Monday, December 28, 2020

In The News (30)

Jimmy Kimmel Calls Giuliani the ‘Gift That Keeps on Grifting’ “I guess this explains why Trump has been passing the MAGA hat around, asking his fans to donate to his legal defense fund,” Kimmel said of Rudy Giuliani’s alleged request to be paid $20,000 a day.

The culling of minks in Denmark prompts a political crisis.  with the minister of agriculture forced to step down and the government in danger of collapse. ........... Denmark is home to some of the world’s largest mink farms, with an estimated population of more than 15 million. .......... “The mink farms are a reservoir where the coronavirus is thriving”  

The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs “The world has never felt smaller.” ........... Avoiding death, but certainly not living. — Sydney Reimann ......... Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe. — Alex Wasser ........... Hallway hike, bathtub swim, Pandora concert. — Susan Evind 

Giuliani Got a Bad Batch of ‘Just for Henchmen’ Hair Dye, Colbert Says “Remind me, is it a good sign when your lawyer starts melting?” Stephen Colbert joked after Rudy Giuliani appeared to sweat hair dye during a news conference. 

Douglas Stuart Wins Booker Prize for ‘Shuggie Bain’ The autobiographical novel, about the lonely gay son of an alcoholic mother in 1980s Scotland, was one of four debut books in this year’s shortlist. 

When the World Seems Like One Big Conspiracy Understanding the structure of global cabal theories can shed light on their allure — and their inherent falsehood.

David Fincher’s Impossible Eye With ‘Mank,’ America’s most famously exacting director tackles the movie he’s been waiting his entire career to make. .................. If you want to build worlds as engrossing as those he seeks to construct, then you need actors to push their performances into zones of fecund uncertainty, to shed all traces of what he calls “presentation.” And then you need them to give you options, all while hitting the exact same marks (which goes for the camera operators too) to ensure there will be no continuity errors when you cut the scene together. Getting all these stars to align before, say, Take No. 9 is possible but unlikely. ................. For one, he reveres “Citizen Kane.” “I don’t think it’s the greatest American movie ever made,” he said, “but it’s in the top three — and they made it in 1941.” (“The Godfather Part II” and “maybe ‘Chinatown’” round out his podium.) .............. his father “never understood Hollywood’s inherent cynicism — he didn’t understand the magnetic pull for the sociopath that Hollywood has.” .........  His shots come to represent the gliding, unmediated gaze of some impossible — and faintly malevolent — eye: “I want it to feel omniscient,” Fincher said. .......... The fundamental formal pleasure of watching a Fincher film is that every last micron of the experience has been considered, and then reconsidered, with an abundance of love, skill and precision. .......... his camera typically moves only when an actor does — and at the same speed .......... (Fincher described playing his favorite video game, Madden NFL, as “the only time I’m not thinking about movies.”) ............ “David had a laser pointer out, and he was circling this one section of a wall in the upper part of the frame, saying, ‘That’s a quarter of a stop too bright.’ I had to leave the room. I had to go outside and take some deep breaths, because I thought, Oh, my God — to see like that? All the time? Everywhere? I wouldn’t be able to do it.” ................. “I think because people are blinded by his outsize visual dexterity, he doesn’t get enough credit for his understanding of story.” ...........  “If David wanted to take the time, he could write his movies himself.” ...............  “strategically deployed silence can be just as breathtaking.” ........... He once stole baby dolls from her room, packed them with “hamburger and ketchup,” as he recalled in an article in Interview, and then “threw them onto the freeway,” treating motorists to the spectacle of infants exploding on the asphalt. .................  an experience of productive demystification: The people behind “Star Wars” were not deities but fellow Bay dudes figuring things out through trial and error. ................  “when he started out, Dave was so arrogant it was unreal. He still has very little patience for people who are not as smart as he is, which is a lot of people.” .................   compared Fincher’s repeated takes to working in theater, where an actor discovered new things in the same material night in, night out .................  He’s a taskmaster to a fault, and he’ll argue to the death with you. He’s a prosecutor — he makes me so uncomfortable. ‘Why would you write that? Why would you think that makes sense?’ ...............  Fincher’s way of dealing with people can rankle, Roth added, “but he’s as loyal as the day is long, he’ll support you and he knows what he wants — in Hollywood, that’s an incredible thing.” .......... Fincher’s sets can get tense. He has acknowledged that on “Panic Room” — a film whose every last shot he designed using previsualization software before ever stepping on to the set — ............. Jake Gyllenhaal, a star of “Zodiac,” told this paper in 2007 that Fincher “paints with people” and called it “tough to be a color.” ...............  When I asked Fincher what happened with Gyllenhaal on that film, he described an “extremely simple” situation: “Jake was in the unenviable position of being very young and having a lot of people vie for his attention, while working for someone who does not allow you to take a day off. I believe you have to have everything out of your peripheral vision.” But “I think Jake’s philosophy was informed by — look, he’d made a bunch of movies, even as a child, but I don’t think he’d ever been asked to concentrate on minutiae, and I think he was very distracted. He had a lot of people whispering that ‘Jarhead’” — a 2005 war movie starring Gyllenhaal — “was going to be this massive movie and put him in this other league, and every weekend he was being pulled to go to the Santa Barbara film festival and the Palm Springs film festival and the [expletive] Catalina film festival. And when he’d show up for work, he was very scattered.” He had “his managers and his silly agents who were all coming to his trailer at lunch to talk to him about the cover of GQ and this and that,” Fincher said, adding, “He was being nibbled to death by ducks, and not particularly smart ducks. They got in his vision, and it was hard for him to hit the fastball.” ................  But. It’s: Four. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. A day. And we might not get a chance to come back and do it again.” ................. “Once you get here, the only thing I care about is, Did we tell the story?” ................  “Mank” raises difficult questions about the ultimate ability of art to change society: Hearst effectively crushed Welles’s movie upon release, and even though “Kane” became legendary for its unflattering depiction of Hearst, it never posed a real threat to his power. ................ how advancements in technology had allowed him to tell more ambitious stories ................  “I had the horsepower to now think in terms of ‘What do you want to do,’ as opposed to ‘What are you capable of?’”  

How My Pet Snake Taught Me to Really See   Childhood has a way of alchemizing disparate information into wonder ........... The snake is as much symbol as animal, and this oversaturation of meaning prevents us from seeing the snake clearly. In reality, they are gentle, healthful to the environment, “more scared of you than you are of it,” a sort of tragic hero of the ecosystem that is, when gazed upon without malice, beautiful.   

