before our eyes—you might also be thankful
that the brilliant stage design often places
her securely behind a glass wall. “There’s no
telling what emotions like those could do if a
beast this angry were let out of its cage.”
Kacey Musgraves
Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Orquesta Akokán
Golden Hour
The Final Tour
Orquesta Akokán
The new Kacey
Musgraves record
might be 2018’s best
album so far, said
Maeve McDermott
in USA Today. “A
wondrous collection
of songs” that finds
the 29-year-old newlywed “in a perpetual
swoon—not just over love, but the entire
world that surrounds her new life,” it disproves the myth that all great art (or at
least all great country music) emerges
from heartbreak. Musgraves, a Texas-bred
singer-songwriter who broke boundaries
on her Grammy-winning 2013 debut, still
speaks her mind. “If she’s feeling magical,
she’s going to say so.” Her songwriting
reflects her open fondness for LSD and
weed, said Rob Harvilla in
Musgraves describes Golden Hour as
“galactic country,” and the music is surely
her “spaciest” yet, awash in synthesizers
and merely accented by pedal-steel guitar.
Listening to the record, “you might zone
out for whole songs at a time, only to find
yourself startled by some pristine detail,
like the banjo that delicately pushes ‘Oh,
What a World’ heavenward.”
The new Miles Davis–
John Coltrane box set
“demands we revise the
conventional wisdom
about these two musicians,” said Fred Kaplan
in Davis,
known as a master
shape-shifter, was resistant to the free-jazz
revolution Coltrane was attempting when
the tenor saxophonist and longtime sideman in Davis’ quintet grudgingly agreed to
a 1960 European tour to promote the trumpeter’s Kind of Blue. Throughout the five
concerts on this four-disc collection (Vol. 6
of the Miles Davis Bootleg Series), Coltrane
strains against musical barriers: Even on the
opening tune—Cole Porter’s “All of You”—
the soloing reedman unleashes “volcanoes
of notes,” layering chords upon chords. At
the time, “no one had heard anything like
this before,” and Davis pushed back, both
onstage and off. “Not every performance
is as tempestuous,” said David Weininger
in The Boston Globe. But for four discs
and five nights, the tension between Trane’s
explosiveness and Miles’ painterly restraint
is “so palpable that it begins to function as
the ensemble’s sixth member.”
Orquesta Akokán is a
band steeped in Cuban
music of the past, but
its first album is no
mere history lesson,
said Felix Contreras in The 16-piece
brass-driven orchestra
has simply made “a damn good record”—
an homage consisting of entirely original
music that brilliantly captures how the
1950s bands of Tito Puente, Benny Moré,
and Pérez Prado each operated “like one
giant rhythm machine.” Lead singer José
“Pepito” Gómez sounds just right for his
part, and so does the room: The album
was recorded at Havana’s legendary Areito
Studios, a place famous for the way its
acoustics accentuate the sounds of conga
and bongo drums, and “every track on
Orquesta Akokán benefits from that studio magic.” Akokán is a Yoruba word that
means “from the heart,” and on all nine
songs, “the playing underscores the translation,” said Thom Jurek in
The whole record has a “bright, kinetic,
warm feel,” and from the first few notes of
the opening track, “it’s impossible not to
move one’s feet and hips.”
Piper and Cowell: A love destined to wound
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Review of reviews: Film
Actor Jason Clarke is excellent
as the “arrogantly dim-witted”
Kennedy, said James Dawson
Owen Gleiberman in Variety.
in As the
The new movie about the scanfamily’s fixers try to shape the
dal is “exactly what you want
senator’s public response and he
it to be: a tense, scrupulous,
suffers the disdain of a “viciously
absorbingly precise piece of
dismissive” father, Kennedy flirts
history,” and it makes the late
with becoming a sympathetic
Sen. Ted Kennedy look like a
character before delivering a
weasel. On the night of July 18,
Clarke’s spot-on scion
cravenly dishonest televised
1969, as we’ve long known,
Kennedy drove off a bridge near a Martha’s Vineyard speech. Even his allies, at that moment, are disapbeach, and the 28-year-old woman he was with died pointed, yet “no one dares say what they are really
in the submerged vehicle. But while the movie avoids thinking,” said Alan Zilberman in The Washington
Post. Kennedy would serve with honor in the Senate
sensationalism, it makes clear that Kennedy truly
could have saved Mary Jo Kopechne’s life and that he for decades thereafter, but after reliving that episode,
spent the next week sacrificing the truth to his career. “no viewer will think of Ted in quite the same way.”
was even
Chappaquiddick “Chappaquiddick
worse than we think,” said
Directed by John Curran
The Kennedys cover up
a crime.
A Quiet Place
Directed by John Krasinski
A family must remain
silent—or else.
“a feature-length extension of
John Krasinski’s new horror
the stock scene where a characfilm is “a taut, breathless little
ter hides in a closet and tries not
trick of a movie,” said Leah
to scream,” said Adi Robertson
Greenblatt in Entertainment
in Blunt’s charWeekly. The former sitcom
acter is about to give birth,
standout co-stars alongside his
though, introducing a host of
wife, Emily Blunt, as a couple
complications. The film falters
raising their children in a postlate, when the foreboding gives
apocalyptic world infested by
way to outright violence. But
large, blind, spider-like aliens
Blunt: Pregnant and terrified
A Quiet Place mostly remains
that attack at the slightest
sound. That makes silence a matter of survival, forc- “grounded solidly in human drama.” Sitting in a
silent theater for so long is strange: “All we do is
ing the family to communicate in sign language as
watch and beg these characters to be careful,” said
Krasinski “builds a fantastically sustained mood”
Jonathan Dean in GQ (U.K.). And when they aren’t
across 90 minutes of “slow-drip dread and wellearned jump scares.” In essence, Krasinski has made careful? Well—“good luck with the nightmares.”
about the movie, though, is
“It is rare to come across a film
how strong and uninhibited its
that is as funny as it is heartDirected by Kay Cannon
female characters are.” In this
warming, or as charming as it is
era of #MeToo, young co-stars
daring,” said Natalie Mokry in
Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon,
the Austin American-Statesman.
and Geraldine Viswanathan
Parents run interference on Somehow, Kay Cannon’s new
show that “time is emphatically
their girls’ prom-night plans.
up on telling young women they
the perfect balance between all
can’t have control in sexual situof these qualities.” Leslie Mann,
ations,” said Joanna Robinson
John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz
Barinholtz, Mann, and Cena
in All three
play the overprotective parents
shine, though “if there’s gonna be a breakout comic
of three teenage girls who make a pact to lose their
star from this film, it’ll likely be Viswanathan,” said
virginity on prom night. It’s hard not to sympathize
April Wolfe in Though some of the
with Mann’s helicopter mom, Cena’s lovable jock,
jokes feel dated, it’s about time the teen sex-comedy
and Barinholtz’s slacker dad as they make fools of
canon had an entry that proves girls are funny and
themselves hopping from party to party, hoping
“can play more than the killjoy or the babe.”
to prevent the inevitable. “One of the best things
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Last Men in Aleppo
(Lucasfilm, $30)
(National Geographic, $20)
(Grasshopper, $30)
Episode VIII turned out to be “the first flatout terrific Star Wars movie since 1980’s The
Empire Strikes Back,” said the Los Angeles
Times. Carrie Fisher had a meaty role in her
final turn as Princess Leia, while Mark Hamill
returned as a reclusive Jedi master tracked
down by a promising but conflicted pupil.
This documentary about primatologist Jane
Goodall “will likely stand as the definitive portrait,” said The Hollywood Reporter. Much of
the movie is composed of never-before-seen
1960s footage of Goodall’s interactions with
chimpanzees in Tanzania, and it “puts us right
there to share directly in her discoveries.”
