President Trump’s order aimed at shutting the barely ajar US door for immigrants from seven Muslim-heavy countries would not have caused the ruckus it did if it weren’t for Trump’s blurts on religion during the campaign and in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network just before signing the measure.

In a White House sit-down with CBN’s David Brody just before ordering a limited moratorium on the inbound trickle of people from Iran and six other nations with majority-Muslim populations, Trump said something Friday he’ll surely regret given the aim and substance of the document he would sign later that same day. Trump said he would make people of the Christian faith a “priority” when applying exceptions to his screw-tightening on entry requirements.

More specifically referencing those forced to flee war-ravaged Syria, Trump told Brody’s Christian audience that he wants to come to the rescue. Trump floated the notion that his consideration of religion when applied to people running from bombed-out homesteads is a full 180 from that of Obama’s (who we know wasn’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for Syrian refugees). Says Trump: “If you were a Muslim, you could come in (to the US) but if you were a Christian it was almost impossible. I thought it was very unfair, so we are going to help them.”

A few hours later at the Pentagon ceremony to swear-in the new Defense Secretary, Trump signed the order and again invoked religion. “We don’t want ’em here,” said the new President about “radical Islamic terrorists.” Of course he didn’t mention that we already have tight measures to keep out bad guys of any ilk or stripe post-9-11.

What really blew open the intense public dissent seen at international airports in big US cities on Saturday was the order’s clumsy failure to consider in-transit passengers with valid entry documents. Among the first to get caught in the net was an Iraqi who essentially had the same standing as an American war hero.

Congressman Jerry Nadler got wind of it and rushed to JFK. He made noise. Others followed. Michael Moore has almost 4 million Twitter followers and used his bullhorn to get people over to Kennedy.

Airports are the last place a flailing executive branch wants disruptions – so you can bet Trump quaked in his boots a bit as he watched the images showing young people by the thousands at Terminal 4.

Most incredible to me was New York Governor Andy Cuomo telling the Port Authority police to stand down at the Air Train station in Jamaica, Queens so that the energized mob could join the protest.

A close reading of Trump’s executive order reveals exception clauses that allow pre-freeze immigrants with long-in-the-works visas to complete their journey. There are also exception options that go beyond those with pre-pause approval. The Homeland Security web site has put up a good amount of clear-to-understand information about how the order is being implemented.

What prompted the swift and intense public reaction, perhaps even overreaction? Trump’s body of reckless rhetoric has many citizens on edge. The document by itself wouldn’t get the Muslim Ban tag had the guy who signed it not said what he’s said.

The Constitutionality question likely tilts in Trump’s favor since the President is said to have leeway on matters of protecting the country via border control. His off script remarks on religion may end up in court – as will a tape of Rudy Giuliani boasting Trump asked for help creating a Muslim ban wrapped in legal cover.

The sloppy rush to launch the order the moment it was signed prompted Chuck Todd to ask Reince Priebus on Sunday why Homeland Security couldn’t have chewed on the ins and outs of it for a few days so rank and file agents at the airports could properly understand and enforce it. That prompted a ridiculous response from the President’s Chief of Staff. Said Priebus: “People who want to do bad things to Americans would just move up their travel date.” What’s most ignorant about that take is that the people coming from the impacted countries to the US for the first time typically need well more than a year and exhaustive review to obtain documents required to enter.

More upsetting to me at the moment is the rush by Senate republicans to approve Betsy DeVos as Trump’s Secretary of Education.

Not only is DeVos unfit and unqualified for such a massive responsibility, her background and public statements suggest she’ll purposely wreck the cherished if imperfect federal mission to improve the health of public schools at a crucial time.

With the devious guidance of committee chairman Lamar Alexander, DeVos glided through the rigged preliminary phase Tuesday on a 12-11 party line vote. Most distasteful were the pronouncements of two Republicans – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine – who both said they had misgivings about their “yay” votes but advanced the nominee to the full senate in deference to the President.

That’s really disgusting.

Watch Murkowski and Collins vote “no” when the full senate gives DeVos an up or down. Yet, when they had actual power to kill the nomination, they chickened out. When Collins and Murkowski go back home, they’ll have two different votes to brag about depending on the audience. Disgusting.

All eyes on Washington DC this week.

