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Obama to announce free e-books for low-income kids

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President Barack Obama will go to a public library in one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods on Thursday to talk about a plan to give low-income children access to 10,000 e-books.

Working with publishers and libraries, the White House sees the modest plan as part of a strategy to address inner city problems by increasing educational opportunities for kids – woes brought into focus with recent riots in nearby Baltimore.

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“If we’re serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they’re on the front page, but every day,” said Jeff Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser, in a briefing with reporters.

Zients cited research showing 80 percent of low-income children lag below their grade level in reading skills and lack books at home. The president will be visiting Anacostia Library in Southeast Washington, DC.

The plan includes $250 million in e-book commitments from publishers, including from the five major publishing houses: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Penguin Random House, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, and News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC.

The New York Public Library is developing an app to connect low-income kids with the books, and Obama will urge more communities to find ways to get kids into libraries.

Kids will need computers and devices to read the e-books. Zients noted the White House had previously announced programs to upgrade Internet services for schools and libraries, with private sector help from companies including Apple, which pledged $100 million in devices to low-income schools.

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“It’s very different than for our generation,” said Cecilia Munoz, Obama’s domestic policy adviser.

“More and more, you’re going to be seeing kids using devices, and what we’re doing is making sure that there’s more books available on those devices,” Munoz told reporters.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Devin Nunes’ hometown paper flooded with letters from disgusted out-of-towners

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The Frenso Bee, which hails from the San Joaquin Valley where California GOP Congressman Devin Nunes is from, published a series of letters from people around the country who watched his performance in this week's impeachment hearings. The letters all had one thing in common: a notable "absence of pro-Nunes sentiment," which the Fresno Bee's Marek Warszawski said was not intentional on his part.

"Angry people tend to send letters, not those who are pleased," he writes.

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WATCH: Lindsey Graham flees Iraq War vet who politely asks to talk about Trump’s conduct

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday was filmed running away from a war veteran who tried to talk with him about President Donald Trump's impeachable conduct.

In a video posted by progressive veterans organization Common Defense, a man who identifies himself as an Iraq War veteran from Louisiana calmly walks up to Graham and tells the senator that he believes that he's being treated unfairly by the media.

"I believe that you honestly believe in our democracy as I do," the man tells him.

"I do," Graham replies.

"I came here to D.C. because I'm a Marine, I went to Iraq, and I believe, as I believe that you do, that President Trump is not acting in accordance to his oath," the veteran continued. "The oath that you took and I did to defend the Constitution."

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2020 Election

‘The Senate’s in play’: Reeling GOP faces collapse into minority status as Trump drags party down

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According to a report in Rolling Stone, there is a very good chance that the Democrats could take control of the Senate after the 2020 election as the impeachment of Donald Trump casts a cloud over the Republican Party.

The report -- by longtime political observer Tim Dickinson -- states, "the fight to wrest the Senate from Republican control — and oust Mitch McConnell as majority leader — is arguably just as important" as the battle to force Trump from office.

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