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Coal vs. Wall Street

By |2022-08-05T07:28:28-04:00August 5th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Republican state officials have found a new way to push back against “woke capitalism”— by punishing companies that distance themselves from fossil fuels.Climate change isn’t a partisan issue in many countries. Both right-leaning and left-leaning parties favor policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if they fight over the specifics of those policies. This consensus allowed the European Union to cut emissions sharply over the past few decades, as the threat of global warming became clearer.In the United States, of course, climate is a partisan issue. Nearly all elected Democrats favor actions that slow climate change. Almost no Republicans in major policymaking positions — including members of Congress and the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court — support these policies.Today, The Times is publishing a story that examines another part of this issue, at the state level. I’m turning over the rest of today’s lead newsletter item to my colleague David Gelles, who wrote the story.The investment firm BlackRock in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York TimesSince the election of President Donald Trump, American corporations have been increasingly drawn into the country’s culture wars. Big companies — like Google and Coca-Cola — have decided that they need to take positions on issues, including immigration, climate change, gun laws and voting rights.Corporate America’s stances on these issues have been an attempt to reflect the values of its employees and customers, many of whom are younger and live in major metropolitan areas. As a result, these corporate positions have generally aligned with those of the Democratic Party, which has led to a fair bit of hand-wringing by Republicans. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, at one point warned companies to “stay out of politics,” and other conservatives have scoffed at “woke capitalism.”Recently, Republican officials have also begun finding ways to hit back. Florida lawmakers this year stripped Disney of a special tax status because the company opposed a new education law that opponents call “Don’t Say Gay.” But perhaps the party’s most significant effort has received relatively little attention so far: Republican state treasurers are taking steps to punish companies that they say are unduly focused on environmental issues.Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, used a new state law to ban five Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, from doing business with the state, because, he said, the companies were distancing themselves from the coal industry.Riley Moore, West Virginia’s state treasurer.Kristian Thacker for The New York TimesSimilar bans are probably on the way elsewhere. Lawmakers in a handful of other states, including Kentucky and Oklahoma, have already passed laws that resemble the one in West Virginia. In a dozen more states, legislators are at work on similar bills.Treasurers in three states have also withdrawn a combined $700 million from investment funds managed by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, over objections to its stance on environmental issues.These efforts to penalize companies are part of a larger push by Republican treasurers to promote fossil fuels and thwart climate action at both the federal and state levels. The treasurers are working in concert with a network of conservative groups that have ties to the fossil fuel industry, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute.When I spoke with Moore, he framed his efforts to punish the Wall Street firms as a way to protect the livelihoods of West Virginians. If the banks don’t want to do business with coal companies, he said, why should he do business with them?In response, the banks say that coal is a bad investment and that all industries are going to have to contend with climate change. Bank officials add that they still do plenty of business with oil and gas companies.Still, these battles move the U.S. closer to a world of red brands and blue brands, in which politics will come to affect parts of life that once seemed separate from it. People on both sides of the aisle are concerned that things have gone too far.“I don’t like the idea that if you’re a Republican, you have to bank with this company, and if you’re a Democrat, you have to bank with that company,” said Noah Friend, a Republican lawyer who previously worked for Kentucky’s treasurer, one of the officials trying to stop climate action. “We already have a lot of divisions in this country.”But it seems unlikely that the trend will stop anytime soon. For both Democrats and Republicans, the substance of these fights — on the climate, civil rights, religious freedom and more — tends to matter more than the abstract principle that not everything should be partisan.You can read my story, which includes details about the many ways that Republican treasurers are promoting fossil fuels, here.THE LATEST NEWSPoliticsThe Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a national health emergency, releasing extra funds.Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a key centrist, agreed to advance a modified version of the Democrats’ climate and tax bill.Kari Lake, who campaigned on false claims of a stolen 2020 election, won Arizona’s Republican primary for governor.Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended Tampa’s top prosecutor, who had vowed not to prosecute abortion cases.The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, who has violated democratic traditions and criticized “mixed race” societies, spoke yesterday at a Republican conference in Dallas.“There has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a campaign ad for his daughter Liz.InternationalA missile launch in a photo released yesterday by China’s military.Eastern Theatre Command, via ReutersChina sent warships and aircraft toward Taiwan today, an apparent response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit. U.S. and Iranian negotiators arrived in Vienna for another attempt at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.Other Big StoriesBrittney Griner awaiting a verdict on Thursday.Evgenia Novozhenina/ReutersA Russian judge sentenced the W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner to nine years in a penal colony on drug charges.The Justice Department charged four officers involved in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor.A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay about $4 million to the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.The F.B.I. arrested Wanda Vázquez, a former governor of Puerto Rico, on corruption charges.OpinionsPeter Meijer’s loss is proof that while political violence is a vital concern, you can’t run a winning campaign on it, Katherine Miller argues.Is this suburban New Jersey town giving its residents cancer? Public health officials need to make it easier to find out, says Marion Renault.MORNING READSBishop Lamor Whitehead, who was robbed during a service at his church in Brooklyn, returned on Sunday to deliver a sermon.Victor J. Blue for The New York TimesTheft, fraud, prison: The wild life of a bishop robbed at the pulpit.Recreation: Two decades of America at leisure.Loch Ness monster: New evidence is offering hope to some Nessie enthusiasts.Breaking barriers: Chun Wai Chan is the New York City Ballet’s first principal dancer from China.Modern Love: What could they have been, if they had been raised to believe that love is never a sin?A Times classic: How American families are changing.Advice from Wirecutter: Consider a “carbage can.”Lives Lived: The Conceptual painter Jennifer Bartlett was a maverick best known for “Rhapsody,” a collection of 987 enameled steel plates stretching more than 150 feet. She died at 81.SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETICThe 2022 N.F.L. season kicked off: The Las Vegas Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars last night in the league’s annual Hall of Fame game, a contest played by guys you will rarely see in meaningful regular-season action. Hope you got some sleep. On to next week.Ohtani Watch begins again: Shohei Ohtani, the pitching-hitting unicorn of the Los Angeles Angels and 2021 M.L.B. MVP, wasn’t traded this week. But word is Ohtani will be changing teams — it’s simply a matter of when. On cue, Ohtani drilled two homers last night — in a loss.The English Premier League season starts today: Arsenal and Crystal Palace kick things off today at 3 p.m. ET. Season predictions? Manchester City is the runaway favorite.ARTS AND IDEAS Back to the ’80sForty years ago, one summer produced a string of classic sci-fi titles: “Blade Runner,” “E.T.,” “Tron,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “The Thing.” These films expanded the genre outward — into horror, heady drama, family fare and franchise sequels — in such a way that they still feel like the blueprint for today’s blockbusters, Adam Nayman writes in The Times.If you didn’t grow up with these movies, would they still feel innovative? The Times asked four young sci-fi stars, all born in the 21st century, to watch one and give an honest review. “I don’t know how I made it this far without knowing that Spock dies at the end,” said Celia Rose Gooding, a star of the newest “Star Trek” series. “I feel like a terrible franchise member.”PLAY, WATCH, EATWhat to CookDavid Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.Try the Korean dish hobak jeon: battered and fried slices of zucchini.What to ReadWith her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette McCurdy is ready to move on, and to look back.What to Watch“I Love My Dad” is a daddy-issues movie with a queasy premise truly made for these times.Late NightThe hosts discussed Brittney Griner and the Choco Taco.Take the News QuizHow well did you keep up with the headlines this week?Now Time to PlayThe pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was locomotion. Here is today’s puzzle.Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Stereotypical dog name (4 letters).And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — DavidP.S. Calling all word game fans: Do you have questions about Spelling Bee for its editor Sam Ezersky? He’ll answer them in a future newsletter. Submit them here.Here’s today’s front page. “The Daily” is about vacationing during the pandemic. On “The Ezra Klein Show,” the politicization of gender.Matthew Cullen, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Chris Stanford contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected] up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Could the U.S. do More for Ukraine?

