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Justice Department To Georgia: Stop Treating Students With Disabilities As Separate And Unequal

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 7:18 PM

By Rebecca Klein

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia over its harsh treatment of public school students with behavior-related disabilities, the agency announced Tuesday. The lawsuit “is the first challenge to a state-run school system for segregating students with disabilities,” according to a press release from DOJ.

The Justice Department completed an investigation into the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) ― the state-run program that provides special education services to thousands of students ― in July of 2015. In a findings letter sent to Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and state Attorney General Sam Olens (R) at the time, the Justice Department said that Georgia violates the Americans with Disabilities Act “by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers” and providing “opportunities to its students that are unequal” to those given to other students.

The complaint filed by the government in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia this week echoes many of the letter’s findings.

The ADA prohibits public entities from unnecessarily segregating people with disabilities from the general population. However, GNETS separates children with special needs from their peers and places them in separate schools and classrooms, the complaint alleges. Often, these separate schools are poorly maintained, and in some cases, previously served as schools for black students in the Jim Crow era. In many cases, students in the GNETS program “could participate in the curriculum, instruction, elective courses, extracurricular activities, and other educational enrichment services in general education classrooms with their peers” if given the proper supports, the complaint notes.

The GNETS program currently works with all of the state’s public school districts. The program has served its students in mostly segregated contexts for more than 40 years, the complaint says.

“Endemic to all segregated GNETS programs is a lack of access to equal educational opportunities, as ― unlike other students in general education settings ― students in segregated GNETS settings lack opportunities for grade-level instruction, certified teachers, access to elective and extracurricular activities, and classroom learning complemented by interaction with non-disabled peers,” says the complaint. “As such, unequal educational opportunities remain a concrete and serious consequence of segregation regardless of the physical integrity of the building that students are placed in.”

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Education did not reply to requests for comment.

A recent investigation into the GNETS program by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that it disproportionately serves African-American students.

The investigation also found that students are sometimes abused in these facilities. While under the supervision of GNETS teachers, students have been restrained with leashes and placed in solitary confinement rooms. In 2004, a 13-year-old student hung himself in one such room. He had been placed in the room ― which had no windows or furniture ― 19 times over 29 days.

In 2010, Georgia public schools banned seclusion rooms, but The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that students are still often physically restrained in GNETS programs.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/23/georgia-justice-dept-lawsuit_n_11682774.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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Midday open thread: Earthquake in Italy, earth and that climate change hoax

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 7:01 PM

By rss@dailykos.com (Barbara Morrill)

Cartoon by Matt Bors -- The cannibal frat boy

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is The cannibal frat boy:

  • For the record, it’s been 193 days since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, and 156 since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia. And still the Republican-led senate refuses to do its job.
  • Devastating earthquake in Italy:

A powerful earthquake that toppled homes, churches and shops in numerous medieval towns in central Italy Wednesday killed at least 120 people, according to Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

Dozens more are missing or feared dead from the magnitude-6.2 earthquake and a series of aftershocks that jolted Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche, three regions some 80 to 100 miles northeast of Rome.

Humanity’s first photos of Earth from the moon would have been thrown away if not for 3 people and an old McDonald’s

  • It’s a good thing climate change is a hoax:

A massive crack in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves has grown exponentially in recent months, and scientists worry a break-off could destabilize the entire structure. [...]

“As this rift continues to extend, it will eventually cause a large section of the ice shelf to break away as an iceberg,” the research project wrote.

Now, measuring some 80 miles in length, the crack could ultimately dislodge a chunk of ice the size of Delaware, The Washington Post reports.

Via: http://feeds.dailykos.com/~r/dailykos/index/~3/d_bKQlBGC94/-Midday-open-thread-Earthquake-in-Italy-earth-and-that-climate-change-hoax

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Historic Event In London Honors ‘International Slavery Remembrance Day’

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 6:20 PM

By Lilly Workneh

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in London, England, Sunday for what was billed by organizers as the city’s first-ever memorial honoring victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The demonstration, which was filled with black faces and raised fists, took place in London’s bustling Trafalgar Square two days before Aug. 23, which was International Slavery Remembrance Day. The United Nations first kicked off the day of remembrance in 2014 as a way to mark the abolition of slavery and acknowledge the causes and consequences of the devastating trans-Atlantic slave trade.

“This is the first ever memorial service for the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to be held in Trafalgar Square,” Shezal Laing, one of the organizers of the event said in a video by German news site, Ruptly. “This day passes by largely unnoticed, and most people are unaware that the day exists.”

