Weekly Review — February 12, 2019, 2:32 pm

Weekly Review

Matthew Whitaker testified before the House Judiciary Committee; Iran commemorated the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution; teachers in Denver went on strike to protest how their base pay is calculated

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on his supervision of the Justice Department and Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Over the course of the 258-minute hearing, Whitaker responded to questions with variations on “I want to be very clear” 10 times, praised committee members’ questions 13 times, and denied that there was a Trump Administration family separation policy; the chairman extended or reset time for three committee members.1 In his State of the Union address, which lasted 82 minutes, Donald Trump pledged to ask Congress for $500 million in childhood cancer research, and requested support for increased border security, saying, “Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.”2 Joshua Trump, who had been invited to attend the State of the Union because he has been teased for his surname, fell asleep during the speech.3 Campaign-finance records show that President Trump’s reelection campaign spent $97,904 on a law firm that represents Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of and senior adviser to the president, and, overall, has spent $6.7 million in legal fees for current and former associates over the past two years; the Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, which was created in 2018 to help Trump Administration employees with legal fees associated with the Mueller probe, received donations totaling only $500,000 from Sheldon Adelson, whose company received $670 million in tax breaks after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and his wife.4 5 6 Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that $2.3 billion in expected revenue for New York has been lost because of the tax cut; state and local tax revenue have declined by 50 percent in Massachusetts, 35 percent in New Jersey, 55 percent in Connecticut, and 24 percent in California.7 Explaining which parts of the state budget would be most heavily affected, Cuomo stated, “It’s education, it’s health care, it’s infrastructure.” In his state of the nation address, the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, offered incentives to increase the country’s birth rate, such as permanently canceling income tax for Hungarian women who have four or more children.8 9 “In all of Europe there are fewer and fewer children, and the answer of the West to this is migration,” said Orbán. “We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.” A new report found that 40 percent of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, which could lead to a total environmental collapse.10

Iran commemorated the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution, and the US Supreme Court ruled against a death-row inmate who had asked that his imam, not the prison’s Christian chaplain, be in the execution chamber to console him, on the grounds that the request was “last-minute.”11 12 Classes at a Catholic school in Durham, North Carolina, were canceled in anticipation of protests against a lesbian alumna, who had been invited to speak at a Black History Month event.13 A Danish Jehovah’s Witness was sentenced to six years in Russian prison for extremism.14 Turkey denounced China’s camps for Uighurs, and called for their closure; the Chinese government, which refers to the camps as “vocational training centers,” released a video on state television of a singer who had been alleged to have died while in interned in a camp.15 “Today is February 10, 2019,” said the singer. “I’m in the process of being investigated for allegedly violating the national laws. I’m now in good health and have never been abused.” Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, whose father was revered by some as possessing godlike powers, was disqualified from running for the office of prime minister in Thailand’s 2019 general election.16 The pope publicly admitted that Catholic priests had abused nuns for decades, and the Utah State Legislature drafted a bill that would allow nonprofit organizations and churches to apologize for abuse and to administer aid to victims, but not be liable for damages.17 18

Teachers in Denver went on strike to protest how their base pay, which varies from year to year, is calculated; teachers in Zimbabwe have suspended their strike; and the Oakland Unified School District in California posted a Craigslist ad for emergency temporary teachers in anticipation of a strike.19 20 21 Indonesian police have apologized for wrapping a snake around the neck of a suspect during an interrogation about stolen cell phones.22 A Minnesota man who had shot and killed a teenager who was trying to rob him, in 2015, shot a school-bus-driver who had scraped his sedan during a snowstorm.23 The Duke of Edinburgh, who is 97 years old, voluntarily gave up his driver’s license several weeks after a car accident.24 Clark County officials in Washington State declared a state of emergency following a measles outbreak, and an Ohio teen had himself vaccinated after asking Reddit for advice.25 26Violet Lucca

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Weekly Review June 11, 2019, 9:56 am

Weekly Review

Donald Trump commemorated D-Day in Normandy with Emmanuel Macron; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand served drinks at The Blazing Saddle, a gay bar in Des Moines, Iowa, to kick off Pride month

Podcast June 5, 2019, 10:27 am

Is Poverty Necessary?

Who generates value in the modern economy, and who should benefit?

Weekly Review June 4, 2019, 3:35 pm

Weekly Review

A mass-shooting in Virginia Beach; the White House ordered the Navy to cover up the name of the U.S.S. John S. McCain; Exotic Pet Amnesty Day was held at the Central Florida Zoo

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

July 2019

Ramblin’ Man

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just Keep Going North”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

El Corralón

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Marmalade Sky

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

New Books

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Trials of Vasily Grossman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
“Just Keep Going North”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On February 5, 2019, the president of the United States (a certain Donald Trump) in his State of the Union speech warned of “migrant caravans and accused Mexican cities of busing migrants to the border ‘to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.’ ”? Wishing to see the border for myself, I decided to visit Arizona, where my ignorance of local conditions might save me from prejudgment.

Article
Marmalade Sky·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a November Saturday in 1990, Pam went over to Joe’s place to listen to records. It was raining in sheets that whipped around the corners of buildings and blowing so hard that women in heels were taking men’s arms to cross the street. Cars were plowing bow waves through puddles of scum.

As Joe was letting Pam into the apartment, a man emerged from the bedroom with a square sheet of black plastic in his hand and said, “Hey, man, you have the Sassy Sonic Youth flexi!”

Article
The Trials of Vasily Grossman·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Discussed in this essay:

Stalingrad, by Vasily Grossman. Translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler. New York Review Books. 1,088 pages. $27.95.

Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century, by Alexandra Popoff. Yale University Press. 424 pages. $32.50.

Life and Fate, by Vasily Grossman. Translated by Robert Chandler. New York Review Books. 904 pages. $24.95.

An Armenian Sketchbook, by Vasily Grossman. Translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler. New York Review Books. 160 pages. $14.95.

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 swarm of ladybugs in California was so large that it appeared on the National Weather Service’s radar.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

“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.”

Subscribe Today