Donald Trump and the Myth of the Coal Revival
March 29th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On Tuesday, less than two weeks after the White House unveiled its “budget blueprint to make America great again,” which proposed to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by $2.6 billion and lay off about a fifth of its workforce, President Trump took aim at the E.P.A. once more. On a dais in the Map Room of the agency’s D.C. headquarters, Trump gave a thirteen-minute-long speech celebrating “a new era in American energy,” as thirteen “incredible coal miners” stood silently at his side, like shy and stocky pageant contestants. They were the physical embodiment of this new era—white, middle-aged, clean-shaven, strong—which was about to be signed into existence with a sweeping executive order on energy and environmental policy. Mining is what they “want to do,” Trump said. “They love the job. I fully understand that. I grew up in a real-estate family, and until this recent little excursion into the world of politics I could never understand why anybody would not want to be in the world of real estate.” To put the miners “back to work,” the President announced, he was lifting the moratorium on coal leases on federal lands. He was also ordering a review of his predecessor’s Clean Power Plan, that “crushing attack on American industry.”

Donald Trump and the Myth of the Coal Revival
March 29th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On Tuesday, less than two weeks after the White House unveiled its “budget blueprint to make America great again,” which proposed to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by $2.6 billion and lay off about a fifth of its workforce, President Trump took aim at the E.P.A. once more. On a dais in the Map Room of the agency’s D.C. headquarters, Trump gave a thirteen-minute-long speech celebrating “a new era in American energy,” as thirteen “incredible coal miners” stood silently at his side, like shy and stocky pageant contestants. They were the physical embodiment of this new era—white, middle-aged, clean-shaven, strong—which was about to be signed into existence with a sweeping executive order on energy and environmental policy. Mining is what they “want to do,” Trump said. “They love the job. I fully understand that. I grew up in a real-estate family, and until this recent little excursion into the world of politics I could never understand why anybody would not want to be in the world of real estate.” To put the miners “back to work,” the President announced, he was lifting the moratorium on coal leases on federal lands. He was also ordering a review of his predecessor’s Clean Power Plan, that “crushing attack on American industry.”

Theresa May’s Empty Brexit Promises
March 29th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Brexit has begun. On Tuesday evening, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, signed a letter formally giving notice that the United Kingdom intends to leave the European Union. On Wednesday, Sir Tim Barlow, the U.K.’s Ambassador to the E.U., delivered the letter to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. Next up: a long set of talks about the terms of Britain’s exit.

Donald Trump, Lost in Africa
March 29th, 2017, 10:00 PM

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for next year includes drastic cuts to a myriad of social services and programs, to environmental protection, education, public housing, and the arts and science. But there is something else buried under all of those line items: a call to completely eliminate the African Development Foundation, a government agency that gives grants worth thousands of dollars, in the form of seed capital and technical support, to community enterprises and small businesses on the African continent.

Maybe the Earth Is Flat If You Are Kyrie Irving
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

One of my favorite basketball anecdotes involves George (Iceman) Gervin sitting in the locker room, sometime in the late nineteen-seventies, after hitting a game-winning shot. Journalists crowd him asking locker-room questions: “How did you do it?” “How did it feel?” “What were you thinking?” After a brief pause, Gervin responds, “The world is round.”

The Problems with Trump’s D.C. Hotel Deal Aren’t Going Away
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

As the prospect of a Trump Presidency became real last year, a number of leading experts on ethics and corruption called on the U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees federal contracts, to cancel the Trump Organization’s lease to operate the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which is located in a building owned by the federal government. The President, they said, shouldn’t make money from a federal contract. Last week, the G.S.A. issued its ruling on the matter. In a hundred-and-sixty-six-page letter addressed to Donald Trump, Jr., a G.S.A. contracting officer named Kevin M. Terry declared that President Trump was “in full compliance” with the contract, and that anybody who disagreed was reaching “simplistic ‘black and white’ conclusions.”

How the White House and Republicans Blew Up the House Russia Investigation
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. “We’ve been frozen,” Jim Himes, a Democratic representative from Connecticut who is a member of the Committee, said.

Pope Francis Proposes a Cure for Populism
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Last Friday, twenty-seven heads of state gathered in Rome to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the treaty that established the European Economic Community, the progenitor of the European Union. Perhaps because of the setting, it seemed natural that Pope Francis should address them; he did so in the Sala Regia, the elegant barrel-vaulted hall adjacent to the Sistine Chapel. Francis is the beleaguered E.U.’s staunchest defender, and he rallied his audience by recalling the founders’ spirit. “In a world that was all too familiar with the tragedy of walls and divisions, it was clearly important to work for a united and open Europe, and for the removal of the unnatural barrier that divided the continent from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic,” he said. “What efforts were made to tear down that wall! Yet today the memory of those efforts has been lost.” Francis rattled off the economic, social, institutional, and humanitarian crises facing Europe, but he had no need to mention explicitly the most pressing crisis of all—Brexit, which comes to a head this week, as Prime Minister Theresa May (who was not in Rome) formally begins Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U.

