Editorial | Amid Coronavirus, America Needs a More Just Society – The New York Times

“From some of its darkest hours, the United States has emerged stronger and more resilient.

Between May and July 1862, even as Confederate victories in Virginia raised doubts about the future of the Union, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln kept their eyes on the horizon, enacting three landmark laws that shaped the nation’s next chapter: The Homestead Act allowed western settlers to claim 160 acres of public land apiece; the Morrill Act provided land grants for states to fund universities; and the Pacific Railway Act underwrote the transcontinental railroad.

Nearly 75 years later, in the depths of the Great Depression, with jobs in short supply and many Americans reduced to waiting in bread lines, President Franklin Roosevelt proved similarly farsighted. He concluded the best way to revive and sustain prosperity was not merely to pump money into the economy but to rewrite the rules of the marketplace. “Liberty,” Roosevelt said at the Democratic Party’s convention in 1936, “requires opportunity to make a living — a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.” His administration, working with Congress, enshrined the right of workers to bargain collectively, imposed strict rules and regulators on the financial industry, and created Social Security to provide pensions for the elderly and disabled.

 

This article is part of a Times Opinion series exploring how the nation can emerge from this crisis stronger, fairer and more free. Read the editor’s introductory letter.

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare once again the incomplete nature of the American project — the great distance between the realities of life and death in the United States and the values enunciated in its founding documents.”

Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy – SFChronicle.com

Note: This story has been updated with comments from the U.S. Navy and other developments.

“The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.

The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”

In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.

“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”

He asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible.”

“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. … This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.” “

Source: Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy – SFChronicle.com

Opinion | Captain Crozier Saved His Crew From Coronavirus. He Is a Hero. – The New York Times

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Mr. Roosevelt is a great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Institute at Long Island University.

Credit…US Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System/EPA, via Shutterstock

“On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to the Navy pleading for permission to unload his crew, including scores of sailors sickened with Covid-19, in Guam, where it was docked. The Pentagon had been dragging its feet, and the situation on the ship was growing dire.

“We are not at war,” he wrote. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

After the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Navy relented. But on Thursday, it relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

Captain Crozier joins a growing list of heroic men and women who have risked their careers over the last few weeks to speak out about life-threatening failures to treat the victims of this terrible pandemic. Many of them are doctors and nurses, and many of them, like Captain Crozier, have been punished. All of them deserve our deepest gratitude.”

The Navy Fired Captain Crozier After His Letter on the Coronavirus. Hear How the Crew Responded. – The New York Times

Please note, this is my second posting of this ariticle, in order to highlight the section below. I read it to Kathleen Schomaker, who replied, this story, and that scene, are going to make a hell of a good movie someday.

“. . . .As part of his extended explanation of why he removed Captain Crozier, Mr. Modly asserted at a news conference Thursday that the release of Captain Crozier’s letter had panicked the crew and family members, and embarrassed the Navy’s leadership.

It undermines our efforts and the chain of command’s efforts to address this problem and creates a panic,” he said. “And creates a perception that the Navy’s not on the job, the government’s not on the job.”

But videos taken by crew members aboard the Roosevelt and posted on social media on Friday seemed to contradict that assessment.

The sailors on the Roosevelt did not look panicked. Since Captain Crozier’s letter first surfaced, the Navy had evacuated hundreds off the ship, with more each day. During Captain Crozier’s final walk off the ship, many sailors could be seen with their bags packed on the floor next to them as they cheered their departing captain.

It was a surreal scene, beginning with Captain Crozier’s solemn walk through the massive ship’s sprawling hangar bay — a snaking procession that wrapped around a pair of dormant F/A-18 fighter jets and into the cool Guam night.

There was the ship’s bell, and then its whistle. The crew, hundreds of them, some in civilian clothes, others in uniform, slowly saluted as Captain Crozier walked past with a black backpack slung over his left shoulder.

“Captain, United States Navy, departing,” a voice piped in over the loudspeaker. As Captain Crozier reached the gangway, the slender ramp that stretched from ship to shore, he turned back toward his ship. His crew cheered.

