Alabama congressman plots to overturn Electoral College certifying Biden’s election win


Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama plans to challenge the Electoral College when it certifies Joe Biden’s electoral victory. (US House of Representatives )

A Congressman from Alabama plans to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress moves to certify Joe Biden‘s victory on 6 January.

Politico first reported the story. Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican, is searching for a senator to join his challenge, though he said he might object to the election alone if he does not find a partner. He noted that doing so would largely be a symbolic, and not practical, undertaking.

Mr Brooks said he has had contact with some senators, but did not provide names.

Mr Brooks has echoed Donald Trump‘s baseless claims that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 US election that led to his defeat.

“In my judgment, if only lawful votes by eligible American citizens were cast, Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin, and Congress’s certification should reflect that,” Mr Brooks told Politico. “This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures.”

Mr Brooks’ attempt to use Congress to overturn the election is almost certain to fail. Even if a senator joins him to contest the electoral college, it is extremely unlikely the duo would convince enough of the House and Senate to back their play.

While the move may not secure Mr Trump the presidency, it could force a lot of Republicans into unenviable positions. Should Mr Brooks succeed in forcing a deliberation over the electoral college, Congressional Republicans will be forced to cast a vote to either support the Electoral College – and thus uphold the will of the US electorate at the expense of Mr Trump’s loyalist supporters – or support Mr Trump’s baseless claims at the expense of a functional democracy.

Either way, they will likely face an avalanche of backlash.

Mr Brooks said he wants to keep the fight in Congress, as he does not believe the Supreme Court should be the ruling authority on the election.

“A lot of time is being wasted in court … the Supreme Court does not have the lawful authority to determine whether to accept or reject a state’s Electoral College submissions,” Mr Brooks said. “Under the United States constitution and U.S. law, that is the job and duty of elected officials … And so it’s the United States Congress that is the final judge and jury of whether to accept or reject Electoral College submissions by states, and to elect who the president and vice president of the United States might be.”

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Sarah Fuller becomes first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game | US News


A college senior in the US has made history as the first woman to ever play in a Power 5 football game.

Sarah Fuller, who can usually be found in goal for Vanderbilt University’s soccer team, was called on to the field during the second half of an American football game against the University of Missouri on Saturday.

She had been asked to help with kicking duties for the team, after a number of the side’s players were impacted by the coronavirus.

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Fuller is usually spotted in goal for the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team

The 21-year-old Texan had just finished playing in the soccer season, where she helped the Vanderbilt Commodores win their first title since 1994.

On the football field, the team went down 41-0 to their opponents but despite the loss, the institution marked Fuller’s place in history.

The football team tweeted “Sarah Fuller. Remember the name”, alongside a picture of her in her jersey.

Fuller wore the slogan “Play Like A Girl’ on her helmet during the game – a nod to the charity I Play Like A Girl, which helps girls gain access to educational and sporting opportunities.

After the match, Fuller told the SEC Network: “Honestly, I was just really calm. The SEC (soccer) championship was more stressful!

“But I was very excited to step out on the field and do my thing. I represent the little girls out there who wanted to do this or have thought about playing football or any sport, really.

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - NOVEMBER 28: Sarah Fuller #32 of the Vanderbilt Commodores walks on the field prior to a game against the Mizzou Tigers at Memorial Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Columbia, Missouri. Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt's SEC championship soccer team became the first woman to play in a Power 5 NCAA football game. (Photo by Hunter Dyke/Mizzou Athletics via Getty Images)
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Play Like A Girl was emblazoned on her helmet

“I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”

Although she is not the first woman in the US to play college football, she is the first to play at Power 5 level, which refers to the five leagues that represent the highest level of the sport in US universities.



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Sarah Fuller becomes first woman to play major American college football conference game, kicking for Vanderbilt


Sarah Fuller has become the first woman to play for an American football team in a major conference, donning the pads and cleats for Vanderbilt University.

Unfortunately, Vanderbilt was beaten so soundly by the University of Missouri — 41-0 — that she only got on the field for the second-half kick-off, but it was enough to make history.

Fuller, the goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s championship-winning women’s soccer team, got the call-up from head coach Derek Mason.

