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brooklynite's Journal
brooklynite's Journal
May 1, 2021

Olympia Dukakis, late-blooming Oscar winner for 'Moonstruck,' dies at 89

Source: Washington Post

Olympia Dukakis, a versatile actress who toiled in obscurity onstage for decades before her Oscar-winning breakthrough at 56 as Cher’s sardonic mother in the romantic comedy “Moonstruck,” died May 1 at her home in New York City. She was 89.

The death was confirmed by her representative, Allison Levy, who did not specify the cause.

“Moonstruck” (1987) — about the exasperation, disappointment and unpredictability of love — was a light comedic showcase for Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia and Ms. Dukakis as Brooklynites in the throes of agony and ecstasy.

As the tart-tongued matriarch Rose Castorini, Ms. Dukakis suffers the infidelity of her neglectful husband (played by Gardenia), a prosperous plumbing contractor, and finds herself the object of the sexual fascination of a womanizing professor (John Mahoney), whose momentary ardor she gently tames.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/olympia-dukakis-dead/2021/05/01/b5a7a7d6-a691-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html

May 1, 2021

Biden calls for more cash, new routes for Amtrak, on its 50th birthday

Source: Politico

President Joe Biden celebrated Amtrak‘s 50th birthday Friday by calling for its routes to be expanded, including the creation of high speed rail service between Charlotte and Atlanta, and a significant increase in funding for the railroad.

More service: During a speech at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Biden touted his American Jobs Plan, which calls for an unprecedented $80 billion investment in rail, the lion's share of which would benefit Amtrak. He also rattled off a list of new city pairs that could be created with that ambitious pot of money.

“Imagine a two-hour train ride between Atlanta and Charlotte going at speeds of 220 miles an hour,“ Biden said. “A two-and-a-half hour trip between Chicago and Detroit. Or faster and more regular trips between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a route that I imagine could be pretty popular on Fridays.”

He noted that these are some of the services he had hoped could be built years ago when, as vice president for President Barack Obama, he wrote the White House's budget request for Amtrak.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/30/biden-amtrak-birthday-485130
May 1, 2021

Conor Lamb moves toward Pennsylvania Senate run


Rep. Conor Lamb has begun telling some donors and supporters in recent days that he is likely to enter the Pennsylvania Senate race, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.

Lamb has urged some donors to contribute quickly as he ramps up his fundraising operation ahead of a formal launch. The timeline for an announcement was not clear, and one source familiar with the Democrat's thinking says there are no imminent plans to enter the race.

Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor who won a critical special election in 2018, has said he is seriously considering a run to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. He has been tight-lipped about his thinking, though his team has hired fundraising consultants and recently held a high-profile fundraiser with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). But these conversations represent one of the clearest signs that he is taking concrete steps towards running.

Some of those private conversations took place this week as Lamb has helped campaign for a Democratic state Senate candidate in the Scranton area — roughly 300 miles from his district in the Pittsburgh suburbs, which further fueled speculation that he would run statewide. Lamb is set to canvass voters in the area Saturday afternoon.

May 1, 2021

Delayed census data kicks off flood of redistricting lawsuits

Source: Politico

States are months away from getting the census data they need to draw new political maps, but courts are already filling up with lawsuits challenging the redistricting process.

One of the Democratic Party's most prominent lawyers quickly filed three suits in states where neither Republicans nor Democrats have full control over the redistricting process, in preparation for court action to resolve potential impasses over new maps. Ohio and Alabama are suing the Census Bureau over its delayed timeline for giving the states what they need to draw maps. New York is even contemplating legal action after the census count showed it missed out on an extra House seat by just 89 people.

Every redistricting cycle brings a torrent of litigation over the country's political boundaries, which can play an outsized role in determining which party controls the House of Representatives and statehouses around the country. But this year, a confluence of forces — including the census delays, pending federal legislation about redistricting and major Supreme Court rulings earlier in the decade — could transform that steady stream of lawsuits into a downpour. Combined with the compressed timeline for making new maps, the litigation promises to make redistricting a more chaotic and unpredictable affair in 2021 and 2022.

