Good morning, everyone!


Li Zhou of Vox notes the intersection of racism and misogyny apparent in the killings of six Asian-American women in Atlanta.

These attacks echo a chilling dynamic that has been observed in the data about anti-Asian incidents overall, which have found that women are twice as likely to report experiencing such attacks and harassment as men, and that elderly people and children comprised nearly 20 percent of the reports. This data seems to indicate that attackers across the board have sought out those who they perceive to be more vulnerable, a perception that’s inextricably linked with gender and race.

In the case of the shootings on Tuesday, the attacks targeted people who the suspect allegedly saw as cause for “temptation” because they were simply present at these spas. According to the police statements, Long aimed to remove this temptation from his life by using violence.

That impression, both of these establishments as venues for “temptation” and of the people who were on site, stems from entrenched tropes about spas and Asian American women, who’ve been framed as hypersexualized beings.

Such stereotypes about Asian American women emerged in the 1800s, and have since been reinforced again and again both during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, in American soldiers’ treatment of Asian women, and in depictions in popular culture, like that of the geisha in Madame Butterfly. Over time, Asian American women were painted as subservient, docile, and the focus of objectification and colonization, rather than people deserving of genuine understanding and engagement…

James Hohmann of the Washington Post on President Biden’s recent and, in his opinion, appropriate adoption of LBJ as a presidential role model.

Using LBJ as a yardstick represents a rhetorical shift from the campaign, when Biden frequently invoked the New Deal on the stump. He spoke at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Winter White House in Warm Springs, Ga., the week before the election. “I’m kind of in a position that FDR was,” Biden told the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, invoking the similar emergencies the two new presidents inherited and Roosevelt’s interest in achieving the quickest available solution.

Biden’s recent invocation of Johnson suggests a more ideological component to his ambition — and a more fitting role model than the patrician Roosevelt. Both Biden and Johnson won election to Congress as 29-year-olds. Both were pragmatic creatures of the Senate who served as vice president to younger, less-experienced fellow senators who defeated them for the party’s nomination by inspiring young people to get politically engaged. Both found themselves initially mistrusted by the left and civil rights groups but appeared determined to win over those naysayers by being unexpectedly bold.

Johnson’s domestic achievements were extraordinary. He declared war on poverty and backed up his rhetoric by creating new entitlements with Medicare and Medicaid, passing major civil rights laws, creating a federal role in education, liberalizing immigration and so much more — until a real war in Vietnam doomed his social revolution.

Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic with the perfectly reasonable proposal that since Republican governors will ix-nay most proposed “partnerships” of the Biden Administration with Republican-controlled states, the Biden Administration should partner more with the cities and their inner suburbs.

Cities and their inner suburbs need an immediate lifeline from Washington to stabilize their finances after the devastation of the pandemic. But once those communities regain their balance, they could become crucial allies for Biden. By working with big metros, the president would be aligning federal policy with powerful economic, social, and electoral trends—and empowering local officials overwhelmingly sympathetic to his core objectives. If Biden can forge such partnerships, he could both ignite a new wave of local innovation and solidify the Democratic Party’s advantage in the fast-growing, diverse, and well-educated metro areas that have become the bedrock of its electoral coalition. “If Joe Biden could be the president who reclaimed federalism and rewrote federalism for this next generation,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told me, “I think that’s going to be one of his most lasting legacies.”

***

Targeting metro areas as the principal partner for federal action would also acknowledge the rapidly evolving electoral landscape. From the 1960s through the ’90s, urban politics was defined by endemic conflict between inner cities, which were largely minority communities and tilted Democratic, and their suburbs, which were filled with Republican-leaning white-flight families. But over roughly the past 20 years, and especially during the Trump era, a different dividing line has emerged. Economic opportunities, especially in the digital economy, have attracted more white people back to central cities, and suburbs have diversified with the migration of more Black, Latino, and Asian American families. Economic ties between central cities and their surrounding suburbs have solidified.

