Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)
Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.
“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading →
A new bill—passed by the House and being considered by the Senate—would provide billions of dollars in support for fossil fuel projects including fracking in Europe. (Photo: Wendy Shattil/Bob Rozinksi/Creative Commons)
More than 200 national climate action groups on Thursday demanded that the Senate stop the passage of a bill that would serve to keep both Europe and the U.S. dependent on fossil fuels for decades to come—as millions around the world have marched in recent months to demand that governments rapidly shift away from carbon-emitting energy sources.
Passed by the House in March, the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 (S. 704) would provide billions of dollars in support for natural gas infrastructure projects, propping up fossil fuel industries and leading to fracking projects in the U.S.—undercutting the goals of climate campaigners who are demanding that all industrialized countries move toward renewable energy systems. Continue reading →
Anti-Amazon demonstrators attended an Arlington County Board hearing Saturday to demand the board vote against $23 million in financial incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build a headquarters in Crystal City. (Photo: @hqpoo/Twitter)
Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.
The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services. Continue reading →
When people look at racial disparities in MN, they often hear about systemic racism – the systems, structures and policies that have lead us to where we are now – one of the worst places to live for African Americans.
To understand the systems in place that created and create such powerful momentum to grind down African American life in MN, you can look at the criminal justice system, you can look at the covenant system (which basically enacted Jim Crowism in the North, including in MN), you can look at lending practices, medical practices, education and much more. Continue reading →
Voters in Toledo, Ohio approved a measure to give Lake Erie a Bill of Rights, enabling residents to fight against polluters who violate the body of waters right to thrive naturally. (Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr/cc)
Tired of receiving notices warning that their drinking water may have been compromised and having little recourse to fight corporate polluters, voters in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure granting Lake Erie some of the same legal rights as a human being.
Sixty-one percent of voters in Tuesday’s special election voted in favor of Lake Erie’s Bill of Rights, which allows residents to take legal action against entities that violate the lake’s rights to “flourish and naturally evolve” without interference. Continue reading →
Common Cause called the Trump administration’s goal of including a citizenship status question on the 2020 U.S. census “an attempt to racially rig the census” last year. Photo: kidskunst.info
Civil liberties and immigration rights advocates are applauding a ruling decision by a federal judge New York on Tuesday after the court struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to insert a citizenship question in to the 2020 Census.
Ruling on a lawsuit filed by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), the ACLU, and other groups, U.S. District Judge Jess Furman said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census, acted illegally when he requested that the question be added. Continue reading →
“The more we learn about various issues affecting the human right to water in the U.S., including millions of residents having their water shut off because they can’t pay their bills, the more there is to be deeply concerned about,” said Maude Barlow, board chair of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)
When it comes to ensuring the human right to clean water, the United States has a long way to go.
That’s the thrust of a new letter (pdf) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as the body gets ready to review how the U.S. is faring in its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty seen as part of the “International Bill of Human Rights.” Continue reading →
President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly asked the Pentagon last year to draw up options to strike Iran. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)
Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, “a reckless advocate of military force,” the Wall Street Journalrevealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton “asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department.”
“It definitely rattled people,” a former U.S. official said of the request, which Bolton supposedly made after militants aligned with Iran fired mortars into the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, Iraq that contains the U.S. Embassy in early September. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.” Continue reading →
Blackwater military helicopter in Baghdad Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004. Wikicommons/U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best. Some rights reserved.
At the end of 2003 the United States-led war in Iraq was going badly wrong. It had started so well from the Pentagon’s perspective, as American troops entered Baghdad within weeks of launching the invasion in late March. The regime crumbled and a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled. The sitting president George W Bush soon delivered a triumphal speech in front of a banner declaring “mission accomplished”. Even then it looked premature. At that point, the quick victory Washington expected was already running into quicksands.
By mid-summer, a rapidly evolving urban insurgency was inflicting serious casualties among the coalition of international (mainly US and British) forces. Many of the latter were killed. But improvements in trauma care meant that six or seven times their number were now surviving previously fatal wounds – albeit with appalling, life-changing injuries: loss of limbs and other body parts, severe abdominal injuries, PTSD at an almost unbearable level. Continue reading →
Comedian Hasan Minhaj responded Wednesday to Netflix’s decision to take an episode of his show “Patriot Act” off its platform in Saudi Arabia after the government complained it was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo: @Complex/Twitter)
Taking advantage of the recent attention brought to his Netflix series “Patriot Act” by the Saudi government’s objection to an episode that criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, comedian Hasan Minhaj called on supporters to contribute to aid efforts in Yemen while mocking the prince’s insistence that the episode be banned in Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, on Saudi orders, Netflix removed from its Saudi platform a “Patriot Act” episode released shortly after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents—which the CIA concluded was ordered by bin Salman, often called MbS—because Minhaj discussed the need for the U.S. to cut ties with the Saudis in light of the murder. However, the episode remained on YouTube in the country and is still available on Netflix outside Saudi Arabia. Continue reading →