Weekly Review — January 24, 2018, 5:36 pm

Weekly Review

The Pence rule

US vice president Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian who refuses to eat dinner or consume alcohol alone with any woman other than his wife, denied allegations that president Donald Trump, who once appeared in a softcore porn film smashing a bottle of champagne over a Playboy-branded limousine and who has been accused by the porn star Jessica Drake of offering $10,000 in exchange for sex, paid the porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to not disclose that the two had a sexual relationship in 2006.[1][2][3][4][5][6] “Baseless,” said Pence.[7] It was reported that a third porn star said she was once invited by Trump to “have some fun” with Daniels in his hotel room, and that before the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s lawyer set up a company in Delaware that paid Daniels $130,000.[8][9] “Trump is a man of his word,” said Pence.[10] A gossip magazine published an interview conducted with Daniels in 2011 in which she said that the affair began after the two shared nonalcoholic drinks over dinner in Trump’s hotel room, recounting how Trump told her that people think she is “just this idiot” with “big boobs,” that she didn’t need to “worry” about his wife, that he was worried he would lose his “power” if he cut his hair, that he hoped “all sharks die,” and that she was “just like” his “beautiful and smart” daughter.[11] “I know the president’s heart,” said Pence.[12] Emails from political operatives working with Daniels on a possible Senate campaign in 2009 claimed that Trump, who according to his former adviser paid off “a hundred women” over a 25-year period, once asked the porn star to spank him with an issue of Forbes magazine that featured his face on the cover; and Daniels was reported to have said in 2011 that if she were Trump’s wife she would be more upset that he ate dinner with a woman than that he “stuck his dick in a hundred girls.”[13][14][15] “I’m just not going to comment,” said Pence.[16]

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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. 

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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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"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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