The debt-ceiling fight has been the dominant story out of
Washington for weeks, and for the most part the White House hasn't looked too
good. But in the last few days, the administration has taken some serious steps
forward on other fronts.
It's official: Congress passed a debt-ceiling deal, and the president signed it. While this is certainly preferable to the
country defaulting on its obligations, it's not an
inspiring piece of legislation.
Some education reformers are trying to shift
the focus from test scores to the broader circumstances of children's
lives. One idea emphasizes schools as places where children connect with
the broader society.
political leaders fight about the federal budget and the debt ceiling, some
religious leaders are certain that the poor are in peril from funding cuts.
They've signed petitions, held vigils and sought audiences with legislators.
One group took the next step yesterday to get attention--a sit-down protest in
the Capitol rotunda.
A disturbing factor in the rash of police shootings of unarmed black people and of deaths in police custody is that many of the victims were apprehended for petty offenses. Sandra Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change, Samuel DuBose for a missing license plate, and Walter Scott for a busted taillight. A trend among municipalities is to issue fines as a means of generating revenue, and this onerous strategy falls disproportionately on people of color, many of whom are poor themselves. Not having the means to pay the fines can land them in jail, resulting in job loss and perpetuation of poverty—and increased distrust of law enforcement (Mother Jones, September/October).