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Team Biden is totally lost on the border and other commentary

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Team Biden is totally lost on the border and other commentary

Conservative: Biden ‘Out to Lunch’ on Border

“Out to lunch” might be “the kindest way to describe Joe Biden and Democrats these days on immigration,” snarks The Wall Street Journal’s Jason L. Riley. “If they think they have a voter mandate to reverse restrictions advanced by the previous administration, even with the southern border effectively under siege, they’re kidding themselves.” As with “taxes, climate, court-packing,” Team Biden “is confusing the nation’s rejection of Donald Trump with an endorsement of a progressive agenda.” If that’s what voters wanted, “the Democratic House majority wouldn’t be so puny,” and “the Senate wouldn’t be evenly split.” Trump’s “prioritization of border security resonated with millions,” while Democrats’ hard-left turn on the issue “played a role in the party’s underperformance among Hispanics last year.” 

From the right: Housing First Fails

In 2016, “Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond for the construction of 10,000 units for the city’s homeless,” making the city “the most significant testing ground for the ‘housing-first’ approach” to homelessness, reports Christopher F. Rufo at RealClearInvestigations. “Five years in, the project has been plagued by construction delays, massive cost overruns and accusations of corruption.” The bare-bones apartments “have construction costs similar to luxury condos,” while 40 percent of costs go to “consultants, lawyers, fees and permitting.” Meanwhile, “unsheltered homelessness has increased 41 percent, vastly outpacing” construction. And “a range of studies” show “residents of housing-first programs show no improvement regarding addiction and mental illness.” Instead, the program “provides a stable residential environment for the homeless to live out their pathologies, subsidized by the public.”

Iconoclast: Green New Deal’s War on Workers

The Green New Deal has made the “metamorphosis from a leftist fantasy into a serious political initiative” as President Biden plans to “impose many of its goals through administrative diktats on gas-powered cars, land use, airplanes, any form of fossil fuel and nuclear power,” laments Joel Kotkin at Spiked Online. The first victim: “people working in energy and fields that depend on reliable and affordable energy.” With “particularly ludicrous” proposals like replacing roads and planes with high-speed rail, “daily life under the Green New Deal would not only be more crowded, it would likely also leave more people poorer.” The best hope is that a conflict between hard-left “greens and the plutocratic ‘green’ oligarchy” will lead to “a more reasoned, gradual and less socially regressive environmental approach.”

From the left: Save Classics at Howard U

Frederick Douglass “risked mockery, abuse, beating and even death to study the likes of Socrates, Cato and Cicero,” recall Cornel West and Jeremy Tate at The Washington Post, while the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “mentions Socrates three times in his 1963 ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail.’ ” Yet historically black Howard University is dissolving its classics department, “diminishing the light of wisdom and truth that inspired Douglass, King and countless other freedom fighters.” The anti-classics trend “is a sign of spiritual decay, moral decline and a deep intellectual narrowness running amok in American culture.” Our elites can’t distinguish “between Western civilization and philosophy on the one hand, and Western crimes on the other. The crimes spring from certain philosophies and certain aspects of the civilization, not all of them.” Classics are vital for blacks, too: “Engaging with the classics and with our civilizational heritage is the means to finding our true voice. It is how we become our full selves, spiritually free and morally great.”

Media watch: NBC’s Columbus Bungle

NBC’s coverage of the killing of knife attacker Ma’Khia Bryant “was an abomination,” fumes Charles Lipson at Spectator USA. The network sliced the part of the 911 call in which Bryant “trying to stab us” was heard. It also “omitted the shot of the knife in the attacker’s hand” from the police body-cam footage, thus setting up a false racial narrative. “Taken together, those two omissions completely erased the lethal threat to the victim.” Has NBC apologized? “Of course not.” 

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board 

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Opinion

Expert rates the winners and losers of first televised NYC mayoral debate

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Expert rates the winners and losers of first televised NYC mayoral debate

Last night’s mayoral debate was, if nothing else, a good forum for some of​ ​the candidates who many voters haven’t had much chance to get to know.

That​ ​meant it was particularly good for Kathryn Garcia and Ray McGuire who were​ ​able to get across the who, what, where and how of where exactly they stand.

Maya Wiley, wasn’t at her finest. As a TV veteran, she should have known​ ​better and instead broke all the rules by acting as though the rules didn’t apply to her. She ran over her time, wouldn’t stop talking when the moderator asked her to, and interrupted other speakers and overall showed a breathtaking lack of respect for the process.

Scott S​​tringer? He was classic Scott Stringer, the guy who always seems to​ ​need a carton of Red Bull and who, aside from a couple of good lines, was as​ ​unemotional as your tax attorney. That’s great for the city’s fiscal watchdog, but I​ ​just don’t think this comes across well when the public is looking for a strong​ ​presence.

And there was Andrew Yang once again trying the election trick that​ ​knocked him out of the presidential race: The offer of a thousand bucks to​ ​everyone who believes that Andrew Yang will give them a thousand bucks. 

Again.​ ​Been there, done that. 

He was particularly weak in answering to the fact that he’s never even voted for a mayoral candidate or a citywide referendum.

