Monday Reads: Happy National Napping Day!

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

Now this is a national day of observance that I can go all in on! I’m thrilled BB let me know about the reason for the season having taken two days of morning naps in a row!

National Napping Day is observed annually the day following the return of daylight saving time. National Napping Day provides everyone with the opportunity to have a nap and catch up on the hour of sleep they lost due to the spring forward time change.

So, now that we’ve established a visual and emotional happy place, let’s move into the utter display of corruption and incompetence presented by Education Secretary “I’m mostly misunderstood” DeVos. Can any one be more clueless about a job than this woman other than KKKremlin Caligula himself? Leslie Stahl managed to ask her basic questions that left the Secretary flummoxed and stumbling on 60 Minutes.

The reason Betsy DeVos wanted to be secretary of education was so she could promote school choice, offering parents options other than traditional public schools – where 90 percent of kids go. She has proposed massive cuts in public education funding and wants to shift billions to alternative players like private, parochial and charter schools.

Betsy DeVos: We have invested billions and billions and billions of dollars from the federal level And we have seen zero results.

Lesley Stahl: But that really isn’t true. Test scores have gone up over the last 25 years. So why do you keep saying nothing’s been accomplished?

Betsy DeVos: Well actually, test scores vis-à-vis the rest of the world have not gone up. And we have continued to be middle of the pack at best. That’s just not acceptable.

Lesley Stahl: No it’s not acceptable. But it’s better than it was. That’s the point. You don’t acknowledge that things have gotten better. You won’t acknowledge that, over the–

Betsy DeVos: But I don’t think they have for too many kids. We’ve stagnated

Lesley Stahl: Okay, so there’s the big argument. So what can be done about that?

Betsy DeVos: What can be done about that is empowering parents to make the choices for their kids. Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children. Families that don’t have the power, that can’t decide: “I’m gonna move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb where I think the school is gonna be better for my child” if they don’t have that choice – and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.

Like most right wing extremist theocrats, DeVos isn’t interested in the truth about a train wreck in Michigan she helped create. Choice is a code word for publicly funded Christian Madrassas that are segregated by social class and race.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, former chair of Michigan’s Republican Party, appeared taken aback when asked during a 60 Minutes interview Sunday whether her home state’s school’s have become better under policies she pushed.

As chair of the American Federation for Children in Michigan, DeVos worked to expand chartered private schools in the state. Most of the reading and math scores among students at charter schools in Michigan are below average and overall academic progress lags behind other states.

“Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?” 60 Minutes journalist Lesley Stahl asked DeVos in the interview, pointing out that public schools also haven’t flourished under policies she championed.

“I don’t know. Overall—I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better,” DeVos replied.

Along with her husband Dick DeVos, a billionaire heir to the Amway fortune, DeVos has backed state bills in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Florida for voucher programs where students can get public funding to subsidize the cost of attending a private or religious school. She proposes expansion of that system and has pushed for it in Michigan for decades.

“Your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better, is not working in Michigan where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here,” Stahl said.

“I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them,” DeVos replied. She said she had “not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming” to find out what is going wrong.

DeVos will be heading up the Task Force on School Safety. Wonder if that means Blackwater units in every school? And what about those Grizzlies?

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a commission tasked with broadly examining ways to protect schools from gun violence, the White House said Sunday.

Administration officials also said the White House would support arming school personnel who volunteer for the job, offering federal funds to provide “rigorous firearms training” to qualified employees.

The proposal has angered education groups, who have said arming educators could put both adults and students at risk. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García last month said, “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.”

But DeVos, who has met with students, teachers and families in the wake of the deadly Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., said little progress had been made protecting students over the past several years. “No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again,” she said.

While not immediately committing to any ideas or timetables, DeVos said, “No stone will be left unturned” in the effort to uncover and highlight evidence-based approaches proven to reduce violence.

“We’ve had to talk about this topic way too much over the years,” DeVos told reporters during a conference call Sunday. “And there’s been a lot of talk in the past but very little action.”

Still not convinced she’s like one of the worst people in the world. Take her student loan storm trooper attitude and link it to this headline: ‘Education Department awards debt collection contract to company once tied to DeVos’.

