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The Week USA — February 10, 2018

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Why it’s
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The dress
that changed
the world
The tinfoil-hat campaign
to discredit Mueller’s
Russia investigation
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Editor’s letter
George Orwell intended 1984 to be a warning about totalitarianism. China’s government seems to be using it as a guide to build
the ultimate surveillance state. Authorities in Beijing will soon assign each of the country’s 1.4 billion citizens a “social credit”
score that will rate their trustworthiness and shape their lives in
profound ways. (See Briefing.) People who follow the Communist
Party’s edicts and pay their bills will get high scores, giving them
access to good schools for their kids and favorable mortgage rates.
Those who criticize the party or play video games for hours on
end could be denied government jobs and benefits, and might see
their friends desert them out of fear of what fraternizing with an
undesirable will do to their own ratings. Technology will let officials spy on and score almost every aspect of a citizen’s behavior:
Social media will reveal private conversations, smartphone payment apps will record purchases, and facial-recognition systems in
omnipresent security cameras will track his or her movements.
It’s tempting to think that such all-encompassing surveillance is
only possible in an authoritarian state. And yet here in the West,
many of us are surrendering our privacy for convenience. In exchange for the free services offered by tech giants like Google
and Facebook, we grant access to private messages, videos,
and even our precise location so they can serve us ever-morepersonalized ads. With a warrant, the NSA and other government agencies can have that data, too. Now, to be liberated from
the hassle of having to tap our phones to play music or search
the internet, we’re installing always-listening, voice-activated
smart speakers like the Amazon Echo in our living rooms and
bedrooms. (Amazon won’t say whether it has handed over any
Echo data following a government request.) In China, the government imposes Big Brother–like surveillance; here, we volunteer for it through our high-tech toys.
Theunis Bates
4 Main stories
The escalating clash
between the president and
the FBI; Trump’s State of
the Union address
Controversy of the week
Is the GOP peddling
conspiracy theories to
discredit the Russia
The U.S. at a glance
Russia sanctions
not implemented;
Philadelphia’s supervised
drug-injection sites
The world at a glance
A suspected serial killer
in Toronto; mounting
violence in Afghanistan
Reuters, AP
10 People
Zach Galifianakis’ brophobia; Christopher
Plummer to the rescue
11 Briefing
China’s Orwellian plan
to score its citizens’
12 Best U.S. columns
Hillary Clinton fails her
#MeToo test; immigrants
live the American Dream
14 Best European
Poland and Israel clash
over the Holocaust
16 Talking points
A sex predator at
USA Gymnastics; the
Doomsday Clock ticks
closer to midnight; Trump
goes to Davos
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Trump mingles after his State of the Union address. (p.5)
23 Books
Is American democracy
really in peril?
24 Author of the week
Erica Garza’s struggle
with sex addiction
25 Art & Music
How consumerism
coopted Native
26 Television
Tim Robbins
and Holly
Hunter have
family drama
in HBO’s Here
and Now
27 Food & Drink
A peanut sauce that tastes
good on everything
28 Travel
Five wild places to see
exotic animals up close
29 Consumer
Tips to avoid catching the
flu on a plane
32 News at a glance
Amazon’s plan to disrupt
health care; Keurig snaps
up a soda giant
33 Making money
Are free checking accounts
a thing of the past?
34 Best columns
Steven Mnuchin dunks the
dollar; Reagan-style growth
isn’t coming back
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THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The main stories...
The escalating war over the Russia investigation
for obtaining surveillance warrants,
and what role the tainted dossier
In the wake of the news that President
played in the Russia investigation.
Trump tried to fire special counsel
This isn’t about “attacking the FBI”
Robert Mueller last June, the president’s
or diverting attention from Trump.
loyalists in Congress this week escalated
It’s about “restoring confidence in a
their efforts to delegitimize Mueller’s
law enforcement agency that played
investigation by voting to release a
an unprecedented role in a U.S. presicontroversial memo alleging bias at the
dential election.”
FBI and Justice Department. Written by
House Intelligence Committee Chairman
What the columnists said
Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a fierce Trump
Congress already has sufficient
loyalist, the four-page document reportevidence to impeach Trump for
edly alleges that the FBI used the Steele
obstruction of justice, said David
dossier, an “opposition research” docuLeonhardt in The New York Times.
ment commissioned by Democrats, to
The president asked for a pledge of
obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump
Rosenstein: In Trump’s crosshairs
“loyalty” from then–FBI Director
campaign aide Carter Page in 2016.
James Comey last January, before urging him to drop the investigaDemocrats on the committee and the Justice Department said
tion into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. When
Nunes was incorrect in asserting that the dossier was the primary
Comey refused, the president fired him—telling NBC News he did
justification for surveilling Page, whose contacts with Russians
so because of “this Russia thing.” Since then, Trump has angrily
drew FBI interest as far back as 2013. Nonetheless, Republicans
accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “disloyalty” for recusing
on the committee voted on Monday to publish the memo, giving
himself from the Russia investigation, “helped draft a false public
Trump five days to approve or deny the decision.
statement” for his son Donald Jr. about his Trump Tower meeting
New FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General with Russians promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and tried to
fire Mueller. Obstruction of justice is defined as actions motivated
Rod Rosenstein urged the White House not to release the memo,
by “corrupt intent” to stop or hamper an investigation. Could
saying it was inaccurate and would reveal classified information,
Trump’s intentions be any clearer?
but the president was overheard on camera telling a Republican
lawmaker after his State of the Union address on Tuesday night
There’s a big flaw in that reasoning, said Rich Lowry in the New
that he was “100 percent” going to do it.
York Post. If Trump knew there was no crime to cover up, it
was not obstruction for him to use his presidential authority to
The memo reportedly accuses Rosenstein, a Republican who
fire Comey or to order Mueller’s firing. What he actually told
oversees Mueller’s investigation, of failing to divulge the dossier’s
NBC News was that “this Russia thing… is a made-up story”—
partisan origins in pressing for Page’s surveillance. Last week, The
New York Times reported that Trump ordered White House coun- suggesting he thought the FBI director was wasting his time and
the country’s. Trump actually had good reason to want to fire both
sel Don McGahn to fire Mueller in June. When McGahn refused
to follow the order and threatened to quit, Trump backed down. In Comey and Mueller, said Andrew McCarthy in NationalReview
December, CNN reported this week, Trump asked Rosenstein if he .com. Quasi-independent investigations of presidential administrations have a history of going on for years, and of careening off
was “on my team”—a question Rosenstein deflected.
into unrelated matters—leaving the president “under a cloud of
suspicion” as he shoulders his awesome responsibilities. If Trump
What the editorials said
knew no collusion took place, he was right to conclude that the
This “much-ballyhooed” Nunes memo is a blatant attempt to
investigation was undermining his “capacity to govern.”
discredit the FBI, and by extension Mueller’s investigation, said
The Washington Post. Democrats have written their own pointRepublicans have resisted calls for legislation protecting Muelby-point rebuttal of the GOP’s cherry-picked version of the events
ler, said Greg Sargent in Washington
leading to the surveillance of Page—but—and they’ll probably back
Republicans have blocked its release.
What next?
Trump no matter what he does. The
Nunes is “completely in the bag for the
Rosenstein is now “in the president’s crosshairs,”
country has changed since Watergate,
president,” said The Baltimore Sun. He
said Scott Wong in The deputy atwhen Republican leaders were willing
even had to recuse himself from his com- torney general is “the only official who could fire
to stand up to Richard Nixon’s attempt
mittee’s Russia investigation last year
Mueller.” The Nunes memo—which may have
to put himself above the law. Today,
after he was caught sneaking intelligence been drafted with White House input—clearly
the GOP is cowed and controlled by
documents into the White House. Alas,
singles out Rosenstein for blame in seeking surFox News, talk radio, and the powerAmericans won’t know for sure whether
veillance warrants. It could give the president the
ful conservative “propaganda apparaor not his memo tells the whole story,
“ammunition” he needs to sack the Justice Detus,” which has convinced the Republibecause it’s all based on classified inforpartment official, and to install a “political ally”
can base that the Russia investigation is
mation that can’t be released. What a
who would order the special counsel to curtail
an illegitimate, “Deep State” coup. (See
“diabolical maneuver.”
and narrow his investigation, or fire him. Many
Controversy.) That’s why “the current
Republicans have warned Trump this would be a
moment is different from Watergate”—
Americans deserve to see this memo,
“big mistake” and cause a political firestorm that
and why we could be headed to “a
said The Wall Street Journal. We need
would threaten his presidency. But will he listen?
more alarming endgame.”
to know if the FBI is abusing the process
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Illustration by Fred Harper.
Cover photos from Newscom, AP, Newscom
Jeff Malet
What happened
... and how they were covered
Toned-down Trump calls for unity
What happened
second-year tactics “would be more
constructive than those of his first.”
After a turbulent first year in office, President Trump this week used his first State
Actually, this was a largely “disciplined
of the Union address to urge Democrats
performance” by Trump, said The Wall
to “set politics aside” and pass bipartisan
Street Journal. After beginning his presilegislation on infrastructure and imdency with a dark inaugural dirge about
migration, in a speech in which he also
“American carnage,” Trump “played
boasted about eliminating “the disastrous
against type” this week by making an
core of Obamacare,” vowed to keep out
optimistic bid for common ground on
“dangerous” immigrant criminals, and
infrastructure, prison reform, and other
questioned the patriotism of kneeling
issues. He even offered some generous
NFL players. Trump touted his adminisconcessions on immigration, which
tration’s “campaign of maximum presDemocrats have already foolishly rejectsure” against North Korea, as well as the
‘This is our new American moment.’
ed. Of course, one reasonable speech “is
creation of 2.4 million new domestic jobs
no guarantee of future comportment,” but if Trump can maintain
and the passage of a tax bill that he promised would give millions
this approach, “his presidency and country will be better off.”
of workers more take-home pay. “This is our new American moment,” said Trump. He urged Democrats to support a $1.5 trillion
infrastructure deal, and pitched his own “down-the-middle compro- What the columnists said
Presidents always claim that the state of the union is strong, said
mise” on immigration that would give 1.8 million undocumented
Ned Ryun in Yet Trump has more reason than others
“Dreamers” a path to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion in
to boast—particularly where the economy is concerned. Unemployborder wall spending, an end to the diversity visa lottery, and limits
ment is at a 45-year low, and even some of the president’s biggest
on family reunification policies. Trump earned groans from some
critics “have grudgingly admitted” that Trump’s tax cuts will spark
Democrats when he then spoke at length about illegal immigrants
and criminal gangs, including MS-13—stating that his primary duty 4 percent growth next year. And he’s achieved all of this despite “the
nonstop assault of many in the mainstream media.”
was to protect Americans, “because Americans are dreamers, too.”
While Republicans greeted Trump’s remarks with standing ovations, most Democrats responded with stony-faced silence. More
than a dozen Democratic lawmakers boycotted the event to protest
Trump’s reported reference to Haiti and African countries as
“shitholes.” Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), the grandson of Robert F.
Kennedy, delivered the party’s official response—accusing Trump of
deepening “the fault lines of a fractured country.”
What the editorials said
“Have a president’s words ever rung more hollow?” said The
Washington Post. Trump’s first State of the Union was pitched as a
“search for unity,” an appeal for “one American family.” Yet our
petulant president couldn’t avoid, “even for an hour,” peppering
his address with “gratuitous” attacks and divisive references to hotbutton issues—including his thinly veiled dig about football players
who refuse, he said, to “proudly stand for the national anthem.” As
far as addresses go, this one offered little reason to hope that Trump’s
It wasn’t all bad
AP, Ming D’Arcy
QThanks to road-tripper Jordan
Kahana, a pair of abandoned puppies are now social media stars.
Kahana, 30, was journeying across
the U.S. when he spotted the dogs
on a deserted Arizona road. After
rushing them to an animal hospital
for treatment, Kahana decided to
adopt the 8-week-old pups as travel
buddies. Since then, Zeus and
Sedona have visited 35 states—
their travels to national parks and
beaches chronicled on Instagram
for the puppies’ thousands of followers. “I just knew I had to bring
them with me,” says Kahana.
Could this be a turning point? asked Ed Rogers in WashingtonPost
.com. Trump himself “seems less manic” these days. There have
been “fewer crazy tweets” of late, and before this week’s wellreceived address, the president gave a “powerful performance at
Davos.” After months of chaos, “is Trump about to get up on the
board and catch a wave?”
Don’t bet on it, said Jonathan Chait in Despite the
healthy economy, Trump’s approval rating is still historically low, at
under 40 percent, because voters see through his “empty promises.”
Trump vowed to serve the “forgotten people,” but his tax cut overwhelmingly benefits corporations and the rich. Job growth actually
lags that of President Obama’s last year. Trump lauded two of his
State of the Union guests for adopting a baby born to opioid addicts,
but he has done nothing to tackle this national crisis. Affordable
health care, lower prescription prices, better trade deals—everything
this master con man says “he is doing for you lies off in the future.”
QWhen internet trolls told Jade Hameister to “make me a
QA $35 T-shirt saved Robert Lei-
sandwich,” she did just that. Bullies bombarded the 16-yearold Australian explorer with the sexist suggestion in 2016
after she gave a TEDx talk about how she had skied to the
North Pole. Revenge is a dish best served cold, so Hameister
celebrated the end of her
recent expedition to the
South Pole—when she became the youngest person
to ski to both poles—by
posing for a photo with her
lunch: ham and cheese between two slices of bread.
“I made you a sandwich,”
Hameister captioned the
picture. “Now ski 37 days
and 600 km to the South
Pole and you can eat it.”
Hameister: Feeding the trolls
bowitz’s life. Suffering from chronic
kidney disease, the New Jersey
father of five came up with an innovative way to find a transplant
donor: He had the phrase “In Need
of Kidney” printed on a T-shirt and
wore it to Disney World. Onlookers posted a photo of Leibowitz on
Facebook, where it garnered thousands of shares. Eventually, Richie
Sully, a father of two from Indiana
with the same blood type, offered to
help—and the two successfully underwent surgery last week. “It’s not
about checking a box at the DMV or
donating platelets,” says Sully. “It’s
about doing more when you can.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Controversy of the week
Trump’s defenders: The ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theory
truth.” I’m no fan of either Trump or conspiracy
Even for a nation with a “venerable tradition of conspiracy theotheories, said Kevin Williamson in NationalReview
ries,” said Jeet Heer in, America is entering
.com, but the FBI does not deserve blind trust. In
into a dangerous new era. As special counsel Robert Mueller’s
their text exchanges, since-fired FBI agents Peter
Russia investigation closes in on President Trump, the “paranoid
Strzok and Lisa Page spoke of developing an
ravings” about a “Deep State” coup are now “coming straight
“insurance policy” in the unlikely event Trump was
from the power centers in the White House and GOP.” Trump
elected. What did that mean? As the Mueller invesstooge Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is leading the way, with
tigation proceeds, we need “total transparency” by
a memo claiming that the FBI improperly got
everyone involved—including the investigators.
a warrant to conduct surveillance of Trump
campaign staff as they talked to and met with
To believe in the “Deep State” conspiracy, said
Russians. But Nunes has plenty of accomAmanda Carpenter in, you have
plices in his campaign to protect Trump at all
Nunes: Focused on the dossier
to believe that Mueller—a lifelong Republican
costs. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson last week
war hero with an impeccable reputation—
jumped on a report that two FBI agents had mentioned a “secret
is leading a plot by Hillary Clinton sympathizers to overthrow the
society” in text messages to warn Americans that FBI agents were
president. “Why is my party gaslighting America?” Republicans
“holding secret meetings off site”—presumably, to plot against
contracted their “conspiratorial mindset” directly from President
the president. The next day, Johnson backed off his claim when it
became clear the “secret society” reference in the texts was a joke. Trump, said Mona Charen in, a man who to
this day insists, without a shred of evidence, that “millions of illeNonetheless, Sean Hannity and other Fox News anchors stayed
gals” voted against him in 2016. Defend this shameless president if
in “full tinfoil-hat mode,” delivering fevered nightly calls for the
purging, and jailing, of anti-Trump conspirators. What’s more dis- you must, Republicans, “but don’t become him.”
turbing, said Michael Gerson in The Washington Post, is that even
It’s too late, said Paul Waldman in Large
mainstream Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, are
numbers of Republicans have been willing to entertain “outlandechoing Hannity’s calls to “cleanse” the FBI. To defend Trump,
ish and ludicrous tales” since the 1990s, when they insisted the
Republicans are putting “partisanship over sanity.”
Clintons had murdered Vince Foster. From there it’s a straight line
to birtherism, Benghazi, and last year’s bizarre “Pizzagate” theory
Republicans aren’t the desperate ones here, said Kimberley
that Hillary Clinton was running a child-sex-trafficking ring. “Not
Strassel in The imminent release of Nunes’ memo has
all Republicans tumble down these rabbit holes,” but many do,
sent Trump’s enemies into a panic. They realize their own conand the party’s leaders clearly see the “Deep State” conspiracy as
spiracy theory—that Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the
their best defense against whatever charges Mueller may bring in
2016 election—won’t survive some sunlight, so they’re smearing
the Russia affair. “They might not succeed” in saving Trump from
Republicans as raving paranoids. “The good news is that these
the truth, “but they’re going to go to any length to do it.”
frantic reactions are a sign Americans are getting closer to the
QA woman was barred from
boarding a United Airlines
flight with what she claimed
was her “emotional support
peacock.” United said the peacock did not meet its service
animal guidelines for several
reasons, “including its weight
and size.” In its own pushback
against the “support animal”
trend, Delta Airlines issued a
ban on hedgehogs, spiders,
waterfowl, and “animals with
tusks, horns, or hooves.”
QA California woman is
suing Walmart, claiming the
store locks African-American
beauty products in cases
but leaves products for other
races on the shelves. Essie
Grundy, 43, says staff even
had to unlock a case to let
her buy a 48-cent comb and
wouldn’t let her touch the
comb until she’d paid for it.
In a statement, Walmart said
that no retailer “is immune to
the challenge of crime.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Good week for:
Basic decency, after an announcement by the Cleveland Indians
that they will remove the grinning, bug-eyed caricature “Chief
Wahoo” from team uniforms in 2019.
Women, after the word “mansplaining” was added to the Oxford
English Dictionary. It describes the habit of some men to explain
things “needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, especially to
a woman, in a manner thought to reveal a patronizing or chauvinistic attitude.” Almost no men believe they do this.
Jury duty, after extradited drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo”
Guzmán challenged a prosecution motion to keep jurors in his
upcoming New York City trial anonymous, on the grounds that he
had no plans to order any of them killed.
Bad week for:
Betting on yourself, after Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the new direc-
tor of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had to
resign when it was revealed she’d invested in tobacco and pharmaceutical company stock after taking the job in June. The CDC is
supposed to discourage smoking and opioid abuse.
Blockages, after a flight from Oslo to Munich carrying 85 plumbers had to turn back because of a blocked toilet. The toilet repairs
had to be done from the outside, one plumber said, and “we didn’t
risk sending a plumber to work at 10,000 meters.”
Wedding crashers, after three Wisconsin men snuck into a wedding reception and began aggressively dancing with teenage girls.
The incensed bride punched one of the crashers in the face, and he
later told cops, “I probably deserved it.”
Boring but important
White House drops South
Korea ambassador pick
The White House is no longer
considering its original choice
for U.S. ambassador to South
Korea after he objected to the
idea of launching a “bloody
nose” strike on North Korea.
The Trump administration had
been expected to nominate Victor Cha, a respected academic
who served in the George
W. Bush administration, and
spent months vetting his
background, going so far as to
notify South Korean officials
in December of the pending
decision. But the White House
reversed itself not long after,
reportedly following Cha’s objection to the idea of launching
a preventive strike on North
Korea, a strategy meant to deter its nuclear ambitions without triggering a full-scale war.
