Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guns and Grizzly Bears and Jesus, Oh My!

Bear, looking into a Connecticut school classroom


Have ya'll been watching the shitshow on C-Span? Who knew we'd be living in these times, a kind of Monty Python meets Dante with an overlay of Caligula? For you readers outside of the Disunited States of America, congressional hearings of Drumpf's cabinet appointees are underway. So far we've heard all kinds of interesting stuff from the Band of Billionaires that Drumpf has elected to run his government. Yesterday, I heard Betsy Ross DeVos (not her real name, but I can't help it), Education Secretary-Elect, talk about the issue of guns in schools as best left to the states, her example being the great state of Wyoming where its population of three hundred children in public school warrants guns to defend from grizzly bears. The question about guns was asked by Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, a state where an entire class of first graders was gunned down by a white disaffected young man whose mother was a legal gun enthusiast.


Speaking of, while it wasn't brought up at the hearing, Betsy Ross DeVos (not her real name but I can't help it) is also on the record as saying that schools need more Jesus. She and her ilk are on a mission, apparently, with their "school choice" and "voucher" programs. Evidently, these programs are part of a larger plan to bring greater Kingdom gain. I know that the buzzwords of school choice and vouchers simplify a complex problem that good minds have been working on for as long as our planet has been spinning round the sun (or perhaps only for the last 6,000 to 10,000 years that the earth has been around, according to creationists whom Betsy Ross DeVos has embraced), but forgive me if I don't trust in Jesus guiding billionaires to fix public education, especially Betsy Ross DeVos who appears to know very little about public education or even about what it means to need a public education.

Reader, do you know what IDEA is? No worries if you don't, because your proposed Education Secretary, Betsy Ross DeVos (not her real name but I can't help it) doesn't either. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. When questioned by Senator Tim Kaine about IDEA, she was either woefully uninformed or screwing around with us. Given the rictus on her face, I'm thinking both.

Between her ignorance or dismissal of education and disability law and Attorney General Elect Jim Sessions' statements about children with disabilities being the bane of the public school system -- well -- JESUS CHRIST! -- maybe those are words that she does know and understand?


I'd like Betsy Ross DeVos (not her real name but I can't help it) to know that the public school system, however flawed, afforded my daughter Sophie nearly two decades of inclusion in our community, stimulation, both academic and social, and an alternative to sitting at home or in a nursing institution, wasting away, like many people with disabilities did, even in my lifetime.

I'd like the woman to know that the only reason Sophie's education was ensured was federal law, and that, even so, individuals and school districts will break the law or work around the law which makes me believe that without the law, we cannot be assured that our children will be guaranteed a public education despite their disabilities. I do not believe that Jesus ensured my daughter's public education.

I'd like Betsy Ross DeVos (not her real name but I can't help it) to see this picture of Sophie that I took yesterday. It was her first day back at her public high school in over five weeks. She was so happy to be back. Honestly. She had a GREAT DAY.

So what can we do about this, outside of downing shots of frozen vodka and watching reruns of Monty Python skits or praying to Jesus to step in?

We can resist.

Here's a way:

Many Senators have already expressed doubts about DeVos’ fitness to run the education department. Let’s drive those doubts home. EVEN IF YOU'VE ALREADY CALLED ABOUT DEVOS, CALL AGAIN 
DC callers will be directed to Lamar Alexander, chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Here are the numbers of all the HELP committee members -- a fairly star-studded group as senators go -- that you can also call. If you see one of your senator's names on this list, weigh in!
HELP Committee
Chair Lamar Alexander (R, TN)
202 224 4944
Ranking Member Patty Murray (D,WA)
202 224 2621
Mike Enzi (R, WY)
202 224 3424
Bernie Sanders (I, VT)
202 224-5141
Richard Burr (R, NC)
202 224-3154
Bob Casey (D, PA)
202 224-6324
Johnny Isakson (R, GA)
202 224-3643
Al Franken (D, MN)
202 224-5641
Rand Paul (R, KY)
Michael Bennet D, CO
Susan Collins (R, ME)
(202) 224-2523
Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI)
(202) 224-2921
Bill Cassidy (R, LA)
(202) 224-5824
Tammy Baldwin (D, WI)
(715) 832-8424
Todd Young (R, IN)
(202) 224-5623
Chris Murphy (D, CT)
(202) 224-4041
Orrin Hatch (R, UT)
(202) 224-5251
Elizabeth Warren (D, MA)
Pat Roberts (R, KS)
(202) 224-4774
Tim Kaine (D, VA)
(202) 224-4024
Lisa Murkowski (R, AK)
(202) 224-6665
Maggie Hassan (D, NH)
(202) 224-3324
Tim Scott (R, SC)
(202) 224-6121
**For more Daily Action alerts, text the word "DAILY" to 228466 today!**
And if you would like to contact your Senator without signing up, you can just call (844) 241-1141 to be connected.


