Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mad Max In Bloomberg's New York City

Thirty bikers surrounded a man in Upper Manhattan yesterday after a fender bender on the Upper West Side, caused when one of the bikers stopped short in front of the man's SUV, and pummeled him in broad daylight in front of his wife and 2-year-old.

The Daily News reported:

NY Post Uses De Blasio's Father's Suicide Against Him

We know from the hacking scandal that ended up with Rupert Murdoch's News of the World closed and dozens of Murdoch journalists from the NOTW and The Sun facing criminal charges for hacking, bribery and conspiracy that ethics is not a strong suit in the Murdoch Empire.

Murdoch's Post has been hammering Bill de Blasio for a few weeks now, calling him a commie pink, Sandanista-loving Marxist and all sorts of other things, but today, they really hit bottom.

Today, they used de Blasio's father's suicide against him:

Charter School Operators Threaten De Blasio

The Wall Street Journal reports that charter school operators say they would "reduce services" if he is elected mayor and charges them rent for taking up public space in public school buildings.

This is tantamount to a threat from the charter operators.

They're using children as hostages in this battle.

But I have an idea how they can handle the rent expenditures without having to cut services for children.

Incompetence At NYSED Causes Delays in Parent Notification Over Test Scores

It's all about the test scores for kids, teachers and schools these days.

The Board of Regents and the NYS Education Department have gone full speed ahead with their vaunted new Common Core tests and teacher evaluation systems based upon test scores.

Test scores plummeted across ther state as the NYSED instituted a new set of Common Core tests and many parents want to know how their children did on these tests to see whether their children need extra tutoring help.

But Newsday reports the geniuses at NYSED can't seem to get the test score results printed up and sent to parents in a timely fashion:

Andrew Cuomo Ensures Moreland Commission Won't Look Into His Own Crimes

Ken Lovett in the Daily News reports Governor Cuomo, who once declared the Moreland Commission's anti-corruption work would be "independent" of his interference, has moved to take over the commission and make it do what he wants.

In addition, Cuomo has ensured that the anti-corruption commission will not probe his own campaign fundraising or the largesse he or his PAC, the Committee to Save New York, have received from corporate donors in return for tax breaks and other gifts.

Lovett writes:

Siena Poll Finds Cuomo Is Below 50% Approval For First Time Ever

Governor Cuomo has bludgeoned his agenda through the legislature the last few years by using his immense popularity in the state (for a while there, he was riding with 80% approval ratings.)

He is facing reelection next year and is rumored to be seeking a very ambitious agenda in order to ease that bid - including a wide range of tax cuts and an education reform package that would include state takeover of "failing" school districts (what he called giving the "death penalty" to failing schools.)

Cuomo needs high approval ratings to get this agenda through an increasingly hostile legislature angered by his Moreland Commission that has targeted members in their so-called anti-corruption probe.

But according to Siena, he no longer has those high approval numbers:

Government Shutdown Isn't The Problem, The Debt Ceiling Fight Is

From the NY Times:

Most Wall Street economists have said that the consequences of a temporary government shutdown would be relatively insignificant, particularly because spending on essential services — a large portion of the budget — would continue. Citigroup economists estimated on Friday that a one-week shutdown would probably cause a 0.1 percent hit to the national economy.

In the long run, not a big deal, so long as some resolution is reached that allows for successful negotiations over raising the debt ceiling in a couple of weeks - or otherwise this:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Save Her The Money, Bill

Write her a nice letter of recommendation to a SUNY school and save her the money, Bill.

NYU - overpriced, over-hyped, overrated.

Kids should look very closely at CUNY and SUNY schools instead and visit Greenwich Village during their time off from school.

Unless NYU knocks the entire Village down to make dormitories, always a possibility with that real estate expansion thing of theirs going on ad infinitum.

Then they won't be able to visit the Village anymore.

Students United For Public Education Take On Teach For America

From The Nation:

On October 1, Students United for Public Education will be launching its first national campaign, Students Resisting Teach for America.

The goal is to raise awareness in prospective TFA corps members about the problems surrounding TFA; elevate the voices of students and TFA alumni whose stories are often overshadowed by TFA’s message; put pressure on TFA as an organization to change its ways; and, through this, resist the broader neoliberal movement in education.

What started as a nonprofit dedicated to solving teacher shortages has become a highly political organization that threatens to perpetuate inequalities in low-income communities both through its teaching model and its connection to the corporate education reform movement.
SUPE chapters and other college students across the country will be leafletting, holding teach-ins and panels and raising critical questions and consciousness about TFA to college students and campus communities. —Students United for Public Education

Good to see this.

The more groups out there that expose TFA for the harm it does to students, teachers and schools, the better.

Most people outside of education don't understand this about TFA.

There's too much propaganda around them in the media.

This Comment Crystallizes Why You Should Vote Against Dan Squadron

Someone left this comment on the Daily News endorsement of Dan Squadron for public advocate:

How can the Daily News, once the paper of the working man, endorse an anti-labor candidate who is in bed with Bloomberg's developer cronies and charter school hedge fund investors and charlatans?
As I wrote earlier,

How To Resist Corporate Education Reform

Someone asked in a comment on an earlier post how to resist the corporate education reformers.

Michael Fiorillo responded to that question with eloquent advice:

Resist by showing kindness to our students, and support for our colleagues.

Resist by doing what you know is right in the classroom.

Resist by supporting the union, but exposing and rejecting the leadership's collaboration with those who would destroy public education.

Resist by exposing the fraud of so-called education reform at every opportunity.

Resist by trying to free yourself from unnecessary consumption and debt.

Resist by trying to free yourself from fear.

Courage is contagious: help spread it.

I can't add anything to that.


Courage is contagious.

If The Daily News Likes A Candidate, You Know He Must Be Bad

The DN editors endorsed Dan Squadron for public advocate today:

Since 2009, Squadron has ably represented lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, including Greenpoint and Carroll Gardens, in the state Senate. He brought intelligence, diligence and rationality to the post with a strong bent toward problem-solving on behalf of his constituents — exactly the qualities needed in a public advocate.

As a prime example, Squadron was instrumental in shepherding Brooklyn Bridge Park through a contentious struggle from the drawing board into reality — where it now serves thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers.

Bearing solid liberal Democratic credentials, Squadron has also shown the independence to break with orthodoxy in favor of common sense. He did so in fighting to expand access to charter schools statewide, a position that placed him at odds with the United Federation of Teachers.

Then, too, Squadron was the only one of the five original Democratic contenders who had the courage to buck the municipal unions by questioning the taxpayers’ ability to finance retroactive raises for the municipal workforce. Although the tab for those could run to a bankrupting $7.8 billion, the others in the field played to the unions with notions that the city should just pay up.

Squadron is a DFER crony and reliable vote against unions and for the corporate interests and

NYCDOE Hires Interim Principal Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Intimidation And Lewd And Racist Comments To Run Flushing High School

Even the NY Post thinks they did this as revenge for not being to shut the school down last year.

The city hired James Brown, a former middle school principal, to act as interim principal at Flushing High School, with the possibility that Brown could be hired permanently.

The only problem?

Are Americans Waking Up From Their Self-Induced Comas?

Washington Post polls finds many Americans no longer believe in the fantasy of the "American Dream:

Four years into an economic recovery in which most of the benefits have flowed to the top earners, a majority believe that the American Dream is becoming markedly more elusive, according to the results of a Washington Post-Miller Center Poll exploring Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future.

