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Syria Crisis Looms Over White House

Syria attack response looms over Bolton's first week in WH. CNN: "John Bolton faces a baptism of fire on Monday, his first official day as President Donald Trump's national security adviser. The brutal chemical weapons attack in Syria presents Bolton with an immediate crisis that will highlight the biggest questions surrounding his appointment, offering an early examination of how his vision of the robust use of US power abroad will ally with Trump's own hawkish instincts... it will represent a high-pressure examination of Bolton's management style that alienated colleagues when he served as a senior State Department non-proliferation official and UN ambassador."

Puerto Rico To Close A Third Of Public Schools

Puerto Rico closing nearly a third of its public schools. Alternet: "Teachers unions and outraged citizens in Puerto Rico are vowing to fight the government's newly-announced plan to close nearly a third of its public schools. Puerto Rico's Education Department said Thursday that 283 schools would close by the start of the new school year, leaving open just 828... 'We know it's a difficult and painful process,' said Education Secretary Julia Keleher, a charter school proponent. She added, 'Our children deserve the best education that we are capable of giving them taking into account Puerto Rico's fiscal reality.' The announcement of which schools would be closed follows Gov. Ricardo Rossello signing into law controversial education 'reform' legislation that will include charter schools at 10 percent of the island's schools and private school vouchers for 3 percent of its students."

KS Teachers Win School Funding Boost

KS lawmakers boost school funding despite GOP's battles. AP: "Kansas legislators approved an increase in spending on school funding early Sunday, with Republicans pushing the measure to passage over the bitter objections of some GOP colleagues in hopes of meeting a court mandate. Dozens of teachers, many wearing red shirts, converged on the Statehouse, camped out for hours and cheered after the Senate approved a bill, 21-19, to phase in a $534 million increase in education funding over five years. The House passed the bill Saturday, 63-56, and GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer endorsed it publicly... The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last fall that the state isn't spending enough money on its public schools. Colyer and some members of the Republican-controlled Legislature worried that a frustrated high court would take the unprecedented step of preventing the state from distributing dollars through a flawed education funding system, effectively closing schools statewide."

NJ Reveals Gun Violence Data

NJ Governor signs 'Name And Shame' order on gun data. NPR: "New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order making data on gun violence more accessible to the public. The so-called 'Name and Shame' order will cite the origin of a gun involved in a crime. According to the state, approximately 80 percent of guns involved in crime come from outside of New Jersey. Now, New Jersey authorities will identify the origins of those guns involved in crimes. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who was elected to replace Republican Chris Christie, touts the order as being in the public interest, saying in a statement, 'Any death due to gun violence, is one death too many.' According to the order, department and state police would periodically publish data on guns involved in crime and where they came from."

ACA Survives Trump Sabotage

After one year of Trump, Obamacare is actually doing fine. Vox: "Obamacare didn’t fail. It didn’t get repealed. It didn’t collapse. After one year of President Trump, Obamacare doesn’t really look all that different than it did under President Obama... Don’t be mistaken: The Trump administration didn’t help matters. Working overtime to repeal the law, telling the American people that the ACA is dead and gone, slashing advertising by 90 percent and enrollment support by 40 percent, ending key payments to insurers while Congress refused to appropriate them and take the issue off the table — the Republican Party and Trump did everything they could throughout 2017 to undermine Obamacare. But we learned that the ACA is pretty resilient. The Trump administration released a report on Tuesday saying that 11.8 million Americans enrolled in health coverage for 2018 through the law’s insurance marketplaces, down just a tick from the 12.2 million sign-ups in 2017."

Mulvaney Bloats Salaries Of CFPB Aides

Mulvaney gives big pay bumps to his hires at consumer agency. AP: "Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s appointee to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has given big pay raises to the deputies he has hired to help him run the bureau, according to salary records obtained by The Associated Press. Mulvaney has hired at least eight political appointees since he took over the bureau in late November. Four of them are making $259,500 a year and one is making $239,595. That is more than the salaries of members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and nearly all federal judges apart from those who sit on the Supreme Court."

Dark Money Groups Fail To File Taxes

Conservative ‘dark money’ group faces IRS complaint over tax filings. CPI: "A conservative “dark money” organization hasn’t been filing its federal taxes, and two watchdog organizations are asking the IRS to levy penalties. Americans for Job Security, a nonprofit trade organization that spent millions of dollars boosting Republican congressional candidates, hasn’t filed its taxes in three years, according to Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center... Americans for Job Security is no stranger to complaints about its accounting. In 2016, the FEC hit Americans for Job Security with a $43,000 fine for illegally hiding the source of its funding for political ads. The fine came after a 2014 complaint lodged by another campaign finance reform watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. In 2012, it was involved in one of California’s largest campaign finance-related cases. Americans for Job Security was discovered to be the source of an $11 million contribution to an Arizona nonprofit that, in turn, made a contribution to a California campaign committee."

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Deep and Abiding Disrespect for Teachers. Leo Gerard: "When coal-mine bosses said mules were more precious than men because dead miners could be replaced for free, but not dead mules, it demonstrated disrespect. That contempt from the top provoked pitched gun battles between workers and mine-owner militias in West Virginia a little over a century ago. Now, a half century later, GOP politicians have so denigrated public school teachers that the educators in three states have engaged in wildcat strikes, mobbing their capitol buildings and demanding improved school funding for students and better pay and benefits for themselves and other workers."

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