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Stephen Sondheim, central figure in American musical theater, dies at 91

His musicals — including “Company,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “A Little Night Music” — explored the human condition in all its anxieties and moral complexities.
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Anthony Davis' return sparks Los Angeles Lakers' win over struggling Brooklyn Nets
Anthony Davis' return sparked a spirited defensive effort as the Lakers defeated a weakened Nets squad featuring an upset James Harden.       
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A humble prediction for what comes after Omicron
Almost two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Kent Sepkowitz writes about what may lie ahead for a fatigued world that's battling the current Omicron wave. This latest variant, he says, should serve as a humbling lesson for infectious disease experts. The variant "broke every 'rule' of pandemic behavior we thought we had established." He adds, "My thinking is this: After four distinct surges, each with a lead viral variant, why would there not be five?" Living in this new abnormal, he says, we have to rely on, instead of predictions, what we know today while "doing our best to dodge whatever is coming at us."
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White House attempts to strengthen federal cybersecurity after major hacks
The White House plans to release an ambitious strategy Wednesday to make federal agencies tighten their cybersecurity controls after a series of high-profile hacks against government and private infrastructure in the last two years, according to a copy shared with CNN.
Federal Reserve Could Offer Hints About Interest Rate Outlook
The central bank is poised to raise rates this year, and officials could signal today how much they’ll go up and how quickly. Follow economic updates.
Trump-backed Herschel Walker reports hauling in nearly $10M since launching GOP Senate bid in Georgia
Herschel Walker, who's backed by former President Donald Trump, reports hauling in nearly $10 million since launching GOP Senate bid in Georgia
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown says team tried to pay him $200K to receive mental health care
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has said that the team offered to pay him $200,000 to step away from the team and commit himself to a mental health facility.
Boris Johnson Faces Judgment Day
Some members of the British prime minister's Conservative Party have called for him to resign from office.
'Protect and Serve': Cop Praised for Completing DoorDash Delivery After Driver Arrested
"I know I'm not who you were expecting, but your driver got arrested," the police officer said when the customer opened the door.
Woman Who Encountered Escaped Lab Monkey 'Not Sick'
The story of Michele Fallon falling ill after a truck carrying laboratory animals crashed in Pennsylvania has led to conspiracy theories online.
Two years after Kobe's death, Vanessa Bryant's pain remains at issue in court
On the second anniversary of the deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Vanessa Bryant's pain is a point of dispute in federal court.
Goldie Hawn: COVID trauma is hurting a generation of kids. We've failed them as a nation.
We will survive the COVID pandemic, but I'm not sure we can survive an entire generation whose collective trauma sends them hobbling into adulthood.
E.P.A. Chief Vows to ‘Do Better’ to Protect Poor Communities From Environmental Harm
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday will announce stepped-up enforcement and monitoring to help disadvantaged communities struggling with polluted air and water.
Op-Ed: OSHA has long failed to protect some of our most vulnerable workers
OSHA's vaccine-or-test mandate has been scrapped by the court, but its struggles regulating large workplaces aren't new.
The Narcotic Pleasures of #Cleantok
Why is it so calming to watch someone organizing a fridge?
New Mexico governor just signed on as a substitute teacher amid steep staff shortages
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham plans to start substituting in an elementary school Wednesday morning.
Water- and stain-resistant products contain toxic plastics, study says. Here's what to do
A new study found toxins called PFAS in a number of stain and water-resistant products on stores shelves in the United States. Here's what you can do to avoid them.
Biden loses media support, sees tougher coverage as political struggles mount: 'No longer seen as competent'
With dueling economic and foreign policy crises, even liberal media figures have begun to distance themselves from President Biden.
Letters to the Editor: Biden isn't failing Black voters; Republicans and a few Democrats are
What more can Biden do for Black voters if all 50 Republicans and two Democrats in the Senate block his agenda?
Granderson: Republicans keep trying to erase history
Florida would only be perpetuating injustice by banning public schools from teaching about gay people and systemic racism.
Letters to the Editor: Elderly women protesting vaccine mandates, what are you thinking?
A reader reacts to a photo of older women at a protest in Washington against vaccine mandates.
What do Manchin and Sinema want?
‘Moderate’ senators have to satisfy both red and blue voters. But Democrats can still reach them.
How the Anti-Vax Movement Is Taking Over the Right
Lee Haywood got the COVID-19 vaccine. He’s seen friends lose their lives to the virus, and watched others struggle to recover. A smoker for 37 years, he believes the medical evidence showing that the vaccine sharply reduces his chances of a severe infection. Yet on the frigid afternoon of Jan. 23, Haywood, a 61-year-old Republican…
Letters to the Editor: Bottled water from a drought-stricken forest — how is this allowed?
Readers express outrage that the federal government is allowing a private company to divert and sell water from the San Bernardino Mountains.
Senators push Biden to fight to preserve the child tax credit
President Biden, eager to salvage his domestic agenda, has hinted he may have to forgo extending the child tax credit.