The result: More and more, cities and their inner suburbs find their interests converging—while those interests simultaneously diverge from the conservative priorities of the mostly white people living in small-town and rural places away from urban centers. As November’s presidential results demonstrated, if you draw an imaginary beltway around almost any major metropolitan area, Democrats are growing stronger inside that circle, while Republicans are consolidating their position outside of it. Tabulations by The Daily Yonder, a website focusing on rural issues, found that Biden not only won the counties anchored by the nation’s biggest urban centers by a crushing 13 million votes, but also carried their inner suburbs by more than 4 million, and even won midsize urban centers by 1.5 million or so. (Those three categories of communities provided almost four-fifths of all Biden’s votes.) Trump dominated the smaller places beyond those centers, but that wasn’t nearly enough for him to overcome Biden’s advantage in the metro areas.

Fiona Lowenstein and Hannah Davis of the New York Times write about the struggles they have faced because of the failure to take Long Covid seriously.

Researchers have now established that long Covid is a debilitating condition with full-body symptoms that can range from monthslong fevers to respiratory problems. The National Institutes of Health recently announced an initiative to study it. Many sufferers are unable to return to work or care for themselves or their loved ones and will likely require long-term medical attention.

Yet, a year later, we still struggle to be taken seriously by friends, family members, clinicians and policymakers. People are sympathetic, yet few think long Covid can happen to them, or that it will affect their post-pandemic life. But the long Covid is not a footnote to the pandemic or a curious human-interest story. It is America’s next big health crisis, and we should prepare for it now.

The misconceptions around long Covid are due in part to the mistaken belief that it is rare. But it’s not. Approximately 30 percent of Covid patients in a new but small study from the University of Washington reported that symptoms persisted months after their infection. If confirmed on a bigger scale, this suggests that long Covid could be one of the largest mass disabling events in modern history.

Yes, there is a specific American context with which to analyze and report on the killings of six Asian American women in Atlanta but the Atlanta killings can also be viewed within a wider and worldwide context of increasing mental and physical violence against women, especially since the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catherine Rottenberg writes for Al Jazeera that Sandra Everard’s murder in Britain is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to worsening violence against women across the pond.

Everard’s picture and story made front-page news, and as more information about the case came out, there was an outpouring of rage and sorrow across the country. On social media, many women shared their stories about experiences of sexual harassment and fears about walking alone at night. Female politicians from across the political spectrum have also gone public with their personal stories of sexual abuse and fear, demanding that the government do more to make “the UK safer for women”.

While Everard’s murder captured the attention of the media in the UK and abroad – most likely because she was a white, attractive middle-class woman – the public does not hear anything at all about the vast majority of cases of sexual harassment and deadly violence against women.

A recent survey from UN Women UK reports that among women aged 18-24, 97 percent said they had been sexually harassed while 80 percent of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. The statistics about violent deaths are also shocking: a woman is murdered every other day in the UK, with the majority killed by an intimate partner or someone known to the victim.

Domestic violence has worsened with the pandemic. In the first month after a lockdown was imposed in the UK, murders related to domestic abuse tripled compared to 2019 figures, while calls to domestic abuse services jumped by 50 percent.

I have to add this reporting from Open Democracy that women in Britain were disproportionately impacted by involuntary detainments in mental health facilities during the first lockdown.

The investigative reporting team of Maik Baumgärtner, Roman Höfner, Ann-Katrin Müller and Marcel Rosenbach write for Spigel Online International about the widespread “spectrum of violence” against women offline and online in Germany.

The spectrum of violence against women in the online and offline world is vast. Harassment on the internet, often from the right wing, is aimed at silencing women. They are stalked or exposed, via “revenge porn,” for example, which involves ex-partners posting intimate images of the woman online as a form of retaliation. In relationships, men can become physically abusive, or they exert control by way of apps and spy cams.

