Opinion | We Are the ‘Exonerated 5.’ What Happened to Us Isn’t Past, It’s Present. – The New York Times

Yusef SalaamKevin Richardson and 

Mr. Salaam, Mr. Richardson and Mr. Santana were exonerated after spending 13 years in prison. They are now criminal justice activists.

Credit…Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

“On Dec. 19, 2002, a judge vacated our convictions for the brutal attack of Trisha Meili, who many know as the “Central Park jogger.” On that day, our 13-year fight for justice came to an end. The lies that we were told by detectives to wrongly convict us were finally exposed and ceased to hold power over us. Now, we are fighting to prevent others from facing the same fate.

At the time of our arrests in 1989, we were just boys — Kevin and Raymond, the youngest among us, were only 14 — and we came to be known as the “Central Park Five.” Now we are known as the “Exonerated Five,” and, largely because of Ava DuVernay’s series “When They See Us,” the world knows our stories.

But what people may not realize is that what happened to us isn’t just the past — it’s the present. The methods that the police used to coerce us, five terrified young boys, into falsely confessing are still commonly used today. But in its coming session, New York State legislators have the power to change that.”

Opinion | How Dinkins and Giuliani Foretold the Future of American Politics – By Michael Tomasky – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

“I remember being at the hotel on election night in 1993 where Mayor David Dinkins and his supporters had gathered to celebrate what they hoped would be his re-election. I was a reporter for The Village Voice, and the polls had been close.

But it was not to be. At a certain point in the evening, the local cable news network NY1 (just about a year old at the time) called the race for Rudy Giuliani. Shortly after, some members of the mayor’s entourage thundered past me.

In the mayhem, I managed to make eye contact with Lee Jones, the mayor’s press secretary, whom I had known since he worked for Mayor Ed Koch (Mr. Dinkins kept him on). I could see he was distraught. “Well,” he said, “by and large, the coalition held. The coalition held.”

That may sound like spin, but it wasn’t. We knew each other quite well. I took it that he was just trying to think of something hopeful to say — and in retrospect, he wasn’t wrong.

Opinion | What’s Not the Matter With Georgia? – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

“Right now, we all have Georgia on our minds. It’s probably going to end up called for Joe Biden; his lead is razor-thin, but most observers expect it to survive a recount. And the January runoff races in Georgia offer Democrats their last chance to take the Senate.

Beyond the immediate electoral implications, however, the fact that Democrats are now competitive in Georgia but not in Ohio, which appears to have become Trumpier than Texas, tells you a lot about where America is heading. In some ways these changes in the electoral map offer reason for hope; but they also suggest looming problems for U.S. democracy.

How did Georgia turn faintly blue? As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson wrote, in a phrase I wish I’d come up with, the great divide in American politics is now over “density and diplomas”: highly urbanized states — especially those containing large metropolitan areas — with highly educated populations tend to be Democratic.

Why this particular partisan association? Think about the longer-term political strategy of the modern G.O.P. Republican economic policy is relentlessly plutocratic: tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for everyone else. The party has, however, sought to win over voters who aren’t rich by taking advantage of intolerance — racial hostility, of course, but also opposition to social change in general.

But both living in large, diverse metropolitan areas and being highly educated seem to make voters less receptive to this strategy. Indeed, many big-city and highly educated voters seem repelled by G.O.P. illiberalism on social issues — which is why so many affluent Americans on the coasts back Democrats even though Republicans might reduce their taxes.

In practice, density and diplomas tend to go together — an association that has grown stronger over the past few decades. Modern economic growth has been led by knowledge-based industries; these industries tend to concentrate in large metropolitan areas that have highly educated work forces; and the growth of these metropolitan areas brings in even more highly educated workers.

Hence the transformation of Georgia. The state is home to greater Atlanta, one of the nation’s most dynamic metropolises, which now accounts for 57 percent of Georgia’s population. Atlanta has drawn in a growing number of college-educated workers, so that at this point the percentage of working-age adults with bachelor’s degrees is higher in Georgia than in Wisconsin or Michigan. So at some level it shouldn’t be surprising that Georgia apparently joined the “blue wall” in securing the presidency for Biden.

