A Bad Infrastructure Bargain

Senate Republicans say they’re inching closer to striking an infrastructure deal with the Biden Administration. Sorry to say, this looks like bad policy and politics—bipartisanship for its own sake, and not for the public good. Republicans don’t want to look like obstructionists, and spending more on roads, bridges and ports is politically popular. Maybe a deal that exclusively funds public works and includes some policy victories like permitting reform would be worthwhile. But there’s no evidence that Democrats want that kind of compromise. One question Republicans should consider is how much more infrastructure spending is even needed. Congress has already shovelled out hundreds of billions of dollars for public transit, housing, airports and broadband in the past year. Democrats in

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After the Israeli Cease-Fire

A Palestinian man walks amidst rubble from buildings damaged during Israeli bombardment, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on May 20. Photo: mohammed abed/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images As we went to press, it looked like Israel and Hamas would put down their arms—for now. The truce comes less than two weeks after the terrorist group commenced its 4,000-rocket barrage on Israeli civilians—the most intense since it took over the Gaza strip in 2007. Israel’s leadership wouldn’t have approved a cease-fire if it hadn’t accomplished most of what it wanted through air strikes, but the question now is what lessons the region’s players take from the short war and the world’s response. The cease-fire has no strings attached, so neither

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Racism at Chicago’s City Hall

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks to reporters at the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Nov. 12, 2019. Photo: John O’Connor/Associated Press Ol’ Jim Eastland must be smiling. The white segregationist Senator from Mississippi until 1978 has a surprising imitator in Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said this week she will no longer do interviews with reporters who are white. This was no rhetorical slip. Ms. Lightfoot, who is black, said in a two-page written statement that from now on “I will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color.” She justified her decision as a response to “the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps

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Save the Secret Service

Agent Clinton Hill climbs onto the car carrying President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963. Photo: Justin Newman/Associated Press Here is journalism as a true and honest public service: Carol Leonnig’s new book, “Zero Fail,” about the rise and fall of the Secret Service. It is just terrific, to use a phrase from the 1960s, when the service became universally admired. The Washington Post reporter interviewed more than 180 people including current and former agents, directors and other officials, and worked under some pressure: Secret Service leaders and alumni had vowed to attack her work, she says, on the grounds she meant only to embarrass the institution. But she is “in awe of the agents and officers” who

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How To Concentrate on God in a Pandemic

New York My religious attendance unexpectedly improved during the pandemic. Rather than willing myself across town to our synagogue, I simply joined a livestream service that could log 1,000 people on Saturdays. My wife and I became regulars on Friday evenings and at the candle-lighting Havdalah Zoom ceremony concluding Shabbat. But I’m not sure I’ve upped my game in praying or communing with God. I’ve never been a natural with prayer. As a kid I tuned out the rabbis and stared around me at the men whose starched shirt collars left blood-red creases in their necks from constant rising and sitting. During Torah reading, my mind wandered to the downstairs vending machine where Necco Wafers and Life Savers beckoned, though

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Biden’s Big Labor Bind

President Biden in Dearborn, Mich., May 18. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images If Washington’s grand infrastructure talks collapse, as they likely will, expect the usual finger-pointing from both sides. Don’t mention the donkey in the room: Big Labor. President Biden has a union problem already. Along with climate change, Mr. Biden’s top agenda item is boosting organized labor—a payoff to the unions that spent big to propel him to victory. So far, though, it’s going nowhere, and it’s a big reason Democrats may kill an infrastructure deal. Democratic presidents traditionally work their union magic through the National Labor Relations Board, via rulings that stack the deck for labor. And indeed, within hours of inauguration, Mr. Biden took the unprecedented step

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Bitcoin Bounces After Crypto Crash

The prices of bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies found some respite Thursday, following a selloff that delivered a sharp blow to investors swept up in a rally since late last year. Bitcoin recovered more than 4% to $40,077.40 on Thursday. It had dropped more than 11% by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, after earlier plunging almost 30%. Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that began as a joke, rose 14.5% Thursday after dropping 27% the previous day, while ether was up almost 9% after falling 26%. This week’s crypto crash has helped erase almost 40% from bitcoin’s price from a peak of almost $65,000 in mid-April. Some are worried that the worst is far from over. The rapid drop has forced many investors

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Hosting Houseguests Again? 14 Ways to Make Their Visit Unforgettable

SWEET SOJOURN Guests will be delighted by thoughtful, personalized little deeds. Photo: BG Collection / Gallery Stock NOW THAT we’re shunning Zoom and starting to see each other IRL, any overnight visit is going to feel special. Practical niceties such as blackout window shades and access to an electric socket that doesn’t entail moving a dresser will make your guests comfortable. But meaningful gestures unique to their tastes—beloved lilacs bedside, a stack of vintage Esquire magazines by the tub—will touch them on a deeper level. Here, eight other ways to roll out the welcome mat rather unforgettably. Eclectic Bone Frame, $99 for set of 3, potterybarn.com Illustration: Mikey Burton 1. Easy Hookup To save a visitor’s having to ask “What’s

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How Minor-League Baseball Players Side Hustled Through the Pandemic

Indianapolis It had been 619 days without baseball at Victory Field, but outfielder Chris Sharpe felt calmer than he expected for the Indianapolis Indians’ May 11 home opener. He chalks it up to the day job he took up after his season was abruptly canceled last year: teaching 10-year-olds baseball in his home state of Massachusetts. “The simplicity of teaching young kids for the first time helped me backtrack and dumb things down, which I realized had improved my mental game,” says the 24-year-old. From July 2020 to March 2021, he spent four afternoons a week working at Route 2 Athletics in Arlington, Mass. “It gave me something to do, and of course, it also gave me some money to

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Tech Stocks Lead Rebound After Jobless Claims Drop

U.S. stocks rebounded Thursday after jobless claims data showed that the labor market continued to recover, putting major indexes on track to snap a three-day losing streak. Fresh data showed that 444,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended May 15, down from 478,000 in the week prior. That is the lowest level since the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020. Stocks and other risky assets had been under pressure this week following concerns that rising inflation and a speedy economic recovery could prompt central bankers to pare back easy-money policies. “I think people are still concerned by the volatile moves that we’re having in our market,” said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners. “In

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