Weekly Review — May 2, 2018, 3:40 pm

Weekly Review

The Count and the Candyman

US president Donald Trump’s former personal physician, Harold Bornstein, who in medical school wrote epic poems under the pseudonym Count Harold, said that it was “black humor” that “takes the truth” in “a different direction” when he issued a medical report calling Trump a man of “extraordinary” strength who would be “the healthiest individual ever elected,” and that Trump had dictated the report to him.[1][2][3][4] Bornstein, who has twice been sued for malpractice for allegedly overmedicating patients, told reporters that after he stated publicly that he had prescribed Trump the hair-growth medication Propecia, his office was raided by Trump’s bodyguard and two other men, who took all of Trump’s medical records and then forced Bornstein to take down a picture of himself and Trump together; and that he was then told he would not serve as the personal physician to the president and that Trump would instead use Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral of the Navy who had previously served as a presidential physician.[5][6][7][8] Trump, who had nominated Jackson to become his veterans affairs secretary, said Jackson was “one of the finest people,” and more than 20 current and former colleagues of Jackson’s described the doctor as “despicable,” “unethical,” “the worst,” and prone to “screaming tantrums.”[9][10][11] The White House press secretary called Jackson’s record “impeccable,” and a memo was released by the Senate alleging that Jackson maintained a “private stock of controlled substances”; “wrote himself scripts”; purchased prescription drugs for White House staff from an online supplier that was unmonitored by the government; once gave a staffer a “large supply” of the opioid Percocet; was known as the Candyman because on official overseas trips he would “go down the aisleway” of planes saying “Who wants to go to sleep?” as he handed out prescription sleep aids as well as drugs to wake staff members back up; and because he ran a so-called grab-and-go clinic from the White House in which he dispensed, without evaluating patients, controlled substances, including the prescription drug Ambien, whose side effects include hallucinations.[12][13][14][15][16][17] Trump said that the accusations against Jackson were “slander” and called for the senator who publicly raised them to resign, and a former assistant pool manager in Virginia sued a lifeguard who tried to stop him from drowning himself.[18][19][20]

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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,
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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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