Cha also objected to Trump’s
threats to abandon a bilateral
trade deal with Seoul.
Only in America
The U.S. at a glance ...
AP (2), Getty, Newscom, Reuters
Las Vegas
Mogul accused: Billionaire
casino magnate Stephen
Wynn stepped down
as finance chair of the
Republican National
Committee last week
after a Wall Street
Journal report
detailed decades
of sexual misconduct allegations against
him. Dozens of people described how
Wynn, the chairman and CEO of Wynn
Resorts, would routinely demand naked
massages from female employees, often
pressuring them to perform sex acts. In
one case, Wynn allegedly paid $7.5 million to settle claims that in 2005 he
forced a manicurist at his Wynn Las
Vegas casino to have sex with him.
Wynn, a high-profile Republican donor,
has adamantly denied the allegations, but
nevertheless he resigned his post as RNC
finance chair. The RNC, which
has called on Democrats to return
donations from disgraced film
producer Harvey Weinstein,
says it will not return Wynn’s
donations until Wynn Resorts
completes its own investigation. “Steve has denied these
allegations,” said RNC chair
Ronna Romney McDaniel. “He
should be allowed due process.”
Indian Wells, Calif.
Koch spending blitz: Fearing a
Democratic wave in
this year’s midterm
elections, the conservative political
network led by
Charles and David Koch
Koch pledged this week at its biannual
donor conference to spend upward of
$400 million to protect Republican
majorities in Congress. That’s 60 percent
more than what the Koch network spent
in 2016 and the most the network has
ever spent on a midterm. Much of the
money will go toward an online and
TV advertising blitz promoting the tax
reform bill, which is expected to save
Koch Industries more than $1 billion a
year. Speakers at the conference exhorted
donors to open their wallets, warning
that energized Democrats are poised for
sweeping gains that could undo a year’s
worth of conservative victories. “We’ve
made more progress in the past five years
than I had in the last 50,” the 82-year-old
Charles Koch told the assembled donors.
Supervised drug use: Hoping to reduce
mounting deaths from opioid overdoses, officials in Philadelphia last week
approved the creation of safe havens
where drug users can inject themselves
under the supervision of medical professionals. The so-called supervised injection
sites would provide drug users with clean
needles and access to immediate overdose
treatment. The centers, which would be
run by private companies, would also
provide referrals for social services. More
than 1,200 people fatally overdosed last
year in Philadelphia, a more than 30 percent increase over 2016. The plan would
make Philadelphia the first U.S. city with
officially sanctioned injection sites; Seattle
and San Francisco are considering similar
proposals. A review of supervised sites
overseas found that a single location
could prevent as many as 76 overdose
deaths a year in the city and save millions
of dollars in hospital costs.
Washington, D.C.
Sanction inaction: The Trump administration declined this week to impose new
sanctions on Russia, even though the penalties were required under a law passed
by Congress last year. The law, designed
to punish the Kremlin for meddling in the
2016 election, passed the House 419-3
and the Senate 98-2 and set deadlines
on imposing penalties. The White House
faced one such deadline this week to
sanction purchasers of Russian military
equipment. But the Trump administration
claimed that the penalties were unnecessary, saying that the law was already deterring companies from doing business with
Russia. Congress also required the White
House to create a list of Russian oligarchs
linked to the Kremlin. But
found that the Treasury Department’s
report was largely drawn from a Forbes
list of Russian billionaires. CIA Director
Mike Pompeo told the BBC this week that
he has “every expectation” Russia will try
to influence the midterms.
Washington, D.C.
Immigration debate: A White House proposal to give 1.8 million undocumented
a path to
citizenship in
exchange for
dramatic cuts
to legal immigration and
$25 billion for
a border wall
A Dreamer protest
appeared dead
on arrival when it was released last week,
with serious opposition from both parties.
Liberals lambasted the Trump administration’s plan as a cruel and economically
damaging ploy to close America to newcomers. They also criticized the plan to
end family-sponsored migration outside
of spouses and children and to abolish the
diversity visa lottery—efforts that would
cut legal immigration by more than
40 percent. Conservatives lashed
out at the idea of extending
citizenship to undocumented
immigrants, with Breitbart
News labeling the plan “Don’s
Amnesty Bonanza.” A deadlocked
Congress may ultimately punt
the issue to next year by temporarily
extending DACA protections alongside
increased border security funding.
San Juan,
Puerto Rico
Aid reversal: The
Federal Emergency
Agency this week
reversed a plan to
stop distributing
food and water
Still rebuilding
in Puerto Rico,
after furious Puerto Rican officials said
they’d been blindsided by the announcement. Federal officials had announced
on Jan. 29 that FEMA would halt food
and water distribution on the hurricaneravaged island on Jan. 31, saying enough
businesses had reopened to support residents’ needs. But Puerto Rican officials
angrily protested the move, saying they
had not been notified in advance of the
decision and that more than one-third
of the island’s residents remain without
power and have difficulty accessing
clean water and food. FEMA, which has
provided more than 30 million gallons
of water and nearly 60 million emergency meals in the four months since
Hurricane Maria pummeled the island,
said distribution efforts would continue,
and that the cut-off date had been “mistakenly provided.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The world at a glance ...
Metz, France
Nutella riots: Violence broke out
in supermarkets across France last
week after the Intermarché chain
sparked a shopping frenzy by
discounting the price of Nutella
by 70 percent, from $5.58 to
$1.75 a tub. One customer said
bargain seekers behaved “like
Grab it while you can.
animals” as they battled to grab
pots of the hazelnut-and-chocolate spreads. Shoppers posted photos
and videos of brawling Nutella fans on social media, leading the
Finance Ministry to announce an investigation into whether Intermarché broke pricing regulations. Undeterred, Intermarché continued the series of promotions it calls the “Four Cheapest Weeks in
France.” This week, it announced 70 percent off Pampers diapers,
leading to a fight at a store in Metz.
Zoetermeer, Netherlands
Watching Cozy Bear: The Dutch government played a key role in discovering Russian interference in the 2016
presidential election, the Dutch newspaper
De Volkskrant reported last week. Agents
with AIVD, the country’s domestic intelAIVD’s headquarters
ligence agency, broke into computers
used by the Russian hacking group Cozy Bear in mid-2014, and
then watched in real time as the Russians targeted the U.S. State
Department, Congress, and the Democratic National Committee.
AIVD passed that intelligence to the CIA and NSA. The Dutch
spies also traced Cozy Bear’s computers to a room in a Moscow
building, hacked the security camera in the hallway outside, and
observed visits by members of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.
Mexico City
Kidnap by cop: The disappearance of a Mexican
teenager for five days last week has turned a spotlight on the country’s often corrupt and brutal police.
Officers detained Marco Antonio Sánchez, a promising 17-year-old student from a middle-class neighborhood in Mexico City, after accusing him of having
stolen the cellphone he was using. When his parents
couldn’t find him in the court system, they suspected Protesting for Marco
police had abducted Marco, and they began holding
daily protests that morphed into a national social media campaign.
Five days later, police in a suburb found the boy wandering, disoriented and bruised, and took him to a hospital. His cousin told
Excélsior newspaper that Sanchez had been “badly beaten,” can’t
recognize his own parents, and “can barely speak.” Police are
believed to be responsible for much of Mexico’s epidemic of disappearances; more than 34,000 people have vanished since 2006.
Wolfsburg, Germany
Fumes scandal: Germany’s auto
industry was locked in another
Snap election: Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro
scandal this week after it was
has declared he will seek re-election in a snap vote in April,
revealed that the country’s three biggest carmonths ahead of schedule. The main opposition parties have been
Tested on monkeys?
makers had supported a research institute
barred from running, and it appears that Maduro will be the only
that tested potentially dangerous fumes on humans and monkeys
candidate. The U.S. and at least 14 Latin American countries
from 2013 to 2016. Funded by Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW,
condemned the decision. “The vote
the institute had 25 human volunteers breathe in nitrogen dioxide,
would be neither free nor fair,” said
the toxic particle found in diesel emissions. The institute, which
State Department spokesperson
has since been disbanded, said no one was injured in the test. In
Heather Nauert. Outside observers
another experiment, monkeys were forced to inhale diesel exhaust
believe the election will be rigged,
from a Volkswagen Beetle and another car for hours. The tests probecause Maduro would likely lose a
voked condemnation from German leaders, with a spokesman for
fair contest. Most Venezuelans blame
Chancellor Angela Merkel saying they “cannot be justified ethically
the president for the widespread food
in any way,” In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that millions of its dieshortages and triple-digit inflation
sel cars were rigged with devices to beat emissions tests.
that have devastated the country.
Maduro: Fixing the vote
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Newscom, AP, Newscom, AP, Newscom
Serial killer: A Canadian landscaper has been charged with
murdering at least five men, and police suspect he may have
killed more. Bruce McArthur, 66, allegedly met several of his victims at a Toronto gay bar and through a dating app. After killing
the men, he chopped them up and hid their body parts in large
planters on his clients’ properties. Police said they are searching
for remains at some 30 residences where McArthur worked. For
years, members of Toronto’s LGBT community have reported
disappearances from the city’s Gay Village neighborhood and
have talked of a possible serial killer on the loose. “Why weren’t
we listened to earlier?” asked Nicki Ward, a community activist.
“Perhaps some lives could have been saved if that were the case.”
The world at a glance ...
Navalny urges boycott: Russian opposition leader
Alexei Navalny was arrested for organizing an
unauthorized protest in Moscow this week, but
thousands of his defiant supporters marched in
cities and towns across Russia and echoed his
call for a boycott of the March presidential election. President Vladimir Putin is certain to win
Navalny: Arrested
that vote—he faces only token opposition and
Navalny is banned from running—but he needs a decent turnout
to ensure a mandate. At least 240 people nationwide were arrested
at pro-boycott protests, which were noticeably smaller than similar
demonstrations last June. But Navalny’s YouTube live-stream of the
marches got more than 1 million views. Authorities tried to stop
the broadcast by breaking into his Anti-Corruption Foundation and
confiscating equipment, but a second studio continued to stream
footage. Navalny has been released pending a hearing.
Hijab protest: Iranian women have
been taking off their headscarves and
waving them on sticks to protest the
country’s strict Islamic dress code.
Women who show their hair in
public can be imprisoned for up to
two months and fined $25. In recent
weeks, at least six women have been
photographed standing silently on
Going headscarf-free
the streets of Tehran and Isfahan,
holding out headscarves. The protests were inspired by Vida
Movahed, 31, who was detained for a month after she removed
her hijab during an anti-regime protest in December. Activist Masih
Alinejad said the protesters are not anti-hijab, but anti-compulsion.
“Our fight is for freedom of choice,” she said. Police said this
month they would no longer enforce the hijab requirement, but at
least two of the protesters have been arrested in the past week.
Escalating Afghan violence: At least 103 people were killed and
more than 230 were wounded this week when an ambulance
packed with explosives blew up on a crowded street in central
Kabul. The Taliban said it was targeting police, but most of the
victims were civilians, including children. The attack came just a
week after Taliban militants stormed a Kabul hotel popular with
foreigners and killed 22 people. ISIS also struck a military academy in the capital this week, killing at least 11 soldiers. “What
we’re seeing now is a relentless Taliban combined with a resilient
Islamic State,” said South Asia expert Michael Kugelman. “That’s
a recipe for deep levels of sustained instability.” An Afghan surge
announced by the Trump administration last fall will soon raise
the number of U.S. troops in the country to 15,000, up from
11,000 last summer.
AP, screenshot, screenshot: Strava, AP
Bethlehem, West Bank
U.S. diplomats egged: A delegation of American diplomats had
to flee an event in the West Bank city of Bethlehem this week
after they were pelted with tomatoes and eggs. City officials had
invited the diplomats to give a workshop on e-commerce and
social media, but protesters entered the room, chanting, shouting,
and waving banners denouncing President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As the diplomats beat a
retreat, the protesters attacked their car, kicking it and ripping off
a side mirror. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a
future Palestinian state.
Rival president: Thousands of people attended an illegal inauguration ceremony in downtown Nairobi this week where Kenyan
opposition leader Raila Odinga swore himself in as the “people’s
president.” Odinga lost his bid for the presidency last year to incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.
But he says he was the rightful winner of
the August election, the results of which
were declared void by the Supreme Court
because the vote had been rigged to guarantee Kenyatta’s victory. Odinga boycotted a
November rerun because it was overseen by the
same election officials, and Kenyatta won with
98 percent of the vote. The government cut the
transmissions of three TV stations to stop them
from broadcasting the ceremony, and announced
that it had banned Odinga’s National Resistance
Movement as an “organized criminal group.”
The designation clears the way for arrests.
Djibouti City, Djibouti
Is this a CIA site? Soldiers and intelligence agents who wear
Fitbits and other fitness trackers are inadvertently revealing the
locations of U.S. military and CIA sites. That information is contained in a “Global Heat Map” published by Strava—a popular
fitness app that uses data from users’ Fitbits, Jawbones, and
smartphones to map their jogging and cycling routes. Australian
student Nathan Ruser studied the heat map, which shows the
movements of people who have made their routes public, and
noticed hot spots that matched
several known U.S. bases in Syria.
After he tweeted about his find,
other social media users identified a
suspected CIA outpost in Djibouti,
a Patriot missile site in Yemen, and
a U.S. special operations base in
the Sahel. “This is a clear security
threat,” said international security
analyst Tobias Schneider.
A suspected CIA base in Djibouti
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Atwood’s words of warning
Plummer saves the day
Zach’s fame hangover
Christopher Plummer is the man Hollywood calls in an emergency,
said Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). A few months
ago, the Sound of Music star, 88, got an unexpected phone call
from the producers of Ridley Scott’s upcoming movie All the Money
in the World. Would Plummer replace disgraced actor Kevin Spacey,
who had been dropped from the role of octogenarian oil tycoon
J. Paul Getty after accusations of sexual assault—and reshoot all
of Spacey’s 22 scenes in nine days? Plummer put down the phone,
packed a suitcase, and a few days later, he was shooting scenes.
“Memorizing the lines was quite a chore in that short space of
time,” Plummer admits. This isn’t the first time the veteran actor
has come to the rescue. In 1967, he was enjoying several nights of
heavy drinking with Rex Harrison at the actor’s Italian villa, when
Harrison came home and announced he’d walked off the set of
Dr. Dolittle. “Then my agent called me and said, ‘How would you
like to replace him?’” Plummer signed up. “And the minute Rex
heard I was doing it, he said, ‘It’s OK, I’m coming back now,’” he
laughs. “I got paid my full salary for doing absolutely bugger all.”
Zach Galifianakis isn’t the zany “bro” people want him to be, said
David Marchese in New York magazine. A quiet presence on the
stand-up circuit for years, Galifianakis shot to fame in the 2009
sensation The Hangover—a movie beloved among bad boys the
world over for its wild depiction of an over-the-top Vegas bachelor party. Dealing with his sudden fame “was a struggle,” says
Galifianakis, 48. “People expect you to be the crazy guy from The
Hangover. I’d go out for dinner and there’d be four free drinks
sent to my table.” Galifianakis, 48, is actually a rather earnest
family man at heart. “It bugs me that people think I’m a stoner.
I do not believe in pot for people in their 20s. It affects their getup-and-go–ness.” Rather than party, the comedian prefers chilling
with his wife and two kids, or paddling his canoe on a quiet lake
in British Columbia that his family visits often. He’s turned down
parts that would pigeonhole him in the drunken “bro” role to
star in smaller films, including co-starring in an upcoming Disney
movie with Oprah Winfrey. “If you always want to be the fat guy
who says things that don’t make sense, that’s great,” he says.
“[But] maybe I’ve just matured.”
QMelania Trump’s spokeswoman is criticizing the media for spreading “salacious” gossip about the first lady, following
reports that she has distanced
herself from President Trump
since learning he paid hush
money to a porn star. Melania
was supposed to accompany
the president to last week’s
World Economic Forum in
Davos, but dropped out after
The Wall Street Journal
reported that her husband’s
lawyer paid $130,000 to
Stephanie Clifford, aka
“Stormy Daniels,” to keep
quiet about an alleged
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. That
encounter reportedly took place a few
months after Melania gave birth to their son,
Barron. Neither of the Trumps made any
mention of their 13th wedding anniversary
last week, and on the first anniversary of
Trump’s inauguration, Melania tweeted out a
photo of herself from that day standing with
a military escort—but with no mention of the
president. When the porn star story became
public, the reported, the first
lady fled to a “posh D.C. hotel” for a few
nights, then flew to Mar-a-Lago. “It’s been
upsetting and humiliating,” a source said.
Melania attended her husband’s State of the
Union address this week, but traveled to the
Capitol separately along with some guests.
QNikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations, has likewise dismissed as
“disgusting” rumors that she and Trump are
having an affair. Author Michael Wolff set
social media alight two weeks ago when he
claimed he was “sure” Trump is currently
cheating on Melania in the White House—
and that he’d left a huge clue identifying the
president’s supposed lover in his best-selling
tell-all, Fire and Fury. Twitter users pointed
to Haley as one potential paramour, citing
Wolff’s claim in his book that she was spending “a notable amount of private time”
with Trump on Air Force One. Haley called
the speculation “highly offensive.” A few
days later, Haley criticized producers of this
year’s highly politicized Grammy Awards for
airing a segment featuring famous people—
including Hillary Clinton—reading excerpts
of Wolff’s book. “Don’t ruin great music with
trash,” tweeted Haley.
Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Contour, AP (2)
Margaret Atwood doesn’t think of herself as a
prophet, said Lisa Allardice in The Guardian
(U.K.). The Canadian author is enjoying an
unexpected resurgence, thanks to the Netflix
adaptation of her 1985 dystopian novel, The
Handmaid’s Tale. With its themes of male power,
sexual abuse, and misogyny, the book has special
resonance for feminists amid the #MeToo movement and the backlash against the Trump administration; during
public protests, women have even taken to donning the distinctive
red gowns and white bonnets worn by the novel’s oppressed female
characters. “I’m sorry to have been so right,” says Atwood, 78,
insisting, however, that today’s situation was entirely predictable.
“Why are you so shocked by it all? The real reason people expect
so much of America in modern times is that it set out to be a utopia. That didn’t last very long. Nathaniel Hawthorne nailed it when
he said the first thing they did when they got to America was build
a scaffold and a prison.” In imagining a world where women are
held in reproductive slavery, Atwood says, she simply had to look
at current efforts to deprive women of “contraceptive information, reproductive rights, [and] a living wage.” But Atwood advises
against despair. “Can we remember World Wars I and II, just for a
minute? And in the ’50s we all thought we were going to be blown
up with nuclear bombs. So there are different kinds of scary.”
Orwell comes to China
China’s 1.4 billion people are getting ‘social credit’ scores that rate their trustworthiness—and determine their place in society.
What is social credit?
How does it work?
It’s similar to the credit score system
An algorithm assigns users a score
familiar to many Americans, but
between 350 and 950. The higher the
along with financial information,
number, the more perks you get. Low
China’s version will take account of
scorers have to pay larger deposits to
a person’s political activity, social
do things like reserve hotel rooms,
interactions, and purchase history.
and they can be shut out of first-class
All that data is fed into a computer
seats on trains and planes. Personal
algorithm that calculates a citizen’s
factors weigh heavily—the degrees
trust score. Take care of your paryou hold, how much time you spend
ents, pay your bills on time, and give
playing video games, and even the
to charity and you’ll be rewarded
scores of your friends. So if your
with a high rating, which can get you
rating drops, your friends have an
access to visas to travel abroad and
incentive to shun you, lest their scores
good schools for your children. Run
dip too. Users can even link their
a red light, criticize the government
scores to dating apps to screen potenA facial-recognition system in the city of Shenyang
on social media, or sell tainted food
tial mates. The system, says Sesame
to consumers and you could lose access to bank loans, government Credit CEO Lucy Peng, “will ensure that the bad people in society
jobs, and the ability to rent a car. Beijing aims to have the program don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and
running by 2020; pilot versions are underway in some 30 cities.
without obstruction.” This is meant literally: Video surveillance
“This is like Big Brother,” said Chinese novelist and social comwill track everyone through facial recognition.
mentator Murong Xuecun, “who has all your information and
can harm you in any way he wants.”
