Monthly Archives: November 2017

Betsy DeVos: If States Discriminate Against LGBTQ Students, It’s Cool By Me

WASHINGTON ? Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students ? even if those schools get federal money.

During a testy exchange in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told DeVos about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a private school in Indiana that receives state voucher money but denies admission to students from families where there is ?homosexual or bisexual activity? or someone ?practicing alternate gender identity.? Clark asked DeVos, whose budget seeks a $250 million increase for projects that include vouchers for private schools, if she would step in if that Indiana school applied for such federal funding.

DeVos replied by saying she supports giving flexibility to states.

?For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that,? she said.

You would put the state flexibility over our students?
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.)

Clark, who appeared baffled, pressed DeVos on whether she could see any situation in which she would overrule a school requesting federal voucher money ? if the school discriminated against students based on sexual orientation, race or special needs, for example. 

?The Office of Civil Rights and our Title IX protections are broadly applicable across the board,? DeVos said. ?But when it comes to parents making choices on behalf of their students?.?

?This isn?t about parents making choices. This is about use of federal dollars,? Clark interrupted. ?You would put the state flexibility over our students.?

?I think a hypothetical?? DeVos said.

?It?s not a hypothetical,? Clark snapped. ?It?s a real school.?

As they talked over each other, the chairman stepped in and gave DeVos a chance to fully answer Clark, whose time was up.

?The bottom line is we believe that parents are the best equipped to make choices for their children?s schooling and education decisions,? DeVos said. ?States and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions and framework.?

Clark managed to get in a parting comment: ?I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.?

Watch the full exchange above.

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Top House Intel Dem: Flynn Not Cooperating With Russia Probe, Subpoenas Coming

WASHINGTON ? The House intelligence committee is preparing to issue subpoenas against Michael Flynn after the former national security adviser denied a request to voluntarily turn over documents related to the committee?s Russia probe.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said on Wednesday that the committee is prepared to use ?whatever compulsory process we need? to obtain information from Flynn if he does not cooperate with the subpoenas. He added that the committee could issue additional subpoenas if other witnesses fail to cooperate, but did not name additional individuals.

Citing the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Flynn?s lawyer said on Monday that Flynn would not comply with subpoenas from the Senate intelligence committee, which is conducting its own parallel investigation into Russia?s interference in the election and whether it colluded with President Donald Trump?s associates. The Senate committee responded with two additional subpoenas on Tuesday targeting Flynn?s businesses.

The House committee?s subpoenas ?will be designed to maximize our chance of getting the information that we need,? Schiff told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. ?We need to use whatever compulsory mechanism necessary to get the information he possesses ? the Fifth Amendment right not to provide materials or documents is limited,? he added.

Schiff said he is ?skeptical? that the committee would agree to grant Flynn immunity in the future in exchange for information.

The committee is also looking for ways to obtain documentation of Trump?s conversations with top intelligence and law enforcement officials involved in a separate federal Russia probe.

Trump implied earlier this month that he had ?tapes? of discussions with recently fired FBI Director James Comey that would be damaging to Comey. And the Washington Post reported earlier this week that Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers to push back on the FBI?s Russia investigation.

?That could be further evidence of an attempt to interfere with the investigation,? Schiff said of Trump?s reported request to Coats and Rogers. He also referred to past reports that the White House asked allies on Capitol Hill to refute negative press stories about Trump associates? ties to Russia. ?If all of this is part of a pattern by the White House of interference or worse, that?s something that we have to find out about and it?s something we have to stop,? he said.

Despite concerns about Trump interfering with ongoing investigations into his campaign, Schiff warned that it is premature for Democrats on Capitol Hill to push for impeachment.

?There?s a legal standard that needs to be met for impeachment and then there?s a very practical standard that has to be met,? Schiff said. Practically speaking, he continued, impeachment is only possible if Republican lawmakers and the general public believe Trump is unfit for office.

?If the Republicans in Congress or people at large in the country feel this is simply a way to nullify an election that others didn?t agree with, then you?re not going to meet the practical standards necessary,? Schiff said. 

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Miley Cyrus Dedicates Her ‘Voice’ Performance To Ariana Grande And Manchester

It was an emotional evening during ?The Voice? ” target=”_blank”>Season 12 finale on Tuesday as stars like Miley Cyrus and Usher dedicated their performances to their friend Ariana Grande and all the victims of Monday?s Manchester Arena tragedy.

Cyrus, who will return as a ?Voice? coach this fall alongside Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, sang her new hit ?Malibu? after offering her condolences to Grande and ?everyone that experienced that horrific attack.?  

?Our hearts are with you,? she said. 

Former ?Voice? coach Usher also performed a song for Manchester with winner Chris Blue. The pair sang a stirring rendition of R.E.M.?s ?Everybody Hurts,? bringing audience members to their feet. 

The music community is reeling following the terror explosion at Grande?s Manchester show, which killed 22 people and injured 59.

Artists took to Twitter this week to share support for the ?Love Me Harder? singer, who posted a statement herself on the social media site. 

Below, more tweets from Grande?s fellow performers:

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