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The Week USA September 29 2017

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Is the
iPhone X
worth $999?
ESPN’s foray
into racial
Jemele Hill
Will Americans ever
embrace single-payer
health care?
01 Cover clean.indd 1
9/20/17 6:28 PM
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Editor’s letter
We have become a nation of flip-floppers. It’s now remarkably
routine for politicians to suddenly abandon long-held positions
and adopt new ones that they would have considered heretical
only a couple of years—or even a couple of weeks—earlier. During the Obama era, for example, Democrats lauded Silicon Valley as a champion of progressive values. But today Democrats
have grown hostile to Facebook, accusing it of subverting democracy by hosting Russia-linked ads during the 2016 election, and
blame Google and Amazon for crushing competition and eroding
privacy (see Best Columns: Business). Some conservatives, meanwhile, have abandoned their support for an unfettered free market
and demanded that the nation’s tech giants—which they regard
as hostile to right-leaning views—be regulated like public utilities.
President Trump, of course, is the master of the 180. After repeatedly vowing to deport all illegal immigrants, he now wants to protect the 800,000 or so “Dreamers”—undocumented immigrants
brought to the U.S. as children and shielded by President Obama’s
DACA program (see Talking Points).
There’s almost no political cost to be paid for these U-turns.
Among Republicans who voted for Trump in the primaries, his
approval rating still stands at 98 percent, despite his policy reversals on immigration and the war in Afghanistan and his willingness to break with GOP orthodoxy on issues like the debt ceiling.
Such ideological violations might anger the party’s elite, but political scientists at Brigham Young University have found that many
Republican voters are happy to shift their views to the left on issues ranging from abortion to taxes if they’re told that’s the way
Trump is heading. As Thomas Edsall noted in The New York
Times, American politics is now “less a competition of ideas and
more a struggle between two teams.” In that tussle, loyalty to
your team and its captain is far more imporTheunis Bates
Managing editor
tant than loyalty to any policy agenda.
4 Main stories
Trump at the U.N.; U.S.
warns of military action in
North Korea; the GOP’s
new health-care bill
AP, Getty
Controversy of the week
Is calling the president a
“white supremacist” a
fireable offense?
The U.S. at a glance
Russia investigation
focuses on Paul Manafort;
protests rock St. Louis
The world at a glance
Mexico hit by a massive
earthquake; Saudi Arabia
cracks down on dissent
Judi Dench on finding
love again; Harrison Ford
on punching co-stars
Extreme flooding is
becoming ever more
common in the U.S. Are
there any solutions?
Best U.S. columns
The Left’s violent
suppression of free
speech; Trump’s phony
voter fraud commission
Best European
Two refugees arrested
over London bombing
Talking points
Democrats rally around
single-payer health care;
Trump’s DACA reversal;
should the U.S. quit the
Iran nuclear deal?
Editor-in-chief: William Falk
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President Trump prepares to speak at the United Nations. (p.4)
23 Books
A tennis tell-all from
Maria Sharapova
24 Author of the week
Sigrid Rausing on a
family tragedy that
became a tabloid tale
25 Art & Music
The art of protest
at New York
City’s Whitney
26 Film
Billie Jean
King and
Bobby Riggs
face off in
Battle of the
Dench (p.10)
28 Food & Drink
Three U.S. restaurants with
a fresh spin on familiar fare
30 Travel
Relaxing on the shores of
Lake Geneva
31 Consumer
The best apps to help you
exercise at home
36 News at a glance
Toys R Us files for
bankruptcy; the Fed looks
to shrink its balance sheet
37 Making money
How homeowners can
rebuild after a disaster
38 Best columns
Democrats and Republicans
turn on tech firms; Equifax’s
spectacular disaster
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THE WEEK September 29, 2017
03 TOC.indd 3
9/20/17 6:13 PM
The main stories...
Trump’s defiant debut at the U.N.
What happened
Trump’s “Rocket Man” jibe was straight
out of the “school yard,” said The Wall
President Donald Trump struck a defiant
Street Journal, but he deserves credit
and confrontational tone in his maiden
for trying to focus “a cynical world’s
speech to the United Nations General
attention” on an increasingly perilous
Assembly this week, vowing to “totally
situation. “Traditional diplomacy” hasn’t
destroy” North Korea if it threatens the U.S.
altered the thinking of either Kim or his
or its allies, denouncing the 2015 nuclear
“patrons in Beijing,” and Trump’s speech
disarmament deal with Iran as an “embarsignaled that unless something changes,
rassment,” and urging fellow world leaders
“he intends to do something about it.”
to embrace “national sovereignty.” In a fiery
address that drew mostly stony silence, some
What the columnists said
light applause, and occasional gasps from
It used to be international “pariahs” like
some members of the 193 international delLibyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and
egations, Trump denounced the “depraved”
Trump: ‘Rocket Man’ is on ‘a suicide mission.’
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who spouted
regime in Pyongyang for recent ballistic
missile and nuclear tests, and said Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un— “hateful nonsense” to the General Assembly, said Ryu Spaeth in
whom he mocked as “Rocket Man”—was on “a suicide mission.” Now it’s the president of the United States. If
Americans ever wondered what it’s like “to be led by a wild-eyed
Describing “rogue regimes” as “the scourge of our planet,” the
megalomaniac,” now we know. The Trump doctrine, if there is
president suggested he would seek to renegotiate the “one-sided”
one, is “intellectually confused,” said Fred Kaplan in He
nuclear deal with the “murderous” government in Tehran (see
Talking Points), and threatened the “socialist dictatorship” in Ven- claimed every government should respect the “national sovereignty” of other nations, yet in the same breath threatened North
ezuela with further sanctions. Trump also warned of the growing
threat from “radical Islamic terrorism,” and promised he wouldn’t Korea and Venezuela. He chided Cuba and Iran for human-rights
violations, but “said nothing about the similarly dreadful records of
allow “loser terrorists” to “tear up the entire world.”
Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey.” Why? Their leaders flatter him.
In an explanation of his “America first” foreign policy, Trump promised that the U.S. would “forever be a great friend to the world,” but Let’s be fair here, said Jonathan Tobin in
Every recent U.S. administration has “made exceptions for ausaid he wouldn’t let his country “be taken advantage of” or enter
into “one-sided” agreements. He implored other world leaders to do thoritarian governments it needed to work with.” They’ve also all
the same, stressing the value of “strong, sovereign nations.” The U.S. promised to defend America’s interests “against aggressive rogue
regimes.” The truth is, for all the “huffing and puffing” over the
doesn’t “seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” he said, “but
“shocking” language in Trump’s speech, the substance was “rerather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”
markably similar” to that of his predecessors.
What the editorials said
It wasn’t all bad
■■A self-confessed couponing
addict is helping Hurricane Harvey
victims get back on their feet. Kimberly Gager of San Antonio, Texas,
has a garage stuffed with diapers,
detergent, and other goods that
she bought at a discount. Realizing
those supplies could help families
who lost everything to Harvey, she
posted a note on Facebook offering
to deliver essentials to people in
need. Gager—whose home was
wrecked by a hurricane in 1999—
has since helped some 30 families.
She says she won’t stop delivering
“until I know that people are OK.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
04 main 1.indd 4
But tone matters a great deal in international relations, said Doyle
McManus in the Los Angeles Times. Diplomats know it’s important to treat their adversaries with respect “and provide them a
dignified way to retreat from their original positions.” Trump did
the exact opposite, “ridiculing” Kim and signaling that Pyongyang’s only option was to “give up its entire nuclear program.” If
Kim crosses the “red line” Trump has drawn, the president will
have only two options: “Back down or go to war.” If he chooses
war, the “Rocket Man” speech “will be remembered as one of the
first steps that took us there.”
■■Mosul is coming back to life. Two months after Iraqi forces
drove ISIS from the city following a brutal occupation, its residents have staged an impromptu book festival at the gutted
Mosul University library. Once home to 3 million books, the
building’s interior was reduced to ashes by the militants. But
volunteers managed to recover 36,000 volumes from
the ruins—including a number of ancient manuscripts.
They set them, along with
books donated from around
the world, on outdoor
shelves for anyone to read.
“I used to weep for what
happened,” says volunteer
Yomna Ebeid. “Now I am
confident [that the library]
can return better than ever.”
Rescuing books in Mosul
■■A British boy is being hailed
as a hero after rescuing five
beachgoers in the span of just
two days. Steffan Williams, 8,
was kayaking in the sea, close to
a treacherous stretch of coastline
where the tide can trap unknowing tourists, when he spotted an
elderly woman and two teens
trapped on a rock. Grabbing his
rubber dinghy, he towed them to
shore. A day later, Steffan noticed
two more teens stranded on the
very same rock, frantically waving
to get his attention, and notified
the local lifeguard team. “I want
to be a lifeboat person when I get
the chance,” says the youngster.
AP, Mosul Eye
Much of what the president told delegates in New York was
“directly on point,” said the Los Angeles Times. The U.N. should
do more to address violations of human rights and national
sovereignty by the authoritarian regimes in Pyongyang, Tehran,
and Caracas. But the president’s message was undermined by his
“needlessly offensive” tone and “juvenile” insults. Threatening to
annihilate an entire country of 25 million people; describing Iran
as a “rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and
chaos”—this “guns-blazing rhetoric” may sound tough, but it
achieves nothing and is in fact counterproductive.
Illustration by Howard McWilliam.
Cover photos from AP, Apple, Getty
9/20/17 6:29 PM
... and how they were covered
U.S. mulls military action against North Korea
What happened
begins,” said Steve Ganyard in ABCNews
.com. But it would be almost impossible for
The Pentagon warned this week that it was
the Trump administration to “neutralize
weighing several military options in response
North Korea’s nuclear threat without startto North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,
ing a world war.” The U.S. doesn’t know
amid escalating tensions between the Trump
where the Hermit Kingdom has hidden all
administration and Kim Jong Un’s regime.
of its weapons, and may not have the caNorth Korea fired a second ballistic missile
pability to shoot down its ballistic missiles
over Japan last week, prompting President
without moving ships into North Korean
Trump to threaten to “totally destroy” the
waters. Moreover, it would take a days-long
rogue state, during an address to the United
air campaign to destroy the 8,000 cannons
Nations. As the U.S. flew bombers and stealth
and rocket launchers on Pyongyang’s side of
jets over the Korean Peninsula in a show
Kim: Enjoying his latest missile launch
the demilitarized zone—giving Kim ample
of force, Defense Secretary James Mattis
time to retaliate against Seoul and kill hundreds of thousands.
indicated that he was assessing military responses to Pyongyang’s
provocations that would not put Seoul’s 10 million residents at risk
Basically, “it’s time to recognize that North Korea is a nuclear
of a devastating counterattack. Those options reportedly include a
power,” said Fred Kaplan in We’ve failed at forcing Kim
naval blockade, a “decapitation” operation to kill Kim, a limited
strike on weapons sites, and shooting down North Korean missiles to get rid of his nuclear arsenal; the most effective way to proceed
even if they don’t directly threaten the U.S. or its allies. Asked if he now is through deterrence and diplomacy. If Trump opens up talks,
was considering “kinetic” action—a euphemism for lethal military maybe he can get the North Korean leader to limit the size of his
arsenal, which currently includes 20 nuclear weapons. “Better 20
force—Mattis replied, “Yes, I don’t want to go into that.”
than 100 or 200.”
North Korea’s latest missile test came days after the U.N. Security
What good will talks do? asked Jed Babbin in
Council tightened sanctions on Kim’s regime for detonating its
Nothing—“no economic sanctions, no diplomatic maneuvers”—
sixth nuclear device. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley
will stop Kim from building a nuclear arsenal that guarantees
said the U.S. had “pretty much exhausted all the things that we
his regime’s survival. His nation is already a pariah state, and
could do at the Security Council,” and that if diplomacy doesn’t
the despot doesn’t care if millions of his own people starve. He’s
work, “Gen. Mattis will take care of it.”
already developed his nuclear and missile forces “to the point that
What the columnists said
he can threaten about one-third of the continental U.S.” All told,
the Rocket Man has “got us where he wants us.”
“Traditionally, where diplomacy and sanctions fail, military force
Republicans revive Obamacare repeal effort
What happened
Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act gained
new life this week, as Senate leaders scrambled to whip enough
votes for a last-ditch bill that could dramatically reshape the U.S.
health-care system. The bill, written by Sens. Lindsey Graham
and Bill Cassidy, would dissolve ACA marketplaces, end federal
subsidies for health insurance, and slash Medicaid funding—instead giving each state a fixed amount of federal money for health
care to spend as the state sees fit. Insurers would still be required
to cover people with preexisting conditions, but they would be
allowed to charge sick people substantially higher premiums.
Republicans have until Sept. 30 to pass the bill under budget
reconciliation rules—meaning the legislation needs just 51 votes to
pass—giving them just days to win over holdouts. The Senate will
hold truncated committee hearings next week, but there will be no
complete analysis of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office,
leaving lawmakers unsure what the effects on premiums and coverage will be. Speaker Paul Ryan vowed that if Graham-Cassidy
passes the Senate, he will bring it to a vote in the House, calling
the bill “our best, last chance to get repeal and replace done.”
What the columnists said
Of all the GOP health-care plans so far, Graham-Cassidy “is the
most radical of them all,” said Sarah Kliff in Previous
repeal bills kept chunks of Obamacare intact, albeit with far less
funding. Graham-Cassidy “blows the law up entirely,” mainly
by eliminating the individual mandate, which will cause young
people to drop coverage and premiums for older Americans
to soar. Republicans are desperate to pass this bill “before the
American public realizes how awful it is,” said John Cassidy in Preexisting conditions could once again become
a recipe for financial ruin. Under one analysis, people with serious heart conditions could face a surcharge of $50,000 a year on
top of their regular premiums. “For those with metastatic cancer,
it would be more than $140,000.”
Graham-Cassidy “is far from perfect, but it would do a lot of
good,” said David Catron in The American Spectator. The bill
takes power away from “our Beltway overlords” and rightfully
returns it to the states. It also includes much-needed reforms,
such as allowing states to require able-bodied people to work in
order to receive Medicaid. Republicans have promised to repeal
Obamacare, and this is now their only viable option.
If Graham-Cassidy becomes law, it “just might represent the death
knell of today’s GOP,” said Reihan Salam in Handing
responsibility for health care to the states would give every person
who depends on subsidized care a vested interest in well-funded
programs. Barring some unforeseen reversal in GOP philosophy,
it is Democrats who are likely to campaign for generous benefits,
which could help them win back state legislatures. GrahamCassidy may be consistent with conservative principles, but “it is
also perfectly consistent with Republicans losing elections.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
05 main 2.indd 5
9/20/17 6:24 PM
Controversy of the week
ESPN: Should an anchor be fired for anti-Trump tweets?
quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his Black Lives Matter proPresident Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the
test during the national anthem, and last week host Stephen
free press, said Will Bunch in, but this week he
A. Smith praised a banner unfurled at a Boston Red Sox
launched “one of the most breathtaking abuses of the First
game that stated “Racism is as American as Baseball.”
Amendment that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.” The target
was Jemele Hill, an African-American sports anchor on
“If Jemele Hill deserves firing for calling Trump a white
ESPN, who last week on Twitter called Trump a “white
supremacist,” said Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Miami
supremacist” whose election was “a direct result of
Herald, then what does Trump deserve “for actually
white supremacy. Period.” Trump, as usual, responded
being one?” The young Trump and his father, let’s
with an angry tweet of his own—demanding an apolremember, were sued for refusing to rent apartments
ogy and blaming ESPN’s slumping viewership on
to black tenants. While running for president,
its “bad politics.” But he didn’t stop there. The
Trump described illegal Mexican immigrants
next day, White House Press Secretary Sarah
as “rapists” and complained that an IndianaHuckabee Sanders urged ESPN to treat Hill’s
born judge was unfit to preside over a lawsuit
comments as “a fireable offense.” It’s deeply
Hill: Trump is a ‘white supremacist.’
involving Trump because he was “a Mexican.”
chilling when the federal government uses its
His “birther” campaign was nakedly racist. Trump’s supporters
power to try to get a journalist fired for expressing an opinion,
were thrilled by such bigotry because it was “politically incorrect,”
said Aaron Blake in “It’s also hypocritical.”
said Jamelle Bouie in But when Kaepernick dared to
Before and after he began running for president, Trump repeatedly
protest police shootings of black males, and Hill called out Trump
called President Obama a “racist,” insisted he was foreign-born
for praising some “very fine people” at a Charlottesville, Va., rally
and therefore an illegitimate president, and even accused him of
organized by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, outraged white
being a secret Muslim who sympathized with Islamist terrorists.
Americans demanded that those mouthy blacks lose their jobs. In
Should NBC have fired Donald Trump from The Apprentice for
America, it seems, “protesting racism might make you a pariah.
those utterly unfounded slurs?
Indulging it might put you in the Oval Office.”
The “double standard” here is ESPN’s, said Brian Flood in
What does any of this have to do with sports? asked the Last year the network fired baseball analyst
ton Examiner in an editorial. Maybe ESPN wouldn’t be suffering
Curt Schilling for expressing his conservative views on Twitter—
steadily declining ratings if it didn’t impose its “left-wing moral
including his retweet of a satirical image of a hairy fat guy in a
posturing” on its viewers, and went back to focusing on “games,
dress demanding access to a girls’ bathroom. The black, liberal
reporting scores, and breaking down the big plays.” That being
Hill got away with only a “mild reprimand” from ESPN, while
said, the White House’s call for Hill to be fired “smacks of an
the white, conservative Schilling lost his job. That’s because ESPN
effort to chill speech,” which is simply not how we do things in
is now an unabashedly left-wing network, said John Calvin in
America. “We wish Team Trump would not stoop so low.” It’s devoted endless hours to lauding former NFL
■ An Ohio firefighter was
suspended for saying he’d
rather save a dog than an
African-American from a
burning building. “One dog is
more important than a million
n-----s,” Tyler Roysdon wrote
on Facebook. He was immediately suspended by Franklin
Township officials for “conduct
unbecoming a township employee.” Roysdon’s wife said
her husband had apologized,
but added that everyone “is
entitled to their own opinion.”
■ More than 100 faculty
members at the University
of California, Berkeley, have
called for a boycott of all
classes during “Free Speech
Week.” The four-day event,
starting Sept. 24, will feature
right-wing speakers Steve
Bannon, Ann Coulter, and Milo
Yiannopoulos. The faculty said
students should not risk their
“physical and mental safety”
in such a hostile environment.
Good week for:
The sincerest form of flattery, after New York plastic surgeon
Dr. Norman Rowe said that over the past year, about 50 women
paid up to $50,000 each for procedures that would make them
look like Ivanka Trump. The “Permanent Ivanka” includes widened cheekbones, a slender nose, and large eyes.
Shaving your head, after University of Pennsylvania researchers
found that men with totally bald pates are seen as more dominant
and confident than men with hair, though less attractive.
Gun shows, after President Trump said he is considering holding
a large military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue next July 4 that
will “top” France’s Bastille Day parade. “As we build up our military,” Trump said, “we’re going to display our military.”
Bad week for:
Retweets, after President Trump retweeted a video from an antiSemitic and racist Twitter troll that shows him hitting a golf ball at
Hillary Clinton and knocking her down. “This has to stop,” said
former Vice President Joe Biden. “Our children are watching.”
Growing up, after a study revealed that today’s teens are taking
longer to embrace traditional symbols of adulthood, including getting a driver’s license, drinking, and dating. “The whole developmental pathway has slowed down,” said study author Jean Twenge.
Loose lips, after White House lawyer Ty Cobb loudly discussed
the Mueller investigation at a Washington, D.C., steak house, with
a New York Times reporter at the next table. Cobb said, among
other things, that the White House has “a couple of documents
locked in a safe” that Mueller might want.
Boring but important
White House nixes
refugee study
The Trump administration
has reportedly rejected the
results of a government study
that found that over the past
decade refugees to the U.S.
brought in $63 billion more in
state and local taxes than they
cost in public benefits. Trump’s
chief policy adviser, Stephen
Miller, who has advocated for
the president to further lower
the 50,000-refugee annual cap
Trump put in place, argued in
internal White House discussions that only the costs—not
any fiscal benefits—of the
refugee program should be
considered, according to
The New York Times, which
obtained a draft copy of the
report. The final report concluded that refugees consume
more in benefits per capita
than the average American,
omitting any mention of their
economic contribution.
Only in America
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
06 controversy.indd 6
9/20/17 6:28 PM
The U.S. at a glance ...
AP, Getty, AP, TNS
St. Louis
Days of protests: Police arrested more
than 120 demonstrators this week, after
protests over
the acquittal of a white
former police
officer accused
of killing a
black suspect
in 2011 turned
violent. Jason
An angry confrontation
Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, was found not
guilty in the shooting death of Anthony
Lamar Smith by a judge last week; dashcam video showed Stockley saying he
was “going to kill this motherf---er” less
than a minute before he shot Smith five
times after a car chase. Prosecutors said
Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car, and
the only weapon found in the car had
Stockley’s DNA on it, but not Smith’s.
