[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Assigning Anne Frank graphic novel to 8th graders lands teacher out of a job:
A Texas teacher has been fired after a middle school class was assigned to read a graphic novel adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” that officials say had not been approved by the school district.
The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District announced that a teacher had assigned an eighth-grade class to read a passage from “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” which includes passages Frank wrote about female and male genitalia, and a possible attraction to women. The unabridged version of Frank’s diary has been removed from schools in Texas and Florida this year after complaints from parents over the book’s sexual content…
An investigation is trying to determine whether the adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary had been approved. District officials maintain that the graphic adaptation was never approved, but the book was on a reading list sent to parents at the beginning of the school year, according to KFDM, a CBS and Fox affiliate in Beaumont that was the first to report the story.
Anne Frank was 13 years old when she received her diary and began writing in it. Kids in the eighth grade are usually 13 years old. While I’m pretty sure today’s kids can handle something Frank wrote at the same age, I can also see where students might be embarrassed hearing the graphic text read aloud in a classroom of boys and girls. But rather than it having to do with something like girls being ashamed of their bodies, an embarrassed reaction could easily be a kid’s natural modesty in action. And that’s not a bad thing. Especially in this day and age. But it seems silly, and perhaps unlawful(?) to fire a teacher over this, given the confusion over the reading list.
Second news item
A devastating snippet from Jeffrey Goldberg’s new profile of Mark Milley in The Atlantic:
Milley had chosen a severely wounded Army captain, Luis Avila, to sing “God Bless America.” Avila, who had completed five combat tours, had lost a leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan, and had suffered two heart attacks, two strokes, and brain damage as a result of his injuries. To Milley, and to four-star generals across the Army, Avila and his wife, Claudia, represented the heroism, sacrifice, and dignity of wounded soldiers.
It had rained that day, and the ground was soft; at one point Avila’s wheelchair threatened to topple over. Milley’s wife, Hollyanne, ran to help Avila, as did Vice President Mike Pence. After Avila’s performance, Trump walked over to congratulate him, but then said to Milley, within earshot of several witnesses, “Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.” Never let Avila appear in public again, Trump told Milley. (Recently, Milley invited Avila to sing at his retirement ceremony.)
Third news item
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was charged on Friday with corruption-related offenses for the second time in 10 years.
Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, are accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for the senator’s influence, according to the newly unsealed federal indictment.
Prosecutors allege the bribes included gold, cash, home mortgage payments, compensation for a “low-or-no-show job” and a luxury vehicle.
This is the second set of corruption charges levied against Menendez by the Justice Department in a decade. He previously fought off conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud related to alleged personal favors.
Menendez is up for reelection next year…
In June 2022, FBI agents executed search warrants on Menendez’s home and found more than $480,000 in cash, “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe.”
Agents found envelopes of cash inside jackets bearing Menendez’s name. Their search found home furnishings, a luxury vehicle and gold bars all provided by the businessmen.
No word if they found anything in his bathroom…
Menendez railed against the charges, sounding alot like that Witch Hunt guy:
For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists,” he said.
You can read the indictment here.
Fourth news item
Two years ago, Kevin McCarthy welcomed President Zelensky with open arms, not so much this year. Good to see a media outlet that I wouldn’t expect to take issue with McCarthy’s behavior, take issue with McCarthy’s behavior:
Speaker Kevin McCarthy dissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, not only refusing to OK a joint address to Congress, but even forcing the visitor to meet with House Republicans off the chamber’s floor.
Bush league, Kevin.
…we get that many of his members have turned all-out against US aid to Ukraine; keeping Zelensky at arm’s length spares him considerable flak.
(In reality, a huge chunk of “Ukraine aid” gets spent at home, on modernizing US ordnance as we send older equipment over there — and that modernization is vital to beefing up our neglected defenses.)
More important: Russia’s imperialist war of aggression needs defeating.
If the Kremlin wins, it’ll move on to bullying other neighbors in Central Europe, threatening NATO members and risking a conflict that would draw in US troops.
And would-be conquerors will imitate Vladimir Putin, as the entire world order decays.
America and the West will pay a far higher price than we are paying now.
Fifth news item
A no-brainer “yes” at the one year mark of Mahsa Amini’s death:
One of the bills approved on Tuesday, the Mahsa Amini Human Rights and Security Accountability Act (MAHSA Act), would apply sanctions to Iran’s supreme leader and president. The legislation is named for the 22-year-old Kurdish woman whose death and alleged abuse while in the custody of Iran’s morality police almost a year ago for improperly wearing her hijab, or head covering, sparked historic anti-government protests across Iran.
