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.

Epicene War-Monger, A Flaccid CIA Afficianado, A Bulbous ..

This blog respondent certainly doesn't mince words. It's the kind of no-nonsense person Unity 08 would want, unfortunately for Unity 08 the writer is intolerant of nonsense. In response to a Glen Greenwald article for salon called Trans-partisan savior

David Boren is an epicene war-monger, a flaccid CIA aficionado, and a bulbous piece of shit. Plus, he's an asshole like his friend, Joe Lieberman. Putting them together with Michael Bloomberg would only raise the pyramid of assholery. Trust me, no matter how much money these guys bring to the table, they will be exposed for the assholes that they all are.

Doctor Mike And Mr. Borscht

Somehow I feel that Mike wouldn't read the "funnies" to the kids like LaGuardia did. Fiorello LaGuardia! Now there was a mayor and a mayor who could have been a great President.

"The Ego The Size Of Brooklyn"

This blog just writes itself. You just have to google bloomberg and a choice adjective. Then you come up with stuff like these writer comments from an atlantic article called Bloombergunity "08 by matthew yglesias

Unity '08 to shut down and reconstitute itself as a "Draft Bloomberg" movement. Because in the wake of catastrophic conservative governance, America needs two center-left candidates to split the vote and ensure the catastrophe continues!
How exactly does a warmongering Bush-lapdog like Bloomberg qualify as "center-left"? Opposition to making abortion illegal can't count for that much. He's Giuliani with hair and more money.
Posted by MoeLarryAndJesus | January 10, 2008 11:25 AM

So Unity08 found a way to make itself even more ridiculous. That's quite impressive. At the end of the linked article, Elizabeth Benjamin refers to all the mixed signals from Bloomberg and say, "Confused yet? Join the club."
There's nothing confusing about it at all. Bloomberg has an ego the size of Brooklyn and he loves all the stroking he's getting from teasing about a run. But he doesn't want to actually be President, and he certainly doesn't want to do the hard work of running for it. Unlike NYC mayor, where he was able to campaign simply by spending his billions on advertising, for President he knows he'd actually have to campaign. Wouldn't leave a lot of time for trips to Bermuda, I'm afraid.
And of course washed-up and irrelevant has-beens like David Boren and Sam Nunn get some of the stroking themselves by touting him, so the giant circle-jerk continues. As anyone who's ever been part of a circle-jerk can tell you, the motivations are really not that complicated.
Posted by Glenn | January 10, 2008 11:26 AM

Just shoot me now.
Posted by right | January 10, 2008 11:26 AM

The people have spoken! In a back room, offline, in Oklahoma.
Posted by joejoejoe | January 10, 2008 11:27 AM

Now it really will be Vanity 08.
Posted by Joe Scordato | January 10, 2008 11:28 AM
Bloombergs first act as Mayaor of NYC was to declare the City no longer Recycles.
With a stroke of his pen.
What else would he dispose of on a federal level ?
Still it's better than partisan politics...right ?
Posted by A.Scott | January 10, 2008 11:45 AM

Now someone has decided that the Democratic side of the two party system--which is already full of terrific options over the Republican parade of wankers-- is ripe for the pickin, and wants in based on NO MANDATE from the people. Has anyone told Unity 08--especially Fuhrer Bloomberg-- they are not needed?

Go away and buy yourself a yacht, dude.
Posted by ella | January 10, 2008 11:55 AM

Where's Kevin?

An excerpt from an article concerning the whereabouts of the Mayor's political deputy, Kevin Sheekey

As Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg continues to dance around a presidential run, news media interest in the maneuverings of his chief political deputy, Kevin Sheekey, has intensified. Yet city officials have been slow to peel back the curtain on just how he spends his time. On Tuesday, Bloomberg officials finally came through on a request made last October by The New York Times under the state’s Freedom of Information Law for Mr. Sheekey’s schedule through that date. But the documents released run only through June 2007 — around the time that Mr. Bloomberg renounced his Republican affiliation and became an independent, and the speculation about his presidential prospects reached a fever pitch. Stu Loeser, Mr. Bloomberg’s press secretary, blamed “limited resources” available to fulfill a “large volume of requests” for the delay in releasing the material. Several news organizations have asked to see Mr. Sheekey’s schedule for similar time periods, and the administration releases the requested documents all at once to all organizations that have asked for them, Mr. Loeser said. The schedules from July to October are not ready for release yet, he said. And city officials also noted that certain information related to personal or security issues was redacted, as allowed by law.

Mike, The Common Man I Love

Pictures from a times' article on Mike from June 30th, 2007 that talked of the work of Kevin Sheekey and his work in publicizing Mike as a regular guy. I don't know, there weren't many to rival Billie as a singer, but she definitely wasn't an expert on choosing men to love.

Brother Can You Spare A Billion?

Seems like Mike is being a bit ungrateful. After all Rudy's collapse helped pave the way for him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bill Caves In To Mike's Entreaties

Mike and the mysterious Sharon Senocca

"Where Else Can I Get Together With My Friends And The Rest Of You"

from Christmas 2007: What a sweetheart

How Much Is That Superpower in the Window?

