To pass health-care reform, Republicans may strip it down

It’s grim in New York IT HAS become a fool’s errand to try to predict when the Republicans may give up trying to reform health care. On July 25th Vice-President Mike Pence broke a tie in the Senate to pass a motion to start debate on a health bill, only a week after it had…

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Naming New York’s neighbourhoods

HARLEM’S Apollo Theatre, where Ella Fitzgerald first sang, and the Hotel Theresa, which counted among its guests Josephine Baker, Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro, are landmarks. Malcolm X, who called Harlem “Seventh Heaven”, preached on the corner of 116th Street. Stretching further back, in the 1920s and 1930s the Harlem Renaissance gave rise to an…

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Why everybody liked Norman Rockwell

WILL a truce ever be declared in America’s culture wars? One way to tackle that puzzle involves considering all-American icons of the past—figures who bridged social and political divides—and asking how they did it. That mission led Lexington to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. Modelled on a New England town hall, it is…

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If America is overrun by low-skilled migrants…

NEAR the massive packing warehouse at the headquarters of Limoneira, one of America’s largest lemon producers, sits a row of small white clapboard houses with neat front lawns and American flags flapping over their doorways. The homes are rented to farm workers at 55% below the market rate in Santa Paula, California, a fertile farming…

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Jeff Sessions is in peril; so is America

PERHAPS the only reason to doubt Donald Trump is contemplating sacking his attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, in order to protect himself and his associates from the counter-espionage investigation being run by Robert Mueller, is that the president has been so astonishingly upfront about it. On July 25th he tweeted that the attorney-general, one of his earliest…

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Why the president wants to ban trans people from serving

FOR a man late to politics, President Donald Trump has a master’s feel for divisive “wedge issues”—as gay and transgender Americans are learning to their chagrin. In 2016 Mr Trump delighted gay Republicans by hailing “LGBTQ citizens” at his nominating convention. In part this reflected a Manhattanite’s relaxed worldview. It was also a bid to…

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How the riots of 50 years ago changed Detroit

FIFTY years ago, Detroit lived through one of the worst riots in American history. So painful were the memories of the five days of killing, looting and arson that during previous anniversaries of the uprising, which started on July 23rd 1967 when police busted a “blind pig”, an unlicensed gambling and drinking joint, Detroiters largely…

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A Republican revolt in Kansas

Sun sets on Brownback-onomics “WE HAVE gone too far to the right and are now swinging back to the centre,” says Melissa Rooker, a Republican state representative. Ms Rooker was one of the moderate Republicans who on June 6th joined forces with Democrats in the state house to override a veto by Governor Sam Brownback.…

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Puerto Rico is poised to cast a symbolic vote for statehood

IN 1952 America granted self-rule to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, which it had obtained from Spain in 1898. Last year Congress in effect revoked that autonomy, by creating a control board capable of vetoing any item in Puerto Rico’s budget. The reversal was hardly an act of imperial gluttony. The island had issued…

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Climbing without ropes

Alex Honnold rehearsing at El Capitan MOST people get sweaty palms just staring up at the sheer granite bulk of El Capitan, a spectacular rock formation in California’s Yosemite Valley. Alex Honnold’s stayed dry as he ascended the 3,000-foot (900-metre) vertical wall on June 3rd, jamming his hands in cracks and pulling on edges barely…

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