Nephews Of Venezuelan First Lady Sentenced In U.S. Drug Smuggling Case

Defendants Efrain Antonio Campos Flores (center left) and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas (center right), as depicted in federal court in New York on Thursday, were sentenced to 18 years in prison on drug conspiracy charges.

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Elizabeth Williams/AP

A judge in New York City sentenced the nephews of Venezuela’s first lady to 18 years in prison on Thursday, following their convictions on drug trafficking charges.

The Venezuelan citizens listened to the federal court proceedings through headphones and each delivered brief remarks before their sentences were handed down. “I know that I have made very serious mistakes in this case,” said Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, according to Reuters.

His cousin Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas said he has always been a good person, “Even in jail I tried to help those who were in a worse psychological situation than I find myself in,” and asked to be allowed back home to Venezuela soon to see family.

In November 2016, a jury in New York found Campo Flores, 30, and Flores de Freitas, 31, guilty of conspiring to smuggle more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine into the United States.

The men were arrested in Haiti one year earlier, after authorities said they contacted a Drug Enforcement Administration informant asking for help getting cocaine into the U.S.

Prosecutors had been seeking sentences of 30 years for the men, saying the cousins believed they were above the law because of their family connections.

The men’s aunt, Cilia Flores, is married to Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled president.

But the defense said sentences of 10 years were more in order. The men’s lawyers blamed the case on a flawed D.E.A. probe and said the men never actually transported the drugs and never even meant to.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty pointed to the cousins’ ineptitude during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

“What moves me is that Mr. Campo Flores and Mr. Flores de Freitas were perhaps not the most astute drug dealers who ever existed,” Crotty said. “They were in over their heads.”

Crotty said the three decades the prosecution was seeking would have been excessive, noting that the men had no prior criminal backgrounds, reports Reuters.

Shortly after their convictions last year, Maduro spoke out about the case, saying it was an example of U.S. imperialism.

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After Maria, Puerto Rico Struggles Under The Weight Of Its Own Garbage

The active part of the landfill in Toa Baja is currently a hot, rancid, open dump. Federal regulations require trash piles to be covered daily with earth. But the site’s supervisor says that’s currently impossible.

José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

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José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

Outside Puerto Rico’s capital, a three-story-high mountain of debris and waste sits smack in the middle of what was a suburban soccer field before Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Blue bleachers peek out from the edge of the trash pile, as a line of trucks rolls in to dump even more tree branches and moldy furniture. Workmen wearing yellow hard hats operate diggers to add the new waste to the growing pile in the center of the field.

Puerto Rico is struggling under the weight of its own garbage. Even before Maria hit two and a half months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency says most of the island’s landfills were filled beyond capacity and that nearly half were under orders to close.

Puerto Rico’s Solid Waste Authority estimates that the powerful hurricane created 6.2 million cubic yards of waste and debris — and it needs to go somewhere. That’s enough trash to fill about 43 football stadiums with piles of waste eights stories high, according to a measure used by FEMA. And it has to go somewhere.

Workmen at the soccer field say the site became a makeshift dump because the landfill for the Toa Baja municipality, near San Juan, is so flooded with trash that wait times can be hours. When the soccer site becomes too full, the workers say waste is then moved to the landfill in dump trucks.

In Maria’s wake, local governments are supposed to separate tree branches and other “green waste” for composting so that it doesn’t clog up landfills, says Antonio Rios, the head of Puerto Rico’s Solid Waste Management Authority, the agency that sets the U.S. territory’s waste policy.

A former soccer field has become an improvised dump site because the main landfill is so busy in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

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José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

That composting process isn’t happening everywhere, Rios acknowledges. Green debris is still winding up in overflowing landfills across the island, though he says authorities are trying to divert additional material to landfills that have more room. Rios points out that the hurricane has created other types of waste, things like broken kitchen appliances and food that went rotten because of a lack of electricity.

The landfill in Toa Baja is managed by the private firm Conwaste and takes in trash from at least four municipalities. It has been deeply troubled for years.

