Friday Edition


President Biden and Senate Republicans are reportedly getting closer to a deal that would send aid to Ukraine in exchange for border security reforms, but there are still hangups. (National Review)

One sticking point is a GOP proposal limiting asylum applications at the southern border once daily crossings surpass 3,000. Democrats want the threshold raised to 5,000. (Daily crossings have exceeded 10,000 at some points this year, and border crossings have hit all-time highs under Biden).

Other measures would allow the U.S. to detain asylum seekers at the border and quickly deport migrants who have been in the U.S. for under two years and have been denied asylum or haven't applied for it. Democrats fear a return to Trump-era border policies could hurt Biden with young voters and Latinos.

A recent Blueprint poll: Most voters (55%, with 63% of independents) favor a deal linking foreign aid to enhanced border security over one that ignores the border issue.

Ex-New York Times editorial page editor James Bennett, fired for publishing an op-ed by Tom Cotton about cracking down on rioters and looters, argues in a new essay that the Times has chosen ideology over journalistic principles.

Bennett, who worked as a Times reporter in the 90s and early 2000s, said he noticed the company had changed dramatically when he returned in 2016 following a stint at The Atlantic. (The Economist)

Some revelations: A news editor encouraged Bennett to attach “trigger warnings” to conservative op-eds. An internal survey found barely half of employees agreed “there is a free exchange of views in this company” and “people are not afraid to say what they really think.” Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger told him a “double standard” exists at the paper and conservative staff should get used to it.

Bennett: Readers could cancel their subscriptions if the Times challenged their worldview by reporting the truth without regard to politics. As a result, the Times’s long-term civic value was coming into conflict with the paper’s short-term shareholder value.”


None of this is likely that surprising to conservatives or media critics. But the fact that someone like Bennett –– who reached the near-pinnacle of success at the most prestigious news outlet in the country, is saying it –– should tell us a lot.


On Tuesday, Texas GOP senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sidestepped questions about Kate Cox, a woman who fled the Lone Star State after she was denied a medical exception to obtain an abortion. (NBC News)

What they said: “I’m not a state official, so I’m not going to comment on what state officials are doing. I’m happy to comment on anything that I’m responsible for,” Cornyn told NBC News. Cruz told reporters to contact his press office on three separate occasions when he was asked about Cox.

Signs indicate abortion is a political vulnerability for Republicans post-Roe: A number of GOP senate candidates in battleground states have softened their stances on the issue. A record-high 69% of U.S. adults say abortion should generally be legal in the first trimester, per Gallup.


Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a former Facebook diversity chief, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $4 million from the company, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

This is just the latest case of a diversity leader being accused of fraud. (CNBC)

Joonko: A board of directors investigation in June found the CEO of the AI-powered diversity recruiting firm had engaged in “fraudulent conduct,” misleading investors on the size of the company’s business with fake invoices and bank accounts. Joonko raised $25 million in funding last fall.

Black Lives Matter: BLM Global Network Foundation leader Shalomyah Bowers stole more than $10 million from the organization, according to a lawsuit filed last year. Patrisse Cullors, a BLM co-founder, has been accused of using organizational funds for personal use, including multi-million dollar homes and private flights. While BLM leaders were paid millions, only 33% of donations to the group went to charities, according to tax documents from 2020 to 2022.

Diversity, equity and inclusion has become big business: According to McKinsey, companies spent $7.5 billion on DEI efforts in 2020 and that number is projected to reach $15 billion by 2026. Diversity experts like Robin DiAngelo command speaking fees of up to $40,000.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on the potential for peace with Ukraine and Western military aid to his country’s adversary. (NYT)


The Biden administration announced last week it’s pouring billions into a California rail project that was supposed to be completed in 2020 and has massively ballooned in cost. (Reason)

$3.1 billion of a new $8.2 billion grant will go toward a California high-speed rail project connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. The state’s rail project, stretching 520 miles, has gone from an estimated $33 billion to over $128 billion, with completion delayed from 2020 to at least 2033. It still needs an additional $7 billion to complete its initial 117-mile segment.

A 2022 New York Times report on the project: The “tortured effort to build the country’s first high-speed rail system is a case study in how ambitious public works projects can become perilously encumbered by political compromise, unrealistic cost estimates, flawed engineering and a determination to persist on projects that have become, like the crippled financial institutions of 2008, too big to fail.”

Zooming out: The U.S. gross national debt stands at $33.8 trillion, with half added since October 2013. The Congressional Budget Office reported a $383 billion deficit for the first two months of FY 2024, with a 65% year-over-year increase in interest payments.


Joining a growing international chorus, President Biden warned Israeli leaders on Tuesday they risk losing global support with “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza.

What’s happening:

  • Also Tuesday, the United Nations called for a “ceasefire” in Gaza. (Reuters)

  • A new U.S. intelligence assessment found 40-45% of the 29,000 munitions dropped on Gaza have been unguided “dumb bombs.” (CNN)

  • The Biden administration is delaying the sale of 20,000 U.S. rifles to Israel over concerns about attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers. (Axios)

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