Although most Americans still think hard work and education breed opportunity, their faith in a brighter tomorrow has been eroded by intensifying struggles on the job and at home that have led some to conclude that the United States has emerged from the Great Recession a fundamentally changed nation.

Among the poll’s findings:

Should He Be Using This Comparison?

From Politico: 

If the government shuts down on Oct. 1, the GOP will “fold like hotcakes” in the fight to defund Obamacare, Sen. Tom Coburn said Friday afternoon before a critical set of votes.

The Oklahoma Republican said that after seven or eight days of shutdown the Republicans will begin to feel the heat from their constituents over lack of services back home, like pay for members of the military. To that end, Coburn explained that Republicans will not keep the government shuttered in order to defund Obamacare.
“The only time you shut down the government is when you shut it down and refuse to open it until you accomplish what you want. But we’ll fold like hotcakes,” Coburn told reporters. “You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot. And we will not for sure shoot this hostage.”

I dunno, maybe it's fine, but given all the mass shootings lately, I might have chosen a different comparison to use for my illustration than “You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot."

In any case, like Coburn, I can't see a shutdown going on for longer than a week.

But given how much President Obama loves to cave to the GOP, I wouldn't be so sure they'll be the one's to cave.

The GOP is full of crazy people, they don't seem to understand that Obama is dying to stick a stake through Medicare and Social Security if they would just give him half a chance.

He showed that the last time a "Grand Bargain" was on the table.

Luckily the Tea Partiers think he's a socialist and refuse to have anything to do with him.

Otherwise we'd already be looking at gutted Social Security and Medicare.

Still, this stuff always bears watching.

At what point do you think the country just breaks apart because it becomes plain it can no longer be governed from Washington?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Final Primary Vote Tally: De Blasio 40.81%, Thompson 26.14%

From the NY Times:

More than two weeks after New York City’s primary for mayor, election officials have finished counting votes, and Bill de Blasio has officially avoided a runoff. 

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, finished with 40.81 percent in the primary, which was held Sept. 10. He exceeded the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff by about 5,600 votes. 

Election night results showed Mr. de Blasio with a little over 40 percent of the vote, but tens of thousands of paper ballots remained to be examined, leaving questions about whether there would have to be a runoff. 

The second-place finisher, William C. Thompson Jr., who received 26.14 percent, withdrew from the race six days after the primary. Mr. Thompson also criticized the city’s Board of Elections, saying that the pace of the vote counting left him with no way of waging a viable campaign given the uncertainty about the election results. 


In the official results, Mr. Thompson was followed by Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, at 15.74 percent; John C. Liu, the city comptroller, at 6.84 percent; and Anthony D. Weiner, a former congressman, at 4.94 percent.

It's good it ended up with de Blasio getting more than 40%, even if it's just a little more.

It puts to rest any bad feelings from Thompson.

He lost fair and square - de Blasio  got over the 40% mark and beat Thompson by over 14 percentage points.

The Silver Lining In A Government Shutdown

It looks like we're headed for a government shutdown on Tuesday.

The Washington Post reports:

House Republican leaders proposed a new plan to the GOP rank-and-file Saturday afternoon: Make a new gesture of defiance toward President Obama’s health-care law, even if it increases the chances of a government shutdown Monday night.

Their plan calls for amendments to a bill designed to keep the government open for a few more weeks. The changes would include a one-year delay in the health-care law, which is set to take effect next month. The GOP plan would also repeal, permanently, a medical-device tax included in the law.

The advantage of that plan — for Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his team — is political. After being criticized by GOP hard-liners for not doing enough to undermine the health-care law, Boehner has taken a far more aggressive position. Instead of seeking to take away some of the money to implement Obamacare, their new plan would push back the whole thing.

The disadvantage is more practical: This plan is far more likely to result in a government shutdown. It may pass the House — and it may even pass Saturday. But it is not likely to pass the Democratic-held Senate or be signed by Obama.

If nobody backs down, that would mean no funding bill passed before the deadline to avert a shutdown: Monday night.

The silver lining in all of this?

NY Post Attacks De Blasio For "War On Charters"

Another day, another half-dozen attacks on Bill de Blasio from the NY Post.

The one I'm interested in today is here.

They are claiming by making charter schools pay rent and ending co-locations, de Blasio is waging war against the industry.

Making charter schools pay rent is not a "war on charters."

Let me repeat, making charter schools pay rent is not a "war on charters".

Many of these schools are well-healed and well-financed, with boards stocked with hedge fund managers and Wall Street investment bankers.

They can afford to pay rent.

Can you imagine the Post defending any other industry or entity from the outrage of  having to "pay rent"?

I cannot.

And yet here they are, carrying charter industry water for why charters must not be forced to pay rent to the city and anybody who wants to force them to do so is waging war against them.

The argument is absurd on the face of it.

Certainly de Blasio can and probably will work out some kind of deal so independent charters that do not have a lot of money will not pay the same kind of rent that, say, Eva Moskowitz or Democracy Prep or Harlem Village Academies will be forced to pay.

These big charters certainly have enough money to advertise and hire p.r. people and hold rallies at City Hall for what they claim will be 30,000 people.

If they can afford to spend money on that kind of stuff, they can afford to pay rent.

As for co-locations, many of these charter school operators have real estate industry types sitting on their boards.

They can handle finding space for their new charters on their own.

For too long now, Bloomberg and his chancellors have pitted charters and traditional public schools against each other in a Darwinian fight for space.

Space is at a premium and now that war must end.

Charters can find their own spaces, just as they do in the rest of the country.

Sorry, Posties, making charters pay rent for co-locations and halting future co-locations is not waging war on charters.

That is called making them pay their fair share and making them take responsibility for their own affairs.

Something you guys don't like when it means rich people or wealthy corporations or connected charters are being asked to do it.

Making charters pay rent or find their own spaces has not killed the industry in the rest of the country and it certainly won't kill it here

Mulgrew Waves Goodbye To Bloomberg

Alas, with all the concessions Mikey Mulgrew and his boss, Randi Weingarten, made to Bloomberg and the state on Race to the Top, on APPR, on ADVANCE, even with Bloomberg leaving office and a new mayor coming in, not much is going to change.

As James Eterno noted about the contract negotiations and school atmosphere in his latest post this morning, Bloomberg has set the paremeters for how the next contract will go no matter who is mayor.

Same goes for how the school system will be run.

They blew up so much of the old system - literally just blew it up - so that it could never be re-constituted post-Bloomberg and post-Klein.

Couple all of the reorganizations they have done to the system at large with all the changes to the evaluation system, the changes to how schools are funded for teacher salaries, the changes to the seniority system, and you realize that no matter who comes into power in January, much of the way the system is today will remain the same.

It is true that a determined and dogged mayor could undo some of the worst excesses of the Bloomberg years, but the jury is still out for me on whether de Blasio is that kind of mayor.

In any case, Mulgrew waving goodbye to Bloomberg with that sneer on his face is tantamount to his declaring the next mayor had to go through 52 Broadway before the Democratic primary season got started.

It's bluster and chutzpah, but like much of what emanates from Mulgrew and 52 Broadway, in the end it is self-serving and ultimately meaningless.

Bloomberg will go but many of the changes wrought in the last 12 years at both the city and state level will not.

A Long, Long, Long Week

OK, so let me tell you about my work week.

There was the grading of the performance assessments.

There was getting my lesson plan ready for a pre-observation conference with the assistant principal.

There was the Regents prep work with the two junior classes taking the ELA Regents exam for the first time in January - lots of reading and grading #26's and #27's responses.

There was the Regents prep work with the remedial class of students who have failed the test three and four times - plus the outreach home to a handful of those students who have dropped out of sight already.

