Weekly Review — January 9, 2018, 8:30 am

Weekly Review

Executive time

The White House press secretary said that US president Donald Trump “puts in long hours” and is “one of the hardest workers” she has “ever seen,” and an analysis from leaked copies of Trump’s private schedule found that he often begins his workday at 11 am and ends around 6 pm, when he reportedly retires to his private residence to watch cable news on three televisions, eat a cheeseburger, and tweet.[1][2][3] “Much work to be done!” Trump tweeted.[4] Trump then tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.[5][6][7] Trump also tweeted that it was “not good” that Iran has “closed down the internet,” which Iran had not done; and that he had a “bigger” and “more powerful” nuclear “button” on his desk than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.[8][9][10] “Dope,” Trump’s national security adviser reportedly said of the president.[11] Trump tweeted that he was a “very stable genius” and then took credit for “seven TRILLION dollars” of value created in the stock market.[12][13] “Dumb as shit,” Trump’s top economic adviser reportedly said of him.[14] Trump misquoted a columnist as saying his presidency was “enormously consensual” and that “Hispanics” would “start ‘falling in love’” with him; and Trump, a former teen beauty-pageant owner who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 19 women, was reported to have once called into his office a married male friend and asked him about his sex life while his wife was on speakerphone.[15][16][17][18] Trump’s former chief strategist, whom Trump said had “lost his mind,” issued a statement saying that Trump’s son did not commit treason; the US ambassador to the United Nations announced that “no one questions” Trump’s mental stability; and the director of the CIA said that Trump, who requested “killer graphics” in his intelligence briefings, is able to read.[19][20][21][22][23] It was reported that Trump often repeats the same story to staff multiple times in the span of 10 minutes; a senior adviser to Trump was escorted from the set of a cable-news show when he refused to leave after repeatedly answering questions with a story about flying on an airplane; and Trump, who rolled back a regulation requiring airlines to disclose baggage fees up front, tweeted that because he was “very strict” on airlines there were no deaths on commercial flights in 2017, the same number as in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.[24][25][26][27][28] [29] Trump tweeted that the Justice Department, which he referred to as the “deep state,” should jail the former director of the FBI and his former political rival Hillary Clinton; a home on Clinton’s property caught fire; and Trump tweeted that he wishes his “haters” and “enemies” a happy New Year. “Happy New Year,” tweeted Clinton’s daughter, in a message to the Church of Satan.[30][31][32][33]

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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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Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

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On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

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