Provide Biden a Chance? On Covid Aid, Some Trump Voters Just Might

#masthead-section-label, #masthead-bar-one { display: none }Biden’s Stimulus PlanDetails of the PlanReconciliation, ExplainedA $15 Minimum WageWhere Trump Voters StandWhat’s NextAdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyGive Biden a Chance? On Covid Aid, Some Trump Voters Just MightRepublican leaders in Washington firmly oppose the president’s stimulus plan, but a sizable number of Trump voters support it, interviews and polls show.President Biden discussed his recovery plan at the White House on Monday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesFeb. 25, 2021In Washington, Republicans stand united in opposition to President Biden’s first major legislative proposal, a $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan that they have labeled a bloated, budget-busting “blue state bailout.”But in rural Maine, Anthony McGill, a self-identified conservative Republican, describes the bill as something else entirely: “Most of it sounds like a good idea,” he said.While Mr. McGill doesn’t agree with all the provisions, he supports the central thrust of the bill — another round of direct stimulus payments to nearly all Americans.“There’s a lot of people that could use those checks. I don’t know about needing them, but we could all use them,” said Mr. McGill, 52, who voted for former President Donald J. Trump in November. “The debt is so far out of hand that it’s a fantasy number at this point. We might as well just blow it out till everything collapses.”As Democrats prepare to vote as soon as Friday to pass the relief package in the House, Republican elected officials are struggling to overcome intraparty divides over whether to embrace the major pieces of the proposal — as well as to reconcile with the fact that many Republican voters support the plan. While Democrats are working swiftly to move their bill, Republicans are consumed by sideshows like false claims of voter fraud and what they call cancel culture, which are two major themes of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, starting on Friday in Orlando, Fla.The lack of a unified Republican economic message reflects an unsettled party that is unable to agree on how to chart a path through a Democratic-controlled Washington. While congressional Republicans take a scattershot approach to try to undermine the legislation, mayors and governors in their party push for the plan, saying their states and cities need the federal aid to keep police officers on their beats, reopen schools and help small businesses. Polling shows a significant number of Republican voters agree: More than four in 10 Republicans back Mr. Biden’s aid package, according to polling from the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times. Over all, 72 percent of Americans said they supported the bill, a number that includes 97 percent of Democrats.Interviews with more than two dozen Trump voters across the country found little consensus on fundamental questions that are central to the party’s future: Who won the election? Who should lead the G.O.P.? And how much should Republicans try to work with the new administration?“There are things about President Biden that do concern me, but I’ve been told he’s kind of a moderate as far as Democrats go,” said Kelly Alexander, 62, a self-described right-wing conservative who owns a seasonal takeout restaurant in Mackinaw City, Mich. “He’s our president. We need to give him a chance and not pick him apart for no good reason.”That isn’t the advice Robert Holland, a retiree from Rockland, Maine, would give to Republican leaders in Washington.“Biden and the Democrats are a bunch of stupid fools,” he said. “And the Republicans better get some spine and stop rolling over for them.”That disconnect over basic political strategy mirrors larger divisions within a party led for four years by a president who shredded mainstream conservative ideology on issues including the national debt, foreign policy and trade.While Mr. Trump moved a portion of the party’s base away from some of the right-wing economic orthodoxies that had characterized Republicanism for decades, he offered little in the form of a unified doctrine as a replacement. Republicans chose not to adopt a new platform at their national convention last year, instead simply carrying over the one from 2016, and Mr. Trump failed to articulate a second-term policy agenda as he campaigned for re-election.Former President Donald J. Trump’s embrace of federal spending has complicated Republican opposition to direct stimulus payments for Americans. Mr. Trump upended traditional fiscal conservatism about the size of the debt and the deficit. Credit…Travis Dove for The New York TimesDuring his final weeks in office, he demanded that Congress more than triple the stimulus payments included in a December relief plan, a surprise maneuver that undermined Senate Republicans who had spent months opposing such spending. The current legislation would include another round of stimulus payments at $1,400 per person, an amount some Senate Republicans say is too high.Mr. Trump’s embrace of federal spending has complicated that messaging, downplaying traditional fiscal conservative concerns about the size of the debt and the deficit. This month, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah argued that it was disingenuous for Republicans to raise such concerns considering their recent record. The national debt increased by about $7.8 trillion during Mr. Trump’s term, rising to the highest level since World War II. The surge was partly because of the economic stimulus passed during the pandemic, but also because of the $1.5 trillion unpaid-for tax cut bill in 2017 and Mr. Trump’s unfettered spending.“When we had a Republican president and House and Senate, we kept on spending massively and adding almost a trillion dollars a year to the national debt,” Mr. Romney told the “Utah Politics” podcast. “Now we say, ‘This is outrageous, adding so much to the debt’?” Mr. Romney, who helped write the December stimulus bill, has argued that Mr. Biden’s legislation is a “clunker” that would waste money.Some Republicans share those concerns. Sean Wiley, who voted twice for Mr. Trump and describes himself as a conservative libertarian, said the government needed to provide assistance to people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic but argued that the current package was too large.Now that more people are being vaccinated and the country is getting back to work, he said, there’s not as much need for a big government stimulus. Mr. Wiley, 52, who lives in Secane, Pa., and builds transmissions for racing cars, said he worried that the Biden bill would unnecessarily add to the national debt.“We’ve kind of mortgaged the future on this,” he said.Yet, polling indicates that a notable portion of the Republican base is far more open to the bill. Last month, more than two-thirds of Republicans said they supported increasing individual payments to $2,000 from $600, which Mr. Trump had proposed but Senate Republicans had rejected. Nearly seven in 10 Republicans said it was important for the current bill to include $1,400 direct checks, according to the SurveyMonkey poll.Many Republican voters who expressed concerns about the size of the stimulus package said they didn’t oppose the direct payments but worried about what they saw as extraneous provisions — like a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and $350 billion in aid for state and local governments.“People need help right now, and I’m OK with my tax dollars doing that — I’d help feed my neighbors if they needed it,” said Melissa Karn, 53, a Trump voter from the Phoenix suburbs. “But I am not on board with sending money to rebuild and bail out cities that have not been run very well for years.”Ms. Karn and other Trump supporters find little to like among their leaders in Congress who are making the same arguments, preferring the bombastic, burn-it-down style of the former president. They praised Republicans closely aligned with Mr. Trump, like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, and offered scorn for those he has clashed with, like Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.“It’s like the Republican establishment doesn’t have any common sense,” said Tara Davis, 40, a foster mother in Burlington, N.C. “We’re finding out all this money that’s just been wasted and they couldn’t give people $2,000?”People lined up to receive donations from a food pantry in a Queens neighborhood in New York City.Credit…James Estrin/The New York TimesShe added: “It’s sickening. Anyone that the establishment hates, that’s who I like.”Judy Betty, a Republican and retired principal from Marana, Ariz., said she mostly opposed another round of stimulus payments but felt let down by congressional Republicans who she thinks didn’t fully investigate fraud claims surrounding the election — charges that were repeatedly shown to be baseless.“I don’t know about the Republican Party, it’s really gotten weird,” she said. “Everything is a lie. I think that is what Trump revealed for a lot of us who were open to him. This whole government is crap.”Sharon Tomski, 59, a teacher at a Catholic high school in the Milwaukee suburbs, said she believed that any stimulus plan should be targeted for those who lost income as a result of the pandemic. A self-described conservative, Ms. Tomski expressed little desire for the Republican Party to return to an era of fiscal austerity, even as she raised concerns about the possibility that Mr. Trump would again run for the White House.“I’d prefer he just goes away and lets someone else with his philosophy run,” Ms. Tomski said as she shopped at Bed Bath & Beyond in Waukesha. “I think he’s too polarizing of a figure and needs to hand the baton to someone else.”Ms. Tomski is unlikely to get her wish anytime soon. Mr. Trump is headlining the conservative conference on Sunday afternoon, an effort to keep control of the party firmly in his grasp. While his presence may buoy a large swath of Republicans, it’s likely to turn off independents and any moderates who supported the former president.Patricia Dorenbosch, a Republican retiree from Henderson, Nev., said she was turned off by Mr. Trump’s actions after the election, blaming him for stoking the attack on the Capitol and pushing baseless claims about voter fraud. She appreciates the new leadership emerging from Washington, even if it comes from a man she voted against.“I’m pleased so far — I really am surprised, but I am. I agree with a lot of things Biden is doing,” said Ms. Dorenbosch, 75, who supported Mr. Trump. “We don’t have a lot of this blowhard kind of attitude. We’re not attacking people so much.”Kay Nolan