No One Loves Arby’s Like I Do One look at the Colonel, and you could see the price of war. He was paralyzed from the waist down. ............ For years I made my dad give me crew cuts so I could look like the Colonel. Until third grade I would tell people that I wanted to be an Army Ranger when I grew up. .......... As I grew up, I learned that war was not my childhood fantasy of toy soldiers and brass trinkets; it was grim, relentlessly destructive and often pointless. ..............  I didn’t choose to be Mormon, or to grow up in the South, but those conservative structures did give me comfort — they provided an uncomplicated worldview, one with easy answers. ......... The only thing we would agree on now is roast beef. But at least it’s something.

In The News (29)

The Fight to Win Latino Voters for the G.O.P. For 10 years, Libre — an arm of the Koch family’s Americans for Prosperity — has been working to foster conservatism in Hispanic communities. Now, the group is going all-in on Georgia’s Senate runoffs.
1918 Germany Has a Warning for America Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign recalls one of the most disastrous political lies of the 20th century.
Bitcoin Hits New Record, This Time With Less Talk of a Bubble The crazy cousin of traditional currencies, which fell below $4,000 in March, passed $19,783. More investors now are buying it for the long term.
A New Political Force Emerges in Georgia: Asian-American Voters The Asian-American population in the state has doubled in two decades, and many live in the Atlanta suburbs, which voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr. by large margins.
The House members already facing the redistricting chopping block The upcoming reapportionment of congressional seats could hasten the departures of a number of longtime members of Congress.
American High Schools Go Woke Consultants cash in on radical changes to curricula nationwide
The Mastermind Behind Biden’s No-Drama Approach to Trump Only one top Biden adviser isn’t joining him in the White House—but she’ll still stay close. ......... “As [Biden] will be the first to say, he’s the only Irishman who doesn’t carry a grudge,” Dunn told me. “I’m not Irish, but I will carry his grudges.” 

Op-Ed: On the COVID frontlines, we’re tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior We’re tired of seeing patients who got the virus after their kid’s “limited” birthday party or because they went out to a restaurant dinner with “close friends” or flew to a celebration in a state “that didn’t have much COVID.” ...............  Wear a mask whenever you leave the house. Stop doing dumb stuff, like going to parties, destination weddings and the French Laundry. Stop listening to know-nothings who spout “science” on YouTube and Twitter. ............ So avoid crowds. Wash your hands. Stay home. Why is this so hard? ............... how a single wedding of 55 people in Maine infected 27 guests. None of them died and some didn’t even have symptoms. So, no big deal, right? Wrong. The infected guests went on to infect others, who in turn spread it themselves. Over the next 38 days, the wedding was responsible for infecting at least 176 people, and seven of them died. .............  We’ve reached that place in the movie where there are so many zombies we have to hide in the basement. Except the zombies are down there with us, fresh from an “essential” shopping trip, and now their kid has a cough. ..............  The fire burns all around us and we are dry grass, from sea to shining sea. ..........  Now we are in danger of losing perhaps half a million people or more. ............  How can the world’s strongest democracy be unwilling to fight a winnable war on our own soil to protect our own lives and those of our neighbors? A lot of us won’t even don masks to aid the fight. ............  Like the last man shot in war, you might get the virus before you get the vaccine.  

Politics, Science and the Remarkable Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine The furious race to develop a coronavirus vaccine played out against a presidential election, between a pharmaceutical giant and a biotech upstart, with the stakes as high as they could get.  ...........  Their apparent success showed that in an era of polarized politics, science was able to break down barriers between government, countries and industry to produce one of the few pieces of good news in a year of suffering and division.  

Making the Most of the Coming Biden Boom The economic outlook is probably brighter than you think. ......... Donald Trump is tweeting while America burns .......... Joe Biden will eventually preside over a soaring, “morning in America”-type recovery. ...........  I won’t even be surprised if we see G.O.P. efforts to impede the wide distribution of a vaccine. ........... we’ll still need to invest on a large scale to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, improve the condition of America’s families (especially children) and, above all, head off catastrophic climate change. 

In The News (28)

Best Movies of 2020 The screening rooms were closed. The festivals were virtual. The blockbusters were in storage. Even so, our critics found abundant and inspiring signs of cinematic life in the pandemic.  ........ A big-screen fundamentalist, I love going out to the movies, to first- and second-run cinemas as well as to art houses, museums and cinémathèques. I know which theater and studio in Los Angeles (where I live) has the biggest screen, the best sound, sightlines and seats — me, I like to sit in the middle of the theater, perfectly centered. ......... the sometimes shocking science videos demonstrating how far sneezes and coughs can travel (27 feet!) ........... the clock-and-capitalism-determined flow of everyday life. .......... Every so often, someone asks what I think will happen to movies. I haven’t a clue, beyond my conviction that good, bad and indifferent ones will continue to be produced, distributed and exhibited. ............. The press screenings and catch-up trips to local theaters that have punctuated my weeks for more than two decades vanished, and my internet connection turned into a 24-hour cinémathèque. 

The Stimulus Compromise Is $908 Billion Better Than Nothing The Senate’s plan is flawed. Doing nothing would be much worse.
How Atlanta’s Politics Overtook the Suburbs, Too Communities that defined themselves in opposition to the city have increasingly grown to resemble it.
As Brexit Deadline Looms, Boris Johnson Takes Personal Control of Talks With negotiators at impasse, the prime minister hopes he and European leaders can hammer out a trade deal to replace the one that expires on Dec. 31.

Obama, the Best-Selling Author, on Reading, Writing and Radical Empathy He invited authors and historians to the White House and had already published a best-selling memoir. That didn’t make writing his latest book, “A Promised Land,” any less of a grind. .......  his belief that, in these divided times, “storytelling and literature are more important than ever,” adding that “we need to explain to each other who we are and where we’re going.”  

