What We’re Following

Assault and Politics: President Trump lashed out at Senator Al Franken on Twitter after the Minnesota Democrat was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman in 2006. The allegations pose a dilemma for the Democratic Party, which is now divided between constituents’ calls for Franken to resign and lawmakers’ political need to keep him in office. Meanwhile, the Republican establishment is pushing Roy Moore to drop out of the U.S. Senate race following reports that he harassed and sexually assaulted teenage girls, but the party’s efforts are being undercut by voters’ distrust of the press. And Democrats are reckoning with the decades-old rape allegations against Bill Clinton—and with the role that Hillary Clinton played in their suppression.

The Trump Administration: Trump is expected to appoint Mick Mulvaney, the current head of the Office of Management and Budget, as the new leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the regulatory agency that Mulvaney once described as “a sick, sad joke.” And while the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the 2016 election has overshadowed Trump’s presidency in the U.S., it may be less of an obstacle to his foreign policy. Here’s what the Nixon and Clinton administrations reveal about how much he could accomplish.

Addressing Extremism: A new scholarly center in Saudi Arabia is being branded as part of a program “with the purpose of eliminating fake and extremist texts” from Saudis’ practice of Islam, but the plan has uncertain chances of success and could even backfire. In the U.S., as fringe hate groups gradually entered the mainstream, internet forums have aided their growth—and now, even those who condemn these groups risk amplifying their messages. On this week’s episode of Radio Atlantic, Luke O’Brien and Rosie Gray discuss their reporting on far-right extremism and what society can do about it. Listen here.

Rosa Inocencio Smith


Snapshot

Rebecca Davies and her partner, Paula Van Bruggen, celebrate in Melbourne, Australia, on November 15, 2017, after Australians voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Read more here, and see more of the week’s best photos here. (Scott Barbour / Getty)

Evening Read

Jessica Leigh Hester reports from Miami:

When Hurricane Irma sprinted toward Miami–Dade County, Jeff Ransom couldn’t sleep. He wasn’t just worried about gusts shattering windows, or sheets of rain drowning highways—that’s far from unusual near his home in Broward County, where extreme weather verges on routine, and patches of US-1 are regularly submerged.

Ransom, the county archaeologist, was preoccupied with an oak tree and its 350-year-old roots. If the tree capsized with enough intensity, he worried, the flailing roots could dislodge human remains … “All night long, I was just thinking about that oak tree flipping over,” he says. “The big roots are growing right into the burial mound. That would’ve just blown human bone everywhere.”

Keep reading here about how archaeologists are trying to protect Florida’s historic sites as sea levels rise.


What Do You Know … About Culture?

The films, TV shows, and books released in the past few weeks were created months ago—yet several seem especially poignant in light of the stories of sexual harassment in numerous industries. Netflix’s Alias Grace grapples with what it means to believe women’s narratives, while American Horror Story: Cult messily examines female rage. A new biography of Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone, explores the salacious and troubling backgrounds of both the man and the magazine. And the upcoming Oscars will send a message about how Hollywood is dealing with pressing issues inside and outside the film industry.

Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s culture coverage? Test your knowledge below:

1. Donald Trump’s books borrow elements from earlier success tracts such as Poor Richard’s Almanack, written by ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. The basketball player Vince Carter is currently in his ____________ season of NBA play.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The Greek physician and philosopher Galen of Pergamon created ____________ theory to explain why women were supposedly more likely to deceive others.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Tori Latham

Answers: benjamin franklin / 20th / complexion


Poem of the Week

From our March 1995 issue, “Bad People,” by Robert Bly:

A man told me once that all the bad people
Were needed. Maybe not all, but your fingernails
You need; they are really claws, and we know
Claws. The sharks—what about them?
They make other fish swim faster. The hard-faced men
In black coats who chase you for hours
In dreams—that’s the only way to get you
To the shore.

Read more here.


Reader Response

Josh Jacobs wrote about how ambiguous character standards for state bar associations can hold back would-be attorneys trying to rebuild their life after a criminal conviction. This reader thinks felons should be banned from a range of professional associations:

Generally, a felony conviction indicates a willingness, on at least one occasion, to violate the rules of society for the sake of expediency, or personal gain, or simply anger. And the positions described require a great deal of trust. If an individual violates that trust for the sake of expediency, or personal gain, or anger, then the people who trusted him can be substantially harmed.

Another reader disagrees:

In some cases, such as willing fraud, there’s a character defect that goes to the heart of what the professional is doing. But in the assault example [of someone who gets in a bar fight], how much of a problem is it really that a civil engineer had an anger problem in his 20s? Then there’s the problem that many felonies fall on people who have the bad luck of looking suspicious and not having the resources to lawyer up. In many cases, the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is a lawyer that knows how to plea.

More on what lawyers with a criminal record could bring to the courtroom here.


Verbs

School board challenged, star power wasted, Jupiter Photoshopped, songbirds tracked.


Time of Your Life

Happy birthday from Susan to Minel (a year younger than the board game Monopoly); to Samantha (the same age as the sovereign state of Antigua and Barbuda); to Zenkosi’s daughter Jabulile (a year younger than Sesame Street); to Kala’s favorite sister (twice the age of MTV); to Kathy’s daughter Jessica (a year younger than Amazon); and from Etown PPLS students to their beloved professor, Fletcher (16 years older than the moon landing). And I, Abdallah, would like to wish a happy birthday to my grandmother, Nawal (half the age of The Atlantic), a woman I admire, respect, and will always look up to, and whose wisdom continues to inspire me.

For tomorrow, happy birthday to Simon (the same age as Hillary Clinton); to Terra (twice the age of graphical web browsers); to Shelagh (a year younger than the Beatles); to Chris’s sister (twice the age of Macintosh computers); to Barbara (who was 18 when John F. Kennedy was elected president); to Susan’s best friend, Nancy (a year younger than Disneyland); to Rose (13 years older than Grease); to Krishna’s son (a year younger than credit cards); from Kak to Alan (the same age as the space shuttle Atlantis); to Ashleigh’s father, Erich (a year younger than NASA); and to Jane (twice the age of CD players).

Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? Sign up for a birthday shout-out here, and click here to explore the Timeline feature for yourself.


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