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The Morning

June 21, 2024

 
 

Good morning. Today, two of my colleagues explain why you’re probably overpaying for medicines. We’re also covering 2024 fund-raising, Stonehenge and Taylor Swift. —David Leonhardt

 
 
 
An open pill capsule against a black background with white powder spilling out.
Photo illustration by Jens Mortensen

Bad medicine

Reed Abelson headshotRebecca Robbins headshot

By Reed Abelson and Rebecca Robbins

We cover the business of health care.

 

You probably already know some of the reasons prescription drugs are so expensive. Drugmakers charge as much as the market will bear. Health insurers and the government haven’t reined in prices.

But there’s another reason: middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers, or P.B.M.s. Your employer or a government insurance program like Medicare hires these companies to negotiate a price with drugmakers and to pay pharmacies. P.B.M.s are supposed to save money by haggling favorable terms with those businesses in exchange for sending them large numbers of patients. But in their quest for higher profits, they are quietly driving up prescription drug costs.

Your pharmacy benefit manager is often invisible to you unless you’re having trouble filling a prescription. (You probably rely on one of the big three: CVS Health’s Caremark, Cigna’s Express Scripts or UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Rx.) We spent the past year trying to understand them. Today, we published a story about these companies, how they affect drug spending and how they amassed so much control with so little transparency.

Here’s what we learned.

A graphic showing that the amount of fees collected by P.B.M.s rose from $3.8 billion in 2018 to $7.6 billion in 2022.
Source: Nephron Research | By Ella Koeze

A middleman

Employers and governments hire P.B.M.s because they need someone to handle the intricacies of paying for prescription drugs. Say your doctor prescribes a drug like Eliquis to prevent you from having a heart attack. She’ll send the prescription to your pharmacy, where you’ll pick it up.

Behind the scenes, your pharmacy benefit manager is handling several tasks. It likely negotiated a price with Eliquis’s manufacturer. It helped determine how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the medicine. And it will pay your pharmacy for dispensing Eliquis to you.

A chart showing how CVS Caremark charged Blue Shield $3,000 per month and Price Express Scripts charged Hyatt $1,500 per month for the same drug.
Sources: Blue Shield of California; online drug pricing tool; CivicaScript | By Ella Koeze

At a number of points along the way, your P.B.M. may be overcharging. It might steer you toward pricier drugs or charge your employer much more for your medicine than the wholesale cost. Added up across more than 200 million Americans, that means big profits for the largest P.B.M.s and higher costs for the system.

Consider the case of Kent McKinley, a cancer patient in Oklahoma who gets his health insurance through a program for state employees. His P.B.M., CVS Caremark, charged Oklahoma $120,000 per year more for his cancer drug than his local pharmacist would have charged. “We were getting ripped off,” McKinley said.

Often, employers don’t know they’re being overcharged. Many admitted to us that they struggled to understand how the system works.

Executives at the big three pharmacy benefit managers told us that they were not to blame for high drug prices. They say that when you consider all the drugs they oversee, they save substantial money for patients and clients. They say their size and scale are essential to counter the drugmakers, which they point to as the real culprits. They also say employers can be stingy in the benefits they offer to workers.

New scrutiny

If P.B.M.s charge too much, why haven’t competitors with lower prices swooped in to steal their business? The short answer is that these companies have gotten incredibly big, and the system is maddeningly complex.

A graphic showing the parts of CVS Health, a healthcare conglomerate. They are: a pharmacy benefits manager, a drugstore, an insurer, a mail-order pharmacy, a group purchasing organization and a drug production partner.
Note: CVS Health has additional units not shown. | By Ella Koeze

The biggest three pharmacy benefit managers now process roughly 80 percent of prescriptions in the United States. After two major mergers in 2018, they are all now part of conglomerates that include insurers and pharmacies. This structure allows them to juice their own business — by pushing patients to use their pharmacies, for instance — and to discourage patients and employers from going elsewhere. That gives the conglomerates an enormous competitive advantage.

The result is that smaller players can’t get a toehold. There are efforts to dislodge the pharmacy benefit managers — notably, the billionaire Mark Cuban created an online pharmacy to take them on. But such efforts have captured only a tiny share of overall prescriptions.

Until recently, regulators had generally given P.B.M.s. a pass. That’s changing as high drug prices have prompted more scrutiny. The Federal Trade Commission, lawmakers and state attorneys general have suggested that the P.B.M.s. may be abusing their power.

“They’re seeking to extract from the system without creating any corresponding value for the system,” said Dave Yost, the Republican attorney general in Ohio who has sued Express Scripts and Optum Rx over their business practices. “The patients are the ones that are suffering.”

For more: Read what to do if you’re overpaying for prescriptions.

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

Politics

International

Volodymyr Zelensky standing in front of a Patriot air defense system.
Volodymyr Zelensky with a Patriot air defense system in Germany. Jens Buettner/DPA, via Associated Press
  • The U.S. will delay weapons shipments to other countries to rush air defense missiles to Ukraine.
  • Palestinians say they are paying exorbitant fees to an Egyptian company or unofficial middlemen to help them escape Gaza.
  • In fewer than five years, Britain’s main opposition party has gone from massive defeat to the favorite to win next month’s election. Read how the party did it.
  • In France, boys allegedly raped a 12-year-old Jewish girl after hurling antisemitic abuse at her. The case has fueled a conversation about antisemitism in the country.
  • In Japan, some women want to be sterilized to eliminate any chance of becoming pregnant. The country makes that extremely difficult.
  • An ancient Roman beach was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It just reopened, The Washington Post reports.

Climate and Weather

Two protesters spray orange powder on Stonehenge.
At Stonehenge, in England. Just Stop Oil/UGC, via Just Stop Oil, via Reuters

Other Big Stories

A photo of a boy in a blue shirt.
Nico Nuño-Kelley Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Opinions

A construction worker on the timber frame of a building.
Working in the heat in Arizona. Cassidy Araiza for The New York Times

Workers shouldn’t have to risk their lives in heat waves. They should have adequate rest, shade and water, Terri Gerstein writes.

Here are columns by Michelle Goldberg on abortion and the Comstock Act and Jamelle Bouie on Donald Trump’s “lazy authoritarianism.”

 
 

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MORNING READS

Donald Sutherland looks at the camera in all black.
Donald Sutherland Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

Lives Lived: Donald Sutherland was an actor who could both charm and unsettle and played roles in “M*A*S*H,” “Ordinary People” and “The Hunger Games.” He died at 88.

Beer: This is how it tasted 3,000 years ago.

Going abroad: See where your dollar is worth more.

Big move: These are the best cities for college graduates.

Software updates: Welcome to the era of the A.I. smartphone.

Viagra for women? Doctors have been prescribing the creams and pills.

Modern Love: I was content with monogamy. I shouldn’t have been.

 

SPORTS

M.L.B.: The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants in Birmingham, Ala., as the league honored Willie Mays and celebrated Rickwood Field’s Negro Leagues history.

N.B.A.: The Los Angeles Lakers hired JJ Redick, a player-turned-broadcast analyst with no professional coaching experience, as the team’s head coach.

Soccer: The Copa América began last night with Lionel Messi and Argentina’s 2-0 win over Canada. The U.S. men’s national team opens on Sunday against Bolivia.

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

Images of Taylor Swift are projected on a giant screen during a performance.
A Taylor Swift concert in France. Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Taylor Swift’s concerts are an economic tour de force. European cities are benefiting this summer.

This could influence how countries measure inflation and decide whether they should cut interest rates. It can “muddle the picture for central banks heading into these decisions,” one expert in London said.

More on culture

Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul share a moment onstage in red light.
Kendrick Lamar onstage.  Gabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Berries and cream viewed from the side in a clear glass cup.
Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.

Make berries and cream, the perfect cap to a summer meal.

Find the best cheap sunglasses.

Try a hard seltzer.

Tackle any clothing stain with this advice.

Charm your picnic guests with these chic tumblers.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was excelling.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 22, 2024

 
 

Good morning. With much of the U.S. experiencing a heat wave, let us consider the beach and all its promises and pitfalls.

 
 
 
An illustration of the beach as seen from above. It shows people lying on towels, a child digging in the sand and an umbrella blowing away.
María Jesús Contreras

Sea changes

A friend and I like to send each other photos of the corniest beach house signs we encounter, those punny plaques that declare a Margaritaville state of mind rules in this house. The signs are made of painted driftwood and say stuff like “Sand by Me” and “It’s Always 5 O’Clock Here” and “If You’re Not Barefoot, You’re Overdressed.” These are all variations on the overarching theme, the through line of summer vacation: Life is a beach. You are hereby commanded to put on a brightly colored swimsuit, sip a frosty cocktail garnished with a slice of pineapple and relax.

This is one of the problems I think non-beach people have with the beach. That mandate to hang loose, to be easy and fun and not care that invisible bugs are biting you all the time. Non-beach people lament that the beach is one of the few places where you can’t get everything you want at any time (this is precisely what recommends the beach to others). So you need to pack with provisions for any contingency, like you’re deploying for six months to a remote location of unpredictable climate and topography, perhaps the moon.