The acquittal kicked off several
days of marches, alternating
between large, peaceful protests
during the day and smaller,
violent demonstrations at night.
Some demonstrators complained that police were unnecessarily aggressive. One group
of officers was heard chanting
“Whose streets? Our streets”
while arresting demonstrators.
Baton Rouge
Arrest in race murders: A 23-year-old
white man
was arrested
this week and
accused of a
string of attacks
that investigators say were
racially motivated, including
the killing of
Gleason: Accused
two black men
and a shooting at a black family’s home.
Authorities allege that in separate incidents this month, Kenneth James Gleason
murdered a homeless black man and a
black dishwasher who was walking to
work; both times, Gleason allegedly shot
the men from his vehicle, then stood over
the victims and shot them several more
times. He is also accused of firing into
the home of a black family who lived
down the street from his house. Police
said they found a handwritten copy of an
Adolf Hitler speech at Gleason’s home,
and that surveillance footage and DNA
on a shell casing linked him to the crimes.
“This killer would have killed again,” said
Baton Rouge Police Chief Jonny Dunnam.
Washington, D.C.
Mueller appears to be tightenManafort wiretapped: Federal
ing the investigation’s focus on
agents obtained a secret court
Manafort and exhibiting increasorder to wiretap former Trump
ingly aggressive tactics. Agents
campaign chairman Paul
with the special counsel carried
Manafort before and after the
out an early-morning raid on
2016 election, CNN reported
Manafort’s Virginia home in July,
this week, and details of those
picking the lock to his door, rouscommunications are in the
ing him from bed, and leaving
hands of special counsel Robert
with binders stuffed with docuManafort
Mueller. The FBI reportedly
ments. After that raid, Mueller’s
began monitoring Manafort in 2014 while
prosecutors reportedly told Manafort that
investigating consulting work he had done
he should expect to be indicted. Mueller
for a former Ukrainian regime backed by
has also asked the White House to proRussia. The secret surveillance, authorized
vide documents about more than a dozen
under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
matters since Trump became president,
Act, was discontinued last year for lack of
including an Oval Office meeting with the
evidence, but restarted after the FBI began
Russian ambassador in May. The Wall
to investigate ties between the Trump
Street Journal reported last week that
campaign and suspected Russian operaFacebook has given the special counsel
tives. The surveillance may have picked up
detailed records about Russian ad purconversations with President Trump, who
chases during the campaign—data that
continued talking with Manafort after takFacebook balked at providing to Congress,
ing office until lawyers urged him
suggesting a search warrant may
to stop.
have been involved. Mueller’s
moves “are setting a tone,” said
Solomon Wisenberg, former
deputy independent counsel under
Bill Clinton. “You want people
saying to themselves, ‘Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.’”
LGBT student killed: Violence erupted on
the Georgia Tech campus this week after
a student leader was shot and killed by
a campus police officer while the student
was suffering from an apparent mental
breakdown. Scout Schultz, 21, who
led a student LGBT group called Pride
Alliance, phoned police Saturday night to
report an armed man stalking the area.
Police arrived to find Schultz holding
what appeared to be a knife. Video from
the scene shows an officer commanding
Schultz to “drop the knife,” with Schultz
responding, “Shoot me!” After Schultz
paused and took a few steps toward the
officers, one of them opened fire. A lawyer for the Schultz family said the student
had a history of mental illness, and three
suicide notes were found Schultz’s dorm
room. After a peaceful vigil attended by
hundreds of mourners, several dozen protesters wearing masks clashed with police,
setting fire to one police vehicle and leaving several officers with minor injuries.
Hollywood, Fla.
Nursing home
deaths: Police
and state agencies
were this week
investigating the
deaths of nine
elderly patients
Mourning the dead
who died when
their nursing home became dangerously
overheated during power outages caused
by Hurricane Irma. With temperatures
outside in the 90s, temperatures inside
the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood
Hills soared after power to the facility
was cut and portable air coolers failed.
Executives for the nursing home said they
repeatedly reached out to Florida Gov.
Rick Scott as well as to the local power
company, and were assured help was on
the way. But after three days in the stifling
heat, patients ranging in age from 71 to
99 began dying. Scott has defended his
response, accusing the facility of “fail[ing]
to do its basic duty to protect life” and
being too slow to evacuate patients to a
nearby hospital. He also announced new
rules requiring nursing homes to have
generators capable of maintaining comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours
in the event of a power loss.
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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The world at a glance ...
Marseille, France
Acid attack on Americans: Four
juniors from Boston College were
attacked with acid in Marseille this
week—an assault that police are
not treating as an act of terrorism.
The American students, who are
studying abroad, were outside a
The site of the assault
train station preparing to return
to Paris when a woman hurled acid at them, burning the face of
one victim and damaging the eyesight of another. The 41-year-old
suspect, identified only as Katia, was arrested; she has a history of
mental health problems and petty theft. She told prosecutors she
chose her victims at random, not because they were American.
Acid attacks are on the rise in Europe, particularly in the U.K.,
which has seen more than 650 since 2016.
Dirty money: Swiss prosecutors are investigating the mysterious destruction of about
$120,000 worth of 500-euro notes. The bills were
cut up and flushed down toilets at a UBS bank
Flush with cash
branch in Geneva and at three nearby restaurants by two Spanish women, the public prosecutor’s office said,
but the notes blocked the pipes and were later found inside trash
cans and toilets. A lawyer for the Spanish suspects has paid for
plumbing repairs at the restaurants. No charges have been brought
so far, said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, because putting “money into toilets is weird, but not criminal.” The European
Central Bank will begin phasing out 500-euro notes—which are
worth about $600 each—next year, over concerns that the largedenomination bills are mainly used in criminal dealings.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Catastrophic hurricane: Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto
Rico this week as the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory in nearly a century. Winds of up to 155 mph turned metal
roofs and uprooted trees into lethal projectiles, slamming them
into cars and buildings. “We have not experienced an event of this
magnitude in our modern history,” said Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
Authorities expected the storm to heavily damage the island’s
crumbling power system. Maria had already flattened much of
the island nation of Dominica. “So far,” Dominica Prime Minister
Roosevelt Skerrit said, “we have lost all what money can buy.”
The Caribbean region was still digging out from Hurricane Irma,
which devastated Barbuda and St. Thomas two weeks ago.
Mexico City
Deadly earthquake: Mexico declared a state of disaster this week
after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck near Mexico City, toppling buildings and killing at least 225 people. Broken gas mains
sparked fires, and an elementary school collapsed, crushing dozens
of students and teachers. The city’s longest boulevard, Avenida de
los Insurgentes, became a human river as residents evacuated damaged buses and cars and walked through rubble. Thousands of residents had to sleep in the streets, as rescue workers scrambled to set
up tents. “The damage is unquantifiable,” said the daily El Universal, “in
loss of lives, property, and cultural
heritage.” The earthquake came less
than two weeks after Mexico’s strongest quake in a century hit the southern state of Chiapas, killing about
100. Experts believe more quakes and
aftershocks are likely in the geologically active region.
Rescued from the rubble
Zagreb, Croatia
Melania Trump not amused: An
English-language school that used
an image of Melania Trump on billboards in
the Croatian capital has been forced to pull
the ads after the first lady threatened
The nixed ad
legal action. The billboards showed
the former model—who was born in neighboring Slovenia—
delivering a speech in front of a U.S. flag, next to the slogan,
“Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English.”
Trump has hired a law firm to protect her image, which has been
used on underwear, cakes, and tourism ads in Slovenia. “We are
very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something
intended to mock the U.S. first lady,” said Ivis Buric, spokeswoman for the American Institute language school. “It was meant
to be something positive, to show her as a role model.”
AP, Newscom (2), Reuters, AP
Mexico City
March against murder: Thousands of women demonstrated against femicide in cities across Mexico this
week following the murder of a 19-year-old university student. The body of Mara Fernanda Castilla
was discovered in a ditch some 50 miles outside
of Mexico City; police believe she was sexually
assaulted and strangled by a driver from the taxi
app Cabify. She had used the service in the early
hours of Sept. 8, but never reached her destination.
The driver has been arrested. Chanting “Machismo
Protesting femicide
must die,” the protesters demanded a stronger government response to an epidemic of violence against women. The
government estimates that seven women are murdered every day;
few of those murders result in a conviction.
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
08-09 world map.indd 8
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The world at a glance ...
Reuters, Newscom, Reuters, Getty (2)
St. Petersburg, Russia
War games: Russia staged a massive
military drill on NATO’s eastern border
this week, a display that some eastern
European nations said was a prelude
to war. Moscow had claimed that the
war games in Russia and neighboring
Watching Zapad
Belarus would involve no more than
12,700 troops—just below the number that would require Russia
to let in NATO observers under an international treaty. But
NATO leaders said that up to 100,000 troops from all branches
of the Russian armed forces were involved. The drill, called
Zapad (“West”), simulates a Russian response to an attempt to
partition Belarus by a mock enemy called the Western Coalition.
It “looks to me like a rehearsal of an attack,” said NATO
Supreme Allied Commander Curtis Scaparrotti. “That’s worrisome if you’re a NATO country on the border.”
Judges threatened: Kenya’s Supreme Court has condemned the government for failing to provide its
judges with extra security even though they have
been inundated with death threats since the court
nullified the results of last month’s presidential
election. President Uhuru Kenyatta blasted the
judges as “thugs” and “crooks” after they invalidated his electoral win and ordered a new vote.
Hundreds of Kenyatta supporters gathered outside
the court this week to protest the ruling, before
being dispersed by police firing tear gas. The
judges said that a rerun was necessary because the election commission had refused to comply with a court order to open its
computer servers, making the vote’s outcome “neither transparent nor verifiable.” “Elections should be like a math test,” said
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, “where you only get
points for the answer if you show your workings.”
Kalashnikov honored: Moscow has erected a 30-foot
statue to honor Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov,
inventor of the AK-47. The lightweight automatic rifle,
invented in 1947, is easy to operate and maintain and
has become the weapon of choice for some 50 foreign
armies—as well as countless guerrilla groups, gangsters, and drug traffickers. Said to be responsible for
250,000 deaths every year, it has killed more people
than all other modern weapons combined. “Alas, for
life to continue, for lovely children to grow up, for
beautiful women in Russia, there must be a weapon,”
said the statue’s sculptor, Salavat Shcherbakov.
Kalashnikov, who died in 2013 at age 94, said that
Gun tribute
his pride in his invention was tinged with pain at seeing it used by mobsters and child soldiers.
Mosul, Iraq
ISIS wives to be deported: Iraqi authorities abruptly relocated
some 1,400 foreign wives and children of ISIS fighters this week,
without notifying the aid groups that were helping them. The
women—mostly from Turkey, Russia, and Central Asia—and
their children had been in a refugee camp south of Mosul since
Iraqi government troops recaptured the city in July. But officials
put all the family members on buses this week, without their
personal possessions, and drove them to a detention center north
of the city. “These women and children are extremely vulnerable,” said Julie Davidson of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“Regardless of what their family members may be accused of,
they have a right to protection and assistance.” Iraqi officials said
the families will be deported as soon as they can be processed.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
Rohingya disaster: Bangladesh
has called out the military to
provide aid to more than 420,000
Rohingya Muslims who have
fled across the border from
Myanmar in the past three weeks.
The Myanmarese military has
launched a brutal ethnic cleansing Rohingya shelter in concrete pipes.
campaign against the Rohingya,
a minority in the majority Buddhist country, driving them from
their homes in the western state of Rakhine. They now face disaster in Bangladesh, where they are sheltering in makeshift tents,
with no toilets or sanitation, as monsoon rains drench the region.
Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, widely criticized
for failing to denounce the purge, said in a speech this week that
her government didn’t know “why this exodus is happening.”
Crackdown on dissent: Saudi Arabian security forces arrested some
40 clerics, scholars, and activists this week in nighttime raids, hauling elderly men out of bed and confiscating computers and books.
Saudi officials said those detained had received backing from foreign countries or had ties to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, but
analysts said they appear to have been targeted
for their criticism of the Saudi-led embargo on
Qatar. The raid is seen as an effort by Prince
Mohammed bin Salman, 32, who was named
heir apparent to King Salman in June, to
consolidate his power. The new leadership, said Samah Hadid of Amnesty
International, “is sending a chilling message: Freedom of expression will not be
Prince Mohammed
tolerated; we are coming after you.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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Harrison’s misplaced punch
Harrison Ford is every interviewer’s worst
nightmare, said Chris Heath in GQ. The notoriously grouchy actor has built up a reputation
for offering journalists the bare minimum over
the years—reacting with stony silences to questions about both his personal life and his movies.
“It’s always better not to talk about it, I think,”
says Ford, 75. “Just f---ing do it. Don’t ’splain
it. Especially if you’re getting away with it.” Besides, anything that
needs to be said, he already said long ago. “I haven’t changed my
mind last night. It’s the same old s---.” Still, he’s fully capable of
telling a good story—such as about the time he punched heartthrob
Ryan Gosling in the face while filming a fight scene for a new
Blade Runner sequel. “Ryan Gosling’s face was where it should
not be,” Ford explains. “His job was to be out of the range of the
punch. My job was also to make sure that I pulled the punch. You
know, I threw about a hundred punches in the shooting of it, and I
only hit him once.” Ford took a bottle of scotch to Gosling’s dressing room afterward, to apologize. He poured his co-star a drink—
and then walked out with the bottle. “What—did he f---ing expect
the whole bottle? You know, I figured one drink would fix it.”
The reclusive rocker
■■Former White House Press Secretary
Sean Spicer made a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards, poking
fun at his former boss, President
Trump. “This will be the largest
audience to witness an Emmys,
period,” said Spicer during his brief
appearance—a joking reference to
the time he made false claims about
Trump’s inauguration crowd, which
the president insisted was larger than
President Obama’s. Spicer’s cameo,
reportedly the brainchild of Stephen
Colbert, provoked a storm of angry
social media posts from Democrats
and liberal celebrities, who accused the
show’s producers of helping to “normal-
Dench’s winter romance
Judi Dench never expected to fall in love again, said Jessica Callan
in Good Housekeeping (U.K.). The Oscar-winning actress was
left heartbroken in 2001 when her husband of 30 years, the actor
Michael Williams, died following a battle with lung cancer. Dench,
now 82, was devastated to lose her best friend, and didn’t think “for
a second” about meeting someone else. But then British conservationist David Mills, 74, asked Dench, a fellow animal lover, to open
a new badger enclosure at his Surrey zoo. Romance blossomed—
taking Dench completely by surprise. “One hot night during the
summer, we swam and then had a glass of Champagne in the
garden, and I said, ‘This is so fantastic!’” she says. “Perhaps if I was
a romantic, I’d have been cool and calm about it. I get a bit overexcited about things.” Dench is enjoying her unexpected companionship. “I have a jolly nice friend now. I don’t know what the word
is because I don’t like the word ‘partner’. Partner is something to do
with dancing. ‘Partner’—horrible word. Friend? No. Boyfriend? No.
Chap? Will chap do?” But she’s adamant that they won’t be walking
down the aisle. “He’s not going to propose. No, no, no, no, no! Let’s
all just pull ourselves together and be our age!”
ize” the many lies Spicer told as a Trump
spokesman. “There’s just gonna be no
penalty for working in Trump’s White House,
huh?” tweeted former Obama speechwriter
Jon Favreau. Spicer was later pictured laughing and drinking with several television stars.
“Everyone has been very gracious,” he said.
■■Comedian Kevin Hart publicly apologized
to his pregnant wife and two children this
week as he revealed that he was being
blackmailed for millions of dollars over a
“sexually suggestive” video. In an emotional confession uploaded to his Instagram
account, Hart, 38, said he had made a “bad
error in judgment” and that an unidentified
person was trying to make “financial gain off
of my mistakes.” Gossip website
later published a still image from the video,
which reportedly shows someone who looks
like Hart having sex with a woman. The FBI is
investigating the alleged demand for money.
Hart’s ex-wife, Torrei Hart, previously accused
the comedian of cheating on her with his
current wife, Eniko Parrish.
■■Selena Gomez has revealed that she
received a kidney transplant from her best
friend a few months ago. The former Disney
star uploaded a photo on Instagram showing her and fellow actress Francia Raisa
in their hospital beds, holding hands and
smiling. “I’m very aware some of my fans
had noticed I was laying low for part of the
summer,” wrote Gomez, explaining that she
needed a transplant as part of her ongoing
struggle with the autoimmune disease lupus.
“There aren’t words to describe how I can
possibly thank my beautiful friend. She gave
me the ultimate gift.”
Debra Hurford Brown/Camera Press/Redux, AP, Getty
Van Morrison has always gone his own way, said John Preston
in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). The Belfast-born singer’s breakthrough album, Astral Weeks, was unlike anything recorded
before or since: poetic, hypnotic, and mysterious. “There was
a lot of change around that time—1966 and 1967—and I was
trying to get in everything that was going on. I had a feeling I
was plugging into what Jung called the Collective Unconscious.”
Record executives wanted to mold him into a mainstream pop
star, but Morrison had no interest in imitating other performers
or becoming cool, flamboyant, or sexy. “I didn’t want to be in
the club—any club. I was already an outsider and that was OK
with me. But it wasn’t OK with them. I remember sitting in offices
in L.A., 22 floors up, and these guys blowing cigar smoke in my
face, pounding the table, and saying, ‘You’ve got to do what we
tell you!’” Instead, Morrison became even more reclusive and
enigmatic—a reserve that was exacerbated by crippling stage
fright. “It’s always been a dilemma for me. I’m a very private
person, and in order to perform I have to be something I’m not—
namely, an extrovert. I’ve had several psychic readings about this
stuff, and I remember one woman saying to me, ‘You have the
devil to pay.’ And that is what it often feels like.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
10 people.indd 10
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When the water rises
Severe flooding is becoming increasingly common in the U.S.—and more destructive.
How bad is the problem?
matters worse, much of the city’s
expansion has been in flood-prone
Flooding is the most costly type of natuareas: At least 7,000 residential buildral disaster in the U.S., responsible for
ings have gone up since 2010 in the
an average of 140 deaths and $6 billion
city’s 100-year floodplains.
worth of damage each year. Hurricane
Harvey, which dumped 50 inches of rain
Why build in flood zones?
on Houston last month, was the Texas
One major factor is insurance. While
city’s third “500-year” flood in three
normal homeowners’ policies do not
years. (A 500-year flood theoretically
cover flooding, the government’s
has a 1-in-500 chance of happening in
National Flood Insurance Program
any given year.) Extreme rainstorms
(NFIP) offers artificially cheap premiworldwide are up more than a third
ums to residents and businesses in atsince the early 1980s. Miami Beach, Fla.,
risk areas. This program covers about
experienced 33 flood events between
A home in Spring, Texas, flooded by Hurricane Harvey
half of all the properties in 100-year
2006 and 2013, compared with just 16
in the seven preceding years. By the middle of the century, a major- floodplains. Protected by these generous policies—which pay out
up to $250,000 for property damage and $100,000 for contents—
ity of U.S. coastal areas are expected to be hit with 30 or more
people feel emboldened to build in at-risk areas, and to rebuild
days of flooding each year. Harvey wasn’t “the storm of the milin the same place if their homes are flooded. The NFIP currently
lennium,” says David Conrad, a consultant for the Association of
State Floodplain managers. “It’s going to happen again and again.” insures 30,000 “severe repetitive loss” properties, which have
been rebuilt at least four times; one home in Mississippi, valued at
$69,000, has flooded 34 times, accumulating $663,000 in claims.
What’s behind the increase?
Many believe the NFIP, currently almost $25 billion in debt, needs
Climate change. Rising sea levels—the result of glaciers and ice
a major overhaul. “If you had to pay the full cost of a risk,” says
caps melting in warmer temperatures—make storm surges along
Carolyn Kousky of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk
coastal areas much worse. Warmer oceans also evaporate faster,
Management Center, “that might discourage people from living in
and warmer air can hold more moisture, meaning big storms can
absorb and dump larger volumes of water. And higher sea temper- really risky areas.”
atures give brewing storms more energy to feed off; when Harvey
formed over the Gulf of Mexico, sea-surface temperatures were as Are solutions possible?
much as 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average. Some Congress passed a bill in 2012 to make NFIP premiums reflect
risk, but essentially reversed those changes two years later because
climate scientists believe global warming has also weakened the
prevailing winds that move weather systems around, exacerbating of intense political pressure from homeowners and developers.
Cities have tried buying up and demolishing properties in flood
heavy rainstorms, heat spells, droughts, and other extremes. That
zones, enacting tougher building codes, and erecting warning
phenomenon might explain why Harvey “stalled” over Houston
signs to show how high previous
for five days. With temperatures and sea
floods have risen. But they often face
levels still rising—oceans are expected to
Deactivating a hurricane
fierce resistance from developers and
rise by 8 feet by 2100—flooding is only
Hurricanes are extraordinarily powerful, releaspoliticians, particularly in places such
going to get worse. “We are not going to
ing as much heat energy as a 10-megaton
as Florida, where real estate develstop these events from occurring,” says
nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.
opment is integral to the economy.
