Weekly Review — March 13, 2018, 6:29 pm

Weekly Review

Rex Tillerson gets fired, Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump, and the world’s last male northern white rhino battles a life-threatening illness

US president Donald Trump, who once called North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un a fat “Rocket Man” with a small “nuclear button,” announced that he would meet and discuss nuclear weapons with Kim, who has threatened to fire missiles at the US territory of Guam and has referred to Trump as “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”[1][2] “Congratulations to all!” tweeted Trump, who fired his secretary of state and said he would replace him with CIA director Mike Pompeo, who has expressed support for waterboarding and would be succeeded at the CIA by deputy director Gina Haspel, who reportedly oversaw the agency’s black site prison in Thailand and who later drafted a directive signed by her boss ordering the destruction of videotapes documenting the torture of inmates.[3][4][5][6] Adult-film star Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging that an agreement to keep silent about a previous sexual relationship she had with him in exchange for $130,000 was “void” because he did not sign it.[7]

In the United States, where gun shops outnumber all Starbucks, McDonald’s, and grocery stores combined, the National Rifle Association sued Florida for passing a bill that would raise the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21, ban bump stocks, and introduce a three-day waiting period for gun purchases within the state, where 17 people were recently killed in a school shooting carried out by a 19-year-old armed with an AR-15 rifle.[8][9][10][11] Two couples in Ohio sued a Cleveland clinic where almost 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos were damaged by a storage-tank malfunction, and an 89-year-old nun in Los Angeles who was involved in a lawsuit trying to prevent pop star Katy Perry from purchasing a convent collapsed during her court appearance and died. “Katy,” said the nun, “please stop.”[12][13]

The United Nations human rights chief said that Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who has ordered the country’s police to ignore all UN special rapporteurs investigating the deaths of as many as 7,000 people killed in his “war on drugs” and who once threatened to burn the UN down, should undergo a psychiatric evaluation.[14][15][16] In China, the National People’s Congress voted 2,958 to 2 in favor of removing presidential term limits from the country’s constitution, which would allow President Xi Jinping to rule for life.[17][18] In Mauritius, the country’s president was asked to step down after allegedly using a credit card issued by a charity to purchase clothes and jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars.[19] A study showed that it took a true statement about six times as long as a falsehood to be read by 1,500 people on Twitter, and a woman was arrested for complaining about her ex-husband on Facebook.[20][21][22] A mega-colony of 1.5 million penguins was discovered near the Antarctic Peninsula, the world’s last male northern white rhino was reported to be battling a life-threatening illness, and a club in Miami was shut down after a woman rode a horse onto the dance floor.[23][24][25]

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More from Niya Shahdad:

Postcard December 5, 2018, 10:00 am

The Shapes of Stones

The careful act of paying respects to kin while under curfew in Kashmir

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A volcano erupts in Guatemala, Trump says he is allowed to pardon himself, and scientists identify the oldest known lizard species

Weekly Review March 28, 2018, 2:11 pm

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More than a million Americans marched in protest of the country’s lax gun-control laws,   Trump appointed John Bolton as his third national security adviser, and a pothole patching machine was unveiled in Rome

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“You’re being reborn,” the voice says. “Exiting the womb of your mother. Coming into the earth as a small baby. Everything is new.” It is a Saturday morning in mid-March, and right now I’m lying on a yoga mat in a lodge in Ohio, surrounded by fifty other men who’ve come to the Midwest for a weekend of manhood-confirming adventures. The voice in question belongs to Aaron Blaine, a facilitator for Evryman, the men’s group orchestrating this three-day retreat. All around me, men are shedding tears as Blaine leads us on a guided meditation, a kind of archetypal montage of Norman Rockwell boyhood. “You’re starting to figure things out,” he says, in somniferous baritone. “Snow, for the first time. Sunshine. Start to notice the smells, the tastes, the confusion. The fear. And you’re growing. You’re about ten years old. The world’s huge and scary.”

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The WASP story is personal for me. I arrived at Yale in 1971 from a thoroughly mediocre suburb in New Jersey, the second-generation hybrid of Irish and Italian stock riding the postwar boom. Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.

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I slept for a good seven hours on the overnight flight from Spain to Peru, and while I slept I dreamed that I was leading American visitors around a park in Berlin, looking for birds on a hazy, overcast day. There wasn’t much to see until we noticed a distant commotion in the sky. Large raptors were panicking, driven back and forth by something threatening them from above. The commotion moved closer. The clouds parted, an oval aperture backed with blue. In it two seraphim hovered motionless. “Those are angels,” I told the group.

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Last May, the families of students at Cypress Academy, an independent charter school in New Orleans, received an email announcing that the school would close when classes ended the following week and that all its students would be transferred to another nearby charter for the upcoming year. Parents would have the option of entering their children in the city’s charter-enrollment lottery, but the lottery’s first round had already taken place, and the most desirable spots for the fall were filled.

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how high? that high

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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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