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Florida at the center of debate as school books ban surge nationally



“Our books are under a shadow ban,” said Nina Perez, a Jacksonville resident and director of anti-restriction organization MomsRising. “They are mired in the administrative process.”

Tracey Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Duval School District, said in an email last month that these actions followed the state Department of Education’s guidance. Classes should never have been left without reading materials, she said, as students still had access to approved books and collections. She acknowledged that “a small number of directors briefly closed or over-restricted” media centers and was advised to restore access.

Mr. DeSantis has responded aggressively to criticism over the ban on books in public schools. He dismissed news reports that Duval County Schools removed a headline about baseball player Roberto Clemente as a “joke”, accusing critics of “fabricating” the book ban story.

The book, which refers to the racism Mr. Clemente has faced, was removed and then reinstated in February after being reviewed. Last month, the state education commissioner named John Winter’s Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates Book of the Month for students in grades three through five.

At a press conference last month, Mr. DeSantis stood behind a sign that read “HOAX Book Ban Exposed” and said the state was trying to protect children from pornographic material. The event kicked off with a presentation of books that were reported to be seized in the county, including Gender Queer by Maya Kobabe and “Flamer”, Mike Curato — and highlighted scenes about sexual encounters and masturbation.

“This idea of ​​banning books in Florida, that books are somehow not needed in the library, is a hoax,” Mr. DeSantis said. “And it’s a really nasty hoax because it’s a hoax designed to desecrate and sexualize our children.”

Critics in the state are fighting back. In March, the human rights organization Democracy Forward filed lawsuit with the state on behalf of the Florida Education Association and other groups challenging the rules, alleging they censor educators, limit students’ access to books, and harm public education. Florida’s Reading Freedom Project staged a rally last month in Tallahassee with writers and free speech activists to protest censorship.


Trump touts pro-life credentials to Iowa evangelists after slapping major anti-abortion group



Former President Donald Trump – days after being lambasted by a leading anti-abortion group – drew attention to his past and possibly future efforts to curb abortion when he addressed a powerful mob of conservative social leaders and activists in Iowa, the state that tops the Republican presidential nomination calendar.

Trump touted that he was “the most pro-life president in American history” and “took historic action to protect the unborn” as he spoke live, but remotely, in a room of more than 1,100 people attending a major gathering of the Iowa Faith. and the Freedom Coalition.

The former president demonstrated his “monumental victories for faith, for family, for freedom and for life. Together we have achieved more for our values ​​than any administration in the history of our country, and that’s not even close. I have appointed more than 300 judges who have filled the federal bench with pro-constitutional warriors who interpret laws the way they are written.”

And he pointed to three justices he appointed to the Supreme Court who “won a landmark victory in defense of innocent lives.”


Audience at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting in Clive, Iowa, listening to a remote address by former President Donald Trump on April 22, 2023 (Fox News)

Trump was referring to the high-profile move by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority last June to strike down the semi-century-old Roe v. United States case. Wade’s ordinance allowing the legalization of abortion nationwide. The high court decision brought the controversial issue of abortion back to the states.

The former president’s comments on abortion are noteworthy because he has addressed the issue frequently as he runs for the White House for the third time in a row.

But his stance, reinforced by his campaign this week, that after last year’s Supreme Court ruling, abortion restrictions should be left up to the states, drew a sharp rebuke Thursday from Susan B. Anthony, the leader of Pro-Life America. an abortion group that called Trump’s comments “the morally insecure stance of a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate.”

The group has said it will not support any White House candidate who supports at least a 15-week federal ban on abortion. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a strong Trump supporter in the Senate, last year proposed a 15-week federal ban on abortion following a Supreme Court ruling.


Trump did not say in his comments whether he would support a national ban. Instead, he only emphasized that “I will continue to speak out strongly against the extreme proponents of late-term abortion in the Democratic Party who believe in abortion on demand in the ninth month of pregnancy.”

But Trump did get public applause when he touted that he “was the first president to attend – you know – the March for Life rally in Washington, DC.”

Mike Pence in Iowa

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to conservative voters at an April 22, 2023, Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting in Clive, Iowa. (Fox News)

Former Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to Trump in person to a crowd in suburban Des Moines, used part of his address to commend the Trump-Pence administration’s efforts to curb abortion.

But a couple of hours earlier, talking to reporters, Pence seemed to be criticizing his former partner about abortion.

Asked by Fox News if Trump wasn’t strong enough to push for a federal abortion ban, Pence said, “I think that’s what other people should be saying.”

But the former vice president was quick to point out his differences with Trump on the issue, saying last year’s Supreme Court ruling “doesn’t mean it’s the state’s only problem. All it means is that states can now make laws that protect unborn children.” .”