“This is an essential film, but it is also a terribly dispiriting one,” said The New York
Times. A portrait of Syria’s White Helmets, the
volunteers who rush into bombed buildings
to pull survivors from the rubble, this “galvanizing” documentary doesn’t offer hope,
because, in 2016, there was none to offer.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Entertainment Studios, Jonny Cournoyer, Quantrell D. Colbert
Movies on TV
Courtesy of Netflix (2)
Monday, April 9
Sunset Boulevard
Gloria Swanson made film
history playing Norma
Desmond, the unhinged
silent-film star chasing a
comeback in Billy Wilder’s
superb film noir. (1950)
8 p.m., TCM
Tuesday, April 10
Mr. Mom
Before stay-at-home dads
were a thing, Michael
Keaton made them look
hilariously unready for
child-rearing in this comedy
about a laid-off engineer
and his ad exec wife. (1983)
9:35 p.m., Cinemax
Wednesday, April 11
Inherent Vice
Joaquin Phoenix plays a
perpetually baked California
detective in Paul Thomas
Anderson’s adaptation of
a recent Thomas Pynchon
novel. (2015) 8 p.m.,
Thursday, April 12
The Sense of an Ending
An English retiree confronts the fallout from
his response to a romantic betrayal he suffered
decades earlier. Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling,
and Emily Mortimer co-star.
(2017) 8 p.m., Showtime
Friday, April 13
As Good As It Gets
Jack Nicholson and Helen
Hunt both won Oscars
for their work in this comedy about the sideways
courtship of an obsessivecompulsive novelist and
his favorite waitress. (1997)
9:35 p.m., Movieplex
Saturday, April 14
There’s Something
About Mary
The Farrelly brothers hit
their crass-comedy peak
when they asked Cameron
Diaz to play a dream girl
pursued by several losers.
(1998) 8 p.m., IFC
Sunday, April 15
Born Free
An English couple living in
Kenya raises lion cubs to
adulthood to make amends
for the death of the cats’
mother. (1966) 10 p.m., TCM
• All listings are Eastern Time.
The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
Independent Lens: The Art of the Shine
It’s all about the characters in Stacey Tenenbaum’s
warmhearted documentary about shoe shiners
around the world. It’s not a growing field, and
some practitioners complain of feeling invisible.
But from Sarajevo to Tokyo to Paris, this onehour group portrait keeps finding people who
take pride in the art. Monday, April 9, at 10 p.m.,
PBS; check local listings
Andre the Giant
Measuring a menacing 7 feet and weighing in at
nearly 500 pounds, pro wrestler Andre the Giant
was a myth come to life. This new documentary
portrait rewinds to the 1970s and ’80s to revisit
the ring performer’s glory years and capture his
generosity and humor. But it also recalls André
Roussimoff’s early days in rural France, when he
first showed signs of gigantism and learned to live
with the disorder that set him apart from others.
Tuesday, April 10, at 10 p.m., HBO
The Expanse
The series that has quietly established itself as the
best sci-fi show since Battlestar Galactica returns
for a third season, promising more first-rate
effects and deeper immersion in its overarching
drama. Humans have colonized the galaxy but
haven’t tamed their tribal instincts, so the prospect
of all-out war looms even as the species faces an
existential threat from a deadly “protomolecule”
now spreading on Venus. Wednesday, April 11, at
9 p.m., Syfy
Chef’s Table: Pastry master Corrado Assenza
For three seasons, Titus Welliver has owned the
title role in this series based on Michael Connelly’s
novels about brooding but relentless L.A. detective Harry Bosch. Season 4 gives the sleepy-eyed
actor a juicy story: A celebrity black attorney is
murdered on the eve of a trial that would have
shined a light on LAPD misconduct, and Bosch is
handed the job of figuring out if the killer might
be a member of the force. Whatever he decides,
his conclusion threatens to ignite rioting. Available
for streaming Friday, April 13, Amazon
Other highlights
Elton John: I’m Still Standing—
A Grammy Salute
The legendary pop singer—on the verge of his
farewell tour—is feted with an all-star concert
featuring Kesha, Miranda Lambert, Ed Sheeran,
and more. Tuesday, April 10, at 9 p.m., CBS
Chef’s Table: Pastry
America Inside Out With Katie Couric
Get to know some of the world’s most acclaimed
pastry chefs as Netflix’s kitchen portrait series rolls Journalist Couric is crisscrossing the country
seeking common ground on divisive issues,
out four new episodes. Sicily’s Corrado Assenza
beginning with a return to Charlottesville, Va.,
shares the secrets to heavenly gelato. Catalonia’s
and the battles over the South’s monuments to
Jordi Roca gets cheekily sculptural at the threestar Michelin restaurant he created with his broth- Confederate war heroes. Wednesday, April 11, at
10 p.m., National Geographic Channel
ers. New York’s Christina Tosi makes art from
childhood junk-food memories at Momofuku
53rd Academy of Country Music Awards
Milk Bar. And Bali’s Will Goldfarb keeps his
Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum,
dessert-only restaurant evergreen by concocting
Maren Morris, and many other stars will take the
expressionist delights inspired by poetry. Available stage in a celebration of the year’s best country
for streaming Friday, April 13, Netflix
music. Sunday, April 15, at 8 p.m., CBS
Show of the week
Lost in Space
Jenkins with Posey: A boy forced to grow up fast
Welcome back, Will Robinson. In a bold remake
of the camp 1960s sci-fi series, young Will once
again picks up a robot sidekick after his family of
space colonizers crash-lands on a strange planet.
But the story plays as a futuristic life-and-death
drama rather than a send-up of the original’s
campiness, and fine special effects smooth the
transition. Twelve-year-old Maxwell Jenkins
plays Will, anchoring the story, while Parker
Posey steps into the Dr. Smith role, giving the
show and all the Robinsons the kind of unreliable ally that can keep a drama afloat for years.
Available for streaming Friday, April 13, Netflix
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Food & Drink
Critics’ choice: Restaurants that keep it all in the family
D’ La Santa Seattle
“When you open a restaurant, having a
big family helps,” said Providence Cicero
in The Seattle Times. Just ask Anjelica
Wine: French Crémants
Stop settling for prosecco, said Elin
McCoy in If you’re
caught up in sparkling wine’s current
surge, you’ll get more pleasure from
French crémants. Crémants are sparklers
made outside Champagne, and they’re
more layered and creamier than Italy’s
popular bubbly. “Think of them as the
underdogs of the French wine world,
offering sophisticated Gallic lair without the Champagne price tag.”
NV Domaine Saint-Remy Brut Cuvée
Prestige ($24). Alsace produces many
easy-to-find crémants, including this
“bright, crisp” cuvée with notes of
plum and golden apples.
NV Parigot & Richard Brut Rosé
($25). “Lively, tangy” strawberry
lavors make this Burgundy rosé
“perfect for a decadent brunch.”
2014 Domaine Vincendeau ($22).
This “bright and mineral” crémant
from the Loire Valley has a loral
aroma and “serious depth.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
jalapeños and cactus. D’ La Santa “has
some kinks to work out,” but the vision
is compelling, and “I’d put my money
on Villasenor getting what she wants.”
2359 10th Ave., (206) 709-2222
A new adventure: Don and Sue Lee at Ejen
Villasenor, whose dream came true when
various kin scraped together the money to
secure and convert a space where she could
serve her mother’s recipes surrounded by
relatives. To prepare, Villasenor made several trips home to her native Guadalajara,
bringing back Mexican-crafted tableware
and décor, plus a 10-foot-tall driftwood
tree, created by Guadalajara artist, that sits
at the center of the dining room. Starters
can be as ample as a chile relleno taco or
as light as roasted poblano peppers stuffed
with meat and asadero cheese. Light is
better if you’ve ordered the Parrillada,
a family-size mixed grill that includes
“robustly seasoned” prime-grade carne
asada, garlicky pork sausages, fragrant
pollo asado, corn, beans, and fire-blistered
Ejen Brooklyn
You know your parents love you when
they move cross-country and help you
start a food stand, said Ligaya Mishan
in The New York Times. Jenny Jiae Lee
had a vision. The Korean-born architect,
who had relocated from California to
New York, missed her mother’s soulful
Korean cooking so much that she asked
her parents to abandon their comfortable Golden State retirement to cook for
New York City’s masses. Though neither
had restaurant experience, they agreed, and
now Don and Sue Lee are wowing customers who find them at the counter that the
family set up inside Brooklyn’s Industry
City food hall. “The meatballs alone made
me jealous of [Jenny] Lee’s childhood”:
They’re a tender meld of pork, green
onion, and carrot, ever-so-lightly breaded,
fried, and glazed. Korean staples like pork
bulgogi and bibimbap exhibit a rare precision in their balance of flavors and texture.
Think shiitakes, carrots, spinach, and burdock fanned out over rice and topped by
an egg with a “still-quaking” yolk. “Pierce
it and stir it in, and you have luxury.”
254 36th St., (no phone)
Recipe of the week
“Not all cakes have to involve three layers, chocolate frosting, and birthday candles,”
say the editors at At Comal, a restaurant in Denver that’s an incubator for women building businesses around heritage cooking, Syrian refugees Vian Alnidawi and Sara Nassr have become known for their basbousa, a semolina cake bathed
in sweet syrup and dusted with coconut. They lavor the cake with lemon, but you can
also substitute a few splashes of rose or orange-blossom water.
Basbousa (semolina cake)
2 cups fine semolina • 2 cups dried, unsweetened coconut • 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 cups all-purpose lour • 1 tsp kosher salt • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt • 3 eggs
• 2 tsp baking powder • 2 tsp vanilla extract • 1¼ cups granulated sugar • 1¼ cups
water • 1 tsp lemon juice • finely chopped pistachios • unsweetened coconut
• Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine first nine ingredients
into a thick batter and press
into either a 9-by-13-inch
baking dish or a 10-inch
springform pan that’s been
greased and lined with
parchment. Bake for 20 to
25 minutes until center is
set. Turn oven to broil for 3
to 4 minutes to brown the
top of the cake. Let cool.
• Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup. In a
saucepan, combine the sugar and water over high heat;
boil until sugar is dissolved.
Add lemon juice and allow
syrup to cool slightly before
slowly pouring it over the
cake until it’s completely
absorbed. To serve, cut into
pieces and garnish each
with the chopped pistachios
and additional coconut.
Au Rong Xu/The New York Times/Redux, Andrew Bui for Tasting Table
Jade Court Chicago
This father-daughter operation is “home
to the best Chinese food I’ve had in a long,
long time,” said Phil Vettel in the Chicago
Tribune. Though their new venture is
only 18 months old, co-owners Eddy and
Carol Cheung are hardly novices, having
spent the previous two decades running
Phoenix—“for my money the most accomplished restaurant in Chinatown.” Price
competition is a bit less fierce in University
Village, so when a former Italian restaurant shut down, they grabbed the spare but
handsome space. Jade Court’s menu lays
out the expected Chinese options, “but the
way to order is to ask what the kitchen
is up to that evening.” Carol is great at
steering guests to new discoveries, such as
custardy shrimp and scrambled eggs, or
typhoon lobster, which is quickly deep-fried
and redolent of garlic and chilis. The Peking
duck is also exceptional, and the off-menu
king-crab special merits a spot on your
bucket list. You must order it three days in
advance, but you’ll be rewarded with crab
three ways: the legs steamed with cellophane
noodles and roasted garlic, the knuckle meat
in a stir fry, and the roe in a rich egg custard. 626 Racine Ave., (312) 929-4828
This week’s dream: Visiting cave-art country in southern France
To view cave art in person is to enter “a
wide-open playpen for the imagination,”
said Paul Rutz in As a
painter, I’ve long believed there’s no substitute for seeing artwork in person, which
is why I arranged to travel to Dordogne,
France, last year to visit three prehistoric
art-filled caves: La Grotte du Sorcier, Les
Combarelles, and the famous Font-deGaume—the only cave with polychrome
Paleolithic paintings that still hosts regular tours. “Against crushingly powerful
odds,” the images in the caves have lasted
tens of thousands of years, inspiring
scholars of the past century or so to speculate about their meaning and purpose. In
truth, nobody knows, and “that’s one of the
greatest attractions of cave art”: Whatever
interpretation you come up with is nearly as
valid as an expert’s.
At Font-de-Gaume, located near a “way
too quaint” village called Les Eyzies-deTayac-Sireuil, we had only half an hour.
Because photographs are not allowed, I
Hotel of the week
Redefining ‘cabin’
Alamy, courtesy of Awasi Iguazú
Awasi Iguazú
Misiónes, Argentina
The largest waterfall system in the world finally has
a luxe place to stay on its
spectacular northern side,
said Jacqueline Gifford in
Travel + Leisure. Awasi’s new
14-cabin lodge near Iguazú
Falls “knows how to bring
style to the wilderness”: Each
luxe cabin has a plunge pool,
uncompromised views over
rain forest, and both a private
guide and a Ford Bronco on
call for excursions. Devil’s
Throat is a must: Though
the cascade can be glimpsed
from Brazil, “its scale and
power are best appreciated in
Argentina.” Swap stories with
other guests when you gather
for dinner at the main lodge.; from $1,000
per person, all-inclusive
browns, and oranges. Les Combarelles,
a much deeper cave, was more disorienting, but it rewarded our spelunking with
600 etchings—of abstract shapes, big
mammals, and sex organs.
Les Eyzies, the gateway to prehistoric Dordogne
scribbled furiously in my sketch pad as clusters of animals emerged from deep shadow
when the guide’s handheld lamp passed
over them. Before paint was applied, some
surfaces had apparently been scraped flat
by the ancient artists: “sophisticated craftsmen indeed—or craftswomen.” In many
places, the 15,000-year-old paintings were
“ghosts of their former colorful glory,” but
a few images still popped, in bold blacks,
So what did such art mean to its creators? Some scholars argue it was
religious in nature. Others say it was
the graffiti of adventurous adolescents.
“Perhaps asking historical questions
misses the point,” though. The best reason to see it, I decided, is to feel what
we have in common with people long
dead. Standing where the ancient painters once stood, “I could stretch my arms
and feel why a given bison painting was this
tall, and its head this far off the floor.” For
a few minutes, “I was a receiver picking up
faint communication across mindboggling
distance, a little like someone on another
planet recording a distorted radio signal
from Earth thousands of years from now.”
At Hôtel Le Cro-Magnon aux Eyzies (, doubles start at $105.
Getting the flavor of...
America’s most UFO-obsessed towns
Cowgirl yoga in Montana
“Even though the golden age of extraterrestrial
encounters ended with the Cold War, there’s still
hope!” said Matt Meltzer in Many
small towns celebrate their ties to UFO lore, and
the enthusiasm can be contagious. In Arizona,
where even a former governor claims to have seen
a UFO, Miranda Leslie runs spotting tours out of
Sedona. “She’ll happily tell you about her experiences being abducted by aliens,” then bring you
to the desert, hand out night-vision goggles, and
teach you how to distinguish “legit” UFOs from
satellites. McMinnville, Ore.—where in 1950
a farmer snapped a few photos that launched
a flying-saucer mania—is now as famous for
pinot noir, but it hosts America’s second-largest
annual UFO festival. The largest is in Roswell,
N.M., home to the International UFO Research
Center and a flying saucer–shaped McDonald’s.
“Whether you believe in aliens or not, the town is
a fantastic slice of Americana.”
“Bring 12 women together on a beautiful ranch
and very naturally a sisterhood emerges,” said
Nicola Bridges in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
That’s what I learned shortly after arriving
in Clyde Park, Mont., to join in a ladies-only
equestrian-themed yoga vacation created by a
company called Big Sky Yoga Retreats. My fellow
guests are a diverse group of smart women—
teachers, executives, and moms from all over the
U.S. and beyond. And because the retreat’s leader
“exudes serenity with a side of sassy,” she has a
way of encouraging friendship without appearing to be trying. We take hikes, bond with our
horses, or hang out in a breathtaking barn lounge
to share laughter, tears—and “more than a little
wine.” By the second evening, we feel we’ve
known one another for years; “by the third, we’re
swapping recipes and lounging in our PJs, some
of us sneaking to the corral for goodnight horse
kisses under the ink-black, starlit sky.”
Last-minute travel deals
A Hudson Valley escape
Through April 30, the Hasbrouck
House, a converted 18th-century
mansion in Stone Ridge, N.Y.,
is offering half off on second
nights for midweek stays. The
two-night package costs $345
and includes snowshoe rentals
and s’mores kits.
SoCal sunshine
Get summer started early at
San Diego’s Kona Kai Resort &
Spa, which is offering $50 to
$200 in resort credit on multinight stays. Four nights in a
waterfront suite in early May
start at $314 a night. Book by
April 30.
