Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2020

Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s Limits on Religious Services

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:12 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 ruling, yesterday placed an injunction upon New York State and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ability to enforce the limitations on religious gatherings that they had imposed in response to coronavirus outbreaks over the past several months.

The opinion is located here. As a Cliff’s Notes version, here are some snippets starting with the Per Curiam order of the Court (which was either written by Justice Thomas, Alito, or Barrett; my money is on Alito):

Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services. Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.

[. . .]

Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.

Concurrence from Justice Gorsuch:

As almost everyone on the Court today recognizes, squaring the Governor’s edicts with our traditional First Amendment rules is no easy task. People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues, especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of “essential” businesses and perhaps more besides. The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as “essential” as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all “essential” while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.

Justice Kavanaugh, also concurring:

In light of the devastating pandemic, I do not doubt the State’s authority to impose tailored restrictions—even very strict restrictions—on attendance at religious services and secular gatherings alike. But the New York restrictions on houses of worship are not tailored to the circumstances given the First Amendment interests at stake. To reiterate, New York’s restrictions on houses of worship are much more severe than the California and Nevada restrictions at issue in South Bay and Calvary, and much more severe than the restrictions that most other States are imposing on attendance at religious services. And New York’s restrictions discriminate against religion by treating houses of worship significantly worse than some secular businesses.

Chief Justice Roberts, who joined the liberal bloc in voting against the injunction, attempted to strike a fine balance between the sides. While conceding that the governor’s orders “do seem unduly restrictive,” the Chief tried to punt the issue on the basis that New York had since moved the area affecting the plaintiffs into a less-restrictive zone:

It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question [of whether the restrictions run afoul of the Constitution] at this time. The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic. If the Governor does reinstate the numerical restrictions the applicants can return to this Court, and we could act quickly on their renewed applications. As things now stand, however, the applicants have not demonstrated their entitlement to “the extraordinary remedy of injunction.”

The Court’s three remaining leftish bloc, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, agreed with the Chief that there is no need to decide upon Constitutional issues unless the plaintiffs were once again placed into the most restrictive zones. They also don’t believe the Constitutional issue is a clear-cut as the majority or the Chief seems to believe, and ought to be determined first by the Court of Appeals before being taken up by the Court. In the dissent, Justice Breyer writes:

We have previously recognized that courts must grant elected officials “broad” discretion when they “undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties.” That is because the “Constitution principally entrusts the safety and the health of the people to the politically accountable officials of the States.” The elected branches of state and national governments can marshal scientific expertise and craft specific policies in response to “changing facts on the ground.” And they can do so more quickly than can courts. That is particularly true of a court, such as this Court, which does not conduct evidentiary hearings. It is true even more so where, as here, the need for action is immediate, the information likely limited, the making of exceptions difficult, and the disease-related circumstances rapidly changing. [The quotes above are from the Court’s earlier decision South Bay United Pentacostal Church v. Newsom, and citations have been omitted.]

It’s notable that Justice Amy Coney Barrett likely provided the decisive vote for the majority, unless we choose to believe that Chief Justice Roberts would have suppressed his desire to defer the decision for another day had Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived (and presumably voted with the left bloc). As we start to swing into Advent and Hanukkah, Christians and Jews not just in New York but nationwide can feel comfortable that the highest Court respects our First Amendment rights against arbitrary and capricious edicts from government.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the blog’s readers and commenters, especially those who suffer through my posts.

– JVW

3/27/2020

Gov. Cuomo Weighs Out His Coronavirus Strategy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:07 am



[guest post by Dana]

Striking the right balance for their state is what every governor is trying to work out:

Sweeping statewide quarantine orders may not have been the most effective strategy to combat the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded on Thursday, as he weighed plans to restart the economy.

“We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy,” said Cuomo during an Albany press briefing. “If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say ‘Quarantine everyone.’”

“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy,” he said. “The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”

Further:

Cuomo’s office said the governor was referencing a study by a Yale professor, who wrote a column that appeared in the opinion section of the New York Times last week.

They pointed The Post to nearly identical comments Cuomo made about the topic during a press conference Monday, when he explicitly named the piece’s author, Dr. David Katz.

“There’s a theory of risk stratification that Dr. Katz who’s at Yale University is working on, which is actually very interesting to me,” Cuomo told reporters then. “Isolate people but really isolate the vulnerable people. Don’t isolate everyone because some people, most people, are not vulnerable to it.”

He added: “And if you isolate all people, you may be actually exposing the more vulnerable people by bringing in a person who is healthier and stronger and who may have been exposed to the virus, right.”

This was Cuomo on Tuesday, defending his lockdown order:

Why all of this? Because it’s 1 percent or 2 percent of the population. It’s lives, it’s grandmothers and grandfathers and sisters and brothers…And you start to see the cases on TV. It’s a 40-year-old woman who recovered from breast cancer but had a compromised immune system and four children at home. That’s what this is about. It’s about a vulnerable population…

It’s still really tough going in New York:

New York continues to see its infection trajectory rise unabated, with cases soaring to nearly 45,000 and deaths surpassing 500 by Friday morning, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more than 7,000 new positives overnight.

COVID-19 has, in two weeks, claimed more lives in New York City than homicides did all of last year.

The number of hospitalizations is up 13-fold over the last 10 days, Cuomo said, but the rate of admittances doubling is slowing — from every two days earlier this week to every four days by Thursday. That, despite the surge in overall numbers, could signal a slowing rate of spread, Cuomo says. But, he acknowledged, the height of the crisis is still ahead — about 21 days out.

