Archives for category: Humor

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, asks you to show your support for #AbbottElementary, the delightful weekly show that favorably portrays the real life of teachers, students, and public schools. The show was written, produced by, and stars the amazingly talented @QuintaBrunson.

Carol writes:

ABC’s award-winning sitcom Abbott Elementary is the story of a wonderful group of teachers who stick with a challenging Philadelphia public school because they love teaching and kids. In recent episodes, it has been critical of the effects of charter schools.

It seems hard to believe it, but “Ed Reformers” are attacking its creator, Quinta Brunson, on Twitter.

Please stand up for Abbott Elementary & Ms Brunson by copying and tweeting the Tweets below. The show and its producers need to know you stand for truth-telling and for public schools.

Thank you @AbbottElemABC & @quintabrunson for yr amazing show that dares to tell truth abt how charters hurt public schools. Love the show. Keep up the great work! I love #AbbottElementary

How small @JeanneAllen & @edreform look trying to suppress @AbbottElemABC from criticizing the charter system by lying about @quintabrunson. I love #AbbottElementary

When @AbbottElemABC critiques Pa billionaire trying to undermine public schools w/charters, @edreform goes on the attack. Pathetic to go after a beloved show & its beloved creator/star @quintabrunson. Gotta say it. I love #AbbottElementary.

You can read about the show’s critique of charters here and the Jeanne Allen controversy here including the Tweets in which Brunson pushes back.

Thanks for all you do,Image

Carol Burris

Network for Public Education

Executive Director

I watched the latest episode of the award-winning “Abbott Elementary” show a few days ago and was pleased to see that the show depicted the predatory nature of many urban charters, as well as their super-powerful rich funders.

The teachers at Abbott, a local public school, heard the rumor that the local charter chain wants to take over their school. They are alarmed. They have heard that the teachers are forced to teach scripted lessons. They know that the charter won’t acccept all the neighborhood children. A mother shows up and asks if Abbott will take her son Josh back: he was ejected by the local charter school, Addington, for not having the right stuff. The teachers say, “That means that his test scores were not high enough for the charter.”

The principal, probably the least qualified educator at Abbott, says that turning charter will mean that the school will be renovated and get more resources. What’s wrong with that? She does not realize that if the school goes charter, she will be the first one fired.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wondered if the popular TV show was taking a swipe at Jeffrey Yass, who has donated millions to charter schools. Yass, an investor, is worth $33 billlion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Abbott Elementary, the ABC comedy about a fictional Philadelphia public school, took what sounded like a shot at Pennsylvania’s richest man in last week’s episode while knocking charter school backers.

At least one Jeff Yass fan is not laughing.

» READ MORE: Who is Jeff Yass, Pennsylvania’s billionaire investor and political funder?

In the episode, teachers worry a charter school operator might take over their school.

“They take our funding, not to mention the private money from wealthy donors with ulterior motives,” said Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays teacher Barbara Howard, (and is married to State Sen. Vincent Hughes.)

Yass, a Main Line billionaire investor, has spent millions to support charter schools and political action committees that push for the election of candidates who share his goals.

Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform and director of The Yass Foundation for Education, was not amused when folks on Twitter linked that line to Yass.

She tweeted: “It’s pathetic when fewer than 20% of Philadelphia students can even read, write or spell at grade level that there’s a show on television that has the nerve to criticize the schools that succeed, and the people that help them. This has TEACHERS UNION written all over it.”

Actually, 36% of the city’s students scored proficient or advanced on the state standardized English language arts exam in the latest results available. That’s not great. But its certainly not “fewer than 20%.”

Allen, in an email to Clout, called the line a “gratuitous slap against people with wealth” and complained that this was not the first “hollow, evidence-lacking shot at charter schools.”

She also said she has not watched the episode and does not plan to.

Quinta Brunson created Abbott Elementary, inspired by her mom, a kindergarten teacher, and her experiences in a West Philly public school. An instant sensation, the award-winning show is in its second season, with a third planned.

