🇺🇸 To Forgive, or Not To Forgive

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The Flag


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🐘 Tuesday, February 28, 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination: Trump 55, DeSantis 25, Pence 8, Haley 5, Rubio, Pompeo 1, Cheney, Cruz, Noem 1, T. Scott (Emerson)

🐘 Tuesday, February 28, General Election: Trump vs. Biden: Trump 46, Biden 42 (Emerson)

🐎 Tuesday, February 28, General Election: DeSantis vs. Biden: Biden 44, DeSantis 40 (Emerson)

🐎 Tuesday, February 28, General Election: Haley vs. Biden: Biden 40, Haley 37 (Emerson)


Left: Ron DeSantis Wants to Make Transporting Migrants a Felony Isabela Dias, Mother Jones

Left: Experts stunned after court filing reveals Murdoch passed confidential info to Kushner Gabriella Ferrigine, Salon

Left: New York Republican Calls For George Santos' Expulsion From Congress Marita Vlachou, HuffPost

Right: Struggling Lori Lightfoot suggests Time Magazine is racist for not featuring her on cover Gabriel Hays, Fox News

Right: Audit will determine whether Pete Buttigieg improperly flew around on private jets at taxpayers' expense Joseph MacKinnon, Blaze Media

Right: The Only Thing Conspiratorial About The Covid Lab-Leak Theory Was Media’s Coordinated Dismissal Of It Shawn Fleetwood, The Federalist


Level the Playing Field

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Windy City Runoff, 9/11 Funding in Focus, UN Reports on Uranium

US: Chicago Mayoral Election: ‘Sluggish' Voter Turnout, Preparations for a Runoff and More (NBC 5)

World: Drones fly deep inside Russia; Putin orders border tightened (AP)

US: EPAs, DeWine sued over claims of safety after East Palestine derailment (WFMJ)

US: Disney World's special status dealt another blow by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (NPR)

US: Lawmakers push for more 9/11 health care funding (PIX 11)

Business: Elon Musk overstated Tesla’s autopilot and self-driving tech, new lawsuit says (The Guardian)

Weather: Coast-to-coast storm set to follow early week snowstorm in the Northeast (NBC News)

World: UN report: Uranium particles enriched to 83.7% found in Iran (Yahoo)


To Forgive, or Not To Forgive

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program. First announced in August of last year, two lawsuits challenged the move, and have since made their way to the nation’s highest court.

Reporting from the Right: Exclusive—Alfredo Ortiz: Minorities Should Support Blocking Biden’s Student Loan Bailout (Breitbart)

Reporting from the Left: Supreme Court student loan case: The arguments explained (ABC News)

From the Flag: The White House says it believes that it has the legal authority to cancel student loan debt, but those opposed to the plan call it unconstitutional. We’ve examined the issue before. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in June. Here’s the latest from both sides.


The Biden Administration Is Within Its Rights, but How Will Conservative Court Rule?

  • The Heroes Act plainly authorizes Congress to cancel student loan programs, in accordance with an emergency.
  • This is an important litmus test for the Supreme Court and how it views the ability of states to challenge certain policies.
  • Increased undergraduate degrees were supposed to raise prosperity and reduce economic inequality: this debate proves otherwise.

Can Biden legally cancel student debt? There’s no question.” George Miller, Washington Post Opinion: “During my time in Congress, I co-sponsored the Heroes Act of 2003, as well as a 2007 law making the act permanent. As I explained in my own brief in the case, the student debt relief plan is clearly authorized by the Heroes Act. A look at the text and history of the law makes that clear. The Heroes Act gives the education secretary the authority to ‘waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision’ regarding federal student-loan programs as he or she ‘deems necessary in connection with a . . . national emergency.’ … By giving officials the authority to ‘waive’ those requirements in connection with a national emergency, Congress empowered officials to say that those requirements no longer apply — that borrowers no longer need to pay off the debt they owe.”

The Supreme Court’s student loans case is about more than student loans” Ariane de Vogue, CNN: “President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program (will) affect the finances of millions of Americans. Critics, including the Republican-led states that have sued, say the initiative amounts to an unlawful attempt to erase an estimated $430 billion of federal student-loan debt under the guise of the pandemic. But the legal impact could go well beyond the fate of the program. While most of the attention so far is focused on whether the Department of Education exceeded its authority… some court watchers are focused on an equally important procedural issue… whether the red states behind the challenge have the legal right, or ‘standing’ to bring the dispute in the first place. … Simply disagreeing with a policy is not enough. … the issue is of critical importance now, especially as Republican-led states feel they have an advantage with the court’s 6-3 conservative majority.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: The Broken Promise of “College for Everyone” Schneider & Berkshire, The New Republic


This Should Be Pretty Straight Forward for the Supreme Court

  • The laws governing federal student loan programs clearly establish that the borrower must pay back what they owe.
  • First the court must decide if the plaintiffs in each lawsuit have standing to sue, and then they can evaluate the merits of the case.
  • There’s a reason President Biden hasn’t discussed the student loan forgiveness plan lately: he knows it’s a bust.

Biden Doesn’t Have the Power to Cancel Student Debt” Bennett, Alexander, Paige, Spellings & DeVos, Wall Street Journal Opinion: “It’s clear Congress intended student loans to be just that: loans, not grants. Every law on the books governing the program affirms that intent, from establishing different repayment options to gauging a school’s eligibility to participate in the loan program by the percentage of its graduates who are repaying their loans. … President Biden even publicly doubted his own authority to cancel large amounts of student loan debt, stating, ‘I don’t think I have the authority to do it.’ Nothing changed before Aug. 24, 2022, when President Biden announced his debt cancellation plan. … For mass student loan cancellation to occur, Congress must have both authorized such an action and appropriated taxpayer funds to cover the costs. Since neither happened, the Justices’ decision in this case should be pretty straightforward to render.”

What you need to know about Tuesday’s student-debt relief Supreme Court showdown” Jillian Berman, MarketWatch: “If the court finds that the parties in both cases don’t have standing to sue, then the Biden administration’s debt relief plan would remain in place… If, however, the justices do find the plaintiffs have the right to sue then they can consider the merits of the case or whether the law gives the Biden administration the power to cancel student debt. The government has said the HEROES Act — a 2003 law meant to protect student loan borrowers from the impacts of natural disasters and national emergencies — authorizes the Secretary of Education to cancel student debt to ensure borrowers aren’t left financially worse off from the pandemic. The parties challenging the policy have argued that Congress didn’t authorize mass student debt cancellation when it passed the law.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Biden knows his student loan handout is such a loser, he wouldn’t even talk about it Elaine Parker, Fox News


Support for Debt Forgiveness Overall, With Clear Partisan Divide

Polling conducted last year showed Americans support the debt cancellation plan overall, with 51% in favor, and 39% opposed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 8 in 10 respondents that currently have student loans support their cancellation.

Democrats overwhelmingly back debt cancellation, with 80% in favor and just 14% opposed.

Republicans are largely opposed (71%) while just under a quarter (23%) support the idea.

Independents are nearly evenly split at 44% in favor, and 42% opposed (Economist/YouGov).

An earlier poll found 59% worry student loan forgiveness will make inflation worse (NBC/Momentive).


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Mantle Retires, Colonial Slang, Rat-Free Status

Mickey Mantle on the cover of Time (June 15, 1953)

On This Day in 1969: Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle announced his retirement from baseball. Mantle was an idol to millions, known for his remarkable power and speed and his everyman personality. 

Mental Floss: 14 Colonial-Era Slang Terms to Work Into Modern Conversation

Lifehacker: Help Your Teenager Start Building Good Credit Before They’re an Adult

WIRED: Yes, Lab-Grown Meat Is Vegan

Today I Learned the Canadian province of Alberta is one of only 3 places on the planet considered rat-free. There is no resident population of rats.