Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arbitrary and Capricious. Say It With Me Kids.

See: Capricious

Last week I was emailed that my APPR testing would be done this week -- cue descending 3 note flourish. I thought about it, shrugged, laughed and returned to deleting the hundreds of items backing up in my email box. After mulling over the notion that this test would be representative of my pedagogical chops for the year I could only hearken back to the words of New York State Supreme Court Judge McDonough who aptly dubbed the APPR mess "Arbitrary and Capricious." 

Of the kids being counted in my 9th grade class (remember I only have 6 kids at a time due to the nature of my workplace) one kid suffers from severe depression and social anxiety and is working through the usual raft of issues any 16 year old transgender kid faces on a daily basis. His attendance is sub 50%. Another of my freshmen is prone to fits of moodiness, is prone to using his size to bully adults and often sleeps for an entire double class period. Yet he is also stunningly intelligent. His family  inexplicably took him on a vacation to the islands for 10 days at the end of April when class was in session. My third ninth grader currently is in foster care and has been for a few years but is working out the anxieties of being reunited with her birth mother who still retains legal guardianship yet hasn't seen her in God knows how long. School work is somewhere on a back burner between moving back with Mom, working out the trauma that led to her foster care and boy bands on YouTube. In short, these kids are attending school in a psychiatric facility for very real reasons. The one size fits all mentality of Common Core, NYSED and APPR is an insult to their situation. To say the notion that a post test of any kind determining their abilities or mine is presumptuous would be an understatement of West Belfast proportions. 

Suffice it to say my tenth graders aren't in much better shape. They are great kids and they try hard but the deck stacking and one size fits alling of the current scheme almost guarantees failure on some level. I have always observed that kids with basic needs being un-met are very unlikely to excel in any kind of higher order tasks. Likewise the old adage that parent's night answers a lot of questions is doubly true in  a place that holds twice monthly family meetings. When the kid sitting between her birth mother and Grandma in the family meeting is the most mature member of the family it's hard to feel like education has scored any victories when she tanks on her post test the day after Mom's bf du jour gets dragged out of the house by BPD at 2:30 am. The idea that these kids get the same one size fits all treatment as kids from stable affluent 2 parent homes with smart zip codes and champion field hockey squads is simply bizarre. It's actually bullshit. No, better yet, it's arbitrary and capricious. 

If and when the scores come dribbling back I can handle it. I have a union and some court rulings as precedents if I really need them. I can be put on the bad teacher remediation program, a credit recovery system for grown ups as it were. But what do these kids have? Some more failing grades? the disapproval of New York State? The chance to do all that shit all over again in the hope that next time it will somehow come out differently? Why would it?  And when you're 16 or 17 and somehow your life just hasn't stabilized  for long enough that you can get your act together and roll up a few credits what looks more doable: toughing it out and grinding til you're 21 to collect what you need for that diploma or simply saying Fuck it. I'm out? 

We've known for a long time now that one size never fits all on anything. Why are the people running public education still trying to convince us that it does? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Board of Ed Election Chips Continue to Fall

The sore losering continues.

Today I read Lars Quinn whining that his fellow poor little rich friend Carl Paladino is being bullied. Quinn uses the appellation "Open season on Carl Paladino" with something of a dramatic flourish.  Hilariously "Lawrence Quinn" as he glossed himself        (anyone else surprised he didn't toss in the middle initial too while he was at it?)  waxes philosophical about human nature and the way people kick you when you lose. Umm, Lar? Carl didn't lose, he won. Oh... well then, never mind... Naturally our man Lars manages to gurgle a few lines from the Broad Foundation script, at one point implying BTF endorsed candidates lack the courage to make "real changes." I think I'll ask Hutch Tech Senior Austin Harig if I want to hear about courage, not the guy whose career payday came from dismantling the Buffalo Sabres. Or the guy who leaked a teen agers discipline information to the media then claimed he "heard it on the streets." Really, Carl? Which streets did you hear it on? Gotta love the "heard it on the streets" phrasing. Imagine some wise guys in a smokey back room playing poker, talking about "the vig," "the ponies," "broads and gats" and oh yeah, "Hey, Knuckles, Lefty, did yous hear Austin Harig got hisself suspended from The Tech?" 