But if there’s one thing I hope Democrats have learned these past dozen years, it is that they can’t simply count on changing demography and growing social liberalism to deliver election victories. Red-state Republicans have fought tooth and nail to hold power — not by moderating their policies, but through gerrymandering and vote suppression. And Democrats need to do what they can to fight back.

Which is why Georgia’s blue shift is in one way a reason for hope.

Why, after all, did Biden win Georgia even as he was losing North Carolina, another relatively well-educated state with growing knowledge industries? The answer, in two words: Stacey Abrams.”

The Resistance Arrives at Its Biggest Chance to Resist: Progress PA – By Jennifer Medina – The New York Times

“Carolyn Gibbs puts on the striped pants first, then the striped jacket. The hat is the final touch. That’s if it’s an Uncle Sam day. For Statue of Liberty, it’s a mint green dress, a foam halo and a political sign, usually, standing in as the torch.

Before Donald Trump became president, Ms. Gibbs, 59, rarely dressed up for Halloween, only occasionally for a costume party.

But for the better part of four years, she has shown up to rallies in shopping centers of suburban Pittsburgh in elaborate costumes, ready for the role of playful protester.

“I’m willing to make a fool of myself for democracy,” is how she often puts it.

Yet for all her playfulness — and it is boundless — Ms. Gibbs is driven by a sense of anger and residual shock. How could so many of her neighbors in western Pennsylvania vote for a man she saw as a threat? She still finds herself stuck on the question.”

Opinion | Why Would a Republican Vote Biden? Ask Arizonans – The New York Times

By Samara Klar and 

Dr. Klar and Dr. Weber teach at the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy.

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

“Arizona has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 24 years, and the state has not been represented by two Democratic senators in over 65 years. So we find ourselves in a historically strange place: Joe Biden holds a small but consistent edge over the president, and Mark Kelly, the Democratic Senate candidate, holds a lead in his race against his Republican opponent, Martha McSally.

Why is Arizona suddenly a swing state?

The answer is frequently attributed to changes in the demographics of our electorate. It is true that Arizona’s population is increasingly urban, college-educated and Latino — trends that favor the Democratic Party.

But this influx of Democratic-leaning groups doesn’t explain the change. After all, the proportions of registered Republicans and Democrats in Arizona have remained remarkably stable: Registered Republicans solidly outnumber registered Democrats.

What has changed is that more Republicans aren’t voting for the party’s candidate in elections for national office.”

Heat, Smoke and Covid Are Battering the Workers Who Feed America – By Somini Sengupta – The New York Times

By 

Photographs by 

“STOCKTON, Calif — Work began in the dark. At 4 a.m., Briseida Flores could make out a fire burning in the distance. Floodlights illuminated the fields. And shoulder to shoulder with dozens of others, Ms. Flores pushed into the rows of corn. Swiftly, they plucked. One after the other. First under the lights, then by the first rays of daylight.

By 10:30 a.m., it was unbearably hot. Hundreds of wildfires were burning to the north, and so much smoke was settling into the San Joaquin Valley that the local air pollution agency issued a health alert. Ms. Flores, 19, who had joined her mother in the fields after her father lost his job in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, found it hard to breathe in between the tightly planted rows. Her jeans were soaked with sweat.

“It felt like a hundred degrees in there,” Ms. Flores said. “We said we don’t want to go in anymore.”

She went home, exhausted, and slept for an hour.

All this to harvest dried, ocher-colored ears of corn meant to decorate the autumn table.

Like the gossamer layer of ash and dust that is settling on the trees in Central California, climate change is adding on to the hazards already faced by some of the country’s poorest, most neglected laborers. So far this year, more than 7,000 fires have scorched 1.4 million acres, and there is no reprieve in sight, officials warned.”