The site is supervised by 25-year-old Lionel Ruiz. Last month, he says, they accepted 36,000 tons of waste — that’s 70 percent more than the month before the hurricane. Ruiz points to trash-filled trucks waiting in a line that stretches down a dirt road and off into the distance.

“It’s more busy than usual,” Ruiz says. “You see the line? We never have that line in normal operation.”

In 2008, the EPA ordered the Toa Baja landfill to close by 2014 because it posed an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health and the environment.”

Heaps of tree branches, moldy furniture and other debris from Hurricane Maria piles up at a former soccer field now being used as a dumping site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Most of the island’s landfills were already over capacity before the storm devastated the island in September.

José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

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José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

The EPA said environmental inspectors found evidence that the landfill did not have a system to control liquid seeping through the garbage pile and into the ground. The agency found that this substance, called leachate, could potentially contaminate a nearby aquifer and wetlands.

In 2012, the EPA allowed the landfill to push back the closure for an unspecified amount of time. The landfill was allowed to create a new, smaller area that used more environmental precautions — such as a lining to prevent seepage — and start accepting waste there.

The story is much the same across the lush tropical island of Puerto Rico. The EPA got directly involved in the island’s landfills in 2002, and has since ordered at least 12 of the approximately 29 landfills to close, which can be a years-long process.

It’s not immediately clear how many sites — most of which are already at capacity — have actually shut down.

Rios of the Solid Waste Authority estimates that at current recycling rates, all of the island’s landfills will be full in 20 to 25 years.

Even the newly added space in Toa Baja’s landfill is rapidly filling up, Ruiz says. Before the hurricane hit, he said he thought it would take five years for that area to fill up; Maria has sped up the timeline.

He’s grappling with immediate problems. Birds and insects circle around what is currently a hot, rancid, open dump.

“This is the active area of the landfill, you will see a lot of uncovered material,” Ruiz says. Workers would normally cover the expansive mess with earth every day to comply with federal regulations, but he says they haven’t been able to do so for a week because the private trucks they use are now being used by FEMA.

A truck drives past a closed section of the municipal landfill in Toa Baja, which is near Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan.

José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

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José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

The uncovered mounds of rotting garbage is upsetting to people down the hill in the neighborhood of Candelaria, people like 83-year-old Angelo Fernandez. “The smell, the stink!” he says, totally exasperated. “Every time they leave it open, the smell is awful.”

In his 41 years living here, he’s seen mountains of trash rise from the ground, parts of which are now covered with dirt and vegetation. But the waste lies just inches under the surface.

“It is getting bigger, it is getting bigger and bigger — that was never this height — never,” Fernandez says. “All that mountain you see there is garbage!”

He says people living in Candelaria suffer from asthma and other breathing problems because of the landfill. They cough a lot.

Actually closing a landfill is expensive, costing approximately $200,000 per acre, according to Rios. Puerto Rico is struggling with more than $120 billion in debt and pension obligations, and has filed for a bankruptcy-like procedure — and that was before the hurricane.

The EPA has acknowledged that the budget crisis is making it more difficult for local governments on the island to handle the garbage problem. The municipalities “have always had limited funds to implement the environmental and engineering controls required to improve, and ultimately close, the landfills,” the agency says. And Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board hasn’t required municipalities to set money aside in case their landfills needed to close.

Another issue, Rios says, is that some of the landfills now under closure orders aren’t charging garbage trucks high enough fees to generate the money to actually shut down.

Homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in the Candelario neighborhood sit adjacent to the Toa Baja landfill.

José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

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José Jiménez-Tirado for NPR

Ultimately, the troubled landfill system is “a public health issue and it’s about to collapse really soon,” says Agustin Carbo, former head of the Solid Waste Authority. He says Puerto Rico also needs to think beyond landfills rather than just open new ones. Recycling rates on the island are about half of what they are on the U.S. mainland.

“We need to look for different alternatives,” he says, particularly because Puerto Rico has limited space. That might include a number of other waste management techniques such as “waste-to-energy,” which uses methods like incineration to produce electricity and heat.