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In an exceedingly Covid I. C. Oughout., Through a Nurse' s Eye

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyOpinionSupported byContinue reading the main storyDeath, Through a Nurse’s EyesA short film offering a firsthand perspective of the brutality of the pandemic inside a Covid-19 I.C.U.Feb. 24, 2021Alexander Stockton and A short film offering a firsthand perspective of the brutality of the pandemic inside a Covid-19 I.C.U.The short film above allows you to experience the brutality of the pandemic from the perspective of nurses inside a Covid-19 intensive care unit.Opinion Video producer Alexander Stockton spent several days reporting at the Valleywise Medical Center in Phoenix. Two I.C.U. nurses wore cameras to show what it’s like to care for the sickest Covid patients a year into the pandemic.So many Americans have died in hospitals without family by their side, but they were not alone. Nurses brush patients’ teeth, change their catheters and hold their hands in their final moments.In just a year, we’ve lost half a million Americans to Covid-19. Vaccinations may be offering some relief, but inside I.C.U.s, nurses continue to contend with the trauma and grief of America’s carousel of death.Alexander Stockton (@AStocktonFilms) is a producer with Opinion Video.Lucy King (@King__Lucy) is a senior video journalist with Opinion Video.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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Mara Wilson: Britney Spears and I Discovered the Same Lesson About Fame

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyOpinionSupported byContinue reading the main storyThe Lies Hollywood Tells About Little GirlsBritney Spears and I learned the same lesson growing up: When you’re young and famous, there is no such thing as control.Ms. Wilson, an actor from age 5, appeared in many movies in the 1990s, including “Matilda” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.”Feb. 23, 2021The author in the 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire.”Credit…20th Century Fox, via Everett CollectionI spent my 13th birthday locked in a hotel room in Toronto.It was July 2000, and I was on a press tour to promote the movie “Thomas and the Magic Railroad.” I had been promised a day off for my birthday, but when I arrived from Los Angeles the night before, I learned I would be talking to reporters all day. Working on my birthday wasn’t new to me — I had celebrated my eighth birthday on the set of “Matilda” and my ninth filming “A Simple Wish” — but this was still disappointing. Aside from a nanny, I was alone.The next morning I got up, groggy from jet lag, and put on my best Forever 21 attire. Two press coordinators checked in before I started my interview: Did I want the air off, or a soda? I said I was fine — I didn’t want to get a reputation as a complainer. But when the journalist asked how I was feeling, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I told her the truth.I don’t know why I opened up to her. But I had never been good at hiding my feelings. (Acting, to me, is very different from lying.) And she seemed like she really cared.The next day, Canada’s newspaper of record put me on the front page of its entertainment section. The article began, “The interview hasn’t even begun with Mara Wilson, Child Star, and she’s complaining to her staff.”The article went on to describe me as a “spoiled brat” who was now “at midlife.” It described the dark paths child stars like me often went down. It embraced what I now refer to as “The Narrative,” the idea that anyone who grew up in the public eye will meet some tragic end.At 13, I already knew all about The Narrative. As an actor from the age of 5, who was carrying films by age 8, I’d been trained to seem, to be, as normal as possible — whatever it took to avoid my inevitable downfall. I shared a bedroom with my little sister. I went to public school. I was a Girl Scout. When someone called me a “star” I was to insist that I was an actor, that the only stars were in the sky. Nobody would touch the money I made until I turned 18. But I was now 13, and I was already ruined. Just like everyone expected.There’s one line from the article that jumps out at me now, amid the agents saying 12-year-olds needed to be “innocent-looking” and like an “Ivory Snow girl” to get cast and the lurid descriptions of child stars struggling with addiction. The writer had asked me what I thought of Britney Spears. Apparently, I replied that I “hated” her.I didn’t actually hate Britney Spears. But I would never have admitted to liking her. There was a strong streak of “Not Like the Other Girls” in me at the time, which feels shameful now — although hadn’t I had to believe that, when I’d spent so much of my childhood auditioning against so many other girls? Some of it was pure jealousy, that she was beautiful and cool in a way I’d never be. I think mostly, I had already absorbed the version of The Narrative surrounding her.Credit…Kevin Mazur/WireImage, via Getty ImagesThe way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now. Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them. Fortunately people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms. Spears and starting to apologize to her. But we’re still living with the scars.By 2000, Ms. Spears had been labeled a “Bad Girl.” Bad Girls, I observed, were mostly girls who showed any sign of sexuality. I followed the uproar over her Rolling Stone magazine cover story, where the first line described her “honeyed thigh,” and the furor on AOL message boards when her nipples showed through her shirt. I saw many teenage actresses and singers embracing sexuality as a rite of passage, appearing on the covers of lad mags or in provocative music videos. That was never going to be me, I decided.I had already been sexualized anyway, and I hated it. I mostly acted in family movies — the remake of “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Matilda,” “Mrs. Doubtfire.” I never appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress. This was all intentional: My parents thought I would be safer that way. But it didn’t work. People had been asking me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” in interviews since I was 6. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and photoshopped into child pornography. Every time, I felt ashamed.Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public.Mara Wilson in 2019.Credit…Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York TimesA big part of The Narrative is the assumption that famous kids deserve it. They asked for this by becoming famous and entitled, so it’s fine to attack them. In fact, The Narrative often has far less to do with the child than with the people around them. MGM was giving Judy Garland pills to stay awake and lose weight when she was in her early teens. The former child actress Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by an obsessed stalker. Drew Barrymore, who went to rehab as a young teenager, had an alcoholic father and a mother who took her to Studio 54 instead of school. And this doesn’t even begin to take into account the amount of abuse nonwhite actors, particularly Black actors, get from the public. Amandla Stenberg was harassed after being cast in “The Hunger Games” as a character that had been written as Black, but whom some readers of the book series had imagined as white.The saddest thing about Ms. Spears’s “breakdown” is that it never needed to happen. When she split with her husband, shaved her head and furiously attacked a paparazzi car with an umbrella, the Narrative was forced upon her, but the reality was she was a new mother dealing with major life changes. People need space, time and care to deal with those things. She had none of that.Many moments of Ms. Spears’s life were familiar to me. We both had dolls made of us, had close friends and boyfriends sharing our secrets and had grown men commenting on our bodies. But my life was easier not only because I was never tabloid-level famous, but because unlike Ms. Spears, I always had my family’s support. I knew that I had money put away for me, and it was mine. If I needed to escape the public eye, I vanished — safe at home or school.When the article that referred to me as a brat was published, my father was sympathetic. He reminded me to be more positive and gracious in interviews, but I could tell he also didn’t think it was fair. He knew I was more than what that journalist wrote about me. That helped me to know it too.Sometimes people ask me, “How did you end up OK?” Once, someone I’d considered a friend asked, with a big smile, “How does it feel to know you’ve peaked?” I didn’t know how to answer, but now I would say that’s the wrong question. I haven’t peaked, because for me, The Narrative isn’t a story someone else is writing anymore. I can write it myself.Mara Wilson (@MaraWilson) appeared in the movies “Matilda” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.”The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: [email protected] The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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Silly Punk Announces Breakup After twenty-eight Years