African adventure
Book now to save $1,868 per
couple on a late-2018 nineday land-and-cruise voyage
down the rivers and through
the national parks of South
Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and
Zimbabwe. The CroisiEurope
cruise starts at $6,033 a person.
(845) 687-0736
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Best properties on the market
This week: St. Augustine, Fla.
WLincolnville Steps from Maria Sanchez Lake, this two-
bedroom home is a short walk to downtown St. Augustine.
There are two master bedroom suites, plus room for guests in
a lofted area under high, exposed-beam ceilings. Wood floors
run through the open plan downstairs. A screened porch offers lake views, and a deck is adjacent to the “Chelsea Leaning Tree,” which helped inspire the house. $875,000. Brittany
Haslett, Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, (904) 826-9518
St. Augustine
XHistoric Downtown This three-bedroom house, built in
1910, lies along a brick-lined street a block from town. Renovated in 2013, the home features refinished wood floors,
stained-glass windows, wood built-ins, and a kitchen with an
eat-in island. The master suite has a screened deck, a walk-in
closet, and a slate tile bath. Outside are two screened porches
and a saltwater pool with a brick-paved deck. $819,900.
Stefanie Bernstein, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, St. Augustine, (904) 669-5134
XCrescent Beach With a lot almost
700 feet deep and elevated more
than 20 feet, this concrete-block,
two-story beach home provides
water views from most rooms.
The three-bedroom house features
an open floor plan with walls of
glass, exposed rafters, and vaulted
ceilings in the main space. There’s
a walkway down to the beach, plus
an elevated wraparound deck and yard
below. $1,500,000.
Stefanie Bernstein,
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Florida Network
Realty, St. Augustine,
(904) 669-5134
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Best properties on the market
WNorth Point This seven-bedroom house in
a gated community between the Intracoastal
Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean has water
views from all windows and is walking distance
to the beach. Built in 2004, the open-concept
home was renovated in 2014 and features
hardwood floors throughout, wood-paneled
walls and ceilings, and a kitchen with granite
counters and Wolf and SubZero appliances.
The property includes a tiled pool, gardens,
patios with entertainment areas, a dock, and a
boat lift. $4,900,000. Jane Chefan, First Coast
Sotheby’s International Realty, (904) 731-9770
Steal of the week
THistoric Downtown Privacy walls surround this Spanish-style
stucco home, built in 1920 and more recently updated. The
four-bedroom house includes classical and garden murals, ornate wood cabinets, leaded glass doors, and stained-glass windows. The downstairs
has a screened deck,
and upstairs there’s
a porch with arched
openings. The property features gardens,
yards, and a fountain.
$1,595,000. Roy
Barnes, St. Augustine
Realty, (904) 669-1430
SUptown This historic, one-story house near downtown is a
frame-vernacular bungalow. Preserved details of the 1927 home
include a brick fireplace and wood trim and doors, and the electrical, air-conditioning, roof, kitchen, and baths have been updated.
A galley kitchen
opens to a
dining deck,
and a screened
patio leads
to a fenced,
sandy backyard
with bamboo patches.
$375,000. Janie
Coffey, First
Coast Sotheby’s
Realty, (904)
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The 2018 Hyundai Kona: What the critics say
Late to the game but ready to play, Hyundai’s
first-ever compact crossover looks “well positioned to not just challenge segment leaders, but to win.” The South Korean–built
cute ute “ticks all the appropriate boxes,”
with an eye-catching design, performance
options like a peppy turbo engine and
all-wheel drive, plus a huge list of standard
conveniences. “We have a feeling we’re going to be seeing lots of new Konas on roads
all across the United States.”
Car & Driver
The Kona is shorter than its rivals, so adults
expecting to ride in the second row “will
need to remove their legs at the knees.”
Still, Hyundai “put great effort into the
interior packaging,” and it pays off for the
first two in. Up front, there’s “more than
enough elbow and shoulder room for anyone this side of a sumo wrestler.”
The ride is firm, but the Kona feels playful:
Optioned with the turbo engine and dualclutch transmission, it’s “downright fun.”
Even a stripped-down model comes packed
with standard gear, including Android Auto
and Apple CarPlay, a rearview camera, and
cruise control. Add in Hyundai’s generous
warranties and “it gets really difficult to
A value-packed compact, from $20,450
find any ways to improve on the Kona as
an economical, city-friendly transport that
won’t bore drivers to tears.”
The best of...women’s rain jackets
Lands’ End High
Shine Rain Slicker
Rains Unisex Jacket
This all-grown-up riff on
a child’s slicker features
oversize details like a
chunky zipper and giant
patch pockets. The color
and cuffed sleeves add
Embrace your inner
Paddington Bear with
a yellow slicker from
an “of-the-moment”
Danish brand. This simple cover-up has a fishtail hem, snap closures,
and adjustable hood.
Source: Redbook
Source: InStyle
Marc New York
Teri Jacket
Hunter Original
Vinyl Smock
North Face
Venture Jacket
Some jackets camoulage your shape. With
its nipped-in waist, this
one will accentuate it,
while the translucent
nylon fabric reveals a
bit of what lies beneath.
A playful update on
a Hunter classic, this
translucent coat has a
drawstring waist and
huge pockets that add
an unexpected, whiteon-white graphic edge.
This smartly engineered
North Face can move
seamlessly from a
mountain trail to posthike drinks, thanks to its
refined styling. It folds
down to a small pouch.
Source: Vogue
Source: Vogue
Tip of the week...
How to choose quality furniture
And for those who have
Best apps...
For seniors
Q‘Real wood’ vs. ‘solid wood’: Furniture
makers use a lot of misleading terms, so
watch out for them. A phrase like “real
wood” or “cherry-colored wood” is often
code for a composite material. Look instead
for “solid wood” or mention of the particular type of solid wood, with hardwoods
preferable to pine or poplar.
QThe joinery: “Joinery can be a tip-off to the
quality and longevity of a piece of furniture.”
The best pieces use dovetail joints and mortise and tenon—wood-on-wood joinery. Look
also for drawer guides that prevent drawers
from tipping when they’re pulled out.
QLeather labels: “Full-grain” leather is the
most durable, while “top-grain” leather
is softer, because the hide’s tough outer
layer has been removed. The term “genuine leather” sometimes refers to “bonded
leather,” which is made from ground-up
hide bound together with glue.
Hate mowing
the lawn?
finally a
robot that
will do it for
you.” Meet the
Honda Miimo, an
automated mower that’s like an outdoor
Roomba. Once a Honda representative
installs a boundary wire, the mowbot can
trim the grass on its own, even returning
to its dock when it needs to recharge. The
Miimo is designed to run frequently, trimming just a little with each pass and leaving
behind light clippings that reintegrate into
the lawn and act as fertilizer. Two models
are available—one that can mow a half-acre
between charges and another that covers
three-quarters of an acre.
From $2,499,
QOurTime is a popular dating site and app
for people over 50. Don’t worry—users
don’t have to meet anyone in person if they
don’t want to. ($12 for six months)
QSilvernest makes it easy to monetize an
empty bedroom by finding and screening
potential housemates. ($30 for 90 days)
QMedisafe Pill Reminder keeps track of pill
regimens, simplifies scheduling, and reminds the user if a dosage has been missed.
It can send alerts to the user or to a friend or
family member. The free app can also track
blood pressure, blood glucose, and other
measurements, providing reports that can
be sent to a doctor in advance of a visit.
QMagnifier is a little-known feature built
into iPhones that can turn the camera
lens into a magnifying glass. Turn it on by
opening Settings, choosing General, then
Accessibility, then Magnifier. To use it, just
triple-tap the Home button.
Source: The Associated Press
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The news at a glance
The bottom line
QThere is a pronounced
worker shortage in the Midwest. The 12-state region is
the only area of the country
where available jobs outnumber out-of-work job seekers. If
every unemployed person in
the region were hired today,
there would still be more than
180,000 unfilled positions,
according to the most recent
Labor Department data.