“Abbott Elementary” is a delightful, lighthearted show about life in a typical urban elementary school. I recommend it. It’s a shame that Jeanne Allen refuses to watch it. Undoubtedly she would hate it because it shows a public school in a positive light, where teachers deal with their personal and professional problems and where students are lively and engaged.

It’s not surprising that she hates it because it undermines her core message that all public schools are failing. The fact that she misrepresented the city’s test scores is also not surprising. The Inquirer felt it necessary to correct her.

The fact is that a 36% proficiency rate is impressive for a city with high poverty rates. As I have said again and again, “proficiency” on the NAEP tests does not mean “grade level” or “average.” It means mastery of the material. It is equivalent to an A.

As for Jeffrey Yass, Jeanne Allen has good reason to jump to his defense. She administers the “Yass Prize” for charter school excellence, which awards millions to successful charter schools. Earlier this year, one of the the Yass Prizes was awarded to a charter school with a 100% college acceptance rate but abysmal test scores. A large number of colleges accept every applicant. Poor vetting by Jeanne Allen’s Center for Education Reform.

This is Wikipedia on Jeff Yass’s political contributions, which are tilted far-right:

Yass became a member of the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute in 2002[12][13] and now is a member of the executive advisory council.[14] In 2015, Yass donated $2.3 million to a Super PAC supporting Rand Paul‘s presidential candidacy.[15] In 2018 he donated $3.8m to the Club for Growth, and $20.7m in 2020.[16]

Yass and his wife, Janine Coslett, are public supporters of school choice, with Coslett writing a 2017 opinion piece for the Washington Examiner in support of then-incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos‘s views at school choice.[17]

In November 2020, it was reported that Yass had donated $25.3 million, all to Republican candidates, and was one of the ten largest political donors in the US.[1]

In March 2021, an investigation in Haaretz said that Jeff Yass and Arthur Dantchik were behind a large portion of the donations to the Kohelet Policy Forum in Israel.[18][19]

In November 2021, he donated $5 million to the School Freedom Fund, a PAC that runs ads for Republican candidates running in the 2022 election cycle nationwide.[20]

In June 2022 Propublica claims Yass has “avoided $1 billion in taxes” and “pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers”.[21]

When will Democrats wake up to the fact that charters and vouchers are the tools of the Destroy Public Educatuon movement?

Allen is right to avoid seeing Abbott Elementary. It is definitely off-message for the charter lobby, which insists that public schools are of necessity “failing schools.”

In an effort to appear more “inclusive,” the Mars corporation that sells M&Ms offered a new package, with green, brown, and purple M&Ms. In the company’s advertising, the green and brown candies are shown as female, while the purple one (a candy-coated peanut) is obese. In the ad, the green and brown candies were sitting close together and holding hands. Innocuous, FOX commentators wondered, or are those two candy lesbians?

Conservatives began attacking the brand after it announced the release of candy packages with only the female characters Green, Brown, and the new Purple.

The limited edition packages show the three female characters upside down with the message “Supporting women flipping the status quo.” The packages would only contain green, brown, and purple M&Ms.

A chyron on Fox News on the show also noted that Green and Brown had once held hands in a 2015 ad and could be lesbians.

Fox host Tucker Carlson – who famously flipped out last year when the Green M&M was redesigned to be less sexy – called the new packaging “woke” and said that the Green M&M “is now a lesbian maybe?”

“And there’s also a plus-sized, obese purple M&M,” he said, referring to the new Purple character who is supposed to be a peanut M&M.Mars announced that it was withdrawing the inclusive campaign and had hired the “beloved Maya Rudolph” to act as its spokesperson.

The retreat from FOX hysteria was red meat for Twitter commenters, who laughed at the candy makers for retreating.

Alexandra Petri is a humorist who writes for the Washington Post. Here she puts tongue in cheek to praise the Missouri Legislature’s bold stance on its female dress code.

She writes:

On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated Missouri House of Representatives decided to spend its one wild and precious legislative life focusing, laser-like, on the issues that matter most to the people of the state: the dress code for female legislators. All I can say is: Thank goodness!