I was down there January 9th for about seven hours to see the Johnnies get creamed by Georgetown. My pal Brent and his family live just a couple blocks from the Capitol. I had planned to spend two full days down there but a cold, snowy blast in NYC on the 7th wrecked almost a whole day’s worth of flights.

I ended up getting a seat to Reagan National out of Cleveland on the day of the hoops game but it cut the visit way short.

Brent’s family is fleeing town for the inauguration (and would have no matter who won). They’re making their place available to an out-of-town friend coming for the women’s march.

DC has always struck me as a larger than life place. It’s heavy to consider all that’s happened there and what’s to come. The physical reminders of national power and history are everywhere. The Washington Monument stares at you on landing at National. When I exited the Capitol South Metro station on the Hill, I thought about the state of the union – such as it is.

The Amtrak train ticket purchased way in advance got me back to NYC after the game. 49 bucks. It’s a three and a half hour ride.

-The solidly dependable clock radio positioned next to my bed for more than 40 years finally went kaput this past week. A few nights ago, I was jolted awake by a loud hum that wouldn’t go away unless I unplugged the radio. It must have blown a tube. When I shook the heavy but compact device, something inside clattered as if unattached or loose. My folks gave me the radio when I was a kid. I listened to it all the time. At bedtime, I set the timer to 59 minutes and let the voice on the airwaves put me to sleep. The same unit would wake me the next morning with a piercing, high-pitched sound you couldn’t ignore despite its familiarity. The radio followed me to college and all the stops that came after. It put me to sleep and woke me up consistently for all but the first decade of my life. It was made by General Electric. It’s finally dead. I’ve been looking for a replacement pretty obsessively since the moment I conceded the unit’s death. There’s not much out there that’s quite like it. As much as technology has advanced since the mid 1970’s, I don’t have confidence I’ll find a suitable, long-lasting replacement for this cherished bedside item.

-My tirelessly progressive and effective city councilman Danny Dromm is currently on the receiving end of a disgraceful smear campaign by the powerful union that represents correction officers in NYC. As a proud union member myself, I’m embarrassed by the conduct of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association as it attempts to unseat Dromm because he advocates the eventual and orderly shutdown of Rikers Island. While job security is a noble and common goal for organized labor, the COBA has gone way below the belt with mailers to Dromm’s constituents saying the councilman “wants to bring criminals to our neighborhood.” The ridiculous assertion is motivated purely to maintain jobs at a facility that is horribly overcrowded, outdated and inhumane. Led by the current mayor – and motivated by a stirring long-form piece of journalism from Jen Gonnerman – Dromm has joined a chorus of progressives who oppose mass incarceration of mostly poor, minority men who get caged for long periods awaiting trial for offenses that fail to meet basic thresholds of badness or felonious-type conduct. It’s a long ways off but Dromm has engaged in thoughtful reflection on how to fix the Rikers mess. The rank and file at Rikers know better than anybody that it’s a failing institution. If they’re aware their union dues are being channeled into propaganda aimed at defaming a good man, their brotherhood is more like the gangs inside Rikers than a labor organization aimed at advancing the welfare of workers.

-The violent but legal blind-side hit on Aaron Rodgers by blitzing Cowboys safety Jeff Heath with 20 seconds remaining in Sunday’s divisional playoff thriller would render most humans a heap of senseless nothing on the floor. Somehow, Rodgers sprung up and immediately called timeout. Two plays later, he threw against his body’s momentum, a 40-yard laser to Jared Cook which set up the long game-winning kick by Mason Crosby. Few quarterbacks would have held onto the football after getting sledge-hammered where spinal cord meets the brain like Rodgers did. Mike Francesa said Monday that 98 of 100 quarterbacks would have coughed it up on that play. I agree. It was an amazing display of toughness, recovery and raw talent in a huge spot. I’d also agree with Francesa that the time has come to eliminate the last-second freeze-the-kicker timeout. “It ruins the moment,” says Mike. Nobody watching on TV knew Crosby’s first of two successful attempts to end the game was a non-play until after it went through the uprights. Waiting until the last possible moment has become an off-frame move between coach and game official. Francesa proposes a rule change that would require freeze-the-kicker timeouts to be called with no less than 10 seconds to go on the play clock.