The suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul’s airport in late August, which killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans, upped the ante for the U.S. to thwart more terrorist attacks in the final days of its withdrawal.
The Biden administration said it prevented another suicide bombing a few days later with a drone strike that officials said killed a suspected Islamic State group driver and an associate near the airport. U.S. officials told reporters that the target had been under surveillance for hours and that people were seen loading explosives into the trunk of his car.
But two separate investigations by The New York Times and The Washington Post cast doubt on that narrative. Relatives and co-workers of the target, engineer Zemari Ahmadi, told journalists that he was an aid worker with a California-based nonprofit in Afghanistan. Video obtained by The Times shows Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring to his family on the day he was killed.
Ahmadi’s family members said 10 people were killed, including seven children. Neighbors confirmed that children’s bodies were removed from the site. The Biden administration must conduct a thorough investigation. A strike on the family of an aid worker who may not have done anything wrong should prompt our military to seriously examine its drone policies and decisions.
— Dallas Morning News
California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced a recall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he survived, in part, because of his pandemic response, including his support for masking and vaccine mandates. The validation from Californians should send a powerful message that voters want leaders who embrace science and are willing to impose public health measures to bring the pandemic to an end.
The outrage that helped launch the recall in 2020 wasn’t enough to oust Newsom in 2021. Rather, in exit polls and interviews, many voters said they rejected the recall because COVID remained their overriding concern, and they supported rules and policies to combat the virus. And no wonder.
Here we are, a year and a half after the first lockdowns, and communities across the country are experiencing high death tolls, overcrowded hospitals and rising case numbers. California, meanwhile, is finally showing signs of improvement. Coronavirus transmission rates are dropping, thanks to relatively high vaccination rates and indoor masking.
So it’s a hopeful sign that voters overwhelmingly rejected the recall and candidates who pledged to reverse California’s progress on COVID.
— Los Angeles Times
Finally, after spending the past two months threatening school districts, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has come up with a great idea for public education.
He wants to eliminate the Florida Standards Assessments — three words that teachers hate, students dread and parents stress over. So much hinges on the FSA and those hours of test-taking that happen every spring: teacher performance evaluations, school grades and student self-esteem.
DeSantis wants to replace that testing model starting in the 2022-23 school year with student “progress monitoring” three times a year that would reduce testing by 75% and allow for more individualized assessment that helps teachers make adjustments during the school year.
We agree. After weeks of calling out the governor’s bullying and misguided behavior as he sought to punish school officials who enacted mask mandates, we can say we think DeSantis has the right idea here. So do teacher unions and many parents. Perhaps that’s precisely what DeSantis is looking for: a chance to prove he cares about children after trying to force them into schools that don’t require their classmates to mask up.
— Miami Herald
A bill passed recently by the California Legislature would ban manufacturers from putting the triangular chasing-arrows symbol, signifying that their plastic products and packaging are recyclable, on items that are not anywhere near recyclable. Although this first-in-the-nation measure didn’t receive much outside attention, the bill deserves to be imposed nationwide in order to halt the widespread and destructive use of the recyclable symbol — along with the overuse of plastics in packaging.
No one can reasonably deny the pervasiveness of plastics in trash that washes up on the nation’s shores, clogs waterways, kills wildlife and makes a mess wherever the wind carries it. Paper litter at least biodegrades, but plastic is a forever pollutant. Waste disposal companies like Republic Services concur with California lawmakers that the problem is out of control, especially because manufacturers are deceptively stamping the chasing-arrows symbol on nonrecyclable items.
The Environmental Protection Agency says such products wind up being incinerated or dumped in landfills regardless of consumers’ good intentions at the recycling bin. Some estimates say only around 8.7% of plastics are actually recyclable. Republic Services has an aptly titled website, “Everything You Think You Know About Recycling Is Wrong and Here’s How to Fix It.” It’s well worth a visit.
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch