A U.S. Dept. of Education investigation into how a Georgia school district chose to remove almost a dozen books, mostly with Black and LGBTQ characters, finds it created a hostile environment for students and may have violated their civil rights. The DOE’s Office of Civil Rights says the effects of the book removals were so “harsh” they led at least several students to be afraid to go to school.
The Washington Post calls the investigation’s conclusion “a move that could affect how schools handle book challenges.” The Forsyth County, Georgia school district has “agreed to offer ‘supportive measures’ to students affected by the book removals and to administer a school climate survey,” according to a letter from the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The extensive and detailed letter notes that the district weighed multiple methods to handle parents’ complaints about several books, and took steps, albeit insufficient, to attempt fairness. But it also makes clear extremist parents’ demands played a role in its decision to remove certain books. The letter also includes comments from students.
In March of 2022, a local CBS affiliate in Georgia ran a news report detailing the remarks of some parents. That report largely focused on parents who were demanding books be banned. It did not include any students. It also alleged the books were inappropriate: “A slew of inappropriate books in Forsyth County school libraries is causing outrage amongst some parents,” the video’s written statement on YouTube reads.
“During a February 15 District school board meeting, which the District’s Superintendent attended, multiple parents and students spoke about the District’s removal of books,” the Office of Civil Rights’ letter reads, referring to an earlier meeting. “Many parents called for the removal of additional books, with most of their comments focused on sexually explicit content; however, some comments focused on removing books for reasons related to gender identity or sexual orientation. Also, some parents made negative comments about diversity and inclusion or critical race theory.”
“The students’ comments at the board meeting focused on the gender identity, sexual orientation, and race or color of authors or characters in the books. Some students also raised concern about the impact of removing the books. One student stated that the book ban immediately made the environment more harsh for students; people like him who are not in the closet are watching their safe spaces disappear, and he is sick of being fearful at school,” OCR states. “A student who identified herself as Asian said it is hard for her to find books with main characters who are of her race; she knows that people of other minority backgrounds have the same struggle and banning books written with diversity silences mainly minority voices. A third student — who characterized the District’s actions as singling out books by authors who are gay, supporters of the LGBTQI+ community, women and people of color — expressed the belief that the District does not care about diversity.”
In its letter, the Office of Civil Rights sys it “has a concern the District received notice that its media center book screening process may have created a hostile environment for students, yet the District’s responsive steps related to the book screening process were not designed to, and were insufficient to, ameliorate any resultant racially and sexually hostile environment.”
It also “recognizes the District Media Committee rejected suggestions to handle challenged books in ways that it believed would target certain groups of students and that the District posted a statement on media centers’ websites that they ‘provide resources that reflect all students within each school community’ and that ‘If you come across a book that does not match your family’s values and/or beliefs, and you would prefer that your child does not check that book out, please discuss it with your child.’ OCR also recognizes the District limited its book screening process to sexually explicit material.”
But OCR makes clear the district’s attempts were insufficient, noting that “communications at [school] board meetings conveyed the impression that books were being screened to exclude diverse authors and characters, including people who are LGBTQI+ and authors who are not white, leading to increased fears and possibly harassment.”
“District witnesses reported to OCR that the District has not taken steps to address with students the impact of the book removals. In light of these communications and actions, OCR is concerned a hostile environment may have arisen that the District needed to ameliorate.”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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‘Why So Much Hate From You?’: Mark Cuban Smacks Down Stephen Miller, Twice
A far-right wing pundit’s decision to go after a 29-year old woman’s TikTok video about her plans for a relaxing Saturday during a holiday weekend sparked a firestorm between billionaire businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban and former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller, with the woman revealing later some of the hate she received after being made a target.
It all started when “Theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh, as he calls himself, reposted a TikTok video on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, from a woman who says she’s “29 and single, and I don’t have kids yet.” The woman, identified by Mediaite as Julia Mazur, told her followers she slept in Saturday morning, woke up with a hangover and didn’t get up until 10:15 AM, after going to a Beyoncé concert the night before.
