She must think I'm a stalker following my appearance at the Progressive Caucus meeting the other night when she stopped by to tell me how overjoyed she was that I joined the caucus — I told her she had finally convinced me and it was really the best 20 bucks I've spent so far.
People are still hounding me for the story of how they tried to throw me out but I can't get to it now. A UFT VP really got a kick out of my being there and wanted to know if I now had reciprocity to attend Unity Caucus meetings. "Only if I can tape them," I said. A high level union official told me to see him when I was ready to join Unity. Bye-bye ICE. I really want to be told how to vote and learn how to manipulate Roberts Rules. Today Randi asked at the press availability, "When did you get your press pass?" "10 years ago when I started covering you," I said. Actually more like 15 years. I'm a Randiologist specializing in deciphering her lingo as PR. George Schmidt and I got to ask her some questions and I taped the whole thing.
Just back from a Chicago party. Did they get a lesson in Unity control in their committee meetings. I had been telling them about Unity control and today they saw it first hand.
Today was a busy day. We worked on some leaflets all morning for the AFT Peace and Justice caucus. My assignment was to handle the flier for the Gates appearance on Saturday. As usual I had diarrhea of the pen and filled up 2 sides. I sent it to Sharon Higgins in Oakland this morning and she chopped off 500 words. Wish I can send her my belly. Sharon did a great job and with just a little more modification we just finished it. And yes we are going with the Trojan Horse theme. Funny how many other people are also doing stuff with that idea though some think Randi is the real Trojan Horse.
Being backed up with the leaflet this morning I got to the convention hall just as Antonia Cortese was introducing Randi. George Schmidt had staked out a good end spot at the press table and I just got my video camera set up as Randi began. But I didn't tape it all. Now, if you read my previous post you know what I was expecting with some embellishments. While the speech before the Progressive Caucus was about 15 minutes, this one was about an hour. There are lot of comments on the speech both nationally and locally. To some it was very impressive. To those of us used to the rhetoric it was just more of the same.
I'll give you one brief example. Randi talked about 360 degree accountability. For a second I thought she was talking about global warming. OK, let's everyone be accountable, even that slime of a Leadership Academy principal you have. Now here is where she made a good point — theoretically. She said part of a principal's evaluation should be based on teacher turnover. Well, isn't that interesting since in her decade of running the UFT that never once came up. I mean that is so obvious that one would think the NY Teacher would post those schools that had large turnover on a consistent basis. But they didn't. And they won't do much more now. I see the speech as the a PR opportunity and nothing more.
One of the guys working on the P&J committee is also running a convention web site and he has some good stuff up there. Here are a few comments on the speech:
Like the Vichy policeman in "Casablanca" who was "shocked, shocked" at gambling going on in the casino, AFT President Randi Weingarten can't believe that a U.S. President that the AFT supported could applaud the mass firing of 89 teachers. She starts four paragraphs "I never thought ..."
Who is she kidding? She knew what Arne Duncan did in Chicago. Did she think he would change his spots. Why doesn't she demand Duncan go? Labor poured enough money and sweat into the Obama campaign to make the demand.
He has the speech up at Randi is Shocked or you can get it and weep at:
The complete text of Weingarten's speech will be available at http://www.aft.
Coming up tomorrow are a few Duncan demos as he breezes into town and the P&J session at 4:40 where I am supposed to speak. I want to get video of Dunkin Donuts but may miss one of the demos. The Detroit crew from BAMN has chartered a bus to get people to the demo furthest away. The early one is near here. At the Chicago party tonight some people from Seattle were there and donated a bunch of oaktag and markers and some people had a ball making signs.
Off to bed. More in the AM. Wait a minute. It is the am. 1am. snore.
After burn: More analysis of the speech
Teachers unions at the crossroads
Lee Sustar reports from the American Federation of Teachers convention in Seattle.I finally met Lee at the Chi party and at the press conf with Randi. Lots for us to talk about.