Judges Keep Slapping Down Poor Betsy DeVos!


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is terrible at her job. Her objectives and overall mission are evil, but if it's any consolation she can't effectively implement them. After buying her Cabinet position at Sotheby's, DeVos has spent the past two years trying to roll back Obama-era policies designed to protect and actually educate students. Unfortunately for her evil schemes, federal courts keep smacking down her slimy efforts. It's getting embarrassing.

DeVos recently had to cancel $150 million in student loan debt after courts said her attempts to stop the "borrow defense" regulations from taking effect were in fact illegal. Last week, she was forced to instruct colleges to follow the Obama rule barring mandatory arbitration agreements. She got kicked in the teeth earlier this month when a federal judge ruled she'd acted illegally ... again. This time, DeVos tried to delay an Obama-era guideline that required states to address racial disparities in their special education programs. Judge Tanya S. Chutkan called the delay "arbitrary" and "capricious."

The rule, drafted under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, would require states to identify districts with "significant disproportionality" in the number of minority students channeled into special education services, segregated in restrictive classroom settings or disciplined.

OK, so what was the "education" secretary's issue with this rule? We want to imagine there's some rationale we're not seeing and DeVos is more than just some yacht-collecting monster.

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What Part Of 'Does Not Exonerate' Don't Republicans Understand?

Any of it, Katie!

Now that William Barr has carefully explained that the Mueller report didn't find enough evidence to prosecute Donald Trump for conspiracy, Republicans are all about proclaiming the Trump 2020 campaign slogan: WELL SHORT OF A FELONY!! Also, please never mind that part where even Barr admitted the report doesn't exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, because why would anyone care about any other crimes?

Of course, if you want to get all factual about it, not even Barr's letter says Mueller found no evidence of wrongdoing -- just that he couldn't make a criminal case that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as Roll Call explains. Thin though that is, and regardless of what's in the actual report, Trump allies are over the moon and ready to move on to the important business of putting Hillary Clinton in jail forever. Let's watch the Premature Victory Parade!

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Has Trump Mentioned Lately That Dead John McCain Makes Him So Angry Like GRRR ARGH?

Can we just say that when Fox idiot Maria Bartiromo sounds like the sane person in a situation, that is a worrisome situation? That is what happened when Donald Trump -- who's just had a fantastic Infrastructure Week, assuming it is Infrastructure Week, and we always do -- sat down for what was supposed to be an easy breezy "You're the best!"/"No YOU are, Mister President!" interview with his beloved Fox pals.

Instead Maria Bartiromo had to ask the question on everybody's mind, which is WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU OH MY GOD, or, more clearly, is there a reason you have spent this entire week of your presidency picking a fight with a dead guy, who somehow seems to be winning that fight, because you are literally so stupid and incompetent you LOSE FIGHTS TO DEAD GUYS?

She said it nicer than that, though.

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Judge Declares Wisconsin GOP's Lame Duck Power Grab Illegal, Tacky As Hell

Last fall, after Wisconsin voters rejected Gov. Scott Walker's reelection bid and chose Democrat Tony Evers instead, Republicans in the state legislature got very busy doing anything they could to limit the power of the incoming governor and the new Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul. Hey, voters may have chosen Evers, but that didn't mean Rs had to let Democrats actually govern, now did it? As Republican state House Speaker Robin Vos rather notoriously said at the time, the lege had to act because "We are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in." So in a two day "extraordinary session," the Republicans shifted power from the executive branch and gave those powers to the legislature, which conveniently remained in Republican control thanks to gerrymandering. Scott Walker signed the bills and then began his career as an idiot on Twitter.

Yesterday, a Wisconsin judge found the entire lame duck session violated the state constitution, and invalidated the laws it passed. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess said in his decision the Wisconsin constitution is quite specific about when the legislature can meet, and nope, the "extraordinary session" didn't meet the constitutional requirements, so sorry guys, you didn't follow the rules and your laws ARE MOOT.

The Associated Press lawsplains the constitutional neener-neener:

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Remember a few weeks ago when House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler sent a very nice and loving request to 81 people and entities associated with Donald Trump, including the White House, asking to please FUCKING GIVE IT a million documents, in order to aid Judiciary's investigation into Trump's millions of crimes? Well, the deadline was Monday, and some folks are helping! Others are not!

