Here and Now

February 12, 2020

I watched the Super Bowl last week over at Lefty’s house, along with a 100 million or so others here in the states and, probably, tens of millions more worldwide. I made a point of getting to Lefty’s precisely at kickoff, wanting desperately to miss the four hours of repetitious and wearisome ...

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Manny and his wife, Tina, live in a small Tudor-style house, a 10-minute walk from Yonkers Raceway.  Manny bought the house in the mid-1980s, soon after retiring as a cop. For most of his years on the force, Manny worked a beat on 138th Street in the Bronx, an area, at that time, nicknamed “Fort ...

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Over the last 20 years or so, as my knees and back have become increasingly incapable of tolerating the pounding of jogging, I’ve transitioned to Nordic walking. Nordic walking is much like cross-country skiing but without the snow. Enthusiasts use specially designed ski poles or trekking ...

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In an announcement made last week, Donald Trump, playing to the uncompromising interests of his most ardent supporters (85 percent of Republicans reject that climate change is a serious problem that requires action), promised the world that on the day after the next presidential election, Nov. 4, ...

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In this neck of the woods, Republicans seem to automatically vote for members of their own party, thus serving their ideological, religious and economic interests regardless of the issues at hand or the character of the candidates.  And relatively few Republican voters question on an ongoing ...

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Sixteen-year-old climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg, in a gut-wrenching, emotion-filled address to world leaders at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, in New York, last month, spoke these powerful words:  “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on ...

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In late August of 1969, many of my friends, including several war vets recently home from Vietnam, hitched their way up from the city to the music festival at Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, N.Y. Some danced naked in the rain and smoked pot, a few dropped acid, all were absorbed in the music and ...

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As expected, the column I wrote a few weeks back accusing Donald Trump of being a racist generated several angry rejoinders from his most ardent fans and a rather nasty one from Floyd (not his real name). Floyd, you may remember, is the reader who becomes especially hostile when I call Trump out ...

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At its meeting on July 2, the Putnam County Legislature unexpectedly voted to amend its Code of Ethics, further prohibiting the disclosure of “confidential materials.” The resolution will put a gag on the availability of detailed information—some of which may be vital—that relates to how the ...

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Each time I write a column about Donald Trump, the heated texts from Floyd (not his real name) start coming, accusing me of being hateful and unfair. Floyd is especially reactive when I call out Trump for his economic and immigration policies, which I consider racist and discriminatory. Floyd ...

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It is highly doubtful that Donald Trump will be impeached and removed from office during his first term as president. It is also becoming more doubtful that this grandiose businessman-turned-politician will leave office amicably, should he not be re-elected.  Since assuming office, Trump has ...

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In 2017, the United States endured 15 disasters—two floods, seven severe storms, three tropical cyclones, one widespread drought and numerous wildfires that destroyed more than a million acres of land.  Losses were in the billions and, collectively, 323 lives were lost. Unprecedented natural ...

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Abortion-rights groups are up-in-arms, challenging newly enacted statutes in several Southern and Midwestern states that restrict a woman’s right to choose.  Right-to-life groups, however, welcome the challenges. Their goal is to have Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court and then, if ...

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It is highly doubtful that Donald Trump will be impeached and removed from office during his first term as president. It is also becoming more doubtful that this grandiose businessman-turned-politician will leave office amicably, should he not be re-elected.  Since assuming office, Trump has ...

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The mindset of women in the pro-life movement who deny choices to other women is incomprehensible to me. Rummaging through an exhibit on spirituality at Barnes & Noble a few weeks back, I came across an interesting-looking book called “Radical Spirit: Twelve Ways to Live a Free and Authentic ...

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“I believe our biggest threat is our declining labor force,” said Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican, in his annual budget address this year. “It’s the root of every problem we face.” The Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a think tank for the high-tech industry, released a study last month ...

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Americans should be happier today than ever before. The economy is booming; unemployment is at a 50-year low; living standards are on the rise, as are income levels; and crime rates are nearing an all-time low. However, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report, sponsored by the United ...

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I seem to run into Frank (not his real name) a little too often. He’s a retired construction foreman and ardent Trump supporter, originally hailing from upstate New York. Frank does some handyman work for a few neighbors in the area and recently bought, with a friend of his, a fixer-upper in ...

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According to a recent Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll, about half of all Americans support a racially and ethnically diverse vision of the United States. However, there are sharp divisions among political parties. Sixty-five percent of Democrats prefer a racially and ethnically ...

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A review of several recent presidential opinion polls shows Donald Trump’s approval ratings—one month after his botched “build the wall” government shutdown fiasco—at just over 40 percent, consistent with his core Republican support. The Washington Post/ABC News poll was more extensive. It not ...

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“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope,” said Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old climate activist, as she delivered a speech in January to prominent leaders and financiers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  “But I don’t want your hope,” the Swedish teenager ...

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Over the last two years, I’ve had a running correspondence with a couple of readers who are avid Trump supporters. We text, email, and sometimes use funny emojis—all in good spirit.  They zealously believe that Trump is the best thing since “white bread.”  I like raisin pumpernickel and have a keen ...

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According to the American Lung Association, over 150 million Americans live in areas where smog and soot particles lead to unhealthy levels of pollution. For almost half of all Americans, simply breathing can be dangerous. Polluted air makes our eyes burn, irritates our nose and throat, and ...

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One of my favorite trips is to take the ferry—with a couple of grandchildren in tow—to Staten Island (which, by the way, is free). We sit near the bow of the boat enjoying the breeze, and on the starboard side, not only to relish the warmth of the sun but to appreciate the inspiring view, as we ...

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Conceived by those who were distrustful of unconstrained majorities, the Constitution incorporates a series of political checks and balances.  The most crucial are the checks that the Legislative Branch might place upon the president. Over the past two years, Republican majorities in the House ...

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In his farewell address upon retiring as president of the United States, George Washington cautioned Americans of the political dangers they must avoid if they are to remain true to their values. Considered a classic statement of republicanism, Washington warned of the threat from a two-party ...

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Donald J. Trump is the embodiment of the Republican Party. Though not all Republicans are racist, too many tolerate and indulge Trump’s blatantly bigoted and hateful views. Though not all Republicans are misogynists, too many disregard Trump’s seedy past and turn a blind eye towards his ...

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It is frequently said that all politics is local, but elections around the country this year are challenging that notion. Democratic candidates running in typically Republican-held districts have been attempting to sidestep President Trump’s controversial comments and are focusing, instead, on his ...

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Colin Kaepernick, a tall, lean, biracial athlete, is the most polarizing symbol of racial injustice in American sports today. Scorned by some, but appreciated by many, Kaepernick is being called “the Muhammad Ali of his generation.”  Ali, you may remember, is considered an American hero, not ...

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In late June, I was asked to give a short talk, introducing myself to a community organization I had recently joined, one that does philanthropic work here and around the world.  I spoke about growing up in the Bronx and described some of the most interesting jobs I’d had before serving in the ...

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