Friday, February 28, 2020

Carranza on the Strip

I'm still at the NABE conference in Vegas. Yesterday was a little different for us . There was a meeting where people came and spoke of their work in bilingual education and on the panel was Richard Carranza, chancellor of NYC schools.

I thought this was a great opportunity to ask about Part 154. Regular readers of this blog know that's the state regulation of the bare minimum we have to give English language learners. It's been the scourge of my existence for a few years now.

I told the crowd that this chancellor was very pro-teacher, that I've seen him speak multiple times, and that he loved and respected teachers. I know, the DOE is terrible, and "legal" is a plague from the darkest depths of hell, but this chancellor inherited the Bloomberg machine, the one Mayor de Blasio has yet to lift a finger to change, and the first time he started to get rid of the deadwood he faced lawsuits from people claiming they were discriminated against for being white.

I told the chancellor that I knew teachers with 5 6, or 9 co-teachers, that it was untenable, and that this was beneficial to neither students nor teachers. I told him I was very lucky to be in a school that overserved ELLs, that I had an AP and a principal who were not crazy, but that a whole lot of my colleagues were not so lucky.I also told him that if our school lost Title One funds, which we make by the skin of our teeth, that would no longer be the case. I told him I understood that the state regulation was not his fault, and asked what he could do to make sure ELLs got the support they needed.

The chancellor said he supported our school's policy of overserving ELLs, and referred us to couple of his subordinates to meet. We met them in a courtyard outside the hotel and everyone had stories. Some had trouble getting materials, some had crazy supervisors. The crazy supervisor issue in NYC is endemic. Michael Bloomberg ran a "Leadership Academy" that encouraged outright hostility toward those of us who committed the egregious offense of teaching New York's children.

I told them it was impossible to deal with that many co-teachers. Honestly, I wouldn't adjust my lesson plans to accommodate someone who was coming into only one of my classes twice a week. I probably teach that class from Monday to Friday two or three times a day. The co-teacher has an even worse issue if she has 6 to 10 co-teachers. One teacher in our group actually had 8, and was getting used to it.

I don't think anyone should have to get used to having 8 co-teachers. I told the chancellor's people that this was an act of principals who wanted to be in compliance but didn't give a golly gosh darn whether or not the ELLs learned anything. Back when my grandparents came to America, we sent them to school and it was sink or swim. They were young and picked it up. I hear a lot of people tell stories about how their grandparents came here with nothing and did okay. God bless them all.

It's a different world now, though. We know a lot more now than we did a hundred years ago. It's a disgrace and a shame that the geniuses in Albany have set the bar so low for ELLs. Enacting Part 154 has been a disaster for the last five years. Fortunately for the Regents, parents of my students are largely terrified by ICE and are not likely to protest en masse.

That's no excuse for treating children like this, though.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Viva Las Vegas

I'm in Las Vegas for the National Association of Bilingual Educators conference. I'm her at the invitation of AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn de Jesus, who's kind enough to think of me when events like these come up.

The first thing I noticed were the gaming machines. They're incredibly noisy and ubiquitous. Maybe I'm not a Vegas kind of guy, but I'm not attracted to noise all that much. Every time I go anywhere I have to navigate through 5,000 slot machines. During the day we're mostly doing PD, but at night we're free for the most part.

I haven't actually been to any shows but last night a bunch of us went to a restaurant in this huge mall
called the Venetian Resort. It looked much looked like Hogwarts, to me at least. I didn't think there were painted ceilings like this anywhere outside of the Sistine Chapel. I wonder whether someone actually painted the ceiling or if they somehow created them with a computer. I guess I'll never know.

Though the edifice itself was pretty impressive, I was surprised to find they have real gondolas serving visitors via a a man-made stream that ran right across the mall. The most progressive thing I've seen in Vegas so far is that half the gondoliers were women. They were all singing Italian songs while taking the $29 passengers merrily, merrily up and down the stream. I pooped out because I was still jetlagged from the flight here. Being on the water was not my cup of tea (or whatever they fill artificial streams with.

You don't actually have to go the big-ticket shows if you aren't so inclined. Just walking down the strip you see things like the Mirage Volcano, which I'm told is in a constant state of eruption every night.

And who says there's a water shortage?  There are fake waterfalls everywhere. Over at the Bellagio, they don't bother with fire, but water is the thing and they evidently run this show every ten minutes.

And hey, if you don't believe me, I have a bridge to sell you. They seem to have recreated both NYC
and Paris right on the strip. In fairness, I walked across the real Brooklyn bridge a few weeks ago in a March Against Hate. It was a thoughtful thing to do. A lot of right-wingers say hate has disappeared since Obama became President. In case they actually believe that, I have a bridge to sell them. I'm pretty sure I could just sell them this bridge and save the real Brooklyn Bridge to a more discerning customer.

There's nothing quite as peaceful as a fake lake. I have to say this kind of fooled me. I'm constantly walking my dog by the water near where I live, and that's about the closest thing to moments of Zen that I actually experience. I find tranquility near the water, and maybe on Monday I'll file a grievance demanding the city erect a fake lake nest to the trailer I teach in. After all, when it's icy people tend to fall. Water is not so bad. We could just swim back to the building. Joel Klein would've approved simming back to the building in a New York minute.

This, of course, is my dog Toby. He'd have enjoyed coming here. In fact, as far as I can
tell, he enjoys going anywhere. I'm not entirely sure how much he'd enjoy Vegas. He's distracted by loud noises, and often leaps in the opposite direction. I'm not sure how much he'd enjoy leaping every other minute. Behind him you can see a crate. For about a week after we got him we'd place him there so he wouldn't make a mess in the house. Now we just leave the door open all the time, and Toby seems to think it's his house. That's where you'll always find him at bath time.

Finally, I'm sharing a picture of what Toby and I actually look at from Seabreeze Park in Freeport. We walk by there every morning. On weekends, when I don't have to do the whole work thing, Toby instinctively seems to know the right moment for us to leave and watch the sunrise.

There is indeed a difference between real and fake beauty. When you're far away from home, though, you take what you can get.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Bernie Is Radical, so Comparing His Supporters to Nazis Is Fine

I almost never watch cable news, but given the presidential primaries I'm tuning in every now and then. I am absolutely flabbergasted by what I saw in the few minutes I watched Chris Matthews. I don't remember him being insane, but who knows what's happened in the years since I previously paid attention? Bernie's winning the Nevada primary, evidently, is like the nazis invading France. We Bernie supporters, I suppose, are the nazis.

It's remarkable that a moron of that caliber has a job on MSNBC, which is ostensibly the left-leaning network. I turned to CNN a few times, and I see super smart people like Van Jones, Andrew Yang, and a young Latina whose name I did not manage to catch. It's night and day. Matthews is not a reporter, he's not an incisive analyst, and as far as I can tell, he's a bitter old white man whose bellyaching would be more suited to a low traffic barber shop than a prominent cable network.

