Sunday, July 31, 2016

God or Guns?

First, let me state I don't hate Trump or Hillary - nor am I enamored of them. I saw Mr. Khan, who's son was killed in the line of duty, speak during the DNC. I watched most of it. It was emotional and uncomfortable. Emotional because of the loss. Uncomfortable because of the constant stereotyping of Muslims. Newt, during the RNC, reminded us of our oath to defend the Constitution. He also said if you honor that oath, there's only one candidate we can vote for - Trump. He was referencing the Second Amendment - the right to bear arms. Well, there's another amendment, the First, which is Freedom of Religion. If you honor that oath you cannot support Trump's plan to ban Muslim immigrants nor the insulting stereotyping he just engaged in - . So Newt, who can we vote for? Do we pick the Amendment that we value more? Will it be God or guns?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Things to Look Forward to - Trump vs. Weiner

I want NYC Public School teachers next!

 After this vicious election is over, people are going to need to fill that void. If you're a football, baseball, hockey, or basketball fan - you know what I'm talking about. (I'm a tennis nut so I can usually get a fix between opens from a smaller venue - the problem I have is that Cablevision STILL doesn't have the Tennis Channel!) Well I'm happy to say we have the prospect of MiniD vs. Weiner for the mayoral race. (Don't thank them, thank Big Bill for this potential scenario.) I can see it now - the faux American Royal family, the Trumps, flying in for the battle royale. Hopefully, Weiner won't go on a sexting binge allowing for MiniD's coronation. Weiner would have made a great mayor, but hey, everyone has their problems. MiniD loathes teachers, and will hunt us down like the filthy animals we are widely held to be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

DNC Night 1

I don't need anything Trump is trying to sell.

   I missed the first portion, but caught everything from Corey Booker on. Booker gave a great speech. It was uplifting and positive. That was followed by a video on Trump University and the students that were fleeced. One of the former students spoke well, but it was overkill in my opinion. Michelle Obama gave the best speech of her life, but not of the night. Michelle's speech resonated  and was powerful. The top two things for me, was her bringing up that a woman can become president and most powerfully, that a Black president and his family are living in the White House - a house built by slaves. I've never been a Michelle Obama fan, but she won me over last night. The most powerful speech of the evening came from Sanders. Listening to him I was upset all over again that he isn't the Democratic nominee. He spoke poignantly of the plight of the middle class, income disparity, and the need to leave a better future for our children and grandchildren. He endorsed Hillary enthusiastly and repeatedly.
   The DNC was professional and dealt with real issues. Issues that are important. Astronomical college tuition, jobs and helping one another. There were no scapegoats or divisiveness. This was in sharp contrast to the RNC.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

We're Having a Heat Wave, a Tropical Heatwave 🌞

 I don't know about you, but I don't like it hot. I just left church and we had no air conditioning. My Mom nearly passed out, as did most of the congregation. We left after services instead of going to the undercroft for coffee. We went to a local bakery and had lunch. We were talking about the current state of affairs in this country. My Mom is Irish, 84 years old and very liberal. She's a big proponent of gay rights and immigrant rights. She makes me take her to the gay pride parade in Hudson every year, where everyone knows and loves her. (The old very conservative folks in her neighborhood hate her guts.) She is very concerned that Trump will win the election. A legitimate concern. She doesn't understand how someone whose mother was an immigrant and whose wife is one, could use the rhetoric that he does. I don't either. She believes people hate Hillary for one reason only - that she is a woman. My mother believes that some people will stop at nothing to make sure a woman is never elected president. She has a point. What happens after Trump gets in or Hillary? How will the other side handle it? The country is becoming so polarized and intolerant of others that it is becoming dangerous. I went out last night with one of my buddies who was visiting from Florida. He was wearing a Trump tee shirt. He had the shirt made himself - it said on the front "Vote the Reality Ticket - Trump for President!" with a picture of Trump, on the back it said, "Honey Boo Boo for VP" with a picture of her. We were in a predominately Hispanic area and I noticed we were getting some glares. I don't think the public got the joke. Later that night it got worse, we were in a West Indian bar and I said you have to ditch that shirt. Thankfully, nothing happened. That said, I wouldn't put a Hillary sticker on my car or a banner for her on my front lawn, because I know in my neighborhood I wouldn't be that lucky. Stay cool.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Last Night's RNC - "If Hillary Gets In You Can Kiss Your Guns Goodbye!"


