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August 4, 2022

 

Good morning. The Kansas abortion vote and the congressional push on same-sex marriage show how progressives can confront the Supreme Court.

 
 
 
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A view of the U.S. Capitol from the Supreme Court.Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

One among three

The Supreme Court has lately looked like the most powerful part of the federal government, with the final word on abortion, gun laws, climate policy, voting rights and more.

But the founders did not intend for the court to have such a dominant role. They viewed the judiciary as merely one branch of government. They gave Congress and the president, as well as state governments, various ways to check the court’s power and even undo the effects of rulings.

Two big examples have emerged this summer, following the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In Kansas, residents voted overwhelmingly this week to keep abortion rights as part of the state’s constitution. And in Congress, advocates for same-sex marriage are trying to pass a bill to protect it, worried that the court may soon restrict marriage rights as well.

These developments offer a reminder about the limits of the Supreme Court’s power: Political progressives and moderates who are alarmed about the current court — the combination of its aggressiveness and the relative youth of its conservative members — have many options for confronting it.

Some options are fairly radical, like changing the size of the court or passing a law declaring any subject to be off limits from Supreme Court review (both of which, to be fair, have happened in previous centuries). Other options are more straightforward. They involve the basic tools of democratic politics: winning over public opinion and winning elections.

Larry Kramer, a former dean of Stanford Law School, argues that many progressives have made the mistake of paying relatively little attention to this strategy in recent decades. They have instead relied on courts to deliver victories for civil rights and other policies. That tactic worked under the liberal Supreme Court of the 1950s and 1960s and even sometimes under the more conservative court of recent decades. But under the current court, it will no longer work.

The founders did not design the court to be the final arbiter of American politics, anyway. At the state level, progressives still have the ability to protect abortion rights, so long as they can persuade enough voters — as happened in Kansas this week. At the federal level, Congress has more authority to defy court decisions than many people realize.

“If you want a better government, you have to actively get yourself engaged in creating it. And that you do through democratic politics if you want it to be a democracy,” Kramer recently said on Ezra Klein’s podcast. “You try and persuade, and if you do, the country follows you.”

267 to 157

The same-sex marriage bill is so intriguing because it is a rare recent instance of Congress acting as a check and balance on the Supreme Court, just as the founders envisioned and the Constitution allows.

When the court overturns a specific law, Congress can often pass a new law, written differently, that accomplishes many of the same goals. Congress took this approach with civil rights starting in the 1980s, including with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which made it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination. The law was an explicit response to a Supreme Court ruling against Ledbetter.

More recently, however, Congress has been too polarized and gridlocked to respond to court decisions. As a result, the courts have tended to dominate federal policy, by default.

But after the court’s abortion decision in June contained language that seemed as if it might threaten same-sex marriage rights, House Democrats quickly proposed a marriage bill that would defang any future court decision. The court could still issue a ruling allowing states to stop performing same-sex marriages. But the House bill would require one state to recognize another state’s marriage. Two women or men who married in, say, California would still be legally married in South Carolina even if it stopped performing same-sex weddings.

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Celebrations in New York after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015.Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Initially, the House bill seemed as if it might be a political exercise, intended to force Republicans in swing districts to take a tough vote. Instead, the bill passed easily, 267 to 157, with all 220 Democrats and 47 Republicans voting yes.

In the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, the bill’s prospects remain unclear. For now, the bill has the support of all 50 senators aligned with the Democratic Party and four or five Republicans. My colleague Annie Karni says that Democratic leaders plan to hold a vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

No wonder: According to a recent Gallup poll, 71 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Even if it fails to pass the Senate, the bill may prove consequential. It has set a precedent, and a similar bill seems likely to be on the legislative agenda any time Democrats control Congress. The House vote, by itself, also has the potential to influence the Supreme Court by demonstrating that a decision overturning same-sex marriage rights would be out of step with the views of many Republicans.

Beyond marriage

I recognize that progressives still face obstacles to achieving their goals through Congress. The Senate has a built-in bias toward rural, conservative states. The House suffers from gerrymandering (although this year’s districts don’t actually give Republicans a big advantage). And the Supreme Court has made it easier for states to pass voting restrictions.

Yet political change is rarely easy. Religious conservatives spent decades building a movement to change the country’s abortion laws and endured many disappointments and defeats along the way.

If progressives want to slow climate change, reduce economic and racial inequality, protect L.G.B.T. rights and more, the current Supreme Court has not rendered them powerless. If they can win more elections, the Constitution offers many ways to accomplish their goals.

For more

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Politics
 
International
 
Other Big Stories
 
Opinions

Arizona Republicans have nominated a Senate candidate more extreme than Donald Trump, Sam Adler-Bell writes.

Refusing to state plainly that gay men are at higher risk for monkeypox is homophobia by neglect, Kai Kupferschmidt argues.

 
 

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MORNING READS

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A composite image of the Cartwheel galaxy.Space Telescope Science Institute NASA, ESA, CSA,

James Webb Space Telescope: Have a look at the Cartwheel galaxy.

A Times classic: The slave who taught Jack Daniel about whiskey.

Advice from Wirecutter: Beach day picks.

Lives Lived: With Mo Ostin at the helm, Warner Bros. Records and its affiliates signed pivotal artists including Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell and Madonna. Ostin died at 95.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

A superstar debuts: Juan Soto debuted for San Diego last night after being the centerpiece of one of the biggest trades in M.L.B. history. He got on base three times in a blowout win.

More than just an injury: Losing UConn’s Paige Bueckers — the biggest star in college basketball — to an ACL tear impacts the sport at large. She moves the needle unlike any other player in the game.

A backup plan in Cleveland? If the N.F.L. appeal of Watson’s recommended suspension ends up in a full-season ban, could the Browns consider a move for Jimmy Garoppolo? It’s a possibility.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

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Plunge pools tend to be no larger than 10 feet by 20 feet.Katherine Squier for The New York Times

Take a plunge

Bring a bathing suit to your next backyard party. “Plunge pools” — deep enough to stand in, not much larger than a hot tub — are growing in popularity, Lia Picard writes in The Times.

Plunge pools tend to be sleek and minimal, making yards “look and feel like a staycation spot,” one landscape designer said. And they are more affordable than in-ground pools, though not cheap: A high-end model costs about $100,000.

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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David Malosh for The New York Times.

This version of pasta alla Norma includes prosciutto.

 
Film

Specializing in work by Black, brown and Indigenous directors, the BlackStar Film Festival showcases experimental work.

 
What to Read

In “Mothercare,” the novelist Lynne Tillman unsentimentally writes about attending to her mother’s failing health.

 
Late Night

The hosts discussed the abortion rights victory in Kansas.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was bronzing. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Jet black (four letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. What’s a culture critic doing in a war zone? Jason Farago explains his reporting trip to Ukraine.

The Daily” is about the Kansas abortion referendum. On the Modern Love podcast, the power of forgiveness.

Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 5, 2022

 

Good morning. Republican state officials have found a new way to push back against “woke capitalism”— by punishing companies that distance themselves from fossil fuels.

 
 
 

Climate change isn’t a partisan issue in many countries. Both right-leaning and left-leaning parties favor policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if they fight over the specifics of those policies. This consensus allowed the European Union to cut emissions sharply over the past few decades, as the threat of global warming became clearer.

In the United States, of course, climate is a partisan issue. Nearly all elected Democrats favor actions that slow climate change. Almost no Republicans in major policymaking positions — including members of Congress and the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court — support these policies.

Today, The Times is publishing a story that examines another part of this issue, at the state level. I’m turning over the rest of today’s lead newsletter item to my colleague David Gelles, who wrote the story.

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The investment firm BlackRock in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Coal vs. Wall Street

Since the election of President Donald Trump, American corporations have been increasingly drawn into the country’s culture wars. Big companies — like Google and Coca-Cola — have decided that they need to take positions on issues, including immigration, climate change, gun laws and voting rights.

Corporate America’s stances on these issues have been an attempt to reflect the values of its employees and customers, many of whom are younger and live in major metropolitan areas. As a result, these corporate positions have generally aligned with those of the Democratic Party, which has led to a fair bit of hand-wringing by Republicans. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, at one point warned companies to “stay out of politics,” and other conservatives have scoffed at “woke capitalism.”