Can Donald Trump Learn from Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill?
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On April 28, 1982, fifteen months into his first term, President Ronald Reagan went up to Capitol Hill to meet with Tip O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House. The two Irish-American politicians had to that point been bitter enemies. As Reagan had pursued his conservative agenda of tax cuts, a military buildup, and deregulation, O’Neill had done everything he could to resist. Now, though, with the budget deficit rising and the markets getting concerned about Washington’s solvency, the Republican and the Democrat needed each other’s help. The White House wanted to cut domestic spending, including Social Security. O’Neill wanted to safeguard entitlement programs and reverse some of Reagan’s tax cuts for the rich.

The Gong Show, with Donald Trump
March 28th, 2017, 10:00 PM

In the summer of 1976, the television producer Chuck Barris brought to NBC his most successful idea: “The Gong Show,” which today is probably remembered more for its name than its content. The idea was to let distinctly odd performers compete before a panel of B-list celebrities. If an act was atrocious (for instance, the Worms, three men in tights who jumped around before wriggling on the floor), a panel member would hit the gong, a signal to stop. The show was a ratings hit, and critics, naturally, hated it; John J. O’Connor, of the Times, for instance, thought that it came “very close to cruelty,” and fell “between the treacherous television stools of cupidity and cynicism.” But what do critics know? The mischievous Barris, who died this month at the age of eighty-seven, once told Salon that “a really bad review means the show will be on for years”; a Times obituary noted that some of Barris’s more notorious inventions, such as “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game,” stuck around for decades. In all this, one can see the roots of modern reality television, and of fare like “Celebrity Apprentice,” which was originally hosted by the real-estate brander Donald J. Trump, who since January 20th has been the President of the United States.

What the Russian Protests Mean for Putin
March 27th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Sunday in Moscow was a bright spring day, chilly but clear, and by the time I made my way to Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s main thoroughfare, the sidewalks were full of people strolling up, toward Pushkin Square, and down, toward Red Square and the red-brick towers of the Kremlin. They had come out for a march led by Alexey Navalny, Russia’s savviest and most popular opposition politician, who had declared a nationwide day of anti-corruption action. The protest was one of mere presence, rather than any specific activity: a few people held signs, and every now and then a chant broke out, but the main political statement of the day was simply showing up.

A.I. Versus M.D.
March 26th, 2017, 10:00 PM

One evening last November, a fifty-four-year-old woman from the Bronx arrived at the emergency room at Columbia University’s medical center with a grinding headache. Her vision had become blurry, she told the E.R. doctors, and her left hand felt numb and weak. The doctors examined her and ordered a CT scan of her head.

The Trauma of Facing Deportation
March 26th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Georgi, a Russian refugee who came to Sweden with his family when he was five years old, could talk at length about the virtues of the Volvo. His doctor described him as “the most ‘Swedeified’ in his family.” He was also one of the most popular boys in his class. For his thirteenth birthday, two friends listed some of the qualities that he evoked: energetic, fun, happy all the time, good human being, amazingly kind, awesome at soccer, sly.

Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever
March 26th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On a velvety March evening in Mandeville Canyon, high above the rest of Los Angeles, Norman Lear’s living room was jammed with powerful people eager to learn the secrets of longevity. When the symposium’s first speaker asked how many people there wanted to live to two hundred, if they could remain healthy, almost every hand went up. Understandably, then, the Moroccan phyllo chicken puffs weren’t going fast. The venture capitalists were keeping slim to maintain their imposing vitality, the scientists were keeping slim because they’d read—and in some cases done—the research on caloric restriction, and the Hollywood stars were keeping slim because of course.

Tommy Haas Confronts Tennis’s Future
March 25th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Tommy Haas, the thirty-eight-year-old German tennis player, was once one of the top players on the A.T.P. tour; he is now one of the oldest. He is also now the tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open, at Indian Wells—the kind of corporate job typically held by people known for their operations-management skills, not for their flowing one-handed backhand. Last Thursday, at 9:15 in the morning, Haas was driving to the grounds of Indian Wells, hoping to get a hit in—he was planning to play in the Miami Open, which began a few days later—when his phone rang. Nick Kyrgios, a talented and mercurial twenty-one-year-old Australian, had been up all night, feeling ill; he thought it was food poisoning. Kyrgios was due to play Roger Federer in the quarter-finals at noon, in what was to be the marquee match of the day, and perhaps of the tournament.

