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Read Donald Trump's Full Statement After Supreme Court Allows Prosecutors to Access Tax Returns

The ex-president complained of "continuing political persecution" after the court on Monday rejected attempts to shield his financial information from prosecutors.
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Rep. Ted Lieu Says Republicans' Spreading of 'Big Lie' Poses Security Threat to Capitol
The California congressman called on Republicans to tell members of the party that President Joe Biden won the election "fair and square."
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Experts warn states reopening may be too much, too soon
There are new calls for governors to hold off on lifting coronavirus restrictions after Arizona joined Texas, Mississippi and Connecticut in announcing plans to cut or relax COVID-19 safety guidelines. Members of President Biden's coronavirus task force say new variants of the virus, combined with reduced regulations, could lead to another spike in cases. Michael George reports.
The rise in demand for digital art
While art is in the eye of the beholder, the collectors of digital art pieces are left holding not much of anything. That's because the works only exist online. From sports trading cards to videos, the art itself is now state of the art and has been selling for skyrocketing prices. Nancy Chen has the details.
Talking Tech: If you are TV shopping, you need to know the facts about these buying myths
Talking Tech this week involved busting some TV buying myths. Also: A new voice chat feature is in the works for Roblox and a new speedy drone is out.
'This is a burden': Austin business leader on TX lifting restrictions
CNN's Amara Walker talks to Elizabeth Dixie Patrick, executive director of the Austin Independent Business Alliance, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifting Covid-19 restrictions in the state.
'Humbled, Remorseful' Georgia Man Detained Over Capitol Riot Wants to Go Home to His Family
"After all, thats (sic) what jail is for right? Teaching people a lesson? Lesson fully received, your Honor," Bruno Cua wrote to a federal judge, pleading for release.
Smerconish: Manchin is the new McCain
The COVID relief bill only passed after Democrats satisfied the concerns of Joe Manchin. To see such a raw exercise of independent power is rare and refreshing.
Harry and Meghan expose palace hypocrisy
Holly Thomas writes that Buckingham Palace's reported concern and investigation into allegations of bullying made against Meghan stand in stark contrast to its previous reactions to other controversies, most notably the substantially more serious complaints against the Queen's third child, Prince Andrew.
COMIC: How One COVID-19 Nurse Navigates Anti-Mask Sentiment
At work every day, Agnes Boisvert attends to ICU patients "gasping for air" and dying from COVID-19. But communicating that harsh reality to her skeptical community has been a challenge.
Saturday Sessions: Julien Baker performs “Heatwave"
Singer-songwriter Julien Baker made her national TV debut on "Saturday Sessions" three years ago. Since then, the Memphis native has won growing and glowing praise for her deeply personal songs about life's most challenging struggles. Her latest album, "Little Oblivions," is nothing short of beloved by critics. From Nashville, Julien Baker performs “Heatwave."
Author Steven Pressfield on new novel, personal journey
Author Steven Pressfield's books have earned him worldwide acclaim. His first published novel, "The Legend of Bagger Vance," became a best-seller and Robert Redford turned it into a hit film. But that doesn't mean Pressfield was an overnight success. Jeff Glor talks with the acclaimed author about his very long journey and what he hopes others can learn from it.
There's a lot of misinformation around what's happening at the border. Here are the facts.
The Biden administration is facing an increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing into the United States, placing added strain on a system operating under limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A year in the life of an essential American
As the US approaches a year spent in the crisis of a pandemic, Onesimo Garcia, one of New York City's many essential workers, has survived living these last months (and years before) on a knife's edge. His story, as told to Abigail Pesta, is the story of America.
Aurora James on challenging retailers to designate shelf space for Black-owned businesses
Items seen on store shelves don't show up there by chance. Retailers decide what will occupy that precious space based on a variety of factors. Now a growing movement is trying to ensure that retailers designate at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Michelle Miller has the details.
Kyrsten Sinema’s combustible thumb
Sinema’s vote in some ways recalls the late Arizona senator John McCain (R), and it drew ire on the left.
Tired of following COVID-19 safety protocols? You have pandemic fatigue. Here's what to do.
Pandemic fatigue is contributing to the decline in the use of personal safety precautions. So, what can we do as the COVID-19 crisis continues?
Song Yadong not disappointed by UFC 259 matchup with Kyler Phillips
Song Yadong knows he'll eventually fight "everyone" in the bantamweight division, so he doesn't mind fighting Kyler Phillips at UFC 259.       Related StoriesVideo: What's your dream MMA-boxing crossover matchup right now?UFC 259 'Embedded,' No. 6: Behind the scenes at tense faceoffsVideo: Which UFC 259 title fight will be most talked about come Sunday?
50 Best Colleges on the West Coast
Whether you dream of spending the next four years lolling on a Southern California beach, spending weekends in trendy Seattle, or exploring nature around Portland, this list will provide a wealth of options.
Biden must learn the right lesson from globalization
Free trade wiped out poverty for millions. The real mistake would be to abandon it.
The WHO needs to start over in investigating the origins of the coronavirus
Theories of a zoonotic spillover or a lab accident should be investigated by experts.
