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Elise Stefanik’s ‘Hateful Rhetoric’ Ripped in Stinging Editorial by the Albany Times Union – Her Hometown Newspaper!

Elise Stefanik

Dear Commons Community,

Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-N.Y.) hometown newspaper offered a scathing response to her anti-immigrant rhetoric in a recent ad campaign.

Stefanik, a Donald Trump loyalist, echoed the racist “great replacement” theory in ads warning voters of a “permanent election insurrection.” The conspiracy, which has been embraced by the far-right, posits that white people are being intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants.

In an editorial published Friday, the board of Albany’s Times Union newspaper critically asked with its title, “How Low, Ms. Stefanik?”

“The idea of America as a melting pot is not some idealistic fiction of the left; it is part of the foundation of this nation’s greatness,” it wrote.

“If there’s anything that needs replacing in this country — and in the Republican Party — it’s the hateful rhetoric that Ms. Stefanik and far too many of her colleagues so seamlessly spew,” the editorial concluded. 

Read the Times Union’s full editorial here.

Hateful and disgraceful!

Tony

Don Winslow Video: Compares Ron DeSantis and COVID Deaths in Florida to Vietnam!

Dear Commons Community,

Bestselling author Don Winslow’s latest viral video hammers Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) with the observation that his state’s death toll from COVID-19 will soon surpass the number of American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

More than 58,000 U.S. service members died in the conflict. The coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people in the Sunshine State, and over 1,000 new deaths are being recorded each day.

The video slams DeSantis, a Donald Trump loyalist who has fought mask and vaccine mandates, for his “disastrous” leadership.

It cuts footage of him downplaying the threat of COVID-19 alongside images from Vietnam, health care workers talking about the “battlefield” of the health crisis and news reports of overwhelmed intensive care units.

Winslow, a bestselling author who has become an outspoken critic of Trump and his GOP enablers, captioned the video with the hashtag #FloridasVietnam.

More than 670,000 Americans have now died in the pandemic as the more contagious delta variant continues to surge across the country.

Winslow’s other recent viral videos have exposed truths about right-wing media and called out Texas’ six-week abortion law.

Winslow’s comparison is sadly on target!

Tony

F.D.A. Advisory Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for Older People and Those at High Risk But Not for the General Population!

Booster shots: FDA advisory panel rejects widespread Pfizer jabs in blow to  Biden's plan - ABC11 Raleigh-Durham

Dear Commons Community,

A key advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly rejected recommending Pfizer booster shots for most recipients of the company’s coronavirus vaccine, instead endorsing them only for people who are 65 or older or at high risk of severe Covid-19, and received their second dose at least six months ago.

The vote — the first on boosters in the United States — was counter to the Biden administration’s strategy to make extra shots available to most fully vaccinated adults in the United States eight months after they received a second dose.  As reported by The New York Times.

Committee members appeared dismissive of the argument that the general population needed booster shots, saying the data from Pfizer and elsewhere still seemed to show two shots protected against severe disease or hospitalization and did not prove a third shot would stem the spread of infection. Some also criticized a lack of data that an additional injection would be safe for younger people.

“It’s unclear that everyone needs to be boosted, other than a subset of the population that clearly would be at high risk for serious disease,” said Dr. Michael G. Kurilla, a committee member and official at the National Institutes of Health.

But the panel’s final recommendation left some room for the White House to argue that the core of its booster strategy remained intact. Depending on how “at high risk” is defined, tens of millions of Americans could conceivably wind up eligible for additional shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

The committee of largely outside experts voted 16 to 2 against a Pfizer booster for people 16 and older after a tense daylong public discussion that put divisions in the agency and the administration on public display. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health joined infectious disease experts and doctors in voting against additional shots for such a broad swath of the population.

Dr. Paul A. Offit, a committee member and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, questioned whether extra shots would do much at all to change the arc of the pandemic. “We all agree that if we really want to impact this pandemic, we need to vaccinate the unvaccinated,” he said.

