Arne Duncan, the education secretary, just announced that he’s getting ready to waive No Child Left Behind requirements for states if they agree, as the New York Times put it, “to embrace President Obama’s education priorities, a formula the administration used last year in its signature education initiative, the Race to the Top grant competition.” Frederick Hess writes in Education Week:
So, let me get this straight. After barely convincing Congress to keep Race to the Top on life support, [Arne] Duncan is intent on unilaterally pushing his same pet priorities through the back door? He’s planning to offer regulatory relief only if states adopt reforms that are utterly absent in the relevant legislation? Facing backlash on the right and left over concerns that the administration coerced states to embrace test-driven teacher evaluation and the Common Core through Race to the Top, Duncan’s strategy is to double down? Well, no matter, I’m sure the Republican majority in the House will cheer Duncan’s enthusiastic willingness to lead. Or not…
The National Journal’s Fawn Johnson wrote, “President Obama has called for lawmakers to rewrite No Child Left Behind by the start of the new school year. Now he’s giving them the second warning before sending them to the principal’s office: Do your job or we’ll do it for you.” Now, I know the President is a Nobel Prize winner and all but, back when I was earning my Ph.D. in political science, I don’t remember anything that empowered the President to issue Congress legislative deadlines or usurp Congressional prerogatives if the administration’s timetable isn’t met. Sandy Kress, former Bush administration education adviser, observed, “I don’t get all the drama. It almost has the feel of a threat to Congress.”
At a time when Obama partisans are seeking to dismiss Tea Party critiques of administration moves on health care, auto bailouts, financial regulation, and the stimulus as conspiracy-minded lunacy, do they really not see that this is precisely the mindset that raises such hackles among critics? I’m curious whether any of the lawyers at ED tried to explain to Duncan that he’s not permitted to remake federal law on the fly, just because he and the President think it’s a good idea, or whether they’re cheerfully along for the ride. Continue Reading »
Truthout’s Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold report on new documents they exclusively obtained from a top counterterrorism official that, for the first time, reveals the existence of a secret Defense Department intelligence unit charged with tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda prior to 9/11, which knew that the terrorist group wanted to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But, the documents show, this information was “intentionally” withheld from Congressional investigators probing the 9/11 attacks.
The ubiquitous Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, nominal holder of millions of mortgages, does not have the right to foreclose on a mortgage in default or assign that right to anyone else if it does not hold the underlying promissory note, the Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled Friday.
“This Court is mindful of the impact that this decision may have on the mortgage industry in New York, and perhaps the nation,” Justice John M. Leventhal wrote for a unanimous panel in Bank of New York v. Silverberg, 17464/08.
“Nonetheless, the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property.” The opinion noted that MERS is involved in about 60 percent of the mortgages originated in the United States.
Holy shit, the rule of law still exists in America! Seriously, this is a BFD.