Here’s Cuomo today, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst:

–Dana

8/13/2019

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Comes Undone: “Fredo” Is N-word for Italians

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Sometimes real life is so outrageous that it is beyond parody. For a prime example of this, consider the temper tantrum CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s threw yesterday when a man referred to him as “Fredo”. Cuomo shouted at him that “Fredo” is the N-word for Italians. On exactly which planet, he didn’t say:

“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN,” the newsman says in the video that spread quickly on social media.

Cuomo says that Fredo is an insult for Italians, much like how the N-word is for African Americans.

“I’ll f–king throw you down these stairs like a f–king punk. … You’re gonna call me Fredo, take a f–king swing,” railed Cuomo in the clip, purportedly filmed Sunday on Shelter Island. “I’ll f–king wreck your s–t.” He dropped more than 20 F-bombs ion the rant.

CNN is supporting Cuomo, in spite of his outburst:

“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said in a statement on Twitter. “We completely support him.”

Team Trump says that “Fredo” is not an ethnic slur:

“The default response from media or Democrats to any criticism is to label it racist or a ‘slur,’ ” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump campaign. ”The term ‘Fredo’ is commonplace, used without pause by Cuomo himself and by guests on his own show.”

Here is Chris Cuomo referring to himself as “Fredo” during a radio interview:

Cuomo was interviewed by Curtis Sliwa on his AM 970 radio show in January 2010 about whether his brother Andrew might seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
Sliwa said he dubbed the Cuomo family “la Cuomo Nostra.”

“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo.”

“Who am I, then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked in response.

“Yes, exactly,” Sliwa said. “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”

“He kisses me plenty because he’s a great big brother,” Cuomo said.

And of course, Trump couldn’t refrain from pouncing as well because he loves any opportunity to chew up anyone associated with CNN:

“I think that what Chris Cuomo did was horrible,” Trump told reporters Tuesday, dismissing a question on whether the word was racially insensitive. “His language was horrible. He looked like a total, out-of-control animal. He lost it.”

The president added: “Frankly, I don’t think anybody should defend him because he spews lies every night.”

Duly noted, Mr. President: Don’t defend those who spew lies… [Ed. My god, my eyes just rolled so hard at this, I’m looking out the back side of my noggin now!]

Anyway, we all know that when Trump doesn’t use a modicum of self-restraint or discipline, and starts spouting off, he invariably ends up giving the opposition a lot to work with. Well Cuomo did the same thing with his outburst when he unwittingly provided the Trump 2020 campaign with a clever marketing idea:

President Trump’s 2020 campaign wasted no time Tuesday in selling “Fredo Unhinged” T-shirts to piggyback on the controversy over CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s unhinged viral video rant.

For $34, Trump supporters can get a T-shirt with unflattering screen grabs of the host from the video where he rages against a man who called the anchor “Fredo.”

“CNN’s Chris Cuomo is Fredo!” the Trump campaign shop says of the “limited edition” T-shirt that went live at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

“The truth hurts. He totally lost it. Help us annoy Chris Cuomo and buy your ‘Fredo Unhinged Tee’ now!”

Untitled

Cuomo spoke about the altercation with the man today:

Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.

P.S. I’m reading that a number of public figures on the Right are defending Cuomo and don’t think he should be fired for his outburst. Whether he’s fired or not is up to CNN, but I won’t defend or excuse his behavior because, at the end of the day, he could have just turned around and walked away without threatening the man. But he chose not to do that.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

7/8/2019

Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing Release Of Trump’s State Tax Returns

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:42 am



[guest post by Dana]

From the New York Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill on Monday to allow congressional committees to access the president’s state tax returns.

The bill requires state tax officials to release the president’s state returns for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose” on the request of the chair of one of three congressional committees: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

It is effective immediately, though it is unclear whether it would be challenged by the Trump administration, or used by the congressional committees; the Ways and Means Committee, for instance, has said previously that it remains focused on pursuing Mr. Trump’s federal tax information.

Still, the state tax documents from New York — the president’s home state and business headquarters — would likely contain much of the same information as the contested federal returns, tax experts say.

Just last week, the President went after both Cuomo and NY attorney general, Letitia James:

Without mentioning Ms. James by name, the president said she was “harassing all of my New York businesses in search of anything at all they can find to make me look as bad as possible.”

Ms. James’s office is investigating the financing behind several major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, and has issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank.

After Mr. Trump’s tirade, Mr. Cuomo responded, “If he is worried about law enforcement, he shouldn’t break the law.”

Responding to accusations made by Republicans that this is an invasion of privacy, Cuomo said in a statement:

Mr. Cuomo agreed that “tax secrecy is paramount,” with, however, “the exception being for bona fide investigative and law enforcement purposes.”

The White House has not publicly responded to this latest development, and President Trump hasn’t tweeted about it. Yet.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

8/28/2018

Quelle Surprise! Cuomo’s “Free College” Initiative Underwhelms

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:22 pm



[guest post by JVW]

I apologize for the gratuitous French in the post title.

What if I told you that New York’s Excelsior Scholarship program, which Governor Andrew Cuomo promised would make in-state tuition “free” for middle-class residents, hasn’t ended up impacting all that many Empire State families? The program was first proposed in the spring of 2016 and launched amid much fanfare in January 2017, in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election and the Democrat Party’s struggle to define a set of principles going forward. Senator Bernard Sanders joined the corrupt governor on stage to give his socialist blessing to the program, with the elderly Vermonter insisting that “we must make public colleges and universities tuition free for the middle-class and working families of our country.” The state’s 2018 budget was passed three months later, and the Excelsior Scholarship program was rolled out in time for the 2017-18 academic year.

