Opinion | New Year’s Resolutions Versus New Year’s Realities

New Year’s Resolution: Read great literature!

New Year’s Reality: Outmaneuver an elderly woman to nab your bookstore’s last copy of “Fire and Fury.” Continue to use “Middlemarch” as a coaster.

New Year’s Resolution: Remain active in the Resistance!

New Year’s Reality: Call your senator exactly once and hang up when put on hold. Then reward yourself by watching Season 2 of “The Crown” in a single sitting.

New Year’s Resolution: Exercise daily!

New Year’s Reality: Pay well over $150 a month for a luxury gym. Then hunch over your keyboard for 12 hours a day. When you notice your back hurts, sink deeper into your office chair and accept your early-onset arthritis. This is your life now.

New Year’s Resolution: Make healthy dinners with nary a carbohydrate in sight!

New Year’s Reality: Spend two hours poring over old Mark Bittman easy weeknight recipes. Go so far as to draw up a grocery list for a simple salmon dinner. Then log on to Seamless and order chicken fingers with extra honey mustard. Allow yourself an order of onion rings because your period is in two weeks and you’re definitely PMS-ing. When you don’t hit the minimum order amount, throw in three cans of regular Coke. Blame society’s blinkered beauty standards for the fact that your pants no longer zip.

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New York Today: Hold the Ziti

Good cloudy Tuesday morning to you.

What is it about bribery that makes politicians hungry?

Testimony yesterday in the federal graft trial of Joseph Percoco, a close adviser to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, hung briefly on the word “ziti,” which the star witness said was how Mr. Percoco referred to bribes.

“Joe threw in this term ziti, which we used throughout the entire bribery scheme” — a “Sopranos” reference, said the witness, Todd R. Howe.

Last month, in the trial of the mayor of Allentown, Pa., the foodstuff — or was it a payoff? — in question was “meatballs.”

The former mayor of Trenton called his illicit cash “pizza,” while a Maryland state senator craved “lollipops,” at $1,000 a pop, prosecutors said.


John Bolton, Stocks, France: Your Friday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

White House wheel keeps on turnin’

• If President Trump wanted a national security adviser who matched his blunt, confrontational approach to the world, he found him. Meet John Bolton.

Mr. Trump dumped Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster on Thursday in favor of Mr. Bolton, who has called for military action against North Korea and has said the Iran nuclear deal is a “massive strategic blunder.” He doesn’t like the U.N., either.

The shake-up creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in years.

• Separately, John Dowd resigned on Thursday as Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation. The two men disagreed over the president’s desire to be questioned by investigators.

China strikes back on tariffs

• Beijing announced today that it would impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of American-produced goods, hours after President Trump imposed tariffs on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Racism’s Punishing ReachFor decades, Americans have believed that the best way to end racial inequality is to end class inequality. But a landmark 30-year study is debunking that logic.Back