Most importantly, he says, “people need to change their behavior and it’s quite complex, how you change that in a small island. But it can be done — it just, people need to understand what’s at stake here.”

Those stakes are clear to Fernandez, who lives next to the landfill. He says that if it closed for good, “I think it would be a better place to live. I know it would be.”

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Emily Haines On World Cafe

Emily Haines

Justin Broadbent/Courtesy of the artist

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Justin Broadbent/Courtesy of the artist

  • “Legend Of The Wild Horse”
  • “Nihilist Abyss”

In this session, we slip into the world of Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. Haines is the lead singer of the electro-tinged rock and roll band Metric, but in her solo work you won’t find any wailing guitars or radical synths — the spotlight shines right on her voice and the work of art that is her songwriting.

Hear Emily Haines, solo on the piano, in the player above.

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Four Children Killed In School Bus And Train Collision In France

Rescue workers help after a fatal collision between a school bus and a regional train in the village of Millas in southern France on Thursday.

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Matthieu Ferri/AP

A school bus taking around 20 students home Thursday afternoon collided with a train in the south of France, resulting in “numerous victims,” according to the local government.

Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe told Le Monde that four people died in the crash and 20 were injured, 11 critically.

French media reports that all of the people killed were school children.

Reports give the ages of the children on the bus as 11 to 15, or 13 to 17.

Le Monde says there were 25 people aboard the regional train and none was seriously injured.

The train and the bus collided in a village called Millas outside the city of Perpignan, close to the Spanish border. The circumstances around the crash remain unclear, but the local government described it as “a terrible accident.”

Toutes mes pensées pour les victimes de ce terrible accident d’un bus scolaire et pour leurs familles. La mobilisation de l’État est totale pour leur porter secours.

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 14, 2017

Pictures from the scene showed rescue workers around the school bus sheered into two pieces.

French President Emmanuel Macron said France’s full resources had been mobilized in the rescue of victims.

ThePréfet of the Pyrénées-Orientales said it was a major operation, including the work of nearly 100 firefighters and 15 police units. Parents were asked to convene at the Millas school where they would be “kept informed.”

France’s national rail authority, SNCF, told The Associated Press that witnesses reported the crossing gates had been working properly. And a rail official said the barrier — which includes flashing lights — had been lowered at the time of the crash.

France’s Interior Minister Gérard Collomb was making his way to the scene of the accident Thursday, tweeting that he was “overwhelmed by the tragedy.”

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Firefighter Dies in California Wildfire, Now The 4th Largest In The State's History

Firefighters in Santa Barbara County, Calif., on Wednesday. Thursday, a firefighter whose name has not been released was killed while battling the massive Thomas Fire which straddles Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County via AP

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Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County via AP

California fire officials say the massive Thomas fire has claimed the life of a firefighter.

“I am very saddened to report that a firefighter fatality has occurred on the Thomas Incident,” Chief Ken Pimlott, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, tweeted. “Please join me in keeping our fallen firefighter and his loved ones in your prayers and all the responders on the front lines in your thoughts as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions.”

Pimlott did not disclose the name of the firefighter, saying only that he was from a CalFire San Diego unit.

The Thomas fire has charred 242,500 acres and is only 30 percent contained. It is now reported to be the fourth-largest fire in Cailfornia history. Officials say they don’t expect to fully contain it until Jan. 7.

More than 8,100 firefighters are battling the blaze estimated to have caused more than $74.7 million in firefighting costs.

Hot gusty winds, bone-dry fuels continue to feed the fire as it threatens communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

The fire has destroyed more than 900 structures, including 729 homes, as it continues to threaten about 18,000 buildings.

The last time Santa Barbara County saw such a ferocious blaze was 10 years ago when the Zaca fire burned just over 240,000 acres.

The Thomas fire has surpassed that and is still growing.

“This thing is 60 miles long and 40 miles wide,” fire behavior analyst Tim Chavez told the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a lot of fire out there.”

