Journalism and Essays

The Baffler

Exterminating Angels

When Kamala Harris spoke in front of the Commonwealth Club of California in the winter of 2010, the presidency wasn’t yet on her mind. Or, if it was—as it usually is for any ladder-climbing politician with a pulse and a dream—she wasn’t going to talk about it.
The Nation

Tiffany Cabán Just Made History

Tiffany Cabán, the 31-year-old public defender endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is on the verge of a stunning upset in a Queens district-attorney’s race that could dramatically impact the direction of criminal-justice reform in America.

Albany's Rent Reform Deal Shows Cuomo Is A Mere Mortal Now

At the climax of the 2019 legislative session, when New York’s rent laws hung in the balance, the two Democratic legislative leaders—the understated Assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, and the Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins—came together to shut Andrew Cuomo entirely out of the room.
The Nation

Tiffany Cabán Just Might Pull This Off

Since she took office, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has doled out endorsements sparingly. The 29-year-old congresswoman, an unquestioned national force, has not attempted to play New York kingmaker like the man she defeated, Joe Crowley. Municipal politics has largely churned along without her.
The Guardian

Don't bother replacing Sarah Sanders – there's no point

The imminent resignation of Sarah Sanders as Donald Trump’s press secretary marks yet another departure from a White House that treats chaos as its modus operandi.
The Guardian

The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education

Perhaps nothing illustrates the perverse nature of Donald Trump’s administration better than his approach to the regulatory state. In Trump’s America, those most zealously dedicated to unraveling federal oversight are in charge of the government, racing to shred laws as quickly as they can.
The Guardian

Why tariffs could be Trump's undoing

In the end, it was not the ceaseless lying, the Muslim ban, the alleged obstruction of justice, the pandering to white supremacists, the demonization of immigrants, or the climate change denialism that most outraged Donald Trump’s party.
The Baffler

American Sports and the Forever War

On Memorial Day, the Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team, played a video between games of a doubleheader. Various images flashed across the big screen: the Statue of Liberty, a space shuttle launch, the Constitution, and Donald Trump. Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address was the soundtrack.

The Fierce Brooklyn Primary Election You Probably Haven't Heard About

here was a time when the Brooklyn Democratic machine hated few people more than it did Margarita López Torres. First elected as a civil court judge in 1992, López Torres clashed with the powerful Brooklyn Democratic Party boss, Clarence Norman Jr., when she refused to hire the politically connected staff Norman demanded she take on.
The Baffler

The Uber Presidency

On an overcast Friday in May, Uber began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The ride-hail behemoth’s stock was down slightly; it had been a rough morning with President Donald Trump waging a trade war against China.

Why De Blasio 2020 Makes So Many New Yorkers See Red

Among the people who cover politics, make their living through politics, or analyze politics like a never-ending NFL season, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential bid is a laughable proposition.
The Nation

Progressive Prosecutors Clamor for Queens

On a warm day in early May, hundreds of people packed the Reform Temple of Forest Hills to mourn Richard Brown, the man who ran one of the largest district attorney’s offices in America for nearly 30 years.
The Guardian

Trump's labor department is giving the gig economy carte blanche

Two days before May Day, the Trump administration quietly punished the American worker. In a ruling lost in the din of the Mueller report and the 2020 inanity, Trump’s labor department determined that an unidentified company’s workers were contractors and not employees – a decision that could free tech behemoths everywhere to further exploit the people who help generate their titanic value.
New York Daily News

Inside jokes falling flat: End the White House Correspondents Dinner — and the Inner Circle and LCA while we’re at it

I first learned about the existence of the Inner Circle show in 2014, when I became a City Hall reporter. Many of my colleagues took part or were joining up.
The Nation

Meet the Grown-Ups Keeping Kids Out of Prison

ne Saturday morning 13 years ago, Darryl Thompson went to brush his teeth. The 15-year-old from the Bronx was with four other boys at Tryon, a notorious juvenile prison in upstate New York. The boys were not allowed to talk during their morning routine, but it was hard not to: For the last two days, they had been on lockdown, cut off from the outside world.

