Weekly Review — March 28, 2017, 5:30 pm

Weekly Review

Paul Ryan fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump goes golfing for the thirteenth time as president of the United States, and rivers in India and New Zealand are granted full human rights

WeeklyReviewAvatar-Sherrill-WPSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump decided to pull from consideration their legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act because of a lack of support among Congressional Republicans, and pre-ordered advertisements then ran during several NCAA March Madness games to encourage constituents to thank Republicans for passing the bill and “keeping their promise.”[1][2][3] The Senate held confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, during which Senator Jeff Flake asked him whether he would prefer to fight a hundred duck-size horses or a single horse-size duck, Senator Ben Sasse praised the strength of Gorsuch’s bladder, Senator Ted Cruz quoted from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Senator Chuck Grassley announced he would leave early so he could be in bed by 9 p.m.[4][5][6][7] FBI director James Comey affirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that he hates the New England Patriots; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promoted The Lego Batman Movie, of which he was an executive producer; and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a reporter he “didn’t want this job.”[8][9][10][11] Trump visited a golf course for the thirteenth time since his inauguration.[12]

A Russian anticorruption advocate and lawyer fell from his fourth-story window, which police said was an accident that occurred while movers were installing his bathtub; and a Russian defector and opposition figure, who three days earlier had told reporters he could return to Russia only “when Putin is gone,” was shot to death on a street in Kiev. [13][14] Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in more than 100 Russian cities in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose flesh was recently turned green by antiseptic thrown in his face.[15][16] The Hungarian government considered a proposal to prohibit Heineken’s red-star logo out of concerns that it promotes Communism.[17] Toronto’s public schools announced their students would no longer take field trips into the United States for fear of them being denied entry, and Canada banned the use of cardboard cutouts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at government-sponsored events in the United States.[18][19] A Jewish Israeli teenager with an inoperable brain tumor was arrested in connection with death threats made against U.S. Jewish community centers, and a dozen youths walked into the Auschwitz concentration camp, killed a sheep, took off their clothes, and lashed themselves together under the front gate.[20][21]

U.S. customs officials seized a shipment of 40,000 fake condoms being sent to Puerto Rico, a sixth-grader in Wisconsin selling a toy called Water Snake Wigglies was accused by her principal of selling dildos, and an Ontario doctor accused of having rubbed his penis on female patients claimed that his abdominal fat would have prevented him from doing so.[22][23][24] A hundred and four people were arrested for prostitution in Polk County, Florida, as part of Operation March Sadness; state representatives in Texas introduced legislation to allow paramedics and firefighters, including volunteers, to carry guns; and a megachurch in Alabama lobbied the state house for permission to create its own police force.[25][26][27] The Indian government reassured its citizens that it has no plans to brew beer on the moon, and a 17-year-old U.K. student alerted NASA to false data being recorded on the radiation sensors on the International Space Station.[28][29] Researchers found that two thirds of cancer-causing cell mutations occur because of “bad luck.”[30] Rivers in India and New Zealand were granted full human rights, and zoo officials in the Czech Republic sawed the horns off 21 rhinoceroses to discourage poaching. “A dehorned rhino is definitely a better option than a dead rhino,” said one.[31][32][33] In the Scottish West Highlands, ten reality-show contestants emerged from the wilderness where they had been living for a year to find that the program had been taken off the air in August.[34]

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When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

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H

e is a nondescript man.

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Yawn, I thought, but said, Tell me more.

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