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University of Alaska Is the ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ of Higher Education Being Destroyed by Republicans: Reporter



Alaska has been thrown into chaos as newly elected Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy used a line-item veto to slash funding for the public university system by 41 percent — a devastating blow that has the already cash-strapped University of Alaska scrambling to furlough professors and cancel classes.

It’s a nightmare situation for the state — and, wrote Adam Harris for The Atlantic, a “worst-case scenario” of what happens when higher education becomes a partisan issue.

“It has not been uncommon to see significant cuts by states to higher-education funding—particularly during economic slowdowns—but ‘it is uncommon to do it in one fell swoop,’ Nick Hillman, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told me,” wrote Harris. “Alaska had a deficit, and the governor had promised not to raise taxes to deal with it, so he chose a favored punching bag to take the hit instead: higher education.”

The problem, Harris said, is that over the past several years, public views of colleges and universities have become sharply split, with Republican confidence declining by double digits — a trend bolstered by right-wing media outrage about supposed liberal bias and censorship of conservatives on campuses. And that means that university budgets are increasingly at risk of being on the chopping block in some red states — especially states where, as in Alaska, a single politician has the power to axe $130 million with the stroke of a pen.

“In rural states, where many residents lack easy access to colleges and universities, those cuts can hit especially hard,” wrote Harris. “The elimination of state funding, the Alaska system’s president lamented, could result in the closure of one of its campuses. The students who rely on that university would be left in the lurch, needing to travel farther to get to one of the school’s remaining campuses. The task of getting an education, for those in rural communities where a college degree is already hard to come by, would become a little harder.”

“Alaska may be an extreme case, but it shows one possible fate for public colleges in an age of mistrust: wounded by a thousand small cuts, and then a machete,” Harris concluded.

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‘Shaping Policies’: Trump Official in Charge of Personnel at HHS Has Been a College Senior – Report



The Trump administration put a college senior in charge of personnel at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Catherine Granito. She appears to have graduated this spring.

A Politico report Monday afternoon, “Trump administration shakes up HHS personnel office after tumultuous hires,” revealed the stunning placement – including that she has been “playing a role in shaping policies in the middle of a pandemic.”

HHS has an annual budget of $1.286 trillion. As of 2015 it had 79,540 employees.

“White House Liaison Emily Newman and her deputy Catherine Granito will be shifting full-time to the Voice of America’s parent organization, the United States Agency for Global Media, HHS chief of staff Brian Harrison told senior staff on Monday,” the Politico article states.

It adds that “Granito — an undergraduate at the University of Michigan as recently as this spring — had been in charge of the health department’s personnel while playing a role in shaping policies in the middle of a pandemic.”

Granito’s LinkedIn page says she attended the University of Michigan until May as a student athlete playing lacrosse and notes she majored in English language and literature. A Google search shows that page listed her as an “advisor” at HHS.

Her Facebook page says she “Works at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The recent Michael Caputo scandal appears to have involved Granito.

“Granito, who was in the class of 2020 at the University of Michigan, was involved in political appointees’ recent scrutiny of CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, a career civil servant. Caputo and his team raised concerns about Schuchat this spring after she publicly acknowledged missed opportunities in the nation’s response to the coronavirus.”


Image: Official White House Photo of HHS Sec. Alex Azar and President Donald Trump by Tia Dufour via Flickr

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Kayleigh McEnany Says Trump ‘Very Likely’ Will Nominate New Supreme Court Justice Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Buried



White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Donald Trump will announce his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, mostly likely by Tuesday. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court. The date of her funeral, which will be a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, has not even been announced yet.

Asked if the nomination would be announced “before Wednesday,” she replied, “I think that’s very likely.”

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Monday morning also hinted the announcement would come Tuesday.


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Trump Says He Will Make SCOTUS Nomination Next Week – Appears He Will Use Seat to Strengthen Where He Is Weak in Polls



President Donald Trump says he will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “next week.”

He made clear his primary deciding factors will be to help him in the polls.

Trump told reporters Saturday afternoon “most likely” he will choose a woman.

CNN reports he is leaning towards choosing a woman mostly because he is doing poorly in the polls with women.

Trump spoke about two women judges. He talked about Barbara Lagoa, noting she is Hispanic and from Florida. He is struggling in the polls with Hispanics and in Florida.

Reporters also asked about Amy Coney Barrett, a far right wing anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ extremist. Trump spoke positively about her as well. Reports say she is the current frontrunner.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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