Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saving Jamaica High School, Part 2

UFT Chapter leader, James Eterno, speaks out at the PEP meeting of 4/14/08

Academic Apartheid At Jamaica High School

From the 4/14/08 PEP meeting at Frank Sinatra High School in Long Island City. A contingent of almost 100 came to protest plans to put a new charter school into Jamaica High School. A science teacher tells it like it is:

he Rubber Room From Radio Diaries: Part 2

Produced by Joe Richman, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, and Samara Freemark at radiodiaries
part 2. I combined images with the audio. Broadcast 3/1/08 at this american life

The Rubber Room From Radio Diaries: Part 1

Produced by Joe Richman, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, and Samara Freemark at radiodiaries
part 1. I combined images with the audio. Broadcast 3/1/08 at this american life

The Rubber Room

The trailer from this excellent upcoming movie
from the movie site

What happens when a teacher in New York City is accused of misconduct or incompetence in the classroom? They are sent to the "Rubber Room" while an investigation is launched. They spend months or even years there getting full pay and doing nothing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Just When I Thought That I Was Done They Pull Me Back In!

Take a look at Mike's fingers, they look like they're crossed.
From reality based educator

The bad part about all of this is that we're going to get a plethora of "Bloomberg for Governor" stories now that Spitzer seems mortally wounded after this scandal.While last week I didn't think there was much to those rumors, after today I can start to see a scenario where Mayor Moneybags becomes Governor Moneybags and brings his Children First education reforms statewide while rezoning most of the state for sports stadiums and luxury buildings.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

D'Amato Says I'm On Board For Governor Bloomy

from the nypost

March 8, 2008 -- ALBANY - Former US Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican who all but endorsed Democratic Gov. Spitzer in 2006, yesterday backed Mayor Bloomberg for the state's top job in 2010. D'Amato offered his strong endorsement of the mayor at a private Republican gathering honoring Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) at the Woodmere Country Club on Long Island where Bloomberg was present. "D'Amato said, 'This is the person who would put the interests of the people of New York first and that's what we need, instead of the same old tired politics, instead of people who promise change but engage in the same old partisanship,' " said a prominent Republican who attended the event. "D'Amato said flatly, 'Bloomberg should run for governor,' " the source continued. The suggestion was greeted by loud applause. Bloomberg recently contributed $500,000 to Senate Republicans. But the mayor, who last week ruled out a White House bid, insisted that he wasn't interest in running for governor. Such a race could pit the billionaire mayor against the multimillionaire Spitzer, who is expected to seek re-election. The mayor leave office on Dec. 31, 2009, because of term limits. "The mayor said something like, 'Read my lips. I'm not running for governor,' and everybody laughed," the source recalled. Stu Loeser, the mayor's spokesman, said Bloomberg attended to make a pitch for congestion pricing, which faces significant hurdles in Albany, especially among suburban legislators."We were up front what we wanted to talk about," Loeser said. Asked why the mayor's public scheduled made no mention of his appearance, he replied: "It was a closed event."
Before the Skelos meeting, Bloomberg ate breakfast at a diner with members of the Long Island Regional Planning Board.
thanks to nyceducator

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mike Discusses A Possible VP Pick With Obama

Mike was probably pushing a possible vp post when he met with Obama in December. All along he was probably hoping it would be Hillary vs Romney, a match where his so-called independent candidacy would have its best shot
an excerpt from nyc educator

Obama/Bloomberg? -- Not Likely
The NY Daily News reports today that Mayor Bloomberg and Barack Obama spoke together a day after the Little Mayor finally ended his ludicrous flirtation with an independent run for the White House.
Bloomberg and his paid minions have spent the last year or more trying to create a groundswell of support for Bloomberg's independent White House bid by flooding the airwaves and newspapers with stories about Bloomberg's wonderful post-partisan stewardship of New York City and how he's exactly what the country is looking for in these times of trouble. Bloomberg spent gobs of money to poll all 50 states to see if he had a realistic shot to win and had begun to develop a campaign apparatus even as he was flirtatiously denying he really wanted to run for president.
Oh, Little Mayor, you're so coy!
Unfortunately for the Little Mayor, he doesn't garner more than single digits in any state including New York no matter who the Democratic and Republican nominees are, and that includes the very polarizing figures of Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. So Bloomberg finally admitted this week that he's not going to run for president though he does believe what this country needs is a post-partisan figure like himself to solve the messes we're in.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Next Step: Vice President Mike?

Maybe when he looked at the "ARIS like" data he saw this
from quinnipiac

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has insisted he is not running for President, could not break out of single digits in three-way presidential matchups in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a February 14 Quinnipiac University poll found.

Because these three Swing States are pivotal in presidential elections, the independent Quinnipiac University poll has been conducting simultaneous surveys. February 14 results matching Mayor Bloomberg against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Arizona Sen. John McCain, or against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. McCain, showed:

* Florida - Bloomberg at 7 percent to 40 percent for Clinton and 38 percent for McCain;

Bloomberg at 9 percent, with 37 percent for McCain and 35 percent for Obama.

* Ohio - 6 percent for Bloomberg, and Clinton and McCain tied at 40 percent each;

6 percent for Bloomberg, with 39 percent for McCain and 38 percent for Obama.

* Pennsylvania - Bloomberg at 7 percent to 42 percent for Clinton and 36 percent for McCain;

Bloomberg at 7 percent, with McCain and Obama tied at 38 percent each.

In each state, Bloomberg drew support away from McCain.

"Maybe Mayor Michael Bloomberg realizes that New York line, 'if you can make it there you can make it anywhere,' doesn't always work in politics," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In much of the rest of the country, Bloomberg wasn't that well known or well regarded. These polls of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania - in which he could not crack double digits - show just how large a challenge a Bloomberg presidential candidacy would have faced."

Poor ARIS, Joel Klein's (And Mike Bloomberg's) $80 Million White Elephant. Getting Trashed All Over The Place.