Mmmmmm, not working for me. 

Elsewhere there's a letter to the editorial outhouse from some local charter schools network shill accusing BTF of being "afraid of Steve Perry." I am not sure why he thinks any of us fear this guy as much as we question who paid for his speech and expenses and who is going to give the counter point to what we all know will be an anti-teacher, anti-union gasfest straight outta the privatization 101 field guide. In case anyone needs about a dozen reasons right off the top to not fear this carpetbagging non teacher with all the answers Dr. Mercedes Schneider lists a bunch of them here. Oh and her PhD is legit, unlike the CNN celebucator Perry who's never been a teacher. Yeah, never taught for a day but he knows what you're doing wrong. And do we really wonder how Donald Trump got on the ticket? 

Yesterday some heretofore unheard of troll comes wading into a Facebook page peopled almost exclusively with B-Lo teachers whining that her kid in a charter school can't get free access to the Boys and Girls Club from SayYes! like all those kids in failing Buffalo Schools. And when someone responds to her nonsense she tags two of her girlfriends to join the fight about the way we've seen kids do at Riverside or South Park when they think they need to bring in some outside backup for a beef. Fortunately the page is still armed with an eject button and it was rather comical to see the strutting and fretting upon the stage that was then heard no more -- forgive the second MacBeth reference in one week. (Here's to you Mr. Jags) 

I can't help think of Steven King's 10-22-63 when Jake Epping goes through the rabbit hole in time to take out Lee Harvey Oswald and prevent the assassination of JKF. Any time he is faced with a "must do" situation Jake experiences what he calls "the past pushing back" because it has a will of its own and is fiercely resistant to anyone's attempts to change it. The car stalls, some bystander gets in his way, it starts to rain, a nosy cop shows up... It never ends. And it's maddening to the reader as well as to Jake -- I could also say the viewer if you watched the adaptation of HULU --mostly because he feels he is trying to right a wrong and prevent a grievous event from transpiring. You want to say stop pushing back dammit, this is right, it's going to be good for everyone! This past few days has left me with a similar sensation of experiencing the pushback by collection of the sore losers who saw their privatization majority piledriven in the Board of Education election. Surely none of us thought these moneyed interests were simply going to go seek honest employment in the gaming or toxic waste disposal industries. We knew they would attempt to regroup, reload and misfire again. I guess I am a little surprised by the pettiness and puerility of their initial salvos. Amused too don't get me wrong. 

And in yet another shining moment of classic Buffalo News school of butthurt editorialism I can't figure out for the life of me where they buried the article about Long Neck NY teacher  Sheri Lederman's case being decided in her favor and against the bogus VAM measures our hilarious clown friends in the privatization movement have inflicted on teachers. New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough called VAM "arbitrary and capricious." It's a handy choice of phrase too as it accurately describe John King the former NYSED dope in charge when it was all imposed. Sitting NYSED dope Mary Ellen Elia has herself admitted publicly that the entire process is random at best. Now that New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough has set a precedent in this ruling it's time to roll back the rest of the arbitrary and capricious bullshit rolled out by the privatization movement in their well funded and endless attempts to steal public schools from the public. 

The fact that King has risen like a circling floater to the top of the Department of Ed toilet makes this even more satisfying. So good to see him in a high profile position being spanked for his past transgressions and having this stinker hung around his neck not for just the Empire State but the entire country to witness. Did he think he could just walk away and not answer for his nonsense? Beware the Karma fairy, Johnny, she will always find you. Arbitrary and Capricious all right. Get used to hearing that one. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Post Post Mortem. Or Maybe Just Gloating...