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Mediocre 'Ferdinand' Will Have Bored Parents Seeing Red

Bull-necked wrestler John Cena voices the pacifist bull Ferdinand.

20th Century Fox

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20th Century Fox

For a simple children’s story about a pacifist bull in Spain who would rather smell the flowers than charge a matador, Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand generated tremendous controversy, owing to its worldwide popularity and its date of publication, 1936, which found it caught in political crosswinds. It was banned in Franco’s Spain. Hitler ordered it burned as “degenerate democratic propaganda” in Nazi Germany, though it was republished and distributed for free in the same country once the war was over, to teach children a message of peace. Gandhi was a fan. So was H.G. Wells.

Yet sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The Story of Ferdinand could be read as a story of independence and self-actualization, with no interest in advancing the bull as a symbol of nonviolent resistance. This was the message of the Oscar-winning Disney short from 1938, which cast Ferdinand as a silly, whimsical creature who humiliates the matador by licking the flower tattoo on his chest. And that’s the message of Ferdinand, a mediocre new animated feature from Blue Sky productions, which specializes in mediocre features like the Ice Age and Rio franchises. In Blue Sky’s version, the bull isn’t particularly distinguishable from the scores of other anthropomorphic beasts who want to go their own way, but get ostracized for being different. Slap a red nose on him and he’s Rudolph. Put him in the kitchen and he’s Remy from Ratatouille.

Blue Sky does excel at bright, pleasing colors, however, and the animators make the most of the rolling hills and flower-strewn meadows of rural Spain, where young Ferdinand (voiced by bull-framed WWE legend John Cena) resides at Casa del Toros, a training ground for prize bulls. While Ferdinand’s ranch-mates work on their strength and aggression in the hope of fulfilling their destiny in the ring, he nurtures a single flower that’s slipped through a crack in the dirt and tries to stay out of conflict. After learning his dad never made it back from the ring in Madrid, he flees from Casa del Toros and winds up on an idyllic farm where a little girl named Nina (Lily Day) treats him like a pet and allows him to frolic all day on the hillside.

Ferdinand’s time in pacifist-bull paradise adds time — too much, at 107 minutes—and a human element to the film, but once nature finally catches up and turns him into a bulky terror, he can no longer escape his predetermined destiny. His return to Casa del Toros brings some comic relief in the forms of Kate McKinnon as a wound-up “calming goat,” three hedgehogs who go by Uno, Dos, and Cuatro (ask not about Tres), and a few snooty show horses in the adjoining field. There are three or four fart jokes. There’s an elaborate breakout attempt that resembles The Great Escape by way of Chicken Run. Vast chunks of the film seem like a time-wasting measures before Ferdinand can finally square off in the ring against the fearsome, arrogant bullfighter El Primero (Miguel Angel Silvestre.)

The lurching rhythms of Ferdinand make a clean story feel ungainly and episodic, though a few of those episodes are good for a laugh, like the bull literally trying to shimmy his way through a china shop or McKinnon’s goat trailing off into neurotic fits of improvisation. But if you didn’t know Ferdinand was based on a children’s classic, it would be impossible to distinguish it from other bright, innocuous, mildly diverting time-passers under the Blue Sky label. That’s less of a problem when running the latest iteration of Ice Age through the mill, but when the premise is about a one-of-a-kind bull who doesn’t run with the stampede, the last thing the film should do is fall in line.

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Potent Cocktail Of Drama And Documentary Explores A Mysterious Death: 'Wormwood'

Bob Balaban and Peter Sarsgaard star in Wormwood, a film that investigates the death of Frank Olson.

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Mark Schafer/Netflix

What is known for sure about American military scientist Frank Olson is that on November 28, 1953, the bacteriologist and father of three plunged to his death from the thirteenth floor of the Statler hotel in New York City, not long after he was secretly drugged with LSD on the orders of his CIA superior. Whether Olson was pushed, or jumped, or was nudged into committing suicide remains unclear. But indeterminacy with a generous side of conspiracy is catnip to director Errol Morris, who has made either a 241-minute film or a six-part television series depending on where and how you plan to watch it, about the tragedy’s long reach into Olson’s family and America’s secretive political culture.