Vanderbilt plays in the South-Eastern Conference (SEC), making Fuller the first woman to play for a team in one of the “Power Five” college conferences, which account for the biggest football programs in the country.

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Women have kicked for college teams in the past — including Liz Heaston in 1997, Tonya Butler and Katie Hnida in 2003, and April Goss in 2015 — but never for a “Power Five” school.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the organisation that runs the lucrative college sports scene in the US, described her as the first woman to play “in a major conference football game”.

“It’s just so exciting, the fact that I can represent the little girls out there who wanted to do this or thought about playing football, or any sport,” she said after the game.

“And [if] it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this [that’s] awesome.”

Even the opposing coach had to respect Fuller’s history-making moment.(AP: LG Patterson)

Vanderbilt’s inability to get within field-goal range or within touching distance of the Missouri Tigers on the scoreboard meant Fuller’s only involvement was kicking off in the second half, with her team already trailing 21-0.

Wearing number 32 and with “Play like a girl” written on the back of her helmet, Fuller’s short kick-off was collected by the Tigers and she left the field.

Some looking to pillory Fuller on social media criticised it as a miscue, but as NFL coach Ron Rivera pointed out, it was a “perfect mortar kick” (also known as a “pooch” or “squib” kick) to try to catch Missouri off guard and avoid giving them a chance to return the kick in the open field.

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Superstar NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and US soccer legend Mia Hamm were among those watching from home who praised Fuller for breaking new ground.

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Soccer final more stressful for star goalkeeper

Despite admitting to feeling a responsibility to represent all women trying to break through in traditionally patriarchal fields, she said she was more nervous when she was in goal for Vanderbilt in their 3-1 win over Arkansas in last week’s SEC championship soccer game.

“Honestly, I was just really calm … I was really excited to step out on the field and do my thing,” she said of the outing in pads.

“I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to, you really can. And if you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”

A COVID-19 outbreak and potential replacement players leaving for their holiday break left Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason needing to “think outside the box” in filling a need, so he called up the coach of the soccer team, who put Fuller’s name forward.

“In practice, the guys were impressed the first day she came out, she put the ball through the uprights, she was fearless and she plays football the same way she plays soccer,” Mason said.

Mason also stressed that it was not an empty gesture to try and get publicity, but one of the university’s top athletes filling a need for the football team.

“She wasn’t trying to set some landmark event. She was just trying to help really where she could,” he said.



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Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller Could Become First Female to Play in Power 5 College Football Game on Saturday



Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller will suit up on Saturday against Missouri, in a move that could make her the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game. Fuller was added to the roster this week.

“It’s an honor they called on me to be able to do this and help them out,” Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt’s SEC championship soccer team, said.

Fuller’s helmet will sport a sticker that reads, “Play Like a Girl.”

“Let’s make history,” Fuller wrote on Friday:

Fuller told the Vanderbilt website:

I think it’s amazing and incredible. … But I’m also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can. Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in any way.

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason said on Wednesday, “Right now, we’re just looking at all options. … For us, talking to Sarah, she’s a champ, and no pun intended. Just coming off an SEC Championship in soccer… She’s a complete competitor. She’s an option for us. Right now, that’s where we sit.

“For us, every week is [about] getting to the practice field and about making sure that we put the best possible kicker out there, so we’re competing,” Mason said.

Two other women, Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State, have played football at the FBS level. The Power 5 conferences consist of teams from the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12. Vanderbilt is a member of the SEC.





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US election result: Trump moves step closer to conceding as he says he will respect Electoral College vote | US News


Donald Trump has moved a step closer to conceding the US election.

Taking questions for the first time since the election, the president was asked whether he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for president-elect Joe Biden.

He replied: “Certainly I will, certainly I will, and you know that.”

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How does The Electoral College work?

But he said it is “going to be a very hard thing to concede”, adding: “I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January. A lot of things.”

Mr Biden, who is due to be inaugurated on that date, won 306 Electoral College votes to Mr Trump’s 232 following the 3 November election.

Despite the popular vote being settled, the US system means the formal process of the college choosing a president will not happen until 14 December.

Mr Trump made the comments at the White House after speaking to US troops during a traditional Thanksgiving Day address.

He continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was skewed by “massive fraud”, and said the USA was “like a third world country”.

But he has been inching towards a concession.

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Trump’s team to cooperate with transition

Earlier this week, he said he had given Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration (GSA), the go-ahead to proceed with a transition for Mr Biden’s administration.

The GSA is responsible for many of the basic services that allow the US government to function, from buildings and transport management to IT, financial services, supply chains and human resources.

Last week, the president said Mr Biden had “won” the US election – but then added that he was not conceding.



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Trump says he will leave White House if Electoral College votes for Biden


President Donald Trump participates in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the United States Military, at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2020.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he reiterated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Trump said if Democrat Biden — who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 — is certified the election winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.

But Trump said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. The electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14.

“This election was a fraud,” Trump insisted, while offering no concrete evidence of such voting irregularities.

Biden and Trump both stayed close to home to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country.

Biden spent the holiday in the small seaside town of Rehoboth, Delaware, where he and his wife Jill have a vacation home. The Bidens are hosting daughter Ashley Biden and her husband Dr. Howard Krein for the holiday meal.

The former vice president, appearing with his wife in a video message posted to his Twitter account on Thanksgiving, said his family typically holds a large gathering on the island of Nantucket off Massachusetts, but would remain in Delaware this year “with just a small group around our dinner table” because of the pandemic.

In the presidential-style address to a nation that has lost more than 260,000 lives to the coronavirus, the Democratic president-elect said Americans were making a “shared sacrifice for the whole country” and a “statement of common purpose” by staying at home with their immediate families.

“I know this isn’t the way many of us hoped we’d spend our holiday. We know that a small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans,” said Biden. “I know better days are coming.”

Republican President Trump often likes to celebrate holidays at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida. But on Thursday he remained in the Washington area, spending part of the morning at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia where he played a round of golf.

It was a far cry from last year when he made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he served turkey to U.S. troops before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them.

This time, Trump spoke by video link from the White House to members of the military.



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Melbourne Catholic schools Christian Brothers College St Kilda and Presentation College Windsor to merge


While many Presentation students have departed for schools including Sacre Coeur, Star of the Sea, Firbank and Prahran High, some stayed on and will become St Mary’s College students.

CBC principal Terry Blizzard will also lead St Mary’s College. He said the merged school was “in it for the long haul”, with hopes of one day having a more even gender mix.

“Our dream is to have a fully functioning two-campus school with equal numbers of girls and boys working together,” he said.

But with girls so heavily outnumbered, Mr Blizzard conceded this would not be easy.

“This might take a little while for us to build up numbers. I’m told that’s not unfamiliar when schools go from being single sex to co-ed.”

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The school’s new governors, Edmund Rice Education Australia, have taken out a five-year lease on the site of Presentation College Windsor and students will use both campuses. Next year, students will wear their respective boys’ and girls’ uniforms, before a new uniform is phased in over three years.

The two schools already combine for many VCE subjects but will merge in years 7 to 10 for the first time next year.

Former federal speaker Anna Burke, who attended Presentation College Windsor, said she felt “part sadness and part joy” at the merger.

“I’m joyous that it is not going away; I’m joyous that it’s not going to be residential housing,” she said.

“I think we need more co-ed, I think that’s what the world is and where we need to be.

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“But at the same time, a twinge of sadness that it’s not going on.”

She said the roughly five-to-one ratio of boys to girls was “indicative of the fact that Windsor announced more or less overnight that it was closing”, but said many newly merged schools had started out with an uneven gender mix before finding a good balance.

“Hopefully the numbers will grow … you’ve got to start somewhere,” Ms Burke said.

Media personality Eddie McGuire attended CBC St Kilda in the 1970s and ’80s on a scholarship, and said it “opened the world” to him.

That world included dancing lessons and drama classes with the girls of Presentation College Windsor.

He said the merger of the schools “makes sense” and would hopefully give students in inner-Melbourne an opportunity for a good education without the higher fees of neighbouring Catholic schools such as Loreto, St Kevin’s and Xavier.