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is “still trying to decide” whether to buy the U.S. presidency, aides to Bloomberg confirmed today, with the sticking point reportedly being the steep price of such an acquisition.from Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz at truthdig

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is “still trying to decide” whether to buy the U.S. presidency, aides to Bloomberg confirmed today, with the sticking point reportedly being the steep price of such an acquisition. In recent weeks, Bloomberg had been sending out positive signals about his interest in buying the highest office in the land, raising hopes among supporters that he might be preparing to throw his wallet in the ring. In a speech in Oklahoma last week, for example, the mayor told an enthralled crowd, “In these divisive times, I believe that the American people are yearning for the leadership of a whiny billionaire.” Bloomberg even floated a possible campaign slogan: “Vote for Me and I’ll Give You $10,000.” Aides close to the mayor indicated that there were other positive signs as well, noting that Bloomberg had recently transferred $2 billion into his day-to-day checking account. “With that kind of money, you could either buy the White House or 10 Mitt Romneys,” said one aide familiar with the cash transfer. But according to one of Mr. Bloomberg’s advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, falling real estate prices in the U.S. may have given the mayor cold feet about buying the presidency. “At this point, buying the United States isn’t looking like such a good investment,” the adviser said. “At the end of the day, Mike might be better off buying Canada.” Elsewhere, in a positive development for Vice President Dick Cheney, scientists in a laboratory at the University of Minnesota created a living rat’s heart.

Mike For Monarch

This is The Mayor's Fake Ad, from the Inner Circle Dinner in 2006. It's courtesy of Squier Knapp & Dunn and youtube user politicker. Is the truth much different than the fiction?

When Mikey Met Sally

Mike always fancied himself as a ladies' man. But he seems to have some doubts at the end of this clip

Testing, Testing

Mike just loves those tests. Maybe there's one talent test that Liza can pass,from nyceducator

New York City is in the business of testing and tests are the Holy Grail of Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein. In fact, at Public Schools 40 and 116 (among many others, no doubt), they've added 10 annual tests designed to test new tests. That's right, we're not testing the kids, we're not testing the teachers (secretly or otherwise), we're simply testing new tests, and doing it ten times this year (on top of all the other tests these hapless kids are up for.
“We’re using tests to figure out how kids will test on tests,” said Jane Hirschmann, the founder and co-chairwoman of Time Out From Testing, an anti-testing group that sponsored the news conference. Parents from these schools have decided to boycott the tests. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, displaying his trademark indifference to public school parents, suggested that the tests would provide useful information for teachers. Perhaps the mayor thought it would somehow help them raise test scores, a feat his "reforms" have been patently unable to accomplish. It's encouraging to see parents in New York City standing up for their kids. With enough of this, perhaps we'll finally see this system move away from nonsensical "reforms," and closer to what everyone knows works---good teachers, reasonable class sizes, and decent facilities for kids.

Bi-Partisanship In The Rainbow Coalition

The consummate salesman at the Gay Pride Parade.

Lance Armstrong Explains His Admiration For Mike

A New Play In The Offering

From a "press conference" announcing the upcoming play. It's nice of Mike to give Liza a chance at a comeback and it will also give his campaign added exposure.

Mike Helps Giants Prepare For The Super Bowl

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Mike Top Ten List

With apologies to Fidel. From ridingsun

Top ten initiatives of President Bloomberg's first 100 days in office

10. Federally limit all hot sauces to a maximum of 50,000 Scoville units. There is simply no legitimate need for anything stronger. (Also, sauce makers will no longer be able to use misleading trade names like "Joe Bob's Ass-Kickin' Death Sauce.")

9. Push through legislation establishing National Fire Drill Day, along with stiff penalties for heads of households whose families don't complete the drill in time. Times will be monitored by repurposed field agents from Homeland Security.

8. Pressure Hollywood to digitally erase all cigarettes, cigars from all films made to date; replace with CGI carrot or celery sticks.

7. A new tax on fast-food companies. Tax revenues will be used to hire government employees to stand at the entrance of every McDonalds nationwide and ask patrons, "Do you really want to eat here?

6. Abortion legal? Heck, in certain cases it'll be mandatory.

5. Building on the success of his NY ban on smoking in bars, a nationwide ban on hitting on women in bars. That sort of thing belongs in the office.

4. ISP's required to automatically terminate all internet connections every 25 minutes, so users will be able to rest their eyes, go outside, and get some goddamn exercise.

3. Historic "Guns or Butter" debate replaced with new, heart-friendly "Guns or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" debate.

2. Put federal air marshalls on every commercial flight; require them to inspect the entree for trans fats.

1. Count votes in all future elections with Bloomberg's own proprietary, highly-reliable data service, so we know they'll be fair.