Olson’s death, and the murk surrounding its cause, cast a defining shadow over the life of his son Eric, whose endless quest to find out what happened that night has pre-empted all other endeavors. The blight spread around his family. His mother became an alcoholic with, the film implies, the active encouragement of one of her husband’s colleagues. But Eric, now in his sixties, has arguably been completely derailed by the tragedy. He is the central focus of Wormwood, a hybrid blend of documentary and Cold War thriller that makes The B-Side, Morris’s loving portrait of radical photographer Elsa Dorfman earlier this year, look almost straightforward.

“You’ll never know what happened in that room,” Olson’s widow (played in reenactments by Canadian actress Molly Parker and by herself in home and news footage) repeatedly told her son. Her warnings did nothing to offset Eric’s lifelong quest to find out what happened to his father. It’s not hard to see what drew Morris to Eric and his story. A gifted obsessive in his own right, Morris has also made the blurring of boundaries between non-fiction and narrative film a central project of his work. It’s not a stretch to say that for both men, reality is an endlessly open question at once political and existential.

Moving back and forth between the 1953 events and 1975, when a Rockefeller commission confirmed that an army scientist had been purposefully drugged with hallucinogens , Wormwood carries us from secret meetings at Deer Lake through the long tail of misery and obfuscation left by Frank’s death, to Eric’s pursuit of the truth all the way to the corridors of power.

In hushed and menacing re-enactments, Peter Sarsgaard, whose mild manner lends itself to all kinds of tonal nuance, charts the decline and fall of Olson, a patriotic team player whose growing unease about his agency’s secretive involvement in biological warfare overseas first worries his boss (a reptilian Tim Blake Nelson) and then moves him to seize the day and use his hapless employee as a guinea pig. By the time Frank arrives at the hotel flanked by ambiguously supportive colleagues, he’s rapidly unraveling into a gibbering wreck.

Wormwood‘s breathless, hopped-up style harks back to Morris’s 1988 The Thin Blue Line, which called into question a murder verdict and resulted in the release of a wrongly convicted suspect from Death Row. Here the noir markers are writ so large as to verge now and then on self-parody. Morris keeps returning the action to the hotel to act out different angles and competing versions of what happened to Olson that night. The hypothetical range between possible perps — Frank’s boss, his friends, two wordless thugs in fedoras, a CIA allergist played by a sinister Bob Balaban — is narrow enough to make these scenes a touch repetitive if you’re watching in one sitting. Certainly they underscore Morris’s standing as a lifelong participant observer of American paranoia. For which, it must be said, there is undeniable fodder in the manner of Olsen’s going, the secrecy surrounding his death, the ambivalent admissions the Rockefeller Commission along with a dwindling financial settlement that looks suspiciously like hush money to Olson and to Morris, and the merrily chuckling presence in old footage of two well-known knowns, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

For all the formal beauty of the re-enactments, the most compelling scenes in Wormwood are the unembellished interviews that Morris — ordinarily an off-screen interlocutor with an appetite for the subtly leading question — is seen conducting across a table with Eric Olson, who waves his arms around with the befuddled intensity of a superannuated schoolboy as he tells his story. Articulate and charming, Eric is a talented collage artist who seems to have sacrificed career and significant relationships to his endless search for justice and truth, even after the case was officially closed and after he contacts investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who first reported the drugging of Olson in The New York Times. Grandiose as always, Hersh insists that he knows who murdered Frank Olson, but won’t say for fear of compromising an anonymous source. We can’t tell whether he’s fibbing either.

A romantic view — and I wouldn’t entirely put this past Morris — is that Olson is, like his interlocutor, an artist with a magnificent obsession that sustains him even when it’s doomed to failure. But in Wormwood he emerges with enormous poignancy as a tragic figure, perpetually stuck in limbo like the father we see tumbling, over and over, to his fate.