The nearly half dozen videos posted to social media, all from different angles amid the throng of sailors, include thundering cheers of “Captain Crozier.” One crew member yells, “Hooyah skipper!” In another video, someone says, “Now that’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had … the GOAT,” using the acronym for Greatest Of All Time. “The man for the people.”

How the Theodore Roosevelt’s Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump’s acting Navy secretary, in a profanity-laced reprimand delivered Monday, criticized sailors aboard the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their captain, who was removed after he appealed for help as coronavirus spread throughout the warship.

The Navy’s top civilian, Thomas B. Modly, delivered his message over the ship’s loudspeaker system and deepened the raw us-versus-them atmosphere that had already engulfed the carrier. It also exposed the schism between a commander in chief with little regard for the military’s chain of command and the uniformed Navy that is sworn to follow him.

Like much in the Trump administration, what began as a seemingly straightforward challenge — the arrival of coronavirus onboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has now engulfed the military, leading to far-reaching questions of undue command influence and the demoralization of young men and women who promise to protect the country. At its heart, the crisis aboard the Theodore Roosevelt has become a window into what matters, and what does not, in an administration where remaining on the right side of a mercurial president is valued above all else.

The crew of the Roosevelt had already registered its discontent with the Trump administration’s decision to remove the commander, by cheering for Capt. Brett E. Crozier as he walked down the gangway last week and left the ship.”

Inside Kim Kardashian’s Prison-Reform Machine – By Elizabeth A. Harris – The New York Times

“Kim Kardashian West breezed into a steakhouse in Washington, D.C., last month, wearing a bright white outfit with a giant fabric flower on the lapel. Technically, it was a pantsuit, but tighter and more fabulous than its Beltway cousins.

Inside the restaurant, Charlie Palmer, with its plate-glass windows overlooking the dome of the United States Capitol Building, her sizable entourage roamed around an area with a dozen tables. At the center of one, preset with plates of tuna tartar and salad to share, Kardashian West took a seat with two lawyers and three women who had been released from federal prison just two weeks before. They did their best to pretend the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” camera crew wasn’t floating a boom mic above their appetizers.

At a nearby table sat goody bags from the White House, packed with MAGA hats and signed commutation papers. That morning, Kardashian West had accompanied her guests there so President Trump could meet the women whose sentences he reduced and convince him to let other people out of prison, too.

She posted about each of the three women on Twitter that day: Crystal Munoz, whom she said was sentenced to 20 years for conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, and gave birth to her second daughter while wearing shackles. Judith Negron, who got 35 years for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, her first offense. And Tynice Hall, who spent almost 14 years in prison on drug conspiracy charges after her boyfriend used her house for his drug activities.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Fascinating and important article. Thank you Elizabeth A. Harris. I couldn’t believe I was paying attention to Kim Kardashian West, but she has decided to embrace one of my favorite causes, and I’ve done far less now than she has towards important sentencing reform.
My only pause was a reference to Fonda and Harry Belafonte, that sonded like a small, crass, unnecessary slight to Jane Fonda. Or did you mean her brother or father? In my humble opinion, KKW can’t yet hold a candle to the talented and service dedicated Jane Fonda. If you think I am crazy, take at a look at Jane Fonda’s academy award winning  film, Coming Home, or tune in to her most recent work to fight against  climate changine green house gases.
But it looks like KKW is growing in some wonderful ways.

‘We’re in Disaster Mode’: Courage Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Confronting Coronavirus – By Sheri Fink – The New York Times

“It was not even 9 in the morning and Dr. Sylvie de Souza’s green N95 mask, which was supposed to form a seal against her face, was already askew.

In freezing rain on Monday, she trudged in clogs between the emergency department she chairs at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and a tent outside, keeping a sharp eye on the trainee doctors, nurses and other staff members who would screen nearly 100 walk-in patients for the coronavirus that day.

Inside her E.R., more than a dozen people showing signs of infection waited for evaluation in an area used just a few weeks ago for stitches and casts. Another dozen lay on gurneys arranged one in front of the next, like a New York City car park. One man on a ventilator was waiting for space in the intensive care unit.

