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probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server and used his personal email for FBI business.[7][8][9] Paul Manafort’s bail was revoked, and the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s ability to purge voters from its rolls.[10][11] In Nevada, a legal pimp won the Republican primary for the state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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Alex and Wendy love culture. It’s how they spend their free time. It’s what they talk about at dinner parties. When they go jogging or to the gym, they listen to podcasts on their phones. On Sunday nights they watch their favorite new shows. They go to the movies sometimes, but they were bummed out when ­MoviePass went south, so now they mostly stream things. They belong to book clubs that meet every couple of weeks. Alex and Wendy work hard at their jobs, but they always have a bit of time to check their feeds at work. What’s in their feeds? Their feeds tell them about culture. Their feeds are a form of comfort. Their feeds explain things to them that they already understand. Their feeds tell them that everyone else is watching, reading, listening to the same things. Their feeds tell them about the people who make their culture, people who aren’t so different from them, just maybe a bit more glistening. Alex and Wendy’s feeds assure them that they aren’t lonely. Their feeds give them permission to like what they already like. Their feeds let them know that their culture is winning.

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Five years ago, Jean-Sebastien Hertsens Zune went looking for his parents. He already had one set, a Belgian church organist and his wife, who adopted him as a baby from Guatemala and later moved the family to France. But he wanted to find his birth mother and father. When Zune was a teenager, his Belgian parents gave him his adoption file, holding back only receipts showing how much the process had cost. Most people pay little attention to their birth certificates, but for adoptees, these documents, along with notes about their relinquishment, tell an often patchy origin story.

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Once, in an exuberant state, feeling filled with the muse, I told another writer: When I write, I know everything. Everything about the characters? she asked. No, I said, everything about the world, the universe. Every. Fucking. Thing. I was being preposterous, of course, but I was also trying to explain the feeling I got, deep inside writing a first draft, that I was listening and receiving, listening some more and receiving, from a place that was far enough away from my daily life, from all of my reading, from everything.

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All his life he lived on hatred.

He was a solitary man who hoarded gloom. At night a thick smell filled his bachelor’s room on the edge of the kibbutz. His sunken, severe eyes saw shapes in the dark. The hater and his hatred fed on each other. So it has ever been. A solitary, huddled man, if he does not shed tears or play the violin, if he does not fasten his claws in other people, experiences over the years a constantly mounting pressure, until he faces a choice between lunacy and suicide. And those who live around him breathe a sigh of relief.

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Thirty-two years ago my newborn daughter was discharged from Boston Children’s Hospital after an operation to repair a congenital birth defect and a lengthy period of recovery. Her mother and I had prepared for this—we knew the diagnosis from the ultrasound, had done the research you could do in 1986, asked the questions we could learn to ask—and got a good outcome. We went home to the western end of the state to raise twin daughters, one with a major disability (“our third child,” her mother says), and found ourselves in a system whose existence we hadn’t known of: Early Childhood Intervention. Physical therapists, psychologists, licensed practical nurses, and the state and public–private agencies that supplied and paid them. They cared for our child, but more than that, they taught us how to, and the teaching was as much mental and emotional—call it spiritual—as it was practical. They taught us to watch, to observe, to learn this particular child; to have patience, not to see too much and fall into useless anxiety, not to see too little and miss the signs of trouble. Close watching actually changed our experience of time. I learned what mindfulness meant, even if my practice of it fell short.

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.

In California, a 78-year-old patient and his family were informed that he would die within days from a doctor who was communicating via video call on a screen mounted to a robot on wheels.

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