Single-sex schools have fallen out of favour. In the decade to 2018, Victorian student numbers rose 15 per cent while enrolments at private girls’ schools rose 2.4 per cent and boys’ schools 4.2 per cent. Researcher Katherine Dix said girls’ schools were under pressure as new schools tended to be co-ed, and boys’ schools were converting to co-ed “out of economic necessity”.

Julie Sonnemann, acting program director of school education at the Grattan Institute, said single-sex schools “might be a harder sell these days as research showed their academic benefits aren’t as big as previously thought”.

“Although I suspect that academics is only one small part of the reason why parents send kids to single-sex school, so I’m not sure how much the academic research influences parental decisions,” she added.

Education consultant Paul O’Shannassy said the school would probably be successful in the long term because it would be different to the high-fee, single-sex schools nearby.

“This is going to take time but I’m reasonably bullish about it,” he said. “They would be unique in their area in terms of co-ed and price and might even attract some non-Catholics.”

Mr O’Shannassy, of Regent Consulting, said the COVID-19 pandemic had hit families hard and there was “going to be more of a market for that mid-priced offering”.

Presentation opened in 1874 and was the state’s second-oldest Catholic girls’ school. Once a prep-to-year-12 school with boarders, it had just 466 students last year. CBC opened in 1878.

Associate Professor Susanne Gannon, who is an expert on gender in education, said the school would need to be gentle and subtle to create a gender inclusiveness for all children.

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A night to remember: Year 12 Trinity Catholic College students celebrate the year that was | Goulburn Post


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With a year full of distractions, Trinity Catholic College year 12 students finally received respite as they enjoyed their graduation dinner on Wednesday, November 18. Here are the photos from the night. Photos are courtesy of the Trinity Catholic College Facebook page. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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Mallacoota College investigated after ‘totally unacceptable’ sex doll incident on muck-up day


Victorian education officials are investigating after primary school children saw teachers and older students with an inflatable sex doll during a regional school’s muck-up day celebrations.

The Department of Education and Training has appointed an external law firm to investigate the end-of-year celebrations for year 12 students at Mallacoota College, about 600 kilometres east of Melbourne.

The town became known for the apocalyptic fire images during last summer’s bushfire season, which were broadcast across the world. Many town residents are still struggling to recover.

At the school’s muck-up day on November 6, it is alleged a student brought the female sex doll to the school.

The school has primary and secondary students aged from five to 18 years.

Teachers participated in activities with doll

The ABC understands several teachers, including the principal, were seen by many primary school students as young as five, with the doll during the school’s 55-minute lunch break.

Sources said the blow-up female doll had visible genitals and was tied to a pole during lunch break and had water and ice thrown on it.

The sources said students and at least one teacher rode on top of the sex doll down a children’s slide, and a female name was given to the doll.

A picture of school principal Tim Cashmore close to the doll, and with young primary school children nearby, was posted on social media but was later taken down.

A parent who did not want to be named told the ABC their young child had described the naked female doll to them in detail, saying the doll had “a lot of holes and lipstick”.

The parent said they were, “aghast and disgusted by the use of the sex doll in front of young children”.

Another parent said their primary school child told a teacher on the day that they needed to put clothes on the doll before the prep students saw it.

Mallacoota P12 College principal Tim Cashmore.(ABC Gippsland: Sarah Maunder)

Department launches investigation

Students’ parents were alerted to the muck-up day’s activities five days later when a letter, signed by both Mr Cashmore and the school council president Dani Morris, was sent out.

It is understood the department received at least 15 complaints from unhappy parents demanding answers.

On Monday, staff were told by senior departmental staff an inquiry was being held into the matter by a law firm and that Mr Cashmore was taking leave.

External acting principal David Mowbray has been appointed to take over, which the department says, “has the backing of the school’s leadership team and assistant principal”.

‘What the hell is going on at the school?’

School council member and parent Cate Tregellas said despite the letter to parents being co-signed by the council president, she knew nothing about it.

“I got a lot of texts, emails and phone calls from parents saying, ‘What the hell is going on at the school?'” she said.

“And I said, ‘Well, actually we don’t know.'”

The letter, seen by the ABC, stated that an “unknown student brought an inappropriate item to school” and this was “totally unacceptable”.

