CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tells Fox News’ Laura Ingraham “You Leave” if You Don’t Like Our Country!


Dear Commons Community,

Fox News evening host Laura Ingraham lit up the media last week by her comments on Wednesday about immigrants and that the “America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.   CNN anchor Chris Cuomo called her out over her comments and suggested she “leave” if she does not approve of the country’s changing population.  As reported by Newsweek.

“Cuomo responded to Ingraham’s comments  in which she said “massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people,” and that the “America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”

Cuomo delved into President Donald Trump’s criticism of illegal immigration, and particularly the practice of “chain migration,” which he has disparaged, while also noting first Lady Melania Trump’s parents were granted U.S. citizenship Thursday afternoon thanks to their daughter having previously sponsored them for green cards.

A frequent critic of Trump as well as Fox’s coverage of the president, Cuomo then talked about his family’s own immigration to this country and how immigration had contributed to the U.S.’s development over centuries. He wrapped up by calling out Ingraham.

“Ingraham talks of changes that [she said] none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like, wrong!” Cuomo said while noting a Gallup poll in June that found 84 percent of respondents answered that legal immigration was a “good thing.”

“To turn a phrase back on our us-versus-them friends—if you don’t like what America is, you leave.” Cuomo said. “America does not need to become great again. She will only become greater by being more of what she already is.”

Ingraham responded to her critics on Thursday, noting that she was not speaking about race or ethnicity and had also denounced former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, as a “racist freak.”

“A message to those who are distorting my views, including all white nationalists and especially one racist freak whose name I will not even mention,” she said. “You do not have my support, you don’t represent my views and you are antithetical to the beliefs I hold dear. The purpose of last night’s angle was to point out that the rule of law—meaning secure borders—is something that used to bind our country together.”

Both Ingraham and fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson have been accused of stoking racial tensions when covering legal and illegal immigration.

Throughout 2018, the network reportedly drew 94 percent of its audience from white viewers with no other demographic group accounting for more than 3 percent viewership, according to CNN.”

Go Chris!



DeVos Ends Obama-Era Safeguards Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges!

Dear Commons Community,

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos yesterday ended a regulation that would have forced for-profit colleges to prove that the students they enroll are able to attain decent-paying jobs.  This regulation also known as the “gainful employment rule” was imposed by the Obama administration  as part of a series of policies to safeguard students from unscrupulous for-profit sector education providers.  As reported in the New York Times:

“In a written announcement posted on its website, the Education Department laid out its plans to eliminate the so-called gainful employment rule, which sought to hold for-profit and career college programs accountable for graduating students with poor job prospects and overwhelming debt. The Obama-era rule would have revoked federal funding and access to financial aid for poor-performing schools.

After a 30-day comment period, the rule is expected to be eliminated July 1, 2019. Instead Ms. DeVos would provide students with more data about all of the nation’s higher education institutions — not just career and for-profit college programs — including debt, expected earnings after graduation, completion rates, program cost, accreditation and other measures.

“Students deserve useful and relevant data when making important decisions about their education post-high school,” Ms. DeVos said in a statement. “That’s why instead of targeting schools simply by their tax status, this administration is working to ensure students have transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs. Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve accountability.”

But in rescinding the rule, the department is eradicating the most fearsome accountability measures — the loss of federal aid — for schools that promise to prepare students for specific careers but fail to prepare them for the job market, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay back their taxpayer-backed loans.

The DeVos approach is reversing nearly a decade of efforts to create a tough accountability system for the largely unregulated for-profit sector of higher education. In recent years, large for-profit chains, which offer training for everything from automotive mechanics to cosmetology to cybersecurity, have collapsed under mountains of complaints and lawsuits for employing misleading and deceptive practices.

The implosions of ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges generated tens of thousands of complaints from student borrowers who said they were left with worthless degrees. The Obama administration encouraged the expansion of public community colleges as it forgave at least $450 million in taxpayer-funded student debt for for-profit graduates who could not find decent jobs with the degrees or certificates they had earned.

The regulations passed in the wake of those scandals remade the industry. Since 2010, when the Obama administration began deliberating the rules, more than 2,000 for-profit and career programs — nearly half — have closed, and the industry’s student population has dropped by more than 1.6 million, said Steve Gunderson, the president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the for-profit industry’s trade association.

Even for-profit leaders concede the gainful employment rule has had its intended effect. Mr. Gunderson said that for-profit institutions had to adjust programming to be more affordable and responsive to the job markets.

Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and the ranking member of the Senate committee, said in a statement that Ms. Devos was undermining a “common-sense and effective consumer protection.”

