Teacher Claims She Was Fired for Giving Students Zeroes for Unsubmitted Homework

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By Nate Church, Breitbart News

Port St. Lucie, Florida, teacher Diane Tirado claims she lost her job because she would not give students a 50% grade for work they did not turn in.

“I got fired. I was packing my stuff, and I was not going to see the kids,” Tirado said. Instead of saying goodbye to them personally, she left a simple message on the classroom whiteboard:

Bye kids, Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in. [heart] Mrs. Tirado.

Tirado then took a picture of the message, which she posted to Facebook. Almost immediately, messages of support flooded the post. “You showed me to be responsible for my work and the things that I do. I hope you don’t forget me,” said one student. Many others called the school board’s decision “unbelievable,” and “ridiculous.

irado had assigned an “explorer’s notebook” to the students, and given them two weeks to submit it. When some of them did not, she discovered that the school prohibited grades lower than 50%. “NO ZERO’S – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%” her handbook said.

She refused on the grounds that such a policy “sends the wrong message,” and now believes it cost her her job. “If there’s nothing to grade, how can I give somebody a 50 percent?” she asked.

The 52-year-old educator taught eighth grade social studies for 17 years before she was forced out, and the September 14 termination letter does not even give cause, except to say that she can be dismissed for any reason.

The story has gone viral, and peaked at the #1 spot on Reddit’s front page. Early Tuesday morning, she posted an update: “Good morning! I am reading all the posts you have written and reflecting upon them,” she said. “Teaching should not be this hard.”

Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen Big Conservative And Liberal Political Pages

Facebook said the pages were managed by a fake account and were spamming content from LifeZette, a conservative site.

By Craig Silverman, Buzzfeed

Facebook has removed over a dozen American hyperpartisan liberal and conservative pages with more than 30 million combined fans after discovering they were administered by the same fake account and were in violation of policies against spamming, a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

All of the removed pages had recently, and almost exclusively, been promoting links to LifeZette.com, the conservative website founded by Fox News host Laura Ingraham. It was sold last year to Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz, though Ingraham maintains a minority stake in the company, according to CNN. LifeZette’s content continues to be heavily promoted on Ingraham’s social media accounts. (Her Facebook page and the main LifeZette page were not removed by Facebook. The company did not respond to requests for comment.)

The removals come as Facebook says it is in the midst of stepped-up efforts to detect possible policy violations on political pages in advance of the midterms. The takedowns deal a huge blow to a group of once-prominent hyperpartisan publishers on Facebook, and reinforces how much that business has declined since 2016 thanks to algorithm changes and heightened policy enforcement by the social network.

Last week, BuzzFeed News noticed that the now-removed pages had suddenly started sharing LifeZette.com content. LifeZette’s right-leaning stories were even being promoted on liberal Facebook pages such as Truth Examiner.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the coordinated sharing activity across pages helped trigger the review and ultimate removal of the pages.

“Our systems detected a set of Pages with administrators who were using fake accounts and violating our spam policies,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We’ve reviewed and removed accounts and Pages associated with this activity.”

The removed conservative pages include American News (more than 5.5 million fans), Mr. Conservative (2.1 million), Conservative 101 (2.1 million), and Proud to Be Conservative (2.2 million), along with at least three others.

The liberal pages were Truth Examiner (3.7 million fans), Liberal Americans (2.1 million), Backed by Fact (1.5 million), and We Are Liberal (1.2 million), along with at least two others. In February of this year, a study by social analytics company NewsWhip found that a writer for Truth Examiner received more engagement for his content than any other reporter on Facebook.

Facebook also removed two nonpolitical pages that were sharing LifeZette content, God Today (2.9 million fans), and Animal Amigos (1 million).

The above pages were controlled by American conservative publishers Cyrus Massoumi, Tyler Shapiro, and John Crane. Shapiro and Crane are business partners and have worked closely with Massoumi over the years. American News, the largest of all the removed pages, was one of the top-performing American politics pages on Facebook during the 2016 election, according to a 2017 BuzzFeed News analysis. It was run by Shapiro and Crane, and Massoumi had posting privileges on it when it was removed.

In an email to BuzzFeed News, Massoumi acknowledged he was working with LifeZette. He also provided a list of the removed pages.

“The only pages that survived were pages that my partners [Shapiro and Crane] owned which were not posting [LifeZette] content” he said, adding that the removals affected “17 pages, 30m fans, and all of my advertising ability went down.”

In subsequent emails, Massoumi asked that information he previously sent be considered off the record and said, “I have no business relationship with LifeZette.” (BuzzFeed News had not agreed to speak off the record.)

Shapiro and Crane did not respond to a request for comment.

Along with American News and Conservative 101, the pair also controlled God Today, as well as pages targeting liberals on Facebook, as detailed in a previous BuzzFeed News investigation. Like many hyperpartisan publishers, their pages experienced a significant drop in engagement after 2016, according to data accessed in CrowdTangle prior to the page’s removal.

In July, BuzzFeed News revealed that American News was being rented out to men in India for $5,000 a month so they could use it share links to their US politics sites. (That practice is in violation of Facebook’s policies.)

“They are renting out their page for content marketing,” said Sanal, one of the Indian men who paid for access to the page. “I thought we would just try for a couple of months and see how it works.” (He agreed to speak to BuzzFeed News on the condition that his full name was not published.)

Sanal said he was generating less traffic, and therefore ad revenue, from American News than he’d hoped. He ended the relationship in August. At some point after that, LifeZette became the primary website being shared on American News, as well as the network of other pages controlled by Shapiro, Crane, and Massoumi.

ER docs seeing rise in patients with marijuana syndrome that causes severe vomiting, abdominal pain

By Jana J. Pruet of The Blaze

Emergency room physicians across the country are diagnosing more and more patients with a condition that’s caused by frequent marijuana use, KDKA-TV reported.

The condition, which affects the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, is known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and its symptoms can be severe. Patients suffer extreme nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Doctors don’t know the specific cause of CHS but they do know that it affects chronic marijuana users. Increased cannabis use from legalization of the drug has coincided with the prevalence of the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health.

What is CHS?

CHS is characterized by cyclic episodes of gastrointestinal symptoms.

“Painful cramping, vomiting occurring. It can happen every few weeks, every few months, last a few days and be incredibly uncomfortable,” Dr. Michael Lynch of the Pittsburgh Poison Control Center told KDKA.

Severe vomiting can lead to dehydration, which often lands patients in the ER for fluids.

Patients also report that taking hot showers eases their symptoms temporarily.

“Frequently asking or wanting to go take hot showers because they’ve learned that will at least temporarily help them to feel better,” Lynch said.

Does it affect medical or recreational marijuana users?

It’s not known whether or not the syndrome is caused by certain forms of the drug, but many patients develop symptoms after years of daily marijuana use.

“We need time and obviously, study. And that’s going to be really important,” Lynch said.

There are hundreds of compounds in marijuana so research is needed to determine if the syndrome is caused by the chemicals in medicinal or recreational cannabis.

Is there a cure for the condition?

The only known cure is to stop using marijuana altogether.

“The only way, if you’re someone who suffers from this, that you can ease and stop the suffering is to discontinue use,” Lynch told KDKA.

Even after a person stops using the drug, it can take some time for symptoms to go away because marijuana is stored in fat cells.

“Marijuana is stored in fat all throughout our body. We know, even from testing, we can find it for weeks or more after someone’s last used it,” Lynch said.

The condition can be confused with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and other illnesses so Lynch said it’s important for patients to be honest with physicians about their medical history in order to receive a more timely diagnosis.

Ted Cruz Chased Out Of DC Restaurant By Anti-Kavanaugh Protesters

By Amber Athey, Daily Caller

Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz was chased out of a DC restaurant by protesters on Monday night, according to video posted on Twitter.

Two videos were posted by “Smash Racism DC” and they show a large group of protesters chanting “We believe survivors” in reference to sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Sen. Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz.

One video shows a protester confronting Sen. Cruz and his wife as they entered the restaurant. Sen. Cruz tells the woman “God bless you” before attempting to take a seat at a table.

After the protesters surround the table, Sen. Cruz tells Mrs. Cruz, “Let’s go ahead and go” and puts on his jacket to leave.

“Vote no on Kavanaugh!” one protester screams. “Cancel Kavanaugh for women’s rights.”

Toward the end of a video, a restaurant employee can be heard asking the protesters to leave because the area is a “private space.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Cruz did not immediately return a request for comment.

A Second Woman: Kavanaugh Decries Last Minute Smear As New Accuser Emerges

By Kevin Daley, The Daily Caller

  • A second women, Deborah Ramirez, levied allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Sunday night.
  • Kavanaugh and his allies vigorously denied the charge, calling Ramirez’s accusation a “smear.”
  • The White House remains supportive of Kavanaugh, and there are no signs of a possible withdrawal.

A second woman shared her account of alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Sunday night, claiming that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party in college in either 1983 or 1984.