Even terror attacks are committed out of misogynist motives, emerging online ahead of time. The mass-murderer Anders Breivik, who slaughtered 77 people in Norway in 2011, discussed his hatred of modern women in his “manifesto.” The terrorists from Halle and Hanau, who launched deadly attacks in 2019 and 2020 respectively, were also adherents of anti-feminist, right-wing extremist ideologies. Their radicalization took place for the most part in front of their computer screens.

The intensity of the attacks on women may vary, but the goal remains the same. They are part of the fight against gender equality. And the internet is becoming an increasingly potent weapon in the battle.

For years, the so-called “manosphere,” as the online misogynistic scene is known, has been growing, and it is home to many right-wing extremists. It is also becoming more radical. Experts are now even using the word “terrorism” to describe elements within the movement.

David E. Sanger and Michael Crowley of the New York Times on the now evident shift in Washington-Beijing relations by the Biden Administration.

the emerging strategy more directly repudiates the prevailing view of the last quarter century that deep economic interdependence could be counted on to temper fundamental conflicts on issues like China’s military buildup, its territorial ambitions and human rights.

It focuses anew on competing more aggressively with Beijing on technologies vital to long-term economic and military power, after concluding that President Donald J. Trump’s approach — a mix of expensive tariffs, efforts to ban Huawei and TikTok, and accusations about sending the “China virus” to American shores — had failed to change President Xi Jinping’s course.

The result, as Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, put it during the campaign last year, is an approach that “should put less focus on trying to slow China down and more emphasis on trying to run faster ourselves” through increased government investment in research and technologies like semiconductors, artificial intelligence and energy.

Mr. Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will road-test the new approach in what promises to be a tense first encounter on Thursday with their Chinese counterparts in Anchorage. It is a meeting they delayed until they could reach the outlines of a common strategy with allies — notably Japan, South Korea, India and Australia — and one they insisted had to take place on American soil.

Hal Brands and Zack Cooper write for Foreign Affairs on the imperfect comparison of the Washington-Beijing rivalry now with the Washington-Moscow rivalry during The Cold War.

As with the Soviet-era Kremlin, the Chinese Communist Party’s aversion to the United States runs deep. “Because China and the United States have longstanding conflicts over their different ideologies, social systems, and foreign policies,” a Chinese military document argued as early as 1993, “it will prove impossible to fundamentally improve Sino-U.S. relations.”

Chinese leaders have long assumed, correctly, that their counterparts in Washington would never view an authoritarian Communist Party as fully legitimate; even Robert Zoellick’s famous 2005 speech urging Beijing to become a responsible stakeholder insisted that “China needs a peaceful political transition to make its government responsible and accountable to its people.” Although Beijing’s long-standing suspicion that Washington is actively trying to topple its regime is inaccurate, it betrays the Chinese Communist Party’s sense of vulnerability in an international order led by democracies and rooted in liberal values.

Finally today, the Angry Grammarian, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, reaches into his mailbag.

Please discuss the word pivot, something which one now hears endlessly. It implies flexibility in decision-making, but it sounds way too acrobatic. — Ken R.

Don’t hate the circus. The noun pivot has been around since the 14th century. The verb is newer (mid-19th century), but since the late 1960s, usage has been steady. Maybe worry less about acrobatics and be a little more flexible in your word choice?

I’m emailing you to raise an issue of usage: your use of other as a verb. That is completely ungrammatical. It smacks of business-speak and is jarring to the eyes and to the ear. I would’ve hoped that, as a self-styled expert in proper grammar and usage, you’d never use it in that way. — Lisa R.

Speaking of flexibility, other has legitimate modern uses as an adjective (the other day), pronoun (something or other), noun (others are saying), adverb (the baby won’t eat other than by spoon-feeding), and, yes, verb (we too often other marginalized groups). Years ago, it was even a conjunction (gold other silver), but that was just showing off, and it went out of style with the Tudors. Other’s verb usage didn’t begin until the mid-1980s, so it’s still jarring to some. On the other hand, if you won’t acknowledge othering, then parts of speech aren’t the only thing you’re being intolerant toward.

Everyone have a good morning!

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