‘Is Austin on Your List?’: Biden’s Pentagon Pick Rose Despite Barriers to Diversity With retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III’s nomination to be the first Black defense secretary, the Pentagon comes face to face with its record as a place where people of color struggle to climb. .........   For much of his career, General Austin was accustomed to white men at the top. But a crucial turning point — and a key to his success — came a decade ago, when General Austin and a small group of African-American men populated the military’s most senior ranks. ...........   the entrenched system that has defaulted to white men at the top when 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty in the United States are people of color. ........ a tendency by corporate America to raid the best talent ......... One thing the American military does is throw together young men and women of all different races, at least at first. ............ He could not help but notice that the higher up he went, the whiter the Navy got, until soon there were no people of color around him. ......... General Austin, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, was raised in Thomasville, Ga., the same town that produced Henry O. Flipper, who was born a slave and in 1877 became the first African-American graduate of West Point and the first Black officer to lead Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. ............. He had learned a lesson: In the American military, if he did not specifically ask that minority candidates be included on the lists for various posts, he would not get any. .......... Mr. Biden, in an op-ed in The Atlantic on Tuesday, called General Austin’s management of the Iraq withdrawal “the largest logistical operation undertaken by the Army in six decades” and compared it to what will be required to help distribute coronavirus vaccines throughout the United States, a job the next defense secretary will find in his portfolio. “I know this man,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday, formally introducing his nominee for defense secretary.  

It's Time To Break Up Facebook he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic. .......... Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. ............... Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it. ............  Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks. ...........  We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American. .......... Jefferson and Madison were voracious readers of Adam Smith, who believed that monopolies prevent the competition that spurs innovation and leads to economic growth. ..............  A century later, in response to the rise of the oil, railroad and banking trusts of the Gilded Age, the Ohio Republican John Sherman said on the floor of Congress: “If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and sale of any of the necessities of life. If we would not submit to an emperor, we should not submit to an autocrat of trade with power to prevent competition and to fix the price of any commodity.” The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 outlawed monopolies. ............... In the past 20 years, more than 75 percent of American industries, from airlines to pharmaceuticals, have experienced increased concentration, and the average size of public companies has tripled. The results are a decline in entrepreneurship, stalled productivity growth, and higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. ...........  From our earliest days, Mark used the word “domination” to describe our ambitions, with no hint of irony or humility. Back then, we competed with a whole host of social networks, not just Myspace, but also Friendster, Twitter, Tumblr, LiveJournal and others. The pressure to beat them spurred innovation and led to many of the features that distinguish Facebook: simple, beautiful interfaces, the News Feed, a tie to real-world identities and more. .............. It is worth half a trillion dollars and commands, by my estimate, more than 80 percent of the world’s social networking revenue. It is a powerful monopoly, eclipsing all of its rivals and erasing competition from the social networking category. ............ About 70 percent of American adults use social media, and a vast majority are on Facebook products. Over two-thirds use the core site, a third use Instagram, and a fifth use WhatsApp. .................  I heard more than one friend say, “I’m getting off Facebook altogether — thank God for Instagram,” not realizing that Instagram was a Facebook subsidiary. .................  The F.T.C.’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp. ...............  The News Feed algorithm reportedly prioritized videos created through Facebook over videos from competitors, like YouTube and Vimeo. In 2012, Twitter introduced a video network called Vine that featured six-second videos. That same day, Facebook blocked Vine from hosting a tool that let its users search for their Facebook friends while on the new network. The decision hobbled Vine, which shut down four years later. ............ other high-tech areas dominated by single companies, like search (controlled by Google) and e-commerce (taken over by Amazon).  

The Hidden ‘Fourth Wave’ of the Pandemic America hasn’t begun to face this year’s mental health crisis. ...........  Nine long, deadly months into the pandemic, Americans report severe psychic distress. It’s dark, we’re stuck inside, and we’re isolated from friends and family. ...............  Americans’ assessment of our mental health is “worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades.” ............  In addition to so much death, the next three months could bring a level of collective grief, anxiety, depression and overall stress that may eclipse all that we’ve experienced so far this terrible year. ............. “Once we get the pandemic under control, people are going to come up for air, and they will not be OK” ............  Many people often feel terrible about the holidays because they rarely go as well as they do on TV, and this year, more than ever, the disconnect will be unavoidable — and triggering. ............ Eat well, sleep well, maintain social connections, spend time outside in the sun and get a lot of exercise, which has been shown to provide significant improvements for a range of mental health problems.  

Saturday, December 26, 2020

In The News (27)

Congress votes to avert government shutdown for now as Covid relief talks drag on
Missing stimulus check money: How to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes The deadline to file for a missing stimulus check this year has passed, but you can still claim your payment as Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes in 2021.

The W.T.O. Is Having a Midlife Crisis Fixing the global trading system means first coming to grips with why it is broken. ....... The W.T.O. has ordered countries to gut programs that encouraged renewable energy and laws that protected workers from unfair foreign competition, as if international commerce were more important than climate change and workers’ rights.  

Can We Do Twice as Many Vaccinations as We Thought? Data suggests significant protection even without a second shot. If studies prove that’s true, it could be a game changer.

The Next 3 Months Are Going to Be Pure Hell Lessons from Lewis and Clark on living through the darkest days and longest nights. ....... “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation” .......  During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of adults exhibiting symptoms of depression has tripled, and alcohol consumption has risen. We are prisoners of our homes and our minds, Zoom-fatigued, desperate for social contact. As a nation, we are diminished and exhausted, and millions remain out of work. .............. Biden won the popular vote by 7 million, but came within 43,000 votes of losing the election because of the anti-democratic relic of the Electoral College. ............ more than 500,000 Americans likely will have died from Covid-19 by the end of March. ...........  How to get through it? Hibernation ....... Looking inward, discovering the nuance and overlooked dimensions of things long neglected.  

When a Family Is Fractured For most people, estrangements and family rifts are a source of chronic stress that threatens “mental, social and physical well-being.” .......... a relationship-severing dispute may reflect years of accumulated resentments that were never expressed or addressed. ......... family rifts were surprisingly pervasive and often result in long-lasting emotional and physical distress. ........... For most people, estrangements are a source of chronic stress that threatens “mental, social and physical well-being” ...........  Unresolved rifts can precipitate chronic stress in one or both participants that undermines their emotional and physical health. The resulting anxiety or depression can worsen heart disease and diabetes, cause reproductive problems, undermine immunity and even shorten the person’s life ............. rifts can sometimes be health-saving for the person who precipitates them ............. “Estrangement can be a way to manage unsustainable tension and anxiety.” ..........  Reconciliation is often not easy, but the folks Dr. Pillemer interviewed who achieved it said it was well worth the effort. .........  for a reconciliation to work, rehashing of past hurts and rebuttals had to cease and the relationship restored on a new footing that goes forward, not backward ............  “Going over the past was just not going to work for us; we learned how to move ahead together.”  