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here, friends. But then again maybe I missed a spot. B-Lo's historic pile driving of the so called Reform Agenda has truly reminded me of what a posse of half assed, shit talking do nothings this crew really was. Starting with the the night of the May 6, 2014 election when Tiffy Lankes in the Bflo Nooze breathlessly described Larry Quinn shoveling prawns down his gullet at Bacchus wine bar with fellow charter school opportunist Frank McGuire as Lars dialed up Run DPCC frontman Sam Radford to assure him that the fix was in and all of Buffalo would be smelling their farts from now on.

A new majority metastasized in May of 2014 when the pre-existing condition of Carl, McCarthy and Sampson added the insufferable Lars Quinn -- who late in life realized destroying the Sabres and living out the rest of his days on the millions he reaped doing so wasn't quite as fulfilling as he'd anticipated it would be-- and the seeming non entity of Patti Pierce -- in a non speaking role while enjoying her own generous police union pension yet agreeing with the boys on every charge that BTF and the teachers needed to be brought to heel. So there we had it: Lars a millionaire, Carl a millionaire, Sampson, a wired wealthy old white man and retired prison warden arse deep in the charter industry. While the 3 Privateers served as the cerebral cortex of the corporate privatization lobby -- henceforth we'll just dispense with that "ed reform" bullshit and call them what they are -- McCarthy and Pierce comprised the reptilian brain stem that could always be counted on to vote as instructed with no backtalk or "funny ideas" a la Ogilve. I admit we were afraid. I lost count of the messages I read from angst engulfed pedagogues ending in "we're fucked."

Ahh but maybe some of us were guilty of believing the privatizer's own hype. Did we forget that Quinn's Sabres resume included fumbling away Coach of the Year Ted Nolan, Rockstar GM Johnny Mucks, Chris Drury, Danny Brierre, Stu Barnes and Pat LaFontaine? It would be like Bill Polian losing Kelly, Thurman, Bruce, Andre, Talley and Marv then running for the school board hoping we'd all forgot about it. This guy is awful. Quinn's most notable accomplishments as a Board Member to date included being photographed screwing around on his phone in the middle of a student speaker's rant  at a board meeting against board members ignoring speakers and playing with their phones. Plus there's the time Lars had Kevin Gibson BTF Secretary expelled from a meeting as Gibson was at the podium preparing to address the board. Oh and he made some ignorant remarks during a visit to Lafayette High calling teachers clowns and idiots and whining that he only came as a favor to Carl. It was so painful Carl Paladino was clearly embarrassed. He tried to laugh it off explaining that Lars was "having a bad hair day." So Quinn sucks as badly as a board member as he did at mismanaging a hockey team.  Notice he's had very little to say in the post smackdown of his crumbled majority. He face savingly reminded erbuddy that work remains to be done then echoed Carl the Soon to Be Absent in assuring us he has no plans to run again. No Lar, we didn't think for one minute that you ever dreamed of running again.

For all of his vitriol and venom Carl Paladino's concern for the children has apparently reached it limits. He's in such a rush to get back out on the campaign fail for Governor again that he's going to have to cut his losses with this school board crap and get re-invested in the business of re-promoting Carl. The fact that New York City still remembers him from his last run pandering to Hacidic Jews, denigrating the Gay Pride Parade and glossing him on the Post cover as "Crazy Carl" means nothing to him. It must drive Carl crazy to see a hardcover version of himself headed for the GOP nomination in the form of  pal Donald Drumpf. The old adage about comedy is that it's all about timing. And if comedians have shown us anything in the last 15 years it's that there's a laser fine line between American politics and the Ars Comedia. Call me optimistic but  I see the Drumpf phenomenon erupting in a ball of self immolation sometime between now and election day in November. The guy simply can't help himself in many of the same ways our own paperback Trump here in Buffalo can't help himself. Remember where you heard it but between now and November there are simply way too many opportunities spreading themselves before Trump to do or say the one thing from which there can be no retreat. It's what he does.