Like Mike

Once the Bloomberg juggernaut gets rolling, there's no stopping it. Even Little Bow Wow gets expropriated (at the 2:18 mark of this clip)

Consorting With The Enemy

Working Out The Super Bowl Bet

Candidate Bingo: How to Tell If Bloomberg Is Running

From npr of Friday 1/18/08:

There's been a lot of speculation recently about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg running for president as an independent. Bloomberg keeps denying that this is so, but his surrogates and supporters keep giving off signals that the multi-billionaire is seriously considering a bid. So NPR's Robert Smith decided to tail Bloomberg for a week to see if he could spot the "tells" signaling a possible Bloomberg candidacy. Robert even used an ingenious method devised by NPR to help him in mission: Candidate Bingo! Some of the candidate-like activities on our bingo card that can earn you a square include: "Follow NASCAR," "Smile Constantly," "Kiss Babies." But it looks like Robert won't be jumping up and shouting "Bingo!" anytime soon. Based on the his performance during the week he was observed, Bloomberg passed up one opportunity after another to act like a candidate. As Robert reports:"Mayor Bloomberg doesn't exude the populist touch. He didn't talk NASCAR or eat junk food. In fact, when faced with a buffet table of sweets, he opted for an eighth of a pumpernickel bagel. Another big test was at the firefighter graduation. The room was filled with adorable babies. Adorable babies of firefighters. What politician could resist? Bloomberg didn't smooch a one of them."

I don't know, according to Robert Smith on NPR he didn't talk NASCAR, but ..

Bloomberg Is Like H. Ross Perot On Steroids

Some really good Bloomberg comedy and satire from joemande

The Washington Times is reporting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is prepared to spend up to a billion dollars of his own money if and when he decides to enter the 2008 presidential race as an independent candidate.
A divorced billionaire Jew running for president. That shouldn’t scare too many people. He might as well make Flava Flav his running mate.
Although, truthfully, I think a billion dollars might just be enough money to win over some unlikely voters. Like a couple of farmers having a beer after a long day’s work. “You know, I’ll tell you this, I don’t trust the Jews. And I think New York City is a filthy place full of queers. And I know he wants to kill babies and all that. But, gee whiz, if a man wants to spend a billion dollars of his own money to be President, then that’s gotta tell you somethin’.” ......Best quote in the article: “Bloomberg is H. Ross Perot on steroids” You know who else is Ross Perot on steroids? Any billionaire over three feet tall.

Mike Leads The Way

8th Grade Holdover Policy Designed to Force Dropouts from ednotesonline

It is so simple. Want to enforce the illusion that graduation rates are rising so you can use that issue to run for the presidency? Start holding back 8th graders before they ever reach high school. Just enough might be disgusted with school to drop out right then and there and never besmirch a Bill Gates school with their presence..........Driving them out of school before they can affect the HS grad rates is one of the ideas behind the plan. Here's what Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters had to say in her listserve: Today, in his state of the City address, the Mayor announced that the DOE will now extend their policy of holding back students on the basis of low test scores to 8th graders as well. This is the way they intend to cure the problems of our middle schools! As the research overwhelmingly shows, holding back kids doesn’t work. 107 academics, researchers, and national experts on testing understand that this policy is not only unfair, given the unreliability of one day’s test results, but will also lead directly to lower achievement and higher drop out rates. They signed the below letter drafted by Class Size Matters and Advocates for Children in 2004 opposing this policy, and nothing has changed since then. In fact, if this policy worked, the DOE 7th grade retention would have caused a rise in 8th grade achievement rates, but instead as the recent NAEPs show, our 8th grade test scores have been stagnant over many years. Among those who signed our letter included Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Ernest House, who did the independent evaluation of New York City’s failed retention program in the 1980’s, four past presidents of the American Education Research Association, Robert Hauser, the chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Appropriate Use of Educational Testing, and several members of the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council. Even the two largest testing companies are on record that the decision to hold back a child should never be based upon test scores alone. Indeed, the professional consensus is so overwhelming about the policy’s destructive academic and emotional consequences that its use amounts to educational malpractice, according to Prof. Shane Jimerson, a dean at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Mayberry Mike: I Don't Think So

Great (and comforting) post from reality based educator
an excerpt:

...But there's only one problem with all these theories: when Survey USA conducted a 50 state poll to see what Bloomberg's support is and the kind of base his potential candidacy would appeal to, they found something quite startling - he garners little support anywhere across the country, never receives more than 13% in any state including New York, wouldn't even win in New York City as a presidential candidate no matter who the Democratic or Republican candidates are and has little effect on the presidential race except that he takes some votes away from Republicans. In other words, as of now he has no shot to win the White House as an independent. Now it's true he has a billion dollars or more to drop on advertising to sell himself and his candidacy to America and it's true that a billion dollars in advertising can change opinions awfully fast. Think about how he outspent his opponents in both 2001 and 2005, sold himself to the electorate and bought City Hall. But even so, Bloomberg's got a long hard slog to do it and I don't think even a billion dollars and glowing columns from David Broder would pull it out for him in the end. As for the rationale behind his candidacy, Bloomberg likes to sell himself as the change agent in the race, a post-partisan figure who will bring the parties together and stop the fighting in Washington, but we already have one of those in Barack Obama, the Democrat who claims Ronald Reagan is his hero. Bloomberg also likes to sell himself as the competent businessman who can clean up the fiscal mess left behind by George W. Bush, but we also have one of those candidates already in the race and his name is Mitt Romney. Bloomberg's supporters also like to sell him as a candidate without the personal baggage of a Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Rodham Clinton, one who has no skeletons in his closet and will not be hit with personal or public scandals as president. But let us not forget that Bloomberg has been slapped with a plethora of sexual harassment lawsuits in the past and settled them all and got non-disclosure agreements from the victims. Let us also remember that his company, Bloomberg LP, is being sued by the federal government for gender discrimination and that his own role in the discrimination problem is being eyed by the feds. Bloomberg is NOT a candidate without personal or public scandal baggage. Bloomberg's supporters also say that Bloomberg needs to run because people are fed up with politics as usual and only a post-partisan independent like himself can restore America's interest in politics. And yet how turned off from politics can America be when interest in the election is so high and turn-out in the primaries and caucuses this year is at a record high? (See here and here for that story.) It doesn't seem to me like people are being turned off politics these days. If anything, the Iraq war and the tanking of the economy have heightened interest in politics and the '08 elections among all segments of the America - including young people. So at the end of the day, why is Bloomberg going to run for president?

