Most Shared

When Colbert saw a wish list of hundreds of teachers from his home state, he delivered.

Stephen Colbert became a hero of political satire for fans all over the country. But his latest act of badassery has made him a hero to a bunch of kids.

When Colbert saw a wish list of hundreds of teachers from his home state, he delivered.

Stephen Colbert is a badass.

His show, "The Colbert Report," ran strong for nine years, earning him a pile of awards, a multi-generational cult following and the chance to take over "The Late Show" when David Letterman retired in 2015. Like I said, he's a badass.


Image via "The Late Show with David Letterman."

While he's between gigs, Colbert has mostly kept all that badassery out of the public eye. But then I heard about this:

GIF via GreenvilleOnline.

In a live-streamed announcement to Alexander Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina, Colbert had happy news to share.

"I am happy to say that as a product of the South Carolina public school system ... using the proceeds from the sale of my old set on 'The Colbert Report' that we auctioned off, and with generous matching funds from the Morgridge Family Foundation and ScanSource, DonorsChoose is going to flash fund all 1,000 projects in South Carolina."

DonorsChoose is a charity crowdfunding site for "classrooms in need." Teachers from schools with tight budgets can use the site to generate funds for the supplies they need to offer the best education they can to their students.

Hundreds of South Carolina teachers posted thousands of project requests totaling $800,000.

Their needs ranged from books for girls to exercise equipment for special-needs students to custom tables and other items that would make a big difference for South Carolina's cash-strapped public schools.

Colbert, who grew up in South Carolina, wanted to see every one of their goals for the year fulfilled.

GIF from "The Colbert Report."

And with the support of a few big sponsors, he raised enough money to meet the funding goals of every outstanding grant request posted by a South Carolina teacher on DonorsChoose this year.

I know what you're thinking: This is great. Stephen Colbert is such a badass.

And that's exactly how I feel about it. But a little context really accentuates the greatness of Colbert's initiative.

South Carolina has one of the lowest-ranked public school systems in the U.S.

According to WalletHub, the South Carolina public school system ranks 42nd (out of 51) in overall performance, which takes into account factors like drop-out rates, teacher-to-student ratios, test scores, graduates' likelihood of completing a college degree, and even reported incidents of bullying.

Image via WalletHub.

And the state isn't making the investments it needs to step up its public education game.

WalletHub ranks South Carolina 36th in K-12 public school spending.

Image via WalletHub.

South Carolina would be wise to change that — as would every other low-performing state when it comes to education.

According to the Economic Policy Institute:

"States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do."

Hopefully they'll figure it out. But meanwhile, send your digital high-fives to Stephen Colbert for being one badass of a do-gooder.

GIF via "The Colbert Report."

Here we are, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, and people are tired. We're tired of social distancing, wearing masks, the economic uncertainty, the constant debates and denials, all of it.

But no one is more tired than the healthcare workers on the frontline. Those whom we celebrated and hailed as heroes months ago have largely been forgotten as news cycles shift and increased illness and death become "normal." But they're still there. They're still risking themselves to save others. And they've been at it for a long time.

Mary Katherine Backstrom shared her experience as the wife of an ER doctor in Florida, explaining the impact this pandemic is having on the people treating its victims and reminding us that healthcare workers are still showing up, despite all of the obstacles that make their jobs harder.

Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Kids say the darnedest things and, if you're a parent, you know that can make for some embarrassing situations. Every parent has had a moment when their child has said something unintentionally inappropriate to a stranger and they prayed they wouldn't take it the wrong way.

Cassie, the mother of 4-year-old Camryn, had one of the those moments when her child yelled, "Black lives matter" to a Black woman at a Colorado Home Depot.

But the awkward interaction quickly turned sweet when the Black woman, Sherri Gonzales, appreciated the comment and thanked the young girl.

Keep Reading Show less