Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gubner Andrew Goes Off the Grid

Andrew Cuomo Attempts to Hide from Opponents and The Media  in a Remote Location South of Mt. Christie

Well, Gubner Andy, I guess it's about time for my semi annual schadenfreude booster shot. Governor Cuomo wasn't it you who blustered your way into my hometown of  B-lo here a while back, took a Tischean look around at the contemptible goings on along the shores of Lake Erie and declared that there needs to be a "death penalty" for failing schools? Ahh but I wax rhetorical, Sheriff Andy, of course it was you. And it's been you taking tubs full of cash from all the charter school profiteers, braying like your party's long eared mascot about "teacher accountability" insisting that the asinine tests your cronies at Pearson miscreated should be used to determine if teachers should be fired or put into little crappy teacher remediation camps until they can be vaporized. Yes Andrew Cuomo it's been you, the self proclaimed "student lobbyist." Oh yes, remember that misstep? You tried to hoist yourself up for the approbation of everyone in the state by stepping on teachers and everyone else who works with kids as you perjured yourself in declaring that you, more than their teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, Moms and Dads fer chrissakes, yes, YOU were the only guy who REALLY gave a shit about them. Then you sicced your little talking puppet at NYSED, the Dowager Chancelloress Tisch and Regentus Flatulentus Old Bob Bennett on the state with orders to shut them all the hell up and cram Common Core down their throats no matter how much they balked. Yeah, Gubner that was all you buddy. And now, if I may borrow a somewhat inflammatory phrase from a  few decades past, it would seem some of your chickens are coming home to roost. 

The karma fairy flies non stop 24 hours to all cities, Andrew, including Albany and that cozy little upgraded bungalow you and your tv chef are refusing to pay your taxes on in Westchester. It wouldn't surprise me if the karma fairy could fanangle a path through your pal Chris Christie's orange cones on the GWB either for that matter. Oh yeah, Governor, it seems nobody's really buying the stories you and fatboy are floating on that one either so stay tuned, you may very well be eating more crow than that nasty bald fen who took the claw hammer in his dome at The Wall in the final episode of Season 4. But for now let's focus shall we? Seems our Moreland Commission has beetled over its base as Matthew Arnold might have said. We know the idea was to create yet another of your signature "commissions" like the education reform one you put Dick Parsons in charge of. Wow, that was a stretch. And like that one, this one was supposed to harrumph around and look into some things, decide that they were either shocked to find gambling at Ricks or set up some orange cones and declare there's nothing to see here. The Moreland Commission wasn't actually supposed to DO anything and you rigged it so it couldn't. I mean how long does a guy like you last if there's a legit corruption commission snooping around with a couple of those pain in the ass politically ambitious prosecutors eating out of paper bags, running Starbuck's iv's and sleeping on their desks for 2 hours at  a crack before they hit the beat again? How long? Not long, Andy. Am I right? So, what to do? Shut those mofos down before they hurt somebody. 

Sadly for you Gubner Andy, you probably should have set up another education panel or one to look into the racetracks, the bridges or, wait, no, scratch bridges, oh God anything, Mixed Martial Arts gaming if nothing else. But hubris is a very sharp sword and almost nobody is capable of handling it. You thought you could set this thing up, take it to the vet and lop em off and send it back to yap and chase its tail without anyone getting bit in the ass. I guess my only question now Governor Andy is are you and Kathy Hochul holed up together as you hide from the media, from Astorino and Zephyr Teachout -- boy didn't they look like hapless dopes just a few days ago -- or are you hiding in separate locations? I think I'd go with the latter if I were you. You remember how Saddam warned Uday and Qusay to split up not to hang out together. Well they didn't listen and look how that turned out. Kathy Hochul was just trying stay under the radar with her teabag/gun friendly and anti immigrant stances which some thought might not play too well with whatever puree fed dissolute liberals who are still trying to caucus with the Dems. Likewise, a few days ago that mattered. But today both Cuomo and Hochul remain subterranean while above the surface the Daily Kos is leading off with : Yup, Confirmed. Andrew Cuomo is One Corrupt Bastard.  He sure as hell is. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Diane Ravitch Is Wrong. Teachers Need to Hammer So Called "Union Leadership."

When Diane Ravitch, Saint Diane as I prefer to call her, admonishes us small folk for criticizing our so called union leaders she reveals a shockingly incongruous side of her persona many of our number simply choose to ignore. That someone so tuned into the machiavellian hijinks of the ed reform class, so articulate in her dissemination of the testing fetishists and so well informed on the big picture of the assault on public education could be so deadass wrong in advising chalkboard grunts to stand behind the likes of Weingarten and Lily strains credulity. In some perfect world where the labels are correct and all the lids fit she would be correct. But here on 2014landia that idealistic advice is about as useful as citing your pedestrian's right of way in a crosswalk at 4:30 on a Friday with an empty cement mixer headed back to the batch plant bearing down you. Your loved ones will wonder what made you suspend your disbelief. The right of way you believed was yours will get washed out with a hose like some 21st century turret ball gunner. St. Diane will not criticize Rhonda Weingarten. Nor will she abide critical remarks by chalkboard grunts. It causes division, she insists.
No, Diane, division is already well established. When a woman collecting over half a million annually on the backs of teachers consistently sides with corporate ed reformers like Bill Gates and defends an anti teacher, anti union pogrom like Common Core, she has divided herself very deliberately from the dopes who keep paying her to betray them. The division has already been cast and Randi Weingarten is its architect.
When teachers criticize her corporate friendly concession based version of unionism it divides nobody, nothing. This criticism only serves to address and recognize the divisions already perpetrated by Weingarten. To remain mute out of some misplaced sense of teacher omerta is to acquiesce to Weingarten's ceaseless penchant for selling out her constituency in order to further her own interests whatever the hell those might be. To refrain from criticizing her is to give tacit approval of her supporting CCSS, negotiating merit pay in Newark and standing onstage with Arne Duncan beaming an idiotic self serving mile wide grin. And call me a mind reader but about now I don't believe a whole lot of rank and file classroom grunts are in any hurry to stamp their endorsement on that kind of behavior. The quaint bygone notion that griping about lousy union representation is akin to biting the hand that feeds us belongs to some other era. This is about slapping the hand that keeps biting us and telling us it's for our own good. Weingarten's mealy mouthed 2 cheers for Arne Duncan -- see, everyone, I withheld a cheer?-- and her frothy support of CCSS are the most recent bite marks many of us are in no mood to overlook. When Newark's teachers were bogging down in negotiations Weingarten inserted herself into the mix. Here is the result:

If you step into a deal with a car dealer to help me out since I don't seem to be getting my way and the result is the car dealer telling anyone who will listen "This is the greatest day of my career" I have to believe you just sold me the f- out. Weingarten's handiwork in Newark is scurrilous. To go along with a merit pay scheme when there are dozens of studies over decades detailing its complete failure is not only Vichy Quisling leadership it's also completely fucking stupid. Anything to get the deal right Randi? Accent on anything...

The following is a comment I left on Jim Horn's blog. I was honored and surprised to see he found it worthy of converting into a separate post :

I think to take on St. Diane one must truly be uninvested in the business of advancing one's career outside of the classroom as a blogger, union hanger on, teacher book writer or any of the various forms of Celebucators we now see in this desperate scramble to cash in on the time spent as a classroom teacher. We have Teachers Speaking, we have Diontes Infernoing, we have BATS flapping and Schneider Schneidering her own with the best of them. It has come to me that none of our high profile Edufrontrunners are willing to call Ravitch out because they fear she or her minions could torpedo their book deal, union gig or spot on The Daily Show. After the putrid showings of NEA and AFT, electing another President who can't get over her Gatescrush and wagging a lawyerly finger at Arne Duncan -- I know people think Weingarten was a teacher but she's never been anything but a lawyer -- these self serving, Gates adoring Vichy Quisling union "leaders" have spit in the faces of their constituency yet again. If you listen to the only surviving union leader in captivity, that rare flower blooming in the manure fields of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, she will tell you what makes CTU work. It's member driven. It's member driven. It's member driven. Period. NEA and AFT are contemptuous of their members. At AFT's convention it was noted by another eyes-wide-open member of CTU that teachers spoke against Common Core while Union insiders and "leadership" spoke in favor of it. What exactly is Diane Ravitch waiting for before she will acknowledge the turncoat elephant in the room and admit that our two biggest unions have abandoned us and are under the sheets with Gates, Murdoch, Koch, Blooomberg and anyone else with a checkbook who can fatten it by putting the wood to rank and file teachers? Why does she insist that we support these "leaders" who have done nothing but sell teachers out and shove us under the bus at every single turn? I aspire to last until retirement. I have no hopes for a book deal and aside from my mother I think I have about 4 readers of my blog. My local union is infested with slugs looking to worm their way into any gig that will cut down on their teaching time, my President did not even know what TFA was when the local paper asked his thoughts on welcoming them to our district. I am purely disinterested as it gets and I say it's time for Diane to do something courageous and call our union leadership out for the disreputable and disgraceful collaborations they've engaged in at teacher expense. As I plan to live til retirement however I am not holding my breath. Thanks for hitting some notes nobody wants to go near.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Minor Epiphany of a Consumer Nature

