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Cuomo takes a step toward saving the MTA’s night trains

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Cuomo takes a step toward saving the MTA’s night trains

Gov. Cuomo took a moment out of his bad week to do one good thing for Gotham: announce the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority will reduce overnight subway closures from four hours to two. 

New York City won’t be back to normal until the subways are open all the time, but hopefully, the COVID experiment in cutting off service will forever end the perennial calls from good-government groups to save money by shutting transit. 

The subways’ 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. closure, now shortened to between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., started in May, making the Big Apple’s grim outlook for a fast recovery even grimmer. Even during the worst days of the pandemic, 11,000 people relied on overnight trains to get to and from work. 

These commuters lost out because of Mayor de Blasio’s inability to prevent an estimated 2,000 homeless people from using transit for shelter. Shutting down the subways didn’t fix that problem, as the recent stabbing murders of two homeless people and the wounding of two others by a fifth homeless person made clear. 

If an unstated goal of the shutdowns was to reduce subway crime, the murders show it didn’t work. What difference does it make that the killings occurred around midnight rather than at 2 a.m.? 

The closures didn’t prevent trespassers who commit assaults against transit workers. An assailant threw a transit worker to the tracks just after Christmas, even though the station was closed. With 472 stations, most with multiple entrances, the subway is ­impossible to “close.” 

Riders, workers and police suffered 62 assaults over the past six weeks, the same number as last year during the same time frame, even though subways were much busier last January and February. 

Finally: In May, food-delivery worker Mamadou Diallo was shot to death by a robber in Harlem, while waiting for the bus instead of the train. Cutting off basic services to low-paid workers is a strange way to try to cut crime. 

Sure, closing the subways makes it easier to deep-clean stations and trains. But most trains aren’t in use overnight, anyway, leaving them free for cleaning. The MTA can cordon off parts of a station for scrubbing. 

And it makes construction work easier. But 24-hour service doesn’t prevent the MTA from shutting down service on one line, for weeks or months, so it can do work on that line. 

Finally, and the most important for the long-term picture: Overnight shutdowns don’t save money. To give customers alternate service, the MTA had to add 344 buses to its regular 235 during these hours. But it still had to move trains back and forth on a normal schedule to get its own workers around. 

Shutdowns won’t save money when the pandemic is over, either. Before COVID-19, nearly 15,000 people left Manhattan during the 1 a.m. hour alone. They did so on 51 trains. 

Without trains, you’d need nearly 400 buses to move the same number of people, meaning higher labor costs. Another 9,000 people normally take trains into Manhattan during the 4 a.m. hour. During the pandemic, more than 10,000 people took buses in September during the 4 a.m. hour, compared with 3,000 in April, before the MTA shut the subways, meaning many had migrated from the far more efficient trains.

Absent a pandemic, there is no sustained overnight “shift,” like 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. or midnight to 8 a.m., during which people stay home. When we aren’t locked in our apartments, nearly 100,000 people regularly use the subways during the witching hours. Restaurants, bars, clubs, concert venues all depend on it. 

Close the subways at 1, and people will leave the bar at 12:20, for fear of missing the last train. And some will drive drunk or speed on roads with little nighttime traffic, killing themselves or others. More night-owl workers will buy cars and use them for daytime trips, too, causing more traffic. 

Other cities shut down subway service overnight, sure. Have you ever tried to make an 11 p.m. dinner reservation in any of those places? Before the pandemic, London had launched 24-hour “Night Tube” service, with the goal of injecting life into its nightlife. 

Before the pandemic, nighttime shutdowns were one of those ideas whose time had never come — for good reason. 

Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor of City Journal.

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Opinion

How is Chris Cuomo still on the air at CNN?

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How is Chris Cuomo still on the air at CNN?

Is there a bigger joke in broadcast news than Chris Cuomo?

Now, he says, he cannot cover his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, because it’s a conflict of interest. You don’t say? Apparently no such conflict arose when Chris constantly hosted his brother during the height of the pandemic, tastelessly turning his nightly news show into “The Cuomo Brothers Variety Hour.”

The governor took time out of his busy schedule — consisting of daily ego baths dressed up as press conferences and writing a book about leadership while allegedly sexually harassing at least one young employee and eugenically shunting old people with COVID into nursing homes and certain death — to answer hard-hitting questions and accusations such as these, posed by little brother Chris:

“No matter how hard you’re working, there’s always time to call Mom. She wants to hear from you.”

“You know that what people are saying about how you look really can’t be accurate, so it must be hard for you to make sense of what is real and what is true now. I feel for you.”

“Now I’ve seen you referred to a little bit recently as the LuvGuv and I’m wondering if that’s bleeding into your demeanor at all and making you a little soft on the president?”

“Do you think you are an attractive person now because you’re single and ready to mingle?” (Those last two haven’t aged well at all.)

This unethical coverage, by the way, was cheered on by the mass media: The “Today” show, Oprahmag.com, NBC News, USA Today — to name a few — heartily endorsed it.

“That is one thing the Cuomo brothers do: They love one other,” New York Times media columnist Ben Smith wrote last April. “On March 30, the day a Navy hospital ship arrived in New York, they said, ‘I love you,’ twice each, in quick succession.”

This reads more like a soggy diary entry written by a teenage girl.

The same day Smith’s column ran, April 5, 2020, the Times reported that new state data showed 4,183 people had died in New York nursing homes from COVID.

Not that Chris Cuomo asked his brother about that.

Nor has CNN been on top of Gov. Cuomo’s latest scandal, the three credible allegations of sexual harassment against him.