By |2022-03-29T07:50:54-04:00March 29th, 2022|Uncategorized|

President Biden says that Ukraine has the full support of the U.S. Volodymyr Zelensky disagrees.President Biden, in a passionate speech from Warsaw on Saturday, proclaimed the West’s complete support for Ukraine. “We stand with you, period,” Biden said.The next day, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, offered a different message: He criticized the West for not doing enough. In a videotaped speech to Ukrainians, Zelensky contrasted their “determination, heroism and firmness” with the lack of courage from Western countries that had refused to send jets and tanks to Ukraine.In a detailed interview with The Economist this past weekend, he also called out the U.S. and, even more so, France and Germany, for not doing more. “We have a long list of items we need,” Zelensky told The Economist’s editor in chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes, and a colleague during a sit-down interview in a Kyiv bunker.Who’s right — Zelensky or Biden? Today, I will try to answer that question, with help from Times colleagues. I’ll do so by breaking Zelensky’s argument into three categories. The first critiques the West’s behavior in the run-up to the war. The second covers current requests from Zelensky that may be more performative than real. The third deals with steps that could help Ukraine and that the West is choosing not to take.1. Alternative historySome of Zelensky’s complaints are about the past. He says that the West could have altered Vladimir Putin’s war plans by imposing harsh sanctions as Russia mobilized for war. He made the same argument at the time.It is obviously impossible to know if Zelensky is right, but he has a legitimate case. The West’s initial response to Russia’s buildup was timid, offering little military support and threatening only modest sanctions. As The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum wrote at the time, “Tragically, the Western leaders and diplomats who are right now trying to stave off a Russian invasion of Ukraine still think they live in a world where rules matter, where diplomatic protocol is useful, where polite speech is valued.”Putin seemed to assume that the Western reaction would remain fairly modest, much as the response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea had been. He decided that a full takeover of Ukraine would be worth the price.But the brutality and scope of the invasion changed the West’s approach. Biden and the leaders of other countries rallied to impose sweeping sanctions. The ruble and Russian stocks have plunged, and Putin himself has acknowledged that the economic damage will be large.Mothers and children at a center for displaced families in Lviv.Mauricio Lima for The New York Times“If tougher sanctions had been levied earlier, a full-scale Russian attack would not have occurred,” Zelensky claimed this weekend. “It would have been on a different scale,” he added, “giving us more time.”This argument is a way for him to urge the world not to make the same mistake again. Ukraine’s allies should “act pre-emptively, not after the situation becomes complicated,” he said.2. Politics as performanceIt’s often naïve to take the words of political leaders literally. The public speech of politicians tends to combine an honest expression of their views with an attempt to influence others. Zelensky, an actor by training, is well aware of the performative part of politics.Over the past few weeks, he has repeatedly asked for forms of help that he surely knows he will not get, my colleague Max Fisher says. The clearest example is a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Establishing one could require the West to shoot down Russian planes and even bomb air-defense systems inside Russia, potentially starting a world war.Still, making unreasonable requests has value to Zelensky. It signals to Ukrainians that he is doing everything possible to defeat Russia and also makes it harder for the West to say no to other requests. “He’s asking for the moon, knowing he’ll get less,” Eric Schmitt, a senior writer at The Times who has long covered military affairs, told me. “But it keeps the pressure on the West to deliver the stuff he needs.”3. What Ukraine wantsAnother set of requests coming from Zelensky and his aides is more literal and realistic. The biggest is their plea for the kind of equipment that allows a smaller army defending territory to hold off a larger, attacking army. The U.S. and other allies have already sent a large amount of such equipment, like shoulder-fired rocket launchers, but Ukraine says that it needs more.So far, Ukraine’s military has performed better than most observers expected, preventing Russia from taking over most major cities while reclaiming a few towns in the northeast. Because Russia has an enormous military, however, a war of attrition tends to work to its advantage, Eric notes. Russia can continue to bomb Ukrainian troops and civilians and hope for eventual capitulation. “The Russians have thousands of military vehicles, and they are coming and coming and coming,” Zelensky said.Western military officials argue that they are providing Ukraine with weapons and equipment as fast as is logistically possible. Zelensky says that his country’s fate may depend on the West doing better.A Ukrainian soldier reviewing drone footage.Daniel Berehulak for The New York TimesOther requests by Zelensky fall into a middle ground: It’s unclear whether Ukraine expects the West to say no. This list includes additional tanks and fighter jets as well as further sanctions on Russia and an end to European purchase of Russian energy.The bottom lineThe uncomfortable truth is that Ukraine and the West do not have identical interests, despite Biden’s suggestion to the contrary.Ukraine is fighting for survival, and its people are dying. Its leaders need to try any strategy that might plausibly help. The leaders of the U.S., E.U. and other allies genuinely want to come to Ukraine’s defense, but they are also concerned about their own economies, domestic support for their policies and the risk of nuclear war with Russia.More on UkraineBiden said he was expressing “moral outrage” — not U.S. policy — when he said Putin “cannot remain in power.”Zelensky says Ukraine will analyze the effectiveness of Western sanctions against Russia.The war has cost Ukraine almost $565 billion, including more than 4,900 miles of damaged or destroyed roadways, its economy minister said.The besieging of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians are tactics Russia has used before: The Times’s Carlotta Gall saw it firsthand.An online video appears to show Ukrainian soldiers beating and shooting Russian prisoners of war.Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, has suspended publication.THE LATEST NEWSPoliticsPresident Biden at the White House yesterday.Leigh Vogel for The New York TimesBiden proposed a new tax on the wealthiest Americans and a corporate tax increase. Here’s more on his budget plan.A federal judge concluded that Donald Trump most likely committed felonies in trying to overturn the 2020 election.The Jan. 6 committee wants to interview Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. It also recommended charging Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr., two Trump allies, with criminal contempt.Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that limits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida elementary schools.The Supreme Court agreed to hear cases on the treatment of pigs and on Andy Warhol’s images of Prince.Other Big StoriesWill Smith apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him at the Oscars. “I was out of line and I was wrong,” he wrote.A few years ago, Hillsong was the leading edge of cool Christianity. In the past two weeks, it has lost more than half of its American churches.A snow squall caused a 50-vehicle pileup on a Pennsylvania interstate.UConn won a thrilling overtime game to reach its 14th straight women’s Final Four; Louisville also clinched a spot.OpinionsNew York City rents are soaring. More housing would help, Mara Gay says.These graphics show how the coronavirus might evolve.Congress shouldn’t wait for another Covid surge to make more funding available, two Biden advisers argue.MORNING READSThe stairs at 20 Exchange Place in Manhattan.Amir Hamja for The New York Times“High-rise hell”: When you’re 50 stories up and the elevator doesn’t work.Health: How female patients can overcome “medical gaslighting.”Cold cases: Some true crime fans are funding police searches of DNA databases.A Times classic: Fix dark circles, bags and other eye woes.Advice from Wirecutter: Packing tips for your vacation rental.Lives Lived: Sara Suleri Goodyear vividly evoked her upbringing in Pakistan in her 1989 memoir, “Meatless Days.” She died at 68.ARTS AND IDEAS A throwback style guideAudrey Hepburn was a “flamboyant gamine.” Sophia Loren is a “soft dramatic.” If you’re a follower of the Kibbe method — like a growing number of people — you’ll recognize these as guidelines on how to dress.The stylist David Kibbe, who devised the system in the 1980s, came up in an era “where every woman had a ‘season’ and knew her face shape,” Mariah Kreutter writes in The Times. His system involves 13 body types based on Old Hollywood archetypes and a balance between what Kibbe calls “yin” (softness, curve) and “yang” (sharp angles, edges).There are critiques of the system, such as its frequent failure to “account for body diversity across gender and race,” Terry Nguyen writes in Vox. Still, Kibbe types have grown in popularity on TikTok, YouTube and Reddit, where fans exchange tips. Like an astrology sign or Myers-Briggs personality type, a Kibbe body type can also be a social identifier.“I think people are drawn to it because they no longer feel stuck in the loop of trend after trend,” ChloeAntoinette Santos, a 19-year-old design student, said. “They’re getting cemented in actually understanding themselves.”PLAY, WATCH, EATWhat to CookDavid Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.Earthy mushrooms replace meat in this take on larb.TalkQuinta Brunson, the creator and star of “Abbott Elementary,” talks about the sitcom’s breakout success.What to ReadA violinist rethinks her devotion to music in “Uncommon Measure,” a genre-defying memoir by Natalie Hodges.Late NightThe hosts discussed Will Smith.Now Time to PlayThe pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was cowgirl. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.Here’s today’s Wordle. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: A good time (three letters).If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — DavidCorrection: Monday’s newsletter said Americans were eligible to receive a Covid booster after six months. It’s actually five months.P.S. David Wallace-Wells is joining The Times to cover climate change. And The Times wants to answer your climate questions.Here’s today’s front page.“The Daily” is about Joe Manchin. “The Ezra Klein Show” features Larry Summers.Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected] up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

An Unlikely Hero

By |2022-03-14T07:01:01-04:00March 14th, 2022|Uncategorized|