The Wall Street Journal
QInvestors in defaulted
Puerto Rico bonds have been
stunned by 95 percent gains
in recent weeks. The muchmaligned bonds sank to a
mere 20.8 cents on the dollar
back in December, but soared
to a high of 45 cents last
week. Reports that the island
may emerge from devastating hurricanes with more
money on hand than anticipated has prompted creditors
to bet there will be better
debt-restructuring terms.
QThe portion of Americans
over age 65 who were
employed, full-time
or part-time, climbed
steadily from 12.8 percent in 2000 to 18.8 percent in 2016. More
than half in 2016 were
working full-time.
The New York Times
QBig Tech stocks have been
hammered this week by bad
news, including concerns
over Facebook’s data policies
and President Trump’s fixation
on Amazon. On Monday
alone, Facebook, Amazon,
Apple, Netflix, and Google
parent Alphabet collectively
lost $78.7 billion in market
Newscom (2)
The Wall Street Journal
QMall vacancies nationwide
have hit a six-year high, with
retail leasing and construction in the first quarter unusually low. The vacancy rate
climbed to 8.4 percent in the
first quarter of 2018, the highest since 2012. Credit Suisse
said last year that a quarter
of the nation’s roughly 1,200
malls are at risk of closing
by 2022, fueled by the rise of
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Global trade: U.S.-China trade war heats up
The trade dispute with China
The trade spat between China and
“is already shaking up U.S. polithe U.S. escalated dramatically this
tics,” said Michael Scherer in The
week, as tit-for-tat tariffs tanked
Washington Post. Beijing this
global markets and threatened to raise
week formally imposed $3 bilprices for American consumers, said
lion in tariffs on American pork,
Lingling Wei and Yoko Kubota in The
almonds, aluminum pipes, and
Wall Street Journal. Hours after the
other goods, in a response to the
Trump administration announced a
earlier tariffs President Trump
25 percent tariff on about $50 billion
slapped on foreign steel and aluworth of imported Chinese goods,
minum. Many of the products
including flat-screen TVs, medical
targeted by the tariffs are prodevices, and aircraft parts, China hit
duced in rural and industrial areas
back, announcing its own tariffs on
$50 billion worth of “high-profile”
Imported soybeans in China that voted for Trump. The tariffs’
threat to local economies in places
U.S. products, including soybeans,
such as Iowa, California’s Central Valley, and
cars, and some airplanes. “Neither the U.S. nor
Chinese tariffs take effect immediately,” but global parts of Washington state could put Republican
House seats “in jeopardy” come November.
markets sank on fears of an all-out trade war.
Markets: Spotify is a hit on Wall Street
Spotify “roared onto the public market” this week, said Maureen Farrell
in The Wall Street Journal. Shares of the music-streaming giant began
trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, closing their first
day of trading at just over $149 a share, “well above” Spotify’s highest
private-market trading levels. The debut gave the firm a market value of
$26.5 billion. Spotify pursued a direct listing, an “unusual” move that
involves offering shares to the public without the help of Wall Street
underwriters, saving the company tens of millions of dollars in fees.
Health: Walmart and Humana in partnership talks
Walmart and Humana “are exploring ways to strengthen their ties,”
said Michael Corkery in The New York Times. The retail colossus and
the health insurance giant are in talks about how to partner to better
provide health care to consumers and prevent illness. The alliance,
which would likely stop short of a merger, would aim to increase foot
traffic in Walmart stores and enrollment in Humana’s insurance programs. The talks are “the latest sign of the disruptive pressure” that is
driving new partnerships in the health-care and retail industries, with
Amazon’s likely entry into the prescription-drug market as a backdrop.
Retail: Data breach at Lord & Taylor, Saks stores
“Shoppers at Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks Off 5th
stores could have gotten more than they bargained for,” said Lorie
Konish in Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian parent company of the department stores, revealed this week that it was hit with
a data breach affecting up to 5 million cardholders. “Hackers have
reportedly been selling the compromised information, which they
began stealing in May, on the dark web.” The intrusion involved card
payments made within North American stores; the company says its
e-commerce operations were likely unaffected.
Tech: Apple to make its own Mac chips
Apple is making a significant change under the hood of its Mac
computers, said Ian King and Mark Gurman in The
computing giant plans to use its own chips in Macs as early as 2020,
as part of a strategy to get Apple devices such as iPads, laptops, and
iPhones to “work more similarly and seamlessly together.” The move
“would be a major blow to Intel,” which currently provides the chips
that power Macs. Apple provides Intel with about 5 percent of its
annual revenue.
Money still can’t
buy happiness
By most measures,
the U.S. economy
“looks pretty good,”
said Heather Long in
The Washington Post.
GDP growth is on the
rise, jobs are plentiful, and inflation is
stable. What’s not to
like? Plenty, it seems.
Americans are “more
glum now than they
were during the Great
Recession,” according
to the Gallup-Sharecare
Well-Being Index. “In a
surprise to the researchers,” 2017 turned out to
be the worst year for
well-being since 2008.
Twenty-one states had
“statistically significant
declines” in well-being
compared with 2016.
People are “not content in their jobs and
relationships,” with
many blaming “politics
and polarization” for
feelings of “anxiety
and bitterness toward
work colleagues and
family.” Even with a
growing economy,
financial fears haven’t
dissipated. In a poll by
Chapman University,
half of respondents said
one of their top fears
is “not having enough
money for the future.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Making money
Autos: Time to buy a new car?
value within 12 months, so “buy“Americans love their cars,” said
ing new makes more sense.” If you
Michelle Singletary in The Washingdo buy, “being flexible on a few
ton Post. So much so, we’re willing
fronts can save you money,” said
to go “in and out of debt” for them.
Gina Ragusa in Shop
Prices for new cars have climbed more
comparable models and styles at
than 10 percent in the past five years,
both used-car lots and new-car
hitting an average $35,176 in 2017.
dealerships, and be sure to check
Those higher prices suggest that newyour preferred model’s depreciation
car buyers are still willing to pay “top
history. Just opting for a more basic
dollar” for vehicles with the latest feastyle or even a different color can
tures and cutting-edge technology. But
shave thousands of dollars from
those same prices are also convincing
your final costs.
many consumers to hold on to their
older vehicles. The average length of
ownership was a record 79.3 months Buying new is advisable for some models that retain value. Begin your shopping by figuring out
exactly how much you can afford—
at the end of 2015. So when should
and stick to that figure, said Phil LeBeau in Auto
you replace your car? Convention suggests you should upgrade
debt reached record levels last year, as Americans not only paid
if any single repair cost exceeds the car’s current market value.
more for their cars but also took longer than ever to pay them
But I think this rule “is shortsighted.” For older cars in particuoff. The average new-car loan last year was “an all-time high”
lar, you need to look “at more than just the Kelley Blue Book
value.” Consider all the replacement costs, “including insurance, $31,099 with a $515 monthly payment. For used cars, it was
also a record: $19,589 with a $371 monthly payment. Rememtaxes on the purchase, and interest if you have to get a loan.”
ber: Dealers don’t care “if you can’t afford your car,” said Tom
McPharland in Part of their business “depends on
It was once “an article of faith” among car shoppers that buydesperate people with poor math skills.” So carefully examine
ing used was a “way better deal” than buying new, said Jerry
dealership reviews online and steer clear of those accused of
Edgerton in “After all, new cars suffer on av“predatory” sales practices. Don’t be afraid to ask for time to
erage a 27 percent depreciation in value their first year.” But
truly understand the terms of sale. And always be prepared to
today some SUVs and pickups, including trucks from Jeep,
“walk away if it’s a bad deal.”
Honda, and Toyota, lose less than 15 percent of their purchase
What the experts say
Maintaining a high credit score “can pay off in
perks,” said Shawn Carter in A
score above 700 is considered good, but if you
can nurse it over 740, you’ll likely find many
deals worth taking advantage of. Begin by
“negotiating your interest rates.” Credit card
companies typically charge interest rates of
more than 16 percent, but a sturdy record of
paying your bills on time and using your credit
responsibly can lead to lower interest and annual percentage rates. It might also be time to
shop for car insurance; you might be able to
get a premium rate reduction with an impressive score. Finally, consider refinancing your
home. A score of 740 and above could get you
substantially lower interest rates.