Recently, Republican officials have also begun finding ways to hit back. Florida lawmakers this year stripped Disney of a special tax status because the company opposed a new education law that opponents call “Don’t Say Gay.” But perhaps the party’s most significant effort has received relatively little attention so far: Republican state treasurers are taking steps to punish companies that they say are unduly focused on environmental issues.

Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, used a new state law to ban five Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, from doing business with the state, because, he said, the companies were distancing themselves from the coal industry.

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Riley Moore, West Virginia’s state treasurer.Kristian Thacker for The New York Times

Similar bans are probably on the way elsewhere. Lawmakers in a handful of other states, including Kentucky and Oklahoma, have already passed laws that resemble the one in West Virginia. In a dozen more states, legislators are at work on similar bills.

Treasurers in three states have also withdrawn a combined $700 million from investment funds managed by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, over objections to its stance on environmental issues.

These efforts to penalize companies are part of a larger push by Republican treasurers to promote fossil fuels and thwart climate action at both the federal and state levels. The treasurers are working in concert with a network of conservative groups that have ties to the fossil fuel industry, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute.

When I spoke with Moore, he framed his efforts to punish the Wall Street firms as a way to protect the livelihoods of West Virginians. If the banks don’t want to do business with coal companies, he said, why should he do business with them?

In response, the banks say that coal is a bad investment and that all industries are going to have to contend with climate change. Bank officials add that they still do plenty of business with oil and gas companies.

Still, these battles move the U.S. closer to a world of red brands and blue brands, in which politics will come to affect parts of life that once seemed separate from it. People on both sides of the aisle are concerned that things have gone too far.

“I don’t like the idea that if you’re a Republican, you have to bank with this company, and if you’re a Democrat, you have to bank with that company,” said Noah Friend, a Republican lawyer who previously worked for Kentucky’s treasurer, one of the officials trying to stop climate action. “We already have a lot of divisions in this country.”

But it seems unlikely that the trend will stop anytime soon. For both Democrats and Republicans, the substance of these fights — on the climate, civil rights, religious freedom and more — tends to matter more than the abstract principle that not everything should be partisan.

You can read my story, which includes details about the many ways that Republican treasurers are promoting fossil fuels, here.

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Politics
 
International
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A missile launch in a photo released yesterday by China’s military.Eastern Theatre Command, via Reuters
 
Other Big Stories
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Brittney Griner awaiting a verdict on Thursday.Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters
 
Opinions

Peter Meijer’s loss is proof that while political violence is a vital concern, you can’t run a winning campaign on it, Katherine Miller argues.

Is this suburban New Jersey town giving its residents cancer? Public health officials need to make it easier to find out, says Marion Renault.

 
 

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MORNING READS

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Bishop Lamor Whitehead, who was robbed during a service at his church in Brooklyn, returned on Sunday to deliver a sermon.Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Theft, fraud, prison: The wild life of a bishop robbed at the pulpit.

Recreation: Two decades of America at leisure.

Loch Ness monster: New evidence is offering hope to some Nessie enthusiasts.

Breaking barriers: Chun Wai Chan is the New York City Ballet’s first principal dancer from China.

Modern Love: What could they have been, if they had been raised to believe that love is never a sin?

A Times classic: How American families are changing.

Advice from Wirecutter: Consider a “carbage can.”

Lives Lived: The Conceptual painter Jennifer Bartlett was a maverick best known for “Rhapsody,” a collection of 987 enameled steel plates stretching more than 150 feet. She died at 81.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

The 2022 N.F.L. season kicked off: The Las Vegas Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars last night in the league’s annual Hall of Fame game, a contest played by guys you will rarely see in meaningful regular-season action. Hope you got some sleep. On to next week.

Ohtani Watch begins again: Shohei Ohtani, the pitching-hitting unicorn of the Los Angeles Angels and 2021 M.L.B. MVP, wasn’t traded this week. But word is Ohtani will be changing teams — it’s simply a matter of when. On cue, Ohtani drilled two homers last night — in a loss.

The English Premier League season starts today: Arsenal and Crystal Palace kick things off today at 3 p.m. ET. Season predictions? Manchester City is the runaway favorite.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

Back to the ’80s

Forty years ago, one summer produced a string of classic sci-fi titles: “Blade Runner,” “E.T.,” “Tron,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “The Thing.” These films expanded the genre outward — into horror, heady drama, family fare and franchise sequels — in such a way that they still feel like the blueprint for today’s blockbusters, Adam Nayman writes in The Times.

If you didn’t grow up with these movies, would they still feel innovative? The Times asked four young sci-fi stars, all born in the 21st century, to watch one and give an honest review. “I don’t know how I made it this far without knowing that Spock dies at the end,” said Celia Rose Gooding, a star of the newest “Star Trek” series. “I feel like a terrible franchise member.”

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Try the Korean dish hobak jeon: battered and fried slices of zucchini.

 
What to Read

With her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette McCurdy is ready to move on, and to look back.

 
What to Watch

“I Love My Dad” is a daddy-issues movie with a queasy premise truly made for these times.

 
Late Night

The hosts discussed Brittney Griner and the Choco Taco.

 
Take the News Quiz

How well did you keep up with the headlines this week?

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was locomotion. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Stereotypical dog name (4 letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. Calling all word game fans: Do you have questions about Spelling Bee for its editor Sam Ezersky? He’ll answer them in a future newsletter. Submit them here.

The Daily” is about vacationing during the pandemic. On “The Ezra Klein Show,” the politicization of gender.

Matthew Cullen, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Chris Stanford contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 6, 2022

 

Good morning. Grab a book and read outside this weekend, if you can. Here’s some inspiration.

 
 
 
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Photos by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times, Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Immerse yourself

What is the best setup for serious outdoor reading? I propose it’s in a chair, sitting upright, in the shade of a tree or umbrella, comfortable but not too comfortable. A beach towel or picnic blanket works, but the sun moves, your back or neck gets stiff, it’s not a sure thing. My friend Avi insists you need to be in one of those zero-gravity recliners that I’m positive would function as an adult cradle and instantly lull me to sleep.

According to my colleagues Elisabeth Egan and Erica Ackerberg, who put together this glorious album of outdoor bookworms, “There are only a handful of non-negotiables when it comes to plein-air reading: sunscreen, hydration, repeat.”

Reading a book outside in summer cements it in memory for me. J.M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” on the beach in July and the sunburn that ensued. The just-sunny-enough restaurant terrace where I went back and forth at every third line between Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and a French translation, “Le Monde S’Effondre,” trying to improve my language skills. Louise Fitzhugh’s “The Long Secret,” a sequel to “Harriet the Spy,” on the lawn, in the backyard, mosquito bites.

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Reading “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World” by Michael Pollan, at Riverside Park in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
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Reading “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” by Caitlin Doughty, in Washington, D.C.Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

If you can grab an hour or an afternoon to read outside this weekend, there are many promising new books to choose from. Perhaps Tess Gunty’s “dense, prismatic and often mesmerizing debut,” “The Rabbit Hutch”? Alec Nevala-Lee’s biography of Buckminster Fuller? Or Michelle Tea’s “Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility”? Elisabeth recommends “The Displacements,” by Bruce Holsinger. I recently read “Magpie” by Elizabeth Day in two rapturous afternoons. You might prefer a paperback, lest a hardcover prove too heavy to hold up if you’re planning to recline. We’ve got a bunch of those, too. (And if you’re more of an e-reader reader, you’ve got all these options and more.)

What have you read recently, outdoors or otherwise, that you’ve loved? Tell me about it.

For more

 

THE WEEK IN CULTURE

  • Stephen King testified that the proposed merger of the publishing giants Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would hurt writers.
  • Warner Bros. canceled the release of “Batgirl” as its parent company looked for budget cuts after a merger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • As Lieutenant Uhura in “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols shifted what we thought was possible, Stacy Y. China writes. Nichols died last week at 89.
  • “Days of Our Lives,” a daytime network television mainstay since 1965, is moving to NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.
  • The Art Newspaper got a preview of the redesign of the Storm King sculpture park in upstate New York.
  • Theater actors are reconsidering the demands of the stage, including sometimes-dangerous work.
  • The pedal steel, once a staple of country music, is finding new life in other forms.
  • Bill Cosby is seeking a new trial in a civil case where a jury found he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in 1975.
 