Minutes before paramedics wheeled in a heart attack patient, Dr. de Souza pointed to beds reserved for serious emergencies, separated by a newly constructed wall from the suspected virus cases. “This is our safe area,” she told a reporter. Then she corrected herself: “This is thought to be safe.” There was really no way to know.”

Opinion | Biden’s Rise Gives the Establishment One Last Chance – By David Brooks – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

“I don’t know about you, but the election results this week filled me with more hope than I’ve felt in years. It felt like somebody turning down the volume.

The angry and putrid shouting that has marked the last four years — and that would mark a Trump vs. Sanders campaign — might actually come to an end. Suddenly we got a glimpse of a world in which we can hear each other talk, in which actual governance can happen, in which gridlock can be avoided and actual change can come.

But the results carried a more portentous message as well. For those of us who believe in our political system, it’s put up or shut up time. The establishment gets one last chance.

If Joe Biden wins the nomination but loses to Donald Trump in the general election, young progressives will turn on the Democratic establishment with unprecedented fury. “See? We were right again!” they’ll say. And maybe they’ll have a point.

If Biden wins the White House but doesn’t deliver real benefits for disaffected working-class Trumpians and disillusioned young Bernie Bros, then the populist uprisings of 2024 will make the populist uprisings of today look genteel by comparison. “The system is rotten to the core,” they’ll say. “It’s time to burn it all down.” “

David Lindsay:  Thank you David Brooks for another deep and elequent column. I decided not to post this one, because I couldn’t put my finger on its strength. But a day later, I dove into the recommended comments by order, called Reader Picks, and was astonished. For the the first time in memory, the popular comments were not tearing Brooks down, but acknowledging the extraordinary event we all witnessed.

Brooks wrote: “Democrats are not just a party; they’re a community. In my years of covering politics I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like what happened in the 48 hours after South Carolina — millions of Democrats from all around the country, from many different demographics, turning as one and arriving at a common decision.

It was like watching a flock of geese or a school of fish, seemingly leaderless, sensing some shift in conditions, sensing each other’s intuitions, and smoothly shifting direction en masse. A community is more than the sum of its parts. It is a shared sensibility and a pattern of response. This is a core Democratic strength.”

Mitt Romney Is a ‘Judas’ to Many Republicans. But Not in Utah. – By Jeremy W. Peters – The New York Times

Some conservatives want to recall him and others want to censure him. In the state he represents, though, many view speaking out against President Trump as an act to admire, not an apostasy.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“SALT LAKE CITY — Phil Lyman wanted to do something swift and stern.

Within hours of Senator Mitt Romney’s vote to remove President Trump from office on Wednesday, Mr. Lyman, a freshman state representative from southern Utah who keeps an autographed “Make America Great Again” hat in a plexiglass case in his office, was at work drafting a resolution to censure the senator.

“I mean, I respect a guy that will stand up for his opinion, but it’s not without some repercussions,” Mr. Lyman said. “His action warrants an additional action on the part of the State Legislature.”

But just as swiftly came the pushback to Mr. Lyman from Utah’s Republican leadership.

“Censuring Senator Romney for voting his conscience is a tricky place to be,” the speaker of the state House, Brad Wilson, said in an interview.

The governor, Gary Herbert, told The Salt Lake Tribune, “I think that would be just a mistake to go down that road.” “

Opinion | The Four Secrets of Success – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

The Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof invites students to enter a contest for an international reporting trip in 2018.

“Whenever I visit a university, students ask for Big Advice. I protest that I don’t have great secrets for life and that my own path has been serendipitous, but they suspect me of holding out.

So as we approach the holidays — a time for reflection and New Year’s resolutions — let me reveal everything. I hereby share with young people the Four Secrets of Success:

1. Take a class in economics and in statistics. I majored in political science and later studied law, but in retrospect I would have focused on economics. Likewise, if you have to choose, skip calculus and focus on statistics.

Education isn’t about filling a bucket but about gaining a tool belt — and economics and statistics offer terrific tools that for the rest of your life will help you analyze problems in more rigorous ways. I champion the humanities for the wisdom they offer, but I do believe that philosophers and playwrights should have present value and standard deviations in their citizen tool belts.”