There was the college essay work with the two classes of seniors I teach.

There was the concurrent college counseling I do with seniors in those two classes  - meeting each and every student to talk over college lists, majors, financial aid, and ancillary college issues.

There was the student I taught last year who came by today to have that same conversation.

There was the handful of college recommendations requests I have already gotten and a preliminary writing of two of those.

There were copies that needed to be made for the Danielson observation happening next Monday.

There was the pre-observation conference with the assistant principal and the adjustment to the lesson plan that needed to be made to make sure I hit all those Danielson domains

(NOTE TO SELF: Every decision MUST be data-driven; every moment of the class MUST be scripted - you can leave NOTHING to chance in Danielson's world of obsessive compulsive control freakism...)

And there were the five classes a day I teach, plus the coverage I got this afternoon.

Oh - and the five to nine posts a day here at Perdido Street School blog.

This has been a long, long, long week.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bill O'Reilly: Jesus Died So You Could Have Low Taxes

I know you think it's some Onion piece I'm putting up here.

But no, seriously - it's what O'Reilly wrote:

In Killing Jesus: A History, Bill O’Reilly and writing partner Martin Dugard bring us their long-awaited “accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived.” This should settle two millennia of Christian debate. Although it lacks suspense (SPOILER ALERT: he dies), it’s a pretty good read and it’s fleshed out with tidbits about the ancient world.


The basic argument of the book is that Jesus died because he interfered with the taxation-heavy Roman revenue stream. The reason the Jews eagerly anticipated the Messiah, writes O’Reilly, is, “When that moment arrives, Rome will be defeated and their lives will be free of taxation and want.”

It’s true that the people did long for the Messiah, that the majority of them were poor and oppressed, and that very few benefited from Roman occupation. But even if the Romans had been overthrown the people would have still been paying tithes to Jewish authorities to sustain the Temple, as Biblical and Jewish laws demand.

O’Reilly argues that Temple taxes and profits from the moneychangers were back-channeled to Rome. Thus when Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers he “interrupted the flow of funds from the Temple to Rome.”

He’s right: the Temple incident led to Jesus’s arrest and execution and the Romans were responsible for killing Jesus. But there is no evidence that the Romans benefited from the financial affairs of the Temple during Jesus’ lifetime. Pilate didn’t get dibs on the lamb shanks some used to pay the priests. Jesus died because he was a rabble-rouser who disturbed the peace and challenged the authorities. Jesus didn’t die for our W2s.

Even if Jesus’s actions had been all about taxes, he died protesting a skeletal taxation system that privileged the rich. Wealthy citizens were exempt from most taxes altogether, non-citizens paid a flat-rate poll tax regardless of income, the property tax was 1 percent, and the money from taxes was used to build roads and fund the military. It's not like the Romans did anything obscene like tend to the poor.

Making tax cuts holy and religious - that's Bill O'Reilly.

Politicker: Here's How Many Times The NY Post Attacked Bill De Blasio This Week

Colin Campbell at Politicker has a partial rundown on how many attack articles and editorials the NY Post has run against Bill de Blasio this week.

It's a lot:

  • De Blasio asks for Wall Street donations
  • De Blasio ‘fixed’ pal’s water bill on council
  • So what does de Blasio believe now?
  • De Blasio suddenly scarce on campaign trail
  • De Blasio helped pal reduce $9,000 water bill
  • De Blasio’s favorite countries have dismal human-rights records
  • De Blasio’s bleary, dreary eyes of youth
  • De Blasio ignored Nicaragua anti-Semitism
  • The meaning of Bill de Blasio’s radical past
  • De Blasio’s ticket-fixing past
  • De Blasio’s warped world view should set off alarm bells
  • De Blasio among legislators who honored African tyrant
  • De Blasio vs. the 99 Percent
  • Obama to meet Sandinista-supporting de Blasio
  • Parents to rally against de Blasio’s charter school attacks
  • ACORN sowed seeds for de Blasio
  • Critics slam de Blasio’s trips to Cuba, Nicaragua
  • Getting to know Bill de Blasio … belatedly
  • Two New Yorks: 2013 v. 1990
  • De Blasio holds strong to Red Sox roots
  • Daughter proud of ‘badass’ de Blasio
  • De Blasio’s Cuban vision for New York City

  • And these aren't even all of the attack pieces they ran against him since Sunday.


    Some Bloomberg Staffers Go Work For Cuomo

    Gotham Gazette:

    With time running out on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lame-duck term, a number of his staffers are looking to his longtime rival Gov. Andrew Cuomo for job security. The last few weeks have seen a steady stream of press releases from Cuomo’s office announcing the hiring of ex-Bloomberg staff.
    The Cuomo administration announced Sept. 19 that it had Kary Sarlin, Bloomberg’s one-time director of consumer affairs, and Gerrardo Russo, a senior Bloomberg policy advisor. Both now have positions at the Empire State Development Corp. Sarlin will work as executive vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives while Russo will serve as vice president of communications.
    A day later, the Cuomo administration announced that it had hired Andrew Nicklin, director of research and development for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Nicklin is an open data guru and will head Cuomo’s Open NY open data initiative that has slowly gotten off the ground over the past two years.

    Bloomberg must love losing staffers to Cuomo.

    As for the Bloomie staffers getting jobs with Cuomo, why not?

    Bloomberg is a plutocrat and Cuomo is a functionary for the plutocracy.

    It makes total sense.

    Bill Gates Is Wrong - We Do Know Whether His Reforms Will Work

    Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post:

    “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”
    That’s what Bill Gates said on Sept. 21 (see video below) about the billions of dollars his foundation has plowed into education reform during a nearly hour-long interview he gave at Harvard University. He repeated the “we don’t know if it will work” refrain about his reform efforts a few days later during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative.

    Hmmm. Teachers around the country are saddled every single year with teacher evaluation systems that his foundation has funded, based on no record of success and highly questionable “research.” And now Gates says he won’t know if the reforms he is funding will work for another decade. But teachers can lose their jobs now because of reforms he is funding.

    In the past he sounded pretty sure of what he was doing. In this 2011 oped in The Washington Post, he wrote:
    What should policymakers do? One approach is to get more students in front of top teachers by identifying the top 25 percent of teachers and asking them to take on four or five more students.
    Actually, that’s not an approach any educator I know would think is a good idea, but Gates had decided that class size doesn’t really matter. Earlier, he had put some $2 billion into forming small schools out of large high schools, on the theory that small schools would better serve students. When the initiative didn’t work out as he hoped, he moved on by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on teacher evaluation systems that in part linked teacher assessments to student standardized test scores, an approach that many assessment experts have warned against.

    Now he says that the success of his experiments on public education won’t be known for a decade, but we already know that evaluating teachers by student test scores is a bad idea.

    These same rank and yank evaluation systems Gates helped bring to public education systems have not worked when Microsoft used them.

    As this Slate article reported, that evaluation system very well may have been the biggest thing to do Microsoft in as a company.

    And yet this arrogant Gates is insistent that he is going to take the same evaluation system that split Microsoft apart, with different departements operating as private fiefdoms at war with each other and employees in the same department sticking knives in each other's backs so they won't end up at the bottom of the stack ranking, and brought it to public education.

    And now he admits, "Yeah, we need about 10 years to see if it works or not..."

    Epoch Times Joins The Media Attacks Against De Blasio

    Take a look at the way they frame this story about de Blasio's "re-emerging" from hiding
     after a week of negative press over his past support for the "far-left" Sandanistas.