We look Volodymyr Zelensky’s rise. National heroes sometimes have humble political origins.Abraham Lincoln was arguably the country’s least-qualified president — a former one-term member of Congress — at the time that he took office. Winston Churchill looked like a washed-up politician when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. And Volodymyr Zelensky did not seem like an international symbol of courage when Russia began threatening to invade Ukraine in recent months.In today’s newsletter, I want to give you a brief profile of Zelensky, one that goes beyond the one or two sentences many people have heard about him in recent weeks. I’ll also link to some of the best profiles of him and podcasts about him, for anybody who wants more.Below, you’ll also find the latest news from the war.Benny Hill humorBy now, the basics of Zelensky’s background are well known: Before becoming Ukraine’s president, he had been a comedic actor whose best-known role was as a teacher who rose to Ukraine’s presidency thanks to a viral video.That show, “Servant of the People,” was a cross between “The West Wing” and Monty Python. Zelensky himself has credited Benny Hill, the crude British comedian, as an influence. (You can watch a short excerpt from the show, with English voice overs.)“As a film actor and sitcom star, Zelensky thrived in the role of the Everyman, often playing the average guy who wins over the beautiful woman seemingly beyond his reach,” Franklin Foer has written in The Atlantic.Zelensky grew up in a fading and polluted industrial city, the son of an engineer and computer-science professor. He is Jewish, in a country with a brutal history of antisemitism, and his first language was Russian, as is the case for many Ukrainians.He ran for president in 2019, with a charmingly populist campaign that evoked his character on “Servant of the People.” It helped that the billionaire owner of the network that broadcast the show promoted Zelensky’s candidacy, including with a documentary that aired on the eve of the election, comparing him to Ronald Reagan.Elsewhere in Europe, many officials initially viewed Zelensky as unserious, as The New Yorker’s Joshua Yaffa has reported. “The impression was terrible,” one European diplomat said, referring to one early meeting.The impression today is very different, of course. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Zelensky has become a Churchillian figure, the personal embodiment of his country’s refusal to yield to a murderous authoritarian.Zelensky, second from left, near the Belarusian border last month.Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesSeeing through PutinThat image does have a lot in common with the optimistic and patriotic vision of Ukraine that Zelensky has presented since he began running for office.His two central campaign promises were to crack down on corruption and to end the military conflict with Russia in the country’s eastern provinces. After taking office, he stripped members of Parliament of their legal immunity. He shrunk his own motorcade to two cars, without sirens. He told government officials to remove presidential portraits from their offices and replace them with pictures of their children, to remind them of the stakes of their work.He also earnestly took to the job of president, acknowledging how little he knew. “He’s a very intent listener,” John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told Foer.One early question that many Ukrainians had was what approach Zelensky would take to Russia. Some even worried that he might be too accommodating to Vladimir Putin, Anton Troianovski, The Times’s Moscow bureau chief, has noted. Zelensky not only grew up speaking Russian, but had become a star in Russia, thanks to his television shows.“Zelensky came in as a candidate who promised to make a deal with Russia to end the war,” Anton said. Over time, though, Zelensky came to believe that Putin was not negotiating in good faith and wanted to dominate Ukraine. That belief pushed Zelensky closer to the West, angering Putin.“In retrospect, now that we see what Putin really wants, total control over Ukraine, it is hard to see what Zelensky could’ve done,” Anton said.Personal braverySince Russia invaded, Zelensky has remained in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, rallying the country through videotaped speeches. (Yesterday, Zelensky’s government posted photos of him visiting wounded soldiers at a hospital and awarding them medals.) He has done so even though Russian troops and spies are likely trying to kill him.Anne Applebaum, a journalist and Ukraine expert, recently said on NPR that she thought Zelensky might never flee the country. “He’s an actor, and he understands that he has a role to play, and he will play the role,” Applebaum said. He knows that he represents his country, she added, and even if he wishes he had never run for president, he understands that he now symbolizes something larger than himself.“Once you enter the role, you play it to the end,” she said. “You have a larger responsibility to the citizens and to your country’s image in the world.”Related: Maureen Dowd writes that Zelensky has become “the world’s greatest actor” in a real-life struggle between good and evil.State of the WarRussian forces hit Kyiv with heavy artillery strikes this morning after days of fighting in the suburbs. One projectile struck an apartment building.Russia continued its assault on civilians, firing on a train evacuating people fleeing the Donetsk region. Russian forces also continued to attack residential buildings in Mariupol, where a humanitarian crisis is deepening.“The entire sky was in flames”: A Russian attack 11 miles from the border with Poland hit a base where foreigners who had come to help Ukraine were believed to be training.Russia asked China for military equipment and for financial assistance to protect its economy, U.S. officials say. A Chinese spokesman dismissed the claim.Russian forces fatally shot Brent Renaud, an American journalist who was reporting outside Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said.Russian and Ukrainian officials are holding virtual peace talks today.More on UkraineHow does this war end? Putin has refused to engage in serious negotiations, leaving the West guessing.Tens of thousands of Russians have fled to Istanbul since the invasion, outraged about what they see as a criminal war or concerned about their livelihoods back home.Russia’s war could mean higher costs for plastic products, whose prices track those of oil.Masha Gessen tells Ezra Klein that Putin sees himself in the lineage of rulers like Ivan the Terrible and Stalin.Koch Industries appears to be continuing its business operations in Russia, Judd Legum of Popular Information reports.THE LATEST NEWSThe VirusElena Rosales, 3, got a Moderna shot during a trial last year.Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune, via ABACA - Reuters ConnectModerna is expected to submit data this week on how well its vaccine works in children under 5.Barack Obama tested positive. He said he was “feeling fine.”The Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai imposed new restrictions on millions of residents.Unvaccinated M.L.B. players won’t be allowed into Canada to play against the Toronto Blue Jays.Other Big StoriesA gunman targeting sleeping homeless people in New York City and Washington has shot five men, two of them fatally, the police said.An Indian family of four froze to death yards from the border as they tried to cross into the U.S. from Canada.Angry over blackouts and rising electricity bills, a small but growing number of Californians is going off the grid.Tom Brady reversed his announced retirement, saying he would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd N.F.L. season.“The Power of the Dog” won best picture at the Critics Choice Awards. Here are the other winners.Opinions“Father-God, may the attackers’ fingers freeze”: Tish Harrison Warren’s readers offer their prayers for Ukraine.North Korea’s latest missile tests are proof of Kim Jong-un’s ambition, Jean H. Lee argues.Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss abortion and Andrew Cuomo.MORNING READSPep talk: Grade schoolers give life advice on a new hotline.Quiz time: The average score on our latest news quiz was 8.4. Can you beat it?A Times classic: When a partner cheats.Advice from Wirecutter: Try this no-fear virtual reality headset.Lives Lived: William Hurt was a leading man in popular films of the 1980s, including “Body Heat” and “Broadcast News,” and won an Oscar for his role in the 1985 film “Kiss of The Spider Woman.” He died at 71.SPORTS AND IDEAS The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top-seeded men’s team.Kyle Terada/USA Today SportsMarch Madness is hereThe N.C.A.A. basketball tournaments begin this week. You can see (and print) brackets for the men’s tournament and women’s tournament here. But first, a rundown of the No. 1 seeds:The women: Three of the top seeds were also there last season, including Stanford, which won it all last year; N.C. State; and South Carolina, whose defense is stifling thanks to the dominant forward Aliyah Boston. The only new No. 1 is Louisville, but just barely: It was a No. 2 seed last year, and a top seed before that.Read about the rest of the field, including Connecticut and its quest to return to the top of the sport.The men: Last year, Gonzaga had its perfect season spoiled when it lost the national championship game to Baylor. Both teams are among the tournament’s four top seeds this year, as is Kansas, led by its versatile star Ochai Agbaji. The surprise of the group? Arizona, which had not even made the tournament in recent seasons but found a spark with their new coach, a longtime Gonzaga assistant.Read about the rest of the field, including Duke in what is Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.PLAY, WATCH, EATWhat to CookSang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist; Simon Andrews.Garlic stans, rejoice: These noodles demand 20 cloves cooked in butter.What to WatchA reunion of college friends oscillates between comedy and psychological horror in “All My Friends Hate Me.”What to ReadIn Karen Joy Fowler’s novel“Booth,” readers get a window into the life of Lincoln’s killer.Now Time to PlayThe pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was warlock. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.Here’s today’s Wordle. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Great delight (four letters).If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — DavidP.S. Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe and Alexandra Berzon of ProPublica have joined The Times’s Politics desk.Here’s today’s front page.“The Daily” is about how Russians see the war in Ukraine. “Sway” features Andrew Garfield.Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected] up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Russia’s Brutal Advance

By |2022-03-04T07:28:04-05:00March 4th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

It’s creating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is a mismatch.On one side is the Russian military, among the world’s largest and strongest forces. On the other side is Ukraine, a medium-sized country whose infrastructure is being destroyed during the fighting. Although Ukraine has powerful allies — like the U.S. and Western Europe — those allies have chosen not to send troops, partly because they do not see Ukraine as vital to their national interests and because they fear starting a larger war with nuclear-armed Russia.The reality of this mismatch explains the developments of the past 48 hours. After some surprising setbacks in the first few days of the invasion, Russia has since used brutal tactics, often targeting civilians, to make progress.Russian troops have taken control of areas in both the east and south of the country. In the east, Russia is hoping to isolate — and then crush — Ukrainian forces that for years have been battling Russia-backed separatists near the Russian border. In the south, the goal appears to be to control the Black Sea coast, potentially cutting off Ukraine from sea access.