According to Nadler, they've already gotten "tens of thousands" of documents, and all signs point to more document requests coming, to approximately one million more people. There have been some surprises, too. Steve Bannon is helping a LOT, turning over thousands of pages (which is perhaps too much if you've ever seen that episode of "The West Wing," where CJ Cregg talks about being so crazy over-compliant with Congress that they just snow down investigators with everything, including take-out menus and junk mail). Trump Inauguration weirdo/longtime associate Tom Barrack is helping, and Hope Hicks is also too gonna be a good little helper. And so on!

And some are asking for "friendly subpoenas," like for instance attorney Keith Davidson, who used to rep Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who's asking for that in order to "formalize the process," as Politico puts it. (Some people don't like being asked nicely.)

Still others are saying straight up NO, and some of them have better reasons than others. Roger Stone is pleading the Fifth on advice of counsel because, you know, he's in trouble with the law right now. Rick Gates says he can't really help, citing how he is still a cooperating witness who is very business hunting wabbits in multiple ongoing investigations. And Julian Assange said no, because (LOL) he is a journalist, you guys, and Congress shouldn't subpoena journalists about their sources. (Actually WikiLeaks is a cut-out for Russian intelligence. Which is kind of like "journalist," except not remotely.)

But the real story here is that the White House, in response to pretty much every document request it's gotten, is saying "FUCK OFF! WE ARE GOING TO DO THE WATERGATE THING! IT WORKED OUT VERY WELL, IN WATERGATE! FUCK IT, LET'S DO THE WATERGATE THING!"

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Cool Mueller Letter From Guy Hired To Exonerate Trump, Now GIVE US THE F*CKING REPORT

All of it. Full stop. Right the fuck now.

It's time for another round of "Goofus and Gallant," starring the New York Times and the Washington Post! See if you can guess who is who.

One of those is more correcter than the other! So yes, of course, the New York Times is Goofus, because it always is. But wait, what is this, a twist in the plot?


It might seem like quibbling, but it isn't. Attorney General William Barr sent a brief letter to Congress Sunday explaining that he had read all the pages of Robert Mueller's long report, and that it determined beyond a shadow of a doubt -- as we knew, from Mueller's indictments -- that the Russian government engaged in a concerted campaign to hack the election to hurt Hillary Clinton. However Barr reports -- not Mueller, Barr -- NO COLLUSION by any members of the Trump campaign or by the president himself (at least not "knowingly"). The letter says Mueller recommended no more indictments, and that there are no more sealed indictments, but doesn't say Mueller didn't kick anything to other jurisdictions that we don't yet know about. Finally, Barr writes that Mueller presented evidence on both sides of the question of whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, but came to no conclusion, therefore he was not accusing the president of a crime, but he wasn't exonerating him either. But Barr -- we guess because of his professional expertise in covering up Iran-Contra -- was able to determine that also NO OBSTRUCTION, therefore story over, the end, do not pass go, Rachel Maddow must now go to jail!

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Catch Me, If You Can! Wonkagenda For Mon., March 25, 2019

Robert Mueller turned in his homework, and Trump World ate it. Your morning news brief.

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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Stop Fretting Over The Mueller Report And Have Some Nice Things!

An inspiring refugee kid, book chat, a nifty 1902 movie made in 'color,' and the inevitable reading recommendations!

Bet you guys could do with some nice things about now, huh? So let's take a break from the usual grind of horrors and nastiness and look at some less miserable stuff for a while, shall we? Oh indeed we shall.

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Forced Birth Enthusiasts Claim Vaccines Are Immunizing Us All To Their Prayers

Well, it's just science.

I don't quite know how to tell you this, but a group of anti-abortion lunatics are currently urging people to stop immunizing their children on account of the fact that they believe that because some vaccines were made using cell lines from two aborted fetuses back in the 1960s, said vaccines are not only immunizing the world against disease, but against their prayers as well. They claim that were it not for these vaccines unfairly intervening with their plans, they would have overturned Roe v. Wade by now.

The group calls themselves Intercessors for America, and their whole deal is basically that they think prayers are literal magic and that if they pray super hard for leaders to do what they want, all of their wishes will come true. They send out a newsletter filled with extremely specific prayers for various politicians based on what they are doing that day and also have an "interactive prayer wall" on their site, which is actually just a Facebook comment section of some kind where a bunch of people are posting their prayers.

No, I did not press send. Though I was tempted.

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Oh, Fun: Research Says Mass Shootings Make Insecure Dopes Feel 'Empowered' By Guns

Obvious, but also horrifying.

Have you ever looked at a person armed to the hilt with assault rifles, yelling about how the Second Amendment gives them the right to overthrow the government or posing sexily with a gun shoved down their pants and thought "Wow! What a fabulously secure individual!" Probably not. And according to a new study, your instincts there would be correct.

