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A Sharp Jump in Coronavirus Deaths in New York State: Live Updates

NY Times - 1 ora 52 min fa
Mr. Cuomo reported the largest one-day increase in deaths as Mayor de Blasio warned that New York City had a week’s worth of medical supplies.

California State Parks close to vehicle traffic due to coronavirus

Daily News - 2 ore 10 min fa

After witnessing a surge in visits the day before, all 280 California State Parks will now be closed to vehicle access, according to a statement.

“On Saturday, many state parks once again experienced visitation surges that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/ physical distancing practices,” a statement said from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

State parks have already closed all campgrounds, museums and visitor centers, cancelled all events and were closed to vehicular traffic at certain parks and beaches. The department said it would continue to monitor visitations and physical distancing at all state parks to determine whether additional measures would be taken such as fully closing all parks including trails and bathrooms.

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With L.A. County beaches and bike paths closed along with closures and strict social distancing rules on beaches throughout Southern California, nature preserves and state parks seemed about the only outdoor activity left for many people this weekend. The overriding message from public health officials has been no matter how great the weather is, people are to stay home.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and others have said that if people need exercise or want to walk their dogs to do so around their own neighborhoods rather than popular spots like the beaches and parks.

Rancho Palos Verdes, which oversees the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, closed access to its trail system last week. Palos Verdes Estates too limited public parking for those who wanted to walk along trails that border the cliff tops.

LA County in addition to closing beaches, beach bathrooms, piers, promenades and beach bike paths, previously announced closures of public trails, according to the statement. And in Orange County, parking lots at all beaches, regional and wilderness parks were closed along with parking spaces at all trailheads.

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How USC basketball looks for the 2020 season

Daily News - 2 ore 29 min fa

A series of events the past two weeks have shuffled the USC men’s basketball roster. Here’s a look at the Trojans’ scholarship situation as it stands now:

Scholarships opening up after 2019-20

The Trojans had four graduating seniors on scholarship this past season – Jonah Mathews, Nick Rakocevic, Daniel Utomi and Quinton Adlesh. Center Onyeka Okongwu declared for the NBA draft on Wednesday. Charles O’Bannon Jr. transferred to TCU midseason, while it was reported Tuesday night that guard Kyle Sturdivant is entering the transfer portal. It’s still possible for Sturdivant to exit the portal and remain at USC, but for this exercise, let’s assume he leaves L.A.

So at the moment, USC has five scholarship players returning for 2020-21: Elijah Weaver, Isaiah Mobley, Ethan Anderson, Max Agbonkpolo and Noah Baumann, a guard who redshirted this past season after transferring from San Jose State.

Current commits in 2020 class

USC currently has four roster spots filled for next season. The Trojans added Santa Clara grad transfer Tahj Eaddy on Tuesday, adding some experience at the guard position with a reputation as a shooter, though his 3-point average dropped to 33.3% last season. On Friday, Utah Valley grad transfer wing Isaiah White committed to USC over Arizona. The former Damien High standout averaged 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds as a junior. They join Rancho Christian center Evan Mobley, the top-ranked recruit in the country, and three-star San Gabriel Academy center Boubacar Coulibaly.

How USC could fill out the class

With nine roster spots accounted for, USC has four scholarships it can play with. With two centers, two forwards and five guards, the Trojans can afford to look for the best available players, though adding a backup point guard to replace Sturdivant should be a priority.

The dream situation for USC would be to add five-star Sierra Canyon small forward Ziaire Williams. The No. 5 recruit in the country, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, At 6-foot-7, Williams could play either forward spot in college with his length. He can stretch the floor and finish around the basket. Combining Williams with the Mobley brothers, not to mention Agbonkpolo, would give USC an extremely versatile front court.

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USC can also look to the transfer market to fill out the roster, maybe adding another grad transfer or two to provide immediate impact in 2020-21.

It’s also possible USC elects to leave a scholarship slot or two open in the next season. The Trojans did the same for 2019-20, starting the year with 12 scholarship players. After receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA in December, it’s possible USC is hit with sanctions that could include a scholarship reduction. Should this happen, USC could start serving that punishment early if it has open scholarships.

