Weeks before Mayor Bloomberg pulled the rug from under the epic disaster known as Cathie Black, a ghoul pool was launched in the halls of city government. To win, one had to accurately answer this:
When do you expect the volatile mayor to get fed up with his incompetent, dilettante schools chancellor and thrust her, headfirst, under the bus?
It happened Thursday.
"People were asking, 'Did you win the pool?' " laughed a government source, who said Black's sudden demise came even earlier than bettors expected. "People knew it was the beginning of the end."
In fact, were it not for the mayor's stubborn reluctance to admit he made a whopper of a mistake, Black, the only person on planet Earth surprised by her ouster, may not have lasted as long as she did.
In 96 days -- the average length of a Britney Spears marriage -- Black went from a talented manager and Bloomberg party guest to a dame whose very existence aggravated parents, teachers, her own scattering lieutenants and, fatally, Bloomberg staffers.
Andrea Peyser at the Post also says Bloomberg tried to get female columnists to claim Black's treatment from the press and public was sexism (as Black herself claimed after the firing), but abandoned the attempt when it became clear it wouldn't work because Black was so roundly despised by EVERYBODY.
Here's a question - all those famous women who came out in favor of Black back in November - from Oprah to Gloria Steinem to Whoopi Goldberg - where are they now? How come they don't have Black's back anymore?