By that time Dumbericans will finally have figured it out  -- between episodes of Ice Road Truckers, River Monsters and On Golden Blonde XIV-- that Donald Trump is wholly unsuited to run a country. Voters will be so sick of his taunts, his dog whistle comments, his name calling and shit talking that anyone walking in his shadow or aping his antics will suffer the same fate Carl's board majority mates met in last week's election. It will be quick, decisive and humiliating. And when backwater B-Lo's paperback Trump shows up thinking to cash in on the Trump Playbook for Gubner using the same tired schtick he'll be just like the kid in my study hall at Burgard 2 years late sporting a Flava Flav clock around his neck. As I recall the room shattering comment was "Hey Cuz I don't mean to be the fly in your shit but that clock thing's kinda played out, y'know?" Cue gales of derisive laughter. Timing. It's all going to be about timing. And by the time our guy has his all Beemer gassed up and all of the Harley colored posters ready to go nobody's going to want to hear it. He may as well go out and get himself a big assed clock to wear around his neck on the campaign trail.

McCarthy's legacy if you can call it that was to whine to the Buffalo News. I'm not sure if he ever heard Dick Nixon tell the press that they wouldn't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more but he sure as hell sounded tricky dickish when he sniveled "I guess the citizens of Buffalo don't want change. They want the status quo." Kind of ironic coming from the guy whose team mates were supposed to be the change until they settled into their own status quo. Sniping, name calling, making demands and stamping their feet every time things didn't go their way. Au contraire Jason McCarthy, the citizens of Buffalo do want change and they voted to dump you and your status quo. For a while they had a lot of sound and no shortage of fury but in the end it was a tale told by some idiots signifying nothing. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

B-Lo Citizens Reject the Board Majority's Hallucinogenic Reform Vision

Two Down and Another Promising "More Harmony" 

You'd be hard pressed to tell Carl Paladino won his school board race by listening to the venom and vitriol he spewed on WBEN radio last night. Between claiming his teen age opponent had been suspended from school and accusing Mark Poloncarz of acting on behalf of an old flame in endorsing the candidate who sent Jay McCarthy packing I was beginning to wonder if I'd missed something. But wait -- accusing the unions of "buying the election" combined with ad hominem attacks on teen ager and a single mom all wrapped up with a description of the election itself as "disgusting" --  Mmm, no, I didn't miss anything. As we say here in B-Lo when we're excusing yet another of this guy's mantrums, "It's just" ... say it with me kids... "Carl being Carl."  

Sadly for his co-conspirators of the former board majority, letting Carl be Carl doesn't seem to reap the same rosy benefits as "letting Reagan be Reagan" did once upon a time. It's hard to say exactly if any one thing or maybe the entire "Carl Experience" taken as a whole did more to wreck the chances of Sampson and McCarthy hanging on for another term. Jay Mccarthy told the Buffalo News people hate him because he's aligned with Paladino. Yes he actually said that attempting to paint himself in a martyr's light as one mocked and jeered for his beliefs or some such crap. He might be right. 

James Sampson walked away without so much as a fine or wristslap after his scandalous abuse and misuse of public funds at Gateway-Longview. Thanks in part to his connections and his clout as a member of the Fiscal Stability Board Sampson simply went abut his business pretending  NY State Comptroller DiNapoli was talking abut someone else when he mentioned people who'd  "taken advantage of lax oversight to game the system, rip off children and taxpayers, and line their own pockets.” The high rolling CEO act at Gateway earned Sampson some serious negative attention in the community and he only made it worse when he ejected a taxpayer who called him out for it at a board meeting. Sampson pissed people off and projected the image of a wealthy old white man protected by privilege from the kind of justice the rest of us know we'd get if we were handing out contracts to cronies and ripping through  $600+  taxpayer dollars a month in car expenses and another $64K in social club memberships. Lacking Sampson's level of juice we'd be oranging the new black down at 10 Delaware. Yes Sampson had some karmic debt wracked up. 