Look ahead to 2021

USC has three commits for 2021: Mater Dei center Harrison Hornery St. Bernard shooting guard Reese Dixon-Waters and Damien shooting guard Mailk Thomas.

How UCLA basketball looks for the 2020 season

Daily News - 2 ore 30 min fa

In his first year with UCLA men’s basketball, coach Mick Cronin shattered expectations and brought a revival to the program.

While the Bruins did not get the chance to perform under the bright lights and high pressures of the postseason, with the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cronin has already made strides to continue his success into the 2020-2021 season.

Scholarships opening up after 2019-20

With the departures of redshirt seniors Prince Ali and Alex Olensinski and the midseason transfer of Shareef O’Neal, Cronin will have four scholarship spots open for next season. Ali and Olensinski played five seasons for the Bruins after suffering individual injuries during the 2016-2017 season. O’Neal played 13 games for UCLA as a redshirt freshman this year before transferring in January.

Current commits in 2020 class

So far, Cronin has snatched up two commits heading into the 2020-2021 season.

Daishen Nix was the first recruit Cronin landed since his hire last April. The five-star recruit, who signed in November after committing to the Bruins in August, is the No. 1 point guard in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, and the No. 1 player out of Nevada. Standing 6-foot-5, Nix secured McDonald’s All-American status and was invited to play in the annual All-American Game before its cancellation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Rancho Cucamonga native Jaylen Clark has also committed to playing with the Bruins next season. The four-star shooting guard from Etiwanda High is listed as the No. 13 player in California by 247Sports and is Cronin’s first commit from California.

How UCLA could fill out the class

As of March 26, UCLA’s 2020 class is ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 and No. 36 in the nation by 247Sports. With the loss of Olesinski, the Bruins will have only three bigs with Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and Kenneth Nwuba, who redshirted the 2019-2020 season. Cronin could also look to the transfer portal to fill his open spots.

Look ahead to 2021

With such a young and still inexperienced roster, the majority of this year’s Bruins are expected to stay. Without having to go through the bumps of learning a new coach and jelling as a team, like they did last fall, the Bruins could have a high advantage next season. As of now, the only would-be senior listed on UCLA’s roster is guard Chris Smith, who was honored as the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player of the Year.

Cronin has one commit for 2021: four-star shooting guard Will McClendon of Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

Oil Prices Crash, Virus Hits, Commerce Stops: Iraq Is in Trouble.

NY Times - 3 ore 3 min fa
Iraq depends on oil revenues, which have plummeted. The country is so desperate it is asking for donations to help it weather the pandemic.

We Can Safely Restart the Economy in June. Here’s How.

NY Times - 3 ore 12 min fa
Get tough now. Test widely to isolate those infected, and slowly revive businesses with workers and customers who have developed immunity.

Plane Used in Philippine Coronavirus Response Bursts Into Flames

NY Times - 3 ore 35 min fa
All eight people onboard, including a doctor, a nurse and foreign nationals, were killed after the airplane caught fire as it took off from Manila for Japan.

Love in the time of coronavirus: Long Beach couple weds in a changed world

Daily News - 3 ore 41 min fa

There were no ivory table cloths. No dusty rose napkins. No gold table numbers.

But Halley Taylor had a veil, a floral beaded headband and a white, floor-length gown with layers of lace and sequins.

Taylor married her fiancé, Jacob Frank, in a tiny ceremony in a private backyard on the Palos Verdes Peninsula early Saturday evening, March 28, under wisps of clouds dotting the springtime sky, the Pacific Ocean lapping in the distance.

Halley Taylor and Jacob Frank got married in a small ceremony in a private backyard on the Palos Verdes Peninsula Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Courtesy Liz Erban Photography)

It wasn’t the day the couple spent the prior two years planning; in the days and weeks leading up to their chosen wedding date, the novel coronavirus expanded its reach to farther corners of the country and world, leading governments to shut down events big and small to stem its spread.

Their wedding, originally slated to include 98 people at the Long Beach Museum of Art, shrank to about 80, then 50, until, finally, it was seven people — along with the couple’s 4-year-old Australian shepherd/boxer mix — in a secluded spot along seaside cliffs.

It was not the day they imagined. But it was, as they will always remember, the day they chose to forever entwine their lives, the day two became one.

