Tag Archives: Betsy DeVos

Two stories show the real danger of Trump being in charge: The people he appoints are dangerous. One last Aaron Judge highlight as Yanks go quiet for winter. And a wild NFL Sunday features my Jets blowing a big lead

There is so much badness coming at you, every day, from Donald Trump. So many idiotic, hurtful comments, so many stupid Tweets, so much bad, so much arrogance, that it’s so easy to just get swallowed up by it, and not realize that what this egomaniac asshole says and does isn’t the real danger of his Presidency.

No, as I’ve been saying to people ever since he got elected, and I’m sure I’ve said it on here a few times too, is that Trump actually being in the Oval Office, while repulsive and a permanent stain on our country, isn’t the worst thing about him beating Hillary Clinton last November.

No, the worst and most pernicious result of Trump’s election is all of the horrible, unqualified and purely corrupt-minded people who he’s put in charge of very important departments of government. I’m talking about letting Rick Perry run the Dept. of Energy, Scott Pruitt at the EPA, and so, so many others.

Trump’s not actually going to blow up the world, and I truly believe he’s going to be an afterthought of American history one day. But the people who are doing things on behalf of his government… ramifications will be felt for decades.

Two stories over the weekend really pissed me off and brought this feeling back to me again, and amazingly, none of them involve stolen Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch.

First, Betsy DeVos, who is trying to do to public education what what a 1-year-old does to a diaper, after previously arguing that accused campus rapists aren’t getting enough support and love, now decided to rescind 72 guidelines outlining the rights of disabled students in public schools.

And then there’s this story from the New York Times Sunday, about a former executive at the American Chemistry Council named Nancy  Beck (that’s a trade lobbying group) who, and isn’t this a coincidence, now heads a key department at the EPA and is trying to stop the EPA from tracking the harm done from a truly horrendous chemical called PFOA.

Hey, just because it’s been linked to cancer and birth defects doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let major corporations still use it and put it in products!

This stuff burns me up. Burns. Me. Up. So many f’ing corrupt, morally-compromised people (and aren’t those the only kind who would work for Trump?) damaging our world, now and in the future (I haven’t even mentioned what’s going on with climate change.)

This is why I’m still pissed about the election. It’s not Trump himself, it’s all the awful-ness going on while we’re paying attention to his latest idiotic controversy.


**Next up today, Saturday night was a sad one for us Yankees fans, as their bats were feeble again (what, they can’t get hits in Texas?) and the Houston Astros moved on to the World Series with a thrilling Game 7 win.

But it was an amazing season for the Bombers, mainly because of a 6-foot-7 mega-human named Aaron James Judge. Even non-baseball fans like my wife are amazed at what this dude can do, and as a parting gift in the Yanks’ season finale, he made this incredible catch above.

**OK, so looking at this on the glass is half-empty side of the coin: Sure, my New York Jets have blown 14-point leads in both of their last two games, and lost both of them.
But hey, two months ago, me and the rest of the long-suffering diehards never thought they’d be in position to blow leads that big, because we never thought they’d ever be up by 14 points.

Happy to say I spent a delightful Sunday with my wife and sun at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, an absolutely fabulous place we’ve been to 5-6 times already, and missed seeing the Jets implode. But following it online, I did say to my wife when the Jets knocked Dolphins QB Jay Cutler out of the game with injury, “That may be the worst thing the Jets could’ve done.” Because as we all know, Cutler stinks, and his backup, Matt Moore, promptly led the ‘Fins to a comeback win.

Jets QB Josh McCown played great… until a horrible interception in the final minute gave Miami an easy field goal for the win. Ah, Josh McCown, you 38-year-old tease, you.
Ah well. Jets are now 3-4, and squarely in the middle of a mediocre season. Which is more than we expected.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:

— Is HBO’s “Hard Knocks” show a jinx? Man, every year the team they feature seems to have a miserable season. Tampa Bay has gotten off to a terrible 2-4 start after seeming like they’d be a great squad following last year. Maybe next year “Hard Knocks” can just do the Browns and then we won’t be surprised when they stink.

— So much for that Super Bowl rematch Sunday night. The Falcons looked like they still haven’t recovered from the Super Bowl debacle when they blew a 28-3 lead. Patriots beat them every which way on Sunday.

