Here are a few topics that recently caught my attention:
- Student Debt Cancellation
- Arkansas State Senator
- MT House Bill 645
STUDENT DEBT CANCELLATION:
According to several reports, including THIS ONE from the Associated Press (AP), it looks like the conservative justices holding the Supreme Court’s majority seem ready to sink President Joe Biden’s plan to wipe away or reduce student loans held by millions of Americans.
Back in October, I wrote the following when a federal appeals court blocked the plan:
“I don’t have any student loans to forgive, but I am happy if people who do can get some relief. I saw a few comments praising the Appeals Court granting the administrative stay. These are bitter people who would have cheered the student debt plan if Trump had done it. They are probably uneducated.”
A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is expected in late June unless someone leaks it before then.
ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR:
I was born in northern Missouri and one of the jokes we told about our neighbors to the south in Arkansas was that they shopped in Missouri for their shoes because none were sold in their state.
It was a joke.
When doing research for this part of my column I could not remember all the information. I finally found what I was looking for when I searched for “Mike McKee” and “Penis.”
That, unfortunately, is not a joke.
McKee is a Republican state senator from Arkansas who made national news when he asked transgender pharmacist Gwendolyn Herzig if she has a penis as she testified against a proposed law to ban transition drugs and procedures for minors:
“You said that you’re a trans woman?” McKee asked Herzig. “Do you have a penis?” (Source)
I’m sure McKee will be receiving accolades from hate groups and his base of MAGA supporters in Arkansas for his shameful question.
It was a cheap shot that had nothing to do with the hearing.
An update to an issue that I wrote about yesterday…
Montana State House Bill 645 is a bill that would ban donors who have received the COVID-19 vaccination from donating blood. The bill will make it a misdemeanor with a $500 fine to donate or accept blood from vaccinated donors.
The good news is the bill died in committee by a vote of 19-1. (Source)
Every once in a while the Montana Legislature does something right. This is one of those times. (Source)
Lee Newspapers did a story about the bill HERE.
Student loan relief is something Congress can do if they choose to. The president doesn’t have that power. Just like the CDC didn’t have the power to halt evictions. Early on even Speaker Pelosi said it was up to congress to vote on student loans. I think it would be nice if Musk or Bezos would pay all the student loans.
I like that idea! Thanks Mary! -JmB
I oppose student debt forgiveness, and not because I am bitter or partisan. Debt forgiveness treats a painful symptom without addressing the root cause, which is that there are no sideboards to ensure that graduates are getting a worthwhile on their investment. I hear almost no one talking about the ROI of a degree, and that’s a problem.
I have a friend who spent 7-8 years getting a Masters in Spiritual Development at a seminary, graduating with $200K in debt, and THEN realizing that he would not be able to find a job in the church that could pay enough service the debt. In 2008, 6% of all graduates were getting a B.S. in Psychology, which (unless they went on to post-grad) gave some of the lowest career wages. It was both irresponsible of the students to not take a look at the cost/benefit, and gross negligence on the part of the institutions. The SEC requires investments to disclose their prospectus, but there is no requirement to make students aware of the expected total cost and career benefit of the biggest investment they will probably ever make.
So, I could be persuaded that negligent colleges should reimburse students for misleading them, but it would be far better to get to the root. It could be done at the state level. Require the Montana University System to disclose the costs to obtain a degree in any of their majors, and survey data of the wages of their alumni. We could potentially tap the DoR database to automatically collect that from alums who file taxes in Montana. Then, any student could look at a list of the degree programs around the state and have useful numbers to compare between their choice of, say, a B.A. in Fine Arts from UM, or a A.A. in Agriculture from Miles City, or a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MSU.
Tell me what’s wrong with this plan. The best anyone has given is, “You shouldn’t only go to college for money.” I don’t disagree, but I am convinced that it is negligence to not inform a student that their humanities degree will cost them $50K to complete, and open up jobs that pay $40K a year. If they want to do that and have a way to fund it, that’s awesome. But they might be more interested in engineering or computer science if they saw that it cost the same and opened up $80K/year jobs.
You make some good points. I seem to remember being informed by the university I was attending how much the total cost of what I was borrowing would cost me in interest. I don’t have any student loans now, but I can understand how some people feel about it considering billions was approved by Congress to help people during the pandemic. People like free stuff. Thanks for your comments. -JmB
Following up on your GF library story yesterday, I took a look at ECB and its gnashing and frothing stories on the issue.
The liars and damned liars there claim the YouTube video is proof the library “hosted” a drag queen story hour for kids and the bad library lady lied about it. If true, where exactly in the library is the couch and room shown in the video? And where are all the kids? As for their claim that the library is “hosting” the video? A YouTube video is by definition hosted at YouTube, duh.
So what it seems to boil down to is the library dared link or embed a YouTube video from its Facebook page, a video created by a local group for the library as part of a Pride week event a couple years back. The world is coming to an end.
(Note: The always self-aware ECB is now “hosting” and noisily publicizing the video in exactly the same fashion. Probably more publicity now than it ever got when it was new. On a website that all ages can access. Are those who run ECB groomers? If not they really should have an adults-only section for material like that.)
But it’s a nice shiny crib mobile bauble to distract easily distracted MAGAs while the “conservative” wolves they elected are down in Helena screwing them left and right: decimating renters’ rights (Galloway), ensuring they continue to pay ridiculously high electricity rates (Fitzpatrick), eliminating their public access options for hunting, fishing, and hiking (Kerns and Fitzpatrick), and etc. That’s what these culture wars issues of the week manufactured by Fox News & fellow running dogs are always about – giving cover to the R politicians working for big money vs the little guys with a hearty, “Hey! Look over there!”
My gosh – that was great commentary. Thank you! -JmB
The MAGAs would do well in their war on LBGT folks to remember the words of a great man and spiritual leader. But critical thinking is not their strong suit. It sounds too much like critical race theory.