Trigger warnings, in all senses of the term.
The massacre-prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, founded by parents of some of the kids murdered in Newtown, rolled out an absolutely horrifying public service announcement today. The online ad, titled "Back-To-School Essentials," is a dark twist on back-to-school supplies, featuring kids enjoying the nice things their parents got them for school. In the midst of a school shooting.
Content warning: This one is not something you want to watch if the subject is difficult for you. It's not explicitly gory, but includes sounds and visuals of a dramatized school shooting. You might want to skip the next three paragraphs, too. In fact, those of us who do watch it may decide to have a nice big glass of bourbon and lie down on this nice kitchen floor for an hour or two or all day.
No, nobody else knew what Sean Duffy was talking about either.
The House held hearings yesterday on the student loan crisis that will likely result in a generation dying in debt. You could tell Congress doesn't take the issue that seriously because they let some random MTV reality star participate. We don't mean comedian Hasan Minhaj, who once appeared on MTV's "Disaster Date." His testimony was actually informative. No, "Real World: Boston" alum Sean Duffy, who is still somehow a congressman despite promising us all he was quitting, shared some meritocracy-based nonsense that was stunningly ignorant of reality and current events.
DUFFY: Would you agree that the smarter the kid, the better school they get into? Maybe the less smart the child, the not-so-great school they get into.
An unfrozen caveman congressman could assemble a better sentence. We have no idea what this has to do with the $1.5 trillion in debt that's breaking the backs of students who were reckless enough to get hooked on "education." Our girl Ayanna Pressley literally said, "WOW!" with an eye roll set to kill. She looked at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as if to say, "You believe this asshole?"
Panelists Ashley Harrington and Persis Yu politely pointed out that everything Duffy just said was bullshit. Harrington is Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. Yu is an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and the director of its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. They're only subject matter experts, which is why Duffy dropped a firm "here's the deal" on the ladies. That's what men say when they want their uninformed opinion to trump girly facts and data.
Also there's some inspiring stuff about empowerment, and we just missed the point didn't we?
Michelle Obama took to the Instagrams Thursday to mark the first week of school and something called the "International Day of Charity" that we wouldn't have heard about otherwise. Posting a photo of herself as a little girl, Obama called for greater educational opportunities -- like any at all, in some cases -- for the "more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world" who aren't attending school. Gee, she was promoting the interests of people who need help? Didn't she have any weather forecasts to yell about? There go the Obamas again, making everything about themselves.
Noting that it's easy for Americans to "take our education for granted," the most admired woman in the world said it sure would be nice if girls around the world were so lucky:
Yay for public outcry fixing shit that shouldn't have been broken to start with.
Here's the good-news update to that awful story of Trumplandia in Action! Ismail Ajjawi, the 17-year-old Palestinian refugee kid who was deported from the US in late August after a customs inspector at Logan Airport didn't like things written by Ajjawi's Facebook friends, finally made it back to the USA in time to start classes at Harvard on Tuesday.
The group that sponsored Ajjawi, Amideast,
said in a statement that the United States Embassy in Beirut reviewed Mr. Ajjawi's case and reissued a visa. Harvard officials confirmed that Mr. Ajjawi was on campus.
Ajjawi's attorney, Albert Mokhiber, thanked Harvard and Amideast for all their efforts to get the kid on campus in time for the beginning of classes.
"The anxiety was beyond belief for everybody," Mr. Mokhiber said. "Thank God it all worked out."
Mr. Ajjawi made it to Harvard on Monday in time to appear in his class photo, Mr. Mokhiber said, adding that Mr. Ajjawi was taken aside by Lawrence Bacow, the president of the university.
"I told his dad, the hard part begins today, he's at Harvard, and we had a little chuckle over that," Mr. Mokhiber said.
Hooray for a brief victory for sane people!
Did we mention this was during a lockdown drill? It was during a lockdown drill.
A math teacher at Lakeland Senior High School in Florida is on administrative leave after he explained to his class how he could rack up a "1,000 person body count" if he were ever to decide to do a school shooting, because he's a guy who thinks through all the details. Why, yes, he did outline his excellent ideas while the school was holding a lockdown drill on August 16. You have to pass the time somehow.