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyDaft Punk Announces Breakup After 28 YearsThe enigmatic, influential French electronic-music duo released four albums and collected six Grammys throughout a career marked by a disinterest in fame.The French electronic duo Daft Punk announced its end wordlessly, through music and iconography, in a YouTube video called “Epilogue.”Credit…Chad Batka for The New York TimesFeb. 22, 2021The enigmatic, pseudo-anonymous, retro-futuristic French electronic duo Daft Punk has broken up, the group announced on Monday in classic form — wordlessly, through music and iconography, in a YouTube video called “Epilogue.”A publicist for Daft Punk, Kathryn Frazier, confirmed the breakup and said there would be no further comment at this time.Founded by the former indie-rock bandmates Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter in Paris in 1993, Daft Punk went on to win six Grammy Awards (including album of the year for “Random Access Memories” in 2014); collaborate widely, with decade-spanning artists from Giorgio Moroder to the Weeknd; and influence countless other producers, D.J.s, rappers and pop stars with its devotion to mystique and its unique blend of house, techno, pop, disco and rock.“The duo’s defining balancing act has been breaking new ground while simultaneously invoking earlier golden ages of club music, like disco and 1980s electro-pop,” the critic Simon Reynolds wrote in The New York Times in 2013, when Daft Punk granted a rare interview.Since the late 1990s, the duo has presented itself as otherworldly and uninterested in the trappings of fame or celebrity, donning robot helmets that would become its trademark (Bangalter often in silver, de Homem-Christo in gold), and rarely saying anything at all.When the men collected their trophy for “Random Access Memories” at the Grammys — one of four they won that night, bringing their career total to six — the musicians Paul Williams and Nile Rodgers, who worked on the album, spoke instead.In the “Epilogue” video announcing Daft Punk’s demise, which was taken in part from the group’s 2006 film “Electroma,” the two members are seen walking together in the desert in matching motorcycle jackets.When they come face to face, the one in the silver helmet removes his jacket, which is adorned with the Daft Punk logo, and the other presses a button on his back that starts a 60-second timer. As it counts down, he walks away, never looking back, and is then blown apart, breaking into pieces that resemble a machine more than a man of flesh and blood.The song “Touch,” from “Random Access Memories,” begins playing — “Hold on,” go the lyrics, “if love is the answer, you’re home” — as the remaining bandmate walks into the sunset. The years 1993 to 2021 flash on the screen.Daft Punk released its debut album, “Homework,” on Virgin Records in 1997, finding unlikely international hits in “Da Funk” and “Around the World.” The duo’s follow-up, “Discovery,” came out in 2001 and included singles like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (later sampled by Kanye West) and “One More Time.” In 2005, the group released “Human After All,” touring extensively in the two years after, including a memorable performance atop an elaborate light-up pyramid at Coachella in 2006 that was Daft Punk’s first concert in the United States in nearly a decade. A live album from this period, “Alive 2007,” later won the Grammy for best electronic/dance album.In the years that followed, even as its myth grew and so-called E.D.M. D.J.s and producers became a billion-dollar business, Daft Punk retreated somewhat from the sample-based dance music it helped popularize. For “Random Access Memories,” which would be released by a new label, Columbia Records, the group used renowned session players and sought to make “every sound from scratch, creating a sonic world from the ground up,” Bangalter told The Times.“In some ways it’s like we’re running on a highway going the opposite direction to everybody else,” he said, adding: “Computers were never designed in the first place to become musical instruments.”“Get Lucky,” the album’s lead single featuring Pharrell Williams, would go on to become the group’s most successful song to date, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Daft Punk later achieved its first and only career No. 1 as guests on “Starboy” by the Weeknd, which they performed (along with another collaboration, “I Feel It Coming”) at the Grammys in 2017. It would be their final show.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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‘I Am Worth It’: Why A large number of Doctors in America Can’t Get a Work

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main story‘I Am Worth It’: Why Thousands of Doctors in America Can’t Get a JobMedical schools are producing more graduates, but residency programs haven’t kept up, leaving thousands of young doctors “chronically unmatched” and deep in debt.Dr. Kristy Cromblin of Pratville, Ala.: “I’ve had to encourage myself over and over: I am worth it. I am useful. I am damn good.”Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York TimesFeb. 19, 2021Dr. Kristy Cromblin knew that as the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college, making it to medical school might seem like an improbable dream. Her parents watched in proud disbelief as she inched closer to that goal, enrolling in a medical school in Barbados and enlisting in the military with plans to serve one day as a flight surgeon.Then came an unexpected hurdle: A contentious divorce led Dr. Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons. In 2012, she returned for her final year, excited to complete her exams and apply for residency, the final step in her training.But no one had told Dr. Cromblin that hospital residency programs, which have been flooded with a rising number of applications in recent years, sometimes use the Electronic Residency Application Service software program to filter out various applications, whether they’re from students with low test scores or from international medical students. Dr. Cromblin had passed all her exams and earned her M.D., but was rejected from 75 programs. In the following years, as she kept applying, she learned that some programs filter out applicants who graduated from medical school more than three years earlier. Her rejection pile kept growing. She is now on unemployment, with $250,000 in student loans.“There are times you question your worth,” Dr. Cromblin, 43, said. “You wonder if you’re useless. I’ve had to encourage myself over and over: I am worth it. I am useful. I am damn good.”Dr. Cromblin is one of as many as 10,000 chronically unmatched doctors in the United States, people who graduated from medical school but are consistently rejected from residency programs. The National Resident Matching Program promotes its high match rate, with 94 percent of American medical students matching into residency programs last year on Match Day, which occurs annually on the third Friday in March. But the match rate for Americans who study at medical schools abroad is far lower, with just 61 percent matching into residency spots.Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a study that found that the country would face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033, a prospect made all the more alarming as hospitals confront the possibility of fighting future crises similar to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O.; without residency experience, they do not qualify for licensure in any state.Residency directors say that although they are committed to diversity and consider many factors beyond test scores, they sometimes use filters in sifting through applications because they receive thousands of applications for just a handful of spots. “Nobody has the time or desire to read this many applications,” wrote Dr. Suzanne Karan, an anesthesiologist at the University of Rochester, in a 2019 blog post. “It makes my job a lot easier when I can filter your applications by M.D./D.O./foreign graduate.”But Dr. William W. Pinsky, the chief executive of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which credentials graduates of international medical schools, said residency directors who down-rank medical students from abroad were missing out on opportunities to diversify their programs.