Weekly Review — March 16, 2017, 2:17 pm

Weekly Review

South Korea’s president is removed from office, Kellyanne Conway suggests that Barack Obama could have spied on Donald Trump using “microwaves that turned into cameras,” and a lake in Australia turns pink.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

The Constitutional Court of South Korea voted unanimously to remove President Park Geun-hye from office, stripping her of immunity from bribery and extortion charges.[1] Thousands of people took to the streets outside the courthouse to hear the decision, and three people were killed after protesters attacked police with flagpoles and ladders. “Sorry,” said Park.[2][3][4] In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy and the Democrats proposed calling the legislation the Republican Pay More for Less Care Act.[5][6] “It’s not about branding,” said White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, defending the administration’s reported desire not to name the act after Donald Trump, whose name has appeared on lamps, wine, steaks, mattresses, ties, perfumes, bottles of water, and a multilevel-marketing company that claimed to tailor vitamin regimens to customers’ health needs based on samples of their urine. [7] It was reported that Trump had spent 22.8 percent of his time since taking office in Florida, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari re-emerged after disappearing for seven weeks while on holiday in England, and Brazilian president Michel Temer said ghosts forced him to move out of the 75,000-square-foot presidential palace. “Bad vibes,” he said.[8][9][10]

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked a revised executive order signed by Trump temporarily banning new refugees and immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, and Trump requested that 46 U.S. attorneys hand in letters of resignation.[11][12][13] WikiLeaks published 8,761 leaked CIA documents revealing that the agency had developed tools to hack into phones and cars, and to listen to citizens through their TVs while the devices appeared to be switched off; and Conway said that former president Barack Obama could have spied on Trump through “microwaves that turned into cameras.”[14][15][16] On International Women’s Day, schools were closed in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia because teachers requested the day off en masse, dozens of nurseries and children’s centers closed in Australia after women went home early to protest the gender wage gap, and Trump, who has referred to women as “dogs,” “big fat pigs,” and “pieces of ass,” tweeted that he had “tremendous respect” for women.[17][18] It was announced that women visiting prison inmates in Maine would no longer have to remove their bras before entering.[19]

Algae turned a lake in Melbourne, Australia, hot pink; people who ate Peeps-flavored Oreos reported their mouths, tongues, and excrement had turned pink; and officials told residents of a small town in Canada that their tap water, which was contaminated with hot-pink potassium permanganate, was safe for consumption. “They assured me that everything was very good,” said one resident. “It wasn’t going to turn me into Spider-Man.”[20][21][22] A five-foot-long shark’s carcass was found in a shopping cart in a Walmart parking lot in Florida.[23] Legislation was introduced in Maine to require that dogs wear seatbelts, and a team of sled dogs in Alaska reached a checkpoint on the Iditarod race without their musher, who had gone to sleep and fallen out of his sled and arrived an hour later.[24][25] Scientists announced that there is a variety of potato capable of growing on Mars, that music makes curry taste spicier, and that the Mona Lisa is smiling.[26][27][28] An Ohio couple was arrested for faking the wife’s murder in a bathtub using ketchup and texting photos to their friends, and it was reported that a funeral home in Memphis, Tennessee, was offering drive-through viewings of the deceased.[29][30] In Mexico, the town of Tultepec honored 31 people who died in a recent explosion at a fireworks factory by putting on a fireworks show. “Fireworks,” said one resident, “is what we do.”[31][32]

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More from Sharon J. Riley:

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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