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The Week USA - May 18, 2018

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What Marx
got right
and wrong
Pages 14, 16
How Shania
survived her
Rudy to the rescue
Are Giuliani’s incendiary TV
admissions helping Trump?
MAY 18, 2018 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 873
Editor’s letter
The news comes in a torrent these days, with nearly each day delivering a bombshell. It can be hard to not to become numb in
such an environment or fall into a glum, hardened cynicism. It
can be especially difficult when you see powerful people plainly
saying one thing and doing quite another, as we saw in spades
this past week. There was the precipitous fall of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a vocal champion of the
#MeToo movement, brought low after he was accused of viciously abusing women (see Best Columns). There was Facebook, vowing to finally get serious about protecting users’ privacy and then launching—of all things—a dating app, where it
will gobble up even more personal data (see Technology). And
there was the first lady announcing on the White House lawn
a campaign to fight cyberbullying while her husband, a prolific cyberbully, looked on from the front row (see Last Word).
In each case, the dissonance was jarring, making you wonder if
we’ve all fallen into an Alice in Wonderland world where up is
down and down is up, and no one in power can be believed.
It’s no wonder Americans’ faith in once trusted institutions is
in decline. The public’s trust in government, the media, and even
one another this year recorded its steepest drop in the nearly
two decades that polling company Edelman has been tracking it.
People don’t believe that politicians are working in their best interests or that journalists can be objective arbiters. And the more
they see how things actually work, and how powerful people actually behave, the more cynical they become. It often feels as
though we’ve lost institutions and the media as our social and
political referees, and in their absence we’re left only with our
ability to discern fact from fiction. In the political matches yet to
come, what will happen when we can’t even agree on the rules
of the game?
Carolyn O’Hara
4 Main stories
The U.S. withdraws from
the Iran nuclear deal;
Michael Cohen’s new legal
woes; CIA chief nominee
faces torture questions
Editor-in-chief: William Falk
Managing editors: Theunis Bates,
Carolyn O’Hara
Deputy editor/International: Susan Caskie
Deputy editor/Arts: Chris Mitchell
Senior editors: Harry Byford, Alex
Dalenberg, Danny Funt, Andrew Murfett,
Dale Obbie, Hallie Stiller
Art director: Dan Josephs
Photo editor: Loren Talbot
Copy editors: Jane A. Halsey, Jay Wilkins
Researchers: Christina Colizza, Joyce Chu
Contributing editors: Ryan Devlin,
Bruno Maddox
6 Controversy of the week
Is Rudy Giuliani causing
more problems for
Trump than he’s solving?
7 The U.S. at a glance
Separating families at the
southern border; volcanic
eruptions in Hawaii
8 The world at a glance
Clowns protest violence
in Mexico; North Korea
frees three U.S. hostages
10 People
Shania Twain’s brutal
childhood; the gambler
who cracked the horseracing code
Getty, Newscom
11 Briefing
North Korea’s many
broken promises on
12 Best U.S. columns
A #MeToo hypocrite
exposed; Trump’s
mysterious spending spree
15 Best international
Israel and Iran edge
closer to all-out war
16 Talking points
Karl Marx at 200; the
prom dress that sparked
a social media storm; do
Trump’s mistruths matter
to voters?
Managing editor
EVP, publisher: John Guehl
Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, testifies to Congress. (p.5)
22 Books
The voice of the slave
trade’s last survivor is
heard at last
26 Food & Drink
Simple, no-fuss fish cakes
via an Icelandic grandma
23 Author of the week
Jake Tapper goes from
news to fiction
24 Art & Film
Juliette Binoche looks
for love in Let the
Sunshine In
25 Television
A fireman
has second
in HBO’s
27 Travel
Exploring intoxicating
Kolkata on foot
30 Consumer
How to upgrade your
porch or patio
31 News at a glance
Global firms poised to lose
billions in Iran contracts;
when the boss overshares
32 Making money
Budgeting for a summer
34 Best columns
America’s job-market
puzzle; rooting for Barnes
& Noble
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THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The main stories...
Trump rolls the dice on Iran
Tehran, Obama’s “disastrous” deal
has “made it a more aggressive destaPresident Trump announced this week
bilizing force.”
that he was pulling the U.S. out of
the Iran nuclear deal, a long-expected
Trump is convinced the pressure of
but deeply controversial move that
renewed sanctions will force Iran to
dismantles his predecessor’s signature
accept a “better deal,” said The New
foreign policy achievement and may
York Times. But Trump has shown
isolate Washington from its Western
no talent for forging deals—only
allies. Denouncing the Joint Comprefor tearing them up. If the other
hensive Plan of Action as “horrible”
signatories refuse to reimpose their
and “one-sided,” Trump said the U.S.
own sanctions, Tehran won’t feel a
would reimpose oil sanctions that were
need to renegotiate. If that happens,
lifted from Tehran as part of the accord
there is “no obvious plan B.” The
and introduce additional economic
withdrawal also complicates the
penalties on the regime. Under the 2015
president’s forthcoming nuclear talks
deal, which was also signed by the U.K.,
The president with his memo withdrawing from the deal
with Kim Jong Un. “Why should the
France, Germany, Russia, and China,
North Koreans now believe [that] the Americans, over the long
Iran agreed to stringent restrictions on its nuclear program and
haul, will honor a deal?”
international inspections in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump
said the agreement was “defective” because it didn’t stop Tehran
from testing ballistic missiles and supporting terrorists, and because What the columnists said
By wrecking “one of the most successful arms-control deals in
some of the agreement’s restrictions will expire in 2025. Saying
modern history,” said Fred Kaplan in, Trump has made
he wanted to negotiate a “new and lasting deal,” the president
his “most irresponsible” foreign policy decision yet. Iran’s leaders
warned the Iranians that if they restarted their nuclear program
would never have agreed to a deal restricting all of its actions—and
there would be “very severe” consequences.
they’re even less likely to do so now, when the alliance against
them has splintered. And while some of the agreement’s terms
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government would
expire, it requires Iran to allow intrusive inspections until 2040 and
continue to abide by the deal with the other nations for the time
never seek nuclear weapons. Either Trump doesn’t understand this
being, but warned that the regime would resume uranium enrichor he was blinded by his obsession with destroying “yet another
ment if the accord no longer provided enough economic benefits.
one of President Obama’s accomplishments.”
The leaders of Germany, France, and the U.K.—who all heavily
lobbied Trump not to withdraw from the deal—said they were
still committed to the agreement. Former President Barack Obama Obama, and not the U.S., made this “lousy” deal with Iran, said
sharply criticized Trump’s decision, saying it risked “another war in Bret Stephens in The New York Times. He “refused to submit the
deal to Congress as a treaty” because he knew it wouldn’t pass.
the Middle East.” But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Trump’s “courageous decision” gives the mullahs a simple choice:
praised the president for his “courageous leadership.” Gas prices,
They can have a “functioning economy, free of sanctions and open
already climbing in anticipation of Trump’s announcement, were
to investment,” or they can continue supporting terrorists and
expected to rise further as a result of sanctions on Iranian oil.
resume their nuclear program. “Trump’s reimposition of sanctions
is coming at an ideal time,” said Philip Klein in the Washington
What the editorials said
Examiner. With high unemployment, inflation, and a currency
The president “just brought us closer to war,” said The Washingcrisis, Iran has been racked in recent months by protests and labor
ton Post. The deal “was far from perfect,” but it was working: Inunrest. The regime may well be “losing its grip” on power—and
ternational Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have confirmed that
reintroducing sanctions could accelerate its collapse.
Iran was complying with the restrictions, thus preventing it from
developing nuclear weapons. By unilaterally pulling out, Trump is
This is nonetheless a “giant gamble”
giving Tehran’s hard-liners the excuse
for Trump—“the biggest of his
they need to “resume uranium enrichWhat next?
presidency so far,” said Gerald Seib in
ment, restrict inspections, [and] perhaps
“Iran is in the catbird seat,” said Jennifer Rubin
The Wall Street Journal. He’s hoping
even race for a bomb.” If nuclear activiin The regime can “either
renewed sanctions will force Tehran
ties resume, what can the U.S. do other
choose to remain in the deal with the Europeback to the table or precipitate regime
than take military action?
ans or proceed again with its nuclear program.”
change—but in a conflict with the
Germany, France, and the U.K. must decide
Great Satan, Iranians could instead
The deal’s cheerleaders always overlook
whether to join the U.S. in imposing sanctions
“rally around their government.” In a
its “fatal flaw,” said the Washington
on Tehran for “non-nuclear matters,” in particuworst-case scenario, the Iranians turn
Examiner—it imposes no restrictions
lar its ballistic missile program and support for
their centrifuges back on, provoking
on Iran’s “other malignant activities.”
terrorists. If they don’t, will Trump punish them
an attack from Israel and the U.S. and
As a result, the mullahs are spending the
with sanctions—causing a “serious breach” in
leading to a catastrophic regional war.
tens of billions of dollars they received
the Western alliance? The decision to withdraw
It’s always possible the Iranians will
in sanctions relief on testing ballistic
from this agreement was Trump’s and Trump’s
back down in response to Trump’s
missiles and aggressively meddling in
alone, and whatever happens from now on, he
pressure and threats. But the president
Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Far from
will “own the results.”
is definitely “rolling the dice.”
moderating the murderous regime in
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Illustration by Fred Harper.
On the cover: Rudy Giuliani.
Cover photos from AP, Getty (2)
What happened
... and how they were covered
CIA nominee Haspel vows not to allow torture
What happened
What the columnists said
President Trump’s nominee to lead the Central
President Trump sees Haspel’s involvement
Intelligence Agency pledged this week not
with torture as a feature, not a bug, said
to resume harsh interrogation tactics if she’s
Max Boot in The Washington Post. Trump
confirmed as director, saying Americans have
continues to insist that torture “works,” even
adopted “a stricter moral standard” since the
though it’s been disavowed by the intelligence
aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Gina Hascommunity. The president is already using
pel, who has spent 33 years at the CIA, nearly
liberal opposition to Haspel “as an opportuall of them undercover, described herself as a
nity to simplemindedly bash Democrats as ter“typical, middle-class American” to lawmakrorist sympathizers.” The Senate should make
ers on the Senate Intelligence Committee,
a clean break with this dark past by rejecting
but she was at times evasive and confrontaHaspel’s nomination and Trump’s “loathsome
Haspel: ‘My moral compass is strong.’
tional in response to tough questions from
attempts to profit politically” from torture.
Democrats about her role in controversial Bush-era detention and
interrogation programs. In 2002, Haspel took charge of a secret
Haspel “deserves America’s gratitude,” said Deroy Murdock in
CIA “black site” prison in Thailand where at least one suspected al “It’s easy to forget that al Qaida kept America
Qaida operative was waterboarded, slammed into walls, and held
and the rest of civilization wide awake every night, asking, ‘What
in a small wooden box. Haspel vowed not to resume such techhappens next?’” Brave intelligence officers like Haspel worked tireniques, but refused to say they were illegal or immoral, and hedged lessly to keep the worst from happening. If they had to rough up a
on whether they produced actionable intelligence. She also insisted
few terrorists, so be it. We all know what this is really about. Demoshe would not follow orders by President Trump that violated her
crats are willing to reject the first woman nominated to lead the CIA
conscience. “My moral compass is strong,” Haspel said. “I would
“so that they can high-kick President Donald J. Trump in the teeth.”
not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral
even if it was technically legal.”
Haspel’s nomination is a “lose-lose proposition for Democrats,” said
Natasha Bertrand in The CIA veteran is “wellHaspel also confirmed that she authored a 2005 memo ordering the liked and respected by her colleagues” and has been endorsed by
destruction of videotapes of interrogations at the Thailand detention six former agency directors. Some see the nomination of a career
center. She said that it was necessary to protect the identities of CIA intelligence official as being preferable to a more partisan pick, like
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. “Democrats have to
officers who participated. Many of the details of Haspel’s involvemake a decision: Help to confirm someone with a dark past, or risk
ment in the interrogation program remain highly classified. “It’s a
her being replaced by a Trump loyalist?”
cover-up from A to Z,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said.
Trump fixer linked to Russian oligarch
What happened
What the columnists said
President Trump’s longtime lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen,
faced new legal jeopardy this week after a disclosure of financial records showed that Cohen was paid $500,000 by a firm
controlled by a Russian oligarch. Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for
porn star Stormy Daniels, posted documents online detailing the
2017 payment by New York investment firm Columbus Nova to
Cohen’s shell company Essential Consultants—the same shell company used by Cohen to pay Daniels $130,000 to stay silent about
an alleged affair with Trump. Columbus Nova’s biggest client is
Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who was interviewed earlier
this year by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of the
investigation into Russian election meddling. Columbus Nova said
it hired Cohen to consult on “potential investments in real estate
and other ventures” and that Vekselberg—who attended Trump’s
inauguration with Columbus Nova’s CEO—was not involved in
the decision to hire Cohen.
The possible reasons for Columbus Nova’s payment to Cohen
“run from brazenly corrupt to far worse,” said Jonathan Chait
in Like all Russian oligarchs, Vekselberg works in
cooperation with the Putin government, and his payments might
have given the Kremlin numerous “sources of possible leverage
over Cohen and Trump.” Could the $500,000 have been a bribe,
“in return for which a favor would be expected”? Or perhaps
Russia knew the payment went to a slush fund for silencing
Trump’s mistresses, “another source of kompromat.”
Cohen also used Essential Consultants to collect more than
$3 million in payments from several corporations with business
before the Trump administration. AT&T, whose merger with
Time Warner is being challenged by the Justice Department, said it
paid Cohen $200,000 “to provide insights” into the new administration. Drug giant Novartis paid him $1.2 million for advice
on how Trump “might approach U.S. health-care policy”; the
company said it was contacted in November by Mueller’s office
and “cooperated fully.” Cohen is reportedly under investigation
for bank fraud and election-law violations.
It’s no mystery what corporations sought from Cohen, said
Timothy O’Brien in Trump and his family “have
essentially hung a for-sale sign on the White House” by refusing
to meaningfully separate themselves from their own business interests. That fact hasn’t been lost on companies that have dealings
with Washington, and Cohen provided a useful—and relatively
cheap—way to get close to the president. “In Trump’s swamp,
you pay to play.”
This is what a Trump “smoking gun might look like,” said Jed
Shugerman in Proving quid pro quo bribery and conspiracy against the U.S. will be extremely difficult. But this new
evidence of Russian payments strengthens “the proof for probable
cause, which is the standard for warrants and indictments.” And
that will pressure alleged co-conspirators such as Cohen to flip. In
turn, they may “help a jury, the public, and perhaps Congress find
proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Controversy of the week
Giuliani: Is there a method to this madness?
vision that his client did just that. Little wonder that Trump
Once again, President Trump has proven his “genius for
later distanced himself from all of Giuliani’s comments—
picking the worst possible person for any job,” said Gail
“Rudy has just started…he’ll get his facts straight.”
Collins in The New York Times. Former New York City
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, just hired as Trump’s lawyer and
In Giuliani’s defense, said Rich Lowry in NationalReview
leading spokesman, last week took to the airwaves to
.com, the “problem here isn’t the counselor, but the
defend Trump—and wound up making his client look like
client.” Critics have mentioned Giuliani’s age
a liar. First, Giuliani told visibly stunned Fox News
(74), and speculated about cognitive decline,
host Sean Hannity that Trump did indeed
but what lawyer could explain away
reimburse Michael Cohen, his self-described
Trump’s ever-changing statements about his
“fixer,” for that $130,000 in hush money
actions? The president sure does change
paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. Up to
A series of eye-opening admissions
his mind a lot, said Jonathan Lemire in the
that moment, Trump and the White House
Associated Press, and he may already be changing his mind about
had vehemently denied knowing of the payment to Daniels, let
Giuliani. Insiders say Trump was initially pleased by his old friend’s
alone reimbursing Cohen for it. Then, on Fox & Friends, Giuliani
theatrical TV performances, but then realized his admissions were
praised the political timing of Cohen’s hush payment, saying,
generating negative headlines and breathing “new life into the
“Imagine if [the Daniels story] came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the
Daniels story.” The president has suggested to aides that Giuliani
middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton!” The clear implibe “benched” if he keeps setting new fires.
cation that Trump had an election-related motive for the secret
payoff to Daniels—which contradicts the president’s claim that he
There is madness in Giuliani’s incoherent defense of Trump, said
was just trying to protect his family from embarrassment—exposes
Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, “but there is also
both Cohen and Trump to charges of violating campaign-finance
method.” Giuliani is actually following the Trump playbook:
law. Finally, said Heather Digby Parton in, Giuliani told
“Confuse, distract, provoke,” and overwhelm people’s faculties
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that it’s possible other women got a
with so many lies, obfuscations, and contradictions that “nobody
Cohen-brokered payoff from Trump. This is Trump’s lawyer talkcan be sure what’s real and what’s not.” This is a political, not
ing? “Let’s just say, Rudy isn’t helping.”
legal, strategy. Like Trump, Giuliani has always believed in “waging total war against political enemies,” said John Podhoretz in the
“Giuliani’s other big admission may be even worse,” said Greg
Sargent in In his Hannity interview, Giuliani New York Post. Yes, Rudy’s made some unforced errors, but the
former federal prosecutor’s core message was that the Russia probe
stated that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017
“because Comey would not, among other things, say that [Trump] is a “totally garbage investigation” which should be shut down.
was not a target of the [Russia] investigation.” Pressuring an inves- That’s why Trump may have hired Giuliani: to lay the groundwork
for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and/or special
tigator to exonerate a suspect falls well within the boundaries of
counsel Robert Mueller. “It could be a long, hot summer.”
obstruction of justice—and Giuliani just admitted on national tele-
QSome students at George
Washington University are
campaigning to drop the
name “Colonials” from the
university’s sports teams, saying it’s “extremely offensive.”
The name and accompanying mascot—a white man in
a three-cornered hat—was
chosen in 1926 to honor
George Washington, a military
and political hero in Colonial
America. A campus petition
says the name “glorifies the
act of systemic oppression.”
QDr. Dre, the hip-hop icon, has
lost his battle to block Dr. Draion
Burch, a Pennsylvania gynecologist, from trademarking
the name “Dr. Drai.” Dre (the
rapper) had argued that the
similarly named brands would
cause “confusion in the marketplace.” But the U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office ruled this
week that the potential for confusion is minimal, as “Dr. Dre
is not a medical doctor.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Good week for:
Feminine wiles, after stripper Veronica Beckham won a legal bat-
tle to collect $223,000 left her by the late Micky Liu, an HBO executive. Liu’s family had claimed that as an “exotic dancer,” Beckham
was adept at “using coercion and manipulation upon men.”
Trenton McKinley, 13, of Alabama, who shocked doctors when
he regained consciousness after an accident that left him apparently
brain-dead. “From no brain waves to now walking and talking and
reading, doing math,” said his mother. “A miracle.”
Devotion, after a Turkish soccer fan who’d been banned from his
team’s home field for excessive enthusiasm hired a crane so he could
watch the game over the stadium walls. “That match was very
important for our team,” explained Ali Demirkaya.
Bad week for:
Recidivism, after Melania Trump—who admitted borrowing pas-
sages from a Michelle Obama speech for her own 2016 convention
speech—issued a booklet titled “Talking With Kids About Being
Online” that was nearly identical to a 2014 booklet issued by the
Obama administration.
