This isn't nice at all: Sally Atwater, thenot especially articulate candidate for South Carolina schools superintendent, isn't just unclear on what her positions are; turns out that the widow of the great Republican communications master Lee Atwater is also facing a lawsuit alleging that she verbally abused her special education students and shoved a special needs child in one of her classes. This being South Carolina, it's anyone's guess whether the lawsuit will hurt her chances for election -- maybe they want a schools chief who'll git tough on those little troublemaking special needs kids, who may just be faking anyway.

Atwater's campaign website touts her experience as a special education teacher and as a federal education policy advisor for Ronald Reagan and both Bushes, but it doesn't mention any of the classroom management techniques alleged in the lawsuit:

The 13-page civil lawsuit, which was filed on June 18th, claims that between 2013 and 2014, a special needs child identified as “BO” was assigned to Atwater’s classroom, where she routinely subjected him to “malicious and demeaning comments” about his disability, allowed her subordinate to forcefully handle BO and other special needs students, and once told the students that when they grew up, they were going to be “thugs, gang members, or end up in jail” in front of school administrators.

No telling what's going to happen with the suit, which has some really purple prose (PDF link) in it. Yr. Dok Zoom is no lawyer, and wonders if this is just the way that lawsuits get written? For instance, here's the "yelling at students" bit:

On one occasion, October 2013, when the students were coming back from lunch, Defendant Atwater stopped the students in the hallway and yelled at the special needs students, including BO, that the special needs students, including BO were all either going to be thugs, gang member, or end up in jail, evincing a malicious attitude toward BO and other special needs students. This was done in the presence of school administrators, and others.

So drama! Much yelling! And then there's the Pinata Incident:

11. On December 19, 2013, Sally Atwater hung a pinata in her classroom. The pinata was filled with candy. Atwater instructed the students to beat the pinata until the candy came out.

12. Just before the candy came out, Atwater yelled out that the students were not to go after the candy.

13. Atwater knew or should have known that children would be naturally inclined to retrieve the candy when it fell on the floor.

14. Like the other students in the classroom, BO tried to retrieve candy from the floor when the pinata was busted open and the candy came out on the floor.

15. With actual malice and intent to harm, and with a crazed, angry look on her face, Atwater charged at and assaulted and physically shoved BO away from the candy from the pinata, touching him offensively and in an unwanted manner.

16. Upon information and belief, Atwater did this act with actual malice and intent to harm.

17. Defendant Atwater’s actions on December 19, 2013 when she charged at and shoved BO served no legitimate educational purpose and can only be described as malicious and harmful acts directed at BO.

18. Plaintiff BO witnessed and apprehended Atwater’s crazed and angry assault, and was caused to be terrified.

The suit also accuses Atwater and the school district of appointing an inadequately trained personal aide for BO who grabbed his arm and shoved him when he tried to get out of his desk and run to his father, causing "bruising and red marks" to the boy's arm; Atwater is accused of defending the aide's actions in a letter.

So, there's some additional stuff for voters to chew on -- Is Sally Atwater a child-shover who yells at special needs kids, or is she a firm disciplinarian who just wants her charges to have an accurate understanding of what will happen to them if they don't straighten up, stop being so weird and special needy, and get their acts together? Or is this all just a malicious partisan attack by helicopter parents who are trying to go all Willie Horton on a good decent candidate who simply wants the best for South Carolina's children, even if she's not quite able to say what that is?


Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He can't remember whether he's seen Rashomon or not.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Arkansas Republican Senator and evil Pinocchio turned into a real live boy Tom Cotton appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" to discuss the attacks on oil tankers on the Gulf of Oman. And while the world is still trying to confirm IF Iran perpetrated the attacks due to conflicting accounts (the US says it was Iran with mines; the Japanese shipping operator says it was a “flying object"), that hasn't stopped GOP politicians like Cotton from trying to turn this into the justification they've been looking for, for great good glorious WAR.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have long been defined as a hawk on Iran. You see these recent attacks, these are commercial vessels not military installations. What kind of response is warranted?