So a bunch of New Yorkers from middle-class families ended up getting free tuition at the State University of New York and City University of New York campuses, right? Well, not exactly. A report by the Center for an Urban Future suggests that only about 3.2 percent of the more than 633,000 students enrolled in public colleges in the state are Excelsior Scholarship recipients. The numbers are even worse for the NYC public colleges, with CUNY university students and CUNY community college students reporting only 2.1 percent and 0.9 percent of students as scholarship recipients respectively. What’s more incredible is that better than two in three scholarship applicants were denied, a proportion way out of whack with the promises that Cuomo made to his middle class constituents.

The program’s eligibility is limited to families who make no more than $110,000 per year (bumped up to $125k next year), so there are plenty of New Yorkers who believe themselves to be middle class but are finding out that their kids don’t qualify because the family’s income is too high. In addition, students seeking an Excelsior Scholarship must first apply for all forms of federal financial aid, and many of the poorest New Yorkers are receiving full tuition aid from Uncle Sucker in Washington and thus do not need the additional help from Albany. Accepting the scholarship also obligates the student to spend one year working in New York after graduation for every scholarship year they received money, so given the difficult economic conditions in parts of New York state perhaps some potential recipients and their families have decided the scholarship isn’t such a good bet after all.

The biggest factor though that is limiting the scholarship’s reach is the requirement that recipients take at least 30 hours of course credit each year, which is pretty much a very manageable four courses per term, not even including summer sessions. Apparently New York college kids don’t care too much for being a full-time student, even when the government is picking up tuition costs. The Center for an Urban Future determined that a whopping 83 percent of the application rejections were students who were not keeping on graduation pace. With the traditional four-year bachelor’s degree now being stretched out for six years and the two-year associate’s degree taking three, the idea of matriculating your way through college before you turn 24 seems to be quaint and archaic.

And it just wouldn’t be a progressive crowning achievement were the program not confusingly administered and mostly opaque. Financial aid officers complain that the program lacks clear guidelines and buries both the student and the institution in tedious paperwork. While both SUNY and CUNY saw modest budget increases of 1.6% and 1.0% respectively in the 2018-19 state budget, the state plans to spend $1.15 billion managing student loans, a 23% increase over last year and a full tenth of what is spent on the two state college systems. And there is still no clear and definitive action plan for enforcing the post-college residency requirement, let alone defending it from the inevitable legal challenges.

It’s not too difficult to conclude that the Excelsior Scholarships were little more than progressive grandstanding, a way to pretend to make college “free” by creating jobs for bureaucrats without asking the higher education industry to undertake any meaningful reforms. Bringing along Crusty Old Bernie to provide an aura of real Marxist purity to the program is cynicism typical of Andrew Cuomo, an odious yet ambitious politician known primarily for his insincerity and nastiness. A real plan to either keep college costs low or to have them completely absorbed by the state would include genuine reforms such as requiring professors to teach more classes, closing departments and programs that don’t serve a great number of students, and paring the course catalog of esoteric courses that fit in with academia’s increasingly bizarre fetishes in order to concentrate on larger courses that have more general usefulness to the degree. With American higher education serving as the indoctrination camp for Democrat progressivism, don’t expect politicians like Andrew Cuomo to issue that sort of challenge any time soon.

– JVW

8/6/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:20 pm



[guest post by Dana]

It’s still mind-numbingly hot where I’m at, and I suspect where you are too. Well, a number of you anyway. It seems to me that Sourtherners paint the most colorful pictures when describing the hundred-and-hell degree weather:

It’s so hot the swimming pool is boiling.

It’s so hot the ice cream truck melted.

If it gets any hotter, I’ll have to take off stuff I really ought to keep on.

I’m burning slap-up.

Crank up that A.C. till it’s blowing snowballs.

You could fry an egg on the hood of that car.

It’s so dang hot that I just saw a hound dog chasing a rabbit—and they were both walking.

Hotter than a pepper sprout.

Hotter than a $2 pistol.

Of course, my favorite description of the wretched heat is from Harper Lee in To Kill A Mockingbird:

Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

So, from your softly wilted teacake of a contributor, let’s get started. Share what you like but make sure you include links.

First news item

Throwing down the gauntlet across the nation:

Schools have begun reopening in the U.S. with most states leaving it up to local schools to decide whether to require masks. California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state intend to require masks for all students and teachers regardless of vaccination status. At the other end of the spectrum, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah have banned mask requirements in all public schools.

Second news item

Dark days in the Sunshine State:

More Floridians are contracting COVID-19 and filling hospital beds than at any point since the pandemic started 17 months ago.

The state recorded 134,506 cases between July 30 and Aug 5, according to data released Friday by the Florida Department of Health.

That’s an average of more than 19,000 cases every day — the highest infection rate in a single week since the start of the pandemic. Adjusted for population, only Louisiana had a higher infection rate last week.

Florida hospitalizations also reached their highest point in the pandemic this week, with over 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Related:

Florida parents will be allowed to apply for vouchers and move their kids to another school if they perceive any type of “COVID-19 harassment” against their child in connection to district rules on masking, testing and isolation due to exposure, under a new emergency rule approved Friday.

The rule, approved unanimously by the State Board of Education, was hastily crafted by state education and health officials in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order last week that called for rules that would protect parents’ decisions on whether their children should wear masks in K-12 schools.

Florida Department of Health officials unveiled new protocols that detail how the spread of the virus should be controlled in school settings.

Third news item

Crazy haps in the Last Frontier State:

Former President Donald Trump’s political apparatus is reinforcing its support for Alaska Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, as former Gov. Sarah Palin floats herself as a potential contender for the same seat.