United Airlines, which apologized to passengers for an intoxicated female flight attendant who informed passengers over the
intercom that “if your seat belt isn’t tight, you f---ed up.”
Intimidation tactics, after the National Hockey League formally
warned the Boston Bruins’ enforcer Brad Marchand that he will
face “supplemental discipline” if he continues his practice of licking
opponents’ faces during on-ice confrontations. Asked for comment,
Marchand said, “It is what it is.”
Boring but important
Israeli firm spied on
ex-Obama aides
A private intelligence firm with
ties to the Israeli government
secretly worked to gather
damaging information on
former Obama administration
officials in order to undermine
the Iran nuclear deal, The New
Yorker reported this week.
Black Cube compiled detailed
profiles of several officials
who’d worked in the Obama
White House, including
foreign policy advisers Ben
Rhodes and Colin Kahl. Operatives using false identities also
attempted to coax information out of the officials’ family
members. The firm used similar tactics when it was hired
by Harvey Weinstein to stop
articles about his history of
sexual misconduct. Black Cube
was reportedly working for a
business client who hoped to
benefit from sanctions on Iran.
The firm denied the story.
Only in America
The U.S. at a glance ...
AP (4)
Sedona, Ariz.
McCain’s visitors:
Sen. John McCain
is putting his affairs
in order and reflecting on his career
as he battles brain
cancer at home,
The New York
Battling cancer
Times reported
this week. The 81-year-old former GOP
presidential nominee has been receiving a
steady stream of friends from both sides
of the political aisle at his Sedona ranch,
including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina, retired Connecticut Sen. Joe
Lieberman, and former Vice President
Joe Biden. McCain reportedly encouraged Biden, who is considering a 2020
presidential run, not to “walk away”
from politics. He has also expressed
regret about picking Sarah Palin over Joe
Lieberman as his 2008 running mate.
McCain has also made it known
that he doesn’t want President
Trump, who infamously mocked
the senator’s time as a prisoner
of war, at his funeral. McCain
allies have also quietly sent
out feelers about his eventual
Senate replacement, signaling that they’d like it to be a
“McCain person.”
Pahoa, Hawaii
Lava flows: Hundreds of
Hawaii residents fled volcanic eruptions
on the state’s
Big Island this
week, as rivers
of molten rock
and clouds
of toxic gas
poured into
The Kilauea volcano
Fourteen fissures have opened up in and around
the Leilani Estates subdivision since last
Thursday, after a crater on the Kilauea
volcano collapsed. Lava flows have so far
destroyed at least 36 structures, covering an area equivalent to more than 75
football fields. Parts of the Kilauea volcano have been erupting continuously for
more than 30 years, and scientists don’t
know how long the current eruptions will
last. Some residents have placed sacred
ti leaves in the cracks in the earth that
have emerged as an offering to Pele, the
Hawaiian volcano goddess. “The land
doesn’t really belong to us,” said one
evacuee. “It belongs to Pele.”
Alexandria, Va.
Mueller setback? To the delight of
President Trump and his defenders, a federal judge in Virginia last week questioned
what he called special counsel Robert
Mueller’s “unfettered power” in the investigation into Russian election meddling.
District Judge T.S. Ellis III suggested in a
hearing that tax- and bank-fraud charges
brought against Trump’s former campaign
manager Paul Manafort were outside
the scope of Mueller’s probe. “You don’t
really care about Mr. Manafort,” Ellis
said. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead
to Mr. Trump.” Trump hailed the judge’s
comments, quoting them directly in a
speech to the National Rifle Association.
Legal experts, however, advised against
reading too much into the judge’s statement. “I think Judge Ellis may just be putting the government through its paces,”
said Lisa Kern Griffin, a Duke University
law professor. “That is not uncommon.”
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Families separated: Attorney General
Jeff Sessions unveiled new “zero tolerance” immigration measures this week,
including a policy to separate children
and parents caught crossing the border
illegally. The Justice Department vowed
to prosecute every person who illegally
enters the U.S., jailing adults and transferring children to shelters. In the past, most
families have been kept together while
awaiting civil deportation hearings. “If
you are smuggling a child...that child will
be separated from you,” Sessions said at a
law enforcement conference in Scottsdale.
“If you don’t like that, then don’t
smuggle children over our border.” The
Department of Homeland Security said
700 children have been separated from
their parents since October. The Trump
administration also announced an end to
Temporary Protected Status in January
2020 for an estimated 57,000 Hondurans
who have been allowed to live and work
in the U.S. following a 1998 hurricane.
Washington, D.C.
Pruitt under siege: White
House aides are
reportedly urging
President Trump
to fire embattled
Protection Agency
director Scott Pruitt.
Soon to be fired?
Pruitt is now facing at
least 11 federal investigations into his conduct on a wide range of ethics concerns,
including lavish spending on domestic
and foreign travel and a controversial
condominium rental agreement involving
the wife of a lobbyist. At least five senior
EPA staff members have resigned in the
past month. Republicans increasingly see
Andrew Wheeler, the newly confirmed
EPA deputy director, as an acceptable
replacement to Pruitt. A former coal lobbyist, Wheeler would be able to pursue
Trump’s aggressive deregulatory agenda
without drawing as much attention as Pruitt. Trump himself
is reported to be growing
frustrated with Pruitt, reacting
angrily to a report that Pruitt’s
staff tried to leak damaging information about Interior Secretary
Ryan Zinke in order to divert attention
away from Pruitt’s scandals.
Charleston, W.Va.
Voters sink Blankenship:
Republican leaders breathed
a sigh of relief this week
after West Virginia voters
rejected a controversial
former coal baron
running in the GOP
Senate primary. Don
Blankenship, who
served a year in federal
prison after being convicted for conspiring to violate mine-safety rules following
an accident that killed 29 miners, placed
third in the race, losing to the more establishment friendly state Attorney General
Patrick Morrisey. National Republicans
feared that Blankenship was sure to lose
in the general election against sitting
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who is
otherwise seen as vulnerable in deep-red
West Virginia. President Trump personally implored voters not to nominate
Blankenship as state polls showed him
gaining ground. The former coal executive, who claimed to be “Trumpier than
Trump,” was sharply criticized for racist
ads that attacked Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell’s “China family,” an
apparent reference to McConnell’s wife,
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The world at a glance ...
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Where is cholera aid? Two years
after the United Nations pledged to
help Haiti defeat a cholera outbreak
started by U.N. peacekeepers, the
impoverished nation has received
almost none of that assistance from
the international organization.
The epidemic began in 2010 when
Cholera victims
Nepali peacekeepers—sent to maintain order after an earthquake killed more than 250,000 people—
dumped infected sewage into a river. Since then, nearly 10,000
Haitians have died from cholera and more than 800,000 have been
sickened. While the U.N. never took official responsibility for the
incident, in 2016 then–Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced
the creation of a $400 million trust to fight the outbreak. But activists said this week that the trust has raised only $8.7 million, about
2 percent of its goal, and less than half has been spent.
Tourists blocked: Venetians fed up
with the 30 million tourists who
stampede through their narrow
alleys each year have resorted to
roping off the interlopers. Mayor
Luigi Brugnaro set up turnstiles last
weekend to segregate tourists from
Separating tourists and residents
locals on the main routes into
the historic city center. Residents can pass the checkpoints, while
visitors must use other routes. A crowd of 30 locals tore down
the new barriers, complaining that they would turn Venice into
a theme park and failed to address the key reason that the city’s
population—now 55,000—keeps shrinking. “We don’t need checkpoints,” the group said, “we need effective housing policies.”
Tonalá, Mexico
Bodies dissolved: A Mexican rapper and YouTube star with tens
of thousands of followers has confessed that he had a side job
disposing of bodies for the hyperviolent Jalisco New Generation
cartel. Christian Omar Palma Gutiérrez, 24, better known as
QBA, was arrested last week for his role in the disappearance of
three film students whose vanishing riveted the nation. The students unwittingly filmed at a site used as a safe house by a rival
gang and were seized by JNG as they left the building, and then
tortured and murdered. Their bodies were passed to Gutiérrez,
a “cook” who dissolved corpses in tanks full of sulfuric acid for
about $600 a month. Prosecutors are now examining his music
videos, which feature gang tattoos and hand signals, for possible
clues to other murders.
São Paulo
Deadly inferno: At least one person was killed this week after an
abandoned 24-story building in central São Paulo collapsed during
a massive fire. A mother and her twins were also missing following the blaze. The former police facility was home to some 150
squatters—including numerous poor
families—who had built makeshift living compartments out of wood, which
sped the spread of the fire. “The building came down like a tsunami,” said a
woman who lived on the fourth floor.
Authorities said there were dozens of
similarly run-down, illegally occupied
buildings across the city. “This was
a tragedy foretold,” São Paulo state
Gov. Márcio França said of the fire.
Up in flames
THE WEEK May 11, 2018
São Paulo
Gymnastics scandal: Dozens of athletes
have accused the former coach of
Brazil’s national gymnastics team of
Barbosa: Accuser
sexual abusing them when they were
children. More than 40 current or former gymnasts told reporters
from Globo TV that Fernando de Carvalho Lopes had watched
them shower, touched their genitals, or asked them to masturbate
in front of him. One gymnast, Petrix Barbosa, said the abuse began
when he was age 10 or 11. “I woke up with him—I don’t know
how many times—with his hand down my pants,” he said. Lopes
was fired from the national team just before the 2016 Olympics,
after a 13-year-old gymnast told his parents he was being abused.
Lopes denies the allegations and says he has “a clear conscience.”
Newscom (2), Getty (2), AP
Managua, Nicaragua
Demanding Ortega’s ouster: Heeding the call of the Catholic
Church, tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a march
for “Peace and Justice” through the Nicaraguan capital last
week, following days of bloody political protests that left at
least 43 dead and hundreds more wounded. Those protests
were sparked by unpopular pension reforms, but demonProtesting for peace
strators’ goals widened and deepened after a brutal crackdown by security forces and militias allied with the ruling
Sandinista Party. Most protesters are now demanding the resignation of President Daniel Ortega, in office since 2007, and Vice
President Rosario Murillo, who is also Ortega’s wife. “The changes
in social security were just the last straw,” said one marcher. “But
they were doing so many things before—stealing elections, stealing
government money, so much corruption.”
The world at a glance ...
Kiev, Ukraine
Arms deal? The Ukrainian government has halted four
corruption investigations involving former Trump
campaign chief Paul Manafort for fear of angering the Trump administration. The decision
came soon after the U.S. approved the sale of
210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian
government—weapons Kiev wants to fight
Russia-backed rebels in the country’s east. “In
every possible way, we will avoid irritating the
top American officials,” lawmaker Volodymyr
Ariev, a close ally of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, told
The New York Times. Manafort is facing prosecution in the U.S.
on charges of money laundering and financial fraud for his work
for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. He is a key figure
in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible
collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Goodbye, Peppa: China’s popular Douyin streaming app has abruptly purged all videos featuring
the British preschool cartoon character Peppa
Pig. The cheerful pink piggy had become an
ironic meme used by Chinese tweens and teens,
particularly, the state-run Global Times said,
“unruly slackers” who are “the antithesis of the
young generation the Party tries to cultivate.”
The state-run People’s Daily added: “No matter
how gangster Peppa Pig is, it cannot be allowed to
destroy children’s youth and go beyond the rules.”
Following those editorials, Douyin scrubbed its site
of the pig in an apparent act of self-censorship.
Censored swine
Massacring the press: At least 25 people, including nine journalists, were killed in twin suicide bombings in central Kabul this
week. The first blast occurred
when a suicide bomber riding a
motorbike detonated his explosives
outside Afghanistan’s National
Directorate of Security. When journalists rushed to the scene, a second bomber disguised as a reporter
stood among the assembled press
and blew himself up. Those killed
included three journalists from
Burying a journalist
U.S.-based Radio Free Europe and
one from the BBC. Afghan TV reporter Lotfullah Najafizada said
the Afghan press would not be deterred. “If you killed an entire
line of journalists reporting here, in five hours time we’re back,”
he said. “The line is longer and the resolve is greater.”
Newscom (2), AP, Alamy, Newscom
Hama, Syria
Israel vs. Iran: Israeli fighter jets struck a Syrian military base this
week, killing up to two dozen troops—many of them Iranians—
and destroying hundreds of missiles recently shipped from Iran.
Israel did not confirm the strike, but U.S. officials told NBC News
that Israel was responsible. U.S. officials said the weapons, which
included surface-to-air missiles, were meant to shore up Iranian
troops fighting in support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and
to strike at Israel. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Khatami warned
that Israel would regret its action. A senior U.S. official told NBC
News that Israel and Iran are edging closer to open warfare, saying, “On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility
around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at
the top of the list right now.”
Abuja, Nigeria
Cough syrup banned: Nigeria has banned codeinelaced cough syrup after a BBC report revealed that
widespread corruption at pharmaceutical companies was flooding the country’s black market with
the medicine, which young Nigerians use to get
high. The BBC undercover team filmed an executive for Emzor Pharmaceuticals—one of Nigeria’s
largest drugmakers—bragging that he could sell
1 million cartons a week on the black market.
Codeine addiction is endemic in mostly Muslim
northern Nigeria, where alcohol is banned and
unemployment is high. The Nigerian Senate estimates that some
3 million bottles of codeine syrup are consumed every single day
in the states of Kano and Jigawa alone.
Cardinal charged: The Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official,
Cardinal George Pell, was ordered this week by an Australian
court to stand trial on allegations of child sexual abuse. Pell, 76,
the Vatican’s de facto finance chief, has returned to Australia
to face the charges, which date from the
1970s to the ’90s when he was a priest in
the Melbourne area and later archbishop of
the city. The court dismissed the most serious allegations against the cardinal because
of concerns regarding witness credibility;
the charges that remain include allegations
that he groped two boys at a swimming
pool and assaulted two choristers. Pell has
pleaded not guilty and denied all the allegations, saying, “The whole idea of sexual
Pell: Abuse allegations
abuse is abhorrent to me.”
THE WEEK May 11, 2018
Peterson’s manly message
The man who wins at horse racing
Bill Benter has figured out how to win at the track, said Kit Chellel
in Bloomberg. Over three decades of gambling on horse racing,
Benter has refined an algorithm that includes dozens of factors and
has netted about $1 billion picking winners. “Gambling has always
been the domain of wise guys from the wrong side of the tracks,”
says Benter, 61. But he approaches it like a shrewd Wall Street
investor. After Las Vegas casinos caught Benter in the early 1980s
counting cards at the blackjack table, he moved to horse racing. He
taught himself coding and statistics before moving to Hong Kong,
where gamblers bet close to $10 billion at the tracks each year. His
algorithm grew to more than 120 factors, including wind speed
and what the horses ate for breakfast. “When there aren’t many
computer players,” he says, “the guy with the best system can have
a huge advantage.” Soon his assistants were phoning in eight bets a
minute. His operation now bets on horse races all over the world.
He’s tried running other kinds of businesses, but found it was too
hard to make money. “I’m kind of a one-trick pony,” he says.
QPulitzer Prize–winning novelist Junot Díaz
was taking questions at the Sydney Writers’
Festival when writer Zinzi Clemmons
stood up. She asked why, when Díaz
published an essay last month about
the trauma of having been raped as
a child, he didn’t confess to mistreating Clemmons in 2012. On
Twitter, Clemmons explained
that Díaz forcibly kissed her
when she was a graduate student at Columbia University.
Two more women writers have
come forward with accusations
of inappropriate behavior by
Díaz, who withdrew from the
festival. “I take responsibilTHE WEEK May 18, 2018
Twain’s harrowing upbringing
Shania Twain began writing songs to escape a nightmarish childhood, said Simon Hattenstone in The Guardian (U.K.). She has
made an estimated $350 million as a performer, but the country
singer grew up poor and abused in Ontario, Canada. Her mother,
Sharon, suffered from chronic depression, and her stepfather, Jerry,
was mentally ill and an alcoholic. Twain, now 52, would go to sleep
worried about her father killing her mother. In a home filled with
violence but “nothing to eat,” music was the only escape. By age 8
she was performing in bars to help pay the family’s bills. When her
stepfather began sexually abusing her, she endured it, knowing that
if she reported him “we’d all get separated, and I just couldn’t bear
that.” She eventually left to record music in Nashville and was on
the verge of a breakthrough in 1987 when she learned that her parents had died in a car crash. She moved back to Ontario and spent
the next six years raising her four siblings. “When you add shock
to grief, it does crazy things to your mind,” Twain says. As an adult,
she’s dealt with more adversity: Her husband and producer left
her for her best friend, and she suffered vocal cord paralysis that
almost ended her career. The survival skills she learned in childhood, she says, “really helped me through.”
ity for my past,” he responded. “This is the
reason I made the decision to tell the truth of
my rape and its damaging aftermath.”
QTwenty-seven more women have come
forward accusing Charlie Rose of sexual
misconduct. CBS fired the legendary
broadcaster last November after 17 women
accused him of sexual harassment, and PBS
canceled his show. Now The Washington
Post reports a history of abuse dating back
to 1976, including three instances when
women alerted CBS to Rose’s conduct. Rose,
76, called the story “unfair and inaccurate.”
He was accused of groping colleagues
and exposing himself at the office, and of
making unwanted advances to assistants
at his home and during business trips. In a
separate article, one woman who interned
for Rose in 2007 described being asked to
plunge a toilet at his house “brimming with
feces.” Former CBS News Chairman Jeff
Fager said, “If I knew there was this darker
side, he would never have been hired.”
QPrince Harry is getting an early taste of
the stress that comes with in-laws. Thomas
Markle Jr., the estranged half-brother of
Harry’s bride-to-be, Meghan, urged the
prince in a letter to call off “the biggest
mistake in royal wedding history,” adding,
“You and the royal family should put an end
to this fake fairy-tale wedding before it’s too
late.” The brother, who lives in Oregon, was
not among the 500-plus people invited to the
May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle, nor was
his father, who divorced Meghan’s mother in
1988. To “top it all off, she doesn’t invite her
own family,” Markle complained. There was
no response from Meghan or the royals.
Ryan Pfluger/The New York Times/Redux, Jesse Dittmar/The Washington Post
Jordan Peterson is on a crusade to save masculinity, said Wesley Yang in Esquire. A staunch
defender of traditional gender roles, the 55-yearold University of Toronto professor has become
a surrogate father to millions of lost young men.
His message is simple enough: Stand up straight,
be responsible for your choices, “take on the
heaviest burden that you can bear,” “grow the
hell up,” and stop whining over the fact that life is hard. Men and
women are different, he says, and men should resist becoming
androgenized. “When softness and harmlessness become the only
consciously acceptable virtues,” he says, a man will start to act like
an “overgrown child.” Peterson’s YouTube channel has more than
a million subscribers, and his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote
to Chaos is a worldwide hit. “People told me that the time for great
theories in psychology is over,” Peterson says. “It might be over for
you, but it’s not over for me.” It’s because postmodern society is
pressuring men to act in a softer, more feminine way, he says, that
so many are rebelling and embracing angry, right-wing extremism.