Eric Adams owned, as expected, the public safety issue. His lack of energy​ ​however was somewhat surprising for the candidate who knows the streets, the​ ​racial situation and the problems with the police so well.​ ​

The couple of exchanges he with Wiley and Dianne Morales were too polite,​ ​too softball, when he should have given as good as he got.​ ​

And speaking of Morales, she definitely has some important ideas on racial​ ​inequality and homelessness, but I’m not convinced that she came close to​ ​explaining how we’re supposed to pay for it with a city heading to an estimated​ ​$3 billion budget deficit in 2022-23.

Shaun Donovan, who seemed to start every sentence with “When I was in​ ​the Obama administration…” or “When I was City Housing Commissioner,” was​ ​unnecessarily repetitive. OK, we got the idea, but repetition doesn’t make for an​ ​interesting or even informative debate tactic.​ 

​Bottom line? As in most first debates, nothing much will have changed. No​ ​moments that blew anyone away. Probably the undecided needles won’t move too much.

Next time? Fire the media trainers and be yourselves, because what we saw sure won’t be what we get.

Sid Davidoff is Founding Partner of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, a New York-based law and public affairs firm, and former aide to New York Mayor John Lindsay.

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Saturday’s Times Square shooting may mark a crossroads for NYC

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Saturday’s Times Square shooting may mark a crossroads for NYC

Last year in New York City, murders rose 45 percent and shootings 97 percent, numbers that have continued to rise in 2021. But New Yorkers don’t need statistics to understand that the city’s descent into chaos is accelerating. Saturday’s brazen shooting in Times Square — in which three innocent bystanders were shot, including a 4-year-old girl — may well mark a crossroads.

During New York’s bad old days, the Crossroads of the World and its pornographic theaters attracted “an unsavory and increasingly criminal crowd,” as William J. Stern, former head of the Urban Development Corporation, observed. “By the eighties, things got worse still, with an amazing 2,300 crimes on the block in 1984 alone, 20 percent of them serious felonies such as murder or rape,” he noted. Times Square’s situation suggested a city spinning out of control.

The condition of Times Square today similarly reveals the city’s social, moral and civic health. The president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, understands this. In 2016, he explained that “the area then — and has always been — representative of what was working or not working in New York City as a whole. . . . Throughout New York City, crime was a huge issue that was making people stay away, and . . . that overshadowed everything else.” Thus, he reasoned, “Times Square was this symbol of whether the government had either the will or the capacity to make a city safe.”

Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s commitment to tame Times Square helped Gotham restore civic normalcy. Giuliani brought Disney in to take over and renovate the New Amsterdam Theatre, which “led to the resurrection of 42nd Street and Times Square,” in the words of The New York Times.

Giuliani also targeted smut shops for legal assault in court and had his NYPD proactively arrest quality-of-life offenders: drug dealers, junkies, pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, thieves and con artists. What followed was the revitalization of Times Square — and New York’s rebirth as the safest big city in America.

New York’s reversal of fortune is no accident. Mayor Bill de Blasio cites the pandemic and closed schools as excuses for the rise in violent crime. He conveniently overlooks four culprits: catch-and-release bail reform; the abandoning of broken-windows policing; the elimination of plainclothes anti-crime units that spent their nights hunting illegal gun carriers; and the movement to “defund” the police.

Proactive police officers have no incentive to respond to non-emergency crimes when the mayor has told them to stand down, when they know perps will be swiftly released and when they worry their faces could be the next ones plastered on screens across the country if an arrest goes wrong.

Which brings us back to Saturday’s shooting. We should be grateful for the heroic police officers who responded, including Alyssa Vogel, who ran nonstop with the 4-year-old victim to the ambulance. The alleged shooter was identified as Farrakhan Muhammad, a 31-year-old CD-pushing pest with a long arrest record who intended to shoot his brother.

When New York City had a quality-of-life policing regime, CD peddlers who crossed the line from protected First Amendment activity to misdemeanor “aggravated harassment” were routinely arrested and removed from Times Square and possibly locked away. But we live in a different city now.

In 1975, the Council for Public Safety issued an infamous pamphlet titled: “Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York.” It advised tourists, among other things, to stay off the streets after 6 p.m., protect their property and safeguard their handbags and “never ride the subway for any reason whatsoever.”

The city is still better off than in 1975 — but that’s far from the standard to which a great city should aspire. De Blasio has assured New Yorkers that “we’re not going back to the bad old days when there was so much violence in this city.” Three innocents shot in Times Square over the weekend might have a different view.

Craig Trainor is a criminal-defense and civil-rights attorney in New York. Adapted from City Journal.

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President Biden’s charter-school dis

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President Biden’s charter-school dis

In a fresh sign of teacher-union sway over President Joe Biden, this is the first Charter School Week in 30 years not to be marked by a presidential proclamation.

That’s right: Every president going back to Bill Clinton saw fit to recognize these alternative public schools and the work they do in uplifting poor and minority students across the nation. And Biden’s old boss, President Barack Obama, was instrumental in supporting the growth of charters, even shooting down bogus teacher-union attacks.

Charters are laboratories of innovation that operate largely without union interference; their successes regularly show up the failure of union-dominated schools, especially in high-poverty minority neighborhoods. That’s why teachers’ unions despise them. But what’s Biden’s excuse?

Well, American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten and National Education Association head Becky Pringle were among the Biden administration’s first and most frequent White House guests. And pressure from the top is the only explanation for how Weingarten was able to literally dictate language to the Centers for Disease Control for its “scientific” guidance on school reopenings.

In short, this president stands with his teacher-union allies against the principles of Barack Obama, the best interests of children and even good public-health policy amid the pandemic.

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