THE LATEST NEWS

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By Ella Koeze
  • The U.S. added 528,000 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to its prepandemic low.
  • If this is a recession, it’s unlike any the country has seen.
  • A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, a day after awarding compensatory damages.
  • Indiana lawmakers approved a near-total ban on abortion, the first state to do so since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • Democrats are on the verge of reaching a decades-old goal: empowering Medicare to negotiate directly with drug makers to lower prices.
  • Difficulty sleeping. Strained relationships. Testimony from relatives of the 2018 Parkland shooting victims showed their yearslong suffering.
 
 

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CULTURE CALENDAR

🎮 “Papers, Please” (out now): This critically acclaimed game seemed like a throwback a decade ago upon its initial desktop release, with its retro, 2D animation style. There’s a dark timelessness to the story, however. It is 1982 and you play a checkpoint inspector for a fictional communist nation. Who do you let in? Who do you keep out? Do you accept bribes to help buy food for your struggling family? It kinda messed me up! Now available to play on iOS and Android devices, so you can take that feeling of moral queasiness with you wherever you go.

📺 “Five Days at Memorial” (Friday): In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the staff of Memorial Medical Center found themselves trapped and unable to evacuate patients, forcing some doctors and nurses to make an awful choice. The always-interesting Vera Farmiga stars in this Apple TV+ adaptation, based on the 2013 book by The New York Times correspondent Sheri Fink.

 

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

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Johnny Miller for The New York Times

Yakitori-Style Salmon With Scallions and Zucchini

Tare, a sweet-and-salty sauce often used to season Japanese grilled meats, is the secret to making these quick salmon skewers. Fry a little garlic and ginger, then add water, soy sauce, a touch of turbinado sugar and some vinegar. As you cook the salmon and vegetables, whether it’s on a cast-iron griddle or a hot grill, stay close so you can keep turning the skewers and brushing them with your homemade tare. In just a few minutes, they’ll brown and caramelize, creating a beautiful, mouthwatering glaze. And don’t worry: If you don’t have a grill pan or a grill, you can cook these skewers under the broiler, just pay very close attention so they don’t burn!

A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please consider a Cooking subscription for full access.

 

REAL ESTATE

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Clockwise from left: Peter Harron; Caleb Melvin/Clarity Northwest Photography; Nate Polta

What you get for $2.9 million: a Colonial in East Haddam, Conn.; a Tudor Revival in Seattle; or an Italianate home in Denver.

The hunt: They wanted a pied-à-terre in Manhattan. Which one did they choose? Play our game.

On the rocks: Crevice gardens are the future.

 

LIVING

The post-meal walk: Even two minutes can have surprising benefits.

Cargo pants bridal: The debut wedding collection by the designer Rosie Assoulin includes the atypical.

In the kitchen: Making your own soy milk is straightforward.

From Denmark to Spain: Europe boasts beaches the whole family will love.

 

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, M.L.B.: Baseball’s center of gravity has shifted to Southern California. The Padres and the Dodgers were reportedly both finalists among the teams vying to trade for Juan Soto, the 23-year-old superstar whose numbers rival young Ted Williams’s. On Tuesday, the Padres got him. The Dodgers will have to make do with their six 2022 All-Stars. 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, ESPN.

For more:

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was italicize. Here is today’s puzzle.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

Here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
Before You Go …
 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 7, 2022

 

Good morning. Two Times reporters answered your travel questions to help you navigate this hectic vacation season.

 
 
 
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Travelers around the world have endured canceled flights, long delays and lost luggage this summer. Lluis Gene/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Solving summer travel

For many travelers, cancellations and other snags have made this summer especially frustrating. To help you understand how we got here and how to make the most of your own trips, two Times travel experts — Niraj Chokshi, who covers transportation, and Heather Murphy, who reports on how people travel — answered reader questions.

Why are so many flights getting canceled? — Anna, South Bend, Ind.

Niraj: It’s a confluence of issues. Demand is quite high. After two years when people were not able to travel or did not feel safe doing so because of Covid, summer travel is busy again. The other issue: Labor is in short supply. Both airlines and airports have been struggling to hire, which means that there haven’t been enough baggage handlers, wheelchair agents, ramp agents — all the way up to pilots.

To some extent, it is a problem of the airlines’ own creation. Early in the pandemic, when they were looking to trim costs, the airlines encouraged a lot of employees to leave through buyouts or early retirements. Ultimately, it looks as though that has come back to bite them.

Will the summer travel problems end by October for my destination wedding? — Martina Matheis, Stroudsburg, Pa.

Niraj: There is some hope. Major airlines have been staffing up aggressively, and those new employees should be fully trained soon. The industry should also get a bit of relief thanks to seasonality: The fall is traditionally less busy. Also, parts of the economy aren’t doing so great, which could mean that fewer people will be flying.

Do you think the price of airline tickets will ever go down? I’m broke, but need a vacation. — Cynthia Soegiharto, South Portland, Maine

Heather: Quite a few apps and websites — including Hopper, Kayak and Skyscanner — allow you, when you search your flight, to see what the prices will be at different time periods. I appreciate that the Hopper app will tell you if you should book right away because prices are likely to rise, or wait until they drop further.

Also, many airlines still allow people to change most flights without fees, so you can buy a flight and then, if you can find a cheaper flight on that same airline, you can change it and get a credit.

If an airline cancels your flight, what rights do you have as far as refunds or vouchers? — Susan, southern New Jersey

Heather: If your airline cancels your flight or significantly changes it, you are supposed to get your money back. It’s something that people don’t realize, and airlines sometimes instead offer people vouchers when they actually owe you that money. If you aren’t refunded automatically, you may have to call the airline or fill out an online form. If the money has not shown up in your bank account within several weeks of your request, you should tell your credit card company, and it can help you get your money back.

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David Zalubowski/Associated Press

What steps should you take to plan for dealing with contracting Covid while you are on vacation? — Libby Bucholz, Cary, N.C.

Heather: It’s tempting to push it out of our minds, but you’re wise to come up with a plan in advance. Some, but not all, travel insurance policies will cover seven days of additional hotel costs as well as medical costs if you test positive. Particularly if you’re over 65 or medically compromised, you should check in with your primary care doctor and find out if he or she could prescribe you Paxlovid when you’re on the road.

You no longer have to test to return to the U.S. or travel to most countries, so it’s really on you to identify whether you have Covid before you fly home. C.D.C. guidance says that if you test positive, you should isolate yourself for five days and then wear a mask for the five days after that. (Heather gave more tips for post-restrictions travel here.)

What can I do to reduce the carbon footprint of my vacation? — Kevin Morooney, State College, Pa.

Niraj: The airlines I cover won’t appreciate me saying this, but: Fly less. Flying is a huge contributor to anyone’s carbon footprint and if it’s important to you, reconsidering how much and how far you travel is worth considering.

Should I ship my luggage overseas to avoid the chaos of losing it? — Carolyn Adams, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Heather: If you need to travel with something that is so precious to you that if it is lost, it would destroy your life, then put it in a carry on. If it’s too big, it’s not a terrible idea to ship it. But I don’t think we are yet at the point where people need to stop checking their luggage.

For a big trip, is it better to use a travel agent or plan on my own? — June Sambrowski, Morris Plains, N.J.

Heather: Travel agents are great if you have the money to spend on them. With all of the travel chaos, and the horrible customer service offered by so many airlines, if you have a travel agent, they can be the one to wait on the phone for four hours instead of you.

Before working in journalism, Heather Murphy taught English at an institute in Chile with unconventional notions about essential words. Niraj Chokshi covers transportation, but his favorite way of getting around is walking with his wife and their dog, Kevin.

For more

  • A flight attendant with 20 years on the job answered reader questions.
  • It took 12 days for one Times reader to get her bags. Our Tripped Up columnist persuaded United to give her $3,000 in restitution — and still couldn’t believe it.
  • Airplane travelers seem to have an unspoken dress code: comfortable shorts, leggings and sweats — maybe even Crocs.
  • Some dog owners are shelling out thousands of dollars to charter flights for their pets, The Wall Street Journal reported.
 