As evidence, he points to “the populist groundswell of support for
Donald Trump” and “the rise of far-right political parties” throughout Europe. Progressive critics have labeled him a misogynist and
even an alt-right reactionary. Peterson disputes both charges, but
doesn’t deny being provocative. “In order to be able to think,” he
told one TV interviewer, “you have to risk being offensive.”
A history of broken promises
North Korea has repeatedly pledged it would make peace and abandon its nuclear programs. Is this time different?
What is being proposed?
on strict verification measures, but
North Korea continued to stall
North Korean dictator Kim Jong
on implementing them. In 2006,
Un has offered to remove all
North Korea conducted its first
nuclear weapons from the Korean
underground nuclear test. By the
Peninsula in return for a permanent
time President Obama took office
peace deal. At a historic meeting
in 2009, North Korea had bomb
last month with South Korean
capability, and the six-party proPresident Moon Jae-in in the
cess had broken down.
Demilitarized Zone that has divided
North and South since the 1953
What did Obama do?
armistice, Kim agreed to negotiate a
The Obama administration tighttreaty to finally end the frozen conened sanctions while dangling
flict. “I came here to put an end to
the prospect of negotiations. In
the history of confrontation,” Kim
2011, Kim Jong Il died and was
said. It may or may not represent a
succeeded by his son, Kim Jong
change of policy: His family’s secreUn. Just two months into the
tive, Stalinist regime has a decadesKim Jong Il with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000
new regime, North Korea and the
long record of promising to halt
U.S. signed the “Leap Day” agreement on Feb. 29, 2012, which
its nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief or aid. Kim’s
declared a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests. But
father, Kim Jong Il, who came to power in 1994 after the death
the young Kim was focused on proving his toughness to his generof his father, Kim Il Sung, agreed to end nuclear weapons or misals and to North Koreans, so he ignored that pledge and began
sile activities that year—and then again in 2000, 2005, and 2007.
Each time, Pyongyang secretly continued its nuclear tests and mis- testing nuclear bombs of greater magnitude. When President
Trump took office with a threat to rain down “fire and fury” on
sile development. The U.S., said then–Defense Secretary Robert
North Korea, the regime simply redoubled its efforts, announcing
Gates in 2009, is “tired of buying the same horse twice.”
breakthroughs in miniaturization of warheads and ballistic missile
technology. Nine months after Trump took office, North Korea
When did the programs start?
claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb—a huge leap in destrucNorth Korea began trying in earnest to make a bomb in the
tive power. Two months later, it tested an ICBM, with the stated
1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had been a
goal of delivering a nuclear attack on U.S. cities. But after an
key ally. In 1993, North Korea threatened to withdraw from the
exchange of threats with Trump, in which the two leaders warned
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty after the International Atomic
they could destroy each other’s nations, Kim suddenly announced
Energy Agency found evidence that its nuclear plants were prohe was willing to negotiate directly with the U.S. president.
ducing plutonium—bomb fuel. Alarmed, President Bill Clinton
sought to cut off nuclear development by negotiating a sweeping
Is anything different this time?
deal with the Kim regime: the Agreed Framework. North Korea
Yes. For the first time, Pyongyang has both nuclear weapons and
agreed to halt construction of its nuclear reactors in exchange
intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the U.S., so it is
for the U.S.’s building it two new ones that could not be altered
negotiating from a much stronger
to produce plutonium. But in 1998,
position. At the same time, the much
Pyongyang began testing ballistic misWhy the U.S. is the enemy
tougher international sanctions the
siles. Negotiations over how to stop that North Korea blames the U.S. for dividing it
Trump administration has imposed
program were ongoing when President
from South Korea along the 38th parallel after
have badly hurt North Korea’s already
George W. Bush took office.
World War II. And it has bitter memories of
weak economy. Trump administrathe 1950 U.S. invasion, when American planes
tion officials are cautiously optimistic
What did Bush do?
burned villages with napalm and U.S. tanks
that since Kim’s overriding goal is to
He ordered a policy and intelligence
and troops pushed North Korean forces nearly
preserve his regime, he might trade
review, which found that North Korea
to the Chinese border. As many as 4 million
Koreans died in the fierce fighting and bombhis weapons for a peace treaty that
was secretly developing the capability to
ing, including an estimated 25 percent of the
provided sanctions relief and strong
enrich uranium—another kind of bomb
North’s population. “North Korea was flatguarantees that the U.S. would not
fuel. Bush cut off fuel oil shipments
tened,” said University of Chicago historian
attack North Korea. Skeptics, however,
made under the Agreed Framework,
Bruce Cumings. “The North Koreans see the
think Kim is just buying time until he
and by 2002 North Korea had pulled
American bombing as a holocaust, and every
completes the final step in becoming
out of all deals, saying the U.S. had
child is taught about it.” Ever since, hatred
a nuclear power: creating a warhead
violated their terms. The U.S. turned
of the U.S. has been a cornerstone of North
small enough to fit on an ICBM and
to North Korea’s neighbors and allies
Korean identity. The regime is organized
sturdy enough to withstand re-entry
for help. The resulting “six-party talks”
around the massive military—1 million strong
into the atmosphere. Still, President
among North and South Korea, the U.S.,
in a country of 25 million—whose explicit goal
Trump is confident. “The United States
China, Russia, and Japan produced a
is to prevent U.S. invasion at any cost. Antihas been played beautifully, like a fidnew deal, with North Korea promising
U.S. propaganda is a constant, and “Struggle
dle, because you had a different kind
in 2005 to “abandon nuclear weapons
Against U.S. Imperialism Month” is observed
of a leader,” Trump said. “We’re not
and existing nuclear programs.” Given
every year.
going to be played, OK?”
Pyongyang’s past cheating, Bush insisted
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Chris Cillizza
$400 million
spending spree
Jonathan Chait
The growing
disdain for
civil liberties
David French
Best columns: The U.S.
In public life, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was a
leading voice in the #MeToo movement and a righteous crusader against
President Trump and corporate greed. In private, said Chris Cillizza, “he
was a monster.” In a New Yorker investigative report this week, four
women accused Schneiderman of physically and psychologically abusing
them during their private relationships, and the evidence was so strong
he immediately resigned. Why do these allegations keep happening with
“such regularity in politics?” It may have to do with the “culture and
power dynamics” of the political world. Public officials are often treated
like royalty, with a coterie of young staffers rushing to serve their needs
with slavish devotion and deference. Even for politicians who enter
public service with good intentions, that sense of entitlement is “dangerously addictive.” Men like Schneiderman can lead investigations into
Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump by day, and hypocritically abuse
women after hours, deluding themselves that their private lives have no
relevance to their public personas. Sadly, Schneiderman won’t be the last
public figure discovered to be living two lives. “This sort of behavior appears to be a feature of modern political life, not a glitch.”
“President Trump has made it perfectly plain that he views any scrutiny
of his finances as a mortal threat,” said Jonathan Chait. He and his
defenders have insisted that his personal business dealings are off-limits
to investigators—a “red line” that special counsel Robert Mueller
had better not cross. We may now know why. The Washington Post
just published a detailed investigation into the Trump Organization’s
business expansion over the past decade, during which the firm began
buying $400 million worth of golf courses, luxury homes, and other
properties with “straight cash.” Through much of his business career,
Trump had borrowed heavily, often stiffing his creditors. Why the
abrupt change in strategy? Eric Trump told the Post it was the result
of his father’s “incredible cash flow,” but in 2014, Eric told a reporter,
“We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” In 2008, Donald Jr.
said, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” This, of course,
raises the prospect that Trump was money laundering for Vladimir
Putin’s oligarchs—which would be a crime and could subject Trump
to blackmail. Whether Russia has leverage over America’s president “is
not incidental to the Mueller investigation, but its very heart.”
It’s not enough to defend the civil liberties of those with whom we
merely disagree, said David French. Americans must learn to defend
the rights of “those we hate.” In our polarized partisan debates about
free speech, the presumption of innocence, and the rule of law, the most
important question for too many people is “Who wins?” On campuses
across the country, liberal activists have defended their right to shut
down conservative speakers by arguing that free speech is being used as
a “cover for racism.” Meanwhile, many of the same conservatives who
complained about political correctness stifling their voices “were also
cheering President Trump’s call for the NFL to terminate football players who kneeled during the national anthem.” Liberals gleefully seized
on the possibility President Trump will plead the Fifth Amendment
in the Russia probe as proof that he must be guilty. That’s no less unAmerican than Trump himself saying in 2016, “If you’re innocent, why
are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” The Constitution guarantees
certain “unalienable rights,” but that will mean nothing if Americans
don’t agree civil liberties belong equally to everyone. “If we can’t do
that, those rights will be lost.”
“If the economy and foreign policy have boosted the president’s fortunes, the
most important boost may be coming from inside his own party, in the form
of the totally nonexistent agenda that congressional Republicans have put forward since the tax bill
passed. A core fact of our era is that the national Republican Party is politically effective only as a
vehicle for anti-liberalism, a rallying point for all the disparate groups who feel threatened by having
our cultural elite in full control of government. Which means the GOP is often more popular the less
it attempts to legislate at all.”
Ross Douthat in The New York Times
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
It must be true...
I read it in the tabloids
QA Russian woman ended
up paying $7,700 for a coffee
and a cake at a Swiss café
after she accidentally entered
her PIN code—7687—as the
tip on the establishment’s
credit card machine. It was
only when Olesja Schemjakowa got her bank statement
that she discovered she’d
been charged 7,709.70 Swiss
francs for the snack. She
asked the credit card company to cancel the charge,
but it couldn’t help because
the payment wasn’t fraudulent. She then contacted the
café owner, who promised to
return the money, but then
went out of business. “That’s
just not fair!” she says.
QA Wisconsin man who
already holds
the Guinness
World Record
for eating
the most
Big Macs
last week
down his 30,000th signature
McDonald’s burger. Don
Gorske, 64, has eaten at least
one Big Mac a day since
May 17, 1972, and insists that
his health hasn’t suffered
because of his fast-food diet.
“I weigh 190 pounds, and my
cholesterol is 165,” he says.
“I’m healthy as a horse.” The
retired prison guard says his
wife wants him to eat more
fruit and vegetables, but he
isn’t interested. “Last year,”
he notes, “I had some corn.”
QA shoplifting suspect who
used Play-Doh to cover
anti-theft devices at a Massachusetts Walmart was
arrested after police found his
fingerprint in the clay-like toy.
Dennis Jackson, 55, allegedly covered several of the
security devices in Play-Doh,
hoping that it would muffle
the equipment’s alarm. Police
said they were able to identify the suspected thief thanks
to a “very good fingerprint”
in the multicolored clay. “The
proof is in the Play-Doh,” said
a spokesman for Hasbro,
which makes the product.
in ways large
and small
El País
Why we
should keep the
Elgin marbles
Kevin Childs
Best columns: Europe
Cristina Cifuentes is a textbook example of “all the
behaviors that damage democracy and pollute politics,” said El País. The former leader of Madrid’s
regional government was once seen as a future
leader of the ruling, center-right People’s Party, but
that was before reporters began to ask whether she
had really earned the master’s degree in law she
claimed to have. To silence the doubters, Cifuentes
produced a document signed by three professors at
Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University, and the dean
vouched for her. In fact, as it turned out, she was
just one recipient in a long-running scam to provide fake degrees to friendly politicians. Even after
she was exposed, Cifuentes took no responsibility
for her cheating, instead blaming the university.
She finally resigned as Madrid’s leader last month
after a seven-year-old video came to light showing
her being frisked by supermarket security guards
after shoplifting two tubs of face cream. Her personal criminality is appalling, but even worse is the
way her party stood by her. Even as the evidence
of fraud mounted, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
said nothing, while senior party officials gave her
a “parade of support and applause” until hours
before her resignation. The sordid display tarnished
not just the party, but Spanish democracy itself.
The Elgin marbles should not be sent back to
Greece, said Kevin Childs. The sculptures and
frieze reliefs were removed from the pediment of
the Parthenon in Athens and shipped to the U.K.
more than 200 years ago by the Earl of Elgin, a
British diplomat and amateur antiquarian. The
marbles became a star attraction at London’s British Museum and are now a source of contention
with the Greek government, which has lobbied
furiously for their return. The plundering of Greek
antiquity has a long and sorry history, but in this
case there was a happy ending. Carefully preserved by the British Museum, the marbles were
seen by millions of people—including great artists
such as Auguste Rodin, who used them as inspiration and whose works are displayed alongside
the marbles in a new exhibition at the museum.
Rodin “copied and distilled and recast them,”
but ultimately admitted that, in his words, “no
artist will ever surpass Phidias.” Had the marbles
remained in Athens to be broken up or scattered
by looters, Rodin would likely never have laid
eyes on them. The Elgin marbles now belong not
to Greek heritage alone but to Western culture.
Since they couldn’t, in any case, be returned to
the Parthenon, only to a museum nearby, why not
keep them in London “where they can be seen by
considerably more visitors”?
Germany: How should Marx be honored?
A statue, sure, said Werner Kolhoff in Westdeutsche Zeitung
(Germany). The author of Das Kapital was a towering philosopher of the 19th century and anyone who studies globalization
and inequality today can’t help but admire his “theoretical penetration of the capitalist economy.” But a statue from China is
“a bad joke.” Chinese President Xi Jinping is encouraging the
cult of Marx while his country actually practices “a particularly
stark form of turbo-capitalism.” China now has more billionaires than the U.S. and “pitilessly suppresses” anyone who dares
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
But 27 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Marx “has become an afterthought in the first country to implement his ideas
as a political system,” said Evan Gershkovich in The Moscow
Times (Russia). Nearly a quarter of Russians don’t even know
who Marx was, and Russian authorities didn’t mark his big day
at all. “The official stance is that his revolutionary ideas brought
misfortune to the Russian people,” says Lev Gudkov, head of the
Levada Center, an independent pollster. “Russians have all but
forgotten him.”
challenge its ruling elite. Is that really
The birthplace of Karl Marx is thrilled
what Marx would have wanted?
with the larger-than-life statue of the
far-left philosopher that was unveiled
This slab of “bronze kitsch” from
on his 200th birthday, said Katharina
China is all wrong, said Hennig Hübert
De Mos in Trierische Volksfreund
in Germany’s
(Germany). And that’s not only because
Marx was a complex thinker who
the father of communism is “so hip
should be pondered over and argued
right now, we can milk him for plenty
with, not a leader to be placed on a
of capital.” Trier, the western German
pedestal and worshipped, something
town where the co-writer of The Comunderstood by Germans who actumunist Manifesto lived until age 17, is a
ally lived under communism. During
tourist destination for Marx enthusiasts,
his birthday celebration last week,
and we’re selling posters and T-shirts
authorities in Chemnitz—known
as fast as they can be printed. A group
Unveiling the new Marx statue in Trier
as Karl Marx City from 1953 to
representing German victims of communism has protested the erection of the 14-foot bronze, a gift from 1990 when it was part of East Germany—brought to life with
light and sound the 23-foot-high Marx bust that still sits in
China. They blame his ideas for inspiring some of the world’s
bloodiest tyrants—Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot—and causing our the city center. The philosopher’s lips appeared to move as he
denounced the Trier statue as a cheap Chinese knockoff. The
nation to be divided into communist East and capitalist West
head also dared President Trump to get a similar bust made,
after World War II. Yet Marx, “in whose name working condiadvising him to suck up to the Russians because “they’re great
tions were improved and terrible crimes committed,” is “insepawith monuments.”
rable from the history of this city.” He deserves a statue here.
Best columns: International
Israel: Preparing for war with Iran
Hillel Frisch in The Jerusalem Post
Iran and Israel are on the verge of
(Israel). Since Iran has no real air
all-out war, said Richard Spencer in
force and its ground troops are far
The Times (U.K.). Both sides “are
away, a conflict will likely begin
adamant their own ‘red lines’ have
with Iranian forces in Syria and
already been crossed.” Israel says it
the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia
won’t accept the establishment of a
in Lebanon firing thousands of
permanent Iranian military presence
missiles at Israel. In retaliation, the
on its doorstep in Syria—yet that is
Israeli air force will aim to cripple
already happening. Iran’s elite Revoluthe Iranian ports of Kharg—
tionary Guard, which has helped prop
through which 90 percent of Iran’s
up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad
oil and gas exports flow—and
during his country’s seven-year civil
Bandar Abbas, which handles
war, is bedded down in the country
most imports. And Israel might
and has trained some 80,000 paraIsraeli troops on maneuvers near the border with Syria
“feel compelled to attack airports
military fighters there, including Shiite
Muslim militants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan. in Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq to prevent the movement of
Iranian troops and equipment.”
Iran, meanwhile, wants revenge for several recent airstrikes on
Iranian bases in Syria, which have destroyed some 200 advanced
Retaliating against an Iranian offensive is one thing, said Nahum
missiles and killed more than a dozen Guard members.
Barnea in Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel), but purposely provoking
U.S. President Donald Trump’s pullout from the Iran nuclear deal such an attack is another entirely. Yet that is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be doing. He has deliberately
this week will only exacerbate the threat to Israel, said Michael
moved his red line so he can tell the world Iran is breaching
Koplow in Ha’aretz (Israel). Until now, the only thing preventing Iran from attacking Israel from Syria has been the knowledge it—first it was no arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon, then no
Shiite militias near the Syrian-Israel border, and now no Iranian
that such a strike would cost Tehran the support of Britain,
presence in Syria at all. Israeli strikes on Iranian sites in Syria are
France, and Germany—the three Western European countries
that signed the 2015 agreement. If that deal is dead anyway, such extremely provocative, yet last week the Knesset gave him the
power to make attack decisions in consultation only with the deconcerns are irrelevant. The scuttling of the nuclear agreement
fense minister, not the whole cabinet as was previously required.
removes “a key restraint on Iran’s conventional forces.”
As Netanyahu goads Iran, he has an obligation to “make the
Any war will inevitably be “very destructive and very disruptive, risks, the intentions, the goal, and the price clear” to the Israelis
who will bear the sufferings of war.
not only for Israel and Iran but for neighboring states,” said
The unborn
we can’t
Martin Baintrub
Facebook’s role
in inflaming
ethnic hatreds
John Naughton
The Observer (U.K.)
While the Argentine legislature debates whether to
legalize abortion, said Martin Baintrub, pundits are
tiptoeing around one glaring fact: The procedure
is already widespread. Abortion is currently available only to rape victims or to save a woman’s life,
but illegal abortion is part of our culture. Health
officials estimate that 500,000 Argentines terminate their pregnancies every year and thousands
are hospitalized as a result of complications from
unhygienic procedures. Abortion foes who want
to bring that figure to zero need to ask themselves:
Would the country be able to absorb and care for
half a million additional unwanted children every
year? That is the population of an entire new province. “Are there enough families willing to adopt
such a large number of children?” Already, the
country lacks sufficient schools; if there were no
abortions, we would need to double education infrastructure within a decade. Illegal abortion, then,
is solving a population problem for us, “without
forcing any pious soul to trouble his conscience by
voting for legal abortion.” Yet this solution is the
definition of hypocrisy. Abortion is everywhere,
and “the health and lives of the poorest women”
are paying for it. We must “stop being hypocrites”
and save the lives not of fetuses, but of women.