The National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), an Iranian-American group opposed to the regime and a supporter of the bill, said in a statement that the MAHSA Act would help reveal the true nature of the Islamic Republic.
“[The Islamic Republic of Iran] is not a partner worthy of engagement, but a brutal dictatorship whose opponents — the freedom-loving people of Iran — deserve America’s solidarity,” NUFDI said. “Holding the regime’s supreme leader and president accountable for their crimes against humanity with the human rights sanctions in the MAHSA Act has been met with overwhelming support from the Iranian-American community and is a needed first step in offering maximum support to the people of Iran in their quest to establish a secular democracy that will secure their fundamental rights and ensure American security.”
Guess which women voted against this? Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
A rebuke Freedom fighter Masih Alinejad:
We the women of Iran will never forget that an American congresswoman who enjoys freedom of choice, voted against women of Iran who are getting killed for demanding freedom of choice.
@Ilhan! You sided with our killers by voting against #MahsaAct
The US House passed a bill, tightening sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader and President. Votes against were cast by Ilhan Omar. As we approach the anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death at the hands of the morality police, this timely bill aims to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for its crimes. The broad support for this bill moves us towards a freer Iran. Regrettably, the Biden administration released $6 billion to Iran, establishing a questionable form of diplomacy. I hope the Senate will pass this bill, reflecting our commitment to freedom and human rights.
It’s disheartening to see an American woman who enjoys freedom of choice, who should be advocating for women of Iran who face, prison, lashes, rape, chemical attack and get killed for demanding the same freedom to choose their own dress code, voting against a bill designed to support Iranian women. Yet, this doesn’t surprise me. When I was the target of transnational repression, she campaigned against me for the crime working freelancers for Voice of America media broadcasting. We, Iranian women, will never forget. Mahsa isn’t just a daughter of Iran; she’s a beacon for women globally who stand against dictators. It’s astonishing that while the world stands with Mahsa and Iranian women, you side with the oppressors. The bill was meant to sanction those responsible for atrocities under the Islamic Republic.
We will continue our fight against the gender apartheid regime of Iran, but the history will judge those of you who could help us but decided to side with the religious dictatorship.
I call on all women across the globe to join us to end the gender apartheid regime in Iran. We deserve to have a secular democracy no, not an Islamic terrorist regime.
Sixth news item
Speaker Kevin McCarthy sent his House members home for the week without a clear plan to avoid a looming government shutdown after hardliners in the Republican conference once again scuttled his spending plans, delivering an embarrassing floor defeat for GOP leadership for the second time this week.
The Republican leader slammed his far-right flank for wanting to “burn the place down,” after conservatives dramatically bucked McCarthy and GOP leadership on a procedural vote over a Pentagon funding bill, throwing the House into total paralysis. And now, members are not set to return to session until Tuesday as the possibility of a shutdown at the end of next week appears ever more likely.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate,” McCarthy told reporters.
McCarthy sold his soul. The bill always comes due.
Seventh news item
President Joe Biden has told his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that the United States will provide a small number of long-range missiles (ATACMS) to aid the war with Russia, three U.S. officials and a congressional official familiar with the discussions told NBC News on Friday.
The officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not say when the missiles would be delivered or when a public announcement would be made…
The congressional official said there was still a debate about the type of missile that would be sent and how many would be delivered to Ukraine.
The long-range missiles will give Kyiv the ability to strike targets from as far away as about 180 miles, hitting supply lines, railways, and command and control locations behind the Russian front lines.
Eighth news item
Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is deploying California Gov. Gavin Newsom to the second Republican presidential debate next week in Simi Valley, Calif., Biden campaign advisers tell Axios…Donald Trump isn’t likely to attend the GOP debate Wednesday, but Biden’s team also is deploying top officials — including campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez — to contrast the president’s agenda with what they call “MAGA Republicans’ extreme and out of touch views.”
Chávez Rodríguez and DNC chair Jaime Harrison will host Latino organizing events including one focused on Latino men, Biden campaign advisers told Axios.
The DNC also is hiring a plane to fly over Southern California reading “2024 GOP: A Race for the Extreme MAGA Base,” according to a Biden adviser.
Biden re-elect spokesperson Kevin Munoz told Axios: “The campaign response builds off the strong and effective plan from the first debate with a clear north star: Push back on Republicans’ lies and highlight their extremism at every turn.”
I could watch this all day long:
Baby elephants don't learn to control their trunks until they’re about a year old. pic.twitter.com/HVk5hcZuLP
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) December 20, 2021
Have a great weekend!