Some People I Know Are So Radical They Wouldn't Wipe Their Ass with a Koch Bros Product

In trying to remember why I shouldn't shop at Home Depot while not shopping at Loew's because it feeds Meryl Tisch's family coffers I believe I had a minor epiphany. Not a major one mind you but one I believe will simplify, simplify, simplify as Thoreau advised us all to do. A few weeks ago I suggested to a friend that shopping at Target was ill advised because Target supports the corporate charter/privatization machine. Well so does Wal Mart and between them, with a little help from some other corporate entities, they've eradicated pretty much any other competition. Unless, of course, you want to throw in Dollar General whose overburdened employees -- never more than 2 per shift -- and top heavy CEO salary still leave a conscientious shopper without a place to spend their money in peace.

My epiphany? Screw it. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. 

There's a pretty concise little chart floating around with all the Koch Bros products on it. I can do that. Just not buy any of their shit. And I guess there are some other resources too I've stumbled across that will tell which corporate scum lurk behind which brightly packaged, smiley little products. I guess what I realized is that my little contribution or lack thereof isn't going to put any charter chains out of business or put their shareholders in a new Lear jet. But to make the life I have more complicated, more stress and grudge filled than it already is, to drive my family nuts with my little protests ends up making me and my causes look lame, petty and absurd. I will try within reason to avoid patronizing the easy ones. Loew's is an easy one. 

As for the rest of it, I will do my part and when I can't I will sin with courage as Martin Luther advised the woman who came to him desperate that she couldn't stop sinning. There's also a nifty app called Buycott that you can get in the App Store. Unless of course you despise Apple and its awful mistreatment and exploitation of Chinese workers in its factories. See what I mean? 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Make Big Bucks, Rat Out Your Colleagues, Get Their Asses Fired! Be a Peer Validator!

Oh But We Love Our Peer Validators

Here in Buffalo, known to Cuomophiles as BuffHochul, the city's teachers haven't had a contract since, oh since about the time George Dubya was getting his second term on. Pockets of giddiness were reported last week as certain folk claiming to have an inside track were dancing and tittering that BTF would have a new contract by September. I haven't vetted these squeals of delight with any of the people I know damned well DO know, maybe because I am content to live in the present unburdened with the certainty of the obnoxious concessions we are sure to endure.

Awww, why so serious? You may query in your best Heath Ledger's joker snivel. Why is my cup half emtpy? Why did my teacher in seventh grade point at me when a kid asked what "cynical" meant? Well, the good union people down in New York City were stuck without a contract for a bit too. And things weren't going so well. That was when Randi Weingarten's (member her?) handpicked successor Mike Mulgrew decided to start trashing NYSUT President Dick Ianuzzi. This caught the attention of some people who could help speed things along with the contract. It also led to the NYSUT Revive caucus's emergence onto the scene heralding an end to the same old same old of the Ianuzzi way of doing business. The Revivers were going to jump start our union and get us feeling good about all those goddamned dues we pay to people who find ways to screw us in return. Yes, Sir, with Andy Palotta, whether he bought that $10,000 table at the Billy Joel birthday performance or not, and Karen Magee in full trim we would sail to victory and it would be a new world.