But what befell Jason McCarthy? Other than behaving as something of a willing bobblehead to the whims of Quinn, Carl and Diamond Jim I am not aware of any specific grievances held against him. Correct me please if I'm wrong as I am mostly writing about perception here. We know Quinn has the social graces of a Chevy Chase movie character evidenced by his noodling on his phone during a board meeting while a student was admonishing him and his fellow majority members for their indifference during board meetings! We know Lars had BTF guy Gibson thrown out of another meeting as he was about to speak simply because he could and he didn't feel like listening to any more talk from union people. He actually admitted as much. Quinn's said and done some obnoxious things and can't even hide the contempt he feels for teachers. It will not be a mystery or a surprise when Larry Quinn joins James Sampson and Jay McCarthy on the former board members Trivial Pursuit Card deck after the next election.  Maybe McCarthy is correct and his association with Paladino was all it took to engineer his undoing. Either way it's undone now. 

I've said elsewhere -- and it's not an original thought but more of a truth of the universe-- that the Ed Reform class hates them some democracy. Any time the playing field is leveled and the fight is made fair you can always count on the Ed Reform Class to stomp, snivel, spit, curse and cast aspersions when things fail to go their way. Recall the outrage and indignation the majority members expressed when Superintendent Ogilve failed to follow their directions and actually found some merit in ideas expressed by non majority members? Oh the humanity, the betrayal, the cheek of that hand picked minion to stray from the majority approved list of opinions they'd supplied him with. Before we knew it Carl was demanding Ogie's resignation. And being no dummy, Ogie complied, not on Carl's time table but not long after the high noon deadline Carl had imposed. Next up Carl was demanding the installation of Mr. Weimer Principal of Emerson as his choice of Superintendent. Whaddya know it was revealed Mrs. Weimer had once worked for Paladino's law firm. When Weimer saw the kind of grief that was coming his way he quietly stepped aside with a thanks but no thanks. An admin friend who's tight with Weimer tells me the guy probably would've been pretty good in the job. Being tied to Carl was too much of a negative to overcome though. Likewise with the next attempted force feeding of a Superintendent in one Dr. Kevin Eberle. Paladino called it a no brainer and apparently thought that should settle the matter. It didn't. In fact, the same scenario appeared to play itself out in an eerily de ja vus-like fashion with nothing coming of Carl's insistence but a lot of resistance and a lot of sound and fury in the end signifying nothing. Eberle joined Weimer in the Cursed by Carl division. Carl as usual blamed the union and characterized the parents who'd objected to his undemocratic, my way or the highway tactics as stooges of the union. CEO's have a hard time playing nice in this environment when they are used to snapping a finger and getting their way. And as always, any time you don't get your way blame the union.

So it's no surprise that when Sampson, Elliott, and McCarthy had their signatures scrutinized and only McCarthy's stood up to the challenge that Carl would blame the union for checking on it not the candidates for trying to slide by with signatures from their spouses and people who live in Amherst. In Reform Land you don't take responsibility for getting caught trying to bullshit the electoral process. You blame the people who caught you bullshitting. And when you outspend the so called union candidates and still lose control of the board you accuse the union of buying the election. In all this has been a breath of fresh air for anyone who needed evidence that democracy is alive in this country no matter how many spoiled millionaires and billionaires are pouting and sulking and getting their way at the expense of the rest of us. I think the best summary statement goes to the lady who put the smackdown on Sampson in the West District: 
“Community can take a stand against money, against greed, against power,” said Jennifer L. Mecozzi, who handily ousted School Board President James P. Sampson from his seat representing the West District. “We got our own power.”