When a California city gave people a guaranteed income, they worked more — not less
Stockton’s guaranteed income program SEED was the brainchild of then-Mayor Michael Tubbs. | Nick Otto/AFP via Getty Images Stockton’s experiment shows what $500 per month in “free money” can do for employment, mental health, and more. The city of Stockton, California, embarked on a bold experiment two years ago: It decided to distribute$500 a month to 125 people for 24 months — with no strings attached and no work requirements. The people were randomly chosen from neighborhoods at or below the city’s median household income, and they were free to spend the money any way they liked. Meanwhile, researchers studied what impact the cash had on their lives. The results from the first year of the experiment, which spanned from February 2019 to February 2020, are now in. And they’re extremely encouraging for its participants, and for advocates who see unconditional cash transfers as an effective way to help people escape poverty. The most eye-popping finding is that the people who received the cash managed to secure full-time jobs at more than twice the rate of people in a control group, who did not receive cash.Within a year, the proportion of cash recipients who had full-time jobs jumped from 28 percent to 40 percent. The control group saw only a 5 percent jump over the same period. The researchers wrote in their report that the money gave recipients the stability they needed to set goals, take risks, and find new jobs. One man in his 30s had been eligible for a real estate license for over a year but hadn’t gotten it because he just couldn’t afford to take time off work. Thanks to the freedom offered by the extra $500 per month, he said, his life was “converted 360 degrees … because I have more time and net worth to study … to achieve my goals.” Critics of cash assistance programs often say that handing out “free money” will make people less inclined to find jobs. But in the research done to date, unconditional cash does not tend to disincentivize work. In several programs — from Alaska and North Carolina in the US, to Finland and Spain in Europe — it has had no effect on employment either way. In some cases, it seems to embolden people with an entrepreneurial bent; for instance, in Japan, initial survey results have shown that recipients are 3.9 times more interested in launching a new business. Employment aside, there are clear benefits to unconditional cash programs. The Stockton experiment — which was conducted as a randomized controlled trial and underwent an independent evaluation — adds to the growing body of evidence from basic income experiments around the world, which shows that getting unconditional cash tends to boost happiness, health, school attendance, and trust in social institutions, while reducing crime. More benefits — and some limitations — of Stockton’s guaranteed income trial There were other benefits from the Stockton program. Cash recipients reported being less anxious and depressed than the control group. On average, the recipients “experienced clinically and statistically significant improvements in their mental health that the control group did not — moving from likely having a mild mental health disorder to likely mental wellness over the year-long intervention,” according to the researchers. The cash alsoenabled recipients to help their family and friends. For example, one woman used the cash to help her siblings buy school clothes for their kids and to help her daughter-in-law pay for car insurance. Another bought diapers for her grandchildren. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen cash programs have positive ripple effects on the broader community. In Kenya, cash transfers have stimulated the economy andbenefited not only the recipients themselves but also people in nearby villages. It’s worth noting a wrinkle in the Stockton trial:Each participant was given $500 per month on a debit card so that researchers would be able to see how they were using the money. However, 40 percent of it was either withdrawn as cash or transferred to an existing bank account, so researchers had to rely on participants to tell them where the money went. Of the money tracked on the debit cards, recipients spent most on necessities like food (37 percent), home goods and clothes (22 percent), utilities (11 percent), and car costs (10 percent). They spent less than 1 percent on alcohol or cigarettes. Though these numbers can’t capture the full picture, they offer a counter to harmful stereotypes and faulty assumptions: that people who become poor get that way because they’re bad at rational decision-making and self-control, and that they’ll blow free money on frivolous things or addictive substances. The evidence does not support these beliefs. The Stockton experiment was a small study with only 125 cash recipients, so the findings should be seen as offering supporting evidence on the effectiveness of cash programs rather than as definitive standalone proof. Nevertheless,the results of this philanthropically funded program — officially known as the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), which received a $1 million grant from the Economic Security Project — help underscore that poverty is a lack of cash, not character, and usefully add to the body of evidence that free money doesn’t disincentivize employment — it can actually boost it. The implications for policy, during the pandemic and beyond The message that free money can actually improve job prospects comes at a critical moment, as the Biden administration tries to push through a pandemic aid package that would include direct checks to millions of Americans. The pandemic has made the idea of direct payments more popular. With the Covid-19 crisis generating so much financial loss and uncertainty, advocates have argued that citizens desperately need some sort of income floor. And against this backdrop, SEED has spawned something much bigger: Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a coalition of mayors who are pushing for the US to implement a federal guaranteed income. Both SEED and the mayoralcoalition are the brainchild of Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton. For years now, Tubbs has promoted the idea that a guaranteed income could transform life for Stockton residents, but he’s also made clear this experiment is about a lot more than just his city. “Stockton is a proxy for America: its diversity, its people,” he said. “It’s a place that’s emerging and has big, bold ideas.” Guaranteed income is a big, bold idea that could improve life for millions of Americans if implemented more widely. That said, it’s not a cure-all for the systemic obstacles that keep people from a healthy, stable life. As the SEED researchers wrote in their report, “Guaranteed income should not be considered as a singular approach for household stability, but rather as one policy option to be implemented alongside others to shore up market failures.” Other policy options include increasing the supply of affordable housing and raising the minimum wage. For now, only the first year’s worth of data from the Stockton experiment is available; we have to wait until 2022 for the full results. But the first-year findings signal that guaranteed income programs — combined with better public policy — could go a long way toward fighting poverty.
