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Florida’s War on Books Has Found a New Casualty: The Dictionary

A Florida school district has removed the dictionary over concerns that it doesn’t comply with state law.

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A Florida school district has banned multiple versions of the dictionary for including sexual content. Yes, you read that right.

The Escambia County School District, located in Florida’s Panhandle, has allegedly removed five dictionaries, eight encyclopedias, The Guinness Book of World Records, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not from its library shelves after a December investigation found those books could violate House Bill 1069.

Those reference books are among 1,600 titles that the December investigation found inappropriate for county school library shelves. Other banned books include Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, some Sherlock Holmes books, and the autobiographies of Beyoncé, Oprah, and Lady Gaga.

“We can’t believe we have to say this but students have a right to read the dictionary in school,” the ACLU said in a TikTok posted Wednesday.

With the latest purge, Escambia County has now pulled more than 2,800 books from its library shelves because they might violate state law on teaching students about sex and sexuality. The other banned books cover subjects including race, racism, and LGBTQ identity. The nonprofit organization PEN America, along with county students and parents, has sued the school district for banning books.

Florida Republican lawmakers dramatically expanded Governor Ron DeSantis’s hallmark “Don’t Say Gay” legislation in May 2023. The legislation bans teaching material on sexual orientation and gender identity through eighth grade. The law also makes it easier for people to file complaints to ban books.

Since the law went into effect, Florida schools have undergone massive purges of books from both classroom and school libraries. Other titles yanked from shelves include “The Hill We Climb,” the poem read at Joe Biden’s inauguration, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, the graphic novel Little Rock Nine, and the movie Ruby Bridges.

Last Day of Trump’s Fraud Trial Starts With a Bomb. Almost Literally.

Hours before the final day of Donald Trump’s bank fraud trial was set to begin, a bomb squad was called.

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The final day of Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial kicked off Thursday with a bomb threat at the presiding judge’s house.

Nassau County police as well as a bomb squad rushed to Judge Arthur Engoron’s house on Long Island after someone threatened to blow up the dwelling Thursday morning, The Daily Beast first reported. The threat is believed to be an attempt to delay closing arguments in Trump’s trial. It is unclear whether proceedings will be affected.

The bomb threat came just hours after Trump posted a long rant on TruthSocial complaining about Engoron. Trump accused Engoron of colluding with New York Attorney General Letitia James to “‘SCREW ME,’ EVEN THOUGH I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG.”


Trump wanted to present his own closing arguments, which Engoron said he could do so long as the former president abided by a strict set of rules about what he could actually discuss. This included sticking to the matter at hand instead of giving “a campaign speech” and not attacking James or the court staff. When Trump’s lawyers refused to agree, Engoron barred Trump from speaking, a move that Trump called “MEAN & NASTY” on TruthSocial.

James has accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud and ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.

The current trial is primarily just to determine how much Trump owes in damages. And there isn’t a jury because his own legal team failed to ask for one.

Trump has repeatedly taken aim at Engoron and his law clerk Allison Greenfield throughout the trial, accusing them both of improper actions and bias. Engoron has saddled Trump with multiple gag orders, but the judge and Greenfield have still received multiple death threats from Trump supporters.

This is at least the third time that Trump supporters have tried to perpetrate an attack on one of the former president’s perceived enemies. In the past few weeks, both Judge Tanya Chutkan and special counsel Jack Smith have been the victims of “swatting” attacks. Swatting is when someone falsely reports an incident with the intent of initiating a potentially dangerous police response.

Smith has indicted Trump for mishandling classified documents and for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Chutkan is presiding over the election interference case. Trump has complained bitterly about both people on social media.

Ron DeSantis Promises to Support “Mass Removal” of Palestinians in Gaza

The Florida governor made a shocking vow in the latest Republican debate.

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Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that he would not stop Israel from forcibly removing Palestinians from Gaza if he is elected president.

The Republican primary debate featured just DeSantis and Nikki Haley, and saw a shocking return to actual policy discussion. At one point, moderator Jake Tapper asked DeSantis if he supported the mass removal of Palestinians.

“I am not going to tell [Israel] to do that,” DeSantis said. “But if they make the calculation that to avert a second Holocaust, they need to do that,” then he wouldn’t stop them.

The word for the mass expulsion of an ethnic group is ethnic cleansing.

DeSantis also said he did not believe in a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Gaza, instead accusing “Palestinian Arabs” of refusing to recognize the existence of Israel. The Palestinian Authority does, in fact, recognize Israel.