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'The Ballad Of Lefty Brown' Is A Variation On A Familiar Tune

A sidekick (Bill Pullman) gets kicked upstairs in The Ballad of Lefty Brown.

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Ezra Olson/A24

Jared Moshe, the writer and director of The Ballad of Lefty Brown, is a fan of classic Westerns and he’s made a movie that should please fellow aficionados. He offers one twist on the formula, but the plot, setting, and widescreen images are all as standard-issue as a Colt 45.

Like The Hero and Lucky — recent showcases for Sam Elliott and Harry Dean Stanton, respectively — Moshe’s film is built around a veteran performer. Bill Pullman takes the role of a man who’s thrust, uncomfortably, into the center of events. Just as Pullman usually plays supporting parts, Lefty Brown is by nature a sidekick.

Aside from his assertive mutton chops, Lefty is hardly a commanding figure. He walks with a limp, and talks about as gracefully as he moves. He’s not conspicuously intelligent or educated. Asked to read something, Lefty makes excuses about how his eyesight’s not so good anymore.

Where the Elliot and Stanton vehicles both offered a contemporary vantage on the dying myth of the West, Lefty Brown is set in 1889. Yet it, too, observes the encroachment of a less freewheeling era. Technology, in the form of the railroads, threatens the independent spirit of men like Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda), a successful rancher who’s just been elected to represent the new state of Montana in the U.S. Senate.

While Eddie is about to become a lawmaker, he’s not one for legal niceties. The movie’s jump-start prologue is a shootout on a dark and stormy night, which Eddie follows with an extra-judicial hanging. Soon after, a misadventure involving some horse rustlers leaves Eddie dead, and Lefty a sidekick no longer.

Laura (Kathy Baker), Eddie’s widow, is tougher than Lefty, as she demonstrates in how she deals with men, horses, and the occasional rattlesnake. She doesn’t think Lefty can handle a ranch or dispense vengeance.

Laura is pleased when two old friends arrive. Jimmy (Jim Caviezel), the state’s new governor, wants to leave the murder investigation to the authorities. But Tom (Tommy Flanagan), a Scottish-accented U.S. marshal and recovering alcoholic, eventually agrees to help Lefty pursue Eddie’s killers.

On their quest, the men meet Jeremiah (Diego Josef), an adolescent with dreams of becoming a legend of the West like the ones he reads about in pulp fiction. He’s starstruck when he realizes that Eddie and Tom — but not Lefty — are two of the heroes he’s been following. The stories are heavily fictionalized, Jeremiah learns, but he still believes in them.

It turns out that Eddie’s death was not, of course, a random crime. All that’s left is to determine the betrayer, and for three men to prove themselves better than their weaknesses. Jeremiah needs to grow up. Tom must put down the bottle (again). And Lefty has to show he can figure things out and fix them just the way Eddie did.

Shot on film in the state where it’s set, The Ballad of Lefty Brown is old-fashioned in both appearance and outlook. Moshe is not interested in anything newfangled, whether quick-cut action scenes or revisionist American history.

When it’s all over, Lefty rides off as if he’s really one of the gunslingers whose exploits drew Jeremiah to Montana. There are narrative reasons for his departure, but the thematic one is more important: Lefty may not be a great hero, but he’s too good for the place Moshe clearly sees as a paradise lost.

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support 'Zero Tolerance' On Sexual Harassment

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni Bryson (L) arrive at the U.S. Capitol Building on December 7, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Franken announced that he will be resigning in the coming weeks after being accused by several women of sexual harassment.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that “a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society.”

At a time when partisan opinions are so polarized on a range of issues, Republicans and Democrats are relatively similar in believing that society should crack down hard on sexual harassment, a new poll from Ipsos and NPR suggests.

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About three-quarters of Democrats and about two-thirds of Republicans agreed, for example, that “pretty much every woman has experienced some form of sexual harassment in her life.” And around 6 in 10 Democrats and 7 in 10 Republicans agreed that “it can be hard sometimes to tell what is sexual harassment and what is not.”