And so it is. A Brave New World of sorts if you favor the dystopian reference. In fact the new contract in New York is so Brave and New it even contains special new duties for really great teachers who are talented, highly effective, or maybe just effective it  all depends. They must be able to work in situations with "a high degree of ambiguity" which sounds funny until you realize they are being hired for extra pay to do "unannounced" observations of  fellow teachers who were rated "ineffective" the previous year.  If you've ever had a Principal who preferred the "unannounced" method, you'll understand there's a certain message involved in it. Peer Validators will earn their contractual salary plus $15,000  -- and 30 pieces of silver. And since these "ineffective" teachers being observed are already behind the 8 ball with one bad evaluation, the "peer validators" (wtf?) may now enjoy the thrill of administering the coup de grace to their colleagues. Psshaww you say, teachers running down fellow teachers, landing the death blow to their careers? Who ever heard of such a thing? But what's really sad, scary and disgusting is when you ask yourself what teachers do I know who could do this to their colleagues and you realize within a minute you've run out of fingers. That's the part that really sucks.

I am not clever enough to cut and paste from a pdf so I will link the thing HERE for your perusal.

Remember this contract also has a provision for a special "No Waiting Express Lane  as it were, subjecting ATR teachers in NYC to a one day 3020-a hearing so they can be fired with microwave like celerity. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think someone negotiating on the union's side was cool with seeing teachers fired or at very least didn't much give a fuck if they were. Revivers were all over Facebook patting themselves on the back in smug congratulations for this contract. If this is the kind of unionism we can expect from Magee, Palotta, Messner et al in Revive, then I guess there's really nothing to fear from the anti-tenure lawsuits to come. We'll have one foot in the ground and the other on a Revive banana peel before StudentsLast! or whoever can even get to our tenure. I don't know if it's too late for this battle, I suspect it is. But until then I wonder if maybe we teachers might want to learn to pull together for a change before some of  us start taking money to pull others of us apart. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

NYSUT's Back Door Endorsement of Andrew Cuomo

Sorry friends but I am having a hard time letting this one go. When NYSUT Regional Director Deely said he simply couldn't do anything that would hurt Kathy Hochul in a Democratic primary I only saw it one way. We all knew this push was coming from the Cuomospere.

I admit I want this to be the post heard round the state

They want erbuddy here in Buffaltucky to scratch their chins and cuss them danged erpublicans on the back porch for a corncob or a chaw or two before we come in and set a spell. And whilst we're a settin up to the eatin table or leverin back our Lay Z Boys we're supposedta say, Aww heck, I know that dadburn Cuomo's a sneak and a Eye-talian to boot, but I just gotta stand up fer my gal Kathy Hochul...

We must be THAT stupid. Or at least they think we are.

So when Democrat4LifeDeely comes along with this whacked out post about not wanting to "hurt Kathy Hochul" my immediate response failed to take into account that Deely is actually floating "the message" straight from the very penetralium of the Gubner's mansion itself. He is modeling the desired behavior for all of us droolers who think Cuomo is such a vile bastard we wouldn't vote for him if he could bring back Mother Teresa herself and put her on the ticket with him. Oh but now that he's teamed with St. Kathy we are supposed to somehow overlook his bullying, his arrogance, his petty trifling nasty politician's blackened Faustian soul and find a way to throw him our support. Because we just love us some Kathy Hochul.

In traffic today, between a tailgating maniac on my arse at 75 mph and a rubber necking idiot loitering in the passing lane at 50 mph (George Carlin will tell you about both types of drivers...) I axed myself out loud If Kathy Hochul is such a stand up gal whom we'd never want to "hurt in a primary" why the fuck is she paling around with terrorists? Tell me Mr. Deely, did Kathy Hochul stare into her soul for a protracted period of time, say a chaw or two or even a corncob on the porch, axing herself "How can I team up with that iniquitous pile of shit? How can I hurt my teacher friends, my union friends, my friends kids who are students who are subjected to the child abuse of Common Core and standardized testing? How can I show my face in public after hitching myself to that petty tyrant's tumbril? How can I hurt the guys in NYSUT by allying myself with Beelzebub?

