DML Morning Briefing ~ Tues. Oct. 4

Afghan refugees, Cheney, another state to ban gas vehicles, and more headlines…
By Anneta Griffee

Today is October 4. Below are some of the stories grabbing headlines this morning. I hope you share this briefing as doing so will make you the smartest person in the room.

1 – US government ‘struggled to track’ Afghan evacuees who departed military bases after withdrawal
Fox News reports: The U.S. government “struggled to track” Afghan evacuees who independently departed U.S. military bases designated as “safe havens” after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and did not attempt to locate those individuals to verify their compliance with parole conditions, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general found.

DHS led the interagency effort to support and resettle Afghan evacuees, and established the Unified Coordination Group (USG) to coordinate efforts to provide Afghan evacuees with temporary housing, vaccinations, a tuberculosis screening and immigration processing.

The UCG oversaw operations at eight safe havens, managed by DHS officials, along with representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of State and Department of Health and Human Services.

Under this program, all Afghan evacuees had U.S. citizenship, long-term immigration status, or received parole and “could depart ports of entry or safe havens and could choose to relocate without assistance from a resettlement agency.”

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari has been reviewing DHS’ efforts to track Afghan evacuees who independently departed safe havens and how independent departures affected evacuees’ immigration status.

Cuffari found that the UCG “struggled to track Afghan evacuees who independently departed U.S. military bases designated as ‘safe havens.’”

“In some instances, officials noticed that Afghan evacuees recorded as present at safe havens had already left,” the inspector general found.

Some Afghan evacuees also departed the safe havens “without completing medical requirements.”

Meanwhile, the inspector general, last month, found that DHS failed to properly vet and screen Afghan evacuees coming into the U.S. and may have allowed multiple national security and public safety threats into the U.S.

“As a result, DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities,” the report continued.

MY TAKE: And that’s EXACTLY what we knew was happening when they brought them over! If this had happened on Trump’s watch, the media would not stop talking about it, but this is Biden’s catastrophe, so they are silent.

2 – End of the road: NY will join California in BANNING sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035
The Daily Mail reports: New York is joining California in banning the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035, but how it plans to charge thousands of electric vehicles in a city that lacks private driveways and convince people to pay at least $20,000 more for a new plug-in still remains a mystery.

There are just 677 charging stations spread across the five boroughs and although the city is set to add 10,000 curbside chargers by 2030, it may not be enough to power the thousands that will be cruising around by 2030 – 68 percent of all new cars sold this year be electric.

Along with where people will charge their cars, comes the question of how they will afford one. Nearly 50 percent of residents are deemed middle class and 17.9 percent are low income, leaving just 35 percent of people who have a disposable income to spend thousands of dollars more on a new plug-in vehicle.

New York, however, offers electric car buyers the Drive Clean Rebate of up to $2,000 for new car purchases or leases, but this still may not be enough to tempt consumers into swapping out a cheaper gas guzzler for a more expensive vehicle.

MY TAKE: More insaity. You couldn’t PAY me to live in New York.

3 – Cheney on having liberal Democrats as supporters: ‘I’m not choosy these days’
The Hill reports: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Monday discussed her newfound support from liberal Democrats as she continues her crusade against former President Trump, saying she is “not choosy these days” about who is in her corner.

During an event at Syracuse University, Provost Gretchen Ritter asked Cheney, “As a lifelong Republican, how painful is it to have liberal Democrats in your fan club now?”

“I’m not choosy these days,” the Wyoming Republican responded, laughing herself and eliciting chuckles from the crowd.

Cheney has gotten praise from across the aisle in recent months, specifically after she criticized Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and voted to impeach him following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

MY TAKE: Liz, just go ahead and switch to the Democrat Party now. You’re not fooling anyone.

4 – Great Recession Redux: Housing Prices See Biggest Decline Since 2009 Housing Crash
The Washington Free Beacon reports: Median home prices in the United States fell 0.98 percent in August after falling 1.05 percent the month before, marking the largest monthly declines since the collapse of the 2000s U.S. housing bubble.

The declines in home prices, according to a Monday report from mortgage data monitor Black Knight, Inc., are among the most dramatic in U.S. history. The last time prices fell farther in a single month, according to Black Knight, was in January 2009, when the United States had just entered the Great Recession amid the collapse of home prices caused by high-risk subprime mortgage lending.

According to Black Knight, the falling prices in recent months are due to lower demand and a lack of enthusiasm among buyers as interest rates have risen. With high interest rates, homeowners are also more reluctant to put their property on the market for fear of letting go of their generous rates. Home prices are falling after a years-long period of dramatic inflation in prices, in which homes saw “a decade’s worth of appreciation in just two-and-a-half years,” Black Knight reports.

Even with home prices in decline, “housing remains historically unaffordable,” Black Knight said, at its worst point in 38 years. The monthly principal and interest payment on the median home is up $930—73 percent—since last year.

MY TAKE: 81 million people voted for THIS?

5 – Fairfax County schools implemented ‘equity grading’ to fight ‘bias’
The Washington Examiner reports: Officials with Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools have taken steps to implement so-called “equitable grading” at Langley High School and other schools across the district in a bid to fight “institutional bias,” according to internal FCPS communications.

The district’s emails, obtained by local parents through a Freedom of Information Act request and exclusively shared with the Washington Examiner, detail efforts by high school principals across the district, especially officials at Langley High School in recent months, to adopt “equitable grading” practices, including by using federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase a book for a teacher summer reading club titled Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms. The district and Langley administrators also denied the efforts were ongoing when a parent inquired.

The emails also revealed that efforts to implement “equitable grading” at all high schools under FCPS have been in motion for years, going back to 2015, with a notable acceleration in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools across the district remained closed well into the spring of 2021.

“Equitable grading” practices vary based on how the concept is implemented, but the primary stated goal of proponents is to combat “institutional bias” and eliminate racial disparities in grade outcomes through a variety of tactics. Among the least controversial is the removal of grade penalties for late assignments and the ability to retake or redo assignments, often on an unlimited basis.

But proponents of the novel grading practices also advocate the elimination of “zero grades” by using a 50-100 scale. Under that scale, a student cannot receive a grade lower than 50, even if the assignment was never submitted, thereby creating a much higher grade floor and enabling students to achieve passing grades more easily.

MY TAKE: Has everyone in the public school system totally lost their MIND?

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