Democrats, Divided

By |2021-10-01T07:59:43-04:00October 1st, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

House Democrats delayed a vote on a major infrastructure bill, a sign of divisions within the party.For more than a decade, congressional Democrats have been a notably unified and functional bunch.They responded forcefully to both the financial crisis that began in 2007 and the Covid-19 pandemic. They passed Barack Obama’s signature health care law, succeeding on an issue that had bedeviled Washington for decades. And they remained almost completely united against Donald Trump’s legislative agenda and attacks on democracy.But the era of productive Democratic unity is now in doubt — as is President Biden’s domestic agenda.This morning, I’ll explain last night’s developments on Capitol Hill and look at where things may go from here.Shortly before 11 p.m., Steny Hoyer of Maryland — the second-ranking Democrat in the House — announced that “no further votes are expected tonight,” an acknowledgment that the party did not have the votes to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been insisting throughout the day that the vote would happen. It was one of the few times in her almost two decades as the leader of House Democrats that she did not appear to be in control of her caucus, reminiscent of the chaos that has instead tended to surround House Republicans this century.“It’s a serious setback,” Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent, told me, “but I don’t think it’s the end of the effort.”Perhaps the most surprising part of last night’s developments is that many analysts believe that congressional Democrats have made progress toward a deal over the past 24 hours — even if they are not there yet, and the talks could still collapse.The backgroundThe Senate has already passed the infrastructure bill, and Democrats overwhelmingly favor it. But House progressives have refused to vote for it without assurances that moderate Democrats also support the other major piece of Biden’s agenda — a larger bill (sometimes called a “safety net” bill) that would expand health care access and education, fight climate change and reduce poverty, among other measures.Progressives are worried that if they pass the infrastructure bill, moderates will abandon the safety-net bill, which is a higher priority for many Democrats.These are precisely the sort of disagreements that Democrats managed to surmount in recent years. During the debate over Obama’s health law, for example, moderates were worried about its size and ambition, while progressives were deeply disappointed about what it lacked (including an option for anybody to buy into Medicare). Yet nearly all congressional Democrats ultimately voted for the bill, seeing it as far preferable to failure.This time, moderates and progressives are having a harder time coming to an agreement. The left, unhappy about the compromises it needs to make, has decided to use tougher negotiating tactics than in the past — thus the lack of an infrastructure vote last night. And the moderates, like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have been publicly vague about what they are willing to support in the safety-net bill.Encouragingly for Democrats, Manchin’s stance did become clearer yesterday, potentially allowing the party to come to a deal on both major bills. It is not out of the question that a deal could come together quickly and the House might vote on the infrastructure bill today or next week.Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in Washington yesterday.Jason Andrew for The New York TimesManchin said yesterday that he favored a safety-net bill that cost about $1.5 trillion, rather than the $3.5 trillion many other Democrats, including Biden, favor. He also listed several policies that he could support in the bill, including higher taxes on the rich; a reduction in drug prices; and expansions of pre-K, home health care, clean energy and child tax credits.These are many of the same priorities that progressives have, even if Manchin’s proposed cost means that the party will need to make hard choices about what to exclude from the bill. But the terms of the negotiations now seem clearer than they have been.Manchin himself suggested as much. “We need a little bit more time,” he said yesterday, according to Chad Pergram of Fox News. “We’re going to come to an agreement.”Several political analysts echoed that confidence:Matt Glassman of Georgetown: “Oddly, now that the progressives have done their flex, I think the prospects for a deal increased a bit.”Russell Berman, The Atlantic: “These setbacks are not final or fatal, and time is still on their side. The deadlines Democrats missed this week were largely artificial, and House leaders said a vote on the infrastructure bill could still happen as early as Friday.”Karen Tumulty, Washington Post: “My theory: We are moving toward a deal. … What everyone is waiting for at this point is an announcement by Biden of a deal, and a call from the president for Democrats to rally around it.”The Democrats have enormous incentives to come to agreement. If they fail, Biden’s domestic agenda is largely sunk, and the party will have forfeited a chance to pass major legislation while controlling the White House, the Senate and House — a combination that does not come along often. Democrats will also have to face voters in next year’s midterms looking divided if not incompetent.All of that suggests they will find a path to an agreement. But it’s far from assured. 