Dozens of London’s black residents, musical performers, poets and activists gathered Sunday to speak out against slavery, celebrate freedom and highlight the importance of the world’s collective black history.

British musician and activist Akala performed at the event and spoke to Ruptly about why “ancestor worship” and “remembrance of the past” in England is so crucial.

“When black people remember their victimhood at the hands of the British Empire and colonial slavery, apparently they should get over it and it’s all in the past,” he said. “Even when the legacies of said brutality are still here with racism and police brutality and mass incarceration and things of that nature.”

Organizers said they hope Sunday’s demonstration is only the start of something that will continue to grow.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/24/historic-event-in-london-honors-international-slavery-remembrance-day_n_11681834.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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4 States Just Sued To Keep Discriminating Against Trans People

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 6:13 PM

By Erin Schumaker

Texas and four other states sued the Obama administration on Tuesday over extending its healthcare nondiscrimination law to transgender individuals, saying the move “represents a radical invasion of the federal bureaucracy into a doctor’s medical judgment.”

Texas, along with Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Kansas sued on behalf three medical organizations, two of which are affiliated with Christian groups.

They argue the medical groups would be forced to violate their religious beliefs “and perform harmful medical transition procedures or else suffer massive financial liability,” according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, named as a defendant in the suit, was not immediately available for comment.

On Sunday, a judge for the same district blocked an Obama administration policy that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by 13 states, led by Texas.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010 and included anti-discrimination provisions to prevent insurers from charging customers more or denying coverage based on age or sex.

That law left some areas open to interpretation and thousands of consumers complain each year about being discriminated against, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said last year.

The U.S. government said in September it would broaden its nondiscrimination law to transgender individuals and require health insurers and medical providers to treat all patients equally, regardless of sex.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Rigby)

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/24/4-states-just-sued-for-their-right-to-discriminate-against-trans-people_n_11681788.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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Obama Gave Chance The Rapper This Career Advice

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 6:07 PM

By Amber Ferguson

President Barack Obama gave hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper a bit of career advice during a recent White House event.

In an August interview with GQ magazine, the artist said he joined other celebrities like DJ Khaled, Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj at the White House in April to discuss the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and criminal justice reform.

“At the end [of the meeting], everybody takes a group photo, and he’s signing stuff. And he keeps pushing me to the back, and I’m like, ‘I don’t understand why he won’t sign my shit.’ And he makes me wait till the end, and then he brings me up to his office, and we had a really good conversation about what I was working on. He told me I needed to start selling my music,” Chance says.

“He’s a good man. Even if he wasn’t president, if his ass worked at, like, Red Lobster, he’d be just a good man working at Red Lobster,” the Chicago rapper added.

Chance’s third mixtape, “Coloring Book”, was released exclusively on Apple Music this spring and according to him it’s in heavy rotation at the Obama’s residency.

“Oh yeah. They’re bumping ‘Coloring Book’ hard up there. If you go up there, you’ll probably hear ‘Coloring Book.’ This is not a joke at all,” the artist said.

“Malia listens to ‘Coloring Book,’” he added, referencing the president’s oldest daughter. “And I send them stuff sometimes. I haven’t seen Malia since I was a kid. I think [Malia and Sasha] were both in school the day that I went up there recently, but Barack was talking about it. Or, uh, President Obama was talking about it.”

One of Chance’s tracks, “Acid Rain,” is featured on the president’s Spotify summer playlists.

On Tuesday, the 23-year-old rapper took to Twitter to clarify that he will not be at ESPN’s town hall about race relations after a rumor was started that he would be in attendance.

In a series of tweets, Chance wrote about “the responsibility of all media outlets to correctly label all killings by 1st responders as what they are: Murders.”

I saw some publications report that I’ll be at the @espn forum about athletes’ and celebrities’ responsibility to speak on issues. Not true.

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 23, 2016

@espn but since I won’t be there let me just say a few thoughts on “responsibility”.

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 23, 2016

@espn it is the responsibility of all media outlets to correctly label all killings by 1st responders as what they are: Murders.

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 23, 2016

@espn it is the responsibility of all first responders to deescalate unlawful situations and restore peace without committing murder.

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 23, 2016

@espn and it is the responsibility of athletes and celebrities to say all that out loud whether at a forum, on twitter or at work.

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 23, 2016

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– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/24/chance-the-rapper-barack-obama_n_11681592.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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Pundits, Decrying the Horrors of War in Aleppo, Demand Expanded War

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 6:02 PM

By Adam H. Johnson

Adam H. Johnson

As with Iraq and Libya, these laptop bombardiers offer no clear indication of how to actually end the suffering of the Syrian people.