A hat tip to Norm Scott's great education and politics' blog ednotes for capturing the essence of this story. I sort of captured another essence of it from youtube (an elephantine data dump similar to aris')
Also Gary Babad has his usual brilliant a satire over at nycpublic schoolparents
from ednotes

(Many years ago I said that one day Joel Klein would be taken out of Tweed with his coat over his head – I half expected to see him among the Gambino Family crowd. Maybe he will be joined by Chief Accountability Officer Jim Liebman
I attended a press conference a few years ago when Klein announced how data would be accumulated for teachers to use. Based on my knowledge of the state of computer access in schools (which has suffered severe deterioration under BloomKlein) and the state of available time available during the school day for teachers to check such data (which has also suffered severe deterioration under BloomKlein) I raised this issue with Klein:
"The reality on the ground, is that teachers will not be able to access all this other than on their own time at home, and that is just not real." Klein just shucked the question off (I guess he figured threats to send teachers to the rubber room for not burning the midnight oil at home checking the ARIS data would suffice.)
Shame on the NYC press corps for ignoring this issue.
ARIS has also been taking hits from the pros. When the system was announced a year ago, the called it an $80 million super mugging.
Ah, the sweet smell of a swindle. Don't you just hate it when consulting companies cajole deals with hand-wringing about technology and, especially, preying on clients' lack of expertise?
Teachers are underpaid, hardly appreciated, and overworked. I can only wonder what the half-life is of a system that asks teachers to log on to get information delivered by the "chief accountability officer."

About a year ago I took a swipe at the “$80 million supercomputer to analyze NYC student achievement.” It smelled more like a super sales job than a super useful analytical tool.
At the time I had said:
Teachers are underpaid, hardly appreciated, and overworked. I can only wonder what the half-life is of a system that asks teachers to log on to get information delivered by the “chief accountability officer.”
Well, it appears that things haven’t gone that smoothly with the supercomputer. Today I received a link from Leonie Haimson, a NYC education advocate, to a story entitled SCHOOLS COMPUTER AN $80M ‘DISASTER’.
Not only has the supercomputer struggled to gain much traction with users (“The school system’s new $80 million computer super system to track student performance has been a super debacle, teachers and principals say.”), it has coincided with severe budget cuts.
We see these data warehousing problems all the time with our clients, and the NYC supercomputer displays all the hallmarks:
* Delivery delays: Nearly six months after the Department of Education unveiled the “first of its kind” data-management system, the city’s 80,000 teachers have yet to log on because of glitches and delays.
* Bad user experience: Many principals have complained that it runs slowly, lacks vital information, and is often too frustrating to use.
* Complicated training and set-up: School officials were hoping to have everyone hooked up and trained within months…delays in creating IDs and passwords for teachers
* Trying to do too much; delivering too little: The principal added that she preferred to get student information from a combination of old data systems “rather than wait for ARIS to churn and churn and churn and maybe give me half the report I need.”
* Massive cost: Complaints about the expensive system - on which nearly $35 million has been spent so far - have gotten louder since the city unceremoniously chopped $100 million from individual school budgets last month.
* And yet, few success anecdotes to justify the investment: ARIS had already enabled her data team to analyze the performance trends of the school’s many English-language learners.
It does offer one thing that I haven’t seen before: a Chief Accountability Officer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The More The Merrier

The announcement should come any day, especially with McCain tanking. Great acting job on attacking the Times, when he's probably so happy they did it. He's got to play to anti-Times' bias in the Republican hinterlands. Notice Mike has also got the requisite American flag pin on his lapel, maybe even two of them. What does he mean that in some states you need 70,000 signatures and you can't get one? Certainly somebody can be bought for a billion dollars.

Black History In New York City Schools

In Mayor Mike's NYC school system the concept of heritage and history get short shrift

Black History Month: UWS School Retains King's Message Despite Name Change
February 16, 2008
NY1 Education reporter Mike Meenan filed the following report on a high school on the Upper West Side that once beared name of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as the station's coverage of Black History month continues.
In 1975, a school opened in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- assassinated seven years earlier in 1968.
But in 2005, the Department of Education carved out six theme-based mini schools within the building. Despite the reorganization, students feel reminders, like the towering monument on Amsterdam Avenue, still make this King's school.
"It makes me feel good inside that I'm going to Martin Luther King," said one student.
The push to alter the school began in 2002, after a shooting left two students wounded and years of failure left too many kids without a diploma, an unfortunate fate for a school named after a civil rights leader.
One veteran teacher who has spent nearly his entire career at the school believes that it's the sports teams that embody the spirit of Dr. King.
"It is extremely sad that the legacy and honor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not kept alive with the school's name," said Athletic Director Martin Jacobson. "It is not so sad that many of the teams on the campus, we call ourselves Martin Luther King. So the unity still exists."
Academic achievement has increased on the campus since the reorganization, and teachers and students say that attracts a wider student body.
"We have six different schools, and we were trying to get the diversity," said teacher Byron Tummings. "And I think we have reached it. And it's working."
"They came because our higher academic levels," said student Charlie Watson. "Actually, that's a good thing that not only black people come here."
The captain of the school's soccer team says racial diversity's helped win ten of the past 12 city championships.
"The team, also, is different races, Africans, which is black, Hispanics, like South Americans and Central Americans, and you have Americans, like white peoples, and we all combine and win the championship together," said Biko Edwards, the team captain.
So despite being known as Martin Luther King High for only 30 years, students say this building where they go to school will be always be known as Dr. King's because of what they still learn here.
"What I'll tell my peers of what I've learned is to not to look at color or culture, just to be true to yourself and what you believe in," said student Tiffany Puente.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why The Times Printed The McCain Story

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Candidate of the Permanent Will