— The hell has gotten into the San Diego (sorry, L.A.) Chargers? Despite having no fans at their games rooting for them, they’ve won 3 in a row and look legit now. Shutting out the Broncos is damn impressive.

— Finally,  why can’t I have been born a Pittsburgh Steelers fan? Every year I think this will be the year they stink and fall off and then every year you look up and they’re 5-2 and in first place. They are truly the model NFL franchise (and don’t seem to cheat like the Patriots do.)

A college kid wins $38,000 on a half-court shot, only idiotic company won’t let him have it. Jon Stewart returns briefly to late night with some words of wisdom. And Betsy DeVos, showing chutzpah beyond belief when talking about HBCU’s


Happy March, everyone! No, I won’t be commenting on the Orange Man’s State of the Union last night, which I happily missed most of, although I heard he lied through his teeth about so much (really Donald, there are 94 million unemployed people in America? Come on, even Barron Trump knows that’s bullshit) and changed his mind on a few things, and even had the freaking chutzpah to scold Democrats and tell them “the time for trivial fights is over.”  This from a guy who spent YEARS alleging Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Anyway, like I said, it’s March, the happiest month of the year for college basketball fans like me. So we start today with a basketball story, though what should’ve been a happy one isn’t really.

A Kentucky resident named Jackson Logsdon competed in one of those goofy halftime contests at a recent University of Louisville women’s basketball game. Logsdon had to hit a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer, and a half-court shot in 30 seconds, and he’d win $38,000.

Well, as you can see here, Logsdon improbably did all that. So whoo-hoo, right? Local boy makes good, and man will that money come in handy with so many college loans to pay?

But nope, Logsdon gets none of it. Because the company that sponsored the contest, Million Dollar Media, had some fine print in the contract that said he wasn’t eligible if he’d played high school ball in the past six years.

Dude was a bench-warmer in high school six years ago! And so Logsdon got screwed.

This is ridiculous. And even though it wasn’t the university that promised Logsdon the money, they really ought to make good here. For one thing, Louisville pays its coaches enormous sums of money, and they happen to employ two major head coaches (Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino) who are either complete scumbags (Petrino) or run dirty programs (Pitino). They get crap, rightfully so, for employing Petrino, and that hookers/basketball players scandal didn’t really look too good either.

So Louisville, do what’s right: Take $38,000 you would’ve spent on a basketball recruit’s prostitute bill, or a private jet flight for a trustee, and give a college kid what he earned. It’s the right thing to do.

**Next up today, any dose of Jon Stewart is beyond welcome these days. While the former “Daily Show” host is gearing up to do stuff for HBO (when is he exactly starting to work for them, anyway? Seems like it’s been awhile), he showed up on Stephen Colbert’s CBS late-night show Tuesday night and sent out a hilarious and true missive to the media.

Watch and enjoy and realize how much Stewart is missed.


**Finally today, I really don’t want to continually bash Betsy DeVos, but she just keeps saying such stupid shit that I can’t help myself.

She screws up things and steps into verbal landmines that a 5-year-old wouldn’t do. Let’s look at what she said this week. DeVos met with some presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) during Black History Month.

It should have been such a simple statement about the meeting. She could have said something like “These Presidents are doing a great job helping minorities and other people of color get a good education, they’re vital to our future as a nation,” yada yada yada.

Instead (face palm), DeVos said this:

“HBCU’s have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCU’s are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater equality.”

Are you freaking kidding me??? In 2017, the leader of the Dept. of Education in the U.S. is celebrating how freaking legal segregation gave black students “options????” Like African-American students in the 1950s were sitting around going “Hmmm, let’s see, should I go to Ole Miss, the University of Georgia, or, I don’t know, Grambling State.”

Saying that African-American students chose the “option” of HBCU’s is like saying black South African’s under apartheid “chose” to go to shitty schools and have no rights.

And then, as if DeVos hadn’t made a big enough pile of crap, she brings school choice, her pet subject, into it and compares HBCU’s to charter schools.

This woman … my God, she’s not qualified to be an after-school day care assistant, much less Secretary of Education.

What an offensive, awful thing for her to say.

Her whole “statement” is below.