Amen to that Sister. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Buffalo Board of Ed Submits Shartifacts for 2016

In what could become an annual rite of Spring that doesn't involve 9 year olds puking on Pearson products I give you the 2016 edition of the Buffalo Board of Education's Shartifacts duly submitted to NYSED and the powers of the night  mere minutes before the Chernobylesque crash of TrueNorthLogic's server that we expect to occur sometime around the middle of your 30 minute uninterrupted lunch break. All in one breath... whew.

After reviewing a page of Board President Sampson's signatures I have to wonder how he didn't notice something was amiss. Closer inspection of the signatures on his petition shows only two women's names on the sheet. I am not an election inspector but I have to say that would throw up a huge red flag if those were the signatures I was counting on to continue my nebulous reform mission.

Board President Sampson's Dog Signed His Homework

That the heavy bad powerful unions have been pantsing and dutch rubbing and Indian burning all of the "reform" candidates -- even crying foul over the fraudulent signatures on their petitions -- has been the source of much angst and agitas for the Buffalo News Editorial Bunker. While these tender souls are technically not part of the Board Majority we understand they serve as the print media wing for the Board Majority on a daily basis. Since Diamond Jim Sampson and multiple cronies were bounced from the ballot the Editorial Bunker has gone into a lockdown. These traumatized opiners exist in a state the world hasn't witnessed since The Siege of Grozny in 2000. Random plumes of smoke can be seen wafting from the stack of the bunker at odd times of the day and night. It has been rumored they are subsisting on canned Beefaroni, Ramen and Honey Nut Cheerios with Almond Milk. Pictured below are relief supplies delivered by Commissoner Elia's personal black helicopter this morning sometime before dawn. There are tears and there is excrement. Anyone doubting this need look no further than today's edition. Or yesterday's. Or the day before that,.. Truly a tragedy for these crusading seraphs of privatization. Won't someone please think of the millionaires? 

Kleenex, Toilet Paper and Depends

Never one to make a statement  --unless one of the boys has already made it somewhere else-- The Board's lone Auxiliary member, Patti Pierce, has reduced her carbon footprint to the point that we're not even sure she's still in the country. With not a lot happening these days -- unless you're out beating the barstools for fake signatures -- Patti appears even more disappeared than usual. Unless you're Larry Quinn waiting on her to bring you another Cape Codder this isn't much of an issue but she was after all elected to do as she's instructed and if that means stepping and fetching drinks for the boys then dammit where's her community spirit? 

Patti's Keeping it on The DL for Serious

The ice boom is off the lake and the Sabres are out of the playoffs again so it must be Spring. And what does that mean to a seafaring bon vivant like Lars Quinn? Let's just say Topsiders and Izod might have something to do with it. Throw in some Perrier and a splash of Ralph Lauren too while you're at it and you've got a fashion recipe for nautical disaster on the shores of Lake Erie. Here's a peek into some of the get ups our man with the chronic case of couch head* will be strapping on amidst the high seas. 
* it has been noted by one Board Watcher that the stern side of Sir Lars' domepiece often appears flattened out as if he's been sleeping on a couch all afternoon. Not my observation but one I felt compelled to include. 

Captn Ahab's Got Nothing on Our Boy Lars

Rain's Not the Only Thing Purple, Right Lar?

This may not even qualify as a true "shartifact" but maybe a relic of these dark and troubling times. By next year we can hope and pray that this billionaire bigot and racist and his dreams of a Mexican funded wall will have faded into the obscurity he deserves. As for his pal the millionaire bigot and emailer, I look forward to his resuming his place on the Board Minority where he can resume blaming women and the unions for all of his woes. 

Do You Want Your Face to Get Stuck Like That?          Trumpadino 2016 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Right Wing Radio Blowhole Mocks High School Student Running Against Paladino

Rightie Radio Blowhole Sandy Beach Claims He Was Not a Wimp in School 

The other day someone made the point that in any other city a high school Senior running for a seat on the Board of Education would surely enjoy a little sympathetic "David vs Goliath" media attention. And when you consider Austin Harig the Hutch Tech 12th grader is running against a millionaire developer with resources, connections and a self financed run for governor under his belt you almost wonder if the David and Goliath metaphor is sufficient to express the disparity between Paladino's heavy clout and the home printed signs fresh from someone's desktop that can be seen tacked on porches on Austin's street.