Guess what Deels? Not thinking she axed herself any of that. Pretty sure she polished up her pumps, packed a bag and said I'm your girl, Sheriff Andy, and let the small folk be damned. Cause when you partner with a guy like Andrew Cuomo you agree to some pretty unscrupulous and Stalinesque shit. Blowing kisses and tossing candy from the back of the executioner's cart does not undo the stench of his work. And just as George W. Bush took Pervez Musharraf by his Pakistani ISI short hairs and said Listen up boy, you're either with us or yer agin' us, I am here to say unequivocally to anyone with the sense God gave them, Kathy Hochul, as a running mate to Andrew Cuomo, is NOT with us. I'll let you figure out all the x's and o's of what she is...

NYSUT figurehead Karen Magoo and others have been beating the drum, well, let's say they've bumped into it a few times by accident and it made a small noise, with their claims that they have NO intentions of endorsing Cuomo. Even though it would set Weingarten up nicely and Mulgrew too who goes as Weingarten goes and if not for them we might very well be listening to Dick Ianuzzi still telling us to stay behind the barricades.

What better way to endorse the guy without endorsing him than to say you really care deeply about his running mate and you couldn't bear to see her "hurt." Do these people sleep at night or is that when they feed? Un-fucking-real. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BTF and NYSUT Play Both Ends Against the Middle to Cuomo's Delight

Here is what our local union President is sending out to us in the email :

June 23, 2014

MEMO TO:    All Buffalo Teachers

FROM:            Philip Rumore, President, BTF

RE:                   Teachout to Challenge Cuomo

The end of the school year, while often eagerly anticipated, is a very busy time.

However, if you could just take a few minutes (before or after school hours) to sign the petitions to get Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu on the ballot in the Democratic Primary for Governor to challenge Governor Cuomo, it would send a strong message to the Governor – “Our schools do not deserve your “Death Penalty”.

Petitions and self-addressed stamped envelopes have been sent to each delegate chair.

Every signature is important. If you are able to circulate a petition in your neighborhood, you can make copies.

We need them back by July 1.

Thank you as always for you solidarity and support. You are the very best.


And here is what our fearless NYSUT rep Mike Deely is telling his Facebook friends of which I am not one : 

You are educated, discerning types or you wouldn't be reading this blog. We get the President in full pom pom and bullhorn mode up above and then we get the "I'm so sorry but it's not you, guys it's me." from the NYSUT guy in the next breath. Is this like the Sunday morning bookies on the radio during football season who give the guaranteed winner as Tampa Bay +3 to the first 200 schmucks who call and Green Bay -3 to the next 200 schmucks who call? Are we the schmucks who follow this kind of bullshit "leadership?" Are we supposed to think these guys don't talk? 

I messaged Deely to try and get him to throw some support to a protest when Tisch and Bennett were brought to School #45 with Sean Ryan. The party line was that Ryan was going to prove that #45 is not a "failing school" and why should be protest that? Well it's since been revealed that there is a new scheme afoot to get rid of ESL people and turn you and me into ESLers with a few short in-services. Kind of a "TFA cum ESL" if you will. Seems there was more to that visit than Sean Ryan saying "Yeauuuh, In Your FACE Madame Tisch!" So we didn't want to hurt our good friend Sean Ryan's feelings cause after all he belongs to the same party as Andrew Cuomo. And now we don't want to hurt Kathy Hochul's feelings either with any unseemly union behavior since she too is a proud member of the party who wears the Jackass. It's pretty clear to this union member that my well being, my livelihood and my job security are not the concern of my union representatives. Protecting Kathy Hochul's delicate sensibilities is far more important than supporting  Zephyr Teachout's Quixotic candidacy in a truly brown bag and grassroots primary against Andrew Effing Cuomo. In case you've been Rip Van Winkling lately Andrew wants to destroy public education and replace it with hedge fund owned charters run by his billionaire campaign donors from Democrats for Ed Reform and other nefarious and reptilian bodies. He is an enemy of unions, of teachers, of public schools and of fair and valid evaluations of same. He came to my home town and used the term Death Sentence for what he and his pals term "failing schools." Yet we can't find a union person stand up to him. Go figure. It must be cool to have such friends. I really hope I didn't hurt any Democrats' feelings with this post. They really are sensitive. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It's Time for Randi Weingarten to Simply Go Away