“Her extreme proposal to rescind this rule is further proof that there is no line Secretary DeVos won’t cross to pad the pockets of for-profit colleges — even leaving students and taxpayers to foot the bill,” she said.”

A sad day for higher education and especially students seeking to improve their careers.


CNN’s Jake Tapper Bashes Donald Trump for Calling Out NFL Players for Taking a Knee During the National Anthem While Saying Nothing about the White Supremacist Rally in Washington, D.C.!


Dear Commons Community,

On Thursday, the National Football League’s preseason started and during the playing of the national anthem, a number of players knelt, raised their fists or decided not to come on the field.  On Sunday, white nationalists and bigots  are expected to take to the streets, this time in front of the White House, marking one year since their hate-filled rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one white supremacist killed counter-protester Heather Heyer.  During his CNN show yesterday, Jake Tapper slammed the president for failing to condemn the upcoming white supremacist rally in Washington, D.C., while instead bashing NFL players for taking a knee against racism and police violence during the national anthem.

Tapper accused the president of “giving a presidential megaphone to one side in a controversial cultural issue.” 

He continued: “Rather than condemn the bigots or their beliefs today, the president took aim at a different protest: a small group of NFL players calling attention to racial injustice and inequality during the national anthem.”

The president, seeing a “divided nation,” once again did the “opposite of trying to bring us together,” Tapper said.  

Authorities say that Heyer, 32, was killed when a neo-Nazi deliberately drove his vehicle into her and other counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Dozens of people were injured. Trump notoriously insisted at that time that “there were very fine people on both sides” of the confrontation.

The suspect in Heyer’s killing faces 30 charges, including first-degree murder and federal hate offenses.

Charlottesville officials have already declared a state of emergency in the city ahead of this weekend’s anniversary of the violent march.

On “CNN Tonight” on Tuesday, host Don Lemon said Trump “traffics in racism,” pointing to the president’s attacks on the intelligence of African-American public figures and his repeated criticism of the protests involving many black athletes.

Trump resumed blasting the NFL protests after Miami Dolphins Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the anthem ahead of their opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.

“Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be suspended without pay!” the president tweeted.

Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49er who first started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, offered Stills and Wilson words of encouragement.


NOTE: On Saturday morning and after Jake Tapper’s commentary, Donald Trump tweeted:

The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!



Robert Ubell Asks:  Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?

Dear Commons Community,

Robert Ubell, a colleague from NYU, had an article recently focusing on the question:   Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?  Given that approximatley one-third of all colleges students take at least one fully online course a year, it is an important question for those of us in higher education to consider.   Many online students are low-income, working adults who cannot afford to attend college full-time because of financial, family and other obigations.

After reviewing the research on online education at community colleges, some of which raises alarms for fully online students, Ubell concludes that the blended (combining face-to-face and online instruction) model shows the most promise for helping all students including low-income and academically underprepared students to succeed.  He also makes several comments about the importance of appropriate student services (advisement, counseling, etc.) that sometimes get overlooked in the rush to implement online courses and programs.

His conclusion:

“If virtual education fails to succeed with poor students, then it will merely replicate the severe economic imbalance that is already the shame of the nation’s campuses. Online will merely emerge as yet another luxury product for America’s privileged students.

Better to fix online for underserved students by making sure instructional design is at its best, that online students make reasonable decisions about their course load, and that higher education recognizes its obligation to provide serious, high-touch services for its remote students.

Colleges need to remain as mindful for their online students—if not more supportive—than what it offers its residential students.”

Good advice!



Richard Nixon Resigned 44 Years Ago Today!

Dear Commons Community,

Today marks 44 years since President Richard M. Nixon resigned as president amid the Watergate scandal.   In 2014, David Graham in The Atlantic commented:

“In his immediate wake, Nixon left a shattered and confused nation, a host of spurned aides, and an accidental president. The fallout from Watergate stripped the nation of its political innocence, revolutionized executive power, and bequeathed a range of new reforms. It sent a huge new crop of politicians to Washington. It marked the American vocabulary, producing a range of new expressions and one durable naming scheme for scandals. We’re still grappling with the scandal today: In every debate about executive power or campaign-finance law or White House press management,….”

Some people have been using social media to remind President Donald Trump of the anniversary. 


Good News for Unions in Missouri on Tuesday!

Dear Commons Community,

While much of the media was focused on special elections in states like Ohio on Tuesday, voters in Missouri by a 2-to-1 margin, delivered a major victory for unions by defeating a right-to-work law.  The measure on the ballot asked voters to pass judgment on a prospective law barring private-sector unions from collecting mandatory fees from workers who choose not to become members.  A New York Times editorial commented on this victory as follows.