“I understand program directors have to do what they have to do,” Dr. Pinsky said. “But if they put on a filter to leave out international graduates, they’re cheating themselves.”Aspiring to helpThe pool of unmatched doctors began to grow in 2006 when the Association of American Medical Colleges called on medical schools to increase their first-year enrollment by 30 percent; the group also called for an increase in federally supported residency positions, but those remained capped under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act in 2019 to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions available for eligible medical school graduates by 3,000 per year over a period of five years, but it has not received a vote. In late December, Congress passed a legislative package creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over the next five years.Dr. Adaira Landry, an emergency physician in Boston, said of all the young doctors she had mentored, those who went unmatched were the most challenging to assist: “They want to be part of our health care system,” she said. “But they have this boulder blocking them.”At some point, Dr. Saideh Farahmandnia lost count of the number of residency rejection emails she had received. Still, she could remember the poignant feeling of arriving in 2005 at Ross School of Medicine in Dominica, thinking she was “the luckiest person in the world.” She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted. When she passed her licensing exams, she ecstatically called her parents to tell them they had raised a doctor.Dr. Saideh Farahmandnia of Sacramento, Calif.: “At the end, you’re left with $300,000 in student loans and a degree that took so much of your life and precious time with your mother.”Credit…Salgu Wissmath for The New York TimesAfter medical school, she spent two years doing research with a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford, thinking it would make her residency applications more competitive. But she applied to 150 residency programs, from rural to urban community hospitals, and received 150 rejections. She kept applying every year until 2015, when her mother died suddenly and she took a break to grieve.“You leave your family to follow your passion and promise you’re going to help the country that adopted you,” Dr. Farahmandnia, 41, said. “At the end, you’re left with $300,000 in student loans and a degree that took so much of your life and precious time with your mother.”The average medical school debt for students graduating in 2019 was $201,490, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students who match into residency positions soon advance and become attending physicians, making an average of nearly $200,000 a year. But unmatched students are left scrambling to find other areas of work that can help them repay their debts.Dr. Douglas Medina, who graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2011 and has been unable to match, says he pays at least $220 each month in loans, though some are now paused. “Just a couple of weeks ago I tried to decide between student loans or a stroller for the baby that’s coming,” he said. “It’s not just our careers being ruined, it’s our families.”‘The cold smack of reality’Students graduating from American colleges choose to go to medical school abroad for many reasons. Some have test-taking anxiety and prefer to apply to schools that don’t rely on MCAT scores for admission; others are attracted by the warmth and adventure promised by schools based in the Caribbean, which tend to have acceptance rates that are 10 times as high as those of American schools.But many applicants, especially those coming from families unfamiliar with the intricacies of medical training, say they aren’t warned of the low match rates for international medical students.“When I graduated, I got the cold smack of reality that all my credentials don’t matter, because you’re not getting past that match algorithm,” said Kyle, an international medical school graduate who asked that only his given name be used because he is reapplying for residency after an initial rejection.Most frustrating, Kyle said, is being unable to work when he is aware of the urgent need for Black physicians like himself, especially in places like Atlanta, where he was raised. “It really hurts, because everyone thinks I should be a doctor,” he said. “They saw me pass my tests, they celebrated with me.”Dr. Pinsky of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates said that the organization was working with the World Directory of Medical Schools to ensure that international schools described their credentials in a more clear and honest way.“Unfortunately, there are schools that perhaps exaggerate a bit on their websites in terms of the success of their graduating students,” Dr. Pinsky said.The 61 percent match rate for international students may understate the problem, some experts say, because it does not account for medical students who receive no interview offers. With those students included, the match rate for international medical students may drop as low as 50 percent.Residency program directors said that in recent years they had increased their efforts to look at candidates holistically. “Straight A’s in college and perfect test scores does not a perfect applicant make,” said Dr. Susana Morales, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “We’re interested in diversity of background, geographic diversity.”Standing on the sidelinesSome international medical students struggling to match have looked for alternative pathways into medical work. Arkansas and Missouri are among the states that offer assistant physician licenses for people who have completed their licensing exams but have not completed residency. Unmatched doctors, eager to use their clinical skills to help in the pandemic, said that they had found the opportunity to serve as assistant physicians particularly meaningful during the crisis.After she failed a first attempt at a licensing exam, then passed on her second try, Dr. Faarina Khan, 30, found herself shut out of the matching process. Over the past five years, she has spent more than $30,000 in residency application fees. But with an assistant physician license, she was able to join the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the spring, helping out in medical facilities where staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.“Hospitals need to realize that there are people in my position who could show up to work in the next hour if we’re called,” Dr. Khan said. “I didn’t go to medical school to sit on the sidelines.”Legislation allowing for similar licensure is being considered in a handful of states. This position typically pays about $55,000 per year — much less than a physician might earn — which makes it challenging to pay off loans, but it allows for medical school graduates to keep up with their clinical training.Dr. Cromblin, in Prattville, Ala., felt a similar urge to join the Covid-19 frontline in the spring. She had defaulted on a loan and had little in her bank account, but as soon as she received her stimulus check she bought a plane ticket to New York. She spent the month of April volunteering with the medical staff at Jamaica Medical Center in Queens.She applied again for residency positions this year, although she says her sons have a hard time believing that their mother will ever become a practicing doctor.“Every time I get a rejection letter, I go through my positive affirmations,” she said. “I say, ‘There’s a place for me, this just isn’t the one.’”AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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New york D. A. Recruits Top Prosecutor for Trump Inquiry

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyManhattan D.A. Recruits Top Prosecutor for Trump InquiryThe Manhattan district attorney has enlisted a former federal prosecutor who is an expert on white-collar crime to join the team investigating the Trump family business.Donald J. Trump, seen here on the last day of his presidency, is the focus of at least two state criminal investigations. Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York TimesWilliam K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Feb. 18, 2021As the Manhattan district attorney’s office steps up the criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump, it has reached outside its ranks to enlist a prominent former federal prosecutor to help scrutinize financial dealings at the former president’s company, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.The former prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, has deep experience investigating and defending white-collar and organized crime cases, bolstering the team under District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. that is examining Mr. Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization.The investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, is focused on possible tax and bank-related fraud, including whether the Trump Organization misled its lenders or local tax authorities about the value of his properties to obtain loans and tax benefits, the people with knowledge of the matter said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation. Mr. Trump has maintained he did nothing improper and has long railed against the inquiry, calling it a politically motivated “witch hunt.”In recent months, Mr. Vance’s office has broadened the long-running investigation to include an array of financial transactions and Trump properties — including Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, various Trump hotels and the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County — as prosecutors await a ruling from the United States Supreme Court that could give them access to Mr. Trump’s tax returns.The prosecutors have also interviewed a number of witnesses and have issued more than a dozen new subpoenas, including to one of Mr. Trump’s top lenders, Ladder Capital, the people with knowledge of the matter said.In addition, investigators subpoenaed a company hired by Mr. Trump’s other main lender, Deutsche Bank, to assess the value of certain Trump properties, one of the people with knowledge of the previously unreported subpoenas said.Months earlier, Mr. Vance’s office had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank itself, The New York Times previously reported. More recently, Deutsche Bank employees provided testimony to Mr. Vance’s office about the bank’s relationship with the Trump Organization, a person briefed on the matter said.Still, despite the burst of investigative activity, prosecutors have said the tax returns and other financial records are vital to their inquiry — and the Supreme Court has delayed a final decision for months.Manhattan prosecutors have also subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to tax deductions on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which appear to have gone to the former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump.The Trump Organization turned over some of those records last month, though the prosecutors have questioned whether the company has fully responded to the subpoena, the people with knowledge of the matter said.Mr. Trump won an acquittal in his second impeachment trial last week, but remains the focus of at least two state criminal investigations. Besides the inquiry in Manhattan, prosecutors in Georgia are scrutinizing Mr. Trump’s effort to persuade local officials to undo the election results there. His departure from office has left him without the shield from indictment that the presidency provided.The Manhattan district attorney’s office has not accused Mr. Trump of wrongdoing and it remains unclear whether Mr. Vance, whose term ends in January, will ultimately bring charges against Mr. Trump or any Trump Organization employees.The Trump Organization declined to comment, but in the past, lawyers for the company have said that its practices complied with the law and have called the investigation a “fishing expedition.”Mr. Pomerantz, 69, was sworn in earlier this month to serve as a special assistant district attorney, according to Danny Frost, a spokesman for the district attorney, who otherwise declined to comment on the inquiry. Mr. Pomerantz will work solely on the Trump investigation.The hiring of an outsider is a highly unusual move for a prosecutor’s office, but the two-and-a-half-year investigation of the former president and his family business is unusually complex. And Mr. Vance, whose office has had a few missteps in other white-collar cases, had already hired FTI, a large consulting company, to help analyze Mr. Trump’s financial records.Prosecutors are scrutinizing whether the Trump Organization artificially inflated the value of some of his signature properties to obtain the best possible loans, while simultaneously lowballing the property values to reduce property taxes, the people with knowledge of the matter said. The prosecutors are also looking at the Trump Organization’s statements to insurance companies about the value of various assets.The Trump Organization’s lawyers are likely to argue to prosecutors that it could not have duped sophisticated financial institutions that did their own analysis of Mr. Trump’s properties without relying on what Mr. Trump’s company told them. The company’s lawyers are also likely to emphasize that the practice of providing such differing valuations is widespread in New York’s real estate industry.Deutsche Bank has said it is cooperating with the investigation. A spokesman for Ladder Capital, which securitized the loans years ago and thus no longer owns them, declined to comment.Mr. Pomerantz, who has been helping with the case informally for months, has taken a temporary leave from the law firm Paul Weiss to join Mr. Vance’s office. Among other tasks, he will likely handle interactions with key witnesses.Mr. Vance also retained veteran constitutional lawyers to work on the briefs filed in the 18-month legal battle over the office’s subpoena for Mr. Trump’s tax returns and other financial records, which has twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was argued by Mr. Vance’s general counsel, Carey Dunne, who is helping to lead the investigation.The court could rule for a second time on the matter soon, potentially putting eight years of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax records and other documents in the hands of prosecutors for the first time, a development that Mr. Vance’s office has called central to its investigation.Mr. Pomerantz, a leading figure in the New York legal circles, clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld in Manhattan and Justice Potter Stewart on the Supreme Court. He then became a federal prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, where he rose to lead the appellate unit before leaving in 1982.In private practice, he developed a specialty in organized crime and was involved in a 1988 case that helped determine the legal definition of racketeering. His former law partner, Ronald P. Fischetti, estimated they tried nearly 25 cases that involved organized crime in some form or another.Mr. Pomerantz returned to the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office to head the criminal division between 1997 and 1999, overseeing major securities fraud and organized crime cases, perhaps most prominently against John A. Gotti, the Gambino boss.He later joined Paul Weiss, one of the best-known law firms in New York, where he defended Robert Torricelli, the New Jersey senator accused of campaign finance violations.“He worked both sides of the street, so he’s not going to be biased by virtue of temperament,” said Robert S. Litt, a former general counsel for the Director of National Intelligence, who has known Mr. Pomerantz since 1976.David Enrich

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Hurry Limbaugh, Talk Radio’s Provocateur, Passes away at 70

#masthead-section-label, #masthead-bar-one { display: none }Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021)ObituaryPresidential Medal of FreedomLimbaugh and Trump2008 ProfileAdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyRush Limbaugh Dies at 70; Turned Talk Radio Into a Right-Wing Attack MachineWith a following of 15 million and a divisive style of mockery, grievance and denigrating language, he was a force in reshaping American conservatism.Rush Limbaugh in 1994. For more than three decades he led attacks on liberals, Democrats, feminists, environmentalists and many others.Credit…Eddie Adams/Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at AustinRobert D. McFadden and Feb. 17, 2021Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, “feminazis” (his term) and other liberals while presaging the rise of Donald J. Trump, died on Wednesday at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 70.His wife, Kathryn, announced the death at the start of Mr. Limbaugh’s radio show, a decades-long destination for his flock of more than 15 million listeners. “I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,” she said, before adding that he had died that morning from complications of lung cancer.Mr. Limbaugh revealed a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer last February. A day later, Mr. Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during the State of the Union address.Since his emergence in the 1980s as one of the first broadcasters to take charge of a national political call-in show, Mr. Limbaugh transformed the once-sleepy sphere of talk radio into a relentless right-wing attack machine, his voice a regular feature of daily life — from homes to workplaces and the commute in between — for millions of devoted listeners.He became a singular figure in the American media, fomenting mistrust, grievances and even hatred on the right for Americans who did not share their views, and he pushed baseless claims and toxic rumors long before Twitter and Reddit became havens for such disinformation. In politics, he was not only an ally of Mr. Trump but also a precursor, combining media fame, right-wing scare tactics and over-the-top showmanship to build an enormous fan base and mount attacks on truth and facts.His conspiracy theories ranged from baldfaced lies about Barack Obama’s birthplace — the president “has yet to have to prove that he’s a citizen,” he said falsely in 2009 — to claims that Mr. Obama’s 2009 health care bill would empower “death panels” and “euthanize” elderly Americans. In the wake of last year’s election, he amplified Mr. Trump’s groundless claims of voter fraud; on President Biden’s Inauguration Day, during one of his final broadcasts, he insisted to listeners that the new administration had “not legitimately won it.”In 1995, in the days after the Oklahoma City bombing, President Bill Clinton denounced the “promoters of paranoia” on talk radio — remarks that were widely seen as aimed at Mr. Limbaugh.President Donald J. Trump awarded Mr. Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the Capitol.