The Health-Care Debacle Was a Failure of Conservatism
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Let the recriminations begin! Actually, the health-care-failure finger-pointing got under way well before Friday, when Donald Trump and Paul Ryan cancelled a House vote on the American Health Care Act. A day earlier, aides to the President let it be known that he had come to regret going along with Ryan’s idea of making health care his first legislative priority.

The G.O.P.’s Health-Care Failure: First Thoughts
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

House Republican leaders abruptly pulled their health-care proposal, the American Health Care Act, from consideration on the House floor on Friday. Below, New Yorker writers offer some initial reactions to the news.

Face to Face with the Ghost of ISIS
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On a crisp spring day in March, in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah, I met Abu Islam, a senior ISIS leader nicknamed the Ghost of ISIS by Iraqi intelligence for his elusiveness. He was escorted into a small office with faux-wood paneling and no windows at the Special Forces Security Compound in Kurdistan. His hands were manacled in front of him; he was blindfolded by a dark hood pulled over his loose black Shirley Temple curls. Long sought by the Iraqi government, Abu Islam was notorious for running clandestine cells of suicide bombers—some of whom were as young as twelve—and carrying out covert terrorist operations beyond the Islamic State’s borders. Having had a few years of religious training, he was also tasked with teaching the unique ISIS version of Islam to new fighters. Still in his mid-twenties, Abu Islam rose to become the ISIS “emir” of Iraq’s oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

A Break, but No Freedom Yet, for a Bronx Man Convicted in a Shaky Murder Case
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

Earlier this week, a judge in the Bronx ruled in the case of Edward Garry, who has served more than twenty years in prison for the murder, in 1995, of a retired N.Y.P.D. detective. The judge’s opinion ran sixty-one pages, but it was five words that mattered most: “a new trial is ordered.”

Can the Cubs Do It Again?
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

MESA, ARIZONA— A year ago, as the promising young Chicago Cubs prepared for the 2016 season, the only cloud that hung over their training camp was the palpable weight of a hundred and eight years of futility. Though management, coaches, and players cheekily denied it, The Curse was a brooding and inescapable presence. Could these Cubs, torn down and rebuilt over several dreadful seasons, overcome the most prodigious title drought in the history of professional sports?

How a Republican Congressman Accidentally Disclosed a Secret Intelligence Debate
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

On Monday, when the House Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing about Russian involvement in the U.S. Presidential election, Republican members were almost completely focussed on leaks.

A Last Chance for Turkish Democracy
March 24th, 2017, 10:00 PM

The first time I met Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, known as the H.D.P., he arrived at a restaurant in Istanbul with a single assistant accompanying him. Demirtaş is warm and funny. Among other things, he is an accomplished player of the saz, a string instrument that resembles the oud. At the time—it was 2011—Demirtaş was trying to lead his party and people away from a history of confrontation with the country’s central government. It wasn’t easy. Like other Kurdish leaders in Turkey, Demirtaş had spent time in prison and seen many of his comrades killed. I remember him telling me how, in the nineteen-nineties, when civil unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas was hitting its bloody peak, a particular make of car—a white Renault—had been notorious in Kurdish towns. The cars were used by Turkish intelligence officers, who had developed a terrifying reputation for torturing and executing Kurds. “I’ve been inside the Renaults,’’ Demirtaş told me. “A lot of people I know never made it out of them.”

Trump’s Russia Problem Is Far from Marginal
March 23rd, 2017, 10:00 PM

It’s getting difficult to keep up with the Russia/Trump story, but here’s some of what you need to know. On Wednesday night, CNN reported that the F.B.I. has information suggesting that “associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

How the House Freedom Caucus Dominated Trump on Health Care
March 23rd, 2017, 10:00 PM

At 11:30 on Thursday morning, about two dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus arrived at the Oval Office. The arch-conservative House members were there for the last of a series of sessions in which President Donald Trump would try to convince them to support his health-care bill. Just two days earlier, Trump had reportedly told the group’s leader, North Carolina’s Mark Meadows, that the White House would target him politically if he continued to oppose the bill. “I’m gonna come after you,” Trump reportedly said. Since then, several other more pragmatic Republicans had announced that they would vote against the bill. This meant that Trump likely needs the support of all but about eight members of the Freedom Caucus. The scene in the Oval Office was almost an exact reprise of the G.O.P.’s major intra-Party standoffs of the past few years (over the debt ceiling, and whether John Boehner should remain the Party’s leader), with Meadows holding out and bending the Party toward his faction. Trump, who promised to come at Washington from a new angle, was in the same position as Boehner and Paul Ryan before him, the face of the institutional Republican Party. With no Democrats supporting the bill, he needed Ryan’s whips to get it passed, and so he sank back into Ryan’s ideology.