Israel, however, only seems open to a two-state solution if the second state is on an entirely different continent. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition has reportedly been secretly speaking with the Democratic Republic of Congo about resettling thousands of Palestinians in the African nation.

Netanyahu and his allies have repeatedly floated the idea of forcibly removing Palestinians, but the idea has been vehemently rejected by the international community.

Israeli officials, however, have made it increasingly clear in recent days that their plan is to completely eliminate Palestine. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said last week that a way to solve the war was to “encourage the voluntary migration of Gaza’s residents to countries that will agree to take in the refugees.”

Separately, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir told reporters that the war was an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza.”

Biden Official Refuses to Answer Whether Israel Cutting Off Water Is a War Crime

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby does not want to get into the details of the Israel genocide hearing.

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White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby refused to answer whether Israel cutting off Palestinians’ access to water is a war crime.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Kirby was asked about the upcoming International Court of Justice case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

South Africa brought the charges against Israel and, as proof of its case, submitted an 84-page filing in December documenting Israeli war crimes as well as statements by various Israeli officials that it says proves “genocidal intent.” The ICJ will hear its first public hearing on the case on Thursday.

Kirby—and the Biden administration writ large—have completely dismissed the case thus far. Kirby last week called it “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”

On Wednesday, however, Kirby was again asked about whether he had read the actual filing against Israel.

“You dismissed a few days ago the case brought by South Africa against Israel at the ICJ. Did you read the indictment, and if you did, do you believe that cutting off water, electricity, and fuel from a civilian population does not constitute a war crime by itself?”

“Yes I read the indictment,” Kirby replied angrily. “And as I said, we stand by what we said about this. We find it without merit. We find it counterproductive. And I’ll leave it there.”

South Africa’s filing links to several reports of Israel cutting off water, electricity, fuel, and food supplies—all of which has been documented extensively in the media.

In December, Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell warned that clean water is so hard to find that “children in Gaza have barely a drop to drink.” Public health officials have repeatedly raised “grave concerns” over the lack of clean water and the outbreak of infectious diseases, including waterborne illnesses like cholera and typhoid.

One in every 100 people in Gaza has been killed since October 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah. That’s nearly 23,000 people—and that’s the most conservative estimate. The nonprofit Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor puts the death toll at nearly 30,000.

Fox News Offers Bonkers Proof of Why Taylor Swift Is a Psyop

Conservatives are once again up in arms over Taylor Swift.

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, 12-time Grammy Award winner, Spotify’s most streamed artist in 2023, and Time Person of the Year, can add another line to her résumé: Democratic Party psyop. At least according to Fox News.

Fox host Jesse Watters, and frequent  Fox contributor Stuart Kaplan, spent Tuesday evening musing that the Biden administration may have been behind Swift’s recent post encouraging people to register to vote.

“When she posted the link to the, like hundreds of thousands of young Taylor Swift fans all of a sudden registered to vote,” Watters began. “I wonder who got to her, from the White House or from wherever?”

Kaplan went on to suggest that the administration had sought out Swift, “whether with [her] knowledge or without [her] knowledge,” to lend her 279 million Instagram followers for a “covert” get-out-the-vote initiative.

Watters, of course, offered no pushback on the psyops narrative.

For what it’s worth, 35,000 new voters registered on as a result of Swift’s Instagram post in September.

It is hardly forbidden knowledge that the Democratic Party has made celebrity endorsements of its candidates part of its campaigning strategy. The 2020 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions were, to mixed reviews, studded with the stars of today and yesteryear. But Swift, whose forays into activism have been mostly limited to anodyne denunciations of Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn and the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning abortion rights, and support for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights, has not been outspoken in her support for Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 election.

This, of course, has not stopped conservatives like Watters and Kaplan from indulging their obsession with Swift and their suspicion that her popularity among young people betrays, at best, a symptom of national decadence and impending decline and, at worst, a government conspiracy.

This is not even the first time Swift has been accused of participating in psyops; the far-right provocateur Jack Posobiec previously linked her to a “2024 voter operation for Democrats on abortion rights.”

Swift is only the latest celebrity to incur the wrath of the right. It once famously harnessed outrage at Colin Kaepernick and made it into a foundational block of its brand of reaction. But the obsession with Swift, about as inoffensive a cultural figure as exists in the United States, may just be the strangest.

Watters closed the segment by lamenting that he “now [knows] a lot more about Taylor Swift than [he] ever wanted to know,” but it’s clear that the right’s Swift-hatred is a product of its own making. As 2024 approaches, it’s yet to be seen whether this fixation will reap electoral rewards.

ADL Officially Admits It Counts Pro-Palestine Activism as Antisemitic

The Anti-Defamation League has abandoned all pretense of tracking antisemitism properly in its 2023 report.

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A demonstrator holds a sign that reads “Jews for Palestine” during a protest near the White House on December 2.

The Anti-Defamation League has made a startling confession: It is now including pro-Palestine marches in its count of antisemitic incidents in the United States.

The ADL released its annual antisemitism report on Wednesday, announcing that there were a stunning 3,283 such incidents in 2023. That’s a 361 percent increase compared to the previous year, according to the organization, which noted the “American Jewish community is facing a threat level that’s now unprecedented in modern history.”

The organization also stated that two-thirds of the total incidents could be “directly related to the Israel-Hamas war.”

The ADL report was widely covered by mainstream outlets like CNN, NBC, and Axios, which simply took the organization’s word for the gigantic increase without actually checking the data behind the claim.

Not all media outlets fumbled the ball, however. As The Forward first noted, there’s one big problem with the numbers: The ADL admits in its own press release that it includes pro-Palestine rallies in its list of antisemitic incidents, even if these featured no overt hostility toward Jewish people. Any anti-Israel or anti-Zionist chants are enough for the ADL’s new definition of antisemitism.

The report’s full list of antisemitic incidents isn’t public, but under the new definition, it could even count anti-Israel protests by Jewish activists as antisemitic. Many Jewish Americans have been at the forefront of the pro-Palestine protests over the last three months.

The 2023 report includes a whopping 1,317 rallies in its list of antisemitic incidents, with no clear distinction between whether the rallies included antisemitic rhetoric or anti-Zionist chants and without regard for whether there were Jewish organizers or participants involved. In other words, the underlying data in support of this assertion is likely to be considerably inflated.

Antisemitism is a real, and growing, problem—especially in the United States. But the ADL isn’t helping anyone when it defines a bomb threat at a synagogue and a Students for Justice in Palestine rally as equally antisemitic.

The problems with ADL’s reporting methods have been obvious for some time to anyone paying close attention. As Eric Alterman wrote for The New Republic, the ADL has, since its founding, repeatedly changed its counting method—and then followed these periodic rejiggerings with reports asserting massive increases in antisemitic incidents. Even more troubling, the organization habitually fails to make distinctions between the various antisemitic incidents it is tracking. Graffiti found on the walls of a college dorm gets lumped together with more deadly tragedies, such as the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The organization’s reporting has taken an even greater turn for the worse under chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt. In 2015, he began his leadership at the organization with a speech that made virtually no mention of the dangers of white Christian nationalism. And on Israel, Greenblatt in 2022 firmly announced: “Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, full stop.”

In October, an ADL researcher resigned over Greenblatt’s condemnation of Jewish Americans protesting Israel’s war on Gaza. But the next month, Greenblatt only doubled down on his position, when he said that pro-Palestine activism has “clarified and confirmed that fanatical anti-Zionism from the hard left is as dangerous to the Jewish community as rabid white supremacy from the extreme right.”

Along the way, Greenblatt has demonstrated a hesitance to criticize one of the more appalling antisemites in public life: Elon Musk. The two men’s strange alliance has drawn criticism from Greenblatt’s predecessor, Abe Foxman.

All that to say, the ADL’s new counting method isn’t a huge surprise. But it sure is disappointing to see so many media outlets take the organization’s word at face value.

The Five Most Unhinged Moments at Republicans’ Hunter Biden Hearing

Nothing to see on the House floor today, folks.

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The House tried to hold a hearing Wednesday on whether to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress, but things went off the rails so quickly that not much actually got done.

Instead, the members of the House Oversight Committee ended up taking wild swings at Biden—and at each other.

Here are five of the craziest things that happened during the hearing.

1. Nancy Mace said Hunter Biden has “no balls.”

Things got off to a strong start when Huner Biden himself appeared unannounced at the hearing. For some reason, this set off South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace.

“My first question is, who bribed Hunter Biden to be here today?” she demanded.

“Second question: You’re the epitome of white privilege. Coming into the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face, ignoring a congressional subpoena to be deposed. What are you afraid of? You have no balls to come up here today.”