NY Progressives Want Real Change Fast? Forget It Jake, It's Albany

The new $175 billion state budget, in true Albany fashion, manages to both thrill and deeply frustrate. Approved just before the April 1st start of the fiscal year, it’s the first one Governor Andrew Cuomo ever had to negotiate with a fully Democratic legislature—a fact that boggles the mind, until you consider the warped gravity of a state capital Cuomo has bent to his will for so long.
The Baffler

Campaigning Ourselves to Death

“WELL I THINK he’s got a lot of hand movement, I’ve never seen so much hand movement,” the president of the United States said last month. “I said, is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? So I’ve never seen hand movement—I watched him a little while this morning doing I assume it was some kind of a news conference and I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it. Study it. I’m sure you’ll agree.”
The Guardian

Will Rachel Maddow face a reckoning over her Trump-Russia coverage?

The worst-kept secret in the liberal media ecosystem is that Donald Trump is great for business. Rebranded for the resistance, liberal newspapers gobbled up thousands of new subscribers while local outlets die across America, unable to feast on the Trump manna.
Columbia Journalism Review

Switching Sides

I ran for office in 2018 to win—to become a state senator and represent my district in a quiet pocket of Brooklyn. I did not run to make myself a better journalist or glean new insights into the craft I had practiced for most of my working life. 

Joe Crowley Is Gone, But The Queens Machine Chugs On

Joe Crowley, the congressman who lost in a stunning primary upset to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last year, will step down from his role as chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, Queens Democrats confirmed Tuesday night.
New York Daily News

Cuomo stomps on the grassroots: A lobbying provision in his budget would stifle many of the small groups that delivered a Democratic majority to the state Legislature

These are thrilling times for New York progressives. Democrats control the state Senate for the first time in a decade and have already passed a raft of bills Republicans bottled up for years. More ambitious proposals, like a state Green New Deal and robust tenant laws that protect working-class residents, are finally on the table.

The Governor Formerly Known As Amazon Wakes Up To A New Political Reality

There might have been a moment on Thursday afternoon when Governor Andrew Cuomo wondered why he wanted this third term. For the first time in his eight years and one month as governor of one of the largest states in America, Andrew Cuomo did not get what he wanted.
The Guardian

Amazon's retreat from New York represents a turning point

Amazon was ready to impose its will on the largest city in America. The trillion dollar corporation had lined up the support of the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York, and began hiring the fleet of well-compensated lobbyists and strategists necessary to see its vision through.
The Guardian

Trump's latest cabinet pick: another profit-over-humanity Republican

Lost in the noise of another meaningless State of the Union address, Beto O’Rourke’s Oprah musings and the starting engines of an endless presidential race was the news that David Bernhardt might be getting a promotion.

Amazon's NYC Campus, Donald Trump's Rise, & NY's Prison Boom All Share A Common Ancestor

In 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Republican governor of New York decided it was time to rescue the neighborhoods afflicted by crime and rot.
The Guardian

Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth

The government shutdown, now in its fourth miserable week, shows few signs of ending. Donald Trump, obsessed with curtailing immigration at all costs, wants money for a border wall House Democrats won’t give to him. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, has been content to do Trump’s bidding, twice blocking Democratic bills to reopen the government.
The Washington Post

It’s way too hard for working-class people to run for office

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared last November that she didn’t have enough cash on hand to afford an apartment in Washington, her critics howled. Her communications director soon revealed that she had less than $7,000 in savings, provoking further scrutiny of the new progressive star.
The Guardian

Clean water: the latest casualty in Trump's attack on the environment

The cruelty and the idiocy of Donald Trump’s presidency does not chiefly lie in his tweets or even his words. Trump the performer is ridiculous, but that’s the clown show that keeps many of us either terrified or entertained – the real harm is elsewhere, away from the blaring headlines.
The Guardian

Racism has triumphed once again in Mississippi

“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner, the great American novelist, once wrote. “It’s not even past.” Faulkner’s home state of Mississippi, more than a half-century after his death, proved his point again on Tuesday night.
NBC News

General Motors, Sears and Toys R Us: Layoffs across America highlight our shredding financial safety net

Today’s aging workforce faces an uncertain future. The announcement this week that General Motors will lay off 15 percent of its salaried workforce and shutter multiple plants in North America was a sobering reminder of how far the American worker has fallen.

These Top NY Politicians Were For Amazon Before They Were Against It

On October 16th, 2017, an incredibly wide range of elected officials in New York City signed a letter to Jeff Bezos. The letter was simple, direct, and devoid of the legalese that typically accompanies such missives. They all wanted Bezos to bring his company, Amazon, to the five boroughs.

I Ran For State Senate In Brooklyn And Lost. Here's What I Learned

They don’t prepare you to give a concession speech. Outside of politics, what is the equivalent? You can’t find it in writing, journalism, or teaching—the fields I worked in before embarking on the wonderful, if exhausting, odyssey of running for office in New York City.
The New Yorker

Would You Like to Sit on My Bed with Me and Check Twitter?

I had such a nice time with you last night. That Vietnamese place hit the spot, and I loved how we had so much to talk about. It’s hard to meet good people these days and make a genuine connection, you know?
The Village Voice

The Most Powerful Democrat In Queens Must Finally Compete

In the summer of 1998, Tom Manton of Queens shocked the city’s insular political world by announcing his retirement from Congress. Manton, then 65, had petitioned to get on the ballot and showed all signs of wanting to run for another term.
The Village Voice

China Miéville’s History Of The Russian Revolution Offers Stark Lessons For Today

How do we remember the Russian Revolution? Infused with the noblest of intentions and ideas, it ultimately begat disaster. “We know where this is going,” writes China Miéville in his new study of the revolution, October. “Purges, gulags, starvation, mass murder.”
The Village Voice

The Queens Machine That Turns Foreclosures Into Cash

The three lawyers who run one of the largest Democratic organizations in America have more than one way to get rich.
New York Daily News

Three lawyers control Queens Democratic Party while one rakes millions from Surrogate’s Court wills

For 30 years, the same three men have effectively controlled one of the largest Democratic organizations in America.
The Village Voice

Claude McKay’s Long-Lost Novel Brings the Harlem Renaissance to Life

“I wonder if I understand you rightly,” the Ethiopian prince Lij Tekla Alamaya asks his American friend Gloria Kendall. “Slavery in the Bronx, New York, in the most highly civilized city in the world?”
The Village Voice

Preet Bharara Will Not Save Us

New York journalists always pine for heroes and villains. A Manichean universe is a convenient one: good guys do good, bad guys do bad, and to the white knight goes the boldest headlines.
New York Magazine Intelligencer

What Happens to New York’s Municipal ID Card Under the Trump Administration?

Surrounded by cheering activists and elected officials, de Blasio marked one of the early triumphs of his soon-to-be tumultuous tenure: bringing a municipal identification-card program to New York City.
The Village Voice

Blame Everyone, But Blame Democrats

Europeans have always regarded the United States of America with curiosity and awe. We’re the muscular, uncouth youngster never quite knowing our strength, a commander of the World Order with serious impulse control.
Columbia Journalism Review

Journalists too easily charmed by power, access, and creamy risotto

When Robert Moses, the notorious New York master builder, wanted to cow the journalists who covered him, he knew he didn’t have to harangue or threaten his way to a favorable story.
The Village Voice

Why Is a Huge ‘Progressive’ Union Supporting State Republicans?

In September of 2013, when it was clear Bill de Blasio was destined to become the mayor of New York and not a political footnote, there were two people ready to introduce him to the raucous crowd at his primary-night party.