Alex Kaplan of the reinsurance company
But some scientists think there may be ways
Another issue is that many Republican
Swiss Re. “They are going to become
to stop or weaken them. Several companies
politicians continue to downplay the
have developed systems that use pumps to
more frequent, and we should plan for
replace warm surface water—from which
dangers of climate change. Under
that scenario.”
hurricanes derive their strength—with cooler
a directive from Gov. Rick Scott,
Florida’s Department of Environmental
Which areas are most vulnerable? water from the ocean depths. But it would
be extremely difficult and costly to transport,
Protection, for example, reportedly
Nearly 10 million U.S. households sit in
say, 100,000 pumps to the required location
prohibited its 3,200 employees from
100-year floodplains, mostly on the Gulf
when a hurricane begins gathering strength.
using the words “climate change”
and Atlantic coasts. Among the most
Another possible solution is to use aerosols
or “global warming” in any official
vulnerable cities are Boston, New York,
to make clouds reflect more sunlight in areas
communications. But many hope
Tampa, Miami Beach, and New Orleans.
where storms are brewing; in theory, this
Harvey—and Hurricane Irma, which
But location isn’t the only factor—another
would curb evaporation and prevent the
pummeled Florida two weeks later—
is overdevelopment. When cities spread
waters below from warming up. Alas, most
will jolt politicians and the public into
out across large areas, developers often
scientists believe neither ocean cooling nor
adopting new policies to mitigate the
pave over the grasslands and wetlands
cloud brightening is practical. Mark Bourassa
risks of severe flooding. “We know
that would otherwise absorb excess water. of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Predicit’s more cost-effective to take these
Houston, which has no citywide zoning
tion Studies at Florida State University warns
actions up front instead of just waiting
laws, is a good example. Dubbed “the
that attempts to interfere with powerful hurrifor a disaster to strike,” says Rebecca
Wild West of development,” the oil-andcanes could have dangerous unintended conHammer of the nonprofit Natural
gas hub laid concrete over 30 percent of
sequences. “I’d be really nervous about trying
Resources Defense Council. “It’s just a
its surrounding wetlands between 1992
them,” he says.
matter of political will and funding.”
and 2010—some 25,000 acres. To make
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
11 briefing.indd 11
9/20/17 5:13 PM
The midterms
will decide
Trump’s fate
Niall Ferguson
and Joshua Zoffer
Megan McArdle
of fraud
E.J. Dionne
The Washington Post
Best columns: The U.S.
President Trump is reportedly obsessed with special counsel Robert
Mueller, said Niall Ferguson and Joshua Zoffer. But the biggest threat
to his presidency is not Mueller, but the possibility that Democrats will
gain control of the House in 2018. In the past, independent prosecutors
charged with investigating the Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton administrations have taken at least 14 months to produce findings. Given what’s
at stake, Mueller may take at least that long. And unless he finds a
Watergate-like smoking gun implicating Trump himself in Russia’s election interference, congressional Republicans are unlikely to risk angering Trump’s base by impeaching the president. But that political calculus changes if Democrats gain 24 or more House seats in the midterm
elections. Democrats would turn committee inquiries about Russia’s
election interference into a sensational spectacle to damage Trump “in
the court of public opinion,” and they would almost certainly impeach
him. If Trump wants to avoid that fate, he’ll need to cut back on attacking critics and “fake news” and focus on “the difficult work of
governing.” So far, Republicans have little to show for their control of
Washington. If that doesn’t change before 2018, Democrats will deliver
Trump’s favorite line to the former reality-TV star: “You’re fired.”
No serious violence broke out when conservative journalist Ben
Shapiro gave a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, last
week, said Megan McArdle. But the bad news is that Berkeley had to
spend $600,000 to lock down much of the campus, fill it with police
armed with pepper spray, and erect concrete barriers to keep the leftist
“antifa” away from the event. Is this what it now takes “to maintain
order in the face of...a speech?” Liberals who loathe President Trump
fear that he will be “normalized,” but the deep rage and contempt
this president has inspired has led to the normalization of lots of other
bad things, including riots and the suppression of the right to speak
and peacefully assemble. The radical Left believes that some people—
ranging from white supremacists to ordinary Trump supporters to
even mild, anti-Trump conservatives like Shapiro—“are too dangerous
to have rights” and should be prevented from exercising their First
Amendment rights, with fists and clubs and thrown bottles if necessary.
So now we have to spend $600,000 to keep a rather ordinary speech
from turning into a bloody riot. We cannot “become inured to how
outrageous this is.” This is not normal, and it’s not American.
We now know what to expect from the Trump administration’s voter
fraud commission: Orwellian lies, said E.J. Dionne. Kris Kobach, the
vice chairman of the president’s Commission on Election Integrity,
recently made the bombshell allegation that rampant fraud changed
New Hampshire’s 2016 election results. His proof: 6,540 voters used
out-of-state driver’s licenses to register on the day of the election, but
10 months later, only 1,227 had obtained New Hampshire driver’s
licenses. Kobach claims most of those voters “never were bona fide
residents of the state” and were part of a plot to tip the state to Hillary Clinton. What he failed to mention is that New Hampshire state
law allows anyone who spends most of his or her time in the state to
vote there, including college students, many of whom have out-of-state
licenses. Subsequent reporting showed that most of the late registrants
were, in fact, living in college towns. Kobach still insists, however, that
“we will never know” if those votes were legitimate. Obviously, his commission will use any means to arrive at its predetermined conclusion: We
need restrictive new laws that will block “a large number of voters who
oppose the president from casting ballots in 2018 and 2020.”
“The glory of the internet is that it allows like-minded people to find one
another. And the horror of the internet is that it allows like-minded people to
find one another. Coin collectors, baseball-card enthusiasts, and used-book readers have all benefited
from the opportunities offered by online connection. So have neo-Nazis, child-pornographers, and
Communist agitators. The forces of anger now have instantaneous links. And that instantaneity allows
a radicalizing more rapid than the world has ever seen.”
Joseph Bottum in The Weekly Standard
It must be true...
I read it in the tabloids
■■A suspect on the run from
Massachusetts police tried to
escape his pursuers by ducking into a business and applying for a job. Jose Jimenez,
26, had allegedly run over a
trooper’s foot during a traffic
stop and was fleeing police
when he ditched his car in
a parking lot, walked into a
nearby electronics store, and
calmly asked if the firm was
hiring. Jimenez was eight
minutes into an interview
with manager Jeff Moran
when police burst into the
office and cuffed the fugitive.
“Very interesting interview, to
say the least,” said Moran.
■■A British
puppy had to
be rescued
by firefighters
after he got
his head stuck
inside a cookie
jar. Buddy, a
cross, sniffed
crumbs at the bottom of the
glass container and tried licking them when his head became wedged fast. His owner
tried to slide Buddy’s head out
using dish soap but sought
help when the effort failed.
Animal-rescue specialist Anton Phillips gently pushed and
pulled at the pup’s loose skin,
and eventually broke Buddy
free with a loud “pop.” “This
was an unusual job,” said
Phillips. “It was strange being
able to see Buddy’s doleful
expression through the glass.”
■■An Arizona man was
rushed to the hospital after a
rattlesnake that he’d hoped to
grill sprang up and bit him on
the face. Victor Pratt, 48, was
hosting a barbecue when he
picked up a snake slithering
through his yard, intending
to show friends how to cook
and eat a rattler. But as Pratt
posed for photos, the serpent
escaped his grip and sank
its teeth into him. His guests
rushed him to the hospital,
where he was given antivenom to save his life. Pratt
says he’s learned his lesson:
“Ain’t gonna play with snakes
no more.”
Press Association
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
12 us columns.indd 12
9/20/17 5:12 PM
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of accepting
Wolfgang Bok
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Turkey has had it with criticism from its NATO
allies, said Melih Altinok. When Ankara announced last week that it was buying an airdefense system from Moscow, Western nations
voiced alarm and claimed the weapons were
incompatible with NATO systems. But what was
Turkey supposed to do? Germany, a major arms
partner, has delayed ratification of multiple deals;
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently
announced that he had put a hold on major
Turkish weapons requests because of President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supposed authoritarian turn. Perhaps the “last straw” was when the
U.S. banned arms sales to Erdogan’s bodyguards,
claiming they had roughed up pro-Kurdish protesters in Washington. All of this comes after our
NATO allies failed to wholeheartedly support
Turkey following last year’s failed coup attempt
against Erdogan—a plot the U.S. seemed to tacitly
support. And the U.S. continues to arm Kurdish
terrorists in Syria, claiming that they are important allies against ISIS. No wonder Turkey is looking “to reshape and diversify its defense policies.”
If NATO does not give up its “intimidation policies,” Erdogan will simply move closer to Russia.
Turkey won’t be bullied.
The German government is being uncharacteristically cagey about just how much refugees are costing the nation, said Wolfgang Bok. Since 2014,
1.7 million people—most of them unskilled and
uneducated—have applied for asylum in Germany,
and “worried citizens are outraged” over the lack
of information about how the country is coping. For a nation “that typically tots up the cost
of every bolt and screw,” this suspicious dearth
of hard data can only be explained by fear of
what voters would say if they knew how vast the
sums were. For example: The budget allots about
$110 billion to provide for refugees from 2016 to
2020. Since Germany’s states say that covers just
half their expenses, the true cost for that period is
probably $210 billion. Even that sum does not include funding for thousands of new schools, much
less the hiring of additional judicial and bureaucratic staff to process asylum requests. Nor does
it include the cost of treating the “drastic increase
in dangerous infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and AIDS, that have come into the country
with the refugees.” Over their lives, these people
will cost Germany hundreds of billions of dollars.
That is “the elephant in the room” that everyone
pretends not to see.
the device exploded,” only to be
The attack that immigration opreleased by police. And, they say,
ponents have been predicting for
police were at the Joneses’ house
years has finally happened, said
multiple times before the bombWill Kirby in the Daily Express.
ing. “What if one of the children
Thirty people were injured last
was under investigation?” asked
week when an improvised bucket
neighbor Stephen Griffiths. “Why
bomb went off on a London subcouldn’t something be done
way train, shooting a fireball down
sooner to stop this happening?”
the packed car. The device’s main
explosive component didn’t ignite
This attack is “a godsend to every
as intended—if it had, dozens of
single foreigner-hating Islamocommuters would likely have been
phobe,” said Sean O’Grady in
killed. Authorities suspect that the Now they can
bomb was the work of two young
smugly say “I told you so” and
refugees. An unnamed 18-year-old
Police outside the home where the suspects were fostered
insist we must turn away every
Iraqi, who came to the U.K. at 15,
Muslim refugee child for fear he is a terrorist in waiting. “If only
was arrested the day after the attack while trying to leave the
country on a ferry. His suspected accomplice, 21-year-old Yahya terrorism was that simple to fight.” The truth is, tighter border
and immigration controls can’t stop violent extremism. Terrorists
Faroukh, a Syrian refugee and nightclub promoter, was arrested
can sneak in or pose as tourists, or they can be born and raised
hours later. Police believe both men spent time in the care of
Ronald and Penelope Jones, an elderly couple who have fostered right here. “We will not stop terror in London by kicking blameless families of Syrians out of the country.”
more than 260 children over four decades and who were honored by the queen for their work. Recently, they began taking
in refugees, and now their home has been “raided by armed po- Indeed, while ISIS claimed responsibility for this latest attack, it
seems more likely that the bombers were self-radicalized, said
lice.” The couple are said to be “gutted.”
Raffaello Pantucci in the London Evening Standard. This is the
threat we now face: “disparate individuals launching attacks
“Donald Trump was right!” said Martin Robinson in the Daily
using rudimentary and homemade means.” Anyone can ram
Mail. Hours after the bombing, President Trump tweeted that
a car into a crowd, and it takes little more planning to dump
“sick and demented” terrorists had been “in the sights of Scotsome fertilizer into a bucket and ignite it. Londoners will have
land Yard” but were allowed to roam free. U.K. Home Secreto return to the state of vigilance they inhabited during the era
tary Amber Rudd castigated the U.S. president for “unhelpful”
of IRA bombings. Look out for abandoned bags and swerving
speculation. But neighbors of the Joneses say the Iraqi youth
vehicles. “We all need to keep our eyes open.”
was arrested two weeks ago “at the exact same station where
Britain: When the bombers are refugees
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
14 eu columns.indd 14
9/20/17 5:11 PM
Best columns: International
India: The worrying trend of internet shutdowns
anger the Anglophones. Togo recently
Indian authorities have taken to shutting
disconnected the internet for nearly a
off the internet at the slightest hint of
week to undermine widespread protests
political unrest, said Geetartha Pathak in
against President Faure Gnassingbé,
Telangana Today (India). Not content to
whose family has been in power for
merely censor TV and pressure the print
50 years. The demonstrations continued.
media, the government of Prime Minister
Narendra Modi has ordered or allowed
In India, however, the shutdowns have
state authorities to disconnect the internet
succeeded in disrupting political expresmore than 50 times this year. In the whole
sion, said Syeda Ambia Zahan in First
of 2014, the year Modi came to power, This summer’s blackout in
there were only six shutdowns. Officials
Darjeeling—where the Nepali-speaking
say that switching off the internet can
Modi: Hitting the internet’s off switch
Gorkha people have been demanding
help maintain public order during a crisis,
by preventing rumormongering and incitement to violence. “In a their own state—completely “stifled reportage of the unrest from
bid to make online censorship permanent,” the Ministry of Com- ground zero.” Gorkha activist leader Bimal Gurung was cut off
munications last month published official rules for shutting down from communicating with his followers and with the media. In
telecom services. There was no public input on the regulations— Indian-administered Kashmir, not only are forced outages common, said Pathikrit Sanyal in, but also the government
no consultation with internet providers or advocacy groups,
instructs social media sites to block the accounts of Kashmiri
no parliamentary debate—and there is no provision for public
activists. Clearly, Modi and his allies want “to silence any liberal
accountability. If the world’s largest democracy allows this “outvoice that dares to speak against the prime minister, rising fasright media censorship,” we won’t stay a democracy for long.
cism, and the negative effects” of a Hindu nationalist regime.
The internet shutdown has become a favored tool of “authoritarModi will regret using such a blunt instrument, said Mint (India)
ian repression in Africa,” said Oreoluwa Runsewe in Nigeria’s
in an editorial. Studies show that internet outages actually lead But it rarely has the desired effect. Gambia,
Gabon, and Congo all blacked out the internet for a day or more “to more violent uprisings,” because when people can’t communicate with one another, “the information void fuels uncertainty
during elections over the past year, saying they feared that agitaand causes panic.” And they’re extremely expensive: A study by
tors would use social media to whip up violence. Riots broke
the U.S.-based Brookings Institution found that short-term shutout anyway. In majority-Francophone Cameroon this year, the
downs cost India’s economy nearly $1 billion in the year leading
government turned off the internet for three months in two
English-speaking provinces where activists were protesting against up to July 2016. Internet access should be curtailed only “in case
of grave emergencies.”
language discrimination. The result was to further alienate and
It’s not
a good idea
to mock Kim
Global Times (China)
the legacy
of Biko
Jo-Mangaliso Mdhlela
Mail & Guardian
U.S. President Donald Trump does not understand
diplomacy in the context of Asia, said the Global
Times. When speaking by phone to South Korean
President Moon Jae-in last week, Trump called
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man”
for his habit of testing ever more powerful ballistic missiles. He then used the pejorative name
on Twitter for the entire world to see. “It’s probably no big deal to use nicknames in American
culture,” but this is not a freewheeling political
campaign. It is nuclear diplomacy. In North Korea,
mocking the leader is a capital offense. If Kim
takes Trump’s throwaway comment as a deliberate
insult, “Pyongyang may become more hostile to
Washington, adding fuel to the fire of the current
confrontation.” And if Trump really did mean to
provoke Kim, then his strategy is “definitely neither
masterful nor morally justifiable.” The North Korean regime is not an eccentric, unpredictable actor,
as Westerners mistakenly think. It has “a classical
geopolitical mindset,” believing it can preserve
its existence only through military strength. The
regime is preoccupied with being respected on the
world stage. It is never appropriate for world leaders to engage in name-calling; for Trump and Kim,
such behavior could have deadly consequences.
This is not the South Africa Steve Biko would have
hoped for, said Jo-Mangaliso Mdhlela. Forty years
ago, the Black Consciousness leader was killed
by the apartheid government that he so bravely
resisted. For nearly a month in 1977, he was “cruelly interrogated” in detention, “manacled, badly
beaten, and tortured.” He died in prison at age 30,
so young yet having achieved so much. Biko gave
the rest of us a vision of freedom, the hope of a
new South Africa of opportunity for all. Yet this
country falls far short of that ideal. Today, black
South Africans still experience oppression “not
materially different” from that of apartheid days.
Most of the country’s wealth remains in the hands
of the white minority, and more than half of blacks
live in abject poverty. Nor are blacks lifting one
another up. Biko wrote that we should free one
another from oppression and spread happiness.
That’s a far cry from what President Jacob Zuma
is doing. Zuma’s tenure has been “marked by regression and bad governance and the purging of
good men and women in his own party.” He campaigns through smear and innuendo, and he has
been charged with corruption, fraud, racketeering,
and money laundering. Black rule has not brought
equality. Will Biko’s vision ever be realized?
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
15 inter columns.indd 15
9/19/17 3:38 PM
Talking points
Single-payer health care: The new litmus test for Democrats
Sanders’ plan ignores another “inconvenient
“The Democratic Party now is, for all intents
truth,” said Matthew Continetti in National
and purposes, the party of single-payer health Some 156 million Americans
insurance,” said Bill Scher in
have employer-based insurance, and the twoLast week, former Democratic presidential
thirds that are happy with their coverage
candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introwon’t take kindly to having it “cavalierly”
duced the latest version of his revolutionary
removed in the name of “Sanders’ revolusingle-payer health-care system, named the
tion.” Similarly, don’t forget “the entrenched
“Medicare for All Act of 2017.” The last time
interests of providers,” said Jonathan Chait
the self-declared democratic socialist introin Doctors, hospitals, and drug
duced such legislation, he didn’t have a single
companies will fight to the death against the
co-sponsor, for the simple reason single payer
would require a total transformation of the
Sanders with co-sponsors: A big step to the left Sanders plan, which seeks to reduce some
costs by imposing strict price controls on
U.S. health-care system—and a brutal, polarwhat providers get paid. If the Democrats’ goal is universal coverizing national debate. This time, 15 Senate Democrats lined up to
age, there are several “boring, incremental” ways to achieve this,
put their name on his bill, including likely 2020 presidential contenders Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Eliza- including offering Americans without insurance a public option
to buy into Medicare. Alas, pragmatism was never Bernie’s forte.
beth Warren (D-Mass.). Bernie’s plan is like the U.K.’s National
In his simplistic worldview, he thinks only “evil” drug companies
Health System—but “on steroids,” said Vann R. Newkirk II in
and corporations would oppose free medicine for all, never The program would cover everyone and, “well,
izing that “the most important source of opposition will come from
everything”: doctor visits, drugs, home care, specialty care, and
actual American voters concerned about losing their current plan or
even vision and dental benefits, with “no deductibles, copayments,
paying higher taxes.”
or coinsurance, whatsoever.” Right now, with Republicans in control of Capitol Hill, “the initiative is almost certainly doomed.” But
Progressives still insisting on “realistic” and “commonsense”
single payer is now officially a liberal “rallying point”—one firmly
health-care reform “are living in the political past,” said Paul
at “the center of Democratic policymaking for years to come.”
Rosenberg in If the old pragmatic assumptions about
our politics still existed, Sanders “would never have won a single
Bernie’s health-care plan “is a complete joke,” said Philip Klein in
primary” in 2016, “and Donald Trump certainly wouldn’t be It would “add hundreds of millions of
president today.” Americans “demand fundamental change.” Just a
people into an already financially strapped program”—lowering
few years ago, single payer was a fringe idea; now, a Kaiser Family
the Medicare eligibility age to 55 and insuring all children in the
first year, and then expanding the program to include all age groups Foundation poll finds, 53 percent of Americans support it. With
Bernie’s plan, Democrats can present voters with a positive, aspiraover the next three years. That could cost an absurd $32 trillion
tional message in the 2018 midterms and beyond.
over the next decade, according to the liberal Urban Institute. Yet
ask Sanders how he plans to pay for doubling federal spending,
Let’s be clear: Medicare for All has “little chance of ever being
said Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post, and the Vermont
enacted,” said Ezra Klein in Americans are still far too
senator “punts.” His legislation doesn’t include any financing—
distrustful of big government and would never accept such massive
though Sanders did suggest in a separate white paper raising the
tax increases. Still, the Vermont senator has done a “remarkable
top marginal tax rate to 52 percent from today’s 39.6 percent, a
new 4 percent health-care tax on households, a 7.5 percent payroll thing.” By making single payer the central legacy of his extraorditax on employers, and other taxes. Won’t Americans suffer “sticker nary 2016 campaign, he has fundamentally “changed the healthcare debate.” In the future, any Democratic proposal to improve
shock” over these tax increases? Aren’t they the reason Vermont,
the health-care system will be bolder and further to the left than
California, and New Jersey balked when trying to pass similar
single-payer plans? Ask these simple questions of the Sanders camp, ever before, moving the country closer to universal coverage. “It’s
Sanders who has put them on that path.”
and you’ll be branded “a corporate shill or worse.”