Take A Hike Mike

Unite With Mike The Education Mayor: Finding a High School for an Immigrant Child is Tougher than you Think, from 1/18/08: The maze of America by Jessica Siegel, from the Village Voice, an excerpt:

Ralph Antony Louissant just wanted a school to take him. Ralph Antony Louissant is a sweet-faced 16-year-old, tall with closely cropped hair. Quiet and polite, he greets a visitor to his aunt's apartment with a soft "bon soir." He arrived from Haiti in August to join his sister Carla, his aunt, and his cousins in Brooklyn. His family's attempts to get him registered in a New York City public high school started back then and culminated during two weeks in September, in an odyssey through five public high schools, trying to find one that would accept him. Such is the situation with many English-language learners (ELLs), advocates say, where more than half of New York City's new small schools—the centerpiece of Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reorganization of the city's education system—have student bodies in which less than 5 percent are ELLs. And despite a number of rulings saying that each school must provide services for ELLs, Ralph Antony's experience shows that it's perhaps only through family persistence and the intervention of advocates that many immigrant students are getting the services to which they are entitled.

Michael Of Arabia

from 1/18/08: Bush gets a lecture from King Abdullah. If only George could be like Mike.
from Robert Scheer

Why is it that George W. Bush only gets a 12 percent favorability rating in Saudi Arabia? Even Osama bin Laden and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scored higher in a poll last month by the nonpartisan Terror Free Tomorrow group. What ingrates those Saudis are—didn’t the Bush family save them twice from Saddam Hussein?

Keep Them Doggies Rolling, Rawhide! 2

from 1/17/08:

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
Keep movin', movin', movin',
Though they're disapprovin',
Keep them doggies movin' Rawhide!
Don't try to understand 'em,
Just rope and throw and brand 'em,
Soon we'll be living high and wide.
Rawhide's calculatin'
My true love will be waitin', be waiting at the end of my ride.
Move 'em on, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em out,
Move 'em on, head 'em out Rawhide!
Set 'em out, ride 'em in
Ride 'em in, let 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in Rawhide.

Keep Them Doggies Rolling, Rawhide!

from: 1/17/08: Mike gives his girl friend Diana a tour of Richmond Hill High.
It's easy to unite when you pack 3600 kids in a space built for 1800. Samuel Freedman's excellent article in yesterday's nytimes reveals the truth about the education mayor. An excerpt:

Over the past dozen years, Richmond Hill’s most notable architectural accoutrement has been the quote-unquote temporary classroom. Twenty-two of these red metal trailers, encased within chain-link fencing, occupy the school’s former yard, evoking the ambiance of the Port Elizabeth container-ship terminal.
As for the cargo, that would be the students, faculty members and staff. Richmond Hill currently holds more than 3,600 pupils, twice its supposed limit, and could have 4,000 next fall as other neighborhood high schools in Queens are broken into mini-schools with smaller, more selective enrollments. Andrew Jackson, Springfield Gardens and Franklin K. Lane have already closed; next year, Far Rockaway will, too. These days at Richmond Hill, the first lunch period starts at 8:59 a.m., class sizes routinely exceed city and state averages and students have four minutes to negotiate hallways that one biology teacher at the school likens to clotted arteries.
The classroom trailers, never meant for more than a decade of nonstop use, need new walls, ceilings and plumbing. One social studies teacher, Peter McHugh, was reduced last year to conducting class while holding an umbrella against a leaky roof.

Mike Tries To Solidify His Base 2

I don't think the Diana Taylor/Tannenbaum argument was convincing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where The Problem And the Solution Can Be Measured

from 1/14/08: Making it real on the Wire. Baltimore Sun, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes (Clarke Johnson) has to listen to the BS of his superiors who don't want to hear about big social problems and how they impact on schools, but rather where "the problem and the solution can be measured."

The Wire: The Bump In Test Scores

From Episode 52: Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti, his Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf and Norman Wilson discuss the third grade "bump"in test scores and how that can leverage itself into a future gubernatorial run. Sound familiar?

Mike Tries To Solidify His Base

from 1/13/08: It's always good politics to solidify your base before you try to convince others. I would imagine there is some concern in the orthodox Jewish community of Mike's choice of a shiksa girl friend.

