Saturday, February 13, 2016

What Vikings, Gangsters and Outlaw Bikers Have that Randi Weingarten Doesn't

It's Called Honor, Randi

In case you haven't seen the most recent outrage from Randi Weingarten -- no, not her participation in TFA's Reformapalooza #25 gala, that's old news already -- I'm talking about her warm fuzzy response to the preposterous appointment of NYSED failure John King to Arne Duncan's former seat. Rather than go off an yet another rant against the Vichy-Quisling inspired clown who runs AFT I thought I'd spend some time talking about leadership instead. And since this is February and we're in smack in the belly of the Netflix/Hulu binge watching season I'd like to insert Randi Weingarten into a discussion of leadership alongside some leaders whose shows I've recently caught myself up on.

Honor Among Gangsters

Tommy Shelby, the brains behind the Peaky Blinders (Netflix) is considered dangerous by his enemies because he's not afraid to die. Having survived WWI as a tunneler in France Tommy still suffers nightmares on a regular basis and surrounds himself with fellow traumatized vets to wage his criminal war on the established criminal elements of Birmingham and London. Tommy's loyalties to friends and family run deep. Very deep. When he marries his troubled brother off to an enemy gypsy family it's all for the greater good even though it appears he's made a deal with the devil the arrangement ends a long standing blood feud between the families and creates a worthy ally of a miserable enemy. See how that worked? Even though it seemed unpopular and some people questioned his motives in the end he proved himself. His actions which seemed suspicious at first proved to be wise and beneficial. I am still scrutinizing Weingarten's track record for evidence of such a move. Maybe if after she crowned Bill Gates her keynote speaker Gates admitted he really had no clue about education and agreed to take a step back and work on his next version of Windows while the experts handled education matters, we could see a connection. But that's not what happened is it? No, in fact what really happened was that Weingarten opened herself up to legitimate questions about where her true loyalties really lay. And rather than put these questions to bed she's only managed to create more of them. Cavorting with the unsavory likes of Joel Klein and accepting slimy awards from Eli Broad essentially propped open the door to a permanent cloud over Weingarten. She's never silenced her critics or satisfactorily answered the question : Which side are you on Randi?

Ragnar Lothbrok of Vikings (HULU) sure seems like another guy who wants his "seat at the table." In fact he's the one I imagine to have the most in common with TFA #25's featured speaker and ed reformer, our gal, Weinie. Ragnar takes a seat with the king of Wessex and endangers his men fighting  helping to install a puppet Princess in the neighboring realm of Mercia. His obsession with Athelstan a kidnapped Priest he took as a slave then freed after his maiden raid on the West causes concern and raises Viking eyebrows. Why would a follower and worshipper of Odin traffic with such trash? The fact that he submits his friend and confidante to be among the human sacrifices at a sort of VikingCon bash they attend really bangs home the similarities between King Ragnar and our own Queen of Ed Reform. Sadly though for Lothbrok the priest is not really into it and is rejected as a candidate for throat slitting on these grounds. Another northman steps in gleefully to take the express ticket to Valhalla and our quivering priest is left to wonder deep and dark about what the hell goes in in his friend's fucking head. Yeah Athelstan we feel your pain man, really we do. I guess the Ragnar move that opens up a ton of sunlight between himself and Weingarten though comes as he fakes his death and asks the French -- who've successfully battled him and his men from entering the city-- for a Christian burial. He's already had them baptize him and they seem to buy his conversion. As soon as his Viking pall bearers set his coffin down in the cathederal though Ragnar bursts from the box and seizes their Princess at knifepoint dragging her back to the gates which are opened to allow his fellow northmen to stream into the city for a bit of plundering and pillaging which they'd been unable to do in all previous attempts. See that Randi? At the end he was working for his people in spite of the appearance of selling them out. So the Cuomo/Hochul robocalls should have had some higher purpose, some surprise ending nobody saw coming. But in true Weingarten design they had none. Just Randi working for Randi and fuck the rest of you. There's nothing you can do about it anyway.

Honor Among Outlaws

Forgive me for rolling out Sons of Anarchy so long after its network conclusion. I knew there was a final season and I guess I just wasn't ready to be done with it. Like Tommy Shelby and King Ragnar, Jacks Teller too has his way of pissing everyone off before they realize he's working on their behalf. Pretty much every time you turn around he's making a deal with one of the other biker clubs that nobody thinks is much of an idea. He's not above completely blowing it either as in the case of being misled into believing the Chinese gang killed his wife. Dozens and dozens of bodies later the truth is revealed to our guy and as you might guess he is devastated. He blew it. And because he went off half cocked and went in the wrong direction he's done some damage to his own club that won't be overlooked or forgiven. There must be a reckoning and he will have to answer for his actions. What's really interesting about outlaw biker clubs though is that members are expected to vote and their vote will lead to direct action. Imagine a teacher's union where the President screws up and all the locals come together and are asked to vote on the future of said President. Too bad we're a union of people who have advanced degrees in every subject imaginable yet we lack the simple democratic power of a "Mayhem Vote." And by the time you wrap up the final season you've heard Jacks Teller admit multiple times that he screwed up and a lot of people were hurt because of his mistakes. He admits there's no way he can take any of it back but he swears before he shuffles off this mortal coil that he'll do everything in his power to make up for the damage. And he does.

 Imagine for a second if Weingarten ever said I know I should never have involved myself with Gates. I should've kept my nose out of the Newark negotiations that led Chris Christie to declare it the most satisfying day of his life and hung Newark teachers out to dry with a merit pay contract. What if she took back the Cuomo/Hochul robocalls and admitted she'd fooled nobody and she really shouldn't have worked on behalf of a ticket that targeted teachers and described us a monopoly he planned to break up.  Then there's the Hillary endorsement and the TFA speech and as if she hadn't been busy enough she manages to squeeze out a little missive warmly welcoming the appointment of teacher basher, test and punisher John King to Arne Duncan's old cubicle. There exists such a huge body of misdeeds for Weingarten to choose from it's almost overwhelming. But Randi Weingarten is no Jacks Teller. She aint admitting squat. She's no Ragnar Lothbrock and she's not hopping out of any coffin to wreak vengeance on our behalf. Nor is she Tommy Shelby raining hellfire on our adversaries on her best day of collaborating and colluding with every ed reformer and Pearson rep under the sun. 

Funny how the leaders mentioned above, while criminals and killers all, each possess a certain trait that transcends their shady circumstances. In a word we usually call it honor. Wouldn't it be nice if the President of a national teacher's union actually shared a positive trait with Irish mobsters, murderous Vikings and Outlaw biker gangs?  I guess we can always dream. 


  1. I hereby nominate Sean Crowley for AFT President.

    Abigail Shure

  2. The functionaries of our political organizations and trade unions are corrupted — or rather tend to be corrupted — by the conditions of capitalism and betray a tendency to become bureaucrats, i.e., privileged persons divorced from the people and standing above the people. ~Vladimir Lenin

  3. A good rule in life: If you want to know a person, watch what they do, not what they say. Randi Weingarten's relationship with Bill Gates is much deeper than his appearance at the AFT convention. Most egregious is her collaboration with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

    1. I agree her Gatescestual intrigue goes further than a simple speaking gig. The brazenness of that act is what stood out in my imagination. Weinie likes to hide in plain sight then ask us if we're crazy when we bust her cavorting with ed reformers and anti union scum. I can't believe the Koch Bros haven't figured her out and put her on their payroll yet.