Obama announces plan for immigration reform
Thursday evening, President Obama made a nationally televised address to announce his plan to reform the US’s broken immigration system. In the absence of any immigration reform legislation from Congress, the president has decided to use executive actions (which do not need congressional approval) to do as much as possible to address the country’s biggest immigration problem: the millions of undocumented people living in the US illegally. His plan protects a specific group of unauthorised immigrants – parents who have lived in the US for at least five years and are themselves undocumented but have children who are legal residents – from deportation for a period of three years. It’s estimated that this is a group of around 4 million people. Obama also plans to expand an existing immigration program to include another roughly 300,000 people, bringing the total number of undocumented immigrants affected by this action to around 4.3 million.
Like in the UK, calling immigration a controversial issue in the US is an understatement. It’s one of the most contentious issues in American politics. Needless to say, President Obama’s Republican adversaries have not reacted well to this announcement, claiming it’s another example of him going too far with his executive powers.
Read and watch: A basic explanation of what Obama is about to do, via Vox.com.
Also, read: A quick outline of the best arguments for and against Obama taking executive action on immigration, also via Vox.com.
Shooting at Florida State University
It’s a story that’s become far too familiar: lone gunman enters school, opens fire, ends brutal attack by either killing themselves or being killed by the police. This past Thursday, in the hours of the early morning, a man entered the Strozier Library at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee and opened fire. The man – who’s been identified as Myron May, a graduate of FSU – shot and injured three students before he was killed by police in a shootout. Many students inside the library and recorded their experiences with cell phones, either by taking pictures or video. Understandably, the gun control lobby has reacted with outrage.
Take a look at: The chilling images, video, and texts from students inside the FSU library during the shooting, via Aljazeera.
Read: One of the many comment pieces advocating gun control legislation and criticising the National Rifle Association and its anti-gun control cohorts, via Slate.com.
Keystone XL fails in Senate
A vote to authorise the building of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline – a massive pipeline transporting crude tar sands oil from Alberta in Canada to the southern United States – just failed in the Senate, coming one vote short of the 60 needed to avoid a filibuster. The controversy surrounding Keystone is pretty simple: the left says it’s bad for the environment, the right says it’s good for the economy. But just because the left is generally opposed to Keystone, that doesn’t mean there aren’t Democrats who support it – in fact, there are quite a few of them. Conservative Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who’s facing a runoff election on 6th December, is trying to win that runoff by letting people know just how much she supports the pipeline. In reality though, this vote mattered very little. When the Republicans take over the Senate in January, they will easily pass the bill, at which point President Obama is expected to veto it.
Read: Is Keystone actually bad for the environment?, via The Atlantic.
Read: Why Democrats trying to use Keystone to help Mary Landrieu get re-elected is really, really stupid, via The Nation.
Watch: A rather amusing highlight reel of the debate over Keystone, featuring an array of senators acting very serious, via msnbc.com.
Preemptive State of Emergency declared in Ferguson, Missouri
Ahead of the grand jury annoucement of whether or not it will indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown back in August, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. He’s also called up National Guard troops to assist the local police, anticipating mass protests once the grand jury’s decision is made public. It looks like, once again, all eyes will be on Ferguson.
Watch: President Obama asking the people of Ferguson to stay peaceful in their protests once the announcement on whether or not Wilson will face criminal charges is made, via ABC News.
Read: On why Ferguson and Michael Brown is not just a racial, but also a feminist issue, via Think Progress.
The 8107th report on Benghazi came out and, once again, debunked the conspiracy theories
Another report, another reason to roll your eyes flamboyantly when someone starts to go on about the “Benghazi cover-up”. The House Intelligence Committee just declassified and released their report on the 11th September, 2012 attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that left the ambassador and three others dead. The report specifically refutes the allegations that the White House and CIA failed to respond to the attacks adequately and then tried to cover those failures up. Brutal tragedy? The report says yes. Gross incompetence followed by sinister cover-up? The report says no.
Read: If you’re all, “Benghazi? Eh?”, via Vox.com’s card stack.
Watch: The ever-colourful Congressman Huelskamp, in an interview with msnbc’s Rachel Maddow, perfectly illustrate the electricity of the right’s Benghazi conspiracy theory, via YouTube and msnbc.
Only in America: Guns for children
(Disclaimer: No, this is not satire. This is a real ad. Yes, you can actually buy these.)
Featured image credit: The White House