It’s Time to Scare People About Covid Our public messaging about the virus should explain the real costs — in graphic terms — of catching the virus. ............ It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism. .........  I’m not talking fear-mongering, but showing in a straightforward and graphic way what can happen with the virus. ............. a soft-focus video of a person on a ventilator, featuring the sound of a breathing machine, but not a face. It exhorted people to wear a mask for their friends, moms and grandpas. .............   bodies naturally rebel against the machine forcing pressurized oxygen into the lungs, which is why patients are typically sedated. ............ Covid long hauler, the 5 percent to 10 percent of people for whom recovery takes months. ........... “One consistent research finding is that even when people see and understand risks, they underestimate the risks to themselves” .......... We hear from many who resist taking precautions. They say, “I know someone who had it and it’s not so bad.” Or, “It’s just like the flu.” ............... studies have shown that emotional ads featuring personal stories about the effects of smoking were the most effective at persuading folks to quit. And quitting smoking is much harder than social-distancing and mask-wearing.   

When Culture Really Began to Reckon With White Privilege Black artists didn’t wait around for institutional change. They are making it happen.  ............  “We see you. We have always seen you,” the letter read a few lines later. “We have watched you pretend not to see us.” ......... set out to expose how white gatekeepers and predominantly white-led cultural institutions systematically oppress artists and audiences of color that they claim to support. ........  They demanded that organizations, many of which have long congratulated themselves for their open-mindedness and liberalism, reckon with their own racist practices from inside out. .......... “The key to antiracism is sharing power,” Carden told The Times in August. “It takes a lot of work and a lot of humility, and it requires that white people step aside.” ............. Whiteness, like any other source of power and site of privilege, must be challenged and moved out of the way as our dominant gaze so we can all finally see each other and ourselves.

The Coronavirus Vaccines Were Developed in Record Speed. Now, the Hard Part the most important factor in a given vaccine’s success is not necessarily how well that vaccine works. It’s everything else: how quickly and strategically the vaccine is distributed across the country, how well received it is and whether people continue to abide by other edicts, like mask wearing and physical distancing. .......... That’s especially bad news for the United States, which has invested billions of dollars into vaccine development, but very little into actually getting people vaccinated.  ....... The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials has said that its members need at least $8.4 billion to develop and run successful coronavirus vaccination programs. So far, the federal government has allocated less than $400 million. ......... 100 million Americans could be immunized against the coronavirus in the next 100 days: 20 million in December, 30 million in January and 50 million February. ........ it will be crucial to wear face masks and practice physical distancing for a good while still ......... they have not yet been tested in children, pregnant women or nursing mothers  

Friday, December 25, 2020

In The News (26)

Trump Tries to Kill Covid Relief Is it ignorance, or is it cynicism? ........... A bipartisan group of senators seemed close to agreement on a Covid relief bill that would fall far short of what we should be doing, but would be much better than nothing. Then the lame-duck Trump administration intervened — destructively. ...............  the issue isn’t stimulus, it’s disaster relief. ........... What should this relief involve? It should provide support for the unavoidably unemployed, sustain businesses through the dark months ahead and aid state and local governments that are suffering severe declines in revenues and that will otherwise be forced to make drastic cuts in essential services. And no, this last problem isn’t restricted to blue states. In fact, six of the seven states expected to face the biggest revenue declines have Republican governors. ............... It is, sad to say, entirely possible that, nine months into the pandemic slump, administration officials still don’t understand the basic logic of relief. Or they may be in thrall to the thoroughly debunked myth that unemployment benefits actually cause high unemployment.   

When a Family Is Fractured For most people, estrangements and family rifts are a source of chronic stress that threatens “mental, social and physical well-being.”

Return of the Phony Deficit Hawks Suddenly, Republicans are pretending to care about debt. .......... Making a deal that only provides enhanced benefits for 10 weeks is like building a bridge that goes only a quarter of the way across a chasm. 

The Next 3 Months Are Going to Be Pure Hell Lessons from Lewis and Clark on living through the darkest days and longest nights. 

Can We Do Twice as Many Vaccinations as We Thought? Data suggests significant protection even without a second shot. If studies prove that’s true, it could be a game changer.  .............. Both vaccines are supposed to be administered in two doses, a prime and a booster, 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna. However, in data provided to the F.D.A., there are clues for a tantalizing possibility: that even a single dose may provide significant levels of protection against the disease.  

The W.T.O. Is Having a Midlife Crisis Fixing the global trading system means first coming to grips with why it is broken. ........  The emerging package was expected to include direct payments of $600 for American families and children — half the amount of the stimulus checks issued last spring — as well as an extension of more generous unemployment programs.  

Congress hits a new snag on Covid relief bill as shutdown deadline looms Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said he remains "optimistic" that a deal is close.  .......  Congressional leaders had settled on a $900 billion framework midweek that is expected to include a $300 federal unemployment bonus, a new round of direct payments, small business funding and money to distribute Covid-19 vaccines.  

Missing stimulus check money: How to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes The deadline to file for a missing stimulus check this year has passed, but you can still claim your payment as Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes in 2021.   

Lawmakers Resolve Fed Dispute as They Race to Close Stimulus Deal Top senators appeared to strike an agreement on the central bank’s lending powers as they struggled to clear away the last sticking points in the $900 billion compromise plan. .........  the emergency plan to rush direct payments, unemployment benefits and food and rental assistance to millions of Americans, as well as provide relief to businesses and funds for vaccine distribution ...........  The emerging deal would send direct payments of $600 to many Americans and provide enhanced federal jobless payments of $300 per week until early spring.   

