July 21, 2019

A new law in Oregon championed by teen activists lets students take mental health days like they would sick days.

Previously, schools only had to excuse absences due to physical illnesses. The teenagers wanted schools to treat mental and physical health equally, and erase the stigma that can go along with mental health treatment. Activist Haily Hardcastle, 18, said she was inspired by the students in Parkland, Florida, who campaigned for gun control following the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Those teenagers "showed us that young people can totally change the political conversation," Hardcastle told The Associated Press. "Just like those movements, this bill is something completely coming from the youth." She is hopeful this will "encourage kids to admit when they're struggling" and seek help. Jason Wilson of Eugene, whose 14-year-old daughter Chloe died by suicide in 2018, told AP this is a major step, as "we need to do everything we can to open up that dialogue between parents and children when it comes to mental health." Catherine Garcia

7:03 a.m.

Many faith leaders, including the Episcopal bishop and Catholic archbishop of Washington, forcefully denounced President Trump's iconoclastic usage of the Bible and Christian shrines for photo ops as he sent the U.S. military into the streets of the capital and ordered peaceful protests violently dispersed. The response from evangelical leaders was mixed, but the ones most closely aligned with Trump were delighted.

"Every believer I talked to certainly appreciates what the president did and the message he was sending," Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Dallas and a avid Trump supporter, told The New York Times. He gleefully told The Atlantic's McKay Coppins "it was completely appropriate for the president to stand in front of that church" and "by holding up the Bible, he was showing us that it teaches that, yes, God hates racism, it's despicable — but God also hates lawlessness."

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Coppins that Trump's "presence sent the twin message that our streets and cities do not belong to rioters and domestic terrorists, and that the ultimate answer to what ails our country can be found in the repentance, redemption, and forgiveness of the Christian faith." Rev. Franklin Graham told The Washington Post he "was glad to see him stand in front of that church and hold up the word of God."

Samuel Rodriguez, an evangelical leader who has been advising Trump, said he, too, was glad to see the president hold up the closed Bible "like a boss," but added, "I hope peaceful protesters were not moved away with tear-gassing." And Pat Robertson, on the 700 Club, said now's the time for showing empathy and love, not military law and order or calling governors "jerks." "You just don't do that, Mr. President," he said. "It isn't cool."

"Trump doesn't quote anything from the Bible, he really just uses it as a pure symbol of partisan identity," Katherine Stewart, an expert on the religious right at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Times. "Authoritarianism frequently comes veiled in religion." Clemson University sociologists told The Atlantic the kind of Christian nationalism that drives Trump's evangelical base isn't about theology, "it's about identity, enforcing hierarchy, and order." Peter Weber

5:05 a.m.

About 60 million Americans were under curfew in 200 cities on Tuesday night, the eighth day of protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Thousands turned out in Washington, D.C, and hundreds stayed out after the 7 a.m. curfew, which federal and military police spread throughout the capital did not enforce, The Washington Post reports. Many showed up for the first time in response to Monday night's crackdown.

In New York City, thousands remained out after the 8 p.m. curfew, but throughout the U.S. things appeared to be calmer than on previous nights. Journalists are exempt from New York City's curfew, but New York Police officers surrounded two Associated Press reporters just after 8 p.m Tuesday night and shoved and screamed profanities at them until they left. Videojournalist Robert Bumsted, documenting the protests in lower Manhattan with photographer Maye-E Wong, captured some of it on video.

Both journalists were wearing AP identification and told police they were media, and Bumsted reminded one officer screaming at him that journalists are "essential workers" who are legally allowed to be out after curfew. "I don't give a s--t," one officer said. "Essential to who?" another yelled. "Who are you essential to? Who are you essential to?! Get back!" Still another cop tells Bumsted to "get the f--- out of here you piece of s--t." They separated Wong and Bumsted and only allowed them to reunite when Bumsted said Wong had the keys to his car.

NYPD officials told AP the department would "review this as soon as possible." AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said journalists "report the news on behalf the public" and "it is unacceptable and deeply troubling when journalists are harassed simply for doing their job." Police in other cities have shot reporters with pepper balls and rubber bullets, gassed them, arrested them, and otherwise harassed them for no evident reason. Peter Weber

3:44 a.m.

"For a week, America's streets have been filled with protesters enraged over the murder of George Floyd by police," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and Monday evening President Trump "finally appeared in the Rose Garden to calm a troubled nation — by threatening martial law." Responding to protests about police brutality by "threatening to send in the Army to crush them," he said, is "like forgetting your child's birthday and apologizing by sending in the Army to crush them."

Trump wanted to end his speech with a stroll to St. John's Church, Colbert said, but "there was a crowd of peaceful protesters in the way. So he had military police open fire with rubber bullets, flash grenades, and tear gas," and "once the path was cleared for Caesar's brave shamble, Trump made his way across the street to the boarded-up church, where he, with visible confusion and discomfort, groped a Bible" for the cameras.

Tooning Out the News had God deal with Trump's photo op.

Trump has always been "an armchair thug who glorifies violence," but his Rose Garden speech and its aftermath "was one of the most menacing moments" of his presidency, Late Night's Seth Meyers said. We're at the "worst-case scenario where our democracy crumbles and our country descends into authoritarianism," he added. "There's no on-off switch. Democracy, it turns out, is on a dimmer."

Yes, "our president, if we can still even call him that, seems to believe he is the warden overseeing a prison break," Jimmy Kimmel said. "This is a week that any other president would have gone on TV and at least tried to bring us together," but Trump "can't even go through the motions."

"Mr. Tough Guy was whisked into a panic bunker on Friday as crowds assembled outside the White House — it took three-and-a-half years, he finally got that massive crowd to show up for him in D.C.," Kimmel joked wryly. "And the reports that he was holed up and hiding must have really gotten under that orange skin," because he had Attorney General William Barr gas protesters so he could go outside and hold "a Bible upside-down in front of a church." He ended by trying to explain white privilege for people who, like him, were skeptical: "White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, it just means the color of your skin isn't one of the things that makes it harder." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:59 a.m.

Stephen Wamukota's ingenuity has earned him a presidential award.

Wamukota, 9, lives in western Kenya, and received the honor after creating a wooden hand-washing machine that uses a foot pedal to dispense water so people can avoid touching surfaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. He started working on his invention after watching a television show about the virus, and has already made two hand-washing stations.

His dad, James Wamukota, told BBC News he had purchased pieces of wood to make a window frame, "but when I came back home after work one day, I found that Stephen had made the machine. The concept was his and I helped tighten the machine. I'm very proud."

On Monday, Wamukota and 67 other Kenyans received inaugural Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo (Patriotic) Awards, with Wamukota the youngest winner. This made him "very happy," he told BBC News. His dream is to become an engineer, and his county's governor has already promised to give Wamukota a scholarship. Catherine Garcia

1:13 a.m.

Ella Jones made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri.

Jones, who has served as a council member for five years and is a 40-year resident of Ferguson, is also the first woman to be elected mayor of the city.

In August 2014, Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man, triggering unrest in the city and protests across the country. This weekend, there were demonstrations in Ferguson over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Protesters peacefully marched with the Ferguson police chief, but there was also some violence and looting, and Jones said as mayor she will "help stabilize the businesses in Ferguson" that were damaged. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it is "just my time to do right by the people," and when asked what her election means for black residents, she responded, "One word: Inclusion." Catherine Garcia

12:36 a.m.

Nine-term Republican Rep. Steve King (Iowa), stripped of his committee assignments in 2018 after questioning why white nationalism is bad, lost his Republican primary on Tuesday night to state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R). King, a hardline conservative, has a long history of making controversial and incendiary remarks about immigrants, Muslims, and other issues, but his former supporters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District jumped ship after he was booted off the House Agriculture Committee, and to a lesser extent the Judiciary Committee.

"I personally feel very let down about some of the things that have happened because we need someone who is strong in agriculture from this area," state Sen. Annette Sweeney, who shifted support from King to Feenstra, told The Associated Press. King claimed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had pledged to support reinstating his committee assignments after the election, but McCarthy dismissed the claim. Feenstra's campaign was bankrolled by an array of conservative groups, including National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republicans had warned that King might lose.

Iowa Democrats selected Des Moines businesswoman Theresa Greenfield as their nominee to take on Sen. Joni Ernst (R) in what could end up being a competitive race. Greenfield, 55, raised $7 million, much more than her three Democratic opponents. Peter Weber

12:34 a.m.

David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired police captain, was shot and killed by looters early Tuesday in St. Louis, with the shooting broadcast on Facebook Live.

Dorn died on the sidewalk outside of Lee's Pawn & Jewelry after being shot in the torso. His wife, Ann Marie Dorn, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the pawn shop was owned by one of her husband's friends, and he would go down to the store when its burglar alarms would go off. Police said they do not have any suspects, and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Dorn was a police officer in St. Louis for 38 years, retiring in 2007, and later served as police chief in Moline Acres. The Ethical Society of Police said he was "the type of brother that would've given his life to save them if he had to."

Facebook briefly took the shooting video down, but said in a statement it was put back up as it did not expressly violate company policy on graphic or violent content. "Under our policies, the video has been covered with a warning screen but remains on the platform so that people can raise awareness or condemn this event," a spokesperson said. One person who watched it was state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D), who told the Post-Dispatch he was "very traumatized." Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads