- Via The Atlantic: I Never Truly Understood Fox News Until Now.
- An opinion piece from the San Francisco Chronicle that intersects with a recent Open Forum conversation: The New York Times can’t stop doubling down on its dangerous obsession with trans people.
- Via the Tampa Bay Times: Florida is considering a ‘classical and Christian’ alternative to the SAT. Given the waning influence of standardized tests for college admissions, this may be less of an issue than it might initially suggest. Still, I am constantly struck that DeSantis’ war against “ideology” in education is so clearly driven by, well, ideology.
- A column from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Trump will return to the scene of his crime when he visits Ohio toxic train wreck.
Trump had been in office for less than a year when he moved to kill the 2015 rule change initiated by the Obama administration that would have required freight trains to upgrade the current braking technology that was developed in the 19th century for state-of-the-art electronic systems. In killing the rule, Trump bought the argument from lobbyists for Norfolk Southern and the rail industry that the upgrade would have cost them $3 billion — six times what the Obama administration found it would cost.
With the investigation into the East Palestine wreck still in its early phases, it’s not clear if the modern brakes — originally required for installation by 2021 — could have prevented the toxic derailment or whether the specific Obama rule would have applied. But experts do believe the new brakes could have mitigated the wreckage — and thus the release of so many hazardous chemicals. And the rule reversal wasn’t the only time that Team Trump sided with Big Rail over the forgotten Americans who live on the wrong side of their tracks.
In 2019, for example, the Trump administration moved to not strengthen but relax regulations on shipping fracked natural gas through communities like East Palestine. The same year, Trump’s White House also killed an Obama-era proposal that would have required two crew members in freight-train locomotives. It probably won’t shock you to learn that the men Trump appointed to run the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration had both been top executives in the lucrative freight industry.