Weekly Review — June 19, 2018, 10:17 am

Weekly Review

Donald Trump admires North Korean state TV, the Supreme Court upholds Ohio’s ability to purge voters from its rolls, a woman sues NASA to keep her moondust

After stating that he did not need to prepare much for a meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, US president Donald Trump showed the North Korean leader a fake trailer depicting what his country would look like if it reentered the international community.[1][2] “I think he loved it,” said Trump, who reportedly adored North Korea’s state-run TV service.[3] He also told Kim that his country could have “the best hotels in the world” and announced that he would suspend US military drills in South Korea, but did not notify South Korea.[4][5] Kim brought his own toilet to the summit.[6]

The Department of Justice said in a report that a top FBI agent investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election had texted another agent that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president, and that former FBI director James Comey had mishandled the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server and used his personal email for FBI business.[7][8][9] Paul Manafort’s bail was revoked, and the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s ability to purge voters from its rolls.[10][11] In Nevada, a legal pimp won the Republican primary for the state Legislature.[12]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the “wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government,” a passage that was often used to defend slavery in the 1850s, to justify separating immigrant children from their parents and the zero tolerance policy for those who illegally cross the US-Mexico border, including asylum seekers.[13] An executive of Casa Padre, a nonprofit detention center inside a former Walmart in Texas, told journalists, “You might want to smile. The kids feel a little like animals in a cage, being looked at.”[14] The shelter holds nearly 1,500 children, and has a mural of Donald Trump with a quote, in English and Spanish, from his 1987 book The Art of the Deal. Alphonso Davies, a 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer player whose parents are Liberian refugees, stated, “The people of North America have always welcomed me. If given the opportunity, I know they will welcome you” during the final bid that won the United States, Mexico, and Canada joint hosting duties for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.[15] Animals are becoming increasingly nocturnal because of human activity.[16]

AT&T purchased Time Warner for $85.4 billion; Comcast bid $65 billion “all cash” to acquire 21st Century Fox, which Disney is also trying to acquire.[17][18] An electric scooter startup is seeking funding at a $2 billion valuation, Tesla eliminated 9 percent of its workforce, and Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of the blood-testing startup Theranos, was indicted on federal fraud charges.[19][20][21] It was reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made at least $82 million in income outside their positions in the White House and that EPA chief Scott Pruitt had an aide help secure his wife a job at a conservative group after failing to get her a Chick-fil-A franchise.[22][23] A woman is preemptively suing NASA to keep a vial of moondust that Neil Armstrong gave her; a dust storm the size of North America may have broken a NASA probe; and researchers found the source of microwave light emanating across the Milky Way may be hydrogenated nanodiamonds.[24][25][26] Archaeologists think they have found the head of Jezebel’s husband.[27] Czech president Miloš Zeman announced a press conference, gathered reporters, and then had two firefighters burn a massive pair of red underpants in front of them. “I’m sorry to make you look like little idiots,” he said.[28]

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More from Jacob Rosenberg:

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Trump leaves the Iran nuclear deal, Ebola breaks out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and scientists claim that Pluto is still a planet

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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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Good Bad Bad Good·

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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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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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Constitution in Crisis·

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

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Life after Life·

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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.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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