News & Politics
The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine October 18, 2019

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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48 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s letter

John Roberts must be feeling a deep sense of dread. As the nation lurches into the constitutional crisis that’s been inevitable since the day Donald Trump moved into the White House, the chief justice of the Supreme Court may soon find himself casting the vote that ends—or saves—Trump’s presidency. Roberts has been waging a campaign to convince Americans that the Supreme Court is not a partisan body—that it stands apart from the nation’s bitter polarization. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said last year. To strengthen public perception of the court’s legitimacy, Roberts has strategically chosen to become an occasional swing vote, joining the four liberal justices when he deems it prudent. But his efforts to portray the court as a…

5 min.
the white house’s impeachment blockade

What happened The White House drew the battle lines for an unprecedented constitutional struggle this week, announcing it would refuse to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry on President Trump and would ignore subpoenas for testimony and official documents. In a defiant eight-page letter to House Democratic leaders, White House counsel Pat Cipollone denounced the impeachment proceedings as a “constitutionally illegitimate” attempt to undo the 2016 election. House Democrats have accused Trump of illegally using $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue an investigation of his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, citing a transcript of a Trump-Zelensky phone call as proof. Cipollone dismissed such claims as “baseless.” But last week, Trump stood on the White House lawn and publicly called on both…

4 min.
u.s. steps aside as turkey attacks kurdish allies

What happened Turkey launched a military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria this week after President Trump appeared to green-light the operation—a decision that sparked rare bipartisan backlash in Washington. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) played a key role in the U.S.-led battle against ISIS but is regarded by Turkey as an offshoot of the PKK, a guerrilla group that has fought for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey for decades. During a weekend phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Trump that he intended to begin a long-delayed plan to roll back the SDF. Trump said a moderate incursion would be acceptable, U.S. officials told NBC News, and following the call the White House ordered the withdrawal of roughly 100 U.S. troops stationed in the border…

1 min.
it wasn’t all bad

For Oklahoman Josh Wilson, 41, a failed ad turned into a successful declaration of love. Wilson bought billboard ads for his business, Living Water Irrigation, in January. They weren’t attracting new customers, but Wilson couldn’t cancel the one-year, $1,200-a-month campaign. His business coach proposed an idea: Why not use them to show his appreciation for his wife? So Wilson printed “Amy, I love you more!” on eight billboards across Tulsa. “A lot of people wondered if I was in trouble with Amy,” Wilson said, “but I just adore her.” When the Roseville, Calif., police department called for help to find a 97-year-old woman with dementia, a squad of four embarked on a mission to find her. Logan Hultman, Makenna Rogers, and Kashton Claiborne, all 10, and Hope Claiborne, 11, took to…

3 min.
supreme court: how far will the conservative majority go?

“Watch out, America,” said The New York Times in an editorial, the Supreme Court’s new term began this week, and its “newly emboldened conservative majority” seems ready to flex its muscles. After last year’s traumatic confirmation hearings for now–Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the court finished its term fairly quietly, ducking several cases involving “hot button” social issues. But the agenda for the new term reads like an index to our national culture wars, starting this week with oral arguments on the question of whether employees can be fired for being gay or transgender. Also on the docket: gun control, the fate of the 700,000 Dreamers, and yet another bad-faith Republican effort to overturn Obamacare, said Mark Joseph Stern in Slate.com. What else could the court “possibly take on to make this…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Dog owners, who are 65 percent less likely to die following a heart attack than non–dog owners, according to new research. Strange bedfellows, after gay liberal icon Ellen DeGeneres was spotted at an NFL game chatting and laughing with former Republican President George W. Bush. “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not gonna be friends with them,” she later explained on her show. Nobody, formerly known as Richard Goyan Paul, 50, who this week announced his candidacy for mayor of Keene, N.H. Nobody says that both his legal name change and his run for office were inspired by a “Vote for Nobody” yard sign he saw outside the “libertarian-minded” flophouse he lives in. Bad week for: Gandhi, whose ashes were stolen from a memorial in India…