Of Course Andrew Cuomo Isn’t Going to Resign
A tale of hubris and comeuppance is unfolding daily around New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s a tale of a man who bullied colleagues for years and took time out of managing the pandemic to write a book about how well he was managing the pandemic, but is now facing accusations of harassment, incompetence, and fatal mistakes.Thousands more people in New York nursing homes died of COVID-19 last spring than was made public at the time, and over the past two weeks, Cuomo’s administration has slowly admitted to hiding the numbers. Two former aides have also stepped forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, in addition to a third woman who has said he touched her back inappropriately and attempted to give her a kiss that she did not want.But, barring a burst of new allegations, Cuomo absolutely will not resign. “The old resignation playbook is out,” a Cuomo adviser told me, requesting anonymity to discuss the private deliberations that have been going on over the past week. Very much on the minds of Cuomo and his team is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who refused to resign in 2019 after the discovery of an old racist yearbook page, but who today remains popular with voters. “There’s a new path, and that is to wait it out,” is how the adviser put it to me. Even several of the small number of New York politicians and advocates who have openly called for Cuomo to leave office seem to doubt that he will. But the pressure could scare him out of running for what he wants most: a fourth term, which he is up for next year. And with how Cuomo’s private conversations have been going lately, the anti-Cuomo forces may be getting their way.[Read: Portrait of a leader humblebragging]Throughout his time in office, Cuomo has derided and demeaned. He has told state legislators that they don’t understand anything as well as he does, and that they must fall in line behind him. Over the decade that I covered New York, seeing how he operates made clear again and again why he has no friends among his colleagues, leaving him without anyone to lean on now that he needs the help. Nonetheless, before this latest set of scandals, Cuomo seemed destined to win a fourth term. Being governor of New York is the only thing that he’s ever really wanted to be, and winning a fourth term would mean he’d outdo the three gubernatorial terms of his father, Mario Cuomo, who sits constantly in his head like a spectral Elf on the Shelf. The elder Cuomo lost his bid for a fourth term in 1994, and Andrew, who was Mario’s closest adviser, has never quite stopped thinking about that loss. (“My numbers are higher than my father’s were,” he told me in a 2019 interview.)New York’s ever-larger and ever-bolder progressive contingent has been trying to get rid of Cuomo for years, angry with his Machiavellian approach and his many compromises with moderates and Republicans. In 2014, when he was running for his second term, a then-little-known progressive activist named Zephyr Teachout excited the Democrats who hate Cuomo by primarying him. She lost but earned 34 percent of the vote, enough to convince the anti-Cuomo crowd that a better-known candidate could take him out. In 2018, progressives turned to the actor Cynthia Nixon, hoping to piggyback on her notoriety. Nixon didn’t end up doing any better than Teachout had.Horrified as they are by the allegations, members of the Cuomo-haters club—many of whom are ambitious politicians looking to open up spots in state politics after 12 years of him in charge—are reveling in the governor’s troubles. Last spring, when Cuomo’s popularity soared thanks to his pandemic press conferences turned group-therapy sessions, some political commentators speculated that maybe he’d replace Joe Biden, then facing his own accusations of sexual assault, as the Democratic presidential nominee. Tell me this doesn’t end with Andrew Cuomo being president, one New York progressive pleaded with me in April. The silver lining, the Cuomo haters said, would be that at least moving to Washington would get Cuomo out of New York.[Read: No, COVID-19 is not a metaphor]Gustavo Rivera, a Democratic state senator from the Bronx, told me that Cuomo has always had a “toxic style of leadership, which doesn’t lead to good governance.” He thought Cuomo should have quit even before all the revelations of the past few weeks. He believes it even more now. “These allegations just go to a pattern of his pathology of leadership. He is a bully, he is an abuser, and he does this in his everyday life and his political life,” Rivera said.Cuomo has agreed to turn over the investigation into the accusations about his behavior to New York’s current attorney general, Tish James, and people who have spoken with him can sense that he’s anxious about what could turn up. The investigation is expected to last at least a few months as investigators look for any more women who may be willing to step forward. At the same time, the Department of Justice is looking into the nursing-home deaths.Cuomo the control freak, for the first time in his life, knows that he’s lost control, that winning the fourth term his father didn’t might no longer be possible. “He’s aware this could be an existential moment,” another Cuomo adviser, who was granted anonymity in order to discuss internal conversations, told me. Putting Cuomo even more on edge: James right now looks like the most obvious and strongest challenger if she decides to enter a primary against him next year. She has won statewide, she has progressive credentials and a base in Brooklyn, and she’s a Black woman. All of that would make her a formidable candidate, and if she also issues a report with revelations of more sexual harassment or misconduct by Cuomo, the campaign ads almost write themselves. Some operatives are already speculating that James could face a primary for attorney general if the report isn’t tough enough, or if she doesn’t run against Cuomo. High on the list of expected challengers she could face is Representative Kathleen Rice, who had Cuomo’s support when she lost a primary for attorney general in 2010 but has since fallen out with him. Rice responded to the women’s accusations against him by tweeting, “The time has come. The Governor must resign.” (Rice didn’t respond when I asked her to talk more about the governor.)[David A. Graham: America’s Andrew Cuomo problem]In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon—held over Zoom so that he could keep more control—Cuomo choked up at one point as he talked about being humiliated, and said he realized that how he had spoken and behaved was wrong. He was adamant, though, that he wouldn’t resign. And most New York voters don’t seem keen on pushing him out. A Quinnipiac poll conducted in the days just after the allegations came out showed that 55 percent of voters don’t want him to resign, though 59 percent of voters don’t want him to run for reelection, either. Other polling shows that much of the support for resignation right now is coming from Republicans, who never liked Cuomo and like him even less since the pandemic turned him into a chief antagonist to Donald Trump. “The vultures of the left are not in sync with the voters in New York,” the first Cuomo adviser told me. While the folks who have hated him for years are swirling to try to take him down, the reality is that the appetite from the voters to replace a man who has been successful is just not yet evident.”In a sign of how much power Cuomo still has, few politicians are willing to say publicly that he should resign, even as they count down the days to voting for someone else for governor next year. “At some point, he’s going to wake up looking for an inner circle to protect him and there won’t be anyone left, and he’ll have to say, Can I really go on myself now? And I think he’ll say no,” one Democratic state senator who can’t stand Cuomo told me, after requesting that no name be attached to the comments to avoid potential retribution. “Maybe he can’t allow himself to imagine resigning himself or not winning again, but I got to tell you, there is no way I believe he can win. That may be a painful exercise for him to realize. It won’t be for me.”
