"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Little Dictator Who Couldn't

With the current Depression an inescapable reality of our lives, the continued political rule by the Oligarchs whose unrestrained greed delivered us into this mess is suddenly under the microscope. Could it be that we as a country will actually begin to question whether or not our lives should be given over to building a global corporate structure that benefits a handful of the mega-rich, while oppressing hundreds of millions of workers who are treated as disposable chattel? Could it be that the phony wizards who have bought our loyalties will finally be exposed as the power-hungry merchants of greed who serve only their gas-filled egos and their own financial self-interests? From the New York Times:

The mayor wanted members of the State Senate to be dragged back to Albany. Instead, nearly a dozen of them showed up on the front steps of City Hall on Sunday.

In the increasingly acrimonious battle over mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, 10 senators, all of them Democrats, held an hourlong news conference, ostensibly to demand that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg make some concessions before they consider extending his control.

All of the senators spoke, and they proclaimed the issue too important to be sidetracked by political rhetoric. Then some proceeded to vilify the mayor, calling him everything from a dictator to a yenta to a plantation owner.

“The days of being intimidated are over,” said Senator Eric Adams of Brooklyn. “We will not surrender our children, and he needs to understand that.”

The war of words escalated as the mayor and Senate leaders settled into an impasse over extending Mr. Bloomberg’s lapsed control of the school system. On Friday, Senate leaders shelved the legislation as they adjourned for the summer — violating their pledge to bring the matter to a vote — citing the mayor’s refusal to submit to any changes to the bill.

During his weekly radio show on Friday, Mr. Bloomberg questioned the intelligence of some of the senators who wanted to scale back mayoral control — including John L. Sampson of Brooklyn, the Democratic conference leader — and called for the State Police to “drag” senators to the Capitol for a vote. Dipping into his Yiddish dictionary, the mayor added that taking the summer off without extending mayoral control would be “meshugenah.”

Several of the senators present on Sunday — including Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate, whose defection from and return to the Democratic caucus bookended the monthlong power struggle that paralyzed state government — cited those remarks during their rebuttal.

“We believe it would be meshugenah not to include parents in the education of our children,” said Mr. Monserrate, of Queens. “As opposed to loosely using the word ‘meshugenah,’ we would also say we don’t need a yenta on the other side of this argument and this debate.” . . . .

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