A Possible Presidential Debate

from 1/12/08: That's if Rudy manages to withstand another crushing loss

Mike Testing His I Had A Dream Speech

The secret discussion that Mike and Barack had during a NYC breakfast in December

The Big Tease

Will he or won't he run? Image from a website called the weekly donut

The Cheesecake Solution

from 1/12/08: Pressure Grows On Bloomberg: Make Up Your Mind, Already!
from talking points by greg sargent 1/11/08

This has already gotten some attention, but we wanted to flag it anyway. Today's Times has a good piece on the backlash that's growing towards Mike Bloomberg's suggestions that he may run or may not run for President. We wanted to point you towards this priceless quote from Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman, who is a Hillary supporter: “I think it is becoming a very old story very fast. Mike Bloomberg has failed to make a case that he represents an independent movement, as opposed to a former Democratic liberal, former Republican, former Bush-backer running a campaign of opportunism.” This really is the point. Bloomberg, who has criticized all the candidates for lacking policy specifics, has simply not said a darn thing that lets us place him in an ideological or policy sense. He is for "bipartisanship" in all its platitudinous glory, without telling us what policy ends he thinks should be accomplished with that bipartisanship. Which raises another point: Bloomberg's condemnation of "partisanship" needs to be seen as an electoral strategy, rather than a governmental one. That's what he used to get around the Democratic Party in New York, and it's what he would use to get around the parties should he run for President. As Zimmerman says, this is all about opportunism, pure and simple.

Schmucks Who Don't Need Badges

from 1/12/08: I'm talking about the unity 08 bunch, but don't get me wrong beck is certainly a schmuck too. also from the dailykos listserve

Whatever the actual measurable impact of political blogs may be, their movement is clearly grassroots and heartfelt. So, it’s funny to see the traditional media caught in the attempted creation of a campaign phenomenon. In this case, Daily Kos diarist SusanG has fun at the expense of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Mitchell describes speculation over a possible presidential bid by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reaching a “fevered pitch,” to which SusanG asks: A fevered pitch? Seriously? Breaking: Some schmuck hasn't decided whether or not to run in 08. But his indecision is freakin' fevered as all hell. This is all part of the Unity ‘08 nonsense coming out of Oklahoma this week where former officeholders are spending their pensions gathering to get excited about moderation, compromise, tepidity and Bloomberg. I know nothing in politics quite gets my blood flowing like contemplating a party-switching billionaire plutocrat discussing "across-the-aisle" unity with the likes of Christine Todd Whitman, Bob Graham, Bill Brock, Charles Robb, John Danforth , Sam Nunn and Gary Hart. I think Andrea Mitchell’s pitch is so fevered you could consider it hallucinatory

Mayor Mike Explains It All

Why hasn't anyone ever thought this through before with such amazing clarity

Unity 08, Aka Mike As Miss Congeniality

from 1/11/08: from the carpetbagger report 1/10/08

What a Bloomberg/Unity agenda might look like
According to several news outlets, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a “research effort” to determine whether he’d be a viable third-party presidential candidate in November. The mayor has reportedly been eyeing “early March as a timetable for making a decision.” All of this, of course, comes just a few days after Bloomberg gathered with a group of bipartisan former officials in Oklahoma, where they apparently talked about how nice it would be if everyone in Washington was nicer to one another. Bloomberg’s perspective at the event, in particular, seemed unusually foolish: “Government is dysfunctional. There is no collaboration and congeniality. There is no working together and ‘Let’s do what’s right for the country.’” This is pretty tiresome. Democrats have an agenda; Republicans have a different one. Both want to do what’s right for the country — but they disagree about how to do that. Do Bloomberg and his cohorts have anything specific in mind? Sort of. Former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn read a statement issued by the group — it said the nation is “headed in the wrong direction” — with a lengthy list of areas of concern. I won’t bother with the whole list, but the highlights include:

* The United States is now unpopular around the world and our credibility is low;

* We’re not leading on counter-terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and climate change;

* The deficit is out of control and the middle-class is struggling;

* Our military is “stretched thin”;

* We lack a coherent energy policy;

* Our schools aren’t good enough;

* Nearly 50 million Americans are without health insurance;

* We’ve neglected infrastructure needs.

I think I’m noticing a pattern here.
All of these concerns are identical to those of most Democrats. Listen to any of the Democratic presidential candidates and you’ll hear largely the same things. All of these problems were created (or exacerbated) by Republican incompetence and/or neglect, and all of them have been met with Democratic policy proposals that have faced GOP obstructionism. It gets to why the Bloomberg initiative is simply inane. Dems and Bloomberg see the same problems. Dems believe the way to address those problems is to implement a progressive policy agenda, while Bloomberg believes we need more “congeniality.” It’s as if we can just split the difference and fix the problems. That may occasionally be sufficient, but not with any of the challenges Bloomberg’s group identified. What’s the split-the-difference solution to global warming? Or Iraq? Or taxes? Or healthcare?

All we get from this silly endeavor are process arguments. They say we need:

* Clear descriptions of how they would establish a government of national unity

* specific strategies for reducing polarization and reaching bipartisan consensus

* plans to go beyond tokenism to appoint a truly bipartisan cabinet with critical posts held by the most qualified people available regardless of political affiliation

* proposals for bipartisan executive and legislative policy groups in critical areas such as national security.

