'McConnell's iron grip on power over the Republican conference in the Senate is loosening'
Bradley Devlin in The American Conservative
Kevin McCarthy lost the speaker's gavel, but Mitch McConnell might wind up being the "biggest loser" in the recent turmoil on Capitol Hill, says Bradley Devlin in The American Conservative. McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, suffered a "brutal" but "largely unnoticed" defeat. He was determined to include aid for Kyiv in the deal to avert a shutdown, but other Republicans showed him they "would not be threatened with a shutdown into voting for Ukraine."
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'The speaker's gavel must remain in the hands of a House member'
Michael Ellis and Greg Dubinsky in The Wall Street Journal
Far-right Republicans have floated the possibility of making former President Donald Trump speaker of the House, say Michael Ellis and Greg Dubinsky in The Wall Street Journal. The theory anyone can become speaker is based on the Constitution's failure to "expressly" state otherwise. That's "amusing fodder for talk shows," but "textual silence" makes for a "weak" argument. "Settled practice" and "centuries of history" settle it. You want the gavel, get yourself elected to the House.
'School surveillance normalizes the idea that constant monitoring is good'
J.D. Tuccille in Reason
The Covid-19 public health panic "supercharged what was already a creeping culture of surveillance in public schools," writes J.D. Tuccille in Reason. The hope is that "Big Hallway Monitor" will "make kids safer." But "students are aware they're being observed" and the danger is that "trapping them in miniature surveillance states" will make them come to expect, and accept, this kind of erosion of their liberty. That's no way to teach them to "value freedom."
'A failure to act on federal firefighter pay is a gamble on lives'
Ken Pimlott in the Los Angeles Times
Drought and heat have made recent fire seasons more dangerous, says Ken Pimlott in the Los Angeles Times, but there's a new threat this year: "looming pay cuts to thousands of federal wildland firefighters." These heroes got temporary biweekly raises under the 2021 infrastructure law. The recent stopgap spending deal to avert a government shutdown froze pay at current levels. Without further action the raises vanish, and experts warn "a third to half" of Forest Service firefighters could leave.
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