 However you look at it Ausin Harig showed for a debate put on by a local Black Journalist's group but Carl like Dick Cheney during Viet Nam had other things to do. Since then Paladino's campaign manager filed to have Austin's signatures scrutinized in the hope of throwing him off the ballot. No luck. Austin did his homework -- unlike Board President James Sampson, DPCC officer Patricia Elliott and Carl's handpicked choice for the East District Colleen Russell, who were all three tossed from the ballot for having ineligible signatures. For all of the time guys like Carl and Sampson spend screeching about failing schools it's pretty amusing that a kid from a Buffalo School is schooling them on how to take care of business in a Board of Education election. 

As I've noted previously, The Buffalo News didn't think to describe a millionaire Buffalo developer with close ties to Donald Trump as "powerful." Nor did they trot out the word "powerful" to describe recently ballot booted Board President James Sampson even if he was the chair of the Fiscal Stability Commission, the CEO of Gateway Longview -- a position in which he was chastised for splurging with taxpayer funds on fresh flowers and social clubs as well as handing no bid contracts to cronies -- and he's a Trustee of West Buffalo Charter School. Nope, neither Jimbo nor Carl earned the News label "powerful." NYSUT was the only entity deemed worthy of that description and it was used in the headline as well as the lead paragraph an inch below. So much for that simpatico media attention... 

Sunday on  local Trump media arm --WBEN Radio -- Carl Paladino was being interviewed by professor Kevin Hardwick about his involvement in the Trump campaign. In the middle of the interview  candidate Austin Harig called to challenge Paladino to an on the spot debate. I guess not everyone's as interested in hearing Carl extoll the virtues of the Trump campaign as Carl is. So they traded a few pleasantries and went about their business. I am not sure it exactly fits the bill of what I referred to earlier as sympathetic media attention but I think Austin calling to interrupt Carl's Trump spiel has a nice David Goliath angle to it. Kind of a "Little Brother is Watching" theme.

Early this afternoon I was messaged and told to listen to the first hour of Sandy Beach's show this morning by a friend who'd heard the whole thing. When I asked why I should punish myself thusly I was advised that about the 11:20 mark of the first hour I would hear the aging, doughy host say  -- in referring to how tough he and his buddies in "radio school" were -- 

"We weren't like the wimps they have now... "Oh Missster Paladino, I'm jussst pro-sssstudent...  Oh please..." 

The elongated sibilance, of course, is intended to imply a feminized voice at very least and in the case of this radio host and this station I'd nudge it a little further to say he was really aping a gay man's voice just to show what a hateful angry old white man he really is. And in classical dog whistleese, the way bigots and racists communicate with each other, the host avoided naming the person he was belittling or feminizing or whatever it was he was doing. But to use that hissy/lispy stereotypical voice in a comment directed at Carl Paladino leaves nobody wondering who the host is ridiculing. 

Very classy stuff from a senior citizen with the backing of a nationally ranked right wing talk show to take a run at the masculinity and manliness of an 18 year old who's dared to challenge a guy that blew through ten million of his shits and chuckles fund on a failed run against Andrew Cuomo for Governor. And lest I forget, when Austin called Paladino out for ducking the debate, Carl's response was about as contemptuous as Sandy Beach's impression: "I've got better things to do than debate you," Carl snarled. People like Sandy Beach and Carl Paladino  think they know what's best for the Buffalo Schools. They couldn't be any more wrong if they tried. 

You can fast fwd to about 11:15 and listen for yourself HERE or thank me for listening do you didn't have to. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Is James Sampson The President or The Prince?