Live stimulus updates: Weary senators continue wrangling over COVID-19 relief package as debate approaches 24th straight hour
Bleary-eyed senators are approaching their 24th straight hour of negotiating passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
“She’s Almost Eating Him”: What’s Really Going on in That Ad With Everyone Licking Each Other on the Face
“It’s a new thing for people to look at.”
Facebook Clamps Down on QAnon-Linked Sabmyk Network of Disinformation
The social media giant blocked the pages of Sabmyk which is appealing to followers of the far-right cult, QAnon.
Man, 35, shot dead outside NYC deli after argument, cops say
A man was gunned down on a Bronx street after an argument and his killers remain at-large, police said. The man, 35, was shot at least once in the head outside G&K Deli on Rosedale Ave. near East Tremont Avenue in Parkchester about 5:15 p.m. Friday, police said. The victim had apparently been arguing with...
The Women Who Changed War Reporting
In 1966, a young American journalist named Frances FitzGerald began publishing articles from South Vietnam in leading magazines, including this one. She was the unlikeliest of war correspondents—born into immense privilege, a daughter of the high-WASP ascendancy. Her father, Desmond FitzGerald, was a top CIA official; her mother, Marietta Tree, a socialite and liberal activist. FitzGerald was raised with servants and horses, and she had to fend off advances from the likes of Adlai Stevenson (her mother’s lover) and Henry Kissinger. Her family contacts got her through the door of feature journalism in New York, but as a woman, she was denied the chance to pursue the serious work she wanted to do. She escaped this jeweled trap by making her own way to Saigon at age 25, just as the American war was escalating.The Vietnam War had already produced some of the greatest journalism of the century and made the reputations of young reporters such as David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan (who died earlier this year), and Malcolm Browne. All of them were men. All focused their reporting on the fighting, and on the lies and failures of American officialdom. FitzGerald pursued a different story. Sheltered all her life, she was profoundly shocked by the suffering of the Vietnamese—not just the death, injury, and displacement, but the loss of identity under the crushing weight of the Americans. Rather than competing with her male colleagues, she spent time in hospitals, villages, and slums, and she became engrossed in the politics of Buddhist students, the tragedies of refugees, the strategy of the Viet Cong, the history and culture of Vietnam. It took a 20-something Radcliffe graduate with an appetite for French anthropology and immersive reporting to bring home the bad news that no officials and few journalists were telling Americans: The war was hopeless because the United States, ignorant of Vietnam, had taken over the colonialist role of the French.[Read: The world according to men]“She was looking at things in a completely different optic, like she was from a different country—a whole new meaning to the phrase foreign correspondent,” Ward Just, The Washington Post’s correspondent in Vietnam and FitzGerald’s sometime lover, tells the journalist Elizabeth Becker in her new book, You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War. FitzGerald used her “different optic” and formidable intellect to pursue investigations that culminated in Fire in the Lake, published in 1972, one of the most important and decorated books of the war.You Don’t Belong Here tells the story of FitzGerald and two other women in Vietnam—the French photographer Catherine Leroy and the Australian correspondent Kate Webb. Becker is a former correspondent in Cambodia and the author of When the War Was Over; she was the first journalist to interview Pol Pot, and barely escaped the Khmer Rouge alive. Her theme in You Don’t Belong Here—conveyed, with controlled anger, in a riveting narrative using unpublished letters and diaries—is that women reporters changed the way the war was covered. Before Vietnam, they had been barred from combat by the U.S. government (which didn’t stop a few legendary writers from slipping past the barriers, such as Martha Gellhorn in World War II). Vietnam was an undeclared war, so the rules were never clear. Women journalists were still subjected to discrimination, harassment, and contempt, but they didn’t have to ask permission in order to go where the men went, and often where the men didn’t go. Vietnam became the first war in which women had a fighting chance as reporters. The difficulty of gaining acceptance forced them to find their own way, which led to groundbreaking work.Leroy was utterly without experience on arrival in Vietnam. She was diminutive and brave to the point of recklessness, and she won respect by outdoing the men. She accompanied the marines into battle and made herself so inconspicuous that her camera caught the face of combat with unprecedented intimacy and pathos: “Few photographers got closer to soldiers than Leroy, who crawled in the mud alongside them if necessary, aiming for the eyes and subtle shifts of expression. She was a silent presence; soldiers were rarely aware of her.” When she showed her close-ups to a medic who had cradled the body of a marine during the battle of Hill 881 at Khe Sanh, he exclaimed, “Where were you? I didn’t see you.” Kate Webb, a UPI correspondent in Cambodia, is shown after her release from captivity in May 1971. (AP) Leroy was a type familiar to anyone who has covered war in our era. Women correspondents are now commonplace, but they still have to overcome powerful stereotypes, and for some, the only way to be seen as legitimate is by being tougher than their male colleagues. Leroy forced her way onto helicopters and then made herself invisible. Kate Webb’s tactic was to defeminize herself. Whereas FitzGerald went to Vietnam to get away from a controlling society mother and to impress an absent father, and Leroy rebelled against her petit bourgeois French Catholic upbringing, Webb was in flight from a very dark past. The daughter of intellectual New Zealanders, raised in Australia, she was implicated in the suicide of her best friend in high school and nearly tried for homicide. A few years later, her parents were killed in a car accident. Like FitzGerald and Leroy, Webb went to Vietnam in her mid-20s without any assignment or relevant experience, out of sheer curiosity and will.In Saigon, she