The Coronavirus Is Mutating. What Does That Mean for Us? Officials in Britain and South Africa claim new variants are more easily transmitted. There’s a lot more to the story, scientists say. ............ Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the country’s most stringent lockdown since March ...........  Train stations in London filled with crowds of people scrambling to leave the city as the restrictions went into effect. On Sunday, European countries began closing their borders to travelers from the United Kingdom, hoping to shut out the new iteration of the pathogen. ........... That virus has been found in up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences have been analyzed in South Africa since mid-November. .......... Researchers have recorded thousands of tiny modifications in the genetic material of the coronavirus as it has hopscotched across the world. .............. as it becomes more difficult for the pathogen to survive — because of vaccinations and growing immunity in human populations — researchers also expect the virus to gain useful mutations enabling it to spread more easily or to escape detection by the immune system. ............... 70 percent more transmissible ...........  concern that the virus might evolve to become resistant to the vaccines just now rolling out. The worries are focused on a pair of alterations in the viral genetic code that may make it less vulnerable to certain antibodies ............. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York asked the Trump administration to consider banning flights from Britain. ........ “This thing’s transmitting, it’s acquiring, it’s adapting all the time,” said Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, who last week detailed the deletion’s recurrent emergence and spread. “But people don’t want to hear what we say, which is: This virus will mutate.” ................ Scientists routinely monitor mutations in flu viruses in order to update vaccines, and should do the same for the coronavirus 

George Clooney on ‘The Midnight Sky’ and Donald Trump His new movie is on Netflix, but the actor-director says theaters won’t go away and Hollywood will be fine. He’s not so sure about Washington. 

Are We Ready to Laugh About Covid-19? A British Sitcom Hopes So With ‘Pandemonium,’ the BBC is betting that an audience will find humor in reliving the ordeals of a very awful year.  ........  At first, Paul’s mother, Sue, won’t take the virus seriously, exasperating her son. She also refuses to join in nationwide applause for National Health Service workers on Thursday nights. “Clapping?” she asks Paul, outraged at the thought. “After they cancel my hip replacement? Are you mad? I’m the only one on my street booing.”   

Alec Baldwin, Leah Remini and more stars react to Tom Cruise’s coronavirus outbursts Ex-Scientologist Remini questioned church member Cruise's sincerity on COVID-19   

United Helps to Contact Passengers After Possible Covid-19-Related Death on Flight The flight, United 591 from Orlando to Los Angeles, was diverted to New Orleans on Monday after a passenger had a medical emergency on board.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Andrew Yang Has Thrown His Hat Into The Ring

Andrew Yang is running for Mayor of New York City. And my first thought is, that is a great way to keep alive the national and global conversation around Universal Basic Income. 

I do think he is a serious candidate. He has a greater name recognition than anyone else running. But that takes you only so far. He brings sexy to the race. But running NYC is nuts and bolts. I think the Brooklyn borough president is also a serious candidate. 

I am left asking, what is his agenda? What is his agenda for the city

His big selling point could be that he will turn this into the number one tech city. And, obviously, he would have to deliver UBI at the city level. 


  1. Cash in the fact that you have more name recognition than anyone else and find ways to keep it that way.
  2. National brand name equals national fundraising.
  3. Rejoice that you have no footprints in city politics. Dems eat Dems in NYC.
  4. Let your top campaign promise be that you want to make NYC the top tech city in the world.
  5. Also, that you will offer a version of the UBI in the city even if only to the bottom 20%. That will be the springboard to your future presidential campaign. Never say never.

Friday, December 11, 2020

In The News (25)

Why Melinda Gates Spends Time ‘Letting My Heart Break’ One of the richest women in the world devoted decades to preparing for a pandemic. .............  Since then, the Gates Foundation has given away more than $55 billion, much of it directed at efforts to eradicate disease in the developing world. ............  Vaccine hesitancy is on the rise, disinformation is running rampant on social media, many Americans still refuse to wear masks, and cases are surging again. ........... It is insane that we’re at this point in this pandemic, in the United States, and we’re still debating whether people should wear a mask when they go in a store to buy their groceries. ................ Disinformation is just too easy to spread ...........  A lot of wealthy people are making a lot off of their capital gains, versus their ordinary income. And I think that’s one place we ought to look at tax policy.  

Why I Chose Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense We need a leader who is tested, and matched to the challenges we face in this moment. ............. Austin oversaw the largest logistical operation undertaken by the Army in six decades—the Iraq drawdown.  

The Pandemic’s Final Surge Will Be Brutal Over the weekend, the seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths passed the spring’s peak. .............  If the seven-day average of deaths remains above the spring record in the weeks to come, it will soon be inarguable that the pandemic winter is worse than the novel coronavirus’s first surge. 

Elon Musk has left California and moved to Texas “If a team has been winning for too long, they do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled and then they don’t win the championship anymore,” Musk said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “California has been winning for too long.”  

‘Corruption In Real Time’: Rep. Katie Porter Shreds McConnell For Stymying Stimulus Bill “This must be exposed,” the California Democrat wrote as Congress tries to negotiate a COVID-19 stimulus deal. 

The Winter Mitch McConnell Created Will we have Covid-19 relief or jobless agony? ......... if nothing passes, the U.S. economy will be $1 trillion smaller in 2021 and $500 billion smaller in 2022. .......... The $2 trillion CARES Act was one of the most successful pieces of legislation of modern times. ......... the core problem is that Republicans have applied a dogmatically ideological approach to a situation in which it is not germane and is in fact ruthlessly destructive. ................... For the first time in a long time we have a core group of moderates, progressives and conservatives willing to practice politics — willing to work with the other party toward a reasonable solution. ............  If we don’t see a Covid-19 relief measure pass in the next week or two, then our democracy is existentially broken.

Nine Nonobvious Ways to Have Deeper Conversations The art of making connection even in a time of dislocation. .............. if you’d never met a human and suddenly encountered one, you’d be inclined to worship this creature. Every human being is a miracle, and your superior in some way. ......... What crossroads are you at? What commitments have you made that you no longer believe in? Who do you feel most grateful to have in your life? What problem did you use to have but now have licked? In what ways are you sliding backward? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? ................ “What was it like. …” or “Tell me about a time. …” or “How did you manage to cope while your wedding was postponed for a year?” ..............  The important part of people’s lives is not what happened to them, but how they experienced what happened to them. ..............  I have a friend who listens to conversations the way congregants listen to sermons in charismatic churches — with amens, and approbations. The effect is magnetic. ............  In Japan ..  businesspeople are more likely to hear the whole comment and then pause, sometimes eight seconds, before responding .............. “Even when we can’t agree on Dad’s medical care, I’ve never doubted your good intentions. I know you want the best for him.” .............  In the Talmudic tradition when two people disagree about something, it’s because there is some deeper philosophical or moral disagreement undergirding it. Conversation then becomes a shared process of trying to dig down to the underlying disagreement and then the underlying disagreement below that. There is no end. Conflict creates cooperative effort. ................... spending a lot of time patiently listening to the other person teach herself through her narration, bringing forth her unthought thoughts, sitting with an issue as it slowly changes under the pressure of joint attention ............... “Humans need to be heard before they will listen”

Here’s Why 74 Million Voted for Trump Readers’ analyses of the reasons include that voters liked his policies, if not the man; a Democratic failure to communicate a vision; and racist dog whistles. .........  Emotions run so high in support of President Trump that reasoned debate has become impossible if friendship is to be maintained. The friends of whom I speak are good honest people with strong values. ..............  This is now the second consecutive transition from a Republican administration in which the incoming Democrat inherits an economy in severe crisis — yet in the popular imagination, Republicans are still the party of economic strength. .......... The dog whistle of the Southern strategy is now a bullhorn from coast to coast

Biden Plans to Tap Lloyd Austin, Former Iraq Commander, as Defense Secretary The retired four-star Army general would make history as the first African-American to lead the Pentagon. ........... the first African-American to lead the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and the enormous bureaucracy that backs them up. .......... Some 43 percent of active-duty troops are people of color. But the people making crucial decisions are almost entirely white and male. ......... his supporters point to a long career in combat and command, including some of the most difficult assignments of the post-9/11 era. 

Barack and Michelle: Scenes From a Marriage Their two blockbuster memoirs offer a primer on a famous union. .........  the private love story, and scenes from a marriage just as complicated as any other. ....... Though he seems to get his way on his grandest ambitions, she frequently pushes back, saying their lives have to be about we, not me — or it won’t work. ............ The Obama marriage, as they tell it, reflects both the strains of their place in history and the contemporary aggravations of professional strivers — the hard balancing of dual careers. ...........  She’d heard he was cute, smart and ambitious. “I was skeptical of all of it. In my experience, you put a suit on any half-intelligent Black man and white people tended to go bonkers.” ..............  “He was refreshing, unconventional, and weirdly elegant. Not once, though, did I think about him as someone I’d want to date.” ...........  as summer went on, she fell for his weirdness and his wit, his tardiness and his tranquillity, and when the mystery tug at her heart became too strong to resist, she knew she was in trouble. “He was like a wind that threatened to unsettle everything,” she writes. She spends more than 50 pages in her memoir on the courtship. ..................  Going into politics proved to be one of the biggest sources of contention in their marriage. “We began arguing more, usually late at night when the two of us were thoroughly drained,” he writes. “‘This isn’t what I signed up for, Barack,’” says Michelle. “‘I feel like I’m doing it all by myself.’” ..................  “What happens when a solitude-loving individualist marries an outgoing family woman who does not love solitude one bit?

The Fight to Win Latino Voters for the G.O.P. For 10 years, Libre — an arm of the Koch family’s Americans for Prosperity — has been working to foster conservatism in Hispanic communities. Now, the group is going all-in on Georgia’s Senate runoffs...........  Either America would exist as “a free society, a free market, a free people” — “libre” means “free” in Spanish — or the nation would find itself in a future where “we’re going to look to government as the remedy to every social ill under the sun.” ............. Nearly one million Latinos now live in Georgia, and more than 8 percent of Georgians speak Spanish at home. ................  a midsize bus station in Mexico might list Dalton and Atlanta as destinations, alongside Houston and Chicago. ............ this year, for the first time in a presidential election, the number of eligible Latino voters was greater than the number of eligible African-American voters  

What the Church Meant for James Baldwin Although he ultimately rejected Pentecostalism, the writer captured its pathos and ability to bear witness to Blackness in America in his first novel. ............  We went to church twice on Sundays. Between the morning and evening services there was a Sunday afternoon feast — I recall these as among the finest meals I have ever eaten — that left us drowsy and contented. On Wednesdays we went to prayer meeting, and on Thursdays to Bible study. Every day, there were prayers before bed and prayers when we rose in the morning and Family Radio always murmuring in the background. ..............   His family, like so many Black families, look at their beloved children and fear the world will kill them. .............   the physical — and psychic — brutality of white supremacy. .........  Black children play games of race shame and race-switching to this day, I imagine. Little brown children, young and innocent, already beset by a sense of unworthiness they cannot name. ............. the six million strong Great Migration that began in 1915 and lasted into the 1970s ............  Without it we would never have had, among other things, the civil rights movement, jazz, Michelle Obama or Baldwin himself. .........   Church was a place where Black people could speak their pain or their rage, free of the endless and violent scrutiny of whiteness.   

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

In The News (24)

Death Came for the Dakotas In terms of the coronavirus, they’re a theater of American disgrace. ........ Deep into the coronavirus pandemic, when there was no doubt about the damage that Covid-19 could do, the Dakotas scaled their morbid heights, propelled by denial and defiance. .............. The Dakotas are a horror story that didn’t have to be, a theater of American disgrace. ............... many South Dakotans’ distrust of science and unshakable belief that the virus wouldn’t come for them. ............ Throughout the pandemic, he said, he was deluged with communications from constituents adamantly opposed to any mask-wearing requirement, which North Dakota didn’t even have. ............ One month later, Noem played cheerleader for a 10-day motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., that attracted some 460,000 people. .......... “a Woodstock of unmasked, uninhibited coronavirus defiance.” .......... Doering was reeling from tending to dying Covid-19 patients who continued to insist that the coronavirus was some kind of hoax. ..............  They “scream at you for a magic medicine” and warn that Joe Biden will ruin America even as they’re “gasping for breath,” she wrote. She added: “They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have Covid because it’s not real.” “They stop yelling at you when they get intubated,” she wrote. “It’s like a horror movie that never ends.” ........................  “To visit Iowa right now is to travel back in time to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in places such as New York City and Lombardy and Seattle, when the horror was fresh and the sirens never stopped,” Godfrey wrote. “The virus has been raging for eight months in this country; Iowa just hasn’t been acting like it.” ................... “North Dakotans will come to each other’s aids in a heartbeat, but when asked to give up personal freedom for an amorphous common good — that’s difficult” .................  “We maybe believed that our rural nature sheltered us from what cities like yours were experiencing,” Carson said. “Then we found out, very brutally, that was wrong.” 

