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August 2022

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Eytan Shander: Best bets for Penn State and Temple in college football’s Week 1


Welcome to college football.

Some of you are all too familiar with the feels and smells of the game, the variance and talent gaps that play out on the field, not to mention the tradition that’s carried into every season. I’ll spare you the sanctimonious nonsense about how the college game is “pure” and how it’s just easier to watch kids than professional kids.

College football is a feeder league that sends its best and brightest on to the biggest sports platform in the country. Even those who don’t make it to the next level are playing at a current level that’s above anything else we have. The NFL, then college football, then your Turkey Bowl Tackle Football game.

Apologies to my brother-in-law Chris or the legendary Brian Westbrook, as we will bypass Drexel and Villanova, respectively. Instead, there is a great equalizer for all of you who refused to acknowledge the hunger and passion for college football in Philadelphia – the bet. Even if you aren’t even watching the games to hanging on every second of Temple Football like Harry Mayes, we have some serious value on the board with both Penn State and the Owls.

How to Bet Penn State at Purdue

James Franklin gets to open a difficult schedule on the road, against a conference opponent, and one more year of Sean Clifford. There’s good reason to why the Nittany Lions are only laying -3.5 on the road, but it’s still on the wrong side of 3, a key number in margin of victory. Clifford looked shaky at best last year and just him coming back instills little confidence. The offense still needs to play turnover-free football in order to allow the defense to narrow the gap.

The Penn State offense is more talented than the Purdue unit, on raw talent alone, but it might take some time for everyone to adjust playing with Clifford. It should come as no surprise to see Franklin’s team struggle to move the football down the field, partly because of Purdue’s pressure, the other part due to unforced errors.

The Boilermakers return Aidan O’Connell — one of just two Big Ten quarterbacks to average over 300 passing yards per game. The Purdue offense can still move the ball in a hurry despite Penn State’s ability to pressure.

The line initially opened Penn State -4 and has since moved to -3.5. The Boilermakers have one of the strongest arms in the conference and can play out of any jam or hole. It’s worth playing the home team getting a hook — or +3.5 points.

BEST BET – PURDUE +3.5

How to Bet Temple at Duke

This one is a little different because while Temple is on the wrong side of another key number — seven — it still is a large enough number to provide value. The argument here with Temple is that there’s less than 6.5 points difference between the Owls and Duke, and therefore it’s a plus value bet. 

Stan Drayton should have his team focused in this game with a realistic opportunity to steal this game outright. D’Wan Mathis returns as the incumbent starter and can stretch the field with a decent amount of time. Injuries eventually shut him down for a second time last year, but if healthy, he poses a threat to this Devils defense.

The key difference here that may not be entirely baked into the line is returning talent. Temple wasn’t great last year, but does return a lot of starters on both sides of the ball. Duke is not only replacing a bunch of players at key positions, but also has a new head coach.

There are a couple of ways to take advantage of an inevitable slow start by the Blue Devils, but the best bet is just tailing the points. You can hear more about this game and Temple’s win total from Harry Mayes on the PhillyVoice Sports Bets Show:

BEST BET – TEMPLE +6.5

BEST BET – TEMPLE/DUKE Halftime/Fulltime (+700 FoxBet)


Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.)

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

For more conversation on this piece and others from Eytan Shander, join him on the Chalkboard App here – There are pinned conversations on all of Shander’s columns from PhillyVoice!





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Sports

3 takeaways from the Braves clubhouse after Tuesday’s loss to Rockies


Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried Colorado Rockies

Aug 30, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) looks on from the dugout against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After being unable to offensively produce in two critical innings at home against the Colorado Rockies, the Atlanta Braves missed a golden opportunity to pick up a game in the National League East standings.

The Atlanta Braves had a chance to make a statement in the first inning as a six-game homestand opened with a matchup against the Colorado Rockies. However, the Braves couldn’t push a run across the plate, and the missed opportunity would come back to haunt them in a 3-2 loss.

Coupled with a 4-3 win by the Los Angeles Dodgers over the New York Mets, the Braves are still 3.0 games behind the Mets in the National League East.