A terrific article by David Sirota from

To the consternation of news bureaus, political consulting firms and has-been politicians, The Wall Street Journal’s poll last month shows that America is hostile to an independent presidential candidacy by Michael Bloomberg. The New York mayor is viewed more unfavorably than favorably by voters. In head-to-head general election polls, he gets crushed everywhere, losing even the city he now governs. Yet, despite the unprecedented enthusiasm for the major parties’ 2008 presidential contenders, the media and political gatekeepers keep floating the possibility of Bloomberg’s candidacy, showing just how much change frightens the status quo. To review: Bloomberg is the billionaire who spent roughly the same amount to buy New York’s mayoralty as Bill Clinton spent on his entire national presidential campaign in 1992. By most measures, he is the antithesis of what Americans want in a president. He is a CEO at a time when his own Bloomberg News polls show Americans overwhelmingly distrust CEOs. He heads a media conglomerate and is considering an independent presidential candidacy in an era when Gallup surveys show voters strongly distrust media companies and are satisfied with the current field of major-party candidates. Bloomberg is an icon of Manhattan’s effete aristocracy in an election pivoting on working-class voters in Ohio and the Mountain West. He is the caretaker mayor of a city that is an embarrassing spectacle of economic inequality—at a moment when Americans are worried about inequality. Even on foreign policy he is out of step. With the public outraged at the Iraq war,’s Glenn Greenwald has documented Bloomberg’s pro-war extremism echoing right-wing attempts to dishonestly connect 9/11 to the conflict; telling America to support President Bush because of the war; and offering a post-"Mission Accomplished” parade for the president. Bloomberg is positioning himself as an issues-based alternative to both parties’ aspiring nominees. Yet his confidante admits the Bloomberg candidacy would be a Seinfeldian display of arrogance: a campaign about nothing, other than one egomaniac’s self-importance. “It isn’t about which candidate Mike could live with,” the Bloomberg friend recently told New York magazine. “All Mike cares about is whether he can win or not.” Regardless, the portrayal of Bloomberg as Principled Savior continues. Late last year, Newsweek’s editor penned a brown-nosing front-cover love letter to the mayor, lauding his “American odyssey.” In January, Doug Schoen, a Bloomberg pollster, popped up in articles pushing the Bloomberg candidacy. Just weeks ago, a group of retired lawmakers trumpeted a Bloomberg run. Some of the motives are obvious. Washed-up politicians are looking for White House jobs. News executives and political consultants see dollar signs in potential Bloomberg for President ads. Reporters would like to ingratiate themselves to the head of a burgeoning media empire. Power-worshipping pundits see in Bloomberg a fellow upper-cruster they can relate to at social gatherings. But this is about more than just Cabinet slots, cash, careerism and cocktail parties. In years past, campaign contributors controlled figurehead candidates like Bush, and corporate front groups such as the Democratic Leadership Council pummeled threatening challengers like Howard Dean. These were reliable instruments of corruption that enforced what Alexander Hamilton once called the Establishment’s “permanent will.” Now, though, voters are forcing both parties to ignore that “permanent will” and embrace real, unbridled change. The Wall Street Journal notes that the ascendance of Republican John McCain, a sometime opponent of corporate America, is downright “nerve-wracking” for insiders already “jarred by intensifying populist attacks from the Democratic field.” Barack Obama (D) is now hammering away at lobbyist-written trade deals that help companies outsource jobs, and even Hillary Clinton (D)—the candidate who has taken the most cash from the health care industry—is criticizing health insurance profiteering. Thus, the elite are desperate for a stooge, and in Bloomberg, they’ve found one. Politically repugnant to most Americans and representing no mass constituency whatsoever, his wallet nonetheless imparts “legitimacy,” and his corporate career ensures a candidacy working to suppress the change impulse under meaningless bromides about “bipartisanship.” Bloomberg’s machinations will be the subject of ongoing media speculation. However, the real story is not about one prima donna, but about the entrenched interests pushing him to run in the first place. Whether this billionaire becomes a candidate or not, you can bet those interests will keep working hard to trip up change on its way to the White House.
David Sirota is a best-selling author whose newest book, “The Uprising,” will be released in June. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network, both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine's Day Tango

Mike's a good sport. After all he did poke fun of Randi's sexuality at her 50th birthday. From jibjab video

Mike Addresses The UN On Carbon Emissions

While Mike was talking to the UN about his plans on lowering carbon emissions and other green issues, the daily news was reporting on the amount of green being wasted on administering tests.

The city is moving to more than triple its costs for grading mandatory student exams - spending $32 million this year, up from $9 million last year. It's the expensive result of 2006 state and federal rules requiring certified teachers to grade every standardized test given to kids in grades 3 to 8. "It's a pretty enormous job," said schools testing director Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. "They're scoring almost 500,000 student test papers." In the past, teachers graded the bulk of the tests during the school day. This year, the city shifted the work to overtime. "At least now the public can see the cost [of scoring] as opposed to before when it was taken out of classroom budgets," said teachers union President Randi Weingarten, who yesterday joined a coalition of advocates and elected officials at a City Hall rally to demand more money for schools.
She's among advocates who have slammed the city for rising testing expenses that include $160 million for five-year contracts with IBM and CTB/McGraw Hill, companies hired to analyze test results and provide practice tests. Unlike those expenses - made at the city's discretion - scoring the exams is required of all school districts. On the reading exam, teachers grade a section where kids write short essays. On the math exam, students must show how they solved the problem.
"It's an unfunded mandate," said Barbara Bradley of the New York State School Boards Association. "How do you grade these tests? Are you disrupting instruction? Are you hiring substitutes?" Last year, the city required middle and elementary schools to pull one to four teachers out of their classrooms for about two weeks so they could grade the written portion of the exams. Some schools replaced them with substitutes and others shuffled staff - a process principals said was disruptive. "It impacted instruction," said Gregory Hodge of Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy. "The cost may not be very measurable but ...schools run better when their teachers are in school." Bell-Ellwanger had no estimate of what schools spent on substitutes. But the city's total scoring budget last year was $4.2 million for the reading test and $4.9 million for math.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Presidency Experiment Lives On

Bloomberg Reflects on Super Tuesday By SARA KUGLER, associated press

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, said Wednesday he is engaged in an experiment to influence the race. Asked at a news conference to comment on the outcome of Super Tuesday's multistate contests, Bloomberg described the Republican competition as a horse race and said the two Democratic candidates were still both very much in contention. None of it, he was quick to point out, affects his plans, because he's not a candidate. But that doesn't mean he's going to stop talking about the race. Asked whether someone can truly influence the national debate without being a candidate, Bloomberg said he didn't know. "We're doing that experiment right now," he said. "I think I have an obligation to try to do it." The 65-year-old billionaire, who founded the financial information company that bears his name, would bankroll his own presidential bid and does not need to worry about fundraising or spending a few million dollars on assembling the beginnings of a campaign that ultimately might not happen. Bloomberg has long criticized the declared candidates, seeking to paint them as partisans with no ideas. He claims he is speaking out against all not because he is preparing to launch his own presidential bid, but because he wants to influence the national debate on the major issues of the campaigns. Meanwhile, Bloomberg aides are laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, including state-by-state plans to get his name on the ballot and sophisticated polling to assess his chances — operations that the mayor refuses to acknowledge publicly. Associates told The Associated Press this week that Bloomberg could very well begin gathering signatures to get his name on the ballot in a number of states before he has made a final decision about whether to run. The lack of a clear winner on the Democratic side and a GOP contest with several candidates only encourages him, according to associates. The Bloomberg camp believes he has a better shot the longer the parties don't rally around a single nominee.

Mike Wants To Get Into Your Genes

Bloomberg Wants to Get in Your Genes
from one of my heroes, Nat Hentoff from the Village Voice, 2/5/08:
Compared to the present mayor’s contempt for civil liberties, Giuliani was a piker:

Our humble mayor, Mike Bloomberg, has been basking in the glow of largely unmerited approval around the country, ranging from his purported resurrection of the city's school system (many parents and students beg to differ) to his handling of the city budget, among other feats of the managerial prowess that has made him a billionaire. Encouraged by the buzz, Bloomberg has been consulting specialists in national election law even as Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey diligently studies the terrain for a possible Bloomberg vault to the White House.
Even that inflated kingmaker, the Reverend Al Sharpton, has knighted the mayor for diminishing the "tone of ugliness"in this city.
Since Bloomberg has given his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, free rein to curtail civil liberties (and has warmly encouraged Kelly to try succeeding him at Gracie Mansion), Sharpton might have mentioned one particularly noticeable and ugly mark of the Bloomberg regime, described here by Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union: "The black community continues to bear the brunt of police stops, [and] blacks continue to be singled out for stops that don't ever result in an arrest."
(However, a cop would have to be a rookie policeman recently moved from Juneau, Alaska, to stop and frisk the renowned Al Sharpton.)
But now our mayor has proposed an assault on the most fundamental constitutional rights of New Yorkers—one that exceeds the contempt for the Constitution shown by any mayor in all the years I've been covering civil liberties in this city. Not even Rudy Giuliani thought of this one, which was reported by Jim Dwyer in the January 19 issue of The New York Times:
"This week, the mayor proposed that everyone arrested for any crime in New York City—before the case has been judged—should be required to provide a sample of DNA." (Emphasis added.)
Under New York State law, DNA can only be collected from those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. But in New York City, the mayor's proposal would force anyone who's merely arrested to give up a DNA sample for a data bank even before they can appear in court (as the Constitution requires).
The New York Civil Liberties Union release, "Myths and Facts About DNA Data Banks,"makes clear that each of us "has a privacy interest in the information contained in their DNA—it is information you would not want falling into the hands of employers, insurance companies, and other actors who could use it against you. . . . While a fingerprint is a two-dimensional representation of the surface of your fingers, DNA contains a tremendous amount of sensitive information about you, including your susceptibility to certain diseases, family history and ancestry.”
What Bloomberg wants to do is take away our Fifth Amendment guarantees of "due process of law”—the foundation of our system of justice—and our Fourth Amendment protections against "unreasonable searches and seizures."Having your fundamental privacy ransacked before you ever get the chance to defend yourself against a criminal charge not only magnifies Giuliani's reckless legacy of imperial executive power in this city, but also sharply reveals Bloomberg as a presidential aspirant who will continue the Bush-Cheney administration's subversion of the Bill of Rights.
As of this writing, I've seen very little press attention given to this omen of what Bloomberg's America would be like. Where are the outraged editorials? Where are the protests from the city's lawyers? And will there be a response from the New York City Bar Association—the nation's most influential, as far as civil liberties are concerned—which has condemned past "revisions"of the Constitution by the Bush-Cheney regime in the most acutely critical terms.
New York City's criminal-justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, told Jim Dwyer that the mayor's proposed DNA search-and-seizure policy "will prevent crime,"and that even though there'd be some resistance on the basis of privacy concerns, its adoption was "inevitable.”
Do you agree? It would be extremely interesting to find out what the current presidential candidates of both parties think of Bloomberg's proposal. Then again, the mayor's total disdain for due process isn't entirely surprising in view of his enthusiastic support for his police commissioner's actions before and during the 2004 Republican National Convention here. As I described it in an earlier column, "J. Edgar Bloomberg: COINTELPRO in NY" (April 24, 2007), teams of undercover New York City police officers were sent around the country, as well as to Canada and Europe, to infiltrate and spy on not only anti–Iraq War groups, but also such potential dangers to national security as church groups, environmental organizations, and anti-death-penalty groups.
And during the NYPD's decidedly extra-constitutional arrests during the Republican convention, those people incarcerated (not all of them protesters) were asked by police what they thought of George W. Bush and questioned on their other political views. After forceful objections by New Yorkers—and the New York Civil Liberties Union—the cops stopped violating the First Amendment with such questions, which were obviously none of their damn business. The mayor, of course, didn't object to the policy of asking such questions.
As a further indication of J. Edgar Bloomberg and Ray Kelly's need for a crash course on the Constitution, the New York Law Journal reported on February 16, 2007, that U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight—who has had a busy time of it trying to force the NYPD to abide by the constitutional guidelines for police surveillance—charged the department with "egregious"spying on "political activity"after the Intelligence Division videotaped a protest by (I kid you not) the Coalition for the Homeless in front of Mayor Bloomberg's residence.
If that Putin-style police surveillance was "egregious,"what is the word for probing the most intimately personal information of New Yorkers after they are arrested—and only arrested?
With any luck, the mayor may have unintentionally performed an educational service, quickening interest in other investigative uses and abuses of DNA by the police. Next week: What the mayor obviously doesn't know about the maze of problems in implementing his proposal. For example: Such massive expansion of DNA testing greatly increases the likelihood of error that is already inherent in the system. Or perhaps he simply doesn't care—until, God forbid, there's a mix-up, and a perpetrator's DNA is mislabled as Michael Bloomberg's.

