Weekly Review — October 13, 2017, 6:24 pm

Weekly Review

Executive disorder

Congressional Republicans reportedly said that US president Donald Trump was “nuts,” “unfit,” and “dangerous,” and that they were “praying” Trump didn’t “do something really, really stupid” before they reformed the tax code and then removed him from office; the Republican speaker of the House told Congress that they may need to work “till Christmas” to pass tax-reform legislation as soon as possible; and Trump complained about department stores using red decorations but not making their employees say “Merry Christmas” to customers. “America is a nation,” said Trump, “sustained by the power of prayer.”[1][2][3] Trump announced that his administration was “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values”; and then signed an executive order to stop subsidizing the cost of health insurance for poor people, which he said he was “only signing” because “it costs” him nothing.[4][5][6] Trump declared flashlights obsolete as he handed them out to Puerto Ricans, 90 percent of whom had no electricity in their homes; and tweeted that he wouldn’t keep providing federal hurricane relief “forever” to Puerto Rico, a US territory that the secretary of energy referred to as a “country.”[7][8][9] Vice President Mike Pence attended a football game in Indiana, where he responded to NFL players not standing for the national anthem to protest police killings of black men and women by leaving the game in protest; Trump tweeted that the players were disrespecting the American flag; and Trump remained seated during a flag-honoring ceremony at the base of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, where he did not put his hand on his heart and then asked if the bugle was playing for him or for his companion, a talk-show host whose ratings he then complimented.[10][11][12][13] Trump said that the Keystone XL pipeline, which he approved two months into his administration and which is still not under construction, was approved by him “within twenty-four hours” and was currently under construction; that Obama was responsible for the formation of the Islamic State, which formed two years before Obama took office; that a journalist “set up” Republican senator Bob Corker by secretly recording their conversation, which captured Corker asking the journalist to record him; and that Chief of Staff John Kelly “loves” his job “more than anything he’s ever done.” “It is not the best job I ever had,” said Kelly.[14] [15][16][17][18][19] A reporter asked Trump about a lunch the president was said to have shared the previous day with his secretary of state, Trump said the reporter was “behind the times” and that the lunch had occurred the previous week, and the White House confirmed that the lunch had in fact occurred the previous day.[20][21] Trump said that he had no schedule for his administration but that if he did he would be “substantially ahead of schedule,” that “a lot of countries are starting to respect the United States of America,” and that he “met with the president of the Virgin Islands,” a US territory of which he is president.[22][23][24] “What’s that?” Trump reportedly asked when he was told of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, which gives his cabinet members the power to remove him from office.[25]

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
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I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

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