2. Robert Garcia entered “dick pics” into the House record.

Biden left the hearing soon after Mace’s rant. His exit coincided with Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s opening remarks, much to her frustration. But her Democratic colleague Robert Garcia had a pretty good explanation for why Biden might not want to be in the room.

“I think it’s really interesting to hear the gentlelady from Georgia speak about Hunter Biden leaving, when she is the person that showed nude photos of Hunter Biden in this very committee room,” Garcia said. “Showing dick picks in this committee room of Hunter Biden!”

During a House Oversight Committee hearing in July, Greene tried to claim that Biden had engaged in sex trafficking and had listed payments to sex workers as a tax write-off. To support her argument, she held up poster-size prints of Biden’s nude photos, which she later also posted on X (then called Twitter) and shared in her email newsletter to unsuspecting subscribers.

3. Jamie Raskin called Marjorie Taylor Greene an “expert” in pornography.

Representative Jamie Raskin also couldn’t resist a jab at Greene for sharing Biden’s nude photos. Greene asked to enter evidence into the record, and Raskin objected due to the fact that Democrats had not received advance copies of Greene’s information.

“In the past, she’s displayed pornography. Are pornographic photos allowed to be displayed in this committee room?” Raskin asked.

When Greene said it wasn’t pornography, Raskin clapped back, “OK, well, you’re the expert.”

Raskin has previously criticized Greene for displaying Biden’s nudes during a hearing. In July, he accused Oversight Chair James Comer of undermining the committee’s credibility by allowing Greene to show the photos, saying the committee had been “reduced to the level of a 1970s-era dime store peep show.”

4. Jared Moskowitz held up a photo of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein.

At one point, the committee had to take a break from the hearing. Representative Maxwell Frost said on X (formerly Twitter) the recess was because Greene was “being unhinged.” He did not provide further details on what that meant.

Frost then shared a photo of Representative Jared Moskowitz holding up a poster-size picture of Donald Trump hugging convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump was named on a recently released list of the disgraced financier’s known associates. Republicans have tied themselves into knots trying to shift attention off of Trump and onto other names on the list. (Being named on the list is not proof of legal wrongdoing.)

5. Republicans accidentally gave away their own game.

Toward the end of the hearing, Moskowitz pointed out that if the issue is that Biden won’t testify, it could be easily resolved then and there. After all, Biden was at the hearing.

But when Moskowitz asked for a show of hands from people who wanted to hear Biden’s testimony, almost no Republicans raised their hand.

“I’m a visual learner,” Moskowitz quipped. “And the visual is clear. Nobody over there wants to hear from the witness.”

“The majority of my colleagues over there, including the chairman, don’t want to hear from the witness with the American people watching.”

Biden has offered to testify in a public hearing, but Comer rejected the offer almost immediately. He insisted Biden must first sit for a closed-door deposition, infuriating Democrats. Raskin slammed Comer’s response in November as an “epic humiliation for our colleagues and … a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own members to pursue it.”

Watch: Democratic Rep. Exposes GOP Hypocrisy During Hunter Biden Hearing

Representative Jared Moskowitz brilliantly called out Republicans over the Hunter Biden subpoena.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

A Democratic representative skewered Republicans on Wednesday for seeking to penalize Hunter Biden for not responding to a congressional subpoena, when many members of the GOP have done much worse.

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing on whether to hold Biden in contempt of Congress, after he refused to comply with a subpoena to sit for a closed-door deposition. Biden has offered to testify publicly, but Republicans rejected his offer.

Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz tore into Republicans for wanting to hold Biden in contempt. “I’ll make this bipartisan. I’ll vote for the Hunter contempt today,” Moskowitz said. “You can get my vote, but I want you to show the American people that you’re serious.”

Moskowitz then proceeded to enter into the record subpoenas for multiple Republican representatives to testify before the House January 6 investigative committee. As Moskowitz pointed out, Scott Perry, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Kevin McCarthy all refused to appear before the committee.

“There’s an amendment coming to add some of those names into the contempt order. You vote to add those names, and show the American people that we apply the law equally, not just when it’s Democrats,” Moskowitz said. “Show that you’re serious and that everyone is not above the law.”

Republicans, led by Oversight Chair James Comer, have insisted for months that Biden and his father, President Joe Biden, are guilty of corruption. The probe has yet to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

Comer issued subpoenas in early November to multiple members of the Biden family, including Hunter and his uncle Jim. He has repeatedly demanded that they testify. Hunter responded later that month, offering to testify in a public hearing.

