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The Week Magazine May 31-June 7, 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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The Week Publications, Inc.
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52 Issues


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editor’s letter

The developers of the SAT have come under fire for a plan to give every test taker an “adversity score” (see Controversy)—the latest skirmish in the multifront war over college. Or maybe it’s better to call it, as Michael Grunwald does, the war on college. Everyone wants in on this one. Republicans see the university as a bastion of liberalism, and many take a dim view of courses of study with no pragmatic application to getting a post-graduation job. Many liberals, on the other hand, seem to have given up on the university’s intellectual mission and see it as a blunt instrument for leveling advantages. Finally, there is the army of the sensible—all those columnists and personal finance experts explaining that a four-year university is too expensive, so parents…

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impeachment rumblings grow among democrats

What happened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week faced growing pressure from Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, with an angered Trump saying he would no longer attempt to work with the opposition party on any legislation. In a tense closed-door leadership meeting, Pelosi rejected calls for impeachment from Democrats increasingly frustrated by the Trump administration’s blanket refusal to honor congressional subpoenas. Democratic anger boiled over after the White House blocked former counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress about Trump’s attempts to end or curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which Mueller listed among 10 possible acts of obstruction of justice. The White House is also refusing to turn over Trump’s tax returns, despite a law requiring the Treasury Department to do so upon a request from Congress.…

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u.s. sends mixed messages on iran threat

What happened President Trump threatened to wipe Iran from the map this week, only to swiftly dial down his rhetoric the next day by saying he’d be happy to negotiate with the Islamic Republic. Fears of a U.S.-Iran clash have intensified in recent weeks, after Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton—a longtime proponent of regime change in Tehran—announced that the U.S. was sending an aircraft carrier and bombers to the region following reports that Iran or its proxies were preparing to target American forces. After a rocket launched by a suspected Iran-backed militia landed within a mile of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad this week, Trump tweeted, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.” A day later, the president softened his stance. “If they called,”…

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it wasn’t all bad

Less than 24 hours after 9-year-old Shailyn Ryan learned the Heimlich maneuver at a kids’ safety class, she used the technique to save her best friend’s life. Shailyn and Keira Silvia were eating lunch at their elementary school in Northborough, Mass., when Keira started to choke and her face turned blue. Shailyn immediately sprang into action, wrapping her arms around Keira’s waist, and using her hands to repeatedly push up on her bestie’s abdomen until Keira coughed up a lodged piece of hot dog. “She’s awesome,” said Keira, “a really good friend.” Robert F. Smith was delivering the commencement address to the graduating class at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta when the billionaire investor made a surprise announcement: He would be paying off the student loans of the nearly…

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sats: will ‘adversity scores’ make them fairer?

“On a scale of 1 to 100, how much adversity have you faced?” asked Jane Hu in That may seem like a hard question to answer, but the College Board—the company behind the SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test—now believes it has a formula for measuring a student’s “environmental context.” The exact algorithm for determining the score is proprietary information, but it involves 31 variables in three distinct areas—school, neighborhood, and family life. Starting this fall, college admissions officials, if they choose, can weigh both the applicants’ SAT results and the amount of adversity they’ve faced. The goal is to address what College Board CEO David Coleman calls “the disparities in wealth in the SAT” and to level the playing field for students from struggling neighborhoods and…

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good week/bad week

Good week for: Substitutions, after a customer at Britain’s upscale Hawksmoor Manchester restaurant ordered a bottle of fine French wine worth $333 and was instead served a $5,760 bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol by a rushed employee. There was no extra charge. Literature, with the news that Donald Trump Jr. has signed a deal to write a book about his views on politics and his father. Trump Jr. is reportedly also mulling a run for mayor of New York City. Roger Stone, still awaiting trial in the Russia probe, after a court granted him permission to judge the 2019 Exotic Dancer Invitationals at The Pony, a strip club in Memphis. The former Trump adviser, who has portrayed himself in the past as a libertine and swinger, needs to raise cash for his…