    I again watched the RNC from start to finish last night. Wednesday night's was far better (excluding Scott Walker). Pence's speech was uplifting and positive. Unfortunately (or fortunately for us) Trump's speech was a downer. He spoke well and some of it appeared unscripted, but it was a downer - extremely negative. He talked about people flooding over our borders killing, selling drugs and taking our jobs. The audience started chanting "Build a Wall!". (No, it wasn't a Pink Floyd concert, but Donald did put in another brick.) He spoke strongly about defense, law and order and having other countries pay their fair share. I watched the telecast via PBS and felt their commentary was subtly biased. Before he spoke, one of the commentators, David Brooks had stated that our cities are safer now than ever before and that the NYC crime rate was at record lows. A subtle repudiation of Trump before his speech. What Mr. Brooks didn't explain is that the numbers contradict what most of us know - crime is worse. Every facet of society is being judged on statistics - so those numbers are simply untrue. Before Trump spoke there were the usual GOP groupie speeches to get the audience primed. Reince Priebus mentioned vouchers for all and added if Hillary gets in you can kiss your guns goodbye(!). Then Trump's daughter spoke - young, beautiful, rich and Jewish (or as the old yentas from the Grand Concourse would say "Who can ask for anything more!"). She spoke well, but not as well as her brother.
     Her brother Eric in his speech brought up something seemingly small and entirely true that really appealed to me. The ice skating rink in Central Park was closed for years. Every time NYC tried to get it running they couldn't do it and we were spending millions of dollars. It was incredible. Trump stepped in and got it open ahead of schedule and under budget. At the time I admired Trump for that and still do.
    Trump will find that government is very different from business. In business if someone isn't doing their job he/she can be replaced. There are no monetary incentives to work harder or faster. The supplies you get come from an approved list. You can't burn bridges and have to be socially approachable. Can you see Trump going around the country trying to raise money for fellow Republicans? I can't. This is the fundamental problem with his candidacy - he's going to use the business model. It's been a disaster for education, hospitals and churches. It'll be a disaster for the government and for us as citizens. 7% TDA - kiss it goodbye. Social Security at 64 - kiss it goodbye. Governmental pensions - kiss them goodbye. I'd gladly kiss my guns goodbye - if I had any.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Metaphors and Conventions

   I've been away for a couple of days and had no TV and spotty phone service. One of the few sites I could get on my phone was one of my favorites . (No news, but I can get blog sites!) Arthur has been doing a superb job covering the National AFT Convention, which I have been following with interest. I got home around 6 and watched the Republican National Convention from start to finish. While watching it, I came to the realization that many of the same ideas (I wouldn't go so far as saying ideals) were being expounded. Also many of the same archetypes were making similar speeches. Newt Gingrich reminded us all of our oath to defend the Constitution. Sound familiar?

    Ted Cruz wouldn't endorse Trump and was booed. He and his wife were rushed out, in fear. I'm happy to say no shots were fired. At least Trump and the GOP took the risk and let him attend and speak (!). There was no such kindness shown for Detroit from the AFT.

     Scott Walker also spoke. It was excruciating. This is the guy who decimated public education as governor of Wisconsin. (Many in the GOP had him all but elected as the next president.) Gibberish and slogans were spoken ad neaseam. The AFT had Michael Mulgrew - need I say anything further?He is the heir apparent. That doesn't seem as assured as it once was. Scott Walker knows the feeling.

    The two winners of the day/evening were LeRoy Barr and Mike Pence. Both gave impassioned speeches. Pence referenced his immigrant grandfather and Marine son - it was a great speech. I didn't hear LeRoy's speech but he referenced his parents and social justice - from all accounts a great speech. Barr may one day be president of the UFT ( perhaps even the AFT!) and Pence president of the United States.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Does Hillary Still have the Cheese Touch?

Setting: Clinton living room, Chappaqua, NY ; Late June 2015. Hillary and Bill are enjoying a rare evening home watching TV.

