Weekly Review — September 11, 2018, 11:21 am

Weekly Review

Trump struggles to pronounce “anonymous”; a Sackler stands to profit from a new drug to treat opioid addiction; housing development workers in the Bronx are accused of having orgies on the clock

Bob Woodward, the Washington Post journalist known for breaking the Watergate story, with Carl Bernstein during the Nixon Administration, published Fear: Trump in the White House today, which compiles documents and interviews with Trump Administration officials.1 In the book, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, compares the president to a “fifth or sixth grader”; John Dowd, Trump’s former attorney, refuses Robert Mueller’s request to interview the president, fearing Trump would be seen as a “goddamn dumbbell”; Rex Tillerson, former US secretary of state, calls Trump a “fucking moron”; John F. Kelly, current White House chief of staff, complains “[Trump]’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had”; and Jared Kushner tells Steve Bannon that his father-in-law “doesn’t have a lot of cash.”2 3 4 At a rally in Billings, Montana, President Trump addressed the anonymous op-ed written by a senior administration official, which revealed that the author and his or her colleagues had “vowed to thwart” Trump’s agenda and had only decided not to invoke the 25th Amendment and have the president removed from office to avoid creating a constitutional crisis, by stating, “The latest act of resistance is the op-ed published in the failing New York Times by an anonymous—really an anonymous, gutless coward. You just look. He was—nobody knows who the hell he is, or she, although they put he, but probably that’s a little disguise. That means it’s she. But for the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once.”5 6 The president mispronounced the word “anonymous” in both instances.7

The US will cut $25 million in funding to hospitals in East Jerusalem that aid the city’s Palestinian population as well as all funding for UN Palestinian humanitarian and economic projects.8 9 In Gaza, a 17-year-old was killed by Israeli soldiers’ live fire in the latest of the weekly Great March of Return protests at the Israeli-Gaza border, bringing the total number of Palestinian deaths since the protests began in March to 179, and in West Jerusalem, Monica Lewinsky, whose black negligee was up for auction in June in a lot that also contained a box of “slightly crushed” M&Ms she had given her former teacher and lover Andrew Bleiler, “abruptly” walked off the stage during a live interview at an Israel Television News Company conference in response to a question about the former US president Bill Clinton.10 11 12 The US State Department has increased the estimate of the number of Uighur and other Muslim ethnic minorities who are being arbitrarily held in “counter-extremism centers” and “re-education camps” in western China, which require them to write “self-criticism” essays and perform singing routines, from the hundreds of thousands to millions.13 China has said the camps provide job training.14 Liu Jiaqi, a Chinese man living in Kenya, had his work permit revoked and was deported after he was filmed criticizing President Uhuru Kenyatta and describing the citizenry as “poor, foolish, and black.”15 In Dallas, a white police officer was put on administrative leave after she broke into her black neighbor’s apartment because she mistook it for her own, then shot and killed him.16

Richard Sackler, former president of Purdue Pharma, which invented the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and paid over $600 million in fines for “misbranding” its use, is listed as one of six co-creators of a new drug to treat opioid addiction.17 18 Lithuania asked Walmart to stop selling shirts with the Soviet hammer and sickle, Russia is investigating a hole it claims was deliberately drilled into the International Space Station that created an air leak, and France passed a law banning phones from middle schools.19 20 21 “It’s pretty easy to talk instead,” said one student. A school resource officer discharged a Taser a few feet away from a sleeping high school student in Ohio after he slept through attempts by his teacher and interim principal to wake him.22 The FBI recovered a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz after a Minnesota man tried to extort the shoes’ insurance company; a Connecticut woman sustained serious injuries after mistaking a stick of dynamite for a candle during a power outage; and a man who lost most of his penis to a flesh-eating superbug he contracted during a prostatectomy in the UK won his suit against the hospital.23 24 25 Bird Life International revealed the “confirmed or suspected extinctions” of eight bird species, including a pygmy owl and the cryptic tree hunter, in this decade.26 NYCHA supervisors and workers at a housing development in the Bronx were accused of having orgies on the clock, which caused garbage to pile up and repairs to go unfinished.27 “I don’t have a problem with people having orgies,” Throggs Neck Tenant Association president Monique Johnson said. “I have a problem with work not being done. People were neglecting to do their jobs.” Three NYCHA supervisors have been suspended for 30 days. In New Mexico, a statue of the Virgin Mary began to weep for the fourth time this year.28Maud Doyle

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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.

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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.

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