■■Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
requested the use of a U.S. military jet to
take him and his wife on their honeymoon
in Scotland, France, and Italy earlier this
summer, sparking an ethics inquiry by his
department’s Office of Inspector General.
The request for the jet, which costs $25,000
per hour to operate, was for “national security” reasons, Mnuchin said. It was rejected.
■■A new Florida building code may have
reduced windstorm losses from Hurricane
Irma by up to 72 percent, according to an
expert analysis. The code, which took effect statewide in 2002, required hurricane
impact–resistant windows and doors in
new buildings, and a standing seam metal
roof, connected by strong fasteners to keep
it from being ripped off.
The Wall Street Journal
■■For the first time in 300 years, not a single person is currently living on Barbuda.
The 62-square-mile Caribbean island was ravaged
by Hurricane Irma, which
obliterated 95 percent of
the island’s homes and
infrastructure, forcing the
1,700 residents to evacuate.
■■Sneaking across the U.S. border with
Mexico has gotten much harder in recent
years, with an estimated 55 to 85 percent
of those trying the illegal crossing being
caught or turned back—up from 35 to
70 percent a decade ago, according to a
new report by the Department of Homeland Security. The number of
border agents has doubled
since 2004, producing a
steady decline in attempted
crossings; those attempts
have fallen dramatically during the Trump administration.
The Washington Post
Newscom, Getty
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
16 TP 1.indd 16
9/19/17 6:50 PM
Talking points
Trump and DACA: Betraying his base?
conception of “American
“Uh-oh,” said Bret Stephens
identity.” Besides, Trump
in The New York Times.
still makes liberals “super
“I’m starting to enjoy Donmad,” and that’s reason
ald Trump’s presidency.”
enough for many conservaIt was so entertaining last
tives to stick with him. On
week to see the anguished
this issue, it’s actually smart
wailing of his rabid, antipolitics for the president to
immigrant supporters when
compromise with Demotheir idol “struck a tentative
crats, said The Wall Street
deal” with the hated DemoJournal in an editorial. Only
cratic congressional leaders
Chuck Schumer and Nancy
A pro-Trump rally in Washington last week 15 percent of voters want
Dreamers deported. A deal
Pelosi to enshrine into law
would “codify in law” a policy President Obama
protections for the 800,000 or so “Dreamers”—
“imposed illegally by executive fiat” and solve a
undocumented immigrants who were brought
“politically emotive immigration problem.” Best of
into the U.S. as children. Trump, who recently
ordered an end to the Obama-era Deferred Action all, Trump would prove he can “get things done.”
for Childhood Arrivals program, received from
What he’d prove, actually, is that no one can
his pals “Chuck and Nancy” a promise that in
exchange for granting permanent legal status to the trust him, said Rick Wilson in TheDailyBeast
.com. Trump voters always knew their man was
Dreamers, congressional Democrats would agree
a “flamboyant liar” and a “raging narcissist,” but
to more funding for immigration enforcement—
but not a cent for his beloved border wall. Trump’s they figured he “was their bastard.” The truth,
as we “Never Trump” conservatives warned, is
fans responded by posting pictures of themselves
that Trump is a “con man” who’s out for himself,
burning “Make America Great Again” caps.
and only himself. He’s proven over 40 years of
Right-wing firebrand Ann Coulter asked, “At this
personal and business behavior that to get his
point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?”
own way—or in this case, some positive press
coverage—he’ll “break any promise, shaft any ally,
Actually, Trump’s base won’t abandon him over
and abandon any position.” It was immigration
this, said Eric Levitz in Most of the
“nativists” who supported him weren’t concerned this time; next time it could be health care, or tax
reform, or something else. That’s what happens
about policy specifics—they merely wanted a
white nationalist figurehead willing to affirm their when you elect a “Conman-in-Chief.”
Iran: Trump’s threat to end the nuclear deal
The Trump administration is “already struggling
with a big nuclear problem in North Korea,” said
David Ignatius in The Washington Post. So why
does it want another one with Iran? Although
the U.S. last week temporarily extended the sanctions relief granted Iran in its nuclear deal with
the U.S. and five other nations, President Trump
“is threatening to scuttle the deal altogether if
Iran doesn’t offer concessions.” The White House
wants tighter inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities and an end to the “sunset clause” that would
allow Iran to resume its nuclear program in 10 to
15 years. Iran would very likely resume enriching
weapons-grade uranium if the U.S. reneged on
the deal, said Christiane Amanpour and Hilary
Clarke in Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani warned this week that reneging on the
deal would also come at a “high cost” to U.S.
credibility. If Trump abruptly quits his nation’s
pact with Iran, Rouhani asked, why would the
North Koreans—or any other nation—“waste
their time” negotiating with the U.S.?
Trump’s instincts on this deal are right, said Jonathan Tobin in The Obama
administration’s nuclear agreement “did not put
an end to the Iranian threat; at best, it kicked the
can down the road for a few years.” Inspectors
say Iran is complying, but the country has already
been caught in a number of small infractions, such
as exceeding limits on its production of heavy
water, suggesting the Iranians are “still on a path
to a bomb.” Beyond that, Iran’s continuing support for terrorism and its meddling in Syria, Iraq,
Yemen, and Lebanon can no longer be ignored.
If we want to contain the growing Iranian threat,
“Trump will have to roll back the nuclear deal.”
“That take-it-or-leave-it approach was tried from
2000 to 2012,” said Stephen M. Walt in Foreign The result: Iran went from having
zero centrifuges to more than 12,000. Cancel
the deal and our only option for preventing the
country from developing a nuclear weapon will
be a preemptive war. Do we really want a major
Middle East war? Canceling the deal wouldn’t
improve Iran’s behavior one bit, said Zack Beauchamp in So why is Trump itching to
do it? Simple: He sees the agreement as “Obama’s
deal,” and he is determined to erase Obama’s
legacy. So periodically admitting that Iran is complying makes Trump feel like “a cuck.”
Wit &
“The caterpillar does all
the work and the butterfly
gets all the publicity.”
George Carlin, quoted in the
Montreal Gazette
“We have created a Star
Wars civilization with
Stone Age emotions.”
Biologist E.O. Wilson,
quoted in The Washington Post
“The good thing about
science is that it’s true
whether or not you
believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson,
quoted in
“Life is either
a great adventure
or nothing at all.”
Helen Keller, quoted in
“If you haven’t got any
charity in your heart, you
have the worst kind of
heart trouble.”
Bob Hope, quoted in the
New York Post
“When you’re in
the s--- up to your neck,
there’s nothing left
to do but sing.”
Samuel Beckett, quoted in
The New York Times
“Hatred is a stimulant,
but it shouldn’t become
an intoxicant.”
Martin Amis, quoted in
Poll watch
■■83% of Americans believe it is either “certainly”
or “probably” true that
football causes brain injuries. 76% say head injuries
are a major problem for
the sport. Yet among that
group, 74% still identify
as football fans, and 44%
say football is still their
favorite sport to watch.
The Washington Post/
UMass Lowell
■■Only 28% of Americans
are satisfied with the
way the country is being
governed, down from
33% in 2016. The rating
reflects attitudes toward
both Congress and the
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
17 TP 2.indd 17
9/19/17 6:53 PM
Apple: Is the iPhone X a game changer?
“The thing that a lot of people want to talk about
with the iPhone X is its $999 starting price,” said
Nilay Patel in “But when you
have the phone in your hand, it feels...worth it.”
Apple’s new premium smartphone (the X is pronounced “ten”) will start shipping in November,
and based on what we’ve seen so far, “it’s going
to be quite popular when it does.” The home button is gone, making room for a beautiful organic
light-emitting diode (OLED) screen “that stretches
all the way across the front of the phone.” There’s
also impressive new technology, such as Face ID,
which invisibly projects 30,000 infrared dots on a
user’s face to unlock the phone, as well as wireless
charging, which should make tangled charging
cables a thing of the past. Apple says its new device is “the future of the smartphone.” Who are
we to disagree?
advanced, but it’s not the future, said Steven Levy
in There is simply “no way we will be
carrying around slabs of silicon and glass” in our
pockets in a few decades’ time. The major technology companies are all feverishly working on the
“successor to the smartphone,” such as an unobtrusive augmented-reality headset. But in the meantime, “who can blame Apple for harvesting profits
while we wait for the next big thing?”
For all the buzz, the iPhone X doesn’t move the
ball much—it is “simply a better version of an
already very nice thing,” said Mat Honan in Apple’s genius lies in making you
want one anyway. It’s more apparent than ever
that the company “isn’t in the phone business or
the computer business. It is in the business of selling you the person you want to be.” When Angela
Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO who now
heads up Apple’s retail efforts, took the stage at
If all those fancy features sound familiar, it’s belast week’s launch, she told the audience that the
cause they “are already available in Samsung’s
company doesn’t think of its Apple Stores as stores
Galaxy S8,” said Don Reisinger in
But when Apple lags behind its rivals in originality, Edge-to-edge screen on the X anymore. “We call them town squares,” Ahrendts
said. “Because they’re gathering places.” Who
it usually makes up for it in technical excellence.
Face scanning and wireless charging are cases in point; they aren’t wants to do something as gauche as shop, when you can gather in
a town square? Apple may never repeat the success of its original
new, but the iPhone X performs both “remarkably well.” Apple
iPhone, which was genuinely revolutionary. “But what is repeat“watched what its competitors have done and found a way to
able, even bankable, is Apple’s corporate mythmaking.”
deliver something better.” Sure, the iPhone X is beautiful and
Robots are
invading the
hall, said
Kevin Ryan
YuMi, a twoarmed robot
built by Swiss robotics company
ABB, last week conducted a performance of the Lucca Philharmonic
Orchestra in Pisa, Italy. The 84-pound
bot learns tasks by recording and
mimicking them, “without any coding” required. It has wrists, elbows,
and shoulders, giving its movements fluidity similar to a human
being’s. Italian conductor Andrea
Colombini taught YuMi the songs
for the performance, including
“La Donna è Mobile” from Verdi’s
Rigoletto. Unlike its human counterpart, however, the robot can’t
respond to how the orchestra is
playing, so “a cellist who misses a
note won’t get a stern look.” As a
result, Colombini isn’t too worried
about his job security just yet. “The
robot uses its arms,” he said. “But
the soul, the spirit, always come
from a human.”
Bytes: What’s new in tech
Banks unveil their Venmo killer
“The mobile-payment landscape just got a
little more crowded,” said Laura Sanicola in Zelle, a new Venmo-like payment
app backed by more than 30 U.S. banks, is
now available on Android and Apple devices.
“What makes Zelle different? For one thing,
convenience.” The free app is designed to
work automatically with checking accounts at
participating banks, including Chase, Bank of
America, and Wells Fargo, so you don’t have
to sign up for the service or enter your account
information. To transfer funds from your
checking account to another person’s, all you
need is his email address or phone number.
“Zelle will automatically send that person a
text or email with a link saying that he has a
payment waiting.”
Google switches off auto-play
Google is about to make browsing the internet
a little less “irritating,” said Mark Walton in A new version of its Chrome
web browser, slated for release in January
2018, will block auto-play videos that aren’t
muted. The only exception will be if the “user
has indicated an interest in the media,” by adding the site to the home screen on his or her
mobile device, for example, or by frequently
playing videos on the site. The updated version of Chrome will also include an ad blocker,
which will stop advertisements like pop-ups
and “countdown ads” that make users wait
before viewing the page. “Aside from removing
the annoyance of auto-playing videos,” the new
blocking tools will also help users consume less
data and power on their mobile devices.
Facebook’s anti-Semitic ad problem
Facebook is scrambling to update its advertising platform after it was revealed that
advertisers could use it to market directly to
anti-Semites, said Sarah Frier in Bloomberg
.com. The social network temporarily disabled
the ability to target users by their self-reported
education, employer, or field of study last week
after investigative news site ProPublica found
that some users “were filling in those fields with
offensive content.” As a result, marketers could
target their ads to Facebook users who expressed interest in categories like “Jew haters.”
Facebook automatically creates ad categories
based on what users post about themselves,
often relying on users to report abuses. It’s
the latest black eye for Facebook’s self-service
ad platform, which was recently revealed to
have sold $100,000 worth of political ads to a
Russia-linked “troll farm” during the election.
Apple, Reuters
Innovation of the week
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
18 technology.indd 18
9/19/17 1:58 PM
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THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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Pick of the week’s cartoons
For more political cartoons, visit:
9/19/17 4:40 PM
Pick of the week’s cartoons
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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9/19/17 4:40 PM
Health & Science
Saturn probe’s fiery finale
largest moon, Titan; and a massive ocean
beneath the icy surface of another moon,
Enceladus. That ocean, Cassini revealed,
periodically spews briny geysers of water
out into space—an indication of geothermal heat. Scientists now consider Titan
and Enceladus, along with Jupiter’s moons
Ganymede and Europa, as prime targets
in the search for alien life. “The possibility
of life so far from the sun has opened up
our paradigm of where you might look
for life,” Cassini project scientist Linda
Spilker tells Sky & Telescope, “both within
our own solar system and in the exoplanet solar systems beyond.” In the final
dramatically alter the delicate
balance of ecosystems around
the world, The New York Times
reports. An international team
of scientists mapped the global
distribution and habitats of
457 different species of parasites and analyzed how climate
change could affect them. Up
to 30 percent of parasite species, they concluded, may be
extinct by 2070. A mass die-off
could produce many undesirable
An original 1889 drawing of the Viking’s grave
consequences: Where parasites
A Viking Wonder Woman
help control their hosts’ populations, those populations could grow out
Historical accounts of female Viking warof control, the way deer did when wolves
riors are often discounted as myths. But
left their habitats. Other parasites might
new DNA tests of a warrior buried in
flourish in the absence of competition.
Sweden more than 1,000 years ago proStill others could migrate to new ecosysvide the first genetic evidence that some
women held powerful, high-status positions tems, invading new species. An example:
the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus
in Viking culture. The 10th-century grave
spreading north into the U.S. Colin
site, which was uncovered in the 1880s,
contained a sword, arrows, a battle knife, a Carlson, lead author of the study, said
parasites are “a huge and important part of
spear, shields, and two horses. The Viking,
ecosystems,” and warned that extinctions
who stood 5-foot-6, was also buried with
will have consequences we can’t foresee.
a set of game pieces—an indication of the
deceased’s expertise in battle tactics. The
Yoga’s brain boost
archaeologists who uncovered the grave
Yoga and meditation are becoming increas130 years ago assumed it belonged to a
ingly mainstream activities in the U.S., and
high-ranking male warrior. “I think that’s
new research helps explain why. Daily sesa mistake that archaeologists make quite
sions of either practice can have dramatic
often,” archaeologist Becky Gowland tells
effects on brain function. Scientists asked
The Guardian. “When we do that, we’re
31 healthy people to engage
just reproducing the past in our image.”
in 25 minutes of hatha yoga,
A recent DNA analysis revealed that the
mindfulness meditation, and
Viking leader lacked a Y chromosome—
confirming that “he” was actually a “she.” quiet reading in random order.
Mental tasks completed
The extinction of parasites
before and after each session found that yoga
Climate change could wipe out up to oneand meditation led to
third of the Earth’s 3.5 million known
greater improvements
parasite species over the next 53 years.
in the participants’
That might sound like a good thing, but
energy level, mood,
scientists warn that the extinction of pests
executive funcsuch as tapeworms, fleas, and ticks could
Cassini sent back 400,000 photos.
phase of its mission, Cassini flew through
Saturn’s ring plane 22 times, sending back
data, before its final swan dive. “It may go
down as one of NASA’s greatest planetary
missions,” Spilker says. “We’ve had a fire
hose of data come back over 13 years.”
tion, and ability to control thoughts and
emotions. “Hatha yoga and mindfulness
meditation both focus the brain’s conscious
processing power on a limited number of
targets, like breathing and posing, and also
reduce processing of nonessential information,” the study’s co-author, Peter Hall, tells That mental training, he
said, apparently enables people “to focus
more easily on what they choose to attend
to in everyday life.”
Health scare of the week
The toxins in tattoos
Tiny toxic particles from tattoo ink can
travel through the body and accumulate in
the lymph nodes, which could have longterm health consequences, according to a
new study. In addition to pigments, tattoo
ink contains molecules from preservatives
and contaminants such as nickel, chromium, manganese, and cobalt. To track
where these molecules go, scientists targeted one of the most common ingredients
of tattoo ink: titanium dioxide, a white
pigment that is often mixed with other
colors. The researchers used X-ray fluorescence to analyze the lymph nodes of four
deceased people who’d had tattoos. Lymph
nodes serve a critical role in the immune
system, filtering toxins and cancer cells and
storing immune cells that fight infection.
The tests confirmed the accumulation of
titanium dioxide nanoparticles in lymph
nodes, which suggests contaminants collect in them, too, reports.
It’s unknown how deposits of microscopic
contaminants could affect the lymph nodes
and the immune system. “When someone
wants to get a tattoo, they are often very
careful in choosing a parlor where they
use sterile needles,” says the study’s
co-author, Hiram Castillo. “No one
checks the chemical composition of
the colors, but our study shows that
maybe they should.”
NASA, Hjalmar Stolpe/Evald Hansen, Newscom
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged into
Saturn on a planned “suicide dive” last
week, completing a 20-year mission during which it revealed the ringed planet in
astonishing detail and two of its moons
as possible locations of extraterrestrial
life. Cassini, launched in 1997, made a
seven-year journey to Saturn, then spent
13 years streaming back 635 gigabytes of
data, including 400,000 photos of a giant
planet that has captivated stargazers for
centuries. Cassini made a host of stunning
discoveries, including a raging hexagonal
storm centered on Saturn’s North Pole;
lakes of liquid methane on the planet’s
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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9/19/17 1:59 PM
Review of reviews: Books
of World War I finally put the old rules on
notice. In the conflict’s aftermath, French
Foreign Minister Aristide Briand sought
a nonaggression pact with the U.S. that
Secretary of State Frank Kellogg refashioned
into a sweeping ban on war to be signed by
every major power. Though World War II
soon erupted, the nonaggressors won—then
held the aggressors accountable during the
Nuremberg Trials. A new order was born.
Book of the week
The Internationalists: How a
Radical Plan to Outlaw War
Remade the World
by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J.
Shapiro (Simon & Schuster, $30)
“This has not been a good few months for
those of us who believe in a liberal world
order committed to peace,” said Margaret
MacMillan in the Financial Times. As renegade states defy international norms and the
U.S. retreats from its policing role, the global
order born after World War II appears to be
crumbling, its principles exposed as ephemeral. That makes this an odd moment to
come across a book arguing that the past
72 years of relative tranquility sprang from a
63-nation 1928 treaty that outlawed wars of
aggression. The so-called Kellogg-Briand Pact
has long been ridiculed because it did nothing to prevent history’s most devastating conflict. But Yale Law School professors Oona
Hathaway and Scott Shapiro are convinced
that Kellogg-Briand is underrated, and they
make a “fascinating” case that sometimes in
geopolitics, ideas really do matter.
Novel of the week
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng (Penguin, $27)
A happy family’s handsome home
burns to the ground in the opening
pages of Celeste Ng’s “delectable and
engrossing” new novel, said Laura
Collins-Hughes in The Boston Globe.
But the Richardsons feel they know
the culprit and they have the means to
bounce back, so we eagerly absorb the
backstory of how these pillars of picturesque Shaker Heights, Ohio, became enmeshed in such upheaval. It’s more than
coincidence, no doubt, that two tenants
of the family vanished from a duplex
across town on the same night. Ng soon
flashes back to the arrival of 15-yearold Pearl Warren and her artist single
mom, and the small suburban dramas
that begin playing out are only “mildly
involving,” said Malcolm Forbes in the
Minneapolis Star Tribune. But when a
custody battle breaks out over a neighbor’s Chinese-American baby, characters are forced to choose sides, and Ng
unfurls “a multilayered, tightly focused,
and expertly plotted narrative.” A novel
“about class and race, privilege and
prejudice,” Little Fires Everywhere “has
the power to provoke and entrance.”
Calvin Coolidge signs 1928’s ban on war.