The surveillance footage is remarkable in its banality. It shows Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman, in the days before his mass shooting. He cuts a lonesome figure as he moves through the Mandalay Bay hotel — playing video poker for hours in the casino; buying snacks at a newsstand; watching a LeBron James interview in a restaurant; and at times, chatting with hotel staff. But this picture of an ordinary gambler disguises a far more sinister intent. Through this previously unseen footage, we’ll show how Paddock methodically planned his attack, and how, over seven days, hotel staff unwittingly helped him to move bag after bag of weapons to his room. The videos, obtained exclusively by The New York Times from MGM Resorts, begin on Monday, Sept. 25. At the V.I.P. counter, he checks into a suite on the 32nd floor, and books an adjoining room, which he will check into four days later. He doesn’t immediately bring in suitcases. Instead, he spends two hours in the hotel, going to his room and eating at a sushi restaurant downstairs. Just before 5 p.m., he drives his Chrysler Pacifica minivan to the valet area, where a bellman loads the luggage cart with five suitcases. Paddock asks to stay with his luggage, so the bellman brings him through the service elevators to his room — something hotel management says is not unusual. Paddock spends the next four hours in his room, and at 9:40 that night, he leaves the hotel, bringing two suitcases with him. He drives one hour to Mesquite, where he lived. Cellphone records show that he stays the night and spends most of Tuesday here. Around 8 p.m., Paddock returns to Las Vegas, but he stops at the Ogden, a downtown condominium complex. This is interesting for a few reasons. Paddock was also renting rooms here for the entire week. He checked in the previous Friday, when a music event called the Life Is Beautiful festival was being held in the surrounding streets. Internet records recovered by the police show that he searched for that festival’s lineup and its expected attendance. This was similar to his research of the Mandalay and the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which he would later attack. So, the Ogden and the Life is Beautiful festival could have been used for planning, or may even have been a target. Later Tuesday night, Paddock returns to the Mandalay and a different bellman helps him to move seven more suitcases to his suite. Again, he uses the service elevator. He tips the bellman, who had no way of knowing these cases were packed with guns and ammunition. He gambles for eight hours until morning. Paddock was a regular at the Mandalay, and several casino hosts knew him. The videos show their interactions as being completely normal and in no way alarming. Remember, in two days, Paddock has brought 12 cases upstairs. He spends most of Wednesday in his room, and that evening repeats a similar pattern. He leaves the Mandalay, again carrying two suitcases. He stops at the Ogden and drives home to Mesquite. On Thursday, he buys a .308 bolt-action rifle from a gun store and visits a nearby gun range before driving back to the Mandalay. That night, he again uses the valet service and a bellman to carry a white container and three suitcases to his room. His arsenal of weapons is growing. Again, he gambles through the night. It’s now Friday, and at 8 p.m., the Route 91 Harvest Festival will open in the fairgrounds across from the Mandalay. Paddock stays in his room until around 3 p.m. and uses his laptop while the suite is cleaned. He checks into the adjoining room, 134, using the name of his girlfriend, Marilou Danley. He also tells cleaning staff to leave behind the food-service cart. Two days later, Paddock would use this, and one other service cart, to create a surveillance ring during his attack. Overnight, he makes a brief trip to Mesquite. Arriving back at the Mandalay at 6 a.m. with two more suitcases. Soon after noon on Saturday, he places do not disturb signs on both room doors. He declines housekeeping. He takes an elevator to the valet area and sits, waiting for his car. He carries two more bags to his room. He gambles some more, and that night he makes a final trip to Mesquite, returning to the Mandalay at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. He gambles through the night in the high-limits slots area, and returns to his room at 7:37 a.m. It’s 12:16 p.m. when we see Paddock going back to the parking garage. The guests exiting the elevator have no idea that in 10 hours, this unremarkable figure would commit the worst mass shooting in modern American history. He returns from his car, bringing two suitcases and a smaller bag inside. Since Monday, he has brought at least 21 cases, two smaller bags, a laptop bag and a container to his room. This is the last time we see Paddock, arriving at the 32nd floor. Through the day, he opens, closes and locks both rooms repeatedly. At thirty-six minutes after 9, he locks the deadbolt to room 135 for the last time. Four minutes later, Jason Aldean, who’s headlining the Route 91 festival, begins his act. Paddock then turns the deadbolt to room 134. At 10:05, his shooting rampage begins. In under 10 minutes, he would kill 58 people and injure over 700, before taking his own life. He had amassed 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Almost six months since the attack, Paddock’s motive remains unknown.

Using exclusive surveillance footage obtained from MGM Resorts, we pieced together the last days of Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman. He plays video poker, laughs with hotel staff and hauls bag after bag of weapons into his suite.It’s all correct.Credit…Frank Duenzl/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press

There have been many theories about its origin, but the most likely is that O.K. was an abbreviation for the deliberately misspelled “orl korrect” (all correct), and the expression gained prominence in the mid-19th century.

