Deborah Friedell

29 December 2023

Still in Play

Not just anybody can be president of the United States. You have to be at least 35 years old, a ‘natural born citizen’ and a resident of the country for at least fourteen years. You can’t have already served two full terms as president. And, according to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, written just after the end of the American Civil War and ratified in 1868:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

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19 October 2022

Haberman’s Trump

Trump was shocked that a Democratic congresswoman from the Upper East Side wouldn’t side with him during his first impeachment trial; he’d once donated to her campaign. What did she think the money was for?

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5 January 2022

Such a Positive Dream

On Monday, twelve jurors in San Jose agreed, unanimously, that Elizabeth Holmes was guilty on four counts, including ‘conspiracy to commit wire fraud’ against investors in her company, Theranos. On the charges that she defrauded patients, she was found not guilty. On other charges, regarding particular investors, jurors were unable to reach a verdict. It was a win for the prosecution – Holmes will go to prison – though the mixed bill suggested it had been a near thing. One of the jurors (an actor with a Daytime Emmy for writing the Tiny Toon Adventures theme song) gave an interview to ABC News, reported more fully on The Dropout podcast. When it began deliberating, the jury was divided on ‘most everything’, he said. ‘It’s tough to convict somebody, especially somebody so likeable, with such a positive dream.’

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8 May 2017

Two Degrees of Ivanka Trump

I haven’t talked to my college roommate in a while, but a mutual friend reminded me that her sister had roomed with Ivanka Trump at Georgetown. This would have been before Ivanka transferred to the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, her father’s alma mater, from which – until recently, when someone checked the records – she said she graduated summa cum laude. I wrote to my old roommate immediately. What was Ivanka really like? Had she revealed anything about her family’s Russian banking interests? My old roommate wrote back: ‘Didn’t you mean to write “Happy Birthday”?’

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20 January 2017

He won, won, won

On Thursday, Wayne Barrett died of lung disease in Manhattan. He had written about Trump's business dealings for decades, mostly for the Village Voice, and for his book Trump: The Deals and the Downfall (1992), a portrait of a man who got ahead because of his willingness, at every stage of his career, to screw over anyone foolish enough to trust him. It was reissued last year as Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.

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22 September 2016

Missionaries in a Lift

Mormons vote for Republicans – everyone knows that. But they don’t like Trump. ‘Mormons place a high premium on being nice, and Trump is not nice,’ Matt Bowman, the author of The Mormon People, told ThinkProgress. After Mitt Romney said that Trump was a ‘phony, a fraud’ last March, Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City: ‘I have many friends that live in Salt Lake City – and by the way, Mitt Romney is not one of them. Are you sure he's a Mormon? Are we sure?’

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20 April 2015

How to get into Harvard

The director of Harvard admissions has said that being a ‘Harvard legacy’ – the child of a Harvard graduate – is just one of many ‘tips’ in the college’s admissions process, such as coming from an ‘under-represented state’ (Harvard likes to have students from all 50), or being on the ‘wish list’ of an athletic coach. For most applicants to Harvard, the acceptance rate is around 5 per cent; for applicants with a parent who attended Harvard, it’s around 30 per cent. (One survey found that 16 per cent of Harvard undergraduates have a parent who went to Harvard.) A Harvard study from a few years ago shows that after controlling for other factors that might influence admission (such as, say, grades), legacies are more than 45 per cent more likely to be admitted to the 30 most selective American colleges than non-legacies.

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8 December 2014

An Education

Two years ago, the New Republic was bought by Chris Hughes, a millionaire many times over: he had been Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard, and was one of the founders of Facebook. Last week, the man Hughes appointed as TNR’s chief executive officer — its first in 100 years – announced that it would no longer be a magazine but a ‘vertically integrated digital media company’; most of the editorial staff have resigned, including Leon Wieseltier, who for 31 years was the literary editor.

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3 January 2013

Can you please stop digging the grave?

Of course, a week after I filed my piece pooh-poohing the fear of premature burial, this appears in the Siberian Times:

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4 May 2012

How do they find us?

Some recent Google searches that brought people to the LRB, with links to the pages they went to: Making moneywhere does mark thatcher livefrotteurism

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