These guys don’t want to offer policy solutions; they want to offer suggestions on how to talk about policy solutions. They don’t care what people say at the negotiating table; they care what the table looks like.

from commentators
To really tackle climate change, for example, what you need is not “a truly bipartisan cabinet” but rather elected officials who put the national interest over the interests of oil and gas companies. Most of the problem actors here are Republicans, but some are Democrats like Mary Landrieux. Back when he was a right-wing Democratic Senator, David Boren worked slavishly to advance the interests of polluting energy firms. Now he wants us to have more bipartisanship? It’s absurd.

Second is that the egomaniacs like Bloomberg, Perot, Ventura, Boren, Nunn, etc. always want to be visible leaders in this movement at the highest levels and no one wants to do the real work, the invisible party building. You dont create a real, lasting, “good government” solution by simply having a billionaire buy the White House once. You form a credible, third governing alternative by electing quality third/non/post party to the most local, smallest turnout offices and working your way up the ballot so that when the day comes you have a third/non/post party President, you also have a handful (or more) of similarly situated people in the House and Senate to help out.

Curly And Mike In The Corn Fields

from 1/11/08: With Hillary's comeback and the Presidential situation in flux, Mike's hopes may still be alive.

The Original: We Don't Need No Badges

from Treasure of the Sierra Madre for those that are too young to recognize the "stinkin badges" reference on the previous post. Warning spoiler, from wikipedia

By the 1920s the violence of the Mexican Revolution had largely subsided, although scattered gangs of bandits continued to terrorize the countryside. The newly established post-revolution government relied on the effective but ruthless Federal Police, commonly known as the Federales, to patrol remote areas and dispose of the bandits. Foreigners, like the three American prospectors who are the protagonists in the story, were at very real risk of being killed by the bandits if their paths crossed. The bandits, likewise, were given little more than a "last cigarette" by the army units after capture, even having to dig their own graves first. This is the context in which the three gringos band together in a small Mexican town and set out to strike it rich in the remote Sierra Madre mountains. They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. Once out in the desert, Howard, the old-timer of the group, quickly proves to be by far the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover the gold they are seeking. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted, but greed soon sets in and Fred C. Dobbs begins to lose both his trust and his mind, lusting to possess the entire treasure. The bandits then reappear, pretending, very crudely, to be Federales, which leads to the now-iconic line about not needing to show any "stinking badges". After a gunfight, a real troop of Federales appear and drive the bandits away. But when Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs and third partner Curtin have a final confrontation, which Dobbs wins, leaving Curtin lying shot and bleeding. However, as he staggers away through the desert, Dobbs is found and killed by some surviving bandits, who, in their ignorance, scatter the gold to the winds. Curtin is discovered and taken to Howard's village, where he recovers. He and Howard witness the bandits' execution by Federales, and learn that the gold is gone. They part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to America.

We Don't Need No Badges

from 1/9/08: Terrific article on the chutzpah of Bloomberg's candidacy from Tom Robbins at the Village Voice: excerpts

Michael Bloomberg thinks he hears America calling. He alone hears this call, but that doesn't matter. Unfortunately for us, he is eager to answer. Fresh from his confab in Oklahoma where he consulted with grizzled wise men, Bloomberg can be expected to announce any day now that he sees no alternative except to bow to this people's draft and place his own name before them on the November ballot. He needs no stinking caucuses to do this, no treading through New Hampshire snows, no forced smiles through endless living-room chats, no stadium rallies only half-filled with supporters, no late-night flights over frozen cornfields, no town-hall meetings that so easily go awry with one little misspoken word. He need engage in none of these tedious democratic exercises. He will simply buy himself a place on the ballot, just as he did here in New York in 2001.

This weekend, Bloomberg sat with David Boren, the former Oklahoma senator who convened the meeting of middle-of-the-road types designed to launch Bloomberg's candidacy. One of Boren's most enduring gifts to America was George Tenet, who served as Boren's chief of staff before going on to become director of the CIA. There, Tenet famously assured George Bush that finding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk." Also present at the meeting and mentioned as a possible Bloomberg running mate was Sam Nunn, the ex-senator from Georgia who, as head of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, never met a weapons system he didn't want to buy. And then there is Bloomberg's most famous adviser, a man we never seem able to get away from, that old warmonger Henry Kissinger. Kissinger brought us the illegal bombing of Cambodia and the bloody coup in Chile, and here is the wise man on the Iraq War: "Under present conditions, withdrawal is not an option."

Bad News Bore(n)s

from 1/8/08: Obama’s Success Makes a Bloomberg Campaign Moot
from truthdig: Barack Obama’s determination to unite Americans and his strong electoral showing in Iowa, fueled in no small part by independents, have taken the wind out of Michael Bloomberg’s sails. The New York mayor has been, by some accounts, considering an independent run for president, but now there just doesn’t seem to be much of a point. New York Times:

But even as the mayor gathered on Monday with the seasoned Washington hands on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, the surging presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama seemed to steal energy from the event and set off worry elsewhere among Mr. Bloomberg’s supporters.
Mr. Obama has stressed that he wants to move beyond gridlocked politics and usher in an era of national unity. A key organizer of the effort to draft Mr. Bloomberg for a presidential run acknowledged in an interview on Monday that that Mr. Obama’s rise could be problematic.
“Obama is trying to reach out to independent voters, and that clearly would be the constituency that Mike Bloomberg would go after,” said Andrew MacRae, who heads the Washington chapter of Draft Mike Bloomberg for President 2008. “An Obama victory does not make it impossible, but it certainly makes it more difficult.”