Allen Walker Read, a longtime English professor at Columbia University, debunked some theories in the 1960s, including that the term had come from Andrew Jackson’s poor spelling, from a Native American word or from an Army biscuit.

Today, O.K. is “an Americanism adopted by virtually every language, and one of the first words spoken on the moon,” the Times obituary of Mr. Read noted in 2002.

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Opinion | The Mental Health System Can’t Stop Mass Shooters

SACRAMENTO — A few years ago, the police brought a 21-year-old man into the crisis unit where I work as an emergency psychiatrist. His parents had called the police after seeing postings on his Facebook page that praised the Columbine shooters, referred to imminent death and destruction at his community college and promised his own “Day of Retribution.” His brother reported to the police that he had recently purchased a gun.

When I interviewed the patient, he denied all of this. He had no history of mental illness and said he didn’t want or need any treatment. My job was to evaluate whether he met the criteria to be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Each mass shooting reignites a debate about what causes this type of violence and how it can be prevented. Those who oppose further restrictions on gun ownership often set their sights on the mental health care system. Shouldn’t psychiatrists be able to identify as dangerous someone like Nikolas Cruz, the young man charged in the school shooting last week in Florida, who scared his classmates, hurt animals and left menacing online posts?

Mr. Cruz had suffered from depression and was getting counseling at one point. He was also evaluated by emergency mental health workers in 2016, but they decided not to hospitalize him. Why, some critics are demanding, didn’t he receive proper treatment? And can’t we just stop angry, unstable young men like him from buying firearms?

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The Larry Nassar Case: What Happened and How the Fallout Is Spreading

Lawrence G. Nassar, the former physician for the American gymnastics team, was sentenced on Jan. 24 to 40 to 175 years in prison for sex crimes.

It capped more than a week of victim impact statements by young women and teenagers who described how, as aspiring athletes, they were sent to Dr. Nassar at gymnastics camps, gyms, his home and the Michigan State University clinic. For decades, he molested athletes under the guise of medical treatment.

One week later, he appeared in another courtroom on similar charges. After more than 60 women testified — including some of the same athletes who spoke at the earlier sentencing — he was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in that case.

Anna Dayton gave a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing on Tuesday.Credit…Brendan McDermid/ReutersMore than 150 women, including Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, spoke during the sentencing hearing for Lawrence G. Nassar, a former sport medicine doctor, who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in November.CreditCredit…Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated PressBack

“You may find it harsh that you are here listening. But nothing is as harsh as what your victims endured for thousands of hours at your hands.” “Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor.” “You are so strong and brave. And you are not broken — you are glued back together perfectly.” “Thank you, your honor.” “Thank you for being part of the sister survivors. Your voice means everything.” “Red flags may have been there, but they were designed to be hidden. You aren’t alone in this.” “Your priority should have been my health. Yet your priority was solely to molest me.” “You used my vulnerability at the time to sexually abuse me. I reported you to police immediately. And you had the audacity to tell them I had misunderstood this treatment because I was not comfortable with my body. How dare you.”

After opening her courtroom to athletes, coaches and parents, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has prompted dozens more to share their stories of sexual abuse by the former sports doctor Lawrence G. Nassar.CreditCredit…Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated Press

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On ‘Black Lightning,’ a Superhero Takes On Race, Justice and the Real World

It is a disturbingly familiar scene: a black motorist standing outside his car on a rainy night, arguing with the white police officer who has pulled him over for seemingly no reason.

As this moment plays out in the opening minutes of “Black Lightning,” the CW series based on that DC superhero, the motorist in question is Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who stepped back from his role as a crime-fighting vigilante to focus on his civilian identity as a high-school principal and father to two teenage daughters.

Just when his roadside confrontation is about to cross a dangerous threshold, Pierce closes his eyes. When he reopens them, his pupils glow with angry electricity, the lights on the police car flicker out momentarily, and the cop lets Pierce go. Just a case of mistaken identity.