While the differences between parties’ beliefs in many cases were modest, they were still significant on some questions.

For example, 35 percent of Republicans agreed with the idea that “nearly all instances of sexual harassment would end if the woman simply told the man to stop,” compared to 20 percent of Democrats.

Those differences on some issues come out most prominently among a couple of demographics in particular.

“Those groups for sure — Republican men and Democratic women — are driving the effects big-time,” said Janine Beekman, associate research scientist at Ipsos.

For example, on some questions Democratic women and Republican men occupy two ends of an opinion spectrum, with the other two groups floating in the middle. Fifteen percent of Democratic women believe that “nearly all instances of sexual harassment would end if the woman simply told the man to stop.” Forty-three percent of Republican men agree with that statement.

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And Democratic women seem to be leading the charge on having many conversations about sexual harassment. Roughly half of Democratic women said they’re talking “a lot” or “some” about sexual harassment with their families, compared to around one-third of Republican men, Republican womenand Democratic men.

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Likewise, Democratic women report talking with their female friends about the topic “a lot” or “some” at significantly higher levels than the other groups do (the differences were less clear for the question about people talking with their male friends).

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Abstracts vs. Particulars

One way to interpret the relatively modest partisan differences on some of these questions is that both parties can agree in the abstract but not on particulars.

For example, Democrats and Republicans broadly agree on some ideas, such as the idea of a zero-tolerance policy, and they are largely conflicted between believing the accusers and those who are accused.

Around 80 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike agreed that both the accuser and the accused “should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.”

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But when it comes to particular cases, like those of Roy Moore or Donald Trump, many Americans seem to have partisan responses.

A late-November Politico/Morning Consult poll suggested this reaction is particularly prominent among Republicans. Republicans were much less likely than Democrats to believe allegations against prominent right-leaning figures, like Bill O’Reilly, Moore and Trump. But when it came to Democratic figures like Al Franken and Bill Clinton, Democrats and Republicans were roughly equally likely to believe sexual harassment allegations.

There’s also the possibility of what pollsters call “social desirability bias” corrupting some of the results here — that is, that a respondent (of any party) might have given answers they thought sounded good. For example, a person might have thought it sounded like a better answer to say they were talking a lot with their friends about harassment, or to say that they want to give more people the benefit of the doubt.

“Any time we’re talking about sex or drugs or any kind of any kind of ism that you want to talk about — racism, sexism — we’re going to have issues with this,” Beekman said.

Changing times

The survey also indicates that Americans have felt a seismic shift in attitudes toward sexual harassment in recent years. For example, about one-quarter of Americans agreed that “these days, reports of sexual harassment are generally ignored.” But about two-thirds agreed that “five years ago, reports of sexual harassment were generally ignored.”

Likewise, 44 percent of Americans agreed that today, “a woman who reports being sexually harassed is risking her career.” But 74 percent said they thought the same was true five years ago.

Importantly, this doesn’t capture actual trends in beliefs. However, it’s a start at capturing people’s perceptions of how quickly society’s willingness to deal with sexual harassment — to believe and not punish accusers, to take allegations seriously — have changed in the #MeToo era.

The NPR/Ipsos poll of 1,133 adults was conducted online between December 8 and 12, 2017, and has a credibility interval of +/- 3.3 percentage points for the full sample. Credibility intervals are +/- 5.6 percentage points for Democrats, +/- 6.1 points for Republicans, and +/- 6.8 percentage points for independents. The interval was +/- 7.2 percentage points for Democratic women, +/- 9.1 percentage points for Democratic men, +/-8.4 percentage points for Republican women, and +/- 9.0 percentage points for Republican men.

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What Are The Two Health Bills Sen. Susan Collins Wants Congress To Act On?

Maine Sen. Susan Collins voted for the Senate GOP tax plan despite its repeal of the individual mandate because GOP leadership promised her a vote on her reinsurance bill, and a vote on legislation to restore some payments to insurers. But it’s doubtful getting those provisions enacted would mitigate the damage to exchanges from the mandate repeal.

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