Weekly Review — February 24, 2017, 1:32 pm

Weekly Review

Kim Jong-un’s half-brother is killed in an airport, a famine is declared in South Sudan, and a vice admiral compares a job in the White House to a “shit sandwich”

HarpersMagazine-1853-12-bootsIn the Sindh province of Pakistan, a suicide bomber aligned with the Islamic State walked into a crowd of worshippers dancing at a Sufi shrine, threw a hand grenade, and then blew himself up, killing at least 72 people.[1] In Iraq, an Islamic State militant bombed a Baghdad car dealership, killing more than 55 people; and the Iraqi Air Force dropped leaflets in western Mosul alerting civilians of its ground offensive to reclaim the land captured by the Islamic State.[2][3] U.S. president Donald Trump suggested to a rally of supporters in Florida that terrorists had carried out an attack in Sweden the previous night. “Sweden, who would believe this?” said Trump of the attack, which did not occur.[4][5] Trump tweeted that “the FAKE NEWS media” was the “enemy of the American people,” the Kremlin reportedly ordered Russian state media to reduce its flattering coverage of Trump, and a Canadian news site published its tally of 80 false claims made by the president during his first month in office.[6][7][8] Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, who was Trump’s first choice for secretary of labor, withdrew himself from consideration after a video surfaced of his ex-wife accusing him of domestic abuse; and Trump nominated as Puzder’s replacement R. Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. attorney in Miami who was criticized for not pressing federal charges against Jeffery Epstein, a billionaire and former Trump associate who was accused of having sex with dozens of underage girls and who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.[9][10][11][12] The White House announced Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as its second nominee for national-security adviser, after Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former adviser, was asked to resign and Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down the job, allegedly calling it a “shit sandwich.”[13][14]

The United Nations and the Sudanese government declared a famine in South Sudan.[15] Congolese human-rights activists published a video of soldiers who appear to be members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national army firing rifles at unarmed civilians, and two people in Chicago were shot and killed during a Facebook Live stream.[16][17] An Indonesian woman arrested for her suspected involvement in the killing of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother told Malaysian authorities that she was tricked into thinking the killing was a part of a comedy television show.[18] India launched a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit on a single mission, and an astrophysicist rediscovered an 11-page essay by Winston Churchill in which the British statesman writes that he believes in extraterrestrial life.[19][20] Researchers published a paper arguing they had identified an eighth continent named Zealandia that is mostly submerged in the southwest Pacific, and a chunk of ice ten times the size of Manhattan broke off one of Antarctica’s glaciers.[21][22]

It was reported that education secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother, the founder of a private military company whose employees were convicted of killing 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007, would be providing China with military training.[23] Japanese interpreters said they struggled with translating Trump’s speeches because of his habit of mentioning proper nouns out of context.[24] A psychiatrist wrote a letter to the New York Times explaining that Trump does not suffer from a mental disorder, the White House issued a statement explaining that Trump did not yell at the director of the CIA, and the White House press secretary referred to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau as “Joe Trudeau.”[25][26][27] Trump held a press conference in which he stated that his administration was “a fine-tuned machine” with “zero chaos,” referred to himself as the “least anti-Semitic” and “least racist” person, and asked a black reporter to set up a meeting between himself and the Congressional Black Caucus. “Are they friends of yours?” Trump asked the reporter.[28]

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Weekly Review March 24, 2017, 12:26 pm

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

$12,000

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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"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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