The troubling implications of Facebook’s global
monopoly are at last becoming clear to us here in
the West. But we’re not the ones most at risk, said
John Naughton. The real threat is to developing
societies, which lack assets such as a free press or
an independent judiciary to check the pernicious
influence of social media. Now that its market in
the West is approaching saturation, Facebook is
assiduously targeting less developed parts of the
world, where it often offers free internet connectivity as part of the deal to get its app. The result is
that, for many in the developing world, Facebook
is now the sole source of online information—and
a far from wholesome one. In Myanmar, it was essentially the medium for the anti-Muslim hysteria
that led to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya
people: The ultranationalist Buddhist monk Ashin
Wirathu, who was banned from preaching to
crowds, used it to broadcast his inflammatory
propaganda. He “compared Muslims to mad dogs
and posted gruesome pictures of dead bodies that
he claimed were killed by Muslims.” The result
was a pogrom that killed thousands of Rohingya
and sent 700,000 more fleeing to neighboring
Bangladesh. Fake news may affect elections in the
West, “but in the rest of the world, it costs lives.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
QIf California were an
independent country, it
would have the fifthlargest economy in the
world, with a gross
domestic product of more
than $2.7 trillion. The state
recently surpassed the
U.K., and is $700 billion
behind Germany.
Associated Press
QRepublican candidates
ran 12,864 political television advertisements from
Jan. 1 through April 24
either mentioning or showing a photo of Hillary Clinton. Only eight Democratic
ads mentioned Clinton.
USA Today
Scott Kelly on the space station
QMore than half of
NASA’s 17,000 employees
are 50 years old or older,
largely because of the
space agency’s extremely
low turnover rate. About
44 percent of NASA’s workers will be eligible to retire
in the next five years.
QThe temperature
reached 122.4 degrees
in Pakistan on April 30—
meteorologists say that’s
the highest temperature
ever reliably recorded for
the month of April anywhere in the world.
The New York Times
QIn April 2017, the
Environmental Protection Agency removed an
informational web page
about climate change—
a page that had been up,
in some form, for nearly
two decades under three
presidents—saying the
information was “being
updated.” A year later, the
page remains unavailable.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Talking points
Marx: How he changed the world
tionary communist regimes “result
“Happy birthday, Karl Marx. You
in either crimes against humanity,
were right!” said Jason Barker in The
grinding poverty, or both.” ConNew York Times. The German phisider Venezuela, now in full ecolosopher was born 200 years ago this
nomic collapse despite its rich oil
month, but his criticisms of capitalreserves. Instead, the most successful
ism are “as prescient as ever.” Today,
examples of socialism have been
liberals have more or less embraced
applied incrementally, from within
Marx’s depiction of capitalism as a
the democratic capitalist system.
class struggle in which the ruling-class
“Almost all rich countries now have
minority exploits the labor of the
progressive income taxes, universal
working-class majority while sharpublic education, and laws against
ing little of the profits. It’s easy to
child labor—all things that Marx
see why. Last year alone, 82 percent
demanded in 1848 in The Commuof the wealth generated worldwide
went to the world’s richest 1 percent. Marx: Was he partly right? nist Manifesto.”
Modern social justice movements like Black Lives
Marx accurately diagnosed many of capitalMatter and #MeToo can also be traced to Marx,
who believed in challenging the structure of privi- ism’s biggest flaws, said The Economist. But
he didn’t understand its strengths: Capitalism
lege. His revolutionary thinking lives on.
drives down the price of consumer goods, givMarx may continue to inspire leftist idealists, said ing workers access to things that monarchs once
considered luxuries. Thanks to capitalism, the
James Bovard in USA Today, but “Marxism in
practice didn’t work out so well.” Marx assumed number of people in “extreme poverty” has
declined from 1.85 billion in 1990 to 767 mila classless, altruistic state would arise after
lion in 2013. “Touchingly, he imagined that as
capitalism was swept away; instead, murderous
capitalism became more and more destructive, the
dictatorships such as Soviet Russia and Maoist
workers of the world would unite,” said Robert
China filled the vacuum. More than 100 million
people died in the 20th century under the ruthless Kuttner in Instead, workers
frustrated by globalization and automation are
communist regimes he inspired. Marx’s defenders, of course, will argue “the real thing hasn’t yet embracing ethnic nationalism, from Hungary to
been tried,” said Noah Smith in Britain to the United States. “Poor Marx” could
never have predicted Donald Trump.
But history shows us time and again that revolu-
Mueller: Can he subpoena the president?
The “slow-motion showdown” between President Trump and Robert Mueller “has entered a
new phase,” said Philip Ewing in “A
knife fight over how, when, or whether the two
men may meet for an interview.” Having initially
claimed he’d be happy to answer the special counsel’s questions, Trump appears much less enthusiastic of late, and says he’ll only agree if the terms
are “fair.” But it emerged last week that Mueller
has told the president’s legal team that if Trump
refuses a voluntary interview, he’ll subpoena him
to testify in front of a grand jury—where he’d
have no lawyers present. Rudy Giuliani, one of
the president’s new lawyers, is claiming Trump
could ignore a subpoena because of executive
privilege. But most legal experts doubt that. When
President Nixon refused to comply with a subpoena demanding the missing Watergate tapes,
the Supreme Court unanimously ordered him to
turn them over. Giuliani also suggested that Trump
could “invoke his Fifth Amendment rights” to
avoid answering Mueller’s questions. But that
refusal would be exploited by the president’s opponents as evidence he has something to hide.
Trump is perfectly entitled to ignore a subpoena,
said Andrew McCarthy in
The job of the presidency is too “critical” for the
commander-in-chief to waste time with an investigative fishing expedition. While executive privilege
can be overridden in exceptional circumstances,
the special counsel’s probe doesn’t meet that
standard—Mueller has produced no “evidence of
a serious crime,” and he could almost certainly
gather the information he seeks from “alternative
sources.” On the contrary, said The Baltimore Sun
in an editorial. When President Clinton said he
was too busy to answer questions in Paula Jones’
civil lawsuit, the Supreme Court unanimously
rejected his argument and ordered him to testify.
And many of Mueller’s questions—including what
was Trump’s intent in firing FBI Director James
Comey—only the president himself can answer.
The public deserves to hear what he has to say.
Mueller may have the law on his side—but not
time, said Jonathan Karl in A protracted legal battle over a subpoena would give the
president and his allies months to “undermine”
and hamper the investigation. For that reason,
Mueller will probably blink first, and agree to
accept written answers from Trump. If he doesn’t,
and neither side budges, it “could trigger a crisis
with dangerous and unpredictable consequences.”
CCBY: International Institute of Social History/Netherlands, NASA
Talking points
Prom dress: A ‘cultural appropriation’ furor
world.” In response to the backAnyone upset about a prom dress is
lash, Daum tweeted, “I’ve done
clearly “desperate to be offended,” said
nothing but show my love for the
Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview
culture.” But this just reveals her
.com. Eighteen-year-old Keziah Daum
as “the embodiment of a system
was blasted on social media last week
that empowers white people to
after she posted photos of herself weartake whatever they want” and
ing a Chinese-style dress, a cheongsam,
then fall back on, “Well, I didn’t
to her prom in Utah. A Twitter user
mean any harm.” White people
named Jeremy Lam earned 42,000
often mock other cultures as inferetweets by telling her, “My culture
rior, and then “cherry-pick” what
is NOT your goddamn prom dress.”
they want from those cultures and
People in China, meanwhile, think
call it “appreciation.”
we’re “idiots” for this “absurd panic”
over cultural appropriation. Almost
That charge is based on a distorted
everything we do—the music we make,
view of history, said David Frum in
the religions we practice, even the The Chinese dress
English language itself—is the product
“originated in a brutal act of impeof many melded cultures. Yet the Left
rialism, but not by any Western
now insists any form of appropriation
Daum: Attacked on Twitter people.” After the Manchurian conis by definition theft—and an insult.
Are we offended when “Chinese elites wear West- quest of China in 1648, the new rulers imposed
a strict style of dress. When the Manchu—or
ern jackets and ties”? An additional irony here is
that China’s economy thrives on “turning our cul- Qing—dynasty was overthrown in 1911, the liberated Chinese created the cheongsam, “a fusion of
tural exports into their profit,” said Kenny Xu in
old and new, East and West”—consciously, whether it’s bootleg iPhones,
ing European fashion to their own fabrics. “If it’s
pirated movies, or stealth fighter jets. “China is
wrong for one culture to borrow from another,
guilty of a billion times more cultural theft than
then it was wrong to invent the cheongsam in the
some kid in a prom dress.”
first place.” The “cultural appropriation police”
have a simple morality tale to tell, of oppressors
Except it wasn’t “just a dress,” said Eliza
stealing from victims’ cultures. Factually and morAnyangwe in Clothes “are
ally, they’re wrong.
part of the way we communicate with the
Trump’s lies: Do they matter?
Well, it turns out President Trump “was lying the
whole time,” said Noah Rothman in USA Today.
About what? Take your pick. For months,
Trump denied any knowledge of the $130,000
hush money payment his lawyer Michael Cohen
made to porn star Stormy Daniels during the
2016 election. But last week the president’s new
attorney, Rudy Giuliani, revealed that Trump
“not only knew about the transaction but [also]
reimbursed Cohen for his trouble.” Separately,
Harold Bornstein, the president’s zany former
gastroenterologist, revealed that the hyperbolic
letter he released during the election proclaiming
Trump’s “astonishing health” was in fact dictated
by the patient himself. Oops! Trump’s mendacity
is reaching new heights, said Tom Nicholson in Last week he notched his 3,000th
false or misleading statement since taking office,
according to The Washington Post’s comprehensive tally. That amounts to 6.5 lies every single
day. His lying is actually escalating, from 4.9
falsehoods each day in his first 100 days to nine
a day in the past two months.
“The most shocking aspect” of last week’s revelations was that “they were not at all shocking” to
the nation, said Stephen Collinson in
Trump’s “loyal base,” who dismiss the media’s
reporting and fact checks as “irretrievably
biased,” probably didn’t believe—or care—that
he was lying. The rest of the country is essentially
resigned to the fact that our president is a compulsive and habitual liar. And having seen that
the exposure of his many lies does not affect the
blind loyalty of his base and most congressional
Republicans, “Trump has learned he can get
away with anything.”
Maybe in the short term, said The Wall Street
Journal in an editorial. The problem may come
when there’s a “genuine crisis”—a nuclear
showdown with Iran or North Korea—and the
president needs the country to trust him. With
Trump’s track record, Americans may not believe
“anything he says.” The other question is whether
Trump is a political anomaly or the start of a new
era, said Matt Lewis in Since
Trump has gaslighted the country so dramatically
and so successfully, will future political leaders
also embrace lying as a deliberate strategy? Have
voters become so tribal that lying just doesn’t
matter? Americans used to vote out the “bums”
in Washington who lied to us—but maybe “we’ll
grow accustomed to living with them.”
Wit &
“To be alive but dead is
the worst possible thing,
although it happens to
many people.”
Mario Vargas Llosa, quoted in
the Financial Times
“Since we must eat to live,
we might as well do it with
both grace and gusto.”
M.F.K. Fisher,
quoted in
“I can tell how intelligent a
man is by how stupid
he thinks I am.”
Cormac McCarthy,
quoted in
“There is no agony like
bearing an untold story
inside you.”
Zora Neale Hurston, quoted in
The Independent (U.K.)
“If you pluck the chicken
one feather at a time, then
people won’t notice.”
Benito Mussolini, quoted in
“To abandon facts is
to abandon freedom. If
nothing is true, then no
one can criticize power
because there is no basis
upon which to do so.” Historian Timothy Snyder,
quoted in The New York Times
“A society must assume
that it is stable, but the artist
must know, and he must let
us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”
James Baldwin, quoted in
Poll watch
Q57% of Americans say
the U.S. is on the right
track, up from 49% who
said so in February and
the largest proportion to
say so since 2007. Though
Trump’s overall approval
rating has remained
steady at 41%, his numbers on specific issues are
climbing: 52% approve
of the job he is doing on
the economy. But by 56%
to 37%, Americans say
Barack Obama was a better president than Trump.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Social media: Facebook joins the dating game
and users over 40 who may be less likely to use
“Watch out, Tinder,” said Kaya Yurieff and Sara
other online services.” Older users are the one
Ashley O’Brien in “Facebook wants to
group where Facebook is still seeing growth, said
help people find love.” The world’s biggest social
James Temperton in Wired (U.K.). Young people are
network announced last week that it is launching a
“ditching Facebook in droves”; in the U.S., nearly
new dating feature that will target the 200 million
3 million people under 25 are expected to sign off
users worldwide who identify themselves as single.
the social network for good this year. But almost
Users will be able to set up a separate dating profile,
3 million Americans over age 35 are expected to
which won’t be visible to friends, and will be notified
join, “with the largest growth coming in the overof events and groups related to their interests. People
65s.” And the dating feature is expected to encourwith the same interests will be able to message one
age those users to spend more time on the platform.
another “in a private messaging inbox.” The move
into the dating world follows Facebook forays into
Moving into dating actually “isn’t much of a leap
a broad array of online businesses, including its
for Facebook,” said Lisa Bonos in The Washington
marketplace feature that competes with Craigslist
Post. For years, couples have been meeting and
and its takeout feature that challenges Seamless. Still,
this announcement feels curiously timed, said Deepa Matchmaker, matchmaker? connecting on the network, and many “go on to
marry and have children.” The Facebook-owned
Seetharaman and Georgia Wells in The Wall Street
Instagram has also been known to be an “accidental matchJournal. Facebook has been battling “questions about how it
maker,” serving as a kind of “portfolio for your dating life.” In
handles users’ data and privacy,” so now seems an odd moment
to ask people to hand over even more sensitive personal informa- many ways, Facebook is just “making explicit something that’s
already happening implicitly.” Maybe so, but after recent privacy
tion. The competition was quick to offer some mocking jabs:
“Their product could be great for U.S.-Russia relationships,” said scandals, I’m not sure why users would ever trust Zuckerberg
and Co. with their love lives, said Emma Teitel in the Toronto
Joey Levin, CEO of IAC, which owns a majority stake in Tinder,
Star. I understand that the social network is desperate to revamp
Match, and OKCupid.
its image and is trying to shift focus “from the political to the
personal.” But by wading into a market that virtually guarantees
“Who will actually use this feature?” asked Kari Paul in Market
the “collection of even more personal data,” it opens itself up “to Older people, that’s who. Industry experts believe
further public scrutiny—and possibly scandal.”
Facebook could provide a comfortable platform for “divorcées
Disney has
created a
jacket that
can “simulate
physical experiences, like
a snake
slithering across
your body,”
said Thuy Ong in TheVerge
.com. The “force jacket” weighs
roughly 5 pounds and was developed in conjunction with MIT Media
Lab and Carnegie Mellon University.
A computer controls airbags inside
the jacket that inflate and deflate
for different sensory experiences.
Disney envisions using the item
with VR headsets to deliver moreimmersive experiences, including
“a racing heartbeat, light or heavy
rain, snowball hit to the chest, a
hand tap on the shoulder, or slime
dripping on your back.” Because the
early setup “is very bulky and confining for the user,” researchers say
they intend to continue with refinements before formally debuting it.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Bytes: What’s new in tech
When criminals use drones
Criminals are deploying drones to “nefarious”
ends, from aiding robberies to thwarting FBI
stakeouts, said Patrick Tucker in DefenseOne
.com. Law enforcement agents say they’ve
seen an uptick in criminal crews using small,
commercially available drones to surveil robbery targets and “spot security gaps” at bigger
facilities. Some criminal organizations have
even “begun to use drones as part of witness
intimidation schemes,” continuously watching
precincts to see who is going in and might be
cooperating with police. In one incident last
year, small drones swarmed an FBI hostage
rescue team on the outskirts of a large U.S.
city, in an effort to flush the rescuers from
their observation post—evidence, agents say,
that the devices are being used in the service of
“increasingly elaborate crimes.”
Time to change your Twitter password
Twitter is calling on all of its 336 million
global users to change their login passwords,
said Eli Blumenthal in USA Today. The company announced last week it had uncovered
“a bug that stored passwords, unmasked, in
an internal log.” Twitter said that it has since
fixed the bug and that an investigation found
“no indication of breach or misuse by any-
one.” Even so, it is urging all users to swiftly
change their password, not only on Twitter
but also on “any other service where they
may have used the same password.” While
you’re at it, consider setting up two-factor
authentication to add further protections to
your account.
Spotify bolsters its free service
Spotify has unveiled “major changes” to the
free version of its app, in a bid to fend off
Apple Music, said Erin Griffith in
The streaming giant, which went public to
much fanfare last month, is “the leader in
streaming music,” with 157 million global
users, but Apple Music is adding subscribers
at a faster clip and could take over the No. 1
position in the U.S. as early as this summer.
So Spotify is “leveraging its greatest advantage
in its defense: its free tier.” New features previously available only to paying subscribers,
including personalized artist and song recommendations, as well as on-demand access to
playlists, will now be available to Spotify’s
86 million nonpaying listeners. Free users will
also be able to opt in to a “data saver” feature that caches songs Spotify’s algorithm predicts they will want to hear, allowing them to
minimize wireless data usage when streaming.
Newscom, screenshot (2)
Innovation of the week
Health & Science
America’s loneliness epidemic
Digging Mars: The new lander’s mission
Exploring Mars’ interior
Having spent decades analyzing Mars’
peaks and valleys, NASA is set to investigate what lies beneath the Red Planet’s
dusty surface. The space agency’s InSight
robotic lander was launched from
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California
last week, reports If all goes
to plan, on Nov. 26 the lander will touch
down on Mars and begin a two-year datacollecting mission. Unlike NASA’s robotic
geologist rovers, Spirit and Opportunity,
InSight will be stationary. The spacecraft is
equipped with a highly sensitive seismometer, to detect “marsquakes” and meteorite
impacts, and a large heat probe that will
bore roughly 16 feet into the ground and
measure temperature changes over time.
“In essence, [the probe] will take the vital
signs of Mars,” says NASA’s Thomas
Zurbuchen—“its pulse, temperature, and
much more.” While Earth is geologically
active, scientists believe the Red Planet’s
interior hasn’t changed much since it
formed 4.5 billion years ago. InSight
should shed new light on how Mars and
other rocky plants evolved.
How to live a decade longer
Want to prolong your life expectancy? A
new Harvard study suggests that people
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
some research has suggested can be
isolating—had no obvious impact on perceived isolation. “I could have a thousand
or 10,000 friends on Facebook,” says Cigna
chief medical officer Douglas Nemecek,
“but it’s the meaningful in-person relationships that I have with other people
that actually keep me from becoming
lonely.” Previous research has shown that
loneliness is associated with many physical problems, including inflammation, a
weakened immune system, heart disease,
and mental decline. One 2010 study found
that being lonely has the same effect on
mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
can add more than a decade to their lives
by adopting five basic lifestyle habits: not
smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising for 30 minutes a day, maintaining
a normal weight, and limiting alcohol
intake. Researchers analyzed the medical
records and lifestyle surveys of more than
123,000 adults over roughly 30 years. They
found that the more of those five habits
people took on, the longer their lifespan.