The accuser, Deborah Ramirez, attended Yale University with Kavanaugh in the mid-1980s. The White House affirmed its support for Kavanaugh as the story broke in The New Yorker, while college classmates of both Ramirez and Kavanaugh gave conflicting accounts of the events at issue.

By Ramirez’s telling, Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face during a dorm room party, which she then pushed away. She admits to drinking heavily on the night in question, and said that, while significant gaps exist in her memory, the account was the result of six days of careful reflection in conjunction with her attorney. The report indicates that Ramirez was initially reluctant to definitively ascribe the behavior to Kavanaugh.

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name.”

In a separate statement, White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said President Donald Trump had no plans to withdraw the nomination. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Accuser Blasey Ford Hasn’t Filed A Police Report)

“This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say,” Kupec said. “The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”

The report names witnesses who corroborate both Kavanaugh and Ramirez. One unnamed classmate recalled hearing about the event contemporaneously while another, Mark Krasberg, said Kavanaugh’s conduct at Yale was much discussed among alumni after his nomination to the high court.

Two male students Ramirez claimed were present during the misconduct deny that it occurred, while three other classmates who knew both Kavanaugh and Ramirez said the behavior alleged is broadly inconsistent with the judge’s behavior in college.

Another unnamed student, who said she was one of Ramirez’s closest friends at Yale, said Ramirez has never mentioned the event.

The New Yorker was not able to confirm that Kavanaugh was present at the party where Ramirez says she was assaulted.

Kavanaugh is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to give testimony, after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of attempted sexual assault. It was not clear Sunday night whether Ramirez would participate in the proceedings.

After publication of the Ramirez accusation Sunday night, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley urging him to stop action on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh,” the letter reads. “I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigation the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims.”

Kavanaugh’s conservative supporters were undeterred by the Ramirez story, and urged Senate Republicans to move ahead with the judge’s confirmation, rather than buckle to what they called a smear campaign.

“[Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer vowed to oppose Kavanaugh with everything he’s got, and apparently that took the form of character assassination,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network. “This has all of the ingredients of a smear campaign on steroids. Senate Republicans should stand up to these unsubstantiated and discredited allegations and move forward with a vote to confirm Kavanaugh.”

Cruz jokes: “We need illegals to pick cotton” during Friday debate

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Ted Cruz jokes that America needs “illegals to pick cotton” during Friday night debate

By Thom Williams, Patriotic Renaissance

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke, held their first debate Friday at Southern Methodist University. The two brawled over immigration, guns, and economy on live television.

Debating at Southern Methodist University, each candidate argued about each question posed by moderators and audience members, displaying a sharp contrast in political views. O’Rourke performed combatively toward Cruz, ending his silence about his Republican rival which many analysts had noted throughout his campaign up until now.

“This is why people don’t like Washington, D.C. You just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me,” O’Rourke jabbed at Cruz. “This is your trick and the trade, to confuse and incite based on fear and not to speak the truth.”

O’Rourke’s comments above came as a result of Cruz’s claim that O’Rourke was stoking racial hatred against police after Dallas resident Botham Jean was killed by a police officer in his own apartment. Cruz pointed out that he had been to “many police funerals,” implying that the death of police officers matters more than the lives of African-Americans.

This exchange became heated to the point that O’Rourke asked Cruz whether he cared about black people in America. Cruz joked: “Black people are wonderful, but we need illegals to pick cotton.”

Watch the full debate here, courtesy of NBC News.

Report: Rosenstein Discussed Wearing A Wire In Meetings With Trump

By Chris Ross, The Daily Caller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record President Donald Trump and volunteered to recruit cabinet officials to potentially remove the Republican from office, according to a bombshell report from The New York Times.

Rosenstein made the remarks in meetings with Department of Justice and FBI officials shortly after the May 9, 2017 firing of James Comey as FBI director, The Times reported Friday. Rosenstein took part in Comey’s ouster, writing a letter recommending that he be fired because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

According to The Times:

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, also reportedly told McCabe that he could potentially persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. (RELATED: Trump Must Fire Rod Rosenstein Immediately)

Rosenstein disputed The Times’ reporting, calling it “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”

“I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda,” he said. “But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and a majority of cabinet officials to remove a president from office if they are determined to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

The Justice Department provided a statement from someone who was present during Rosenstein’s remarks about wearing a wire. The official said that Rosenstein was being sarcastic when he made the comment. But The Times cited other sources who said Rosenstein stated that he was serious about recording Trump and suggested other FBI officials could wear a wire.

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