As a child, the beach was uncomplicated. I loved nothing more than to sit in the sand all day in a damp bathing suit making drip castles and letting a soft-serve ice cream cone melt down my arm. But as a teenager, some combination of body shame and a desire to appear as vampiric and vitamin D-deprived as the goth musicians I idolized made me into a person who wanted nothing to do with the sun and therefore nothing to do with the brand of plastic fun that the beach was peddling.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood there are many different ways to be at the beach and many different ways to be a beach person. The beach can be a full-day family affair, with inflatable sea horses and economy-size bottles of SPF 75 and a cooler of soft drinks. It can also be a solo sojourn on a Tuesday afternoon with just a towel, a hat and a book. The beach is a site freighted with so much preparation and expectation that we forget it’s just a location. We project all kinds of meaning onto the place but really, it has no meaning that we don’t give to it. It doesn’t insist that a particular kind of good time be had there. It’s land and water, evidence of the earth’s functions, erosion and deposition, tides and currents.

The beach for me these days is participatory performance art. I love to see people unfurl their beach selves under the sun’s spotlight. To see how they’re adorning themselves, the music they’re blasting, the way they stake their territory, their peculiar rituals and accessories.

I like the community aspect of it all: Your music is, for better or worse, my music, for you are my neighbor for one brief day and this is our pop-up neighborhood. I like to eavesdrop on people’s conversations and observe how they discipline their children and, if they seem interesting, offer them some of my chips. I even like that moment of danger when a big breeze comes and someone’s giant, improperly anchored beach umbrella unmoors and comes soaring down the sand.

We’re all in this together, I think, in my dopey sun-drunk stupor. Today, we live here, not in our houses or apartments with their climate control and Wi-Fi and roofs, but here, outside, exposed to the elements and the gulls and the gaze of others. Today, we agree, life really and truly is a beach, or at least this beach, and here we are, living that life as extravagantly as we can manage.

For more

 
 

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THE WEEK IN CULTURE

A split image shows Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
Valerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Movies

Art

Other Big Stories

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Crowds at the Grand Mosque.
Muslim pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 
 

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 

CULTURE CALENDAR

📺 “The Bear” (Thursday): In the previous season of this Hulu show, Carmy Berzatto and his team had just a handful of weeks to open a high-end restaurant. It encapsulated the show’s raison d’être: depicting “the curse and blessing of having a calling,” as The Times’s James Poniewozik wrote in his review.

“Fishes,” a flashback episode set at a stressful holiday dinner, was the show at its best. It features thrilling guest appearances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Odenkirk, John Mulaney and Sarah Paulson, as well as heart-wrenching interpersonal dynamics, complex characters and a simmer, simmer, boil of a plot. It’s well worth rewatching before the new season arrives — or, at least, reading this recap from Vulture.

 
 

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RECIPE OF THE WEEK

A light blue bowl is filled with orange, red and yellow tomatoes.
Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

By Mia Leimkuhler

 

Cherry Tomato and White Bean Salad

This five-star recipe from Lidey Heuck knows you want to make some ingredient swaps and additions — and, judging by its reader reviews, it’s here for them. Throw in whatever soft herbs you have, add grilled chicken or canned tuna, serve it cold or at room temperature. Requiring just some assembly, it’s a breezy dish for these hot summer days.

 

REAL ESTATE

A woman in a brown blazer and a man in a flowery shirt smile as they pose at a fountain.
Rosaria Silvano and Douglas Ritter in Rome. Susan Wright for The New York Times

The Hunt: They moved to Rome in search of a two-bedroom with a terrace in a central neighborhood. What would their $950,000 budget afford? Play our game.

What you get for $1.5 million: In Prague, that buys you a three-bedroom loft in an revamped factory, a two-bedroom apartment in a 16th-century house or a detached villa in a leafy residential area.

Cohabitation: An engineer who moved from London to New York was planning to live alone. Instead, he wound up with 23 housemates — and loved it.

 

LIVING

A bottle of perfume beside a case with a multicolor checker pattern.
The LV Lovers fragrance. via Louis Vuitton

Fragrance: Photosynthesis was the inspiration behind a new scent developed by Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton.

Dental health: These five habits can cause a surprising amount of damage to your teeth, experts say.

Travel: Spend 36 hours in Portland, Maine.

Back pain: Walking can be a powerful remedy.

 

ADVICE FROM WIRECUTTER

10 seconds to have a great hair day

I think of a “mom bun” as a haphazard loop of hair secured up and off the neck, to be worn on days when there are more important things than hair. It’s fast and functional, and doesn’t look good or bad; it just is. But six years deep in parenting, sometimes I do want my hair to look like … something. Plastic claw clips and scrunchies are back in fashion, but I find them both clunky and overly casual. My solution is this affordable and sleek little hair pin. I just twist my hair into a low cluster with one hand. With the other hand, I jab the pin tines downward into the mass, nudging back and forth to get some hold. That’s it. Its steel core means it has absolutely no wiggle or give, so my updo is just as secure as a mom bun — but far more refined. — Hannah Morrill

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

A swimmer dives from a racing block into a large pool for a race.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

U.S. Olympic swim trials: For the past week, the cavernous Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has hosted the best swimmers in the U.S. as they race for spots on the Olympics squad. The U.S. regularly has the world’s best swim team, and it seems to be assembling another strong one this year:

  • Seven-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky is back, as is Caeleb Dressel, who won five gold medals at the Tokyo Games.
  • Two world records have been broken at the trials: Gretchen Walsh in the 100-meter butterfly, and Regan Smith in the 100-meter backstroke.
  • Thomas Heilman, 17, won the 200-meter butterfly; he’s the youngest male swimmer to make the team since 15-year-old Michael Phelps in 2000.

The highlight tonight may be the women’s 200-meter individual medley, featuring Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh, each of whom has won a world championship in the event. Tonight and Sunday, 8 p.m. on NBC

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

A grid with the letters A, O, Y, N, T, I, and M in the center.

Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was although.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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Obstinacy is a barrier to all improvement. - ChL 60
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The Morning

June 23, 2024

 
 

Good morning. Today my colleague Katie Thomas is writing about the changing world of pet health care. We’re also covering an Arkansas shooting, chicken recipes and a mermaid parade. —David Leonhardt

 
 
 
A woman sits on the grass behind her dog with trees in the background
Claire Kirsch and her dog at home in Vassar, Mich. Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

The new pet care

Author Headshot

By Katie Thomas

I’m an investigative reporter with a focus on the intersection of money and health care. I have a dog named Gerald.

 

Pets these days are just like us. They get birthday cakes, day care and rubber boots to wear in the snow. Their health care is becoming more human, too — for better and for worse.

Decades ago, animal care was relatively rudimentary. Veterinarians usually owned their own clinics, and the options to treat a sick or injured pet were limited. Today, animal hospitals are equipped with expensive magnetic resonance imaging machines, round-the-clock critical care units and teams of specialists in cancer, cardiology and neurology. For pets and the people who love them, the advances are welcome.

But as animals’ health care has changed to more closely resemble our own, it has also taken on some of the problems of the human system, including the biggest one: cost. The price of veterinary care has soared more than 60 percent over the past decade, outpacing inflation. Private equity firms have snapped up hundreds of independent clinics, in a trend reminiscent of corporate roll-ups of doctors’ offices. Veterinarians around the country told me that they worry this is changing the way that they practice, as they face growing pressure to push costly treatments and order more tests.

The changed landscape means that even as veterinarians can do more for dogs and cats than ever before, pet owners face sometimes heartbreaking decisions about whether they can afford the care. (Read more in our story on the topic.)

Changes in the industry

About one-quarter of primary care clinics and three-quarters of specialty clinics are owned by corporations, according to Brakke Consulting, which focuses on the animal health industry. Sometimes, the corporate ownership is not obvious: Many private equity firms do not change the name of the vet clinic when they take it over.

Most veterinarians are paid, at least in part, based on how much money they bring into a practice, whether that is by ordering tests, selling prescription dog food or performing procedures. One veterinarian said she quit her job after she was told her “cost per client” was too low; another said she was told she needed to see 21 animals a day, about a half-dozen more than her current workload.

A man and his dog outdoors with the sun shining
Retired veterinarian David Roos and his dog, Chester. Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times

Other veterinarians said the pressure had no influence on the care they provided. In interviews, they said they bore the brunt of pet owners’ complaints, even when they have little to do with setting prices. Veterinarians make far less money than doctors for humans, and are also often in debt from years of education. Prices have gone up partly because of the rising cost of drugs, vaccines and other supplies, as well as worker salaries in a tight labor market.

One veterinarian I interviewed, Dr. Pam Nichols of South Jordan, Utah, has seen the transformation firsthand. When she was starting out in the 1990s, she said she used to sneak dachshunds into the human hospital where her father was a radiologist to give them M.R.I. scans. If the dog needed surgery, the bill would be about $2,000. Now, she said, a similar dog might get an M.R.I. and a CT scan, and will probably be operated on by a specialist who is assisted by several nurses. The cost could reach $10,000.

Tough choices for owners

Veterinary care differs from human health care in one big way: Most pet owners pay out of their own pocket — and in full — before leaving the vet’s office. While pet insurance is available, only a small percentage of pet owners have it.

A generation ago, pet owners with a seriously ill animal may have had little choice but to opt for euthanasia if they wanted to relieve their pet’s suffering. Now, they must choose between extending the animal’s life and going into what can be debilitating debt, or letting an animal die. I spoke to some pet owners who were still paying off credit card debt years after their animals had died. And animal welfare groups said owners frequently relinquished their pets to shelters because they couldn’t afford veterinary bills.

For many people, though, the sacrifices are worth it. That was the case for Claire Kirsch, who was earning less than $10 an hour as a veterinary technician in Georgia when her own dog, Roscoe, and her horse, Gambit, each had medical emergencies, resulting in bills that totaled more than $13,000. The animals would have died if she had not opted for the additional care. She took a higher-paying job, maxed out a credit card and tapped into her husband’s retirement account to pay off the debt.

“I knew I would never be able to forgive myself if we didn’t try,” she said.

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

2024 Election

Former President Trump and Joe Biden on a debate stage.
Former President Trump and Joe Biden debating in 2020. Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Europe

A man walks by people hanging political posters.
In Lyon, France. Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israel-Hamas War

  • Israeli airstrikes shook Gaza City. Israel said its jets struck Hamas military infrastructure; Gazan rescue workers and residents said there were many killed.
  • Columbia placed three deans on leave over their conduct during an antisemitism panel. Leaked images showed them sharing disparaging messages.

Other Big Stories

People cooling off at a fountain on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
On the National Mall. Daniel Slim/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 

THE SUNDAY DEBATE

Does Louisiana’s Ten Commandments law constitute an establishment of religion?

Yes. The mandate that the Ten Commandments be displayed in public schools puts it on equal footing with documents like the Declaration of Independence. It treats them as “a mere historical document, eroding faith, mischaracterizing the origins of scripture and violating the Constitution,” Eli Federman writes for CNN.

No. The Ten Commandments offer values and edicts that are universal across religions and faiths. “Prohibitions on murder, theft and false accusations hardly constitute controversial ‘religious’ ideas,” Miranda Turner writes for Patheos, a religion news site.

 

FROM OPINION

A black and white photograph of a woman in a leotard floating upside down.
Camilla Gomes Charlotte Drury

Years after losing her chance at the 2016 Olympics, Charlotte Drury photographs the leaps of faith trampolinists take to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The E.U. was built on the values of Europe’s prosperous 20th century. It has little to offer for the young people struggling in the 21st, Christopher Caldwell writes.

There is no physical evidence connecting a Missouri inmate with the crime that’s put him on death row. The governor should pardon him to save his life, David French writes.

Here are columns by Nicholas Kristof on Biden’s red line and Ross Douthat on the weaknesses of Trump and Biden.

 
 

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 
 

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MORNING READS

A woman in a silver jumpsuit with a shell purse.
On the Coney Island boardwalk.  Graham Dickie/The New York Times

Coney Island: The annual mermaid parade brought rhinestones and shells to the boardwalk.

Where to eat: New York Magazine has a list of the best eats this summer.

Summer without sex: Celibacy is all the rage right now, The Cut reports.

His father’s frontier: He was a Times bureau chief in China. Then he uncovered the full story of his dad’s role in Communist rule.

Hidden stashes: Experts say you shouldn’t keep money secrets from a loved one.

A tear-jerker: A movie from Thailand, “How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies,” has become a surprise hit across the region.

Vows: Their wedding became a music festival.

Lives Lived: Ron Simons left a career in tech and found success as a Broadway producer, winning four Tonys. His mission: staging productions about underrepresented communities. He died at 63.

 

THE INTERVIEW

A woman looking over her shoulder
Gretchen Whitmer Philip Montgomery for The New York Times

This week’s subject for The Interview is Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who is a co-chair of the Biden campaign. We talked about her new book, “True Gretch,” her hopes for her fellow Gen X politicians and President Biden’s challenges this election.

Something you write a lot about in the book is the power of messaging. In 2017 and 2018, your slogan was “Fix the damn roads.” I learned a lot about Michigan roads reading your book. [Laughs.] But my editor had to Google to find out what Biden’s slogan is, and it’s “Finish the job,” which I have to say is not much of a humdinger. I’m curious if you have sharper ideas, because you seem to be good at this. And right now Democrats nationally are really struggling with messaging about where the party stands.

National message is always a challenge. Washington, D.C., is so far away from the average person’s life that to conceptualize what a $3 trillion investment in onshoring supply chains means to your everyday life is darn near impossible to discern. That’s why I’ve always learned, when you show up and ask people, they’re going to tell you what they want. “Fix the damn roads” was not something that we poll-tested or focus-grouped. It was just conversation after conversation. What do you need me to do if I’m elected? Fix the damn roads.

It’s ironic because President Biden passed an infrastructure bill. He is fixing the damn roads. And bridges! And internet!

Right, but he’s not getting credit for it. Why do you think that is? For that same reason. I think the pandemic’s taken a toll. People are stressed out. They’re just trying to pay the grocery bill, get the kids off to school, show up at their job and maybe get a little bit of sleep at night. They’re not consuming everything. They can’t discern what the CHIPS Act has meant. And so we’ve got to tell that story better.

Read more of the interview here.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE

An image of a military jacket.
Photograph by David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Click the cover image above to read this week’s magazine.

 

BOOKS

The cover of “There Is No Ethan” by Anna Akbari is a collage of images in the form of a human face. The text is yellow and white.

“There Is No Ethan”: Reading Anna Akbari’s memoir of online manipulation, you think you’ve seen it all — then you keep reading.

Politics: A new book about “The Apprentice” paints Trump as wounded, forgetful and hung up on Hollywood.

Our editors’ picks: “Fire Exit,” Morgan Talty’s first novel that follows a white man who was raised on and then later evicted from a Penobscot reservation, and six other books.

Times best sellers: “Swan Song,” the last of the Nantucket novels by Elin Hilderbrand, is a No. 1 debut on the hardcover fiction list.

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Appreciate the kindness of strangers.

Buy a good refrigerator when you renovate.

Get a better hamper.

Play one of these great two-player board games.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

What to Watch For

  • Evan Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal reporter, stands trial Wednesday in Russia on espionage charges.
  • The U.S. presidential debate between Biden and Trump is on Thursday.
  • Iranian presidential elections are on Friday. Voters will choose a successor to President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed last month in a helicopter crash.
  • The Tour de France begins Saturday.

Meal Plan

Chicken breasts cooked in a pan
Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Our readers have asked for more recipes with chicken breasts, not thighs. Emily Weinstein has some for this week: honey garlic chicken, chicken piccata and green masala chicken, to name a few.

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangrams were anonymity and antimony.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 24, 2024

 
 

Good morning. Today, my colleague Dani Blum writes about the intriguing promise of drugs like Ozempic. We’re also covering a shooting in Russia, abortion and male kindergarten teachers. —David Leonhardt

 
 
 
A hand holding an injector labeled “Wegovy” against a thigh.
A woman injects a dose of Wegovy. Cydni Elledge for The New York Times

The new panacea?

Author Headshot

By Dani Blum

I’ve covered Ozempic and similar drugs since 2022.

 

In the past two years, Ozempic has become a synonym for weight loss. When celebrities slimmed down, tabloids wondered whether they were taking the drug. Activists argued that the drug entrenched old norms about body image — people still seemed to want to be thin. Ozempic was weight loss; weight loss was Ozempic. It’s like Kleenex or Scotch tape: totemic.

Technically, while Ozempic is a diabetes drug, people can, and do, take it to drop weight.

But the drug — and others in its class, such as Wegovy, Mounjaro and Zepbound — is about much more. Scientists believe the drugs are about to revolutionize several fields of medicine, such as cardiology and endocrinology. Researchers are also running dozens of trials to see whether they might help with Alzheimer’s, liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome and even skin conditions. If these trials prove successful, the drugs may extend many lives by years, save billions in medical costs and divide public health into before-and-after epochs. A researcher studying these drugs told me he felt like the scientist who first discovered antibiotics.

Those are some sky-high hopes, and not all will be come true. But we’ve already seen a real-world impact. In March, the Food and Drug Administration said that doctors could use Wegovy to reduce the risk of heart problems. Last month, a trial showed that the compound in Ozempic reduced the risk of complications from chronic kidney disease. And last week, two trials found that tirzepatide, the substance in Mounjaro and Zepbound, could improve symptoms of sleep apnea.

The idea that a single drug that could target so many kinds of disease might sound too good to be true. These drugs, called GLP-1s (glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists), mystify even the scientists who study them. When I asked researchers how it was possible that Ozempic might help with cognitive issues and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and opioid addiction, they gave the same answer: We don’t know!

But we have early clues about where these drugs might take us — and what that means for medicine. In today’s newsletter, I’ll explain.

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Ozempic injection pens on the production line. Charlotte de la Fuente for The New York Times

Fighting inflammation

Some researchers think Ozempic and drugs like it may have something of a medical superpower: lowering inflammation in the body.

Inflammation is a key part of the body’s defense system. When we sense a threat, such as one posed by a pathogen, our cells work to help us fight off the intruder. But chronic inflammation contributes to heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and a host of other major illnesses. If new obesity drugs really do reduce inflammation, that could explain their effect across such a wide spectrum of diseases.

Still, there are already limits. Not everyone responds to GLP-1s. Even those who slim down inevitably hit a floor, typically after losing about 15 percent of their body weight. And the drugs come with side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation) and rare but serious risks: People can develop gallstones and an inflamed pancreas; they can eat so little they become malnourished; and, more commonly, they can lose muscle mass.

Limiting urges

We know that these medications target the areas of the brain that regulate appetite. But there are questions around what else the drugs do to the mind. I’ve interviewed dozens of people taking these medications who say they’ve lost all interest in alcohol.

Could these drugs curb other compulsive behavior, too, the way they silence “food noise”? Studies in rats suggest that GLP-1s reduce cravings for cocaine. Scientists are examining whether these medications might even be able to alleviate gambling addictions and smoking.

The great experiment

Ozempic and drugs like it are considered “forever drugs” — that is, people are supposed to stay on them for the rest of their lives. They’re like statins or blood pressure medications. When you stop taking them, they stop working.

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
A display at a GNC store. Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

But this class of drugs has existed for less than 20 years. Ozempic itself has been on the market for only six. We don’t know what happens after lifelong use of these drugs. Researchers point to past examples of drugs we once thought were miraculous, chiefly fen-phen. It, too, was astonishingly effective for weight loss. Then doctors learned that it damaged the heart and stopped prescribing it.

It will take years, more diverse trials and much more data to determine the potential of these drugs. We are years away from solid evidence underpinning their use to treat Alzheimer’s disease, for instance. There’s a chance they won’t do what scientists hope.

Researchers sometimes tell me that we’re living through the great Ozempic experiment.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe are taking GLP-1s. The number will rise as they’re approved for other uses. It may be years or generations before we know their hidden limitations — or their full powers.

For more

  • We know where the new weight-loss drugs come from — but not why they work.
  • These medicines are incredibly expensive. One state stopped covering some of them this year.
 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

Russia Shootings

A white police vehicle, armed officers and emergency vehicles, seen at night.
Law enforcement in images released by Russian authorities.  National Antiterrorism Committee, via Reuters
  • Gunmen attacked synagogues and churches in two cities in southern Russia. They used rifles and Molotov cocktails.
  • The attackers killed police officers and a priest. Six of the gunmen died in shootouts, officials said.
  • While the attacks appeared coordinated, the Russian authorities have not yet identified the gunmen or offered a possible motive.

Israel-Hamas War

  • Benjamin Netanyahu, in a television interview, said that the intensive phase of Israel’s war against Hamas would soon end.
  • Israel bombed a U.N. compound near Gaza City, killing at least eight people, a Palestinian news agency said. The Israeli military said militants were using the compound, which Hamas has denied.
  • Many people in southern Israel, still reeling from the Oct. 7 attacks, blame Hamas for the suffering in Gaza and struggle to sympathize.
  • The Manhattan district attorney declined to prosecute most of the protesters charged with taking over a Columbia University hall, citing a lack of evidence.

More International News

Pilgrims wearing white robes shield themselves from the sun using umbrellas.
Pilgrims shield themselves from the sun. Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Abortion

  • This week is the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. In ads and campaign events, Democrats will highlight Donald Trump’s role in ending the constitutional right to abortion.
  • The public conversation about abortion has become increasingly focused on pregnancy complications.

Politics

  • Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, has turned his Trump-world celebrity status into a family business that deals in conspiracy theories.
  • Trump, in an address to an evangelical group, said he’d suggested starting a sports league in which migrants fight one another.
  • CNN has sole discretion over the look and cadence of Thursday’s presidential debate. In past years, an independent commission had oversight.

Other Big Stories

Opinions

The gay marriage campaign changed the law. But it didn’t change many people’s minds, Omar Encarnación argues.

Voters need politicians’ medical information to make informed choices, Dr. Daniela Lamas argues.

Here are columns by Maureen Dowd on Sean Penn and David French on Clarence Thomas.

 
 

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 

MORNING READS

A teacher, sitting on a chair holding up a book, speaks with children sitting on the ground.
In Wynne, Ark. Whitten Sabbatini for The New York Times

Role models: Boys are struggling in education. Male kindergarten teachers can help.

Community: Social media is a valuable resource for gay women who come out later in life.

Solstice: When the seasons turn, Stonehenge lets visitors celebrate up close.

Supplements: Is fish oil helpful or harmful for the heart?

Secret beaches: Cap Ferret, on France’s western coast, is Paris’s answer to Montauk. Locals shared some favorite spots.

Metropolitan Diary: Cashing in the tattoo fund.

Lives Lived: Silvano Marchetto’s Greenwich Village trattoria, Da Silvano, became a star-studded canteen and a Page Six fixture over four decades. He died at 77.

 

SPORTS

W.N.B.A.: Angel Reese recorded her eighth straight double-double in the Chicago Sky’s big win over Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever.

Soccer: The U.S. men’s team defeated Bolivia, 2-0, in its first game of this year’s Copa América. The captain, Christian Pulisic, scored one goal and assisted on the other.

N.H.L.: The Oilers and Panthers play tonight in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A person wearing white sneakers with blue laces and an orange “V” logo with bright lime green socks with a smiley face on them.
Simbarashe Cha/The New York Times

How high are your socks? It’s an intergenerational debate. Fashion-minded Gen Z-ers have declared a preference for crew socks, which generally rise midway up the shin, and thumbed their noses at the low-rise socks that were staples of the Millennial wardrobe. “I think part of growing up is people trying to separate themselves from what came before them,” said Night Noroña, 18, who recently threw away all of his socks that hit below the ankle.

Related: Want to buy taller socks? See our favorite pairs.

More on culture

A woman in a white bralette and shorts stands in a white tuxedo jacket next to a man in a black top hat and tuxedo.
Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce in London. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

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Julia Gartland for The New York Times.

Pick a few ingredients off this list — maybe olives and anchovies — for a simple puttanesca.

Ease your back pain by taking a walk.

Resist this cute but disappointing viral oven.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was buoyant.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 25, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering Biden’s recent progress in the polls — as well as Israel, Julian Assange and American pizza.

 
 
 
Donald Trump, wearing a blue suit and a red tie, standing onstage in front of a crowd of his supporters.
Donald Trump  Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times

Trump’s narrow lead

President Biden has narrowed the gap with Donald Trump in the past few months, but Trump still holds a small lead in the race for the presidency.

That’s perhaps the most succinct way to summarize the race two days before the candidates’ first debate — a debate unlike any other in U.S. history. It will occur more than four months before Election Day and before either candidate has received his party’s formal nomination. All previous general-election presidential debates, dating to the first, in 1960, took place in October or late September.

We’re devoting today’s newsletter to the campaign both because of the debate and because of the release this morning of The Times’s 2024 polling averages. Those averages combine survey results from many pollsters, both for the U.S. as a whole and for seven battleground states. I recommend reading my colleague Nate Cohn’s description of the averages in this article.

As Nate explains, Biden began to rise in the polls around the time of his State of the Union address in March. He then rose further after Trump’s felony conviction last month. The two are now essentially tied in the national polls, around 46 percent, when Robert F. Kennedy is excluded from the question. With Kennedy included, Trump leads Biden, 41 percent to 40 percent, with Kennedy at 8 percent and the remaining electorate undecided.

In both the two-way and three-way race, Trump leads in the states likely to decide the outcome. “While he often leads by only a point or two, he does nonetheless hold the edge in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia — states that would be enough for Mr. Trump to win the Electoral College and therefore the presidency,” Nate writes. “Of course, the election will not be held today and the polls will not be exactly right.”

Charts showing polling averages in seven battleground states for the 2024 presidential election. Trump leads in each of the seven states.
Note: Averages may not add up to 100 because of support for other candidates or responses for “undecided.” Source: Polling averages by The New York Times as of June 24.

As we’ve explained in past newsletters, the outcome will depend partly on voters who are skeptical of both Biden and Trump. Many of them — including Black, Latino and younger voters — belong to groups that lean Democratic. But they also tend not to have a college degree and to be more conservative than younger college graduates. Many are unhappy with the country’s direction and don’t follow politics as closely as committed Democrats or Republicans do.

One reason that this week’s debate will be important is that it will focus these voters on the campaign in a way that few events have so far.

A postscript

I know that some Times readers believe the media shouldn’t spend much time covering the horse race of a campaign. I partly agree and partly disagree and want to spend a minute on this issue.

Covering the stakes of the election does indeed deserve more attention than the horse-race polls. That’s why The Times spends so much time on the records and the campaign promises of Biden and Trump.

My colleagues covering Trump have written in detail — and have broken news — about his plans for a second term. My colleagues in Washington have written about Biden’s climate record, his foreign policy and much more. This new project compares Biden’s and Trump’s records on several major issues. In The Morning, we’ve devoted newsletters to democracy, immigration, economic policy, health care, labor unions, global alliances and more.

But the horse race and the polls deserve some attention, too. Polls shape how the two candidates run their campaigns — the issues they emphasize, the ads they run and the debate tactics they choose. To cover a presidential campaign while ignoring the polls would be a bit like covering the economy while ignoring the business cycle. It would miss crucial information that shapes people’s decisions.

That said, we will continue to devote more attention to the campaign’s issues and the stakes than the horse race.

Joe Biden in aviator sunglasses and a checked shirt stands next to a man in military uniform.
President Biden heading to Camp David on Thursday. Al Drago for The New York Times

More on the election

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

Israel-Hamas War

Iran

  • Iranian presidential candidates have distanced themselves from harsh tactics enforcing the law that requires women to cover their hair. It’s a sign that female-led protests have gained ground.
  • Iran’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence imposed on an antigovernment rapper. Human rights groups and artists, including Sting, had criticized the sentence.

More International News

Julian Assange boarding a plane.
WikiLeaks released video of Julian Assange boarding a plane out of London. Wikileaks, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange left prison in Britain. He agreed to plead guilty to a single felony count, ending a long battle with U.S. prosecutors.
  • China became the first country to retrieve rocks from the far side of the moon. They could offer clues about the origins of the moon and Earth.
  • Russia has largely taken over the African operations of Wagner, the paramilitary group whose leader was killed after rebelling against Vladimir Putin.
  • A Maryland couple died in the extreme heat while on pilgrimage in Mecca. Their daughter told The Washington Post that they were failed by a U.S.-based tourism company.

Politics

Other Big Stories

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
In Iowa. KC McGinnis for The New York Times

Opinions

“It’s between chaos and competence”: Hillary Rodham Clinton offers three things to watch for during the debate between Biden and Trump.

Policy solutions matter in presidential debates. Personality, relatability and dignity matter more, Frank Luntz writes.

“Based,” “glazed” and “sus”: Stephen Marche praises the slang of his teenage son’s generation.

Here are columns by Michelle Goldberg on Jamaal Bowman and Jamelle Bouie on Republicans and Biden.

 
 

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 

MORNING READS

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
Illustration by Brian Rea

Under our feet: Earth’s crust teems with ancient and slow microbes that we’re only beginning to understand.

Menopause: Scientists are studying how to keep ovaries working longer, potentially preventing age-related diseases.

Quiz: Can you tell the difference between real photographs and images made by A.I.?

Aquarium crime: Animal smugglers are trafficking coral — yes, it’s an animal — into the U.S.

Lives Lived: The literary critic, essayist and author Frederick Crews was a leading voice among revisionist skeptics who considered Sigmund Freud a charlatan and psychoanalysis a pseudoscience. He died at 91.

 

SPORTS

A man in a red and white jersey, holds a Stanley Cup above his head.
Champions. Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports, via Reuters

N.H.L.: The Florida Panthers won their first Stanley Cup, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in a thrilling Game 7.

Connor McDavid: The Oilers’ star center won the Conn Smythe trophy for the playoffs’ M.V.P. — a rarity for a player from the losing team.

N.B.A.: JJ Redick, the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach, acknowledged his lack of league coaching experience in his introductory news conference, but maintained that he was qualified.

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A woman squirts white sauce from a bottle onto the surface of uncooked pizza dough.
In Minneapolis. Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

Wood-fire-oven pizzerias, once rare outside Italy, now dot the American landscape — not only in cities, but in small communities from Southern Illinois and coastal New England to rural Wisconsin and Oregon. The result, Brett Anderson writes, is that pizza in the United States is better than it has ever been, with a diverse array of toppings and styles.

Try it for yourself: Here are 22 of the best pizza restaurants across the U.S.

More on culture

A man and a woman stand on a city sidewalk, looking at a building.
Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri in “The Bear.” Chuck Hodes/FX
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

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Linda Xiao for The New York Times.

Save this recipe for strawberry lemonade cake for your weekend cookout.

Stop breaking (or losing) your sunglasses with these tips.

Free yourself from physical keys with a smart lock.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangrams were hiccuped and hiccupped.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 26, 2024

Ad

 
 

Good morning. Today, we’re covering a favorable development for U.S. labor unions — as well as protests in Kenya, primary elections and “White Chicks” at 20.

 
 
 
A close-up of a person with tattooed arms wearing a Starbucks Workers United t-shirt.
At the Starbucks Workers United headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. Libby March for The New York Times

Coffee and a contract

Author Headshot

By Noam Scheiber

I cover workplace issues and the labor movement.

 

Labor unions have won some big victories in the past few years, including in the auto industry and Hollywood. But if organized labor is going to have a true resurgence in the United States, it can’t simply win raises for workers it already represents. It will need to organize new workers and reverse the decades-long decline in union membership.

That’s why recent events at Starbucks have been so significant. The company and the union — which represents more than 400 of Starbucks’s 10,000 U.S. stores — appear on track to reach a contract that will cover wages, benefits and disciplinary policies.

This would be a major milestone. Even after workers win a union election, companies often drag their feet when bargaining a contract. If years pass with little or no progress, union supporters may get demoralized and leave, causing the union to unravel.

By contrast, a contract could encourage workers to unionize across Starbucks and other food and beverage chains, which are part of an industry that is overwhelmingly nonunion.

What’s remarkable about the Starbucks development is that it comes after the company spent years resisting the union campaign, which began in Buffalo in 2021. Starbucks’s former chief executive, Howard Schultz, portrayed organizers as outside agitators. He warned employees not to be “distracted” by them.

But in February the two sides announced that they would soon begin hashing out a framework for a contract. What explains the turnaround? In today’s newsletter, I’ll explain four key factors.

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
In Seattle, Wash. Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

1. A winning streak. While unions are broadly popular with Americans, they tend to be especially popular among the young and politically progressive, which describes much of Starbucks’s work force.

This made it difficult for Starbucks to contain the union’s growth. The campaign slowed down in mid-2022, when Schultz introduced benefits that did not apply to union stores. But organizers regained momentum as union supporters framed their campaign as a fight for liberal values like L.G.B.T.Q. rights. The union won roughly 100 elections in 2023, which kept the campaign in the news and made it tough for Starbucks to wait it out.

2. A new boss. Schultz, who spent decades at Starbucks before retiring in 2018, returned to the top job in 2022. He focused on fixing operational issues — like outdated equipment and store layouts, which he appeared to believe had fueled the union campaign — and promised to find a successor quickly. That turned out to be Laxman Narasimhan, the C.E.O. of Reckitt, a consumer products company based in England.

Though little was known about Narasimhan’s feelings on unions at the time, Starbucks corporate officials who worked with him later told me that he took a pragmatic view — believing it could be less costly to engage the union than to fight it. His stance differed from that of Schultz, who viewed the union as a personal affront. It appeared to threaten his self-image as a generous boss.

3. External pressure. Socially minded investors pressed Starbucks to commission a report on its labor practices. It found that the company had fallen short of its commitments on labor rights. A coalition of unions spent heavily to back three labor-friendly candidates for seats on Starbucks’s board. And the company became a target of protests and boycotts tied to the war in Gaza, which escalated after Starbucks sued the union over social media posts supportive of Palestinians.

A protester holding a knitted Palestinian flag and wearing a green “Boycott Starbucks” headband with white mock-Arabic script.
In Oakland, Calif. Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times

It’s hard to know how much these developments weighed on the company, but Starbucks appeared to take them seriously. It announced a new board committee to oversee employee relations shortly before it released the labor report. The company began talks with the union on how to bargain a contract a few weeks before the scheduled vote on the labor-friendly board candidates. And Narasimhan suggested on an earnings call that the protests and boycotts were having “a negative impact” on business even though they were “driven by misperceptions.”

4. Government help. U.S. labor law is relatively weak: If a company fires an employee for union organizing, the National Labor Relations Board can seek back pay. But it can’t fine the employer. And the process often takes years.

Still, the N.L.R.B. tends to be more active and creative under Democratic administrations. It has been especially active and creative and under President Biden. The board issued more than 100 complaints against Starbucks and went to court to reinstate workers it deemed to have been wrongly fired (though the Supreme Court just reined in this practice). The board even said it would begin ordering unions into existence if an employer’s labor-law violations affected the outcome of a union election.

Though Starbucks consistently denied wrongdoing and appealed findings against it, the board’s actions were another source of pressure that raised the cost of fighting the union.

A programming note: David Leonhardt is off until next week, and other Times journalists will continue writing the newsletter until then.

 
 
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THE LATEST NEWS

Primary Elections

Jamaal Bowmen wearing a red shirt, speaks to an audience, holding a microphone.
Jamaal Bowman Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

More on Politics

  • The judge who presided over Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial ruled that Trump can now criticize the prosecution witnesses.
  • Oklahoma’s Supreme Court blocked state funding for what would have been the nation’s first religious charter school.
  • Biden is expected today to pardon around 2,000 veterans convicted of engaging in gay sex, which was outlawed by a military code for more than 60 years.
  • Biden administration officials urged medical experts to remove age minimums for surgeries from their transgender medical care guidelines, emails show.
  • In more than 50 years in Washington, Biden has learned to make deals and work across the aisle. It is an old-school instinct rarely rewarded in today’s political climate, Peter Baker writes.

Kenya

Protesters run away as police spray water a canon.
Protesters in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Brian Inganga/Associated Press
  • Crowds of Kenyans stormed their Parliament building and set fire to its entrance in protest against a bill raising taxes.
  • President William Ruto called the protesters treasonous and deployed the military to quell the demonstration. At least five people were killed, human rights groups said.
  • The tax bill would raise the price of diapers, eggs and phone data, among other things. Officials say it’s needed to pay off Kenya’s debt.
  • Auma Obama, a Kenyan British activist who is a half sister of Barack Obama, was tear-gassed as she spoke about her opposition to the bill on CNN. See the video.
  • Kenya is among Africa’s fastest-growing economies, yet the benefits have not reached many ordinary people. The unrest is a sign of a growing economic crisis across the continent.
  • On the same day, 400 Kenyan police officers arrived in Haiti — which has been plagued by gang violence — to restore order.

Israel-Hamas War

A group of children crowded together and holding pots.
Waiting to receive food in southern Gaza. Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock

Russia

  • The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich went on trial today in Russia on espionage charges. Russia has presented no evidence of his guilt, and the trial is being held in secret.
  • The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two top Russian security officials over strikes against Ukraine’s power plants.