Donald Trump, Jr. is set to release a fundraising appeal Friday evening expressing his support for Tshibaka, the former state commissioner of administration who is challenging Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. It comes just days after Palin, who rose to national prominence as the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, was quoted as saying that “If God wants me to” run for Senate, “I will.”

The former president and his son have endorsed Tshibaka over Murkowski, a Trump critic who voted in January to remove him from office over his role in the Capitol riot. Neither Trump nor his son have spoken out against Palin, and a person close to the younger Trump said that he and his father had warm feelings toward the former Alaska governor and that the appeal was in the works prior to Palin floating her candidacy.

Fourth news item

Hoo boy, what a peach:

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican congresswoman from Georgia known for espousing debunked conspiracy theories, plans to appear this month at the Iowa State Fair, according to people familiar with her plans. The gathering is a traditional platform for White House aspirants.

It’s not a prime pre-presidential year in Iowa (that will be two years from now), and as Jacobs notes, there probably won’t be a Soap Box (an area traditionally set up by the Des Moines Register to accommodate political speakers who stand atop bales of hay). But Greene does seem to be a woman in a big hurry

Fifth news item

A falling empire in the Empire State:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo remained in hiding at the Executive Mansion Friday but sent out a team of lawyers to publicly attack some of the 11 women he’s accused of sexually harassing — and to claim that Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation was rigged against him.

“The governor deserves to be treated fairly and he must be,” insisted Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s personal defense lawyer in a Zoom press conference that was also broadcast on the governor’s official state website.

“That did not happen here. This was one-sided and he was ambushed.”

Girl standing strong:

Sixth news item

In a grand canyon of trouble:

Democratic Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete has been arrested on suspicion of charges accusing him of sexual conduct with a minor, police said Friday.

Police received a report on Wednesday about sexual contact that allegedly occurred in 2019. Navarrete, who represents a west Phoenix district, was arrested Thursday after detectives interviewed a juvenile victim and witnesses, police said in a statement.

The juvenile boy was 14 years old at the time.

Seventh news item

A Texas two-step:

The Texas House Democratic Caucus could not account Tuesday for two of the members who broke quorum and fled for Washington, D.C., over Republicans’ priority elections bill, while a Texas Monthly reporter said the members were on vacation in Portugal.

State Reps. Julie Johnson of Farmers Branch and Jessica González of Dallas were not with other House Democrats on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, according to a person familiar with the situation. On Tuesday evening, Texas Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove tweeted that he “can confirm [Johnson] and her wife & [González] and her fiancé are in Portugal for a vacation they had been planning, with non-refundable tickets, for a year-and-a-half.”

In a text exchange though with the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday evening, González referred to the Portugal trip as “rumors” and said “no one has shown proof.”

“These are rumors, period,” she said. “End of story.”

​Their absence from Washington does not affect the lack of quorum that the House has in Austin that prevents the chamber from passing an elections bill. But it is at odds with House Democrats’ insistence that they would use their time away from the state Legislature, which they left in July, to advocate for federal voting rights legislation in the nation’s capital.

There should be a steep price to pay for any elected official in any political party who chooses to run away from fulfilling their duties, no matter how challenging or distasteful they may be.

Eighth news item

Biden bash:

Nearly 1,800 Americans directly affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are opposing President Joe Biden’s participation in any memorial events this year unless he upholds his pledge to declassify U.S. government evidence that they believe may show a link between Saudi Arabian leaders and the attacks.

The victims’ family members, first responders and survivors will release a statement Friday calling on Biden to skip 20th-anniversary events in New York and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon unless he releases the documents, which they believe implicate Saudi officials in supporting the acts of terrorism. The group says that as a candidate Biden pledged to be more transparent and release as much information as possible but that his administration has since then ignored their letters and requests.

Ninth news item

Biden administration flies illegal immigrants to deep Mexico:

The United States on Thursday began flying Central American and Mexican families to southern Mexico in an effort to deter migration by bolstering a COVID-era expulsion policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, a person familiar with the matter said.

Nearly 200 Mexican and Central American family members were expelled deep into Mexico on Thursday in what are expected to be regular flights, the person said. The flights, which will include adults, aim to disrupt a pattern of repeat crossings under a U.S. border policy known as Title 42.

U.S. President Joe Biden has reversed many of the restrictive immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump, but has left Title 42 in place amid 20-year highs in border arrests.

Although health experts, pro-migrant advocates and some Democrats say the policy cuts off access to asylum without a clear health rationale, Biden officials argue it is necessary to keep U.S. detention centers from becoming overwhelmed during the pandemic…The Biden administration also announced last week that it would subject migrant families to a fast-track deportation process known as “expedited removal” to their home countries from U.S. detention centers.

MISCELLANEOUS

Summer storm beating back the summer heat:

Untitled

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

7/30/2021

DOJ: IRS Must Release Trump Tax Returns to Congress

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Today:

The income tax returns of former President Donald Trump must be released by the IRS to Congress, the Department of Justice said Friday.

The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said that the Democratic-lead House Ways and Means Committee had made a request with a legitimate legislative purpose to see Trump’s tax returns, with a stated objective of assessing how the IRS audits presidents’ tax returns.

That 39-page opinion is a reversal of an opinion by the same office, during the Trump administration, which had backed the IRS’s refusal to give the committee Trump’s returns.

Under federal law, the tax-related committees of Congress have a “broad right” to obtain taxpayer information from the Treasury Department, the IRS’s parent, the new opinion noted.

“The statute at issue here is unambiguous: ‘Upon written request’ of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary ‘shall furnish’ the requested tax information to the Committee,′ ” Friday’s opinion said.