According to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who feel "disempowered" are likely to respond to a mass shooting by feeling more willing to shoot someone themselves and more likely to express violent ideas after hearing about one.

This seems like it might be a pretty dangerous phenomenon that could lead to some pretty bad stuff. It also explains why obviously insecure people always respond to mass shootings by saying "No, we actually need more guns."

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​Georgia On My ​Uterus: State Becomes Seventh This Year To Pretty Much Ban Abortion

Well that's just peachy.

Before I start in on this one, I'd like you all to take a moment and consider the last time someone smugly told you (or perhaps the last time you, yourself, smugly said) "They're not ever actually going to make abortion illegal, you know."

Oh, we've been told this for lots of reasons. Because it would never get through the Supreme Court, because if they outlawed abortion, Republicans wouldn't have anything left to run on. As an excuse to not make being pro-choice a "litmus test" for Democrats running for office. As a reason for why it's not worth worrying our pretty little heads about things so much and take things so seriously. As someone's bad excuse for how they can be "pro-choice" but vote Republican anyway.

Well. Here we are, in March of 2019 and as of yesterday, seven states have passed laws effectively banning abortion. Yesterday, Georgia became the latest state to do so, with its Senate passing a bill backed by Gov. Brian Kemp that would outlaw abortions after six weeks. Mississippi did it the day before. And before that, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky all passed similar bills.

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As usual, when we say "your weekly top ten" with that kind of headline, we are talking about Wonkette Toddler, can you believe she is in preschool now? She is like a full grown adult, with an emphasis on learning shapes, because we guess the other three to five year olds still need to do that!

Anyway, it is time for your top ten list, where we count down the top ten stories and you give us money, because we are fully 100 percent reader-supported and cannot keep the lights on without you. You should probably do that first, to get it out of the way.

All done? Hooray!

Shall we count down the top ten stories? Yes, we shall.

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We don't know what the thing means yet, but we know that he gave the thing to Attorney General Bill Barr, who is presumably looking at the thing right now. Donald Trump is at Mar-a-Lago, so he does not have the thing, because NO THING FOR ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENTS. Studies show that according to sources close to the investigation who may or may not be close to the investigation, we might have some real information on what is inside the thing sometime this weekend.

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TFW You're Trying To Give Kim Jong Un A Reacharound But Mnuchin Won't Get Off Your Jock

Just another Foreign Policy Friday, brought to you by the Underpants King of Mar-a-Lago!

Whatcha doin' down there at Mar-a-Lago, Mister Normal President Of America?

OK ... huh?

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Guess Posting Plan To 'Ethnically Cleanse' Your High School To 4Chan Isn't Such A Good Idea After All

Two Virginia students have been arrested for mass shooting threats.

This morning -- the week after a mass shooting by a white supremacist took the lives of 49 people in New Zealand -- police in Charlottesville, Virginia, arrested a 17-year-old boy who made threats on a 4chan message board. In a post, the suspect announced his plans to "ethnically cleanse" Charlottesville High School of minorities, telling white students to stay home.

The post came to police attention when it was published on the Charlottesville Reddit board, and the school has been closed today and yesterday as a result. As you surely recall, in 2017, Charlottesville was the site of the notorious Unite The Right rally.

Virginia police have also arrested an Albemarle County student who made a similar threat on social media on Thursday night to commit a mass shooting at his school as well. Police have not yet determined if they were related, or if the Albemarle student was simply a copycat.

The charges faced by both students can result in up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

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Trump Nominates Stephen Moore To The Fed. Who Is This Jagoff?

Some hack, is who.

Donald Trump continues his tradition of choosing the Very Best People for important administration jobs, announcing today that he's picked rightwing activist and CNN commentator Stephen Moore to fill one of two vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board. Moore appears to have won the position by vocally criticizing the fiscal policies of Fed chair Jerome Powell, a Deep State operative who hates Donald Trump, prosperity, and America, and who of course was appointed to his position by Donald Trump. Just don't remind Trump of that, OK, because you'd be lying and wrong.

So who is this jagoff?

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Trump Can't Reveal Secret Sexxx Chats With National Security Advisor Vladimir Putin, EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE APPLYETH!

NARRATOR: No, it doesn't.