Hillary: "There's absolutely nothing on TV! Sanders and Trump are on every news channel. Find something for me to watch to get my mind off these two clowns!"
Bill: "OK, Hill. Here's a funny movie called, Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
Hillary: "Thanks, Bill. I need some time alone."
Bill: "I understand honey. I'm going to bed."
(Hillary turns on the movie just as the cheese touch is explained. Any kid who touches a fossilized piece of cheese in their school playground or is touched by someone who has, is doomed to be shunned. She thinks to herself, Obama must have given it to me!)
Hillary: "Help! I'm going to lose this fu-king election!"
(Out of thin air Randi Weingarten appears.)
Randi: "Don't worry, Hill! I'm here to help. I'll cure the cheese touch curse and win you the election."
Hillary: "How and what's in it for you?"
Randi: "Nothing, I just want a great female leader in the White House!"
Hillary: "Yeah, right! And how are you going to do that?!"
Randi: "I'll endorse you tomorrow in my official capacity as AFT president!
Hillary: "Sounds good, Randi. If you can get those teachers behind me you can have any position in the House!
(Bill awakens from a sound sleep at the words "any position" accompanied with an unfamiliar female voice and decides he's dreaming and goes back to sleep.)
Randi: "It'll work! Don't worry. Goodnight." She then disappears in a puff of smoke.
            -----------------------------   ------------------- --------------------------
Setting: Same night, hotel room in Kentucky. Bernie is in his pajamas watching TV. He finds a movie, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. While watching the cheese touch explanation he thinks to himself,  I have the cheese touch!

Bernie: "Help! I'm going to lose this election!"
(Out of thin air Randi appears.)
Randi: "Don't worry Bernie! I'm here to help and I'll win you the election!"
Bernie: "Get the f-ck out of here and never come back!"
Randi: "Kiss your tuckus, goodbye!" She then disappears in a puff of smoke.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Do Not Resign, Ruth!

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg is being vilified for speaking her mind - not as a Supreme Court judge, but as a person with an opinion. Does this nullify her ability to judge future cases that may be presented to her by a presumptive President Trump? I don't believe it does. The HUGE assumption here is that Trump will be president. (I believe he will be, but I hope he's not.) I don't believe she should have to resign. Trump wants to track Muslims and put a wall around Mexico. There are many Muslim Americans and Mexican Americans in this country. He wasn't speaking merely as a citizen, but as a presidential candidate. Shouldn't he, by this logic, be asked to withdraw from the election for showing bias against those he may have to govern? Ruth spoke her mind and I support her for it. If she is forced to resign, then Trump should be forced to withdraw. Is he the only one who's allowed to be speak openly without regard to those it hurts. Ruth's remarks only hurt him - not entire ethnicities and religions.

Why has Ruth Apologized?

     Ruth's comments about Trump and moving to to New Zealand were honest and from the heart. I applaud them! Why apologize? Because if Trump wins, it could be used as an excuse concerning her impartiality on cases brought before the court. This is another strong indicator that Trump will win the presidency. Ruth, I have a cousin in New Zealand - it's a beautiful country.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Where are you Going to Move When Trump is Elected?

Goodbye Ruth!
     This has been a hot topic among my friends for some months. Ruth's comments on moving to New Zealand if Trump wins has many laughing. I guess the Donald isn't the only one who can unselfconsciously speak their mind. Trump of course, is indignant and wants her to step down as Supreme Court judge. There are several of my friends who are planning on leaving this country when they retire. In fairness, it's not Trump they're fleeing, but a myriad of reasons - Trump is just an added impetus. Astronomical college tuition, high taxes, rampant age and race discrimination and crime are the major reasons. So here's the list in order of popularity: Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, England and Panama. I should note that these are all teachers with kids in school. None have any family or blood ties to these countries. All these nations have their positives and negatives. At least two or three of my buddies will actually make the move. When educated American people seriously consider and plan to emigrate, from the United States, something is terribly wrong. Ironically, it's Trump's fundamental appeal (to 'Make America Great Again!") and he's Ruth's fundamental reason to flee.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Donald Hates Mosquitos!


