In the aftermath of the shocking scenes of mayhem, lawlessness, and possibly treasonous riots in Washington, D.C. as the House and Senate were trying to certify the 2020 election, Twitter and Facebook have suspended outgoing President Trump’s accounts, citing repeated violations of their own policies. While many are pointing out that this is rather weak sauce considering just how rampant and pernicious Trump’s lies have been since, well, the start of his political career, many Trump supporters are complaining that Trump’s right to free speech has been cancelled.

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However, a brief look at our First Amendment’s history will quickly show…


Twitter started flagging President Donald Trump’s tweets back in late June, using a variety of milquetoast comments such as “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” “multiple sources have called this election differently,” and “learn about US 2020 election security efforts.” Each of these is a baby-step away from simply allowing Trump to declare whatever outrage flashes through his mind and might even represent baby steps towards removing tweets or suspending his account. More on that later. For now, let’s savor some delicious irony with a side of schadenfreude.

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Trump, winner of just 232 electoral college votes has endured the…


There will be no graduation ceremonies this year. No proms. No playoffs or championships. None, at least, that anyone would recognize or, sadly, even remember. There will be something a bit empty in blasting Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” in June. Ever since most schools abandoned the classroom, closed their buildings, and moved students to e-learning in March and April, it has seemed more and more inevitable that schools would not be able to re-open their doors. Even in states where there is resistance to the “stay at home” orders and in states where governors have moved to get back to…


On the Brink of a Staggeringly Bleak Humiliation…

Gearhead, Ranger, and Snake-Eyes peered over the mountain range at the Cobra assassins below. They were outnumbered, it was true, but they had the element of surprise on their side. With his swivel-forearm grip, Gearhead motioned silently to his partners to advance and move left to outflank the unsuspecting villains. As Snake-Eyes took up his position and Ranger maneuvered into place, Gearhead moved to the right to complete the formation.

The doorbell rang.

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I froze. Gearhead froze. My mind raced as I thought about my options. I could finish what was a…


Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli made his best effort at proving that he’s a better poet than Emma Lazarus when he announced during in interview that the third quatrain of “The New Colossus” should actually say, “Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” Setting aside the unfortunate reality that this revision lacks the proper rhythm or rhyme needed to continue Lazarus’s sonnet, it of course profoundly misses the point of the sonnet or of the Statue of Liberty itself.

Let’s…


Betsy went to sleep with gum in her mouth and now there’s gum in her hair and when she woke up this morning she was thrown under the bus by Donald. After provoking wide-spread fury by announcing on a Wednesday that Trump’s 2020 budget request would (for the third year in a row) eliminate funding for the Special Olympics, DeVos awoke the very next day to learn that Trump had “overridden [his] people, we’re funding the Special Olympics”.

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While this is wonderful news—the restoration of funds, not the public humiliation of DeVos — the budget is still full of subtler…


In a never-ending quest for books that will challenge middle school readers who read above grade-level, there’s a difficult balancing act to achieve between finding something that is in fact challenging but that won’t overwhelm young minds. We’re not here seeking bland pablum, after all, but something that will stimulate and overawe without overwhelming. Arthur C. Clarke’s classic novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, may just fit that bill.

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Most of us are probably far more familiar with Stanley Kubrick’s stunning 1968 film adaptation, a film that was and is perhaps among the most-influential films ever made (I’m not one for…


You may know the story now of how Donald Trump’s grandfather’s original name was Friedrich Trumpf and that it changed upon Mr. Trumpf’s arrival in the United States in 1885. What we don’t know is how or why he changed the name — did Trumpf deliberately change his name to conceal the illegality of his departure from Germany? Was he simply trying to hide his ethnicity from anti-German prejudices here in the U.S.? Did he have ambitions of achieving the American Dream? While the reasons behind the change may be impossible to identify, it’s intriguing to think of the implications…


For those seeking a modern-day young-adult novel with strong parallels to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, you could certainly do worse than Lucy Christopher’s young-adult novel Storm-wake. In it, we meet Moss, an adolescent girl who is living on an un-named and mysterious island with “Pa”. The unrevealed backdrop is an apparently post-apocalyptic world in which they believe themselves to be the only people left alive after a cataclysmic flood destroyed the world. Indeed, later in the story, Pa mutters half-remembered fragments of the Biblical story of Noah’s ark — but enough of that for now.

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Moss inhabits the role of…


In the maeltrom of the #MeToo movement and the eventual confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court — not to mention the antics of other politicians credibly accused of sexual assault —it now seems like a vital time to confront the very real day-to-day concerns of eighth graders. After all, many if not all of them are about to set sail on some very tumultuous seas themselves. With hormones ranging and bodys morphing before their very eyes, it’s crucial that they learn the language of consent, boundaries, and mutual respect.

Rather than confronting the controversy head-on, rather than…

Jon Shay

Among other identities, I'm a middle school teacher, husband and father, bicyclist, vegetarian, environmentalist, Gooner, and maybe, just maybe, a bit more.

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