Let's take a quick look at the things that are radical and extremist about Bernie. Most significantly, Bernie wants Medicare for All. He wants every American to have cradle to grave health coverage, as residents of every developed country but ours do. For decades, we've been snookered by the health care industry trying to protect the hundreds of billions they skim off the suffering of Americans.

In Nevada, some union leaders are incensed over Bernie Sanders. They negotiated something or other, and claim Bernie will take it away from them. However, their rank and file flocked to Bernie despite the words of these so-called leaders. Let's look at why.

For one thing, no matter how good the agreement your union may have made, if you lose your job you're up the creek without a paddle. Go work at Wendy's for minimum wage and no benefits whatsoever. For another, there is no union deal in the country that compares with Medicare for All. I don't know anyone who loves copays. I don't know anyone who enjoys getting socked with a huge bill from a doctor who doesn't accept their insurance. I particularly don't know anyone who wants to become destitute due to end of life care, or because they need full time care in a full time facility. No insurance covers that. In fact, my father had insurance for just that, and it proved to be a drop in the bucket.

Consider also that our unions have to negotiate health care. UFT has, in fact, proven to be about the best in the state. We are the only local I know that doesn't have payroll deductions for health care. However, that is simply unsustainable. When the jackasses who run what's left of MORE made a big stink about first-year city employees being restricted to HIP, they didn't consider the alternative, which was payroll deductions for all city employees. Unless we find a long-term solution, that is simply inevitable.

What other radical notions is Bernie espousing? Well, he wants Americans to have a living wage. He wants to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour. Bernie also wants college to be available to all, and he wants to forgive student debt. It's remarkable that Americans oppose any of this, particularly since we were able to bail out the big banks when Obama took office. This is precisely what MLK warned of--socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for those of us who have to work for a living.

I support Bernie, but I am encouraged by the AFT endorsement. It included Bernie, and managed to placate the many more conservative union members who prefer Biden. I'm also seeing some movement from the very top that pleases me.

This is pretty much exactly what I'm saying here. When Americans understand what Bernie is really saying, as opposed to the nonsense painted by overpaid troglodytes like Matthews, they come around. Democrats identifying as "moderate" chose Bernie over other candidates in Nevada.

I don't know what to tell union members who support Donald Trump. While he may perhaps appeal to racists, xenophobes, and narcissists, he certainly doesn't support union. He enabled the SCOTUS most Americans do not support, he enabled Janus, and that's certainly not the last bullet these right wing extremists will be shooting at us. Teachers have no collective bargaining, no tenure, and few rights in red states. That is precisely the vision Trump has for us. Why any teacher would support that is beyond my comprehension.

With MSM squarely against him, Bernie has built a coalition of working Americans who want and demand to be represented in government. He doesn't depend on billionaires for campaign money, and won't be jumping when they call. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Blogger's Day Off...

....but you can read my new piece in the New York Post about how, if Mayor de Blasio wants to save the city, he can begin by addressing overcrowding and ridiculous class sizes.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

No, You Are NOT Eva Moskowitz, and You CANNOT Recruit Students for Political Campaigns

I received the following letter in my DOE email:

Hi Arthur,

My name is Emma with the Elizabeth Crowley Campaign. Elizabeth is running for Queens Borough President in the March 24th Special Election. I wanted to reach out about volunteer internship opportunities we’re offering students. Students will develop communication skills by contacting voters directly, attend local political events, and learn the nuts & bolts of campaigns from experienced staff. This can also count towards students’ volunteer hour requirement. You can learn more about Elizabeth here:

Could you pass the opportunity along to your students? You can check out the full description and sign up here.

Additionally, we’re starting on-campus recruitment next week and I would love the opportunity to talk to your students about this internship opportunity. Do you have time for a member of Elizabeth’s campaign staff to visit your class for ten minutes to talk about our program & answer any questions in person?

Thanks for your help, 

Emma Roberts
Field Director
Friends of Elizabeth Crowley

Here's the letter I sent out to members in response:

Last week I received an email in my DOE account asking me to volunteer students to work on Elizabeth Crowley's campaign for Queens Borough President. I don't live in Queens and I have no opinion about Ms. Crowley one way or the other.

However, it would be a terrible idea for you to recruit your students for a political campaign of any sort whatsoever. What if a student's parents disagree with Crowley's policies? It's our job to teach students, not to recruit them to work for any politician.

I find this request to be unethical, and if you take Ms. Crowley up on it, I predict a letter in your file, at the very least. Don't even think about it.

Best regards,


Friday, February 21, 2020

NYC Educator Endorses AFT's Multi-Endorsement

Last night I got a phone call from AFT, which evidently had something to do with a presidential endorsement. Sensing near-certain disappointment, I decided to walk my dog instead.

Upon my arrival home I got a few questions about it, and went to AFT's website where I found this. I will cut to the chase in case you don't want to read the whole thing:

RESOLVED, until the American Federation of Teachers decides to make a national endorsement in the primary process or at the AFT convention, the AFT urges the affiliates, members and leadership, including the three AFT national officers, to be actively involved in supporting and helping Vice President Biden, Sen. Sanders, and/or Sen. Warren.

For me, this was not a bad surprise at all. It's vital that we defeat the criminal Trump, who has no regard for union, who pushed through SCOTUS candidates that don't represent the will of the people, who hurt us with Janus and continues to stifle union wherever possible. I don't think Biden, in particular, would succeed, but he nonetheless has a chance at the nomination.

Four years ago I was upset about the AFT poll, the one that no one I knew had even received. I have to say that this year I was polled, and I am and have been a Bernie supporter. I had wavered between Bernie and Warren right up until Warren opened attacks on Bernie. Personally, I think that's precisely what caused her decline in the polls. However, she has renewed energy after her withering  attacks against Michael Bloomberg Wednesday night. Bloomberg, incidentally, has his paid goons working to nullify the will of the people and anoint him king.

Bloomberg, who said a few years back that Sanders would've beaten Trump, is a particularly flawed candidate. For one thing, he's hopelessly out of touch. Saying he worked hard to earn his billions is an insult to each and every hard-working American who hasn't made that kind of money. Bernie pounced on this, saying a lot of people helped him. Delusional megalomaniacs like Bloomberg and Trump can't acknowledge others. Then, in true Scrooge McDuck fashion, Bloomberg said he couldn't "use Turbo Tax" to do his taxes, because, you know, he's got all that cash. This was an insult to almost all Americans. Michael Bloomberg has got a geranium in his cranium, and all the charisma of a number two pencil. He's not gonna beat Donald Trump.

