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Thomas Jefferson Sneaks Back into Texas Textbooks

No surprise here: The Texas State Board of Education voted to approve changes to the state's social studies curriculum by a margin of 9 to 5 down party lines. (Natch.) But, it wasn't a total miscarriage of justice, as Thomas Jefferson—who you may recall was the third president of the United States—snuck back into the curriculum at the last minute.

According to a post on the Dallas Morning News' Trail Blazers blog:
The deletion of Jefferson -- whose separation of church-state philosophy doesn't get high marks among Christian conservatives -- sparked a flurry of criticism on cable TV, where some pundits held the board up to ridicule. So today, members put Jefferson back on the list of writers including John Locke, Thomas Aquinas and William Blackstone.

Another last minute addition was the name of our current commander-in-chief, who was simply referred to as the first black person elected president. There was some discussion about whether or not to include Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. As it stood at the final vote, he will be identified as "Barack Obama."

Arne Duncan, secretary of education, told CNN last week that he doesn't believe that the curriculum changes in Texas will spread. (Video below.) "Whatever Texas decides," he said, "I don't think there will be large ripple effects around the country."

Duncan also criticized the ideological reasons behind the curriculum changes. His comments followed those of Rod Paige, education secretary under George W. Bush, who said “History should be what history is, not what we would like for it to be to meet a political ideology.”

Now that the changes are official, it will be interesting to see what this does to the textbook industry. California, the largest school system in the country, is already taking steps to make sure these changes don't enter textbooks used in that state. So, will there be two versions of history textbooks for states to choose from?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObP2WCxs1C8

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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