The good people of the state of Missouri had been cowering for months in a state of panic, knowing that unless prompt, legislative action was taken on the very first day of the new session, some Missourian lawgiver might, without any warning, see a woman’s shoulder. I almost do not want to type it! I am sorry that you had to read the word, which may have forced you to picture one in your mind and derailed your legislative business for the month. Sh***der. That is better. I have already done too much harm.

Imagine the shock and horror of seeing a shoulder that belonged to a woman who was using it at the time! The mind reels. The jaw drops to the floor. I can think of nothing less respectful. A shoulder, covered not with a blazer, but with some sort of unstructured wrap — unthinkable! An abomination in the eyes of the law, and of all right-thinking citizens!

The new rule states that “proper attire for women shall be business attire, including jackets worn with dresses, skirts, or slacks, and dress shoes or boots.” Sweaters, formerly permitted, are right out! Cardigans were a subject of debate on the floor — could one possibly be adequate to do the duty of a blazer? After all, this is the Missouri legislature, not a Taylor Swift album! They had to think of the consequences.

I once saw a woman’s shoulder — in fact, two shoulders — not covered by a blazer. She was in a dress, supplemented by a drape of some kind, but that, as the legislators wisely noted in their statute, was not enough. It was a statue, on the top of the United States Capitol; I do not know what sick, disrespectful pervert put it there, but I am still recovering from the ordeal.

I thank the gods that I am not a male legislator (the ones most devastatingly affected by such sights). I read a story that one saw the Venus de Milo by mistake (he heard it was art) and is still in a hospital, groaning in agony.

We all know how many male legislators have suffered this fate, thanks to a previous dress code that did not pause for a moment to consider them as people. Those legions of men glimpsed a wrap, sliding precipitously down a human shoulder in the Missouri Capitol, and have had to give up public life entirely to spend their days screaming and staring at the wall.

Sometimes, at night, I still hear them, howling. Their lives, as they know them, have ended. So many lives, taken completely out of their owners’ hands and made to serve the whims of a legislature that didn’t think it was a big deal to allow shawls and sweaters, that didn’t take into account the impact on people’s lives of their careless words.

The people of Missouri sat there last year in the midst of major flash floods worrying: “Are my legislators going to protect their eyes from sh***ders? They had better focus on that,” they thought, “rather than the infrastructure. I know it is also important to try to make it more difficult to change the state constitution by ballot initiative, since the voice of the people might be heard, and that could be very awkward. But first! First, they must look to swaddling all those hideous, loathsome appendages and hiding them from view! Ugh, ugh!”

You would think that people so horrified by the sight of an innocent shoulder would not want to, voluntarily, delve any deeper into other people’s bodies and enact cruel, dehumanizing restrictions about their medical choices, but — you would be wrong.

Time for humor.

This video should give you a big smile.

Bob Shepherd was looking ahead a few months back and correctly predicted that Trump would run for president again. Little did Bob know that Trump would make his announcement right after the midterm elections, when most of his hand-picked candidates lost.

Bob drafted some campaign slogans for Trump’s race.

Please vote for me. Otherwise, I go to prison.

Why just documents in the toilet? Why not the whole country?

Making America Grate Again

TRUMP 2024: 20 for Obstruction of an Official Proceeding. 24 for Seditious Conspiracy

MAGA: Moscow’s Asset Governing America

The Man with No Plan and the Tan in the Can

Trump, the Relapse

Back to the Future! Way, way, way back!

Trump: For a Whiter House in 2025!

Vote for Trump or He’ll Stamp (or Stomp) His Foot, Hold His Breath, and Throw a Plate of Food

Grab ’em by the Ballot!

Cuckoo Coup Redo

If I Lose Again, Again, It’s Because It Was Rigged, Ha Ha

Because He Doesn’t Give a **** about You

No One Believes Any of This B***S*** I’m Saying, but People Vote for Me Anyway –Donald Trump

Although I said I would not post anything more today, this poem just came “over the transom,” as we used to say (does anyone here remember what a transom is? In the publishing world, it used to mean an unsolicited manuscript.)

Fred Smith worked for many years as an assessment specialist in the New York City Board of Education. In recent years, he has advised opt out parent groups.