  1. Here's another concern to add to the list: "Under questioning, Ms. DeVos said it would be “premature” to say whether she would continue the Obama administration’s policy requiring uniform reporting standards for sexual assaults on college campuses." ( I called. Thanks for the numbers.

  2. my cousin, a lawyer whose sole portfolio is the rights of students with disabilities, woke me up at 6 am this morning apoplectic that devos was even being considered for education secretary. "she has no idea about IDEA!" she railed, and then i came here and found this very clear post on what is at stake. devos is an idiot and an uninformed one at that, and so i have done my calls for today, and i will call some more tomorrow. these are dangerous times.

  3. Thank you for the list. We must all keep protesting, complaining, and generally raising hell and doing everything humanly possible to resist this nightmare administration.

  4. Well, you know, if schools had more Jesus, maybe the grizzlies would leave them alone. Maybe she can spend some of the trillions of dollars she'll be managing over at the Department of Ed to commission a study on which schools have the most problems with wildlife and students with disabilities so that she can see if there's a correlation.

    So fucking sad. I loved watching Elizabeth Warren skewer her, but in the next second I was sad that it might not make a damn bit of difference. I have called, though, and will continue doing so. This is our fight.

  5. Your words made me alternately laugh, frown, giggle, gag. Thank you for the list. Good for Sophie. I am so glad she is feeling better.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you.

  7. She seems like one of the worst of the batch, doesn't she?

    I worry about what is going to happen to the disabled, both because of what i hear about with the education system and what I've seen regarding health care. I live in a state with more uninsured people than, well, any NATION with running water, and I've seen what can happen.

    It's tough enough if someone is fortunate enough to have a supportive family. For people without that, it's almost impossible. Middle aged single people without a support network? Someone who can't get disability benefits/ Medicaid because, insanely, their condition might be a bit controllable and therefore not diabling if they had medical care?

    "Entitlement reform" could be bad, bad news for an already poor situaiton.

  8. She's an ideologue, and like most of Trump's people has been put in charge of a department to which she is inherently hostile. I just can't imagine how this is going to play out. I keep wondering if Trump voters will at some point say "HOLY SHIT, WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!" Or will they be fed enough fake news and Fox News to keep them pacified for the next four years, despite all the evil transformation that is about to take place?

    1. Republicans get abortions and have their kids on Medicaid too. They'll see.

  9. From "Caligula" to "I do not believe that Jesus ensured my daughter's public education" I know why I love you so much. ...THIS WORLD!!!

  10. I called when I could actually talk to these people. It's a done deal unless Devos decides not worth the harrassment. The Dept of Ed will likely be dismantled anyways. Thanks to Harry Reid who put in this nucelar option that my state senator, also a Dem warned could backfire, the cabinet will likely go right on through the neutered Democrats. Simply majority all that is needed. The huge danger now is that there is movement happening to make the Supreme Court process also be as simple and that is where the fight needs to be focused. This is a done deal. Yesterday's news. Unlikely any stop to cabinet nominees

  11. I have deliberately avoided watching anything about Trump and his weirdness, because it's not my country. But I looked up the video of her hearing and wow. Rictus is right and weirdness and avoidance and dancing around the truth. You guys are fucked. I hope things get better.



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