Thursday, in our post about how the Trump White House has decided to treat all congressional requests with the same level of disrespect, and that they're doing it intentionally, because FUCK YEAH, LET'S DO THE WATERGATE THING, we noted that White House counsel Pat Cipollone had just fired off a letter to House Democratic committee chairmen Elijah Cummings (Oversight), Eliot Engel (Foreign Affairs) and Adam Schiff (Intel), saying HOW ABSOLUTELY DARE YOU ask the White House for information about what Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin say under the covers to each other at night, HOW ABSOLUTELY DARE YOU!

This, despite how the FBI (really! for real!) opened an investigation into whether Trump is a literal actual foreign agent, because he does shit constantly to make it look like he is severely compromised by Vladimir Putin, who may or may not be Trump's KGB handler from way back. Yes, we get that it's an odd situation for Congress to have to demand to know what the president discusses with foreign leaders in private, but it's only odd because the president refuses to disclose his discussions with Putin, even as he crawls under the table with Putin and giggle-whispers with Putin every time they're in the same room. It's even more odd that Trump has literally confiscated his translators' notes of his meetings with Putin. Everything's just kinda strange in Putin's America, we mean Trump's America!

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Post-Racial America

Yes, Let's Talk About Terrorism, Laura Ingraham!

It's YOU.

Laura Ingraham is ABSOLUTE FILTH. The entire Fox News channel is a metastatic cancer on America's civil discourse, but Ingraham is a particularly foul and painful tumor. This woman has made an entire career out of trying to hurt people, be they brutalized refugees or survivors of mass shootings. Thirty years ago, as a college student, Ingraham secretly recorded a support group of closeted gay students and then published the transcript. And yesterday she called in a troll storm on a 29-year-old freelance writer for having the audacity to be a young woman existing while writing about the rising danger of alt-right ethno-nationalism.

Only hours after professional dickhead John Podhoretz called for New York University to be "neutron bombed" for hiring Media Matters researcher Talia Lavin and journalist Lauren Duca to each teach an elective course, Lavin was once again attacked by a hideous ghoul with a huge platform and a fundamental disregard for the safety of other human beings. (And, hey, excellent timing, Jezebel. Slow fuckin' clap.)

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Post-Racial America

Steve King Borrows Obama's Time Machine To Be Racist About Hurricane Katrina

So there's a surprise.

The Washington Post today describes Rep. Steve King as the "Iowa Republican who has made a series of statements embracing white nationalism." This is a polite way of saying he's a racist asshole -- though points for not saying he's "controversial" or "racially tinged" and calling it a day. Even his own party leaders grudgingly conceded he's a big old racist racist and publicly chastised him way back in the distant past of January. Well, he's at it again. What a shocker!

Thursday, King was at a town hall in Charter Oak, Iowa, where he applauded Iowans for their response to recent spring flooding. His bigoted brain thought it best to compare the resiliency of his state's predominately white residents to the mostly black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

KING: We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody's looking around saying, "Who's going to help me? Who's going to help me?"

That seems a reasonable reaction to the massive losses suffered in one of the deadliest hurricanes in almost a century. But black people are shiftless and refuse to just drown quietly. It's frankly un-American. Helping suffering black people personally irritates King. He was one of 11 jerks in Congress to oppose federal funding for Katrina victims. He wasn't interested unless something had happened to the statue of Old Hickory in Jackson Square.

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Indiana Teachers Whining SO MUCH About Getting Shot During Active Shooting Drill

Great Moments In Gun Stupidity, part 5593 and counting.

Teachers in an Indiana school were shot in the back with plastic pellets by sheriffs' deputies during a January "active shooter drill," according to testimony in a legislative hearing this week. The rubber pellets, a bit bigger than a BB, were fired from an Airsoft pellet gun; at least one teacher reported the things raised welts and drew blood. But come on, it definitely got the point across that during an actual school shooting, people may get shot. That's very educational! The Indianapolis Star has the juicy stinging details:

[The incident] was confirmed by two elementary school teachers in Monticello, who described an exercise in which teachers were asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall before being sprayed across their backs with plastic pellets without warning.

"They told us, 'This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,'" said one of the two teachers, both of whom asked IndyStar not to be identified out of concern for their jobs. "They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times.

"It hurt so bad."

Well look, lady, you're the one who volunteered to be on the front lines of combat by choosing to teach elementary school. Next we suppose you'll complain about having to carry your platoon's M-60 machine gun to the cafeteria. Nobody wants to hump the pig, but it's that or take point, OK?

The Indiana State Teachers Association, the state's teacher union, is asking lawmakers to add language prohibiting such simulated executions of school staff from future training, even though the sheriff's department that helpfully took teachers four at a time into a closet and pretended to blow them away has already promised not to do it anymore.

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