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times“We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other,” Mr. Clinton said. Mr. Limbaugh’s immense popularity had a profound effect on the country’s media landscape. Dozens of right-wing talkers cropped up on local radio stations emulating his divisive commentary. “There is no talk radio as we know it without Rush Limbaugh; it just doesn’t exist,” Sean Hannity, the conservative Fox News and talk-radio star, said in a tribute to Mr. Limbaugh on Wednesday. “I’d even make the argument, in many ways there’s no Fox News or even some of these other opinionated cable networks.”In the Limbaugh lexicon, advocates for the homeless were “compassion fascists,” women who defended abortion rights were “feminazis,” environmentalists were “tree-hugging wackos.” He called global warming a hoax and cruelly ridiculed Michael J. Fox, imitating the tremors that were a symptom of the actor’s Parkinson’s disease.When hundreds of thousands of Americans were dying of AIDS, Mr. Limbaugh ran a regular segment called “AIDS updates,” in which he mocked the deaths of gay men by playing Dionne Warwick’s recording of the song “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.” He later expressed regret for the segment, but he continued to make homophobic remarks over the years; in 2020, he dismissed the presidential bid of Pete Buttigieg by claiming that Americans would be repelled by a “gay guy kissing his husband onstage.”In 2012, Mr. Limbaugh lambasted Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she had testified at a congressional hearing in support of the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover contraceptives for women.“If we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it; we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” Mr. Limbaugh said. After he was denounced by President Obama and congressional leaders and companies pulled advertising from his show, Mr. Limbaugh issued a rare mea culpa, relying on one of his more common excuses: that his comments had been meant in good fun.“My choice of words was not the best,” he said, “and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”Living in LuxuryMr. Limbaugh presented himself as a tribune of blue-collar America even as his program made him fabulously rich. He collected $85 million a year and lived in a 24,000-square-foot oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach. (He sold his Manhattan apartment, on Fifth Avenue, in 2010.)Still, despite his enormous following in grass-roots Republican politics, he was often viewed as a sideshow of sorts by establishment conservatives. That ended in 2015 with the meteoric rise of Mr. Trump, a Limbaugh devotee who aped the radio host’s bombastic and demagoguing style on the campaign trail and quickly took command of the crowded Republican field for president.President George H. W. Bush with Rush Limbaugh in 1992.Credit…James Estrin/The New York TimesAfter Mr. Trump’s shock victory, Mr. Limbaugh sounded giddy on the air about his new ally in the White House. He hailed the president’s efforts to curtail Muslim immigration, cut taxes, promote American jobs, repeal Obamacare, raise military spending and dismantle environmental protections. As for opposition to the Trump agenda and allegations of Russian interference in the American elections in 2016, Mr. Limbaugh had a ready explanation.“This attack is coming from the shadows of the deep state, where former Obama employees remain in the intelligence community,” he said. “They are lying about things, hoping to make it easier for them and the Obama shadow government to eventually get rid of Trump.”Last year, as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the nation, Mr. Limbaugh pushed dangerous lies, at one point likening the coronavirus to the common cold. And in October, as Election Day neared and Mr. Trump recuperated from the virus himself, the president joined Mr. Limbaugh on the air for a two-hour “virtual rally,” largely devoted to his grievances.“We love you,” Mr. Limbaugh assured Mr. Trump on behalf of his listeners.Last month, Mr. Limbaugh tried to minimize Mr. Trump’s influence on his supporters who had attacked the United States Capitol, saying that Democrats “are lying about his role in the Jan. 6 uprising, or whatever you want to call it.” Before the siege, he had touted debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud, telling listeners in December that Mr. Biden “didn’t win this thing fair and square” and toying with the idea that the nation was “trending toward secession.”Rush Limbaugh in 1993 at the 21 Club in Manhattan. Fabulously wealthy, he was known to drop $5,000 tips to waiters in restaurants. Credit…Andrea Mohin/The New York TimesMr. Trump repaid Mr. Limbaugh’s fealty in an impromptu call on Wednesday to Fox News, praising him as “a great gentleman” who had “really got it.” The former president was one of a parade of Republican luminaries who issued tributes, a sign that Mr. Limbaugh’s incendiary history had done little to dim his appeal with conservatives. Former President George W. Bush weighed in, too, calling Mr. Limbaugh “a friend” who “spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.”Unlike Howard Stern, Don Imus and other big names in shock radio, Mr. Limbaugh had no on-the-air sidekicks, though he had conversations with the unheard voice of someone he called “Bo Snerdly.” Nor did he have writers, scripts or outlines, just notes and clippings from newspapers he perused daily.Alone with his multitudes in his studio, he joked, ranted, twitted and burst into song, mimicry or boo-hoos as “The Rush Limbaugh Show” beamed out over 650 stations of the Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications). In his alternate-universe-on-the-air, he was “El Rushbo” and “America’s Anchorman” in the “Southern Command” bunker of an “Excellence in Broadcasting” network.To faithful “Dittoheads,” his defiantly self-mocking followers, he was an indomitable patriot, an icon of wit and wisdom. His political clout, they said, lay in the reactions he provoked — avalanches of calls, emails and website rage, headlines aplenty and the occasional praise or wrath from the White House and Capitol Hill.To detractors he was a sanctimonious charlatan, the most dangerous man in America, a label he co-opted. And some critics insisted that he had no real political power, only an intimidating, self-aggrandizing presence that swayed an aging, ultraright fringe whose numbers, while impressive, were not considered great enough to affect the outcome of national elections.Married four times and divorced three times with no children, Mr. Limbaugh lived in his Palm Beach estate surrounded by Oriental carpets, chandeliers and a two-story mahogany-paneled library with leather-bound collections. He had a half-dozen cars, one costing $450,000, and a $54 million Gulfstream G550 jet. He was known to drop $5,000 tips in restaurants.Mr. Limbaugh was himself easily caricatured: overweight all his life, sometimes topping 300 pounds, a cigar smoker with an impish grin and sly eyes. He moved with surprising grace when showing how an environmentalist skips daintily in a woodland. But his voice was his brass ring — a jaunty, rapid staccato, breaking into squeaky dolphin-talk or falsetto sobbing to expose the do-gooders with his inventive, bruising vocabulary.Painkillers and Hearing LossMr. Limbaugh’s air war, with his own rules of engagement, began with a talk show in Sacramento in 1984 and became nationally syndicated in 1988. For more than 20 years it was the most popular show of its kind on radio, helping to revive an anemic national AM band and becoming the centerpiece of an enterprise that branched into television, best-selling books, lucrative speaking tours and voluminous internet traffic.But as the millennium turned, Mr. Limbaugh faced problems that threatened his empire. In 2001 he acknowledged that he had become almost deaf — resulting, he said, from an autoimmune disease. He continued his show, using powerful hearing aids, but they were not enough. He eventually resolved his problem with cochlear implants, which provided an electronic sense of sound. And he learned to read lips.After years of addiction to painkillers, he was charged in Florida in 2006 with “doctor shopping” for prescriptions. He pleaded not guilty but paid the costs of a state investigation and entered rehabilitative therapy. He checked into an Arizona rehab center catering to celebrities and returned to the air after six weeks, telling listeners candidly of his addiction, treatment and legal status.By 2008 Mr. Limbaugh was back on top for the national elections. He mounted Operation Chaos, urging his followers to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries to prolong Democratic infighting, and in the belief that Senator John McCain could more easily defeat Mr. Obama in the general election. He was wrong about that, but claimed credit for disrupting the Democrats.Mr. Trump with Mr. Limbaugh at a political rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 2018.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesRush Hudson Limbaugh III was born on Jan. 