“. . . .  The valley is abnormally dry in parts, and in drought in others. Dust swirls up from the fields like a genie. Many creek beds are parched. The rivers have been twisted and bent every which way to bring water from the north for the fields. Since mid-August, for over two weeks, daily high temperatures have ranged from 97 degrees Fahrenheit to 108″

Opinion | Help Me Find Trump’s ‘Anarchists’ in Portland – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

“PORTLAND, Ore. — I’ve been on the front lines of the protests here, searching for the “radical-left anarchists” who President Trump says are on Portland streets each evening.

I thought I’d found one: a man who for weeks leapt into the fray and has been shot four times with impact munitions yet keeps coming back. I figured he must be a crazed anarchist.

But no, he turned out to be Dr. Bryan Wolf, a radiologist who wears his white doctor’s jacket and carries a sign with a red cross and the words “humanitarian aid.” He pleads with federal forces not to shoot or gas protesters.

“Put your gun barrels down!” he cries out. “Why are you loading your grenade launchers? We’re just standing ——” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Kristof wrote: “I’m against all violent attacks on officers, and I worry that Trump’s provocations are succeeding in seeding violence — as we’ve already seen in Seattle, Oakland and elsewhere. Every time angry progressives burn a building down, they win votes for Trump.’ I agree with this.
The protestors lose when this happens, and Trump wins. The mayor should announce a curfew, and enforce it, so after a few hours of evening protest, all the law abiding citizens leave the scene peacefully, It is time to stop giving Trump the civil war he needs for re-election.

Coronavirus Testing Falls Woefully Short as Trump Seeks to Reopen U.S. – The New York Times

“As President Trump pushes to reopen the economy, most of the country is not conducting nearly enough testing to track the path and penetration of the coronavirus in a way that would allow Americans to safely return to work, public health officials and political leaders say.

Although capacity has improved in recent weeks, supply shortages remain crippling, and many regions are still restricting tests to people who meet specific criteria. Antibody tests, which reveal whether someone has ever been infected with the coronavirus, are just starting to be rolled out, and most have not been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Concerns intensified on Wednesday as Senate Democrats released a $30 billion plan for building up what they called “fast, free testing in every community,” saying they would push to include it in the next pandemic relief package. Business leaders, who participated in the first conference call of Mr. Trump’s advisory council on restarting the economy, warned that it would not rebound until people felt safe to re-emerge, which would require more screening.

And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York reiterated his call for federal assistance to ramp up testing, both for the virus and for antibodies.

“The more testing, the more open the economy. But there’s not enough national capacity to do this,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said at his daily briefing in Albany. “We can’t do it yet. That is the unvarnished truth.”

As the governor spoke, a PowerPoint slide behind him said, “WE NEED FEDERAL SUPPORT.” “

California’s Coronavirus Shutdowns Set the Tone. What’s Its Next Step? – The New York Times

“Mr. Garcetti, the Los Angeles mayor, has been guided by history, spending his nights and weekends studying how California cities responded to the 1918 flu pandemic. One of his key takeaways is that acting too soon to reopen could be disastrous, citing a second wave of infections in 1918 that proved more deadly than the first.

In 1918, “L.A. acted quickly and kept with it,” he said. In contrast, San Francisco, he said, “had also done really well but then came out of it too quick, and had a second spike in the short term, which killed a lot of people.”

Epidemiologists say transmission dynamics will differ by state, city and neighborhood.”

Opinion | Trump to New York: Drop Dead –  -By Jennifer Senior The New York Times

By 

Opinion columnist

“So it’s essentially come to this: President Trump is treating each of our 50 states as individual contestants on “The Apprentice” — pitting them against one another for scarce resources, daring them to duke it out — rather than mobilizing a unified national response to a pandemic.

If that’s the case, this is the episode where New York loses. The coronavirus is whipping through the state, especially New York City, at a terrifying rate. We need personnel, ventilators and personal protective equipment, stat.

But Trump’s response has been the same as President Gerald Ford’s in 1975, when our city, faltering on the brink of insolvency, begged Washington for help and was brutally rebuffed, a moment forever enshrined in The Daily News’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.””