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Cuomo speaks during a daily coronavirus press briefing in May 2020. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

By Elliot Hannon

Emerging criticism of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s transparency in his handling of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic grew louder Thursday when it was reported that Cuomo’s staff took out the true nursing home death toll in a July 2020 report, a move that significantly underplayed the virus’s impact on nursing home residents. …


State-level bills around women’s sports and adolescent medical care would seem to share a common goal.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

By Evan Urquhart

A huge wave of anti-transgender legislation is coursing through statehouses in the early months of 2021. Bills that have been introduced (often with the same or similar language across states) follow one of two models: Some prohibit trans youth from participating in female-designated sports programs, while others seek to criminalize the provision of age-appropriate, trans-affirming medical care to minors. If you’re wondering why legislators (and the advocacy groups that feed them policy ideas) are focused on these particular issues, it may be useful to consider the concept of eugenics. …


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Security personnel detain an activist from the National Students’ Union of India during a protest against the arrest of environmental activist Disha Ravi in New Delhi on Feb. 17. Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

By Joshua Keating

Freedom House has been publishing its annual Freedom in the World report for the last 47 years, and it’s been a reliable downer for the last 15. Each year the U.S.-based nongovernmental organization assesses the world’s countries on a range of measures of political rights and civil liberties, dividing them into categories of Free, Partly Free, and Not Free. Since 2006, more countries have seen their scores decline every year than increase. Still, 2020 stands out as a particularly bad year, with 73 countries experiencing declines in freedom compared with only 28 seeing gains. …


But the new Story of Seasons game also highlights how far the industry still has to go.

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Marvelous Interactive/XSeed Games

By Karen Han

Video games often offer players an escapist fantasy, opening windows into fantastical worlds and allowing people to play as idealized versions of themselves or their polar opposites. But that expansiveness isn’t always a guarantee: Character customization options are largely still tied to the male/female gender binary rather than allowing players to choose a nonbinary option and, in some cases, represent trans identities in problematic ways. …


Imagining a city where people no longer move at the pleasure of drivers.

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Time to try something different? Kohn Pedersen Fox/Urban Design Forum, via Transportation Alternatives

By Henry Grabar

In the year since the pandemic shut down New York City, momentum has been building around the idea that the city ought to take back more space from cars. Especially while it’s still in partial hibernation.

This idea germinated in birdsong and clear skies in the early days of the lockdown, two small silver linings of a tragedy. It bloomed with city-sanctioned open streets, which gave families much-needed space to walk and play. It went on through a bicycle boom, in which New Yorkers wary of buses and subways bought and rode bikes in huge numbers, and…


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Sorry (not sorry). Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Museo del Prado/Wikipedia and hongquang09/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

By Ben Mathis-Lilley

The Hasbro company announced Thursday that it will, going forward, market the product formerly known as Mr. Potato Head under the name Potato Head. The toy will still be sold with accessories children can use to make their plastic potatoes into men (or women, or anything they like, as has always been the case, if you think about it), but the top-line brand name will no longer treat masculinity as a default condition. The company also notes that it is not actually even eliminating the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head themselves from its packaging.

The…


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U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken participate in a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday. Pool/Getty Images

By Joshua Keating

The Biden administration has already reversed many of the Trump administration’s retreats from international agreements and organizations, rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change and the World Health Organization, planning a return to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and attempting to resuscitate the six-country 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

But, notably, the administration has not yet undone one of Trump’s most egregious assaults on a multilateral institution: the sanctions on the International Criminal Court.

The Trump administration retaliated against the ICC, the Hague-based court set up to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, for its decision…


It’s not the duo’s best-known work, but it might be their most interesting and — for me — influential.

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Toei Animation/Daft Life Ltd./Virgin Records

By Allegra Frank

Daft Punk, they of the mysterious robot helmets and mainstream electronic hits, announced on Monday that they had broken up. The group had been on hiatus, so this felt more like people who had tacitly already called it quits just making the subtext text. But it still represents the end of an era for a group whose most recent — and, ultimately, final — release, 2013’s Random Access Memories, picked up the Grammy for Album of the Year.

There is a lot to celebrate and acknowledge in Daft Punk’s 28-year career. But what’s always stood out to…


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An electrical substation in Houston, Texas. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By Molly Olmstead

When a ferociously cold winter storm barreled into the Deep South last week, it left millions of Texans without power, in sub-freezing temperatures, for dangerously long stretches of time. An unknown but large number of residents — including children, the elderly, the medically vulnerable, and those experiencing homelessness — died from carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. Countless others had to scramble to deal with burst pipes, spoiled food, and misery from days without power, thanks in part to the state’s uniquely Texan approach to distributing power, and in part to the failure of public officials to head…


Even the “appearance of corruption” is enough to justify voter suppression laws, according to the Supreme Court justice.

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Donald Trump and Clarence Thomas at Amy Coney Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

By Mark Joseph Stern

Justice Clarence Thomas is not backing down from the fight to legitimize Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was rife with fraud. On Monday morning, Thomas issued a startling opinion ranting against the alleged dangers of mail voting and declaring that SCOTUS must override state courts that expand vote by mail pursuant to their state constitutions. Trump may be out of office, but his staunchest ally on the U.S. Supreme Court is carrying on his assault on the legitimacy of the election.

Thomas’ grievances arise out of two identical challenges to Pennsylvania’s election procedures. The…

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