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Embarrassment for Trump as teachers of the year shun White House award ceremony

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Two state teachers of the year skipped a White House awards ceremony meant to honor them to protest President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Education Week reported that rather than attend the Oval Office ceremony on Monday, Kentucky Teacher of the Year Jessica Dueñas and Minnesota Teacher of the Year Kelly Holstine decided to hold a press conference on Tuesday to explain why they weren’t attending.

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“It’s uncomfortable for me right now to not be with my peers, but it’s the right choice,” Dueñas, a 6th-grade special education teacher at W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, told Ed Week. “When I’m gone someday from this earth, I feel like I’m going to be on the right side of history, for speaking up for my students and my state in this manner.”

Holstine, who described herself as an “out, gender-non-conforming lesbian” and Minnesota’s first teacher of the year from the LGBTQ community, said she could not attend due to the Trump administration’s homophobic and transphobic policies.

“I feel that the policies of this administration, and the homophobia and the transphobia and the demonizing of the LGBTQ people, is so damaging and hurtful,” she said. “And it creates an environment where other folks feel emboldened to also feel that hatred.”

Holstine explained to Ed Week that many of her students at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee, MN, an alternative learning center, are undocumented, have family who are undocumented or are Somali refugees.

“I cannot in good conscience even implicitly support an administration that does not support my students,” Holstine said.

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Dueñas revealed to the magazine that one of her parents was formerly undocumented and said the Trump administration’s family separation policy was one of the main factors in her decision to boycott the ceremony.

You can watch Dueñas and Holstine’s press conference at the American Federation of Teachers’ headquarters in DC below:

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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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