: Well Iran for 40 years has engaged in this kind of attacks going back to the 1980s. In fact Ronald Reagan had to reflag a lot of vessels going through the Persian Gulf and ultimately take military action against Iran in 1988. These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike.

: Are you- you're comparing the tanker war in the '80s to now and saying that that's the kind of military response you want to see?

COTTON: We can make a military wreck- response in a time and in a manner of our choosing. But yes, unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The goddamn “Tanker Wars"?! Oh ... you mean when, during the Iraq-Iran War, we waited until Kuwait formally asked for our assistance to escort Saddam Hussein's oil? When Reagan, without approval from Congress, reflagged Kuwaiti vessels? When Reagan got us involved in the Iraq-Iran War leading to a daylong naval battle between Iran and the US, known as Operation Praying Mantis? The conflict we jumped into that led to our mistaking an Iran Air commercial jetliner for an Iranian F-14, shooting it down and killing all 290 people onboard, including 66 children? That's what you want to repeat, Tom Cotton?! Also, whatever happened to our ally, Saddam Hussein?

They say that those who don't learn from history repeat it. Tom Cotton is here to prove Republicans never learn. Watch the video below for yourself:

Cotton says "unprovoked attacks to oil profits" from Iran "warrant a retaliatory military strike"

While Tom Cotton was justifying a war with Iran on CBS, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was having a surprisingly harder time on “Fox News Sunday" than he did on CBS when he transparently insinuated what the Trump administration really cares about with Iran ( "Texas Tea").

Pompeo: Trump doesn't war with Iran but will "defend American OIL interests"

Seems Pompeo was upset that his “beating the drums of war" shtick was being interrupted to have to answer about Trump admitting (more like bragging) it was okay to take foreign assistance (and then walking it back when all the killjoys said it was illegal). After playing the ABC News clip, Chris Wallace asked a very pointed yet direct question. Pompeo's answer, however, was far from both:

WALLACE: Is accepting oppo research from a foreign government right or wrong?

POMPEO: Chris, you know you asked me not to call any of your questions today ridiculous ... You came really close right there. (awkward giggle) President Trump has been very clear. He ... he clarified his remarks later. He ... he made it very clear. Even in his first comment. He said "I'd do both." He said he'd call the FBI ...

WALLACE: He said "Maybe I'd do both."

POMPEO: President Trump has been very clear. That he will always make sure that he gets it right for the American people and I'm confident he'll do that here as well.

It was at this moment Pompeo thought he was golden because he's on Fox News and they never follow up! But clearly he forgot Chris Wallace doesn't play like that.

WALLACE: At the risk of getting your ire, the President told "Fox and Friends" on Friday, and I agree, he kind of walked it back...

POMPEO: He didn't walk it back.

: Yes, he did. Because he said "maybe" on Thursday. And then on Friday, on "Fox and Friends," he said "he'd listen first AND then if the information was bad that he would take it to the FBI or the Attorney General." But he also made it clear to George Stephanopolous that he did not see this as "foreign interference." And I want to play a clip of the President's own words ...

Then Wallace played ANOTHER clip of Trump's idiotic words back to Pompeo. Then he asks Pompeo one more time:

WALLACE: He says "it's not interference, it's information." The country, sir, and I don't need to tell you, has a long history dating back to George Washington in saying that foreign interference in our elections is unacceptable. POMPEO: Chris, President Trump believes that too. I have nothing further to add. I came on to talk about foreign policy and I think that's the third time you've asked me about a Washington ... piece of ... silliness. That's just, that's just a story that's inconsistent with what I've seen from President Trump do every single day.

After an awkward pause and visible anger in Pompeo's face (really, do watch), Chris Wallace calls it a day ... but remembers to remind Pompeo he's a thin-skinned baby:

WALLACE: I will leave it there. I think I only asked you twice but that's alright Mr. Secretary. Thank you. Thanks for your time and Happy Father's Day, sir.

Watch the video below for yourself.

And that's all for this week in Trump's collusion and "wag the dog"/Saudi oil interest war chants. So let's end with a couple of pictures of my new puppy, Harley Quinn!

Might as well have one last nice thing before our next war or stolen election. Have a week!

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