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., the older of two sons of Rush Jr. and Mildred (Armstrong) Limbaugh. His father was a World War II fighter pilot, a lawyer and Republican activist. His grandfather was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s ambassador to India. An uncle and a cousin became federal judges.As a boy Rush was a pudgy loner who disliked school and longed in vain for popularity. He liked radio and made up play-by-play baseball broadcasts. During the rebellious 1960s, he never dated. At 16, he took a summer course in radio engineering and, with a broadcaster’s license, got an after-school disc jockey job at a local radio station.After graduating from Cape Central High School in 1969, he enrolled at his parents’ insistence at Southeast Missouri State University but flunked most of his courses, including speech and dance, and dropped out after two semesters.In 1971, he became a disc jockey for WIXZ-AM in McKeesport, Pa., and in 1973 for KQV in Pittsburgh, using the name Jeff Christie. Over several years he worked at music stations before settling in Kansas City, Mo., where in 1979 he became director of promotions for the Kansas City Royals baseball team.His first marriage, in 1977 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a secretary at a Kansas City radio station, ended in divorce in 1980. He married Michelle Sixta, a Kansas City Royals usher, in 1983; they divorced in 1990. His 1994 marriage to Marta Fitzgerald, an aerobics instructor, also ended in divorce, in 2004. He married Kathryn Rogers, a party planner, in 2010.In addition to his wife, Mr. Limbaugh is survived by his younger brother, David, a lawyer and writer.Mr. Limbaugh tried radio again in 1984. His irreverence irked his Kansas City employers but drew the attention of KFBK in Sacramento, where Morton Downey Jr. had just been fired for making an ethnic slur. Mr. Limbaugh replaced him and was soon developing his ad-lib style — but one constrained by the Federal Communications Commission’s fairness doctrine.The doctrine, which required stations to provide free airtime for responses to controversial opinions they broadcast, was repealed in 1987, and Mr. Limbaugh proclaimed himself liberated. He moved to New York City in 1988 and, in partnership with Edward F. McLaughlin, a former president of the ABC radio network, began his nationally syndicated show on ABC’s radio stations.From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Limbaugh hosted a half-hour nightly television program, modeled on his radio show and syndicated on hundreds of stations.Uneasy in New York political and broadcasting circles, subject to city and state tax audits, he moved to Palm Beach in 1997 but kept his Manhattan apartment until selling it for $11 million in 2010. His friends included William F. Buckley Jr., publisher of National Review, as well as the political operative Karl Rove and Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.Mr. Limbaugh raised millions for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with annual telethons and led fund-raising drives for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides scholarships for children of Marines and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.He wrote “The Way Things Ought to Be” (1992, with John Fund), “See, I Told You So” (1993, with Joseph Farah) and five children’s books featuring a colonial era character, Rush Revere.Mr. Limbaugh was profiled in articles and books, including Paul D. Colford’s “The Rush Limbaugh Story: Talent on Loan from God, an Unauthorized Biography” (1993), and “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One” (2010), by Zev Chafets. He was a five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Radio Award and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.And fame was something he gloried in, even if acknowledging it in over-the-top style.“Greetings, conversationalists across the fruited plain,” he began in one of his stream-of-consciousness perorations from the bunker, an American flag dangling in the corner.“This is Rush Limbaugh, the most dangerous man in America, with the largest hypothalamus in North America, serving humanity simply by opening my mouth, destined for my own wing in the Museum of American Broadcasting, executing everything I do flawlessly with zero mistakes, doing this show with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair, because I have talent on loan from God.”Tiffany Hsu and Alex Traub contributed reporting.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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Within Videos, Dubai Princess Says She actually is a ‘Hostage’

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyIn Videos, Dubai Princess Says She Is a ‘Hostage’Sheikha Latifa, who drew headlines in 2018 when she unsuccessfully sought to flee her country, says she has been held in a virtual prison since her forced return.Sheikha Latifa said her appearance with the human rights advocate Mary Robinson in 2018 was staged by family members interested in promoting “propaganda.”Credit…United Arab Emirates News AgencyFeb. 16, 2021CAIRO — Since 2018, when Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, disappeared after trying to escape her privileged but suffocating life in a royal palace, her friends have insisted she was hauled back home against her will and was being held incommunicado.On Tuesday, they produced video evidence.Contradicting her family’s insistence that she has been quietly enjoying time with them at home the past two years, Sheikha Latifa says in a series of videos released by her advocates that she is “a hostage” and fears for her life.“Every day, I’m worried about my safety in my life. I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation,” Sheikha Latifa said in one self-recorded video, according to a transcript provided by an advocate working on her case, David Haigh.“The police threaten me that they would take me outside and shoot me if I didn’t cooperate with them,” she said. “They also threatened me that I would be in prison my whole life and I’ll never see the sun again.”The sheikha’s case stirred outrage outside the United Arab Emirates starting in 2018 after reports emerged in international media that she had tried to flee Dubai on a yacht piloted by a Frenchman claiming to be an ex-spy, only for a team of Indian and Emirati commandos to seize the vessel, detain everyone on board and fly her back to Dubai.In a video recorded before her flight, she said that she wanted to leave because of the restrictions her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, had put on her: Banned from traveling outside Dubai, she was followed by minders everywhere she went in the city-state her father ruled.After the 2018 episode, Sheikha Latifa was virtually unseen in public again.Through much of that time, however, she was secretly recording videos from inside the villa where she was held, Mr. Haigh said, usually locking herself in a bathroom, the only place she had privacy. After first communicating with friends via letters, she switched to a phone that friends had smuggled to her, sending regular updates between early 2019 and late 2020, Mr. Haigh said.In them, according to the transcripts, she said she was being held in a villa that had been effectively converted into a jail, with windows that were barred shut. Five police officers stood guard outside, she said, and two female officers inside.Her attempted flight in 2018 was cut short, Sheikha Latifa said, when commandos stormed the yacht, threw her to the deck, zip-tied her as she tried to fight them off and injected her with tranquilizers. After she was taken back to Dubai by helicopter and private jet, she said, she was interrogated for two weeks and held in solitary confinement in a prison near the airport.Some of the new videos were first published by the BBC on Tuesday. While they could not be independently verified, Mr. Haigh said in an interview that he had prepared them for release. Her family could not be reached for comment.Before Tuesday, the only recent glimpse of Sheikha Latifa had come in December 2018, after she was brought back to Dubai. Her family released photos of her sitting uneasily with Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and former United Nations human rights commissioner.Ms. Robinson said at the time that she believed the sheikha was mentally troubled and recovering in the care of her family. But she has now told the BBC that she felt she had been “tricked” when photographs of what she had assumed was a private lunch were made public.Sheikha Latifa said in one of the videos that she had been coaxed into coming to lunch by Princess Haya, one of her father’s wives, but had not known who Ms. Robinson was, what the lunch was for, or why her stepmother insisted on taking a picture of her with Ms. Robinson. She only agreed “to be polite,” she said.As for Ms. Robinson’s comments at the time, Sheikha Latifa said in one video that “statements about me being with my family or getting treatment or being in recovery is all a lie.”Her family repeatedly insisted that she make what she called “propaganda,” she said.“They wanted me to do a video and say that I’m here happily and voluntarily. And I refused,” she said in one video, according to a transcript.Princess Haya, too, has come to support her stepdaughter’s version of events. In court documents filed in Britain last year after the princess left Dubai with her young children and filed for divorce from the sheikh, she said both Sheikha Latifa and one of the sheikha’s sisters had been harshly punished for trying to escape in the past.By late 2020, the videos from Sheikha Latifa had stopped coming, Mr. Haigh said, prompting him and Tiina Jauhiainen, a Finnish capoeira instructor who accompanied the sheikha on the yacht, to release them.They were also timed to land as the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances holds a session on the sheikha’s case.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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Brayden Smith, Five-Time ‘Jeopardy! ’ Champ, Dies at 24