We too easily forget the brutality of pre–
Kellogg-Briand geopolitics, said legal scholar
Jacob Katz Cogan on his blog International
Law Reporter. For centuries, powerful
nations invaded other lands as they pleased,
offered rationalizations afterward, and were
considered justified in keeping whatever
they had conquered. Hathaway and Shapiro
call that understanding the Old World
Order, and trace its intellectual underpinnings to a book written by 17th-century
Dutch scholar Hugo Grotius, the first in
a diverse array of thinkers who parade
through The Internationalists. The calamity
Unstoppable: My Life So Far
by Maria Sharapova (Sarah Crichton, $28)
“She might have
thought of a better
title,” said Laura
Williamson in The
Daily Mail (U.K.).
During the 13 years
since she established
herself as a tennis
superstar, Maria
Sharapova has been
far from unstoppable
against at least one
opponent: Serena
Williams has beaten her 18 consecutive
times. But Sharapova, who has collected
five Grand Slam titles of her own, proves to
be “a great storyteller as well as a champion
athlete,” said Caroline Howe, also in the
Daily Mail. In her compelling new memoir,
she shows the good sense to open with a
low moment: the day early last year when
she learned she had tested positive for a
performance-enhancing drug and faced a
temporary ban from her sport. “For the first
time in my life,” she says, “I was worried
what people thought of me.”
Her backstory turns out to be “a tale of
rags to riches, with a slightly nihilistic
To argue for the effectiveness of that order,
Hathaway and Shapiro “litigate themselves
around some tricky historical corners,”
said Louis Menand in The New Yorker.
When they declare that territorial conquests around the world fell from one every
10 months to one every four years, they’re
only counting overt annexations—leaving
out, for example, all of the Soviet Union’s
puppet states in Eastern Europe. The
decline in wars of conquest also may have
occurred simply because developed nations
had outgrown their imperialistic eras. Still,
it’s true that the signing of Kellogg-Briand
marked a profound change in the world’s
definition of a just war. “Genuine originality is unusual in political history. The
Internationalists is an original book.”
Russian twist,” said Julia Felsenthal in Born in 1987 to parents who’d
just fled Belarus to escape the fallout from
the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Sharapova
flashed so much talent so young that her
father moved her from Russia to Florida at
6, making an already focused girl almost
single-minded. Strapped for cash, the pair
slept on friends’ couches and begged entry
to elite tennis academies where Maria
learned to ignore the teasing of wealthier
kids she beat handily. By 11, she had a Nike
deal and a clear sense of purpose: Her job
was to secure the family’s stability. That
explanation for her mercenary approach
doesn’t make her more likable, but “it does
make her a hell of a lot more knowable.”
Her business savvy explains why she chose
Rich Cohen—“a nonfiction master”—as
her co-writer, said David Shaftel in the
Financial Times. Cohen adds polish to
every anecdote, including Sharapova’s protestation that she had taken Meldonium
at a doctor’s urging since 2006 and didn’t
realize that tennis had banned the drug in
2016. Sports fans will also want to hear
Sharapova’s take on Serena Williams, said
Ben Rothenberg in The New York Times.
Many tennis players write autobiographies;
“few, if any, write so candidly about a rival
before they have played their last match.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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The Book List
Sigrid Rausing
Maybe a tabloid tragedy can
never again be truly a personal tragedy, said Rachel
Cooke in
In her new book, Mayhem,
Swedish-born heiress and
philanthropist Sigrid Rausing
labors to contextualize the
events that
led to the
2012 death
of her sisterin-law, Eva,
whose body
was left to
rot for two
months in
the luxury London home she
had shared with Rausing’s
brother, Hans. Both Hans and
Eva had been drug addicts
for so long that Sigrid had
taken custody of their children five years earlier. And
Eva had died of heart failure
with a crack pipe in her hand.
Still, the shock of the news,
and the media’s feverish
response to it, prompted
Rausing—who owns and
edits the literary magazine
Granta—to start piecing
together her own version. “I
got this very intense urge to
find out exactly what happened,” she says.
In Mayhem, said Gaby Wood
in The Telegraph (U.K.),
Rausing readily accepts that
she failed Hans and Eva. “I see
my complicity, my guilt,” she
writes. “I see my tiredness, my
hopelessness, my false moral
superiority. I regret everything.” Such soul-searching
hasn’t impressed Eva’s father,
though; he has condemned
the memoir as “pretentious”
and “self-indulgent.” But
Rausing defends her decision
to publish, to try to capture
addiction’s challenges and
family heartbreak from the
inside. “The story was terribly public already,” she
says, so sharing the intimate
details was “like pushing a
fishhook through your finger
rather than trying to pull it
out. Yes, it’s painful, and yes,
you may cause pain, but in
the end I think it’s the best
thing to do.”
Best books...chosen by Nelson DeMille
In Nelson DeMille’s new thriller, The Cuban Affair, a Florida charter-boat captain
and combat vet accepts a risky job from a client trying to recover a hidden fortune.
Below, the best-selling author names six favorite books that feature iconic sleuths.
The Black Tower by P.D. James (Scribner, $16).
Nobody writes murder mysteries like the British:
slow-paced, almost laconic, atmospheric, and
very quirky. Commander Adam Dalgliesh of
Scotland Yard is outwardly detached, but he sees,
hears, and evaluates everything. The exquisite
prose is why you read James.
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers
(Bourbon Street, $15). Sex, scandal, drugs, and
murder at a chic ad agency in 1930s London—
and you thought Mad Men was original? Lord
Peter Wimsey is my favorite amateur detective
after Sherlock Holmes. Like Holmes, he’s as cool
as a cucumber sandwich at high tea.
The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout
(Bantam, $16). All of Stout’s Nero Wolfe books
are excellent, but this is the most excellent. Wolfe
is a 300-pound, self-professed genius who grows
orchids in his New York City brownstone and
has the largest vocabulary of any fictional detective. What I love most about the series is Stout’s
descriptions of 1930s New York.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha
Christie (Morrow, $14). Britain’s Crime Writers’
Association recently named Ackroyd the Best
Crime Novel Ever. I’m not sure I agree, but this
is a must-read for fans of the genre. Living in
England, retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot
is slightly exotic—and occasionally boastful. Still,
I vote him the most likable detective in literature.
Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry
Kemelman (Cengage Gale, $14). The first of
Kemelman’s Rabbi series, and perhaps the
best. When a girl’s body is found on the grounds
of a synagogue, Rabbi David Small becomes a
suspect, then an unlikely detective with a secret
weapon: Talmudic logic. Kemelman’s writing is
spirited and smart, and his characters are multidimensional.
The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and
Per Wahlöö (Vintage, $16). Sjöwall and Wahlöö
set the standard for Scandinavian noir, and also
for brooding, flawed Scandinavian detectives.
Unlike most of his Anglo-American counterparts,
Martin Beck—in true socialist-democracy style—
enlists other detectives to help him solve his
cases. You eventually come to admire Beck, even
if you don’t like him.
Also of borderland stories
The Far Away Brothers
by Kapka Kassabova (Graywolf, $16)
by Lauren Markham (Crown, $27)
“In a world ever more divided, we
need more books like this,” said Alev
Scott in the Financial Times. Poet and
essayist Kapka Kassabova wandered
her native Bulgaria to tease out its history as a crossroads between East and
West, and her writing proves “moving and witty
by turns.” She dwells too long on the spirituality
of the border region, crossed by Cold War refugees once and by Syrian refugees today. But she’s
“keenly” empathetic toward everyone she meets,
from smugglers to border guards.
A reader can’t help but root for the
“relentlessly likable” Salvadoran
brothers featured in this harrowing
real-life tale of their illegal immigration to the U.S., said Mark Kramer in
the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Fleeing
gang violence, the teenage twins endure a “heartbreaking and traumatic” journey north, surviving as others die around them, then luck into
being stopped by a kindly border officer. Though
they’re not angels, “we come to hope that the
capricious fates stay on their side.”
How I Became a North Korean
by Joe Tone (One World, $28)
by Krys Lee (Penguin, $16)
Among the many recent books on the
Mexico-U.S. drug trade, Bones stands
out for its strong reporting and “firstrate” narrative, said Steven Weinberg
in The Dallas Morning News. Author
Joe Tone spent five years piecing
together how the brother of a Mexican cartel
kingpin rose from humble Texas mason to owner
of champion quarter horses, and how the FBI
built a money-laundering case against him. Tone
didn’t find many willing witnesses, but his use of
government documents “fills gaps impressively.”
The three teenage protagonists of this
forceful novel cross paths just north
of North Korea, each there for a different reason, said Alexander Chee
in The New York Times. Yongju fled
home after his father ran foul of Kim
Jong Il; pregnant Jangmi sold herself into marriage; California-raised Danny is looking for his
mother. Though narrative crosscutting is at first
distracting, the book—now out in paperback—
gains strength quickly, and provides a “compelling” window on both North and South Korea.
Ellis Kordes, Tom Rausing
Author of the week
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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Review of reviews: Art & Music
Exhibit of the week
An Incomplete History of
Protest: 1940–2017
Ron Amstutz
The Whitney Museum of American
Art, New York City
that you’re meant to think of the fire
hoses used against 1960s civil rights
protesters. Occasionally, though,
the right balance is struck. In 2005,
Josephine Meckseper used a Super 8
camera to film a Washington, D.C.,
protest against the second Iraq War.
The graininess of the silent footage causes the march to resemble a
Vietnam-era antiwar protest, thus
throwing into question whether protests ever succeed.
If the relevance of protest art was
ever in question, it isn’t now, said
The New Yorker. Artists often create
work intended to challenge established thinking, and the Whitney’s
edifying new survey of political art
from the past eight decades demonstrates there are countless ways
to shake up a viewer. When artist
Felix Partz died of AIDS in 1994,
his friend and artistic collaborator
Meckseper’s film (right): Silent echoes of the ’60s
AA Bronson created a billboardsize photographic portrait of Partz’s
skeleton-like body wrapped in multicolored two traps, said Jonathon Keats in Forbes
.com. Protest posters are “particularly probquilts several hours after his death. When
lematic,” because “their impact as agitprop
Senga Nengudi wanted to protest violence
requires immediacy that is antithetical to
against women in 1977, she created an
abstract figure by stretching a web of brown artistic insight.” Often they look great, but
tell us nothing that only art can. “At the
pantyhose in a way that evokes flayed
other extreme” sit politically engaged artists
skin. In the context of the show, “abstrac“who attempt to channel their convictions
tion looks surprisingly powerful.” Melvin
through the abstruse language of conEdwards’ Pyramid Up and Down Pyramid
strings barbed wire across a room to divide temporary art.” Theaster Gates’ Minority
Majority (2012) is a wall-mounted sculpit into new volumes. Such works could be
the new monuments our public spaces need. ture constructed of plywood, vinyl, and fire
hoses. It’s visually engaging, for sure, but
you wouldn’t know without the wall text
Much of the art, though, falls into one of
That’s the nagging question “that
hangs over this whole enterprise,”
said Ben Diamond in Avenue
Magazine. Earnest artistic statements
aside, the show mostly suggests that
protest art rarely achieves the lasting change it seeks. But then you happen
upon Ja’Tovia Gary’s short film An Ecstatic
Experience, and hope is renewed. First,
you hear the music of Alice Coltrane while
seeing footage of worshippers at a 1950s
African-American church. You next watch
Ruby Dee recite a potent slave testimonial,
then hear Dee and others sing “The Battle
Hymn of the Republic” over images of
recent Black Lives Matter protests. In this
film, as in all the best work in the show, no
single force is being resisted by the artist’s
apparent optimism. The revolutionary spirit
that fills you “applies to any injustice.”
Thomas Rhett
Tori Amos
Son Little
Life Changes
Native Invader
New Magic
Thomas Rhett is “the
kind of guy who could
give country pop a
good name,” said Chris
Willman in Variety.
The 27-year-old singersongwriter has just
achieved country’s
No. 1 album on 2017’s Billboard pop chart,
and he’s done it with an amiable manner,
consistent pop craft, and a “breezy” way of
hopping from heartland rock to bubblegum
to light electronic dance music; “actual
country music is just one more arrow in
his quiver.” Life Changes delivers just what
the title promises, said Stephen Thomas
Erlewine in Rhett and his
childhood sweetheart recently adopted a
Ugandan infant and added a second child
to their household, and because Rhett is “a
smooth talker with a penchant for oversharing,” we get the whole love story here. The
lyrics are “littered with references to the
modern world” (think Coldplay songs and
mango green tea), and the music, “more
impressively,” engages honestly with multiple musical trends. Many songs are “nothing more than slick radio pop,” but every
one of them is “expertly assembled.”
If you haven’t listened
to any new Tori Amos
music lately, “now is a
perfect time to come
home,” said Katie Rife
in In
this age of strife, the
singer-songwriter’s 15th
album is “a deeply felt call for unity” that
weaves different threads of her songwriting
style into a harmonious whole. Musically,
Native Invader balances Amos’ recent flirtations with guitar rock and electronica with
“more orchestral” aspects of her sound, all
held together by her piano and classically
trained mezzo-soprano voice. Her lyrics here
confront traumas both personal and global,
then urge healing. The album’s mix of
themes ensures musical variety, said Libby
Cudmore in With its
“southwestern twang” and “Beatles-esque”
guitars, “Cloud Riders” is classic Amos. The
furious “Up the Creek,” which pays homage
to her Native American roots and addresses
climate ignorance, uses sharp string fills to
chart out “wilder territory.” Though Amos
has made more playful albums, this one is
“unwavering in its commitment to being
muse-driven and unafraid.”
“Listeners who want
to hear a smart and
passionate musician
take R&B into new,
thoughtful places owe
it to themselves to give
New Magic a careful listen,” said Mark Deming
in Philadelphia singersongwriter Son Little still draws on hip-hop
grooves and hip-hop production when he
wishes to, but his second album is significantly more organic than his first, sounding like the work of a tight blues-seasoned
band led by a passionate soul singer. The
bright single “Blue Magic” feels slightly
out of place here, even though it “bodes
well” for Little’s potential as a hitmaker, said
Karas Lamb in
The rest traces a more somber personal
redemption narrative, as Little sings about
booze and pills and finding refuge in faith,
love, and the kind of music he plays here.
New Magic finds him “prostrate at the altar
of obscure musical titans who ruled small
rooms and stages with burdened hearts and
rough-hewn instruments.” Though a couple
of forgettable tracks weaken the record, it’s
otherwise “abundant with magic.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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Battle of the
Directed by Jonathan
Dayton and Valerie Faris
The tennis match that
scored a win for feminism
The Golden
Directed by
Matthew Vaughn
Eggsy and friends battle
an evil monopolist.
Directed by Peter Bratt
(Not rated)
A candid portrait of a
pioneering activist
Review of reviews: Film
but “things truly come alive”
Sometimes the competent
when she develops a same-sex
woman beats the misogynist
relationship that could destroy
buffoon, said Richard Lawson
her marriage and career. After a
in In 1973,
“slightly saggy” middle section,
women’s tennis champion Billie
the movie picks up again in time
Jean King walloped a well-pastfor the climax. A few surprises
his-prime Bobby Riggs in a
await, said Anthony Lane in The
hugely hyped televised exhibiNew Yorker. “The showdown
tion match, and this rousing
in Houston, for instance, comes
dramatization of the story “has
Stone and Carell play to the crowd.
across as tacky rather than
a righteous kick that excuses
triumphant,” and Riggs is cast as a clown—a disa lot of its hokier qualities.” Emma Stone plays
traction from women’s more powerful foes. When
the “steely, unshowy” King, and she’s as strong
King confronts the head of the pro tennis circuit, his
in that role as Steve Carell’s Riggs is cartoonishly
condescending smile speaks volumes. Peek behind it,
(and fittingly) annoying, said Benjamin Lee in
and “you sense a rocklike prejudice that will be no King is shown battling to win
easier to break than a champion’s serve.”
women players paydays commensurate with men’s,
Elton John is forced to perform
“It’s rare to see so much thrown
for her. And after she kills off
at the screen and so little stickmost of Eggsy’s Kingsman coling,” said Chris Nashawaty in
leagues and he teams with a
Entertainment Weekly. Two
squad of American superspies,
years after the first Kingsman
the picture “manages to deliver
film launched an action frana couple of interesting fights.”
chise that made a wry joke of
What’s missing, now that Eggsy
wild plot twists and over-the-top
is no longer an unlikely agency
violence, the “massively disaprecruit, is an underdog to root
pointing” follow-up proves even
Eggsy on top of the world
for, said Ethan Sacks in the New
maximalism can go too far.
York Daily News. Instead, “there are too many
“The movie has its moments,” said Bilge Ebiri in
supporting characters, too many gadgets, too many
The Village Voice. Taron Egerton is back as Eggsy,
plot holes instead of twists, and too many Oscar
a young British superagent, while Julianne Moore
winners”—Moore and Halle Berry among them—
shows up as a chipper drug-queen villain who’s created a 1950s-inspired mountain lair where (the real) “giving mostly Razzie-worthy performances.”
the Los Angeles Times. Though
Peter Bratt’s new documentary
Bratt brings in plenty of celebrioffers “a fascinating corrective
ties who praise her work, Huerta
to 50-plus years of American
gets screen time, too, and she
history,” said Lora Grady in
proves “a tough-minded truth
The Washington Post. Too
teller” who doesn’t sugarcoat
often, the late Cesar Chavez gets
anything about her life—from
virtually all the credit for foundthe beatings she endured to the
ing the United Farm Workers
suffering she caused some of her
and winning the union’s break11 children because she put her
through early victories on behalf
Huerta in 1969
activism first. The film’s first
of America’s lowest-paid laborhalf, before interviews with her adult children take
ers. But the group’s co-founder, Dolores Huerta,
over the story, feels “in need of one more edit,”
played a central role for years, and this “exhilaratsaid Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle.
ing, inspiring, and deeply emotional” documentary
The movie soars when it shows the personal price
finally gives the 87-year-old former California
schoolteacher her due. “It’s no hagiography. Its sub- Huerta paid for her achievements. It’d make “a fine
ject wouldn’t stand for that,” said Kenneth Turan in double feature with Wonder Woman.”
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Wonder Woman
The Big Sick
Certain Women
(Warner Bros., $36)
(Lionsgate, $30)
(Criterion, $30)
Wonder Woman “put the super back in
movie heroism,” said The Wall Street
Journal. Israeli actress Gal Gadot proved
to be “the dazzling embodiment of female
empowerment” as the lasso-wielding Amazonian princess, whose quest to end World
War I elicits plenty of “stylish” action.
Some people call it a rom-com, but this
recent hit was a “genre-defying film with
an unexpectedly big heart,” said The
Seattle Times. Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe
Kazan co-star as a comedian and a grad
student whose fledgling romance is tested
when illness casts her into a coma.
Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle
Williams co-star in Kelly Reichardt’s “muted
but utterly involving” triple portrait of three
women in small-town Montana, said The
Guardian. The movie has “a short-story aesthetic”: We see each woman make choices;
“the why is up to us.”
Melinda Sue Gordon, Giles Keyte/Twentieth Century Fox, George Ballis/Take Stock/The Image Works
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
26 film.indd 26
9/19/17 5:25 PM
Movies on TV
Monday, Sept. 25
Blazing Saddles
An all-white frontier town
acquires a black sheriff in
Mel Brooks’ revolutionary and very funny satire.
(1974) 5 p.m., AMC
Tuesday, Sept. 26
Patriot Games
Jack Ryan is marked for
death after thwarting an
IRA assassination attempt
in the second action thriller
about the CIA superman
invented by novelist Tom
Clancy. Here, Harrison Ford
stars. (1992) 11 p.m., Starz
Wednesday, Sept. 27
Raging Bull
Robert De Niro saved
Martin Scorsese’s career
by persuading the director to cast him as volatile
boxer Jake LaMotta in this
potent drama based on the
middleweight’s memoir.
(1980) 8 p.m., Cinemax
Thursday, Sept. 28
A garbage collector who
might have been a baseball
star struggles to overcome
his bitterness and raise
a family. Director Denzel
Washington stars, opposite Viola Davis. (2016)
9:30 p.m., Epix
Friday, Sept. 29
A Star Is Born
An actor in decline lifts a
young singer to stardom in
a classic cinema fairy tale
featuring James Mason
and Judy Garland. (1954)
10 p.m., TCM
Saturday, Sept. 30
American Beauty
Kevin Spacey is a pent-up
suburban dad who fixates
on his daughter’s pretty
best friend in Sam Mendes’
period-perfect Oscar winner. (1999) 10:35 p.m., Starz
Sunday, Oct. 1
Kick off fall’s spookiest
season with Bela Lugosi,
whose portrayal of Count
Dracula is still the most terrifying the screen has seen.
(1931) 8 p.m., TCM
• All listings are Eastern Time.
27 tv.indd 27
The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
It’s hard to bring down a Lyon. Four months ago,
the third season of this hit drama series ended
with a bang when hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon
barely survived a car bombing arranged by his
son Andre. Lingering amnesia could be an issue as
Lucious seeks to reforge family bonds in the new
season, which will begin with a crossover appearance by Queen Latifah of Lee Daniels’ other
Fox series, Star. Terrence Howard and Taraji P.