Death Doulas Used to Be Rare. The COVID-19 Pandemic Changed That
Death Doulas say demand for their services has soared during the pandemic as many people face end-of-life issues
Bloated Central Bank Balance Sheets Are the Real Risk
What would you pay for fixed-income assets now if you knew that the biggest holders will become forced sellers later?
Ukraine, Taiwan, and a weak commander in chief
Newt Gingrich says the situations in Ukraine and Taiwan are both dangerous, and President Biden appears incapable of meeting the dual challenge.
Former deputy CIA director for science and technology Dawn Meyerriecks
Michael Morell talks with Meyerriecks about the role of technology in intelligence collection and analysis.
Three tips for home sellers in 2022
REAL ESTATE MATTERS | Pricing your home competitively may generate a number of offers in excess of the list price. What you want is to generate interest and showings, and a “pie in the sky” price won’t do that, even with the dearth of homes for sale.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Gets a Muscular Tundra-inspired Makeover
The 2023 Toyota Sequoia features looks and capability pulled from the company's Tundra and 4Runner heritage,
Audra McDonald on HBO's 'The Gilded Age' and How 'Black People Were Always There'
"I eat all those costume dramas up," Tony-award-winning actress Audra McDonald says about the new HBO drama series 'The Gilded Age' from 'Downton Abbey' creator Julian Fellowes.
The Voice of a Silenced and Suffering Generation | Opinion
Any intelligent teenager must be acutely conscious that America's woke village elders have arrogated and perverted the moral authority of God.
Renewed Negotiation Can Still Ensure Peace in Ukraine | Opinion
The issue, in the end, is a simple one: there is no military victory to be found here, and supporting the Ukrainian militarily is likely to prove fatal to both Ukraine and to Europe.
Hundreds of invasive fish pulled from Texas river due to aquarium dumping
Texas Parks and Wildlife reported that 406 suckermouth armored catfish were removed from the San Marcos River in Texas.
Not Even Free Money Can Fix a Carbon Tax
Once more unto the breach, my friends—once more to talk about carbon pricing.For 40 years, economists and environmentalists have proposed a simple solution to climate change: Put a price on it. If the government levies a fee on every ton of heat-trapping pollution that goes into the air, then the economy will move to cleaner, cheaper energy sources, and carbon pollution will fall over time.In practice, this means raising the cost of fossil fuels—and doing that is easier said than done. Despite support from literally thousands of economists, carbon-price schemes have no near-term chance of passage in the United States, and they cover only about one-fifth of the world’s emissions overall. Researchers have come to understand that carbon pricing presents an unusually difficult political challenge, because it marries very salient costs (all fossil-fuel costs go up, for everyone) to somewhat opaque benefits. Worse, some economists argue that carbon prices fall hardest on the poor, because lower-income households spend more of their income on energy.So in the past few years, advocates have proposed a twist meant to bypass those obstacles and make an uncomfortable idea more acceptable, even popular. Under this new scheme, known as a revenue-neutral carbon price, the government taxes every ton of carbon pollution but, instead of using that money, simply returns it to taxpayers as a payment. In theory, this helps voters see not only the costs (higher prices) but also the benefits (a big juicy check).In America, this “tax and dividend” idea has become fashionable as a nonideological, theoretically bipartisan salve to climate change, a way to tax carbon without growing the size of the government. It is championed by the Climate Leadership Council, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and … nearly zero sitting Republican politicians (alas). But abroad, some countries have actually gone and implemented the policy. And “there are a good number of hypothetical scenarios that show the idea has some promise,” Matto Mildenberger, a political-science professor at UC Santa Barbara, told me. This week, a team of researchers, including Mildenberger, published the first major study of whether a revenue-neutral carbon price actually increases support for climate policy. The results weren’t as good as the theory.“We don’t find strong evidence that rebates are increasing people’s comfort with carbon pricing,” Mildenberger said. Even when people receive more in dividends than they pay out in the tax, they resent higher energy prices and tend to view the policy in light of their broader politics. “My basic view is that we’re not seeing evidence that dividends are a transformative way to overcome the politics of climate change.”Mildenberger and his colleagues surveyed citizens of Canada and Switzerland, the two countries that have implemented something close to a revenue-neutral carbon price. In Canada, residents of some provinces receive a lump-sum carbon rebate as part of their annual tax return; all Swiss residents see the rebate as a discount on their health-insurance premiums.Neither of these policies is the “ideal” tax-and-dividend scheme that some economists endorse, in which everyone receives a monthly or quarterly check. But they’re close, and they’re admirably progressive: In Canada, for instance, 80 percent of residents receive more in the rebate than they pay out in the tax.Yet “in practice, [people] in Switzerland and Canada don’t know much about the rebates they’re receiving,“ Mildenberger told me. “They underestimated the benefit of the policy, and they overestimated the cost.” In Ontario, for instance, nearly half of respondents didn’t know they had received a rebate. In Saskatchewan, most respondents did know but thought their rebate was, on average, $268 per year, when it was really $444. Support for the carbon tax was informed by party ID: Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which implemented the tax, supported it; members of the Conservative Party opposed it. When the researchers showed respondents their true rebate, nobody’s views changed, but right-wing respondents disliked the policy more. “They became more likely to believe they were getting ripped off by the policy,” he said.In Switzerland, most respondents just didn’t know about the rebate. When told how much they had made from the policy, approval of the policy went up, but by a very small amount, the survey found. “There was nothing to support the more ambitious carbon taxes in the future that scientists say are necessary,” Mildenberger said. Last summer, Swiss voters narrowly rejected a larger tax-and-dividend scheme in a national referendum.These tepid reactions to the policy are strictly irrational for most taxpayers, who are receiving what is, in effect, free money. Yet it makes a certain amount of sense: If you don’t support transforming society (and paying more at the pump) to address one of the major challenges of our time, why should $444 a year change that? “There’s a certain … weirdness to using dividends to solve the political challenges of carbon pricing,” Mildenberger said. “Because the actual benefit of carbon pricing is having a stable climate in 10 years. The payment is, like, a side benefit.”For Mildenberger, the results suggested that subjective costs and benefits will always trump real economic facts. Because carbon prices affect every facet of the economy, and provoke lots of controversy, “there’s a fundamental asymmetry to the potential benefit you’re getting and the intense messaging you’re getting about costs,” he noted. In Ontario, for instance, the provincial Conservative government put stickers on every gas pump warning about the effect of the carbon price. A onetime yearly payment can’t beat such omnipresent messaging, he said. (Canada is planning to switch to quarterly checks soon, to raise the payments’ mind share.)Gernot Wagner, an economist at NYU, was more sanguine about the results. “There are people out there who are convinced their policy design is the answer, and, look, it never is,” he told me. “At the end of the day, it’s all politics. And it’s all identity politics, which is not what we’d like to be the case, but it is.”In his native Austria, he said, the government just implemented a carbon-tax-and-dividend scheme, along with a slew of business-friendly tax cuts and a national public-transit subsidy. “The whole package is what’s going to make the difference,” he said. More than 20 years passed between the first carbon-tax proposal in Austria, he noted, and the specific combination of policies and coalitions that made it possible.For Mildenberger, though, the results show that it’s very hard to make policy create political feedback loops. In American history, only a few programs—such as Social Security, the GI Bill, and Medicare—have created political conditions that sustain and broaden them going forward. In general, “people are not mobilizing to defend their material interests,” he said.In a political environment where election results themselves are contested, it’s folly to expect people to gravitate toward a reality-based understanding of costs and benefits, he said. “There’s much crazier things that people now believe than that the benefits or costs [of a policy] are $500 as opposed to $5,000. There may be real limits to how much we can expect the objective structure of policies to reshape politics in this moment.”It’s a discouraging finding—and one that may point to a more hardball politics of climate change going forward. At least corporations can be counted on to mind their cash flow.
Stuntman 'Big Dave' Mattey Left Unable To Stand Due to Mysterious Illness
Over $61,000 has been raised for the 52-year-old, who has appeared in titles such as "Hancock" and "Better Call Saul."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister says Russian troops 'insufficient' for full invasion
Russia has not assembled sufficient forces to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine imminently, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday.
Biden administration plans to expedite Afghan refugee resettlement, NSC official says
The Biden administration is exploring ways to expedite bringing Afghan refugees to the United States, Fox News has learned.
Woman Discovers She Is 'Other Woman' After Having 'Emotional Affair' With Boss
A woman who "fell deeply" for her boss has taken to the internet to reveal he hid the fact he had a girlfriend.
College Gymnastics Is Blowing Up
It’s not just the Olympians who are driving this spike in popularity among regular people.
I Think I Know Why Men Don’t Talk About Parental Leave
It feels much safer to be a silent ally.
Russia threatens 'appropriate measures' if West's responses to demands aren't constructive
Russia’s top diplomat on Wednesday promised to take appropriate measures if the West’s response to Moscow’s security demands is not found to be constructive.
Ukraine Live Updates: Russia Dismisses U.S. Threat to Sanction Putin Personally as Bluster
The war of words between Washington and Moscow escalated as President Biden sought to deter the Russian leader from ordering an invasion of Ukraine.
The futuristic superyacht concept that can fly as well as sail
Rome-based design company Lazzarini Design Studio has dreamed up an innovative new concept named Air Yacht that has the ability to "sail in the sky" as well as the ocean, and it looks every bit as outlandish as it sounds.
COVID-free Tonga cautiously receives aid from ship with virus outbreak
Strict measures to ensure the coronavirus isn't brought into the volcano and tsunami-battered island nation with aid shipments are slowing relief efforts.
California city approves 1st US insurance law for gun owners
A California city has voted to require gun owners to carry liability insurance in what's believed to be the first measure of its kind in the United States
What is curling? Everything you need to know about this winter sport
When the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games come around every four years, there are many sports which compete to grab the attention of viewers around the world.
San Jose, Calif. approves gun owner insurance law
The San Jose, Calif. City Council voted Tuesday night to require gun owners to carry liability insurance in what's believed to be the first measure of its kind in the U.S. Gun owners said the law would violate their rights and promised to sue. (Jan. 26)