♦ ♦ ♦

Taylor, 28, and Frank, 27, met when they were both in elementary school in Sebring, Ohio, a village midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh with a population of a little more than 4,000 people.

They attended different schools, but their district gathered its gifted elementary students — including Taylor and Frank — into the same space for a weekly class.

Taylor, a fourth grader at the time, was a good student who loved her teacher and had grown her hair so long it nearly hit the back of her knees.

Frank, in third grade, wore spiked hair with frosted tips — “it was really cool, back in the ’90s,” Taylor recently recalled — and a puka shell necklace.

“He was very California for an Ohio kid,” Taylor said. “He was just too cool.”

They were both smitten.

“I remember going to my third grade friends, being like, ‘Oh, I have this girlfriend, but she goes to a different school, like, you guys don’t know her,’” Frank said, “and they’re like, ‘Shut up, no you don’t.’”

They had no way of knowing then what those crushes would become — a devotion that would take them across the country, two decades on, to a quiet bluff on a bright, vernal day.

♦ ♦ ♦

In another universe, where a virus hadn’t spread across the globe, where medical masks and toilet paper are in heavy supply, where it is not illegal to gather in public spaces, Saturday looked very different for the Midwestern couple.

Two weeks ago, even, in this universe, another plan would have unfolded.

The couple — who now lives in an apartment in Long Beach’s East Village neighborhood with their dog, Kismet — was determined to be wed in their new hometown.

Halley Taylor and Jacob Frank were married in a small ceremony in a private backyard on the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Courtesy Liz Erban Photography)

“They all wanted us to get married in Ohio,” Taylor said of the pair’s family and friends back east, “but we were like, ‘No way, we’re going to get married in California, and you guys are going to come to us.’”

They secured the Long Beach Museum of Art, which offers a spacious lawn for outdoor ceremonies and receptions overlooking the East San Pedro Bay, at a discounted rate because their date fell just before peak wedding season would begin.

“We were just really excited to have it outside,” Taylor said, “and to have all of our family come and see us.”

Invitations were sent to 120 people, and seating was arranged for the 98 who said they would come. The open-air venue would be complemented with rustic touches, like chalkboard signs and small blush and green bud vases.

“It was going to be a bohemian, kind of eclectic, sort of style,” Taylor said. “I had so many ideas and was just really excited about getting to see it all together.

“And now,” she said last week, “that’s never going to happen.”

♦ ♦ ♦

The first case of the novel coronavirus in the United States was reported Jan. 21 in Washington, according to the state’s Department of Health.

Two days later, the Chinese government ordered a lockdown of Hubei, the province home to Wuhan — the epicenter of what the World Health Organization would later declare a global pandemic.

Frank, who’s in the midst of his hospital residency, was keeping a closer eye on the outbreak than most.

But early on, he didn’t think it would impact their plans.

“We were aware of it, but not taking it too seriously,” he said, “and then the cases just kept developing.”

Cases were confirmed in Illinois. California. New York. New Hampshire.

By March 7, three weeks before Taylor and Frank’s wedding day, more than two dozen states had reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Then, March 9, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced three residents had contracted the virus, the state’s first confirmed cases. DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio the same day.

“It started shifting from, ‘Everyone’s going to come,’” Frank said, “to, ‘Those with health conditions or who are older may not be able to.’”

Three days later, Taylor got a call from her sister-in-law to let the couple know she and Taylor’s niece — who was supposed to be the flower girl — couldn’t come.

“Her work basically said they would fire her if she came,” Taylor recalled. “For me, that was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is it even worth doing it anymore?’”

Seeds of doubt about whether the day could continue were planted, but Taylor and Frank decided not to cancel the wedding. Not yet.

A cascade of government orders and recommendations, becoming ever stricter, followed over the next week; their guest list winnowed.

Taylor and Frank waited to hear from the venue on whether a cancellation would be necessary.

Finally, last Thursday, March 19, Long Beach issued an order prohibiting all events of more than 10 people.

A museum representative reached out to let the couple know their wedding would be canceled.