“In recent decades, conservative activists and lawmakers have turned labor unions into convenient punching bags. In Missouri on Tuesday, however, unions seemed to figure out at least one way to punch back: Voters there resoundingly defeated an anti-union law via ballot proposal.

There’s always a danger in over-interpreting the results of a single election, but the two-to-one margin by which Missouri voters overturned the so-called right-to-work law appears to be the latest sign of resurgent and effective labor activism. The vote comes months after teacher strikes around the country forced Republican-controlled legislatures in states like West Virginia and Oklahoma to hand out big raises to overworked and underpaid workers for the first time in many years.

The Missouri law, which passed in early 2017 but never went into effect, was designed to weaken private-sector unions. It would have allowed workers to claim the benefits of union-negotiated contracts and representation in disputes with management without having to pay dues and fees to cover the cost of those benefits.

Missouri is hardly a bastion of liberalism — President Trump won it by nearly 20 points in 2016. But voters there, as in much of the country, seem to be waking up to the concerted, years-long conservative campaigns to exacerbate income inequality and impoverish working-class families. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. noted that Tuesday was the first time a right-to-work law had been overturned through a ballot measure. With that success, expect unions to use this tactic again in the near future.

Right-to-work laws, which are now in place in 27 states, have been branded as such because Republicans have successfully framed this issue as one of giving workers the right to not belong to a union. Backers of these laws also argue that they help states attract businesses and create jobs. In practice, the measures undercut labor power and have done little to create good-paying jobs. They have contributed to the steady, decades-long decline in union membership — less than 11 percent of workers were union members in 2017, down from about a third of workers in 1945. That decline has played a big part in depressing wages, even in industries and companies that had never had a significant union presence. That’s because union contracts often serve as a benchmark for pay and working conditions. A 2015 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that annual wages in right-to-work states were about 3 percent, or nearly $1,600, lower than in states that didn’t have such laws.

The attack on unions has been broad-based, with even activist conservative judges getting into the act. This summer, by a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court overturned a unanimous 40-year-old ruling when it decided that states could not require government employees to pay fees that covered the cost of collective bargaining.

The immediate impact of the union victory in Missouri will be limited. Only 8.7 percent of workers in the state are union members, and the vote will merely preserve the legal status quo. It may also be hard for unions to replicate the conditions under which they won — labor groups spent about three times as much on campaigning against the right-to-work law as proponents of the law spent defending it. The labor activists also benefited from the law’s being closely associated with the state’s disgraced former Republican governor, Eric Greitens, who resigned in May amid scandal. Conservative groups will surely regroup and put up more of a fight in the future, and labor will still face an uphill fight in federal courts that Mr. Trump and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are busily packing with far-right, anti-labor ideologues.

Still, Tuesday’s vote and the popular support for teacher strikes in red states show that unions have the wind at their backs for the first time in a long while. That is welcome news for long-suffering American workers.”

In solidarity!


Aaron Rodgers Says LeBron James Ignoring Donald Trump Is ‘absolutely beautiful’!

Dear Commons Community,

Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in on the Lebron James and Donald Trump controversy by calling James’ non-response “absolutely beautiful.”

Donald Trump went after James on Twitter recently, attacking James’ intelligence, and Rodgers loved that James didn’t acknowledge it.  

In an interview with NFL Media’s Michael Silver, Rodgers said he supports James and thinks James’ non-response to Trump was the right way to handle the situation. He called it “absolutely beautiful.” 

“At a time where he’s putting on display his school, which is changing lives, there’s no need,” Rodgers told Silver. “Because you’re just giving attention to that (tweet); that’s what they want. So just don’t respond.”

Rodgers said he didn’t reply to the Trump tweet about James because “LeBron needs no help.”

“He has stood on his own two feet for years, and he has done some incredible things, and he needs no support,” Rodgers told “He knows he has the support of his contemporaries, in his own sport and in other sports, and he’s gonna be fine.’”

Rodgers added that the NFL should ignore Trump also with regard to the national anthem policy.  

Trump told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once, according to Jones’ sworn deposition via the Wall Street Journal, that the national anthem issue was a “winning, strong issue for me.” He told Jones the NFL can’t win on the issue, because “this one lifts me.”

It’s hard for NFL players to not respond when Trump calls those who are trying to bring awareness to social issues such as racial inequality a “son of a bitch.” But as Trump continues to attack the NFL — NFL owners were the only ones who couldn’t see that coming — Rodgers said the best way to handle it is to not give Trump more publicity.