Filing for a tax extension
Perhaps you’re waiting on a misplaced W-2
form “or maybe you’re just procrastinating,”
said Anna Bahney in With the
Internal Revenue Service’s tax day deadline of
April 17 fast approaching, you may need to
file for an extension on your 2017 return. The
good news: The process is straightforward.
Simply fill out and return form 4868, which is
available on the IRS website, and the IRS will
automatically grant you an extension though
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Charity of the week
Oct. 15. But while the extension gives you
more time to fill in your paperwork, it does
not provide extra time on paying your taxes.
You must typically pay at least 90 percent
of what you are likely to owe by April 17 to
avoid late payment fees.
The real cost of a hospital visit
“When you get really sick, the medical bills
may not be your biggest financial shock,” said
Margot Sanger-Katz in The New York Times.
MIT researchers say that for a significant portion of Americans, “a trip to the hospital can
mean a permanent reduction in income.” On
average “people in their 50s who are admitted
to the hospital will experience a 20 percent
drop in income that persists for years,” according to the research. Even those with insurance
are not immune. Researchers followed people
who had been admitted for a wide variety of
ailments, from heart attacks to pneumonia to
car accident injuries. Uninsured people owed
the hospital an average of $6,000, compared
with only $300 for those with insurance. “But
the average decline in income for both groups
was much larger—an average earnings hit
of $11,000 by the third year.” Many people
struggled to transition back to work or were
“knocked off their career trajectories.”
Global unemployment rates among
youth are on the rise, with 71 million
young people around the world without
a job. To help lift youth out of poverty,
EMpower ( strategically invests in local organizations across
Asia, Africa, and Latin America that are
working to improve the livelihood, health,
or education of local at-risk youth. In
addition to offering financial assistance,
the charity provides technical support to
facilitate its partner organizations’ impact
and growth. In northern Ghana, where
nearly 50 percent of the youth are unemployed, EMpower has partnered with
Urbanet to teach young people financial
and agricultural skills. EMpower’s grant
has so far supported the training of
scores of Ghanaians in making shea butter and setting up distribution businesses
to secure their livelihoods.
Each charity we feature has earned a
four-star overall rating from Charity
Navigator, which rates not-for-profit
organizations on the strength of their
finances, their governance practices,
and the transparency of their operations.
Four stars is the group’s highest rating.
The perks of a high credit score
Best columns: Business
Politics: Trump declares war on Amazon
bad optics
Jared Dillian
How to judge
the corporate
tax cuts
Justin Wolfers
The New York Times
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
With the bankruptcy of accessories retailer Claire’s,
it may “only be a matter of time before popular
opinion turns against the world of private equity,”
said Jared Dillian. Claire’s failed largely because
of its 2007 leveraged buyout; in these “debt-laden
deals,” private equity groups buy a company on
borrowed money and then try to make it more efficient, with the aim of selling it at a profit—all
the while extracting handsome fees. Sometimes
it works, but a “growing” number of purchased
companies are collapsing under the “staggering”
amount of debt that is shifted onto them. That’s
what happened with Claire’s, which had been
burdened with a $2.2 billion debt. It’s also what
happened last month with Toys R Us, which was
unable to manage the $400 million in annual debt
payments from its 2005 leveraged buyout. More
of these bankruptcies are coming—and with them,
job losses for workers. The optics of that won’t be
good; Leon Black, the head of Apollo Global Management, which oversaw the Claire’s buyout, took
home $191.3 million last year. If more companies
start to go belly up for no other reason than “vulture capitalists” loading them with debt, “private
equity may not be able to survive the onslaught” of
public criticism that will ensue.
President Trump’s critics argue that a surge in stock
buybacks indicates that companies aren’t spending
their tax cut savings on “anything useful like new
investments,” said Justin Wolfers. But how corporations spend their windfalls doesn’t actually tell us
much about “whether the tax cuts were a good idea.”
The mistake is thinking that companies make investments only when they have cash on hand. Access
to cash isn’t an impediment for most firms, though;
what they lack are good investment ideas. If a firm
has a profitable investment opportunity, it can almost
always get financing to pursue it. What’s happening
now is that the corporate tax cuts have showered
money on firms “indiscriminately,” and many have
“no idea” how to spend it. So they return the money
to shareholders. What comes next is what matters to
judging the tax cuts’ usefulness. In the happier scenario, investors use their buyback money to channel
funds into firms with bright futures; “investment rises
and the economy grows more rapidly.” But in the
darker scenario, profitable investment opportunities
remain scarce or interest rates go up quickly—both of
which render the tax cuts “a bust.” Either way, buybacks happen. It’s only when shareholders find useful
outlets for their money that tax reform truly makes
sense. Right now, “it’s simply too early to tell.”
45 states that have one. Trump’s right
It’s been a “remarkable use of the
about one thing, though: “Amazon is
presidential bully pulpit,” said Mimuch too big,” said Damon Linker
chael Shear in The New York Times.
in And its exponenFor much of the past week, President
tial growth, from modest bookseller
Trump has aggressively attacked
to $700 billion juggernaut, “has
Amazon, labeling the nation’s largest
been greatly aided by its avoidance
e-retailer a “tax cheat and a job killer”
of taxes.” To this day, third-party
and accusing it of profiting at the exvendors on the site often do not
pense of the U.S. Postal Service. Amacollect sales tax, and last year, Amazon “pays little or no taxes to state &
zon reportedly paid zero dollars in
local governments,” Trump said in one
federal taxes. It has undeniably used
tweet, adding that it “uses our Postal
its massive size to ruthlessly squeeze
System as their Delivery Boy (causing
A postal worker sorting Amazon packages
competitors. Liberals never want to
tremendous loss to the U.S.)” and has
give Trump an inch. But it’s shocking they’ve become “obsequious
put “thousands” of retailers out of business. People close to the
defenders” of such a rapacious company in the process.
president say he is “obsessed” with Amazon and has hinted that
he wants to “use the power of his office” to rein it in. That possibility has “spooked investors,” tanking Amazon’s market value by Spare me, said Rich Lowry in the “There
about $75 billion. The president’s war “is personal,” said Gabriel are many scourges in American life. Amazon isn’t one of them.”
Its rise has been a boon for consumers, offering more choice
Sherman in He believes that Amazon founder
and convenience at a lower cost. Yes, Amazon can be “sharpJeff Bezos, who separately owns The Washington Post, uses that
elbowed and aggressive,” but nobody “is forced to buy from it.”
paper’s coverage “as a political weapon” against him. It doesn’t
matter that Bezos has no newsroom involvement. The president is What’s shocking is that the president would harass such a classic
intent on causing “further damage” to Amazon, perhaps by pres- “capitalist success story.” It’s tempting to chalk up these attacks
to Trump just being Trump, said Yascha Mounk in
suring the Post Office to increase the company’s shipping costs.
But that would be a dangerous miscalculation. For an economy
to grow at its full potential, “economic rather than political facts
It’s simply “not true” that Amazon is killing the Post Office, said
Lisa Marie Segarra in No less an authority than the need to determine which companies thrive.” That’s not possible
when a would-be strongman “can punish corporations at will,”
Postal Service itself has said it profits from delivering the company’s parcels, especially as revenue from first-class mail has shrunk especially when it’s an attempt to curb negative coverage of
him. Trump’s Amazon rants are a “political scandal of the first
dramatically in the internet age. Nor is it accurate that Amazon
dodges taxes; it now collects a sales tax on its own products in all order”—and should be treated as such.
The civil rights icon who helped desegregate schools
In September 1950,
Linda Brown and her
father walked a few
blocks from their house
in Topeka to Sumner elementary
school. Because Sumner didn’t accept
black children, 7-year-old Linda had
been attending a school in a black
neighborhood, a long walk and a bus
ride away. “I didn’t comprehend color
of skin,” she said. “I only knew that
I wanted to go to Sumner.” The segregated school turned her away—and
Brown’s father joined a lawsuit against the city
brought by the NAACP. That suit became Brown
v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954
Supreme Court case that ended with the prevailing doctrine of “separate but equal” schooling
being ruled unconstitutional. Separating black
children from their peers, the unanimous ruling declared, “generates a feeling of inferiority
[that] may affect their hearts and minds in a way
unlikely ever to be undone.”