NEWS

Politics
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Tom Brenner for The New York Times
  • President Biden’s unpopularity is testing the strength of Democratic Senate candidates.
  • The Senate took a crucial step toward approving Democrats’ climate and tax bill, passing it in a test vote.
  • Abortion rights supporters worry that, as a lifelong Catholic, Biden is an awkward fit to lead a fight to restore Roe.
  • Conservative groups are trying to expand safe haven laws that allow women to surrender newborns with minimal interference.
  • The verdict against Alex Jones is unlikely to do much to slow the phenomenon of fabulists influencing the public, Kevin Roose writes.
 
International
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants fired a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem, in fighting that has killed at least 31 people. Follow our live updates.
  • Xi Jinping has strengthened China’s security apparatus, protecting against what he sees as threats from foreign forces.
  • Francia Márquez, who will become Colombia’s first Black vice president today, is an ambassador of an Afro-Colombian aesthetic boom.
 
Other Big Stories
  • Major employers in Indiana, including the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, criticized the state’s new near-total abortion ban.
  • Black families searching for ancestors have turned to 19th-century ads that thousands placed in newspapers seeking relatives after Emancipation.
 

FROM OPINION

  • Biden’s recent successes should make him confident in his legacy without needing a second term to secure it, Maureen Dowd argues.
  • The pro-life movement wanted a democratic contest over abortion. After the Kansas vote, it has one, says Ross Douthat.
  • People shape technology, but technology also shapes us, Ezra Klein writes.
  • Alex Jones’s trial was a rare — but still insufficient — win for the truth, Pamela Paul argues.
  • Don’t ask Marvel to recast the Black Panther; demand more Black heroes instead, says Roxane Gay.
 
 

The Sunday question: What does Ayman al-Zawahri’s death mean?

The killing of Al Qaeda’s leader shows the U.S. can still fight terrorism without troops in Afghanistan, says the Brookings Institution’s Vanda Felbab-Brown. But Zawahri’s presence in Kabul suggests that last year’s U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban’s return have again turned the country into a terrorist haven, Asfandyar Mir writes in The Times.

 
 

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MORNING READS

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Atlantic spotted dolphins in waters off Bimini in the Bahamas.Hudson Fleece/Alamy

Trilobites: Dolphin strangers met in the Bahamas. It went swimmingly.

Sunday routine: A couple who run a food bank helps get food to nearly 2,000 people.

Design: Would you go back to the office for an Eames chair?

Advice from Wirecutter: The best ice cream scoop has barely changed in 75 years.

A Times classic: Finding the courage to reveal a fetish.

 

BOOKS

Powerful presence: Read your way through Cairo.

By the Book: Lynne Tillman has “too many” books on her night stand.

Our editors’ picks: An “engrossing” George Michael biography and nine other books.

Times best sellers: Check out our mass market paperback best sellers, and see all our lists here.

The Book Review podcast: Elisa Gabbert talks about poetry criticism.

 

THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE

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Photo illustration by Mike McQuade. Source photograph: Screen grab courtesy of Ilana Rada.

On the cover: A TV documentary upended a sensational Israeli murder case. But did it reach the right verdict?

Recommendation: Souvenir spoons.

Diagnosis: Her lungs mysteriously shut down. How?

The Ethicist: Is it OK to ditch a roommate to live with a friend?

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

What to Watch For
 
What to Cook This Week
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Bryan Gardner for The New York Times

Sweet corn season is irresistible to Emily Weinstein. Her weeknight dinner suggestions include grilled chicken with tomatoes and corn, savory corn fritters and cod and corn with Old Bay butter.

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

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Here’s a clue from the Sunday crossword:

42 Across: Beer named for a founding father

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed the week’s headlines.

Here’s today’s Spelling Bee. Here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 8, 2022

 

Good morning. Despite the grim headlines, 2022 is less violent so far than last year.

 
 
 
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Times Square in May. In big cities, murders are down 3 percent.Amir Hamja for The New York Times

‘Guarded optimism’

Crime, murder and mass shootings have dominated headlines this year. Just over the weekend, a shooting in Cincinnati wounded nine people, and another in Detroit killed one and wounded four.

But the full crime data tells a different story. Nationwide, shootings are down 4 percent this year compared to the same time last year. In big cities, murders are down 3 percent. If the decrease in murders continues for the rest of 2022, it will be the first year since 2018 in which they fell in the U.S.

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2021 and 2022 rates are estimates. | Source: Jeff Asher; F.B.I.

The declines are small. But they are welcome news after two years of large increases left the murder rate nearly 40 percent higher than it had been.

“I would say I have a heavily guarded optimism,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

One reason for hope: The likely causes of the spike in murders in 2020 and 2021 are receding.

Disruptions related to Covid probably led to more murders and shootings by shutting down social services, which had kept people safe, and closing schools, which left many teens idle. (My colleagues Thomas Fuller and Tim Arango wrote about the connection between the pandemic and gun violence.) But the U.S. has opened back up, which will likely help reverse the effects of the last two years on violent crime.

The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 also likely caused more violence, straining police-community relations and diminishing the effectiveness of law enforcement. That effect, too, has eased as public attention has shifted away from high-profile episodes of police brutality. A similar trend played out before: After protests over policing erupted between 2014 and 2016, murders increased for two years and then fell.

2020 was a chaotic year overall, with Covid, protests about police and a presidential election. This turmoil fostered social discord and anomie, which also could contribute to murders: As people lose trust in each other and their institutions, they are more likely to lash out in crime and violence. As the chaos recedes, the violence may be receding as well.

This kind of good news rarely goes reported — an example of what my colleague David Leonhardt has called the media’s bad news bias. In 2022, bad news bias has left many Americans thinking that violent crime is worse this year when it ultimately may not be. And this bias has skewed public perceptions of crime and violence in the past, too.

Bad news bias

When the media reports on crime, it almost always focuses on grim stories. A recent analysis by Bloomberg found that headlines about shootings in New York City recently increased while the actual number of shootings remained relatively flat. The old cliché here is that if it bleeds, it leads.

The constant stream of bad news is one reason, experts say, that Americans consistently say crime is getting worse when it is not. Between the 1990s and 2014, crime — including violent crime and murders — fell more than 50 percent across the U.S. Yet for most of that time, a majority of Americans told Gallup that crime was up compared to the year before.

The bad news bias potentially leaves Americans more scared for their safety than they should be. It also may drive more people to believe that punitive criminal justice policies are needed, or that reforms are increasing crime when they are not. In a speech last month, for example, Donald Trump recounted several recent murders in grisly detail and called for “tough,” “nasty” and “mean” anti-crime policies.

A balanced view

Experts caution against making too much of the year’s trends. The decreases so far are relatively small, and they could end up a blip. Robberies and some property crimes are up in big U.S. cities. And America still has far more gun violence than its peers, largely because of widespread gun ownership.

The murder rate “is still significantly higher than it was two or three years ago,” said Jeff Asher, co-founder of AH Datalytics, which tracks U.S. crime data.

But the trend, right now, is heading in a good direction. For an accurate view of crime in the U.S., Americans need to hear that.

For more: On the A train, New York’s longest subway line, riders say they feel less safe — even though crime has not risen since 2019.

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Climate Bill
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Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, yesterday.Kenny Holston for The New York Times
  • The Senate passed the Democrats’ climate and tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. The vote was down party lines, 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as tiebreaker.
  • The bill would spend nearly $400 billion on climate and energy programs, and sets a minimum tax for corporations. The House is expected to pass it this week.
  • To win Joe Manchin’s support, Democrats promised to back one of his biggest donors: the gas pipeline industry.
  • Republicans forced the removal of a measure to cap insulin prices at $35 for private insurers.
 
Israel-Gaza Violence
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Remnants of an airstrike in Gaza.Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire, ending three days of fighting that left 44 Palestinians dead.
  • An airstrike killed Khaled Mansour, an Islamic Jihad commander who Israel said had long led murderous attacks against Israelis. The strike also killed five civilians.
 
Other Big Stories
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Russian forces have controlled the Zaporizhzhia plant since March.Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
 
Opinions

The last month has been stellar for the Biden administration, Charles Blow writes.

Your pandemic puppy wasn’t a mistake, Margaret Renkl writes.

Teachers taking up arms won’t make students safer, Beth Ann Fennelly argues.

 
 

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Support the reporting that goes into The Morning. Become a subscriber today.

 

MORNING READS

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Marge Hickman has completed the Leadville Trail 100-mile race 14 times.James Stukenberg

Female finisher: A 72-year-old runner won’t let this 100-mile race go.