Bloomberg Girl 4: David Boren?

from 1/8/08: David Boren seems to be the driving force behind the Bloomberg for President initiative and some interesting stuff has been written about Boren from digitalbrownshirt: Weird Information on David Boren

I must be the last person in Oklahoma to know about this stuff. I asked a few people at work today and they all said "Oh yeah, everybody knows about that stuff." I'm a transplant from the looney left coast. We've only lived here for 10 years. Apparently, a lot of the page boy stuff happened before I moved here. It certainly would explain why he left the Senate early.

Here's what he is referring to
One must begin with the question of why Boren, with two years remaining on his term, in 1994 stepped down from one of the most powerful seats in the US Senate, in order to take the much less important job of OU President. It is not in the nature of politicians to surrender power voluntarily. His departure followed public accusations by Queer Nation activist Michael Petrelis that Boren was a closet homosexual who sexually abused his male staff members. Petrelis' accusation was reported in the gay publication The Texas Triangle . I undertook an independent investigation of Petrelis' charges. I began by consulting a book called The Price of Achievement , by Tufts University professor W. Scott Thompson, who is openly gay [11] Thompson was a Rhodes Scholar when Boren was at Oxford. In his book, he states without equivocation that Boren is gay. In a personal email to me, he described having witnessed Boren in a homosexual encounter. Thompson had also been a presidential appointee during the Reagan administration.

Bloomberg Girl 3: Liza Vs. Carol Lip Synchers

These two are funnier than the real two. ARIS will blow a processor if it had to decide. courtesy of youtube user reisen5555

Bloomberg Girl: Liza Or Carol?

from 1/6/08: This is a really tough call. Two all time Broadway Greats. They should really compete. Just establish a rubric and let the ARIS computer decide.

Bloomberg Girl?: Jackie Mason, I Don't Think So

from 1/6/08: Jackie has to learn to express his feelings more

Bloomberg Girls

from 1/6/08: Here's a quartet of possibilities, even though they're mostly dead they can still be computer regenerated.

Bloomberg Girl 1

from 1/6/08: I'm informally holding auditions for a Bloomberg Girl. I think Liza might qualify, a media darling with absolutely no talent.
from Glenn Greenwald at Salon, Monday December 31, 2007 06:27 EST