A company that once had financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of two firms selected Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education to help the agency collect overdue student loans. The deal could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The decision to award contracts to Windham Professionals and Performant Financial Corp. – the company in which DeVos invested before becoming secretary – arrives a month after a federal judge ordered the department to complete its selection of a loan collector to put an end to a messy court battle. Windham and Performant beat out nearly 40 other bidders for contracts valued at up to $400 million, but their win may be short-lived if the losing companies fight the decision.

The selection of only two [companies] opens the door to protests from the unsuccessful bidders,” wrote Michael Tarkan, senior research analyst at Compass Point, in a research note on Performant. “Based on prior contract awards, we would not be surprised to see protests, lawsuits and appeals which could all delay the start date for the new contract.”

Historically, the department has used as many as 17 companies to recoup past-due student loans. Earlier attempts to whittle down the number of firmshave been met with resistance. Companies that lost out on a 2016 debt collection contract have been embroiled in a lawsuit that has prevented the federal government from assigning new accounts.

But, hey, she’s “conservative” so Twink DeVos should be all about state’s right! Am I right? Uhmmmmm, nope!

The Education Department issued guidance Friday informing state regulators to back off the companies managing its $1.3 trillion portfolio of student loans, arguing that only the federal government has the authority to oversee its contractors.

“State regulation of the servicing of direct loans impedes uniquely federal interests,” the department wrote. “State regulation of the servicing of the Federal Family Education Loan Program is preempted to the extent that it undermines uniform administration of the program.”

The notice arrives as states have stepped in to fill what many see as a void in the federal oversight of student loan servicers, the companies the Education Department pays nearly $1 billion to handle debt payments. The move has created consternation within the industry, which has lobbied Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Congress to prevent states from imposing additional rules and regulations. Now the department is taking action, but some legal experts say the declaration is a hollow gesture.

“Nowhere in this document does the Department of Education quote a statute from Congress that says the department is authorized to block states from stopping deceptive debt collection practices. That’s because such a law does not exist,” said Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah and former enforcement attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Many states are likely to view this document as legally dubious . . . and will wait for courts to weigh in with their own interpretation.”

California, Connecticut and the District of Columbia require servicers to obtain a license to operate within their borders as a way to bring the companies under their regulatory purview. Their local agencies have the authority to monitor loan servicers’ compliance with federal laws, investigate their behavior and refer cases to the attorney general.

And from that radical rag Forbes Magazine“4 Ways Betsy DeVos Plans To Make It Harder For Ripped-Off Students To Get Loan Forgiveness.” Trump University any one?

With thousands of “borrower defense to repayment” applications pending, Betsy DeVos wants to impose a higher burden of proof for defrauded students seeking student loan forgiveness.

Borrower defense offers federal student loan forgiveness for students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges, including the now-closed Corinthian Colleges.

If this revision from the Department of Education goes through, students will face bigger hurdles along the path to borrower defense student loan forgiveness.

Although it’s unclear whether the proposal would affect existing applications, it would at least introduce four major challenges for future applicants.

Other headlines guaranteed to drive you back under the covers via Memeorandum:

John Bacon from USA Today: Death penalty for drug dealers? Count Trump in

Anita Kumar from McClatchy DC: Ivanka Trump never cut ties with the Trump Organization. That’s turned into a problem.

NBC News: Qataris opted not to give info on Kushner, secret meetings to Mueller

Jake Pearson from Associated Press: Trump Jr., donor have longtime undisclosed ties

Annie Gowen from The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton says ‘follow the money’ in the Trump-Putin relationship

And now, you can close your eyes and repeat after me: Let’s make America and America again!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


46 Comments on “Monday Reads: Happy National Napping Day!”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Happy Napping!!!

  2. dakinikat says:

    U.S. Health Care Ranked Worst in the Developed World

    Although the U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, the nation ranks lowest in terms of “efficiency, equity and outcomes,” according to the report. One of the most piercing revelations is that the high rate of expenditure for insurance is not commensurate to the satisfaction of patients or quality of service. High out-of-pocket costs and gaps in coverage “undermine efforts in the U.S. to improve care coordination,” the report summarized.

    A striking take-home from the report was a need for equity throughout the nation. “Disparities in access to services signal the need to expand insurance to cover the uninsured and to ensure that all Americans have an accessible medical home,” it said. A lack of universal health care was noted as the key difference between the U.S. and the other industrial nations.