Abortion by pill: Some women “self-manage” ending their pregnancies.

In the air: The challenges of flying with a wheelchair.

A Times classic: Rejecting the gender binary.

Advice from Wirecutter: Upgrade your kitchen.

Metropolitan Diary: “Surprised, I turned to see an older man there on the sidewalk.”

Lives Lived: On TV, Clu Gulager played Billy the Kid on the “The Tall Man.” He also appeared in critically acclaimed films like “The Last Picture Show.” Gulager died at 93.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

A rainy trade honeymoon: Fresh off acquiring generational superstar Juan Soto last week, the Padres were humbled last night in a sweep at the hands of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego was outscored 20-4 in the series, and now trails L.A. in the NL West by 15 and a half games. Ouch. Elsewhere, the New York Mets and flame-throwing Jacob deGrom suddenly look scary.

A remarkable return: Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier made her season debut last night — about 10 weeks after giving birth. She rejoins a team at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

A scary debut: Manchester City was already a runaway favorite to dominate the English Premier League in 2022-23. The two-goal debut of superstar arrival Erling Haaland yesterday underscored every prediction.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

Learn to love to a jazz icon

Duke Ellington arrived in New York just as the Harlem Renaissance was getting underway. His orchestra became the soundtrack of the era, and he was its icon, a global ambassador for American culture.

The Times asked a dozen musicians, writers and critics to recommend one track to help readers fall in love with Ellington. Their selections include swinging big-band tunes, tales of working-class Black life and a song the bandleader Miho Hazama calls “the happiest music in the world!”

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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Bryan Gardner for The New York Times

Combine tomatoes and basil in this fried rice.

 
Summer

Wear the crop top. Get the salad — and the fries, too. Have a shameless summer.

 
What to Read

In the Japanese author Emi Yagi’s prizewinning debut, “Diary of a Void,” a woman decides to feign pregnancy.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was biotech. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Industry, informally (three letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to become better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — German

P.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation 48 years ago today.

The Daily” is about Alex Jones.

Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 9, 2022

 

Good morning. Climate has received most of the attention. But the Senate bill brings big changes to health care, too.

 
 
 
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The Capitol this weekend.Kenny Holston for The New York Times

The overlooked provisions

The climate provisions in the bill that the Senate passed this weekend are likely to be more consequential than anything else in the bill. They will lead to a sharp reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, experts say, and help address arguably the world’s most pressing crisis.

But the other main spending portion of the bill — dealing with health care — is significant in its own right, and it has received much less attention. (I virtually ignored the health provisions in a newsletter last week. And take a look, below, at yesterday’s print front page of The Times.)

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Today, I want to walk through both the substance of the health care provisions and the politics of them. As my colleagues Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Rebecca Robbins have written, those provisions appear to be the most substantial changes to health policy since the passage of Obamacare in 2010.

They are all but certain to become law, too. In coming days, the House Democrats are expected to pass the same bill that the Senate did, and President Biden has made clear he will quickly sign it.

Against inequality

The bill sets out to reduce Americans’ medical costs in two main ways. First, it uses federal subsidies to reduce the cost of both health insurance and prescription drugs. Second, the bill gives Medicare officials the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, which will likely reduce the price that the companies charge for those drugs.

For these reasons, the bill is effectively an effort to use the health care system to reduce economic inequality, much as Obamacare was. The bill’s benefits will flow overwhelmingly to poor, working-class and middle-class families. Its costs will be borne by increases in corporate taxes (which ultimately fall on shareholders, who skew wealthy) and reductions in the profits of pharmaceutical companies.

Some critics of the bill have argued that these profit reductions will lead pharmaceutical companies to spend less money developing future drugs and, in turn, to fewer promising treatments. And that’s a plausible concern. Economic incentives matter.

But most experts believe that the pharmaceutical industry will remain plenty profitable after the changes. The Congressional Budget Office — a nonpartisan body — estimates that the law will reduce the number of new drugs introduced over the next 30 years by about 1 percent. “It doesn’t seem that big a deal,” Juliette Cubanski of the Kaiser Family Foundation told me.

A breakdown

Here are the bill’s main provisions:

  • It allows Medicare officials to negotiate over drug costs, giving companies less freedom to set high prices. That measure will mostly reduce Medicare’s spending, rather than families’ out-of-pocket costs — and, by extension, will reduce the federal budget deficit. But there will probably be spillover into out-of-pocket costs, especially for people in Medicare.
  • The bill sets a $2,000 annual cap on the amount of money that any senior pays for drugs. After somebody hits that cap, a combination of the federal government, private insurers and drug companies will pay the remaining bills. Today, drugs for cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and some other diseases can cost people much more than $2,000 a year. The new provision will take effect in 2025 and will save a small percentage of older Americans thousands of dollars a year.
  • The bill caps out-of-pocket insulin expenses at $35 a month for people in Medicare; many now pay more than $50 a month. The bill also makes adult vaccines free for both seniors and people in Medicaid, starting next year. The shingles vaccine, to take one example, now often costs more than $50.
  • For middle- and lower-income people who buy private health-insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges, federal subsidies will increase for three years. This change will help about 13 million people. A typical person in this situation now pays about $80 a month in premiums, thanks to temporary funding from Biden’s Covid relief bill. The price was set nearly to double next year but now will remain roughly the same, according to Krutika Amin of Kaiser.

Will people notice?

The political effects of the bill seem less clear.

I’ve written before about the work of Suzanne Mettler, a political scientist who has pointed out that many forms of modern government remain “submerged”: Americans often do not realize when a federal policy is helping them, because the benefits come through tax credits or other shrouded forms. Modern government tends to be more technocratic and complex than, say, Social Security.

It’s easy to imagine how these health care provisions might fit the pattern. Some of the benefits will flow through private insurance plans that people may not associate with a government program, Cubanski notes. Other provisions won’t take effect for a few years. Still others will spare people from facing a large medical bill, but they may not be aware that they wouldn’t have faced such a bill if Congress had not passed a new law.

“These are meaningful changes,” Cubanski said, “but most people may not necessarily notice that things are changing for the better.”

All of which suggests that the law’s proponents will still have work to do after the House passes it and Biden signs it. “It’s always important for supporters of a policy to explain how it will benefit people,” said Sarah Lueck, a health care expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “And that’s really hard work.”

 

THE LATEST NEWS

F.B.I. Searches Trump’s Home
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Law enforcement agents outside Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., yesterday.Josh Ritchie for The New York Times
 
Politics
 
International
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A Ukrainian soldier in a bunker near the town of Barvinkove.David Guttenfelder for The New York Times
 
Other Big Stories
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An air base in Hsinchu, Taiwan.Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
 
Opinions

Americans’ obsession with lawns hurts the planet, Agnes Walton and Kirby Ferguson argue.

China’s global ambitions and domestic anxieties increase the chances of war in Taiwan, Hal Brands and Michael Beckley write in The Wall Street Journal.

 
 

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MORNING READS

Summer: What makes Coney Island special? The Times asked children on the boardwalk.

Check, please: Your dinner tabs have soared. This is why.

Legends: Two basketball greats are retiring. Only one is a household name.

A Times classic: Does mixing alcohol really make you sick?

Advice from Wirecutter: Fun two-player board games.

Lives Lived: Issey Miyake, the Japanese fashion designer, was famous for his innovative, origami-like designs and cult perfumes. He died at 84.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

An ultimatum for the ages: N.B.A. superstar Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets could be headed for a standoff after the forward asked Nets owner Joe Tsai to either trade him, or fire coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. When did the mercurial star turn on the team’s plans, anyway? Something isn’t adding up.

College football voting shenanigans: It was mostly business as usual in the college football preseason coaches poll. A suspicious first-place vote for Texas, however, is the stuff of sports radio hosts’ dreams. We have the most overrated and underrated teams. Bulletin board material!

The Yankees come up for air: New York lost five straight games before last night’s victory over the Seattle Mariners, but it sure felt like more. Aaron Judge hit his 44th home run of the season, putting him on pace for 65 this year.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

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Preparing pizzas at San Lucas Pizzeria in Philadelphia.Caroline Gutman for The New York Times

A more authentic Mexican pizza

To many Americans, the phrase “Mexican pizza” conjures up the Taco Bell menu item — tostadas stacked and shellacked with meat, bean and cheese. But Latino-owned pizzerias are reclaiming the name for their own creations, Regan Stephens writes.