Here are 3 takeaways from inside the Atlanta Braves clubhouse after a close defeat to Colorado Rockies

1. Missed opportunities

After Colorado starter Jose Ureña surrendered nine hits and nine runs in a home loss to the Texas Rangers on August 24, the Rockies right-hander looked to be on the ropes against the Braves. In the first inning, Ureña had an error and two walks loading the bases for Atlanta with only one out. However, after a mound visit, Ureña settled down and struck out Travis d’Arnuad and Eddie Rosario to close out the frame.

The same could be said in the eighth inning, when the Braves drew two walks but couldn’t get the tying run home. Rockies reliever Carlos Estévez worked his way around the walks to strike out the side.

“We had the starter on the ropes a couple of times and couldn’t get a big hit, and then they got into their bullpen,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after the loss. “They’ve got some really good arms down there.”



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Entertainment

Obsessing over oxymorons – INNFINITY


oxymoron

A figure of speech so intriguing in both name and concept, so much so that the effect of it manifests as an irony, overriding as it does at times the very crux of the concept to thereby come to rest even truer in its essence, an oxymoron is essentially a way of the literary to establish through yet another means the power that the most cleverly curated words can yield on even the most unshaken of minds. Amusing for sure in their premise of bringing together completely opposing concepts and in such capacity that evokes awe indeed in the very potency of how they span out as, these oft employed devices of literature happen to be one of the most glaring examples of themselves. Being in itself an oxymoron, conveying thus in all absoluteness its own exact meaning, this indeed is one of the most fascinating mediums of word building and language playing that delivers every time its intended effect in supreme accuracy.

The origins of the oxymoron are a bit disappointing in discovery, as far as the first ever examples of it or the ‘proponent’ of them are concerned. But rather clear is the etymology of it, and so is it distinct as embodying of a characteristic that identifies as being autological. That is what we meant when we alluded to the word oxymoron being itself imbued in that essence of the figure of speech that it is, standing for itself in absolute surety. As far as its development as a word goes, the identity is one spanning across considerable a length of time in existence, having been first recorded in the 4th century by Latin grammarian Maurus Servius Honoratus. The form it took back then was the Latinized Greek oxymōrum derived from oksús meaning “sharp, keen, pointed” and mōros meaning “dull, stupid, foolish”. Translating therefore quite literally as sharply dull or pointedly foolish, the word oxymoron outshines itself as the perfect example of itself, acquiring thus a character so steeped in individuality that makes it even more enigmatic a rendition of the grammatical kind.

The modern day assuming of literal shape by the word oxymoron though can be attributed only to the 17th century, sometime in the 1650s when it bore essence as an English elocution as well even as a more general meaning in contradiction came to characterise the premises of it in much expansion during the 20th century. It had been precisely the years of 1657 and 1902 respectively when these two events of significance came to characterise the oxymoron in how it is understood today. The generality availed out of the latter definition might prevail fairly prominently even today but insert in an impeccably well fitting oxymoron in the scheme of things of what identify as literature and the rhetoric of its working is more than evident in the sheer drama that it creates.

But while the superfluence of oxymorons might seem to be one of a deliberate build into the lexical structure, particularly when compared and/ or contrasted with other literary devices of paradox or irony with whom the oxymoron tends to be very commonly confused as well, it is this very wry humor essentially embedded in the oxymoronic expanse that makes it stand out as a more appealing way to have with words. To begin with, oxymoron classifies more as a figure of speech than it does as a literary device which is somewhat conflicting an idea in itself since the effect of oxymorons are most profound in their employing in that latter capacity. That however does not make these clever indeed conjuring of words any less effective in even their passing mentions.

The oxymoron tends to be simpler and more apparent as well in its relaying of meaning which is why it perhaps command a popularity in usage not necessarily confined within the conflicting again restrictions of the elaborate space upon which literature dwells as an artistic identity. But most of all oxymorons play upon this simplicity by being a word as full of itself as can be, which is to say in positive terms as being a definite word over an abstract idea. Across all of its assuming of amusing authority though, one thing is certain oxymorons all over tend to be hardcore representations of what they actually are. No play in deception, just wit not also excessively exalted so that it becomes a device indeed of more fun and intrigue. That, considered in the added dimension in oxymorons being figuratively true and literally untrue makes this play of the words all the more consequential in their outcome.