Mayor Pete is a good candidate if you're aiming for the white, over privileged frat boy vote, but ideally we're gonna need to aim for a broader constituency. I believe his appeal will melt away very soon, particularly given the distasteful interchange between him and Amy Klobuchar on Wednesday. While I personally like Amy more than any of all the so-called moderates, I think she also shot herself in the foot the other night, with both her bumbling explanations for not knowing the President of Mexico's name and getting down in the dirt with Pete. Anything can happen, but I don't think she will recover.

I don't like Warren nearly as much as I like Bernie. She's dropped her commitment to not rely on super-PACs, (so much for her wine-cave criticism of Pete) and I find her treatment of Bernie, who asked her to run before doing so himself in 2016, to be reprehensible. She's shown a ruthlessness here I had not anticipated. Yet ruthlessness is not a bad thing when facing a lying sack of crap like Donald Trump.

I'm happy that AFT has not decided to do what it did four years ago and jump on a "sure thing." A month or two ago, all the media seemed to agree that was Joe Biden. When he fell on his face in two consecutive states he looked a whole lot less inevitable. Hillary didn't stand for things Americans wanted and needed, like universal health care, a living wage, and available college. Four million Obama voters didn't get off their asses for her, and likely wouldn't do so for Biden, let alone the execrable billionaire Bloomberg.

I say Bernie is our best bet to take back our country. Warren is the second best bet. I know there is support in AFT for Biden. Michael Mulgrew, for example, is running to be a Biden delegate. I'm focused on winning, and I see 2016 as the burden, not 1972. When people hear what Bernie advocates, they support him.

If you have doubts about Medicare for all, watch this. I'm tired of hearing about people who love their insurance. I have great insurance, but it doesn't remotely match Medicare for All. No one with half a brain would choose copays and possible huge payouts over this system. And as for the potential tax increase, you get what you pay for. UFT, alone in the state, does not require payroll deductions for insurance. This, ultimately, is an unsustainable model. I'd like to see health care as a right and off the negotiating table. Show me the money instead.

AFT's stance in 2020 is much improved over 2016. It's not precisely what I'd have wanted, but it's not precisely what Biden supporters would've wanted either. It's a thoughtful move, and in 2020 we need thoughtfulness more than ever.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Will the Real Mike Bloomberg Please Sit Down and Shut Up?

I can hear Mike Bloomberg in the background, speaking painfully bad Spanish on a commercial. He's blanketed the air with them, and I suppose he paid for this one well before the debacle of having to face actual people and answer actual questions last night.

Elizabeth Warren drove a stake through his ice-cold heart. While he certainly couldn't have felt it, the entire nation watched it both last night and on endless clips this AM. I was watching CNN this morning, and it was an endless loop of people marching in and out commenting on just how awful Bloomberg was. The front page of the Post today is a virtual obituary for him.

I was really glad to be off today so I could watch last night's debate. I was nodding off at points, especially during the second hour, after most of the fireworks had past. But I forced myself, and watched Michael Bloomberg try to appear capable of coherence after standing around angered he had to lower himself communicating with people not on his payroll. I had a blast tweeting about it too.

Mayor Pete came off as that kid in your class who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. He had a withering comment for just about everyone else on the stage. At one point he said, like DUDE, I liked Bernie before it was KEWL! He was really aggravating. This is the kid who, when the modest girl in the next row gets a higher score than him, raises hell about how that can't possibly be true. The last time I had a boy like that, he attributed the impossibility to the girl's national origin. Pete isn't a bigot, so I'd vote for him in the highly unlikely event he got the nomination. However, he's overtaken Joe Biden as my second least-favorite candidate.

Bloomberg will strike back with paid ads, blanketing the entire globe with them as only a self-important, self-serving billionaire can do. But he'll never be able to come back from having no answer for Warren when she asked him why not release the non-disclosure agreements so we could know what he actually said. Bloomberg contended they were "jokes," but given the volume of his Trumplike misogynist cracks, it's likely they were pretty awful. NDAs mean he paid them off to keep their mouths shut. If he had to do that before he was seeking national office, these "jokes" must be pretty vulgar indeed.

There were a lot of sleazy attacks on Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg suggested anything that was not capitalism was communism, which drew groans from the crowd. He also had a clearly prepped crack about Sanders owning three houses. As it happens, Bernie lives in Vermont, where he's got a modest house. Like many Senators, he has a residence in DC. Also, his wife inherited a house they sold to buy another.

This was the best his highly paid staff could come up with. I know teachers who own multiple houses. Sanders became wealthy after penning a best-selling book, but his wealth is in a completely different universe than that of a man who can bombard the media with misleading ads.

Watching Bloomberg's ads, you'd think Barack Obama had endorsed him. Obama has endorsed no one. You'd think Bloomberg singlehandedly gave 700,000 New Yorkers health care, rather than enabling a state program in the city. You'd think stop and frisk never happened, even as he had cops grab our students day after day for the offense of not having Mike Bloomberg's skin color.

I wonder what his highly paid debate consultants will write for him to say next week. Whatever it is, it can't and won't undo the damage he did himself last night.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kiling FDR's Legacy

I've been a Democrat since I've been old enough to vote. My parents were Democrats. They said that Democrats were the party of working people. FDR's legacy was one of helping those who lived through hard times, creating jobs and opportunity for those who need it.

One of his ideas that never quite made it was national health care. That's a shame. The number one cause of bankruptcy in our country is catastrophic medical emergency. While city employees have very good health care, I know several teachers who've incurred crushing debt while using GHI, which I also use.

Furthermore, if God forbid you get really hurt and need long term care, you're out of luck. My father, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was in need of such care. His wife had to get a lawyer to try and divest him of all he owned so he'd qualify for Medicaid at the end of his life. In fact, you don't need to be at the end of your life to need long term care. You just need to have extremely bad luck.

Michael Bloomberg is quoted saying we ought to deny care to the elderly. I've no doubt he'll reconsider when it comes to needing his own care. That's the thing about elitist, out of touch rich people. They hang out at the golf course with their own people and don't know diddly squat about those of us who have to make a living.

I'm frankly shocked at the volume of people who respond to Bloomberg's incessant ads. Sure he's a
little racist, but that's okay. Sure, he said all those things about women, but what are you going to do? Sure, he wants to fire half of all teachers and double class size, but hey, people say things. Sure, he hates public education, but you can't have everything. Maybe he's just a little bit authoritarian and can't be bothered with, you know, civil liberties. Okay, so maybe he compared teacher unions and ACLU to the NRA once or twice, but what are you gonna do?

What a lot of Democrats are going to do, in their incredibly myopic effort to "vote blue no matter who," is support this man, out there every day trying to buy the Presidency of the United States. It doesn't matter that the qualities described above are reminiscent of no one more than current President Donald Trump, with whom he was BFFs right until he saw the opportunity to grab power from him.

Bloomberg, who cannot conceive of himself being wrong about anything, is now deflecting his faults upon others, calling Bernie Sanders Trumplike because Sanders rails about Bloomberg trying to buy the nomination. Crowds eat this up, because it is so absolutely true. In fact it's Bloomberg who's Trumplike, because like Trump, he can't abide criticism, particularly when it's absolutely valid.