No comment from Trump yet, but if his furious claim made back in February that he was the victim of “political persecution” is any indicator, then I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing from him soon enough:

“This investigation is a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country, whether it was the never ending $32 million Mueller hoax, which already investigated everything that could possibly be investigated, “Russia Russia Russia,” where there was a finding of “No Collusion,” or two ridiculous “Crazy Nancy” inspired impeachment attempts where I was found NOT GUILTY. It just never ends!

So now, for more than two years, New York City has been looking at almost every transaction I’ve ever done, including seeking tax returns which were done by among the biggest and most prestigious law and accounting firms in the U.S. The Tea Party was treated far better by the IRS than Donald Trump. The Supreme Court never should have let this “fishing expedition” happen, but they did. This is something which has never happened to a President before, it is all Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State, completely controlled and dominated by a heavily reported enemy of mine, Governor Andrew Cuomo. These are attacks by Democrats willing to do anything to stop the almost 75 million people (the most votes, by far, ever gotten by a sitting president) who voted for me in the election—an election which many people, and experts, feel that I won. I agree!

The new phenomenon of “headhunting” prosecutors and AGs—who try to take down their political opponents using the law as a weapon—is a threat to the very foundation of our liberty. That’s what is done in third world countries. Even worse are those who run for prosecutorial or attorney general offices in far-left states and jurisdictions pledging to take out a political opponent. That’s fascism, not justice—and that is exactly what they are trying to do with respect to me, except that the people of our Country won’t stand for it.

In the meantime, murders and violent crime are up in New York City by record numbers, and nothing is done about it. Our elected officials don’t care. All they focus on is the persecution of President Donald J. Trump.

I will fight on, just as I have, for the last five years (even before I was successfully elected), despite all of the election crimes that were committed against me. We will win! “

–Dana

6/29/2021

Manhattan Judge Tosses Out Grand Jury Indictment: Pandemic Era Jury Not Racially Diverse Enough

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:28 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Fox News and the New York Post (but here I repeat myself) both have an item today about a Manhattan-based judge, Analisa Torres, tossing out an indictment of a Bronx man accused in a 2020 shooting which took place in that borough due to the composition of the grand jury. The details, per Fox:

A federal judge in Manhattan tossed an indictment against a Bronx shooting suspect because of a lack of racial diversity in the White Plains grand jury pool — the first such ruling since city cases were moved to the suburban county amid the pandemic.

Judge Analisa Torres sided with defendant William Scott, who had argued that Black and Hispanic people were underrepresented in the grand jury pool that returned an indictment against him in June of last year.

Scott was charged with possessing ammunition in connection to a shooting in the Bronx, but was charged in the Southern District of New York’s White Plains division.

Seems reasonable, right? I mean, why move a grand jury investigation of a black man from a district court in a place like New York City which is just over 50% “Black and Latinx” (as Judge Torres put it, because of course she would) to one that is 45.4% white and a mere 44.5% black and Hispanic? I mean — hello! — why do you think they named the place White Plains to begin with? It’s getting so that a convicted felon and reputed member of the Bloods who goes by the sobriquet “Ill Will” and has been arrested 25 times since 1999 (all this according to the Post) can’t get a fair shake in Andrew Cuomo’s New York. Fortunately for Ill Will, Judge Torres, a Barack Obama appointee and the daughter and granddaughter of former New York Assembly members (Democrats, naturally), was there to smoke out the bald injustice of it all.

Hang on, though, maybe there is an understandable reason that the grand jury investigation was moved from New York City to White Plains. Was there anything going on over the past year that might have impacted day-to-day operations in the Empire State, especially in the immediate vicinity of the Big Apple? The Post provides us this explanation:

But in a follow-up letter to the judge, prosecutors said they wanted to “correct the factual record” regarding Scott’s indictment in the June 23, 2020, shooting in The Bronx, saying it was the result of a “non-discriminatory exigency” amid the COVID-19 crisis that forced them to seek the charges in White Plains.

At the time, they wrote, “grand jury availability was exceptionally limited – generally, and specifically in Manhattan – due to the pandemic.”

And when prosecutors sought to have Scott indicted on June 30, 2020, “there was no grand jury sitting in Manhattan” and no grand juries were convened between June 26 and July 8, 2020, according to the Monday letter.

Scott “posed a sufficiently serious risk to public safety that it was untenable to delay his prosecution until grand juries were more readily available,” prosecutors Alexandra Rothman and Jim Ligtenberg wrote.

“Accordingly, to indict the instant case expeditiously and to protect public safety, the Government sought an indictment in White Plains, where a grand jury was available,” they said.

The letter also noted that “identical claims” to those made by Scott were recently rejected by three other Manhattan federal judges overseeing unrelated cases.

The Post goes on to report that the ruling by Judge Torres makes no difference in the long run, as prosecutors announced that they have secured a new indictment from a different (and presumably racially acceptable) grand jury, and that the newly-scheduled trial begins in two weeks and will be heard by a judge other than the Honorable Analisa Torres.

Defendants have rights, and it is the duty of the system to honor and protect those rights, but casting doubt upon the fairness of a indictment because it came from an area that has five percent fewer black and Hispanic residents than some other area — and all of this square in the middle of a pandemic — is the sort of mindless virtue signaling while violent crime is surging across your city that really ought to make even the wokest of judges a bit more circumspect in their demands for social justice purity.

– JVW

5/21/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:30 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Yay, Friday! Hope you have nice plans for the weekend, and take some time to just breathe. Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to include anything you think would interest readers. Please make sure to include links.

First news item

Anti-Semitic attacks continue to increase:

Several Jewish people have been attacked in cities across the United States this week.

Authorities are investigating assaults in New York and Los Angeles as tensions flare over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid days of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza that have left hundreds of people dead.