Born in Topeka, Brown grew up in an integrated
neighborhood where she played “with children
of all races,” said The Washington Post. Her
father, a welder and an assistant minister at a
Methodist Episcopal church, was one of 13 black
parents encouraged by the NAACP to try to
enroll their children in the city’s all-white schools.
“Packaged together” with suits
challenging school segregation in
other states, their case was successfully argued by attorney Thurgood
Marshall, who later became the
first black Supreme Court justice.
The Supreme Court’s historic ruling “paved the way for a gradual
and sometimes violent integration
of schools and other public facilities” across the nation. But Brown
“never got the chance to attend
Sumner,” said When
the decision was handed down, she was already
attending an integrated middle school. It was
only in high school, while discussing segregation
in history class, that she appreciated the magnitude of the case. “I thought, ‘Gee, some day I
might be in history books.’”
After graduating, Brown “became an educational
consultant and public speaker,” said The New
York Times. Her family was among those that
reopened the Brown case in 1979, “to argue
that the job of integration in Topeka remained
incomplete,” and on the 40th anniversary of the
Supreme Court decision she lamented that segregation still existed. “The struggle,” she said, “has
to continue.” As for her role in the landmark
case, Brown came to embrace it. “Sometimes it’s
a hassle,” she said, “but it’s still an honor.”
The cop show pioneer who shook up TV drama
Until the 1980s, TV
police shows were
mostly one-dimensional
affairs. They tended to
focus on only one detective—think
Columbo or Kojak—and rarely delved
into characters’ personal lives. Steven
Bochco changed that. With hits such
as Hill Street Blues (1981–1987) and
NYPD Blue (1993–2005), the prolific
producer brought realism to cop dramas. His shows had ensemble casts of
fully fleshed-out main characters, flaws and all;
investigations that spread across several episodes,
not just one; and plenty of violence, swearing, and
nudity. Viewers loved Bochco’s approach, which
would inspire bingeable TV dramas such as ER,
The Sopranos, and The Wire. “The idea of almost
every other cop show was that the private lives of
these folks was what happened the other 23 hours
of the day that you weren’t watching them,”
Bochco said. “We turned that inside out.”
AP, Newscom
Born in New York City, Bochco studied theater in
college, said He started his career as a
writer at Universal Studios—he helped write the
script for the introductory episode of Columbo—
before switching to production. His big break
came at NBC with Hill Street Blues, set in a police
station in a large unnamed city. After
a slow start, the show became a massive hit, winning a “slew of Emmys.”
In 1986, Bochco “applied his trademark method to courtrooms” with
the legal drama L.A. Law, said The
New York Times. The following
year, ABC “lured him away” with an
unprecedented $50 million, 10-series
deal. Of those shows, the biggest success was NYPD Blue, which “pushed
the boundaries of onscreen vulgarity
and nudity.” Its first episode was boycotted by
most major advertisers and more than a quarter
of ABC’s affiliates. But NYPD Blue “survived
the backlash” and became the network’s longestrunning drama. Bochco’s other ABC hits included
Doogie Howser, M.D., a comedy-drama about a
teenage doctor, and the legal drama Murder One.
Bochco was “an innovator even in failure,” said
the Los Angeles Times. Cop Rock, a short-lived
1990 musical series featuring singing and dancing
LAPD officers, proved a “precursor to shows such
as Glee.” Bochco was proud of his impact on TV.
Hill Street Blues “expanded the drama form and
the medium,” he said. “Lots of shows that came
behind us might not have had the same success if
we had not broken through.”
The towering slugger
who became
‘Le Grand Orange’
When Rusty Staub was
traded from Houston to
play first base for the newly
created Montreal Expos in
1969, the 6-foot-2 ballplayer
stood out
on a mostly
dismal team.
The burly, redheaded Staub hit .302 with 29
homers his first season and
was the lone All-Star on the
110-loss Expos. After he hit a
two-run homer and made a
game-ending catch that broke
the team’s 20-game losing
streak, a Montreal sportswriter dubbed him “Le Grand
Orange.” The name stuck
with Staub the rest of his life.
“Whatever Le Grand Orange
represented to Montreal and
all those fans,” he said, “they
knew I cared and I tried.”
Born in New Orleans, Staub
was a “teenage phenomenon,” said The Washington
Post. He made his debut with
the Houston Colt .45s (later
the Astros) in 1963 and developed “into one of the team’s
premier players, hitting a
career-best .333 in 1967.” After
playing in Montreal, he was
traded to the New York Mets
in 1972. Le Grand Orange
soon became a fan favorite in
the Big Apple, belting three
home runs in the Mets’ fivegame victory over the heavily
favored Cincinnati Reds in
the 1973 National League
Championship Series.
Staub was traded to the
Detroit Tigers in 1975 and
returned to the Mets in 1981,
said The New York Times.
He retired after the 1985
season and remains the only
player to smack 500 hits each
for four different teams—
recording 2,716 career hits
in all. Staub dedicated his
post-baseball life to charity,
supporting Catholic food pantries and creating the New
York Police and Fire Widows’
and Children’s Benefit Fund.
The organization raised more
than $100 million after the
9/11 attacks. “You want to get
money to the widows and
children?” Staub said. “We’re
the ones.”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The last word
Why you forget most of what you read
The ‘forgetting curve’ is steepest in the first 24 hours after you learn something,
said writer Julie Beck. But in the internet age, memories seem to flee our minds much faster.
memories of
reading are
less about words
and more about the
experience. “I almost
always remember
where I was and I
remember the book
itself. I remember
the physical object,”
says Paul, the editor of The New
York Times Book
Review, who reads,
it is fair to say, a lot
of books. “I remember the
edition; I remember the
cover; I usually remember where I bought it, or
who gave it to me. What I
don’t remember—and it’s
terrible—is everything else.”
For example, Paul told me,
she recently finished reading
Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin.
“While I read that book, I
knew not everything there
was to know about Ben
Franklin, but much of it,
and I knew the general
time line of the American
Revolution,” she says.
“Right now, two days later,
I probably could not give
you the time line of the
American Revolution.”
Research has shown that the internet functions as a sort of externalized memory.
“When people
expect to have
future access
to information, they have
lower rates
of recall of
the information itself,”
as one study
puts it. But
even before
the internet
existed, entertainment products served as
memories for
You don’t need
to remember
a quote from
a book if you
can just look it
up. Once videotapes came along, you
could review a movie or
TV show fairly easily.
There’s not a sense that if
you don’t burn a piece of
culture into your brain, it
will be lost forever.
With its streaming services and Wikipedia
If you want to better remember the things you watch and read, space them out.
articles, the internet has
lowered the stakes on
you with a fraction of what you took in.
remembering the culture we consume even
Surely some people can read a book or
further. But it’s hardly as if we remembered
watch a movie once and retain the plot per- Presumably, memory has always been like
it all before.
fectly. But for many, the experience of con- this. But Jared Horvath, a research fellow
suming culture is like filling up a bathtub,
at the University of Melbourne, says that
LATO WAS A famous early curmudsoaking in it, and then watching the water the way people now consume information
geon when it came to the dangers of
run down the drain. It might leave a film in and entertainment has changed what type
externalizing memory. In the dialogue
the tub, but the rest is gone.
of memory we value—and it’s not the kind
Plato wrote between Socrates and the
that helps you hold on to the plot of a
“Memory generally has a very intrinsic
aristocrat Phaedrus, Socrates tells a story
movie you saw six months ago.
limitation,” says Faria Sana, an assistant
about the god Theuth discovering “the use
professor of psychology at Athabasca
of letters.” The Egyptian king Thamus says
In the internet age, recall memory—the
University, in Canada. “It’s essentially a
to Theuth:
ability to spontaneously call information
up in your mind—has become less neces“This discovery of yours will create forgetsary. It’s still good for bar trivia, or rememThe “forgetting curve,” as it’s called, is
fulness in the learners’ souls, because they
steepest during the first 24 hours after you
will not use their memories; they will trust
says, what’s called recognition memory is
learn something. Exactly how much you
to the external written characters and not
forget, percentage-wise, varies, but unless
remember of themselves.”
where that information is at and how to
you review the material, much of it slips
down the drain after the first day, with
(Of course, Plato’s ideas are only accessible
recall it,” he says.
more to follow in the days after, leaving
to us today because he wrote them down.)