The teacher, former Marine Keith Cook, told police his comments about being "the best school shooter" were only a "joke," so we don't see why this is even news. Why is everyone so serious all the time?
These off-year elections are brutal!
There's weird shit going down in the Bluegrass State, with a bare knuckles brawl this weekend at the annual Fancy Farm picnic hosted by St. Jerome Catholic Church. Hilarious stand-up comic Mitch McConnell was there, referring to his potential Democratic challenger as "Amy McGaffe," which might have made a bigger splash if he weren't getting drowned out by his own constituents calling him Moscow Mitch.
After that, McConnell fell down and fractured his shoulder at the same time the Rand Paul was having surgery to remove part of his lung damaged when his neighbor attacked him in 2018 for being an asshole who dumped all his yard waste on the property line. And if you don't have something nice to say, you should shut it, so .... we got nothin'.
Republicans in the Idaho legislature have been mad about diversity lately, after the interim president of Boise State University said in a June newsletter that diversity and inclusion were good things, and outlined a few things the university was doing to promote a diverse student body and faculty. A rightwing group, the Idaho Freedom Foundation, angrily denounced the newsletter as a shocking attempt to "pander to leftist ideologues with radical views of 'inclusivity.'"
That was followed by a letter written by state Rep. Barbara Ehardt informing BSU's incoming president Marlene Trompf that the newsletter was "disconcerting" because it didn't "reflect Idaho values." Twenty-seven other Republican House members signed on to Ehardt's letter, which listed a whole bunch of diversity things that are definitely not good for Idaho, because as anyone knows, diversity is actually very divisive and racist!
This drive to create a diversified and inclusive culture becomes divisive and exclusionary because it separates and segregates students.
Ehardt thinks all sort of things are "segregation," and "antithetical to the Idaho way," among them,
• Support for multicultural student events including Pow Wow, Rainbow Graduation, Black Graduation, Project Dream, etc. instead of helping all students;
• Six graduate fellowships for "underrepresented minority students" instead of merit-based awards;
• A gender-based violence community-coordinated response team, instead of letting the police handle the matter;
Hook 'em, Danno.
As a boost to middle- and lower-income families with college-aged kids, and to a lesser degree as a gift to Wonkette readers desperate for a break from the awful news this week, the University of Texas at Austin will begin offering free tuition and fees to all students with family incomes under $65,000 a year. This isn't a mere "proposal," folks, it's a done deal.
Fucking judges making DeVos give SOME defrauded students their money back!
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a big fan of the for-profit college industry, which she has worked tirelessly to protect and whose former executives she's hired, to "help" students. She's been particularly reluctant to approve student loan relief for students defrauded by for-profit schools that went belly-up, and tried to eliminate an Obama administration program to forgive those loans. That didn't go so well, and federal courts keep ruling that her agency actually has to provide debt relief to the students. Yes, even if she doesn't want taxpayers to be "burdened" by helping victims of fraud.
Yesterday, we got a very special glimpse into just what a completely spiteful asshole DeVos is. In a court filing, the Department of Education submitted a copy of a May 4, 2017, document in which DeVos grudgingly signed off on debt relief for some 16,000 students whose applications had already been approved under Obama's Department of Ed, but which hadn't yet been processed by the time Donald Trump took office. Politico education reporter Michael Stratford found this charming detail: To show her disgust at the fraud victims getting help, DeVos signed off on the loan discharges, but added "with extreme displeasure" under her signature.
It was 1966. They took anybody with a pulse and a rich dad. Pulse not absolutely necessary.
Donald Trump is a self-made maybe-billionaire who got rich all on his own, as long as you don't count the hundreds of millions of dollars his father gave him. And yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Trump also had more than a little help getting into the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Oh golly, there goes yet another of Trump's cherished myths about his own greatness -- not that Trump is capable of shame, of course. You know what that means: It must be time to demand Obama's college grades again!
Since when are educators supposed to be all worried about 'facts'?