On Twitter, Bloomberg attacks Sanders supporters, stereotyping them as Bernie Bros. We are a bunch of contrary bullies who can't tolerate opposing points of view. It's kind of remarkable that Bloomberg, with all that money, has to attack Sanders supporters rather than the candidate. In any case, like all stereotypes, this is absolutely untrue. Along with most Sanders supporters, I voted for Hillary against Trump in 2016. Like many Democrats, I'd vote for any candidate but Bloomberg against Trump.

It's unacceptable to have to choose between two out of touch, sexist, racist, disingenuous demagogues. If Democrats want to win, they'd better consider that. I understand that modern Democrats have been moving away from their FDR roots since Clinton, and have embraced corporatism and big money. Nominating Michael Bloomberg would surrender all their remaining credibility. It would make them completely unnecessary, and remove necessary options from the American people.

They'll be digging their own graves. Usually no one does that, unless they have guns to their heads. The DNC took 800K to whore themselves out to Michael Bloomberg, changing the rules and allowing him into the debates with no public support. This, of course, was after Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Corey Booker were squeezed out by the old rules.

If the Democrats are a bunch of whores on the same level as Trump's GOP, America needs a new option. We've been a banana republic since GW Bush's Daddy's court and brother's state gave him the presidency. We have a Supreme Court that most definitely doesn't represent the will of the people.

Democrats running Michael Bloomberg would mean working Americans had absolutely no chance for representation on the Executive Branch. That's disgraceful, and it would mean Democrats stood for nothing but money, just like the GOP. Ben Franklin said something like those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. I wonder what he'd have said about a political party that sacrifices all its principles for a pile of cash.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

My Misogynist Anti-labor Megalomaniacal Racist Is Better Than Yours

That's about the level of discourse I see on Facebook. When I post things about Bloomberg, like his classic quote:

If the UFT wants it, it ain't good.

I get responses like, "Oh my God, You're a Trump supporter." Absolutely not. I'm disgusted by Donald Trump, and everything he stands for. In fact I don't believe Donald Trump stands for anything but Donald Trump. Everything else is a matter of convenience.

I don't believe Donald Trump has any moral center whatsoever. Say anything. Say you'll protect so-called pre-existing condition coverage, then try to destroy it dozens of times. Say you've got a plan to get great coverage for everyone, and then propose the law of the jungle. Every animal for itself. Say Mexico will pay for the wall, to massive applause. Post juvenile insults about your opponents. Rile up the forgotten masses.

Michael Bloomberg reminds me of no one more than Donald Trump. Disgusting remarks about women, virulently anti-union, opposing minimum wage right up until this year's grasp for the presidency, and a philosophy that it's my way or the highway. Every UFT member lived through 12 years of his nonsense, and remembers he defied the twice-voiced will of the people for term limits. Donald Trump talks about extending his term beyond legal limits, but Mike Bloomberg actually got it done.

This is a pattern with Bloomberg. Giuliani spoke of mayoral control, but was always preoccupied, suing for the right to bring his mistress into the home he shared with his wife and young children, or over some elephant dung piece of art, or whatever. He lacked the wherewithal to lay a glove on the UFT. Bloomberg netted us the disastrous 2005 contract, and closed schools all over the city. He'd place five academies full of newbies in each one, with no one who could adequately carry the union banner, absolutely by design.

Of course, Bloomberg had his weak moments, pouncing on ridiculous notions, imagining anything that came into his rock of a head must be gold. He made Cathie Black chancellor of NYC schools, even though she had no knowledge whatsoever of public schools. Trump named clueless Betsy DeVos, and the only distinguishing differences are that DeVos has A. more money than Black, and B. a lot of experience investing it in reforminess, causing wanton destruction to education in her home state of Michigan. She's been ineffectual nationally, being a preposterous figure. Bloomberg would do better than Trump. He would "get it done," much as he did in NYC.

Like Donald Trump, Bloomberg has been a Republican and a Democrat. Whatever it takes to get what you want. It's not like the basic principles of either party mean anything to either demagogue. Say anything, commit to whatever, as long as it gets you elected. When Bloomberg ran for mayor the GOP slot was open, and this year he sees opportunity as a Democrat. There are always more options for the morally bankrupt.

I'm sorry if you feel my absolute refusal to vote for subhuman bigoted overprivileged galoots guarantees the reelection of Donald Trump. What America needs, what America cries out for, is a leader who cares about a middle class, who supports labor, who will allow us to get our share of the pie. A Trump-Bloomberg races not only guarantees none of the above, but further guarantees a second term of Trump. No one on earth, aside from Michael Bloomberg, is passionate about his election.

Sure he's got his army of whores, not the least of which is the DNC, which sold out for a piddling 800K. I just read about a mayor he gave 4 million. I guess they DNC should've held out for more, but they're substandard negotiating skills are likely as not one more reason Trump is President.

You want to get rid of Trump, DNC, and people watching the super-slick lie-fests that are Bloomberg commercials? Give us a candidate America can vote for. Give us a candidate that will get the four million Obama voters who stayed home for Hillary a reason to get their asses off their couches and into voting booths. Give them reasons to check their registration before GOP pulls them off the voter rolls.

Is that too much to ask? If it is, frankly, there's no longer any reason for the Democratic party to exist.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Toby for President

Because I'm always honest with everyone, I'll be honest with you. I've never really aspired to be the first canine president. Personally, I'd rather just find the warmest spot in the house, curl up, and take a nice nap. But the human's got me a little concerned.

First of all, he's not paying nearly enough attention to me lately. Sure, he lets me take him for walks. But at crucial points, when he usually asks me to sit so he can give me a treat, he seems to be forgetting. I have to sit myself and wait for him to give me a treat. This is unacceptable.

The human is spending a lot of what should be Toby time on Facebook, posting stuff like this about some character named Bloomberg. Bloomberg, evidently, hates teachers. Now the human is a teacher, and is a pretty good guy. He buys Freshpet Tender Chicken with vegetables and brown rice, which I'm fond of, and cuts it for me. (He has these opposable thumb thingies, which makes it easy for him.)

Anyway, I can't abide the human wasting his time on Facebook, so if this Bloomberg character is the nominee, I'm all in. I understand that Bloomberg is a racist, and that he has no respect for democracy, and is not as competent as he portrays himself. I hear it's his fault that Judge Biff is on SCOTUS. This bothers the human. I also understand that some candidates are supporting Medicare for All, which sounds good to me. The human says his union has to negotiate health care, and that this can affect their pay, which I know is what's used to buy Freshpet.

