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Venezuela’s New Constitution, Police in Schools, and No Money (Yet) For the Wall

Your daily guide to what's working, what's not, and what you can do about it.
May 3, 2017, 1:00pm

Spending bill spin: President Trump and House Democrats are both taking credit for the bipartisan spending bill that will avoid a government shutdown. Provisions in the bill include protections for more immigrant workers, medical marijuana, an emergency fund for infectious diseases, and a "countering Russian influence fund." It has significant new funding for border security and the military, but no mention of Trump's wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

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Changing the rules mid-game: The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, who took office in 2013 after the death of former socialist leader Hugo Chavez, is rewriting the country's constitution. Rather than put it to a vote, Maduro just announced that it was happening—not cool. Many are describing this as a way to sidestep regional elections and that it will put the oil-rich nation on a path to a government that looks pretty dictatorial.

Say what again? In an interview on conservative talk radio, Trump seemed confused when speaking about Andrew Jackson and the reason for the Civil War. 'There's no reason for this," Trump said. "People don't realize you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?" Facepalm. Another cringe-worthy moment for an administration that often appears tone deaf on social issues.

Bad apple: Secretary of Education Betsy Devos is pushing for character development in school, which is code for cracking down on minorities and students with disabilities. Classroom management is enforced by school police officers, hefty suspensions, and expulsions that are drastically applied to marginalized students. Devos, a longtime supporter of charter schools, has said she can't think of any civil rights issues in schools that need federal oversight. Critics and civil rights activists describe the move as thinly veiled racism disguised as "school choice."

Black men keep getting shot: Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old from Dallas, Texas died from a fatal incident with police over the weekend of April 29. Edwards was in a car with friends leaving a house party when officer Jonathan Haber shot into the car. Initially, the officer said the car was aggressively headed toward him, but footage from body cameras showed that his story was false. He has since been put on administrative leave. So far, 83 black people have been shot and killed by police in 2017. Five of them, including Edwards, were under 18.