The men who had adopted all five by age
50 lived 12 years longer on average than
those who took on none; among women,
it was 14 years. These people were also
82 percent less likely to die of heart disease
during the study period, and their risk of
death from cancer fell by 65 percent. The
researchers noted, however, that fewer than
2 percent of those surveyed stuck to this
healthy way of life. “The question is how to
improve behavior,” senior author Frank Hu
tells The New York Times. “We need dramatic changes in food, physical activity, and
social environment to make healthy choices
more accessible, affordable, and normative.”
Push for personalized medicine
Federal scientists are seeking to enlist 1 million Americans in an ambitious attempt
to develop a more personalized approach
to health care. So-called precision medicine harnesses genetic
information and other
data to produce treatment targeted at specific
individuals. The All of
Us Research Program,
which is being run by
the National Institutes
of Health, will create
a massive trove of data
that should help researchers understand why some
people are affected by
disease while others are
spared, and why certain
A pervasive feeling of being left out
Nemecek said the study’s findings regarding young people were particularly alarming. “It’s something that we, as a society,
need to explore,” he says.
therapies work for some but not for others. Enrollment in the $1.5 billion scheme
began this week; volunteers have to hand
over their medical records, provide blood
and urine samples, and have their genome
sequenced. First approved in 2015, the
project has raised concerns among data
privacy advocates, especially after police
in California revealed that they used an
online DNA-matching genealogy service to
find and arrest the man alleged to be the
Golden State Killer, who raped and murdered multiple women in the 1970s and
’80s. NIH officials say the program’s data
won’t be subject to subpoenas and search
warrants. “This is something we thought
about,” Francis Collins, the agency’s director, tells The Washington Post. “We knew
this was going to be an issue in getting
people comfortable.”
Health scare of the week
A surge in tick-borne diseases
The number of people diagnosed with
diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks
tripled in the U.S. over the past decade,
the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has announced. The agency
recorded more than 96,000 cases in 2016,
up from 27,000 in 2004. Mosquito-borne
viruses include Zika, West Nile, and dengue, while ticks spread maladies such as
Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. “The numbers on some of these
diseases have gone to astronomical levels,”
says the CDC’s Lyle Petersen. The main
reason for the rise is higher temperatures,
caused by climate change, that allow ticks
and mosquitos to spread to and thrive in
formerly cooler territories. Another factor
is globalization: The cheaper and easier
it is to travel, the more people end up in
high-risk areas. The CDC notes that many
more infections will have gone unrecognized or unreported, and urges people to
take precautions against bites.
iStock, NASA, Getty
Loneliness is at epidemic levels in the
U.S., and could rank alongside smoking
and obesity as a major threat to public
health, new research suggests. In a survey
of 20,000 adults conducted by Ipsos for
the health insurer Cigna, nearly 50 percent said they sometimes or always felt
alone or left out, reported.
Forty-three percent said their relationships
weren’t meaningful, and 27 percent said
they rarely or never felt understood. While
loneliness is often associated with aging,
the survey found that the worst affected
were in fact young Americans between
ages 18 and 22. Social media use—which
Pick of the week’s cartoons
For more political cartoons, visit:
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Review of reviews: Books
as they marched the captives to the coast.
There, the Isha were held in a barracoon, or
slave pen, until white Americans purchased
them and loaded them on the last slave ship
to cross the Atlantic. Enslaved for five years,
Lewis was toting freight for the ship captain
who owned him when he learned he’d been
freed by the Confederacy’s 1865 defeat.
He and other survivors of the 1859 crossing established an independent community,
named Africatown, just outside Mobile.
Book of the week
Barracoon: The Story of the
Last ‘Black Cargo’
by Zora Neale Hurston
(Amistad, $25)
“The author of Their Eyes Were Watching
God isn’t done making waves in the literary world quite yet,” said Cristina Arreola
in Six decades after her death,
Zora Neale Hurston has a new book to
her name, and it tells a remarkable story. In
1931, Hurston traveled alone to Alabama to
interview the last living person to have been
kidnapped in Africa and brought in chains
to America. Hurston, then an untested
anthropologist with much to prove, wasn’t
the first outsider to interview Cudjo Lewis.
But she brought gifts of peaches and ham,
called the 90-year-old by his African name,
Kossula, and gradually coaxed out the finest
account of his story. She never found a publisher for the short manuscript because, said
Natalie Hopkinson in,
she was ahead of her time: She insisted on
transcribing Lewis’ dialect, and Viking Press
wanted it in standard English.
Lewis: A vital witness to history
Hurston, while letting Lewis speak, remains
a presence in the margins, said Parul Sehgal
in The New York Times. She shows “an
unerring instinct for when to push Lewis,”
and “the details he shared are indelible.”
A native of today’s Benin, he was 19 when
he was captured by Dahomey warriors,
invaders who beheaded many of Lewis’ fellow Isha and carried the heads with them
Novel of the week
The Feather Thief: Beauty,
Obsession, and the Natural
History Heist of the Century
by Sheila Heti (Holt, $27)
by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking, $27)
The word “novel” has always implied
literary innovation, but it “doesn’t begin
to convey the weird originality of this
sometimes exasperating, sometimes illuminating work,” said Alexandra Schwartz
in The New Yorker. Working in a mode
she employed in her breakthrough, How
Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti has
filled all 278 pages of Motherhood with
one woman’s running personal debate
on whether or not to have children.
The nameless narrator, like Heti, is a
writer, who ages from 36 to 40 while the
book gestates. “Not a lot happens,” said
Dwight Garner in The New York Times,
“yet everything does.” Resisting the
idea of becoming a mother, the narrator
consults friends, secures her boyfriend’s
support in choosing as she likes, interrogates her own mother’s choices, and, as
her thoughts circle, does what she most
wants to do: She writes. The narrator’s
mother is “perhaps the most compelling
character in the whole book,” said Lynn
Steger Strong in Accomplished, aloof, content, she exists in
an enviable state of ambivalence: refusing to be a mother even while being one.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Journalist Kirk Wallace
Johnson has written “one of the most
peculiar and memorable true-crime books
you’re ever likely to
read,” said Randy
Dotinga in CSMonitor
.com. In the opening
scene, a promising
20-year-old American
flutist studying in
London disembarks from a train in nearby
Tring, breaks into the town’s natural history museum, and makes off with 299 rare
bird specimens. Why risk his future on
such a caper? “Plumage, it turns out, is a
plum business.” In 2009, those bird skins
were worth $1 million in certain circles,
and Johnson has now ventured into many
of them. Fortunately for us, “he has a fine
knack for uncovering details that reveal,
captivate, and disturb.”
Colorful birds clearly attract a broad range
of obsessives, said Tom Nolan in The Wall
On the page, Lewis is “at times funny,
heartbreaking, sharp, and metaphysical,”
said Hanif Abdurraqib in
It’s a gift to hear his voice in the phonetic
transcription Hurston devised for it, and we
can sense his pain but also how determined
he was to make sure that his story wasn’t
lost. Recounting what it was like to stand
among his own people and watch slave
traders break up a family, he describes grief
so heavy it “look lak we can staind in it.”
The main text runs less than 100 pages,
but we need books like this, said Lauren
Michele Jackson in
Though such stories are central to who we
are, “Americans arguably know more about
Jupiter than slavery.”
Street Journal. Edwin Rist’s stolen cache
included many specimens gathered 150 years
earlier by Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin who’d spent years
braving tropical heat and diseases to collect
samples of the world’s most spectacular
avian species. Back in the 19th century,
Wallace’s efforts triggered a rage for featherladen hats, and though that fad eventually
faded, we live in a moment when hobbyists
who tie fly-fishing lures are mad for exotic
plumage—as Rist well knew. As Johnson
introduces us to outraged biologists on one
side and fly enthusiasts on the other who
are indifferent to how their obsession is
pushing rare species toward extinction, it’s
clear we’ve stumbled upon “the continuation of a battle begun in Victorian times.”
Johnson clearly sympathizes with the
conservationists, said Jessie Williamson
in Outside. Rist, after getting off easy for
his crime, admitted to the author that he
doesn’t even understand why museums
have so many specimens, but when I read
about Rist’s bringing his haul to his apartment, removing the identifying tags, and
cutting up the skins, “my stomach knotted
in pain.” This is “nonfiction that reads like
fiction,” and at the same time conveys the
real gravity of the crimes that Rist and others are committing against natural history.
Courtesy of McGill Studio Collection/The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book & Manuscript Library/University of South Alabama
The Book List
Best books...chosen by Melissa Broder
Melissa Broder’s new novel, The Pisces, is an unusual love story about a woman
and a merman. Below, the poet, essayist, and founder of the popular Twitter
account @SoSadToday recommends six other tales of sand and sea.
The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe
(Vintage, $16). “Certainly he must be the strangest of all...he who was musing on the strangeness of things here,” writes Abe in this novel,
a Sisyphean tale about a man held against his
will at the bottom of a sand pit and put to work
shoveling sand dunes that never stop rising. If
this isn’t life, what is?
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante (Europa,
$15). I had suspected that my professed reasons
for not wanting to have children—too selfish, not
sane enough, will regret it—could be easily overcome if I actually wanted children. But Ferrante’s
2006 novel about a mother on a seaside holiday
affirms that those reasons can’t be discounted.
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (Dover,
$2.50). Come for the temporary escape from
writer’s block, the ephemeral fantasy of a beautiful child, the inward spiral of romantic obsession. Stay for the choleric strawberries.
Outline by Rachel Cusk (Picador, $16). Writes
Cusk: “When love turns to hatred, something is
born into the world, a force of pure mortality. If
love is what is held to make us immortal, hatred
is the reverse.” This novel, featuring a Cusk-like
narrator and set in Athens and on the Ionian Sea,
explores the relationships that circumscribe our
lives and how we don’t see those limits until the
relationships are gone.
The Professor and the Siren by Giuseppe
Tomasi di Lampedusa (NYRB Classics, $14).
You’re on Venice Beach, reading one of the
most achingly beautiful tales you’ve ever read,
about an aging professor who longs for his past
affair with a mermaid. Suddenly, you realize
that nothing embodies love-as-addiction (your
theme!) like the relationship between human and
mermaid. You decide to write your own story
of sirenic love, only yours will take place in the
present—and it will be between woman and
merman. Amen.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Norton,
$15). This is the luscious prelude to Jane Eyre, in
which “Bertha,” Mr. Rochester’s madwoman in
the attic, tells the story of her Jamaican history
and relocation to England. It’s all gaslight, love
potion, and candles before the fire.
Lord Byron, CNN
Also of writers looking within
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Natural Causes
by Alexander Chee (Mariner, $16)
by Barbara Ehrenreich (Twelve, $27)
Alexander Chee’s first novel was a
masterpiece; “so, too, is How to Write
an Autobiographical Novel,” said
Anthony Domestico in The Boston
Globe. An essay collection that ranges
widely in subject matter, it’s held
together by recurring concerns. The “real gems”
relate how Chee came to write Edinburgh, a debut
inspired by his experience of childhood sexual
abuse. But he returns throughout to how fictions
and masks help us see ourselves. “Every essay, no
matter the subject, exhibits warmth, rigor, tact.”
Barbara Ehrenreich has “an allergy
to comforting illusions,” said Parul
Sehgal in The New York Times. In her
new book, the 76-year-old author of
Nickel and Dimed takes on America’s
obsession with forestalling aging and
death, and “the wellness movement doesn’t stand
a chance.” Though she takes “a few swan dives
into nonsense” and forgets how many Americans
can’t afford the excesses she decries, this “peevish,
tender” book offers a truly healthy perspective on
mortality and is “redeemed by its oddness.”
Because We Are Bad
by Lily Bailey (Harper, $27)
by Will Storr (Overlook, $30)
This “astonishingly intimate” memoir
offers “an unfiltered look at a mind
crippled by OCD,” said Frannie
Jackson in Its
author, a 24-year-old British fashion
model, writes beautifully about a life
mostly consumed by worries that she is a bad
person and could bring harm to others just with
her thoughts. But there’s uplift, too, because she’s
learned to cope with her disorder, and with the
sense it engenders that the world around her
refuses to stay in check.
“This book is no life hack”—despite
its deep concern with the allure of selfimprovement, said Sara Eckel in The
Washington Post. Journalist Will Storr
instead wants to show us how centuries of cultural history have led us to
believe that we each must strive for self-perfection,
and how that’s made us miserable. Storr weaves in
biographical sketches that are “great fun to read,”
and he outlines complex concepts with “remarkable” clarity. He also insists he’s a disappointment
to himself—“and yet you like the guy.”
Author of the week
Jake Tapper
Jake Tapper has, for the past
four years, been making
things up, said Alexandra
Alter in The New York Times.
Not on cable television, fortunately, because viewers
depend on him, as CNN host
and chief Washington correspondent,
to deliver
the news
straight. But
the 49-yearold political
history buff
and onetime
student has long toyed with
the idea of writing fiction, and
in late 2016 he sold a detailed
proposal for a political thriller
set in McCarthy-era D.C. He
did most of his writing at
night, after signing off from his
cable news show at 5, dinner,
and getting his sons to bed.
“It was a relief from covering
nonfiction,” he says. But the
immersion in history was also
an ongoing education. “In
some ways,” he says, “writing
about 1954 was an interesting
way to write about 2018.”
The Hellfire Club is peppered
with real-life figures and
events, said John Timpane
in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Besides McCarthy, readers get
cameos from Richard Nixon,
Jack and Bobby Kennedy,
and lawyer Roy Cohn. But
the central character is a Boy
Scout of a first-term New York
congressman who gradually
compromises his ideals as
he seeks to gain influence
and navigate a town crowded
with competing interests and
awash in money. “Look, the
swamp exists,” says Tapper.
“Trump wasn’t wrong when
he talked about it on the
campaign trail.” In The Hellfire
Club, a battle for the soul of
America is taking place, and
even the most corrupt players believe they’re fighting for
a just cause. “Very few bad
guys,” says Tapper, “think
they’re bad guys. I’ll bet you
most of the people making
headlines right now don’t
think they’re the bad guys.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Review of reviews: Art & Film
Exhibit of the week
“fit to be hurled from a mountaintop by a
god.” Other works, which invite the protection of forebears, resemble the Catholic
reliquaries that hold bones of martyred
saints. To Whitten, these sculptures were
alive, and the ideas he developed through
them leaked back into his two-dimensional
work. A series of “hauntingly beautiful”
recent paintings—tributes to Maya Angelou,
Muhammad Ali, and other black heroes—
closes the exhibition, and they’re “more
sculpted than painted.” Each one is largely
composed of tiles of dried acrylic paint
pasted to the canvas.
Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture,
Baltimore Museum of Art, through July 29
The art of Jack Whitten (1939–2018) “has a
lot to teach us,” said Sebastian Smee in The
Washington Post. “Visually arresting, technically ambitious, and personally urgent,”
Whitten’s abstract paintings were finally
gaining the recognition they deserve when
the Alabama native died in January at age
78. But only now is his most deeply personal
work being exhibited, and its debut appearance opens a window on everything else
Whitten produced over the last half-century.
An African-American civil rights activist
who fled the South for New York after helping to organize a 1960 march that was met
with violence, Whitten spent almost 50 summers on the Greek island of Crete and used
the time to create sculptures that he chose
not to show. He found inspiration in the art
of Africa, but also of ancient Greece, and he
adopted from those cultures formal ideas as
well as beliefs about art’s ritualistic roles.
The 40 sculptures included in this year’s
traveling Whitten exhibition make his intent
obvious, said Mary Carole McCauley in
Let the
Sunshine In
Directed by Claire Denis
(Not rated)
A French divorcée
hungers for love.
Directed by Betsy West
and Julie Cohen
The woman
behind the memes
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Whitten’s Lucy (2011): A potent talisman
The Baltimore Sun. A man who wanted
most to protect the people he loved, he
began building talismans with specific
beneficiaries in mind. Some of the pieces
resemble weapons: The Afro American
Thunderbolt (1983–84), a large, nailstudded corkscrew of mulberry wood, is
Whitten didn’t only look back, said Tess
Thackara in Technological Totem
Pole—a tower adorned with cellphone parts
and other digital-age detritus—is crowned
by a clock that points toward a future where
human traditions offer remedies for today’s
ecological and technological crises. Whitten
long feared that these works, because
of their ties to African art forms, would
obscure his achievements as a contemporary
painter. Today, they’re the reason “Odyssey”
rates “without doubt” as one of the most
important and vital exhibitions of this year.
“See it, and let the artist enlarge your sense
of what’s possible.”
Street Journal. “As you watch
“What do women want?” asked
in bafflement, you want to tell
Justin Chang in the Los Angeles
her, ‘No, no, not that guy!’” But
Times. “More movies as emoyou’re meant to be maddened;
tionally intelligent and finethe fascination of this film “lies
grained as this one, I suspect.”
in its presentation of the heroine
A delicate French comedy that
as a riddle for us to solve.” For
takes middle-aged female desire
a Claire Denis movie, Sunshine
more seriously than Hollywood
is “cream-puff light,” yet it’s
ever cares to, it features Oscar
“about so much more than one
winner Juliette Binoche as a
Binoche: Ready for small miracles
woman’s quest to find the One,”
recently divorced Parisian artsaid Emily Yoshida in “It’s about all
ist drifting from affair to affair as she learns what it
the fragments that compose what may broadly be
is she’s looking for. “A kaleidoscope of emotions,”
called romance: the highs and lows, the momentary
Binoche’s Isabelle is by turns charming and prickly,
obsessions, the endless dialogues that eventually must
but “never uninteresting.” Still, her taste in men can
give way to ecstasy or disappointment.”
be maddening, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall
long ago to mount a remarkably
“RBG is one of those films
quiet, incremental litigation camthat’s least likely to be seen by
paign against gender discriminathe people who need to see it
tion, and RBG “captures that
most,” said Bill Goodykoontz
paradox beautifully.” Though
in The Arizona Republic. And
her patience with foot-dragging
what a shame—because its
men “will frustrate some of the
admiring portrait of Ruth Bader
#MeToo generation,” there’s no
Ginsburg paints the center-left
good reason she should abandon
Supreme Court justice as a figher successful MO now. This is a
ure who could teach us all how
Ginsburg: Ready for the next battle
movie that “spills over with talkto fight for our beliefs without
demonizing the opposition. Now a pop-culture icon, ing heads”— Gloria Steinem, Bill Clinton, and more,
said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly.
celebrated by fans as “the Notorious RBG,” the
“But the presence that matters most is Ginsburg’s
small, soft-spoken octogenarian never sought such
own: tremulous with age now, but still a tiny
notoriety, said Dahlia Lithwick in She
dynamo of undimmed intelligence and will.”
has attained feminist rock star status by choosing
Genevieve Hanson, Sundance Selects, Magnolia Pictures
Movies on TV
The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
Monday, May 14
10 Cloverfield Lane
A superb modern thriller
opens with a young
woman waking in a basement in the company of a
doomsday prepper who
claims he’s saved her from
an apocalyptic event. (2016)
8 p.m., Epix
Who doesn’t dig a good archaeology series? The
show that uses cutting-edge imaging technology
to uncover the secrets of humankind’s distant past
begins a new season by scouring Denmark for the
lost citadels of the Vikings. Future episodes will
visit China’s Forbidden City to look for Kublai
Khan’s Yuan Palace and will land on Easter
Island to search for a buried sacred site. Tuesday,
May 15, at 9 p.m., Science Channel
Tuesday, May 15
Citizen Kane
Orson Welles stars in his
own masterwork, which
traces the epic life story of
a newspaper mogul loosely
based on William Randolph
Hearst. Joseph Cotten costars. (1941) 5:45 p.m., TCM
Nova Wonders: Can We Build a Brain?
We are now surrounded by artificial-intelligence
devices. But how smart are our phones, say, compared with the AI that engineers are building?
This week’s episode of a new Nova spin-off leans
on the expertise of co-host Rana el Kaliouby as it
investigates efforts to reverse-engineer the human
brain to build intelligence systems that avoid our
biases, replicate our amazing processing capacities, and, of course, never hatch any ideas about
taking over the world. Wednesday, May 16, at
9 p.m., PBS; check local listings
Wednesday, May 16
The Crow
Brandon Lee, the star of
this stylish fantasy about a
rock musician who returns
from the dead, was fatally
wounded on set while
completing filming. (1994)
11 p.m., Ovation
Thursday, May 17
Flirting With Disaster
Ben Stiller is a young
man hunting for his biological parents in David O.
Russell’s ensemble comedy. With Téa Leone and
Patricia Arquette. (1996)
9 p.m., Starz
Friday, May 18
Before I Fall
Call it Groundhog Day for
the young adult set: Zoey
Deutch stars as a high
schooler forced to relive
the same fateful day until
she gets it right. (2017)
4:45 p.m., Showtime
The zombie genre is given a touch of soul in this
feature-length version of an Australian video
short that went viral in 2013. Martin Freeman
of The Office and Sherlock stars as a father
already infected by a bite from one of the undead.
Knowing he’ll soon become a monster, he’s crossing the Australian outback in search of a suitable
protector for the infant daughter he’s toting.
Available for streaming Friday, May 18, Netflix
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Known for her beauty, Hedy Lamarr deserves
greater acclaim for her brains. This portrait of
the 1940s Hollywood star explores how the
Viennese-born immigrant maintained a double life
as a screen siren and inventor, at one point aiding
the Allied cause in World War II by developing a
frequency-hopping torpedo guidance system that
provided the foundation for today’s Bluetooth,
Wi-Fi, and GPS technologies. But of course no one
noticed, because her looks were so striking they
even inspired Walt Disney’s Snow White. Friday,
May 18, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings
HBO, Getty
Saturday, May 19
Desk Set
Katharine Hepburn and
Spencer Tracy made the
leap to color in this romantic comedy set at a TV network. (1957) 8 p.m., TCM
Sunday, May 20
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Uma Thurman stars as
an assassin on a quest to
find and kill her mentor in
a long-on-style martialarts thriller from Quentin
Tarantino. (2003) 2:30 p.m.,
• All listings are Eastern Time.
Meghan and Harry: Their day has arrived.
The Royal Wedding
Anglophiles, rejoice. Prince Harry, for the
moment the world’s pre-eminent ginger-haired
heartthrob, will at long last exchange vows
with Meghan Markle, an American actress once
known only to fans of a USA Network series
called Suits. The couple will wed at St. George’s
Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle,
before an international A-list crowd of 800, with
2,600 invited to watch their arrivals and departure from the castle grounds. Saturday, May 19,
at 7 a.m., various networks
Other highlights
The Royal Wedding Live With Cord and Tish!
You can enjoy the same live wedding coverage
with a satirical twist by turning to Will Ferrell
and Molly Shannon. Playing daytime-TV hosts
Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan, the sketchcomedy vets will offer their own ad-libbed playby-play. Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 a.m., HBO
Carriers at War
A new documentary series embeds with the crews
on a succession of U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers,
beginning with the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush.
Sunday, May 20, at 8 p.m., Smithsonian Channel
2018 Billboard Music Awards
Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and recent Pulitzer
winner Kendrick Lamar each enter the awards
show with 15 nominations. Kelly Clarkson will
host. Sunday, May 20, at 8 p.m., NBC
Show of the week
Fahrenheit 451
Jordan as a futuristic firebug
Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel imagined a future
America where firemen are civil servants
whose primary function is to burn books. In
this dark update, Michael B. Jordan, of Creed
and Black Panther fame, plays a fireman named
Montag who’s gradually realizing that he must
resist the very organization he serves. Michael
Shannon co-stars as Montag’s fearsome boss,
who eventually reminds his men that the
library burning began only after the public put
books and their challenging ideas aside to fill
their time with emptier amusements. Sound
familiar? Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m., HBO
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Food & Drink
Icelandic fish cakes: A grandmotherly gateway to Nordic cooking
Start by pickling the celery leaves. If the
leaves are soggy or soft, place them in ice
water for a few minutes to crisp them up.
Whisk together vinegar, ½ cup water, and
sugar; season with a pinch of salt. Place
celery leaves in marinade and let sit for
20 minutes.
Selecting fresh fish at the market isn’t
hard. Just look for fillets with firm flesh,
and no gaps, brown edges, or sign of
blood. Also, the smell should be fresh,
never fishy.
One great advantage of this recipe is that
you can make a double batch, because the
cakes freeze so well. They can be reheated
in butter with some grated nutmeg, or
simply thawed and served cold on a slice of
Danish rye bread.
Recipe of the week
Icelandic fish cakes
12 celery leaves
½ cup vinegar
There’s no reason it has to look routine.
1 tbsp sugar
1 lb cod fillets
2 small yellow onions, quartered
2 eggs
3 tbsp potato starch
3 tbsp flour
1 stick butter
½ cauliflower head
Pinch of nutmeg
Fennel fronds for garnish
Rinse and dry fish fillets, then place in
a food processor along with onions,
eggs, potato starch, flour, and 2 tsp salt.
Pulse until creamy and fluffy. Using two
tablespoons, mold fish mixture into
approximately 16 quenelles (elongated
egg shapes). Working in batches to
avoid crowding the pan, fry fish cakes
in ½ stick butter over medium heat until
nicely browned and cooked through, 3 to
4 minutes each side. Remove from pan
and keep warm until serving.
Cut cauliflower into florets. Keep some
whole, and thinly slice a few of them. Melt
½ stick butter in the unwiped fish pan,
letting it brown slightly. Grate in nutmeg
and then fry half the cauliflower for a few
minutes. Keep other half of the cauliflower
fresh and as is.
Place four fish cakes on each plate along
with a few pickled celery leaves, fresh and
fried cauliflower, and fennel fronds. Spoon
nutmeg butter generously on top. Serves 4.
‘PX’: Spanish for decadent
New Louisville: The pace quickens in Derby City
Pedro Ximenez may sound like a brand
name, said Michael Austin in the Chicago
Tribune, but it’s actually a white Spanish
grape variety that makes “some of the
sweetest wine on Earth.” Known colloquially as PX, it’s “pleasantly viscous”
and balances intense sweetness with
light acidity and the flavors of raisins,
molasses, black licorice, and coffee. The
fortiied wine makes a “sublime”
inish to a meal, with or without
dessert. “A little goes a long way.”
Valdespino El Candado ($14/375ml).
“A good introduction to the style,”
this syrupy PX hits four signature
notes: raisins, dates, brown sugar,
and licorice.
Lustau PX San Emilio ($21/750ml).
Hailing from Jerez rather than
Montilla-Moriles, this “sultry” PX
introduces notes of spice, orange
peel, and hazelnut.
Gonzalez Byass Nectar ($30/750ml).
“This aptly named beauty is full of
igs, raisins, pine, tobacco, coffee,
smoke, chocolate, and caramel.”
Kentucky Derby fans are inding that the race’s
host city gets a little livelier every year, said Ceil
Miller Bouchet in The New York Times. The once
neglected neighborhood known as NuLu, or New
Louisville, added a 152-room hotel and a new bourbon distillery within a week of Churchill Downs’ big
day, and the East Market Street strip is now dotted
with enough destinations to keep visitors entertained from morning until the DJ spins the night’s
last record at the locals’ favorite fusion restaurant.
Feast BBQ The picnic tables outside this three-yearThe easy comfort of Feast BBQ
old joint ill up on weekdays with area entrepreneurs and construction workers drawn to locally sourced comfort-food standouts like
spicy collard greens and juicy pulled-pork cakes. On weekends, you might have to wait in
line before you nab a seat indoors and settle in for a bourbon slushy or local brew on tap.
909 E. Market St., Suite 100, (502) 749-9900
Muth’s Candies None of the strip’s new boutiques can match the ambience at this 87-yearold family-run sweetshop, where the cashiers wear hairnets and know many customers
by name. Be sure to try the bourbon balls (chocolate confections infused with 100-proof
whiskey) and the marshmallow modjeskas—caramel and chocolate-covered sweets
named after a popular 19th-century Polish actress. 630 E. Market St., (502) 585-2952
Galaxie This “groovy” fusion-food spot shares the ground floor of a repurposed 19thcentury dry-goods store with an art gallery and a hot-chicken joint. You choose Galaxie
when you’re hungry for a sweet potato–and-egg “wakataka” taco paired with a spicy
margarita made with fresh jalapeños. It’s also where, four nights a week, you can ind local DJs spinning hip-hop and electronica until 2 a.m. 732 E. Market St., (502) 690-6595
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Katrín Björk, Luke Sharrett/The New York Times/Redux
“When I ask friends why they don’t cook
more fish, the most common answer is
a shoulder shrug,” said Katrín Björk in
From the North: A Simple and Modern
Approach to Authentic Nordic Cooking
(Page Street). Having grown up in
Iceland, where we ate fresh fish multiple
times a week, I can’t understand such
thinking. But I’m here to help. The recipe
below is “close to my heart, as it is my
grandma’s”—but it can also inspire a
novice to start cooking fish more often.
“It is a simple and no-fuss kind of recipe,
but it is bulletproof—as long as you are
using fresh fish.”
This week’s dream: Walking the streets of Kolkata
To appreciate a place as complex as
Kolkata, you have to dive right in, said
Diane Richard in the Minneapolis Star
Tribune. My husband and I have made
four extended visits to India in recent
years, and “our approach is to follow
our curiosity wherever it leads us, preferably by foot.” India has “bewitched
us,” for reasons large and small, so we
knew enough when we penciled in a
trip to the country’s former colonial
capital to give the city of 4.6 million,
formerly known as Calcutta, time to
speak to us. That’s how we discovered
Typist Row—where men at sidewalk
desks tap away all day on antique typewriters. Kolkatans with limited literacy
skills use the service to write letters or legal
documents; my husband used it to present
me with an improvised love letter.
We aren’t allergic to all tourist offerings. A
foot tour offered by Calcutta Walks “sent
us deep into crowded, polyglot urban corridors we would never, ever have found on
Hotel of the week
A view of the gatehouse
Alamy, Sandy Huffaker/Legoland California
Legoland Castle Hotel
Carlsbad, Calif.
More than 3 million bricks
went into the making of
the new hotel at Legoland
California—and that’s only
counting the Lego displays
inside, said Lori Weisberg in
The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Built to resemble a Lego
castle, the 250-room structure
is the second hotel located in
the theme park, and it caters
to children, with princessand knight-themed rooms,
a throne with a whoopee
cushion, and a jester door
that tells bad knock-knock
jokes. You’ll also find some
21,000 Lego models scattered around the premises—
“and that’s even before a visit
to Legoland next door.”, rooms from
$599, including park passes
working amid clouds of flour and
Muslim butchers handling bloody
goat heads.
A Kolkata street vendor selling marigolds
our own.” Led by a hipster guide named
Iftekhar, we “watched knock-kneed kids
play cricket in narrow streets” and “drank
chai from terra-cotta cups before crushing
them underfoot.” We also visited Parsi and
Buddhist temples, Jain mandirs, Anglican
churches, and a glorious synagogue. Along
the way, we saw Chinese noodle makers
To be honest, “walking Kolkata isn’t
easy.” The air is so polluted you can
taste it. Sidewalks often disappear
without warning, and trying to cross
traffic can be “an out-of-body experience.” Once, when I was out alone,
a man started following me—until a
police officer intervened and clubbed
the stalker. Mostly, though, I loved the
city and its people. My husband was
able to load up on vintage Bollywood
vinyl records that he proudly showed
off to a friendly hotel staffer. I meanwhile binged on Indian textiles, including
from a shop where one worker, for no good
reason, offered me the gift of a song. And I
reciprocated, despite my lack of talent. “To
accept Kolkata in one’s heart, one must be
willing to return the favor.”
At the Lalit Great Eastern Hotel (thelalit
.com), doubles start at $76.
Getting the flavor of...
Missouri’s wild new thrill ride
Michigan’s premier car museum
A new roller coaster has opened in the Ozarks,
and it’s “like nothing anyone’s ridden before,”
said Matt Meltzer in Sure, New
Jersey’s Kingda Ka is a lot taller and faster than
the latest headline attraction at Silver Dollar City
in Branson, Mo. But the Time Traveler is a spinning coaster, meaning its cars spin laterally, sometimes changing direction, as they drop almost
10 stories and barrel through several loops and
rolls. The top speed of 50 mph, a new benchmark
for spinning coasters, may sound pedestrian. But
imagine the difference between accelerating on a
straightaway to 125 mph and spinning out at 50.
The Time Traveler sustains the latter experience,
and the result is “pure, nothing-in-the-worldmatters-for-the-next-two-minutes fun.” What’s
more, the experience isn’t the least bit nauseating,
because the rotations are so smooth. “You’ll find
yourself screaming through a giant grin that’s
impossible to wipe off until the ride stops.”
For car buffs of a certain age, Michigan is a
perfect place for a road trip, said Jay Jones in the
Chicago Tribune. Museums dedicated to the history of the automobile are scattered throughout
the state, with the most impressive one spread
across a 30-building complex in rural Hickory
Corners. The Gilmore Car Museum showcases
about 400 vintage vehicles, many made by such
long-vanished companies as Auburn, Hudson,
and Kaiser-Frazer. Nearby Kalamazoo was once
home to 17 automakers, including Checker Taxi,
and the Gilmore has Checker’s first sedan, from
1923, as well as the last of the company’s iconic
cabs, built in 1982. Several of the buildings are
replicas of old dealerships, and the museum’s
oldest car is a steam-powered 1898 Locomobile.
The jewel of the collection, though, is a
1929 Duesenberg, a luxury car that sold for
$29,000—about the price of six houses—when
it was introduced.
Last-minute travel deals
Private-island pampering
Cayo Espanto, a private island
near San Pedro, Belize, is offering a seventh night free in any
of its seven villas. With the discount, a week in a two-person
villa costs $11,123, meals and
butler service included. Book by
May 20 using code FREENIGHT.
An Arctic adventure
Save $3,000 a head while on
a 12-day cruise of Greenland
and Iceland. AdventureSmith’s
June 6 Home of Vikings and
Icebergs trip starts at $2,795 a
person, triple occupancy, including connecting flights from
Reykjavik. Book by May 30.
Nantucket in May
At the Nantucket Hotel and
Resort, rooms that go for $625
in the summer start at $225
through May. The hotel has
indoor activities for chilly weekends and puts guests within
walking distance of the May 16–
20 wine and food festival.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Best properties on the market
This week: Homes on canals
1 X Venice, Calif. This
1982 Tudor-style home
stands in the enclave developed by Abbot Kinney in
1905, now the Venice Canal Historic District. The
three-bedroom house features an open floor plan,
wood beams, stained-glass
windows, and a master
suite with fireplace and
grotto shower. Outside are
a roof deck with shower
and spa, a patio and garden overlooking the water,
and a dock. $3,145,000.
Zach and Rita Goldsmith,
Hilton and Hyland/Luxury
Portfolio, (310) 278-3311
2 W New Hope, Pa. Built in
1851, this three-bedroom
stone house sits on the bank
of the Delaware Canal in
Bucks County. The home
has a vaulted great room
with a Palladian window,
a chef’s kitchen with
inlaid wood floors, and a
master suite with French
doors opening to a Juliette
balcony. The 1.9-acre
property features waterview terraces planted with
ivy, boxwood, and hydrangeas. $1,245,000. Kim
Woehr-Kates, Kurfis/Sotheby’s International Realty,
(215) 498-3824
3 X Galveston, Texas This four-bedroom home stands
in Lafitte’s Cove, a planned community in a 35-acre
nature preserve. The canal-front house has two master
suites, two living areas, an elevator, and extensive Brazilian redwood decking. The double lot includes a pool
with five water features, a covered dock with boat
lift, and a country club membership. $2,300,000. Bet
Jennings, Greenwood King Properties, (281) 773-3477
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Best properties on the market
4 X Fort Lauderdale The city has more than 165 miles of
waterways; this five-bedroom home stands alongside a
canal leading out to the Intracoastal Waterway and the
Atlantic Ocean. Built in 1965, the mid-century modern
house features a two-story great room, a coral-rock
fireplace, a floating staircase, and a gourmet kitchen.
The property includes a pool, palm trees, and 100 feet of
deep waterfront. $2,375,000. Mariene Menin, Coldwell
Banker Residential Real Estate, (954) 817-2774
5 W Sarasota, Fla. In 1917, Sarasota’s mayor built this five-
bedroom home in a now historic neighborhood on Siesta Key.
The house features pecky-cypress walls, heart-pine floors, a
sleeping porch, and a lofty first-floor master. The guest lodge,
added in 1988, has a bedroom, sleeping loft, and game room.
Outside are a dock, a Jet Ski lift, and access to a canal once
used by rumrunners from the Bahamas. $2,685,000. Judie
Berger, Premier/Sotheby’s International Realty, (941) 928-3424
Steal of the week
6 X Morrisville, Pa. This three-bedroom home was
built in 1921 as part of an artist’s community
along the Delaware Canal. Interior features
include red-oak floors, a working stone fireplace,
and original doors, fixtures, and woodwork. A
sunroom leads out to a back deck and patio with
canal views. $325,000. Jennifer Tome-Berry, Keller
Williams/Delaware Valley Realty, (609) 987-8889
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The 2019 Lamborghini Urus: What the critics say
Even by supercar standards, Lamborghini’s
irst SUV in 25 years is an “extraordinary”
vehicle. Capable of reaching 62 mph in
just 3.6 seconds, this two-and-a-half-ton
brute “feels as fast as anything with two
seats” and handles like a sports car, too. Its
advanced all-wheel-drive system features
active torque vectoring and three off-road
driving modes. Unfortunately, though, the
Urus “just wasn’t fun in the dirt.”
Motor Trend
We thought it excelled at off-road driving.
More importantly, the Urus is “the irst
Lamborghini in history that’s a genuine
daily driver—a raging bull you can take
anywhere, anytime.” It handles errand runs
“with insouciant ease,” and don’t worry
about unleashing too much power from the
641-hp twin-turbo V-8: The carbon-ceramic
brakes are “unquenchable”—as the largest
in the world should be.
The plush, practical cabin caters to a new
breed of Lambo customer. (“There are even
four cup holders—a miracle!”) If you’re
intrigued, get in line, because two-thirds
of the pre-orders come from Lamborghini
newbies, and those early birds have the
Urus sold out for the next two years. For
The world’s fastest SUV, from $200,000
those of you high on the list, congratulations: “The guttural roar of the Urus will
more than adequately announce your status as the enfant terrible of school pickups.”