Now I support Medicare for All. However, I notice that it does not include veterinary. I sometimes hear the human complain about vet bills, and I don't think that's fair. After all, dogs are people too. As for cats, I'm not really sure. Whenever I approach them while walking the human, they run away. However, I'm a broad minded guy, and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I'd like to add that I've heard a lot about paid parental leave, which most countries have. That's an absolute necessity. Family is important, and I'll bite anyone who bothers my humans without hesitation. The problem is that there's no provision for canine adoption. I know some humans like cats, and there's no provision for feline adoption either. How can that be in the twenty-first century?

You may or may not know that I myself am a refugee of sorts. I used to live on the streets of Puerto Rico, which was pretty tough. I had hair so long I looked like a furball. Animal Lighthouse Rescue found me and hooked me up with some nice humans right here in New York. I take pretty good care of them, and of course I'd look after this country as though the humans in it were my very own.

The human who I take for walks says he won't vote for Trump or Bloomberg if that's the choice they give him. That's good enough for me to throw my leash in the ring. Honestly, I don't much like it anyway, but the human says without it I'd get hit by a car while chasing squirrels. It could be true. After all, who can resist chasing squirrels? Humans, actually, don't seem to care for it. That's why I sometimes question whether they can be trusted.

In any case, you can trust me. I am absolutely faithful and true, and I've got several years experience caring for humans, which is more than Trump or Bloomberg could do. I hear Bloomberg gave three million dollars to the guy who ruined the water supply in Flint. Honestly, how do you get by without water? I hear he pins you to the wall if you are a person of color, and as a person of several colors, I object to that. I also hear, despite the ads he runs pretending Obama supports him, that he supported GW Bush in 2004, and even spoke for him at the GOP convention.

In any case, I urge you not to vote for this Bloomberg character. I'm willing to run, but more willing to nap. The human says that makes me a role model. I guess that means I have to walk the walk, and hope humans follow in my pawsteps.

But I'm a reluctant candidate. The human says that makes me ideal for the job.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

UFT Delegate Assembly February 12, 2020--We Reminisce About Emperor Mike, and Many Resolutions

4:28 UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomes us.

—Impeachment’s done, DeVos wants to voucher everything. Horrendous. President’s SOTU v. budget proposals contradictory. Watching presidential race. Mentions former mayor running, gets many boos from crowd. Says we have worked with him, really know him. His ed proposal says he wanted to hold charters accountable, but never did that here. He wants unions with no power.

We are sticking to what we said—Census will start before next DA. 191 of 200 volunteers came to a weekend to be trained. Usually many people don’t show. Volunteers stand. Our budget issues wouldn’t exist if we scored 10 points higher on census.

State—Proposed budget is governor’s. Will be two more. We now have more people covered with health insurance. Governor wants municipalities to pay for anything over 3% spent on Medicaid. NYC has no control over who gets services and what it pays for. State controls these factors. County executives upset. Big issue.

2011 first year NYC put more money into ed than state did. Gotten worse every year. Cost shift. Every school district in state suffering. Last week started working with DC37 and others, saying there can be no cost shift to municipalities. Governor loves to fight with mayor, but this is NYC and others as communities. Cannot balance budget by making us pay more. This is unexpected.

Charter proposal ridiculous. Tuition allotment per pupil 830 charter student, 200 public school student. Parents were here, thought we were progressive state, disappointed. Governor’s office said it’s a formula. We had no input. This produces inequality and we will fight it.

We support ultra rich tax, most people agree unless they make 5 million or over. They’re at fund-raisers, say they’ll all leave if we tax them. We are losing, in fact, middle and working class people. They keep cost shifting onto municipalities, who cut services. This may be a big fight.

March 16, Lobby Day, union birthday. This year we will do Lobby Days for individual UFT groups, did specialized and private schools we rep, united community schools, nurses, and others.

Wound up negotiation with visiting nurse service, Was tough, ugly. Private sector bargaining getting worse and worse, demanding people pay for health care no matter how many billions they made. Now facing tough negotiation at NYU.

City—city budget affected by state. Will keep you posted.

You got letter? You can share it. That’s significant. Never happened before that we’re all saying same thing. May help with principals. Serious project. Albany remembers Common Core fiasco. For two year we testified what would happen. We are looking at curriculum.

Chapter leader community about how to help you do your job. We have focus group of CLs. We got community started.Next piece is inputting school info, like SBOs, to have record. This way no one can dispute what you did.

Consultation notes now pivotal. We’ve had movement and can prove we’ve tried to get things done. Shows CL dashboard. 1012 logged in, 580 have not. 1592 schools.

Curriculum inventory—Schools filled it out when people visited and talked to you. Please don’t do that. Majority of people believe we are an insurance policy, that we’re here to defend contract via grievances. We do much more. We want team at school level. Want inventory because tests are being changed, aligned to what students have to do. Will also get others involved. Don’t simply submit this by clicking boxes. Asks we wait and have conversations.

We know, for example, that Teacher’s College is not aligned. Majority of schools will use if for 3-5 ELA. How do we prep these schools for next year? In high schools, many teachers design their own. We aren’t monitoring whether you did it, but rather how to help you at school level. If you use non-aligned curriculum we need to see supplemental materials. Has to be appropriate.

PD committees—Will change language in contract to strengthen committees at school level. As long as curriculum aligned principal and supe get final say. We get to say whether or not it is aligned to curriculum. Many schools don’t have functional PD committees. Come June, if you don’t have functioning PD committee, you won’t have say in what PD is. 

We have over 60% signed in to CL community system. This is large number. We have people always trying to make it better. People who decided not only to help children, but also to help make better conditions for doing so. We will get to 100%.

Health care benefits—You may continue doing mail order, but March 1st, you can go to any pharmacy to get prescriptions. Thanks Welfare Fund. Some people like mail order, now will be option for those who do not.

Wishes us happy valentine’s day.

LeRoy Barr
—We have until Friday Feb. 14, to make changes to vote in this year’s primaries. Tomorrow, Feb 13 Back to Natu film, 16 ann school counselor conf. March 7.  Women’s Committee meeting march 6. CL training March 7-8, para luncheon March 14 HerStory brunch March 14. Middle school conf March 21. Early childhood March 28. UFT Jewish Heritage Labor Seder March 31. Next DA March 18.


Q—Last month spoke of dangers of Bloomberg nomination. Widely shared. We’ve seen ads. Rising in polls. Shouldn’t we consider following LA and Boston and making a primary endorsement?

A—Overall strategy among AFT is to get more engagement in states that underperformed last time. Have spoken with other locals in other states. If NYC endorses they feel members will stop engaging. We will consider what was brought up. He may be flavor of the month. People want Trump defeated. They have to consider how they feel about union and profession. Bloomberg is trying to pull wool over eyes about educational history. Just talks about money, not layoffs, mismanagement, efforts to break contract and fire union members. Not worker or union friendly. Everyone may say he’s the savior to beat Trump. We know better. We have to have other states engaged to beat current president, who has base in many states.