As a new generation of Mexican chefs opened pizza restaurants around the U.S., they searched for ways to meld their cuisine with the Italian offerings. Pizzas offered a perfect canvas, with the tomato sauce replaced by tomatillo, guajillo pepper or mole sauces. Toppings can include meats — carne asada, birria, chorizo — and vegetables such as corn, roasted poblanos and avocados.

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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Romulo Yanes for The New York Times. Food styling: Vivian Lui.

If you’re in the mood for more Mexican cuisine, try broiled fish tacos.

 
Theater

A new Elton John-Shaina Taub musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” isn’t yet ready-to-wear.

 
What to Read

Elisabeth Griffith’s “Formidable” chronicles American women’s battle for fair treatment.

 
Late Night

The hosts talked about Trump.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was gratify. Here is today’s puzzle. (Do you have questions about the Bee for its editor, Sam Ezersky? He’ll answer them in a future newsletter. Submit them here.)

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Thin and graceful (five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. Carlos Lozada, a Washington Post book critic, is joining Times Opinion as a columnist.

The Daily” is about Joe Manchin. On “The Ezra Klein Show,” William MacAskill explains “longtermism.”

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 10, 2022

 

Good morning. What should you make of the F.B.I.’s search of Donald Trump’s home? We offer a guide.

 
 
 
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Donald Trump in Las Vegas last month.Roger Kisby for The New York Times

Two scenarios

Perhaps the central question about the F.B.I.’s search of Donald Trump’s Florida home is whether it is a relatively narrow attempt to recover classified documents — or much more than that.

Either scenario is plausible at this point. The Justice Department has long been aggressive about investigating former officials whom it suspects of improperly handling classified material, including Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus. If the F.B.I. search merely leads to a legalistic debate about what’s classified, it probably will not damage Trump’s political future.

But it also seems possible that the search is a sign of a major new legal problem for him. People familiar with the search told The Times that it was not related to the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack and Trump’s role in it. And it’s unlikely that Merrick Garland, the attorney general, would have allowed the search-warrant request — or that a federal judge would have approved it, as was required — unless it involved something important.

“I don’t think you get a judge to sign off on a search warrant for an ex-president’s house lightly,” Charlie Savage, a Times reporter who has been covering legal issues since the George W. Bush administration. “I think the world looks pretty different today than it did 48 hours ago.” (It’s even possible that Trump could be prosecuted over classified documents alone, although that might not keep him from holding office again.)

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Support for Trump outside Mar-a-Lago yesterday.Saul Martinez for The New York Times

As Charlie emphasizes, there is still much more that’s unknown about the search than known. That probably won’t change until the Justice Department gets much closer to making a decision about how to conclude its investigation. “A central tenet of the way in which the Justice Department investigates and a central tenet of the rule of law is that we do not do our investigations in public,” Garland recently said.

But at least two big points seem clear. First, even though Garland has said that nobody is above the law, the Justice Department will not treat Trump like any other citizen. The bar for filing criminal charges against him will be higher, given that he is a former president who may run again — against the current president.

“The considerations when you’re talking about a political leader are certainly different and harder,” Andrew Goldstein, a former federal prosecutor who investigated Trump’s ties to Russia, recently told The Times. “You have the very clear and important rule that the Department of Justice should try in every way possible not to interfere with elections, to not take steps using the criminal process that could end up affecting the political process.”

Still, some legal experts who previously criticized Garland for moving too timidly in investigating Trump said they were encouraged by the Justice Department’s recent signs of boldness, including the Mar-a-Lago search. Andrew Weissmann, another former prosecutor who previously investigated Trump, is one of those experts (as he explained in this New Yorker interview). Quinta Jurecic, a senior editor at Lawfare, is another. “At what point does not investigating and not prosecuting a former president itself indicate that the rule of law is being undermined because it sends a signal that this person is above the law?” Jurecic told us.

She added: “That doesn’t mean that this is going to translate to an indictment of the president.”

The second point is that Trump appears to be a subject of multiple criminal investigations — and prosecutors may decide that his violations of the law were so significant as to deserve prosecution. One of those investigations is by state prosecutors in Georgia, who may not be as cautious about charging a former president as Garland seems likely to be.

Either way, the answer will probably become clear well before November 2024. Prosecutors — especially at the Justice Department — generally try to avoid making announcements about investigations into political candidates during a campaign. (James Comey’s decision to ignore that tradition and announce he had reopened an investigation into Clinton late in the 2016 campaign was a notable exception, and many experts believe he erred in doing so.)

The rest of today’s newsletter summarizes the latest Times reporting about the F.B.I. search of Mar-a-Lago — and also gives you a quick overview of the multiple investigations Trump is facing.

The latest

  • Before the raid, Justice Department officials had grown concerned that Trump had kept some documents, despite returning others.
  • If convicted, could Trump be barred from holding office? A relevant law is untested.
  • The Justice Department did not give the White House advance notice of the search, President Biden’s press secretary said.
  • Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who pushed to overturn Trump’s loss, said the F.B.I. had seized his cellphone.

The Trump investigations

  • Prosecutors in Georgia are investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss there, including a phone call in which Trump asked an election official to “find” additional votes. The Times’s Annie Karni explains the possible charges.
  • The Justice Department is also questioning witnesses before a grand jury about Trump’s efforts to reverse his election loss. And federal prosecutors are examining his allies’ plan to submit fake electors from key states to disrupt certification of Biden’s win.
  • Trump faces a few other investigations, some of which could result in civil but not criminal penalties. The main exception is a criminal inquiry into his business by the Manhattan district attorney, but that seems to have unraveled.
  • Trump will face questioning under oath today by the New York attorney general’s office, which is investigating his business practices.
 

THE LATEST NEWS

Primary Night
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Tim Michels at his election party.Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times
 
War in Ukraine
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Smoke near a Russian air base in Crimea.Reuters
  • Explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea were evidently the result of a Ukrainian strike. Ukraine has rarely hit so deep in Russian-occupied territory.
  • Russia controls large sections of eastern and southern Ukraine. It also occupies some of the cyberspace.
 
Serena Williams
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Serena Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open.Karsten Moran for The New York Times
 
Other Big Stories
 
Opinions

For Naomi Jackson, carrying cash is a safeguard against the dangers of being a Black woman.

“Yellowstone” is a conservative fantasy that liberals should watch, Tressie McMillan Cottom writes.

The Democrats’ climate bill is a profound accomplishment, Paul Krugman says.

 
 

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MORNING READS

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Olivia Newton-John in the “Physical” music video.Everett Collection

An appraisal: Olivia Newton-John’s transformation “unlocked something new that shot her to the top of pop’s Olympus.”

A preppy classic: Customized L.L. Bean tote bags have become blank canvases.

A Times classic: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Advice from Wirecutter: Swimsuit-washing tips.

Lives Lived: Clients of Bert Fields, the entertainment lawyer and master dealmaker, included Tom Cruise, Madonna and the Beatles. Fields died at 93.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

Roger Goodell makes his case: Yesterday, the N.F.L. commissioner said the league appealed Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s proposed six-game suspension because evidence clearly showed Watson engaged in “predatory behavior.” If the suspension lands closer to a full season, as Goodell prefers, there’s a case for Cleveland to bring in Jimmy Garoppolo.

LIV golfers take an L: A judge upheld a ban for three PGA Tour defectors to LIV Golf who were seeking to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs — which start today — in part, because they have been compensated so well by the rebel series. Whoops.

Kevin Durant’s lack of leverage: The 33-year-old N.B.A. superstar might not have strong enough cards to force his way off the Brooklyn Nets in the wake of his latest demands. This is getting interesting.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

The role of L.G.B.T.Q. museums

When putting together Queer Britain, England’s first L.G.B.T.Q. museum, organizers grappled with a question: Should they focus on celebrating history, aimed at a mainstream audience, or on reckoning with debates within the community?

It’s a choice all L.G.B.T.Q. museums must make, Tom Faber writes in The Times. Berlin’s Schwules Museum, which opened in 1985, is overtly political; its latest exhibits address biases in the museum’s own history. Queer Britain has opted for a more mainstream approach, spotlighting artifacts from history — such as notes from the first parliamentary AIDS meeting — and notable Britons like Ian McKellen, Elton John and Virginia Woolf.