A Florida high school principal is in hot water for repeatedly telling a parent last year that while his school offers plenty of lessons about the Holocaust, his professional obligation to be "politically neutral" meant he wasn't allowed to come right out and say the Holocaust was an actual historical event, because not everyone believes it was real. Certainly wouldn't want to take a side on basic reality if some people reject it, after all. The principal has since apologized, but the parent is still plenty pissed off for some reason. Seems a pretty silly discussion when all the evidence suggests we've been literally living inside a computer simulation since sometime in 2016.
BUSING. More and more people are talking about it these days.
At the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Donald Trump reminded Americans yet again that their country has been rescued from the tyranny of well-informed elites. During a Saturday presser, the Great Man, who is like, really smart, proved once again he truly is a regular guy. In fact, if he's reelected in 2020, everyone will probably look back at this article you are reading right now and say, That's why! We snotty elitists just can't stop ourselves.
First, Trump muffed a question about Vladimir Putin's suggestion in an interview published during the summit, that Western liberal democracy is "obsolete" and has "outlived its purpose." Except Trump didn't seem to know that term refers to political philosophy, the rights of the individual, and all that nonsense. Instead, he knows "Western" means the west coast of the USA, and "liberalism" is what Nancy Pelosi does, and it's very bad. So when Peter Baker of the New York Times asked about Putin's assertion that "Western-style liberalism is obsolete," Trump was ready to join Putin in condemning those awful liberals in California:
Well, I mean he may feel that way. He's sees what's going on, I guess, if you look at what's happening in Los Angeles, where it's so sad to look, and what's happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities, which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people. I don't know what they're thinking, but he does see things that are happening in the United States that would probably preclude him from saying how wonderful it is [...]
Peter, I don't know what they're thinking. But when you look at Los Angeles, when you look at San Francisco, when you look at some of the other cities — and not a lot, not a lot — but you don't want it to spread. And at a certain point, I think the federal government maybe has to get involved. We can't let that continue to happen to our cities.
We don't know what the "federal government" might need to do to LA and SF, but at least we're getting the camps ready.
Job training? Sure, to be a COP!
Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a bill Wednesday that would give people money -- directly! -- for job training. As is mandatory, it includes a clever acronym: the "21st Century Skills are Key to Individuals' Life-Long Success (SKILLS) Act." The proposal would provide individual accounts up to $8,000, which could be used for education or training programs as well as for transportation or childcare to allow people to attend such training. Harris's office says as many as 78 million Americans could be helped by the plan. Just as long as none of them sign up for "Trump University."
Just another racist lady being discriminated against for being racist! Or, you know, NOT THAT.
A Texas high school teacher has been shitcanned for a series of tweets in which she implored Donald Trump to please come rid Fort Worth and its school system of "Illegals." The longtime teacher, Georgia Clark, complained on Twitter, "Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District is loaded with illegal students from Mexico," and asked for help, please: "Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated."
Instead, in a school board meeting Tuesday evening, Clark was removed from her job, with cause, because darned if the board members wanted a great big racist teaching kids in a city where a third of the population is Hispanic.
NOT TODAY, SATAN!
On the one hand, things really are getting better. The Post is getting rightly dragged for breathlessly reporting that Senator Elizabeth Warren got paid in actual American currency for practicing law. The blatant sexism in the coverage has overtaken the nothingburger story itself. And Andrew Kaczynski's ratio is a thing of beauty.
On the other hand, WHAT IS THIS SHIT?
How will Fox News get more viewers if people are 'educated' and stuff? TELL PETE HEGSETH THAT ONE!
Do you know which one the "Pete Hegseth" character is on Fox News? He is the greasy-looking one who doesn't wash his hands, because he can't see germs, therefore they don't exist. He was also reportedly at one point in the running to head the VA, because Donald Trump picks the best people. Also, he thinks veterans are BIG moochers. He is just, like, super-classy and also super-smart.
Naturally, therefore, Hegseth has penned a poorly written and edited op-ed to all the new college graduates of America, begging them to forget their whole education and just be Fox News dipshits like Pete Hegseth. It's accompanied by a faux "Fox & Friends" commencement address video, because that's sure to get the Youngs a-clicking. But we won't bother with that. Let's just look at some words old Poop Hands wrote.
Uh huh yep you betcha:
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