Mazur described her upcoming day, saying she enjoys not having plans, kids, a husband, or errands, and loves going wherever the day takes her. She was looking forward to watching some streaming shows on Netflix and Hulu, and possibly learning how to make shakshuka.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything else this Saturday,” she said happily.
Walsh responded to Mazur’s casual celebration of a joyous weekend by saying, “Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.”
“If you don’t have a family at least do something interesting with your time,” Walsh continued. “These people have absurd amounts of free time and they do absolutely nothing with it. Wasting their lives staring at little glowing boxes. Absolutely soul crushing.”
Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 3, 2023
Cuban stepped in, snarking on Walsh: “Says the guy who’s life revolves around Twitter/X.”
“How do you know she isnt trying to make it her job ? She has really good engagement and increasing numbers,” Cuban added.
That’s when Miller jumped in.
“You have a large following,” Miller, the architect of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, began. “People listen to your advice. What would you say is a more fulfilling path for adults: starting a family, or sleeping late and watching TV? What advice would you give to someone who suggests they wish to be childless so they can stream more shows?”
“Thanks for asking Stephen,” Cuban said in his lengthy response, which included him saying Mazur having a family or not is “none of my fucking business.”
He also asked Miller, “what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”:
“1. I wouldn’t give her advice unless she asked. 2. After looking at the comments to her posts, I would thank her for offering a place for people who can relate to her, to engage and have a conversation. She replies to the comments and based on that, people seem to appreciate it 3. From a business perspective, I would tell her that the Wellness Space is crowded but if she does this in addition to her job, she might be able to build a nice business. 4. As far as a family. I would tell her to do whatever she thinks is best for her. It’s none of my fucking business 5. If I had you both in a room , I would point at her and thank her for trying to bring joy to others and I would point at you and ask what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”
The exchange didn’t end there.
“In the interests of time I will respond with two points,” Miller replied. “1. No society can succeed where the constant message from our elites leaders is do whatever the hell you want and don’t worry about children. Children are simply the most important thing in the whole world and the foundation of civilization and all human flourishing. 2. Could you be more specific with your crass (and, I think you would acknowledge, unprovoked) smear on point 5? The issue/work with which I’m arguably most associated, stopping human smuggling and trafficking, is quite literally about saving human lives.”
Cuban replied, in an even lengthier response that included saying, “What any individual does in terms of having children or not is their choice. Full Stop.”
“Maybe I’m wrong , but if one of those children is born to an illegal immigrant, my understanding is that you do not want to help them and you want to deport them ?” he added, calling that “hateful.”
Ultimately, Mazur posted another video, detailing some of the hate messages she’s received since Walsh’s initial post.
Walsh’s platform often revolves around attacking the LGBTQ community, including especially transgender girls and women, He has been included in reporting on white Christian nationalism, and “far-right media instigators.” He also recently warned, “whites are trending towards extinction in the United States.”
Mazur said Walsh’s followers told her, “I should actually die and never leave my house. I should be sexually assaulted,” she said, adding she was told, “I’m a whore.”
“These people were really really really riled up about my choices,” she said.
But Mazur concluded, “life’s too short figuring out what Matt Walsh wants us to do.”
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 4, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Image of Mark Cuban via Shutterstock
Liberal Fox News Co-Host Destroys Conservatives’ Claims the Right Holds the Majority Opinion on Culture War Issues
Fox News co-host Jessica Tarlov, the lone liberal on the the right-wing cable channel’s very popular afternoon show “The Five,” destroyed her conservative co-hosts’ talking points on a wide variety of culture war issues.
Behind a chyron of “Tyranny of the Minority” – related to remark made by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy – Tarlov on Wednesday fed facts to the conservatives who tried to claim the majority of Americans oppose the right to choose an abortion, and the majority of Americans do not support transgender people.
“On the trans issue, for instance,” Tarlov offered, “our own Fox polling shows that 57% of Americans think that trans kids and their families being the target of political attacks, as in these anti-trans bills, is a major problem.”