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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Fish sticks and green peas are childhood classics.

 
What to Read

In “Retail Gangster,” Gary Weiss explores the sketchy business practices of Eddie Antar.

 
Comedy

The standup Jo Koy’s film “Easter Sunday” focuses on Filipino family themes dear to him.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was viaduct. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Hair braid (five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

P.S. “I let them talk”: Rick Rojas, a Times national correspondent, on how he covered the devastation of Kentucky’s floods.

The Daily” is about the F.B.I. search on Mar-a-Lago. On “The Argument,” state legislatures are remaking America.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 11, 2022

 

Good morning. Now that Joe Manchin has saved the Democratic agenda, how should liberals think about him?

 
 
 
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Senator Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill last week.Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

The decisive vote

Joe Manchin has spent much of the past year as the villain of liberal America, receiving the kind of criticism that’s usually reserved for Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell or a conservative Supreme Court justice.

Activists aggressively protested against Manchin, some in kayaks outside his houseboat in Washington, others surrounding his car and chanting a vulgarity at him. One Democratic House member called him “anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman and anti-immigrant,” while others called him untrustworthy. Bernie Sanders accused Manchin of “intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda” and suggested that Manchin’s wealthy donors were the reason. Other critics called him a shill for the energy industry, noting that he personally owns a coal company.

And then Manchin made it possible for the Senate to pass the most aggressive climate bill in American history.

That bill seems likely to accomplish almost as much greenhouse-gas reduction as President Biden’s original proposal would have. As Paul Krugman, the Times columnist, has written, “Actual experts on energy and the environment are giddy over what has been accomplished.” Tomorrow, the House is expected to pass the same bill — which will also reduce inequities in health care access — and Biden plans to sign it soon afterward.

In today’s newsletter, I want to reconsider Manchin’s place in American politics given his ultimate support for the Senate bill. What were his critics right about? What were they wrong about? And what are the larger political lessons?

M.V.D.

The simplest fact about Manchin is that he is the most electorally successful member of Congress: Nobody else has won a seat as difficult as his.

Trump won West Virginia by 39 percentage points in 2020, more than any in other state except Wyoming. Yet Manchin has repeatedly won statewide elections in West Virginia as a Democrat. This chart highlights Manchin’s uniqueness:

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Independent senators caucus with Democrats. | Sources: The New York Times, Edison Research

He is one of only four current senators whose victories truly defied their state’s partisan lean. And his victory was much more difficult than those of the other three — Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine. “Having a Democratic senator in 2021 in a state like West Virginia — where neither Hillary Clinton nor Biden could crack 30 percent of the vote — is a remarkable bit of good fortune” for Democrats, Hans Noel, a Georgetown University political scientist, has written.

Without Manchin in the Senate, Biden’s presidency would look very different. The climate bill would almost certainly have failed. So would have the expansion of health care. Biden would also have a harder time getting judges and other nominees confirmed.

Manchin’s liberal critics sometimes imagine that they know more about winning a West Virginia election than he does — and that he could keep winning even if behaved like most Democrats. As Ruy Teixeira, another political scientist, wrote, “If only he was not the actually-existing Joe Manchin from the actually-existing conservative state of West Virginia but instead some other Joe Manchin from some other, much more liberal, West Virginia!”

It’s true that Manchin has helped defeat some Democratic priorities over the past two years. He doomed the extension of an expanded child tax credit that would have reduced child poverty. He refused to abandon the filibuster to pass changes to voting rights (although he wasn’t the only Senate Democrat opposed to doing so). He helped block two highly qualified Biden nominees, Sarah Bloom Raskin as a top Federal Reserve official and Neera Tanden as the budget director. But these Democratic disappointments were not shocking. Manchin has survived by being a loyal Democrat on some issues — like health care, labor issues, taxes on the wealthy and, for the most part, climate policy — and defying the party in high-profile ways on other issues. His criticisms of Biden’s proposals over the past year increased his approval rating in West Virginia, polls showed.

“It should be possible for Democrats to hold two thoughts at once about the West Virginia politician,” as Noel explained in The Washington Post. First, Manchin is more conservative than most Democrats and sometimes damages the party’s agenda. Second, he nonetheless may be the most valuable Democrat in Washington today. (If you believe Biden was the only plausible 2020 nominee who would have beaten Trump, then perhaps Manchin is in second place.)

Did the critics help?

With all this said, I understand some of the intensity of the liberal criticism in recent months. Had Manchin blocked the climate bill, as he seemed on the verge of doing, it would have represented a bigger break with his party than anything he had done before. It would have come on an issue of signature importance to the country and the world.

The obvious question is whether the criticism itself helped changed Manchin’s mind. I think that many of the harshest attacks probably didn’t matter: After all, he has heard similar criticism about his positions on the filibuster and voting rights, and he hasn’t budged. But the specific argument that he alone could be responsible for climate damage may have helped sway him. That, at least, is the impression of many observers on Capitol Hill.

“He always signaled he was open to going big on climate,” Representative Ro Khanna, a progressive California Democrat, told SFGate this week. And Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent, told me: “Manchin did not want to be the man Democrats blamed for single-handedly letting the planet go up in flames. He was the one returning to Chuck Schumer looking to make a deal after the onslaught of criticism.”

Ultimately, Manchin is much more of a positive than a negative for Democrats. The party’s bigger problem is that it does not have more versions of Joe Manchin, because it struggles so mightily to win elections in heavily working-class regions outside major metropolitan areas. With even one more Democrat in the Senate, Manchin’s progressive apostasy would be far less consequential than it is. His vote would no longer be vital.

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Politics
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Donald Trump in New York yesterday.Brittainy Newman for The New York Times
 
The Economy
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People fueling their cars in Brooklyn on this week.Gabby Jones for The New York Times
 
Other Big Stories
 
Opinions

Readers lose when big book publishers merge, the bookseller Richard Howorth writes.

A white supremacist injured Constance Paige Young in Charlottesville. Strangers lifted her up.

Preparing for a war over Taiwan is the best way for the U.S. to deter one, Elbridge Colby argues in Foreign Affairs.

Spencer Bokat-Lindell asks: Is there an end in sight for the war in Ukraine?

 
 

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MORNING READS

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Recent resignations signify the end of an era.Michelle Rohn

Young kings of Silicon Valley: The boy bosses are on their way out.

Skin deep: Foundation is dead. It’s time for self-acceptance.

Achoo: Watch a sponge sneeze.

A Times classic: Is seltzer as healthy as still water?

Advice from Wirecutter: Donate old clothes.

Lives Lived: Days after Sept. 11, the C.I.A. asked Gary Schroen to postpone his retirement and lead a team into Afghanistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. Schroen died at 80.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

A very New York M.L.B. free agency: The best hitter and the best pitcher (when healthy) on the planet will be free agents this fall — and the former, Aaron Judge, just keeps slugging his way toward a megadeal. The Yankees get a big oops in the chat.

The World Cup gets altered: FIFA is moving the biggest event in sports this year up one day so that the host country, Qatar, can kick things off. The U.S. men’s national team may add a late-blooming goalscorer in time for the tournament.

Taking care of business: Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe can’t yet capitalize on most NIL opportunities in the U.S. So the reigning college basketball national player of the year is utilizing a team trip to the Bahamas for a $500,000 NIL blitz.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival last month.Kristina Barker for The New York Times

Too darn hot

Climate change is taking a toll on outdoor summer performances.

Last August, wildfire smoke forced the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to cancel almost every performance of a show about Fannie Lou Hamer. The theater now has a smoke team, which decides daily on whether to proceed with the show. In France last month, heat and smoke at a Pearl Jam concert damaged the throat of the lead singer, Eddie Vedder. And in Spring Green, Wis., a theater asks costume designers to eliminate wigs, jackets and other heavy outerwear.

Here’s the story, by the theater reporter Michael Paulson.

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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Christopher Testani for The New York Times

Upside-down cakes are easy and beautiful, no matter what fruit you use.

 
Theater

At festivals in Edinburgh, Ian McKellen and Alan Cumming star in marquee productions, while smaller shows deal with contemporary life.

