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The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine February 28, 2020

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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United States
The Week Publications, Inc.
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48 Edities

in deze editie

2 min.
editor’s letter

Bill Barr has some concerns. He got his job as attorney general by telling President Trump that the Constitution gives him “illimitable discretion” over Justice Department prosecutions; therefore, Trump’s numerous attempts to block or end the Mueller investigation did not constitute obstruction of justice. Trump’s Article II authority is so expansive, Barr has stated, that neither Congress nor the courts can interfere in his policy decisions or compel him to release information. A delighted Trump has taken Barr’s imperial theory of the presidency both seriously and literally. “Article II,” he has said, “allows me to do whatever I want as president.” Barr, however, is now complaining that the president’s tweeting about criminal cases was “making it impossible for me to do my job.” (See Main Stories.) Dr. Frankenstein has his…

5 min.
barr’s plea to trump to stop tweeting

What happened Attorney General William Barr was under fire from all directions this week, as more than 2,000 former Department of Justice officials from both parties called on him to resign and accused him of repeatedly flouting the department’s “sacred obligation” to administer equal justice under the law. The extraordinary open letter came after the nation’s top lawman watered down the department’s sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years in prison for President Trump’s longtime friend and political fixer Roger Stone, 67. Barr’s intervention led four federal prosecutors to resign from the case, with one quitting the DOJ entirely. In their letter, the ex–U.S. attorneys, trial lawyers, and other DOJ officials accused Barr of blatantly politicizing the department. “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies…

3 min.
fear and uncertainty as coronavirus outbreak spreads

What happened Public health officials in China and the West scrambled to slow the spread of the new coronavirus this week, amid growing fears that a global pandemic may be impossible to stop. The respiratory illness has so far infected more than 75,200 people and killed at least 2,006; more than 98 percent of all cases have occurred in China. Authorities there said the spread of the epidemic appeared to be slowing, but with the number of cases outside China surging, health experts warned against optimism that the disease might be peaking. At least 47 infections have been reported in Europe and more than 70 in Japan. Pandemic fears jumped after the Westerdam, a cruise ship that was repeatedly turned away from Asian ports over coronavirus fears, disembarked more than 1,000…

1 min.
it wasn’t all bad

Acia Williams owes a lot to Chet Bennett. He ran the Washington, D.C., beauty college where Williams began her career two decades ago and has been a mentor and friend ever since. So when Williams discovered that Bennett needed a new kidney, she knew she had to find out if she was a match. She was, and the pair underwent transplant surgery. Bennett is now back to full health, and to say thank you, he donated something to Williams: the beauty store she’d managed for him for years. “He’s always been a giver,” said Williams. When Lloyd Black joined his local gym a year ago, a 10-minute walk on the treadmill would tire him out. That was nothing to be ashamed of: Black was 90 years old and an exercise novice.…

3 min.
sanders: can he win broad support?

Bernie Sanders may now be the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Dylan Scott in Vox.com, but anxious moderates are deeply worried that his signature policy, “Medicare for all,” is “a political albatross.” Last week the powerful Culinary Workers Union of Nevada distributed flyers urging its 60,000 members to oppose Medicare for all when participating in the Feb. 22 caucus, because it would terminate the generous, employer-provided health care plan they’d won through labor negotiations. The Culinary Workers’ opposition hints at a bigger problem for Sanders’ campaign. While Medicare for all polls well (56 percent) in the abstract, support plummets to 37 percent when voters are told it means the end of the private insurance on which 180 million Americans currently depend. Some of Sanders’ supporters seem to recognize…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Earthlings, after an asteroid larger than the tallest building on Earth whizzed by the planet at a distance of 3.6 million miles. A direct hit would have killed millions immediately, says NASA, and triggered a yearslong “nuclear winter” and “mass extinctions.” Putrefaction, after Burger King launched a new ad showing a Whopper rotting and growing mold over 34 days, to show “the beauty of no artificial preservatives.” Adweek’s David Griner called it “one of the boldest, most bizarre ad campaigns I’ve ever seen.” Florida’s lobster lovers, for whom the price of local spiny lobster has plunged because coronavirus-related travel restrictions have cut off air shipments to the lucrative Chinese market. “For the next month or so,” said restaurateur Steve Gyland of North Palm Beach, “we can enjoy lobster for a…