A man was arrested after a 29-year-old Jewish man was punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed Thursday during an incident in New York’s Times Square…The assault involved about five to six men who allegedly yelled anti-Semitic statements…The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh, the NYPD said, and investigators are recommending several charges, including one hate crime assault… New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the man was assaulted by protesters.

A video recorded by a bystander shows several people kicking a man on the ground and hitting him with unidentified objects. It’s unclear what happened before the video began…

In Los Angeles, police are investigating after reports that several Jewish people dining at a sushi restaurant on Tuesday were targeted by a group of pro-Palestinian men who were driving past them.

A woman who said she was dining at the restaurant told CNN that the people in the cars began throwing bottles at them and yelled anti-Semitic slurs, including the words “dirty Jew.” Five people suffered minor injuries and no arrests had been made as of Thursday…

Or as L.A. Eater hilariously put it, there was a “scuffle”:

And then they decided, no doubt after well-deserved criticism and mockery, that it was indeed an attack. But they aren’t fooling anyone:

L.A.

Also in New York City:

yair

The attacks are not just happening in U.S. cities:

Per the Anti-Defamation League, they have received more reports of possible anti-Semitic incidents since the conflict broke out in Israel, with 193 reports in the week after the crisis began, up from 131 the previous week. You can see a round-up of videos showing Jews being targeted attacked here. In 2021.

Second news item

Oh, hello today’s Republican Party: he’s hoping to replace Rep. Liz Cheney:

U.S. House candidate Anthony Bouchard had a relationship with and impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, he told the Star-Tribune late Thursday, hours after he disclosed the relationship in a Facebook Live video to his supporters.

Bouchard, who did not specify the girl’s age in the video, said he went public with the information to get ahead of the story after learning that people were investigating it in opposition to his candidacy. A Wyoming state senator since 2017, Bouchard has risen in prominence since announcing he would challenge Rep. Liz Cheney following her vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump.

“So, bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant,” he said in the Facebook Live video. “You’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.”

Bouchard told the Star-Tribune he married the girl when she was 15 and he was 19. At the time, they were both living in Florida…The two were legally able to get married at the time…

Third news item

Eh,a trillion here and a trillion there:

The White House on Friday offered Republicans in Congress a counterproposal on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan that would lower its total cost from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion, press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Psaki called the counteroffer “reasonable” and said it shifted proposed investments in research and development, supply chains, manufacturing and small-business initiatives into other pieces of legislation, such as the Endless Frontier Act and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act, or the CHIPS Act.

The new proposal also reduces funding for broadband to match the Republican offer and reduces investments in roads, bridges and other major projects, she said.

Fourth news item

Oh:

A Sunday school teacher was arrested at Thursday night’s Timberlane Regional School Board meeting moments after she and several other unmasked attendees showed up to demand an end to a school mask mandate.

The meeting was planned to be held in person at the district’s Performing Arts Center, but board Chairwoman Kimberly Farah quickly shut it down before it began and required that it be held remotely.

“I didn’t want to jeopardize the health of the staff and the students,” Farah said as several Plaistow police officers and state police troopers swarmed inside and outside the auditorium.

The abrupt end to the 7 p.m. in-person meeting happened shortly after Atkinson resident Jackie Wydola watched as police arrested her mother, Kate Bossi, when they entered the building without masks as required by school policy.

Fifth news item

Oh, hello today’s Republican Party yet again: MTG compares mask requirement on the floor with Nazi controlling Jews:

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during an interview on a conservative podcast this week, compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to continue to require members of the House to wear masks on the chamber floor to steps the Nazis took to control the Jewish population during the Holocaust.

Greene, in a conversation with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody Real America’s Voice TV show “The Water Cooler,” attacked Pelosi and accused her of being a hypocrite for asking GOP members to prove they have all been vaccinated before allowing members to be in the House chamber without a mask.

“You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” Greene said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

Sixth news item

Everyone was safe, but holy cow, what a wild ride. Literally:

On May 6, an armed Fort Jackson trainee allegedly hijacked a school bus in Richland County, South Carolina, holding 18 children and a bus driver against their will. All the children were kept safe and the suspect, Jovan Collazo, now faces dozens of charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping.

And bus driver Kenneth Corbin is being hailed as a hero, with South Carolina Senator Mia McLeod introducing a resolution to honor and commend Corbin “for enduring courage in a life-threatening situation and offer heartfelt gratitude for his heroism,” CBS affiliate WLTX reports.

But Corbin said it wasn’t just him — the kids on the bus also helped thwart the suspect too.

“The kids started asking lots of questions to the suspect,” Sheriff Leon Lott, of Richland County, said during a news conference. “The suspect got a little frustrated.” …Corbin said the suspect had all the kids move to the front of the bus. “That’s when especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking questions.”

“They asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one,” Corbin said. “They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘No.’ They asked, ‘Are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘No. I’m going to put you off the bus.'”

“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘Enough is enough already.’ And he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off,'” the bus driver said.

Seventh news item

Good:

A group looking to oust Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon over his progressive criminal justice policies has been cleared to begin collecting the thousands of signatures needed to trigger a recall election.

The Los Angeles County Registrar approved the petition drive by the Recall George Gascon campaign, which must collect roughly 579,062 valid signatures – 10% of county voters — by Oct. 27, the agency told Fox News.

“They can now begin public circulation and signature gathering,” a Registrar spokesman said Thursday.

The drive comes amid mounting criticism of Gascon months after he was elected on a progressive platform to hold police officers accountable and create a more equitable criminal justice system in the country’s largest prosecutors office.

