“One of Sessions’ final moves in office was to sharply limit when the Justice Department could enter into consent decrees. Vanita Gupta, who ran the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration, called that policy “a slap in the face to the dedicated career staff of the department who work tirelessly to enforce our nation’s civil rights laws.” The Biden administration rolled back Sessions’ directive, and Gupta is now back at the Justice Department as an associate attorney general.
Sessions was correct that consent decrees should be used judiciously. Justice Department investigations and settlements are a heavy-handed imposition of federal authority. But they can also provide recourse for citizens who have been betrayed by rotten police departments and indifferent local governments.”
“Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has launched more than 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan. We don’t really know for certain how many people have been killed, let alone how many of those people were civilians and not terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism tracked the drone war in Afghanistan up until February 2020. It calculates that between 4,000 and 10,000 deaths in Afghanistan were from drone strikes. Of those, it says, between 300 and 900 were civilians and somewhere between 66 and 184 were children.
These wide variances in these estimates reflect the lack of transparency and reliable data. It wasn’t until the last couple of years of President Barack Obama’s administration that the Pentagon even provided data about drone strikes. And then President Donald Trump’s administration ended that practice.”
“It is brutally unfair that thousands of parents have no alternative but to entrust their kids’ education to a system in which people like Myart-Cruz hold the power. Union officials who want to keep employees at home for as long as possible—and don’t care how little math is being taught to students—do not have the kids’ best interests in mind. They are demanding tremendous sacrifices from everyone else, and they have no reason to compromise because there’s zero accountability.
This is why all families deserve school choice: If education officials simply refuse to give students what they need, students should have every right to go elsewhere—and take their share of the system’s education funds with them. No educator who shrugs at the idea of kids falling behind in reading and math is entitled to tax dollars.”
“Beijing has just delivered a blow to the gaming industry, and a blow to Chinese children’s freedoms. Starting September 1, minors in China will be allowed to play video games (including those played on mobile devices) only from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. So: one hour per day, with a cap of three hours per week.
Former regulations had less restrictive caps, allowing an hour and a half of gaming per day with up to three hours allowed on holidays (for a total of 13.5 hours per week). It’s unclear how these new restrictions apply to console gaming, or whether parents could feasibly override these rules by allowing kids to use an adult’s gaming account. (Other workarounds, such as VPNs, could also potentially work.)
The regulations—which require that people use their real names to register, instead of using anonymous accounts—state that they aim “to resolutely prevent minors from becoming addicted to video games, and to effectively protect their physical and psychological health.” This will allegedly “lead minors to form positive habits in the use of the internet.””
“The idea of a “limit” or “ceiling” on the public debt sounds like an important constraint on borrowing, the kind of thing the Constitution demands to keep a runaway White House in check. In reality, it’s a 20th century innovation, originally intended to give more, not less, authority to the president. A measure born of necessity during World War I and World War II to allow the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations greater leeway in financing government operations has evolved into a partisan noose.
Understanding the origins of the debt limit places into sharp focus how radical its current weaponization really is.
The U.S. government has always borrowed money to finance its operations. The total amount of outstanding debt hovered below $100 million in the years prior to 1860 but rose to over $2.7 billion during the Civil War. By the end of the 19th century, it stood at roughly $2 billion, a figure that more or less remained steady until World War I, when military mobilization necessitated a wave of borrowing, causing the national debt to balloon to $27 billion.
Less important than how much the government owed was the mechanism by which it raised debt. Prior to World War I, Congress authorized specific debt issuances. During the Civil War the legislative branch passed several bills permitting the Treasury Department to sell bonds at specific maturities and coupons. One popular issuance were 5-and-20s, which paid 6 percent annual interest over a 20-year maturity date, with an option allowing the government to redeem the face value after five years. Hundreds of thousands of Northern citizens purchased the government paper in a show of patriotic fervor. Generally speaking, new debt authorizations were earmarked for specific purposes — for instance, Panama Canal bonds, which could be used only to finance construction of the historic commercial passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Until World War I, the Treasury Department enjoyed little leeway in rolling over or consolidating existing issuances, devising the terms of new debt offerings or moving funds between one committed stream and another. Congress largely dictated the terms; the Treasury Department’s principal role was to market and administer public debt instruments. This disparate system worked well enough when government borrowing remained at modest levels, but during World War I, the sharp spike in borrowing and spending made the old system impractical. The Wilson administration needed flexibility to raise and commit money for war production. In response to this reality, Congress for the first time set aggregate levels of debt financing and granted the Treasury Department more freedom to move money where it was needed. It was the origin of what we know today as the debt ceiling, though specific issuances — for instance, Liberty Loans — still retained their own statutory limits.
Beginning in 1941 the system evolved further, when Congress passed the first of a series of Public Debt Acts that both raised (on several occasions) the overall debt ceiling and consolidated all borrowing authority under the Treasury Department. Going forward, different departments and agencies borrowed what they needed from Treasury, which in turn issued, managed and marketed debt within the statutory limit. It’s effectively how things work today. “
“In late August, Nephtalie and her husband, still waiting in Chiapas, began to hear a rumor spreading around the Haitian migrant population living across Mexico. From interviews this week with other migrants in Del Rio, and conversations with attorneys who have met with dozens more, it seems that many people had the same experience. The rumor went like this: First, information went around that, while most of the border was closed, U.S. immigration authorities were allowing people to cross and ask for asylum in Mexicali — on the border with Calexico, California — and in Acuña, the Mexican city across from Del Rio. (This was not true, but it spread like wildfire among people yearning for a glimmer of hope.) Second, the rumor said that Sept. 16 would be the best day to travel. That would be Mexico’s Independence Day, and migrants figured that the Mexican authorities, who have bowed to U.S. pressure to more stringently police immigrants in Mexico, would be preoccupied, allowing them to travel within the country unimpeded northward. Finally, the bus routes to Acuña were cheaper than to other spots along the border, like Mexicali. So, as el Día de la Independencia de México arrived, thousands of people who had heard the rumors — by word of mouth or on WhatsApp or on Haitian social media — began traveling to Acuña to cross into Del Rio.
When I asked one Haitian man at a gas station in Del Rio, “Why did you choose to cross from Acunã to Del Rio?” he replied: “Where is that?” Like many, he had probably simply followed others along what sounded like an opportunity to finally be accepted in the United States.
But the stakes of following such a rumor only to be faced with the reality of a closed border are tragic: Most of the Haitians in Del Rio today left Haiti years ago. Now, after traveling thousands of miles with the hope that they could eventually gain asylum in the U.S., many are instead being returned to the very island they fled.”
“Texas Republicans’ new congressional map shores up some two dozen of their incumbents while capitalizing on the GOP’s newfound appeal among Latino voters by creating two new pickup opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley.
The end result of the map proposed on Monday: It will likely give Republicans control of at least 24 of the state’s 38 congressional seats next November, with a good shot at one or two more.
Yet while it blunts Democrats’ suburban momentum by shredding up the purple areas around the state’s major cities — one Democratic incumbent lambasted “lines shaped like snakes, tentacles, and dragons” — the map should give Democrats between 12 and 14 of the seats, roughly the same as their current share.”