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Thursday, the Trump administration decided out of the goodness of its court-ordered heart to follow Obama-era policy and cancel thousands of borrowers' federal student loans. This was a bummer for so-called Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who had fought against protections for student loan borrowers because she (allegedly) gets off on watching people go bankrupt like some Disney villain. A federal judge ruled in September that her efforts to stop the "borrower defense" regulations from taking effect were illegal. DeVos will have to take comfort now in one of her 17 yachts and her Tim Burton-designed summer house.

These borrowers aren't, as Fox News might lead you to believe, avoiding repayment of the loans they took out to study advanced pottery and women's "herstory." Most of these borrowers were affected by school closures or outright defrauded by a lousy for-profit "college." The Education Department today will start notifying around 15,000 borrowers that they qualify for loan discharges. The debt totals approximately $150 million, or about four of DeVos's best yachts.


Half of the affected borrowers attended campuses owned by Corinthian Colleges, the shady chain of for-profit colleges that went under in 2015. Washington Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, said this is all a "good first step," but DeVos should stop letting for-profit colleges off the hook and try looking out for the folks who were "cheated out of their education and savings." Elizabeth Warren, who has long fought to defend student loan borrowers from the likes of DeVos, was also pleased with the judge's ruling.

DeVos has said that the Obama-era regulations are unfair to colleges and taxpayers (always throw in a reference to taxpayers to make it seem like you care about more than just rich people). The Obama administration, she argued, made it too "easy" for students to walk away from their crippling debt and enjoy carefree lives working minimum-wage jobs. She reportedly called the "borrower defense" program a "free money" giveaway, perhaps confusing it with the massive inheritance she likely received when her father-in-law recently passed away.

DeVos claimed her top priority in the job she bought was to "act on behalf of individual students." Presumably, this means she will try to learn the name of every student she helps send into bankruptcy. She tried (and fortunately temporarily failed) to eliminate Obama-era rules for holding colleges accountable for the services they provide. For instance, they should be able to find "gainful employment" when they graduate. That's usually a win-win. Graduates can afford to pay off their loans and eat every once in a while. The alumni department can then bug them with donation requests for the rest of their natural lives.

DeVos also plans to restore the authority of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, after the Obama administration withdrew federal recognition of it. This means educational crapsack colleges that failed to find recognition elsewhere, like Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, will still have access to federal student aid. This lady loves quality education so much she's going to hug and and squeeze it to death.

During DeVos's sham confirmation hearing, it came out that the billionaire had numerous financial ties to student loan debt collectors. She was also invested in for-profit institution Laureate Education. She divested these holdings but she can always, you know, un-divest once she's left the education sector a smoking crater. She's also hired officials with ties to for -profit institutions.

It's not really a mystery where her loyalties lie.

But this one time, the good guys have won and Betsy DeVos has been ordered by the court to stop being an asshole, at least about this one thing. She is still free to be an asshole in all the other ways she is an asshole.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins runs from March through May at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo.

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CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS FOR FEBRUARY 7! And then fill them back up with whatever the fuck you want, because Michael Cohen has announced through his lawyers that he is too scared to testify before an open session of Congress that day, citing threats to his family from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

Wonkette has no reason to believe Cohen isn't being serious here, and NBC News reports Cohen's wife and father-in-law are particularly concerned about their safety if the man who used to call his boss MIS-TURRRR TWUMP goes to Congress and tells the truth this time. Still, we must pause to note that this is the same guy who said this to NPR reporter Tim Mak, back when Mak was at The Daily Beast:

"I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we're in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don't have," Cohen told Mak [...] "And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know."

"So I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?"

It's not so fun when the shoe is on the other foot, IS IT, MICHAEL?

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Did Nancy Pelosi do something to give Donald Trump the mistaken impression he has leverage here? We don't remember her doing anything like that!

Trump sent Pelosi a letter this morning to say that, despite how she told him to stay the fuck out of her House because of his government shutdown, he would still be coming to the House on January 29 to deliver his State of the Union address. And for some weird-ass reason, Trump and his advisers in the White House actually thought she would back down. It's both hilarious and alarming that Trump and his people are that stupid, isn't it?

Anyway, Pelosi took the dare. She took the dare. Was there anybody besides those dumb fucking idiots in the White House who thought she wouldn't take the dare?

Pelosi sent a letter right back to Trump to kindly explain to him that no means "go fuck yourself," and that if he'd like her to stick her foot further up his ass and kick it around a bunch, he's welcome to test her some more:

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