cut her hair short, bought her own combat gear, and convinced UPI to give her a chance. She worked harder than anyone and, like FitzGerald, grabbed a beat that men had left more or less uncovered: South Vietnam’s military and government. She refused any notion of being different from male colleagues, including the condescending compliments. “Webb hated being called a girl reporter; she felt it was a way to dismiss her accomplishments,” Becker writes. “Whenever she was asked, Webb replied: ‘I don’t believe in women’s liberation.’”Some journalists are lucky enough to find a subject that takes over their life. No story is more consuming than war. Webb stayed on in Southeast Asia for almost a decade, covering the war’s spread to Cambodia, and being kidnapped by enemy troops twice, before the power imbalance in journalism finally caught up with her. She quit after her boss in Hong Kong, his advances rebuffed, planted a negative report about her work at higher headquarters. (Webb resumed her career fitfully through the rest of the century.) Leroy never found another subject that came close to equaling Vietnam. She and Webb both died of cancer in their 60s, relatively obscure. FitzGerald went on to write many other books in a prominent career, but the obsession of Vietnam has never left her. There is no gender difference here—a lot of male reporters have been captured by a war, none more tenacious than Vietnam—but Becker conveys the particular sacrifices that these three women had to make: the indignities, the psychological cost, the elusiveness of stable relationships and children. Still, it’s exhilarating to read Becker’s account of how these women overcame the narrow definitions of their early lives and found themselves by surrendering to the extreme demands of reporting a war. French photojournalist Catherine Leroy receives a pin from Col. Bob Siegholz, left, commemorating her parachute jump with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Operation Junction City during the Vietnam War, in 1967. Leroy, the only woman to jump with the paratroopers, received a pin with the battalion's slogan, "We Try Harder." (AP) They took advantage of an avid demand for war news on the home front to go deep into the world of the Vietnamese and give American readers an education they might not have known they wanted. The post–September 11 wars created a similar opening. Iraq and Afghanistan produced a golden age of foreign reporting and narrative nonfiction books. So many remarkable journalists filed from the field—Lynsey Addario, Deborah Amos, Pamela Constable, Carlotta Gall, Anne Garrels, Jane Perlez, Alissa Rubin, Liz Sly, and Sabrina Tavernise among them—that the fact that they were women was no longer remarkable. Margaret Coker, formerly of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, continued to cover Iraq after most of the American press corps had moved on; she has produced a gripping new book about the shadow war between Iraqi intelligence officers and the Islamic State, The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle against ISIS. Coker shares one crucial trait with FitzGerald—a guiding interest in the people who live where Americans are at war. Her subject is an elite Iraqi espionage unit called “the Falcons,” composed of ordinary men who helped save their country from the onslaught of ISIS. Coker’s reporting on these men, their families, and the family of a young woman recruited by terrorists is so meticulous that it lets her enter invisibly a closed, sometimes frightening world and portray it with cinematic detail. This is a tale of Iraqi heroism and sorrow, with no Americans in sight.[Read: The photographer fighting visual clichés of Africa]Interesting Americans in foreign countries is never easy; usually, it requires an American war. We Americans are on one of our long solipsistic runs. During the Trump years, foreign news almost seemed to disappear. Networks and newspapers have closed down international bureaus; magazines publish fewer features about other countries than they did 10 years ago. At the same time, the practice of (mostly white) American reporters venturing into other (mostly nonwhite) people’s countries has fallen under ideological suspicion. There’s every reason to want foreign reporters to tell the stories of their own countries; there’s less reason to think that their work would break through the chronic indifference of an American audience with which they’re unfamiliar. The future of foreign reporting is as iffy as that of any field of journalism.Women no longer face the barriers that confronted Becker’s Vietnam reporters, but they are still less likely than men to gain easy admittance to the insular world of U.S. military officers and national-security officials. So perhaps it makes sense that the most thoroughly Iraqi book of the war by an American journalist has been written by a woman. Getting a book like The Spymaster of Baghdad into readers’ hands at this stage of the post–September 11 conflicts is an uphill battle. But as Iraq begins to be rebuilt by its people, there is real value in revisiting the country through an all-Iraqi narrative. The Spymaster of Baghdad achieves through an excellent yarn what Fire in the Lake achieved through the epic synthesis of history, politics, and culture. Coker’s Iraq, like FitzGerald’s Vietnam, emerges as its own country, more impressive than the stage of an American drama that absorbed us for a few years, more real than the projection of American fantasies and traumas, returning to its own people, finding its own destiny.
‘12 Rules for Life’ author Jordan Peterson reveals how to be happy at work
In 2018, clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson made a splash with his book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” — a collection of essays combining psychology, religion, ethics and practical personal experiences that sought to restore purpose and imbue satisfaction through self-reliance. It became a global bestseller, accompanied by sold-out speaking engagements. Now...
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'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Episode 18 Spoilers: Meet Daryl's Friend Leah
It would appear Daryl has some kind of special friend.
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Kayleigh McEnany Says Jen Psaki 'Does Not Have Faith' in Joe Biden Taking Press Questions
Donald Trump and Biden White House press secretaries clash over the lack of press conferences held by the current president.
