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Virginia lawmakers want parents to ban own children from reading ‘sexually explicit’ books in school

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Virginia lawmakers are working on a bill that would require teachers to warn parents about reading assignments with “sexually explicit” content.

Parents could then decide to veto those books for their children and request an alternate assignment, reported the Washington Post.

The rules would require school districts to identify and list possibly objectionable material and set up a process for parents to opt out, although a similar bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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Teachers would be required to provide replacement texts for parents who don’t want their children to read materials that could be considered sexually explicit, although critics say the wording is too vague and could be used to ban books such as Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and The Diary of Anne Frank.

“This is not good policy, and it’s treading on dangerous legal ground,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, of the Virginia ACLU. “We’ll be evaluating what happens at every step of the way.”

Accomack County Public Schools briefly removed Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from bookshelves last fall after a parent complained about racial slurs.

Officials in Chesterfield County also considered removing items from a summer reading list, including Eleanor and Park and Dope Sick, after parents denounced the books as “pornographic” and “trash.”

Parent Laura Murphy, who sought a ban on Toni Morrison’s Beloved, said teachers should be required to explain “why (individual books are) worthwhile and why it’s a good read and a valuable component of the child’s education.”

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‘People’s lives will be lost’: Psychiatrist warns ‘sociopath’ Trump is ‘getting worse’ — and failing in coronavirus response

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President Donald Trump's psychological problems are getting worse and could be consequential as America faces a potential COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday interviewed Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"As you pointed out, Lawrence, this man is about himself. He really is not about the country, he's not about public health," Dr. Dodes said of Trump.

"Although he has already severely damaged the country by being a psychopath or sociopath -- in many ways, he's damaged democracy -- I think people's lives will be lost now," he warned. "Individual lives will be lost because of the way he's mishandling the coronavirus issue."

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2020 Election

‘Something really rotten’: Here’s the evidence of extensive voter suppression in Georgia’s notorious 2018 election

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As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle grinds on, there’s renewed concern about the 21st century’s newest form of warfare: cyber-sabotage of government systems, including elections and online disinformation intended to incite unrest. But as Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a documentary from Brave New Films, makes clear, partisan voter suppression tactics with 20th-century roots remain and can thwart multitudes of voters from changing their state’s political leaders.

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The real story behind Trump’s new lawsuit against the New York Times

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Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

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