The Children of Pornhub Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault? ............. That supposedly “wholesome Pornhub” attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon. Pornhub rakes in money from almost three billion ad impressions a day. One ranking lists Pornhub as the 10th-most-visited website in the world. .............. Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for “girls under18” (no space) or “14yo” leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are. ................  Pornhub is like YouTube in that it allows members of the public to post their own videos. .............. Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. ............... The issue is not pornography but rape. .........  I came across many videos on Pornhub that were recordings of assaults on unconscious women and girls. The rapists would open the eyelids of the victims and touch their eyeballs to show that they were nonresponsive. ................ a rival of Pornhub, XVideos, which arguably has even fewer scruples, may attract more visitors. Depictions of child abuse also appear on mainstream sites like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. And Google supports the business models of companies that thrive on child molestation. Google returns 920 million videos on a search for “young porn.” Top hits include a video of a naked “very young teen” engaging in sex acts on XVideo ................ Facebook removed 12.4 million images related to child exploitation in a three-month period this year. Twitter closed 264,000 accounts in six months last year for engaging in sexual exploitation of children. ...............  Twenty members of Canada’s Parliament have called on their government to crack down on Pornhub, which is effectively based in Montreal. ............. Redtube, Youporn, XTube, SpankWire, ExtremeTube,, My Dirty Hobby, Thumbzilla, PornMD, Brazzers and GayTube .............. XHamster and XVideos ....... Mindgeek is a porn titan. If it operated in another industry, the Justice Department could be discussing an antitrust case against it. .............  Pornhub was the technology company with the third greatest-impact on society in the 21st century, after Facebook and Google but ahead of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. ............ Nominally based in Luxembourg for tax reasons, Mindgeek is a private company run from Montreal. ........ its business model profits from sex videos starring young people. ....... 1.36 million new hours of video uploaded a year to Pornhub .......... a recurring theme among survivors: An assault eventually ends, but Pornhub renders the suffering interminable. ............ “It’s never going to end,” Nicole said. “They’re getting so much money from our trauma.” ................ I don’t see why search engines, banks or credit card companies should bolster a company that monetizes sexual assaults on children or unconscious women. If PayPal can suspend cooperation with Pornhub, so can American Express, Mastercard and Visa. ................. With Pornhub, we have Jeffrey Epstein times 1,000.

The Swiss Cheese Model of Pandemic Defense It’s not edible, but it can save lives. The virologist Ian Mackay explains how. ......... “One of the first principles of pandemic response is, or ought to be, clear and consistent messaging from trusted sources”  

Monday, December 07, 2020

In The News (23)

China's schoolkids beat American students in all academic categories The academic performance of American schoolchildren hasn't budged in two decades, despite billions of dollars in increased funding. ...........  the current performance of a nation's students predicts future economic potential.  

Our Democracy’s Near-Death Experience Now is no time for complacency. The next Congress must shore up our institutions.  

What South Korea Can Teach Us About Vaccine Hesitancy There is a danger that coronavirus vaccination becomes just another battle in America’s endless culture war. ........ But online, the fear would not bend to rational explanation. ........  Americans in 2020 exist in splintered realities. A large number of us believe one truth about Ukraine, face masks, hydroxychloroquine, climate change and the results of the presidential election; perhaps almost as large a number of us believe the opposite. .......... in some geographic or social circles, anti-vaccine activists will wreak havoc. ....... making the vaccines free and easy for Americans to get will be a much more effective way of promoting their use than devising some clever public relations campaign.  

The Fight to Win Latino Voters for the G.O.P. For 10 years, Libre — an arm of the Koch family’s Americans for Prosperity — has been working to foster conservatism in Hispanic communities. Now, the group is going all-in on Georgia’s Senate runoffs.   

Headlines Don’t Capture the Horror We Saw I chronicled what COVID-19 did to a hospital. America must not let down its guard. .......... the experiences of health-care workers, and young doctors in particular: the anxiety, the fear, the overwhelming responsibility, and the ethical burden of hard decisions. Even after the pandemic is over, the weight of these experiences will remain with us for a lifetime. .......... March 26 ....... Upon running to respond to yet another intubation page, she was horrified to see that the patient was one of our supervising physicians. Today, one of our surgeons was intubated. Off duty in my Upper West Side apartment, I hear an ambulance go by every 10 minutes. It’s hard to sleep. My colleagues wonder out loud: Is this chest pain from the virus, or just intense anxiety? ........... When I put on my PPE (N95 mask, goggles, face shield, hair cover, gown, and two pairs of gloves) to enter the operating room .............. Pre-COVID, we were used to seeing patients pass away with at least one family member at their side. ICU doctors are desensitized to death, but even for us, the fact that people are dying alone is devastating to watch. ...............  I explained that what they were about to see would likely be disturbing—that their dad might be unrecognizable to them—and asked again if they were sure they wanted to see. They insisted that they did. I slowly went to his bedside and flipped the camera so they could see his face. They immediately started to cry. I cannot imagine how jarring it must have been to see him for the first and last time with a breathing tube, deeply sedated, and in shades of yellow and purple. “That’s not Dad anymore,” one of the children said. I showed them the many machines and IV medications he was connected to. ...................  My lesson so far is that this disease, for the subset of patients who become critically ill to the point of requiring mechanical ventilation, is far worse than we ever imagined. It is certainly not pure respiratory failure. .................. None of the experimental drugs will be of any utility in an environment where there are not enough hospital beds, doctors, and nurses. ......... April 22 ....... I push medications to sedate and paralyze them, and then put a tube through their vocal cords. Looking down at them as they go to sleep, I’m the last person they see. And for the ones who don’t survive, I will have been the only one to hear—or rather, not hear—their last words. ............  The main resources we lack are respiratory therapists and ICU nurses. .............. We get through our day in the OR-ICU by compartmentalizing—by ignoring the fact that our patients are people who are deeply suffering. When reality cuts through our fantasy, the job can be unbearable.   