Could It Be?

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Forward Pass

Mike's Use For The Lombardi Trophy

Get With The Flow

Giants' Victory Parade

One of the Giants (1:31) doesn't seem convinced of Mike's jock credibility. Also, it appears that Bill Belichick is still up to his old tricks (1:56)

The Dashiki Plan

I can swear that Doug Schoen said, "The Dashiki Plan." Now I just can't imagine Mike dressed in a dashiki, but he'd do anything I guess if that's what the data says. Plan In Place In Case Mayor Decides To Run For President from of 2/8/08

A top deputy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg has created a comprehensive "master plan," just in case Bloomberg decides to run for president.
In an interview on "Inside City Hall" Friday, political consultant Doug Schoen said Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey is ready to create a national network on behalf of Bloomberg. Schoen says the mayor has already speculated privately about a presidential run.
"Kevin Sheekey has a mechanism in place to get the mayor on the ballot, to produce the volunteers, to get a campaign moving," said Schoen. "The only thing Kevin Sheekey needs to effectuate what I call the 'Sheekey Master Plan' is Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider and reassess. Whether that will happen we'll know by March 5th."
Schoen served as a pollster and consultant for both of Bloomberg's mayoral runs.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Why The Patriots Lost

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mike Had A Dream

The death of the Bloomberg dream? By: Steve Benen 2/1/08. From crooks and liars

We may finally be at a point in which we can stop talking about New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his subtle-but-not-really interest in launching an independent presidential campaign. There have been several reports of late indicating that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) had been one of the high-profile figures urging Bloomberg to consider a third-party campaign. Of course, the encouragement looks a little hollow now that Schwarzenegger has given his enthusiastic support to John McCain. Worse, the Unity08 gang folded their tent to create a Draft Bloomberg campaign, which has an online petition that is yet to generate 5,000 signatures — weeks after its launch. Adding insult to injury, Joe Lieberman, an active Bloomberg supporter during the mayor’s re-election campaign, has said publicly that the mayor no longer has a reason to launch a campaign. When the New York Observer talked to Bloomberg organizer Karin Gallet about the future, he said: “He’s not running. He’s convinced me. I’m returning to more obtainable goals like passing my business law class and supporting moderate Republicans! “We have not mustered up any kind of significant groundswell support. I think Bloomberg is just too good for this country.” Misplaced sycophancy aside, even the mayor seems to realize this isn’t going to happen. Sorry, David Broder.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mike's Rx For Everything: Looking At Data

That's NYC Schools' Chancellor Joel Klein briefing the future crop of centrally selected Principal clones.
City Centralizes Hiring Process for Principals
By ELISSA GOOTMAN, nytimes of 1/30/08

The Bloomberg administration is overhauling the way that principals at New York City’s 1,500 public schools are evaluated and selected, taking centralized control of the initial screening of candidates and trying to shake up a system where, officials say, a vast majority of principals routinely get satisfactory evaluations....Starting this year, education officials said, the administration will create a centralized pool of candidates for principals who will be judged on their leadership abilities through résumés, essays and in-person evaluations of how they examine school data and evaluate teachers’ lesson plans.........Ernest A. Logan, president of the union that represents the city’s principals and assistant principals, said he supported the new rating system. He added, however, that he did not find the current principal placement process to be flawed, and questioned the value of the prescreening process that will determine who is eligible to apply for openings. “I see this as another attempt to identify successful school leaders, and I don’t know if this is it,” Mr. Logan said. He said he thought the administration was misguided in its quest for a fool-proof formula for selecting principals. “I think these folks really like to have a matrix,” he said. “They like something that can be objective, analytical, put your finger on and say you do boom, boom, boom, this happens. And education doesn’t quite work that way.”

The Myths Of Bi-Partisanship

What "bipartisanship" in Washington means. from Glen Greenwald
Description of above video that emphasizes Greenwald's brilliant analysis to follow:
UPDATE: This superb ad, from Martin Heinrich, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District of New Mexico, makes the point about as well as a political advertisement can make a point -- is it really that difficult for other Democrats to convey this message?