Q—Incidents—We have new safety standards. DOE says incidents and suspensions going down, but incidents against members happening. I know we collect data through incident reporting. What will we do to change narrative?

A—Never okay for people to get hurt. We pushed for teacher attack to be a felony. Some principals don’t get it. When CL contacts us we ask if there is student removal process. Some principals make it almost impossible and we need to know. Problem with system is it needs to be streamlined. 20 years ago there weren’t all these lawyers. No one talks about what child did or needs, or what happened to other children.

Q—NYT piece about homeless students—1 of 10. Anything more we can do to combat this?

A—We’ve gone to city agencies responsible. Having meetings to come out with overall plan. 70% of homeless shelter challenged now working families. Working with Women in Need, met with cardinal, Catholic Charities working for them. Mayor and governor spoke about what they’d do. They always say that, tell each other to pay, blame each other when it doesn’t work. Homeless children rate gone up every year for 20 years.

Q—Primary—Seen events AFT put on in other states. Is there plan for event like that here?

A—One was considering coming to para luncheon, at last moment dropped out. Candidates moving around. Will see what we can do. Have offered various candidates.

Q—How is it in member’s interest that TRA did away with inflation protected fund? Almost a betrayal.

A—I will get an answer.

Dave Kazansky—Was one fund that was changed. We saw it wasn’t performing as well as we’d hoped and was very expensive. Decided for cost, and fact there were other funds with better ratio, it was unnecessary and expensive.


Point of order
—Makes motion, ruled out of order.

Dave Pecoraro—Motion to amend agenda, move item 8 to 1, and 7 to 2.


Motion—Mike Sill
—6 and 9 to 3 and 4.


Motion period closed.

Mulgrew steps down, speaks to 8—Bridget Ryan—Proud she decided to run. She’s running for city council in Brooklyn. She has advocated and won more money for children and teachers of the city than anyone else. Endorses strongly. Let’s make her council for children and teachers of NYC.

Rashad Brown—stands in favor, chairperson of Pride committee, Bridget has been advocate and supporter, especially when we started Danny Dromm scholarship fund. Has been involved with our committee, recommends support.

Michael Friedman—Known her since 94, has worked to make union strong, what she did for union she can do for rest of city, strongly endorse.

Peter Goodman—I appointed Bridget as CL, performed well, made us all proud. Hopes others engage as she had.

Question called.

Endorsement carries unanimously.

Bridget Ryan enters
—Says she will be city council member. Thanks Mulgrew and others for making her what she is today. Will represent all of you. Will make you proud.

Eric Dinowitz endorsement
— Mary Atkinson—A Bronx teacher running, for District 11. Public school teacher for ten years, former CL. Knows what public schools need, friend to public ed., supports smaller classes, mental health, please support him.

Michal Friedman
—Knew Eric all his life. Will make great City Councilperson. Went K-12 public, Has degrees from CUNY, SUNY, will be great for community. Endorses reso.
Endorsement carries unanimously.

—These are two candidates, but we want to see more.

NYC Teachers Retirement Board Endorsement
—David Kazansky—asks body to endorse Assistant Treasurer Tom Brown to TRS board. Knows pension plan better than anyone. Trustees support him for third term.

Carries unanimously.

Eric Gonzalez endorsement
Brooklyn DA—Liz Perez says he’s been a friend to UFT. Not UFT but married to UFT member. Helped us close jail pipeline. Asks endorsement.

Carries unanimously.

Tom Brown—Supports reso to improve social security COLA. Asks for better calculation to reflect retiree needs.

Carries unanimously.

David Kazansky
—Asks for support reso against hate attacks. Many incidents of people being attacked. 23% rise of anti-Semitic attacks this year. Physical expressions of hate up against all groups. Our job to care, educate, make better world. Must speak out against hatred and bigotry.

Dave Pecorara
—amend—add Resolved UFT calls upon leadership of our country to end language that fans flames of hatred. Says self-explanatory.

Jackson Farrel—We use word tolerance in many resolutions. Understanding better word. We knew in 1977. Could we find some way of replacing “tolerance” with “understanding.”

Calls question on amendment.

Amendment passes.

Resolution as amended passes.

Liz Perez
— Since earthquake hit PR have been over 200 tremors. Largest strike in century. Psychological damage extensive. Thousands fearing ground will never stop shaking. Still recuperating from Maria. Imagine having to sleep in car, to flee to stadium, or sleep under trees fearing homes will fall. People need your help. Over 5K homeless and growing. Losses over 460 million, just from earthquakes. Asks UFT to partner with NYSUT and AFT and give aid.

Passes unanimously.

Mark A
.—Offers substitute resolution. Resolved UFT will ID and work with community leaders to offer French and Haitian Creole in all exams.

Kate Martin Bridge—Familiar with translations. Instead of saying all tests, will be pushback with ELA, which is never translated. All exams except ELA exam.

Suggestion—all exams that are currently translated. Accepted.

Janella Hinds—in favor of reso as amended. Wants all HS students to have opportunity to be successful. Asks for support.

Dave pecorarao—calls question


Rich Mantel
—60 years of UFT. Resolution to celebrate UFT’s 60th anniversary. Asks founders to stand. Diamond reps 60 anniversary, sheer strength, like union. Asks everyone to support.

George Altomari Speaks of solidarity, courage. UFT wasn’t inevitable. Speaks of courage, sacrifice, beginning of union. Speaks of collective bargaining and its importance, risks of strike. Will keep union strong. Happy birthday UFT.

Carries. We are adjourned. 6:10.

Monday, February 10, 2020

UFT Executive Board February 10, 2020 UFT Visiting Nurses Avoid Strike and Now Negotiate with NYU

Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us 6:02


Betty Godfried
—Retired adult ed. teacher—Diane Jenkins passed, taught many years, was forced into retirement, great speaker. Retirees vilified for speaking out. Received high praise from Danny Dromm and others. Never received accolades from union, but was held in high regard by colleagues. Was 69, will miss her, fought for her colleagues.

Barr—Moment of silence.


—Friday CTE ceremony, went well. African Heritage Dinner Dance that same evening was successful. This week, DA Wed. Feb 12 is Black History film series, getting packed. Back to Natural film. Herstory, March 15, Sunday. Next EB Feb. 24th.


Mindy Rosier
—Friday, 14, last day for voter registration to change party or address. Will this be brought up at DA? We want as many members as possible voting.

Barr—I will make sure that is part of my report.

Arthur Goldstein—Our grievance process is problematic. Among several outstanding grievances, I have a black letter grievance about a letter in file that went to step two at least two years ago. The member was reluctant to file. Trying to persuade, I accompanied the member back and forth to Manhattan. We either got rejected or no answer, and it has not gone to arbitration. Another grievance I filed has sat in a black hole for years, even as I emailed every possible person I could to ask about it. For about a year they told me they were thinking about it. Now no one tells me anything. I have a friend with five co-teachers. He grieved because that was an excessive number of preps. The principal said one prep was the same even though it was attached to three different teachers. It’s absurd to assume three different teachers do the same thing day after day just because the course has the same name. He’s been waiting over a year for an answer from the grievance department, and the issue may be moot because this year he has five new co-teachers.