The appeal of an oxymoron lies in the nonsensical way it makes sense, asserting yet again the duality embedded in its character of being each of the opposites it refers to. As wordplay indeed of a kind grammatically conscious, an oxymoron is a definite entailing out of the intention in banter but even in that singular rendition of it, the oxymoron never ceases to be conflicting in itself, mostly at least if not always. Occurring more commonly as a pair of words rather than as a single one, even when more than enough exceptions exist of the latter kind- again almost an oxymoron in being not the norm yet prevailing in quite common encounter of them, the essence of the oxymoron refuses to leave even one strand of its being unattended.

Residing across every single element of what sums up the oxymoronic identity is an unmissable something that makes it an idea that drives everyone to fascination of whatever degree. Even in their regular chancing upon across pages- whether of the plant or of the web, in sometimes deliberateness otherwise natural indeed, even the most overused of oxymorons do not tend so much to gravitate towards that zone of the deigned cliché, managing to retain their potential even in the face of continuous use- and abuse. For indeed, the very nature of the oxymoron is such that leads it to assert as a whatever always striking in deliverance and dramatic indeed in unfurling.

Drawing upon this range of the many mavericks that oxymorons stand for- never subtle but seldom overbearing as well, they call upon themselves a command that rarely fails to reveal in amusement. And that exactly is why the forever conniving ideals of the literary that seek to employ as many devices of never direct allusions to emphasise indeed its genesis as a creative culture not everyone can proudly claim to indulge in make so much a fuss over the oxymoron wonder. Oxymorons are inherently clever as well; unless one pays close attention it is easy to pass of carefully thought out oxymorons as not any specific ploy employed to induce exactly what one desires to- something that it does still irrespective of whether one acknowledges its flair or not. In fact so common are some of these oxymoronic renditions in ideas of everyday reference that one could be excused indeed for not always allowing this figure of speech the applause it deserves.

‘A paradox with a point’ that what the oxymoron had been in its historical outlining means that in a rather fair number of cases the lexical meaning of the more common phrase or the rarer word holds as well. Bittersweet perhaps is the most distinctive citing in this regard since for some reason the word seems to command first importance when it comes to exampling an oxymoron. Other equally adept mutterings that claim utmost allegiance to the oxymoronic phenomenon are such commonplace encounters of say an open secret or an original copy or no choice or deafening silence as well as the very gracious sounding good grief or the odds of making an exact estimate and the many a silent screams and pretty uglys and working vacations and unbiased opinions that we encounter of and for ourselves.

Cases of deliberate mismatches sought to be worked out as farcical realities assert as something like civil war or even more assertively as honest politicians or business ethics or even the very United Nations itself and of course the most classic of them all being the purported reality of happily married, devised to bear such influence alluding to the oxymoronic identity that classifies more definitely also as oh the irony or in notions of the paradoxical, making thus the ambiguity prevail and the confusion intensify as to which exactly is what. Susceptible therefore to be massively misunderstood even when one ekes them out of rather clear reasoning is the oxymoron that dwells somewhere in between the ends of the skewed logic and a reasonable irrationality or hinges more frequently on the extremes of them so as to oscillate in its staying true to each of the idea it represents literally and that which does it up figuratively, summing up hence a concept eternal in its dwelling in some clear confusion to deliver some humor in all seriousness for doing humankind some divine good.





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Business

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Failures Did Not Go Deep Enough


Mikhail Gorbachev failed at everything he tried as the Soviet Union’s last leader. The state he led could only change the world for the better by failing — and it did. But, alas, not for long.

I will never forget the moment in August 1991 when — at 19 years old, slightly stoned and very much in love — I watched the statue of KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky tumble in Moscow. This was on Gorbachev’s watch. Many of my German neighbors know exactly where they were when the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 — also on Gorbachev’s watch. But I have never felt any kind of debt to the fumbling last emperor of the doomed Soviet empire. It was we — we Russians and Germans and Lithuanians and Ukrainians and Poles and Georgians and many others — who created those inspiring moments out of our utter misery. Our generation across much of Europe and Asia were lucky he lacked Vladimir Putin’s evil efficiency. I still believe we would have prevailed even if he did.

However, the fact that we couldn’t hold on to what we won is our responsibility, too. We have wasted Gorbachev’s legacy of beneficial failure. 

This is going to be somewhat of a harrowing obituary.

Gorbachev’s entire record atop the Soviet hierarchy was that of a flailing, clueless loser, always one step behind the times. He started out as Communist Party leader in 1985 with a campaign to eradicate drunkenness, which created endless lines for vodka and ruined winemaking in Moldova for decades to come because vines were mowed down. Russians only drank more and more as the Soviet economy collapsed.

