With millions of Syrians seeking humanitarian assistance since the 2011 onset of a civil war with no end in sight, some are calling for the United States to admit refugees in far greater numbers. They point to the Statue of Liberty and say that America has a moral obligation to provide refuge to the tired and the poor. Others point to a spate of sexual assaults in Germany perpetrated by migrants, and they caution that the U.S. must be selective in admitting people into its borders.
In March 2015, the US government issued a new set of hydraulic fracturing safety mandates aimed at protecting groundwater on federal and tribal lands. The updated regulations from the Department of the Interior impacted around 90,000 operations across the country, requiring disclosure of chemical use and more stringent wastewater containment efforts. However, a number of states have opposed the new mandates, arguing that federal law grants a state the right to regulate oil and gas operations. In June 2015, a Wyoming federal judge blocked the implementation of the rules pending further review, and both sides of the case continue to develop their arguments.
Despite decades of prosperity, recent trends have indicated that China’s economy may be weakening. Evidence that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing include decreased factory output, fixed-asset investments, auto sales, and imports, and this trend has fueled widespread concern among investors in the United States. It has also caused many to ask a question posed by Intelligence Squared US (IQ2US) back in 2011: How does China’s unique brand of capitalism stack up against America’s?
When wealthy American Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last year, the incident sparked international outrage. Palmer was never charged with any crime, as authorities determined his hunting papers were perfectly in order, but the practice of hunting itself came under heavy fire from those who condemned it as senseless destruction of nature.
Hunters have fired back, insisting that, on the contrary, they have been historically the drivers of wildlife conservation efforts. With naturally a vested interest in maintaining the conditions for their sport, they take credit for initiating science-based regulation and programs to put money back into sustaining habitats.
When the framers of the United States Constitution granted legislative authority to Congress, they envisioned it as the most powerful branch of the federal government. The constitutional role of the president, meanwhile, was to faithfully execute the instructions of Congress. The modern perception of the executive branch is quite different, however, with the head of state often appearing to be the nation’s most powerful policy maker. President Barack Obama certainly asserted his power when he acted unilaterally to defer deportation for millions of immigrants.