Weekly Review — July 3, 2018, 11:09 am

Weekly Review

Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, AMLO wins in Mexico, and Ivanka Trump copresents a report denouncing family separation

Three days after US president Donald Trump called journalists “the enemy of the people” at a rally for South Carolina governor Henry McMaster, a man shot and killed five staff members of Maryland’s Capital Gazette.[1] “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” Trump stated at a news conference the day after the shooting.[2] The Supreme Court upheld the president’s ban on travelers from North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Venezuela, and struck down a California law requiring reproductive health clinics to inform patients about the availability of abortion services.[3][4] Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would be retiring, and it was reported that, as an executive at Deutsche Bank, Justice Kennedy’s son Justin Kennedy had presided over $1 billion in loans to President Trump, who has publicly referred to Justin as a “special guy.”[5][6]

Far-left anti-corruption candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has vowed to turn the presidential palace into a public park, was elected president of Mexico with a more than 30-point lead, the largest margin in a Mexican presidential election since 1982; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist bartender from the Bronx, defeated a ten-term congressman in the Democratic primaries with a 15-point lead.[7][8][9] Ivanka Trump copresented a 68-page report written before the family separation policy was enacted at the State Department’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony, denouncing family separation as harmful; a federal judge ordered the government to reunite separated undocumented families currently in custody within 30 days; and, ordered to appear alone in court for a deportation hearing, a three-year-old climbed on a table in the middle of proceedings.[10][11][12][13] Taco Bell was named the best Mexican restaurant of 2018 in the Harris Poll, an annual survey originally founded to conduct polling for political candidates.[14]

A new report estimated that, unchecked, climate change would depress the living standards of one in every two Indians by 2050.[15] Parents in Sri Lanka marked the 500th day of roadside protests over the disappearance of more than 60,000 people believed to have been abducted by the government during and after the civil war.[16] A Missouri State University professor stopped soliciting photos of penises for a study on self-esteem, stating that public fervor had compromised the reliability of the survey responses; a former security guard at a CVS in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was sentenced to four years in prison for taking nude photos of female shoplifters in exchange for not calling the police; and in Madison, Wisconsin, a man attempting to take “upskirt” photos suffered a foot injury when the hidden camera in his shoe exploded.[17][18][19] According to the police chief’s blog, “The subject was counseled on his actions and released from the scene as no illicit video had been taken.”[20]Whitney Kimball

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I.

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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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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