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56-year commemoration of "Bloody Sunday" to be held virtually
Sunday marks 56 years since civil rights activists were met with violence when they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, demanding the right to vote. It became known as "Bloody Sunday." This year's events commemorating the march are scheduled to be held virtually due to COVID-19. Tom Hanson has the details.
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Senators continue debating $1.9 trillion COVID aid bill after all-nighter
They’re still at it. Senators worked through Friday night and were still chugging along Saturday morning trying to hammer out the details of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. “We are not going to be timid in the face of big challenges. We are not going to delay when urgent action is called for....
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Newbury Park unleashes Colin Sahlman, its newest running standout
Newbury Park's Colin Sahlman ran the 3,200 meters in 8:47.05, the fourth-fastest time ever by a California junior, last week at a meet in Arizona.
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The Texas Donors Who Don’t Want Anything to Change
The University of Texas insists that it is willing to confront its past racism and make sweeping changes for the sake of justice. What it won’t do is deal with the racist history of its school song.Last summer, amid nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death in police custody, more than two dozen Texas football players and other athletes issued a list of demands aimed at making their school more welcoming. In response, administrators announced reforms to improve diversity on campus, to honor historically prominent Black athletes and other Black alumni, invest in recruiting Black students from underrepresented areas of Texas, and make Black students feel safer and more supported in general.But the university refused one of the athletes’ demands: that it drop “The Eyes of Texas”—the campus anthem steeped in minstrelsy and Confederate nostalgia—and find a song “without racist undertones.” President Jay Hartzell announced that the university would retain the current song, which is played before and after football games, despite the discomfort it provokes in many athletes and marching-band members.[Jemele Hill: The problem with mandatory patriotism in sports]Football players who have spoken up against “The Eyes of Texas” have received a torrent of abuse. The Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, a junior who boycotted all team activities last summer until the university began addressing the athletes’ demands for equity, told me he has received “hundreds of threats” from fans. “They say, ‘You shouldn’t be here’; ‘Leave’; ‘I’m going to do this and that to you,’” he recalled. “They’ve called me all types of N-words, B-words.”Overshown said the threats don’t faze him, but opponents of the song face an even higher obstacle: the university donors who use their money to preserve the status quo. This week, The Texas Tribune published disturbing emails that some of the school’s wealthiest donors sent to Hartzell after a close loss to the rival Oklahoma Sooners in October. Donors and alumni not only racially taunted the school’s Black players, but also threatened to pull their financial support.One threatened to take back a $1 million donation. According to the Tribune, another donor wrote: It’s time for you to put the foot down and make it perfectly clear that the heritage of Texas will not be lost. It is sad that it is offending the blacks. As I said before the blacks are free and it’s time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor. Another railed against “cancel culture”—which, among conservatives, has become a reflexive epithet meant to reframe racial-justice activism as an assault on their own free expression.If anyone is engaging in so-called cancel culture, it’s the donors, who are suppressing the players’ right to speak their mind. The Tribune also reported that after the Oklahoma game, Texas officials forced football players to remain on the field as “The Eyes of Texas” was played, because they feared further backlash from donors and boosters. “We simply asked for their help—no one was forced or required to do so,” Athletic Director Chris Del Conte told the Tribune, in a statement. That distinction seems to be a matter of semantics.The university has been wrestling with the troubling nature of “The Eyes of Texas” for years. The song’s title was inspired by William Prather, a former University of Texas president whose catchphrase was “The eyes of Texas are upon you.” By his own account, Prather borrowed the expression from Robert E. Lee, who was fond of telling people, “The eyes of the South are upon you.” As The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer has pointed out, the continued veneration of Lee—a Confederate general and slave owner—is a “key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one.” [Read: The myth of the kindly General Lee]Two of Prather’s students, Lewis Johnson and John L. Sinclair, used his version of Lee’s saying to create “The Eyes of Texas,” which they set to the folk tune “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”—another song with a troublingly racist history. In 1903, the two students premiered their song at an annual campus minstrel show, where white musicians performed it in blackface. It became a tradition at subsequent minstrel shows and was soon embedded in the university’s culture. Some people apparently want to keep it there forever.Caden Sterns, a defensive back who declared for the NFL draft after last season, recently asserted on Twitter that influential alumni told several Texas football players they wouldn’t be able to find jobs in Texas if they didn’t sing the school song. That threat only steeled other players’ resolve. “When I heard that,” Overshown said of Sterns’s claim, “I knew right then and there that what we were doing was big. If you have to threaten somebody with that type of threat, [they’re] definitely doing something right.”Before he was fired in early January, Texas’s head football coach, Tom Herman, took a delicate approach to the issue. He did not require the football players to remain on the field after games and sing “The Eyes of Texas” with the audience in keeping with school tradition. But the controversy escalated in October after the school’s 53–45 quadruple-overtime loss to Oklahoma, when a photograph showed the Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger standing on the field with just a few other players as the anthem played. Even though Ehlinger explained that the situation had been misconstrued, the image was widely taken as proof of the team’s lack of unity. Some fans blamed the Longhorns’ third straight loss to the Sooners on the song controversy. After Herman’s ouster, fans speculated that his unwillingness to force his players to sing the anthem was one of the reasons he was let go. The angry emails from donors add credence to that idea.