Whenever the mavens of "bipartisanship" attempt to do more than spout pretty platitudes, they invariably reveal just how vapid and bereft of substance are their slogans. Former Sen. Bob Graham -- who recently joined David Boren, Sam Nunn and others in threatening the country with a plutocratic Michael Bloomberg candidacy if the presidential candidates failed to become more "bipartisan" -- has an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post which is a classic entry in this genre.
Graham purports to list a slew of problems suffering from a lack of bipartisanship -- "huge gaps in national and homeland security"; "Nearly 50 million Americans still have no health insurance"; crumbling infrastructure; high gas prices; and a lack of a brighter future for the next generation -- and then proposes a litany of shallow process "solutions" such as a bipartisan cabinet, changes to the format for presidential debates, and regional primaries. Those "solutions" are total nonsequiturs. How would they resolve any of the intense differences over those policies? They manifestly wouldn't.
But more importantly, "bipartisanship" is already rampant in Washington, not rare. And, in almost every significant case, what "bipartisanship" means in Washington is that enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree. That's how so-called "bipartisanship" manifests in almost every case.
Many people, especially partisans, always believe that their own side is compromising too much and that the other side is always winning, so it's best to consult objective facts in order to know how "bipartisanship" works. Here are the vote breakdowns by party over the last couple years on the most significant and contentious pieces of legislation, particularly (though not only) in the area of national security. In almost every case, the proposals that are enacted are ones favored by the White House and supported by all GOP lawmakers, and then Democrats split and enough of them join with Republicans to ensure that the GOP gets what it wants. That's "bipartisanhip" in Washington:
To support the new Bush-supported FISA law:
GOP - 48-0
Dems - 12-36
To compel redeployment of troops from Iraq:
GOP - 0-49
Dems - 24-21
To confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General:
GOP - 46-0
Dems - 7-40
To confirm Leslie Southwick as Circuit Court Judge:
GOP - 49-0
Dems - 8-38
Kyl-Lieberman Resolution on Iran:
GOP - 46-2
Dems - 30-20
To condemn
GOP - 49-0
Dems - 23-25
The Protect America Act:
GOP - 44-0
Dems - 20-28
Declaring English to be the Government's official language:
GOP - 48-1
Dems - 16-33
The Military Commissions Act:
GOP - 53-0
Dems - 12-34
To renew the Patriot Act:
GOP - 54-0
Dems - 34-10
Cloture Vote on Sam Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court:
GOP - 54-0
Dems - 18-25
Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq:
GOP - 48-1
Dems - 29-22
On virtually every major controversial issue -- particularly, though not only, ones involving national security and terrorism -- the Republicans (including their vaunted mythical moderates and mavericks) vote in almost complete lockstep in favor of the President, the Democratic caucus splits, and the Republicans then get their way on every issue thanks to "bipartisan" support. That's what "bipartisanship" in Washington means.
Leaving aside how shallow and, shall we say, unserious is this endless chirping for more "bipartisanship" -- as though it's a magic feel-good formula for resolving actual policy differences -- it's hard to imagine how there could possibly be any more "bipartisanship" in Washington even if that were the only goal. Other than formally disbanding as a party -- or granting a permanent proxy of their collective vote to Mitch McConnell -- how could Congressional Democrats possibly be more accommodating than they already are?

The John McCain Think Tank

pretty scary, isn't it?

Dangling Conversation Between Mike And Barack

From back in December. I just got the transcript of what they were saying:

My business is heroin, I have poppy
fields, laboratories in Narseilles
and Sicily, ready to go into
production. My importing methods
are as safe as these things can be,
about five per cent loss. The risk
is nothing, the profits enormous.

Why do you come to me? Why do I
deserve your generosity?

I need two million dollars in
cash...more important, I need a
friend who has people in high
places; a friend who can guarantee
that if one of my employees be
arrested, they would get only light
sentences. Be my friend.

What percentages for my family?

Thirty per cent. In the first year
your share would be four million
dollars; then it would go up.

And what is the percentage of the
Tattaglia family?

SOLLOZZO nods toward HAGEN.

My compliments. I'll take care of
them from my share.

So. I receive 30 per cent just for
finance and legal protection. No
worries about operations, is that
what you tell me?

If you think two million dollars in
cash is just finance, I congratulate
you Don Corleone.

There is a long silence; in which each person present feels
the tension. The DON is about to give his answer.

I said I would see you because I've
heard you're a serious man, to be
treated with respect...
But I'll say no to you.

We feel this around the room.

I'll give you my reasons. I have
many, many friends in Politics.
But they wouldn't be so friendly if
my business was narcotics instead
of gambling. They think gambling
is something like liquor, a harmless
vice...and they think narcotics is
dirty business.

SOLLOZZO takes a breath.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mike, A Secret Patriot Fan

"Seen" this week in New York. I wonder why? Is it Gisele? His Boston roots? A man crush on Tom Brady? Brady's Republican political aspirations?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mike One Up's Alexander Portnoy

"We Don't Spend Our Day Looking At Flow- Charts,"

But maybe Mike does. Big budget cuts for NYC schools this week, averaging $70,000 per school. An article from the nysun from New York's hardest working education writer, Elizabeth Green

In a letter to members this week, the president of the principals union, Ernest Logan, said he was "deeply troubled" by Mr. Bloomberg's budget proposal.
"So many costly initiatives and no-bid contracts have been rolled out in recent years," Mr. Logan wrote. "It simply makes no sense that despite all the progress we've made that schools will have to bear the brunt of this economic downturn."
In an e-mail message to Mr. Klein yesterday, another union leader, Brian De Vale, decried the cuts. Mr. De Vale, a principal at P.S. 257 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, said he learned that he would have to make budget cuts by reading newspaper reports over the weekend. He said he was particularly enraged by a statement from Mr. Klein that after-school programs might be cut. His letter listed several multimillion-dollar expenses the Department of Education might cut from its central office budget instead, including ramped-up testing; a new data warehousing program called ARIS, and a process of reviewing schools through an outside contractor based in Britain. The ARIS system is costing the Department of Education $12.2 million this year, and the review process is costing $5.9 million, Mr. Cantor said. The new interim tests were to cost $80 million over five years.
To save money, Mr. Bloomberg's budget calls for scaling back the tests to four a semester from five. Mr. Klein hails all three programs as innovations that put New York City schools ahead of the country in terms of their ability to individualize teaching. In an interview yesterday, Mr. De Vale, whose school received an A grade on its progress report, said the emphasis on data did not match his priorities. "We don't spend our day looking at flow- charts," he said. "My priority is keeping kids off the street." The criticisms come a week after Mr. Klein released a survey showing wide approval among principals for the programs Mr. De Vale disparaged.
The survey was given anonymously, and about 70% of principals responded.
Mr. De Vale said the results were distorted because many principals were not under the impression that their answers were actually anonymous. "This is a climate of fear," he said. "Principals don't speak the truth." A historian of the New York City public schools, Diane Ravitch, reached a similar conclusion after giving a speech to a group of more than 500 principals on Saturday. She said the principals applauded loudly when she criticized Mr. Bloomberg's education record. Puzzled, she asked some principals afterward why the survey results had been so positive.
"They said, 'Everybody is afraid to say that they're dissatisfied,'" Ms. R

Stumped Stump Speech By John McCain

If Mike runs with this guy it's going to take more than a billion to compensate for their numbing speaking abilities
comments from crooks and liars

Wow, check out this clip. McCain is so confused about an education question that Mel Martinez and Lieberman had to step in and answer it for him. Simply pathetic. They were pretty clueless too. Lieberman: You know a lot of candidates can give you a good answer on education or on health care or on any of the other things that you worry about….You gotta have a president that’s going to pull people in both parties together and say OK, you’re a Democrat, I’m a Republican, but do you know what’s more important? We’re Americans and we have a responsibility to deliver to the American people..Lieberman goes so far as to say that it’s not how a candidate answers a question about an important topic of concern for voters, but that he’ll break the partisan wall. WTF? That’s the best that he can do? Forget the issues. Who needs to know. McCain looks confused as he looks into the crowd.