The best of...patio and porch upgrades
Yellow Leaf
Hanging Chair
Grab a book and kick
back in a hanging chair
handwoven from a
supersoft and weathersafe yarn. You can set it
up whenever you need
a seat, and tuck it away
when you don’t.
Source: Real Simple
Ohio Flame
Patriot Fire Pit
Canyon Lounge Chair
Crate and Barrel’s
Stacked Rock Planter
Trade out your faded
old patio umbrella for
this chic shade maker,
which comes in ive colors, can be cranked to
a height of 9 feet, and
tilts to follow the path
of the sun.
Crafted in carbon steel
sourced from Ohio
mills, this “sturdy and
handsome” ire pit will
last a lifetime. It comes
in ive different sizes
and can handle “everything from roaring bonires to s’mores.”
This curvy chaise
“would make any pool
or patio feel like paradise.” Part of Anthropologie’s irst outdoor line,
it’s made from weatherresistant rattan and
inished with gray and
white wrapping.
Add a new texture to
your patio furnishings
with this large concrete
planter. The sides are
adorned with hundreds
of piece of slate, each
stone pressed into place
by hand, making every
pot a one of a kind.
From $298,
Safavieh Zimmerman
Tip of the week...
The fully organized refrigerator
And for those who have
Best apps...
For keeping a journal
QUpper shelves: The warmest areas in a refrigerator should be used for items that don’t
need the cold, so store leftovers up high and
use them quickly. The higher shelves are also
a good place for snack cups and yogurt.
QThe door: Another hot spot—40 degrees
in a fridge set at 37—the door can be filled
up with butter, juice, soft drinks, jams, and
QLow shelves: Because cold air falls, the bottom of a fridge can be 5 degrees cooler than
the top. Some fridges have a low drawer
made for meat and deli products. If you have
none, store meat and fish on the lowest
shelves—alongside milk and eggs.
QCrisper drawers: Sort fruit from veggies
prone to wilting and put the latter in a highhumidity drawer if you have one. Leafy
greens, carrots, and broccoli belong there.
In the other drawer: grapes, peaches, melon,
avocado, mushrooms, and summer squash.
A century and a half of
Tabasco sauce is reason
for celebration. McIlhenny
Co., the family-owned
Louisiana irm that’s been
making the ubiquitous
pepper sauce since 1868,
is marking the occasion
with a small-batch special
edition. Tabasco Diamond
Reserve Sauce is packaged in a champagne-style
bottle and box and formulated to be an exceptional expression of the original. It’s made
from peppers that were chosen for their
superior color and texture, mashed and aged
for up to 15 years—ive times longer than
usual—then blended with sparkling white
wine vinegar. “Needless to say, Tabasco fans
are going to love it.”
QDay One is a beautiful journaling app that
Source: Consumer Reports
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
“offers abilities you didn’t even realize you
needed.” It has a range of templates for entries, makes including photos easy, and can
be used on both Macbooks and phones.
QUniversum squeezes in even more features
than Day One, but its interface is cluttered.
For Android devices only.
QMomento is an iOS-only option that’s great
for social media enthusiasts. The app can pull
data from social media accounts to remind
you, for example, which songs you streamed
on Spotify on a given day.
QJourney works on just about every platform,
as well as through its website,,
making it ideal for journalers who want to use
whatever device is at hand.
QFive Minute Journal is a simple $5 app best
for people who struggle to stick with journaling. It asks for just five minutes each day and
provides helpful prompts.
The news at a glance
The bottom line
QHigh-profile U.S. government officials and international business leaders
lost more than $600 million when blood-testing
startup Theranos collapsed
following reports of fraud.
The family of Education
Secretary Betsy DeVos lost
$100 million it had invested
in the company, media
executive Rupert Murdoch
lost more than $120 million,
and the Walton family, heirs
to the Walmart fortune, lost
$150 million.
The Wall Street Journal
QA quarter-century ago,
there were 56 teenagers
in the labor force for every
fast-food restaurant. Today,
there are fewer than half
as many—reflecting both
teenagers’ decreasing participation in the workforce
and the explosive growth
in the number of fast-food
The New York Times
QArgentina’s central bank
has hiked the country’s main
interest rate to 40 percent—
the world’s highest rate and
an increase of more than
13 percentage points over
the past two weeks—in a bid
to curb runaway inflation
and stop a steep slide in the
value of the peso.
received a recordbreaking 3.4 billion
robocalls in April,
to YouMail,
which collects
and analyzes
calls through
its blocking
service. That’s nearly 900 million a month more than in
April 2017.
Getty, Bloomfield
QShares of Yageo, a Taiwan-
based manufacturer of
capacitors and resistors for
companies including Apple
and Intel, have increased
more than any other company’s since the start of
2017—jumping 817 percent,
for an increase in value of
$8.1 billion.
Trade: Firms suffer blow on Iran contracts
European firms “plunged
Global companies that made
back into Iran more quickly
big bets on doing business
than their American rivals”
in Iran are poised to lose bilafter the nuclear pact took
lions of dollars in contracts
effect, said Benoit Faucon
after President Trump’s deciand Sarah Kent in The Wall
sion this week to reimpose
Street Journal, hoping to tap a
sanctions on Tehran, said
largely untouched market with
Ed Crooks and Sam Fleming
the potential for fast growth.
in the Financial Times. The
U.S. company “with the most Boeing has $20 billion in deals with Iran. Germany’s Daimler and
Siemens and the British-Dutch
to lose” following Trump’s
energy company Royal Dutch Shell are now
withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is
Chicago-based Boeing, which has signed deals to scrambling to reassess their strategies and are
sell about $20 billion worth of commercial planes “weighing contingencies,” including potentially
abandoning their investments. French oil giant
to two Iranian airlines. Boeing’s European rival,
Airbus, which uses many U.S. parts in its aircraft, Total, which has a $1 billion deal to develop an
will be hit even harder: It has contracts with Iran offshore natural-gas field, is lobbying French officials to obtain a U.S. waiver for the project.
Air worth up to $27 billion.
Companies: Nike execs depart over harassment
Five more Nike executives left the company this week, part of a sweeping overhaul of management amid “widespread allegations of harassment and discrimination against female employees,” said Julie Creswell
and Kevin Draper in The New York Times. Six Nike executives had
already left or announced their departure; those leaving now include the
expected successor to CEO Mark Parker, and managers of high-profile
departments such as footwear and sports marketing. The company has
been rocked by an internal investigation detailing how women at the
company have felt marginalized, harassed, and thwarted in their careers.
Food: Nestlé and Starbucks strike coffee deal
Nestlé and Starbucks are partnering to create a “global coffee alliance,”
said Rishi Iyengar in Nestlé, the world’s largest food
and beverage company, will pay Starbucks $7.2 billion for exclusive
rights to market, distribute, and sell the U.S. chain’s packaged coffees
and teas in supermarkets around the world. With Nestlé’s massive
global reach, the deal will give Starbucks more exposure in international markets, while handing Nestlé, which already owns Nescafé and
Nespresso, a bigger stake in the coffee business.
Mergers: Comcast seeks to disrupt Disney’s Fox bid
Cable giant Comcast is preparing a $60 billion hostile bid for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment division, hoping to secure an “arsenal of shows
and movies to combat growing digital rivals Netflix and Amazon,” said
Greg Roumeliotis and Liana Baker in Fox has already
agreed to sell those assets to Disney for $52.4 billion in stock, and Comcast hasn’t yet made its offer, which would be all cash. But if a federal
judge approves AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner on June 12, Comcast will see the ruling as a signal that it wouldn’t face its own antitrust
hurdles, freeing it to make a move.
E-commerce: Walmart challenges Amazon in India
In a major bet “on a vibrant but risky new market,” Walmart
announced this week it will take a majority stake in India’s leading
e-commerce platform, Flipkart, said Vindu Goel in The New York
Times. The $16 billion deal will “plunge America’s largest operator of
physical retail stores into direct competition with Amazon.” In India,
Flipkart is the online market leader, but Amazon is rapidly gaining
steam there. The move is a gamble for Walmart, which has stumbled in
its e-commerce efforts in the U.S. The number of people in India “with
enough income to shop online is still tiny.”
When the boss
CEOs have long tried
to keep their insecurities and failings out
of public view, said
Rachel Feintzeig in The
Wall Street Journal.
But some executives
are finding that “baring it all—even the bad
stuff—can be good for
business.” When James
Rhee took the helm of
Ashley Stewart, a nearly
bankrupt plus-size clothing chain, he confessed
at an all-staff meeting
that he was “the least
qualified person” to run
the company and that
he desperately missed
his out-of-state family.
His openness unnerved
some workers, but
others walked away
inspired. Experts say
that leaders who admit
such vulnerabilities can
“breed loyalty.” Rand
Fishkin publicly blogged
about his insomnia
and depression while
CEO of Moz, a Seattlebased marketingsoftware firm; staff said
it caused heartburn
but also camaraderie.
“Whatever your dirty
skeletons in the closet
are,” Fishkin said, “just
open the closet and
show everyone.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
Making money
Travel: Budgeting for a summer trip
savings.” Be strategic also about when
“Summer is quickly approaching,” said
you buy your tickets. It’s a bit of a
Holly Trantham in And
mystery as to why, but booking airline
that means it’s “time for a vacation.” The
flights on a weekend instead of durmajority of Americans—54 percent—
ing the week saves you as much as 19
don’t take their full allotment of vacation
percent. And be careful using budget
days. “Without taking the time off to reairlines; “not all airfares are built
charge, it’s too easy to slip into a pattern
alike.” Most basic economy airfares
of being overworked—and less producdon’t allow you to select your seat or
tive.” Don’t worry if you feel as though
even bring carry-on luggage. Once
your bank account won’t allow for a trip;
you reach your final destination, don’t
holidays often require some budget wizget swindled into an expensive tour.
ardry. If you’re planning to travel in Au“Often the best tours you can get in
gust, you still have almost three months
There’s still time to save for an August holiday.
town are absolutely free.”
to save. And remember: “You don’t have
to jet-set halfway across the world to unwind and take a break
from work.” If you Google terms such as “discount,” “coupon,” Unless you’re vigilant, you may find you’re “padding travel
costs dramatically for services you might not want, need, or
and “code” when searching online for a destination, said Craig
Johnson in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, you may uncover use,” said Kathy Kristof in Look over the website TravelZoo’s comprehensive list of checked-bag fees, which
some surprising discounts. You can also use “what the pros use
are broken down by airline. Similarly loathed by travelers are
to find cheap flights.” Google Flights and rely on
the resort fees that hotels are increasingly introducing, which
software from the Massachusetts company ITA Matrix, which
can average between $25 and $40 per room, per night. Factor
has an “easy-to-use interface” at, where
it into your budget, but also look for hotels that don’t charge
you can “find the cheapest fares out there.”
the fee. Another irritating and avoidable travel levy is foreign
transaction fees charged by credit card issuers on purchases
When searching for flights, hotels, or other travel bookings,
“make yourself as invisible online as possible,” said Laura Begley made overseas, said Alicia Adamczyk in “More
than half of credit card holders don’t know if their credit card
Bloom in Booking sites often formulate prices based
charges a foreign transaction fee.” If your card does, “shop
on your previous online activities. If you get rid of your cookies
around for a better card.”
and regularly delete your search history, you can “create major
What the experts say
Charity of the week
Many people are baffled by annuities—“and
justifiably so,” said Walter Updegrave in Annuities come “in a dizzying
array of types and variations” and most are
“maddeningly complex.” The least complex,
though, are immediate annuities. The concept
is straightforward: Invest a lump sum with
an insurance company, broker, or agent and
receive a “guaranteed monthly payment for
life” regardless of the performance of financial
markets. The compromise is that in return for
that guaranteed monthly payment, you usually forfeit access to the money you’ve placed
in the annuity. So you won’t be able to “dip
into that money for emergencies or unexpected
expenses.” Your payment’s size is dictated by
your age and current interest rates. “The older
you are and the higher interest rates are, the
higher the payment you’ll receive.”
Bequeathing an IRA to loved ones
“An IRA is a powerful vehicle to build a nest
egg to fund your golden years,” said Rachel
Sheedy in And after many years
of “tax-advantaged, compounded growth,”
it’s not unusual for money to be left in the
account when the owner passes away. That
money, when left to heirs, “can continue to
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
the future.” Bequeathing an IRA is fairly easy,
but inheriting one is less so. Part of the complication: “All heirs aren’t the same.” Whether
you’re a spouse or nonspouse is significant.
Nonspouses must be named on the account’s
beneficiaries form in order to maintain the
IRA’s status as a tax shelter. “Keep that beneficiary form updated, because the beneficiary
form trumps a will.”
How to manage rising gas prices
“Gasoline prices have been creeping up the
past few weeks,” said Herb Weisbaum in Simply shopping around—
something most drivers don’t do—can easily
save you $60 or more per month in major cities, according to the consumer app GasBuddy.
Try to fill up whenever you see a station with a
good price, regardless of whether you’re close
to empty; if you wait until your tank is nearly
dry, you’re likely to pay more. Only pump
premium gas if your car’s manufacturer specifies you need it. The way you drive also has “a
huge impact” on your car’s fuel economy. Experts say that speeding and stopping abruptly
can cause massive fuel economy losses. Driving
at 65 mph instead of 75 mph, for instance, can
add between 5 and 7 miles per gallon.
The Everglades, the largest subtropical
wetland in the U.S., has shrunk more than
50 percent
in the
past century. The
1.5 million–
acre region,
provides a
habitat to
endangered species and drinking water
to 8 million people in South Florida,
is being disrupted by pollution and by
dams that have diverted freshwater.
The Everglades Foundation (everglades is working to protect
water quality and re-establish the natural water flow back to its original state
before the region disappears forever. The
organization’s projects, funded by a plan
backed by Congress, include cleaning up
nutrient pollution in Lake Okeechobee
and modifying or removing dams to correct the flow of freshwater back throughout the Everglades.
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 advantages of immediate annuities grow in an IRA, potentially for decades into
Best columns: Business
Economy: America’s job-market puzzle
Rooting for
Barnes &
David Leonhardt
The New York Times
The Washington Post
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
At first glance, Barnes & Noble’s struggles seem like
“a classic story of business disruption,” said David
Leonhardt. A massive brick-and-mortar chain, literally the model for the “evil corporation” crushing
independent bookstores in You’ve Got Mail, gets laid
low by the e-commerce era. “Such is capitalism,”
right? Except that’s not the full story, which actually
involves “Washington’s leniency, under both political
parties, toward technology giants that have come to
resemble monopolies.” For most of U.S. history, the
government considered massive corporations problematic and something to be restrained. Then in the
1970s, “a new idea took hold: Size was not a prob-
lem so long as prices remained low.” But this theory
has two major flaws: low prices aren’t the only
things that matter to consumers—especially if wages
stagnate—and prices often rise once a company has
run its rivals out of business. Such is the case with
Amazon. Its artificially low book prices “have created a raft of problems” in the publishing industry,
and it’s now hiking the cost of its Prime membership
by 20 percent. I am admittedly a happy Amazon
customer, but I’m starting to see how corporate behemoths can “produce a less vigorous economy.” Sometimes it pays to support the newly little guy—and
that’s why “I’ll be rooting for Barnes & Noble.”
There’s a “basic problem” with Trump’s approach to
trade negotiations, said The Washington Post. “No
one—not American trading partners, not American
business and workers—can tell whether the president
actually would accept a compromise” on his often extreme demands. Even if you grant that there is “some
strategic value” to using threats as a negotiating tool,
the downsides of the uncertainty Trump has injected
into the global trading system seem to outweigh any
upside. A two-day meeting last week between U.S.
and Chinese officials, aimed at averting a trade war,
ended “with an agreement to meet again later, and
little else.” Part of the problem is that the U.S. delega-
tion paired its reasonable demands with arbitrary
ones, including a $200 billion reduction in the bilateral trade deficit by the end of 2020. Trump seems
to believe that using “uncertainty as a weapon” will
result in concessions from Beijing, just as he seems
convinced it will force Canada and Mexico to yield
on his NAFTA demands. In reality, our northern and
southern neighbors are “hedging against Trump’s
unpredictability by pursuing closer economic ties with
China and Europe.” NAFTA talks have now gone
on so long that there’s a danger Congress won’t have
time to ratify any new agreement before the midterms. If that happens, “Trump may have no plan B.”
would-be workers are exhausted. Higher“The job market hasn’t been this good for
earning Baby Boomers are also “retiring
a very long time,” said Nathaniel Meyeren masse” and being replaced by mostly
sohn in The unemployyounger, cheaper counterparts, which
ment rate dropped from 4.1 percent to
could be skewing the wage figures. I
3.9 percent in April, the lowest level since
think the recession is “still casting a
December 2000, the Labor Department
shadow,” said Paul Krugman in The
reported last week. Employers added
New York Times. Employers are loath to
164,000 jobs in April, “slightly below
cut wages even when times are desperate,
what economists were expecting but betbecause it’s considered “demoralizing
ter than a comparatively sluggish March.”
and unfair.” But they’re also reluctant
Most of the hiring happened in profesto increase paychecks in good times, besional and business services, which grew
cause they’re afraid of being “stuck with
by 54,000 jobs; manufacturing added
More Americans are getting back to work.
those higher wages if the economy turns
24,000. A triumphant Trump tweeted,
bad again.” That would explain why companies are increasingly
“3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken!” Yet the report also
offering one-time bonuses over raises, because it offers them
contained a “now-familiar disappointment,” said David Dayen
more flexibility than permanent salary hikes.
in stagnant wages. Average hourly earnings
ticked up just 4 cents in April, for a total of about 67 cents, or
Wages aside, the U.S. economy appears to be “enjoying a
2.6 percent, over the past year. It makes sense that bosses don’t
like increasing pay, but periods of low unemployment, when busi- Goldilocks moment, running neither too hot nor too cold,” said
Harriet Torry in The Wall Street Journal. But if unemployment
nesses have to compete for workers, “are supposed to force their
runs “too low for too long, inflation or dangerous financial
hand.” The last time the labor market was this tight, wages rose
at an annual rate of more than 4 percent. Our current state of af- bubbles could build.” The last three times the jobless rate fell
below 4 percent for more than a few months—in the 1950s,
fairs is “not how the economy is supposed to work.”
1960s, and 2000—the U.S. got one of those outcomes, followed
by a recession. Federal Reserve officials are now watching for the
The fact that workers haven’t gotten bigger raises “this far into
labor market’s sweet spot, the moment when unemployment falls
one of the longest expansions on record remains a puzzle,”
to its lowest level before inflation starts increasing, at which point
said Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post. One possible
they’ll start boosting interest rates more aggressively. If the Fed
explanation is that there is more slack in the economy than the
lets the unemployment rate fall too far without taking action, it
unemployment rate suggests. There are “still a lot of workingcould be hard to manage what happens next. When joblessness
age people sitting on the sidelines” who aren’t counted in the
“gets very low and then starts rising, it tends to rise a lot.”
official statistics. Wages won’t rocket up until the ranks of those
The designer who gave Playboy its bunny
It took Art Paul 30
minutes to create one
of the world’s most
iconic corporate logos.