[Asher Price: A secret 1950s strategy to keep out Black students]Disappointingly, one of the first promises that Herman’s replacement, Steve Sarkisian, made when he was hired in January was that the players would “proudly” sing the song. It’s easy to connect Sarkisian’s immediate embrace of the anthem to the six-year, $34.2 million guaranteed contract he received from the University of Texas system regents. Those same regents have stated on the record that they unanimously support the song, regardless of the discomfort it creates.Giving the new coach the benefit of the doubt, Overshown said Sarkisian’s support for the song suggests that he might not understand the controversy around it. “No way he knows what it means,” Overshown told me. “There’s definitely conversations to be had about it.”Or perhaps Sarkisian, like other university officials, is willing to stand by players only up to a point. The coach declined to comment directly. A university spokesperson said that he remains committed to school traditions but has maintained an open dialogue with his team about the song.The school’s default position is to simply talk about the “The Eyes of Texas”—and that’s all. The university has established a committee to explore the anthem’s full history, and will make those findings public. But if the outcome is the equivalent of a term paper, that won’t do much to comfort the athletes who have to stomach a tradition that undermines their humanity.While Hartzell has condemned “hateful” remarks against players as well as the alumni who have threatened them, he is also coddling those hateful boosters by giving in to them. The alums who are capable of making large donations have successfully used money and privilege to get their way. But the university’s athletes helped generate $200 million in revenue last year and $223 million the year before. If the power and money are what matter most, then athletes’ opinion of the song should prevail, since their labor is what makes the school’s sports program so successful and lucrative.[Jemele Hill: The NCAA had to cut athletes a better deal]After receiving athletes’ list of demands last year, Hartzell certainly sounded eager to confront the school’s historical racism, which extended far beyond one song. “During the past month,” he said at the time, “I have listened to scores of students. I went into these conversations understanding that UT has worked hard to become a more diverse and welcoming place. I came out of them realizing there is still more work to do—and this starts and ends by creating an environment in which students are fully supported before, during, and after their time at UT.”What Hartzell didn’t say was that if that support means confronting and possibly angering prominent boosters and donors, then the athletes should expect to fight alone.
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Pope Francis meets top Shia cleric on day two of historical visit
Pope Francis is on the second day of his momentous four-day visit to Iraq. Iraqi security forces are deploying nearly 10,000 personnel to protect the pope as he embarks on his first international trip since the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Livesay reports.
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March 5, 2021 Covid-19 stimulus bill updates
Senate Democrats are racing to pass their version of President Biden's Covid-19 relief package. Follow here for the latest from Capitol Hill.
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Dr. Seuss books aren’t perfect, but mere words and images can’t harm kids
Dr. Seuss is down for the count — Dr. Seuss Enterprises is now in command.  After a long, if relatively low-key, jihad against the children’s author by left-wing academics and activists, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has announced that it will deep-six a half-dozen of the author’s books, including “And to Think that I Saw It on...
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Pope Francis and Iraq's top Shiite cleric hold historic meeting
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Signs of hope: COVID-19 vaccinations hit record high
Signs of hope: CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus on vaccinations, if it's too early to drop COVID-19 restrictions and more.
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Pope Holds Historic Meeting With Iraq's Top Shiite Cleric, Preaches Message Of Unity
On the second day of a landmark trip to Iraq, Pope Francis traveled to the the city of Najaf to meet Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, before visiting what is believed to be the birthplace of Abraham.
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Eye Opener: Senate moves forward with COVID bill
A deal has been reached in the Senate, paving the way forward for President Biden's COVID-19 relief bill. Also, several states are easing coronavirus restrictions as Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts say they are worried. All that and all that matters in today's Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.
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I’m outraged by United Airlines’ COVID policy after a jam-packed flight
I knew going on vacation during a pandemic wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I risked coming into close contact with strangers on TSA lines and baggage carousels. I understood Florida restaurants could be overcrowded and under-regulated, the golf courses lawless, the pools too populated, the casinos virtual coronavirus petri dishes.  What I didn’t realize...
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Deciding votes in an evenly divided Senate
The effort to strike a deal on a package is a careful dance for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. There is little room with 50 members on each side, and often, little appetite for compromise. Christina Ruffini reports from the White House where President Biden is paying close attention to the voting in the Senate.
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More COVID-19 stimulus is on the way. But could the earlier programs have been run better?
The shotgun approach used to send out earlier COVID-19 stimulus money raises questions about efficiency and fairness.      
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How a doctor tried to surgically save the human soul — after death
The monkey’s eyelids fluttered after 18 hours under anesthesia. Two medical teams stood by anxiously. Doctors, nurses and a troop of assistants held their breath, waiting for a sign that the delicate operation — actually, two delicate operations — had been a success.  Holding a pair of forceps, Cleveland brain surgeon Robert White gently tapped...
