Republicans explain their vote against Asian American hate crimes legislation
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will expedite the review of hate crimes related to the pandemic and expand efforts to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at local and state levels, including providing online reporting resources in multiple languages.news.yahoo.com
California will mandate masks for another month. Texas will ban mask mandates in schools. Are both states going too far?
Nothing better demonstrates the polarization of the U.S.'s response to COVID-19 than the different ways that California and Texas have responded to the CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces in most indoor situations.news.yahoo.com
Keys, Wallet, Pepper Spray: The New Reality for Asian Americans
NEW YORK — Last spring Annie Chen, who works in human resources, read about an Asian woman who had been punched in the face and yelled at by a stranger just a few blocks from where she lived in midtown Manhattan. Five days later, Chen, 25, bought her first canister of pepper spray. She had been struck by the way the public perception of Asian Americans had suddenly changed, she said, and simply wanted to protect herself. “I felt like if people had any anger or frustration — and if you were just walking around being a person who looks Asian — they might take it out on you.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Over the last year, more than 6,600 anti-Asian hate incidents have been recorded nationwide, according to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate. New York had the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes relative to other major cities, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. In response, organizers have formed watch groups, volunteer buddy systems and other initiatives. Many Asian Americans have also changed the way they go about their daily lives, avoiding the subway, staying hyper-alert in public and remaining at home as much as possible. But as more New Yorkers get vaccinated, the city is unquestioningly opening up. Many Asian Americans, responding to the continuing spate of attacks, are now increasingly arming themselves with items for personal defense. “People are talking about whether to buy pepper spray, whether to buy a Taser gun, like which one is better? Which one is safer, which one would you actually use? These are conversations that we’re having now,” Chen said. “I think it just speaks to the urgency that people are feeling,” said Kenji Jones, one of several New Yorkers raising money to give away personal-defense devices in Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. On March 31, Jones, 23, posted a call for donations on Instagram. He ended up raising more than $18,000 in three days, he said. In April, he distributed nearly 3,000 canisters of pepper spray and more than 1,000 personal alarms. During another giveaway, he was met with throngs of people and ran out of supplies within 20 minutes. And last weekend, at a Chinatown event, thousands more devices — including kubotans (keychain weapons), whistles and more pepper spray — were distributed. It is legal for adults who have not been convicted of a felony or assault to carry pocket-size pepper spray in New York, as long as it complies with regulations set by the state Department of Health. Sales are restricted to authorized dealers and customers can buy only two canisters at a time (Jones amassed the pepper spray for his giveaways through a friend in New Jersey, which has more relaxed rules). At Esco, a pharmacy in Hell’s Kitchen, pepper spray sales increased eightfold in the month after the Atlanta spa shootings, in which a gunman killed eight people, six of whom were Asian or Asian American women. Danny Dang, the owner of Esco, said that 90% of the customers buying the spray were Asian American. For Arthur Bramhandtam, a 36-year-old journalist, pepper spray is just one more thing on his check list when he leaves the apartment. “You have to bring your keys with you, you have to bring your wallet, you have to bring your iPhone — I have to bring my pepper spray now, it’s habitual,” he said. Both Bramhandtam and Chen called the pepper spray a last resort, sharing concerns about using it effectively and escalating an already dangerous situation. To this end, they have adopted other precautions to minimize the possibility of having to use it. Chen has taken to zipping around on a bicycle so she can get away from assailants quickly. Bramhandtam and his husband have discussed distraction techniques, especially in enclosed spaces, like subway cars. And even though Hyesu Lee, a 42-year-old illustrator who lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, recently started carrying pepper spray, she said she was planning to sign up for Brazilian jujitsu classes. She feels more vulnerable because English is her second language and fears her accent might mark her as a target. Two nonprofits, the Asian American Federation and the Center for Anti-Violence Education, have teamed up to provide self-defense training. Stressing the need for more grassroots community programs, the federation’s deputy director, Joo Han, added that she has also noticed more Asian Americans buying guns. “When people feel like they don’t have alternatives, they feel like they have to defend themselves using extreme measures,” Han said. “The fear that advocates have is that something is going to go wrong and it’s going to end in greater violence.” Lee, who questions whether she will ever be accepted in the United States, has considered leaving the city — her home for more than 10 years — and returning to South Korea. “But I have to live my life,” she said. “You want to believe that this wouldn’t happen to you — but it could.” Confronted with these challenges, many Asian Americans are feeling the toll after an already stressful year. “I don’t know what they’re seeing when they look at us, that they’re just attacking,” said Florence Doo, a resident physician at Mount Sinai West, who despite taking safety precautions said she had been publicly heckled and scapegoated for the coronavirus on two occasions. “And that thought process — that baseline stress that I’m carrying, I can see now how that affects people’s bodies and their lives. That’s not healthy.” As for the deeper issue of racism, Dang, the pharmacist, said: “Is pepper spray really the solution? I don’t know. We want to help those who feel vulnerable. But fear is not healthy. I’d rather not sell this product and have everyone be calm and feel OK.” Bramhandtam questioned the burden of making changes in his life. “When you do that, you’re letting this insidiousness that is pervading our society get to you, and like, that would win. And I don’t want that either. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Companynews.yahoo.com
Retiring Rep. Joe Kennedy III says greed hinders aid to poor
In this image from video, retiring Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., speaks on the floor of the U.S. House Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (House Television via AP)WASHINGTON – Retiring Rep. Joe Kennedy III used his farewell speech from Congress on Wednesday to deride the “great lie of our times” that the government lacks the resources and will to help people in need. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said he is pursuing the post of director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy under President-elect Joe Biden. Patrick Kennedy, cousin of the retiring congressman, battled drug addiction and has worked privately to bolster mental health substance abuse programs. ___Associated Press writer Michelle R. Smith contributed to this report from Providence, R.I.___This story has been corrected to show that Patrick Kennedy is Joe Kennedy's cousin, not his great-uncle.