Gorbachev launched an economic “acceleration” drive that sank like a lead balloon because it stopped well short of embracing capitalism. He thought he was bringing Communism closer to the people rather than dismantling it. In a memoir, Gorbachev quoted his own notes from 1985: “The current propaganda of Marxism is boring, young people are losing interest… If we want new policies to gain support, we need to restore faith in Socialist ideals.”

Shortages were atrocious. I remember a year without toilet paper in Moscow, the capital. While growing up in Siberia, my wife doesn’t recall using anything but smeary newsprint for hygiene. Store shelves emptied of everything but three-liter jars of sweetened birch sap.

Nothing worked. Amid the economic mismanagement, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant blew up in 1986; and Gorbachev, the originator of — that is, his policy of “openness” —waited 18 days to address the nation about it, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to be exposed to the fallout.

Gorbachev permitted more media freedom. As a result, the whole country was soon reading and hearing on TV about previous crimes of a regime that refused to prosecute the perpetrators, many of whom were still alive as honored retirees.

When people in the former Soviet republics began rebelling and demanding independence, he — to put it generously — did little to prevent bloody crackdowns, even if there’s no clear evidence that he ordered them himself. As early as 1986, nationalist protests in Almaty, Kazakhstan, were put down with a massive show of force. Two of the protesters received death sentences.

In April, 1991, the Soviet military killed 21 protesters and wounded hundreds more in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Jumber Patiashvili, who headed the Communist Party in Georgia at the time, would later accuse Gorbachev of sending in the troops.

People were killed as they protested in Dushanbe, Baku and Riga. In January 2022, relatives of four of the 14 people killed by Soviet paratroopers during the January 1991 storming of the TV tower in Vilnius sued Gorbachev for damages in a Lithuania court. Again, there’s no direct evidence that he personally ordered the military intervention, and he denied it. But he is on record demanding that the Soviet-occupied Baltic nation give up its independence drive; and he had ordered an economic blockade of Lithuania that preceded the military action.In 1990, Gorbachev, apparently alarmed by what he had unleashed, began rolling back the media liberalization. He appointed hardliners to key positions, from TV chief to interior minister. Many of these would depose him in the failed August 1991 coup. Still upon being reinstated by his arch-enemy, Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev would fail to hold on to power. He finally witnessed the Soviet Union’s demise.

He didn’t just fail as an autocrat, squandering the near-unlimited power handed to him as party boss; he also failed as a politician, despite his penchant for unscripted speeches and mixing with people in public squares. When he tried to run for president of Russia in 1996 — in an election that was free but not exactly fair and that returned Yeltsin to the Kremlin for a second term — he won 0.51% of the vote.

Gorbachev won praise in the West as a highly pliable negotiator on international affairs. He will be forever remembered as the man who played the biggest role in making German reunification possible. His quote — “Dangers lurk for those who do not respond to life’s demands” — graces the subway station next to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. But he failed to secure anything for the Soviet Union besides paltry economic aid. The dying colossus burned through those funds in a matter of months. That’s contributed to the nationalist resentment at the heart of Russia’s current imperialist resurgence.

Vladimir Putin has explicitly blamed Gorbachev for not getting a written promise from the US not to expand NATO. He’s also blamed him, implicitly, for the Soviet Union’s breakup. But Gorbachev regretted the demise of the USSR as much as Putin does. Though he had his disagreements with Putin, whom he deemed too illiberal, Gorbachev said as late as 2019 that he considered Putin “faithful to democracy.”

Gorbachev’s declining health prevented him from speaking publicly in recent months: There are no direct Gorbachev remarks on Putin’s Ukraine invasion. A long-time Gorbachev friend, Alexei Venediktov, has said the last Soviet leader was “disappointed.” But in 2015, he defended the annexation of Crimea. He remained confused about the meaning of his own legacy.

Gorbachev gets credit for not cracking down harder when he still had the chance — as well as for “ending the cold war.” These plaudits, however, deny agency to the people of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites — or, to use a contemporary framing, Russia and its colonies — who rebelled against a rotten system that was oppressing and beggaring them. On Feb. 4, 1990, a million people took to the streets of Moscow to protest against the one-party system; no police force could have dispelled that crowd. I know, I was part of it. Nor could even the cruelest crackdowns — the one in Tbilisi was ruthless — stop the passion for independence. Had Putin, not Gorbachev, presided over the state apparatus, he likely would have been as helpless.