Michael Bloomberg: Trans-partisan savior
Following along in David Broder's excited footsteps, Sam Roberts in The New York Times reports that Michael Bloomberg "is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run." And a handful of retired, mediocre politicians with no following are issuing self-absorbed, thug-like demands, complete with deadlines:
Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, "I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent."
Is it even theoretically possible for Democrats to "cooperate" more with Republicans than they've been doing since taking over control of Congress?
The NYT article quotes actor Sam Waterston of the painfully silly, substance-free Unity '08 group describing the promise of Bloomberg's candidacy as promoting "Unity08's principal goals of a bipartisan, nonpartisan, postpartisan ticket." The website Unite for Mike -- a grass-roots movement that now has 500 supporters! -- says that Bloomberg "has the vision, experience and passion of a true and demonstrated leader" and that Bloomberg can solve this problem: "Our international leadership has become confused and directionless. We are no longer the shining beacon of freedom and justice to our fellow nations."Here's Bloomberg's record of Independence, Judgment, Competence, and Trans-partisan Wisdom. Consider how sterling his judgment is and how able he would be to make the world respect us again:
NYT, May 11, 2004:
Laura Bush and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stood shoulder to shoulder yesterday in an appearance that may well dispel any lingering doubt as to the mayor's feelings about the president, or of the mayor's own political identity. . . .
[T]here he was yesterday, throwing in his words of support for the president's decision to invade Iraq -- promoting one of the notions that is central to the rationale for the attack, that the conflict was justified by what happened on Sept. 11.
"Let me add something to that," Mr. Bloomberg said after Mrs. Bush gave her defense of her husband and his decision to go to war. "Don't forget that the war started not very many blocks from here."
Joe Conason, Salon, June 22, 2007:
Dating back to his infatuation with Bush, the mayor has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Iraq. He marched lockstep in the Bush drive toward invasion when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 2002: "Freedom comes at a price, and tragically, sometimes that price is the commitment to defend freedom by arms. America has been, is, and always will be willing to do its duty -- to sacrifice even its own blood, so that people everywhere can live as individuals responsible for their own destinies." (As Wayne Barrett once pointed out in the Village Voice, the man spouting this brave talk got out of the Vietnam draft because his feet are flat.)
Bloomberg's pro-war rhetoric dutifully echoed the White House line connecting Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida and 9/11, almost as if Karl Rove had programmed his brain. "I'm voting for George W. Bush and it's mainly because I think we have to strike back at terrorists," he said in September 2004. "To argue that Saddam Hussein wasn't a terrorist is ridiculous. He used mustard gas, or some kind of gas, against his own people."
Bloomberg's speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention:
I want to thank President Bush for supporting New York City and changing the homeland security funding formula and for leading the global war on terrorism.
The president deserves our support.
We are here to support him.
And I am here to support him.
NYT, January 29, 2004:
We are going to get George W. Bush re-elected as president of the United States! We are going to carry New York City and New York State. Everybody thinks I'm crazy, but I think we can do it.
Wayne Barrett, Village Voice, October 18, 2005:
Even though the City Council passed a resolution opposing the war, Bloomberg called an old friend, Paul Wolfowitz, to express his desire to host a ticker tape parade "to say thank you," apparently as unaware as the "Mission Accomplished" president that the troops would not be coming home for years. Bloomberg actually contributed $5 million to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Affairs in the late '90s, when war architect Wolfowitz was dean. . . .
Even before the war, Bloomberg brought his mother and daughter to the United Nations, where he addressed the General Assembly a day after Bush did in September 2002. Echoing Bush's warnings that the U.S. would go it alone if the U.N. didn't act, Bloomberg "praised" Bush's war on terror "and offered support for an attack on Iraq," according to the Daily News.
Michael Bloomberg Press Release, July 17, 2006, as the Israeli bombing of Lebanon proceeded:
Israel rightly continues to defend itself from unprovoked attacks on innocent civilians, and the killing and abduction of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Let there be no doubt: Hamas and Hezbollah must return the Israeli soldiers they abducted and cease their attacks against Israel.
I have said time and again that you cannot negotiate when there is a gun to your head. The international community needs to send a clear message to these terrorist organizations -- and the countries that fund and support their reign of terror -- that these kinds of attacks on peaceful, democratic nations will not be tolerated. . . . .
I commend President Bush and his cabinet for their continued support of Israel and its right to defend itself. I deeply hope that the fighting will end soon, and that all the innocent people affected by this conflict will again be safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those soldiers who have fallen in combat, the brave sons and daughters of Israel who are defending Israel's freedom at this very moment, and with the people of Israel who are an inspiration to all of us as they continue to go about their lives in the face of such uncertainty.
I have always believed that the fate of Israel and the future of New York City are deeply connected. If Israel's democracy is compromised, so too are our freedoms here at home. A strong Israel means a strong America and a strong New York. And as Americans and New Yorkers, we must continue to stand with Israel as we have done for the past 58 years, and we must never lose our hope for peace.
Rolling Stone, August 22, 2006:
Bloomberg, in fact, identifies strongly with the defeated Democrat from Connecticut. "I think what they're doing to Joe Lieberman is a disgrace," the mayor volunteered when I met with him in his offices in July, shortly before anti-war bloggers helped Ned Lamont beat Lieberman in the primary. . . . A few days later, Bloomberg was offering to campaign for Lieberman.
He also is as enamored of government control, police powers and surveillance as anyone in the Bush administration. He is an unrestrained advocate and enforcer of the War on Drugs (despite his own acknowledged use of marijuana, of course) and advocates the creation of "a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers," about which the NY Civil Liberties Union said, with extreme understatement: "It doesn't sound like the free society we think we're living in. It will inevitably be used not just by employers but by law enforcement, government agencies, schools and all over the private sector."
Clearly, this is just exactly what our country desperately needs, what it is missing most -- a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger who sees U.S. and Israeli interests as indistinguishable and inextricably linked, with a fetish for ever-increasing government control and surveillance, and a background as a Wall St. billionaire. We just haven't had enough of those in our political culture. Our political system, more than anything, is missing the influence of people like that. That's why it's broken: not enough of those.
Bloomberg is basically just Rudy Giuliani with a billion or two dollars to spend to alter the election. When it comes to foreign policy, war-making and government power, he offers absolutely nothing that isn't found in destructive abundance among the most extremist precincts in the Republican Party, while his moderate to liberal stance on social issues would prevent him from actually winning the support of his natural GOP base.
In fact -- despite his steadfast neoconservatism -- it's hard to see how the candidacy of a divorced, unmarried, stridently pro-gun-control, pro-choice, socially liberal New York City billionaire would accomplish anything other than offering the Republicans their best hope of winning in 2008. All of this seems to be intended as punishment meted out by the Establishment to the Democrats -- using Bloomberg's billions as the weapon -- for not repudiating their loudmouth, restless liberal base strongly enough. That, more than anything, seems to be the oh-so-noble and trans-partisan purpose of David Broder, David Boren and Sam Nunn: to find a way to stifle the populist anger at our political establishment after 8 years of unrestrained Bush-Cheney devastation, increasingly represented (on the Democratic side) by the Scary, Angry, Intemperate John Edwards campaign.
A Bloomberg candidacy would have no purpose other than satisfy his bottomless personal lust for attention and bestow the wise old men threatening the country with his candidacy with some fleeting sense of rejuvenated relevance and wisdom. His political views are conventional in every way and he's little more than an establishment-enabling figurehead. The whole attraction to his candidacy has nothing to do with any issues or substance and everything to do with an empty addiction to vapid notions of Establishment harmony and a desire to exert control, whereby our Seriousness guardians devote themselves to a candidate for reasons largely unrelated to his policies or political views, thus proving themselves, as usual, to be the exact antithesis of actual seriousness.

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