Mike Practicing Good Business Sense

He's always on the job

Super Bowl Tips From Georgina Bloomberg

Super Bowl Lessons For Eli

Coming up next equestrian lessons from his daughter

Mike Bloomberg Blows

No comment

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monied Up And Ready To Go


Today there's talk of a possible McCain/Bloomberg ticket for the Republicans. I have the perfect slogan. Ole Grampa appears barely cogent at times, while Ole Nanny is always there to dispense her rules for living.

As Obama Soars, Mikey Shrinks

Sunday, January 27, 2008

You'll See Me Walk Up And Then You Can Say My Name

Eli tried to orchestrate a public gathering in There Will Be Blood just as the DOE does with parents. Eli wound up failing as Daniel Day Lewis rebels against Eli's hubris. Perhaps the mayor's hubris will eventually fail as well. from the BROOKLYN COURIER LIFE OF 1/24/08

Mayoral control slipping - Unrest could set the stage for DOE shake up By Michèle De Meglio
Parents are tired of having decisions about their children’s schools made for them and not by them. Members of District 21’s Community Education Council vented their frustrations to Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum at the CEC’s meeting last week. They say that since Mayor Michael Bloomberg assumed control over the school system, the city Department of Education routinely implements new policies, procedures and programs without asking parents for input. “The CECs virtually have no power,” said Yoketing Eng, the council’s first vice president. “We have the power to talk to whoever comes and sits down and we have the power to listen to frustrations when people come to talk,” he continued, “but when it comes down to it, the CEC really can’t do anything.” “Decisions are being made in our district without parents,” agreed Marcel Newton, the former president of District 21’s CEC. Eng cited the recent revamping of admissions procedures for gifted and talented programs as evidence that the DOE is not letting parents play a role in decision making. “A lot of parents felt there was no input from any of the parent representatives. We’re told this is how it’s going to be done. We will provide forums for you to vent but that’s it,” he asserted. Although parents question whether DOE reps truly consider their comments at public forums, the department insists that the meetings are a sincere attempt to better involve the public in the school system. Of the DOE’s decision making, Gotbaum said, “One of the things that bothers me the most is the lack of participation” from the public. Gotbaum said she organized a commission examining the effectiveness of mayoral control, and based on her findings will make a recommendation to the state legislature about whether or not mayoral control should be renewed after it sunsets in 2009. “I believe we have a real opportunity with this commission,” Gotbaum said. “We are hoping to have public hearings in the spring,” she continued, “to get more input [from the public].”

Book Em Danno

Children handcuffed in school; what is going on? Even Jack Lord looks on in admiration for get tough Mike from the nycpublicschoolparents blog

Two recent incidents provide yet more evidence that the situation with cops in the schools has gotten completely out of control. Twelve days ago a ten year old girl was handcuffed on a school bus, and on Friday, a five year old boy was handcuffed at his elementary school and taken to a psychiatric hospital -- even after his babysitter came to pick him up. Both these children had serious disabilities which required more sensitive interventions. According to the Daily News, the Kindergarten student, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, speech problems and asthma, has had nightmares ever since and will start seeing a psychologist soon. The NYCLU and other advocacy groups have documented in detail repeated abuses of the police and safety agents in our schools-- whose number has grown until they now constitute the tenth largest police force in the country. Several times, even principals have been arrested for coming to the aid of students after they had been manhandled by safety agents. In 2005, the DOE suspended more students than the entire student population of New Haven. New legislation has been proposed, called the Student Safety Act, which would provide more transparency and oversight as regards disciplinary and security policies in our public schools

Friday, January 25, 2008

Monarch's In Disguise

That's fellow rich guy NY Governor Spitzer on Mike's left.
Spitzer helps Mike conceal what is done with money earmarked for education as described by the nyc public school parents' blog

....Last but not least, the extra operating aid would come in the form of an unrestricted grant – with no strings attached, unlike the portion of the CFE settlement called Contracts for excellence -- that was actually supposed to be directed to specific programs that research shows actually work, like class size reduction. With this money the city could instead spend it on more testing, cash rewards tied to test scores, more consultants, higher salaries at Tweed, or really any new fad that strikes their fancy. Paul Francis, Spitzer's director of operations, told New York Sun that the governor's decision to give the city much of these funds in the form of a unrestricted grant was the result of a compromise "between the desire of the city to have unrestricted funds and the desire of the advocacy community to have all the money subject to the Contracts for Excellence." To the contrary, we need more accountability, not less, with these precious funds. This money belongs to the children of NYC, not to the Governor, the Mayor or Joel Klein; and it must be spent in a way that gives them their constitutional right to an adequate education – including smaller classes in all grades.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mike Teaches Us About Armed Services

reality based educator over at nyceducator has a great post on
Mike's criticism of the foreign policy platforms of McCain and Hillary:

He's already in full pander mode, bashing the current crop of presidential candidates over and over again for coming up short on every major issue.
For instance, in this early January speech, the foreign policy experience-less Bloomberg criticized candidates like John McCain and Hillary Clinton who sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee for not telling America how they will handle foreign policy post-Dubya:
"I have not heard anybody who's said what they'd really do when it comes to foreign policy, how they would rebuild the relationships America has around the world," Bloomberg said.
I guess Moneybags is too busy cranking out the standardized tests here in NYC to have noticed that both McCain and Clinton have explained just how they would do that.
First, Clinton's plan:
New York Senator Hillary Clinton called for a broad reform of US foreign policy that would include better cooperation with other nations and bilateral talks with enemy nations. Criticizing President George W. Bush's foreign policy from Iraq to Afghanistan and North Korea to Iran, the wife of former president Bill Clinton called for a more internationalist approach to foreign policy in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based foreign policy think tank. "First, and most obviously, we must by word and deed renew internationalism for a new century," said Clinton, a likely Democratic Party presidential candidate for the 2008 election. "We did not face World War II alone, we did not face the Cold War alone, and we cannot face the global terrorist threat or other profound challenges alone either," she said. Clinton also defended the idea of bilateral talks with nations that Washington has been avoiding, such as Iran and Cuba. "We must value diplomacy as well as a strong military," Clinton continued. "We should not hesitate to engage in the world's most difficult conflicts on a diplomatic front." "Direct negotiations are not a sign of weakness; they're a sign of leadership," she said. Clinton blasted what she said was the Bush administration's "simplistic division of the world into good and evil. They refuse to talk to anyone on the evil side, as some have called that idealistic. I call it dangerously unrealistic."

Now McCain's:
Defeating radical Islamist extremists is the national security challenge of our time. Iraq is this war's central front, according to our commander there, General David Petraeus, and according to our enemies, including al Qaeda's leadership. The recent years of mismanagement and failure in Iraq demonstrate that America should go to war only with sufficient troop levels and with a realistic and comprehensive plan for success. We did not do so in Iraq, and our country and the people of Iraq have paid a dear price. Only after four years of conflict did the United States adopt a counterinsurgency strategy, backed by increased force levels, that gives us a realistic chance of success. We cannot get those years back, and now the only responsible action for any presidential candidate is to look forward and outline the strategic posture in Iraq that is most likely to protect U.S. national interests.
Defeating the terrorists who already threaten America is vital, but just as important is preventing a new generation of them from joining the fight. As president, I will employ every economic, diplomatic, political, legal, and ideological tool at our disposal to aid moderate Muslims -- women's rights campaigners, labor leaders, lawyers, journalists, teachers, tolerant imams, and many others -- who are resisting the well-financed campaign of extremism that is tearing Muslim societies apart. My administration, with its partners, will help friendly Muslim states establish the building blocks of open and tolerant societies. And we will nurture a culture of hope and economic opportunity by establishing a free-trade area from Morocco to Afghanistan, open to all who do not sponsor terrorism.
You may not like either Clinton or McCain as people, you may not like them as candidates, but the one thing you cannot say is that they have not stated pretty explicitly how they would handle foreign policy in the post-Dubya era.
You also cannot say that 8 years on the Armed Services Committee for Clinton and 20+ years for McCain does not give them some experience with foreign policy (even if you don't happen to agree with how they plan to handle it in the post-Dubya era.)
But I guess if you have $20 billion dollars and you're a potential candidate for president, you can say it and get away with it.

Value Added

Bloomberg and his unity 08 cheerleaders like to talk of his sound business sense. His NYC Department of Education seems to be intent on collecting a museum of of business non-sense, i.e. the whole idea of "value-added." My idea of value added is what General Patton did when he got to the Rhine. He wanted to be the first one to piss in it.
One of my favorite ed bloggers is Eduwonkette, a mystery woman of brains and I'm told beauty as well. Her article this week on the secret use of teachers as test subjects set off a David Boren type poop storm.
In her defense was preaprez

I have no argument with those who are fighting the battle against using student test score data as a means to evaluate teachers performance. I have no argument with them, because I am one of them. But the secret use of teachers as test subjects is, to me, a much different matter. It is connected, because one can see in it the inevitable result of the political opportunism of those like Rotherham, Joe Williams of DFER and the political leaders like Daley, Bloomberg, Klein and Spellings as they push testingtestingtestngtesting..But when Eduwonnkette had the nerve to suggest that the secret program, willingly agreed to by middle management school principal hacks, was an ethical failure, arising out of the same moral pit as the infamous Tuskegee medical experiments on black people, oh did they raise a howl of protest. Obviously, Eduwonkette had cut a little to close to the bone. Reading Eduwonkette, it was clear that she was not claiming that the secret NY schools program was identical to the racist Tuskegee program. She was reflecting on the ethical failure.

and Mike Klonsky
New York “shock & awe” Monday’s NY Times report that teachers are being evaluated without their knowledge, in an experimental evaluation program, reminded Eduwonkette of the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments:
My point is not that the NYC experiment's secrecy is the moral equivalent of the Tuskegee Experiments....But the Hippocratic Oath of the research community - that subjects should be aware that they are part of a study - has been grossly violated.
Can it really be that many NY principals willingly went along with such a scheme without notifying teachers? Yes, says the Times: New York City has embarked on an ambitious experiment, yet to be announced, in which some 2,500 teachers are being measured on how much their students improve on annual standardized tests. The move is so contentious that principals in some of the 140 schools participating have not told their teachers that they are being scrutinized based on student performance and improvement. The NY teacher evaluation experiments must also have a familiar ring to Naomi Klein. In her book, The Shock Doctrine, Klein traces government “shock” economic and social programs, following disasters like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, to Dr. Ewen Cameron’s electro-shock experiments conducted in Canada by the CIA, on unwitting patients. Don’t get excited, Ed Sector people. I’m not saying that Chris Cerf is putting electrodes on anyone. I’m just saying…“I have no idea…” Andy Rotherham, as usual hems and haws and skates around all sides of the issue quite militantly. Should teachers have a say in how their evaluated? What about their negotiated contract? Doesn’t Rotherham believe in collective bargaining? Are Bloomberg, Klein and Cerf free to do whatever they choose in violation of agreements on teacher evaluation ? AR is of course, frightened and repulsed by Eduwonkette’s provocative allusion to Tuskegee (Naomi Klein must really make him crazy). But, on the other hand, he isn’t quite sure if the N.Y. experiment on teachers is “ready for prime time” in terms of “consequence-oriented decisions.” After all, he says, it’s a “slippery slope.” He also has “reservations” about “value-added data,” not to mention, the “downstream effects” of those decisions.

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