“I think that the more that we give credence to stuff like that, the more it’s gonna live on,” Rodgers told Silver. “I think if we can learn to ignore or not respond to stuff like that — if we can — it takes away the power of statements like that.”

It won’t be easy for the NFL and its players to ignore Trump. As we know, Trump is aware the entire issue “lifts” him, and he won’t forget that. And the NFL is full of proud players who don’t take kindly to being called a “son of a bitch.”

But Rodgers makes some good points and it’s easy to follow his logic. And had the NFL ignored Trump from the beginning, we probably wouldn’t still be talking about the entire issue.

Good advice from Rodgers!


Republican Troy Balderson Edging Out Danny O’Connor in Ohio Special Election!

Dear Commons Community,

In a closely watched special Congressional election in Ohio’s 12th District, it appears that Republican Troy Balderson will edge out Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than one percentage point.  As reported by the New York Times:

“The Republican, Troy Balderson, a state senator who ran a plodding campaign, led his Democratic challenger, Danny O’Connor, by less than 1 percentage point with all precincts reporting. But an unknown number of provisional ballots are yet to be counted, and Ohio law provides for an automatic recount if the two candidates are ultimately separated by less than half a percentage point.

National Republicans declared victory before midnight, but it could be days or weeks before there is a conclusive result in the race. And regardless of the outcome, Mr. Balderson and Mr. O’Connor will face each other again in three months, in the regularly scheduled November election.

But already, Republicans’ brush with catastrophe in Ohio has deepened the party’s gloomy mood, highlighting the massive political mobilization among Democrats and the comparative demoralization of the Republican base. The district that Mr. Balderson may have barely won voted for Mr. Trump by 11 points less than two years ago, and routinely elected Republicans to Congress by landslide margins before that.

And on the Democratic side, the Ohio vote is likely to reignite debate about the cost of keeping Ms. Pelosi as party leader, and whether her declared intention to try to become House speaker again could limit their gains in November — or even cost them a chance to win the majority.

Even as Mr. O’Connor appeared to fall short, however, he significantly improved upon Hillary Clinton’s performance in the district’s suburban precincts, and he overwhelmed Mr. Balderson in the sort of high-income enclaves Republicans must perform better in to hold their 23-seat majority in the House.

As ominous for Republicans was the sizable gap in turnout between the most heavily populated suburban counties and the more rural reaches of the district. A higher percentage of voters from Franklin and Delaware Counties, the two largest jurisdictions, cast ballots than in the other, far smaller five counties.

“We are in a tied ballgame,” Mr. O’Connor said at his election night party, refusing to concede. He then repurposed his speech into an appeal for the general election in November; he and Mr. Balderson have both been nominated to face off again then.

“We’re not stopping now,” he said. “We must keep fighting through November.”

We wish Mr. O’Connor well as he prepares for November.


All Eyes on Today’s Congresssional Special Election in Ohio:  Danny O’Connor and Troy Balderson!

Danny ‘Connor

Dear Commons Community,

Democrat Danny O’Connor faces Republican State Sen. Troy Balderson, in a special election in Ohio’s 12th District today to fill a seat that Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) vacated in January. Regardless of the outcome, O’Connor and Balderson are due to face off again in November.  This makes the concrete stakes of the race relatively low. But as with the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th in March, partisans on both sides are watching the outcome closely for still more evidence of a Democratic midterm wave.  As reported by The Huffington Post:

“By all rights, Ohio’s 12th, a vast C-shaped district gerrymandered to include well-off parts of Columbus, its affluent northern suburbs and parts of the industrial towns Mansfield and Zanesville, should be safe GOP territory.

Tiberi was re-elected there by 37 percentage points in 2016; Trump won the district by a more modest 11-point margin.

As a result, the surprising tightness of the race is all the more disquieting for Republicans, who have been forced to spend millions on Balderson’s behalf and deploy their top surrogates to stump for him.

The latest public poll has Balderson up by a single point, a decline from a 10-point lead he held a month ago in the same survey. In the hopes of changing that dynamic, Donald Trump held a rally in the district for Balderson on Saturday night.

“If the GOP were to lose this race, who would they blame or what would they blame? It would have to be a reflection on the Republican brand,” said Herb Asher, a political science professor at the Ohio State University.

Asher, who has donated to O’Connor’s campaign, argued that even a narrow Republican win would be “another indication that Democrats are more competitive in districts that have not been hospitable to them.”

Although he prefers the term “pragmatic,” O’Connor is, by contemporary standards, a moderate. He does not support single-payer health care, emphasizing instead his commitment to protecting the Affordable Care Act. And if elected, he plans to join the business-friendly New Democrat Coalition, whose PAC donated $4,000 to his bid. 

But while just a few years ago, moderate Democrats often embraced the need for a bipartisan “Grand Bargain” that would combine Social Security and Medicare cuts with tax hikes, O’Connor has made defending the two popular programs from any cuts a key plank of his campaign. He has benefited, in this regard, from Balderson’s explicit openness to raising the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries. 

“Earned benefits are one of the most important things we can take care of,” O’Connor told HuffPost. “We want to encourage people to work, we want to encourage people to be a part of our economy, and when we cut their benefits and we don’t fight for them, we send a message that we don’t value what they do every day.”

And like Conor Lamb, a Democrat who won the March special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th, O’Connor has centered his critique of the tax cuts on their potential effect on social insurance programs.

“Troy Balderson supports a corporate tax giveaway that racks up $2 trillion in debt, forcing massive tax hikes on our kids or deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” an O’Connor campaign ad declares.

O’Connor, powered by a surge of small donations ― his campaigns says that more than 97 percent of contributions are under $100 ― has also outraised Balderson, forcing national GOP groups to pump in millions to make up the difference.  

The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $1.3 million to elect Balderson. And the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has spent nearly $2.5 million to keep the seat in GOP hands. 

Outside GOP-affiliated groups initially focused on touting the Republican tax cuts, but they have since pivoted to putting out ads with base-triggering buzzwords about immigration and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whom O’Connor has said he would not support for House speaker. 

“The liberal resistance is demanding open borders. They want to eliminate the law enforcement agency that enforces our immigration laws, opening America’s doors to more crime and drugs,” a Congressional Leadership Fund ad against O’Connor declares as black-and-white images of “Abolish ICE” protesters, criminals in hoodies and a heroin needle flash across the screen.

“And they want Danny O’Connor’s help,” the ad continues, featuring a photo of O’Connor between Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Republicans are also seeking to capitalize on a July 25 interview O’Connor did on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Pressed seven times by Matthews on his support for Pelosi, O’Connor conceded that if the Democratic majority was at stake, he’d back “whoever the Democratic Party puts forward.”

Footage from the interview is featured in a new Congressional Leadership Fund ad against O’Connor ― and in a response ad from O’Connor calling the tape selectively edited.

Terry Casey, a longtime Republican strategist based in Columbus, said the interview might make Matthews “the Republican of the year.”

“It gave Republicans the cement and the glue to show O’Connor was close and tight with Nancy Pelosi,” he said.

All eyes will be on the election results in Ohio’s 12th District tonight!


U. of Texas System to Pick Former CUNY Leader J.B. Milliken as Its Next Chancellor!


Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education and several Texas newspapers are reporting that J.B. Milliken, the former City University of New York chancellor, will become chancellor of the University of Texas System.  The following excerpt is from an article to be published in The Chronicle and forwarded to me by Jack Hammond, a colleague at Hunter College.

Assuming his appointment goes through, we wish former Chancellor Milliken well.



“Longtime higher-education leader James B. Milliken is the University of Texas System’s sole finalist for its next chancellor. The system’s regents on Saturday tapped Milliken, a former City University of New York chancellor, after a months-long search that began when William McRaven announced in December that he would vacate the position.

State law requires a 21-day waiting period before Milliken can take office. Larry R. Faulkner, a former University of Texas at Austin president, has been serving as interim chancellor since McRaven stepped down in May.

Milliken started as CUNY’s chancellor in 2014 and, in late 2017, announced he would depart the position at the end of the academic year. He described the challenges of battling throat cancer in a message to campus sharing the news. All major medical issues have been resolved and he has a clean bill of health, said Karen Adler, a system spokeswoman.

McRaven cited health problems in his own departure.

Unlike McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, Milliken has extensive experience in higher education. Besides CUNY, he has held top leadership positions at the University of Nebraska and the University of North Carolina system.

“The University of Texas System is clearly among the leading university systems in the country, and it has great potential to do even more to serve the needs and ambitions of Texas and the world,” Milliken said in a provided statement. “I am honored to be the finalist for the position of chancellor of this remarkable institution, and I would welcome the opportunity to play a lead role in advancing this system of outstanding universities in the 21st century.”Sara Martinez Tucker, the Texas board chair, said the system’s search committee met more than two dozen times. Multiple possible candidates, she said, were brought back several times.”