How a ‘Blue Wall’ Inside N.Y. State Prisons Protects Abusive Guards – The New York Times

By Joseph Neff, Alysia Santo and Tom MeagherThis article was published in partnership with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system.May 22, 2023Updated 9:39 a.m. ETBEACON, N.Y. — The way the prison guards described it in their paperwork, there was a minor disturbance the day they took Chad Stanbro to a dental clinic at a regional hospital.Mr. Stanbro, a prisoner, had been sedated but became agitated during surgery, took a swing at a dentist and kicked a correctional officer in the stomach, they wrote. The guard and a colleague had quickly restrained him and had driven him back to Fishkill Correctional Facility, where, according to the senior officer’s account, Mr. Stanbro had “reported no injuries.”But critical details were missing — including that Mr. Stanbro had been paralyzed during the incident. A third officer had rushed into the clinic’s operating room and had knelt on Mr. Stanbro’s neck until he couldn’t move, according to later court testimony. That guard had asked his colleagues to leave him out of their reports, they acknowledged at trial, and they had done so.

Israelis March Through Jerusalem, Raising Tensions in a Divided City – The New York Times

Patrick Kingsley and 

Reporting from Jerusalem

“Thousands of Israelis marched through Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, a contentious annual event, known as Jerusalem Day, that regularly stirs tensions with Palestinians, who see it as a provocation.

Large crowds of Israelis, many of them from ultranationalist groups, walked through the Old City, toward the Western Wall — a remnant of an ancient retaining structure that once surrounded the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount. The parade prompted many Palestinians, who form the overwhelming majority of Old City residents, to shut their shops, in expectation of vandalism and abuse from the marchers.”

David Lindsay emailed the NYT Managing Editor department:

Where now is the office of complaints, or of the ombudsman for subscribers?

Two articles I enjoyed recently didn’t allow comments, and I would like to know why.
The first, was Peter Coy on China this Saturday, about a book by a Chinese scholar describing common Chinese views.
Today, there were no comments allowed for

“Israelis March Through Jerusalem, Raising Tensions in a Divided City

The annual parade marks the unification of the city after Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967. Israelis see it as a celebration, but Palestinians consider it an insult, and it was marred by incitement against Arabs.”  May 18, 2023

I can guess why you shut off discussion in this later piece. Is it really your job to protect the right wing of Israel from hearing how many of your active readers disagree with them, — and many of us despise them.

But why not allow comments for Peter Coy’s challenging opinion essay.  Is this just penny wise and pound foolish?

It would be an improvement if you publicised your policy on when to remove comments or add them, and put at the end an explanation for their removal.  It appears you do not realize how valuable good comments are to an already good piece, and sometimes invaluable to a really bad one.


David Lindsay

By Jedediah Britton-Purdy | The Courts Should Be More Political, Not Less – The New York Times

Mr. Britton-Purdy is a law professor at Duke and the author of seven books on American democracy.

“DURHAM, N.C. — The details are all too familiar: Last fall, an election in North Carolina flipped the balance of the State Supreme Court from Democrats to Republicans, and in less than six months, the new conservative majority had reversed a decision from last December and ruled that the legislature can gerrymander election maps with no constitutional limit. Another episode of political hardball. Another example of Republicans pushing institutions to their limits to keep power.

In a straight count, North Carolina voters are almost perfectly evenly divided between the two political parties: Both senators are Republicans, Democrats hold the offices of governor and attorney general, and presidential elections are decided by margins as slim as tens of thousands of votes. But in practice North Carolina is ruled by a Republican legislature that has majorities big enough to override the governor’s veto. That legislature is now looking to ban abortion after 12 weeks, abolish tenure for new hires in the University of North Carolina system and redraw congressional maps to give Republicans several new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Paul Krugman | How Biden Blew It on the Debt Ceiling – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“As soon as Republicans took control of the House last November, it was obvious that they would try to take the economy hostage by refusing to raise the federal debt limit. After all, that’s what they did in 2011 — and hard as it may be to believe, the Tea Party Republicans were sober and sane compared to the MAGA crew. So it was also obvious that the Biden administration needed a strategy to head off the looming crisis.

More and more, however, it looks as if there never was a strategy beyond wishful thinking. I hope that I’m wrong about this — that President Biden will, at the last minute, unveil an effective counter to G.O.P. blackmail. He may even be forced to do so, as I’ll explain in a bit. But right now I have a sick feeling about all of this. What were they thinking? How can they have been caught so off-guard by something that everyone who’s paying attention saw coming?

For those somehow new to this, the United States has a weird and dysfunctional system in which Congress enacts legislation that determines federal spending and revenue, but then, if this legislation leads to a budget deficit, must vote a second time to authorize borrowing to cover the deficit. If even one house of Congress refuses to raise the debt limit, the U.S. government will go into default, with possibly catastrophic financial and economic effects.