Ex-Marine wins Democratic primary for Joe Kennedy IIIs seat
Jake Auchincloss has won a packed primary to become the Democratic nominee in the race to fill the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts. Nearly 1 million voters, skittish over the coronavirus pandemic, used the mail option for Tuesdays primary. He was elected to the Newton City Council in 2015. Kennedy opted not to seek reelection so he could challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey in the Senate Democratic primary, but lost that bid Tuesday, becoming the first member of the Kennedy political dynasty to lose a congressional race in Massachusetts. The few other members of Massachusetts all-Democratic congressional delegation who had faced primary opponents Reps. Richard Neal, Stephen Lynch and Seth Moulton all breezed through Tuesdays runoff.
Progressive challengers' year: 3 wins and some close calls
But some challengers lost, and their overall wins were a modest number compared with the 535 House and Senate members. Kessler wasn't impressed with the three progressive challengers who defeated Democratic incumbents, either. Other high-profile progressive hopefuls lost Senate Democratic primaries in Colorado, Maine and Texas, and House contests in states including Georgia, New York and Ohio. Jamaal Bowman, a Black educator raised by a single mom, defeated House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of the Bronx and Westchester, New York. They're an effective and well-funded operation now," said Sean McElwee, who does polling and research for progressive Democrats.
5 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:1. MIGRANT ROUTE TAKES DEADLY TURN They are increasingly crossing a treacherous part of the Atlantic to reach the Canary Islands in what has become one of the most dangerous migration routes to European territory. STORIED POLITICAL NAME FALLS Sen. Edward Markey defeats Rep. Joe Kennedy III in a hard-fought Democratic primary for Senate the first time a Kennedy has lost a race for Congress in Massachusetts. NOTORIOUS KHMER ROUGE COMMANDER DIES Kaing Guek Eav, who admitted overseeing the torture and killings of as many as 16,000 Cambodians while running the regimes most notorious prison, was 77. FIRST LADYS EX-ADVISER SAYS SHE TAPED CALLS FOR PROTECTION Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, author of a new book about Melania Trump, says she needed evidence to protect herself amid questions about costs of the inauguration.
Kennedy loss in Massachusetts may mark end of 'Camelot' era
The loss marks the first time a member of the political dynasty has come up short in a race for Congress in Massachusetts. The Kennedy legacy hung over the race, especially in the closing weeks, when Kennedy more explicitly invoked his pedigree including JFK; former U.S. Kennedy helped raise millions of dollars for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats campaign arm, during the 2018 midterm elections. Massachusetts voters may have rejected him, but few remaining House Democrats carry the same national fundraising appeal as Kennedy. In 1986, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost a U.S. House race in Maryland, and in 2002, Mark Kennedy Shriver also lost a congressional primary in Maryland.
Heal the country? Disease specialists running for Congress
BOSTON A background in science specifically, infectious disease and epidemiology may not spring to mind as a key selling point for candidates hoping to land a seat in Congress. Kennedy is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey in the states Democratic primary, creating an open race to fill his seat. I cant go anywhere in this district and not talk about anything but my experiences as an infectious disease doctor, he said. Goldstein said he also sees himself as part of a wave of younger Democratic candidates trying to push the party toward a more progressive agenda. Brookline resident Barbara Kamholz, a 48-year-old associate professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, said she's pleased with the variety of Democratic candidates running to fill Kennedys seat.
Where's Markey? Senator misses dozens of votes in pandemic
Only Markey and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state missed the vote. Of 42 Senate votes in May and the first half of June, Markey missed 34 or about 80%, according to information from GovTrack, an independent clearinghouse for congressional data. Of those missed votes, one of the more notable for Markey was last weeks vote on the Great American Outdoors Act. The bill, which passed on a bipartisan 73-25 vote vote, would spend $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. In all of 2019, Markey missed just 19 of 428 votes or less than 5%.
Search for Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter and her young son shifts "from rescue to recovery," mother says
The search for Maeve Kennedy McKean and her eight-year-old son Gideon "has turned from rescue to recovery," Kennedy McKean's mother said in a statement Friday night. The pair were last seen in a canoe off Chesapeake Bay on Thursday evening. "With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery," said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former Maryland lieutenant governor. Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Kennedy McKean's cousin, shared his grief on Twitter. Over two hours later, at 7 p.m., a canoe and paddle were found several miles from where Mckean and her son were first spotted.cbsnews.com
Rep. Joe Kennedy to kick off primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey
Kennedy is the heir to a political dynasty that has never lost an election in the state, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy and the son of former Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy II. Kennedy told reporters on Thursday that Markey is "a good man," but had other issues he wanted to address in the race. US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democrats' campaign arm and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the firebrand freshman, also back Markey. When asked about whether he had tried to flip the endorsements of his fellow members of Congress, Kennedy told reporters on Thursday that he respected the decisions that they've made. "The race is going to be decided by the people of Massachusetts," Kennedy said.