But the panel unanimously embraced a fallback position to limit additional shots to older adults and others at high risk of severe Covid illness. Then, after an informal poll pushed by a senior F.D.A. official, committee members specified that health care workers, emergency responders and others whose jobs put them at special risk should also be eligible for the booster shots. The official — Dr. Peter Marks, who oversees the F.D.A.’s vaccine division — said the at-risk group would also include teachers.

Aides in the Biden administration noted that under the White House’s plan to offer booster shots eight months after the second injections, many in that same group would have been first in line because they were vaccinated earliest.

The F.D.A. has the final word on vaccine approvals, and while it is not obliged to follow the committee’s recommendations, it typically does. The agency is likely to issue a decision by early next week.

An advisory committee of the C.D.C. is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss booster shots before that agency, which sets vaccine policy, issues recommendations on who exactly should receive them.

In a statement about Friday’s vote, Kathrin U. Jansen, senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said, “We thank the committee for their thoughtful review of the data and will work with the F.D.A. following today’s meeting to address the committee’s questions, as we continue to believe in the benefits of a booster dose for a broader population.”

Those who have criticized the administration’s booster strategy as overly broad or premature said the advisory committee acted as a necessary check on Friday.

The meeting “put the F.D.A. back in the driver’s seat,” said Dr. Luciana Borio, a former acting chief scientist at the agency. The expert panel, she said, “was allowed to maintain its scientific independence. It understood there were significant limitations with the data presented and that the F.D.A. needs to review the data carefully before making a decision.”

My wife Elaine and I are ready to take our booster shots! We advise all those who meet the F.D.A. recommendation to do so also.

Tony

 

Republican Anthony Gonzalez Won’t Run for Reelection Refers to His Party as a ‘Toxic Environment”

Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican Who Voted to Impeach Trump, Won't Run in  2022 - The New York Times

Dear Commons Community,

Calling former President Donald J. Trump “a cancer for the country,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Ohio, said in an interview yesterday that he would not run for re-election in 2022, ceding his seat after just two terms in Congress rather than compete against a Trump-backed primary opponent.

Mr. Gonzalez is the first, but perhaps not the last, of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to retire rather than face ferocious primaries next year in a party still in thrall to the former president.

The congressman, who has two young children, emphasized that he was leaving in large part because of family considerations and the difficulties that come with living between two cities (see his statement below). But he made clear that the strain had only grown worse since his impeachment vote, after which he was deluged with threats and feared for the safety of his wife and children.

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said.

Mr. Gonzalez, who turns 37 on Saturday, was the sort of Republican recruit the party once prized. A Cuban American who starred as an Ohio State wide receiver, he was selected in the first round of the N.F.L. draft and then earned an M.B.A. at Stanford after his football career was cut short by injuries. He claimed his Northeast Ohio seat in his first bid for political office.

Mr. Gonzalez, a conservative, largely supported the former president’s agenda. Yet he started breaking with Mr. Trump and House Republican leaders when they sought to block the certification of last year’s presidential vote, and he was horrified by Jan. 6 and its implications.

Still, he insisted he could have prevailed in what he acknowledged would have been a “brutally hard primary” against Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide who was endorsed by the former president in February.

Yet as Mr. Gonzalez sat on a couch in his House office, most of his colleagues still at home for the prolonged summer recess, he acknowledged that he could not bear the prospect of winning if it meant returning to a Trump-dominated House Republican caucus.

“Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” he said. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”

The Republican Party is indeed a “toxic environment” that has just killed off one of it rising stars.

Tony

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Videos: Simone Biles and McKala Maroney Give Emotional Testimony at Senate Hearing!