    The anti-Communist crazies at the Epoch Times join the barrage against de Blasio.

    This is a glimpse of what a de Blasio mayorality will look like.

    The press will not let him govern,

    They will undercut him at every turn.

    They will magnify every mistake, they will focus on every flaw, they will make things up and they will frame every story so that it will have an anti-de Blasio gloss.

    Again the message is - do what the rich white men want in this city or they will destroy you.

    This is what we can look forward to if de Blasio is elected.

    The plutocrats will not lose.

    BLOOMBERG LP forever.

    Bloomberg Scoffs Over Classroom Overcrowdedness

    At yesterday's press conference where the Mayor of Money repeatedly told reporters he is not interested in this year's mayor's race, isn't following it and won't answer any questions about it, we get this exchange:

    To another scribe who asked about overcrowding in the city’s classrooms, the mayor responded with dripping sarcasm.

    “Let’s just go back to when the school system was loaded with crime,” he said.

    Uh, Bloomie, one thing there in that answer has nothing to do with the other.

    The public school system in NYC is overcrowded as a direct result of your policies - overbuilding, rezoning, refusing to build new school buildings, charter school co-locations, closures, etc.

    Too bad you don't want to take responsibility for that - or even acknowledge it.

    Media Plutocrats Aim Daily At De Blasio, James

    The Post has more negative stories about Bill de Blasio out today.

    The Daily News has a negative editorial out about Tish James today.

    Every day in the papers, the media plutocrats who own the Post, Daily News and Times - Bloomberg's fellow newspaper buddies and friends from his social circle - take aim at these two candidates for mayor and public advocate respectively with story after story meant to drive down their support and their approval ratings.

    Even if the media plutocrats are not successful at helping their guys, Joe Lhota and Dan Squadron, win their respective races, the media plutocrats have another strategy in mind:

    To undermine de Blasio and James with b.s. story after b.s. story so that, in the end, de Blasio won't be able to govern effectively as mayor and James won't be able to serve effectively as public advocate if they are each elected.

    It's a cynical games these men play (and they are all men - rich, white, arrogant men, just like their pal, Bloomberg), a game they are playing for keeps.

    We'll see in a few days when the next round of polls comes out in the mayor's race if their game is working against de Blasio.

    I suspect that his numbers will be down a bit after the barrage he has taken in the press - particularly the Post.

    And we'll see on Tuesday if it worked against James.

    She has a lot of union support and the runoff for public advocate is expected to be a low turnout affair.

    That may help her win despite the attacks.

    Nonetheless, I predict that the media, along with the establishment in this city, will do to James what they did to John Liu this last cycle.

    There will be some "scandal" that will effectively silence her, marginalize her, or worse, and put her out of commission.

    That Liu's "scandal" - campaign finance fraud allegations over $7,000 donations - was small compared to, say, Bloomberg's campaign finance fraud bribing Independence Party officials three election cycles running with millions of dollars to put him on their ballot line, made no difference to the plutocrats and their functionaries.

    Do what the rich, white men want or they will destroy you.

    That is the message we learned from the Liu case.

    The corollary to that:

    Rich white men get to do whatever they want and nothing happens to them.

    That's what we learned from watching Bloomberg bribe Independence Party officials with millions of dollars three election cycles running and manipulate term limits so that he could have his third (illegal) term.

    The press will undermine de Blasio too, if he is elected and magnify every little issue, every little flaw.

    They will seek to destroy him as soon as they can so that, even if he wanted to, he will not be able to undo Bloomberg's policies.

    Meanwhile Bloomberg should be in jail with John Haggerty for what he pulled with his Independence Party bribes.

    But he is feted in the media as a hero and a genius - the genius that saved New York.

    Again, the message is - rich white men can do whatever they want but you had better do what the rich white men want or they will destroy you.

    Bloomberg Says He's Cleaned Up NY's Air Like Nobody Else

    From the Times:

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Thursday that his administration’s efforts at reducing air pollution had resulted in New York City’s having the best air quality in more than 50 years.
    Sulfur dioxide levels have dropped by 69 percent since 2008, and the level of soot pollution has dropped by more than 23 percent since 2007, according to a new city survey. 

    The mayor said the reduction was largely the result of the city’s effort to get buildings that used the most polluting kinds of heating oil to convert to cleaner fuels. 

    Since pollution exacerbates lung and cardiovascular disease, the mayor said, the city estimates that the reduction in pollution is preventing 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year. 

    “The continued health benefits of this conversion to cleaner heating fuels will make it the single biggest step to save lives since we began our comprehensive smoking control program,” Mr. Bloomberg said, at a news conference at Chelsea Piers. 

    “City government’s number one responsibility, I’ve always thought, is protecting the health and safety of our people,” he added. “And when you look at the results like that, at the lives being saved and the illnesses being prevented, it tells you that we’re definitely doing something right.”

    As usual with Bloomberg, everything he does is the "best ever".

    But it's all lies.

    As I noted in a previous post:

    Highest test scores under Bloomberg - until they were exposed as inflated.

    Sky-rocketing graduation rates - except the numbers are inflated by credit recovery programs that give semester credits for tasks like watching movies.

    Best crime stats ever - except there is ample evidence the police are manipulating the stats.

    Quickest emergency response time ever - except they don't count the time callers spend on the line with 911 operators, thus making the stats look better than they are.

    News stories abound of NYPD cops shooting lots of people in the last calendar year - but Wolfson says the approximately 70 police shootings will be "the lowest since records were kept."

    So many of the statistics and so much of the data that Bloomberg and his minions hawk to prove Bloomberg is the bestest thing ever are phonied up.

    The tortured ego this man has, the need to constantly be the center of attention, to tell everybody that everything he does is the "best ever," the need to put his name on everything he owns - he's a little child who never grew up.

    That many other New Yorkers don't see through his tired act has always surprised me.

    Perhaps because the press dutifully reports what Bloomberg and his fellow plutocrat-owning media buddies want reported and only that keeps people from seeing the "real Bloomberg."

    You can bet de Blasio, if elected, won't be given a similar pass from the media plutocrats.

    Ever flaw will be magnified and focused upon.

    But Bloomberg?

    Given a pass.

    Bloomberg Gets Testy Over Mayor's Race Questions

    More and more frequently, Bloomberg shows the real him:

    Mayor Bloomberg declared during a testy exchange with reporters Thursday that the race to succeed him is not interesting and therefore he is not paying any attention to it.

    The billionaire mayor, who said this month he had decided not to make an endorsement in the race because it would be a distraction, first grew exasperated with the press about non-campaign questions he was being asked during a news conference Thursday.

    He dismissed one topic as a "dumb question" and scolded another reporter that "we're here to have legitimate questions," before growing more irritated when NBC 4 New York's Melissa Russo attempted to get his thoughts on the mayoral race.

    "Literally, miss, I have not listened to one campaign speech, or seen one ad or watched one debate," he said. "I've got to worry about running the city, so I don't know what people are saying."

    When asked why he isn't paying attention, he said "because I don't find it interesting."


    When asked Thursday why he gets so worked up about campaign questions, the mayor insisted he wasn't angry. He said the reporters who cover him should know that he doesn't comment on the race, and should stop asking.

    "Every press conference, all you want to do is ask about things you know I'm not going to say," he said.

    Then, like a parent threatening to stop the car, he went on:

    "I'm not going to bother with the press conferences. There's just no reason to do it," he said.

    Reporters should "restrict the questions to things that are germane to what our administration is doing," he added.

    Clearly it bothers him that he will no longer be the center of attention.