What can we do to improve the grievance process, and what can members and chapter leaders do to get substantive answers about outstanding grievances?

Barr—We worked on this on last contract, particularly in class size. We were successful in resolving many things. David Campbell will respond.

David Campbell
—It is true that in the past we had a long backlog. We are becoming more speedy. Many cases we don’t take if we don’t have much of a chance to win. Last won you mentioned was a reorg. We take most of them that come through. We would definitely take that one. We have won those from time to time. We do review cases and say no to some but there is an appeal process.

Goldstein—I’m aware of that. Not what I’m talking about.

Barr—We do want to be responsive. Please get us specific cases.

Reports from districts—

Ann Goldman
—Shares a success. Have been bargaining with Visiting Nurse Service. Have achieved on time contract in lieu of strike. No doubt there is a target to destroy union. Bargaining divisive contentious and underhanded. We are allowed to strike, private sector. We showed attacks on seniority and UFT to pit vets against new hires. We showed our cohesiveness. We would have failed if Mulgrew didn’t have outreach politically to show what it would mean if we hadn’t achieved contract. Thank you for support.

Wendy Walker Wilson—African Heritage Committee scholarship dance, 200 people, honored a teacher, her students did dance selections. Honored Anthony Harmon and Donovan Richards. Thank UFT and everyone who supported us.

Rashad Brown
—Pride Committee, 2/28. workshop pathways to parenthood, for LGBTQ members. Second event last Thursday, 90 members of Greek organizations from HBC organizations and others. Many UFT members part of this. Want to partner with other orgs to visit college. April 2 next meeting.

Ellen Driesen—Wonderful meeting with legal group providing our new legal benefit. People doing divorces and wills, getting papers in order, will slowly roll this out. Great benefit.

Janella Hinds
—Repped UFT at NEA gala for ed excellence. Bronx teacher was finalist for Horace Mann award. Al Hassan received award as national teacher of the year. When he gave his acceptance speech, he thanked NYSUT and UFT. Was proud to rep UFT.

Deshanna Barker—Thursday Jan 30 had panel to discuss building strength and power at chapter level. Were very powerful stories. Amy Arundell was moderator. Was important because after event I was will Mulgrew and others for political team training. A lot of people at that panel continued our discussions. We looked at fear, at things as basic as having coffee with members. We let principals know what we stand for. Let members know it was about integrity, working for children and fighting for kids as well. Looking forward to another panel.

Sterling Roberson
—Friday was CTE awards. Honored 73 educators for work they did. Added academic officers who supported them. Was important because of impact in schools. In regard to policies, our teachers do incredible work and put out incredible effort. Over 400 showed up, had wonderful time. Thanks to all who attended.

President’s message—

Michael Mulgrew
—Thanks everyone for reports. Thanks Anne Goldman. Private negotiations are getting worse and worse. Our side faced other side bravely. Glad we were successful, but right into negotiation with NYU.

Last weekend political activists came up for weekend. 200 people said yes, 191 showed up. I will take political volunteer over paid consultant. Brought passion to room will follow up. They will engage at school level with census, work with community, will be hub to connect everyone. We have moved toward first establishing political action committee. After census is elections. We will move forward with that.

State—Had big meeting here Friday, very concerned with budget, huge inequity between charter and public school student, get 4X as much. We will fight. We have a Medicaid crisis. We know since 2011, state shifting costs to municipalities, mostly NYC. We’re saying state cannot continue to balance budget by shifting costs to counties and municipalities. When MA did tax cap they knew it would require state to raise further revenue. NY did opposite. Put tax cap, then spending cap.

They just make up a number. We were in Albany for two weeks. Other unions joined us. No more shifting costs to NYC. Blew up on Saturday. Said UFT attacks governor. Put out op-ed Saturday. Too bad if they don’t like it.

We are on our biggest educational project—curriculum survey.

Chapter leaders need to sign in to UFT CL boards. All hands on deck. We need our members to see we rep their professional interests, support they need to do their job. We need curriculum, and PD aligned to it.

Superintendents and principals say they will release staff to do inventory. We need to get it done. If we don’t finish it, we’re full of it. We need to fix this by June and have in action by September.

We are having fights over budgets. We need CLs signed up to new communities. Will be main conduit of information. Next all your records will be there. February will be very tough month, and March is Lobby Day. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Duane Clark—Endorsement of Brigitte Ryan for City Council.

—Special order of business—Asks we take this out of order.

Clark—Ryan understands our work. She has done great job in borough office Ran many things for members. Phone banks, parties. Supported org at large, including Teachers Choice money, many initiatives for community schools, positive learning program. She has most money of all the candidates already raised. We need to have friends. Will be changes in the future, so we need new ones. In Albany Brigitte is well known. She knows how to navigate in political arena. Asks for support.

Michael Friedman
—She was great for union, will go beyond, strongly support her.

Vin Scaglione—She is a successor of mine in Manhattan Borough Office. I support her entirely.

Rashad Brown—Rises in favor. She is a presence in City Hall, in UFT. Whenever she needed me I was there. She drove relationship with Danny Dromm. Helped with scholarship brunch.

Passes unanimously

Liz ?—Michal said much of what I was going to say. He will go to Albany and ask for raise in ed. budget. Will support learning schools and PLCs. Hosting discussions on Regents. If you want to attend, have positions and share testimony.

Resolution—NYC Retired Teachers endorsement.

Dave Kazansky—No one knows our pension better than Tom Brown. An asset to board. Living embodiment of what a fiduciary could be. Couldn’t be in better hands. Asks for unanimous support.

Passes unanimously

Resolution for NYSUT RA

Mike Sill
—Move six reso for NYSUT RA, Stonewall Riots Commemoration, expand voting rights, Students observe Ramadam, lower drug costs, Medicare right to negotiate, raise awareness about census.

Barr—Will do all five if no objection.

Sill—They are there for your perusal.

No questions.

Barr—Have all passed in this body at some point. Want to make them NYSUT policy as well.
Motion carries.

—Two more reso.

Mary Atkinson, for Eric Dinowitz—teacher running for office Long time teacher, former CL, knows a lot about public ed. Strongly supports union rights. Wants to support small classes, mental health outreach. We need friends to help us with programs. Asks for your support. City Council District 11.

Michael Friedman—Knows Eric since he was born. Very fine person will do a lot on council. Went to city schools and SUNY. Fights hard for community. When there were problems even outside ed. he fought hard. Believes in school and community.

Eliu Lara
—Was his DR. He is pure leader, always present Lobby Day. Organized his chapter. Democratic district leader for NW Bronx. Advocate for accessible subway. Great advocate. Always helps member and makes contact. I support him.

