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Biden's debt forgiveness plan is blocked, Meta layoffs leave people with work visas adrift, and Donald Glover doesn’t know what to do with Black women.

A federal judge declared that Biden's student debt forgiveness plan is unconstitutional

zoomed in shot of joe biden holding a microphone in a suit

In August, President Joe Biden announced that the government would forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for Americans making less than $125,000 per year. On Thursday, US Trump-appointed District Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the Biden administration did not have "clear congressional authorization" to create the loan forgiveness program.

In a statement Thursday night, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the administration is appealing the ruling. More than 26 million people have already signed up for the forgiveness program, and 16 million applications have been approved. If an appeal is successful, loan servicers could move forward with discharging their debt.

Overall, the program is estimated to eliminate about $430 billion in student debt for more than 40 million people.

Beyond Congress, these midterm results spell out surprising change

  • Progressive prosecutors won in midterm elections in spite of tough-on-crime rhetoric from Republicans. The GOP poured more than $50 million over the last two months into ominous ads, complete with police tape, sirens, and scary (and often misleading) crime statistics in major governors and congressional races. Still, voters across the country elected progressive district attorneys — the elected prosecutors who have some of the most direct impact on how the criminal justice system affects people’s lives.

  • A 23-year-old Democrat ousted a two-term mayor in a conservative Louisiana town. Mayor-elect Tyrin Truong told BuzzFeed News he's subverting the stereotype that young people are apathetic to politics or social change.

SNAPSHOTS

Elon Musk's $8 Twitter plan falls for an old fallacy that if people use their real names online, they won’t say terrible things. Also, relying on a paywall to curb hate speech means that Twitter will be collecting more identifying data about the paid account holders.

The 18-year-old who prompted last week's FBI warning of a threat to New Jersey synagogues allegedly wrote a violent screed detailing his hatred of Jews. According to his interview with the FBI, the suspect created the antisemitic document "while LARP-ing" (live-action role-playing) as a terrorist.

Influencer Nikita Dragun was held in the men’s unit of a jail, and a video of her begging to be relocated has left people disturbed and upset. Drawing attention to the wider issue of trans women's safety in prisons, Twitter users highlighted that Nikita’s situation was representative of the dated discriminatory protocols mandated by some jails.

Louis Tomlinson just got super real about his former bandmate Harry Styles's solo success. And while each member of One Direction has carved their own path since the hiatus, Louis revealed that they're still in contact and support one another’s ventures.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

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Laid-off Meta workers on US visas say the company has left them hanging

Meta cut more than 11,000 employees — 13% of its workforce — on Wednesday, the first time that the company has undertaken large-scale layoffs in its 18-year history. In the last few days, hundreds of laid-off employees on US work visas are in a panic after failing to get responses from a dedicated email hotline set up by the company to guide them.

“There’s no support. There’s radio silence,” one former Meta employee on a visa, who emailed the hotline three times after being laid off, told BuzzFeed News.

US law requires workers holding some visas to find new employers or leave the country within 60 days if they lose their jobs. Many former Meta employees are worried that if they don’t get a new job soon, they will be required to leave the US. Others who happened to be traveling abroad when the layoffs hit are no longer sure whether they can return to their homes here.

“I have no idea what to do,” a US-based Meta employee who was laid off while visiting India for the first time in two years told BuzzFeed News.

A Meta spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company was “working to respond to inquiries we've received, and we'll be in touch with all impacted employees who've contacted the hotline to provide individualized support in the coming days.”

Donald Glover doesn't know what to do with Black women

michole briana white in a yellow two piece on the left, donald glover in a tan polo on the right

Donald Glover’s depictions of Black women are a continued failure point for him, even though he has been lauded as an auteur of Black entertainment, Shamira Ibrahim writes. Among all the sharp, authentic depictions that have made Altanta so beloved, many of the characterizations of Black women remain superficial, slipshod, and rife with stereotypes.

Black women are always wrestling with untenable resentment in Glover’s universe. The character of Van (Zazie Beetz) exemplifies this. She has been tragically stagnant, underserved, and underdeveloped over the show’s four seasons, functioning as a plot device when her character arc is explored at all. In the first season, she’s originally a teacher and a grounding force in Earn’s life. By the end of Season 3, Van has a nervous breakdown triggered by increasingly feeling invisible as an aimless single mother, but her identity crisis seems to be a baffling way to address her negligible appearances in earlier episodes.

Glover’s skill as a creator is more than evident, which is what makes his inability to provide fleshed-out characterization and narrative arcs with Black women characters so frustrating. As Atlanta comes to a final close, Glover does not owe Black women anything, but what they do not deserve is antagonism.

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