Thank you, Fred!

Christmas 2022

From North Pole to South Pole, ’22’s been a mess.

‘Twas enough to leave Santa in a state of distress.

All-day cable kept pounding loud noise in his head;

The news sent him spinning and straight to his bed.

Reindeer were moaning and his disheartened elves

Didn’t want to make more toys to re-stock the shelves.

The world seemed bereft of its natural rhythm.

Would this holy night be without him or with him?


All manner of assaults devastate Mother Earth.

Corporations put profits above human worth:

Ice caps keep melting; fires destroy forest ranges;

Storms pour down floods, while pols deny plague-like changes.

Polarization’s become the norm in our states;

Trash talk flowing freely in degrading debates.

Pro-life activists who are against gun restrictions,

Hold both viewpoints despite the clear contradictions.

Each hour he was hearing about war in Ukraine;

Continuous suffering and far too much pain.

Inflation and hate crimes rising without any end;

School and shopping mall murders tracking a tragic trend.

And supreme godly judges from the loftiest heights

Letting state legislatures limit people’s birthrights.

Another flu cycle and Covid keeps morphing,

As we welcome winter—more folks unmasked and coughing.


So, Santa felt down and couldn’t get going,

Or force being jolly behind hollow Ho Ho-ing?

Oh, how he missed Macy’s when kids had his ear,

Whispering wishes, “I was good the whole year…”

Though he twice-checked all the names on his “Nice” children’s list,

Naughty kids snuck up for presents that had an odd twist.

He recalled some notorious brats on his knee,

Whose desires foreshadowed the grown-ups they’d be:

There was a young girl, her first name was Marjorie,

She demanded pet vipers for her menagerie.

Lindsey drawled for a Jekyll-Hyde, bobble head doll;

“Just a skunk,” Jim Jordan ordered with a snide snarl.

Mitch dreamed of an 8-Ball where all answers were “NO!”

A reply he took with him from those days long ago.

Someone pushed little Herschel to run, run and look

For an “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” pop-up coloring book.

“I need a chameleon,” Elise squealed chubby-faced.

Color-changing lizards perfectly suited her taste.

Joe humbly prayed for stamina and longevity,

Kamala waited her next—all smiles and levity.

While Eric was craving a large looking glass,

De Blas wasted his chance—late and hopeless, alas.

Andrew chose a fairy tale in which bold lying shows

A wooden boy exposed by the size of his nose.

Rudy could not understand the joy and sunshine

Santa brought to the youngsters waiting on line.

He jeered at their belief in this man dressed in red

And scoffed at the notion he flew in a sled.

Yet, when his turn came, Rudy craved a loudspeaker

And a billy club to bully those who were weaker.

Away from the crowd, a lonely boy viewed the scene;

Brooding in the back seat of his dad’s limousine.

He loathed the bell ringers just outside of the store,

Collecting coins from kind donors to help out the poor.

He had cruel disdain for social disparities,

But realized he could steal through self-dealing “charities,”

Like shortchanging workers, and rigging the tax game,

And conning saps into signing fat checks in his name.


Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus could be heard gently nagging,

“Nicholas, get up now, this is no time for dragging.

We’re feeling despair, Dear, the most I can remember,

But that’s no excuse to stay home late in December.”

I wish this Eve’s poem could close with unrestrained cheer,

But don’t know for certain whether he’s coming this year.

For Santa’s, like Tinker Bell’s, light has grown dim.

Perhaps, the pure love of childhood will replenish him.

And his blue eyes will twinkle, and he’ll rev up his sleigh.

My heart says he’ll deliver on this Christmas Day.

Heather Cox Richardson has a very funny post about Trump’s big surprise announcement and the reactions to it. you have to open the link and scroll to the bottom to see her choice selection of tweets. One came from an insurrectionist who said, “And I’m going to jail for this?”

Yesterday, former president Trump took to his Truth Social media platform to announce that he would be making “a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” today. Since he recently threw his hat in the ring for president in 2024, there was a great deal of speculation about what political move this would be.

When it came today, it turned out that his announcement was for digital trading cards with images of him as a superhero…available for $99 apiece. Radio personality John Melendez promptly called them “Broke’mon cards.”

Ron Filipkowski, a former federal prosecutor and Republican who now monitors right-wing extremism, tweeted: “All I can say is that those of us who have lost friends, fought with relatives, resigned positions, been called traitor, left our party, all because we saw very clearly what a con-man, huckster and fraud this man is, have never felt more vindicated.”

The reduction of the former president to a cartoon grifter seems likely to have political repercussions. Right-wing media personality Baked Alaska, who is facing six months in jail after pleading guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing inside a Capitol building for his participation in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, tweeted: “i can’t believe i’m going to jail for an nft salesman,” with a sad face emoji.

You gotta read the rest.

So much for free speech at the new Twitter.

Kathy Griffin, you may recall, is a stand-up comedian who specializes in doing and saying outrageous things. For ten years, she was co-host of CNN’s New Years’ Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper. One of the running jokes was her effort to be seductive, since Anderson is gay.

Early in the Trump era, she posted a picture of herself holding Trump’s photo-shopped head, covered in catsup. She was immediately a pariah. The Secret Service treated her as a threat to the life of the president. She was put on the federal no-fly list. CNN cancelled her New Year’s Eve gig. A documentary was made about the price she paid for mocking the President. (Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story)

She is bad-ass and irrepressible. A day or so ago, she (as well as other people) posted a tweet on Twitter pretending to be Elon Musk. His photo, his name, but clearly tagged with her own name.

Musk, champion of free speech, banned her from Twitter. Not just suspended, but banned, for impersonating him. That created an outpouring of tweets supporting her and #FreeKathy was trending last night.

Kathy returned, however, tweeting on her dead mother’s account. @TpItMaggieG. It is accompanied by a photo of Elon and his name. She wrote:

I’m using my beloved mothers account. PS my IG and Facebook have also been hacked. Please remember. Today it’s me, tomorrow it will be you. Can any high profile onliners please amplify this for me? @ACLU_SoCal @elijahdaniel @BoutrousTed @StormyDaniels @JeniferLewis @sarahkendzio

She also tweeted:

Elon, this is Maggie contacting you from the spirit world tell u…you’re a douchebag. This is not parody. This is the actual ghost of Kathy Griffin’s boxed wine loving mother saying I’m gonna get tipsy & throw my bingo cards at you! NOT A PARODY.
To the moon, a**hole. #FreeKathy

So then the Trumpers chimed in to say, I didn’t hear you libs complain when Twitter banned Trump and Alex Jones.

Need I say that Trump was banned for fomenting a violent insurrection. Jones was banned for lying about the Sandy Hook massacre and has since been ordered by courts to pay his victims overc$1 billion.

Is humor equivalent? Musk boasts about his love of free speech (yet to be seen whether he includes racism, anti-Semitism, etc. in his definition of free speech, but he did fire a large part of the content moderation team).

One line can’t be crossed at Twitter: making a joke about Elon Musk. It’s only a matter of time until Kathy Griffin’s dead mother’s account is banned.

Why does it matter? Twitter has 400 million followers. It’s the biggest megaphone in the world. Controlled by one egotistical man. By the way, he urged his 115 million readers to vote Republican today for the sake of balance, since the president is a Democrat. That guarantees 2 years of gridlock, with no forward movement on any front, including climate change, which Elon says he cares about.

I don’t usually get enthusiastic about fictionalized portrayals of schools because they are typically sensationalized and hostile towards teachers and students. It’s easy to make a long list of such movies or TV programs, starting with “Blackboard Jungle.”

But wait!

Here’s a show you will love: “Abbott Elementary” is set in Philadelphia. The writer of the Emmy-award-winning show, Quinta Brunson, is also the star. She plays a first-year teacher in the first season. She is thrilled to be a teacher and her colleagues are helpful, funny, and the usual mix of personalities—real people. They care about the children. The children—all Black—are adorable. There’s not enough money for supplies, but everyone makes do. The spirit of the show is beautiful.

The show makes you feel like teaching is the very best job in the world. Don’t miss it!