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

In The News (22)

How Francis Ford Coppola Got Pulled Back In to Make ‘The Godfather, Coda’ The director and cast, including Al Pacino, Sofia Coppola and Andy Garcia, look back at making “Part III,” which has been re-edited (and retitled) for its 30th anniversary. ...........  In the final scene of “The Godfather Part III,” Michael Corleone, the aged protagonist of this epic crime drama, is left in solitude to contemplate his sins, gripped with guilt over actions that have devastated his family and the knowledge that he cannot change what he has done. ......... These three movies have won a combined nine Academy Awards, grossed more than $1.1 billion when adjusted for inflation and gained an exalted status in the popular consciousness. But rather than regard them as immutable monuments, Coppola has treated them like an unfinished painting he is free to update. ........ “Part III” is remembered as the Fredo of its family — the one that doesn’t really measure up.  .......... The history of this “Godfather” movie is as sweeping and dramatic as the much-told tales behind the creation of its two illustrious predecessors, full of conflict, perseverance and decisive last-minute changes. It is a legend that seemingly ended with a fatally flawed result — but now has a new untold chapter that could improve the standing of the final film in one of the most influential franchises of all time............... As he explained the studio’s philosophy, he said, “You’ve got Coca-Cola, why not make more Coca-Cola?” ..............  Pacino was delighted by the screenplay, in which Michael’s well-honed craftiness would be tested by unexpected guile within the Vatican: “He found something a little more corrupt than his criminal world,” the actor said. ............ He also shed some of his pride and became a humbler person. ............... “I’m ready to do it now!” he exclaimed. “I understand it better! I don’t need makeup!”  

Marc Benioff Sets His Sights on Microsoft The Salesforce C.E.O.’s planned acquisition of Slack will have him competing directly with the Goliath that is Microsoft. .......... He learned some lessons in showmanship from his mentor, the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, including how to turn news conferences into events and how to become the human embodiment of a company. ............  Before the coronavirus pandemic forced many to stay home, Salesforce was San Francisco’s largest private employer, eclipsing the 168-year-old Wells Fargo. Its offices were in Salesforce Tower, a lipstick-shaped edifice that dominated the skyline and could be seen from around the bay. .............  “Business is the greatest platform for change … The future of our industry is a work-from-anywhere environment … I like to innovate, I like to create, I like to see things and make them happen … I love that we take care of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.” ...........  Over the past two decades, Salesforce has acquired dozens of companies to extend its core products. The biggest acquisition before Slack was Tableau, a data visualization company, which Salesforce bought for $15.3 billion last year.   

The Deep State Is on a Roll Three cheers for Anthony Fauci and all the other glorious cogs. ............ These officials and servants are distinguished by a professionalism that survives and edges out their partisan bearings, by an understanding that the codes of conduct and rules of engagement become more important, not less, when passions run hot. They’re incorrigible that way. Invaluable, too. .......... Anthony Fauci is the steely superhero of my deep state  

How to End a Forever War The Biden administration should support a regional effort to stabilize Afghanistan. ......... At 19 years and counting, the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan is already the longest war in American history. ......... The two sides have yet to begin confronting a host of seemingly irreconcilable differences, including whether to be a theocracy or a republic, and the status of women and followers of the Shiite sect of Islam. ........... Some Hazaras fear the Taliban are simply going through the motions of peace talks until U.S. forces leave. ........ The United States has a moral obligation to work with regional partners to try to clean up the mess we are leaving behind. .......... Six countries share a border with Afghanistan. Not one wants a failed state on its doorstep. Afghanistan has been at war almost continuously since 1978, partly because its powerful neighbors have all tried to manage the chaos inside it by funding proxies. ............ a rare instance where Iran, Russia, China, Pakistan and the United States all share a common interest: the orderly departure of American troops and preventing Afghanistan from imploding. .............. the United States would benefit from having a strategic vision for the region that was bigger than “no Al Qaeda.” .......... a country in a region with China, Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan — four nuclear powers   

Obama: Criminal justice reformers ‘lost a big audience’ with defund the police rhetoric The former president is the latest prominent Democratic leader to express disapproval of the politically divisive phrase.

Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow Are Sentenced to Prison Over Hong Kong Protest Activists denounced the prison terms for illegal assembly charges over a 2019 demonstration outside Police Headquarters. ....... “They’re using Joshua Wong as an iconic figure in particular to issue this chilling message.” ......... Ms. Chow, 23, who has been called the “Mulan” of the Hong Kong democracy movement, enjoys a wide following in Japan thanks to her Japanese-language skills. 

India’s Leading Documentary Filmmaker Has a Warning Anand Patwardhan spent decades tracking the rise of Hindu nationalism. And now, under an increasingly repressive government, he holds his screenings in secret. ........... Over four hours, “Reason” documents how the world’s largest democracy has plunged into a majoritarian abyss since the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., came to power in 2014, and Narendra Modi was voted in as the prime minister. With testimonies from witnesses to mob lynchings, stories of college students driven to suicide by intense right-wing ostracism and interviews with Hindu nationalists willing to defend the frequent murders of journalists and activists, Patwardhan contradicts the narrative that the B.J.P. routinely projects to the country’s 900 million voters: a story where, under Modi, India is at last starting to fulfill its potential, more than 70 years after independence. .................. “In many ways, this is worse than the Emergency” ...........  We have been conditioned into a false sense of normalcy. Most of us don’t know how bad things are.” ........... a country’s slide into intolerance is rarely so dramatic: Norms don’t always collapse overnight; they corrode against the background of everyday life. ........... In India, the Modi years are often spoken of as an “undeclared Emergency.” But something more enduring, a fundamental reimagining of the nation as a homeland for Hindus, appears to be afoot. .......... The larger story Patwardhan tells in the film is of a revival of the psychosis of Partition, when the subcontinent was divided by the British into India and Pakistan along explicitly religious lines. More than one million people died in the resulting violence, and, according to some estimates, more than 15 million were displaced. Democracy in India was never quite robust — Ambedkar thought the Indian soil was “essentially undemocratic” — but never before have all its organs seemed so fragile. ............ TV networks that refuse to toe the line have been investigated for laundering money from abroad. Bank accounts of human rights organizations have been frozen. Citizens have been jailed for lampooning Modi online. Activists are routinely scorned as traitors. Policemen have falsely implicated victims of right-wing violence. .......... many Hindu nationalists still condone Gandhi’s murder. Godse had once been a member of the R.S.S. — his family maintains that he never quit — and many members of the B.J.P., including Modi, began their careers as R.S.S. volunteers. ............... a story to illustrate the extent of hysteria in the city around that time. Many Hindu residents were apparently so convinced that Muslims from abroad were planning to overrun Indian shores that they would stay up all night guarding the city’s beaches. .............. “All my films are made like home videos” ............  Until the Emergency, the R.S.S. stood more or less discredited in India because of its perceived involvement in Gandhi’s death.