And so many on the left still wonder why the mainstream media is mistrusted — 33 percent of Americans having “none at all,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

“Obviously I love you as a brother,” Chris told Andrew on his show last June. “Obviously I’ll never be objective.”

Imagine: A CNN anchor just admitted on-air what we all knew — he could not do his job, but would continue to do it anyway!

Seriously, what does Chris Cuomo have on Jeff Zucker? Why does he still have this job? I realize this may be a hypothetical given Brian Williams, that other puffed-up fabulist, is back on MSNBC, but still — Chris Cuomo, reported annual salary $6 million, is a special case.

Lest we forget his self-indulgent chronicles once he tested positive for COVID (according to his own self-report), then roaming around the Hamptons without a mask and calling a local who spotted him a “jackass loser fat-tire biker”; later faking his emergence from basement quarantine on CNN; spanked by management of his NYC building for repeatedly entering, exiting and riding the elevator without a mask, and — as Page Six reported last December — flexing his muscles and admiring himself in that same mirrored elevator.

Ron Burgundy doesn’t come close to Chris Cuomo.

Yet here he was Monday night, dressed somberly in black suit and tie, opening his show with his trademark ooze of condescension and hypocrisy.

“Let me say something that is very obvious to you who watch my show — and thank you for that. You’re straight with me, I’ll be straight with you. Obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother.”

As a so-called journalist, one would hope.

“And obviously,” he continued, “I cannot cover it because he is my brother.”

Now he can’t cover it! Right, of course. Makes total sense.

This past year has made one thing painfully obvious: Chris Cuomo isn’t at CNN because of his searing intellect, his unique take on the world, his prosecutorial questioning of those in power, or his instinct for a good story.

No: He’s at CNN because his older brother is the governor of New York. If Andrew goes, how much value does Chris actually add?

Funny how their fates are intertwined like that.

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Opinion

Dr. Seuss outrage: ‘The Cat in the Hat’ says don’t cancel that!

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Dr. Seuss outrage: ‘The Cat in the Hat’ says don’t cancel that!

On the second day of MarchI got out of my bedAnd what did I seeThat mixed up my head? Thing One and Thing TwoWere locked up in chainsMy good pals, those sweet impsWere now writhing in pain! “Chins up and let’s roll,”Said I to my boys“The Cat in the HatIs here to make noise!” “No,…

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Opinion

A society that can’t debate trans ideology’s effects on kids isn’t a democracy

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A society that can't debate trans ideology's effects on kids isn't a democracy

Should children be given life-altering treatments to help them transition from one gender to another, including puberty blockers and body-mutilating surgeries? Should doctors be encouraged to allow minors to make a choice that will block their physical development and ability to have children when they get older? Is there evidence that doing so might do more harm than good?

These are weighty medical and ethical questions that a responsible and compassionate society would vigorously debate. After all, what’s at stake isn’t the right of adults to live as they please, but the well-being of children, something that ought to transcend ideologies and political agendas.

But America in 2021 isn’t such a society.

In recent years, acceptance of those who define themselves as transgendered has become widespread. That’s something that’s compatible with the basically libertarian instincts of most Americans.

Other demands — for example, to alter language and replace biological sex with subjective gender identity in public accommodations — have met with greater resistance. Pronouns have become a linguistic minefield of political correctness. Asserting the commonplace reality that only women menstruate is enough to get you canceled as a “transphobe,” even if you are the author of one of the most beloved book series of all time, as J.K. Rowling knows. Activists and online mobs denounce as bigots those who dare defend the right of female athletes to compete against each other, rather than against biological males.

But pushing youngsters to accept treatments that will forever change their bodies and their lives before they are old enough to make such a choice is another thing entirely.

Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s choice for assistant secretary of health, argues that transgender identity is something that is set in stone at a young age. Early interventions, Levine says, can prevent them going through the “wrong puberty,” as well as lower their chances of suicide.

But there is also a considerable body of thought — and anecdotal evidence from some who have undergone such treatments and lived to regret it — that this is wrong. And given we don’t believe minors have a right to legally consent to sexual intercourse and much else, it’s madness to encourage kids to undergo such treatments. At least, not without parental consent; at a confirmation hearing, Levine notably refused to answer whether parents should be permitted to refuse their kids’ gender transition.

In our woke culture, however, criticizing or even asking questions about Levine’s position is absolutely forbidden.

Last week, Amazon, the venue for the vast majority of books sales, removed Ryan T. Anderson’s 2018 book, “When Harry Became Sally,” from its digital shelves. A Web site that will happily sell you Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” or the anti-Semitic ravings of Louis Farrakhan thinks Anderson’s scholarly treatise about transgenderism crosses a line that even the advocacy of mass murder doesn’t transgress.

Similarly, many publications wouldn’t review, and Amazon banned advertising for, author Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” because of the author’s sober warning that many young women seeking to become men are falling for a mass craze.

Even elected lawmakers are barred from questioning gender ideology. At the confirmation hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), himself a medical doctor, had the temerity to ask Levine what the would-be assistant health secretary thinks of using drugs or surgery to mutilate or prevent puberty of children in the name of easing their transition to another gender.

Levine, the first transgendered person to be nominated for such a high office, has spoken out on in favor of such controversial treatments. Democrats and their liberal media allies denounced Paul as a mean-spirited hater for merely posing the query.

If having a free society should mean anything, it ought to mean it’s possible to debate contentious issues on which reasonable people (and the experts) can disagree. But we’ve gotten to the point where any debate about the treatment of children is shut down. That’s not only unethical and harmful to our kids — but incompatible with democracy and American ideals.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS.org.

Twitter: @JonathanS_Tobin

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