 
What to Read

Elizabeth Hand’s “Hokuloa Road” and two other riveting new psychological thrillers.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were demonize and demonized. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Crucial (three letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The Times won a Pulitzer last year for its Covid coverage. The pandemic kept the medal from going on display at the Times Building — until now.

The Daily” is about abortion.

Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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August 25, 2022

 

Good morning. Biden’s plan for student debt relief is an attempt to find a middle ground.

 
 
 
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A rally outside the Education Department in Washington in April.Kenny Holston for The New York Times

The bottom of the top

Fewer than 40 percent of Americans graduate from a four-year college, and these college graduates fare far better than nongraduates on a wide range of measures. College graduates earn much more on average; are less likely to endure unemployment; are more likely to marry; are healthier; live longer; and express greater satisfaction with their lives. These gaps have generally grown in recent decades.

As a result, many economists have expressed skepticism about the idea of universal student-loan forgiveness. It resembles a tax cut that flows mostly to the affluent: Americans who attend and graduate college tend to come from the top half of the income distribution and tend to remain there later in life. College graduates are also disproportionately white and Asian.

“Education debt,” as Sandy Baum and Victoria Lee have written for the Urban Institute, “is disproportionately concentrated among the well-off.”

But the idea of loan forgiveness has nonetheless taken off on the political left. As Democrats have increasingly become the party of college graduates living in expensive metropolitan areas — and as the cost of college has continued rising, while income growth for many millennials has been disappointing — loan forgiveness has obvious appeal.

These crosscurrents put President Biden and his aides in an awkward position. Biden fashions himself as a working-class Democrat. (He is the party’s first presidential nominee without an Ivy League degree since Walter Mondale.) He did not initially campaign on a sweeping plan of college debt relief, adding it to his agenda only after he defeated more liberal candidates in the primaries, as a way to reach out to their supporters.

Yesterday, after months of behind-the-scenes work and internal debate, Biden finally announced his plan for loan forgiveness. And it is an attempt to find a middle ground.

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A graduation in New Jersey.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

‘The worst of both’

By definition, the plan will not help the many Americans who do not go to college. But its benefits are targeted at lower-income college graduates and dropouts, especially those who grew up in lower-income families. Compared with other potential debt-forgiveness plans, Biden’s version is much more focused on middle-class and lower-income households.

It is restricted to individuals making less than $125,000 (or households making less than $250,000), which will exclude very high earners at law firms, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. For anybody under this income threshold, the plan will forgive up to $10,000 in debt. For somebody who received Pell Grants in college — a federal program focused on lower-income families — the plan may forgive an additional $10,000.

More broadly, Biden also said he wanted to enact a new rule to restrict future payments on college loans to no more than 5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income, down from between 10 percent and 15 percent now.

(My colleagues Ron Lieber and Tara Siegel Bernard have written a Q. and A. that is full of useful information about the plan.)

The emphasis of Biden’s plan partly reflects academic research that has found that the people who struggle the most to repay their loans don’t fit a common perception. They are less likely to be baristas with six figures in debt and a graduate degree than blue-collar workers who have a smaller amount of unpaid loans but never graduated college. That worker, Biden said yesterday, has the “worst of both worlds — debt and no degree.”

A study by Judith Scott-Clayton of Columbia University found that the loan-default rate for borrowers without any degree was 40 percent. For those with a bachelor’s degree, it was less than 8 percent.

The details of Biden’s plan mean that it targets the people most likely to default, rather than the caricature of them. “$10k will forgive ALL the debt of many millions of borrowers,” Susan Dynarski, a Harvard University economist — and herself a first-generation college graduate — tweeted yesterday. As an example, she cited “those who went to community college for a semester or two.”

There is still some uncertainty about whether the plan will be implemented. Biden is enacting it through executive action because it seems to lack the support to pass in Congress, and opponents may challenge it in court.

“Let the lawsuits begin over presidential authority,” Robert Kelchen of the University of Tennessee predicted. “I wouldn’t count on forgiveness happening for a while, and it may go to the Supreme Court.”

More commentary

“Thoughtful people disagree on student loan forgiveness,” Arindrajit Dube, an economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, wrote on Twitter. He praised the plan as a form of “disaster relief” that addressed the struggles of younger workers during the decade-plus since the Great Recession began.

Matthew Chingos of the Urban Institute has noted that the income cap increases the share of debt forgiveness that flows to Black borrowers.

Susan Dynarski told me she was “thumbs up” on the plan but wished people did not need to apply for forgiveness, because some would fail to do so. The government has the data it needs to cancel debt automatically, she said.

Progressive groups were mostly supportive of the plan. Indivisible called it a “bold move to improve the lives of working people.”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, said: “Biden’s student loan socialism is a slap in the face to every family who sacrificed to save for college, every graduate who paid their debt and every American who chose a certain career path or volunteered to serve in our Armed Forces in order to avoid taking on debt.”

Democrats in competitive elections had mixed reactions. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia called for even more debt relief. Representative Tim Ryan, running for an Ohio Senate seat, criticized the plan: “Instead of forgiving student loans for six-figure earners, we should be working to level the playing field for all Americans.”

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Politics
 
International
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The New York Times
 
Other Big Stories
 
Opinions

Long Covid sufferers are running out of savings, treatment options and hope, Zeynep Tufekci writes.

“Managed retreat” is needed to avoid the worst of climate change. But even after a disaster, many residents don’t want to move, say Anna Rhodes and Max Besbris.

More women should coach boys’ sports, Abby Braiman writes in The Washington Post.

 
 

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MORNING READS

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Jeanne Bédard and Jessica Gagnon, Montreal, 2015.

Look-alikes: Your doppelgänger is out there.

‘The big one’: Here’s the story behind New York City’s bizarre nuclear attack P.S.A.

Treasure hunting: Choosy shoppers are bypassing Brooklyn for the Newburgh Vintage Emporium.

Not that Robby Thomson: The manager who’s often asked to sign someone else’s baseball card.

Touchy-feely: When your boss is crying, but you’re the one being laid off.

A Times classic: How to age well.

Advice from Wirecutter: Great gifts for cat and dog lovers.

Lives Lived: Known for his larger-than-life personality and his Vietnam War photographs, Tim Page was a model for the crazed photographer played by Dennis Hopper in “Apocalypse Now.” Page died at 78.

 

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

An ominous injury: Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 N.B.A. Draft, is feared to have torn ligaments in his foot at a pro-am game last week in Seattle. Have we seen the end of N.B.A. players showing up at unofficial summer tuneup events?

A new era for the P.G.A. Tour: Golf’s primary governing body announced sweeping changes to drastically increase pay and, likely, star power throughout the season. The moves come shortly after LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed rebel circuit, wooed top players with eye-popping guaranteed contracts. Welp.

Who won the Kevin Durant saga? The Brooklyn Nets superstar himself doesn’t look great after his trade request went unfulfilled. But now fans face a must-watch reality of Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons (finally) playing together. The intrigue countdown clock is set.

 

ARTS AND IDEAS

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Gerry Kulzer in 2020 when he temporarily filled in as a butter sculptor.Becky Church/Midwest Dairy

Grade AA art

There’s been a changing of the guard in Minnesota. When the state fair opens today, Gerry Kulzer will be the official butter sculptor, taking over for a predecessor who held the role for 50 years.

A sculptor has carved blocks of butter into busts of the finalists in the fair’s dairy pageant since the 1960s. (The contest’s winner earns the title Princess Kay of the Milky Way.) Kulzer, an art teacher who usually works with clay, understands that his new medium will not be easy. “To capture a person’s likeness is really tough,” he said. “Especially when you’re in a 40-degree refrigerator.”

 

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
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Con Poulos for The New York Times

This yogurt-marinated grilled chicken is inspired by Turkish chicken kebabs.

 
What to Read

“Diary of a Misfit,” a memoir by Casey Parks, pieces together the elusive queer history of a musician in the Deep South.

 
Comedy

After 15 years of experimental stand-up, Kate Berlant’s solo show is a departure.

 
Now Time to Play
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The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were kitchen, kitchenette and thicken. Here is today’s puzzle.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: ___ Jenner, most-followed woman on Instagram (five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The latest “The New York Times Presents,” available on Hulu, is about an influential doctor who spreads Covid misinformation.

Here’s today’s front page.

The Daily” is about the death of Daria Dugina. “