    Not a surprise from a guy who feels the need to put BLOOMBERG on everything he owns.

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Rudy Giuliani Loved To Call People Marxists Too

    Jill Colvin at Politicker discovered that Joe Lhota's "De Blasio's A Marxist" campaign strategy is old hat for Lhota - his boss back in the 90's loved to do it too:

    In the late 90s, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani–under whom Mr. Lhota served as budget director and deputy mayor–constantly made similar allegations, accusing those who opposed him of subscribing to dangerous, leftist ideologies, according to reports from the time.

    “A decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the swift collapse of communism’s Evil Empire, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is still darkly wary of Marxist influence in the nooks and crannies of the city,” the New York Times wrote in a 1999 piece entitled “Giuliani’s Hunt for Red Menaces.” Mr. Giuliani reportedly “discerned a sinister Marxist tinge to a wide variety of enemies, from the paradoxically well-organized anarchists who sacked a Starbucks in Seattle to the gardeners who plant flowers in the city’s vacant lots.”

    In one such instance, Mr. Giuliani, on the heels of reaching a tentative deal to prevent a strike by the Transport Workers Union, told those gathered at a City Hall press conference that, “a week ago I said that Marxism unfortunately is still alive in parts of New York City even in the latter part of this century even though it’s been disgraced all over the world.”

    In another instance, Mr. Giuliani suggested that members of a group concerned about the city’s growing reliance on private funding to maintain city parks had been influenced by “a very, very extreme radical political outlook on the world.”

    “It probably comes out of spending some time in school in the 40′s or 50′s studying Marxism or something,” he said, according to the paper.

    When Mr. Giuliani criticized Seattle’s anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations, he further bemoaned “the remaining damage that Marxism has done to the thinking of people.” Asked later about his remarks, the former mayor said the comments had to do with “the whole notion of class warfare, which really comes out of the teaching of Karl Marx, trying to divide people into different classes.”

    The charges continued as Mr. Giuliani was running for president in 2008, when he labeled the Democratic candidates’ health care plans “heavily influenced by Marxism,” according to the New York Post.

    Smear and fear, smear and fear, smear and fear...

    It's a classic Republican tactic, dating back to McCarthy and Nixon in the 40's and 50's:

     Baruch College professor Doug Muzzio said the strategy reminded him very much of Mr. Giuliani.

    “It’s part of the playbook. It’s the fear mongering and the aliens are going to take over,” Mr. Muzzio explained, slamming the tactic as “dumb” and ineffective. “He shouldn’t be using it at all.”

    We'll see in the next slate of polls if it helped Lhota, helped de Blasio or made no difference.

    The NY Times Documentary On Christine Quinn

    If you enjoyed watching the Christine Quinn campaign go down in flames the first time around, you can relive it in this Times documentary.

    It's clear from this documentary that many people do not like her, that she knew it and she had to face that day after day on the trail.

    There's a sense that they could have given Quinn's wife, Kim Catullo, a more prominent role in the campaign and tried to humanize Quinn a bit more, make her more sympathetic.

    I've seen some people on the Internet say they should have done that very early on, knowing that the term limits betrayal and her own temperament/personality issues were going to be problems.

    I dunno, I just don't think Quinn could get past those two issue no matter what.

    She screwed over too many people over the years, made too many enemies, made too many backroom deals.

    You can see how vociferous the Anybody But Quinn people are in the Times documentary.

    I followed them throughout the campaign, saw them on the street, watched Quinn's poll numbers plummet as they started running their ad against her.

    They did some serious damage.

    By the end of the spring, I think the only way Quinn could have won this race was if she had managed to make it to a runoff against Anthony Weiner.

    Quinn's flaws and problems pale compared to his.

    She would have beaten him.

    But anybody else - I don't think so.

    Her flaws and problems were, in the end, fatal to her Gracie Mansion ambitions.

    Quinn says in the documentary that she never anticipated the negativity she would get in the campaign from Day One.

    Well, she should have.

    When you have your own dedicated cadre of protesters who follow you around the city, when you have to embargo your public schedule because of those protesters, when people on a daily basis come up on the street to you and tell you they can't vote for you because of the term limits betrayal - these were all signs how tough things were going to be.

    And one more thing:

    I don't buy that she didn't win because she's a woman or because she is a lesbian.

    She didn't win because she is unlikable, she is a nasty person with a track record of that nastiness, she is an untrustworthy person who betrayed the will of the voters with her term limits shenanigans.

    In the end, she lost because she was nothing more than an old-style backroom Irish boss and, exposed as just that by her term limits maneuvers, people decided they didn't want her as mayor.

    Yes, de Blasio surged because of the Dante ad and his positioning himself on the left over stop-and-frisk.

    But it just as easily could have been Thompson who beat her too, had de Blasio not surged at the end.

    Given all her negatives and her inability to make people forget about the term limits manipulation, she had little chance to win.

    Performance Assessments And Regents Exams

    We've been working our way through the first round of "performance assessments" in my school.

    We're all little concerned what the June "assessments" will look like and what we'll have to do April, May and early June to make sure we "add value" to our students and they show "growth" on those June "assessments."

    At my school, our heavy testing season for the ELA Regents is in January.

    While we will have some remedial classes of students who still must pass the ELA Regents in June, many of our students will have gotten through that hoop by June.

    It is going to be difficult, however, to simultaneously prep the students who STILL must pass the ELA Regents exam after failing it once for that June test while simultaneously trying to "add value" to their June "performance assessment" scores.

    Nonetheless, our headaches will be nothing compared to the schools that have most students take the ELA Regents exam in June.

    Those schools will be simultaneously prepping juniors for both the ELA Regents exam (with the increased scoring chart difficulty) and the second round of "performance assessments."

    Those two areas will be worth 40% of many teachers' evaluation scores overall (20% for each.)

    If teachers come up "ineffective" on both of those scores, they MUST be declared "ineffective" overall.

    Leaving aside the ridiculousness of these so-called "performance assessments" being given in many schools (they are certainly not going to give teachers an "objective" and "scientific" score - but we'll get to that in a later post), there are going to be an awful lot of freaked out teachers in this city in June.

    That, of course, is the rationale behind the entire evaluation system.

    Not to offer "feedback" (as the Asshats4Educators people keep parroting because they read it on their Gates Foundation-funded talking points sheets.)

    Not to help teachers improve.

    To freak people out, to increase the anxiety levels in schools, to move some teachers out by getting them to quit and to move others out by giving districts the tools they need to "i-rate" them and fire them.

    That's it - that's all this is about.

    Arne Duncan Doesn't Seem To Understand He Is Part Of The Problem

    NY Times has a conversation about schools and education reform with Arne Duncan, Mitch Daniels and John Engler.

    Duncan is asked has the reform movement learned anything from mistakes made.

    He ignores his own policy decisions over the last five years and points the finger right at the Bush administration:

    Duncan: A huge thing: No Child Left Behind was very well-intentioned. It did lots of things to spotlight the achievement gap. What it didn’t get was the need for high standards. What actually happened, which is really, really insidious, is that you had almost 20 states, in reaction to the law, dummy-down their standards and lower their standards.

    The worst thing that I think can happen to kids and families, and particularly disadvantaged communities, is that people expect less of them, to make politicians look good. What I think the reform movement got wrong fundamentally is it was very loose on goals but very tight on how to get there.

    I just fundamentally believe in a different theory of change. I believe in being tight on goals – having a very high bar – and loose on how to get there. We should give people a lot more room and flexibility to create and to be innovative. 
    I think that the reform movement got that wrong in a big way. Not from lack of good intent. And I think that was big. It hurt the country in a way that we’re working hard to correct.