But in Pierce’s mind, he has decided that he must become Black Lightning again.

“Black Lightning,” which debuts on Jan. 16, shares its roots in the comic-book adventures that have yielded other CW shows like “Arrow,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl.” But where those other programs often coat their real-world commentary in layers of allegory, “Black Lightning” takes on issues of race and social justice directly and unambiguously.


Three Authors See Water, Water Everywhere, for Better and Worse

Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World
By Jeff Goodell
340 pp. Little, Brown. $28.

The most pernicious consequence of global warming is the rise of sea levels, which threatens cities around the world and has already triggered what may become the largest mass migration in human history. According to the International Organization for Migration, by 2050 as many as 200 million climate refugees will seek dry land to call home. Other writers have told the story of sea-level rise, but perhaps none as compellingly as Goodell.

His riveting stories, from traveling to a Native American village on the Alaskan coast with President Obama, to the dilemma facing the Pentagon concerning the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, clarify the implications of sea-level rise and the choices communities face. There are no simple solutions.

In the 20th century, societies dammed many rivers, depleted others and relentlessly pumped groundwater. The loss of habitats, especially wetlands, devastated fisheries and wildlife. Yet many water managers are embracing a new mind-set of working with nature rather than trying to conquer it.

Doyle’s book tells the story of how rivers have shaped the United States from its founding, when cities were located astride rivers that served as transportation arteries for goods to move up- and downstream. As the new nation added lands, the federal government began to play an essential role in regulating rivers that crossed state boundaries, building dams for flood control and water supply, and overseeing the hydroelectric power they provided.

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Time’s Up Pins Are the Political Accessory at the Golden Globes

Last year at the Oscars, the accessory of the evening was a blue American Civil Liberties Union ribbon; tonight at the Golden Globes, it is the black-and-white Time’s Up pin, as seen on the lapels and collars of stars like Justin Timberlake, Daniel Kaluuya, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Pfeiffer, William H. Macy, Joseph Fiennes, Joe and Nick Jonas and Ryan Seacrest. Time’s Up, announced last Monday, is an initiative created by several hundred actresses and female agents, writers, directors and entertainment executives to fight sexual misconduct across the country. It has no leadership and members include Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

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The Childhood Journeys That Made Them ‘Dreamers’

A young memory often preserves fragments.

Stuffing a Transformer sweater into a suitcase. Getting lost in the desert. Saying goodbye to a first crush.

The roughly 700,000 unauthorized young immigrants who have come to be known as “Dreamers” took many paths to the United States, but they share one thing: a journey during childhood that defined the rest of their lives.

The group lived in the shadows until the Obama administration offered them temporary permission to stay under a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Trump eliminated DACA in September, and has called on Congress to create a permanent solution to their predicament in exchange for tough measures to curb immigration.

As the Senate prepares to negotiate the fate of the Dreamers this week, a group of them recalled the pivotal experience that took place before they could understand its significance.

Credit…Jared Soares for The New York Times

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Angela Merkel Spared Disaster, and German Coalition Talks to Continue

BONN, Germany — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany escaped political disaster on Sunday, at least for now, and inched a step closer to forming a new government after the Social Democrats voted in favor of entering formal coalition talks with her conservative camp.

This latest episode in Germany’s agonizing saga of political uncertainty raised cautious hopes that a new administration might be sworn in by Easter. But a major wild card remains: The Social Democrats’ grass roots — rebellious after sharing power with Ms. Merkel led to their worst election result in more than 80 years — must approve any final coalition deal. Sunday’s vote, backed by 56 percent of party delegates, was tight.

“The fight is not over!” warned the bright-red banner of one activist outside the party congress in the western city of Bonn.

Still, Sunday’s vote met with a collective sigh of relief in the corridors of power in Berlin and neighboring countries, which have been impatient for the continent’s most influential country to turn its attention back to the world.