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Columbia University Antisemitism Task Force Declines to Define Antisemitism

A Columbia University task force set up to combat antisemitism on campus in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks is attempting to avoid one of the most contentious issues in university debates over the war: Its members have refused to settle on what the definition of “antisemitism” is. Competing factions on campus and beyond are pushing for two different definitions. The first, favored by the U.S. State Department and many supporters of Israel, says “targeting of the state of Israel” could be antisemitic, a definition that could label much of the pro-Palestinian activism sweeping campus as antisemitic. The second is narrower. It distinguishes between anti-Zionism and antisemitism and could lead to criticism that the school is not taking antisemitism seriously enough. The debate over the definitions has become a lightning rod for the Columbia task force and for other universities around the country. The task force is charged with “understanding how antisemitism manifests on campus” and improving the climate for Jewish faculty and students. But the refusal to pick a definition has also been met with harsh criticism on both sides.

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Republicans Are Counting on Millionaires to Flip the Senate

Since his rise to the presidency, Donald J. Trump has claimed enormous wealth as proof that he is an anti-establishment ally of the working class, not beholden to corporate donors or special interests. The Republican Party, eyeing control of the Senate next year, is trying to mimic his success with a cohort of candidates who in the past might have been attacked as a bunch of rich men but this year will be sold as successful outsiders in the Trump mold. The decision by Ohio voters on Tuesday to nominate Bernie Moreno to take on Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, is the capstone of a year that has crowned nominees — or anointed clear front-runners — with remarkable wealth in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Montana and now Ohio. That might match the party’s presumptive nominee, Mr. Trump, but with backgrounds in banking and hedge funds, properties in Connecticut and Laguna Beach, Calif., and education credentials from Princeton and the Naval Academy, some in the 2024 class feel more like the days of Mitt Romney, worth around $174 million, and John McCain, a Naval Academy graduate who married into a beer-distributing empire, than the current moment when blue-collar credibility is the currency of the realm.

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Reddit’s I.P.O. Is a Content Moderation Success Story

There are a lot of lessons in Reddit’s turnaround. But one of the clearest is that content moderation — the messy business of deciding what users are and aren’t allowed to post on social media, and enforcing those rules day to day — actually works. Content moderation gets a bad rap these days. Partisans on the right, including former President Donald J. Trump and Elon Musk, the owner of X, deride it as liberal censorship. Tech C.E.O.s don’t like that it costs them money, gets them yelled at by regulators and doesn’t provide an immediate return on investment. Governments don’t want Silicon Valley doing it, mostly because they want to do it themselves. And no one likes a hall monitor.

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What Comes Next for the Housing Market?

Federal Reserve officials are planning to cut interest rates this year, real estate agents are likely to slash their commissions after a major settlement and President Biden has begun to look for ways his administration can alleviate high housing costs. A lot of change is happening in the housing market, in short. While sales have slowed markedly amid higher interest rates, both home prices and rents remain sharply higher than before the pandemic. The question now is whether the recent developments will cool costs down. Economists who study the housing market said they expected cost increases to be relatively moderate over the next year. But they don’t expect prices to actually come down in most markets, especially for home purchases. Demographic trends are still fueling solid demand, and cheaper mortgages could lure buyers into a market that still has too few homes for sale, even if lower rates could help draw in more supply around the edges. “It has become almost impossible for me to imagine home prices actually going down,” said Glenn Kelman, the chief executive of Redfin. “The constraints on inventory are so profound.”

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‘Freaknik’ Documentary Invites Viewers to Black College Spring Break

It’s an accepted spring break axiom that you can retake a class but you can’t relive a party. Until now, that’s been true of Freaknik, the annual bass-rattling spring break street party that drew hundreds of thousands of Black college students to Atlanta throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Traffic crawled. Music blared. Booties were shaken. “It’s a throwback time of nostalgia when we weren’t all on our phone or always trying to take a selfie,” said P. Frank Williams, the director of “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told,” a documentary that aims to immerse viewers in the celebration when it premieres on Thursday on Hulu. “We were just enjoying the moment. It was about these young Black people finding freedom in a world that really didn’t welcome them, in a city that is one of the Blackest places on the planet.” Over time, Freaknik exploded from its roots as a local event organized by students at the Atlanta University Center into a nexus for Black college students from across the country. “They said it was Freaknik, and I just thought that I wanted to bring the freak into the ’nik and then it went from zero to 100 real fast,” said Luther Campbell, the rapper known as Uncle Luke, who is an executive producer of the film. Police and elected officials ended Freaknik after 1999 amid public safety concerns and reports of sexual assault. Other cities in recent years have sought to restrict Black spring breakers through curfews, bag checks and traffic rerouting. Miami Beach rolled out a social media campaign this year to discourage visitors.

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Centene Health Care Fraud Case: How Private Lawyers Profited

In 2018, when Mike DeWine was Ohio’s attorney general, he began investigating an obscure corner of the health care industry. He believed that insurers were inflating prescription drug prices through management companies that operated as middlemen in the drug supply chain. There were concerns that these companies, known as pharmacy benefit managers, or P.B.M.s, were fleecing agencies like Medicaid, the government-run health insurance program for the poor. Three years later, after Mr. DeWine became governor of Ohio, the state announced an $88 million settlement with one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, Centene. The case led to a nationwide reckoning for the company, as attorneys general in one state after another followed Ohio’s lead, announcing multimillion-dollar settlements and claiming credit for forcing Centene to reform its billing practices.

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The Dinner Party That Started the Harlem Renaissance

On March 21, 1924, Jessie Fauset sat inside the Civic Club in downtown Manhattan, wondering how the party for her debut novel had been commandeered. The celebration around her was originally intended to honor that book, “There Is Confusion.” But Charles S. Johnson and Alain Locke thought the dinner could serve a larger purpose. What if the two Black academic titans invited the best and brightest of the Harlem creative and political scene? What if, over a spread of fine food and drink, they brought together African American talent and white purveyors of culture? If they could marry the talent all around them with the opportunity that was so elusive, what would it mean to Black culture, both present and future? What the resulting dinner led to, nurtured over the years in the pristine sitting rooms of brownstones and the buzzing corner booths of jazz clubs, was the Harlem Renaissance: a flowering of intellectual and artistic activity that would give the neighborhood and its residents global renown. While there are plenty of galas and gatherings today, the goal of the 1924 dinner was far broader: It was intended to bring together that talent and those opportunities. “Benefits are celebrations. They’re not operational meetings,” said Lisa Lucas, the senior vice president and publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books who was the first woman and African American to head the National Book Foundation. “It’s unusual to really have an honest space for people to meet and hammer out what’s working and what’s not.”

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America First Legal, a Trump-Aligned Group, Is Spoiling for a Fight

The legal group has filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asserting that “woke corporations” like Disney, Nike, Mattel, Hershey, United Airlines and the National Football League discriminate against white males. It has filed lawsuits arguing that school districts in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Arizona promote “radical” pro-transgender and pro-gay attitudes. It has filed amicus briefs to protect Florida minors from drag shows and former President Donald J. Trump from a federal jury trial. For those who wonder what Stephen Miller has been up to since he left the Trump White House as senior policy adviser, the answer is litigating loudly. His conservative nonprofit group, America First Legal Foundation, is no ordinary law firm, beginning with the fact that Mr. Miller, 38, is not a lawyer. But judging by the flurry of filings it has generated over the past three years — more than a hundred lawsuits, E.E.O.C. complaints, amicus briefs and other legal demands — the foundation’s small in-house legal team punches above its weight. Assessing its success rate is more complicated, partly because many of the group’s cases are still pending, while the E.E.O.C. does not publicize which complaints it investigates. But winning may be beside the point.

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The baddest cubist on the planet

Iron Mike’s adventures in art (C8) continue, via George Manojlovic of Mangerton: “What does Mike Tyson have in common with Pablo Picasso? They both re-arrange faces.” “The mention of Swedish lingonberries (C8) reminded me of the time I did white water rafting in freezing water in northern Sweden,” says Tim Ingall of Scottsdale, Arizona (US). “As we got out of the rafts on a sandy beach, they had a small cauldron being heated over a wood fire from which they served hot lingonberry juice stiffened with vodka. I highly recommend this adult beverage to readers.” Mike Fogarty of Weston (ACT) says that “St Patrick’s Day was celebrated with typical craic at my local Irish club last Sunday. An obliging young employee, who identified himself as an Indian, exchanged a conversation with me. Of Hindu parents, he lived and studied in the Irish Republic for seventeen years. I innocently asked him if he spoke Gaelic. He answered in their vernacular and also with flawless English. He had a delightful yet neutral mid-Atlantic accent, which impressed me. All this from a fellow honorary Paddy.” Dave Ritchie of Mosman writes: “So the next Australian swimmer to star at the Olympics is to be Molly O’Callaghan. This is not a surprise but the continuation of an obvious trend. Before Molly were Olympic champions Susie O’Neill, Emma McKeon and Kylee McKeown all clearly having a Celtic background. Even the great Dawn Fraser’s father was born in Scotland.” “A collective noun for former prime ministers (C8)? How about ‘thicket’?” suggests Ryszard Linkiewicz of South Caringbah. Not to be outdone, John Kouvelis of Neutral Bay thinks: “It has to be ‘lodge’, surely?”

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