Jacob Frank and Halley Taylor planned their wedding for March 28, 2020 at the Long Beach Museum of Art but had to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic in Long Beach on Monday, March 23, 2020. The couple still plans to wed but the celebration with family and friends will have to wait. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

“We had already come to terms with it,” Taylor said.

“Every day, we were just kind of grasping at straws,” she said. “Like, ‘Can we still make this happen? Can we still accommodate the few people who wanted to come?’”

Each time they solidified a new plan, they would have to start again.

“It just kept falling apart,” Taylor said.

♦ ♦ ♦

After circling each other for their whole lives, Taylor and Frank dated briefly in high school before heading to Ohio State University. They reunited in the fall of 2013 and have been together ever since.

The pair landed in Long Beach in 2018, after Frank was matched with a residency program here.

The day the couple found out they would be moving to the West Coast, almost exactly two years ago, is another that is indelibly etched into their memories.

That evening, at a dinner surrounded by family and friends — ostensibly to celebrate Frank’s news — he got down on one knee.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity,” he told Taylor, “to ask you to spend the rest of your life with me.”

Two years and a cross-country move later, it was clear their wedding day would not be the one they planned. But Taylor and Frank were resolved to move ahead with it anyway.

The photographer they hired for the initial bash, Liz Erban, is ordained to officiate weddings; she offered to marry the couple in an elopement-style ceremony on the date they had already booked, if they wanted to move forward with it.

Taylor and Frank agreed.

“We feel like we’re breaking the law, getting married illegally,” Taylor said. “But I’m so determined to make the most of it.”

So they did.

As the sun shone down on them Saturday evening, they pledged themselves to each other, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer — in sickness and in health.

While the coronavirus raged on, continuing to overshadow daily life across the world, Taylor and Frank added their own bit of light.

“I’m glad we did it,” Taylor said. “I think it was a nice moment. It will be a happy memory.”

The couple plans to have a larger celebration, filled with family and friends, likely next summer, back in Ohio.

It wasn’t the day they envisioned, but they are still grateful for it — and for their many other fortunes.

“At the end of the day, I still have a job,” Frank said. “Halley still has a job. Compared to everyone else, and all of the thousands of people who lost their jobs, it’s not that bad.”

If anything, the couple agreed, the turn of events helped them remember what’s really important.

“Everyone worries about every little detail of their wedding,” Frank said. “I remember, less than a couple of weeks ago, we were bickering about whether the shades of gray my groomsmen were wearing would match.”

While friends and family have reached out to share their sympathy, Taylor said some of those feelings are misplaced.

“We have friends and family who are like, ‘I can’t believe it. It’s so sad,’” she said, “and I’m like, ‘You just lost your job! That’s so much worse than having to cancel our wedding.’ So many people are suffering so much worse.”

Halley Taylor and Jacob Frank got married in a small ceremony in a private backyard on the Palos Verdes Peninsula Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Courtesy Liz Erban Photography)

So, the couple, now husband and wife, are finding silver linings.

“It almost just helps you put it in perspective and focus your energy elsewhere, other than on the wedding,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to look on the bright side of what to be grateful for.”

Although the guest list dwindled into nearly nothing, the couple’s list of blessings has only grown. And they have now cemented what they have known for so long — that each other’s placement at the top of that list will now, and forever, endure.

Who Killed Keylan Knapp?

NY Times - 3 ore 41 min fa
My childhood friend has joined America’s “deaths of despair.”

The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19

NY Times - 4 ore 2 min fa
Aggressive screening might have helped contain the coronavirus in the United States. But technical flaws, regulatory hurdles and lapses in leadership let it spread undetected for weeks.

Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies

NY Times - 5 ore 18 sec fa
Why virus denial resembles climate denial.

How their San Fernando restaurant became a mini-market to help the community

Daily News - 5 ore 30 min fa

The coronavirus outbreak complicating shopping for many of their customers, Chris and Magaly Colelli, owners of Magaly’s Tamales in San Fernando, listened to many complain that they were having a hard time finding rice and beans, staple items for the predominantly Latino populated city.

“Beans and rice were the first things we started out with because we saw that there was a need for that,” said Magaly, who described how they’d sell key uncooked ingredients for the entrees they’d generally prepare at their eatery.

Soon, customers began asking for other things.

