The New York Times

Chris Ruddy, the C.E.O. of Newsmax, has found a business opportunity in feeding Trump supporters the fantasy that the president could still win the election

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Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax, in one of Newsmax’s television studios in Boca Raton, Fla. Photo: Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

By Ben Smith

In 2004, Hillary Clinton was in the Senate and Christopher Ruddy had some making up to do. He was, back then, best known as “the Inspector Clouseau” of the Vince Foster case — a New York Post reporter who had popularized the baseless theory that Clinton’s friend, who killed himself in 1993, had been murdered.

But it now seemed possible that Clinton might run for president, and Ruddy laid it on pretty thick. Clinton was doing “a remarkably and surprising good job for NY as Senator,” he wrote to a mutual friend, former Mayor Ed Koch of New York. “I might not like Hillary’s liberalism, but I don’t dislike her on a personal level — as I do Rudy. …

With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

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A worker in protective gear at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.” Photo: Adria Malcolm/The New York Times

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

Each week, good news about vaccines or antibody treatments surfaces, offering hope that an end to the pandemic is at hand.

And yet this holiday season presents a grim reckoning. The United States has reached an appalling milestone: more than 1 million new coronavirus cases every week. Hospitals in some states are full to bursting. The number of deaths is rising and seems on track to easily surpass the 2,200-a-day average in the spring, when the pandemic was concentrated in the New York metropolitan area.

Our failure to protect ourselves has caught up to us.

The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead. …

Court filings reveal consultants’ talk of a records purge during the opioid crisis, and shed new light on sales advice given to the billionaire Sackler family and their drug company, Purdue Pharma

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The headquarters of Purdue Pharma on September 16, 2019 in Stamford, Connecticut. The pharmaceutical company, which makes OxyContin, the opioid often cited as starting the opioid crisis, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

By Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe

When Purdue Pharma agreed last month to plead guilty to criminal charges involving OxyContin, the Justice Department noted the role an unidentified consulting company had played in driving sales of the addictive painkiller even as public outrage grew over widespread overdoses.

Documents released last week in a federal bankruptcy court in New York show that the adviser was McKinsey & Co., the world’s most prestigious consulting firm. …

Some of the president-elect’s choices for top posts have done work for undisclosed corporate clients and aided a fund that invests in government contractors

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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected nominees whose work for corporate clients has not been fully disclosed, setting up an early test of ethics and transparency for the incoming administration. Photo: Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

By Eric Lipton and Kenneth P. Vogel

WASHINGTON — One firm helps companies navigate global risks and the political and procedural ins and outs of Washington. The other is an investment fund with a particular interest in military contractors.

But the consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, and the investment fund, Pine Island Capital Partners, call themselves strategic partners and have featured an overlapping roster of politically connected officials — including some of the most prominent names on President-elect Joe Biden’s team and others under consideration for high-ranking posts.

Now the Biden team’s links to these entities are presenting the incoming administration with its first test of transparency and ethics. …

Delivery drivers have been essential to feeding New York, while boosting sales for companies like DoorDash and Uber. But they say work conditions have gotten worse.

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Photo: Jose A. Alvarado Jr. for The New York Times

By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

NEW YORK — When the pandemic lockdown led the Manhattan restaurant where Natanael Evangelista was an employee to close for good, he quickly shifted to working for food delivery apps. He had few options. He was undocumented, did not speak much English and needed money badly. He owed months’ worth of rent, and his family in Mexico needed help.

But he was worried. Two of his cousins were also delivery workers — one had contracted the coronavirus and fallen into a coma, while the other had been assaulted and had his bike stolen.

With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of work and the city’s unemployment rate at 13.2%, many desperate people have turned to working for food delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub, which have seen huge demand from customers who are working from home. …

Coinbase, the most valuable U.S. cryptocurrency company, has faced many internal complaints about discriminatory treatment

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“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said Alysa Butler, who resigned from Coinbase in April 2019. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.” Photo: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

By Nathaniel Popper

SAN FRANCISCO — One by one, they left. Some quit. Others were fired. All were Black.

The 15 people worked at Coinbase, the most valuable U.S. cryptocurrency startup, where they represented roughly three-quarters of the Black employees at the 600-person company. Before leaving in late 2018 and early 2019, at least 11 of them informed the human resources department or their managers about what they said was racist or discriminatory treatment, five people with knowledge of the situation said.

One of the employees was Alysa Butler, 25, who worked in recruiting. During her time at Coinbase, she said, she told her manager several times about how he and others excluded her from meetings and conversations, making her feel invisible. “Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said Butler, who resigned in April 2019. …

Doctors and nurses on the front lines are running on empty, under increasing duress as the pandemic surges and hospitals are overrun with patients

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Dr. Shannon Tapia, a geriatrician in Colorado, near her home in Denver, Nov, 13, 2020. At one long-term care facility she staffed, 22 people died in 10 days. Photo: Daniel Brenner for The New York Times

By Katherine J. Wu

About 2 a.m. on a sweltering summer night, Dr. Orlando Garner awoke to the sound of a thud next to his baby daughter’s crib. He leapt out of bed to find his wife, Gabriela, passed out, her forehead hot with the same fever that had stricken him and his son, Orlando Jr., then 3, just hours before. Two days later, it would hit their infant daughter, Veronica.

Nearly five months later, Garner, a critical care physician at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, is haunted by what befell his family last summer: He had inadvertently shuttled the coronavirus home, and sickened them all. …

The justices issued six opinions, several of them unusually bitter, in upholding challenges from churches and synagogues to state pandemic restrictions on religious services

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On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected restrictions on religious services in New York. Photo: Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

By Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — A few minutes before midnight Wednesday, the nation got its first glimpse of how profoundly President Donald Trump had transformed the Supreme Court.

Just months ago, Chief Justice John Roberts was at the peak of his power, holding the controlling vote in closely divided cases and almost never finding himself in dissent. …

Customers and sellers have relied on star ratings for decades, but the review system appears to have met its match: “Yellow Onion (Brands May Vary)”

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Photo: Mayu Ken

By John Herrman

For a business that started as an online bookstore and grew into one of the largest companies in the world, the Amazon of 2020 would feel, to an Amazon customer in 1999, at least a little bit familiar.

An ancient firm by internet standards, Amazon has grown like a medieval city, still defined by its distinctive old center but made a true megalopolis by vast sprawl. It has modernized substantially, but its basic features are still intact — and being used well beyond their imagined limits.

Take Amazon’s review system. Some of the site’s most prolific reviewers have been rating products on the same five-star scale for more than 20 years, and occasionally, their messages from the distant past surface on product pages. A customer browsing books about sailing might encounter a review written by Jeff Bezos himself in 2001, recommending one title as “intense and disciplined.” (Thirty-four people have found this review “helpful” since then.) …

The president’s inability to concede the election is the latest reality-denying moment in a career preoccupied with an epithet

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President Trump went on the attack this month after failing to win a second term, pushing baseless claims of a rigged democratic process. Photo: Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

By Dan Barry

In the now-distant Republican presidential primaries of 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas handily won the Iowa caucuses. This was determined by a method that has lately come under attack but at the time was considered standard: elementary math.

One of the losers in Iowa, developer and television personality Donald Trump, soon accused Cruz of electoral theft. He fired off several inflammatory tweets, including this foreshadowing of our current democracy-testing moment: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.”

The episode vanished in the tsunami of political vitriol to come during the Trump presidency. Still, it reflects what those who have worked with Trump say is his modus operandi when trying to slip the humiliating epithet he has so readily applied to others. …


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