Via: https://www.thenation.com/article/pundits-decrying-the-horrors-of-war-in-aleppo-demand-expanded-war/

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The media has the Clinton Foundation story upside down

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 5:51 PM

By rss@dailykos.com (Mark Sumner)

What’s the real story of the Clinton Foundation?

How does the philanthropic world see the Clinton Foundation? They’re rock stars.

It’s one of the top-rated charities, with a an “A” grade from Charity Watch and a “Platinum” rating from GuideStar. It’s also a charity that does important work on education, women’s rights, climate change and especially on health care. More than half the people being treated for AIDS around the world receive medication from the Clinton Foundation.

When Hillary Clinton was nominated to be secretary of state, she assured the Senate that she would place a “firewall” between the foundation and her work for the United States. Not one piece of evidence has been put forward that suggests that firewall was ever breached.

The real story of the Clinton Foundation is that there is no scandal. That’s just it. It’s not just “nothing to see here” it’s “nothing but good to see here.” It’s an un-scandal. An anti-scandal. Something of which the whole Clinton family can be justly proud.

That is, unless you’re determined to make the data fit your story.

The Associated Press has just shown us why it is important to be vigilant in how we consume the news as it is reported. They took some interesting information they gathered and spun it into something it wasn’t…scandalous. …

That is basically what most every drummed up “scandal” against Hillary Clinton comes down to: from the perspective of the people judging her – it looks bad. Welcome to the world of optics as scandal.

Via: http://feeds.dailykos.com/~r/dailykos/index/~3/yoHt02qcbFY/-The-media-has-the-Clinton-Foundation-story-upside-down

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Donald Trump Motorboating Rudy Giuliani In Drag — Look At It, Dammit!

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 5:46 PM

By Andy McDonald

On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert dug up an old video of Rudy Giuliani in drag, chatting with a very flirtatious Donald Trump.

At one time, this might have been seen as a humanizing comedy bit, showing that two well-known American personalities have a sense of humor about themselves.

Cut to a decade later, and what we have is Rudy Giuliani in drag being motorboated by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The internet never forgets.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/23/remember-donald-trump-motorboating-rudy-giuliani-in-drag-remember-it_n_11680634.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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Cher Says ‘My People Won’t Believe’ Donald Trump’s Pro-LGBTQ Rhetoric

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 5:14 PM

By Ron Dicker

Cher doesn’t buy that Donald Trump really wants to help the LGBTQ community.

The singer and gay icon couldn’t hold in her laughter on Tuesday when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell asked her to comment on Trump’s promise to protect the community after June’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

He’s the most disingenuous man I’ve ever seen,” she said on “The Last Word.” “And I want to tell you, my people will not believe him for a minute.”

Cher, a Hillary Clinton supporter who has ripped Trump’s presidential bid before, noted in the interview that the GOP nominee met with anti-gay evangelicals this month, leading her to wonder how he could pledge to look out for gay people.

The Donald’s way of saying “LGBTQ” doesn’t do much for her either.

“He says those letters like a child that’s just learning the alphabet,” she said.

Cher also bashed Trump ― and his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan ― at a Clinton fundraiser in Provincetown, Massachusetts, over the weekend.

“He means we want to make America straight and white,” she said.

H/T Uproxx

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/24/cher-donald-trump_n_11679878.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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Staff Of Law360 Votes To Unionize

Article posted August 24, 2016 at 5:08 PM

By Dave Jamieson

Earlier this month, managers at the subscription news site Law360 brought some high-priced consultants into the newsroom. Their purpose: to persuade employees not to unionize.

Turns out that money could have been better spent elsewhere.

In an election held over the course of several days this month, editorial staffers at the site voted in favor of joining the NewsGuild of New York, according to an email sent to staffers Wednesday from the site’s general manager, Scott Roberts.

The results of the election have not yet been certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Roberts said in his note that once they are, the company will start bargaining with the union toward a first contract.

If the vote gets ratified, Law360 will be added to a growing list of digital news sites that have gone union over the past couple of years, including Gawker, Salon, Vice, ThinkProgress, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera America (before it folded). Editorial staffers at The Huffington Post also unionized, joining the Writers Guild of America, East, earlier this year.

As HuffPost reported earlier this month, Law360 was the first of those sites to throw serious resources at beating back the union campaign, whereas most others voluntarily recognized the unions. The election marks a significant win for the NewsGuild, which could add roughly 130 new members to its rolls.

A NewsGuild spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/08/24/staff-of-law360-votes-to-unionize_n_11679854.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

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