In yet another of their "news stories" the other day the Buffalo News managed to describe NYSUT as a "powerful teacher's union" once in the headline and again in the lead paragraph essentially abdicating any pretense of journalistic integrity in their feverish slant to demonize the statewide teacher's union affiliate. 

Some teachers represented by NYSUT have had occasion to be critical of NYSUT lately. Those of us airing our grievances against the practices and policies of NYSUT would be slow to agree with The News' assessment of them as especially "powerful." Our gripes will keep for another day though as we have far better fish to fry in this post. It's safe to assume we all realize the game the Buffalo News plays in describing NYSUT and/or BTF and/or Phil as "powerful." It's yet another attempt on the part of The News's ever creeping editorial miasma to befoul another "news" story with images of Phil Rumore, smoking a Cohiba while riding Putin-like, shirtless on the back of a Grizzly Bear  through the desolate streets of B-Lo like some Uzbek warlord out for a postprandial flex. You know because Phil's just so damned powerful and all...

 In beating the "powerful union" drum meme The News hopes to draw out teacher haters and others, in particular those curiously self hating types who, instead of demanding better pay from their own employers, find it more satisfying to stone anyone else whose union has negotiated for them something better than a starvation wage. If you have the stomach for The News comment section I submit "joe" as exhibit A of the latter. I guess in some small way the trick must work or The News would actually just report, well,  you know... the "news." And I seriously doubt for one second that anyone hunkered down in that airless, soulless Editorial Bunker actually believes that NYSUT or BTF actually  IS powerful as much as they believe in the Machiavellian tactic of creating a giant straw monster of your opponent that can be easily dispatched by torch when the moment is right. 

The punchline nobody at The News is finding half as funny as people did at the BTF Council of Delegates meeting last night however is that powerful NYSUT has flexed its own postprandial tris, bis and lats and in so doing Diamond Jim Sampson and DPCC Officer Patricia Elliott have been scrubbed from the Board of Ed ballot for lack of legit signatures on their petitions. In a converse flex, young Austin Harig's name will remain on the ballot as NYSUT and Co. worked diligently to help him verify his signatures. Austin's candidacy was challenged by local zillionaire developer Carl Paladino whom The News never thought to describe as "powerful" in his attempt to kick Austin an 18 year old Senior at Hutch Tech from the ballot. Odd that a guy with the money, connections and clout Paladino has accumulated over the years trying to prevent an 18 yr old student from running against him in South Buffalo doesn't conjure up any David and Goliath imagery in the fetid imaginations of The Buffalo News. 

Of course Sampson can still challenge the ruling in court or he can  run as a write in candidate as Ralph Hernandez did unsuccessfully against him last election. Nobody's sounding as optimistic about Elliott's chances but we know better than to assume she's just going to pack it in. The real victory for now is that so called the reform candidates appear to have shot themselves in the foot with sloppy prep work and NYSUT was on the scene to point it out and take the necessary action. 

Let me said loudly, unequivocally and on the record: Nice job NYSUT! 

I have heard more than a few people asking how the President of the Board of Education didn't take care of business and get his paperwork done right. My Freudian friends are quick to point out that it probably wasn't an accident at all as much as his subconscious saying enough is enough. Carl did after all demand Sampson's resignation a while back for some infraction or other. Carl told Sampson he didn't know how to lead and described a district in chaos. And in yet another classic Paladino mantrum we read this on WGRZ's website: 

As for Paladino, he gave no official comment to 2 On Your Side. When we called him he used profanity and hung up.  

You have to wonder if Diamond Jim somewhere deep down didn't decide to let the bully have his way. And what better way to stick it to a former brother in ed reform arms who's questioned your leadership and told you to quit than by stepping out of the race and handing your board seat to a AFL-CIO, NYSUT and BTF backed West Side Mom with strong ties to PUSH? If you asked me what Diamond Jim's up to I'd say the Buffalo News editors aren't the only ones carrying a dog eared copy of The Prince in their back pocket.