10 Years Ago, a Different Plane Hit a Different Manhattan Skyscraper

Ten years ago today, Cory Lidle died. If you aren't a diehard baseball fan, that sentence probably means nothing to you. Lidle was a pitcher like Jose Fernandez, the spectacular Miami Marlin who was killed in a boating accident last month, but his death has been long forgotten. 
The Village Voice

The Night of a Thousand Pointless Journalists

Covering a presidential debate can only sound glorious. You’re there, on the precipice of a world-historical moment, one of the chosen few with proximity to power. You get a swag bag and free lasagna and Pepsi from the food tent.
The New York Times

Transformation on Brooklyn’s Southern Shore

When Hurricane Sandy lashed the New York coastline and drowned neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, there was some chatter about retreating from the waterfront.
The Village Voice

Why Are ‘Progressive’ Legislators Supporting GOP-Loving Obstructionists?

On Tuesday, some of the city’s most prominent Democratic politicians celebrated the State Senate victory of Marisol Alcantara, a former Bernie Sanders delegate. Alcantara, the only woman who competed in a four-way Manhattan primary, is set to become the Senate’s lone Latina. Her patron, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, joyously dubbed this “the year of the woman.”
The Village Voice

Goodbye, Anthony Weiner

There are still people who want to believe the best about Anthony Weiner. Some of them are in his old congressional district, where I now reside, and they’ll still tell you about the bantamweight fighter for the middle class hustling to get their potholes paved or their beachfronts freed of litter.

Why I Kept Rooting for A-Rod

There is little in this world I hate more than self-righteousness. I get enough of it in journalism and politics, where faux outrage is often the price of admission. The high horse is fun to ride. Sneering and finger-pointing usually wins you the day, or at least a retweet.
The Village Voice

DNC’s Game of Footsie With the Powerful is Disgusting

Donald Trump may be the celebrity presidential candidate, but the Democrats are the party of the celebrity. Demi Lovato, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Sarah Silverman, and Lenny Kravitz are just some of the stars who spoke or performed at the convention this week in Philadelphia.

There goes the party

Bill Clinton was supposed to be at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn to talk about his wife. But in the fashion of a former president who remembers what it’s like to be in a good dogfight, he couldn’t resist taking on her nettlesome rival.
The Village Voice

The Unnatural (and Possibly Doomed) Symbiosis Between Bills de Blasio and Bratton

Last month, shortly before the start of a T.I. concert at Irving Plaza, gunfire rang out. One man was killed and three others, including the rapper Troy Avenue, were wounded as more than a thousand panicked fans scattered at the Union Square music venue.
LA Review of Books

[Insert Penis Pun Here]: Anthony Weiner and the Great American Spectacle

LESS THAN A WEEK before a second sexting scandal ended Anthony Weiner’s political career for good, Howard Dean appeared at a tony Brooklyn bar to help fundraise for one of the former congressman’s rivals in New York City’s 2013 mayoral election.
The Village Voice

Night of the Long Knives: Or, Bill de Blasio Is Starting to Look a Lot Like Lunch

“A large check is a glorious thing, don’t you think?” Mayor Bill de Blasio asked at a recent press conference, standing near one of those Price Is Right–style gag checks. He was visiting a somnolent street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to remind the aggrieved middle-class homeowners here of the good work he’s getting done at City Hall.
The Village Voice

Our New Rich Daddy President Promises to Rid Us of ‘American Carnage’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the forgettable Little Rascals remake from 1994, Waldo, the film’s arch-prick, places a phone call from the racetrack. “Hi, Dad, it’s me. You’re gonna be so proud of me. I’m gonna win the race,” Waldo brags.

Berniemania! Why Is Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders So Popular?

Brattleboro, VT.—Of all the people buzzing at the start of the Strolling of the Heifers parade on a recent Saturday morning—the clowns, the teen stilt-walker, the theater kids in witch’s garb—the 73-year-old grandpa in khakis and Adidas sneakers did not seem like the most probable candidate for a selfie

Is Chuck Schumer the Right Man to Lead the Senate?

Harry Reid's anointed successor, Mr. Schumer has worked tirelessly behind (and in front of) the scenes. The story behind the Empire State's power broker.
Harvard Review Online

Sleet: Selected Stories

When Stig Dagerman shuttered his garage doors and left his car engine running, he was just thirty-one. But Dagerman, who has been dead now for six decades, left behind the oeuvre of a writer twice his age: four novels, several plays, poetry, and a work of singular journalism.