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InternationalThe British police officer who murdered Sarah Everard, 33, after falsely arresting her in March was sentenced to life in prison.The German police arrested a 96-year-old former concentration camp worker after she tried to skip a hearing.Ethiopia ordered the expulsion of U.N. officials who sounded the alarm about the humanitarian crisis in Tigray.Other Big StoriesA memorial in Minneapolis for those killed by law enforcement.Caroline Yang for The New York TimesA federal database has undercounted police killings in the U.S. by more than half over the past four decades, a study found.Teen vaping fell in the U.S. for a second straight year.A Yale professor resigned as head of a prestigious program, saying conservative donors were inappropriately trying to influence academic content.North Carolina Courage, a women’s professional soccer team, fired their head coach after former players accused him of sexual coercion.OpinionsBiden’s agenda answers America’s moral and cultural crisis, David Brooks argues. Bret Stephens advises moderate Democrats to block the spending bill.Lulu Garcia-Navarro, the NPR host, is joining Times Opinion to anchor a new podcast.MORNING READSNLE Choppa and Big Scarr trying on pieces.IceboxIcebox: Step inside an Atlanta store where hip-hop’s big names buy their jewelry.Next act: The bassist of Pearl Jam is making Montana a skateboarding oasis.An unroyal wedding: Princess Mako of Japan is getting married. It’s no fairy tale.Advice from Wirecutter: Charge all your devices in one place.Modern Love: Four years into their marriage, her husband matched with her on OkCupid.Lives Lived: Carlisle Floyd composed operas that explored the passions and prejudices of the South, drawing on the Great Depression and the aftermath of the Civil War. He died at 95.ARTS AND IDEAS Daniel Craig is bidding farewell to 007.Devin Oktar Yalkin for The New York Times‘Maybe I’ll be remembered as the Grumpy Bond’After 15 years of playing James Bond — longer than any other actor — Daniel Craig will make his final appearance as 007 in the franchise’s latest entry, “No Time to Die.” (Read A.O. Scott’s review). Craig spoke with The Times about his send-off. Some highlights:Craig never thought he’d land the part: “I was just amongst the mix — someone to dismiss,” he said, adding that, at best, he figured he’d get a one-off villain role: “‘Here you go, have a baddie.’”You won’t have to wait long to see him again: Craig has already filmed a sequel to the popular 2019 whodunit “Knives Out,” reprising his role as a gentleman sleuth. Next year, he’ll also star in a new Broadway production of “Macbeth,” alongside Ruth Negga as Lady Macbeth.Who might the next Bond be? He has no idea. “Whoever does it, good luck to them. I hope they have just as great a time as I’ve had,” he said. Frequently mentioned possibilities include Idris Elba, Lashana Lynch and Tom Hardy.On becoming a meme: There’s a clip of Craig on “Saturday Night Live,” where he introduces the singer The Weeknd with relish, that many people like to post at the end of the week. “They do? It’s amazing. I don’t know what that is, but thank you. That’s lovely. I suppose I’d have to have social media to know what that was all about.” — Sanam Yar, a Morning writerPLAY, WATCH, EATWhat to CookLinda Xiao for The New York TimesEmbrace autumn with Norwegian apple cake. (It will make everything smell like cinnamon.)What to WatchThe movie prequel to “The Sopranos” is a “busy, unnecessary, disappointingly ordinary origin story,” Manohla Dargis writes in a review.What to Listen toHere are five classical albums to hear now.Take the News QuizHow do you compare with other Times readers on our weekly News Quiz?Late NightThe hosts discussed the congressional baseball game.Now Time to PlayThe pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was belittlement. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Bored, blah feeling (five letters).If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you Monday. — DavidP.S. The Times won five news and documentary Emmy Awards, including for a documentary about the police killing of Breonna Taylor.Here’s today’s print front page.“The Daily” is about abortion. “The Ezra Klein Show” features Eric Adams.Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected] up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

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