    Despite these shortcomings, positives noted include the breadth of reforms spearheaded by the Affordable Care Act, including new databases for transparent information and financial assistance for low-middle-income families in gaining coverage. “Those efforts will likely help clinicians deliver more effective and efficient care,” the report concludes.

    • NW Luna says:

      Surprises no one who’s been paying attention.

      • dakinikat says:

        Haven’t US life expectancies gone down since the rethugs started changing the funding subsidies for providers?

        • NW Luna says:

          I think statistically significant change in life expectancy will take a few years to show. People are being denied coverage for medications — even chemotherapy — more than ever lately, and more people have been skipping doses of their meds due to cost.

          Life expectancies in the US have been lower than other comparable countries for many decades.

        • quixote says:

          If I remember right, yes, they’ve gone down, but that’s not directly because of medical care. As Luna says, that’ll take a few more years (not many) to become unequivocally evident in the data. The immediate cause of the decline in the number of people dying of various opiates.

          Kind of mindboggling (to me, who does not live in a bleak part of rural US) that so many are dying there it’s showing up in nationwide trends.

          • dakinikat says:

            My daughter won’t let me move more than 20 minutes from a big hospital. She says people in rural areas will be dying of things like heart attacks because they won’t be able to get emergency help fast enough. She worked in a rural hospital for awhile and she says it’s a bleak situation.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I hope the attacks on the ACA eventually backfire on the GOP and with press like this the eventuality of single payer comes a little closer every day.

      • NW Luna says:

        They tout “economy of scale” when it comes to businesses. Funny how they don’t think that should apply to national health care.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Russia is the country that Trump will never criticize.

    On the front page of the WaPo now:

    British Parliament discusses possible Russian involvement in nerve-agent attack on spy, his daughter

    Prime Minister Theresa May has requested a response from the Kremlin by Tuesday after saying the attack involved a military-grade poison.

    • NW Luna says:

      Theresa May addresses Parliament:

      ‘Highly likely’ Moscow ordered attack on former Russian spy in UK – Politics live

      It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.

      This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’.

      Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down; our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so; Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations; the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

      Mr Speaker, there are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on the 4 March.

      Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country.

      Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.

    • Enheduanna says:

      And there’ll be *crickets* from the White House. The UK should revoke his invitation to visit there IMO. As it is he won’t be able to show his face in public, will he?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I slept until 11AM the past two days. I’m still sleepy. Thanks for the baby animals sleeping pics!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    We have a blizzard watch in effect from tonight at 11PM till late tomorrow, expecting 12-17 inches of snow.

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    I think this is my favorite response to the DeVos interview:

    Lieu mocks DeVos: She wasn't asked the 'airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow' | TheHill

    • Enheduanna says:

      Trying to teach kids in trailers with no A/C is shameful in a country this rich.

    • NW Luna says:

      Unsafe buildings also affect the health of children and teachers. Not to mention that teachers have to pay for some school supplies out of their own pockets. That is something you’d expect from a 3rd-world banana republic, not the U.S. Oh. Wait.

  8. bostonboomer says:

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. dakinikat says:

    I read this article earlier on Forbes and they took it down. SO, read it share it!!!!

    The article removed from Forbes, “Why White Evangelicalism Is So Cruel”

  11. bostonboomer says:

  12. dakinikat says:


    The public displays of acrimony between California lawmakers and President Donald Trump’s administration continued on Sunday, with Representative Jared Huffman labeling Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as “rich, white, and dumber than a bag of hammers.”

    Huffman, a Democrat who hails from Northern California, tweeted the insult from his personal account and directed it at Trump.

  13. Sweet Sue says:

    Betsy DeVos (sounds like DeVille) made a complete fool of herself but how can that be? Trump hires only the best people!!

  14. RonStill4Hills says:

    Never liked Tillerson or the idea of the Exxon CEO running State. Still I fear that whatever Agent Circus Peanut does next will be worse.

    • quixote says:

      Yesterday, Tillerson was the only (?) Cabinet-level voice saying, yup, sure looks like the poisoning was Russian work. Today: gone.

      I realize there have been months of increasing tension, but still. Minutes after comment off the Putin script. Interesting.

      Replacement is going to be Mike Pompeo. Kind of like replacing a bad case of flu with emphysema.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Today’s post is up!

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