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Raya and the Last Dragon and the Limits of an Authentic Fantasy World
Fantasy worlds that mirror real-life cultures have a long history in storytelling. Middle-earth, the Four Lands, Narnia, Westeros, Earthsea: These are fictional places populated by imaginary creatures and characters, but with politics, faiths, and cultural dynamics that resemble our own. They give their creators license to world-build with allegories for contemporary issues, but without worrying too much about fidelity to reality. For Disney’s animated films, such fantasy lands—Wonderland, Neverland, even Atlantis—are part of the studio's cinematic legacy. But when depicting non-Western cultures, Disney has sometimes flattened the various cultures of a region into one stereotype-heavy location. Agrabah, in the animated Aladdin, was a visual mishmash of Middle Eastern cultures, and was originally described in song as “barbaric / But hey, it’s home.” The characterization was more reductive and offensive than blessed by Disney magic.Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney’s first animated film to star a Southeast Asian heroine, attempts to be more culturally accurate than any Disney project before it. Like the team behind Moana, which was inspired by Polynesian cultures, Raya’s filmmakers created a “story trust” of Southeast Asian historians and anthropologists working as consultants to ensure the film’s authenticity. They also recruited the Vietnamese American writer Qui Nguyen and the Chinese Malaysian writer Adele Lim for the script, as well as the Thai artist Fawn Veerasunthorn as their head of story. The directors, Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, trekked through Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Malaysia to gather material that would help them sculpt Kumandra, the fantasy world that serves as Raya’s setting.And Kumandra is incredibly detailed. The characters wear draped sabai tops and sampot pants, and wield kris-inspired swords and arnis sticks. The martial-arts choreography incorporates moves from fighting styles such as muay thai and krabi-krabong. There are shots of durian and dragon fruit and the Vietnamese rice cake bánh tét. The fictional kingdom Fang draws on geometric architecture from Indonesia, while Talon is made up of floating markets reminiscent of those in Thailand. The titular last dragon, Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina), is modeled after naga, serpent-like creatures from Southeast Asian folklore. These elements fill every inch of the screen, making Raya an eye-popping, vibrant spectacle. That was the point, Nguyen explained in an interview: “It was like a bunch of Easter eggs culturally for all of us to be able to go, ‘Hey, you find your culture in this movie.’”But culture isn’t a collection of Easter eggs. For all its dazzling details, Raya’s world-building comes at the expense of Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) herself.[Read: The invisible artistry of Asian actors]Raya even spends the opening minutes of the film running down the extensive backstory of Kumandra: The land once existed as a unified region where humans lived alongside dragons, until purple smoke monsters called Druuns, which turn living beings to stone, showed up. The dragons saved the humans, but in the process sacrificed themselves to the Druuns. The humans, left on their own, began fighting one another, splitting Kumandra up into five kingdoms, each named after parts of a dragon: Fang, Heart, Talon, Spine, and Tail. Given their different climates and values, each one developed a distinct lifestyle, refusing to reunify as one Kumandra. Raya embarks on a quest to stitch together the kingdoms, collects a motley crew of wayward Kumandrans, and forms a found family that teaches her that trust is key to unity.As gorgeous as Kumandra may be, Raya’s story feels empty and irrelevant compared with the world around her. She acts like a tourist, hopscotching from kingdom to kingdom in search of pieces of a dragon gem to stop the Druuns, which transformed her father, the chief of the Heart kingdom. Sure, she engages with people from the kingdoms, but they mostly provide comic relief, rather than act as fully formed characters—one of them is a baby who can only babble and produce slapstick gags. In the desert land of Tail, Raya grabs the gem piece from the skeleton of the kingdom’s chief. Raya is a quick-witted adventurer, but her character scantly reflects the filmmakers’ sweeping cultural research; Disney’s attention to authenticity becomes little more than window dressing.Better fantasy worlds make their cultural specificity essential to the hero’s journey. In Black Panther, Wakanda represents Black excellence, and thus serves T’Challa’s arc, as a man trying to earn his position as a ruler. The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is based on Asia, and that’s woven into the narrative of its protagonist, the monk Aang. His plot incorporates Buddhist rituals and themes of harmony; he travels to four kingdoms not to pick up souvenirs, but to learn from each nation’s philosophies and lifestyles. The world of Moana draws on Polynesian cultures, in particular the tradition of wayfinding, which is pivotal to the lead character’s story. She sails across the ocean to protect her home island and connect her people to their heritage as voyagers.[Read: Why fashion is key to understanding the world of Black Panther]In Raya, the world doesn’t so much serve the story; the story twists itself in knots trying to serve the world. This muddies the film’s message. With so little attention paid to the people of Kumandra’s kingdoms, anyone outside of Raya’s home world of Heart—including the thinly drawn ambassador of each kingdom—is defined by disunity, greed, and mistrust. Raya’s attempt to re-form Kumandra comes off less as a pursuit of unity, and more as her own attempt to flatten five disparate cultures into one.The composite fantasy world as a storytelling device has evolved. It’s heartening to see animation move past the crude cultural appropriation of Aladdin’s Agrabah or the beyond-loose interpretation of the Incan empire in The Emperor’s New Groove, and to have a fantasy world that does not treat people of color as the exception. But the spectacle of a fantasy world can do only so much; a beautiful setting can’t compensate for a superficial story line. Raya loses sight of its heroine’s own connection to the cultures that the filmmakers had put so much care into depicting authentically. As the Vietnamese American writer Hoai-Tran Bui pointed out in her review, “Seeing a familiar dish and hearing a familiar word doesn’t have quite the [same] effect as recognizing a family dynamic onscreen.”Raya, as the sole Southeast Asian Disney title, will become the de facto Southeast Asian narrative for Disney’s entire fairy-dusted dominion. Already there are Raya dolls, Sisu plushies, Kumandra-related toys; maybe later there’ll be a sequel or series, like the recently announced one for Moana. Why the filmmakers would want so badly to get it all right, down to the last frame, is understandable. But aesthetic accuracy has its limits. Raya and the Last Dragon is, in the end, named after Raya, not Kumandra. If the intention is to truly, fully depict a culture, then the people represent it better than any architectural style, costume choice, or fruit ever could. Ignore them, and the result is something like the dragons consumed by the Druuns: eye-catching but ultimately lifeless.
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Detroit's mayor and Covid vaccine roulette
Detroit's Democratic mayor, Mike Duggan, caused a major headache for the White House and public health officials when he declined an allotment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for his city, arguing that Detroiters would be better off for now with Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
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Maryland is hoping its hiccup at Northwestern doesn’t mean its winning formula is flawed
The Terps have figured out the way they need to play to give themselves a chance to win most nights.
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