Other Big Stories

  • The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Espionage Act, securing his freedom under a plea deal. He was sentenced to time served in Britain and has returned home to Australia.
  • A new space race: The U.S. and China are competing to build permanent outposts at the moon’s most strategic location, the lunar south pole, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Opinions

What do Biden and Trump need to do to win the presidential debate? The most important thing is to be energetic, say Chris Whipple and Kristen Soltis Anderson.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and five other prominent Israelis urge Congress to disinvite Benjamin Netanyahu from its joint session next month.

Here are columns by Bret Stephens on Jews and the Ivy League and Thomas Edsall on who gains from voting restrictions.

 
 

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MORNING READS

A large bonsai sculpture cast in bronze.
In London. Andrea DiCenzo for The New York Times

Kew Gardens: London’s famous botanical garden has deep ties to Japan. This week, the emperor comes to visit.

A national obsession: In Jamaica, the popularity of lychee cake tells the history of Chinese immigration.

Traveling in style: New York City is in a golden age of weird vehicles.

Conversation: A government meteorologist explains what it takes to monitor and predict space weather.

Lives Lived: Eric Hazan elevated many of France’s most provocative left-wing writers through his publishing house, La Fabrique, but he made his greatest mark as a politically engaged historian of Paris. He died at 87.

 

SPORTS

N.B.A.: The New York Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges, a Brooklyn Nets guard who looks like the star they need for a title run. The league’s draft starts tonight: See a mock draft.

N.F.L.: A month before training camps begin, The Athletic explores the league’s underrated and overrated teams.

Antonio Pierce: A bankruptcy filing revealed that the Las Vegas Raiders’ coach is subject to $28 million in judgments.

 
 
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ARTS AND IDEAS

A grapevine grows out of the label of a wine bottle.
Craig Frazier

It’s a hard time for wine: Sales are down, climate change threatens smaller producers and many in the industry worry about losing ground to legal marijuana. In a new story, Eric Asimov, The Times’s chief wine critic, defends “the beauty and joy of wine,” a drink that humans have embraced since the beginning of civilization.

More on culture

Two Black men made up as blonde white women stand talking in a hotel lobby.
Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans in “White Chicks.” Joe Lederer/Columbia Pictures
  • The Wayans brothers’ subversive comedy “White Chicks” came out in 2004. Twenty years later, the film is still a “culturally, racially and sexually savvy tale,” Robert Daniels writes.
  • A wax statue of the Lincoln Memorial melted during the heat wave in Washington and turned into an online meme.
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Bowls of orange soup.
Christopher Simpson for The New York Times.

Enjoy this cooling gazpacho when it’s hot out.

Stay safe while traveling with food allergies.

Consider these things before buying solar panels.

Elevate your coffee at home with a great milk frother.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was rankling.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 27, 2024

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Good morning. Today, we’re covering a surprising find by climate researchers — as well as a presidential debate preview, Bolivia and the N.B.A. draft.

 
 
 
An aerial image of a small island surrounded by light blue water.
The island of Rakeedhoo in the Maldives. Jason Gulley for The New York Times

Rising from the sea

Author Headshot

By Raymond Zhong

I’m a climate reporter.

 

We humans have settled in all sorts of precarious environments: parched deserts, barren tundra, high mountains. None are precarious in quite the same way as atolls, the tiny, low-lying islands that dot the tropics. As the planet warms and the oceans rise, atoll nations like the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu have seemed doomed to vanish, like the mythical Atlantis, into watery oblivion.

Of late, though, scientists have begun telling a surprising new story about these islands. By comparing mid-20th century aerial photos with recent satellite images, they’ve been able to see how the islands have evolved over time. What they found is startling: Even though sea levels have risen, many islands haven’t shrunk. Most, in fact, have been stable. Some have even grown.

One study that rounded up scientists’ data on 709 islands across the Pacific and Indian Oceans showed that nearly 89 percent either had increased in area or hadn’t changed much in recent decades. Only 11 percent had contracted.

Two maps showing the changed land mass of the island, Kandahalagalaa, from 2005 to 2023. It shrank from the east but expanded to the west.
Source: Paul S. Kench et al., Nature Communications. | By Jonathan Corum

To understand why, I spent time this past spring with a team of researchers in the Maldives as they collected data on two key pieces of the puzzle: ocean currents and sand.

Currents and waves can erode sandy shorelines, of course. But they can also bring fresh sand ashore from the surrounding coral reefs, where the remains of corals, algae, crustaceans and other organisms are constantly being crushed into new sediment. (Another source of sediment? Colorful parrotfish, which munch on coral and churn out white sand from their digestive tracts.)

By examining how these interrelated and complex processes affected one particular island — Dhigulaabadhoo, an uninhabited curlicue of land a few miles north of the Equator — the scientists hope to better predict how other islands will change.

Two researchers install cables on a long metal pole, a light blue sea in the background.
Researchers on Dhigulaabadhoo. Jason Gulley for The New York Times

The next century

Though the research suggests that atolls aren’t about to wash away entirely, it hardly means they have nothing to worry about. Global warming is putting coral reefs under severe strain. If, say, the ice sheets melted faster than expected, then sea-level rise could accelerate sharply.

Even so, scientists say, the revelation that atoll islands can adjust naturally to rising seas means the people who live on them have an opportunity to figure out how to cope with their changing environment. It means they have other options besides the most drastic one: abandoning their homelands altogether.

“I’m confident that there’ll be islands in the Maldives” 50 or 100 years from now, one of the researchers on the team, Paul Kench, told me while we were on Dhigulaabadhoo. “They’re not going to look like these islands; they’re going to be different. But there will be land here. To me, that’s the challenge: How do you coexist with the change that’s coming?”

A man stands on a rock by the sea at sunset.
The island of Himandhoo in the Maldives. Jason Gulley for The New York Times

The Maldives needs to cultivate and recruit more scientific experts who can help guide the nation’s efforts to adapt, said Ali Shareef, the government’s special envoy for climate change. Without them, it’s hard to build infrastructure while minimizing harm to reefs, or to design towns that are resilient to flooding.

Money is an issue, too. “If we have access to the technology and finance, I think we can save the Maldives. It is not all doomsday,” Shauna Aminath, a former environment minister, told me. “The problem is, we don’t have access to finance and technology.”

If we humans can find a way to keep living and flourishing on atolls, it will bode well for our ability to continue doing so all across our warming planet. As Jon Barnett, a geographer at the University of Melbourne, put it: “If we can solve climate-change adaptation for atolls — ‘solve’ is the wrong word — then we can do it anywhere.”

 
 
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THE LATEST NEWS

Supreme Court

Presidential Debate

A man in a uniform fixes a sign that says CNN Presidential debate, with his shadow on the wall behind him, which has many more CNN logos.
Debate preparations.  Kenny Holston/The New York Times

2024 Election

More on Politics

The Americas

Soldiers on the street holding machine guns in a line.
Troops in La Paz, Bolivia.  Gaston Brito Miserocchi/Getty Images

More International News

A firefighter standing amid scrub and brush pointing toward smoke and a raging fire.
In northern Israel.  Atef Safadi/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Israel’s president and prime minister toured the border with Lebanon and met with military commanders as tensions escalate with Hezbollah.
  • Kenya’s president withdrew a tax bill in response to violent protests that left at least 23 people dead.
  • NATO plans to offer Ukraine a headquarters in Germany to manage military aid. That could help sustain the support even if Trump wins the presidency.

Other Big Stories

Julian Assange, raising a fist, stands in the doorway of an airplane.
Julian Assange arrives in Australia.  William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a hero to some, a reckless leaker to others. He has always been easier to caricature than characterize, Mark Landler and Megan Specia write.
  • Identity theft has overwhelmed the I.R.S., causing a backlog of 500,000 unresolved fraud cases. Some victims wait years for refunds.

Opinions

International waters are ungoverned by any sovereign law. This means they’re also unprotected from the effects of global warming and pollution, David Wallace-Wells writes.

If Sudan has a future, it’s through the community-based organizations saving lives, not the international community’s empty promises, Farah Stockman writes.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss the presidential debate.

Here are columns by Nicholas Kristof on what he’d ask Trump and Biden about Gaza and Charles Blow on competing visions for the South.

 
 

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MORNING READS

A flamingo stands in a pond on a sunny day. A beach and leafy trees are in the background.
The Hamptons flamingo in Georgica Pond.  Anastassia Whitty for The New York Times

Local celebrity: Movie stars and musicians are a dime a dozen in the Hamptons. But one visitor has everyone buzzing: a wild flamingo.

Keeping cool: Practical experiments — including apps and tiny insurance policies — have emerged to help protect people on a warming planet.

Social animals: A scientist explains why your cat might actually like you.

Space: Two killer asteroids are flying by Earth. You may be able to see one.

Turkey leg and beef tongue: The Times asked readers to share their favorite New York City sandwiches. Read some of their picks.

Lives Lived: George Floyd’s murder moved Tom Prasada-Rao, a contemporary folk veteran, to write a song. His “$20 Bill” — the police arrested Floyd for buying a pack of cigarettes with what might have been a counterfeit bill — became an online sensation. Prasada-Rao died at 66.

