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

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.

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