Putin has learned from Gorbachev’s mistakes, of course. His rollback of Russia’s freedoms and his return to imperialist aspirations was gradual, almost stealthy, and quietly consistent. He never dropped the ball where Gorbachev couldn’t help fumbling it. Gorbachev used to argue that a new, freer generation has grown up since the Soviet Union’s end; but, for all the hopes invested in it, this generation has been unable to put up anything like the unyielding resistance I was a part of in the Gorbachev era.

There is one thing I will miss about Gorbachev. He was so bad at leading an evil empire because he was too obviously human. He was carelessly emotional, incapable of keeping a poker face and — amazingly for a career party functionary — blind to intrigue. Breaking with a long tradition, he didn’t hide his love and admiration for his wife Raisa — and later his grief at her death. Darth Vader wore armor; not Gorbachev. Most contemporary leaders lack this natural humanity — not just Putin. It’s a hindrance to political efficiency, of course. But it is perhaps why Gorbachev’s attempt to hold together a malevolent enterprise failed.

More From Other Writers at Bloomberg Opinion:

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Leonid Bershidsky, formerly Bloomberg Opinion’s Europe columnist, is a member of the Bloomberg News Automation Team. He recently published Russian translations of George Orwell’s “1984” and Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.”





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Technology

The next big market opportunity for micromobility is commercial, not consumer – TechCrunch


Drones, sidewalk robots and autonomous vehicles are being touted as some of the next big movers in the last-mile delivery space, but what of the humble bicycle?

Global logistics and delivery companies like UPS, FedEx and Amazon have all begun trialing some form of electric bike or cargo bike for delivery. At the same time, startups are cropping up to provide both fleets of micromobility vehicles for enterprises and e-bike subscriptions for couriers and gig workers.

As last-mile delivery increases due to a booming e-commerce scene and pandemic habits now ingrained in consumers’ lifestyles, the biggest market for micromobility will end up being in the commercial space, not focused on consumers.

“It makes little sense to deliver an iPhone or a poke bowl in a Buick,” Nate Jaret, general partner at Maniv Mobility, an Israeli VC that specializes in early-stage mobility companies, told TechCrunch. “Given the right tool, couriers can work faster and get better paid – and electric two- and three-wheelers are increasingly the right tool.”

The last-mile delivery market size is expected to hit $123 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate of 13.21%. If the sector continues as it is now, that will look like a whole lot more trucks, vans and cars taking up space in cities and polluting the air that people breathe – not exactly the message we’re trying to send these days.

“It makes little sense to deliver an iPhone or a poke bowl in a Buick.” Nate Jaret, general partner at Maniv Mobility

Micromobility solves the problem that electric cars and vans don’t, particularly in urban centers – they are small enough to bypass traffic congestion and quick enough to make as many as two times more stops per hour than a delivery vehicle, according to John Pearson, DHL Express Europe’s CEO. The total cost of ownership of e-bikes is also minuscule compared to vans.

Working e-bikes into the logistics system also solves the problem that autonomous delivery vehicles – be they sidewalk robots or something a little bigger, like Nuro’s delivery vehicles – don’t. The technology is available now, not in 10 years.

These factors present a competitive advantage for businesses that want to reduce costs in the last mile, which is usually the most inefficient and costly part of the delivery chain.

“We believe that many commercial and delivery applications (and especially urban last-mile delivery) will electrify faster than consumer use-cases, due to total cost of ownership considerations – amortizing the higher upfront cost of any EV is much easier when the vehicle’s wheels are rolling eight or more hours a day,” said Jaret.



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Crypto

Algorand (ALGO) Posts Double-Digit Price Drops In Last 30 Days


Algorand native token, ALGO, has dropped 17% since the start of this month and has now joined the group of cryptocurrencies whose prices have tumbled by double digits this month.

  • Algorand sheds 91.30% from ATH of $3.28
  • ALGO price now trading at $0.2985
  • MFI at 17 reaches oversold zone

Away by 91.30% from its record high of $3.28, ALGO is the 30th-ranked cryptocurrency with the greatest market capitalization. 

