Saturday midday open thread: Education Dept. gives up fighting Obama-era rule on for-profit schools

U.S. Fish & Wildlife doesn’t want walruses given “threatened” status due to retreating ice.

• What’s coming on Sunday Kos …

  • The leak of Dr. Ford’s letter wasn’t by Feinstein or Dems—it was most likely the White House, by Frank Vyan Walton
  • Laquan McDonald matters. So does the positive change his murder has sparked, by Ian Reifowitz
  • International Elections Digest: Brazil poised to elect far-right president who praises dictatorship, by Daily Kos Elections
  • Is the Blue Wave in the bag? Keep the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills in mind, by Egberto Willies
  • Donald Trump is America’s tax cheater-in-chief, by Jon Perr
  • It’s not about impeachment, it’s about the rule of law, by Laurence Lewis
  • Why it’s so hard to break the cycle of homelessness: An interview with Cincinnati Lytle camp members, by David Akadjian
  • 2018 voting gender gap is becoming an abyss, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • Don’t want to be called a bigot, don’t be a bigot, by Mark E Andersen
  • Dear Colin Kaepernick, #TakeAKnee—then stand up and lead your supporters to the polls, by Denise Oliver Velez

Environmentalists seek “threatened” status for walruses because of loss of ice, but Feds say no: In the past four decades—since 1981—scientists say an Arctic area the size of Texas has become unavailable to marine mammals by the end of summer because of dwindling ice. They’re adapting and the reduced ice hasn’t been shown to be a problem for them, says the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. But many environmentalists believe this is a serious matter for walruses. The Center for Biological Diversity is suing over the failure to give them protective “threatened’ status. This would require the government to designate critical habitat for walruses and also create plans for their recovery. Permits for offshore drilling, for instance, would have to be scrutinized for their impact on walruses. But last summer, the Interior and Commerce departments proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act that reduce protections for threatened plants and animals and limit the amount of habitat needed for the recovery of a species.

Education Dept. gives up fighting against Obama-era rule on for-profit schools: The rule would ban colleges from making students sign away their rights to sue, help some students get their loans discharged automatically, and make them eligible for forbearance in efforts to get loans discharged. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the rule is unfair to taxpayers and has other problems. She plans to come up with something she considers more balanced. Depending on what a judge says about a request by the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools for a delay in implementing the rule, it goes into effect in whole or part on Tuesday.

MIDDAY TWEET

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WalletHub lists what it labels America’s 10 greenest cities. San Diego comes in No. 1: The personal finance site made its choices based on 26 indicators in the nation’s 100 largest cities (based on the 2010 Census), everything from the percentage of electricity from renewable sources to the number of farmers markets. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted that the city’s Climate Action Plan that seeks by 2035 to cut 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions and get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. The other greenest cities: 2. San Francisco, CA; 3. Washington, DC4. Irvine, CA; 5. San Jose, CA; 6. Honolulu, HI; 7. Fremont, CA; 8. Seattle, WA; 9. Sacramento, CA; 10. Portland, OR. No. 100 on the the list was Gilbert, Arizona.

Congressional Leadership Fund passes over California incumbent Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters in funding TV broadcast ads: The CLF collects millions from the GOP’s biggest donors and is spending $12 million on four hotly contested races in the huge and hugely expensive southern California market. Rohrabacher is running against Harley Rouda in the 48th Congressional District; Walters is running against Katie Porter in the 4th CD. But, for now at least, CLF is only running ads on cable for 15-term Rohrabacher and two-term Walters while running broadcast ads for two-term Rep. Steve Knight, who is running against newcomer Katie Hill in the 25th CD, and Young Kim, who is running against Democrat Gil Cisneros in the 39th CD.

• Giving Voice to Big Tech’s Haves and Have Nots: With 45 interviews, Cary McClelland’s “Silicon City” examines the chasm between San Francisco’s gilded class and those left behind. 

McClelland, a filmmaker, writer, and lawyer, spent several years interviewing people in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 45 interviews that appear in the book — with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, advocates for the homeless, even a pawnbroker and a tattoo artist — examine a number of questions, chief among them: Can a city lose its soul?

• Osaka end its “sister city” relationship with San Francisco: The dispute is over a statue honoring “comfort women” the girls and women whom the Japanese war machine made sex slaves during World War II. In a 10-page letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said the monument singled out Japan, its inscriptions  “present uncertain and one-sided claims as historical facts,” and said sexual trafficking ought to “should consist of words equally applicable to all countries.” Lillian Sing, a retired Superior Court judge who co-chairs the “Comfort Women” Justice Coalition, told The San Francisco Chronicle: “We’re very saddened by his actions. It provides no leadership and no vision for the future except for his continued denial of history.”

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