    See - he's just trying to fix the problems he was saddled with from NCLB when he got here.

    He didn't cause any of this with RttT or his NCLB waivers that mandate all sorts of things he doesn't have the power to mandate or by pushing Common Core so heavily that it was inevitable he would create a backlash or by bypassing states and making waiver deals with districts and crystallizing what federal overreach looks like in one fell swoop.

    But he doesn't see any of this

    Nope - the not problems in education today, in the U.S., in his old district in Chicago - his fault.

    Except, you know, some of them are.

    Here is how one DC insider described Arne Duncan's performance:

    “Arne Duncan has so mangled federal education at this point that it’s going to take a new

    administration and secretary to reframe the debate and offer a path forward.”

    Maybe one day Arne Duncan will have a "Come to Jesus" moment and realize the damage he has done to schools, students teachers, and public education.

    I'm skeptical about that because he doesn't really seem like the kind of guy capable of self-reflection or mid-course adjustment.

    Plutocrats And Their Functionaries Fete Bloomberg

    The Clinton Foundation, which I believe does nothing other than raise awareness of the Clintons and give Bill Clinton a chance to troll the world for dates, held a function last night to give an award to Mayor Bloomberg:

    NEW YORK—Appearing at the Clinton Global Initiative conference to present the Leadership in Public Service award to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Vice President Biden took what he said was “a point of personal privilege” to praise the work of his “old buddy” on gun control.

    Acknowledging their failure to get federal legislation passed despite their cooperative efforts, Biden said he remains confident of success. Change will eventually come, Biden said, and “when it comes, … it will be because Mike has sent it.”

    “Your passion about reducing gun violence in this country is something that’s become contagious,” Biden said. “Mike knows that we only can bring sanity to this issue when we come together and demand it.”

    Accepting the award, Bloomberg said that while Colorado voters earlier this month recalled two state senators who helped pass state gun control legislation, the “public has won” by getting that law on the books.

    “Even though we have yet to get the bill passed, Joe’s not giving up the fight, and certainly, neither am I,” Bloomberg said.

    But Biden wasn’t done heaping on the praise. “Genius perceives differences; talent, unity,” the vice president said, quoting William Butler Yeats. “That’s Mike.”

    Biden cited Bloomberg’s work on sustainability, public health and city planning, calling him a leader that the city, the country and the world should be thankful for.

    “I don’t know anyone in my career—and I’ve been hanging around a long time—who does more to create the future than you, Mike,” Biden said. 
    Earlier in the day, Biden met with Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio, who’s running a campaign largely against Bloomberg’s legacy. Wednesday night, though, Biden said he wished there were a hundred Bloombergs—and if there were, “we’d be a hell of a lot further down the road in meeting the potential of this country.”

    Looks like Biden's aiming for a post-administration job at the Bloomberg Philanthropy offices, doesn't it?

    The reality is, Bloomberg's heavy-handedness over the gun control issue, his spending millions to push through legislation he wants, his spending millions more to back pols who do what he wants on this and other issues, often has backfired and harmed the cause of gun control.

    Many people resent this plutocrat buying what laws and politicians across this country (just the way they resented his buying a third term here in NYC.)

    As for the award ceremony, Biden's comments indicate everything you need to know about what is wrong with the Obama administration.

    Too close to the plutocrats and always angling for post-administration corporate gigs.

    The NY Post And The Lhota Campaign - Selling Fear And Lies

    The Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post has been hammering away at Bill de Blasio for a few weeks now ever since he won the primary vote.

    Every day they run two, three, four, sometimes five negative stories about him.

    He once asked Joel Klein to add TM to the DOE.

    He honeymooned in Cuba.

    He worked for a Jesuit group that brought food and medical supplies to Nicaragua at the same time the Reagan administration was arming the Contras with weapons.

    He will rule NYC like Raul Castro rules Cuba.

    On and on it goes, the Post smearing de Blasio as leftwing commie pinko who will turn the city into Cuba, taking away private property and turning the public parks into re-education centers.

    It's silly and I don't know how many people outside of the couple of hundred people who actually buy and read the Post will believe any of this stuff (the Post loses over $100 million a year and their "circulation numbers are about as believable as Rupert Murdoch's claims he didn't know his reporters were hacking into people's phones and bribing cops for stories in Britain.)

    Still, it's gets tiresome after a while.

    You couple the Post stories with Joe Lhota's "De Blasio is a Marxist" campaign strategy and you see two more examples of how the Republicans have run their campaigns since Nixon - divide and conquer, Southern strategy, appeal to the worst in people, sell fear, etc.

    Smear, smear, smear, lie, lie, lie.

    Today the Posties get a picture of de Blasio from his NYU yearbook and use it to, again, smear him as a left wing commie pinko.

    Ooooh, look at the radical Sixties man.

    He protested Three Mile Island and nuclear power man.

    He's freaky, man...

    This stuff just shows how vacuous the right wing is - bereft of policies that will appeal to people, they use fear and smear, fear and smear.

    Fear and smear.

    When Does The NY Times Do The Hit Piece On Joe Lhota?

    They did one on Quinn.

    Did one on Weiner.

    Did one on Thompson.

    Now they've done one on de Blasio.

    When do they do one on Lhota?

    As I have blogged over and over and over, this guy's got anger management issues.

    He challenged a 77 year old man to a fight last year at an MTA board meeting he was chairing.

    No, really.

    Back during the Giuliani administration, he got into a shoving match with a reporter right outside City Hall.

    Those are the two stories we know about.

    I bet there are more.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the Times looked into it?

    They've done their hit pieces on every other candidate.

    Isn't it time Joe Lhota gets his 15 minutes?

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Michael Powell: Lhota Has Jumped The Shark

    Michael Powell in the Times:

    “Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917” — This is a reference to the Bolsheviks’ storming of the Winter Palace and not the last time the Jets won the Super Bowl — “it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of Communism became crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason.

    “Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why.”

    With this statement, Mr. Lhota not only jumped the shark, he rode a Great White bareback through New York harbor.

    It’s hard to know where to start.

    As a resident of haute bourgeois Park Slope and the owner of a rapidly appreciating row house, the middle-aged Mr. de Blasio seems unlikely to embrace property expropriation. As a former Little League coach, he also seems not likely to turn Prospect Park’s baseball fields into collective farms, although if he does, organic kale might be found on every plate in the city.

    His children, it’s true, appear to have attended the Park Slope Child Care Collective. But the tykes favored “Baby Beluga” over the Red Army anthem.

    He is a Boston Red Sox fan, which may or may not be in that Marxist playbook but is perhaps cause for immediate suspicion by Yankee fans. He once self-identified as a democratic socialist, which would put him in the same ideological column as Golda Meir, Moishe Dayan, Willie Brandt and François Mitterrand.

    And more or less all of those social democrats stood up to and argued vociferously with the hard left, including Communists.

    Lastly, as to those Sandinistas: This was a complicated revolutionary movement. A remarkably diverse coalition at first, it overthrew a cruel dictator. The leadership included some Communists, as well as social democrats and priests.

    Some of its key leaders harbored unfortunate authoritarian tendencies. They stood – a touch reluctantly – for two elections deemed fair by many foreign observers. After it was defeated in that second election, in 1990, the movement shifted into the democratic opposition. Whatever their failings, the Sandinistas did not impose a repressive regime on their impoverished Central American nation. There was no mass jailing of opponents nor mass execution of opposing soldiers.