ALGO Price Loses 0.81% Of Value

According to CoinMarketCap, ALGO price has dipped by 0.81% or trading at $0.2953 as of this writing.

Contrary to popular belief, the Algorand chain experienced some ecosystem growth in the previous month despite a month-long reduction in the value of its coin.

On Monday, Algorand’s price increased by more than 5% and closed the day’s candle at +$0.0156.

The levels visible on the ALGO/USD 1D chart are crucial for short-term bullish traders. Since they successfully held the $0.28 barrier, bullish ALGO traders’ overhead goals are $0.3409, $0.3803, $0.4199, $0.4709, and $0.5799.

The traders that have been in charge of this market over the past week are bearish Alogrand traders, who are at odds with the bulls. In order to breach the bottom of its current range at $0.2556, bearish ALGO traders want to drive the price of the algorithm below $0.27.

Source: TradingView.com

ALGO’s average price over the previous 30 days was $0.33, showing a -10.79% value drop. Algorand’s price [+5.52%] completed its daily candle on Monday at $0.298 and is back in the green. On Sunday, it had finished in the red.

The total number of addresses on Algorand was 27,769,031, as per information from its Developer page. Addresses on the network climbed by 5% over the previous 30 days.

Additionally, the value of the entire network’s fungible and non-fungible Algorand Standard Assets increased by 1% over the previous 30 days. This was 5,553,018 at the time of publication.

ALGO Transactions Dropped by 3%

Nevertheless, despite these improvements in its ecosystem, the number of transactions that were successfully completed on the network decreased over the past 30 days.

A 3% dip was noted over the timeframe period under review, with 1,074,114 transactions executed as of press time.

The coin’s Money Flow Index (MFI) was at 17 as of the time of writing and was heavily oversold.

Interestingly, despite the ALGO coin’s price continuing to fall during the past 30 days, the number of daily new addresses and daily active addresses using the coin increased throughout that time. 

In fact, the ALGO network saw an increase in new addresses of 830.47% over the previous week. Also, daily active addresses trading ALGO coins increased by 251.50% throughout the same time frame.

Despite these outstanding on-chain achievements, weighted sentiment showed that the market as a whole was still dubious.

ALGO total market cap at $2 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com

Featured image from Crypto Economy, chart from TradingView.com



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Law \ Legal

An Analysis Of A Possible Court Challenge To President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan And Who Has Standing To Sue


Graduate Student Loan Icon – Student Loan Graphics for Education Financial Aid or Assistance, Government Loans, and DebtLast Wednesday, around the time President Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plan, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) released its opinion stating that the president had the unilateral authority to forgive federal student loans. The Secretary of Education’s general counsel also issued its own opinion with similar reasoning. Republican lawmakers and some people who do not qualify for loan forgiveness were not pleased with this and are currently looking into challenging this in court. Biden’s current student loan proposal will benefit 43 million Americans, 90% of whom earn less than $75,000 per year.

But will a court challenge succeed? And who would have standing to challenge the administration?

A court challenge to Biden’s loan forgiveness proposal will focus on whether Congress intended to give the Secretary of Education authority to forgive student loans on a broad level without explicit congressional authorization.

The president relied on the HEROES Act, a law passed in 2003 by Republicans who controlled both houses of Congress and the White House at the time. The statutory text in question states that:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, unless enacted with specific reference to this section, the Secretary … may waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs … as the Secretary deems necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency …

The OLC’s opinion states that the plain text of the statute gives the Secretary authority to waive payment of federal student loans. The statute also plainly states that the waiver does not have to be done on a case-to-case basis and with minimal administrative requirements.

The legislators’ intent is not clear on student loan forgiveness. But considering the state of the nation in 2003 when the country was reeling from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, Congress wanted to give the president and the Department of Education broad powers to help students financially. And the president should be allowed to take action quickly as the country improves its homeland defenses and started the War on Terror against the Axis of Evil.

But just to be safe, the Department of Education did not make every federal student loan holder eligible for forgiveness, in order to avoid making it look like a massive forgiveness plan. Biden also stated that did not want student loan forgiveness going to rich doctors and lawyers and Ivy League school graduates. Instead, the department stated that it will provide “targeted student loan forgiveness” based on income. This appears to be consistent with Biden’s earlier targeted forgiveness actions. However, they focused on a smaller group of enrollees of for-profit schools that were accused of predatory admissions practices and falsifying post-graduate employment statistics.

While the statutory language is indeed explicit, there may be cases where if the impact is significant, specific congressional approval would be required.

For example, in the recently decided case Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Supreme Court reversed the Center of Disease Control’s second eviction moratorium due to COVID-19. It held that the agency did not have the authority to issue the moratorium and that a new moratorium required congressional approval. It stated that Congress could speak clearly when authorizing an agency to exercise the powers of vast economic and political significance.

Few would disagree that forgiving student loans for 43 million Americans would have a vast economic impact. Many have argued that forgiving student loans would boost the economy. Also, a Wharton study estimated that student loan forgiveness alone would cost up to $519 billion.

As for political significance, student loan cancellation is the deciding factor for some in deciding who to vote for. Forgiving $10,000 in student loans was a campaign promise by candidate Biden back in 2020.

And as for standing, in the case Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, the Supreme Court held that to have standing to sue, there must be 1) an injury of fact that is actual, concrete, and particularized; 2) a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; and 3) a likelihood that exercise of judicial power will redress the injury. There are a few groups of people who could have standing.

The first are those who have federal student loans but whose income exceed the $125,000/$250,000 maximum. Their injury is the loss of $10,000 in debt cancellation. However, if the litigant is extremely wealthy, it may be arguable whether he or she suffered an injury. The ideal litigant would be someone who just barely earns over the income maximum and lives in a high cost of living area where $125,000 per year is considered middle class income. Any Manhattan or San Francisco residents interested?

For similar reasons, another potential plaintiff who could have standing is someone who has a commercially held Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loan and the Secretary of Education later determines these loans will not qualify for forgiveness. Why should they be denied forgiveness if they meet the income requirement?

Conversely, if FFELP loans are eligible for forgiveness, a potential plaintiff with standing could be a bank or holders of Student Loan Asset-Backed Securities which funded the loans and are collecting interest during repayment. These entities could lose out on future interest payments due to the forgiveness. However, the federal government (who are the loan guarantors) will pay the forgiveness amount to the bank. If the repayment agreement does not have prepayment penalties, they may not suffer an injury necessary to establish standing.

Given the divisive opinions regarding student loan forgiveness, a court challenge is likely. It remains to be seen if the courts believe that the political and economic impact of forgiving student loans is significant enough to require specific congressional approval before doing so.


Steven Chung is a tax attorney in Los Angeles, California. He helps people with basic tax planning and resolve tax disputes. He is also sympathetic to people with large student loans. He can be reached via email at [email protected]. Or you can connect with him on Twitter (@stevenchung) and connect with him on LinkedIn.





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News

Monkeypox explained: History, transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatment


Many Americans may not have heard of monkeypox until the current outbreak
of the disease, which has caused the

World Health Organization

(WHO) and the

United States

to declare public health emergencies. Scientists, however, have known of
its existence since 1958 when

it was discovered

in two shipments of monkeys arriving in Denmark from Singapore, which is
how the disease got its name. The first

human case

of monkeypox was identified in 1970 in a nine-month-old boy in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Monkeypox and smallpox

Monkeypox belongs to the same

virus family

as smallpox, although it is less severe and transmissible. Despite its
name, its natural history remains uncertain, and rodents are more likely to
be

major carriers

of it than monkeys. There are

two known types

of monkeypox virus, one of Central African origin and one of West African
origin. The latter, which is less severe, caused the current outbreak.

Transmission

Monkeypox doesn’t appear to be spread through the air, so transmitting or
catching it isn’t particularly easy.

People can

catch monkeypox

from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by them, or by
eating or preparing food or touching

products used by the animal
, such as pet bedding or toys. You can also catch the virus from an
infected person by directly contacting their monkeypox rash or scabs, or
their bodily fluids, as well as by touching objects they have touched.

While monkeypox can easily be transmitted through sex, scientists still are
researching whether it can be spread by semen and vaginal fluids, as well
as urine and feces. They also still are looking into whether people who are
not experiencing monkeypox symptoms can spread the disease; how often it is
spread through respiratory secretions; and when people who are experiencing
symptoms would be more likely to spread it through respiratory secretions.

Symptoms

Monkeypox produces two kinds of symptoms. One is similar to flu and COVID-19 symptoms and can include fever,
chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle and back aches, headaches,
and respiratory symptoms, such as a sore throat, nasal congestion, and
cough.