“We have spoken to the whole year 12 about this incident to ensure they understand why it is wrong,” the letter said.

Ms Tregellas said teachers and students told her they were appalled at the behaviour of the teachers who failed to stop students handling the doll and participated in the activities.

“Many of the students felt revolted and just didn’t know where to look,” she said.

Female students ‘demeaned’ by incident

Ms Tregellas says she does not blame the year 12 students, who are in the middle of final exams, and have been through a tough year after the bushfires destroyed more than 100 houses in the small town.

But she wants to know the teachers’ role in the incident.

“It wasn’t fun at all, especially for a lot of our female students.

“They just felt very demeaned by it.”

She wants more transparency around the department’s investigation and for the results to be publicly released.

Mr Cashmore declined to comment, but confirmed he was on leave.

A department spokesman confirmed it was making inquiries into the “circumstances around these events and the actions taken on the day”.

The spokesperson said the school taught Respectful Relationships sessions, a program teaching respect and equality and that it was supporting students to “ensure this incident does not distract from the hard work still to be done”.

It also said it was reaching out to students to make sure they had the support they needed.



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Covid Threatens College Gains for Black and Latinx Students


Largely low-income, Hispanic, and with parents whose own educations didn’t get past high school, the young people in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas over the past decade started doing something few of their predecessors had done: going to college.

As the community near the Mexican border came together to prioritize education, scores in math and reading on state standardized tests rose. So did high school graduation rates, to 92 percent, from 87 percent, and the proportion of students filling out the federal application for college financial aid. The number who went on to higher education inched up, to 57 percent, from 56 percent.

“We got a lot of people talking about how important going to college is,” said Katherine Díaz, who helps coordinate this work as deputy director for the nonprofit RGV Focus, which stands for Rio Grande Valley. “More students started seeing, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ And they thought, ‘I’m doing this because I want to show my cousins that they can do this too.’”

Then the pandemic descended.

Unemployment in what Texans call “the Valley” peaked at more than 17 percent in the spring. The rate of infections and deaths from Covid-19 was nearly twice what it was in the rest of Texas. Even since tighter restrictions were imposed, the area continues to account for 7 percent of all of the state’s confirmed cases, and two of the eight most affected counties.

Now there’s fear that the Valley’s hard-won educational progress will reverse. As many as half of students from some local schools lack Wi-Fi access, educators say. Many of their families face intensified financial hardship. The proportion of students filling out that financial aid application—an early indicator of intent to go to college—is down at more than half of Rio Grande Valley high schools, the US Department of Education reports.

Community and business groups around the country share the same concern. For the last few years, they have been pushing schools and colleges to improve high school graduation and college enrollment and completion rates—especially for low-income Black and Hispanic students—increasing the supply of skilled workers to compete in the global economy. Many were making measurable progress.

With the pandemic disrupting in-person education and straining budgets, there is growing fear that this momentum is reversing.

“That challenge just got harder,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the chamber of commerce in Detroit, which has been working to raise the low proportion of students in that city who go on to college within a year of graduating from high school.

With schools mostly online, nearly one in four public school students in Detroit aren’t logging in or showing up, the superintendent says—many because they don’t have laptops or Wi-Fi. That’s significantly more than in a typical year.

Absenteeism in the spring and fall has been similarly high in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dayton, Hartford, Los Angeles, and other cities, according to data compiled by the Brookings Institution. Experts say that this means dropout rates, which had been declining for more than a decade, will likely start to rise again.

“The students we’re losing—the ones who aren’t showing up or logging in—that’s the future of our workforce,” said Laura Ward, senior vice president for talent development at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Her coalition of advocates in Nashville dedicated to improving the college readiness of local high school graduates now is confined to meeting remotely every Friday morning. Among other things, its members talk about the obstacles confronting students.

“I have literally hung up the phone and had to cry, because the problems are so deep,” Ward said. “There are transportation barriers and food insecurity and housing issues, and it’s getting cold. When you don’t have basic needs met, you can’t learn.”

Heather Hunter, a psychology major at Wichita State University, has a part-time job in a foster-care agency, where she helps with a workshop assisting high school students in foster care with filling out the federal financial aid form. This fall, only four students showed up. Last year, 50 did.



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