Dear Commons Community,

Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and McKala Maroney ripped the FBI and the Justice Department in Senate testimony (see videos above and below) ) on Wednesday for how FBI agents mishandled abuse allegations brought against Larry Nassar and then made false statements in the fallout from the botched investigation.  As reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Sitting at a witness table alongside three of her former gymnastics teammates, Simone Biles broke down in tears while explaining to a Senate committee that she doesn’t want any more young people to experience the kind of suffering she endured at the hands of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former national team doctor.

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Ms. Biles, 24, said Wednesday as her mother, Nellie Biles, sat nearby, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Ms. Biles and hundreds of other girls and women — including a majority of the members of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics teams — were molested by Mr. Nassar, who is now serving what amounts to life in prison for multiple sex crimes. His serial molestation is at the center of one of the biggest child sex abuse cases in American history.

McKayla Maroney, an Olympian in 2012, also testified, describing in detail how Mr. Nassar repeatedly abused her, even at the London Games, where she won a gold medal. She said she survived a harrowing ordeal when she and Mr. Nassar were at a competition in Tokyo, certain she “was going to die that night because there was no way he was going to let me go.”

“That evening I was naked, completely alone, with him on top of me, molesting me for hours,” she said.

In 2015, when Ms. Maroney was 19 years old and before she had even told her mother what Mr. Nassar had done, she described her abuse to an F.B.I. agent during a three-hour phone call from the floor of her bedroom. When she finished, Ms. Maroney said the agent asked, “Is that all?” She said she felt crushed by the lack of empathy.

“Not only did the F.B.I. not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Ms. Maroney testified. “They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others.”

The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, acknowledged the agency’s mishandling of the case and apologized to the victims. He said the F.B.I. had fired an agent who was involved in the case early — the one who interviewed Ms. Maroney. It was the first time anyone at the agency had submitted to public questioning about the F.B.I.’s failure to properly investigate a sexual abuse case that shook the sports world to its core.

Mr. Wray, who became the F.B.I. director in 2017 said he was “heartsick and furious” when he heard that the F.B.I. had made so many errors in the case before he took charge of the agency.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Mr. Wray said to the victims. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

What horrendous experiences for these young women and what a colossal failure of the F.B.I.

Tony

Pope Francis to American Bishops on Joe Biden Receiving Communion – “Be Pastors Not Politicians”

“Communion is not a prize for the perfect,” Pope Francis said  Wednesday while returning to Rome after a visit to Hungary and Slovakia.

Dear Commons Community,

On the flight returning from Slovakia, Francis was asked for his opinion about the debate within the U.S. Bishops Conference, about whether Biden, who is Catholic, should be denied communion because of his support for a woman’s right to choose even though he is personally against abortion. 

“I never denied communion to anyone. But I never knew that I had in front of me anyone such as you described, that is true,” he said, without elaborating. 

Last June a divided conference of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on communion that may admonish Catholic politicians, including Biden. 

“Communion is not a prize for the perfect … communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his church,” the pope said. 

On Tuesday the Biden administration formally asked a federal judge to block enforcement of a new Texas law that effectively bans almost all abortions in the state under a novel legal design that opponents say is intended to thwart court challenge. 

The Republican-backed law forbids abortions performed once cardiac activity has been detected in the embryo, typically starting at six weeks of gestation. 

Church law says a Catholic who procures an abortion automatically excommunicates themselves from the Church. 

But there is no clear policy on Catholic politicians who say they have no choice as elected officials to support abortion rights even if they are personally opposed. 

This has led to heated debates in the U.S. Church. 

The pope said bishops should deal with the problem as pastors not as politicians.

“A pastor knows what to do at any moment but if he leaves the pastoral process of the Church he immediately becomes a politician,” Francis said. 

Tony

Video: Bob Woodard’s New Book Claims Joint Chief of Staff Mark Milley Had to Rein in Trump – Cites Mental Decline!

Dear Commons Community,

Fearful of Donald Trump’s actions in his final weeks as president, the United States’ top military officer twice assured his Chinese counterpart that the two nations would not go to war, according to a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States would not strike. One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that defeated Trump. The second call was on Jan. 8, 2021, just two days after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the outgoing chief executive.