Desiree Andrade signed up to be an organizer with the recall campaign over Gascon’s prosecution of her son’s killers. Her son, Julien, 20, was killed in 2018 and his body was thrown off a cliff.

Under Gadon’s sweeping reforms, special circumstances charges against the three suspects were dropped, meaning they could be eligible for parole after serving 25 years in prison instead of a life sentence without parole.

“I felt at that that I was slapped in the face,” Andrade told Fox News upon hearing the news of the dismissal of charges during a Thursday interview. “Here you have a district attorney that took an oath to serve and protect the community and that’s far from what he’s doing right now.”

Eighth news item

If you can do the job just as successfully from home and in the necessary timeframe, then why wouldn’t you:

Employees aren’t eager to go back full time. In an anonymous survey, the Los Angeles Times Guild found that only 1.4 percent of respondents want to work in the office five days a week. The most popular alternative was coming in two days per week (31 percent); almost as many people (28.2 percent) said they’d prefer not to be there at all. “I do all the work that I need to do, but if I do it in six hours then I don’t feel like I need to just be like, sitting there,” De León told me. “Whereas, when you’re in the office, there’s more of that performative aspect of work where you kind of have to look busy even if there’s nothing to be busy with.”

The biggest factor in not wanting to return to the office full time: commuting. A respondent to the LA Times survey remarked that “my therapist and I determined that my commute was a major contributor to my anxiety issues”; another described the trek as “soul-crushing.” Someone said it didn’t make sense to spend fifteen hours per week commuting when “there are no good stories to be found at my desk.” Matt Pearce, a technology reporter at the LA Times and president of the guild, called the survey “a damning indictment of what commutes do to workers; how much it hurts their physical and mental wellbeing; how much it impedes their family life; and in fact, how much it impacts their productivity.”

Miscellaneous

A linguist friend once told me that language is always in a state of flux, or perhaps more artfully, like a lava lamp:

“In fact, however, the most useful analogy to keep in mind is that a language is like a lava lamp. The “lava” slowly swirls and clumps and rises and falls in its fluid in an eternal, mesmerizing flow. Although constantly changing, in no sense is the clump of lava decaying—if one piece is beginning to drip or split into strands, we can be sure that a few inches away, other pieces are joining together. At any given point, we do not see the present configuration of the lava clump as somehow “better” than the one thirty seconds ago—the joy is in the infinite variations that the clump can take while at all times remaining consistent in its expressive motility. DIFFERENT SPINS”

― John McWhorter, Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

3/12/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:24 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share any items that you think might interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Self-canceling is a thing:

Winston Marshall, the banjoist of Mumford & Sons, is “taking time away” from the band after he was criticized for supporting a book written by controversial right-wing writer Andy Ngo.

“Over the past few days, I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” Marshall said in a statement Wednesday. “I have offended not only a lot of people I don’t know but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that, I am truly sorry.”

“As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots. For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention,” he added.

Related:

The Catalan translator for the poem that American writer Amanda Gorman read at US president Joe Biden’s inauguration has said he has been removed from the job because he had the wrong “profile”.

It was the second such case in Europe after Dutch writer Marieke Lucas Rijneveld resigned from the job of translating Gorman’s work following criticism that a black writer was not chosen.

‘“They told me that I am not suitable to translate it,” Catalan translator Victor Obiols told AFP on Wednesday. “They did not question my abilities, but they were looking for a different profile, which had to be a woman, young, activist and preferably black.”

“But if I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.”

Also related:

The acclaimed author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has pulled out of translating Amanda Gorman’s poetry into Dutch, after their publisher was criticised for picking a writer for the role who was not also Black.

Dutch publisher Meulenhoff had announced Rijneveld, winner of the International Booker prize, as the translator of the Joe Biden inaugural poet’s forthcoming collection, The Hill We Climb, last week. But the move quickly drew opprobrium. Journalist and activist Janice Deul led critics with a piece in Volkskrant asking why Meulenhoff had not chosen a translator who was, like Gorman, a “spoken-word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black”.

Note:

Meulenhoff said it was Rijneveld’s decision to resign, and that Gorman, who is 22, had selected the 29-year-old herself, as a fellow young writer who had also come to fame early.

The writer specifically selected said translator! She intentionally wanted Rijneveld to translate her work.

You hired the person that *you* believed to be the best person to translate *your* work. Shut out the noise. Stand tall. Don’t cave in. And be okay with the consequences. People of substance will stand by you. People who want to control you or use you will excoriate you. It’s a jagged edge upon which to find oneself, especially one so young. And the more prominent the individual, the more is at stake. But if you don’t take a stand now, you’ll soon drown in the dark, murky sea of wokeness.

Second news item

“Cuomo never let me forget I was a woman”:

Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body — on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist — often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion.

He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go. He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture…I was wrong to believe this experience would last for just a moment. Keeping his grip on me as I practically squirmed to get away from him, the governor turned my body to face a different direction for yet another picture. He never let go of my hand.

Then he turned to me with a mischievous smile on his face, in front of all of my colleagues, and said: “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.”

I stood there in stunned silence, shocked and humiliated. But, of course, that was the point.

I never thought the governor wanted to have sex with me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about power. He wanted me to know that I was powerless, that I was small and weak, that I did not deserve what relative power I had: a platform to hold him accountable for his words and actions. He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist.

Wolves look for easy prey. And young, inexperienced women are most easily devoured.

Cuomo today:

“I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said in an afternoon conference call with reporters. He instead tried to cast doubt on the women who have accused him of harassment.

“I did not do what has been alleged, period,” he said. “I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives, but I can tell you as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation, and that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision.”