    Quite a few liberal-left students and young people in the 1980s supported revolutionary movements in Central America. They may have been more than a touch naïve about the nature of these movements, but they at least realized that these nations had suffered terribly at the hands of United States-supported dictators.

    As Powell notes in the Times column, Lhota has a whole 178 words devoted to policy on his website.

    NYC Educator wrote in a comment:

     Wow. 178 words is maybe a blog. How often do you and I come up with something like that?

    More than Lhota does, that's for sure.

    Unless he's accusing de Blasio of being a Red, that is.

    Then he finds it easy to hit his 178+ word count.

    De Blasio - 74 Page Policy Document; Joe Lhota - 178 Words On Policy

    Lhota is so busy refighting the 80's Contra Wars he can't be bothered to give any details about how he would govern as mayor:

    On the radio Wednesday morning, Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota kept up his attack on Democratic rival Bill de Blasio's youthful dalliances as a pro-Sandinista leftist.

    "It's about your inner-core feelings. It's about your personal philosophy," he said on WOR's "The John Gambling Show". "We need to understand how people think, especially if we're going to put our children in their hands."

    Voters who are considering putting their children in Mr. Lhota's hands would be hard-pressed, though, to figure out what the Republican candidate thinks about transit, education, economic development or taxes, let alone 1980s-era Central American conflicts.

    Unlike Mr. de Blasio, who in June released a 74-page policy book packed with ideas big (tax increases) and small (protecting pet-owning seniors), Mr. Lhota's campaign has yet to lay out his ideas and policy prescriptions for New York. He regularly cites his service as deputy mayor for operations under Rudy Giuliani as his biggest selling point, but his campaign website is practically bare.

    Mr. Lhota lists four headings under the "priorities" tab of his site: jobs and the economy, education, public safety, and government efficiency and fiscal responsibility. Each is described with bullet points of roughly 40 words, for a grand total of 178 words.

    "Diversify our economy and provide an environment conducive to job creation and the elevation of the standard of living in all five boroughs," it reads under the jobs-and-economy heading.

    (New York Times columnist Michael Powell noted Tuesday that Mr. Lhota's denouncement of Mr. de Blasio's leftist past is "notably longer and more detailed than the sections of his website devoted to public safety, education and the police.")

    In contrast, Mr. Lhota's main rival in the GOP primary, grocery magnate John Catsimatidis—who was not known for his expert command of municipal issuesposted two six-page policy papers on his website, one on education and the other on small-business development.

    That may change next week, when the campaign says it will release, in great detail, Mr. Lhota's vision for the city.

    "We are in the process of compiling all of Joe's ideas and policy proposals into a user-friendly book that New Yorkers can go to, to learn how he will move the city forward," a spokeswoman said. "We will be unveiling it to the public in the coming days. Voters will have a clear choice in the philosophies and positions laid forth by the candidates and Joe's message of job growth and common-sense change that will resonate in all five boroughs."

    Next week?

    How long has Lhota been running?

    He announced his candidacy last January.

    That's nine months ago.

    And all he has is bullet points on website that cover his policy ideas - a total of 178 words?

    Gee, don't rush or anything getting those policy ideas together, Mr. Lhota.

    I mean, there are so many more important things to do, like smear your opponent as a Marxist over and over and over...

    Bill De Blasio Explains His Work In Nicaragua Back In The 80's

    Dana Rubenstein at Capital NY:

    De Blasio has stood by his support for the Sandinistas, but he hadn't gone into particular depth about it until today, at an appearance with fire union leader Steve Cassidy, who had just endorsed him.
    "A lot of us in this country believe that the United States policies towards Central America in the 1980s were wrong," said de Blasio. "By the way, the organization I worked with was founded by Jesuits. As you may know, a lot of the work being done on the ground to help needy people in Central America was done by leaders in the Catholic Church, it was done by nuns. And the sense of injustice that was so obvious in terms of United States policies supporting regimes that were in many cases very unfair to their own people. That’s why I got involved because I thought our policies were wrong."

    "The organization I worked with that is talked about in that article literally collected medical supplies, clothing, and sent it to a non-profit in Nicaragua to get it to needy people who were obviously affected by the environment of war surrounding their country that was being supported by the U.S. government," he continued. "So, I think it was the right thing to do. I am very proud of that work. And by the way, over time, the majority of the United States people came to believe that our policies were wrong and that finally is what changed our policies."

    Given his activism on the Nicaragua issue, his welcoming of Robert Mugabe to City Hall back in 2002 (something he has since apologized for) and his participation in a recent press conference denouncing Iran, I asked him what role he thinks the mayor of New York City should play in foreign policy debates.

    "I think we are an international city by definition, and the most diverse, or one of the most diverse, cities on earth," he said. "The United Nations happens to be located here. There’s a lot of reasons why it’s natural, but it pales in comparison to the work we have to do here at home in our neighborhoods. So from time to time it will be pertinent, especially during U.N. week for example. But no, I think the singular focus of the next mayor has to be to addressing inequalities of the city and that goes right down to the grassroots, neighborhood by neighborhood."

    That's a good response from de Blasio. 

    Frankly, it should have come yesterday, but I'll take it today too.

    For two days the de Blasio campaign has been off message while the Lhota campaign and the three corporatist newspapers in this city hammered him as "Sandanista Bill."

    This explanation should put the whole Nicaragua thing to rest.

    If I were de Blasio, I might have added one thing:

    I was bringing food, clothing and medical aid to people suffering while the CIA and Reagan administration were bringing guns and other weapons to murder people.

    Which side would you have been on?

    I think I was on the right side.

    Which side do you think Joe Lhota would have helped?

    Geo Karo On The NY Times Sandanista Hack Piece On De Blasio

    If you haven't seen Geo Karo's post on the hack job the NY Times did on Bill de Blasio the other day over the Sandanista bit, you should read it.

    Geo says the Times took the FOX News route on this and I think that's exactly right.

    That all three daily newspapers - the Post, the News and the Times - are attacking de Blasio daily should tell you something about the fears these people have over what a post-Bloomberg New York City will be like.

    It seems unreasonable to me, as I wrote earlier today.

    And yet, when you see how shrill they're getting, you can see how fearful they are.

    Tish James Wants To Save The DOE Emails

    It has been reported that the NYCDOE will be shredding evidence of their education reform crimes and burning down much of Tweed in late December before the next mayor takes power.

    Tish James, candidate for Public Advocate, doesn't want that to happen:

    CITY HALL — Councilwoman Letitia James wants copies of a colossal amount of Department of Education emails — to ensure they’re not deleted when Mayor Bloomberg exits office in January.
    James has requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Law that the DOE provide her with all its employees’ emails that discuss key education policies.

    The demand came just days after DNAinfo New York’s Sept. 17 story about the Bloomberg administration remaining undecided on an email-retention plan for various city agencies.
    With a few months left in its final term, the administration is still mulling whether to preserve emails from the DOE, the NYPD, the mayor’s office and other major agencies or allow them to end up in a digital dumpster.

    Barbara Sherman, an education policy analyst for James, said the councilwoman wants copies to help the next mayor understand the previous administration’s thinking.

    “In order to move forward and have a smooth transition and understand how these transitions are made, they need this information,” Sherman told DNAinfo.

    “I think for just the sake of continuity, there is something very strange for the [Bloomberg] administration to get rid of 12 years of correspondences,” she added.

    James, a Democrat currently in a runoff election for Public Advocate, has asked for copies of all DOE emails discussing enrollment, testing, Common Core standards, audits and support services for students with disabilities.