Milley went so far as to promise Li that he would warn his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, according to the book  Peril,  written by Woodward and Costa.   As reported by CNN (see video above), the Washington Post and the Associated Press.

“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him in the first call, according to the book. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

 “If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” Milley reportedly said.

Selections from the book, which is set to be released next week, were first reported by The Washington Post yesterday.

The second call was meant to placate Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6. But the book reports that Li wasn’t as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”

Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, agreeing with a view shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call they had Jan. 8, according to officials.

Pelosi had previously said she spoke to Milley that day about “available precautions” to prevent Trump from initiating military action or ordering a nuclear launch, and she told colleagues she was given unspecified assurances that there were longstanding safeguards in place.

Milley, according to the book, called the admiral overseeing the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific region, and recommended postponing upcoming military exercises. He also asked senior officers to swear an “oath” that Milley had to be involved if Trump gave an order to launch nuclear weapons, according to the book.

Milley was appointed by Trump in 2018 and later drew the president’s wrath when he expressed regret for participating in a June 2020 photo op with Trump after federal law enforcement cleared a park near the White House of peaceful protesters so Trump could stand at a nearby damaged church.

Requests for comment from Milley were not immediately returned. Milley’s second warning to Beijing came after Trump had fired Secretary of Defense Mike Esper and filled several top positions with interim officeholders loyal to him.

The book also offers new insights into Trump’s efforts to hold on to power despite losing the election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump refused to concede and offered false claims that the election had been stolen. He repeatedly pressed his vice president, Mike Pence, to refuse to certify the election results at the Capitol on Jan. 6, the event that was later interrupted by the mob.

Pence, the book writes, called Dan Quayle, a former vice president and fellow Indiana Republican, to see if there was any way he could acquiesce to Trump’s request. Quayle said absolutely not.

“Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away,” Quayle said, according to the book.

Pence ultimately agreed. He defied Trump to affirm Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump was not pleased.

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this,” Trump replied, according to the book, later telling his vice president, “You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.”

It is a miracle that the United States survived four years of the Trump Presidency!

Tony

 

Video: Republican Adam Kinzinger Calls Donald Trump “one of the weakest men I’ve ever see”

Dear Commons Community,

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger called the former president Donald Trump a “snowflake” and “one of the weakest men that I’ve ever seen” in an interview (see video above) Monday on CNN.

The comment came amid a discussion about Trump’s vitriolic response to predecessor George W. Bush’s speech on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bush on Saturday said there is “little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home.” Trump hit back Monday, saying Bush “shouldn’t be lecturing anybody” because of his role in “getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East.”

Kinzinger, a frequent critic of the twice-impeached Trump, suggested the response demonstrated a lack of strength.

“I mean, If you think about it, what is strength? Strength isn’t somebody that just gets their dander up every time because they feel they have such a lack of self-esteem, they feel they have to out an attack,” said Kinzinger.

“Somebody with strength is someone who can take criticism, who can go out on a day like Sept. 11 and bring people together,” he continued. “Folks on my side like to use the term snowflake when talking about people that get offended really easy. Well, that’s Donald Trump.”

“I look at who he is as a person and the amount of offended he gets on anything and how he has to go out and punch down,” Kinzinger added. “He’ll attack a radio host, for goodness sakes, when he was president of the United States.”

Kinzinger has it right.  Trump is a weak bully who has all sorts of insecurity about who and what he is!

Tony

 

California Governor Gavin Newsom beats back GOP-led recall by 30 Points!

Dear Commons Community,

California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday emphatically defeated a recall aimed removing him from office, a contest the Democrat framed as part of a national battle for his party’s values in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and continued threats from “Trumpism.”

Newsom’s victory boosted by a healthy turnout in the overwhelmingly Democratic state. He cast it as a win for science, women’s rights and other liberal issues, and it ensures the nation’s most populous state will remain in Democratic control as a laboratory for progressive policies.