Cuomo, though, was defiant on Friday, at times beyond reasonable belief. In the Friday call, he compared to the calls for him to resign to “cancel culture.” He suggested he was not “part of the political club,” only minutes before acknowledging he’s been in politics since he was 23 years old and working for his father.

“I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone, and I never would,” Cuomo said. “Now, it is possible that I’ve taken a picture with a person who after the fact says they were uncomfortable with the pose in the picture? Yes. And that’s what you’re hearing about.”

Cancel his ass and kick him to the curb. Between the nursing home deaths and groping women, he deserves it. As of now, there has been public testimony from five accusers. New York Attorney General Letitia James is proceeding with an inquiry into the allegations against Cuomo.

Jake Tapper reminds us that “there are 19 House Democrats from New York, and sixteen of them have called on Gov. Cuomo to resign. As have the two Senators, one of whom just so happens to be Senate Majority Leader Schumer.”

Third news item

Cancel this idiot too and kick him to the curb:

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said in an interview aired Friday that he never felt threatened during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot because the mob was made up of “people that loved this country” instead of Black Lives Matter protesters. Speaking on the Joe Pags Show on AM radio, Johnson said, “I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned. Had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matters and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

The Republican Party needs to strongly condemn Johnson for this. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

Reminder: it was reported that nearly 140 police officers were injured in the violent siege at the Capitol. Three police officers died after the rioting (two committed suicide, there is an ongoing investigation into the third officer’s death).

Fourth news item

Maybe actually serve before you mock those who do:

The president noted that some work would be done to retain female recruits, including “designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits [and] updating requirements for their hairstyles.”

[Tucker] Carlson ridiculed the remarks on his Tuesday night program.

“So, we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military,” he said. The longtime television journalist also made a comparison between the American military and Chinese military.

“China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”

A former Navy SEAL would like a word:

Fifth news item

Asians living in fear:

An assault on an Asian woman in San Jose is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The victim of the attack at San Jose’s Diridon train station Wednesday morning is sharing her story on the alleged hate crime and assault.

The victim named Tiffany, a 26-year-old medical worker from San Jose, said she was tossed around and dragged as the suspect shouted expletives calling her out for being Asian.

At 6:30 a.m., Tiffany was her way to work in Palo Alto and poised to board a train. She said she was inside the tunnel when a man approached her from behind, grabbed her neck, pulled her hair and started cursing.

“He was saying f-u, f-u Asian, this is completely bull,” said Tiffany. “All while he was keeping me on the ground with his grip on my hair.

“He made his way to the back of my head and just pulled me back and tossing me from front to back and side to side,” said Tiffany.

Related:

A disturbing trend of violence against Asian Americans continued after a grandmother from Westchester was attacked while walking on a sidewalk Tuesday night.

Nancy Toh says her assailant came up to her — nose-to-nose, then cocked his head back and spit in her face.

Toh closed her eyes, and that’s when he punched her right in her nose.

She fell to the ground, hit the back of her head and was knocked unconscious.

Eventually a good Samaritan saw her lying there and came to her aid.

When she opened her eyes, she was covered in her own blood and drenched in her pain.

“Bleeding lots from the brain. Looks like pumping out,” Toh said.

New York City has seen a recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, but Toh’s daughter says she didn’t think it was so close to home.

More:

An Asian woman who was holding a baby in Fresh Meadows Tuesday was allegedly spat at by a man who also shouted out a racist remark, police said.

The hateful act, in what appears to be the latest anti-Asian incident to take place in the city, has been condemned by U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The 25-year-old woman was approached by the racist in the vicinity of 186th Street and Peck Avenue at around 10.30 a.m. before he allegedly spat in her direction and yelled “Chinese virus.”

The woman was spat at three times but the saliva did not make contact with her, police said.

It’s quite possible that the bigoted followers from which a former president galvanized support by using terms like “Kung-flu” and “Wuhan virus” are acting out on their worst impulses.

Sixth news items

Covid vaccine no-go:

An NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Thursday shows a potentially big problem in getting the country back to normal, with large members of these groups saying they will refuse any vaccine (ranked from highest to lowest percentage).

Republican men: 49%.

Trump supporters: 47%.

Republicans: 41%.

White men without a college degree: 40%.

White evangelicals: 38%.

Nearly 35 million. That’s how many Trump voters wouldn’t get the vaccine if the polling turns out to be correct, representing almost 17% of the adult population.

Former President Donald Trump released a statement this week urging Americans to get the vaccine give him the glory for the vaccine:

“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is unwilling to do the easiest thing in the world to help persuade Trump supporters to get the vaccine. For godsake, bite the bullet and just say it, Jan. You won’t die if you say it, but others might if you don’t:

Seventh news item

The word the Biden administration can’t bring themselves to say is “crisis”:

Biden administration officials said Friday they do not have the ability to quickly add thousands of shelter beds to care for the record numbers of migrant teens and children stuck in crowded Border Patrol stations, as the new administration struggles to care for the soaring number of families and unaccompanied minors crossing from Mexico each day.

On Thursday night, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent an urgent email to senior staff asking for volunteers quickly to deploy to US border stations and tent sites where holding cells are crammed beyond capacity.

“This situation mandates immediate action to protect the life and safety of federal personnel and the aliens in custody,” wrote Michael Meade, ICE’s acting assistant director for field operations, in an email obtained by The Washington Post.

“Start and end dates are TBD, but could begin as soon as this weekend at locations along the SWB, most likely Texas,” Meade wrote, referring to the southwest border. He also told staff the emergency conditions could persist, adding, “It is anticipated that the enforcement actions will continue to grow over the coming months.”

Miscellaneous

So cool:

To Be In Love by Gwendolyn Brooks:

To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
When he
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

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