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Senator Kamala Harris delivers blistering rebuke to GOP as Kavanaugh confirmation debate opens

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A visibly outraged Kamala Harris (D-CA) went into prosecutor mode as she eviscerated her Republican colleagues for ramming through Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, saying the process was a sham and the FBI had been handcuffed by the White House.

“As the former attorney general of California, I have tremendous, tremendous respect for the sworn law enforcement officers at the FBI, and this should have been a search for the truth,” she said. “They should have been allowed to do their full job. But instead the White House did not allow it. This was not a search for the truth. Instead, this was about politics and raw power to push through an unfit nominee.”

Harris drew on her experience as prosecutor, shredding the Republican talking points about accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s failure to report the allegations 30 years prior.

“63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police in our country,” she said. “Delayed reporting is normal.” Harris said she was unable to count the number of times prospective jurors on assault cases would be excused from serving, because of testimony that spoke to their own unreported claims.

Harris reminded the chamber that they weren’t investigating a crime, but trying to determine if Kavanaugh was fit to sit on the Court. The she slammed the Republicans for blocking any efforts to find out that truth, saying “we did not do her justice, we did not do the American people justice.”

“We were given one week to investigate. The Republicans said you’ll get one week, they threw out one week,” she spat bitterly. “And in less than one week, we are presented with paltry documents.”

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She also slammed the White House, rattling of a list of failures and oversights, from refusing to allow the FBI to question Kavanaugh, two dozen witnesses to the events in question, and the more than 40 people acquainted with Kavanaugh who were not permitted to share their information.

“They did not interview Dr. Ford’s husband or a number of her friends who she told of the assault before –before– Kavanaugh’s nomination. They did not interview the former FBI special agent who conducted Dr. Ford’s polygraph. They did not interview Kavanaugh’s roommate at Yale who has contradicted Kavanaugh’s testimony,” she said.

And, what seemed to be a personal dig at the nominee himself, Harris said “They did not interview three of Kavanaugh’s friends from Yale who wrote in The Washington Post just last night, “Brett also belonged to a Yale senior secret society called truth and courage. we believe that Brett neither tells the former nor embodies the latter’. They did not interview Dr. Ford at all.”

Harris turned to the chamber, and before yielding her time said “Every American is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, but nobody is entitled to a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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2020 Election

Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future

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The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.

But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.

Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.

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