Weekly Review — May 9, 2018, 4:25 pm

Weekly Review

Essential consultants

US president Donald Trump’s newly hired personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who was once filmed at a charity event dressed as a woman and calling Trump a “dirty boy” for touching his fake breasts and who was reportedly not hired to work in the White House when Trump initially took office because the president-elect thought he was falling asleep in meetings and drinking too much, told reporters that he was “aware” and “intelligent” because he “handled” cases involving “cyber matters” and “went through 9/11,” and made a series of television appearances in which he said that Trump’s son-in-law was “disposable,” that the former director of the FBI was a “Judas” who may be a liar, that Trump had “funneled” hush money through a law firm to an adult film star, and that Trump was aware the payment was made, a claim he later said was a “rumor” that he had “maybe” said as fact but “couldn’t prove.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Giuliani gave another television interview announcing that Trump was “committed” to bringing about regime change in Iran, the State Department issued a statement clarifying that Giuliani was not a foreign policy spokesperson for the US government, Giuliani denied reports that Trump was considering barring him from appearing on television, and then went on television and claimed that Trump, who said that all “negative” news was “fake,” was encouraging him to do more interviews as his attorney.[11][12][13][14][15] Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, a former personal injury attorney and taxicab-medallion investor, reportedly used a shell company named Essential Consultants to receive at least $4.4 million from various firms, including $150,000 from Korea Aerospace Industries, which is competing for a US Air Force contract worth billions of dollars; $1.2 million from Novartis, a Swiss drug company that was investigated last year by Greece for bribing politicians; $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment company that owns the domains alt-right.co and alternate-rt.com and whose largest client is a Russian oligarch who attended Trump’s inauguration and met with Cohen at the event; and $200,000 from AT&T, which is seeking approval from the Justice Department to merge with Time Warner.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] AT&T issued a statement confirming that it had paid Cohen for “insights” into the Trump Administration, and a White House employee told a reporter that the staff didn’t know what was going on and texted the reporter the popcorn emoji.[24][25]

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Secrets and Lies·

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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!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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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.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

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.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

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