    She also wants emails in which Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and deputy chancellors discuss the truncation or closing of city schools. Her FOIL letter also requests emails in which they discuss school bus transportation, bus contracts and employer protection provisions for drivers and matrons.
    “Education is quite important to the councilwoman," Sherman said. "She has been a champion of families whose voices have not been heard. This is just another area where the Department of Education is eliminating — not just stifling, but eliminating — this voice."

    Clearly Bloomberg and Walcott intend to erase any evidence of their crimes and incompetence before they go.

    They must be stopped.

    Notice that Tish James is trying to stop them.

    Not Dan Squadron (who, as Patrick Sullivan pointed out on Twitter last night, has never made it to a PEP to protest a school closure while James has been a regular fixture at those meetings.)

    Nope - Tish James.

    Something to think about before you vote on October 1.

    Another Day, Another Negative NY Post Story On De Blasio

    He's a commie pinko ticket-fixing, transcendental meditation-loving, document-shredding, cop-hating Marxist member of the Sandanista Party and New York City will be DESTROYED if he is elected mayor.

    That's the message, day-in and day-out from the Posties.

    Gee, they really sound threatened.

    After 20 years of corporatist mayors, they seem to be worried that somebody might take power who doesn't automatically side with the plutocrats.

    Now I dunno if that's going to be true or not.

    I'm a bit cynical in my middle age, so I tend to think whatever a politician promises on the way, he/she must be held accountable for those promises once they're in.

    And there are plenty of examples in de Blasio's past of his working with real estate or corporate interests and giving them what they want.

    So I dunno exactly why the Posties and other corporatists in the city are so scared of a de Blasio as mayor.

    Perhaps they are concerned because they think they will get a mayor in power who won't accommodate them 100% of the time.

    After 20 years of always getting what they want from City Hall, that may scare them a bit.

    But seriously, the hyperbole over this is a bit much.

    The Post-Mayoral Propaganda Around Bloomberg Is Starting Already

    From the Daily News:

    Hizzoner is getting a big honor indeed – a biography.

    Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday that outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting a “major biography” by way of author Eleanor Randolph, a longtime journalist and editorial board member for the New York Times.

    According to the release, the biography will take an intimate look into the “extraordinary career and legacy of Bloomberg, who revolutionized business reporting, who has been a powerful and innovative mayor of New York City for the last 12 years, and who has become a public figure of national significance.”

    Gee, that doesn't sound like a puff piece at all.

    Oh, no...wait...

    It does sound like a puff piece.

    Is Eleanor Randolph on the Bloomberg payroll?

    Probably not.

    Does she want to be on the Bloomberg payroll?

    Sure sounds like it from the description of the book.

    Bloomberg has tons of of his own journalists on payroll already, from Jonathan Alter to Andrew Kirtzman, who will provide plenty of pro-Bloomberg propaganda in the coming years.

    And then we have shills from the NY Times editorial board who look like they're about to add to the pro-Bloomberg propaganda canon.

    Will anybody do an independent accounting of the Bloomberg Years?

    Will anybody look into the manipulated crime stats?

    Or the phonied up graduation rates?

    Or how they lied about the test scores?

    Or how they lie about emergency response times now?

    How about all the scandals - from CityTime to the 911 system that STILL doesn't work and almost killed another person this week to the NYCHA computer mess to the FDNY GPS scandal to the Seedco scandal to the NYCDOE scandals (see here and here) and on and on and on...

    And let's not forget the Bloomberg Boxer Day Blizzard disaster, when he couldn't get the streets outside of Manhattan plowed and people died as a result or his downplaying of the seriousness of Sandy prior to Cuomo forcing him to call for an evacuation when the governor shut the MTA down.

    So much to scrutinize, but Eleanor Randolph's book doesn't sound like it's going to look into any of that.

    Then again, as a member of the NY Times editorial board, she's been responsible for a lot of pro-Bloomberg propaganda in the past, so there's no reason to expect that will change now that the mayor is leaving.

    Fins To The Left, Fins To The Right - Feeding Frenzy On Common Core

    One DC "insider" on whether Common Core proponents or opponents have the momentum:

    “Fins to the left, fins to the right. The left, including state and local teachers unions, are attacking the high ‐ stakes test and the focus on scores. The right distrusts the federal takeover of public education. It is a tight spot.”

    Feeding frenzy on the Core.

    They're worried when over 60% of the so-called DC insiders say opponents have the momentum.

    That's why it's so important for opponents on both the left and the right to stay focused on attacking the Core together.

    We can have the fight over vouchers and Creationism after we send Common Core to the bottom of the ocean.

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Bloomberg Red-Baited Mark Green Back In 2001

    Republicans are calling Bill de Blasio "Sandanista Bill" and likening him to an "ACORN project" Manchurian-style candidate.

    Odd that we're talking about 1982 foreign policy in a 2103 NYC mayoral race.

    Odder still that we're talking about a 1962 Frank Sinatra movie in a 2013 NYC mayoral race.

    But 2013 would not be the first time that a GOP mayoral candidate red-baited a Democratic opponent who was leading in the polls.

    Bloomberg did it in 2001 - only he went back beyond the 1980's and the Contra Wars:

    And indeed, here is that story from the Daily News back in 2001:

    Mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg is shifting tactics, going on the attack by branding Mark Green as anti-cop, anti-business and - in an unexpected throwback to the 1950s - a defender of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Bloomberg's offensive began when the Democratic Party united behind Green, and it reached new heights yesterday, when a top Bloomberg aide shadowed the public advocate at a forum and repeatedly trashed him afterward. "He once tried to denigrate Ronald Reagan by praising Joseph Stalin," aide Bill Cunningham told reporters. Green aide Joe DePlasco called the attacks a sign of desperation, adding, "This is complete crap and they know it.

    " Bloomberg's shift comes as the campaign's dynamics are working against him. The election is in two weeks, and voters' preoccupation with anthrax, Afghanistan and the Yankees makes it hard for him to grab their attention and overcome Green's double-digit lead in the polls. Trading barbs And any lift Mayor Giuliani could provide does not seem imminent. Asked when he will endorse the media mogul, Giuliani said yesterday, "Obviously, not right now. . . . That is not at the center of what I am doing every day.

    " The focus of Bloomberg's offensive is to question Green's move to the political center and paint him as a pol who will say anything to win. "Mark is a very liberal, leftist kind of guy," the GOP candidate said yesterday. "He has never been pro-business, and he has never been pro-law enforcement, and the record shows that and he may be trying to reinvent himself to something he isn't.

    " Cunningham trashed Green after the public advocate spoke to 300 business and civic leaders at a Crain's New York breakfast. Cunningham cited a passage from Green's 1982 book, "Winning Back America," that he said "applauded Joseph Stalin.

    " Green wrote that then-President Reagan had a tendency to "rewrite history" for political purposes. "Reagan said he knew of 'no leader of the Soviet Union since the revolution' whose aim was not world revolution, a view which ignores a Soviet leader named Joseph Stalin, who pushed for 'socialism in one country' instead of Leon Trotsky's approach of 'world revolution.

    ' " Green responded yesterday, "I have no memory of writing that, and it is irrelevant.

    They keep going back to the same old well when they're down in the polls - smear, smear, smear, red-bait, red-bait, red-bait.

    Hard to know what effect this stuff will have on the race, but it does have de Blasio on the defensive and it goes right at his "Tale of Two Cities" campaign rhetoric.  

    Now when de Blasio says this campaign is about a "Tale of Two Cities," Republicans are hoping the two cities voters think about are Washington and Managua.