This weird aspect of budgeting allows a party that is sufficiently ruthless, sufficiently indifferent to the havoc it might wreak, to attempt to impose through extortion policies it would never be able to enact through the normal legislative process.”

David Linday:  I fear Krugman has panicked prematurely. I am very sympathetic to his reaction, but I like the commenters who remind us of little faith, that Biden isn’t as soft as likes to sound.  Here is an excellent comment I approve:

John Brews
Santa Fe, NMMay 16

Well, Paul is upset. But here is my idea of Biden’s plan. Speculation of course. Biden wants Americans in general to understand the GOP is ready to ruin the Country for no reason. No reason. So Biden is letting the clock run and letting McCarthy look more and more like a flailing victim of the GOP nut cases. When the situation is clear to most of us, Biden will state that there really is no alternative to the 14th Amendment solution. He must simply pay the bills and ignore McCarthy, because McCarthy cannot do a thing to compromise. Biden will have to make a speech clearly describing why this action is needed. He might also address the possibility of the Supreme Court being drawn into the fray. But probably that issue should be left to later. If the Supreme Court is enticed to rule that the 14th Amendment action is “unconstitutional” or some other objection is raised, Biden has one option, perhaps not the only one, but one option is open: ignore the Court. The Court and the GOP might fume, but the Court has no power to compel compliance, and Congress is incapacitated, and can do nothing either. So Biden will be free to pay the bills, and the naysayers can go take a walk.

3 Replies190 Recommended

Mike Lofgren | How a U.S. Debt Default Could Bring Down the Dollar  – The New York Times

Mr. Lofgren is a former staff member of the House and Senate budget committees.

Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 times to increase the statutory debt limit to avert a government default. Indeed, when I worked in Congress, from the mid-1980s to 2011, after a bit of posturing, Congress always increased the debt ceiling — and created the expectation that debt-limit fights were a seasonal Washington ritual, like the cherry blossoms or the Marine Corps marathon, of no existential importance.

But lifting the debt is no longer more or less routine, especially when Republicans control the House. That is the case now: The Tuesday meeting between President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly produced no movement on how to end the impasse over the federal debt.

Attitudes about what a sovereign default would mean seem to have changed among some House Republicans, who are holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States. They often confuse the debt-limit vote with a government shutdown or have convinced themselves that a sovereign default is no big deal.

They might consider another scenario: A debt default could threaten the dollar’s status as world reserve currency. Indeed, with their risky posturing, congressional Republicans are playing Russian roulette with America’s primacy in the global financial system, a privileged position undergirding our standard of living and international influence.

David Firestone | Can Brandon Presley Help Mississippi Break from the Past? – The New York Times

Mr. Firestone is a member of the editorial board.

It’s been 23 years since a Democrat was elected governor of Mississippi and 41 years since a Democrat was elected one of the state’s U.S. senators. The Republican lock on the state — along with the policies and noxious traditions that have kept it in the basement among U.S. states for most indicators of social health — sometimes seems impenetrable.

Mike Espy, the former Democratic congressman from Mississippi and U.S. agriculture secretary, tried twice to become senator, in 2018 and 2020, but never got more than 46 percent of the vote. Jim Hood, then state attorney general, did a little better in the 2019 governor’s race, getting nearly 47 percent of the vote, but the current Republican governor, Tate Reeves, prevailed.

This year, with Mr. Reeves up for re-election in November, there are once again hopes that Mississippi could take a few steps up from the bottom and elect a governor willing to make a break from the past. And even though Donald Trump won the state by more than 16 percentage points in 2020, there are reasons to think it could happen.

For one thing, thanks to a significant scandal involving the misappropriation of welfare funds, Mr. Reeves is extraordinarily unpopular for an incumbent Republican, with 60 percent of voters saying they would prefer another candidate, according to a Mississippi Today/Siena College poll that came out last week. For another, he has a promising and energetic Democratic opponent named Brandon Presley who has been polling fairly well and is making a strong case that the state desperately needs a change, advocating a series of popular policies that could make a real difference in the lives of Mississippians, particularly those on the lower economic rungs. The contest is already turning into one of the most interesting races of 2023.”

In Erdogan’s Turkey, a Building System Fatally Weakened by Corruption – The New York Times

By Ceylan Yeginsu, Rebecca R. Ruiz and Nimet KiracCeylan Yeginsu reported this article from Istanbul, and Rebecca R. Ruiz and Nimet Kirac from Antakya, the heart of Turkey’s earthquake-ravaged region.May 4, 2023Updated 9:58 a.m. ETThe building began convulsing at 4:17 a.m. Firat Yayla was awake in bed, scrolling through videos on his phone. His mother was asleep down the hall.The region along Turkey’s border with Syria was known for earthquakes, but this apartment complex was new, built to withstand disaster. It was called Guclu Bahce, or Mighty Garden. Mr. Yayla’s own cousin had helped build it. He and his business partner had boasted that the complex could withstand even the most powerful tremor.So, as the earth heaved for more than a minute, Mr. Yayla, 21, and his 62-year-old mother, Sohret Guclu, a retired schoolteacher, remained inside.