How widespread is that technology?
Some apartments already use facial recognition to unlock doors,
and a growing number of restaurants let customers “smile to pay.”
Why such a sweeping system?
As more apps roll out, they will feed their data into a new governPartly, it’s because China wants to better control its freewheeling
ment surveillance program called Sharp Eyes, a reference to the
and poorly regulated economy, now the world’s second largest.
Mao Zedong–era system of neighbors informing on one another.
A social credit system will let the government easily punish business people who sell toxic baby formula or rotten meat, as well as Security cameras, ubiquitous in stores and on street corners, will
bureaucrats who take bribes. “Swindlers have to pay a price,” says be integrated into that surveillance platform, and artificial intelligence will analyze the mountain of video data. Suspicious behavior
Lian Weiliang, vice chairman of the National Development and
Reform Commission. China also lacks a national equivalent of the will be flagged, potentially affecting a person’s social credit score.
“If you know gambling takes place in a location, and someone
FICO score that U.S. lenders use to assess consumer credit risks,
goes there frequently,” says Li Xiafeng of the facial-recognition
so most Chinese can get credit cards and loans only from their
firm Cloudwalk, “they become suspicious.”
own bank. The social credit score system should result in more
lending and less fraud. But for the Communist Party, social credit
is mainly a way to push citizens toward approved behaviors—
What if the algorithm makes a mistake?
obeying the party, for example, or conThe consequences will be dire. One eleserving energy.
ment that will be merged into the social
Under watchful eyes in Xinjiang
credit system is the Supreme People’s
The ultimate surveillance state is already up
Court blacklist of more than 7 million
How will Beijing score behavior? and running in China’s northwestern region of
people who have outstanding fines or
By monitoring the wealth of data gener- Xinjiang. In a bid to crush a violent separatist
judgments. Journalist Liu Hu discovered
ated by citizens’ smartphones. Many
movement supported by some members of
he was on that list last year when he
Chinese have given up on cash and
the region’s Muslim Uighur minority, Beijing
found himself unable to book a flight
almost exclusively use their phones to
has turned Xinjiang into a testing ground for
high-tech social controls. In the capital, Urumqi,
on a travel app. It turned out he had
pay for goods and services—$5.5 trilalmost every aspect of daily life is monitored.
entered an incorrect account number
lion in mobile payments are made in
Surveillance cameras read all license plates
when paying a fine, and the result was
China every year, compared with about
a blanket ban from all travel except the
$112 billion in the U.S. The most popu- and alert police to the presence of out-of-region
worst seats on the slowest trains. He has
lar smartphone payment portals, Alipay cars. Authorities use hand-held devices to
search smartphones for banned encrypted-chat
since paid the fine correctly but remains
and WeChat Pay, are much more than
apps and politically suspect videos. The police
on the blacklist. Other people have been
financial apps. These so-called supercheckpoints that dot the city are equipped with
blacklisted for minor offenses, including
apps have built-in social networks and
machines that can scan ID cards, faces, and eyeone man who had shoplifted $70 worth
can be used to hail a cab, order food,
balls. Anyone who buys a knife—which could be
of cigarettes. Lin Junyue, an academic
schedule a doctor’s appointment, or
used in a terrorist attack—must have ID details
seen as the father of social credit theory,
check into a hotel. All that data can be
etched by laser on the blade. Police can swoop
says such mistakes and excesses are
harvested and used to create a social
in without notice on Uighurs who draw suspiunfortunately inevitable. Yet “compared
credit score. E-commerce giant Alibaba, cion for any reason. This is the future, says lawwith the improvement in the atmowhich owns Alipay, has already made
yer Zhu Shengwu. “What happens in Xinjiang
sphere of the entire society,” he adds,
a private version of the future governhas bearing on the fate of all Chinese people.”
“their sacrifice is worth it.”
ment system, called Sesame Credit.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Ruth Marcus
The Washington Post
The big lie
David Brooks
The New York Times
Under oath,
Trump would
be a disaster
Timothy O’Brien
Best columns: The U.S.
If anyone needed a reminder of the Clintons’ inability to take “personal
responsibility” for their failings, said Ruth Marcus, consider the ugly
case of Burns Strider. The New York Times reported last week that Hillary Clinton refused to fire Strider, the “faith adviser” to her 2008 presidential campaign, when he was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing
a young female campaign worker. The married Strider’s creepy behavior
was so egregious that Clinton’s campaign manager and other top aides
urged that he be sent packing. Instead, he was docked several weeks’
pay and ordered to undergo counseling. Years later, Strider was hired to
run a pro-Clinton Super PAC. Big surprise: More harassment of young
subordinates, which finally led to his firing. Faced with these revelations, Clinton last week issued an infuriatingly bland statement, saying
she was “dismayed” when the first incident occurred, but “heartened”
that the woman stepped forward because all women “deserve to be
heard.” When I read that, I wanted to let out “a primal scream.”
Clinton should have immediately admitted that she was wrong to
keep Strider employed and that she’d failed her female employees, and
acknowledged that we’ve all learned painful lessons from the #MeToo
movement. Unfortunately, that Hillary Clinton “doesn’t exist.”
As an advocate of moderation, I’d like to be able to claim there’s “a
reasonable middle ground on immigration,” said David Brooks. But
“when you wade into the evidence, you find that the case for restricting immigration is pathetically weak.” Restrictionists insist the country
currently has too many immigrants, both legal and illegal, and that
they’re competing for jobs and eroding America’s culture. But let’s look
at rural America, from New England down to Appalachia and over to
the upper Midwest. These places are often 95 percent white, with few
immigrants. Are they thriving? “Quite the opposite.” These are some of
our country’s most blighted communities, with few new businesses and
jobs, widespread family breakdown, and rampant opioid addiction. Immigrants, on the other hand, show far more traditional American values than the native-born: Ambitious and optimistic, they start new businesses at twice the rate of non-immigrants, have fewer out-of-wedlock
children, and commit less crime. The second and third generations of
Hispanic and Asian immigrants are indeed assimilating, intermarrying,
and even identifying themselves as white. It’s no wonder some nativeborn Americans resent immigrants, who are proving that the American
Dream still works—if you’re willing to do anything to succeed.
President Trump’s attorneys “should grab their worry beads,” said Timothy O’Brien. The president told reporters last week that he’d happily
speak under oath with special counsel Robert Mueller. “Speaking from
experience”—my lawyers deposed Trump in 2007, when he sued me for
libel (and lost)—that’d be a catastrophic mistake. In a legal deposition,
the president’s well-documented “inability to stick to the facts” puts
him in a perilous position. During the two-day deposition in my case,
he “had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years” about everything from the size of his speaking fees to how much his father loaned
him. Impatient and unwilling to read long documents, Trump was woefully unprepared to testify, wasn’t aware of his own lawyers’ arguments,
and was repeatedly caught off guard by my attorneys. When he testifies
before Mueller’s team, he will not know what information, emails, and
testimony the investigators already have—a minefield for a blustering,
combative braggart like Trump, who always says too much. His lawyers will try to limit his testimony, but Trump doesn’t listen to anyone,
and “he’s probably not going to start now.”
“Trump’s true purpose in public life [is] to have everyone talking about him,
looking at him, reacting to him. If it’s negative attention, so be it. Trump’s
Reality Show White House has been an unstoppable force, dominating our attention, coarsening our politics, making us angrier and more afraid and more distant from each other. In this, he’s
succeeding—winning, even. In owning our attention, Trump makes us a little more like him, and
politics a little more like the tribal clash he says it is.”
Ezra Klein in
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
It must be true...
I read it in the tabloids
QAn Oregon man who was
driving with his cat on the
hood of his car told police the
feline likes to “surf” there. Police questioned Jesse Dorsett
after a concerned bystander
spotted him cruising slowly
around a Taco Bell parking lot
with his pet, Pixie, perched
on the vehicle. Dorsett
explained that his kitty enjoys
riding on the hood while
searching the passing ground
for mice and rats, and that
he never goes faster than
5 mph when Pixie’s on board.
“It’s hard for me to see how
anyone can construe hurting
a cat in this scenario,” Dorsett
said, “when the cat is clearly
enjoying the ride.”
QIn an unusual career
change, the actor who
once played Barney
the dinosaur on the hit
children’s show is now
a tantric sex therapist.
David Joyner wore the
purple T. rex costume
from 1991 to 2001, but
has reinvented himself
as a hands-on guru.
His female clients,
whom he calls “goddesses,”
pay $350 for three hours of
chakra balancing and tantric
massage that, he says, can
result in “mind-blowing orgasms.” Joyner sees his new
career as a natural progression from his work as Barney.
“The energy I brought up in
the costume is based on the
foundation of tantra,” he said,
“which is love.”
QA British woman has had
the word “vegan” tattooed
on her forehead in big,
bold letters to demonstrate
her dedication to a life free
of animal products. Kate
Bullen, 22, stopped eating
meat several years ago and
decided recently that she
wanted to publicly broadcast
her support for animal rights.
“I’m incredibly passionate
about veganism,” she said,
“so I wanted this [tattoo] to
be someplace visible.” Bullen
says the ink serves another
useful purpose: “Now I don’t
need to tell everyone I’m
vegan every five minutes.”
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Sexist leering
isn’t quite
Judith Woods
The Daily Telegraph
runs deep
in fraternities
Oliver Pink
Die Presse
Best columns: Europe
The overreaction to the Presidents Club scandal
shows that we need to distinguish between sexual
assault and ordinary boorishness, said Judith
Woods. The elite club has been rightly pilloried
for holding a men-only charity auction at which
pretty hostesses were made to “dress like dolly
birds” and plied with alcohol. “What is this, the
’70s?” Two journalists went undercover as hostesses at the event and exposed how the men—
CEOs, tycoons, film producers, even lords—were
“acting like deluded extras in a Benny Hill video
and grabbing at women young enough to be their
daughters.” It’s disgusting behavior, but it does not
rise to the level of Hollywood producer Harvey
Weinstein, an accused serial workplace rapist. I
will not label “a load of drunken, handsy a---holes
reeking of entitlement in their dinner jackets” as
sexual predators. Nor are the women victims, because they were told what to expect and willingly
donned the required sexy underwear and skimpy
outfits. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad the club
has been disbanded in ignominy. But to return
the $3 million raised at the auction (lots included
a course of plastic surgery to “add spice to your
wife”), as children’s hospitals and other charities
say they will do, is ridiculous. “There are ways to
make an example of these Neanderthal boors, but
penalizing ill children” isn’t a good one.
The far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) just
can’t rid itself of its nostalgia for Nazism, said
Oliver Pink. It was revealed last week that the Teutonic fraternity Germania, of which FPÖ candidate
Udo Landbauer is deputy head, has a songbook
filled with Nazi imagery and a song celebrating the
slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, with
lyrics including “Step on the gas, old Teutons, we’ll
get a seventh million.” Landbauer claims he never
saw the book or heard such a song, but that’s
not really the point. The problem is that the FPÖ
draws much of its membership from backwardlooking, ethnic German–only student clubs that
have no place “in the year 2018.” The FPÖ is in
Austria’s governing coalition, having taken 20 percent of the vote last fall, yet it is still far from
mainstream. Despite party leader Heinz-Christian
Strache’s efforts to make the FPÖ look respectable, “all it takes is a little scratching on the shiny
surface and the ugly brown stains beneath start
showing again.” Certainly not all members are
Nazi sympathizers, but far too many “simply lack
the sensitivity, the perspective, the sense of horror” that every decent Austrian should feel about
the Holocaust. Austrian Teutonic fraternities must
“clean out their stables—down to the last corner.”
thousands of Poles responded, telling me I
Israelis are outraged about a proposed new
was an example of “that treacherous lying
Polish law, and it’s “hard to understand
Jewish media” and “the reason Jews are
why,” said Fakt (Poland) in an editorial. The
killed and thrown out of every country they
lower house of Parliament has approved
try to live in around the world.” Way to
legislation that would punish anyone who
prove you’re not anti-Semitic, guys.
blames the Polish nation for Nazi atrocities
committed on Polish soil during World War
Sadly, anti-Semitism is thriving in Poland,
II with a fine or up to three years in prison.
particularly in the ruling Law and Justice
Israel knows full well that our government
party, said Dominika Wielowieyska in
“has been fighting for years” to stop people
Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland). Not every
from using “the deceitful term ‘Polish death
member is a bigot, of course, but the party
camps.’” Poland was occupied and brutalized
does “give a platform” to such people. Forby Nazi Germany during the war, but that
mer Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz
phrase suggests Poland—not Germany—was
has blamed Jews for communism and referresponsible for Auschwitz and other Nazi
enced the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
extermination camps built on our territory.
Jewish victims of the Jedwabne massacre
the forged book that purports to outline a
Remember when President Obama referred
Jewish plot to take over the world. And Law and Justice politito a “Polish death camp” in 2012? The White House had to
cians praised last November’s nationalist march through Warsaw,
apologize. This bill should not be controversial. Yet Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acting as if it “amounts to Holo- in which 60,000 demonstrators chanted “white Europe” and
“pure blood.” It doesn’t help that the lower house passed the bill
caust denial!” He has called for the Polish Senate to block it.
on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Fact: Poles were complicit, said Lahav Harkov in The Jerusalem
Yet the government can’t give in to Israeli bullying, said
Post (Israel). More than 90 percent of Polish Jews—some 3 milJerzy Haszczynski in Rzeczpospolita (Poland). It is regrettable
lion people—were slaughtered in the Holocaust. “You don’t
that the Polish Embassy in Israel got into an argument with
get to numbers like that without cooperation.” In the town
Israeli opposition politician Yair Lapid, who tweeted his conof Jedwabne in 1941, Poles rounded up Jewish families and
demnation of the law, saying his grandmother was “murdered
burned them alive in a barn. After the war, anti-Jewish violence
erupted in towns and cities across Poland, often when Holocaust in Poland by Germans and Poles.” The embassy tweeted back
that Lapid was “shameless.” Discussing this sensitive issue is
survivors tried to return to their homes. Yes, many brave Poles
difficult, but we have to stand up for “the historical truth—that
hid Jews from the Nazis, and no, Poles did not create the death
there were no Polish camps.”
camps. But when I posted about Polish complicity on Twitter,
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Poland: Don’t call us complicit in the Holocaust
Best columns: International
How they see us: China’s irritation with Trump at Davos
free trade and safeguarding the global
President Donald Trump acted the salessystem is better than that of the U.S.”
man, not the statesman, at the World
Economic Forum in Davos last week,
That’s why China is now the innovasaid China Daily (China) in an editotor in the world economy, said Zhang
rial. Trying to “assuage the concerns of
Zhixin, also in the Global Times.
an elite global audience worried about
“China aims to build an open, incluhis protectionist, isolationist America
sive, clean, and beautiful world that
First strategy,” he told business and
enjoys lasting peace, universal security,
political leaders assembled at the Swiss
and common prosperity.” Toward that
mountain resort that “America is open
goal, it is investing more than $1 trillion
for business,” and urged foreign invesin the global Belt and Road initiative—
tors to “bring your money, your jobs,
which will see new ports, roads, and
your businesses” to the U.S. Trump gave
railway lines built in countries across
a nod to the theme of this year’s Davos
Will he start a trade war with Beijing?
the planet—and “shouldering more
summit—“Creating a shared future in a
responsibilities for world peace and development.” Where the U.S.
fractured world”—by saying that all sovereign nations are stronturns inward, China turns outward, offering dialogue, trade, and
ger when they work “toward shared dreams.” But he gave “no
clue as to what goals and dreams his administration wants others shared benefits. This win-win vision of international relations will
surely prevail over Trump’s zero-sum interpretation.
to share, aside from helping to make the U.S. great again.”
Trump cast China as America’s great economic enemy, said the
Global Times. He did not name China specifically, but the message of his speech was clear. Trump said the U.S. would not
“turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive
intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive
state-led economic planning”—all charges he had previously leveled at China. And his answer to this caricature of Chinese policies
was to tout his brand of “brazen economic nationalism.” Yet in
Davos, the business and political elite were having none of it. They
remember Chinese President Xi Jinping’s stirring speech at the
forum last year, when he extolled trade liberalization and rejected
protectionism. At this point, “China’s reputation for supporting
Oil spill
shows need
for crisis team
The Japan Times
Where drought
has caused
Chiagozie Udeh
In the short term, though, Trump could do damage to China’s
economy, said Zhenhua Lu in the South China Morning Post.
He has been aggressive in wielding “seldom-used unilateral trade
weapons” against China, such as launching an investigation into
alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property. That investigation,
under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act, could serve as an excuse
for sweeping U.S. sanctions on Chinese-made semiconductors
and telecom products. He’s already slapped a huge tariff on imported solar panels, an industry China leads. If he imposes more
levies, says Anna Ashton of the Washington-based U.S.-China
Business Council, the U.S. “will be starting a trade war.” And
that’s a war nobody can win.
The oil leaking from the sunken tanker Sanchi
will pollute Japanese waters for years, said The
Japan Times. The Panama-registered supertanker
was carrying nearly 1 million barrels of ultralight,
highly flammable condensate oil from Iran to South
Korea, as well as about 1,000 tons of its own,
more toxic bunker fuel, when it collided with a
freighter in the East China Sea in early January. The
Sanchi burst into flames, killing all 32 crew members, and drifted into Japan’s exclusive economic
zone before it exploded and sank. A massive spill
now covers more than 100 square miles and could
reach the Japanese coast in a month. It has already
poisoned waters that are “an important spawning
ground for fish and crab,” crucial to the Japanese
fishing industry, “as well as a migratory pathway”
for whales. New rules requiring vessels traveling
through our own waters to have stronger hulls or
to stay farther away from other ships won’t prevent
such disasters, because collisions occur on “what is
technically the high sea,” subject only to lax rules
based on whatever “flag of convenience” a ship flies.
That’s why Japan must partner with China and
South Korea to create “up-to-date oil spill recovery
plans” as well as fishery protections. “No country
can or should have to tackle these incidents alone.”
Climate change has sparked a bloody conflict in
southeastern Nigeria, said Chiagozie Udeh. For
the past three years, Fulani herders, who normally move just a bit southward in the winter to
graze their animals, have drastically altered their
migration. Because of “expansive desertification,
drought, and unchecked deforestation in northern
Nigeria,” these nomadic tribespeople have been
forced to search for foliage and water farther south
in territories where they normally don’t venture.
But subsistence farmers in those areas accuse the
herders of “wanton destruction of their crops,” and
hundreds have been killed in the ensuing clashes.
Nigerian states have banned open-field grazing,
but the herdsmen, desperate to feed their cattle and
goats, ignore the law. With millions of people being
displaced from increasingly arid northern Nigeria,
the government must take action to resettle these
climate refugees peacefully. It’s time for Nigeria to
start encouraging cattle ranching instead of nomadic grazing—by offering federal grants for land
and access to high-yield grasses that will allow animals to be raised year after year in the same fields.