“When you look at the actual numbers of kids that are, for instance, they have gender dysphoria, and they’re getting top surgery. How many kids do you think got top surgery last year?” she asked, not receiving a response from any of her co-hosts.
“Under 300,” answered Tarlov, who “holds two Master’s degrees in political science and public policy, as well as a Ph.D. in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science,” according to Variety.
“Then think about an issue that’s really important to Democrats –” she suggested, trying to continue before co-host Greg Gutfeld interjected, asking: “Children?”
“Minors,” she responded, referring to the question of top surgery.
“That’s an atrocity,” Gutfeld declared. “But continue,” he added, laughing.
“But over 5800 kids were victims of gun violence, for instance,” Tarlov pointed out. “I don’t hear Republicans talking about that. Tyranny of the minority –” she again tried to continue before Gutfeld interrupted.
“Oh, what a false comparison,” he snarked.
“It absolutely isn’t,” responded Tarlov. “It’s a priority on the right to talk about trans issues, a priority on the left to talk about gun violence. Which affects more people?” she asked.
“Abortion is another instance of the tyranny of the minority,” Tarlov continued. “I get it, federalism – you send it back to the states where a group of elected officials have decided, for instance, in like Texas, Louisiana, that women should not be able to get abortions after six weeks. We have women that are bleeding out, going into sepsis. In Louisiana, a woman was forced to carry a baby that had no skull.”
Gutfeld, apparently outraged, screamed, “What does this have to do with this topic?”
“What are you talking about?” she replied. “This is, he says tyranny of the minority.”
“But that had to do with LGBTQ,” Jeanine Pirro interjected, “not with all of your favorite issues.”
“He’s running to be president of the United States of America,” Tarlov argued.
“But that’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about – I asked you specifically about pronouns,” Pirro complained.
“And I said he was wrong to act as if the GOP is the party of the majority opinion – they are not. They’re taking minority positions and running with them,” Tarlov explained.
An agitated Gutfeld again interjected, “Pro-life isn’t a minority position.”
“It is, actually,” she replied.
“What, are you gonna talk about the fact that it’s like 48%,” Gutfeld, hands raised, again snarked.
“No, I’m going to talk about the 69% – it’s the highest it’s ever been recorded – that now support abortion at least through the first trimester,” she replied. “And what’s happening then in Ohio and Kansas and Kentucky.”
“What’s the Democrat stance on abortion?” Gutfeld asked.
“That it’s between a woman and her doctor to make those decisions,” she said.
“No, what’s the what’s the cut off?” Gutfeld asked. “Is that what you call that tyranny of minority as well?”
Frustrated, Gutfeld added, “I think the logic here is that you’re slicing these issues –”
“Are you talking about, ‘we want to kill live babies’?” Tarlov asked, referring to conservative talking points.
“I didn’t say that,” Gutfeld replied.
“I’m just pointing out that this isn’t actually the right argument, but go ahead,” he offered, before Pirro took over and said, “I’d like to get back to the issue.”
Watch below or at this link.
You can tell Jessica Tarlov hit a nerve here by how Judge Jeanine and Gutfeld reacted — especially when she points out how out of step the GOP is on abortion and other issues while simultaneously railing about the “tyranny of the minority” regarding trans kids. pic.twitter.com/IY1tnmaGVP
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 16, 2023
‘That’s How Fascists Talk’: Matt Gaetz Slammed for Threat of Violence
According to an expert on authoritarianism, comments made by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Saturday while standing with former president Donald Trump should raise flags as he promised to use “force” to create change in Washington, D.C.
Considering the former president was recently indicted for conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 insurrection that led to lawmakers fleeing for their lives, historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.
Speaking before a crowd at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Gaetz stated, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should,” before adding, “But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
Reacting to Gaetz’s proclamations, Ben-Ghiat told MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, “What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence.”
“And that’s how fascists talk,” she added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Watch below or at the link:
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