Bret Stephens | The Curious Conservative Case Against Defending Ukraine – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“One of the stranger features of the politics of the war in Ukraine is that the most vocal opposition to it tends to come from the hard right. In some ways, that right sounds like the hard left it used to oppose so fiercely.

On April 20, 19 Republican lawmakers, including Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and J.D. Vance, sent a letter to President Biden decrying “unlimited arms supplies in support of an endless war.” Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have expressed their opposition to Western support for Ukraine (though the Florida governor seemed to walk his opposition back); both are keenly attuned to what they think will play well in G.O.P. primaries.

Opposition also comes from what passes for an antiwar conservative intelligentsia. Peter Hitchens, the brother of Christopher Hitchens, is a fierce critic, as is the Orbanist American writer Rod Dreher, whose manner of critique is “Russia is wrong, but .…” Tucker Carlson routinely used his prime-time pedestal to disparage Volodymyr Zelensky, calling the Ukrainian president a “dictator” and comparing his dress style to that of the manager of a strip club. The Buchananite American Conservative is against the war on principle; the Trumpian Federalist is against it as a matter of political opportunism.

“While forcing his own people — and those whose migration keeps the cartels supplied with the billions to buy military-grade weaponry — to suffer murder, rape and other heinous crimes, Biden is abroad encouraging ongoing violence in Ukraine,” writes The Federalist’s executive editor, Joy Pullmann, giving readers a taste of the quality of both her thinking and her prose.”

Bret Stephens | Tucker Carlson and the Tragedy of Fox News – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“In the summer of 2011, Rupert Murdoch stopped by my small office at The Wall Street Journal, where I was a columnist and editor. He was just back from London, where he had given testimony to a parliamentary committee investigating the phone-hacking scandal by his British tabloids (and where he was attacked with a shaving-foam pie). The scandal ultimately resulted in the closure of News of the World, at one point one of the world’s biggest-selling English-language newspapers.

I don’t remember many specifics about the conversation — Murdoch loved to talk politics and policy with his journalists, sometimes by taking us to lunch at the Lamb’s Club in Midtown Manhattan — but I do remember the gist of what he said about the fiasco: Never put anything in an email. His private takeaway, it seemed, wasn’t to require his companies to adhere to high ethical standards. It was to leave no trace that investigators might use for evidence against him, his family or his favorite lieutenants.

Fast-forward a dozen years. Not much has changed. What is being euphemistically described as a parting of ways on Monday between Fox News and its Chief Disinformation Officer, Tucker Carlson, is happening after the now-former prime-time host put things in emails and text messages that proved he knew he was peddling lies — and then went ahead and amplified them.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  NYT Comment:

This is arguably one of the best pieces Bret Stephens has ever written at the NYT. His critics excoriate him for praising Reagan and GHW Bush, while ignoring what an extraordinary human and leader George HW Bush was. He probably lost his chance at re-election, when he wisely decided not to bomb the Iraqui Army retreating in defeat from Kuwait, and choosing not to invade Iraq at that time. Critics who dispose of GHW Bush with the same breath they dismiss Reagan, don’t know their history, or their presidents. Bret writes near the end of this assay, “Such a channel would still have been plenty conservative, in a way that most liberals would find infuriating. But it would also have defended the classically liberal core of intelligent conservatism: the idea that immigrants are an asset, not a liability; that the freedoms of speech and conscience must extend to those whose ideas we loathe; that American power ought to be harnessed to protect the world’s democracies from aggressive dictators; that we are richer at home by freely trading goods abroad; that nothing is more sacred than democracy and the rule of law; that patriotism is about preserving the capacity to criticize a country we love while loving the country we criticize.” I always mark Bret down for flaming anthropocentricism, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t say a lot of important things extremely well. I rest my case.

David Lindsay Jr. is a historian who blogs at

Dan Ashe | Let’s Protect Children at Least as Well as We Protect  Ducks – The New York Times

Mr. Ashe was the director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from February 2011 to January 2017.

“In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, commercial hunting was devastating populations of ducks, geese and other water birds. In response, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, granting the United States Fish and Wildlife Service authority to regulate the killing of migratory birds nationwide. Now waterfowl are thriving in North America, an exception to the general, global trend in the decline of birds and other wildlife populations.

One of the earliest waterfowl protection regulations put in place by the Fish and Wildlife Service restricts the firearms that hunters can use by limiting how many shells a hunter’s shotgun may hold. Anyone hunting ducks, geese, doves or other migratory birds anywhere in the United States cannot use a shotgun that is capable of shooting more than three times without reloading. They also cannot use shotguns larger than 10 gauge in order to prevent situations where one blast might kill several birds in a flock. These regulations have been in place since the 1930s, and have driven the manufacture and availability of hunting shotguns.”