“I’m also of the opinion that Americans want leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue who will stand up for the sanctity of life,” Pence said. “We have an incredible and historic opportunity to advance the cause of life.”

And he reaffirmed his support for the federal abortion ban, saying, “I will support any effort to make the sanctity of life the center of American law.”

Pence has made numerous trips to Iowa over the past two years as he nears the start of the presidential campaign. He recently said he would have a decision on 2024 in a few weeks and told Fox News on Saturday night, “I’ll keep you posted if I spend a lot more time in Iowa.”

Tim Scott in Iowa

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina addresses the audience at the Iowa Coalition for Faith and Freedom meeting on April 22, 2023 in Clive, Iowa. (Fox News)

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who recently launched a presidential exploratory campaign, also addressed the crowd, as did the two-term former governor of Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson, who is due to start her 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday in her home state. But Hutchinson, apparently without waiting for his official announcement, told the crowd that “I can stand here today and say that I am a presidential candidate in 2024.”


Three other declared candidates — entrepreneur, best-selling author and conservative commentator Vivek Ramaswamy of Ohio, conservative radio talk show host and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson — made speeches at the event, as did former Rep. Will. Hurd is from Texas, who is also considering running for the White House as a Republican.

Republican presidential candidate, former ambassador and former governor of South Carolina. Nikki Haley did not attend the event. North was made Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis, who remains on the sidelines in 2024 but is expected to launch a presidential campaign after his state’s legislative session closes next month.

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Supreme Court retains access to abortion pill – despite Alito’s salty objections



Two weeks after Texas Judge Matthew Kachsmarik issued a nationwide ban on abortion pills Mifepristone – Withdrawal of FDA drug approval since 2000 – Supreme Court there was orderpending full consideration of the appeal on the merits of the case. This decision delays not only the sentencing of Kaczmarik, but also decision of the Fifth Arbitration Court of Appeal, which restored the 2000 FDA approval for the drug but banned the 2016 FDA update that extended mifepristone use from seven to 10 weeks. This means that abortion pills are allowed, again, up to 10 weeks.

This is a victory for reproductive rights as they preserve the rights that people still have after last year’s Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health cancellation of the decision Row vs Calf counted as a “win”. Now the case is heading back to the Fifth Circuit, which will hold a hearing and, almost certainly, issue another chaotic ruling against abortion pills. This decision will eventually be challenged in the Supreme Court, so we don’t know when access to medical abortion will again be in jeopardy.

However, this is not a complete victory. The Supreme Court should have dismissed Kaczmarik’s decision outright, rather than postponing it until further review. This is because Kachmaryk’s decision was not only wrong in substance, but also a complete disaster in technical and procedural terms. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit to ban abortion pills – a group of hyper-Christian “doctors” – did not demonstrate that they had suffered any harm from the FDA’s approval process and therefore should not have been allowed to go to trial. Moreover, the lawsuit should have had a statute of limitations – there is a six-year statute of limitations for challenging FDA decisions – and Kaczmarik simply ignored it. These procedural shortcomings meant that the case could be closed without dragging it out until a later date when the court decided to consider the case in its entirety.

However, this outcome has always been the most likely. The Supreme Court doesn’t like to dismiss cases without a full hearing, and while I thought this case was so idiotic that it could and should have overcome that general preference, I’m not surprised that the court’s conservative supermajority wanted to give forced birth favor a full hearing. .

I’m also not surprised that the votes of the judges ultimately fell short. The court granted a stay in the form of an unsigned one-paragraph order, but two judges who disagreed publicly expressed their disagreement: Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Alito wrote a complete disagreement.

Pretty much everything Alito writes is offensive, wrong, and dangerous, and that’s the case here too. But since he’s lost (so far), his disagreement also smacks of bitterness. He is furious, and it is easy to imagine how he types in the dead of night with his face wrinkled from the bile that enlivens his soul. Alito essentially held the entire country hostage by this ruling for a couple of days, just so he could scatter sand in a form of dissent.

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Alphabet CEO Pichai makes over $200M in 2022 amid spending cuts



(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc CEO Sundar Pichai received a total compensation of about $226 million in 2022, more than 800 times the average employee salary, the company said in a securities filing on Friday.

According to the statement, Pichai’s compensation included about $218 million in stocks.

Pay inequality comes at a time when Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is cutting jobs around the world. California-based The Mountain View announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs worldwide in January, the equivalent of 6% of its global workforce. .

Earlier this month, hundreds of Google employees went on strike at the company’s London offices following a layoff dispute.

In March, Google employees went on strike at the company’s Zurich office after laying off more than 200 employees.

(Reporting by Rishab Jaiswal in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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