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Betsy DeVos Quietly Changes Education Dept’s Official Policy on Discrimination Against Transgender Students

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Change Made Secretly With No Public Statement or Opportunity for Public Comment

The U.S. Dept. of Education has now formalized its policy on complaints from transgender students barred from restrooms that correspond with their gender identity: reject them. 

Betsy DeVos Dept. of Education “has told BuzzFeed News it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity,” Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed News reports. “It’s the first time officials have asserted this position as a formal interpretation of law. No public announcement has been made.”

Education Dept. spokesperson Liz Hill told Buzzfeed, “yes, that’s what the law says,” when Buzzfeed asked if it is the department’s position that complaints on restroom use from transgender students are not covered by federal civil rights law, specifically Title IX.

“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Hill added.

Federal courts have ruled otherwise, stating that discrimination against transgender students is sex discrimination and thus covered under the 1972 federal law.

“Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access,” Obama-era Education Department head of the Office for Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, told BuzzFeed News via email. “This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts’ interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”

One of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ first acts was to rescind the Obama-era guidance helping public schools protect the civil rights of transgender students. Days later she called the guidance “a very huge example of Obama administration overreach.”

DeVos then went on to ignore the racism and segregation that led to the establishment of America’s historically Black colleges and universities, calling HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

Last May DeVos suggested she did not oppose anti-LGBT discrimination, noting “school choice” resolves the issue by giving parents and students options to go to schools that don’t discriminate. Weeks later she told the U.S. Senate she would not work to prevent or prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

In June DeVos’ Civil Rights Office closed cases from transgender students, and scaled back investigations into anti-transgender discrimination. 

Four months later DeVos quietly eliminated 72 documents on civil rights protections for students with disabilities. Also in October DeVos scrapped an Obama-era rule set to go into effect that would protect minority students from being placed disproportionally in classes for students with special needs.

Image by U.S. Dept. of Education via Flickr and a CC license

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'750% INCREASE'

‘It Just Went Boom’: Florida ICUs Swamped With Younger COVID Victims

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According to a report from the Miami Herald, Florida hospitals are being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients once again in frightening numbers as the Delta variant spreads rapidly among the unvaccinated in the state.

Florida has long been a hot spot for COVID-19 infections as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted recommendations from health officials and refuses to mandate the wearing of masks — recently giving parents the option of not masking up their kids returning to school.

As the Herald report notes, the new flood of victims flooding in are even sicker than before — and also younger.

Pointing out that every bed in Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital is filled at the moment, the report notes that every patient was unvaccinated and now suffering the devastating effect of COVID-19.

“The youngest patient, a 27-year-old woman on a ventilator, had to be resuscitated with a bag valve mask after her blood oxygen saturation levels crashed. The oldest, a 71-year-old man, has been in the ICU for two weeks. He has been in a coma for three days. When he awakens, if he awakens, he will be a widower. The man’s wife, also hospitalized with COVID-19, died two days earlier,” the report states. “Many healthcare workers at Jackson Memorial thought the end of the pandemic was in sight, largely due to the effectiveness of the vaccines. Then the delta variant took hold, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates, and cases are surging again, only at a faster clip.”

Describing the sudden surge from variant, Ademola Ayo Akinkunmi, director of patient care services for Jackson Health bluntly stated, “It just went boom,” before adding, “No matter how hard we work to discharge patients we know there are others coming.”

The report goes on to note, “In Florida, the number of new cases and the rate of positive tests for the virus that causes COVID-19 — a measure known as the level of community transmission — is high in all 67 counties, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. On Saturday, Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases as of July 30, the single-highest daily COVID case count since the pandemic began 18 months ago, according to CDC data. The seven-day moving average soared to 15,817, a more than 750% increase since July 1.”

According to Alix Zacharski, manager of the medical intensive care unit at Jackson Memorial, the critically-ill patients they are seeing are way younger — and way sicker — than they were during the first wave of COVID victims.

“Unlike last year, we’re getting a very young population, which is extremely concerning because this time we’re now getting young people without pre-existing conditions,” Zacharski admitted. “So that’s scarier.”

Case in point, the Herald reports, “On a recent weekday afternoon, Zacharski was working in the ICU when a 27-year-old patient’s vital signs crashed, triggering an alarm on a computer monitor in the nurses’ station. Her blood oxygen saturation levels had dropped suddenly from 95 to 64. Normal readings usually range from 95 to 100, and anything below 90 is considered low. As the patient’s heart rate accelerated, Zacharski and her colleagues rushed to the patient’s room and removed the ventilator from her throat. Then they applied a bag valve mask, pumping the air bag by hand to force oxygen into the patient’s lungs.”

“The medical team revived the patient, and her blood oxygen levels slowly recovered. It’s possible that the patient’s blood oxygen levels crashed because of a mucus plug, Zacharski said, emphasizing that dangerous complications can arise at any time,” the report continued with Zacharski adding, “People come down with it within five days and they’re really sick. They are coming to the hospital saying, ‘I don’t feel good. I can’t breathe’. That’s when you’re feeling, ‘Oh, this is very different from what it was before.’ ”

“It’s very hard for us when someone’s eyes are looking at you, staring at you, deadlocked, pleading and begging you, hugging you to help them breathe,” she added. “That’s the part that stays with us. It’s really hard.”

You can read more here (subscription required).

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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'HE'S SET UP A SHADOW GOVERNMENT'

‘Seditious Conspiracy’: Trump Critics Stunned After Mark Meadows Mentions ‘Cabinet’ Meetings at Bedminster

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An appearance on Friday night on Newsmax by Donald Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, set off a flurry of angry comments by critics of the former president after Meadows said they are holding “cabinet” meetings at the Trump National Golf Club.

Repeating “cabinet members” multiple times while speaking with Newsmax host Steve Cortes, Meadows added, “Well, we met with several of our cabinet members tonight, we actually had a follow-up member, meeting with some of our cabinet members, and as we were looking at that, we were looking at what does come next. I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of the president, but I can tell you this Steve, we wouldn’t be meeting tonight if we weren’t making plans to move forward in a real way, with president Trump at the head of that ticket.”

Twitter commenters were quick to question what they are discussing with others wondering if they realize the Trump administration was ousted in last November’s presidential election.

You can see some comments below:

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‘Smoking Gun’: Nicolle Wallace Says New Evidence Spells Trouble for Trump and ‘Coup Accomplices’

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Friday offered her analysis after a bombshell new report by The New York Times detailing former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“On December 27, 2020 — just 11 days before his supporters would storm the U.S. Capitol with the stated goal of hanging Mike Pence and disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s win, Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection of his own, calling the acting attorney general of the United States and directing him to declare the election corrupt and then, ‘leave the rest to me,'” Wallace reported.

She then went over DOJ officials’ notes in which the document how Trump asked them to declare the 2020 election “corrupt” as a pretext for staying in power.

“The notes pointing to Trump’s perceived coup accomplices are now in the hands of those members’ peers in the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat,” she explained. “The notes also illuminate a well worn theme of the Trump presidency, the ex-president’s imperviousness to facts.”

Wallace interviewed former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, who teaches law and is a legal columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

Litman said, “it couldn’t have been more flagrantly improper. The exact thing the Department of Justice never can do is simply announce something corrupt without taking action, they must file a lawsuit based on evidence.”

“This is going to be amplified and a lot more where this came from,” Litman predicted.

Watch:

 

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