They sought butter, milk, produce, eggs and tortillas. So the couple tapped their restaurant food suppliers to stock those items in bulk  for their customers — and offer them for sale at their wholesale cost.

“We added all the basic essentials that people were needing in their homes,” said Magaly.

  • Concertgoers head for shelter outside of the Route 91 Harvest Festival after a gunman opened fire at the festival on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Al Powers/Invsion/AP)

  • San Bernardino sheriff’s Sgt Brad Powers suffered a gun shot Sunday, October 1, 2017 during the shooting in Las Vegas. He is listed in critical condition. (Courtesy photo)

  • SoundThe gallery will resume inseconds
  • Debris litters a festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay resort and casino Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. Authorities said Stephen Craig Paddock broke windows on the casino and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds at a music festival at the grounds. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • This undated photo shows Bailey Schweitzer, one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at a country music festival. (Facebook via AP)

  • This Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, photo provided by Tom Day Sr., shows his son Tom Day Jr, with Day Jr.’s family, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Day Jr., was one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at the music festival. (Courtesy of Tom Day Jr. via AP)

  • A woman sits on a curb at the scene of Sunday night’s shooting outside of the Route 91 Harvest Festival along the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

  • Roberto Lopez, from left, Briana Calderon and Cynthia Olvera, of Las Vegas, pause at a memorial site on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 in Las Vegas. Investigators trying to figure out why Stephen Paddock gunned down dozens of people from his high-rise hotel suite are analyzing his computer and cellphone, looking at casino surveillance footage and seeking to interview his longtime girlfriend. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Manhattan Beach Middle School Teacher Sandy Casey who was killed in Sunday nights shooting in Las Vegas. Photo via Facebook

  • In this June 6, 2015 photo, U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Charleston Hartfield of the 100th Quartermaster Company poses for a photo at Rainbow Falls near Hilo, Hawaii. Hartfield was one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at a country music festival. (Sgt. Walter Lowell/U.S. Army National Guard via AP)

  • A man in a wheelchair is taken away from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

  • Sally Marshall, with her 18-month-old granddaughter, Charlotte O’Neal, kneels down after they placed flowers at a memorial for their friend Kurt Von Tillow on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Cameron Park, Calif. The Cameron Park man was one of the dozens of people killed Sunday night in the mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Randy Pench/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

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Ronnica Garcia, from Sylmar, took a moment to praise the restaurant turned mini-grocery store.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to get eggs; everything has been scarce, this is amazing what they are doing for the community.”

Chris spent over 30-years as a police officer with the city, recently retiring as a lieutenant.

Magaly was born and raised in the community along with her five children and two grandchildren.

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Their restaurant is not profiting from the sale of the food; they want to give back to the community they care about so much. “We have a love for our city, for sure.”

Chris finished carrying in several boxes of avocados, then started helping customers from behind a table turned food stand.

“San Fernando is a small community, and the citizens have always supported our business,” he said, “and we wanted to give back to them. It’s the least we could do for the people that have supported us for so many years.”

It’s not just the people of San Fernando that are benefiting from the groceries at Magaly’s. People have traveled from the South Bay and Lancaster to the restaurant to get some of the much-needed groceries.

“This is for anyone that needs it,” Chris said, “they can come in and get whatever we have.”

 

Special Episode: What I Learned When My Husband Got Coronavirus

NY Times - 5 ore 31 min fa
An editor at The Times shares an intimate essay about her family’s fight against the pandemic.

Rich Europeans Flee Virus for 2nd Homes, Spreading Fear and Fury

NY Times - 7 ore 6 min fa
In France and the rest of Europe, the affluent decamp cities to spend their confinement in vacation homes, widening class divides.

Crisis in African Region Is Becoming France’s Forever War

NY Times - 7 ore 35 min fa
Riding along with French troops hunting Islamist militants in France’s unwinnable West African war.

Coronavirus, New York, Sabrina Ionescu: Your Weekend Briefing

NY Times - 8 ore 31 min fa
Here’s what you need to know about the week’s top stories.

The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.

NY Times - 9 ore 31 min fa
As the coronavirus spreads, the collapse of the project helps explain America’s acute shortage.

How Coronavirus Has Transformed Elections Across the U.S.