“‘No’ is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” Newsom said. “I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic.”  As reported by the Associated Press.

With an estimated two-thirds of ballots counted, “no” on the question of whether to recall Newsom was ahead by a 30-point margin. That lead was built on votes cast by mail and in advance of Tuesday’s in-person balloting, with a strong showing by Democrats. While likely to shrink somewhat in the days ahead as votes cast at polling places are counted, Newsom’s lead couldn’t be overcome.

Republican talk radio host Larry Elder almost certainly would have replaced Newsom had the recall succeeded, an outcome that would have brought a polar opposite political worldview to Sacramento.

The recall turned on Newsom’s approach to the pandemic, including mask and vaccine mandates, and Democrats cheered the outcome as evidence voters approve of their approach. The race also was a test of whether opposition to former President Donald Trump and his right-wing politics remains a motivating force for Democrats and independents, as the party looks ahead to midterm elections next year.

Republicans had hoped for proof that frustrations over months of pandemic precautions would drive voters away from Democrats. The GOP won back four U.S. House seats last year, success that Republican leaders had hoped indicated revived signs of life in a state controlled by Democrats for more than a decade.

But a recall election is an imperfect barometer — particularly of national trends. Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1 in California, so the results may not translate to governors in toss-up states or reflect how voters will judge members of Congress next year.

Trump, who had largely stayed out of the contest, made unsubstantiated claims that the election was rigged in the closing days, claims echoed by Elder’s campaign. Elder did not mention fraud as he addressed his supporters after the results were in.

“Let’s be gracious in defeat. We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” he said, later adding that the recall has forced Democrats to focus on issues such as homelessness and California’s high cost of living.

Newsom for months had likened the recall to efforts by Trump and his supporters to overturn the presidential election and a push in Republican-led states to restrict voting access.

“Democracy is not a football, you don’t throw it around. It’s more like — I don’t know — an antique vase,” Newsom said after his win. “You can drop it, smash it into a million different pieces — and that’s what we’re capable of doing if we don’t stand up to meet the moment and push back.”

He became the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall, cementing him as a prominent figure in national Democratic politics and preserving his prospects for a future run. Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall in 2012.

California voters were asked two questions: Should Newsom be recalled, and, if so, who should replace him? Only a handful of the 46 names on the replacement ballot had public recognition, but most failed to gain traction with voters.

Elder entered the race just two months ago and quickly rose to the top of the pack. But that allowed Newsom to turn the campaign into a choice between the two men, rather than a referendum on his performance.

Newsom seized on Elder’s opposition to the minimum wage and abortion rights as evidence he was outside the mainstream in California. The governor branded him “more extreme than Trump,” while President Joe Biden, who campaigned for Newsom, called him “the closest thing to a Trump clone I’ve ever seen.”

Though the contest didn’t quite bring the circus-like element of California’s 2003 recall — when voters replaced Democratic Gov. Gray Davis with Republican movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger — it featured quirky moments of its own.

Reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner entered the race but gained little momentum and left the state for part of the campaign to film a reality show in Australia. Businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018, tried to spice up his campaign by hiring a live bear to join him, branding himself as the “beast” to Newsom’s “beauty.”

Newsom will soon be campaigning again; he’s up for reelection next year.

Orrin Heatlie, the Republican who launched the recall effort last year, cast it as a “David and Goliath” battle and said it was telling that Newsom had called on national Democrats like Biden to “salvage his damaged political career.”

The president and other prominent Democrats offered Newsom support in the race’s closing days, while national Republican leaders largely kept the contest at arm’s length.

The recall needed 1.5 million signatures to make the ballot out of California’s 22 million registered voters. It never would have come before voters if a judge hadn’t given organizers four extra months to gather signatures due to the pandemic. That decision came the same day Newsom attended a maskless dinner at the lavish French Laundry restaurant with lobbyists and friends, stirring outcry.