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyBrayden Smith, Five-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion, Dies at 24The five-time “Jeopardy!” champion Brayden Smith died unexpectedly at 24, his mother said on Twitter on Friday.Credit…Jeopardy!Feb. 13, 2021Brayden Smith, a voracious reader and former captain of his high school quiz bowl team who became a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion on some of the last shows hosted by Alex Trebek, died on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas. He was 24.Mr. Smith’s death was confirmed in an online obituary. It did not list a cause of death. His mother, Deborah Smith, said on Twitter that her son had died “unexpectedly.”Mr. Smith, she said, had achieved a lifelong dream by winning “Jeopardy!” as a contestant on some of the final shows hosted by Mr. Trebek before Mr. Trebek died in November at age 80 after a battle with cancer.Over six shows, Mr. Smith won five times, earning $115,798 and the nickname Alex’s Last Great Champion, the obituary said. Mr. Smith said he had been looking forward to competing on the show’s Tournament of Champions against his “trivia idols.”“‘Jeopardy!’ is so much better than anything that I could have even imagined,” Mr. Smith said in a video released by “Jeopardy!” last month. “Every moment since I last was on the studio lot has been a moment that I’ve been wanting to get back on there.”Mr. Smith said on the video that he had been moved by Mr. Trebek’s perseverance on the show since Mr. Trebek’s announcement in March 2019 that he had learned he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.“Now everybody knows that he is ailing, and to put on a brave face and go out there every day and continue to give America and the world some good cheer, especially this year, was really a testament to how great of a person he was,” Mr. Smith said.Mr. Trebek was clearly impressed with Mr. Smith’s knowledge of trivia, telling the other contestants after one of Mr. Smith’s wins that they had played well, but “you ran into Billy Buzz Saw — and he took no prisoners.”Brayden Andrew Smith was born in Henderson, Nev., on Sept. 6, 1996, the second of four sons of Scott and Deborah (Rudy) Smith.At Liberty High School in Henderson, he was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist and led the Quiz Bowl team to back-to-back state runner-up finishes. For his outstanding play, he earned a college scholarship.He graduated last year from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in economics and had planned to become a lawyer in the federal government. He had recently served as an intern at the Cato Institute in Washington, researching criminal justice reform.“The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith,” the show said on Twitter. “He was kind, funny and absolutely brilliant.”Jack Begg contributed research.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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Trump Is Guilty

AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyOpinionSupported byContinue reading the main storyTrump Is GuiltyThere’s no doubt who must be held responsible for attacking the Capitol and trying to overturn the results of the election.The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.Feb. 12, 2021Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York TimesIf you fail to hold him accountable, it can happen again.This is the heart of the prosecution’s argument in the ongoing impeachment trial of Donald Trump. It is a plea for the senators charged with rendering a verdict not to limit their concerns solely to the events of Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters sacked the U.S. Capitol, but also to act with an eye toward safeguarding the nation’s future.To excuse Mr. Trump’s attack on American democracy would invite more such attempts, by him and by other aspiring autocrats. The stakes could not be higher. A vote for impunity is an act of complicity.It is unfortunate that the country finds itself at this place at this moment, American pitted against American. But there is no more urgent task than recentering the nation’s political life as peaceful and committed to the rule of law.Mr. Trump stands charged with incitement of insurrection. For three days this week, House managers laid out a devastating case for conviction. Methodically, meticulously they detailed the former president’s effort to undermine and overturn a free and fair election, culminating with his fomenting an attack on Congress that resulted in the deaths of five people, and very nearly more. Mr. Trump spun lies and conspiracy theories to defraud and destabilize his followers. He told them that their votes had been stolen. He made them believe that everyone had betrayed them, from local officials to the media to the Supreme Court. He convinced them that the only way to save their nation was to “fight like hell.” Mr. Trump whipped his loyalists into a rage, summoned them to Washington, pointed them at Congress and then retreated to the safety of the White House to enjoy the show.The prosecution had a glut of supporting evidence. The nine House managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, came armed with a cache of tweets and other social media posts. These included incendiary messages sent by Mr. Trump during the riot, as well as entreaties from other Republican officials for him to call for an end to the violence. Republicans recognized his power over the mob in the moment, even if some of their Senate colleagues are unwilling to acknowledge that reality today.The managers also presented corroborating news accounts, snippets of Mr. Trump’s speeches and interviews and, of course, video of the siege, some of it posted online by the rioters themselves. Dozens of graphic video clips were woven together in a tapestry of rage and madness. Police officers are seen being shoved, beaten, cursed at and crushed. Members of the mob smash windows and chant their desire to “hang Mike Pence!”Previously unseen footage revealed just how close some lawmakers came to disaster — including Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican and outspoken Trump critic, who would have run directly into the mob if not for an interception by Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who also drew a pack of rioters away from the Senate chamber.Mr. Trump’s attorneys didn’t bother with a coherent defense. Their presentation was a slipshod, meandering, at times incomprehensible exercise in deflection and denial. Time and again, the defense team rejected the idea that Mr. Trump bore any responsibility for inciting his followers to violence. No reasonable person, the team argued, could have taken their client’s call to arms seriously, much less literally. All those rioters who asserted before, during and after the attack that they were following the former president’s will must have been confused. Once again, Mr. Trump has played his most devoted supporters for suckers and insulted the intelligence of the rest of the American people.This shouldn’t be a close call. Yet nearly no one expects the Senate to convict. To do so would require a supermajority of 67 votes, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join forces with the Democrats and two independents. Only six Republicans voted this week to even recognize the constitutionality of trying a former president.Many G.O.P. senators made clear heading into this trial that — whether out of fear, fealty or both — they still aren’t prepared to cross Mr. Trump and risk alienating his cultlike following. At moments, some were visibly shaken by the evidence being presented, but a handful were so committed to telegraphing their disdain for the process that they couldn’t be bothered to watch the House managers’ presentation. They doodled or played on their phones or simply averted their eyes as the horror unfolded.This abdication of duty is heartbreaking for the nation. It isn’t just that these senators are putting the interests of a single man ahead of the interests of the nation; it’s also a tacit admission that the only constituents that many Republicans consider worth representing are their most partisan supporters. These lawmakers see themselves less as public servants committed to the common good than as party functionaries serving tribal interests.It is also politically shortsighted. To reclaim the Republican Party from the MAGAverse, thoughtful, principled conservatives need to make clear that Mr. Trump is no longer in charge. Holding him accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 attack is one of Republican lawmakers’ best opportunities to signal that they, like so much of the country, are ready to break free and move on.Moving on does not mean downplaying Mr. Trump’s incitements. The former president inspired an attack on a coequal branch of government. His behavior should not be excused simply because he is no longer the president — at least, not if the Republican Party hopes to serve as something more than a vehicle for a toxic cult of personality.Mr. Trump has made clear that he intends to maintain his grip on the G.O.P. — and that he will work to punish any Republicans who dare to challenge him. If Republican senators do not act now to weaken his hold, they will have him hanging around their necks, clawing at their throats indefinitely. The next time he launches an attack on American democracy, they will have no one but themselves to blame.When the House considered impeaching Mr. Trump for the second time, this board wrote that “President Trump’s efforts to remain in office in defiance of democracy cannot be allowed to go unanswered, lest they invite more lawlessness from this president or those who follow.”Nothing presented at his trial refutes that position, and the evidence thus far presented only reinforces the urgent need for accountability.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: [email protected] The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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