Henson will also have to share screen time with
guest stars Demi Moore and Forest Whitaker.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., Fox
Designated Survivor
With a devastating bombing at the U.S. Capitol, a
follow-up assassination attempt, and a swarm of
conspiracies swirling around last-resort President
Tom Kirkman, Designated Survivor may have
been the only political show on TV this spring
that rivaled the Trump White House for headspinning twists. Season 2 promises calmer drama,
as Kiefer Sutherland’s Kirkman settles into his
role as America’s emergency commander in chief
and his show’s writers start focusing on Kirkland’s
inner circle. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 10 p.m., ABC
Will & Grace
Remember the gayest show on 1998 network
TV? Eleven years after ending its Emmy-grabbing
run, the phenomenon is back, with all four
returning stars signed on for two full seasons.
But forget the show’s 2006 finale, because neither Will (Eric McCormack) nor Grace (Debra
Messing) have found husbands or had children.
They’re once again single New York City apartment mates, their door always open to drop-ins
from spoiled socialite Karen (Megan Mullally)
and flamboyant neighbor Jack (Sean Hayes).
Thursday, Sept. 28, at 9 p.m., NBC
Tin Star
Missing the Tim Roth of Reservoir Dogs and
Pulp Fiction? The British actor returns to top
form in this brooding crime series, playing an
alcoholic London detective who takes a changeof-pace gig as a sheriff in the Canadian Rockies
and finds himself battling an oil company whose
big plans for the area usher in gambling, drugs,
Curbed’s Larry David, Cheryl Hines, and Ted Danson
and intimidation. A shocking murder, and costar Christina Hendricks, may get you hooked.
Available for streaming Friday, Sept. 29, Amazon
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David is back this week, too. Seventeen
years ago, the Seinfeld co-creator stepped into
the spotlight as the star of a series that carried
his comedy of social inappropriateness to new
levels of laughter and discomfort. If you thought
Larry’s morning-to-night everyday scrapes were
anxiety inducing before, get ready for a season
focused on “single Larry” and his attempts to
find female companionship. Sunday, Oct. 1, at
10 p.m., HBO
Other highlights
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez
A new true-crime anthology series launches with
an eight-episode dramatization of a 1989 tabloid
staple: the case against Lyle and Erik Menendez
for the murder of their Beverly Hills parents. Edie
Falco stars. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 10 p.m., NBC
Our Souls at Night
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda reunite, displaying enduring chemistry in an adaptation of Kent
Haruf’s novel about a late-life romance. Available
for streaming Friday, Sept. 29, Netflix
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
An eight-part documentary focuses on first
responders and survivors as it looks at the terror and lasting effects of various mass shootings.
Begins Friday, Sept. 29, at 9 p.m., Showtime
Show of the week
This Is Us
Ventimiglia’s Jack Pearson: Nothing lasts forever.
Call it snowflake TV. This Is Us is surely the
weepiest show in recent memory. And yet every
episode delivers at least one moment of human
drama so real that it could penetrate the most
leaden heart. Last season brought the story of
one father to a wrenching end. Now it’s time
to learn more about Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack
Pearson, the Steelers-loving Vietnam vet who
married Mandy Moore’s Rebecca and raised
triplets-in-spirit Kate, Kevin, and Randall. We
know, because the show brilliantly plays with
time, to expect Jack’s death—and to have tissues
always ready. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 9 p.m., NBC
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
9/19/17 2:03 PM
Food & Drink
Critics’ choice: Spectacular variations on familiar fare
Razza Jersey City
To get the best pizza in New York, you
Wine talk: A hangover cure?
The idea that you could wave a magic
wand and make your wine hangovers
disappear “sounds a bit crazy,” said Mike
Pomranz in Food & Wine. But a Texas
startup, PureWine, is promising just
that with a disposable device
called the Wand. Stirred in wine
for three minutes, it filters out
95 percent of the sulfites and
histamines that trigger intense
hangover-like reactions in some
drinkers. And the firm is about to
roll out a spout that will filter wine
as it’s poured from the bottle. To be
sure, said Tracy Cook in The Dallas
Morning News, “not everyone is sold
on the Wand’s powers”—because
actual allergic reactions to wine are
caused by the immune system’s response to lipid-transfer proteins. But
testing shows the device performs as
billed. PureWine’s CEO, David Meadows, says it allowed him to drink
wine for the first time in 10 years.
made from the milk of Jersey-raised
buffaloes. Another pizza features ricotta
and local hazelnuts, plus a touch of
honey; “I have never tasted anything
like it.” 275 Grove St., (201) 356-9348
Nixta: Oaxacan holiday vibes in St. Louis
actually have to take a PATH train to New
Jersey, said Pete Wells in The New York
Times. The city itself produces many fine
examples, but none generate as much consistent pleasure as those made just across
the Hudson River at Razza. Unlike most
of its closest rivals, Razza excels at both
the toppings and the dough. The woodfired crust has “the texture and flavor of
naturally leavened bread,” and each slice
is perfectly crisp “from the puffy outer lip
to the inner tip.” Chef-owner Dan Richer
makes a model margherita. But he dresses
some of Razza’s pies with local ingredients
so distinctive, they’re an education in New
Jersey farming. For the “Garden State
margherita,” he uses ripe Jersey tomatoes
run through a mill and flavorful mozzarella
Nixta St. Louis
Imagine that “cool, colorful, always
lively” restaurant in Oaxaca that
everyone always talks about—“except
it’s in St. Louis,” said Julia Kramer in
Bon Appetit. That’s Nixta, a Botanical
Heights newcomer with brick walls
painted in bright pastels and Acapulco
chairs that scream, “Come on in,
hang out, bring your friends, drink as
much mezcal as you want!” Nixta is
no mere taco joint, though. The proof is
in the pulpo. In a year when octopus has
started appearing everywhere, chef Tello
Carreon is serving possibly the best in the
country—“crisp to the point of crunchy
along its tentacles; tender and meaty
without being overly soft on the interior.”
Carreon, who’s from Guanajuato, Mexico,
“makes deeply complex moles the way his
grandmother taught him,” and tops his
“stunning” shrimp ceviche with dabs of
rosewater foam. This chef knows no borders. “His brain is a catalog of continents’
worth of ingredients, and the only way for
an outsider to understand how they work
together is to taste them.” 1621 Tower
Grove Ave., (314) 899-9000
Recipe of the week
“Why must every rib be a barbecue rib?” said Michael Austin in the
Chicago Tribune. Barbecue purists wag their tongs at baked ribs, but the Spanishstyle recipe below is great on days when you don’t want to fire up the grill.
The paprika-based rub has an “earthy depth,” and the quick homemade
salsa verde provides a “bright and zesty” complement.
Spanish-style baked ribs
2 slabs baby back ribs • 2 cloves garlic, peeled • 3 tsp salt • ½ cup olive oil plus 6 tbsp
• 4 tbsp Spanish paprika • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
• ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano • ½ cup chopped fresh mint • 2 tbsp capers, drained,
minced • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• Remove the membrane from the backs
of the ribs. Combine 2 garlic cloves and
2 tsp salt in a mortar, and smash with a
pestle until a paste forms. Stir in ½ cup
olive oil and the paprika.
Rub ribs with paste to
coat all over; transfer to
a large covered container. Refrigerate at least
2 hours or overnight.
• Preheat oven to 225.
Cover a rimmed baking
sheet with a large piece
of aluminum foil. Set ribs on top, then
wrap them up. Bake 1½ hours. Remove
pan from oven. Unwrap ribs; return pan
to oven and bake until ribs are very tender
but not falling off the
bone, about 1½ hours.
• Make salsa verde by
stirring together minced
garlic, herbs, capers,
mustard, vinegar, and remaining salt and olive oil.
Set aside at least half an
hour. Makes 2 servings.
Greg Rannells, Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Robin San Francisco
I finally know where to go for a perfect
sushi night, said Rachel Levin in Eater
.com. Too often in San Francisco, the
choice is between cold, tired tradition
and tradition-be-damned. But chef
Adam Tortosa has found a happy middle ground with Robin: The restaurant’s
omakase-only menu “bridges Japan
and California as smoothly as a [787]
Dreamliner.” Step inside the handsome
modern room, and the first moments
feel, in fact, “a little bit like flying first
class”—comfy leather seats, hot towels,
soothing voices. But no airline serves
food like Tortosa’s. White sturgeon
caviar from Sacramento is spooned
onto a house-made potato chip dipped
in ramp aioli. A slice of steelhead from a
nearby sustainable trout farm is topped
with a sliver of local fig. Nontraditional
ingredients abound in the 15-piece meal,
from peaches to opal basil. But Tortosa,
who trained under legend Katsuya Uechi,
“has the utmost respect for Japanese tradition,” and makes local sourcing seem only
rational. Just be prepared to see your $79
omakase bill climb toward $250 as you add
drinks and sea urchin dishes. “If you’ve got
the money, it’s most definitely worth the
splurge.” 620 Gough St., (415) 548-2429
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
28 food.indd 28
9/19/17 3:54 PM
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This week’s dream: Finding serenity on the shores of Lake Geneva
with centuries-old chalets. I visited a
I will always remember the moment that
mountaintop farm run by a young
my train from Zurich shot out of a tunnel
couple who make the region’s prized
under the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva
L’Etivaz cheese. “Their contented cows
“emerged in all its glory,” said Joanne
feast on fresh grass through the sumDiBona in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
mer, giving their milk (and the resulting
Azure water sparkled under jagged peaks
cheese) a distinctive and sublime flavor.”
as the train skirted the crescent-shaped
lake, rolling past farmhouses, medieval
Leaving the lush countryside for the costowers, grand chalets, and terraced vinemopolitan city of Lausanne, I encounyards that “cascaded down steep slopes”
tered “a delightful combination of the
to the shoreline. I instantly understood
ancient and the trendy.” I marveled at
why so many writers, artists, and actors—
Lausanne’s 12th-century Notre Dame
Graham Greene, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey
Hepburn—have made this region their
Terraced vineyards roll down the slopes to Lake Geneva. Cathedral, one of Europe’s finest Gothic
buildings, and window-shopped the
home. My destination was the lakeside
at Chillon castle, an imposing 12th-century
luxury stores lining the Rue de Bourg. When
town of Vevey, where I arrived just in time
fortress built on a rocky island in the lake.
the sun started to set, I took the metro to
for dinner. At an open-air restaurant beside
the lake port of Ouchy. “As I strolled down
the main promenade, I ate delicate fresh lake Today, costumed knaves and wenches stroll
through the fortress and pose for photos
the promenade, past children playing in the
perch paired with an “outstanding” local
with visitors. Inspired by my youthful love
fountain pools and diners enjoying a late
white wine.
of The Sound of Music, I decided to take
dinner, I said my goodbyes to Lake Geneva,
an hour-long rail journey to the verdant,
with the promise I would return soon to this
The following afternoon, I boarded a pasunforgettable Swiss paradise.”
senger ferry for “a delightfully scenic cruise” mountainous Pays-d’Enhaut region. The
At Vevey’s Hôtel des Trois Couronnes (hotel
past such famous towns as Montreux, home train stopped right outside my hotel in
Rougemont, an unspoiled village dotted, doubles start at $332.
of the storied jazz festival. I disembarked
A new look for the Jersey Shore
The Asbury
Asbury Park, N.J.
This polished property is
helping keep Asbury Park’s
rock ’n’ roll heritage alive,
said David Shaftel in The
New York Times. Bruce
Springsteen launched his
career a few blocks away at
the beachside Stone Pony
rock club, and today new
musical acts regularly play
at the Asbury Hotel’s lobby
bar—which has shelves
lined with LPs and rock
star biographies. Things
get more refined on higher
levels. The hotel’s 110 rooms
are “clean, bright, and contemporary,” and the sixth
floor’s outdoor terrace offers
yoga classes by day and
movie screenings by night.; doubles
from $125
Getting the flavor of...
California’s quirky wine country
The High Sierra on horseback
Forget Napa Valley—San Luis Obispo is California’s “awesomest wine escape,” said Robin
Soslow in The Dallas Morning News. The
region, known as SLO, hugs the state’s central
coast, “smack-dab between Los Angeles and San
Francisco.” Its perfect climate yields grapes with
“intensely concentrated, beautifully balanced flavors,” with chardonnay and pinot noir two area
specialties. Most of SLO’s 30 wineries are within
5 miles of the beach—which may explain why
the region is ranked among the world’s happiest
places—and many of the producers’ tasting rooms
have a laid-back charm. Essential sipping stops
include Sextant, in a renovated Edna Valley stagecoach station, and Silver Horse, in a reclaimed
one-room schoolhouse. On the weekends, drop
by Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards above Avila
Beach, where you can catch live music, drink delicious cider-wine blends, and snap photos of the
100 peacocks that roam the property.
To truly experience the rugged majesty of California’s eastern Sierra Nevada, you need to be
on horseback, said Christopher Reynolds in the
Los Angeles Times. A dozen pack stations still
operate in Inyo National Forest, sending guides
with horses and mules to accompany travelers on
wilderness treks. Last June, I rode with a group
of other tenderfoot novices out of Rock Creek
Pack Station, and the teenagers in our company
were soon giving themselves cowboy names and
catching trout for dinner. “We threaded through
forests of lodgepole pine and quaking aspen into a
world of jutting peaks, clear lakes, gullible trout,
and a few mosquitoes.” It was windy, and snowmelt followed us everywhere, making some trails
impassable. But on our third evening, the wind
died down, and the lake next to our camp glowed
with bluish moonlight. “Our campsite was a vast
Japanese woodblock print, impossibly still, harmonious, and monochromatic.”
Last-minute travel deals
New Zealand adventure
Escape to an upscale resort on
New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu
and save $400. Down Under
Answers’ five-night Discover
Queenstown package includes
flights and starts at $1,399 a
person, double, down from
$1,799. Book by Sept. 29.
Guatemalan getaway
Book two nights and get a
third free at Guatemala’s Las
Lagunas hotel on the junglelined shore of Laguna Quexil.
Three nights in a waterfront
bungalow start at $732, including taxes, a saving of $366.
Valid for stays through Oct. 31.
Bountiful Baja
Get $400 off an eight-day cruise
in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez with
AdventureSmith Explorations.
The Baja’s Bounty voyage starts
at $2,995 per person, double
occupancy. Sale applies to
select departures in December
and January; book by Sept. 30.
Joanne DiBona, Nikolas Koenig
Hotel of the week
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
30 travel.indd 30
9/19/17 2:04 PM
The 2018 Kia Rio: What the critics say
“From the ground up,” the 2018 Kia Rio is
“a solid car that just happens to be very
small.” Though no sales champ in the U.S.,
the smart subcompact is the automaker’s
top mover worldwide, and its latest iteration
rates as the best-looking vehicle in its segment, and arguably the sportiest too. With
its revised suspension and steering, the Rio
“instills confidence in corners and feels rock
steady on the highway.” Though it’s unquestionably a budget car, it “presents itself
better than cars costing thousands more.”
was tweaking this Rio for the U.S. market.
Power from the Rio’s 130-hp four-cylinder
engine feels “just barely adequate,” and all
models come with tiny—though “admittedly
adorable”—15-inch wheels. Even so, the Rio
is “a handsome little machine”—one that’s
“surprisingly engaging” to drive. Its biggest
challenge might be that Kia already sells the
Soul—a sub-$20,000 crossover with “more
space, more features, and more style.”
Motor Trend
To those who want a true entry-level Kia, it
“makes a compelling argument.” Sure, the
rock-bottom $13,990 price ticks up another
$300 for the hatch and rises $1,000 when
Price was clearly paramount when Kia
The Rio hatchback, from $14,290
an automatic transmission is added. But the
new Rio is still an unusual find at such price
levels—“a small car that’s comfortable in its
own skin.”
The best of...‘statement’ sleeves
Mango Flared-Sleeve
Talbots Flounce
Sleeve Topper
Marled by Reunited
Bow-Detail Tee
Cos Top
With Frill Details
Archie Vince
Victorian Blouse
Voluminous sleeves have
been everywhere this
year, and fall brings new
options. A see-through
blouse like this one can
be your best friend when
you’re layering.
This teal coat is “as
pretty as a party dress,”
with its ruffled sleeves
and universally flattering A-line shape. A
silk lining amps up the
luxe factor.
Source: Southern Living
Bell cuffs and ties at the
elbows “make a simple
solid-colored top feel
fashion-forward.” For
this jersey-knit rayonspandex tee, you tie the
ribbons yourself.
Source: Real Simple
This top from Cos
plays the classic black
blouse theme “anything
but straight.” Made of
soft scuba material, it
drapes the elbows in
folded frill.
It’s “a pleasant surprise” to find an affordable sheer blouse with
an attached camisole—
and all the more so
when it features ontrend bell sleeves.
Tip of the week...
How to score event tickets
And for those who have
Best apps...
For staying fit at home
■ Join the club. If you’re in love with one
team or band, join the fan club and you
might get ticket access before the general
public does.
■ Don’t trust ‘Sold out.’ Keep checking ticket
outlets, because new batches of tickets are
often released as the event date nears.
■ Try a broker. Ticket brokers get deals you
can’t. Shop their prices too.
■ Look beyond StubHub. StubHub is a great
source for tickets being resold, but don’t
forget rivals like SeatGeek and Gametime.
Gametime specializes in day-of sales, and
both outfits sell tickets straight to your
phone—at discounts of up to 75 percent—
after an event starts.
■ Try the scalpers. You can get legit tickets
from a guy on the sidewalk. But use a ticket
app to check his prices and either finish the
sale at the ticket window or ask to pay via
PayPal, which might refund a scam sale.
If your art collection
has outgrown your
wall space, closet
those canvases and
install the Depict
Frame, a 49-inch
screen fashioned
like a framed painting. Though it’s
not the first digital
canvas—Samsung’s Frame TV also displays
art—the image here is superior. Colorcalibrated and coated with a matte finish, the
4K UHD screen is optimized for displaying
fine art in sharp detail. Using an app, you can
cycle through images in Depict’s collection, to
which new pieces are added each month. For
$20 a month, you can upload your own works,
and that subscription also grants access to a
curated collection of thousands of paintings.
■ Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute
Source: Men’s Health
Workout eliminates the best excuse you
have for not exercising. Its short instructional videos guide users through easy workouts that are over quicker than a shower.
■ Pocket Yoga offers “a simple, gentle way”
to learn yoga, providing illustrations and
videos to demystify more than 200 poses.
■ Tai Chi for Seniors breaks its teaching on
the ancient Chinese practice of tai chi into
64 videos with step-by-step instructions. Tai
chi is “meditation in motion,” and improves
flexibility, balance, aerobic conditioning, and
muscle strength.
■ iRideInside keeps that stationary bike in the
corner from sitting idle. The $4 iOS app lets
you choose music and coaching videos to
customize your workouts.
■ Instant Heart Rate provides an accurate
reading in seconds, when you hold a fingertip to your phone’s camera lens.
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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9/20/17 12:38 PM
Best properties on the market
This week: Homes for golf enthusiasts
1  Sun Valley, Idaho Built in 1981, this four-bedroom
home overlooks the 16th hole of the Sun Valley golf course.
Three remodels have expanded the kitchen, added a second
master suite, and upgraded the exterior with a metal roof
and mahogany and river-stone details. The multilevel patio
with Wolf grill abuts the course. $3,495,000. Katherine
Rixon & Rob Cronin, Keller Williams, (208) 622-7722
2  Portsmouth, R.I. This four-bedroom, shingle-style home is set on
an island just off the mainland and borders the Newport National Golf
Club, known as the No. 1 public-access course in New England. The
house has Brazilian cherry floors, a second-floor balcony, a woodburning fieldstone fireplace, and a master suite with a private porch.
Outside are lawns, a deck, and flowering shrubs. $1,350,000. Mike
Sweeney, Gustave White/Sotheby’s International Realty, (401) 862-0164
3  Windermere, Fla. Part of Isleworth, a private 600-acre
golf community, this five-bedroom home sits adjacent
to the second hole of a famous Arnold Palmer–designed
course. Modeled on an iconic Palm Beach mansion, the
house includes a two-story living room, a family room
with fireplace, and a home theater. The half-acre yard has
tropical landscaping and a swimming pool with a water
feature. $2,229,000. Isleworth Realty, (407) 876-0111
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
32-33 properties.indd 32
9/20/17 12:05 PM
Best properties on the market
4  Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Set in the Hualalai Resort
on the Big Island, this
three-bedroom home
offers views of the 9th
fairway and the Pacific Ocean. Designed for
indoor-outdoor living, the
house has a great room
with pocket sliding doors
opening to the course, and
a private guest entrance
in the garden courtyard.
The landscaped property
is walking distance from
the Four Seasons and a
short golf-cart drive from
the golf and canoe clubs.