The other is a

rash
, which may appear around the genitals and anus, as well as on other areas,
including the hands, feet, chest, and face. The rash starts as flat, red
bumps, which can be painful or itchy. Over time, the bumps turn into
blisters, which fill with pus before they crust over and fall off.

Some people get flu-like symptoms first, others get the rash first, and
others only get the rash. In the current outbreak, many people are
experiencing mild symptoms, meaning some may get the virus and not know it.
When symptoms do occur, they usually start within three weeks of exposure
to the monkeypox virus. People who experience the flu-like symptoms usually
develop a rash one to four days later. The illness typically lasts one to
four weeks.

Prevention and treatment

The simplest way to avoid getting monkeypox is to avoid close contact with
people and animals that may have the disease, as well as anything they’ve
been in close contact with.

To prevent the spread of the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated if you have been exposed to
monkeypox or are at a

higher risk of being exposed to the disease
. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a vaccine called

Jynneos

to prevent monkeypox.

While monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can be
transmitted through close, physical contact, including sexual activity.
People who are sexually active can reduce their risk of exposure by
avoiding sexual activity until two weeks have passed since their second
vaccination dose. Limiting the number of people you have sex with and

practicing safer sex

will also reduce the risk of being exposed.

People who do come in contact with a person or animal that may have
monkeypox should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water. Anyone
diagnosed with monkeypox should isolate themselves from other people and
animals until they have fully recovered, which, in most cases, is when
their rash is gone and their scabs have healed.

General treatments for monkeypox are aimed at alleviating the symptoms and
may include drinking plenty of fluids and managing itching or pain. No
specific treatment has been approved for monkeypox in the United States,
but the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control are
allowing physicians to prescribe a drug called

Tecovirimat, or Tpoxx
, which has been approved to treat smallpox.

As the number of monkeypox cases continues to rise in the United States and
around the globe, it’s important to know the symptoms of monkeypox and when
you should seek medical attention — particularly if you are in a high-risk
group. Continue to

follow the CDC

for the latest updates on confirmed cases, treatment, and prevention.



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Sports

Jeanie Buss says Russell Westbrook was the Lakers’ ‘best player last year’


Russell Westbrook struggled mightily with the Lakers and has been heavily featured in trade rumors. But at least one person was happy with his play.

It’s hard to characterize Russell Westbrook’s first season with the Lakers as anything but a disappointment. From his production on the floor, the results in the standings, to the sometimes public frustration between himself and the coaching staff, nothing went the way it was supposed to.

But Jeanie Buss seemed pretty pleased with how he played. In a recent interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic she said:

“All I can say is that, from my point of view, (Westbrook) was our best player last year. He played pretty much every single game, showed up, worked hard. You know, I would have loved to have seen what this team would have looked like if they stayed healthy. It’s really tough to win when Anthony Davis isn’t on the court. LeBron was hurt a lot of the season. But Russ showed up every game and played hard every night. And, you know, I just really appreciate him for who he is and what he brings to the team.”

Was Russell Westbrook really the Los Angeles Lakers best player last season?

No. Not by any realistic measure of performance or production. Most every all-in-one metric rated him as a net negative; he had the highest turnover percentage on the team, posted an abysmal 51.2 true shooting percentage to go with his astronomical 27.3 usage rate and the Lakers were outscored by an average of 4.0 points per 100 possessions while he was on the floor.

HOWEVER…

He did play a team-high 2678 minutes while appearing in a team-high 78 games. If Buss is looking to motivate LeBron James and Anthony Davis to stay on the court and play with run-through-a-brick-wall intensity on every possession, subtly shading them by praising Westbrook is certainly one way to go about it.

The other upshot here is trying to smooth things over with Westbrook himself, who openly complained of being undervalued and overlooked last season and was frequently mentioned in trade rumors this offseason.

So, no, Russell Westbrook wasn’t the best player on the Lakers last season. Not by a long shot. But it’s completely understandable why Buss would be saying he was. To the credit of interview and interviewee, a little context was added at the end of The Athletic piece:

So after the interview ended, when I realized that I’d failed to follow up quickly enough to get total clarity on this stunning take, I decided to send Buss a note asking if this was her actual belief.

“The word I should have used was ‘consistent,’” Jeanie Buss wrote via text message. “He played 78 games last season.”



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