 

SPORTS

Two men pose for photos on a stage.
Zaccharie Risacher, right, and the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

N.B.A.: The Atlanta Hawks chose a 19-year-old French forward, Zaccharie Risacher, with the No. 1 draft pick. Last year’s top pick came from France, too.

Soccer: Alex Morgan won’t play in a fourth Olympics for the U.S. women’s national team. The shock has been looming.

Euro 2024: Georgia upset the soccer powerhouse Portugal, 2-0.

 
 
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ARTS AND IDEAS

A gray modernist, angular building with a sort of pleated exterior and the word "Munch" prominently displayed, serves as the backdrop of a large group photo.
The Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.  David B. Torch for The New York Times

Before a four-day visit to Norway, Ceylan Yeğinsu, a Times travel reporter, did away with her usual obsessive pre-vacation research and put her trip in the hands of three A.I. assistants (none of which, she writes, mentioned saunas or salmon). Ceylan combined their recommendations, and the result was a holiday that went beyond the predictable list of sites.

More on culture

  • Alec Baldwin is about to have his day in court. The road to his manslaughter trial has been a long and strange one.
  • A new book by Emily Nussbaum, a New Yorker staff writer, explores the origins of reality TV with “an exacting eye for detail,” our critic writes. Read the review.
  • Los Angeles designated Marilyn Monroe’s house a historic landmark, preventing a demolition project that neighbors supported.
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

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Mark Weinberg for The New York Times.

Swap out bread for fried gnocchi in this twist on panzanella, a Tuscan salad.

Tame your hair with extra-large claw clips.

Cool your house with these tips.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was beachcomb.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 28, 2024

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Author Headshot

By German Lopez

 

Good morning. We’re covering the debate, as well as the Supreme Court, Iranians voting and the N.B.A. draft.

 
 
 
Donald Trump and President Biden on a debate stage.
Donald Trump and President Biden Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Affirming fears

After last night, many Democrats are panicked.

They hoped that President Biden, 81, could convince voters that his age was nothing to worry about. That he could counter Donald Trump’s wild accusations and relentless falsehoods with confidence. He didn’t.

Biden’s voice was hoarse and halting. His answers were often unclear, and he struggled to finish his thoughts. “Rather than dispel concerns about his age,” wrote my colleague Peter Baker, Biden “made it the central issue.”

Some Democrats are now pushing for him to drop out of the race. “Biden is about to face a crescendo of calls to step aside,” a Democratic strategist told Peter. “Joe had a deep well of affection among Democrats. It has run dry.”

Donald Trump, 78, delivered his false statements with conviction, affirming many voters’ concerns about his character and the threat he poses for democracy.

Trump claimed that immigrants had driven up crime; rates of crime and murder have dropped. He claimed that Iran was “broke” when he was president; it was not. He claimed that Biden would allow abortions even after the birth of a child; Biden doesn’t support that. (Read a fact-check of many more of Trump’s and Biden’s claims.)

The debate at times turned ugly. Trump and Biden questioned each other’s competence. Each suggested that the other would start World War III. They even argued about their golfing skills.

For 90 minutes in Atlanta, Biden and Trump “debated inflation and immigration, abortion and addiction,” wrote my colleague Lisa Lerer, who covers national politics. “Yet the extraordinary rematch between two presidents — two men who are the oldest candidates to ever seek the White House and who did nothing to conceal their hatred for each other — put on stark display the reasons the contest has repelled swaths of Americans.”

The rest of today’s newsletter summarizes The Times’s coverage of the debate, including the biggest moments and the candidates’ policy differences.

More on the debate

  • Biden struggled to articulate policy specifics, statistics and rebuttals, often stumbling or misspeaking. (His campaign said he had a cold.) Early in the debate, Biden seemed to lose his train of thought and said, “We finally beat Medicare.”
  • The Biden campaign’s demand that each candidate’s mic be muted when it wasn’t their turn to talk seemed to help Trump. He largely waited to speak and seemed to enjoy himself.
  • Trump seized on Biden’s halting speech, saying at one point: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said, either.”
  • Biden seemed to get steadier as the debate went on, saying Trump had “the morals of an alley cat” and calling him a convicted felon who “snapped” after losing the 2020 election.
  • Trump refused to say that he would accept the results of the November election, saying he would do so only “if it’s a fair, and legal, and good election.” Read more takeaways.

More Times coverage

A chart shows how much time President Biden and Donald Trump spent during the debate attacking each other’s policies or character.
By The New York Times

Commentary

  • Trump “won it by forfeit,” the Times Opinion columnist Carlos Lozada wrote. “The Biden of 2020, even the Biden of this year’s State of the Union, did not show up.” Dan McCarthy argued that “Trump won as the more commanding presence, with a tighter focus on his themes, particularly immigration.” Read other Opinion writers’ reactions.
  • The Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who calls Biden a friend, argues that he should drop out.
  • Biden “had one thing he had to accomplish, and that was reassure America that he was up to the job at his age. And he failed at that tonight,” former senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said on MSNBC.
  • “Almost every president loses the first debate of his re-election campaign,” the historian Brian Rosenwald wrote. “They’re used to being in a bubble where few people question them.”
  • “Biden won the debate on policy but lost it on presentation,” 538’s G. Elliott Morris and Kaleigh Rogers wrote.
  • “Trump was increasing incoherent and deranged as the debate went on, and Trump’s extremism was on full display,” the Democratic strategist Geoff Garin wrote.
  • In a post-debate CNN poll, two-thirds of voters who watched said Trump had won, but few said it had changed their minds about which candidate to vote for.
  • On late night, Jon Stewart was stressed about the debate. He said he needed “to call a real estate agent in New Zealand.”
 
 
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THE LATEST NEWS

Supreme Court

More on Politics

  • Oklahoma’s state superintendent directed all public schools to teach the Bible, including the Ten Commandments.
  • The judge overseeing Trump’s classified-documents case said she would revisit a previous ruling that was important to the prosecutors’ case. The development will likely further delay a trial.

Israel-Hamas War

Iran

A woman in a head scarf talks to a man in a teal T-shirt on a city street as they stand in front of an enormous ballot box.
In Tehran. Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

Other Big Stories

Photographed from above, a small piece of land with lots of trees juts out into blue ocean waters.
An uninhabited island in the southern Maldives. Jason Gulley for The New York Times

Opinions

For migrant children, public schools can be a lifeline, Bliss Broyard writes.

You can’t stop people from using different pronouns, John McWhorter writes.

Here are columns by Paul Krugman on crime rates and Pamela Paul on political labels.

 
 

The Games Sale. Offer won’t last.

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 

MORNING READS

Brutus, not Bruno! The etiquette of remembering pets’ names.

Trauma: People say it’s always better to forgive. Some experts question that.

Social Q’s: “Why do I have to choose between my grandmother’s funeral and a birthday party?”

Lives Lived: Kinky Friedman’s idiosyncratic country music poked provocative fun at Jewish culture, American politics and more. Behind the jokes, Friedman had serious ideas — he once ran for Texas governor — and musical talent. He died at 79.

 

SPORTS

Soccer: The U.S. men’s national team lost 2-1 to Panama at Copa América, a bitter defeat that jeopardizes its chances of advancing out of the group stage.

N.B.A.: The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Bronny James, LeBron James’s son. Don’t expect him to play significant minutes with his father next season.

N.F.L.: A jury ordered the league to pay billions of dollars in damages for inflating the price of its Sunday Ticket subscription service.

 
 
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ARTS AND IDEAS

A close-up of André De Shields’s face, left, and Juliana Huxtable sitting on a stool.
André De Shields and Juliana Huxtable shared their stories. Justin French

Thirty is a pivotal age. For Pride Month, T Magazine asked L.G.B.T.Q. artists, writers, actors and others — ranging in age from 34 to 93 — to look back on their own lives at that age. Together, their stories offer a history of queer life over the decades.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

A bowl of shrimp linguine with herbs, corn and arugula.
Constantine Poulos for The New York Times.

Combine fresh, seasonal ingredients and let them shine in this simple pasta.

Test your fitness in three simple ways.

Listen to new music from Cardi B and Soccer Mommy.

Use a great citrus juicer.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangrams were workman and workwoman.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. —German

P.S. Strands, our new word search game, makes its debut in The Times’s Games app today. Click the image below to play.

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Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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The Morning

June 29, 2024

 
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Good morning. Taking time to enumerate the things you like about yourself each day may sound terminally woo-woo or conceited, but in practice, the results can be pretty transformative.

 
 
 
In an illustration, a woman holds a bouquet of flowers at a market.
María Jesús Contreras

Best practices

I want to be a person with practices. A yoga practice, a mindfulness practice, a gratitude practice. I’m not totally sure when a nourishing activity passes into the realm of a practice, but I think it has something to do with intention and devotion. You prioritize doing this thing that has a positive effect on you or others or on the world you live in — say, sitting in quiet contemplation for 20 minutes each morning, or journaling every night before bed. You commit to doing it on a regular basis, and after enough reps, it becomes part of who you are.

I’ve been hesitant to declare — to myself, never mind anyone else — that I’ve established any of the aforementioned practices because I’m skeptical of my ability to stick with them. I tend to burn hot in the initial phases of something that promises to improve my life, and then lose steam very quickly. I’ve done the first day of the “Yoga With Adriene” 30-day challenge at least 30 times.

One need not be so doctrinaire about one’s practices, I know. The point is to do and feel better, not to get a gold star. I’ve wandered away from many practices only to return to them, usually because I miss them, because seeing the benefits of doing something is often not as powerful as experiencing its absence. That’s the case with something I’ve been doing for the past eight months or so — not every single day, but enough days to tentatively call it “a thing I do,” if not a thoroughgoing practice.

At the end of the day, I try to write down as many things as I can think of that I appreciate about myself. It might be how I handled a difficult situation, or that I checked something off my to-do list that I’d been putting off. It might be something witty I said, or the way I reframed how I was thinking about a situation. Some days there’s not much content to work with, and I might just appreciate that I made the bed even though I really didn’t want to, or that my hair looked kind of good.

When someone first recommended I try this, I thought it sounded very self-involved, maybe a little pathetic — was my self-esteem so impoverished that I needed to ply myself with compliments? (It turns out that some days, in fact, I do.) But over time I realized that what at first seemed facile was actually sort of revolutionary.

I’d tried practicing gratitude before and found it quite effective. You take a few minutes to write down things you’re thankful for — the kindness of a stranger, the way your child looks at you while you’re reading a bedtime story, the smell of honeysuckle when you bike past that one tree. You remind yourself how lucky you are, that while you’ve been fretting or regretting or despairing, all these good things and people and possibilities are part of your story, too.

With gratitude, you think about things outside yourself. You remember that you’re not alone, that there’s more going on in your life than what’s in your head, and this offers perspective. An appreciation practice entails thinking about yourself, but it’s not the opposite of gratitude; it’s a refraction of it. It’s expressing gratitude for oneself, which at first feels conceited, but eventually, for me, has come to seem anything but.

Left to its own devices, my mind will take stock of the day like a detective, looking for things I did wrong, could have done better or left undone completely. With an appreciation practice, I start with, “What did I do right today?” These are the behaviors and moments we tend not to linger on because they’re usually the parts of the day with the least tension. They’re not the sort of headline stories you might think to tell someone when asked how your day went. They’re not amusing or annoying. They don’t really make for good cocktail party fodder.

But the cumulative effect of memorializing these situations, day after day, is you start to see patterns in your behavior, to note the positive effect you’re having on those around you. And when you see that, you start to like yourself more. And who couldn’t stand to like themselves more?

I’ve found myself behaving differently — more assertively, more compassionately — simply because I know that, tonight, I’ll sit down and look at my day, and I know how good it will feel to appreciate these things about myself. I want to make future me proud. And on bad days, when I’m less than thrilled about how I dealt with things, I have a log of all the things that I’ve appreciated about myself in the past.

Once you start actively looking for things to appreciate about yourself, you realize how you’ve outsourced that task to other people. It feels wonderful when someone else tells you that you did a brilliant job in that meeting, that you really gave them solid advice, that you look great today. An appreciation practice enables you to bring that job in-house, to enlist yourself as your biggest fan. Other people are never paying as much attention to you as you are, so there’s a lot about you to appreciate that goes unremarked upon if you wait for someone else to acknowledge it.

 

THE WEEK IN CULTURE

Film and TV

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
Jeremy Allen White stars in “The Bear.” Courtesy of FX Networks
  • Season 3 of “The Bear” is out now. It has bitter screaming matches, elegant monologues and plenty of self-loathing, our television critic Margaret Lyons writes.
  • Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” was released 20 years ago. It landed in a moment similar to our own, with wars abroad and division at home, Nicolas Rapold writes.
  • The actor Bill Cobbs died at 90. He wasn’t a star, but his face was familiar to anyone who watched TV or movies over the past several decades.
  • Martin Mull, a comedic actor whose work spanned decades from “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” to “Veep,” died at 80.

Music

A woman wearing all white holds a microphone close to her lips while gesturing with her left hand. She stands amid white smoke.
Charli XCX Christopher Polk/Billboard, via Getty Images

Fashion

Chappell Roan, her body entirely covered in sage green pain, holds up a microphone for during a Gov Ball performance. She wears a wig in the same shade of green and a Lady Liberty headpiece.
Chappell Roan Cheney Orr/Reuters

Other Big Stories

A Matisse painting of a woman on a blue and white chaise.
Matisse’s “Odalisque” Succession Henri Matisse, via Pictoright Amsterdam/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
 

THE LATEST NEWS

The Supreme Court

Three people near the Supreme Court.
Eric Lee/The New York Times
  • The court sided with a Jan. 6 Capitol rioter, ruling that federal prosecutors overstepped when they used an obstruction law to charge him for impeding a congressional proceeding.
  • The ruling means that lower courts could dismiss charges against hundreds of other rioters. But it may not affect the Jan. 6-related obstruction charge against Donald Trump.
  • In a separate case, the court’s conservative majority curtailed government agencies’ power, threatening regulations on the environment, health care, consumer safety and more.
  • The court also upheld an Oregon city’s ban on homeless people sleeping outdoors, ruling it did not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. The decision will likely alter how cities address homelessness.
  • Steve Bannon, the longtime Trump adviser, will go to prison on Monday after the court rejected his effort to avoid a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress.

2024 Election

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Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times
  • President Biden acknowledged his shaky debate with Trump in an energetic, defiant speech in North Carolina. “I don’t debate as well as I used to,” he said, but added, “I would not be running again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul I can do this job.”
  • Biden’s allies have rushed to assure worried Democrats that he should still be the nominee.
  • Viewership for the debate was down 30 percent from the first Biden-Trump debate in 2020, and it was the lowest-rated general-election debate since 2004.

Other Big Stories

  • Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s six-week abortion ban could take effect, sharply limiting abortion access there.
  • The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure cooled and consumer spending slowed last month, good news for Fed officials’ effort to lower prices.
  • U.S. officials are scrambling to prevent full-on war between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. They fear a wider war could draw in both Iran and the U.S.
 
 

The Games Sale. Offer won’t last.

Games for relaxation. Games for concentration. We have them all. For a limited time, save 50% on your first year of a New York Times Games subscription and enjoy new puzzles every day.

 

CULTURE CALENDAR

🎥 “MaXXXine” (Friday): Summer is of course a time for sweating. But some of us would rather shiver. In Ti West’s new movie, the third in a trilogy that began with “X” and continued with “Pearl,” Mia Goth stars as a mid-1980s porn actress looking to break into mainstream film. Critics diverge as to whether West has elevated the slasher genre. Is this, as one character puts it, a B movie with A ideas? Could be. But when sex, celebrity, sleaze and carnage collide, how much elevation do we really need?

 

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

Jalapeño grilled pork chops.
Christopher Simpson for The New York Times

Jalapeño Grilled Pork Chops

As the heat dome lifts in many parts of the country, you can practically hear grilling enthusiasts let out a collective sigh of relief. If grilling is on your weekend agenda, and you’re craving something meaty, spicy and herby, you can’t do better than Eric Kim’s jalapeño grilled pork chops. Marinated in a pungent mix of cilantro stems blitzed with garlic, chiles and just enough sugar to encourage caramelization, the thin chops cook quickly, singeing appealingly at the edges. Eric tops them with a zippy onion and cilantro relish that makes good use of the leaves, and suggests serving rice (preferably cilantro rice) on the side — to which I’d add a ripe tomato salad for a touch of juicy sweetness on your plate.

 

REAL ESTATE

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Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for The New York Times

The Hunt: Two software engineers wanted a home in Manhattan with enough space to start a family. Which did they choose? Play our game.

What you get for $2.2 million: A 1929 Colonial Revival house in Greenwich, Conn.; a six-bedroom Prairie-style house in Chicago; or a 1901 Queen Anne Revival home in Houston.

New York: The High Line, which opened 15 years ago, offers a master class in urban gardening.

 

LIVING

An illustration of a person standing at their bathroom vanity, looking in the mirror. Their reflection is upside down.
Albert Tercero

Midlife: See how to navigate aches, weight gain, memory loss and more.

Dating: X recently made “Likes” private. Keeping tabs on crushes and exes has become that much harder.

The Berkshires: A writer shares his favorite ways to experience an often overlooked river in western Massachusetts.

Health care: Contraception is free by law. So why are a quarter of women are still paying for it?

 

ADVICE FROM WIRECUTTER

How to keep mosquitoes from multiplying

Mosquitoes need just a few ounces of water for their eggs to hatch. Getting rid of standing water is the easiest way to prevent them from breeding. There are a few ways to do this: Stick to a weekly “dump and drain” schedule. Pay close attention to man-made items like pet bowls, tarps and toys that often become larval hot spots. Drill a few holes in the bottom of garbage cans and recycling containers to allow any water that collects in them to drain right out. — Rose Lorre

Related: Create a robust bug strategy with spatial repellents — like these gadgets — and a great topical spray.

For more expert advice, independent reviews and deals, sign up for Wirecutter’s daily newsletter, The Recommendation.

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

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Eduardo Munoz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

United States vs. Uruguay, Copa América: The U.S. men’s soccer team was an early favorite in this tournament, which features the best teams from North and South America. But a stunning loss to Panama on Thursday has put it at risk of elimination before the knockout rounds even begin. In the final match of the group round, they’ll face Uruguay, another favorite — and one that, unlike the U.S., has met those expectations with two dominant wins. “We have to go and play the best game of our lives,” Christian Pulisic, the U.S. captain, said. Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern on FS1

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was voltage.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands. (In case you missed it, Strands is now in The Times’s Games app.)

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa