Trump Wields Pardon Pen to Bully the System
President Donald Trump on Thursday pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author, commentator and filmmaker. He said he was considering commuting the sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, a Democrat, and that he was looking at the case of Martha Stewart, who spent five months in prison for lying about the timing of a stock sale. The president was focusing on cases where he argued that the justice system had unfairly treated celebrities, all convicted of crimes that in some ways mirrored charges that have been made or mentioned in connection with allies of Trump’s in recent weeks.
DeVos, Tired of a Stalled Congress, Clearing the Path to Reform
The top Republican on the Senate Education Committee effectively killed on Thursday all hope for an anticipated overhaul this year of the law governing the nation’s 4,000 colleges and universities, paving the way for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to wield her deregulatory power. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said that the Senate would not produce promised higher education legislation this year, and blamed Democrats for the delay. DeVos' agenda includes revisions to key academic measurements in the existing law, as well as changes to eligibility requirements for nontraditional programs.
EPA Takes a Major Step to Roll Back Clean Car Rules
The Trump administration took a major step toward dramatically weakening an Obama-era rule designed to cut pollution from vehicle tailpipes, setting the stage for a legal clash with California that could split the nation’s auto market in two. The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday submitted its proposal to roll back rules that required automakers to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The rules were opposed by automakers. The proposed Trump rule could lead to two separate sets of fuel economy regulations.
Sergeant Sues Defense Dept. Over ‘Outdated’ HIV Policies
Army Sgt. Nick Harrison learned he was infected with HIV six years ago, but the once fatal diagnosis has barely changed his routine at work or at home because he keeps the virus in check with a once-a-day pill. The only thing HIV crippled was his career. Policies crafted in the 1980s allow troops who contract the disease to stay as long as they remain otherwise healthy, but bars them from deploying. Harrison, who served 18 years in the Army and National Guard, arguing that the HIV policies are outdated and discriminatory and have cost him a promotion to captain.
U.S. Oversight of City Housing Is Seen in Deal
New York City would be forced to spend at least $1 billion and accept a federal monitor to oversee its public housing system, as part of a settlement being finalized with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. The settlement would bring an end to the federal government’s investigation into conditions at the New York City Housing Authority, which has $17 billion in unmet capital needs. Two major requirements of the settlement had been agreed upon: the court-appointed federal monitor; and the $1 billion, which would be spread over four years and go toward repairs to NYCHA.
Protesters Block Google Buses in San Francisco, Citing ‘Techsploitation’
Anti-Google protesters blocked at least a dozen private buses for tech industry workers Thursday morning in their first significant demonstration in San Francisco in several years. About 15 activists clad in white Tyvek coveralls dumped scooters in front of the buses at an intersection in the Mission District, a formerly low-income, mostly Latino neighborhood whose rents are now punishing. The scooters, owned by tech startups who see the ride-sharing company Uber as a role model, have become the latest flashpoint in the simmering anger against the tech industry in its hometown.
Disability and Civil Rights Groups Sue DeVos Over Investigation Rollbacks
Three national civil rights organizations sued the Education Department on Thursday over new procedures that allow it to dismiss complaints. The National Federation of the Blind, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said the department was “arbitrary and capricious” in making revisions to its case-processing manual without giving the public notice, an explanation or a chance to comment. The organizations also charged that the changes were unlawful and undermined the agency’s statutory obligation to investigate any complaint when there was reason to believe a civil rights violation had occurred.
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