Carries unanimously.

Elizabeth Perez for Eric Gonzalez
—True Brooklynite, wife is teacher. prosecutor 25 years, presently Brooklyn DA. Created young adult court. Commitment to send fewer people to jail and more to rehabilitate. Asks for endorsement.

Carries unanimously.

We are adjourned, 6:55

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Bernie Sanders Catch 22

Catch 22 is my favorite book. I don't even remember how many times I've read it. It's about Captain Yossarian, who had to fly incredibly risky missions. No matter how many he does, the number keeps getting raised. Yossarian goes to the doctor and says he can't fly any more missions because he's crazy. The doctor says if he's crazy he can stop flying missions, but by saying he doesn't want to fly the missions he must not be crazy. Anyone who shows a concern for his life must not be crazy, so he has to continue risking his life.

I get a lot of pushback on Facebook for my support of Bernie. You see, everyone who supports Bernie is a "Bernie Bro," a contrary simpleton who will vote for no one but Bernie in the general. As it happens, I will support any Democrat in the general except Michael Bloomberg, who ran a racist stop and frisk policy for years, who opposed a living wage for New Yorkers, who defied the twice-voiced will of the people for term limits, and who demonstrated a clear animus toward public schools and public school teachers.

Even as so-called centrists vilify Sanders supporters for their simple-mindedness, and even as Bernie surges in the polls, the very same people who claim we won't support anyone but Bernie declare Bernie is unelectable. Why? His policies are too extreme. After all Bernie wants health care for all Americans. He wants a living wage. He wants everyone to have an opportunity to go to college. He wants us to spend money on taking care of one another rather than endless war. He wants excellent public schools for all. What miserable, unworthy goals. He must be stopped.

The fact that polls show Bernie has more support over Donald Trump than his opponents are meaningless. The important thing is that we are fanatical in our support. It's our fault that Hillary lost the election. It has nothing to do with the millions of people who stayed home on Election Day in 2016, the ones who came out twice for Barack Obama.

Now, the rallying cry is vote blue no matter who. It's actually exactly the same battle cry we heard four years ago. You must vote for Hillary no matter what, because the alternative is Donald Trump. Who cares if she says America will never, ever get single payer? Who cares if she waffles on a living wage? Who cares if she opposes free college because she claims Donald Trump's kids would all go to CUNY? Who cares if she stands in front of the AFT and says we can "learn from public charter schools?

In fact, I cared about all those things, and I voted for her anyway. Not only that, but I offered to swap out my Hillary vote with a PA blogger who was choosing Jill Stein. He declined and Trump won the state. I don't blame him personally. Nonetheless, I have people on Facebook telling me if I don't support Mike Bloomberg Trump will get a second term. I tell them that the same low standards that led us to support Hillary are precisely what got Trump his first term.

In any case, you can't stand there with a straight face and tell us that A. Sanders supporters are so fanatical they will vote for no one but Sanders, and B. Sanders will lose 48 states because no one but the fanatics will vote for him. That means that you, the omniscient critic, along with all your crystal ball-carrying BFFs, will not be voting for Sanders when nominated. It is therefore your fault if Trump gets another term. That's Catch 22, circa 2020.

I voted for Hillary. I found her a highly compromised candidate, but liked her better than Donald Trump. That's a very low bar. Michael Bloomberg is blatantly trying to buy the presidency. The DNC, after bouncing candidates of color like Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and even Corey Booker, has decided to relax its rules so that billionaire Bloomberg can participate in the debates, should he deign to associate with candidates people actually support.

"No matter who" is a recipe for failure. We need to run a candidate who stands for we the people, who represents someone other than the uber-wealthy. In short, we need to get our priorities straight and run a candidate the American people can support. We need to stop listening to fairy tales from people who speak out of both sides of their mouths to tell us things will never improve.

It's time to step into the future, reject the politics of fear, and elect a candidate who represents We, the People.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Democrats Fear 1972 While Ignoring 2016

I'm really beside myself, hearing people warn me about Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden, thankfully, is sinking fast, and I don't see Mayor Pete carrying his flag very far beyond Iowa. The so-called centrists can keep pushing, but pretty soon they may find themselves stuck with Michael Bloomberg, who is not the person his ads say he is.

I've known people who've died as a result of our cruel and inhumane health care system. My friend's father lost his wife to diabetes. He spent all his money and lost his house paying her medical bills. One Christmas Eve, while living in his son's basement, he blew his brains out with a gun. I used to work as a musician. One Saturday a band I was in opened for someone. I had lunch with their banjo player. Playing banjo is not the most lucrative profession, and when this banjo player had chest pains, he thought about the tens of thousands of dollars the ER would cost him. The next day he was dead.

I listen to people like Biden and Mayor Pete, and I think of Obama. He was going to get Americans health care. To his credit, a lot of Americans who never had it now do. My daughter can now stay under my policy until she's 26. This is a great step, but not enough. We still have Americans going bankrupt over catastrophic medical emergency. If Canada can do better, if the United Kingdom and the European Union can do better, why can't we, the richest country in the history of the world do better as well?

Even if you have good insurance, you can have issues. My father fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Toward the end of his life, he had to divest himself of much of what he had, and look into Medicaid for long term care. That is unconscionable, and it could happen to any of us. Medicare, as now constituted, doesn't cover that. The NYSUT insurance, which I bought, covers some of it, but certainly won't cover all of it if you really need it.

We have young people, some of whom we work with, up to their ears in college debt. Some despair and commit suicide. Some took credit cards at brightly colored displays at their colleges, got a free water canister, and worked up even more debt. In non-third-world countries elsewhere, these things are taken care of. I have a friend from Germany who went to medical school. He tells me it cost only a few hundred dollars and that his father had to pay that.

The United States has bare naked capitalism for those of us on the outside, but practices socialism for those who least need it. It's obscene that the man from Chase, to which we gave billions, can lecture us on the evils of socialism. Donald Trump, who pissed away billions in giveaways to his rich BFFs, cries we will never be socialist. Yet he boasts of how he avoids paying taxes.

Hillary Clinton was the great "centrist" hope. She said we'd never get universal health care. She said if we had free college it would pay from Trump's kids. She offered status quo, very much like what the current batch of "centrists" are offering. We need a candidate who offers something Trump does not. We need a candidate who will wake up the four million Obama voters who stayed home during Hillary's run. We need someone who will inspire even more Americans to get off their asses and vote for a President who isn't insane, and a blue Senate.

For my money that's Bernie Sanders. Stop lecturing me about frigging George McGovern. In fact, McGovern was absolutely right. Vietnam was a disaster, and we'd have been better off if we'd gotten out sooner. Wake up and smell Donald Trump, because he is exactly what we get when we run a "centrist."

Bernie Sanders for President, 2020.