There were 4623 incarcerated people over 65 in federal prisons during the first week of May.  Until May 12, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's one-time campaign manager, was one of them.  The 71-year-old petitioned the court for release to home confinement because of his age, heart condition, and "fear of coronavirus."  Yet the federal correctional institution that housed Manafort had no coronavirus cases, and Manafort had served fewer than two years of his more than seven-year sentence.  Recently developed federal guidelines suggest at-home confinement for those at risk who have served more than hal...

Exactly one hundred and thirty-six years to the day after Ida B. Wells was thrown off a Chesapeake and Ohio railroad train, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize special citation for her "outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans in the era of lynchings."  The creator of the New York Times' 1619 Project, Nicole Hannah-Jones, received a Pulitzer on the same day and reminded us that the New York Times, in 1894, described Wells as a "slanderous and nasty-minded mulatress."

The path between "nasty-minded mulatress' and Pulitzer Prize winner was n...

   A little less than four years ago, the president tried to get Black votes with the question, "What do you have to lose."  The coronavirus offers a bleak answer.  Trump was notified of the danger of the pandemic in January, but didn't begin to address the issue until late February.  Hospitals ran short on supplies like gowns, masks and tests.  Governors had to ask, then plead with the president for ventilators and other supplies.  And in the beginning, the president dismissed the seriousness of the virus, claiming it would "go away."  And after weeks of "staying in place" and wearing masks,...

April 27, 2020

 The daily White House coronavirus briefings have made me cringe, scream, shake my head, and even laugh!  The President of the United States offers medical advice, minimizes the coronavirus, injects partisanship into his remarks, and generally treated these critical briefings as his daily open mike.  He uses his bully pulpit to praise and to scold, saving particular scorn for the media.  Not only is this man vindictive, but also brusque and churlish.

 His ignorance hit a nadir, though, when he suggested, on April 23, that sunlight and heat might heal the coronavirus.  Then he sai...

April 20, 2020

 The coronavirus has upended our way of life, especially in urban America, where social distancing has replaced the laughter of children playing on the street, the excitement of preparing for graduation and prom, and the frenzy of last-minute test preparation.  Instead, educators are being forced to think creatively about how to efficiently deliver instruction to their students, especially since they can have no physical contact with them.

 Many of them are more than up to the task.  Dedicated educators are emailing and snail mailing homework assignments and lesson plans, collaborating on...

April 13, 2020

 Cities depend on density.  They depend on people milling around downtown, or at neighborhood parks, or street fairs and restaurants.  Not only does this milling about bring energy to urban areas, but it also contributes dollars to city coffers.  Now with the coronavirus causing some cities to issue "shelter at home" orders, close restaurants except for pick up and delivery, and order the use of facial coverings in public places, the gush of revenue has slowed to a drip, and cities are being forced to revise their budgets to manage the new reality.

 San Francisco's Mayor London B...

April 6, 2020

The "big and bad" United States is seeing its world dominance recede.  We are being vanquished both by a virus and by the ignorance of the "Commander in Chief'.  We now know that there are not enough tests to detect the coronavirus, nor enough ventilators to treat all of those who are ill.  Medical professionals are talking openly about the choices they will make and the fact that some people will be judged more likely to survive than others.  Through which lens will these medical professionals decide who gets a ventilator?  Will age be the only lens, advantaging a 30-year-old over an 80-year-...

March 30, 2020

The development of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package was extremely flawed,    The Republican bullies in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, wrote the bill with absolutely no Democratic input, then suggested that Democrats amend their legislation. The first draft of the bill, unsurprisingly, was a goody grab for corporations with much less for individuals.  Initially, the Republican Senate would have given Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a slush fund of $500 billion to assist troubled industries with absolutely no oversight.  The last version of the bill does include both moni...

March 23, 2020

 Restaurants, museums, libraries, gyms, and bars are closed.  So are schools, from K-12 to higher education.  Classes will be conducted online or not at all.  A local vendor told me her receipts were down by 85 percent, and she hopes not to close before the "national emergency" is over.  Our streets are deserted, with some cities asking people to "self-quarantine", or in the words of several mayors, "stay home unless it is urgent."  The shutdowns have impacted our economy.  Consumer spending is more than two-thirds of GDP.  If people aren't working, p