A hilarious look at what it’s like to work from home. The pretty amazing Lumber 84 full Super Bowl ad. And two great pieces of recent writing I’ve loved.


Another day where I’m too depressed to blog much about politics. 3 things from Tuesday made me want a blindfold and a cigarette: 1, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, when I wouldn’t hire her to be a secretary at Dunkin’ Donuts; 2, Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues in the Senate wouldn’t let Elizabeth Warren read a letter from Coretta Scott King criticizing soon-to-be- Attorney General Jeff Sessions because, well, because they’re assholes. 3, The first few paragraphs of this story have me packing for Toronto, immediately. I mean, if this were a movie script it’d be laughed out of Hollywood. 

Like millions of Americans, I mostly work from  home.

Sure it’s true that my primary boss these days is 29 months old and told us the other day he’d like to have lunch in his crib (it was 6:45 a.m when he said it). But even before he came along and I was a freelance writer most of the time, working from you live can be quite the rewarding experience. Freedom to wear what you want! Freedom to let potato chip crumbs sit on your sweatshirt for hours at a time! 45-minute “quick work breaks” to watch the third period of that crucially important Rangers-Vancouver Game 7 from 1994 that you’ve only seen 32 times.

But working from home can also be … a little weird. And lonely. And drive you insane.

Fortunately, a hilarious new story in The New Yorker by Colin Nissan explains to the rest of you what working from home is like. Seriously, this is fantastic. An excerpt:

911 OPERATOR: 911—what’s your emergency?
ROBERT: Hi, I . . . uh . . . I work from home.
OPERATOR: O.K., is anyone else there with you, sir?
ROBERT: No, I’m alone.
OPERATOR: And when’s the last time you saw someone else? Was that today?
ROBERT: Uh, my wife . . . this morning, I guess.
OPERATOR: Anyone else?
ROBERT: I don’t think so. Well, the mailman, but that was through the blinds. I don’t know if that counts.
OPERATOR: I’m afraid not. (Pause.) I’m going to ask you to open the blinds, O.K.? Let’s go ahead and let some light in.
ROBERT: How much light??
OPERATOR: Just a little is fine.
ROBERT: O.K. (Pause.) I did it. (Pause.) It’s bright. It feels so bright on my face.
OPERATOR: That’s good. That’s how it’s supposed to feel. (Pause.) I need you to tell me what you’re wearing, O.K.?
ROBERT: You know . . . just regular clothes.
OPERATOR: Outside clothes or inside clothes?
ROBERT: Hold on, I’ll check. (Pause.) Pajamas. I’m wearing my pajamas. I could swear I’d changed into regular . . . I thought these were jeans!
OPERATOR: It’s O.K., sir. Calm down.
ROBERT: Wait, this isn’t even a shirt. It’s just my skin! Goddammit.

**Next up today, in all the insanity of the way the Super Bowl ended, I forgot to mention, as one of the commercials I really liked, the 84 Lumber spot about a mother and daughter’s long journey toward freedom.

Well, as good as the Super Bowl ad was, the full version of the commercial is even better. Check out this awesomeness above.



**Finally today, I’ve been quite derelict in pointing out great writing on the blog lately; it’s not that I’m not reading good stuff anymore, it’s more that I’m just forgetting to blog about it.

But two pieces I’ve read in the past two weeks have been just really exceptional. First, Jeanne Marie Laskas of the New York Times Magazine spent a few months in a place readers never get to see: The room at the White House where every letter sent to the President gets sorted and responded to, and she meets the people who decide which 10 letters per day the President reads (they get sorted by categories and topic; those are some of the categories in the photo above)

This is outstanding reporting and beautiful writing, and by the end, you feel the pain and the joy of these fresh-faced employees completely.

The second piece is a tribute written by a protege to his mentor. When Mike Sielski was a young aspiring sportswriter two decades ago, one of his heroes, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bill Lyon, extended kindness after kindness. Lyon is a legend in sportswriting, someone I looked up to and read for years and used as an inspiration, and I always had heard he was a mensch as well.

Lyon is sadly stricken with Alzheimer’s now, but he was being honored in Philly on Wednesday, which is why Sielski wrote this phenomenal, heartfelt piece about a truly heroic man. Read it and learn how much small gestures can mean.