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Calif. school district bans atheist scholarships — but allows them from Scientology

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A lawsuit filed in federal court last week accuses California’s Antelope Valley Union School Board of blocking scholarships from atheists while allowing them from Scientology.

Courthouse News Service reported that the district was sued after it refused to let students compete for $17,950 in scholarships from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and $1,750 in scholarships from the Antelope Valley Freethinkers.

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According to the atheist groups, Palmdale High School declined to notify students of their scholarship offers, which required applicants to submit an essay on the challenges of being a “nonbeliever.”

The lawsuit notes that the school did offer scholarships from other groups — including the Church of Scientology — that “solicited religious speech, required applicants to be religious, and dealt with the historically controversial topics of homosexuality and guns.”

Deputy Superintendent Jeff Foster reportedly told Antelope Valley Freethinkers President David Dionne that offers from atheists groups would “upset some parents.” Foster cited the group’s suggestion that students write about being “ridiculed, harassed, or punished for speaking up against religion in the classroom, at school events, in government, or within your family.”

“We simply do not have the time to ‘word smith’ language that might be acceptable to the district and yet meet the intent of your organization,” Foster explained.

The atheist groups are asking a federal judge to issue an injunction to force the district to stop suppressing free speech.

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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace chuckles after Times reporter explains why Trump has no hope of pivoting to an empathetic campaign

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace struggled to stifle a chuckle in a conversation about President Donald Trump's struggle to run a campaign that can contend with most Americans' needs in a horrific pandemic.

"I think to Nick [Confessore's] point earlier, there should be a sense of nervousness in Trump's camp," began Democratic strategist Basil Smikle. "You don't see -- you talked about enablers. You don't see Republicans engaged in their behavior with respect to the president at this juncture. You're starting to see them not nationalize he's the president of the United States. They should be more allied with him, but instead, they're focused on local campaigns. The president has lost several cases at the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act case notwithstanding. There's a lot of things they should be rallying around, but they can't."

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Here’s how bad things are for Trump after the Supreme Court ruling: columnist

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In a piece for Vanity Fair, columnist Eric Lutz addressed the degree to which President Donald Trump is in trouble after the ruling by the Supreme Court on his financial records.

Trump has spent the better part of four years fighting any transparency about his finances and taxes, which many have suspected might reveal illegal activity.

"He's not going to release his tax returns," said senior adviser Kellyanne Conway in 2017. "We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care."

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Trump gets advice from golfing buddies and right-wing Twitter as America faces a ‘crisis of truth’: op-ed

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Michael Gerson contends that President Trump is running the country through the prism of the "right-wing information bubble."

"Trump is not only using this right-wing information bubble to exploit his supporters," Gerson writes. "He also seems, increasingly, to have taken up residence there. As his failures have multiplied, his hold on political reality has loosened. Trump has become our boy in the bubble, with an intellectual immune system too weak for him to survive exposure to reality."

All sources of dissent and critical thinking have been removed systematically removed from his administration -- — posts formerly held by Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and Dan Coats, have now been replaced by sycophants, according to Gerson.

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