The Chicago-based designer had
been hired by Hugh Hefner in 1953
as the art director of his new magazine, Stag Party. But when another
men’s publication, Stag, sent a ceaseand-desist letter, Hefner retitled the
magazine Playboy and asked Paul
to draw a replacement for the original logo, a
stag in a smoking jacket. “We thought of the
rabbit,” said Paul, “the playboy of the animal
world.” His swiftly sketched bow tie–wearing
bunny would become the symbol of the Playboy
empire, emblazoned on countless T-shirts and
the tail of Hefner’s private jet. “If I had known
how famous that trademark was to become, I
would have taken more time with it,” Paul said,
“and it probably wouldn’t have turned out as
well as it did.”
Born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants, Paul
was a baby when his father died, said The New
York Times. He found inspiration in his artistic
older brother and “filled the margins of books at
his home with drawings.” After serving stateside
in the Army Air Forces, he attended Chicago’s
Institute of Design and then set himself up as
a freelance designer and illustrator. Hefner persuaded Paul to join
Playboy as its first employee by
offering him “complete artistic
freedom to lay out pages, choose
the typography, arrange the photographs, and, critically, hire the artists.” Paul commissioned original
paintings and illustrations from
Andy Warhol, Shel Silverstein, and
Salvador Dalí, whom Paul called
“crazy as a fox,” said the Chicago Sun-Times.
He designed the magazine’s first nude cover, an
image of Marilyn Monroe on a red satin sheet,
and introduced pop-up and pullout pages to
magazine publishing.
The classic bunny logo was originally “intended
to mark the end of stories,” said The Washington
Post, “but by the third issue, it had migrated to
the magazine’s cover.” There it remained, though
often hidden cleverly in “a reflection from a woman’s eye” or “a pattern of rumpled sheets.” After
retiring in 1982, Paul drew and painted, specializing in distorted portraits of faces. He slowly lost
his sight to macular degeneration, but was excited
by the artistic possibilities of his blurred vision.
“He would jiggle his head,” said his wife, Suzanne
Seed, “and say, ‘I can turn one person into a
crowd.’ That just took my breath away.”
Courtesy of Suzanne Seed, Newscom
The illustrator who brought kids’ books to life
Alice Provensen
Provensen delighted generations
of children. Over
half a century, she
illustrated and wrote dozens of picture books on a dizzying array of
topics, from ancient myths to poets,
presidents, and barnyard animals.
For most of her career, she worked
at back-to-back drawing boards
with her husband and collaborator, Martin. Their work followed no set style.
For 1956’s The Iliad and the Odyssey, they took
inspiration from the heroic paintings found on
ancient Greek pottery. For 1983’s The Glorious
Flight, about the French aviator who made the
first airplane journey across the English Channel,
they dabbled in post-impressionism. That book
won them a Caldecott Medal, the highest U.S.
honor for a children’s picture book. “We tried to
work with the material,” said Provensen. “You
couldn’t do something from the Bible in the same
style you’d do an animal book.”
She was born Alice Twitchell in Chicago, where
her father was a stockbroker and her mother an
interior decorator, said The New York Times. In
the early 1940s, she went to work as an animator at Walter Lantz Productions in Los Angeles,
the home of Woody Woodpecker. “The job
would have usually been filled
by a man, but she landed it,
she said, because so many men
were in the military.” There she
met Martin, who was working
for nearby Walt Disney Studios.
“Many of their early titles were
published in the low-budget but
popular Golden Books series,”
including The Color Kittens by
Margaret Wise Brown, said The
Washington Post. The Provensens often worked
for a flat fee and didn’t receive royalties. That
was also the arrangement for their most famous
creation: Tony the Tiger, the mascot for Kellogg’s
Frosted Flakes cereal.
When Martin died of a heart attack in 1987
at age 70, Provensen was “unsure whether she
would continue an illustration career on her
own,” said Publisher’s Weekly. But encouraged
by her longtime editor, she embarked on a series
of well-received solo projects, including The Buck
Stops Here, a rhyming survey of U.S. presidents.
“Garfield, Twenty, in a station,” she wrote,
“departed by assassination.” “Working on books,
I’m not ever really alone,” she said in 2005. “I
always feel as though Martin is looking over my
shoulder, telling me what I should do over—and
letting me know what work is good.”
The martial artist
who popularized
taekwondo in the U.S.
When Jhoon Rhee began
teaching taekwondo in
Washington, D.C., in 1962,
the Korean martial art was
virtually unknown in the
U.S. Rhee
kicked the
sport into the
He set up 11
taekwondo studios in the
capital and trained instructors who set up their own
gyms across the nation. He
went on to exchange fighting
tips with Bruce Lee, teach
Muhammad Ali a new punching technique, and train the
action hero Chuck Norris.
And for 45 years, Rhee provided free taekwondo lessons to some 250 members
of Congress, including Joe
Biden and Newt Gingrich.
“I [gave] them free uniforms, free videotapes, my
free time,” he said, “just to
express my thanks to the
U.S. for all it’s done for me.”
Born in Asan, in what is now
South Korea, Rhee “eagerly
studied martial arts” growing
up, said The New York Times.
He worked as an interpreter
for the U.S. Air Force following the outbreak of the
Korean War in 1950, and eight
years later moved to Texas to
attend college. After launching his taekwondo business,
Rhee became a “tireless
ambassador” for the martial art. He “developed and
manufactured pads to reduce
injuries,” and devised martial
arts “ballets” in which performers kicked and punched
in time to classical music.
After selling his business in
the 1980s, Rhee “focused
on introducing taekwondo
to the former Soviet Union,”
said The Washington Post. He
continued his grueling daily
workout—which included at
least 1,000 sit-ups, several
hundred pushups, and countless kicks and punches—into
old age. In 2002, the then70-year-old Rhee impressed
a visiting reporter by dropping into a split and then
slowly bending forward until
his face touched the floor,
remarking, “I couldn’t do this
15 years ago.”
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The last word
Melania’s separate life
The first lady has settled into a quiet routine at the White House, said Mary Jordan, Emily Heil, and Josh Dawsey.
She spends little private time with the president but has noticeably begun to raise her public profile.
McDougal, a Playboy
model, publicly talked
about their alleged affairs
with Trump during his
marriage to Melania.
Trump’s remarkably
separate daily routines
begin with him getting up
around 5:30 a.m., watching
cable news shows, and tweeting. The first lady wakes in
her own bedroom a bit later,
according to two close friends
of the Trumps. She then readies their 12-year-old son for
school, including checking to
make sure his homework is in
his backpack.
An awkward exchange
happened April 26 with
Trump calling in to Fox &
Friends, announcing that
it was Melania’s birthday,
and then suddenly talking
about Daniels. Asked on
the same TV show what
he had gotten Melania for
her birthday, he paused:
“Maybe, I didn’t get her so
much. I got her a beautiful
card, you know I’m very
busy to be running out
looking for presents.”
Amid the noise and churn of
the Trump administration—
most recently about how
the president paid money
to silence Stormy Daniels—
Melania Trump has settled
Launching her ‘Be Best’ initiative at the White House this week
into a quieter routine, often
According to several White House staff
apart from the president, raising their son
president enjoying an unplanned moment
and carving out a place for herself in a most with his wife, or even with Barron, the first members, Melania has erected a de facto
untraditional White House.
young son in the White House since John F. wall between the East Wing, where she is
renovating her office, and the West Wing,
The first lady has not directly addressed the Kennedy Jr. in the early 1960s.
where her husband and Ivanka Trump, her
affairs that Daniels and another woman,
The Trumps are often apart even during
eldest stepdaughter, have offices.
Karen McDougal, said they had with her
their free time, according to people who
husband. But she has noticeably begun
know the couple’s schedules. At Mar-a-Lago While she goes to the West Wing for official
duties, she does not walk down the hall,
to raise her profile, independent from the
on holidays and weekends, the president
president’s, and on Monday launched her
golfs or dines with politicians, business exec- pop her head in, and see how the presiformal platform, “Be Best.”
utives, and media personalities on the patio, dent’s day is going. “She seldom sets foot in
the West Wing,” said one person with firstwhile Melania is often nowhere to be seen.
“Her focus all along has been children,
hand knowledge. Yet many political anaAccording to several current and former
and this launch is meant to formalize what
lysts believe that Trump will need Melania
aides, the president and first lady often do
her role will be for the next three to seven
at his side if he wants to win again in 2020.
not eat together in the White House either.
years,” said Stephanie Grisham, Melania’s
“They spend very little to no time together,”
spokeswoman. She said that the first lady
HE TRUMPS HAVE broken the tradisaid one longtime friend of the president.
would devote the rest of the Trump presitional mold of a presidential family
dency to the issues facing children today
from the moment he was sworn in.
Grisham said the president and Melania do
and their well-being.
While Melania stood beside the president at
spend time with each other. “Aside from
the Capitol, his two ex-wives, Ivana Trump
the president’s solo trips, the family spends
Political marriages tend to be more comand Marla Maples, sat in the crowd.
most evenings together.” She also played
plicated than most, but it’s striking that
down the headlines about Trump’s alleged
the Trumps make so little effort to project
Trump is the only president to be maraffairs and said Melania “is focused on
a more united front. Although both are
ried three times. Melania is 48, and the
keenly aware of the power of visual images, being a mom. She’s focused on being a wife, president is 71. Rather than move into the
some of their memorable moments together and she’s focused on her role as first lady.
White House with her husband, Melania
And that’s it. The rest is just noise.”
are awkward: Melania swatting his hand
stayed in New York for six months to
away on a tarmac, and several times caught Melania grants few interviews and declined allow Barron to finish his school year
on camera seeming to resist his outreach.
to speak for this article, but during the cam- there. That delay initially put Melania at
a disadvantage, according to a friend who
paign she told The Washington Post that
“She is a dignified, private person, and
said the rhythm of the White House had
she and her husband are “very indepenshe’ll deal with her personal life in private
dent,” adding, “We give ourselves and each already been established, and left her out
and it’s no one’s business,” said Stephanie
of the mix. Some staff positions from the
other space.”
Winston Wolkoff, a longtime friend of
first lady’s office were diverted to the West
Melania’s. “They are not that couple that
According to several people who know the
Wing—including to support Ivanka, who is
holds hands just because; she is old-world
couple, that space appears to have grown
a presidential adviser.
European and it’s not who she is.”
wider under the White House roof—
It is unusual to see a candid shot of the
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
especially since Daniels, as well as Karen
Ivanka, 36, and Melania, both former mod-
The last word
els, do not have a close relationship and
are very different from one another, several
people who know them both said. Grisham
said it was not only wrong to say Melania
was not close to her stepdaughter but also
“hurtful.” Noticeably, Melania’s presence is
growing as Ivanka’s fades.
not only Donald who wants to see it. It’s the
American people...they want to see that.”
Several polls have shown that as she
becomes more visible, her popularity is rising. In many ways the image she projects is
the least like Trump’s of all the Trumps.
She has also traveled apart from her
husband—even when they are going to the
same destination. In February, hours after
The New Yorker published a story about
Trump’s alleged affair with McDougal, the
Playboy model, Melania did not walk with
Trump across the White House’s South
Lawn to board Marine One.
The president organizes big rallies; Melania
often holds meetings with just a few people.
Her husband rails against family-based
“chain migration”; she is from Slovenia
and now her parents, also immigrants, have
become legal residents here, too.
But as first lady, she has publicly praised
Michelle Obama and laughed alongside
President Obama, who sat beside her
at Barbara Bush’s funeral last month in
The president mocks political enemies on
Twitter with his derogatory nicknames,
such as “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” or
“Cheatin’ Obama”; Melania calls cyberbullying an “evil” and organized a White
House conference to try to stop it.
Melania has complained that she doesn’t
deserve the mean comments she has read
about herself online. She has been heard
saying that she knows her husband has contributed to the combative nature of today’s
online chatter, and one associate said she
has persisted with her anti-cyberbullying
efforts despite White House advice that she
pick any other issue to champion.
In March, Melania invited top executives
from Twitter, Facebook, and other tech
companies, along with nonprofits working
on internet safety, to the White House to
hold a meeting on the issue.
“I am well aware that people are skeptical
of me discussing this topic,” she told the
group. “I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue, and I know
that will continue. But it will not stop me
from doing what I know is right,” she said
in opening remarks. “We have to find a
better way to talk to each other, to disagree
with each other, to respect each other.”
Tom Brenner/The New York Times/Redux
Melania has not always been willing to go
in a different direction from her husband.
In 2011, when Trump was one of the leading “birthers” challenging the validity of
President Barack Obama’s birth certificate,
Melania backed him up.
“What’s this with the birth certificate obsession? Did he ask to see yours when you met
him?” asked TV interviewer Joy Behar.
“Do you want to see President Obama’s
birth certificate or not?” Melania responded.
She also said what Obama had made public
to date was “different” from a birth certificate. “It would be very easy if President
Obama would just show it,” she said. “It is
With her son, Barron, last year
Both Trumps were heading to Mar-a-Lago
for the weekend, but instead of making the
very public walk across the White House
lawn with her husband to the helicopter,
she drove separately to the Maryland
military airport to catch Air Force One.
Grisham told reporters at the time that
given the first lady’s schedule, it was just
easier for the couple to meet at the plane.
When her motorcade pulled up, White
House press aides shouted at journalists to
get off the plane until she boarded. No photos were allowed of her arrival.
As first ladies often are, Melania is more
popular than her husband. But two friends
of the couple say the president, who pays
close attention to his poll numbers, also
fixates on hers. Her approval rating was
47 percent to his 40 in a January CNN poll.
Trump described Melania to supporters in a
recent email as his “rock and foundation.”
“I wouldn’t be the man I am today without
her by my side,” he said. “My BEAUTIFUL,
kindhearted, and exceptional wife.”
“They have an unspoken affinity,” said the
longtime friend Winston Wolkoff, whose
official advisory arrangement in the first
lady’s office ended earlier this year amid
headlines about inauguration spending.
Melania has said she sometimes offers
advice to her husband—including about his
tweets—but that doesn’t mean he takes it.
During one dinner in the White House in
late 2017, Melania told the president that
he should be more concerned about the
investigation led by special counsel Robert
Mueller and that his legal team wasn’t
protecting him, according to a person who
attended the dinner. Trump disagreed, this
person said, insisting that the investigation
was going to exonerate him and that he
had great lawyers. Grisham disputed this
account, saying: “Your anonymous sources
are wrong.” Since that dinner, two of three
lawyers have left Trump’s Russia team.
her parents and her son, Barron,
who also speaks Slovenian with
his grandparents. When she is out of the
public eye, she is often with her family,
friends say. Her office declined to say
where her parents live, or even whether
they keep a room at the White House, as
Michelle Obama’s mother did.
Melania does spend a lot of time in the
White House, according to people who
work there, and has a very good relationship with the permanent household staff of
nearly 100 that includes chefs, florists, and
butlers, and she oversees the residence as
well as the state floor.
Friends say she is a perfectionist who oversees the tiniest details of events in which
she is involved. She enjoys putting her personal mark on the historic home and has
redesigned the family living quarters. While
her husband favors the lavish gold-and-glitz
decor of their Trump Tower penthouse,
Melania has picked neutral colors.
Still, Trump often waves friends up to the
residence after holiday parties or social
gatherings and gives tours of the Lincoln
Bedroom, where he remarks on how tall
the former president was while showing off
the Gettysburg Address and other features.
Melania has, however, told confidantes she
wants to keep the residence private.
Twenty-two years after first coming to
the United States to model, she is now
one of the most photographed women in
the world. Paolo Zampolli, who helped
arrange for Melania to work in the U.S.
fashion industry and sees her in the White
House, said Melania is blossoming. “It’s an
incredible story. It’s the American Dream,”
said Zampolli. “She really will become
the queen of people’s hearts, like Princess
Diana was. I think the world will be seeing
more of her.”
Excerpted from an article that originally appeared in The Washington Post.
Reprinted with permission.
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The Puzzle Page
Crossword No. 456: Senate Scribes by Matt Gaffney
The Week Contest
1 ___ up (got emotional)
7 Media attention
10 Fool
13 Take for granted
14 Madhouse
15 Purple food
16 Senator and naval
hero whose memoir
The Restless Wave will
be published later this
18 Courageous person
19 Former senator
who wrote the 2005
memoir Strangers
in the Senate:
Politics and the New
Revolution of Women
in America
21 “Well, what have we
24 Rodent-spotter’s shout
25 Ouzo flavoring
26 Letters followed by a
dollar amount
27 Article written by
Angela Merkel
28 You can get college
credit for them
30 It’s a cooler brand
32 Easy to carry
33 Former New York
senator who wrote the
1995 memoir Power,
Pasta, and Politics
38 Groups at a U
39 Deal maker
41 Small
44 Disloyal member of a
crime ring
46 Diamond with two
As on it
THE WEEK May 18, 2018
The queen, for one
Be rude to
“Agreed 100%!”
Former senator
who wrote the 2000
memoir Passion for
Truth: From Finding
JFK’s Single Bullet to
Questioning Anita Hill
to Impeaching Clinton
Bring up
Longtime senator
whose 2005 memoir
is subtitled Child of
the Appalachian Coal
Sounds of disapproval
Wentworth of
Sometime soon
Be unoriginal
Collie of Hollywood
1 Trump ___ Mahal
(former Atlantic City
2 “___ si que es”
(Spanish sentence
that spells the English
word “socks” if you
say it aloud)
3 Common residue
4 Pass on the track
5 Noted novel of 1815
6 Fiat
7 Walton of
8 Mystery subgenre
9 Joe from Hawaii
10 Dynasty vixen
11 Most reliable
12 Messy treat
15 Communication
17 Talking trucker
20 Clean people step
onto it
21 DI times two
22 It’s quite a stretch?
23 Think (over)
27 Entry-level employees?
28 Backing
29 Org. for drivers
31 Secretaries and
treasurers, e.g.
32 Aspin of Clinton’s
34 Invigorating break
35 Muddy digs
36 Word with no I
37 At some point in the
40 Pin number?
41 300 city-state
42 Monopolize, as
members of a talent
43 Empathize
44 Jambalaya ingredient
45 Word before plane or
48 Credit alternative
49 Chain with a 10-gallon
hat logo
51 They’re married in
Madrid (abbr.)
52 Pope John Paul II, e.g.
53 Italian stratovolcano
56 Stat for a TE or RB
57 Bollywood star
Aishwarya ___
58 Recolor
This week’s question: Kanye West was denounced by
many of his fans after he called President Trump a “brother”
who shares his “dragon energy,” and was spotted wearing a
“Make America Great Again” hat signed by the president.
If West were to release a new rap song about his defiant
love for the president, what title could he give the track?
Last week’s contest: Penn State has banned the college’s
98-year-old Outing Club from going on hiking, canoeing,
or camping trips, after deciding that outdoor activities are
too dangerous and could lead to lawsuits. Please come
up with the name of a new student club that would satisfy the college’s safety-first agenda.
THE WINNER: The PlayPenn Club
Loretta Napolitano, Denville, N.J.
SECOND PLACE: Nittany Lie-Ins Club
Matt Costinett, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
THIRD PLACE: The Penn’d In Club
Judith Sumner, Worcester, Mass.
For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go to
How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to Please include your name,
address, and daytime telephone number for verification;
this week, type “West rap” in the subject line. Entries are
due by noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, May 15. Winners
will appear on the Puzzle Page next
issue and at on
Friday, May 18. 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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