        This past week was a rough one for the country. I was away for a few days and caught up on the ugliness yesterday. Aren't we all people with hope for a better future? I guess not. The highlight of the week for me was Trump's little tirade about mosquitos.  He hates mosquitos, Hillary, illegal immigrants, germs, paying bills, anyone who dislikes him and anyone who may disagree with whatever viewpoint he latches on to (at that particular moment) - he probably would hate me too, if he knew me. I however, find him very very entertaining and his viewpoints on mosquitos a welcome relief. I certainly don't hate him, but will never, ever vote for him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Who will be NYC's Next Mayor?

Have you missed me? No more Mr. Nice Guy!

   It won't be long before the mayor's seat is up for grabs. Who will run? Who will win? DeBlasio will run of course, but I see very little chance he will be reelected. The aura of malfeasance made visable via Preet, has all but ensured that. Even without it, I don't think he would be reelected. He's preceived as arrogant and an idealist. I like idealists, but in this city you have to be a pragmatist.
    Scott Stringer may run for office. I think he would do well in the election. He's experienced and hasn't upset too many people. He's would not be a polarizing candidate.
    There are also a number of extremely obnoxious anti-public education candidates that could become well financed by the deformer groups. The problem is that most of them are transparent in their lust for power. I don't see any of them doing well.
     There are two former mayors who could run and win. One is Rudy Giuliani and the other is Michael Bloomberg. Term limits for office are for consecutive terms. There is no law to stop them. Rudy has hitched his wagon to Trump. If Trump wins, he may play a role in Trump's administration. That leaves Bloomberg. Could Bloombeg run again? Yes. Will he? Perhaps, especially if he precieves that all his hard work has been for naught because of DeBlasio and/or that the city needs him and/or because he misses the challenge. What would that mean for us (teachers)? It would be an unmitigated disaster.

Post 4th Thoughts


     America. What does it mean for you? For me it's an inherent part of my identity. It's not really a deliberate choice, more like an intangible tangible. I can't change it, no more than I can change my revulsion at the road this country is going down. The candidates are just symptoms of the illness. The real problem is we have become much too lenient with every type of misbehavior, other than of verbal slurs (unless its on social media - in which case anything goes). The rights of the few take precedence over the rights of the many. This is evident in everything from schools to public spaces. Students who have severe behavior problems have the right to totally destroy a class and stop the teacher from teaching and the students from learning. In public spaces, self cleaning toilets were removed from NYC some years ago, because they weren't completely handicap accessible. As I'm writing this, there's a guy with his pecker out, peeing between two cars on 172nd Street. All in view of everyone walking by. The cops won't ticket him - partly because they can't be bothered and they hate the mayor (who has downgraded the offense). I don't entirely blame the urinator - he appears to be homeless and there are no toilets to use - self cleaning or otherwise. As an ATR, I know the feeling. No restroom key and no one to open the restroom door. How many of us have been tempted to urinate in the back stairs? Save not for the cameras and the students back there having sex, some of us may have. What an embarrassing hearing that would be! The daily papers would read, "Subpar teacher urinates in back stairs!". The TV news would show endless clips with the warning, "What we are about to show you may be disturbing".
     Every time I walk around this city I'm disturbed. Homelessness, selfishness, materialism, incompetence, and downright meanness are there. My right to blow your head off with my gun takes precedence over your right to have a head, especially if I perceive you as a threat. Most people that carry guns perceive everyone as a threat. If they get in a fist fight and start to lose, they will pull out that gun and use it. How likely is it that you can get into a fist fight in this city? Very likely, especially if you are young. (Don't have a gun - then a knife will be used.) Every weekend and after every holiday, I open the paper to read how many people were shot the night before. How many people were shot in NYC, last night on the 4th of July? 10. I don't know how many were intentionally targeted. Many of the kids that have these guns learn to shoot by watching videos and movies in which the gun is held and shot sideways - insuring that everyone, except the intended victim, is shot. Violence is glorified in movies, video, music and gaming. Getting a gun for many young people is like what getting our first bike was for us (with an extra added pleasure of being illicit). Schools are a microcosm of society - keep metal detectors in schools. Have a peaceful summer.