$3,975,000. Hualalai
Realty, (808) 983-3880
Steal of the week
5  Irvington,
N.Y. Built in
1895, this
Tudor attached estate
was part of
the original
for the Ardsley Country Club, where William Rockefeller,
J. Pierpont Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt played.
The house includes indoor squash and basketball courts,
guest rooms, and a playroom; the main living space has
high ceilings, oak floors, and Hudson River views. A
private deck looks out on mature landscaping. $1,569,000.
Aurora Tishelman and Carolyn Joy, Houlihan Lawrence,
(914) 671-1757
6  Haverford, Pa. This
three-bedroom home is in the
converted gardener’s quarters of
the 1920s Gates Estate. The ivycovered attached house retains
original hardwood floors, brick walls, and historic tiles. Outside are a patio, lawn, and garden beds. Nearby is Merion Golf Club, a 1911 walkingonly course. $359,999. Danielle Py-Salas, RE/MAX, (267) 288-8079
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
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9/20/17 12:06 PM
not enough to reverse the long-term decline in
What’s causing the decline?
American small-business owners are feeling
bullish about the future. But what’s the secret to
survival in a competitive market?
How are small businesses faring?
In survey after survey, small-business owners say they’re more confident than they’ve been in years. Earlier this year, 64 percent of
companies with 100 or fewer employees said that there’s never been
a better time to own a small business, up from 53 percent in 2015,
according to an Allstate/USA Today survey. More than 60 percent
of small-business owners said they expect higher revenues this year,
while about 40 percent have plans to add more workers, according
to another survey, this one by the New York Federal Reserve. This
bullish attitude is thanks in large part to an economy that finally
looks to be recovered from the recession. But it’s also because many
small-business owners expect President Trump and congressional
Republicans to deliver on promises of fewer regulations and substantial tax cuts. The National Federation of Independent Business’s
Index of Small Business Optimism has been hovering at near-record
highs since the 2016 election. “Small businesses are definitely more
upbeat than they have been in about a decade,” says Wells Fargo
economist Mark Vitner.
Are more people starting
Surprisingly, no. Despite the
favorable economic environment
and the popularity of startup
shows like ABC’s Shark Tank,
the rate of new-business creation
is near a 40-year low. There
were 452,835 startups founded
in 2014, according to the most
recent U.S. Census data, far less
than the 500,000 to 600,000 new
firms that were created every year
from the late 1970s to the mid2000s. Startup activity has been
ticking up since the recession, but
How can small businesses stay competitive?
By finding their niche. In an economy increasingly dominated by
mega-corporations, the more focused and personal a company
can be, the better. The most profitable small businesses are often
in service industries that require special expertise and one-on-one
attention to clients; they also have low overhead. These firms aren’t
always flashy. Accounting firms, such as bookkeepers and tax preparers, had the highest profit margins among small businesses over
the past year, according to financial-data company Sageworks, followed by lessors of real estate and providers of legal services.
What other sectors are successful?
The plurality of small businesses are retailers, making up 14 percent
of all small firms. These businesses can’t hope to compete with the
likes of Amazon or Walmart on price or selection, but like other
specialists, they can stay relevant by offering unique experiences,
custom-made goods, or a connection to the local community. That’s
been the key for independent bookstores, which have been on the
rebound after surviving the initial onslaught from chains like Barnes
& Noble and later the disruption wreaked by Amazon. The number of bookstores in the U.S.,
not including chains, increased
The best places for business
by 25 percent to 1,757 over
Entrepreneurs aren’t just flocking to venture-capital hubs like
the past eight years, attracting
Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. Midsize cities across
customers with cocktail nights,
the U.S. are playing host to startup founders looking for an
meeting spaces, and quirky
affordable place to launch their business.
curation that Amazon’s algorecently ranked Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, and Charlotte,
rithms can’t duplicate. “We still
N.C., as the three best large cities to start a business in, based
are competing with the ease
on factors including their small-business survival rate, access
of Amazon and their cheaper
to resources like loans and college-educated workers, and
cost of living. Other cities are pioneering new funding models.
prices,” says Paul Ruppert,
Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and Memphis are among the cities with
who opened Upshur Street
the highest percentage of companies started through crowdBooks in Washington, D.C., in
funding. “In recent years, if an entrepreneur wanted to start a
2014 after raising $20,000 on
software company, he or she would probably be better off movKickstarter. “We need to step
ing to Silicon Valley or Boston,” says Steve Case, co-founder of
up our game and offer someAOL and head of Revolution Ventures. “That’s changing.”
thing that Amazon doesn’t in
order to survive.”
The mood on Main Street
Many economists point out that big businesses
have been getting even bigger, sucking up
resources and potential customers from their
smaller competitors. Existing companies opened
50 percent more locations in 2011 than they
did in 1978. Forty years ago, about 80 percent
of “new establishments” were startups, compared with about 60 percent today, according
to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. This
could cause problems for the economy down
the road. Small businesses have traditionally
been the country’s main job creators, accounting for more than 60 percent of net new jobs
in the private sector over the past two decades.
Small businesses:
Still the engine
But that’s changing. The number of new jobs
of job creation
created by companies less than one year old
peaked at 4.7 million jobs in 1999, during
the height of the dot-com boom, and fell to
3 million in 2015. “The bigger guys are creating a lot of jobs,” says
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “We’re not getting the same juice from smaller companies and startups.”
34 | THE WEEK September 29, 2017
34 Special Biz.indd 34
9/20/17 12:02 PM
The bottom line
■■The average cost of health
coverage offered by employers rose to $18,764 for a
family plan in 2017, a 3 percent increase over last year.
Employees paid $5,714 on
average, or 31 percent of the
premium. Costs for individual
workers grew to $6,690, up
4 percent, of which employees
paid 18 percent on average.
The Wall Street Journal
■■A Nov. 7 United flight from
San Francisco to Honolulu
will be the last flight of the
storied Boeing 747 jumbo jet
by a U.S. airline. Delta and
United were the last two U.S.
airlines to continue flying the
so-called Queen of the Skies.
747s have been gradually replaced by more efficient, twinengine jets. Delta’s final 747
flight took place this month.
■■Target will hire 100,000
temporary holiday workers in
2017, a marked increase from
the 70,000
it has hired
in each of
the past
four years.
Retailers are
planning an aggressive push
for holiday sales: Jobs site says there has
been a 34 percent increase in
seasonal job postings compared with last year.
■■Norway’s sovereign wealth
fund, the world’s largest, hit
$1 trillion in value this week
for the first time. The fund
was established more than
20 years ago to invest revenue arising from the country’s
oil extraction. Its current value
is roughly equal to Mexico’s
annual GDP.
■■Physicians are the highestpaid salaried employees in
the U.S., earning on average
$187,876 a year, according
to a report from job-search
platform Glassdoor. Second
are pharmacy managers, at
$149,064 a year, followed by
patent attorneys ($139,272)
and medical science liaisons
USA Today
The news at a glance
Retail: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy
Bankruptcy won’t be the end
One of the world’s largest
of this iconic store, “at least
toy-store chains has filed for
not if the makers of Barbie
Chapter 11, said Lillian Rizzo
and Transformers have their
and Suzanne Kapner in The Wall
way,” said Matthew Townsend
Street Journal. “Undone by a
and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon in
hefty debt load and the rapid shift Mattel and
to online shopping,” Toys R Us
Hasbro need Toys R Us to
declared bankruptcy this week,
survive in order to maintain
becoming the latest casualty of the
“whatever remaining leverage
pressures facing brick-and-mortar
Down, but not out
they have against the might of
retailers. The toy emporium,
Amazon.” These toy makers have been “propping
which operates 1,600 stores around the world
and has 64,000 employees, plans to keep most of up Toys R Us for years,” giving the chain exclusive
products during the holidays and promotions to
its locations operating as usual. Its main priority
is restructuring more than $5 billion in long-term help it compete, and will continue to do so. “There
is no toy business without Toys R Us,” said MGA
debt, which it has been laden with since privateEntertainment CEO Isaac Larian. “That’s the only
equity firms purchased the company in a leverplace where kids can go and just buy toys.”
aged buyout for $6 billion in 2005.
Economy: Federal Reserve to unwind its balance sheet
Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen announced this week that the
central bank is “ready to begin paring its enormous $4.5 trillion portfolio,” accumulated in the aftermath of the financial crisis, said Martin
Crutsinger in the Associated Press. Beginning next month, the Fed will
begin unloading Treasurys and mortgage bonds at the modest pace
of $10 billion each month. That figure will increase to $50 billion in
monthly reductions a year from now. These sales “are expected to exert
modest upward pressure on long-term interest rates, like mortgages.”
Food: Nestle secures Blue Bottle Coffee
Swiss food giant Nestle has acquired a controlling stake in the
specialty roaster Blue Bottle Coffee Co., said Edward Helmore in
The Guardian. The world’s biggest maker of packaged food paid
$425 million for a 68 percent stake in the high-end coffee chain,
which was founded 15 years ago in an Oakland garage and now has
41 locations in the U.S. and Japan. News of the sale “jolted the highly
caffeinated devotees of the chain’s specialist, single-origin coffee,”
many of whom have also lamented the recent sales of independent
coffee chains La Colombe and Stumptown to bigger companies.
Media: Rolling Stone goes on the block
Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner is selling his company’s controlling stake in the legendary music magazine, said Sydney Ember in
The New York Times. The sale comes as the iconic publication nears
its 50th anniversary. “Once a counterculture bible” and musical
tastemaker, Rolling Stone has been buffeted by the same publishing
trends, including declines in circulation and advertising, that have led
to the demise of other print titles. “A botched 2014 story about an
unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia also badly bruised
the magazine’s journalistic reputation.”
Tech: Google sued by female employees
Three women who used to work at Google have filed a lawsuit
against the search giant, accusing it of “underpaying them and denying them opportunities for promotions,” said Jacob Kastrenakes in The lawsuit claims Google “systematically” offers
lower compensation to female employees who are performing the
same roles as their male counterparts. The filers are seeking to make
the case a class action, representing all women who have worked at
Google since 2013. A Google spokesperson said the company “has
extensive systems in place to ensure we pay fairly.”
Crocs’ strategy:
Stay ugly
Crocs, “perhaps the
most polarizing shoe
of our time, is making a comeback,” said
Abha Bhattarai in The
Washington Post. After
falling out of favor just
as the recession hit, the
much-maligned foam
clogs “have come back
from the dead,” appearing on the feet of celebrities and in the pages
of Vogue. Executives
say the resurgence can
be traced to a return
to basics. Since 2013,
when private-equity
titan Blackstone Group
invested $200 million in
it, Crocs has shuttered
hundreds of stores and
jettisoned unpopular
styles, “shifting focus
back to its classic” clog
design. In particular,
the shoes are enjoying
a renaissance among
the high school and
college set, who have
rediscovered them
after wearing them
as children. “Whether
or not they’re actually
cool—well, that’s up for
debate,” said Cameron
Peebles, of Californiabased marketing firm
inMarket. “But our
data shows that they’re
popular again.”
AP, Newscom
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
36 biz news.indd 36
9/20/17 6:07 PM
Making money
Homeownership: Rebuilding after a disaster
as well as copies of all other corre“Natural disasters come and go in the
spondence and receipts. Independent
news, but the actual aftermath lingers
insurance experts known as public
long after the TV cameras go away,”
adjusters can help you navigate the
said Geoff Williams in
process, “albeit for a hefty fee.” In the
Hundreds of thousands of Americans on
state of New York, for instance, they
the Gulf Coast are now facing a long,
can charge as much as 12.5 percent
hard slog to recover financially from
of your settlement. “But some homehurricanes Harvey and Irma. And in
owners, particularly those with limited
the western U.S., devastating wildfires
time, view a public adjuster as an adthis summer also destroyed or damaged
vocate well worth the fee.”
hundreds of homes. If you’ve been affected by a natural disaster, “probably
In the aftermath of Harvey and Irma,
the first thing you’ll do after the dust
After the cleanup comes the paperwork.
the Internal Revenue Service is maksettles is contact your insurance company.” It may take some time for an adjuster to arrive if you live ing it easier for people living in disaster areas to pull cash out of
their 401(k) plans in the form of a loan or hardship withdrawal,
in a hard-hit area, but you can help your cause by documenting
said Russ Wiles in the Phoenix Arizona Republic. “However,
the destruction carefully. Lining up contractors in advance is a
the agency isn’t easing the associated tax bite, including penalgood idea, but “don’t pay for work before you have approval
ties, that can arise.” It’s almost always better to take out a loan
from your insurance company.”
against your plan rather than make an outright withdrawal.
“Tragedy’s hand might be unpredictable, but the road to recovery With a hardship withdrawal, you’ll still be on the hook for the
10 percent early withdrawal tax penalty if you’re younger than
is forged in the language of your homeowner insurance policy,”
said Ronda Kaysen in The New York Times. Unfortunately, navi- 59½ years old. “Tapping your accounts now puts you at risk of
being in worse financial shape in the future,” said Tobie Stanger
gating an insurance company’s bureaucracy can be hard enough
in Exhaust your other options first, inat the best of times. A 2014 survey by Consumer Reports found
that of the 6 percent of homeowners who filed claims for $30,000 cluding other investment accounts. One possibility: Homeowners
in federal disaster zones may borrow up to $200,000 in longor more, 41 percent reported complaints, including “disagreeterm, low-interest loans to repair or rebuild their home, plus
ments over damages or coverage, delays, or slow payouts.” To
$40,000 to replace lost personal property.
avoid disputes, keep detailed notes of all your conversations,
What the experts say
Airlines debut new fee
“There’s a new snag at the airport catching fliers by surprise: the gate-service fee,” said Scott
McCartney in The Wall Street Journal. The
new fee is being used by United and American
“to discourage travelers who buy their cheapest fare, Basic Economy, from bringing a carryon bag that doesn’t fit under the seat.” With
these cheap fares, passengers don’t have the
right to store their bags in an overhead bin. If
you try to bring anything that won’t fit under
your seat, either on purpose or because you
didn’t know about the restriction, you’ll have
to check it at the gate. That means you’ll have
to pay the standard baggage fee, usually $25
for your first checked bag, plus an additional
$25 penalty. Altogether, the fees could wipe
out the savings from buying a bargain fare.
Debit cards’ unearned trust
Don’t be so quick to whip out your debit card
in place of a credit card, said Natalie Daher
in “Here’s why: Most credit
cards offer $0 fraud liability, meaning you
won’t be out any money” if you’re a victim
of fraud or theft. Debit card users, however,
“may be liable for any lost money, depending
on when the fraud was reported.” Nevertheless, 66 percent of Americans say they’re more
Charity of the week
likely to trust debit cards than credit cards,
a mistake that could cost them. “A bad guy
who gets ahold of a debit card can access
real money from a real account,” said Matt
Schulz, a senior analyst at
“If you’re missing $500 for two days, it can
cause some real hardship if you have bills due
at that time.”
Plan to retire early
The best retirement plans take into account
the fact that you could end up leaving work
earlier than you expect, said Anne Tergesen
in The Wall Street Journal. While many
Americans say they want to keep working
past age 65, it’s not always up to them. “Between 37 percent and 52 percent of retirees
polled annually since 1991 by the Employee
Benefit Research Institute say they left work
before they had intended—often due to a
health issue or job loss.” Workers should have
an emergency fund of three to six months’
pay to help ease them into the transition to
retirement. Long-term disability insurance,
which typically covers about 60 percent of a
disabled employee’s salary, is also worth exploring. Many employers offer some form of
long-term disability. Individuals can also buy
it directly from an insurer.
Irma left a
devastating path of
Florida that cut electricity for millions
and destroyed more than a quarter of
the homes in the Keys. In response, the
region’s local food bank, Feeding South
Florida (, is working with the state’s emergency-response
authorities to make sure food, water,
and other disaster supplies are deployed
quickly in the areas of highest need.
Throughout the year, Feeding South
Florida rescues more than 44 million
pounds of food from going to waste and
distributes it to 400 partner organizations,
including shelters, food pantries, and
soup kitchens in Palm Beach, Monroe,
Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. The
charity also offers drop-in hours to provide administrative assistance to people
applying for food stamps, Medicaid, and
other social services.
Each charity we feature has earned a
four-star overall rating from Charity
Navigator, which rates not-for-profit
organizations on the strength of their
finances, their governance practices,
and the transparency of their operations.
Four stars is the group’s highest rating.
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
37 making money.indd 37
9/20/17 11:59 AM
Best columns: Business
Issue of the week: Washington turns on Silicon Valley
Farhad Manjoo
The New York Times
Why Tesla
is still
in business
Matthew DeBord
Equifax had “just one job,” and still dropped the
ball spectacularly, said Farhad Manjoo. As one of the
three main credit agencies, its “only purpose” is to
gather and protect millions of Americans’ most private financial data. Yet over the course of two months
this spring, hackers were able to penetrate Equifax’s
“spectral gauze of security” and walk away with
Social Security numbers, birthdates, and more for
143 million people. “So, Equifax, I have to ask: Now
that you have failed at your one job, why should you
be allowed to keep doing it?” If a bank lost everyone’s money, it would be shut down. If a bookkeeper
couldn’t keep track of profits and losses, he’d lose all
his clients. Yet “no one is really in a position to stop
Equifax from continuing to do business as usual.”
There’s no real mechanism in public policy, outside of
fines, to penalize a company that fails to protect our
data. Regulators won’t exact a more “existential punishment,” because Equifax is deemed too important
to the financial system. “But wait, it gets worse: You
also can’t prevent Equifax from getting any more of
your data.” It’s nearly impossible for consumers to
prevent their data from being shared with the firm,
and that’s not going to change. “Not every data hack
deserves a corporate death penalty,” but this is one
breach no company should get away with.
“It’s easy to overlook how unlikely Tesla’s success is,”
said Matthew DeBord. In the exceedingly competitive
auto industry, upstarts tend to be eliminated swiftly,
especially unprofitable ones like Tesla. Yet buoyed by
founder Elon Musk’s charisma and an increasingly
successful branding strategy, the company is thriving, with a $60 billion market cap and no shortage
of headlines. So why has Big Auto not leveraged its
financial and political clout “to beat back or eliminate” it? “The answer is simple: Tesla isn’t seen as a
threat.” The 500,000 advance orders for the Model 3
were impressive, but “Tesla’s Achilles’ heel is production.” Its well-documented manufacturing issues will
be a significant cap on its growth, and “a potentially
ruinous burden,” given its backlog of orders. That’s
not to say the auto industry does not widely admire
Tesla’s innovation; it compels them to improve their
own design and engineering. What’s more, Tesla is
“front-running” much of the risk on electric cars. Its
investors fund advances in electric technology, underwriting a kind of innovation lab the entire auto industry will eventually benefit from. GM, Ford, VW, and
Toyota don’t have “to spend a dime to have Tesla do
all the heavy lifting.” Considering that, “the auto industry would be crazy to get rid one of the best things
that’s ever happened to the business.”
always been vulnerable to criticism that
“Big tech is falling out of political favor,”
it’s a monopoly—it controls more than
said Eric Newcomer in
85 percent of the U.S. search market—
For years, Silicon Valley giants such as
but the episode suggested it prefers
Google, Facebook, and Amazon have
silencing critics to engaging them. Faceenjoyed a hands-off approach in Washingbook, meanwhile, appears headed for a
ton. Lawmakers have praised them as en“bruising encounter” with lawmakers
gines of economic growth and innovation,
over the Russia investigations, said Josh
and allowed them to operate largely unMarshall in
fettered. But amid growing concerns over
The social network has become a key
the companies’ size and influence, “the
focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s
tides are turning,” with Congress floating
probe, and recently revealed that fake
new proposals on transparency and priaccounts from Russia spent $100,000
vacy that could roil the industry. The critiFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
on ads during the 2016 election. To the
cisms are coming “from both the Left and
consternation of Congress, the company has been less than forththe Right,” said Nancy Scola in Democrats have
condemned Facebook for spreading “fake news,” while conserva- coming about how Facebook vetted those ads. Lawmakers intives have accused Google of “silencing right-leaning viewpoints.” creasingly appear eager to send a message that the social network
is “not God, not a government, not the law. It’s just a website.”
The attention is even creating “strange bedfellows”: Both Steve
Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and Sen. Bernie
Sanders have called for Google and Facebook to be regulated like Except it’s much more than that, said Franklin Foer in The Washington Post. Facebook and the other tech giants “have become
public utilities. In a town where liberals and conservatives agree
the most powerful gatekeepers the world has ever known,” filteron very little, everyone seems to agree that “the tech industry’s
ing our news, powering our social interactions, and remaking
power over American life has grown too vast and unchecked.”
our markets. Their currency is “a bottomless collection of data,”
“Tech is manifestly unready for this new era” of scrutiny, said Ben which they exploit to deepen their dominance. And their ambiSmith in The companies’ approach in Washington tions are mind-bogglingly grand: “They want to wake us in the
has been to “play small-ball politics,” fighting specific regulations morning, have their AI software guide us through our days, and
never quite leave our sides.” Policymakers have long treated Siliand coasting on their products’ popularity. Google has done this
con Valley “as a force beyond control”; we, too, as citizens, have
particularly well, but its “long, quiet game of gentle Washington
enjoyed these companies’ free products and next-day delivery
influence turned darkly thuggish” last month when a left-leaning
“with only a nagging sense that we may be surrendering somethink tank pushed out an anti-monopoly scholar after Google
thing important. Such blitheness can no longer be sustained.”
chairman Eric Schmidt complained about his work. Google has
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
38 business cols.indd 38
9/20/17 5:08 PM
The activist who fought for same-sex marriage
Edith Windsor was
still grieving the
2009 death of her
wife, Thea Spyer,
when she received a bill from the
IRS for $363,053 in estate taxes.
Spyer had left Windsor—her
wife of two years and partner for
more than 40—all of her assets.
But because the U.S. government
didn’t recognize same-sex marriage,
Windsor, then 79, wasn’t eligible
for the spousal exemption on estate
taxes. “If Thea was a Theo, I wouldn’t have had
to pay,” said Windsor. Furious, she decided to
sue the federal government for a refund. Her
lawsuit resulted in a momentous 2013 Supreme
Court ruling invalidating a section of the 1996
Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage
as a union between a man and a woman. And
two years later, the court declared gay marriage
a constitutional right. “To get married is a very
big deal,” Windsor said. “And it’s an even bigger
deal if you’ve been denied it.”
Born in Philadelphia to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Windsor “felt attracted to women from
a young age but feared revealing herself as
‘queer,’” said The Washington Post. She married a male friend of her brother’s after graduat-
ing from Temple University,
but they divorced within a
year. Windsor moved to New
York City, she said, “to let
myself be gay.” She joined
IBM as a computer programmer in 1958, and five years
later she met Spyer—a clinical
psychologist—at a gay-friendly
restaurant. They bonded over
a love of dancing, and soon
became an item. Inspired by
the 1969 Stonewall riots, the
couple “marched in gay pride parades, joined gay
and lesbian organizations, and lived openly as
lesbians,” said The New York Times. But “their
lives changed irrevocably” in 1977, when Spyer
was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As Spyer’s
body “slowly deteriorated with paralysis,”
Windsor became her full-time caregiver.
The couple married in Toronto in 2007, “when
they realized they might not be alive” by the time
New York state legalized gay marriage, said the
Associated Press. Spyer died two years later, leaving Windsor so distraught she suffered “an attack
of stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken
heart syndrome.” The 2013 Supreme Court decision would ease her grief. “If I had to survive
Thea,” she said, “what a glorious way to do it.”
James Estrin/The New York Times/Redux, Avco Embassy/Everett Collection
The supporting actor who stole every scene
Harry Dean Harry Dean
Stanton was
the consum1926–2017
mate character
actor. With a hangdog visage,
down-home voice, and shambling style, Stanton spent some
30 years in supporting roles in
movies and TV, playing losers,
outcasts, eccentrics, and twobit crooks. He was a guitarstrumming convict in 1967’s
Cool Hand Luke, an FBI agent
in 1974’s The Godfather: Part II, and a doomed,
downtrodden spaceship engineer in 1979’s Alien.
Stanton’s ability to craft textured performances
from just a few lines of dialogue made him a
cinephile favorite. But he didn’t become a genuine
star until his late 50s, when he landed his first
leading role, in 1984’s Paris, Texas, winning critical acclaim for his nearly wordless portrayal of
a loner looking for his place in the world. “After
all these years, I finally got the part I wanted,”
Stanton said at the time. “If I never did another
film after Paris, Texas, I’d be happy.”
Born in the small town of West Irvine, Ky.,
Stanton headed west to study acting after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, said
the Los Angeles Times. The young actor toiled
in obscurity through the late
1950s and 1960s, taking small
roles in TV Westerns such
as Bonanza, Rawhide, and
Gunsmoke, as well as in films,
including How the West Was
Won. But “as Hollywood’s
auteur-driven era of the 1970s
took hold,” Stanton’s talent
for playing world-weary antiheroes began to attract notice,
with critic Roger Ebert observing that no movie featuring
Stanton in a supporting role could be “altogether
bad.” His cult status was confirmed in 1984,
said The Times (U.K.), when Paris, Texas won
the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and
Stanton starred in the bizarre and beloved sci-fi
movie Repo Man. “He was the subject of Debbie
Harry’s 1989 hit ‘I Want That Man,’ which
began, ‘I want to dance with Harry Dean...’”
“Stanton remained busy to the end,” said The
New York Times. He was praised for his turn
as a corrupt polygamist in the HBO drama Big
Love, had small roles in the 2012 movies The
Avengers and Seven Psychopaths, and this year
appeared in a few episodes of Twin Peaks: The
Return. “To put it mildly,” he once said of his
acting career, “I was just a very late bloomer.”
The Soviet officer
who averted a
nuclear war
In the early hours of Sept. 26,
1983, Soviet missile defense
officer Stanislav Petrov
was on duty in a bunker
near Moscow when alarm
bells started
Stanislav to sound.
warned Lieut.
Col. Petrov
that five nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles
had been launched from
an American base toward
the U.S.S.R. He now had a
choice: Alert his superiors,
who would likely order an
immediate retaliatory nuclear
strike, or sit tight and hope it
was a false alarm. Doubting
the reliability of the antimissile system, and reasoning that a genuine U.S. attack
would involve far more than
five missiles, Petrov opted to
do nothing. It was the right
call. He later discovered that
a Soviet early-warning satellite had mistaken the sun’s
reflection off the top of some
clouds for a missile launch.
“We are wiser than computers,” Petrov said in 2010. “We
created them.”
Born on an air base north
of Vladivostok, Petrov was
advised by his father—
a fighter pilot in World
War II—to “never fly,” said
The Washington Post. Instead,
he studied long-distance
radar systems after joining
the Soviet Air Defense Forces,
and rose quickly through the
ranks. Following the false
alarm, a military investigation
“chastised and eventually
reassigned Petrov,” blasting
him for not keeping a detailed
log during the incident. “His
hands were full, he said.”
Petrov’s story “did not
become widely known” until
his former superior published
his memoirs in 1998, said The
Guardian (U.K.). He subsequently received honors from
peace organizations around
the world, and became the
subject of a 2013 documentary, The Man Who Saved the
World. But Petrov dismissed
those who called him a hero,
saying he was simply “in the
right place at the right time.”
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
39 obits.indd 39
9/20/17 1:10 PM
The last word
The enduring power of mug shots
Americans love to gawk at mug shots, whether they’re of a fallen celebrity or a tattooed drug addict,
said journalist Tim Stelloh. But in the digital age, these booking photos can haunt those pictured for years.
Last year, a panel of
federal appeals judges
weighed in on the
whole internet-fueled
enterprise, denying a
newspaper’s request
for U.S. Marshals’
booking photos.
rainy morning
last January,
Matthew Medlin hopped
a freight car in downtown Portland, Ore., and
headed north. When he
arrived at a train yard a
few miles away, he felt
something he said he
often feels—a kind of
magnetism that he’s come
to think of as a supernatural force.
“Mug shots now
present an acute
problem in the digital
age,” wrote the 6th
U.S. Circuit Court of
Matthew Medlin’s mug shots over the years showed the toll that drug use took on his face.
Appeals’ chief judge,
Medlin is 33 and, when
R. Guy Cole Jr. “These images preserve the
the booking photo itself: They’re public
he’s not behind bars, homeless. He has
indignity of a deprivation of liberty, often at
documents. But there’s a more complicated
dagger-like stripes tattooed above his eyes
the (literal) expense of the most vulnerable
and four dots below them—symbols of what answer, too, since the U.S., paradoxically,
among us.”
he described as his belief in lycanthropy, the professes a belief in blind justice while
T WASN’T ALWAYS this way. What began
eagerly distributing photos of its accused.
mythical transformation of humans into
more than 150 years ago with “wanted”
wolves. He’s been a habitual methamphetposters and rogues’ galleries had, by the
England or Canada don’t collect photoamine user for years. He’s schizophrenic.
last decade of the 19th century, evolved: In
graphs of the people they’ve arrested; they
In Medlin’s telling, that something in the
Paris, the records clerk turned pioneering
just release them only when there’s an
railroad yard was a person in danger. What important reason to. There’s a jailbreak,
criminologist Alphonse Bertillon developed
followed, however, was not a rescue effort,
the modern booking photograph—one fronsay. Or a murderer on the loose. As Eddie
but a five-hour standoff with police in
tal shot, one profile—and in the U.S., the
Townsend, spokesman for the City of
which Medlin exhibited all manner of disargument for mass distribution came from
London Police, put it, “It goes back to the
tressing behaviors, according to court docu- principle of innocent until proven guilty.”
one of the country’s most celebrated inspecments: He tinkered with the brake system
tors, the New York Police Department’s
This strange cultural idiosyncrasy can be
on a liquid propane car. He injected himThomas Byrnes. In Byrnes’ seminal 1886
traced back more than a century, to when
self with methamphetamines. He pleaded
collection of 204 images, Professional
the photograph was among the lawman’s
with police to shoot him. He appeared to
Criminals of America, he described the
most sophisticated criminal identification
threaten them with shards of scrap metal.
practice as crime prevention par excellence,
tools. But over the decades, the booking
a system where there weren’t just a few sets
The confrontation, which ended when
photo evolved into something quite differof eyes surveilling a new class of elusive
one of the officers tasered Medlin, was an
ent. Now the images are available from an
criminal, but thousands.
unusual one that no doubt would have
expansive roster of mug shot purveyors—
made local news. But Medlin’s story quickly everyone from crime-fighting social media
With the emergence of crime-and-celebrityspiraled across national and international
driven media, the mug shot became a staple
groups to privately run, online databases
media for a single reason: the series of mug
of American culture. It could distill a historic
that, in some cases, have been described as
shots he’d collected over the years proved
moment like the arrest of O.J. Simpson,
extortion operations: They post booking
irresistible. They portrayed a tragic, intensely photographs online, then charge exorbitant said Jonathan Finn, a professor of commuvisual parable. As the U.K. Sun put it,
nications at Wilfrid Laurier University and
fees to remove them.
“Shocking mug shots reveal how methamauthor of Capturing the Criminal Image:
The result is a ubiquitous, frame-by-frame
phetamine and a life of crime ruined young
From Mug Shot to Surveillance Society.
reality show depicting alleged crime and
man’s model good looks.”
“There are thousands and thousands of mug
justice and starring the petty thief and the
shots,” he said. “But O.J. is O.J.”
In the burst of coverage that followed,
celebrity cokehead, the wrongly accused
there were scant details about Medlin’s
Then the internet happened. Sheriff’s offices
killer and the mentally ill drug addict.
backstory—not who he was, where he came Free expungement clinics help the more
in large and tiny counties alike now post
from, or that he denied much of what was
mug shots to slick, constantly updated
desperate among them scrub their criminal
contained in the court documents. Tiger
websites. Under its notorious former sheriff,
records, while firms like EraseMugShots
Woods—whose eyes-at-half-mast mug went .com offer “removal” services for a fee.
Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County even held a
viral after he was arrested in Florida this
contest in which visitors voted on a mug
Lawyers in Illinois, Florida, and beyond
summer for driving under the influence—
shot of the day.
have taken their grievances to court, and
can probably sympathize.
lawmakers in more than a dozen states
Local TV affiliates offer them in slideshows,
But why did we see these images in the first have tried reeling in the more pernicious
while lets readers tag and
place? The simple answer is as routine as
practices of some mug shot entrepreneurs,
comment on them. shuffles
Alex Tatusian/The Marshall Project
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
40-41 last word.indd 40
9/20/17 11:58 AM
The last word
them through a smartphone app, and assembles them into
all manner of categories that include “cleavage,” “fogeys,” and “B-List.”
Even the Tampa Bay Times, which prominently displays its Pulitzer Prize tally (12),
compiles them alongside a list of physical attributes: gender, height, weight. The
images vanish after 60 days from a section
that clocks nearly 1 million views a month,
said the paper’s editor, Neil Brown. While
he put the site’s news value at the “lowest
possible level,” he said that such eyeballgrabbing schemes aren’t unusual. “The slippery slope of being a purist is that there’s
all kinds of stuff on news sites all over the
country that is there for the interest of the
audience,” he said. “I don’t think sanctimony over it is entirely well placed—though
I don’t begrudge anyone their sanctimony.”
Why are people so obsessed with these
photos? Rutgers sociologist Sarah Esther
Lageson, who has been studying the explosion of digital mug shots for nearly a decade,
said that they offer a view not just into the
darker recesses of someone’s life, but into an
essential government process that many of
us never see or experience. It’s also a public
act of shaming, she said: “It helps us draw a
line around what’s acceptable.”
To Trevor Whipple, the police chief in South
Burlington, Vt., the mug shot was a powerful means of transparency—at least, that’s
what he thought when his department began
posting them to its Facebook page a few
years ago. As he put it, “Who are we arresting? Profiling is a significant concern. This
is: We’ll let you see everyone” in custody.
Then came the angry phone calls from
people who’d been arrested and then
cleared or had their charges expunged.
In one case, Whipple said, a mother
called about her 19-year-old daughter,
whose DWI arrest had produced a tearand-mascara-streaked image that was
being repeatedly reposted. “She said, ‘My
daughter—this was the low point of her
life, but people keep going to her mug shot
on your Facebook,’” he recalled.
All of this gave Whipple pause. How, he
thought, will these images affect someone
who shouldn’t have been arrested in the
first place? In the end, he said, it was the
comments that did it. “We saw people
playing off personal characteristics—‘He
doesn’t look smart. He looks like a doofus,’”
Whipple recalled. “I thought, ‘Have we run
out the usefulness of this? I don’t want to
have people humiliated.’” On July 4, 2015,
after a roughly yearlong experiment in
social media transparency, Whipple posted
a note on his department’s Facebook page
declaring it dead.
misplaced. Lageson interviewed
27 people at Minnesota expungement clinics over two years beginning in
2014 and found that people had been fired
and rejected from jobs—or scared to even
apply in the first place. One woman had
been unable to find decent housing; another
was kicked out of her church. The photos
were decades old, in some cases, and the
people pictured in them had no idea they
were online until they “popped up,” as
Lageson recalled many of them saying.
Bertillon: Developed the modern booking photo
Most of the people Lageson interviewed
didn’t bother contacting the sites that were
publishing their images. They had been too
overwhelmed or confused about whom to
contact; some thought it wouldn’t do any
good. Consider, for instance,
which describes itself as a “search engine for
Official Law Enforcement Records”—a mission it says is protected by an assortment of
federal and state laws and two constitutional
Not everyone has been chastened by this
seemingly impenetrable legal defense. In
Illinois, three men seeking class-action status
filed a suit last year describing the site as
an extortion racket that deliberately and
routinely published inaccurate information for a single purpose: to drive people
to a prominently advertised “sister” site——where, for removal
services, they spent anywhere from $399
(for a single arrest) to $1,799 (for five).
“They were deliberately trying to use this
information as a cudgel to beat people with
because they are desperate enough to pay
that kind of money,” said Stuart Clarke,
one of the lawyers who filed the suit.
A lawyer for, David
Ferrucci, denied this, insisting in an interview that the site is as much a crime blog
as anything else. As evidence, he pointed
to aggregated posts on its homepage about
accused sexual predators and murderers,
and compared it to the Chicago Tribune’s
“mugs in the news.”
Besides, Ferrucci added, shouldn’t the focus
be on the draconian elements of our justice
system—and not the pictures of the people
it locks up? “Instead of shooting the messenger, the purveyor of the public records,
maybe we should lessen the impact of the
prison industrial complex,” he said. “That’s
really the tragedy here—how easy it is to
get arrested.”
Lawyers like Ferrucci and sites like aren’t the only ones fighting
for continued, broad access to booking photos. Journalists are, too. In 2013, the Detroit
Free Press sued the Justice Department after
it refused to release mug shots of four police
officers accused of corruption.
Dozens of news organizations and press
advocacy groups backed up the newspaper
in court, including the Reporters Committee
for Freedom of the Press. A lawyer there,
Adam Marshall, defended the mug shot
as a memorialization of one of the most
important processes of the criminal justice
system: the arrest. “There are a whole
bunch of details the photo can give us,” he
said. What if the police arrested the wrong
person? What if the officer assaulted that
person? “The public expects information
from the government about what they’re
doing,” Marshall said. “The photo provides the public with that information in a
way that a name doesn’t.”
the drab
interview room of Multnomah
County’s downtown jail, Matthew
Medlin wasn’t sure what to think about
how his mug shots had turned him into
a grim kind of celebrity. He viewed the
images, in part, in those terms—“It’s kinda
cool that I’m being glorified a little bit,”
he said—though he hoped their impact
wouldn’t stop there. “If there’s a reason or
a chance that this can actually benefit me,
or people like me,” he said, then “maybe
somewhere down the road it’ll help us get
the help that we need.”
That remains to be seen, but Medlin
seemed hopeful about his prospects. For
the first time in his life, he had been moved
from a jail cell to Oregon’s main psychiatric
hospital in the state capital, Salem, where
he was signing up for classes on, among
other things, how to deal with cognitive
mental illness and how to defend himself in
court. “It’s just a good rehabilitation vibe,”
he said. “It’s well needed, I think.”
Excerpted from an article originally published by The Marshall Project. Reprinted
with permission.
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
40-41 last word.indd 41
9/20/17 11:58 AM
The Puzzle Page
Crossword No. 425: Soleil et Lune by Matt Gaffney
1 Four-letter French
word relevant to this
puzzle’s theme (see
also 68-Across)
5 Devices that were
notoriously difficult to
9 “Fire and Ice” poet
14 Regarding
15 ___ history
16 Wandered far and
17 Prefix with bucks
18 Desert that makes
up much of northern
19 Portents
20 Part 1 of the reason
why French should be
the official language of
the autumnal equinox
on Sept. 22, rather
than English, Spanish,
German, or Italian
23 Very, to be chic
about it
24 Part of, as a plot
25 Mango ___ (drink at an
Indian restaurant)
28 Beethoven’s birth city
30 Rocker Rundgren
34 A mean Amin
35 Boondoggle
37 Magazine boss
39 Part 2 of reason
42 Cut down
43 Feds
44 Fish the Basques sauté
in olive oil
45 Currency in
46 Not very much at all,
as of mustard
48 Adorkable, say
50 Zippo
52 Eagerly anticipating
54 Part 3 of reason
59 Inundated
60 High point
61 It may have a tongue
63 Less desirable
64 Long journey
65 “I shouldn’t have done
66 Sports awards
67 Possessed by you
and me
68 Four-letter French
word relevant to this
puzzle’s theme (see
also 1-Across)
1 Beam in a glass
2 First-floor apartment
3 Implore
4 Laughs or gasps, say
5 Elle rival
6 Part of a soccer goal
7 Broccoli ___
8 Made it under the
catcher’s tag, maybe
9 Summer treat,
10 Like some weekend
11 Self-cleaning device
12 Dispatch
13 They precede
extra pts.
21 Record label founded
by Clive Davis
THE WEEK September 29, 2017
42 puzzle.indd 42
The Week Contest
22 Wing of a building, in
the British spelling
25 Lucky ___ (Spirit of
St. Louis pilot, in
26 Dramatic “goodbye”
27 One of three letters in
29 Sixth letter after
31 Shellfish-eating animal
32 Apportioned (out)
33 One way to deliver a
cutting remark
36 New Brunswick’s
38 Yoplait competitor
40 Cognac since 1765
41 Funeral home
47 U.S. senator
representing New York,
49 Encourages to
51 Bonfire residue
53 Freaks and ___ (NBC
sitcom, 1999–2000)
54 Yahtzee category
55 It often has 47 strings
56 Tan shade
57 You, old-style
58 Arizona tribe
59 Wonder
62 More than -er
This week’s question: London sewer workers are using
high-powered jet hoses to break up a giant “fatberg”—
a 250-yard-long, 130-ton mass of congealed cooking oil,
used diapers, wet wipes, and other flushed refuse that
is blocking a major sewer pipe. If Hollywood filmmakers
were to make a movie documenting these workers’
heroic efforts, what could they call it?
Last week’s contest: A man in New Zealand who reported
his car stolen had to be told by police that he had actually sold the vehicle to a stranger the previous day while
drunk, so he could buy more drinks. Please supply an
appropriate tabloid headline for this embarrassing incident.
THE WINNER: Boozed Car Salesman
Keith Twitchell, New Orleans
SECOND PLACE: Give Me One for the Roadster
Jeff Holmes, St. Paul, Minn.
THIRD PLACE: Grand Theft Blotto
Amy Heesacker, Athens, Ga.
For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go
How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to Please include your name,
address, and daytime telephone number for verification; this week, type “Sewer film” in the subject line.
Entries are due by noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Winners will appear on the Puzzle Page
next issue and at
on Friday, Sept. 29. In the case of identical or similar entries, the first one
received gets credit.
t 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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