I exchanged Twitter spitballs with the President of the second most worthless Teacher's Union in America the other day. It's second only to the most worthless Teacher's Union because that one has more teachers it absolutely fails to represent. Yes friends, I was on The Twitter, as the kids call it and I stumbled across  Randi Weingarten fulminating against her pal Chris Christie in the following tweet:

Hmmm, Randi Weingarten and Chris Christie, interesting. It appears Weingarten is reverting back to that theoretical central casting "union firebrand" who can't stand to be in the same room with a guy like Christie let alone sit at a table with him. But any of us who haven't been smoking bath salts or speeding into Mongolian Buffet parking lot trees alongside Marcell Dareus in his Jaguar grasp the obvious prevarication in play here. Randi is Christie and Christie is Randi. They are on the same team working for the same side. It's just that periodically Weingarten has to pull out her Captain Renault whistle, give it a good blow and say I am shocked, shocked I tell you to see what the enemies of public education are up to now. She then proceeds to work out a merit pay scheme with Christie and goes on a happy talk show with him and Bradley Cooper where all the chattering skulls whistle their amazement and reinforce the canard that Chris Christie and Randi Weingarten are diametrically opposed beings and isn't it something of a miracle that we are able to seat them here among the dithering heads without them going all Cobra and Mongoose on each other. I responded to her inane tweet as I have done probably a dozen or so times with one of my own high and inside pitches hoping for a little chin music from the faux unionista.

For more on Crispy's most orgasmic moment as the Biggest Jerk in Jersey you can fwd to the :40 mark where he too bangs home the  hackneyed lie that he and Weingarten are polar opposites and nothing less than some sort of divine intervention could ever facilitate Weingarten's giving away the farm, selling Newark's teachers out with one of those zany merit pay schemes that privatizers love. People like Chris Christie love these schemes as they pit teachers against each other and sew division among the ranks. People like Weingarten are paid to know better since there is no data or record of a merit pay scheme leading to better education, better scores on tests or better morale among the ranks. There are however several instances, let me say many more than several, of these crackpot car salesmen spiffs resulting in cheating scandals, unethical behavior of all sorts and a damaging effect on the educational process and its integrity.

Now that you've had a chance to towel off your tears after witnessing that emotional self stimulation, have a look at Weingarten's response to my shot across her merit pay loving, corporate sympathetic bow:

And now we get the same whopper from the sellout herself. Randi the Common Core cheerleader, Bill Gates pal and advocate Weingarten is telling Coopmike48 who I believe writes and/or contributes to that we must reach across the aisle to those whom we oppose. And in case we were wondering it's not to further her own career or to nail down the AFL-CIO endorsement for Cuomo which could land her in Arne Duncan's seat should Sheriff Andy seize and occupy the White House in 2016. No her motives are downy pure and lily white. It's for the kids. Yes, folks she actually played that cornball card from the bottom of the deck and told me and CoopMike that "it's for the kids."
In construction when some idiot using the first person plural pronoun suggested something you didn't plan on helping him with a common response would be "We? -- you got a mouse in your pocket?" I tried to lean into my roots as a Union Laborer from local #720, Denver when I responded :

Methinks the message is clear, friends. This human has made a very cushy career for herself at the expense of the members she was hired to represent. Hob nobbing with and defending Bill Gates and his assholic Common Core Standards while teachers are being vilified and targeted for removal with the data collected from them is nothing less than a treasonous act. Instead of popping off about a bad rollout or slowing down terrible education, (remember last year when Weiney and Ianuzzi in his 70's cruising hat were chanting "Get it right?") Weingarten should be calling for the CCSS to be thrown in the garbage and discontinued nationwide. Why isn't she saying this? Same reason Governor Cuomo is playing such hardball about medical marijuana : political expediency. Weingarten has accepted millions from Gates and agreed among other things to use them in "training teachers in Common Core." Guess what Randi? We don't want to be trained in the soul sucking, tedium infested, drone creating bullshit David Coleman was able to sell to your pal Bill Gates. You want to earn some cred with the members? Give the damned money back. Renounce your Faustian bargains with Gates and admit you screwed up. Until this happens you remain another bad joke in the farcically populated landscape of "union leaders" who serve corporate masters instead of the people who elected them.