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The radical reform necessary to prepare California’s power system for the 21st century

The radical reform necessary to prepare California’s power system for the 21st century

California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the nation’s largest electric utility. It is also, at the moment, the nation’s least favorite, as the state suffers through a relentless succession of wildfires and blackouts. The latest blackout is over for now. The fires continue. In a series of posts on California’s mess, I have written…
Trump’s agreements in Central America could dismantle the asylum system as we know it

Trump’s agreements in Central America could dismantle the asylum system as we know it

The Trump administration has reached agreements with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that would require migrants on their way to the US to seek protections in those countries first, effectively cutting off their access to the American asylum system before they even reach the southern border. The terms permit the Trump administration to send migrants…
The Supreme Court has delivered a devastating blow to the US asylum system

The Supreme Court has delivered a devastating blow to the US asylum system

The US Supreme Court left the future of the US asylum system uncertain Wednesday night by allowing the Trump administration to proceed with its plan to bar most asylum seekers at the southern border while a lawsuit over the rule makes its way through the courts. The justices’ decision effectively reinstated a Trump administration rule…
Meek Mill’s decade-long probation showed how broken America’s justice system is

Meek Mill’s decade-long probation showed how broken America’s justice system is

In 2017, the imprisonment of Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill for minor probation violations served as a rallying cry for racial justice advocates and celebrities focused on the justice system’s treatment of African Americans. Nearly two years later, the 32-year-old rapper is finally free. On August 27, Mill agreed to plead guilty to possession of a…
The 70% marginal tax rate is only the beginning of a fair system

The 70% marginal tax rate is only the beginning of a fair system

There’s a wonderful clarity to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. Compare it to past Democratic or progressive efforts to nudge up taxes on the superwealthy, which inevitably became mired in complexity as they struggled to avoid violating an inexplicable promise never to…
Why fixing the US bail system is tricky

Why fixing the US bail system is tricky

Every day, nearly half a million Americans spend the night in jail even though they haven’t been convicted of anything. The reason? They can’t afford the cash bail a judge set during a pretrial hearing. Unlike wealthier defendants who can pay to retain their freedom while their case proceeds to trial, poor defendants remain behind…
California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job

California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job

California is regarded as a global leader on climate-change policy, having put in place some of the world’s most ambitious carbon-reduction targets. Most recently, it extended its landmark climate law from 2020 out through 2030, drawing international praise and signaling that the state would stay on the path of decarbonization. But now comes the hard…
The somewhat absurd controversy over Maine’s ranked choice voting system, explained

The somewhat absurd controversy over Maine’s ranked choice voting system, explained

The drama over America’s first ever ranked-choice federal election — Maine’s Second Congressional District — continues, with a hand recount beginning on Thursday at the request of losing Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin. It’s just the latest challenge to a new voting system that has withstood challenge after challenge, but this one could take as long…
Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system

Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system

In 2020, China will fully roll out its controversial social credit score. Under the system, both financial behaviors like “frivolous spending” and bad behaviors like lighting up in smoke-free zones can result in stiff consequences. Penalties include loss of employment and educational opportunities, as well as transportation restrictions. Those with high scores get perks, like…
How Russian money and influence slipped through cracks in the US legal system

How Russian money and influence slipped through cracks in the US legal system

Foreign influence was never supposed to be part of America’s elections. What is a democracy if not rule by a country’s own citizens? Sitting in offices in St. Petersburg, Russia, however, employees of the Internet Research Agency (IRA) had plenty of ideas about how to waltz past American legal and political safeguards to sow discord…

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