NY Times - 9 ore 51 min fa
Party conventions are in jeopardy, campaigning is on hold and local candidates are playing the role of good Samaritan instead of traditional politician.

Debt and deficits still matter, right?

Daily News - 10 ore 32 min fa

There are many reasons for America to spend its money wisely and not rack up debt. But the best reason is to be prepared for emergency situations like a pandemic.

As such, it’s not the $2.2 trillion price tag on the coronavirus stimulus package that concerns me — it’s the trillions of dollars that preceded it. In fact, these are the times that the government should intervene, especially since it is the government that ordered the economy to close.

For what it’s worth, I believe the COVID-19 crisis is real and I agree that the most effective way to slow the spread of the virus is through mandatory quarantining. The government has made the right call.

But that doesn’t mean the government is absolved of its responsibility to the workers and businesses its actions have affected.

The stimulus bill is a way to stave off financial calamity. And frankly, it’s probably not enough.

It does bother me, though, that this stimulus package will drive up our trillion-dollar deficit and dump even more debt on our country, which already exceeds $23 trillion. It shows just how badly we wasted the last economic recovery by doing nothing to tackle the debt.

As the editors of National Review put it, “The enormous spending involved [in the stimulus bill] would be easier to stomach if legislators and presidents had shown greater restraint before this crisis hit or showed any interest in getting the national debt on a sustainable trajectory.”.

It also shows the there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats in Congress in terms of spending. The Tea Party revolution that popped up after the 2008 financial crisis is all but gone.

Not long ago, there were Republicans will to default on the national debt to rein in spending. Those days are long gone.

Both the debt and deficit have increased under President Donald Trump, as they had under many of his predecessors. What’s different about Trump is that we’ve stopped even pretending to care.

As a candidate, Trump promised to eliminate federal debt within eight years, but it has only increased under him–and that was before the stimulus bill. He has vowed not to touch entitlement spending, which is by far the largest driver of the deficit. His tax reform might have been decent tax policy, but without any spending offsets it ran up the deficit. And as my colleague Steven Greenhut recently argued, Trump has embraced the progressive idea that deficits don’t matter.

“Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country,” Trump said.

None of that is meant as a criticism of the president. It’s just a statement of fact and a marker by which to gauge the future.

As Republicans consider the direction of the party after Trump is out of office — either next year or after another term — many have embraced a more interventionist government. Senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, are two of the leading voices. Both have well-intentioned proposals to regulate and reorder markets and the economy.

But as Jonah Goldberg points out, advocates of top-down planning used to be mostly on the left, and the idea was something conservatives used to look upon with great skepticism.

“That’s not true any longer,” Goldberg writes. “And it remains to be seen whether top-down planning from the right works any better than it does from the left.”

It’s not anti-conservative to spend big on something. It’s how the money is spent that matters. It is pure fantasy to think the government is going to cure all of society’s ills with money it doesn’t have.

For all the fuss that’s made about the effect of celebrities’ bad behavior on impressionable children, no one ever complains that America’s personal debt problem is encouraged by the bad example set in Washington.

Our nation is constantly borrowing more to spend now with no real intention of paying it back. What does that say to those amassing substantial credit card debt? How can we say with a straight fact that we want to tackle student loan debt when we are $23 trillion in the hole?

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Even if the government were to pay off the $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, it would have to borrow to do it because we don’t have the money. All that would do is transfer current debt to future generations, which describes most spending decisions in Congress.

At some point, the excessive spending and the exorbitant debt will become a crisis, though now is not the time to have this fight.

But as we emerge from this impending economic crisis, we need our lawmakers to get our finances in order. Our future emergencies depend on it.

Matt Fleming is a member of the Southern California News Group’s editorial board. Follow him on Twitter: @FlemingWords

We don’t need to densify to save the planet or solve our housing crisis

Daily News - 10 ore 37 min fa

The coronavirus pandemic is now on track to be far less lethal than first predicted by the Imperial College London study that set off the alarming response we’re living in today. But it could turn out to be fatal to the plans of so-called urbanists in California.

These are the advocates for “transit-oriented housing,” high-density apartments near public transportation, who have been telling Californians for years that single-family homes are a waste of resources and bad for the planet.

