Index — January 20, 2017, 2:09 pm

Cabinet of Curiosities

A numerical investigation of Donald Trump’s appointees

Number of years education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos spent on the board of the right-wing Acton Institute think tank : 10

Date on which the Acton Institute published a blog post titled “Bring Back Child Labor” : 11/3/2016

Number of years for which DeVos’s former school-choice advocacy group has owed election fines : 8

Amount they currently owe : $5,300,000

Value of a donation that presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s father pledged to Harvard, where Kushner later received a B.A. : $2,500,000

Of a donation pledged to New York University, where Kushner later received a J.D. and an M.B.A. : $3,000,000

Estimated value of the retirement package given to Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson from ExxonMobil : $180,000,000

Amount of a payment error for which Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnunchin’s bank once moved to foreclose on a home : $0.27

Age of the homeowner : 90

Estimated portion of the bank’s California foreclosures that occurred in primarily non-white communities : 7/10

Number of times that Mnunchin’s official Republican Party biography mentions Goldman Sachs, where he worked for 17 years : 0

Distance in miles between the home of Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary nominee, and Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort : 1.2

Number of cabinet-level appointees who are billionaires : 3

Who are millionaires : 12

Who are former generals : 2

Date on which defense secretary nominee James “Mad Dog” Mattis publicly proclaimed it is “fun to shoot some people” : 2/1/2005

Number of Americans who homeland security nominee John Kelly said died from “narcoterrorism” between 2001 and 2014 : 500,000

Who actually died from all forms of terrorism during that period : 3,084

Estimated attendance at a 2007 prayer vigil for drought relief convened by Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary nominee : 250

Number of times that proposed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt sued the EPA as attorney general of Oklahoma : 14

Percentage score that the League of Conservation Voters gives Ryan Zinke, the nominee for secretary of the interior : 3

That Planned Parenthood gives Tom Price, the nominee for secretary of health and human services : 0

That the American Civil Liberties Union gives Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general : 0

Date on which Jeff Sessions promised to “vigorously” prosecute adult obscenity laws : 1/10/16

Number of pornographic films in which Donald Trump has appeared : 2

Number of weeks that energy secretary nominee Rick Perry spent on Dancing With the Stars before being eliminated : 3

Percentage of the Energy Department’s budget that goes toward nuclear security : 65

Date of a presidential primary debate at which Perry expressed his desire to eliminate the Energy Department : 11/9/2011

Portion of cabinet nominees who have no public-sector experience : 3/8

Who have expressed a fondness for the novels of Ayn Rand : 1/8

Number of cabinet-level nominees Trump personally attacked during the presidential campaign : 3

Percentage of critical government positions requiring Senate confirmation for which Trump has announced nominees : 4

Length, in hours, of a concert performed by Bruce Springsteen for Obama’s departing staffers : 2

Date on which the B Street Band, a Springsteen tribute group, announced that they would no longer be performing at an inaugural ball : 1/16/2017

Time on Inauguration Day at which Donald Trump was officially sworn in as president of the United States : 12:00

At which the head of the D.C. National Guard was forced to resign : 12:01

Number of inauguration parades at which Charlie Brotman served as announcer before being dismissed by the Trump campaign : 16

Minimum number of U.S. representatives who boycotted the inauguration : 67

Number of buses that applied for parking permits for the Inauguration Day ceremony : 447

For the Women’s March on Washington : 2,066

Number of protests taking place worldwide in solidarity with the Women’s March : 616

Single Page

More from Matthew Sherrill:

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White nationalists celebrate Trump’s election, and Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote margin of victory climbs to 1.7 million.

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No one would talk to me for this piece. Or rather, more than twenty women talked to me, sometimes for hours at a time, but only after I promised to leave out their names, and give them what I began to call deep anonymity. This was strange, because what they were saying did not always seem that extreme. Yet here in my living room, at coffee shops, in my inbox and on my voicemail, were otherwise outspoken female novelists, editors, writers, real estate agents, professors, and journalists of various ages so afraid of appearing politically insensitive that they wouldn’t put their names to their thoughts, and I couldn’t blame them. 

Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original? 

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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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After losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, seniors Barb and Chuck find seasonal employment at Amazon fulfillment centers.

Amount one Colorado county spent in January 2016 to arm school security with assault rifles:


A rabbit brain was frozen and thawed without destroying its memories.

The shooter discarded his AR-15 semiautomatic weapon, the model used in six of America’s ten deadliest mass shootings and referred to by the NRA as “America’s rifle,” and then fled to a nearby Walmart, where customers can buy rifles but cannot purchase music with lyrics that contain the word “fuck.”

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Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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