"We will see a lot of lawsuits," said Kathay Feng, the national redistricting director at the good government group Common Cause, chuckling at a question about how much litigation there will be this redistricting cycle. Redistricting, she said, “is always a breeding ground for people who are discontent with the results.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/05/01/redistricting-lawsuits-485161
May 1, 2021

College enrollment is down -- and dropping

Source: Politico

DECISION DAY — Saturday is the last day for many high school seniors to decide where they’ll spend the next four years of their education — many without even stepping foot on a college campus.

National headlines have highlighted acceptance rates going down, but that’s for the Ivy Leagues and top institutions in the U.S., said Angel Pérez, CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Because many of these schools made standardized tests optional, more students applied, thinking they may have a shot.

Yet the majority of schools are actually still looking for students, Pérez said. Spring undergraduate enrollment is down 5.9 percent compared to this time last year, according to research by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center — a steeper decline in undergraduate enrollment than occurred in fall 2020. Traditional college students, ages 18 to 20, saw the largest decline: 7.2 percent for the current semester compared to last year.

During summer 2020, pandemic-fueled uncertainty led some students to defer their freshman year. The concern was that these gap-year students would make it more difficult for this class to get accepted. That largely hasn’t been the case.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-nightly/2021/04/30/college-enrollment-is-down-and-dropping-492678
May 1, 2021

Where Is the New York Mayor's Race Headed?

Source: New York Times

With less than two months to go until the all-important Democratic primary, the New York City mayor’s race is one of the costliest and most closely watched political campaigns in the country this year. It’s also one of the most uncertain.

The businessman Andrew Yang is widely seen as the front-runner, mostly thanks to the celebrity profile that he accrued on the presidential campaign trail last year, when he mounted a quixotic run.

But with a ranked-choice voting system in place for the first time, and most voters still relatively unengaged and unaware of the candidates involved, no one has emerged with a clear path to victory.

“Yang is the front-runner, but a vulnerable front-runner,” Doug Schoen, a political strategist and longtime adviser to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said in an interview. “It isn’t clear to me now who will be his rival — but a rival can and may well emerge.”

On Wednesday, a major wrench flew into the campaign when Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller and the leading progressive in the race, was accused of sexual assault. Jean Kim, now a political lobbyist, said that when she was an intern for his campaign for public advocate in 2001, he kissed and groped her and pressured her to have sex with him. (Mr. Stringer denied the allegations, saying that he and Ms. Kim had had a brief, consensual relationship.)

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/30/us/politics/new-york-mayor-race.html
April 30, 2021

Scotland's election: a stepping stone to independence?

The Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon has said that next week’s election in Scotland is the most important in the country’s history. The SNP is once again promising to hold a referendum on independence if it wins a majority in the Scottish parliament.

The Guardian’s Scotland correspondent, Libby Brooks, tells Rachel Humphreys that the pandemic has cast a long shadow over the campaign, with very little door-knocking or in-person campaigning.

The campaign has also thrown up some surprises, not least with the launch of a rival pro-independence party fronted by the former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. He has argued that despite his well-documented rift with his former SNP colleagues, his new Alba party can be part of a “supermajority” for independence.

As Scotland continues to slowly lift its strict lockdown, polling suggests appetite for independence is dropping. There is also strong resistance from Westminster to allowing a new referendum to go ahead. But if pro-independence parties hold a majority after next week’s vote, the issue is likely to dominate the coming months and years in Scottish politics.
April 30, 2021

Biden Team Launches Website, Text Messages to Locate Vaccines

Source: Bloomberg

President Joe Biden’s administration has launched a website, text-message tool and phone hotline to link Americans with Covid-19 shots near them as the pace of vaccination in the U.S. has plateaued.

An existing vaccine locater site, VaccineFinder.org, has relaunched as Vaccines.gov, along with a new Spanish-language equivalent, Vacunas.gov. People in the U.S. will be able to text their ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) or VACUNA (822862) to see locations near them with available doses, or call a toll-free number with service in more than 150 languages.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a statement. “By making it easier to find a vaccine, we will help people take a big step towards protecting themselves against Covid-19 and returning to their lives.”

The move comes as U.S. vaccination levels plateau, signaling a diminishing pool of people who will actively seek out shots. In the past week, an average of 2.63 million doses a day have been administered, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, compared with a high of 3 million a day several weeks ago. The campaign is now shifting focus to those who are either skeptical about vaccination or are harder to reach.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-30/biden-team-launches-website-text-messages-to-locate-vaccines

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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
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