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Arkansas Republican pushes bill to ban Howard Zinn books from public schools

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Republican Arkansas state Sen. Kim Hendren introduced a bill to the state legislature that will ban the works of historian Howard Zinn from any schools that receive public funds.

The Arkansas Times reported Thursday that House Bill 1834 would ban all public schools and open enrollment charter schools from “including in its curriculum or course materials for a program of study books or any other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn.”

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Zinn is the author of “A People’s History of the United States,” the groundbreaking re-examination of U.S. history in terms of its effects on the poor, people of color and women.

What began as a fringe interpretation of history has gradually gained ground. In 2014 and 2015, Republicans across the country fought a pitched battle against the federal AP high school history program. Conservatives argue that the curriculum looks at U.S. history through the lenses of race and class, placing too much emphasis on slavery and Native American genocide and not enough on American exceptionalism and the glory of the free market economy.

Max Brantley at the Times said that Zinns 2010 New York Times obituary “probably gives you a taste of the danger Kim Hendren sees in Howard Zinn.”

Proudly, unabashedly radical, with a mop of white hair and bushy eyebrows and an impish smile, Mr. Zinn, who retired from the history faculty at Boston University two decades ago, delighted in debating ideological foes, not the least his own college president, and in lancing what he considered platitudes, not the least that American history was a heroic march toward democracy.

Almost an oddity at first, with a printing of just 4,000 in 1980, “A People’s History of the United States” has sold nearly two million copies. To describe it as a revisionist account is to risk understatement. A conventional historical account held no allure; he concentrated on what he saw as the genocidal depredations of Christopher Columbus, the blood lust of Theodore Roosevelt and the racial failings of Abraham Lincoln. He also shined an insistent light on the revolutionary struggles of impoverished farmers, feminists, laborers and resisters of slavery and war.

Such stories are more often recounted in textbooks today; they were not at the time.

“Our nation had gone through an awful lot — the Vietnam War, civil rights, Watergate — yet the textbooks offered the same fundamental nationalist glorification of country,” Mr. Zinn recalled in a recent interview with The New York Times. “I got the sense that people were hungry for a different, more honest take.”

Zinn spoke to Raw Story’s John Byrne in 2005 and said, “History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.”

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‘A completely false narrative’: Defense secretary Epser snaps at CNN’s Tapper over firing of Navy captain and safety of sailors

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper was put on the hot seat on Sunday morning by CNN Jake Tapper over the firing of Captain Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was relieved of duty helming the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for writing a letter for expressing concern for his crew as the coronavirus began to spread.

Esper went out of his way to say that he backed acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly decision to relieve Crozier who was attempting to protect the 5,000 sailors under his command, saying, "First and foremost, we needed to take care of the sailors on the ship. Ensure their well-being and get that ship out to sea as soon as possible. I'm pleased to report, over half of the ship has been tested. 155 came up positive, those are mild to moderate, no hospitalization whatsoever. The crew is being taken care of. With regard to the relief of the captain, I think the acting secretary made a tough decision, a decision that I support. It was based on his view that he lost faith and confidence in the captain based on his actions. It's just another example of how we hold leaders accountable for actions."

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‘A mockery of independence’: Trump to nominate White House lawyer to oversee $4.5 trillion coronavirus relief bill

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A late Friday announcement regarding President Donald Trump's nominee to oversee the implementation of the recently-passed $4.5 trillion coronavirus relief bill was regarded by government watchdogs as the president's latest attempt to protect the interests of powerful corporations while Americans are focused on the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House announced that Trump would nominate Brian D. Miller, a special assistant to the president and senior associate counsel in the White House Counsel office, to oversee the prevention of fraud and abuse in the relief program. The law includes minimal relief for the public and what progressives have derided as a $500 billion "slush fund" for corporations, allowing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "bail out any corporation he pleases, with almost no conditions," as Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl wrote last month.

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Louisiana pastor grilled on CNN for plan to pack 27 buses full of worshipers and haul them to church during COVID-19 crisis

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A Louisiana pastor was put on the spot on Sunday morning by CNN's Victor Blackwell for his plan to load up his buses and haul worshipers to his planned Sunday service at a time when the highly-c0ntagious COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives throughout the country.

Speaking with the CNN host, Life Tabernacle Church pastor Tony Spell said he was ignoring advice from local officials to not host the service because it would endanger the health of his followers.

Asked whether he planned to go forward despite warnings, the pastor replied, "This morning, yes, sir, 10:00 AM. We will actually run our buses. We have 27 buses that we cover in a 50-mile radius of our city. We bring people into the house of God, feed them natural food and spiritual food and then we go right back into our respective places. It takes us about eight hours to run into service on Sunday morning and then we come back in tonight."

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