That argument can now be buried. It turns out to be much safer to build houses that allow people to be at least six feet away from the neighbors, where families can isolate peacefully in private yards that can grow fruits and vegetables in case the supply chain collapses.

This used to be known as the California lifestyle, before the government fell under the control of activists who throttled the water supply, demonized the automobile and declared that housing shall not be built beyond the “urban boundary.” These activists see a future of stacked apartments radiating out from bus stops and train stations. And they have skillfully and quietly used the power of government to force their vision into existence.

The origins of today’s housing crisis in California can be traced to a piece of legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. On Sept. 30, 2008, one day after the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 778 points and triggered the then-giant TARP bailout (seems so quaint today), Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 375 to make it tougher to build houses in California.

The law was called the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. “It will be necessary to achieve significant additional greenhouse gas reductions from changed land use patterns and improved transportation,” the legislation declared, essentially blaming climate change on people living in the suburbs and driving to work.

Construction permits for residential housing in the state had climbed steadily from the mid-1990s until 2004, when they began a sharp decline. By 2007, the number of permits for housing construction was down 49 percent from the peak three years earlier, but activists were still agitated about the “sprawl” of housing developments and the commuters who lived in them.

So SB375 empowered the California Air Resources Board to set greenhouse gas emissions targets for entire regions of the state. It required local authorities to submit plans showing how their regions would reach the targets that CARB made up, out of the air, if you will. And even if you won’t.

It’s government force.

Every local government and agency in California is now wasting everybody’s time figuring out how to meet targets for reducing “vehicle miles traveled.” This is part of the story behind the idiocy of road diets, the tolerance for skull-cracking scooters and the insanity of city plans such as Warner Center 2035 in the west San Fernando Valley, which is enabling the construction of tens of thousands of high-rise apartments with no new road capacity. The unsupportable assumption is that traffic won’t be affected because residents will take the Orange Line bus.

Speaking of traffic, we are currently engaged in a regional study of how many cars can be taken off the road if people are able to work at home.

Judging from online traffic maps, the preliminary finding is, all of them.

Obviously not everyone can work at home, but it’s clear now that Southern California’s traffic problem can be made to disappear by empowering employers and employees to decide whether driving or remote work is the best option on any given day.

That can save us tens of billions of dollars. We can repeal all those extra sales taxes that pay for transit construction. Look how fast that happened — one minute we were whining about the old Red Car tracks being ripped up, and the next minute we saw the good sense of it.

The unexpected future of public transportation will be buses, shuttles and app-enabled ride-share. We were all expecting flying cars, but when there’s no traffic, driving on the freeways is almost as good.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that dense urban living has unique risks. In New York, where the virus has infected 15 times as many people as in California, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged, “We have one of the most dense, close environments in the country. And that’s why the virus communicated the way it did. Our closeness makes us vulnerable.”

Millions of Californians have said “Ewwww” to that kind of closeness and moved to the expansive West. While none may have feared a pandemic at the time, that’s all changed now. The coronavirus outbreak and the state’s response to it will leave a mark. What Californians consider “a safe place to live” is more likely than ever to be a single-family home with a yard for the kids and a garage for the cars.

That’s at odds with the housing-policy goal of SB375. The California Air Resources Board’s 2018 “progress report” explains, “Building compact neighborhoods where people of all incomes live within safe walking or cycling distance of daily errands could have significant climate benefits,” adding, “By increasing physical activity, it could also greatly improve public health.”

“Compact neighborhoods” is a euphemism for high-density apartment complexes, and cycling to daily errands won’t protect your health when 1,000 people are pushing the same elevator buttons without washing their hands.

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In any case, the purported climate benefits derive from fewer people driving gasoline-powered vehicles. If people can work remotely, they can live in outlying areas without any impact to the climate, granting the premise (just for the sake of argument) that the climate is affected by California commuters. (The entire state only accounts for 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.)

So it’s good news that we have discovered another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. California can safely drop these destructive restrictions on housing construction, freeing developers to increase the housing supply by building new communities where people can buy affordable homes. We don’t need transit-oriented housing to solve the housing crisis.

Let’s repeal SB375.

Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. [email protected] Twitter: @Susan_Shelley