The nomadic way of life can’t be sustained when
it encroaches on others’ livelihoods. The climate is
changing—Nigerians will have to change with it.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Talking points
Nassar: How a predator got away with abuse for decades
The gymnastics world has long valued
“He gave them gifts, invited them to his
“medals over morals,” said Hadley Freehouse, and brought them ice packs and
man in Consider “the
wiped away the blood when they were
notoriously brutal regime at the Karolyi
injured,” said Christine Hauser and Maya
Ranch,” in Texas, where Nassar carried out
Salam in The New York Times. Over the
much of his abuse. Under fierce Romanian
years, young female gymnasts were told to
coaching legends Bela and Marta Karolyi,
view Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar as a “sports
young female Team USA athletes were “so
medicine guru” and “magician” who could
deprived of food and water they would
relieve their pain and improve their perforbeg their male teammates to bring them
mance. But last week, in a Michigan courtsnacks.” These girls were groomed from
room, 156 “sister survivors” lined up to tell
a young age to ignore pain, and to believe
graphic stories of the sexual abuse they sufthat suffering is the path to greatness. No
fered at the hands of the former U.S. OlymStephens confronts Nassar: A cathartic act
wonder sexual abuse was rife. A 2016
pic and Michigan State University osteopath.
report found that in the past two decades, at least 368 gymnasts
In the guise of medical treatment, Nassar molested girls and teens
have alleged sexual abuse by coaches and other adults.
in various ways, but his specialty was “pelvic manipulation”—
a process in which he aggressively penetrated girls as young as 6
If we’re suddenly paying attention to their plight, it’s thanks to “the
vaginally and anally with his ungloved fingers, sometimes for as
transformative justice of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina,” said Sophie
long as 15 minutes. In her testimony, Olympic gold medalist Aly
Gilbert in Her decision to allow 156 women to
Raisman stared Nassar down, saying, “Imagine how it feels to be
detail the agony they endured under Nassar—and live-stream it to
an innocent teenager in a foreign country, hearing a knock on the
the world—was a watershed moment for sexual abuse survivors
door—and it was you.” Another Nassar victim, Kyle Stephens,
said her father refused to believe her for years—and then commit- everywhere. Testifying about abuse can be a harrowing ordeal for
ted suicide over his failure to protect her. “Little girls don’t stay lit- survivors; under Aquilina’s guidance, it turned into an empowering
tle forever,” Stephens told Nassar. “They grow into strong women act of “catharsis.” Even world-famous athletes like Raisman spoke
of how confronting Nassar enabled them to overcome their own
that return to destroy your world.” These brave young women
finally received some justice when Nassar, 54, was sentenced to up self-doubts. “It wasn’t until I started watching...the other brave survivors,” said Raisman, “that I realized I, too, needed to be here.”
to 175 years in prison.
Nassar’s lengthy prison sentence “is just Step One,” said Sally Jenkins in The Washington Post. “Step Two” is establishing why the
U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics, and Michigan
State enabled the biggest sexual abuse scandal in sports history.
At least 14 Michigan State representatives received reports of
sexual misconduct by Nassar as early as 1997, The Detroit News
reported. Those complaints weren’t just “ignored,” said Steve
Siebold in The anger was “redirected at the girls,”
who were told they didn’t understand the “nuances” of Nassar’s
intravaginal treatments. Meanwhile, McKayla Maroney was paid
$1.25 million by USA Gymnastics to keep quiet. The USA Gymnastics board resigned in the wake of last week’s hearing, but they
and officials at the USOC and Michigan State should face possible
criminal prosecution for protecting this “monster.”
We can all learn an important lesson from this terrible story, said
Frank Bruni in The New York Times. Nassar’s modus operandi—
“grooming” both his victims and the adults around them—is classic
pedophile behavior. We saw it with Jerry Sandusky at Penn State,
and with thousands of Roman Catholic priests. In all those cases,
supposedly “respected” members of the community spent years
cultivating their young victims and parents—portraying themselves
as altruistic authority figures who could improve kids’ lives. Nassar offered a route to Olympic medals. Sandusky’s victims’ families were “dazzled” by the “football glory” at Penn State. Priests
posed as agents of God. In condemning these men as monsters, we
shouldn’t overlook that they follow a common technique for gaining intimate access to young people—and looking out for it is the
best way “to protect children from the other Nassars out there.”
USA Today
QAmerica’s opioid epidemic is on
track to claim 1 million lives by 2020.
Every day, more than 175 Americans
die from drug overdoses—the equivalent of a 737 crashing and killing all the
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
passengers on board every single day.
USA Today
QA photojournalist took a photo of then–
Sen. Barack Obama smiling as he stood
side by side with Nation of Islam leader
Louis Farrakhan at a Congressional Black
Caucus meeting in 2005, but kept it hidden
for more than a decade to protect Obama.
The photographer,
Askia Muhammad,
said a Black Caucus staff member
called him to say
“we have to have
that picture back,”
because they knew
any association with Farrakhan—who has
made racist and anti-Semitic comments—
might hurt Obama’s chances of making a
future presidential run. Muhammad kept a
copy of the photo for himself.
QTwelve lawmakers have resigned from
office since the 115th Congress began on
Jan. 3, 2017—the most for any congressional session since 1901. New presidents
always lead to some resignations, as
lawmakers quit to join the administration.
But three of the four most recent members to resign did so over sexual misconduct allegations.
Getty, Askia Muhammad
Q Washington lobbyists spent $3.34 billion
trying to influence Congress in 2017—the
highest level in seven years—as corporations, trade groups, and other interests
sought to shape tax-cut legislation, regulatory issues, and other policies during
President Trump’s first year. “Lobbyists appear not to have gotten the memo about
draining the swamp,” said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics.
Talking points
The Doomsday Clock: Apocalypse soon?
is that the chances of nuclear
“Do you hear a faint, forewar with North Korea
boding ticking off in the disremain “incredibly small,”
tance?” asked Oliver Roeder
because Kim Jong Un knows
that any use of his nuclear
Alarmed by increasing nuclear
arsenal would result in a devtensions with North Korea
astating counterattack. The
and Iran, climate change, and
Doomsday Clock “is more a
the belligerence and unpredictpublic relations device than
ability of President Trump,
a calculation of real-world
the Bulletin of the Atomic
probabilities,” and it does no
Scientists moved its metaIt’s now two minutes to midnight.
one any service by exaggeratphorical Doomsday Clock
ing and oversimplifying the risks we face.
ahead 30 seconds last week. It’s now set at two
minutes to midnight, marking the closest human“Yes, the clock’s a gimmick,” said Rachel Becker
ity has theoretically been to annihilation since
in Even its creators acknowledge
1953, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested
that it’s impossible to come up with a precise
the first hydrogen bombs. The clock is set by
indicator of existential risk. But it’s “the gimthe Bulletin’s science and security board, which
mick we need.” The point is to get people
weighs existential threats to humanity, including
talking about the urgent issues facing humannuclear war, a global pandemic, and malevolent
ity, whether it’s rising oceans, killer robots, or
artificial intelligence. The group includes experts
nuclear destruction. Good luck with that, said
in cybersecurity, nuclear policy, and environmenRobinson Meyer in One of
tal science, with multiple Nobel laureates among
the most depressing things about last week’s
them. And they’re very worried.
announcement is that it underscores just how
numb Americans have gotten to the daily deluge
Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric is admittedly
of disturbing headlines, from melting ice caps to
alarming, said Michael Cohen in The Boston
Globe, but the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is Russia’s election hacking to the ongoing military
overreacting. Are we really closer to Armageddon buildup on the Korean Peninsula. “So when a
than we were during the Cold War, when the U.S. board of experts tells them that catastrophe is at
hand, they read the news and think: Yep. And
and the Soviet Union had tens of thousands of
nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert? The reality then they wonder what’s for lunch.”
Trump: A Davos man now
When President Trump dropped into Davos last
week, he was entering “the lion’s den,” said Larry
Kudlow in With his populist impulses and disdain for international norms,
Trump used to be reviled by the “elitist heads of
state, EU bureaucrats, and international CEOs”
who attend the annual World Economic Forum
meeting in Switzerland. But he was welcomed
to the glitzy mountaintop event with open arms.
After an arrival ceremony fit for a rock star, the
president delivered a well-received speech in which
he eschewed his usual anti–free trade rhetoric,
declared the U.S. “open for business,” and invited
foreign corporations to invest in the U.S. “America first,” Trump said, “does not mean America
alone.” The Davos crowd was visibly relieved,
said Peter Goodman and Keith Bradsher in The
New York Times. Many departed the Swiss mountains feeling that Trump’s “extreme positions” on
trade were just “aggressive bargaining postures”—
and that there was “more method to [his] fits of
pique than they assumed.”
The reason Trump received a “hero’s welcome”
in Davos is simple, said Charles Gasparino in
the New York Post. His pro-business tax cut and
deregulation policies have sparked “sustained
economic growth” and a “roaring stock market.”
Even corporate leaders allied with the Democrats,
such as JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman
Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, were singing Trump’s
praises. “It’s hard to argue with success.” But the
Davos love-in also highlighted the emptiness of
the president’s populist rhetoric, said John Cassidy
in Having won office promising
to tackle Wall Street greed and fight for “hardpressed working-class voters,” Trump has instead
signed a tax bill that explicitly favors corporations
and the wealthy. His administration is a “plutocratic government in a populist overcoat.”
Trump may have run as a populist, said Stephen
Collinson in, but he clearly relished
his acceptance by “the global elite.” As a selfpromoting, Queens-born real estate magnate in
New York, he was always scorned by the city’s
old-money business titans. At the White House
Correspondents dinner in 2011, he was “lacerated” by President Obama as the “DC in-crowd
hooted at his humiliation.” But in Davos, Trump
was not only sitting at the global establishment’s
top table—he was the main draw. At 71, he had
“finally claimed his place among the global elite
whose members had long spurned him.”
Wit &
“Common sense and
a sense of humor are the
same thing.”
Clive James, quoted in
The New Yorker
“All of us have to learn
how to invent our lives,
make them up, imagine
them. If we don’t, our lives
get made up for us by
other people.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, quoted in
“It ain’t what they call you,
it’s what you answer to.”
W.C. Fields, quoted in
The Buffalo News
“Don’t tell your problems
to people. Eighty percent
don’t care, and the
other 20 percent are glad
you have them.”
Football legend Lou Holtz,
quoted in
“Davos is where billionaires tell millionaires how
the middle class feels.”
Jamie Dimon, quoted in
The Washington Post
“Every book is the wreck
of a perfect idea.”
Iris Murdoch, quoted in
“Statesmen should
remember that they have
been elected to persuade
and to lead, and not just to
accept as fixed the momentary moods and pernicious
prejudices of the public.”
Historian Stanley
Hoffman, quoted in
The Wall Street Journal
Poll watch
Q90% of U.S. voters
agree that it is important that a president be
a “good role model for
children.” But 67% say
that Trump is not a good
role model for kids. 29%
say that he is a good role
model, including 72% of
Republicans. Overall, 27%
say they are proud to
have Trump as president,
while 53% say they are
Quinnipiac University
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Should we be worried
about North Korea?
After a year of sky-high tensions on the
Korean Peninsula, fears of potential missile tests or worse by North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un during the Games—which
take place just 50 miles from the North
Korean border—have been calmed in
recent weeks. In early January, North
Korea reopened a long-suspended hotline used for communicating with the
South, and shortly after, North and South
Korea agreed to have their athletes march
together under one flag at the opening
ceremony. The North has also agreed
to send 22 athletes, including 12 female
Members of the
ice hockey players who will form a uniMongolian ski team
fied women’s ice hockey team with
pose at a beach
South Korean athletes—the first time the
near Pyeongchang.
two Koreas, which have technically been
at war since the 1950s, have fielded a
joint team at the Olympics. Still, the gestures don’t mean
that tensions over North Korea’s missile program have
been defused. South Korea has promised that 5,000 memThe 2018 Winter Games will open in Pyeongchang,
bers of its military will be on duty at the Games, and
South Korea, on Feb. 9. Here’s what you need to know. North Korea has signaled it may hold a large-scale military parade on Feb. 8, in a potential show of force on the
What’s new at these Games?
eve of the opening ceremony.
A bunch of new events. For the first time, Olympians will compete
in mass-start speed skating, in which as many as 24 skaters race
Any other drama expected?
simultaneously; mixed-doubles curling; mixed-team Alpine skiing;
For the first time since 1994, no National Hockey League players
and big air snowboarding, wherein competitors launch themselves
will be competing. Among the league’s reasons for pulling out of
off a 160-foot-high ramp, the largest of its kind in the world. All
the Games are the 17-day disruption to the season that attendance
in all, there will be 102 events across 15 sports, including bobsledwould require and the IOC’s refusal this year to pay for accomding, figure skating, luge, and ski jumping. Another first this year:
modations, insurance, and other costs on behalf of players. The
NBC, the official U.S. broadcaster of the Games, will feature live
National Hockey League Players’ Association strongly dissented
coverage of events during U.S. prime time, across all time zones.
in a public statement: “This is the NHL’s decision, and its alone. It
Pyeongchang is 14 hours ahead of the East Coast and 17 hours
is very unfortunate for the game, the players, and millions of loyal
ahead of the West Coast, which means far fewer events on tape
hockey fans.” Instead of the usual hockey pros on the ice, college,
delay in which the medal winners are already known. Also: Russia
minor-league, and international players will fill out Team USA’s
has been banned from competing at the Games, because of its
roster, captained by 2006 Olympian Brian Gionta, a 39-year-old
state-backed doping program and an elaborate cheating scheme it
free agent. Gionta chose not to sign with an NHL team this season
carried out when it hosted the last Winter Games, in Sochi in 2014. in order to compete in Pyeongchang.
The Olympics: A briefing
Not quite. Russia is still sending a team of 169 athletes to
Pyeongchang, where they will compete as individual “Olympic
athletes from Russia” under a neutral flag. These athletes have
been approved by the International Olympic Committee for currently being drug-free and having a history of passing drug tests.
The size of the delegation is not substantially different from the
size of past Russian teams—232 athletes at the Sochi Games and
177 in Vancouver in 2010—raising questions about whether the
IOC’s punishment has actually accomplished anything. The IOC
announced the ban in December, saying an investigation had
concluded that at Sochi Russian government agents replaced
the urine samples of athletes who were using performanceenhancing drugs with clean samples. In addition to
banning those athletes, the IOC stripped the Russian
Olympic Committee of 13 of its medals from the 2014
Games, and fined it $15 million. The country’s flag
will not be allowed to fly in Pyeongchang, and
its anthem will not be played, even if a Russian
national wins a gold.
18 | THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Who might be the breakout stars of Team USA?
There will be a number of familiar faces, including veteran
Olympians such as snowboarder Shaun White and alpine ski
racer Lindsey Vonn, competing for medals. But there is also a raft
of young athletes who are already breaking boundaries: Maame
Biney, an 18-year-old who was born in Ghana, has become the
first African-American woman to qualify for the Olympic speed
skating team, and Boston University student Jordan
Greenway will be the first black hockey player of
either sex to compete on Team USA. Freestyle skier
and Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon are the first openly gay
men to represent the U.S. at a Winter Games.
Other standouts include Chloe Kim, who
at 17 could be the youngest female snowboarder ever to take home the gold, and
18-year-old Nathan Chen, who is a favorite
for a figure-skating medal after pulling off a
staggering five quadruple jumps when he
Maame Biney
won the nationals in January.
Getty, AP
So there won’t be any Russian athletes?
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Internet: Can states save net neutrality?
more powerful than you could possibly
Federal Communications Commission Chairimagine.” The fact that so many politicians
man Ajit Pai “spent 2017 dismantling
and lawyers are “champing at the bit to
Obama-era rules on net neutrality. A handful
fight” shows that the FCC’s handling of the
of lawmakers in liberal-leaning states plan
matter was “incredibly shady; regulations
to spend 2018 building them back up,”
don’t normally get overturned this fast.”
said Joshua Brustein in
Questions abound about Pai’s speed in pushLegislatures in at least six states, including
ing for repeal, not to mention the “millions
California, Massachusetts, and Washington,
of fake online comments” in favor of overhave introduced bills to restore net neutralturning the rules. Democrats correctly sense
ity rules within their borders, and last week,
that, come the fall, protecting net neutrality
the Democratic governors of New York and
will be “a vote winner on which all levels of
Montana both signed orders barring state
FCC Chairman Pai: Taking the heat
elections could turn.” At stake is “nothing
agencies from doing business with internet
less than the health of our open society,” said The Boston Globe
providers that “block or slow down certain web traffic.” States
in an editorial. If the federal government is unwilling to protect a
are also taking the FCC to court: Last month, 21 state attorneys
general filed a lawsuit calling the FCC’s December decision to roll free and open internet, “then state and local government must.”
back net neutrality rules “arbitrary and capricious.” The federal
“Should more states adopt their own net neutrality rules, it could
agency clearly anticipated all this pushback, having included a
result in a patchwork of differing regulations,” said Brian Fung
provision that forbids states from creating their own net neutralin The Washington Post. AT&T, fearing such a nightmarish sceity regulations. But states aren’t alone: A resolution undoing the
nario, began campaigning last week to head off the states. ClaimFCC’s net neutrality repeal has the declared support of 50 U.S.
senators, and the Internet Association, a trade group representing ing it “does not block or slow down websites,” the company
called for Congress to “draft a national law on net neutrality that
Amazon, Facebook, and Google, has joined the legal fight.
would resolve the patchwork problem and settle the net neutrality
debate.” AT&T is right, said John Kneuer in LawIf Pai and his cohorts thought their decision would settle the net
makers should ensure Pai’s sensible decision stands firm, and that
neutrality matter last year, they are now under no such illusion,
it isn’t undone by the next administration. Only Congress can
said Chris Taylor in “As Obi-Wan Kenobi might
resolve the debate “once and for all.”
have told them: Strike down net neutrality, and it will become
Bytes: What’s new in tech
Apple expands health data
A minuscule new robot prototype,
“small enough to move around in
a stomach or urinary system,” can
walk, jump, roll, and swim—and
could soon be deployed to deliver
drugs within the body, said James
Gorman in The New York Times. The
tiny bot, developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for
Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart,
Germany, measures just 1/7 of an
inch and is made of elastomer rubber, which is embedded with small,
magnetic particles. Using external
magnetic fields, scientists can twist
and turn the bot’s body into a wide
variety of positions. The prototype
has already shown that it can jump
over obstacles and crawl through
narrow tunnels, and can also move
minute objects by rolling around
them and depositing them elsewhere. Although the device has yet
to be tested on humans, Metin Sitti,
who leads the research team, says
that step will take place soon.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Apple has unveiled a new feature allowing users “to automatically download and
see parts of their medical records on their
iPhones,” said Natasha Singer in The New
York Times. Included as part of its popular
Health app, the feature signals the tech giant’s
“growing ambitions in the digital health market.” Apple says users will be able to transfer
clinical data such as cholesterol levels and lists
of medications prescribed by their doctors
“directly from their medical providers to their
iPhones.” A dozen major medical institutions,
including Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, are participating. Apple says any consumer medical
data it compiles will be encrypted and stored
locally on iPhones and will not be visible to
Apple “unless the user chooses to share it.”
Snapchat permits outside sharing
“Snapchat has cracked open its walled garden,” said Georgia Wells in The Wall Street
Journal. The social media app will soon begin
allowing users to share videos and stories generated within Snapchat outside of its app. A
new redesign will permit the sharing of Snaps
to social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as via email and text. The move
demonstrates Snap’s readiness “to evolve beyond the basis for the app’s early popularity”:
disappearing, one-on-one messages and
cloistered social groups. Snap’s primary rivals,
Twitter and Facebook, began permitting the
outside sharing of posts in 2011 and 2013,
respectively. The redesign was launched this
week in Australia and Canada and will be
available in the U.S. in several weeks.
Spotify adds news, sports, and politics
“Spotify will begin offering news and political coverage to lure listeners away from radio
and podcasts,” said Lucas Shaw in Bloomberg
.com. The world’s largest paid music service
has already targeted archrival Apple by hosting
many of the podcasts available on iTunes. Its
latest initiative, dubbed Spotlight, has drafted
eight media companies, including BuzzFeed
and Refinery29, to produce daily programming. Initially available only to Spotify’s U.S.
customers, Spotlight will kick off with a daily
newscast “featuring reporting from BuzzFeed
journalists.” The new shows debut this month
and cover news, sports, politics, and pop culture. Although the as-yet-unprofitable streaming service “almost single-handedly reversed
the record industry’s long decline,” it clearly
has its eyes on the $18 billion radio ad market.
Newscom, screenshot (3)
Innovation of the week
Health & Science
Concussions not the only cause of CTE
Most research into the causes of chronic
traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease associated with
former professional football players, has
focused on concussions. But a major
new study has confirmed that CTE can
also result from repeated, seemingly
minor blows to the head—not just the
big collisions that leave players woozy
or unconscious. Researchers examined
the brains of four teenage athletes who
died within four months of sustaining a
sports-related head injury. One was posthumously diagnosed with CTE; the others
had brain changes associated with the
condition. To determine the cause of CTE,
scientists then exposed mice to repeated
In Phoenix, 120 degrees is no longer uncommon.
Record temperatures, again
Getty (3)
In yet another worrying sign of how much
our planet is warming, NASA scientists
have reported that 2017 was the secondhottest year on record. A strong El Niño—
the weather phenomenon in the Pacific
Ocean that tends to temporarily increase
global temperatures—helped make 2016 the
warmest year since reliable record-keeping
began in 1880. Because 2017 was not an
El Niño year, climate scientists expected it
to be notably cooler; instead, NASA found
that global average surface temperatures
dipped only slightly from 2016, and were a
substantial 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above
the mid-20th-century average. A separate
report from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, which uses a
different methodology, ranks 2017 as the
third-hottest year on record, at 1.51 degrees
above the previous century’s average. Both
reports indicate that the planet’s long-term
warming trend, which is being driven
mainly by human activity, shows no sign
of slowing down, reports The New York
Times. “This is the new normal,” says
NASA’s Gavin Schmidt. “In 10 years we’re
going to say, ‘Oh look, another record
decade of warming temperatures.’”
Don’t stop when you retire
A sunny and stress-free retirement has
head trauma akin to what football players experience during a game or military
personnel face during combat. They found
that the rodents’ brains showed the same
signs of CTE-associated pathologies as
the athletes’ brains did—even when the
animals had displayed no signs of concussion. Lead author Lee Goldstein of Boston
University says about 20 percent of known
cases of human CTE involve no record of
concussion. “The concussions we see on
the ballfield or the battlefield—those people are going to get attention,” he tells the
Los Angeles Times. “We’re really worried
about the many more people who are getting hit and getting hurt—their brain is
getting hurt—but are not getting help. It’s
long been part of the American Dream.
But a new study suggests that once people
ditch the daily grind, their brain function
takes a dramatic nosedive, reports The
Daily Telegraph (U.K.). Researchers from
University College London and King’s
College London monitored the brain function of about 3,400 British civil servants
over 30 years, a period covering both the
later part of their careers and the first
14 years of their retirement. The cognitive tests showed that the workers’ verbal
memory declined 38 percent faster once
they retired—a change that affected even
high-ranking employees who used to have
mentally challenging jobs. The researchers stress that staying mentally active and
socially engaged during retirement helps
protect against cognitive decline. Cary
Cooper, an expert in organizational psychology from Manchester Business School
in England, says that rather than just doing
sudokus or crosswords, seniors should try
their hand at something completely different from what they did in their jobs. “If
you worked in the civil service all your life,
why not go and help out in a hospital or
teach?” he says. “The most important thing
is to interact with people.”
The spice that boosts memory
An active compound found in the Indian
spice turmeric could help improve memory
and ease depression among those with agerelated mental decline, new research
suggests. Scientists at UCLA gathered 40 volunteers between 50 and
90 years old, all with some
memory complaints but
none with dementia.
Each person was randomly assigned to take
either a supplement of
curcumin or a placebo pill
twice a day for 18 months;
Ordinary hits can inflict cumulative damage.
the hits, not the concussions, that cause
CTE.” CTE can currently be diagnosed only
during an autopsy, but those suspected of
suffering from the disease tend to exhibit
symptoms including memory loss, confusion, impulsivity, and depression.
over that period they were given memory
tests, mood questionnaires, and brain scans
to detect the clumps of plaque associated
with Alzheimer’s disease. The results were
striking: Those taking curcumin saw a
28 percent improvement in their memory
function, compared with a slight decline
for those in the placebo group. They also
had better mood scores and less plaque
buildup in two brain regions responsible
for memory, decision making, and emotion.
“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is
not certain,” study leader Gary Small tells “But it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has
been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and
major depression.”
Health scare of the week
Catching obesity
Obesity may effectively be contagious.
Researchers collected weight and height
data for 1,519 military families who had
been assigned to 38 military bases across
the U.S. They then compared this data
with obesity rates in the counties in which
the bases were located, which ranged from
21 to 38 percent. They found that the people who had moved to communities with
higher rates of obesity were more likely to
become obese themselves—and that the
longer they remained in those areas, the
greater their risk. The researchers argue
that there is a subconscious influence, or
“social contagion,” that plays a role in obesity. “Living in a community where obesity
is more common can make sedentary
lifestyles, unhealthy eating [and] obesity
more socially acceptable,” lead author
Ashlesha Datar, from the University of
Southern California, tells MedicalExpress
.com. The good news? Living in areas
with low obesity rates appears to have the
opposite effect, reducing the likelihood that
people will be overweight.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Pick of the week’s cartoons
For more political cartoons, visit:
Review of reviews: Books
Willick in The Wall Street Journal. After
showing how much a democratic republic
suffers when ideological opponents paint
one another as treasonous, the authors do
“just that,” blaming Republicans almost
entirely for the hyperpartisanship that’s
increasingly consumed Washington since
1980. Though America today may be more
ripe than ever for the rise of an autocrat,
Trump isn’t necessarily the person who’ll fill
that role. It could be a leader of “an entirely
different ideological persuasion.”
Book of the week
How Democracies Die
by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
(Crown, $26)
If the year ahead doesn’t go quite right,
“the American system of government could
very well collapse,” said Matt Yglesias in That’s the frightening possibility
any reader must consider after absorbing
the urgent warnings of Steven Levitsky
and Daniel Ziblatt’s new book. The two
Harvard scholars are experts on how
democracies slide into authoritarianism,
and they make a credible case that the U.S.
under Donald Trump is following the path
of 1920s Italy, late-1990s Venezuela, and
today’s Turkey. An autocrat in the making,
we learn, is typically an elected outsider
who disdains norms, questions the legitimacy of political foes, tolerates violence,
and shows a willingness to curtail the free
press. That should sound familiar, said
Jonathan Chait in Indeed, “it
is hard to read this fine book without coming away terribly concerned about the possibility that Trump might inflict a mortal
Novel of the week
Frankenstein in Baghdad
by Ahmed Saadawi
(Penguin, $16)
Ahmed Saadawi has created a modern
monster fable that’s “funny and horrifying
in a near-perfect admixture,” said Dwight
Garner in The New York Times. In 2005
Baghdad, a scavenger who collects and
stitches together body parts has inadvertently created a ghastly fiend that begins
roaming a city already shattered by car
bombs and IEDs. The “Whatsitsname”
smells awful, looks worse, and begins
granting media interviews after being
blamed for a series of murders. But as
sly as Saadawi’s tone can be, “his intentions are deadly serious.” In this “brave
and ingenious” book, he unpacks every
trauma of a war the U.S. started. The
story’s momentum flags slightly whenever the Whatsitsname disappears from
the page, said Rayyan Al-Shawaf in the
Chicago Tribune. But Saadawi’s decision to endow his monster with all the
worst traits of post-invasion Iraq pays
off again and again. Every faction winds
up associating the Whatsitsname with a
rival group rather than recognizing it as a
common foe. Instead of breaking down
biases, it “ends up reinforcing them.”
A protester toting a symbol of civic distress
wound on the health of the republic.”
Alas, the very strength of the co-authors’
historical analysis “renders ridiculous”
their suggestion that Trump could be a
budding Mussolini, said Yuval Levin in
The Weekly Standard. “Trump certainly
lacks a moral compass” and is “unfit for his
job,” but compared with the driven leaders
who elsewhere seized authoritarian powers, he’s “almost comically unfocused.” The
co-authors are no more convincing when
they try to diagnose how U.S. democracy
became vulnerable to a crack-up, said Jason
The Monk of Mokha
by Dave Eggers
(Knopf, $29)
It all began with
a statue, said
Tim Adams in
Mokhtar Alkhanshali, an “extraordinary” young YemeniAmerican, was 25
and working as a San
Francisco doorman
when he learned that
a towering bronze figure across the street
depicted a Yemeni monk drinking coffee.
Yemen, it turned out, was the world’s forgotten cradle of coffee farming and roasting,
and the discovery inspired Alkhanshali to
embark on an “insane” but ultimately successful mission: He would single-handedly
resurrect the moribund Yemen coffee trade
and bring the product to the U.S. In Dave
Eggers’ telling, Alkhanshali’s tale “starts
out as a story of the frustration of secondgeneration immigrant assimilation” and
“ends as a kind of breathless thriller.” It’s
entertaining throughout, and because it
arrives at a time when Muslim Americans
are being vilified, “no story is more urgent.”
Placing so much focus on Trump also risks
obscuring the deeper trouble, said The
Economist. Americans’ true concern should
be the “large, slow-rolling, yet remorseless
political forces” that have been pulling the
nation apart for decades. As Levitsky and
Ziblatt point out, the U.S. has only been a
racially diverse democracy since the mid1960s, and the Washington in which civility
and compromise reigned belonged to an era
whose leaders accepted that people of color
would not enjoy all the privileges of white
citizens. “The parties have been sorting
themselves along racial and class lines ever
since,” creating a social fissure that remains
“a grave threat to the republic.”
It’s also the story of coffee, “one of the
most consequential crops in the history of
civilization,” said Paul Constant in the Los
Angeles Times. “By far” the most interesting section of the book is its middle, when
Alkhanshali is learning all about coffee and
its history—how it has driven conquest,
colonization, and the exploitation of labor.
Alkhanshali emerges as an idealist and a
quick study, able to persuade hundreds of
farmers in war-torn Yemen to switch to coffee growing. But Eggers makes him a little
too perfect. When our hero encounters bigots, he’s “prone to rearing back and delivering perfect speeches that shame villains into
realizing the errors of their ways.”
Eggers ought to know better, said Parul
Sehgal in The New York Times. His 2009
best-seller, Zeitoun, also spotlighted a model
immigrant, and that man later had to fight
charges that he’d attempted to murder his
wife. “Eggers wants to humanize immigrants, but in his telling, something very
different seems to occur”: His protagonists
are so impossibly motivated, resilient, and
forgiving that they come across as supermen
more than imperfect souls like the rest of
us. Hats off to the overachievers. But there
was a time, not so long ago, when to make
a home in this country “it was enough to
yearn to breathe free.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Author of the week
Erica Garza
Erica Garza didn’t have to go
public about her struggle with
sex addiction, said Elyssa
Goodman in The
35-year-old essayist is not,
after all, a celebrity caught in
a scandal, and she has already
gained control over her problem, through
therapy and a
12-step program. But in
Getting Off,
her frank new
memoir just
by Simon &
Schuster, Garza argues that
nothing feeds sex addiction
like silence. Growing up in
a Catholic household and
attending parochial school,
Garza heard little about sex
except that it was sinful. Thus,
when she started masturbating at age 12, she experienced
a mix of shame and excitement that fueled an obsessive
habit. That led to more damaging habits: daylong porn
binges, unprotected hookups
that destroyed valuable relationships. “I became a shell of
a person, isolated, on a path to
certain destruction,” she says.
Garza occasionally worries
that some readers will learn
the wrong lessons from
her experience, said Arwa
Mahdawi in TheGuardian
.com. After all, she began
taming the addiction just
before meeting her future
husband six years ago. Some
media outlets, she says,
have “minimized my story
by saying that I was saved by
a man—that’s not the whole
story.” It also bothers her
that some profiles, instead
of recognizing the need to
break down the shame many
women feel about their sexuality, have presented her as a
woman who deserves to be
ostracized. At least she’s not
especially wounded by such
judgments: “I feel like nobody
is going to be able to shame
me more than I’ve already
shamed myself,” she says.
“They can certainly try. But
that’s on them. I’m past that.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The Book List
Best books...chosen by John Banville
John Banville, who won a Man Booker Prize for The Sea, has written 18 novels
under his own name and 10 more as crime novelist Benjamin Black. His latest novel,
Mrs. Osmond, will be followed late this month by Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir.
The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
(Faber & Faber, $24). As fiction, these four
novels—Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, and
Clea—are post-Romantic piffle, but as a celebration of a city and a distillation of the “spirit
of place” they are without peer, with some of
the richest, most beautiful prose written in the
20th century.
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Vintage,
$16). Only a blow-in to Los Angeles—the
author was born in Chicago and educated in
London—could portray the place with such bittersweet accuracy. The Big Sleep is a jewel of a
classic crime novel.
Venice by Jan Morris (Faber & Faber, $16). This
travel writer’s work may seem a little too much on
the chatty side for some readers, but her lovingly
detailed portrait of La Serenissima is as appealing
as it is encyclopedic. Although the book was published nearly 60 years ago, it is still as fresh as a
breeze over the lagoon on a spring morning.
Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon (NYRB
Classics, $10 as an e-book). This is one of the
hardest of what Simenon described as his “hard
novels,” which followed the hundreds of pulpy
thrillers he wrote in the 1920s and ’30s. It is set
during the Second World War among a nasty
cast of petty crooks and Nazi collaborators, and
although the city is not named, it is unmistakably Liège, the Belgian author’s birthplace.
Dubliners by James Joyce (Dover, $5). Everyone,
including Joyce, considered Ulysses the definitive
literary guide to Ireland’s capital, but the volume
of short stories that preceded it catches convincingly the louse-gray hue of the place around the
start of the 20th century, the time of its final
decline as the second city of the British Empire.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Vintage, $16).
This modern masterpiece has for setting not a
city but a continent, as it is a Russian émigré’s
declaration of undying love—“I am thinking of
aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art”—
to America in the middle of the 20th century.
Also of epic time lines
How to Stop Time
The Square and the Tower
by Matt Haig (Viking, $26)
by Niall Ferguson (Penguin, $30)
Matt Haig’s far-fetched novels
“tickle your mind and tug on your
heart,” said William Skidelsky in Haig’s latest features a man who ages 15 times slower
than the normal rate, so he’s 439 but
looks about 40, and he belongs to a secret society
of similar freaks who have to change identities
regularly to evade detection. Ridiculous as all this
sounds, “the pages slip by with beguiling ease.”
Even the book’s predictable message that the
costs of such longevity outweigh its benefits “feels
properly earned.”
Niall Ferguson has invented a new
way to understand civilization’s ebbs
and flows, said Steve Donoghue in In his “remarkably
interesting” new book, the British historian proposes that power comes in
two main forms—hierarchies and networks—and
that the first is always torn down by the second.
Though he credits networks with spawning the
Enlightenment and U.S. independence, he warns
against network boosterism. Given the way networked power is expanding, his book may prove
to be “a bellwether work of the Internet Age.”
Peculiar Ground
Eternal Life
by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (Harper, $29)
by Dara Horn (Norton, $26)
Peculiar Ground is “rather more
than your usual English country
house novel,” said Nancy Pate in the
Minneapolis Star Tribune. In her fiction debut, biographer Lucy HughesHallett has used the setting of a large
enclosed estate to leap between the 17th century
and the 20th, capturing domestic dramas that play
against the broader backgrounds of sectarian violence and the escalating Cold War. In this incidentstuffed work, history has a habit of repeating itself.
“Walls and people come and go. Place abides.”
The Jewish protagonist of Dara
Horn’s new novel is, at 84, “more
world-weary than anyone can possibly imagine,” said Sam Sacks in The
Wall Street Journal. Owing to a vow
she made two millennia earlier when
she was a young woman in 1st-century Palestine,
Rachel is doomed to be reincarnated each time
she dies, which means she has raised and buried
countless children. Her story “can feel schematic,” but its message sticks: “A life without an
ending, Rachel learns, is a life without direction.”
Michael Lionstar, Rachael Lee Stroud
Review of reviews: Art & Music
Exhibit of the week
baby bibs bearing the Washington
Redskins logo, but the show also
explores the complexity of such imagery in a series of side galleries. One
focuses on the cruel Indian Removal
Act of 1830. Another gallery explores
the myth of Pocahontas, a native
woman so widely admired that in
1924, when Virginia ordered that every
citizen be registered as “white” or “colored,” many wealthy white Virginians
insisted on an exception enabling them
to preserve both their claims to whiteness and to a distant blood tie to the
17th-century Powhatan princess.
The National Museum of the American
Indian; Washington, D.C.; through 2022
For the oldest of Washington, D.C.’s
“identity” museums, “this show is a
breakthrough,” said Edward Rothstein
in The Wall Street Journal. Fourteen
years after opening its doors, the
National Museum of the American
Indian has finally found a way to
pull all Americans into a lively conversation. The institution’s current
featured exhibition gathers some 300
pop-culture artifacts that represent
how deeply Native American imagery
and language have been woven into
the dominant culture’s vernacular.
From guns (Savage Arms rifles) to butter
(Land O’Lakes) to life insurance (Mutual
of Omaha), American Indian iconography
has been used to market just about every
U.S. consumer product you can think of.
The show even includes a Tomahawk
missile. And as insulting as some of the
appropriations can be, the undeniable common denominator is an admiration for the
native people and cultures that the white
settlers of the nation exterminated and displaced. “What a strange phenomenon!”
In the history reviewed here, the year 1876
marked “perhaps the strangest moment,”
said Philip Kennicott in The Washington
Post. White troops were famously defeated
by Lakota, Arapaho, and Northern
Cheyenne at the Battle of Little Bighorn,
but then the U.S. Army quickly prevailed
in the wider war, establishing white
dominance from coast to coast. Almost
overnight, the use of Indian iconography
exploded: “It is almost as if a giant camera
went off and froze the country’s image of
the American Indian forever in time: warlike, independent, and proud.” There’s a
straight line from 1876 to contemporary
Even Thanksgiving looks different in
these halls, said Peter Schjeldahl in The
New Yorker. Co-curator Paul Chaat
Smith, a Comanche writer who in the 1970s
was a member of a radical native rights
group, contributes a short animated video
about the holiday in which he drolly jabs
white Americans for failing to live up to
the ideal of comity established at the original “brunch in the forest.” But Smith also
points out that the reason Thanksgiving was
revived and survives to this day is that commemorating that moment when two distinct
cultures met in fellowship helps Americans
aspire to be their best selves. And, as Smith
says, “However imperfectly we remember
Indians, we’re remembering Indians.”
Justin Timberlake
Ty Segall
Man of the Woods
I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
Freedom’s Goblin
Album title aside, Justin
Timberlake isn’t actually rebranding himself,
said Leah Greenblatt in
Entertainment Weekly.
On his first album since
2013, the Super Bowl
headliner and former
boy-band pinup has merely added “a thin
whiff of campfire smoke”—apparently in a
nod to his Tennessee roots—to the savvy
modern R&B he’s been making since at
least 2002. Man of the Woods offers “a grab
bag of styles and sonic mood boards”: It
stitches country imagery into the club-ready
groove of “Montana” and the fuzzed-out
rock of “Sauce,” while bringing in Chris
Stapleton to add Nashville cred to “Say
Something,” a “scruffy back-porch rambler.”
There’s “something really laudable” about
the risk-taking involved, said Alexis Petridis
in The album’s blend of
futuristic R&B, country, and Southern rock
generates “decidedly mixed” results. But
“there is some fantastic music here,” including the skeletal “Midnight Summer’s Jam,”
and “The Hard Stuff,” the latter offering “a
bewitching haze of acoustic guitar, pedal
steel, and electronics.”
In places, the new
Tune-Yards album
“plays as little more
than a high-concept
workout tape,” said
Spencer Kornhaber
That’s what can happen
when vocalist-percussionist Merrill Garbus
amps up both the dance rhythms and the
self-interrogations. Her latest effort, the first
in which she’s made a collaborator part of
Tune-Yards, is “all twitchy body music and
charged lyrics”—a voyage into one white
woman’s internal dialectic about her cultural privileges and blind spots. The effect
is undoubtedly self-centered, but Garbus is
an “ever-surprising monologuist,” and the
Tune-Yards sound continues to be “disorienting yet playful.” The core of that sound
“remains Garbus’ beat science—hypnotically looped and stuttered, driven by handclaps, drumstick clatter, and her increasingly
varied vocal displays,” said Will Hermes in
Rolling Stone. Some listeners may find the
lyrics too heavy, but I Can Feel You Creep
is “an LP determined to conjure kinetic joy
while staring down our present cultural
fright show,” and it’s prickliness works.
Ty Segall “never met a
retro sound he couldn’t
pull apart and recontextualize,” said Greg Kot
in the Chicago Tribune.
The prolific garage
rocker has made his
name with unpolished,
energetic homages to punk and classic
rock, and the 30-year-old Californian is
back with plenty more on his 10th album,
which “plays like a 19-song, 75-minute
tour of Segall’s record collection.” As he
hopscotches from “wispy” folk to speed
metal, “with shots of psychedelia, garage,
and even disco” thrown in, there’s ample
pleasure in the “free-form randomness.”
But because Segall’s self-titled 2017 album
offered a similar career overview, Freedom’s
Goblin can seem “almost too much of a
good thing.” Still, it’s hard to resist an album
whose animating force is a sense of play,
said Terence Cawley in The Boston Globe.
Whether Segall is passing the mike to his
wife for the punk song “Meaning” or having his saxophonist liven up “The Main
Pretender” with a squawking, repeated riff,
“every decision feels intended to maximize
fun, for musicians and listeners alike.”
Typical hero worship on a 1940s apple crate
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Movies on TV
Monday, Feb. 5
The Birth of a Nation
Slave and preacher Nat
Turner leads an armed
rebellion in 1831 Virginia
in a powerful drama from
actor-director Nate Parker,
who once looked like just
the star Hollywood needed.
(2016) 8 p.m., Cinemax
Tuesday, Feb. 6
In one of Alfred Hitchcock’s
trickiest suspense thrillers,
two arrogant New Yorkers
attempt to pull off a perfect murder, then host a
dinner party at the site of
the crime. (1948) 8:30 p.m.,
Starz Encore
Wednesday, Feb. 7
2001: A Space Odyssey
A deep-space mission
turns terrifying in Stanley
Kubrick’s trippy epic when
the craft is taken over by its
artificial intelligence system. (1968) 8 p.m., TCM
Thursday, Feb. 8
San Francisco
Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy,
and Jeanette MacDonald
team up for a drama about
a boxer, a priest, a young
nightclub singer, and
1906’s big earthquake.
(1936) 8 p.m., TCM
Friday, Feb. 9
Mel Brooks’ Star Wars
spoof lands again, ready
to refresh devotees’ love
of such lines as “May the
Schwartz be with you.”
(1987) 8 p.m., IFC
Saturday, Feb. 10
Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot plays DC
Comics’ Amazon warrior
princess in a blockbuster
adaptation that felt perfect for its moment. (2017)
8 p.m., HBO
Sunday, Feb. 11
Risky Business
Tom Cruise became a star
when he rocked out in a
pair of tighty-whities at
the opening of this romcom about a high schooler
determined to lose his
innocence. (1983) 6:20 p.m.,
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
American Experience: The Gilded Age
We live, it’s often said, in a new Gilded Age. But
how well do we understand the first one, and
how the debates it sparked still resonate? In this
two-hour special, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan,
and other titans lead a rush to unprecedented
wealth for a fortunate few while anger builds
in the factories and on the farms and eventually
explodes in a populist uprising. Until the 1896
presidential election, the rules of modern capitalism were very much up for grabs. Tuesday,
Feb. 6, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings
Queer Eye
Even the most fabulous makeover reality series
of 2005 needs an occasional refresh. Moving
from cable to Netflix, the former Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy returns with a new “Fab Five”
crew of gay tastemakers ready to help straight
folks improve their lives through better choices in
fashion, decor, and diet. Available for streaming
Wednesday, Feb. 7, Netflix
Grand Prix Driver
You’re probably never going to be a Formula
One driver. But this four-part series will not
only put you in a Formula One cockpit with
900 horsepower on call; it puts you inside a
season with McLaren, one of the sport’s most
prestigious teams, as it struggles to reclaim the
glories of its recent past while its partnership
with Honda spins out of control. With Fernando
Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, and, in the narrator’s
seat, Michael Douglas. Available for streaming
Friday, Feb. 9, Amazon
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Opening Ceremony
The torch arrives in Pyeongchang, South Korea,
for two weeks of competition. Following Feb. 9’s
opening ceremony, which will get a prime-time
airing, the focus will turn to the slopes and ice.
During Week 1, look for the returns of U.S. gold
medalists Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, and
Shaun White, plus the rise of teen snowboarding
phenom Chloe Kim. Primetime coverage begins
Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m., NBC, with additional
coverage beginning two days earlier on NBC’s
cable and streaming platforms.
Alonso signing autographs in Grand Prix Driver
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
To many guitar enthusiasts, Clapton is God. This
documentary, released in theaters this past fall,
celebrates the English rock legend’s musical prowess but devotes even more energy to chronicling
his trying, troubling journey to elder statesman
status. Raised in Surrey by a woman he believed
was his mother, Clapton developed a lasting love
affair with blues guitar that powered his rise to
fame. But alcoholism, drug addiction, and one
hateful onstage rant plagued his midcareer years
before the death of his 4-year-old son in 1991
sorely tested his hard-won sobriety. Saturday,
Feb. 10, at 9 p.m., Showtime
Other highlights
Independent Lens: Winnie
Nelson Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, was always
the more controversial figure during the pair’s
long struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.
This documentary seeks to redeem her. Monday,
Feb. 5, at 10 p.m. PBS; check local listings
The Trader (Sovdagari)
Glimpse another world in this captivating short
documentary about a peddler in the Republic
of Georgia who trades his wares for potatoes.
Available for streaming Friday, Feb. 9, Netflix
The series isn’t the juggernaut it once was,
but Claire Danes’ bipolar CIA officer Carrie
Mathison remains a draw as a seventh season
begins. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 9 p.m., Showtime
Show of the week
Here and Now
Progressive paragons Robbins and Hunter
The dream of the liberal elite is alive but under
assault in Alan Ball’s Portland. In the latest
series from the creator of True Blood and Six
Feet Under, Oscar winners Tim Robbins and
Holly Hunter co-star as an academic couple
whose four grown or nearly grown children—
including adoptees from Vietnam, Liberia, and
Colombia—discover that the world of 2018 isn’t
the global clique their parents hoped it could
be. And then one of the siblings starts experiencing visions, opening up the possibility that
either he’s crazy, or the series will soon take a
daring turn. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 9 p.m., HBO
• All listings are Eastern Time.
Chris Raphael, HBO
Food & Drink
West African peanut sauce: The carbonara of half the world
There are some things you just
won’t learn at cooking school, said
JJ Johnson in Between Harlem and
Heaven (Flatiron Books). The peanut
sauce below “tastes good on everything,” and when Alexander Smalls
and I were developing a menu for a
Harlem restaurant that would celebrate the culinary heritage of the
African diaspora, we started to realize
that it belongs in the same company as
béchamel, hollandaise, and the other
“mother sauces” of French cuisine that
every Culinary Institute of America
student learns. Consider it an “AfroAsian version of carbonara,” a foundational sauce that also embodies the magic
that occurred when the African diaspora
and Asian diaspora crisscrossed centuries
ago, changing the way much of the world
cooked. We think of it as “the Mother
Africa sauce.”
Courtesy of the author, Getty
In Brazil, the Japanese and African communities live very close together, and both
eat a peanut butter and tomato sauce on
udon noodles. But this is a sauce to use
on five straight days in five different ways.
“You can pour it over a bowl of rice. You
can dice up a sweet potato and mix it in
as a stew,” and “it tastes delicious with the
meat of the chicken thigh crumbled into
the mix.”
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 lb udon noodles
1 cup shelled edamame, boiled in
salted water for 5 minutes
Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over
medium heat, add cumin seeds, and
cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add onion, carrot, tomato, celery,
garlic, bay leaf, cilantro, chile, and
lemon juice, stirring to coat vegetables
in the toasted-cumin oil. Sauté until
vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
A history of global trade routes in one pan
Recipe of the week
Udon noodles with edamame and
West African peanut sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
¾ cup diced white onion (about ½ onion)
½ cup large-diced carrot (1 carrot)
¾ cup chopped plum tomato (about 1)
¼ cup small-diced celery (1 stalk)
1 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (¼ bunch)
1 bird’s-eye chile, seeded and minced (1 tsp)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Stir in tomato paste and cook until
incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add
peanut butter and cook until oil separates
from peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Add
stock and stir, making sure to bring up all
the tomato paste and peanut butter from
the bottom of the saucepan so it is well
blended. Increase heat to medium high to
bring sauce to a simmer. Cook, stirring
occasionally, for 45 minutes. Remove bay
leaf. Using a stick immersion blender, puree
sauce in pan until smooth.
In an 8-quart pot, bring water to a boil,
salt it, and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and add noodles to
peanut sauce, tossing to coat. Plate noodles
and top with edamame. Serves 6 to 8.
Cambridge, Mass.: The three meals not to be missed
Wine: The volcanic edge
If you haven’t hung around in Harvard’s backyard
lately, “you are in for a culinary surprise,” said
Necee Regis in The Washington Post. Buttoned-up
Cambridge, Mass., is finally starting to act like part
of a global city, as a new breed of chefs has begun
combining cultures and tastes in ways that might
have confounded the “bow-tied and Marimekkofrocked diners” of a not-so-distant yesteryear. On
a one-day visit, these are the places to hit:
Café Luna Get to this MIT-area haunt early or face
a long breakfast line: “People obviously love the
Pagu’s Chef Chang
place,” thanks to the kitchen’s creative twists on traditional morning fare. Think an omelet with goat cheese, leeks, and balsamic-marinated
figs, surf-and-turf eggs Benedict, and lemon ricotta pancakes. Such flavor combos “lift
what could be mundane offerings to the sublime.” 612 Main St., (617) 576-3400
Pagu “Comfort food abounds” a block or so away at Tracy Chang’s Japanese tapas
restaurant, a great place for lunch. Chang worked in one of Spain’s top restaurants,
and her grandmother once ran Cambridge’s well-loved Tokyo restaurant, so her crosscultural pas de deux comes naturally. Try the cedar campfire black cod, the “midnight”
ramen, or the lobster roll with Asian pear. 310 Massachusetts Ave., (617) 945-9290
Waypoint The array of oysters on ice is the first thing you notice upon entering
Michael Scelfo’s seafood-centric gathering place, where chefs in the open kitchen
are whipping up creative pasta entrées like octopus polpetti with mint, chiles, and
ricotta, or bucatini with a “silky” mix of sea urchin roe, smoked egg yolk, and pecorino
cheese. Prefer a simple pizza? How about one topped with mascarpone and smoked
whitefish? 1030 Massachusetts Ave., (617) 864-2300
In Italy, “a surprising number of great
wines hail from volcanic terroirs,” said
Kerin O’Keefe in Wine Enthusiast.
Sicily’s Mount Etna might instantly pop
to mind, but the mainland also has
volcanic soil in areas from the Veneto
to Campania, and those regions produce some of the country’s “most
exciting and intriguing wines.”
2011 Tenute Sella Bramaterra ($32).
The volcanic soil of Bramaterra
elevates this nebbiolo blend, which
offers flavors of cherry, raspberry,
and white pepper.
2015 Prà Staforte Soave Classico
($25). Select slopes in Soave
have the volcanic edge, including
the source of this crisp, rounded
white that evokes pastry dough,
peach, and yellow apple.
2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano
di Avellino ($21). This golden
medium-bodied Campania wine
has scents of Bosc pear, yellow
apple, and honey, and an “energizing” mineral tone.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
This week’s dream: Five places to see exotic animals up close
Prairie Preserve State Park outside
Gainesville for a chance at seeing the most surprising animals
Florida can offer: the wild horses
and bison that wander among the
park’s trails.
A panda feeding zoo
Uganda’s mountain gorillas
I almost didn’t make it to the gorilla
enclave, said Jennifer Billock in Smithsonian
.com. The rough path my guides had bushwhacked through Uganda’s aptly named
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hardly
made our mountain climb any easier.
Fortunately, Volcanoes Safaris had enlisted
personal porters, who carried guests’ bags
and pulled us up “from muddy ledge to
muddy ledge.” Mountain gorillas, or silverbacks, are critically endangered; only 880
remain in the world, and they’re confined
to two forests in the neighboring nations
of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Treks like ours help,
generating conservation funding that has
contributed to a near doubling of the gorilla
population since 2010. Soon after we
caught up with our trackers, we were standing amid members of the silverback family
we’d been following: one male to our left,
sitting in a swarm of bugs; a female up in a
tree; and farther ahead, another female with
her baby, known as Gift—every one of them
at ease with human company. “Although we
were all enamored watching Gift tumble off
her mother’s back only to get scooped back
up into her warm embrace, or seeing the
dominant male flip upside-down to stare at
us from a new angle, the gorillas didn’t seem
to care one bit that we were there.”
Ecuador’s hummingbirds
The cloud forests of Ecuador offer “some
of the best bird viewing in the world,” said
Doug Hansen in The San Diego UnionTribune. Roughly 1,600 bird species inhabit
the country—about twice what the U.S.
can claim—and hundreds live nowhere else.
My wife and I were visiting Quito when
we learned of the Jocotoco Conservation
Foundation (, a nonprofit
that owns 11 reserves scattered across more
than 40,000 acres of protected forest. Bird
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
from around
the world
gravitate to
reserves with
massive lenses
in tow, but “you don’t have to be a hardcore bird-watcher to be mesmerized by the
dazzling display of tropical birds that swarm
to the feeders at the Jocotoco reserves.”
At Buenaventura, our favorite, Sharen
hailed me from her hammock several times
to show me toucans landing nearby. We
couldn’t get enough, though, of the hummingbirds at the feeders. Even the most
common variety, chestnut-breasted coronets,
resembled “prismatic flying jewels,” and
“nothing in our previous bird-watching
experience compared with our ability to
gaze, close up, at the frenetic procession.”
Florida’s pelicans and bison
Instead of merely escaping to a springbreak beach this winter, “you can turn your
Florida getaway into a safari,” said Bonnie
Gross in the Orlando Sentinel. From the
alligators and crocodiles that lurk in the
Everglades to the dog-size deer that are
indigenous to Big Pine Key, countless exotic
species live or winter in the Sunshine State.
In November, hundreds of manatees move
inland for four months and pack Blue Spring
State Park nearly wall to wall. Meanwhile,
white pelicans, another seasonal migrant, fly
nonstop from the mountains of the northwest to roost along both coastlines. They’re
dramatic birds, with a 9-foot wingspan—
two to three times larger than the common
brown pelican. A huge population of white
pelicans uses an island in Charlotte Harbor
as a rookery. You can observe them from
the fishing pier at Placida, which happens to be “the sort of off-the-beaten-path
spot that’s fun to discover.” Get to Paynes
Northern India’s snow leopards
I was half asleep in my tent, said Jill
Robinson in the San Francisco Chronicle,
when I heard the shout we’d all been waiting for: “Leopard! Leopard! Leopard!”
Scrambling, I grab a sweater and boots,
and sprint in my socks from my tent
toward the tracker and his telescope. In the
distance stands a snow leopard, a creature
rivaled in mystique only by yeti and unicorns. The elusive animal is at home in the
“almost supernatural” landscape of northern India’s Ladakh region, where Mountain
Travel Sobek ( helps travelers
find them. This beautiful cat is stalking
something, its long tail twitching in the air.
Crouching into a prowl, it flows over a
rocky ridge “like moonlight on snow,” then
leaps down the cliff toward a small herd
of bharal. The sheep scatter, “jumping in
all directions, like a handful of dust in the
air—poof.” We watch the graceful hunter
for five hours as it suns itself, sniffs the air,
and stalks more bharal. “I hardly notice
that I never tied my boot laces, and haven’t
yet eaten. Getting my first, and perhaps
only, glimpse of a snow leopard in the wild
is enough.”
Newscom, Doug Hansen, Oglebay Resort
A silverback gorilla, a chestnut-breasted coronet, and a red panda
“Red pandas, I’m happy to
report, are even cuter in person than they are online,” said
Sadie Dingfelder in The Washington Post.
YouTube videos of these adorably roundfaced bear-cats have been viewed millions
of times, “so clearly I’m not alone in my
obsession.” When I discovered that the
Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W.Va., is
home to a zoo that lets visitors get up close
to red pandas, I persuaded my family to
join me on a road trip. The panda experience starts at $165 for two people, and
though we were told we couldn’t pet the
pandas, we were advised that they might
climb on us while we fed them. When we
stepped into the pandas’ habitat, I nearly
swooned when the female, Amber, simply
stretched and yawned. And when I offered
a cut grape to Junji, a young male, and he
gently pulled my hand down with his paws,
“it took every ounce of my willpower to not
scoop Junji up and bury my face in his soft
red fur.” Though both pandas lost interest
in us fairly quickly, “we humans thoroughly
enjoyed the entire 20-minute encounter.”
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS: What the critics say
Behold “the most outrageous driver’s 911
of all time.” A car that “couldn’t care less
about mere progress,” the Porsche 911 GT2
RS recently demolished the record lap time
at Germany’s Nürburgring, powered by a
twin-turbocharged engine that generates
700 hp and can catapult the two-seater
from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds. That 2.7 is
no record, but the GT2 “feels like it’s been
gifted the gravity of a black hole, sucking
the world through the windshield and into
your face at approximately warp 9.”
Road & Track
There are now 23 variants of the 911, and
the GT2 “makes every other current 911 look
like a rusty VW beetle with three wheels
missing.” Other models offer more engagement for far less money, but the GT2’s “blazingly quick” automatic gearbox is a mind
reader, and the car is a gas on a track—as in
“should-not-be-possible hilarious.”
The Wall Street Journal
The “fingertip precise” four-wheel steering
system is very touchy, and that’s actually
the car’s best quality. “The GT2 RS is a
creature finely balanced between massive
power and delicate control,” a bar-raising,
“historically significant” rear-wheel-drive
sports car that most mortals will never
A new Porsche acme, from $294,250
have a chance to drive. “That’s OK: You can
barely get the GT2 RS out of second gear
on the street anyway.”
The best florists
Farmgirl Flowers
The Bouqs Co.
Farmgirl’s whimsical
Pinterest-ready bouquets change by the
day, so they’re always
unique and always
seasonal. The hipsterDIY vibe is also evident
in Farmgirl’s signature
wrapping: upcycled
coffee bags donated by
local roasters.
BloomThat accepts
orders by app for sameand next-day delivery
nationwide, and earns
points for making ordering simple and fast.
Expect a tightly edited
choice of bouquets—
some shipped in idiosyncratic vessels such as
a pitcher or tin vase.
Bouqs offers flowers
cut fresh on the farm
after you order and can
also provide same-day
service with pre-cut
stems. Delivery is free,
and the “gorgeous”
arrangements are created in partnership with
eco-conscious farmers
around the world.
From $48,
Source: Good Housekeeping
From $35,
From $40,
Lula’s Garden
Lula’s Garden offers a
range of thoroughly invogue succulents, delivered in boxes that can
double as planters. The
three-plant Valentine’s
Day box can be shipped
with a heating pack for
delivery in cold climates.
BloomNation helps
you shop online
among local florists,
cutting out the high
fees charged by
services. The results:
quirkier options, lower
prices, and the chance
to pick up your order.
From $25,
From $35,
Tip of the week...How to avoid
catching the flu on a plane
And for those who have
Best apps...For getting your life
truly organized
QWait to board. This flu season has been
“especially devastating,” so travelers should
take precautions, including limiting contact
with crowds. Hang back when people rush
the gate, and opt if you can for a window
seat, where you aren’t exposed to passersby.
QWipe everything. The bathrooms on
planes are cleaned between flights, but
there’s no guarantee your armrests and
tray table have been wiped down. Use an
alcohol-based gel or disinfecting wipe—one
that’ll kill a virus, not just bacteria.
QStay hydrated. The mucus membranes in
your mouth and nose—your best defenses
against airborne illnesses—dry out on a
plane. So drink lots of water and use a nasal
spray; they’re often sold in the terminal.
QTurn on the vent. The air blowing out of
overhead vents is, surprisingly, more likely
to push germs away from you than circulate
them from elsewhere on the plane.
Just in time for
Day, Nestlé
has unveiled
a pink
first commercially available product made
from so-called ruby chocolate. Last September, a Swiss company announced it had
discovered a fourth type of chocolate—after
dark, milk, and white—while working with
ruby cocoa beans, which produce a distinct
berry flavor. Nestlé’s new treat, officially
called the KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby,
can’t be bought in stores outside Japan or
South Korea, but Americans can order it
online from Japan, where KitKats are so
popular they’re available in more than 300
different flavors, including green tea, cherry
blossom, wasabi, and even sushi.
QTodoist is one of the most popular to-do
list apps, “and with good reason.” It has
a friendly interface, works on most every
platform, and offers plenty of advanced
features. It lets you prioritize tasks, nest
specific to-do items within a larger task, and
set recurring tasks to pop up on schedule.
QSmarter Time encourages you to use your
days better by analyzing your log entries
and a few automated inputs—such as how
many hours you’re spending online—to provide reports on how you spend your time.
QTrello helps groups manage shared projects, such as household chores. You create
color-coded task cards that can be arranged
by category. You can put deadlines on the
tasks and tag people who need reminders.
QHabit List nudges you into developing
positive habits. You establish the tasks you
want to make routine, and the iOS-only app
provides reminders and progress reports.
Source: Travel + Leisure
About $4,
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Best properties on the market
This week: Homes in North Carolina’s Research Triangle
X Chapel Hill This five-
bedroom, 7,389-squarefoot home is 3 miles from
Chapel Hill. The 1981
house features cathedral
ceilings and hardwood
floors; the kitchen–living
space has zebrawood
cabinets, a floor-to-ceiling
wood-burning brick
fireplace, and two dining
areas. The 5.4-acre estate
includes gardens, a pool
ringed by decks and patios, a tennis court, a horse
barn, and a guesthouse.
$3,400,000. Martha Bick,
Hodge & Kittrell Sotheby’s International Realty,
(919) 815-5018
W Raleigh A modern farmhouse in midtown, this 2017
five-bedroom home has rustic
details throughout: red-oak
floors, a vaulted entryway,
wood beams, exposed brick,
and shiplap-style wall treatments. The kitchen features
a black-walnut island, stone
counters, and a walk-in pantry.
Outdoor spaces include a
screened porch with stone fireplace opening to a wood deck,
a covered porch, and front and
back yards. $1,030,000. Laura
Siegmund, Triangle Real Estate
Group, (919) 696-9088
X Chapel Hill Reedy Fork Ranch, an 1893 Queen Anne
Victorian, was moved from Greensboro to this 10-acre
forest property in 2003. Updated with radiant floors,
HVAC, home automation, and finished basement, the
five-bedroom house retains its original oak paneling
and 10 fireplaces. Outside are balconies, a wraparound porch, formal gardens, and a three-car garage.
$1,895,000. Mary Kemp with Chapel Hill Office/
Prudential York Simpson Underwood, (919) 616-1172
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Best properties on the market
W Durham Designed by architect Bill Waddell,
this 2014 five-bedroom home sits on 1.4 acres.
The main space features floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted beamed ceilings, built-ins, a
two-sided fireplace, Japanese-influenced sliding
doors, and wood floors. The kitchen has quartz
counters and walnut cabinets, and a master suite
includes a walk-in closet, glassed-in shower, and
soaker tub. A sun porch leads to a patio, lawns,
and mature trees. $1,175,000. Lucia Cooke,
Cooke Property, (919) 225-3181
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
W Durham Built in 2014, this rustic-modern, energy-efficient home
stands on 10 wooded acres 7 miles from Duke University. The house
includes three en-suite bedrooms; a great room with polished concrete
floors, wood details, and clerestory windows; and an upstairs office.
The grounds feature two outbuildings, a three-car garage, lawns, a
fenced garden, and landscaped paths. $899,000. Emanuel Schroeter,
Hodge & Kittrell Sotheby’s International Realty, (919) 525-5785
Steal of the week
S Durham This 1910 home in the Old East Durham
neighborhood has been renovated throughout. The
three-bedroom house features engineered hardwood
floors, arched doorways, and a kitchen with granite
counters and stainless appliances. The master en
suite includes a walk-in closet. Outside are a covered
porch, front and back yards, and mature trees.
$249,800. Or Hen, Keller Williams Realty United,
(781) 267-3416
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The bottom line
QSince his election, President Trump has made at
least 31 claims that companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Boeing would hire
American workers thanks
to his intervention—a total
of 2.4 million jobs pledged
overall. A year later, 206,000
of those jobs have been created. Roughly 136,000 were
genuinely new positions.
QFor the first time since
the financial crisis a decade
ago, all of the world’s major
economies are growing. The
United States, the world’s
largest economy, is in its
ninth year of growth, with
an expansion last year of
2.3 percent. The European
Union grew at 2.2 percent
in 2017, China at 6.6 percent,
and Japan at 1.4 percent.
The New York Times
The news at a glance
Health care: Amazon to shake up health market
The partnership could be “one
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway,
of the most ambitious employer
and JPMorgan Chase are joining
efforts to date to control
forces to form an independent
health expenses,” said Robert
health-care company for their
Langreth and Zachary Tracer
employees, said Nick Wingfield
in Analysts
in The New York Times. The allisaid the firms’ “combined clout
ance of the three business titans,
and expertise in technology
which boast a combined 1 miland finance could be used to
lion workers, reflects corporate
bring drastic changes to the
America’s increasing frustration
A new arrival in the industry
way prescription drugs are
with “the state of the nation’s
paid for.” The companies could also save vast
health-care system and the rapidly spiraling cost
sums of money by cutting out pharmacy-benefit
of medical treatment.” The partnership will be
managers altogether. Amazon has been eyeing an
technology-focused and free from profit incenentrance into the pharmacy market, and given the
tives, but is still in the early planning stages. Still,
the announcement “landed like a thunderclap” in e-commerce giant’s reputation for upending whatever industry it enters, this week’s news was what
the health-care industry, given that these companies “could become models for other businesses.” “prescription-drug middlemen had long feared.”
Food: Keurig buys Dr Pepper Snapple for $18.7B
An investment company’s audacious bid to build a food-and-beverage
empire took “a surprise turn into soft drinks” this week, said Lisa
Wolfson and Eric Pfanner in the Los Angeles Times. JAB Holding,
which already owns Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, and coffee chains
Stumptown and Peets, used its Keurig Green Mountain coffee business to buy the Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $18.7 billion. The
blockbuster deal, which also includes brands such as 7Up, Motts, and
A&W, will overnight “vault JAB into competition with the likes of
Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo.”
Economy: Yellen concludes notable tenure at the Fed
QAfter Ken Chenault retires
as CEO of American Express
this week, only three Fortune
500 companies will have
black CEOs: pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.,
financial company TIAA, and
retail chain JCPenney.
QThe U.S. clean energy
sector employed 3.38 million
people in 2016, 10 percent
more than the 2.99 million
employed in fossil fuels,
according to the Department
of Energy.
The New York Times
QThe U.S. homeownership
rate rose last year for the
first time in 13 years, spurred
by Millennials buying their
first homes. The homeownership rate hit 64.2 percent in the fourth quarter of
2017, up from 63.7 percent a
year earlier.
The Wall Street Journal
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The Federal Reserve’s first female chair concluded her term this week,
as her replacement, Jerome Powell, took the reins of the central bank,
said Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal. Janet Yellen has spent
the past 14 years at the Fed, the last four at the helm. As chair, she
“guided the U.S. economy to its tightest labor market in nearly two
decades by resisting calls to raise interest rates more rapidly.” Powell,
a moderate Republican who has served on the Fed’s board since 2012,
is expected to largely continue Yellen’s policies.
Energy: Exxon Mobil expands shale investment
Exxon Mobil this week announced it will triple oil and gas production in “the nation’s hottest shale field,” said Clifford Krauss in The
New York Times. The Permian Basin, which straddles West Texas and
New Mexico, is approximately the size of South Dakota and includes
“multiple layers of thick shale, easing the costs of exploration, drilling, and production.” The oil company, the nation’s largest, will eventually aim to produce 600,000 barrels per day by 2025. Exxon cited
“the recent reduction in the corporate tax rate as one reason for its
increased interest in investing more” in the Permian.
Autos: Harley-Davidson closing plant and axing jobs
Declining sales have prompted Harley-Davidson to shutter a major
U.S. plant, said Sarah Gray in The motorcycle company’s Kansas City, Mo., plant will permanently close in 2019, cutting
800 jobs. Another plant in Pennsylvania will pick up some production and jobs, meaning 260 U.S. positions will be eliminated overall.
President Trump last year lauded Harley-Davidson as a “great example”
of a U.S. job creator, but shortly after, the company began the first of
three waves of layoffs. Last year, it shipped 241,000 motorcycles, with
projected sales of between 231,000 and 236,000 this year.
Where the wealthy
are moving
“Rich folks are fleeing
London and Lagos,”
said Jeanette Rodrigues
in The
Global Wealth Migration
Review, conducted by
the consultancy New
World Wealth, found
that cities including
London; Lagos, Nigeria;
Istanbul; and Jakarta
all saw an exodus of
high-net-worth individuals last year, losing at
least 1,000 people with
assets of $1 million or
more. The report only
examined wealthy
people who “truly
moved—that is, those
who stayed in their
new country for more
than half the year.” In
London, about 5,000
wealthy individuals left
and only about 1,000
arrived, likely thanks
to new taxes on inheritances and the imminent arrival of Brexit.
Cities that saw net
increases of rich individuals included Sydney,
Dubai, Montreal, and
Los Angeles. Losing
wealthy people can
be “a sign of trouble”
for an economy. “Rich
people are often the
first people to leave,
because they can.”
AP, Getty
Making money
Banking: The end of free checking accounts?
overdrafts on a low-balance account. “Fees
“If you’re poor and have to write or cash
generated by those overdraft policies were
checks, life got tougher” last week, said Robert
a big part of the free checking account
Reed in the Chicago Tribune. Bank of America
model.” So as that revenue stream has dried
stopped offering its last free checking account
up, “it’s become more likely that customthat does not require a minimum balance,
ers have to pay for their accounts.” This
prompting a loud chorus of “boos and hisses”
shift should be a “vivid reminder” that we
from customers. People who had the free acshouldn’t expect banks to serve anyone but
counts have now been shifted to ones that
their shareholders, said Jordan Weissmann
charge $12 a month, unless the customer has
in Banks exist to generate profit,
a minimum balance of $1,500 or a monthly
and households that struggle to maintain a
direct deposit of $250 or more. “The timing
minimum balance in their checking account
of the bank’s decision, right on the heels of a
“are usually not very profitable customers,”
massive Republican-backed corporate tax cut,”
Online banks are one no-fee option.
unless they are paying through the nose for
was one reason for the outrage, said Ryan
Grenoble in, especially since this change will overdrawing on their accounts.
predominantly affect poorer Americans. Roughly 7 percent of the
Free checking accounts “do still exist,” if you look hard enough,
country doesn’t have a banking account, while about a one-fifth
doesn’t have access to banking tools such as debit or credit cards. said Nick Clements in Most major banks will waive
their monthly fees if you have a regular paycheck deposited diRaising fees on basic services will only push such people toward
predatory lenders and “even riskier financial institutions that ex- rectly. If that’s not possible for you, internet-only banks are your
best option. The venture-funded online bank Aspiration, for inacerbate poverty.”
stance, has a no-fee checking account with no minimum balance,
no direct deposit requirements, and no ATM fees; the trade-off
“Free checking is basically a thing of the past,” said Gillian
is that there are no brick-and-mortar branches if you want faceWhite in The Atlantic. One major reason: The increased federal
to-face banking assistance. Going forward, it will be interesting
scrutiny of overdraft fees. Americans pay roughly $14 billion
to see if this online option takes off. Are people willing to pay a
in overdraft fees annually, and federal regulators have in recent
monthly checking fee for in-person service, “or are they willing
years begun to crack down on banks’ shadier practices, such
to give up branches for a truly free experience?” In the meantime,
as transaction reordering, which sorts withdrawals from highat least “consumers have choices.”
est to lowest in order to increase the likelihood of one or more
What the experts say
Is 2018 the year to buy a house?
“Homebuyers aren’t going to catch much of a
break this year,” said Kathryn Vasel in CNN
.com. The “low housing supply” that plagued
buyers last year will continue to place sellers
firmly “in the driver’s seat” in 2018. A “balanced” housing market has about six months
of supply; “in December, the market had less
than three months.” That means househunters
can expect bidding wars and fast sales. Mortgage rates, which last week sat at 4.15 percent, will also rise. Some good news: Home
building is expected to increase 10 percent in
2018, to around 1.3 million new single-family
homes, though that’s not quite enough to keep
up with population growth or job creation.
Financially preparing for widowhood
Eventually becoming a widow or widower “is
unavoidable” for married couples in retirement, said Robert Powell in USA Today. Aside
from the harrowing emotional impact of losing
your partner, “the death of a spouse is often
accompanied by a decline in economic status.”
That’s why it’s important for couples to “set
aside time to talk” about money. Make sure
you both know how the household finances
operate and where important paperwork
is located. Determine whether your current
Charity of the week
financial track “will provide enough lifetime
income to the surviving spouse.” If not, prune
expenses slightly. Draw up lists of previous employers and ensure your employer-sponsored
retirement accounts were claimed. Compile a
strong support network of financial advisers,
including an attorney, accountant, and certified
financial planner. Perhaps most importantly,
confirm your estate plan is up to date.
Budget weekly, not monthly
Setting a weekly budget will help you “gain
greater control” of your finances, said Anna
Bahney in Even though many
popular budgeting programs are organized by
months, “a month is way too long for us to
keep our financial impulses in check.” Budgeting weekly allows you to “better anticipate and
examine” expenses. While many bills arrive
monthly, a weekly budget allows you to more
accurately monitor and adjust your discretionary spending. Because there are fewer transactions to monitor in a week than in a month
of spending, tracking your expenses will seem
“much easier, less tedious, and more manageable.” Set up a separate checking or debit card
account and move your discretionary funds
there each week. This way you can track expenses and work out how to curb spending.
The mission of the International Folk
Art Alliance ( is to
celebrate indigenous cultures and create
economic opportunities for folk artists
worldwide. Every year, scores of artists
from dozens of countries convene for a
weekend in the nation’s largest folk art
market, in Santa Fe, to sell their handmade jewelry, ceramics, textiles, baskets,
metal work, and more. IFAA prepares
folk artists for the event through its
mentoring program, providing skills
training, business development, and
peer-to-peer learning, and connects them
with wholesale buyers for economic
opportunities year-round. Artists take
home 90 percent of their earnings, giving
them the opportunity to serve as catalysts for positive social change in their
communities back home.
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 WEEK February 9, 2018
Best columns: Business
Economics: Mnuchin sinks the dollar
James Freeman
The Wall Street Journal
Waiting for
the bull
to drop
Robert Samuelson
The Washington Post
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
“If it were easy to create the conditions for America’s
1980s resurgence, then all presidents would be as
admired as Ronald Reagan,” said James Freeman.
President Trump is confident that the U.S. economy
is on the path to “hitting fives”—by which he means
quarterly economic growth of at least 5 percent. But
his supporters should pause before “emblazoning
the slogan on red hats.” We’ve just gotten a timely
reminder that “while it may not be all that difficult to
exceed the mediocrity of the Obama era, it’s way too
soon to declare the return of Reagan-style growth.”
Last week, many in Washington, including Trump,
assumed the Commerce Department would report
that GDP had climbed by at least 3 percent for the
third quarter in a row—“something that never happened during the eight long years that his predecessor
occupied the Oval Office.” It was not to be; growth
unexpectedly slowed to 2.6 percent in the last three
months of the year, thanks largely to a widening
trade deficit. It was still “better than a typical Obama
quarter,” but less than voters are expecting from the
businessman-in-chief. The good news is that there
are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for 2018: The
jobless rate is sinking, consumer confidence is surging, and businesses are ready to invest and hire again.
“Not Reagan, but not bad.”
“The stock market is going gangbusters,” said Robert Samuelson. What’s perplexing experts, however, is
whether this remarkable market run is simply based
on “runaway speculation” or whether it suggests
the economy is fundamentally strong. There’s little
doubt we are in boom times: Since President Trump’s
election, stocks have ascended by an incredible onethird. The market hit record highs in 12 of the first
15 trading days of 2018, logging an overall gain of
$1.9 trillion. That has some analysts arguing that
stocks are overvalued, possibly by as much as 20 percent. In that scenario, the “herd mentality” that has
led investors to push prices higher and higher will
eventually dissipate, and the market will correct
itself. Trump and his allies wave off those worries,
arguing that the corporate tax cut and regulatory
reform have “brightened the economic outlook, justifying higher stock prices.” Who’s right? Who knows.
What’s certain is that “the market remains vulnerable
to unexpected economic and political shocks.” Such
a shock might emerge from financial innovations that
initially seem to make investing safer but then fail,
not unlike the way the “securitization” of mortgages
before the 2007 market meltdown “lulled investors
into a false sense of confidence.” Any decline in the
market now would cripple consumer confidence and
spending. That leaves “Main Street, to some extent,
hostage to Wall Street.”
Getty, but the tumult it created
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got a
shows he “still has much to learn when it
“searing” lesson in how “words can move
comes to the etiquette of economic policymarkets,” said Peter Baker in The New York
making.” There is a reason that U.S. TreaTimes. Speaking to reporters last week at the
sury secretaries going back to Bill Clinton’s
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzeradministration have blandly repeated their
land, Mnuchin made an “apparently offhand
preference for a strong dollar. “Boring can be
comment,” saying, “obviously a weaker dolgood, as it avoids unnecessary fluctuations.”
lar is good for us as it relates to trade.” The
Trump already has the whole world guessing
remark, a stark departure from decades of unabout his trade positions. Sometimes “there
wavering U.S. government support of a strong
are good reasons for sticking to the script.”
greenback, “ricocheted around the world,”
and by day’s end, the dollar had plunged to a
I’m not convinced that Mnuchin actually unthree-year low. Mnuchin, reportedly startled
derstands that, on balance, a weaker dollar
by the markets’ response, tried to walk back
When even offhand comments matter
isn’t good for the U.S., said Benjamin Cohen
the statement the next day, and President
in His logic about trade is “familiar to any
Trump was compelled to weigh in, saying Mnuchin’s comment
first-year economics student.” But those benefits depend on how
had been “taken out of context,” adding, “I want to see a strong
traded goods are actually priced, and the upside “could be considdollar.” If Mnuchin hadn’t realized that his comments would be
“flyspecked to an extraordinary degree,” he certainly understands erably smaller than anticipated.” Oil, for instance, is the biggest
that now. “His name appears on the dollar bill. But that does not single product Americans purchase from overseas, and it is priced
in dollars on the global market. Therefore, “a weaker greenback
mean it is safe for him to actually talk about the dollar.”
will have no effect at all on the cost of oil imports.” In the end, a
weaker dollar “hurts more Americans than it helps,” said Rebecca
Give me a break: Mnuchin was just “stating the obvious,” said
Patterson in Consumer spending comprises nearly
Jared Bernstein in The Washington Post. His comment, “though
two-thirds of U.S. GDP, and a strong dollar “keeps a lid on inflararely spoken by people in his position,” makes eminent economic sense. There are some upsides to a weaker dollar, including tion,” which encourages spending and ensures low borrowing
rates. Exports, which benefit when the dollar weakens, represent
for U.S. trade. When the value of the dollar goes down against
just 13 percent of GDP. President Trump has often focused on
the currencies of our trading partners, our exports are cheaper
exporters in his economic rallying cries, “putting that corner of
and our imports are more expensive. “All else equal, those relative price changes tend to improve our trade balance.” Mnuchin’s America first.” Surely he and his Treasury secretary understand that
far more Americans benefit when the dollar is strong.
remark may have been valid, said Ferdinando Giugliano in
The novelist who conjured fantastic worlds
Ursula K. Le Guin
emerged from the
1960s to become a
towering figure in the
male-dominated world of science
fiction and fantasy. While most of
her contemporaries produced macho
tales of good triumphing over evil,
Le Guin was more interested in
ideas of balance—informed by her
study of Taoism—gender, and cultural conditioning. Her 1969 novel,
The Left Hand of Darkness, now taught widely
in high schools and colleges, is set on a planet
whose humanlike inhabitants are neither male
nor female. Her six-book Earthsea cycle imagines a fantastical realm where magic is practiced
with the precision, and moral ambiguity, of science. For Le Guin, the radical possibilities of
science fiction and fantasy were the perfect tools
for exploring our own changing world. “At this
point,” she said in 1973, “realism is perhaps the
least adequate means of understanding or portraying the incredible realities of our existence.”
Ursula K.
Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber was born in Berkeley, Calif.,
to anthropologist parents who studied Native
American peoples, said The New York Times.
At a young age, “she immersed herself in books
about mythology, classic fantasies, and the science fiction magazines of the day.” After studying
French and Italian literature at college, she won a Fulbright fellowship
to study in Paris, where she met her
future husband, historian Charles
Le Guin, said The Washington Post.
Back in the U.S., she wrote realist
poetry and short stories “before
returning to science fiction in the
1960s.” Her first three novels disappeared almost without notice, but
Le Guin’s fourth, 1968’s A Wizard
of Earthsea, established her as a rising star and launched a best-selling series.
Le Guin’s fiction was often ahead of its time, said Her 1966 novel Planet of Exile,
about “a world with 15-year-long seasons” and
creatures that attack from the icy north, presaged
Game of Thrones. The Word for World Is Forest,
a 1972 Vietnam War critique in which humans
invade a planet of nature-loving aliens, seemed
to inspire James Cameron’s blockbuster movie
Avatar. Awarded the Medal for Distinguished
Contribution to American Letters at the 2014
National Book Awards, Le Guin dedicated the
honor to fellow “writers of the imagination” who
had long been ignored by the literary establishment. “I think hard times are coming when we
will be wanting the voices of writers who can see
alternatives to how we live now,” she said, “and
even imagine some real grounds for hope.”
The Ikea founder who took Swedish style global
In the late 1940s,
Ingvar Kamprad
headed to a furniture
trade fair in Italy in
search of new product ideas. But
while visiting the homes of ordinary
Italians, the Swedish businessman
noticed that none were furnished
with the elegant coffee tables and
bookcases he’d seen at the fair.
Spotting a gap in the market, he
decided his fledgling mail-order firm, Ikea, would
create modern, stylish, affordable furniture for
the masses. Within a few years, Ikea’s minimalist
aesthetic dominated homes across Europe. Today,
the furniture chain has 412 stores in 49 countries.
Kamprad’s fortune grew to an estimated $48 billion, yet he often boasted of his thriftiness, saying
he flew economy and drove an old Volvo. “I see
my task as serving the majority of people,” he said.
“How do you find out what they want, how best
to serve them? My answer is to stay close to ordinary people, because at heart I am one of them.”
Dana Gluckstein/, Newscom
Born to a farmer and his homemaker wife in
rural Sweden, Kamprad “exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit at young age,” said At 5,
he bought cheap matchboxes in bulk and resold
them individually for profit. He “later moved on
to selling fish, Christmas decorations, and pens,” and founded
Ikea—an acronym combining his
initials and those of the family
farm and a nearby village—at age
17. Kamprad embraced “the concept of flat-pack furniture” after
watching a colleague unscrew the
legs from a table to fit it in his car,
said The Times (U.K.). When his
rivals persuaded Swedish timber
merchants to boycott Ikea, Kamprad sourced his
materials for an even lower price from Poland. To
keep shoppers happy, Ikea’s massive, warehousestyle stores had on-site cafeterias serving Swedish
meatballs and other Scandinavian staples. “Empty
stomachs,” Kamprad said, “make no sofa sales.”
For decades, the firm thrived “under his watch,”
said The Washington Post. But Kamprad’s reputation took a hit in 1994, when it was revealed that
he’d supported a prominent Swedish fascist during
the 1940s and ’50s. He apologized, calling his
association “the greatest mistake of my life.” In
2009, a former employee revealed that Kamprad’s
old Volvo was “a prop” and that he actually
drove a Porsche. Yet Kamprad remained hugely
popular inside the firm. His favorite maxim?
“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.”
The cartoonist
who chuckled at
Army life
Mort Walker was never short
of material for his comic strip
Beetle Bailey. Drafted into
the U.S. Army during World
War II, Walker often referred
to his military
service as four
years of “free
research.” The
lazy Pvt. Beetle Bailey and
the other inept inhabitants of
Camp Swampy were inspired
in part by Walker’s own experiences with the absurdities
of Army life. When the war
was over, Walker was tasked
with guarding an ordnance
depot in Italy where binoculars, watches, and other
unwanted military supplies
were being crushed by tanks.
“My job was to see no one
stole anything before it was
destroyed,” he later said. “I
began to realize that Army
humor writes itself.”
Raised in Kansas City, Mo.,
“Walker knew he wanted to
be a cartoonist at the age of
3,” said The Washington Post.
By 12, he was publishing his
cartoons in pulp magazines
such as Inside Detective; by
15, he had his own strip in
The Kansas City Star. Walker
started drawing what would
become Beetle Bailey after
the war, initially featuring
Beetle as a slovenly fraternity member named Spider.
It was a flop, and King
Features Syndicate considered dropping the strip after
just six months.
Following the outbreak of the
Korean War, “the syndicate
suggested Beetle join the
Army,” said the Associated
Press. The Tokyo edition of the
military newspaper Stars &
Stripes dropped Beetle Bailey
in 1954, fearing it “would
encourage disrespect for
officers.” But media coverage of the ban led more than
100 newspapers to add the
strip. Walker would draw the
comic for 68 years, the longest tenure of any American
cartoonist. “Most people are
sort of against authority,” he
said. “Here’s Beetle always
challenging authority. I think
people relate to it.”
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The last word
The dress that drove the slave trade
infamous for
her lavish, over-the-top fashions.
It is the first thing most people
associate with the doomed queen—skirts
as wide as they are tall paired with towering hairstyles, all draped in jewels and
pearls. She was a fashion icon; if Marie
wore a style, the rest of the court—and the
Western world—followed suit.
She had the power to make or break an
entire industry just by deeming something
fashionable, and though it wasn’t her
intention, that is exactly what she did. Yet
despite all of Marie’s extravagant fashions,
it was her most unassuming look that
changed the world forever.
In 1783, portrait artist Élisabeth Louise
Vigée Le Brun painted Marie in a simple
cotton gown known as a robe de gaulle.
The thin, white fabric is airy and loose,
cinched at the waist with a sheer, golden
sash. Full sleeves and a softly ruffled neckline add volume to the otherwise unstructured shape. She doesn’t wear any jewels or
embellishments, just a wide-brimmed straw
hat tied with a ribbon band, topped with a
few relatively modest plumes.
The painting has a graceful and arcadian
feel to it, at least to the modern eye. The
scene is refreshingly natural when compared with the ornateness of the typical
rococo-era portrait. The gown gives off “an
aesthetic of rustic simplicity,” writes Katy
Werlin in Clothing and Fashion: American
Fashion From Head to Toe.
Despite its humble appearance, though,
Marie’s portrait in the plain cotton dress
had an impact that reverberated throughout the world in ways no one could have
foreseen. It flipped the textile industry on
its head, lighting the fuse laid out by a
fast-changing world of exploration, the
Enlightenment, and rebellion. It caused cotton, and the institution of slavery it stood
on, to explode.
Antoinette was sent to France
at just 15 years old to marry the
dauphin, she entered a world of extraordinary opulence. Versailles was home to the
most lavish halls and grounds imaginable,
and the people who occupied it dressed to
match. Marie dressed as she was expected
to, in the finest French silks with jewels fit
for a future queen. She was not the first to
wear the over-the-top styles; she was simply
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
in a position to take them
to levels with which even
the most privileged members of the aristocracy
could not compete.
When Marie’s husband,
Louis XVI, ascended to
the throne in 1774, he
gifted Marie with the
Petit Trianon, an idyllic
château on the grounds
of Versailles first occupied
by Louis XV’s mistress,
Madame du Barry. The
Petit Trianon was Marie’s
personal escape. She was
given complete control of
the estate; even the king
could not enter if she did
not invite him. Marie and
her ladies would go there
to step away from their
lavish lifestyles and enjoy
a simpler existence, undisturbed by the scrutiny and
expectations of the court.
Naturally, this extended
to their clothing. They left
their stiff silks behind in
favor of light muslins and
brightly patterned cotton
chintz and indiennes.
At this point in time, the
Vigée Le Brun’s Marie Antoinette en Chemise (1783)
vast majority of cotton
came from India (hence
provincial cotton dress that typified life at
“indiennes”), and thanks to the East India
the Petit Trianon. Within the French court
Company, it was spread across Europe.
Native Americans had grown cotton in the alone, Vigée Le Brun painted a few aristocratic ladies in the gauzy gowns, including
southern United States for centuries, and
Madame du Barry in 1781 and the Duchess
as the colonists took over the New World,
de Polignac, one of Marie’s closest friends,
they, too, grew small amounts of cotton,
in 1782 and 1783. These women were both
but very little was exported.
already controversial figures to the people
Much of the American agricultural indusof France, and while their choice of cottry in its infancy was supported by indenton gowns stirred up some level of dissent,
tured servants. While slavery certainly
it was nothing compared with the uproar
existed in the United States at the time of
that exploded when Marie’s cotton-gown
Marie Antoinette, its future was uncertain.
portrait was put on exhibition at the Salon
Shortly after the American Revolution,
of the Académie Royale.
the Northern states outlawed slavery one
by one, and for a brief time, it looked as
The backlash was immediate. Salon visithough the Southern states might do the
tors demanded the portrait be removed
same. That all changed as cotton began
from public view, but the damage was
to rise.
already done. As Mary D. Sheriff states
in The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth
It is not surprising that Marie would
Vigée-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of
choose to be painted in the fashion she
Art, “Vigée-Lebrun unwittingly showed
wore in her private oasis. She was by no
her [Antoinette] as an immodest woman,
means the first to be depicted wearing the
When a portrait of Marie Antoinette wearing a simple muslin gown appeared in 1783, it caused a scandal,
said writer Caroline London. It also ignited a feverish demand for cotton.
The last word
that side of the
English Channel by
the 1780s. Therefore,
it was perceived as
incredibly unpatriotic
for the French queen
to so openly wear
cotton. Her loyalties were already
under question due
to her Austrian heritage, and this dress
only confirmed her
lack of French allegiance. The queen’s
many critics were
concerned that this
choice would destroy
the French silk
Despite the controversy, the 18thcentury fashionistas who were unafraid
to take risks expanded the popularity
of the chemise à la reine. In The Art of
Dress: Fashion in England and France
1780–1820, Aileen Ribeiro recounts
how Marie sent chemise gowns to
a few of her friends, including the
famous British style icon Georgiana
Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.
Soon, what was once seen as scandalous was now seen as stylish, and the
chemise à la reine became a popular
choice of dress for women across
Europe. Paired with the rising affinity
for Greek and Roman culture brought
on by the Enlightenment, the plain
white dress quickly took over the fashion world.
The Petit Trianon (above); slaves sorting cotton
Getty, Collection of the New-York Historical Society/Bridgeman Images
providing enemies with yet more evidence
against the queen.”
There were many who saw the garment as
alarmingly scandalous. It closely resembled
a chemise—the simple dress that served as
a base garment for women at the time. In
other words, the queen appeared to be posing in her underwear. This accusation gave
the cotton gown the name by which it is
now most commonly known: the “chemise
à la reine,” or the “chemise of the queen.”
Beyond the shocking nature of the gown’s
design, the fabric itself was a source of
major uproar. Many of her fellow aristocrats saw the queen in such an inexpensive
textile as a breakdown of the barriers
between the classes. More importantly,
though, cotton was seen by the French
as a very English fabric, since India was
a British colony. Cotton chintz had risen
in popularity throughout the century in
Britain and was a fashionable choice on
Antoinette was executed in 1793 for
reasons that went far beyond her
contentious dress. But although the queen
was gone, the impact of her sartorial choice
was just starting to make its mark.
The people of France had been right to
be concerned about the popularization
of cotton and other muslins. Throughout
the next two decades, the French silk
industry suffered greatly. While the French
Revolution had a massive impact on the
economy across the board, the demand for
silk both in France and abroad came crashing down as the simple white muslin dress
became the leading style.
However, as the Revolution progressed, the
general French perception of the patriotism
associated with cotton completely reversed.
As Caroline Weber writes in her book
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette
Wore to the Revolution, “Once condemned
as ruinous to the domestic silk industry,
muslin could now be worn as a sign of
patriotic ardor, along with even cheaper
stuffs like cotton and wool, since the nobility’s costumes at the Estates General had
marked ‘sumptuous silks and velvets as
enemies of the Revolution.’”
By the end of the century, cotton and
muslin had nearly completely replaced
silk as the fashionable fabrics of choice.
Yet the fall of silk and rise of cotton had
implications that reached much farther
than the borders of France. The Indian
cotton industry could no longer keep up
with demand, so Europeans were forced
to look elsewhere for their supply. Up until
the end of the 18th century, tobacco and
rice and other food products dominated
the American agricultural industry. That all
changed when the demand for cotton suddenly skyrocketed.
While the simple cotton dress was rising
in popularity, the Industrial Revolution
was making major strides to aid in textile
production. When Eli Whitney invented
the cotton gin in 1794, suddenly there was
the technical ability to process cotton at a
rate to keep up with demand. All that was
necessary was the workforce to pick large
volumes of cotton so it could be processed
by the gin.
Of course, plantation owners looked to
the cheapest possible option. The boom in
the agricultural industry caused a boom in
slavery to support it. According to American Slavery: 1619–1877 by Peter Kolchin,
“annual cotton production rose from about
3,000 bales in 1790 to 178,000 in 1810,
then surged more than 20-fold during the
next half century.” The slave population
increased in turn, from about 654,000
slaves in the South in 1790 to more than
1.1 million in 1810, a number that continued to grow in the following decades.
Marie Antoinette and her fellow fashion trendsetters made cotton desirable.
Technology and slave labor made it affordable. It was the perfect storm. The affordability increased the desirability, resulting
in an even higher demand, which in turn
increased the mass production so that the
price dropped even further.
The cycle caused “King Cotton” and the
institution of slavery that it stood upon
to rule the South. Of course, we all know
what happened from there. A simple dress
launched an elaborate butterfly effect with
far-reaching consequences that the young
French queen never could have predicted
when she took a step outside her lavish
royal wardrobe.
Originally published in
Reprinted with permission.
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
The Puzzle Page
Crossword No. 442: ‘I’ve Solved This Before’ by Matt Gaffney
THE WEEK February 9, 2018
Bateman of Ozark
Feldman or Haim
Night before
And nothing else
Bow or Barton
Chaney in old movies
Singer Cyrus
Church funds
1 Catches, as fly balls
2 “It’s the same with
3 2019 years ago
4 Cab cash
5 “Understood,” in the
6 Chipotle choice
7 Guesses
8 Belgian beers
9 Language spoken
by tennis star Hyeon
10 Ruckus
11 Tiny bit
12 Keep watch over
14 Alf’s home planet
20 Strapping
21 Having as one’s
24 Call an audible
25 Stiller and ___
(comedy duo)
27 Surname for Carmela
and Meadow
28 Winter season
29 Localities
31 Made purple, maybe
1 ___ Paulo
4 Is the right size for
8 Go around the rink
13 QVC alternative
14 Not at all happy with
15 “Yesterday’s tomorrow”
16 Last part of a drink?
17 Novelist Jong
18 Weaken
19 *Fowl language?
22 “Attack, doggie!”
23 Casablanca greeting
26 Class to up your GPA
30 Smoothed out
32 *They have 18 greens
36 Reclined
37 “Don’t tempt me!”
38 Implore
39 Ending for gazillion
40 Summer spinner
41 *A coffee shop in
Istanbul opened in
2015 themed after
this show—its name
is Walter’s Coffee
43 Texas congresswoman
___ Jackson Lee
45 Triangular peninsula
46 The same number
48 Grind, as teeth
52 Bill Murray movie—
now 25 years old—
which you may feel
you’re in today, since
this puzzle’s starred
clues appeared in
January’s puzzles
This week’s question: Twelve four-legged contestants
were disqualified from a camel beauty contest in Saudi
Arabia after it was discovered that they’d been injected
with Botox to shape and plump the animals’ noses, lips,
and jaws. If a cosmetics firm were to release a line of
beauty products for camels, what would it be called?
Last week’s contest: Two major Apple investors have
warned the tech giant that frequent use of its iPhones and
iPads has a negative impact on children, and that it must
research ways to limit the devices’ addictive appeal. Please
come up with the name of an app that would persuade
kids to put down their gadgets and go outside to play.
THE WINNER: Outstagram
John Parry, Eldersburg, Md.
THIRD PLACE: Kidstarter
The Week Contest
Phyllis Klein, New York City
Some are animated
Mutual of ___
Bowling alley divisions
“The Interlopers”
Part of the winemaking
Ireland’s ___ Stone
Japan’s fourth-largest
“Later, everyone”
Plant with swordshaped leaves
“Hello” woman
Laughing scavenger
Chuck on the sidelines,
Liquor amount
George Strait’s “A
Heart Like ___”
Printer hassle
Oft-quoted athlete
Mexican beer brand
Eric Fromer, Lafayette, Calif.
For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go
How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to Please include your name,
address, and daytime telephone number for verification; this week, type “Camel beauty” in the subject line.
Entries are due by noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, Feb. 6.
Winners will appear on the Puzzle Page
next issue and at
on Friday, Feb. 9. 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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