Comer rejected the offer almost immediately and insisted the younger Biden must first sit for a closed-door deposition. His response frustrated Democrats, who felt Comer was moving the goalposts.

Republican Rep. Melts Down After Realizing Hunter Biden Showed Up to Hearing

It was absolute scenes when the president’s son walked into the room.

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Republican Representative Nancy Mace had a bit of a freak-out on Wednesday when she realized Hunter Biden had shown up to a congressional hearing about him.

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing to hold the younger Biden in contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena to sit for a closed-door deposition. Biden, when defying the subpoena, offered to publicly testify before the American people instead—likely so that his words wouldn’t be twisted by Republicans.

Whatever concerns the president’s son may have harbored about his Republican inquisitors not treating him fairly were confirmed after Mace reacted to his presence by launching into a truly unhinged rant.

“My first question is who bribed Hunter Biden to be here today?” the South Carolina representative began, implying that Biden may have been paid to attend a hearing about him.

“Second question: You’re the epitome of white privilege. Coming into the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face, ignoring a congressional subpoena to be deposed. What are you afraid of? You have no balls to come up here today.”

A fight soon broke out in the committee as Democratic Representative Moskowitz pointed out that if Mace wanted to hear from Biden, he could testify publicly.

An outraged Mace began yelling back, “Are women allowed to speak in here or no?”

“I think that Hunter Biden should be arrested right here and right now and go straight to jail,” she demanded.

As a reminder: Mace often pretends to be a moderate, but she has a long record of being a dedicated Republican culture warrior. For example, while she publicly criticizes her party on abortion, she dutifully votes for every abortion ban that comes to the floor.

She has also distinguished herself as someone desperate for media attention, which may explain her wild rantings. Her internal staff handbook was leaked last year, revealing that Mace’s North Star is whatever gets her a media hit. In fact, one aide surmised that she probably voted to oust Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy for no real reason other than to go on television.

Perhaps this newest meltdown is intended to get the attention of Donald Trump. After all, she’s pitching herself as his V.P.

Trump’s Idiot Lawyer Tries to Defend “Murdering Rivals Is OK” Argument

Donald Trump lawyer Alina Habba once again puts her foot in her mouth.

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Donald Trump and his lawyers are presenting increasingly unhinged defenses of the former president’s claim that he should be immune from criminal proceedings, as his legal team appears to scramble to keep up the argument.

Trump’s lawyers presented his case for immunity to a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, and to say it went badly for Trump’s team was an understatement. At one point, lawyer John Sauer bizarrely argued that a president could face criminal prosecution—say, for ordering Seal Team 6 to assassinate someone—only if he had been impeached and convicted first.

Trump attorney Alina Habba, who seems to have a habit of saying things that actually hurt Trump’s various legal cases, tried to defend Sauer’s defense that evening. She argued that Judge Florence Pan, who asked about the Seal Team 6 assassination, was using “hypotheticals that do not currently exist.”

“The real facts are so easy to win that we have to now argue the slippery slope argument of, ‘If he kills someone, will he be held accountable?’” Habba said on Fox News. “He didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t cause an insurrection. He didn’t get charged for it. But they’re using hypotheticals to frighten America.”

Saying that Trump hasn’t killed anyone—but he has the right to get away with it as long as Congress doesn’t impeach him—is a terrible argument. Pan’s question, moreover, was intended to demonstrate that there are certain cases when a president does not have immunity from criminal prosecution.

It’s also unclear what Habba meant when she said Trump “didn’t get charged for” causing an insurrection, because he has been—twice. Once when the House voted in January 2021 to impeach him for incitement of insurrection and again in August when special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump for his role in the January 6 riot.

Trump has repeatedly argued that former presidents can’t be criminally charged for actions related to their official responsibilities. He did not explain how overturning an election was related to official presidential duties.

Despite insisting all day Tuesday that the immunity hearing had gone well, Trump launched into a social media rant that evening, during which he presented some wild defenses of his own. First, he said that losing immunity would prevent a president from enjoying “HIS OR HER ‘GOLDEN YEARS’ OF RETIREMENT” because they would be bombarded with lawsuits.

Then Trump said that if he lost immunity, then Joe Biden would too, hampering the latter’s ability to function as president. Finally, Trump said that losing immunity would mean “‘OPENING THE FLOODGATES’ TO PROSECUTING FORMER PRESIDENTS.”


Trump, however, is the first president in history to face this many lawsuits post-office, and the first to face charges of this nature.