A friend passed along a weekly newsletter she receives that skims and and reports on current events. The idea being that people are busy and cannot handle the amount of news generated content that comes at them each day. It’s far easier to have a digest of what happened during the week rather than a deep dive of every issue that comes across Twitter. My friend’s exact words were that I would do such a thing ‘so much better’. At first I was skeptical. I am always skeptical. Then I read what this so-called newsletter had to say about the current crisis between Israel and Hamas which was essentially reported as a squabble between two teenage girls as opposed to another round of serious conflict in an area that has been plagued by violence for hundreds of years. Conflict that has potential ramifications for the United States.
So, yeah, I think would be better at summarizing a few news stories of the week. At least better than a site that reacts to news out of the Middle East with nothing more than a shrug. Here goes:
1. The Middle East
I made a concerted effort to find the most unbiased reporting on the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. In my search I did reach out to friends that might have a bias towards one side or the other in hopes of finding something in the middle. The unfortunate reality is that everywhere you turn there is not only bias but half-truths and unhelpful and inaccurate reporting coming out of the Middle East. I do know that the United States remains an ally to Israel and its peace and prosperity remain crucial. The current round of violence comes after a failed attempt at Middle East peace talks and the subsequent kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens.
"Here we are again, for the we-lost-count time, dealing with a painfully familiar round of violence. As you read this article, Palestinians are bombing Israel with rockets and Israel is retaliating from air and sea. Israelis are running for cover in their shelters as sirens wail, and Palestinians in Gaza are dying in growing numbers. Israel is threatening to add a ground operation, and Hamas is vowing to open “the gates of hell” on Israel."
President Obama’s Op-Ed in Haaretz
"From Harry Truman through today, the United States has always been Israel’s greatest friend. As I’ve said time and again, neither I nor the United States will ever waver in our commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, and our support for peace will always remain a bedrock foundation of that commitment."
BBC’s Q&A on Israel-Gaza Violence
2. POTUS goes to Texas
Immigration has been a hot topic during this, the most unproductive session of Congress ever. It’s importance, however, seems to ebb and flow. Right now we are in a flow period as Congress prepares for recess and the upcoming midterm elections. We face a crisis on our own borders with hundreds of immigrant children - unaccompanied minors - from Central America overflowing already crowded holding facilities while awaiting legal status. The President has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding for more border patrol officers and judges to hasten the processing of the increased influx of children. Earlier this week President Obama paid a visit to Texas to discuss immigration in hopes of strengthening his appeal to Congress. During his speech in Austin, POTUS chided House leadership for not doing their jobs in trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform but making time to discuss potential impeachment.
"“I don’t have to run for office anymore, so I can just let it rip,” he said.
And rip he did, after days of Republicans beating him up for not doing anything on the border but refusing to pass the money to pay for what he wants to do on the border."
POTUS' full remarks
3. Educational Equity
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. It’s not news that it’s a failure but what continues to make headlines are the number of deadlines imposed on states and the federal government thanks to legislation passed in 2001. Given the lack of interest in reauthorization, the administration has turned to executive action over the years as a stop-gap measure to fix public education in this country. This week the US Department of Education launched a 50 State Education Strategy that would address on an oft forgotten section of NCLB that would require teacher equity.
Arne Duncan Unveils 50-State Teacher-Equity Strategy
"Under NCLB, which was signed into law in 2002, states were required to ensure that poor and minority students were not being taught by unqualified teachers at a higher rate than other students. But fewer than half of states have separate teacher-equity plans on file with the department. Most of those plans are at least several years old, and the Education Trust, a Washington-based organization that advocates for poor and minority kids, found them to be seriously lacking in this 2006 report."
4. Housing and Urban Development
San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro became the newest Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Secretary Castro is one half of the famed Castro brothers. His twin brother Joaquin is a member of the House of Representatives. via The Washington Post
5. The National Education Association makes history
The National Education Association made history last week during it’s annual Representative Assembly when it elected three women of color to lead the largest labor organization in the country. via BlogHer