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
Gallery Stock, Newscom, Getty
The last word
“[In the dialogue] Socrates hates writing because he thinks it’s going to kill
memory,” Horvath says. “And he’s right.
Writing absolutely killed memory. But
think of all the incredible things we got
because of writing. I wouldn’t trade writing
for a better recall memory, ever.”
Perhaps the internet offers a similar tradeoff: You can access and consume as much information
and entertainment as you
want, but you won’t retain
most of it.
Getty, Gallery Stock, Getty
It’s true that people often
shove more into their brains
than they can possibly hold.
Last year, Horvath and his
colleagues at the University
of Melbourne found that
those who binge-watched
TV shows forgot the content
of them much more quickly
than people who watched
one episode a week. Right
after finishing the show, the
binge-watchers scored
the highest on a quiz
about it, but after
140 days, they scored
lower than the weekly
viewers. They also
reported enjoying the
show less than did
people who watched it
once a day, or weekly.
syllabus would have us read only three chapters a week, but there was a good reason
for that. Memories get reinforced the more
you recall them, Horvath says. If you read
a book all in one stretch—on an airplane,
say—you’re just holding the story in your
working memory that whole time. “You’re
never actually reaccessing it,” he says.
up—perhaps a pre-episode “Previously on
Gilmore Girls” recap, or a conversation
with a friend about a book you’ve both
read. Memory is “all associations, essentially,” Sana says.
That may explain why Paul and others
remember the context in which they read
a book without remembering its contents.
Paul has kept a “book of
books,” or “Bob,” since
she was in high school—an
analog form of externalized
memory—in which she writes
down every book she reads.
“Bob offers immediate access
to where I’ve been, psychologically and geographically, at
any given moment in my life,”
she explains in My Life With
Bob, a book she wrote about
her book of books. “Each
entry conjures a memory that
may have otherwise gotten
lost or blurred with time.”
In a piece for The New Yorker
called “The Curse of Reading
and Forgetting,” Ian Crouch
writes, “Reading has many
facets, one of which might be
the rather indescribable, and
naturally fleeting, mix of
thought and emotion and
sensory manipulations that
happen in the moment and
then fade. How much of
reading, then, is just a kind
of narcissism—a marker of
who you were and what
you were thinking when
you encountered a text?”
People are bingeing on
the written word too.
In 2009, the average
American encountered
100,000 words a day,
even if they didn’t
To me, it doesn’t seem like
“read” all of them. It’s hard
The way people consume information today has changed how we remember.
narcissism to remember life’s
to imagine that’s decreased
seasons by the art that filled
Sana says that often when we read, there’s
in the nine years since. In “Binge-Reading
them—the spring of romance novels, the
a false “feeling of fluency.” The informaDisorder,” an article for the indepenwinter of true crime. But it’s true enough
tion is flowing in, we’re understanding it,
dent web magazine The Morning News,
that if you consume culture in hopes of
it seems like it is smoothly collating itself
Nikkitha Bakshani analyzes the meaning
building a mental library that can be
into a binder to be slotted onto the shelves
of this statistic. “‘Reading’ is a nuanced
referred to at any time, you’re likely to be
of our brains. “But it actually doesn’t stick disappointed.
word,” she writes, “but the most comunless you put effort into it and concenmon kind of reading is likely reading as
Books, shows, movies, and songs aren’t
trate and engage in certain strategies that
consumption: where we read, especially
files we upload to our brains—they’re part
on the internet, merely to acquire informa- will help you remember.”
of the tapestry of life, woven in with everytion. Information that stands no chance of
People might do that when they study,
thing else. From a distance, it may become
becoming knowledge unless it ‘sticks.’”
or read something for work, but it seems
harder to see a single thread clearly, but it’s
Or as Horvath puts it: “It’s the momentary unlikely that in their leisure time they’re
still in there.
going to take notes on Gilmore Girls to
giggle and then you want another giggle.
It’s not about actually learning anything. It’s quiz themselves later. “You could be seeing “It’d be really cool if memories were just
clean—information comes in and now you
and hearing, but you might not be noticabout getting a momentary experience to
have a memory for that fact,” Horvath says.
ing and listening,” Sana says. “Which is, I
feel as though you’ve learned something.”
“But in truth, all memories are everything.”
The lesson from his binge-watching study is
that if you want to remember the things you Still, not all memories that wander are lost.
watch and read, space them out. I used to
Some of them may just be lurking, inacces- Originally published in
get irritated in school when an English-class sible, until the right cue pops them back
Reprinted with permission.
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
The Puzzle Page
Crossword No. 451: Give ’Em the Reboot by Matt Gaffney
The Week Contest
THIRD PLACE: “Dead Man Balking”
THE WEEK April 13, 2018
1 Rockwell who won
Best Supporting Actor
last month
4 Renaissance festival
8 Smeared
14 Alex and ___ (jewelry
15 Decant
16 Breathe out
17 Sitcom that ended its
initial run in 1997, but
rebooted in March to
extremely high ratings
19 Piano session, often
20 Jane who won the
Nobel Peace Prize
in 1931
21 Home to GWB’s
presidential library
23 Suitable
24 Will name
25 Spooky show whose
six-episode 2016
reboot began 14 years
after the original story
28 Dickinson in Rio Bravo
31 Stand diagonally
32 Animal with
outstanding night
34 Coconut and sesame,
for two
36 Cut
40 Classic 1950s–’60s
show that’s rumored
to be getting a
reboot this fall from
Jordan Peele
44 “Same with me!”
45 Ruth of diamonds
46 “___ be an honor!”
47 Name that’s also
Italian for “eight”
50 Gin partner
52 Sitcom that added an
“-er” to its first word
for its 2016 reboot
56 Staff note
59 Govt. arm with “mold”
and “radon” sections
on its website
60 Expert
61 Sailor
63 Wahlberg of Blue
66 1960s spy show with a
1995 reboot featuring
its original star
68 Batting next
69 Clutch
70 State between Wash.
and Mont.
71 Alternative to Lipton
72 Crocheting material
73 One of two on the
1 Hyland of Modern
2 Part of a battery
3 Did it wrong, on an
old phone
4 Email usually filtered
5 A very long period
6 “Let’s get out of here!”
7 Never having been
8 Of superior quality
9 Friday the 13th prop
10 Hesitant utterances
Last week’s contest: A court in Romania has ruled that
a 63-year-old man whose wife had him declared legally
dead after he spent 10 years abroad remains dead even
though he argued in person that he was alive. Please
come up with a name for a book on the man’s situation.
SECOND PLACE: “Six Feet Blunder”
Neil Goudy, Cumming, Ga.
This week’s question: Former Vice President Joe Biden
recently claimed that if he and President Trump were still
in high school, he would have “beat the hell out of him”
for disrespecting women; Trump retorted that Biden
would “go down hard and fast” in any fight. If Hollywood
were to make a boxing movie about two septuagenarian
politicians, what would the film be called?
THE WINNER: “Plight of the Living Dead”
Laurel Rose, Pittsburgh
___ metabolism
Marry in a hurry
Car flaws
Bring home
Brooks of The
Make click, maybe
Don Juan’s mother
Decide to make the
best of
Rocky ___
Extra pds.
“Can you repeat that
Bro or sis
Like irritated eyes
It gets the job done
Ending for a scandal
Sex and the City
Kansas city
___ Man in Havana
Mosque boss
Got energy from
Winning by a slight
Touches down
___ Gras party
Like beer from a keg
NFL Insiders channel
Badminton barrier
Winter sheet
Kathy Moore, Middleton, Wis.
For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go to
How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to Please include your name,
address, and daytime telephone number for verification;
this week, type “Old fight” in the subject line. Entries are
due by noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, April 10. Winners
will appear on the Puzzle Page next issue
and at on Friday,
April 13. In the case of identical or similar
entries, the first one received gets credit.
The winner gets a one-year
subscription to The Week.
Fill in all the
boxes so that
each row, column,
and outlined
square includes
all the numbers
from 1 through 9.
Find the solutions to all The Week’s puzzles online:
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