Supporters of the recall expressed frustration over monthslong business closures and restrictions that kept most children out of classrooms. Rising homicides, a homelessness crisis and an unemployment fraud scandal further angered Newsom’s critics.

But the broader public stayed on his side. Polling from the Public Policy Institute of California showed his approval rating remaining above 50% throughout the pandemic. With weeks to go, the institute’s poll showed 60% of Californians approved of Newsom’s handling of the pandemic.

The rise of the highly contagious delta variant led Newsom to frame the race as one of “life or death” consequences. He pointed to Texas and Florida, which were seeing worsening surges as their Republican governors rejected mask and vaccine mandates, as cautionary tales for what California could become.

Newsom has been viewed as a potential White House contender since at least 2004, when he defied federal law to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples as mayor of San Francisco. His victory maintained those prospects, though he will still have to navigate around the ambitions of Harris, who came up through San Francisco politics alongside Newsom.

He came to the contest with advantages. California’s electorate is less Republican, less white and younger than it was in 2003, when voters booted the Democratic Davis. Newsom was allowed to raise unlimited funds, dwarfing his competitors while flooding TV screens with advertising. Public worker unions and business and tech executives poured millions into his campaign.

Congratulations, Governor!

Tony

NYC’s Heart and Soul – Broadway Is Back!

Dear Commons Community,

The longest shutdown in Broadway history is over.

Some of the biggest shows in musical theater, including “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Hamilton,” resumed performances last night, 18 months after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close.

They were not the first shows to restart, nor the only ones, but they are enormous theatrical powerhouses that have come to symbolize the industry’s strength and reach, and their return to the stage is a signal that theater is back.  As reported by The  New York Times.

“People are ready,” said Julie Taymor, the director of “The Lion King,” “and it’s time.”

Of course, this moment comes with substantial asterisks. The pandemic is not over. Tourists are not back. And no one knows how a long stretch without live theater might affect consumer behavior.

But theater owners, producers, nonprofits and labor unions have collectively decided that it’s time to move forward. And the crowds who packed into shows all over Broadway last night were grateful to be there. There were roaring ovations and, at times, tears.

“We were open to anything,” said Erica Chalmers, interviewed at the just reopened TKTS booth Tuesday afternoon, “just so I could have that experience of a Broadway show.” She opted for a play, “Lackawanna Blues,” that had its first Broadway performance Tuesday night.

The reopening of Broadway comes as a variety of other performing arts venues, in New York and around the country, are also resuming in-person, indoor performances: In the days and weeks to come the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Carnegie Hall and the Brooklyn Academy of Music will all start their new seasons.

“Broadway, and all of the arts and culture of the city, express the life, the energy, the diversity, the spirit of New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “It’s in our heart and soul. It’s also so much of what people do to make a living in this town. And that makes us great. So, this is a big night for New York City’s comeback.”

Those attending shows on Broadway are finding the experience changed: every show is requiring proof of vaccination (patrons under 12 can provide a negative coronavirus test) and every patron must be masked.

Even before tonight, four shows had begun: “Springsteen on Broadway,” which had 30 performances between June and September, as well as a new play, “Pass Over,” and two returning musicals, “Hadestown” and “Waitress,” all of which are still running. None has missed a performance; “Waitress” managed to keep going even after a cast member tested positive by deploying an understudy.

The returning blockbusters opening tonight were joined by “Chicago,” a beloved musical which this year marks 25 years on Broadway, and a new production of “Lackawanna Blues,” an autobiographical play by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. And more are on the way — more than two dozen more before the end of the year.

At stake is the health of an industry that, before the pandemic, had been enjoying a sustained boom. During the last full Broadway season before the outbreak, from 2018 to 2019, 14.8 million people attended a show.  And that attendance translated to real money — the industry grossed $1.83 billion that season.

Raise the curtains and let the shows begin!

Tony