Weekly Review

Weekly Review — January 9, 2018, 8:30 am

Weekly Review

The White House press secretary said that US president Donald Trump “puts in long hours” and is “one of the hardest workers” she has “ever seen,” and an analysis from leaked copies of Trump’s private schedule found that he often begins his workday at 11 am and ends around 6 pm, when he reportedly retires to his private residence to watch cable news on three televisions, eat a cheeseburger, and tweet.[1][2][3] “Much work to be done!” Trump tweeted.[4] Trump then tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by …

Weekly Review — December 28, 2017, 2:09 pm

Weekly Review

Three days before Christmas, US president Donald Trump held a signing ceremony for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will provide middle-class households with an average tax break of $900 and will give the top one percent of earners an average savings of $90,000, an amount greater than the income of 70 percent of Americans. “We did a rush job,” said Trump, explaining that he wanted to sign the bill before Christmas so that he would not be criticized on the television news he reportedly watches for up to eight hours a day.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Trump signed the bill into law with a …

Weekly Review — December 11, 2017, 2:21 pm

Weekly Review

A jury in Arizona heard closing arguments in the trial of a Mesa police officer charged with the murder of Daniel Shaver, a twenty-six-year-old traveling pest exterminator who was staying at a La Quinta Inn when he was shot and killed by a response team after guests in a hot tub outside his window mistook for a rifle the pellet gun he’d used to eradicate birds from a local Walmart and reported him to the hotel staff…

Weekly Review — November 30, 2017, 4:55 pm

Weekly Review

The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which since its creation after the 2008 financial crisis has provided victims of predatory banking practices with $11.8 billion in compensation and debt relief, resigned his office and appointed as deputy director Leandra English, a longtime federal employee who had previously served as the agency’s chief of staff.[1][2] US president Donald Trump, who once said Americans could “opt out” of the recession by investing in a Trump-branded marketing company that sold multivitamins purportedly tailored to customers’ needs based on their urine, announced that he did not recognize English as the CFPB’s acting director, and …

Weekly Review — November 16, 2017, 3:39 pm

Weekly Review

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. Moore denied knowing Nelson, and Nelson showed reporters a copy of her high-school yearbook, which Moore had purportedly signed. Read more…

Weekly Review — November 7, 2017, 4:12 pm

Weekly Review

Millions of confidential files stolen from a Bermuda-based law firm detailed the offshore holdings and transactions of more than 120 politicians around the world, revealing that the Queen of England invested millions in a corporation in the Cayman Islands whose portfolio includes a retail company that has been accused of using hard-sell tactics on poor customers; that a former president of the UN General Assembly was the owner of a trust that held shares in a company in the Seychelles that he said he thought he could use to “avoid” but not evade taxes; that a former chancellor of Austria was …

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February 2018

The Bodies in The Forest

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Pushing the Limit·

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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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The Minds of Others·

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Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

Illustration (detail) by Lincoln Agnew
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Within Reach·

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On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
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Before the Deluge·

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In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
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Monumental Error·

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In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner

Percentage of Republicans who said they prioritized gun control over gun rights in 1999:

53

The kangaroo’s tail is a fifth leg.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

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Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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