Thursday, December 24, 2020

Fred Smith with his annual The Night Before Xmas—2020

Fred Smith has done it again for 2020 with is yearly Xmas specials. 
Here are his previous years, each with a different theme.
I first met Fred, a testing expert who used to work for the NYCBOE, when he contacted me about getting ICE members to assist in gathering data for his exposures of the evils of testing. Over the years, his involvement with groups like GEM and Change the Stakes has grown.

Fred is also a statistician for the NY Jets - don't blame him for their absence from the Super Bowl for almost 50 years.

Fred Smith convincing Jets dancers to boycott field tests - he's the one in the middle

The Night Before Xmas—2020
'Twas the night before Christmas and in the Snow House
Sat a duck-assed old fat man with botoxic spouse. 
This may be my last chance to go through the list,           
And give gifts to people who’ve made me real pissed.    
Whether I like them or hate, it’s ever the same,                 
They’re bound to go down in my endless blame game:                   
To my faithless AG and once true legal goon,                     
 Yeah, Bill Barr you left me, so come kiss my moon.
As to Mitch, the traitor, who upped and caved in,            
Here’s a carton of face masks to cover your chin;            
And for Rudolph, the red-faced, sputt’ring buffoon,                  
What would be more fitting than a golden spittoon;         
The prize for Pompeo requires some thinking,                
Backtracking on hacking without even blinking;             
And as for that Birx, as well as for Faucci,                      
A pox on both jerks for making me grouchy;                  
And to my dear friends, Pelosi and Schumer,                  
A set of false teeth and an unbenign tumor;                    
Bah, to Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett             
I’ll strip off their robes for not being my parrot;              
To NBC cable, O’Donnell and Maddow,                  
Go choke on your words and walk in the shadow;           
Which goes for Jake Tapper and for Wolf Blitzer,           
Two cups of egg nog and a cyanide spritzer;                   
The Judiciary Committee and Adam Schiff                     
A one-way train ride heading off of a cliff;                      
As for Masha, Vindman and Fiona Hill,                          
You dared utter the truth; here’s a poisonous pill;           
This thing ‘bout the virus and how many have died?                 
Qanon swears that every one of them lied;                      
I now know there are 300,000 folks hidin’;                       
No presents for the “dead” who voted for Biden;             
Of course, can’t forget those phony Obamas,                  
Who should be sent packing to some land full of llamas;               
And I have to keep waiting until two weeks hence          
To decide what determines the fate of Mike Pence;
But there's a place in my heart for Betsy DeVos;
I'd love to spend a few minutes inside her clothes.
On Ivanka, on Kayleigh, on a Stormy day,
On Kelly or any blond who'll pull my sleigh.
Loyalty to me must be undiminished;                             
One step out of line and you know you are finished,                 
‘Cept for Putin, who says I lost the election;                   
For some weird reason I can’t spurn his defection.          
But I digress, there are more who’ve sorely peeved me,                 
Who think I’m a fool and those who have grieved me:    
Including all foreign leaders, ‘cause they are foreign,      
Save for Bibi and Britain’s Elizabeth Warren.                 
I’ll give them all coal to stuff in their crotches;               
And spoiled milk to SNL which nobody watches.           
And let me see what I have for Stephen Colbert;             
Ah, it’s something set for ticking under his chair.            
Forget about pardons and exoneration,                    
Maybe I just need an extended vacation                          
Where I won’t have to pretend to read any book,              
And I’ll have full time for golf and being a crook.
Now it’s almost midnight on this Xmas Eve,                   
And it’s time to be taking my overdue leave.                     
But I’ll keep right on tweeting my message of cheer                 
To do more for America in the New Year.                           
  Fred Smith

Saturday, December 12, 2020


The de Blasio mis-leadership of the school system has put the control of the schools in the hands of one person on the table for discussion. 


Thank you for registering for "REIMAGINE: OUR CITY SCHOOLS (1) - December TONYC Meet-up".
Please submit any questions to: 

Date Time: Dec 13, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Sunday night this will be a fascinating event organized by Teachers of NYC. 



James Eterno is supporting the event Sunday night:


Teachers of NYC are a group to watch. They are holding a Zoom event on Sunday evening on ending mayoral control of NYC schools. Note that Mike Schirtzer, the one UFT Executive Board member not afraid to ask tough questions to UFT President Mulgrew, will be on the panel as will Class Size Matters' Director Leonie Haimson. I will be attending and so should you if you are able.

Yes, Teachers of NYC [not a caucus] is worth keeping an eye on as they bring a rank and file perspective to the table.  The panel includes current and former parent activists Leonie Haimson and Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, Kim Watkins chair of Community Education Council 3 (upper west side), UFT Ex Bd member Mike Schirtzer and two people I am not familiar with, Shamel Lawrence and Dr. Shawn Ruks. 


Our opposition to mayoral control from 20 years ago while the UFT leadership supported it

From the earliest days of rumors of mayoral control taking over our schools in the year 2000 we as Ed Notes have been opposed. 

Education Notes Summer 2001- {when Giuliani was mayor and demanding mayoral control}

Education Notes Editorial:
Do Not Give This Mayor (or any Mayor) Control Over The School System

The plan put forth by our union leaders to give the Mayor effective control of the school system by allowing him to appoint 6 out of 11 members from an expanded Board of Education (to be chosen from a blue ribbon panel headed by the state education commissioner) puts us on a very dangerous path. Naturally, Mayor Giuliani, proving once again he is an ignoranus (see next page for a formal definition), immediately trashed the plan. The arguments put forth at the June 4 [2001] Exec. Bd. meeting focused on the issue of making the Mayor accountable and creating common ground for providing resources to the schools. Results in other cities with Mayoral control were cited. It was also surmised that this plan would be a way to take some of the testing pressure off classroom teachers.

Ed. Notes contends that more pressure will be placed on classroom teachers as Mayors use test scores in their elec- tion campaigns. Given the choice, will these politicians put enough resources into classrooms to help children really learn? Or will they take the politically expedient way out by calling for more tests and more blame on teachers when children don’t produce? Allowing politi- cal forces to control what we teach and how we teach is already taking place. Mayoral control will only make the situation worse. We should be calling for the professionalization of teaching, which should give teach- ers more control over the schools, not less.

The UFT was prepared to give freack'n Rudolph Giuliani control of the schools and they rushed to hand it over to Bloomberg. I warned the UFT leadership. Now you should note that the recent Mulgrew calls for modification of mayoral control is not far off the June, 2001 plan.

The late George Schmidt when he read the piece above issued a warning to the teachers in the UFT about mayoral control which I printed in the April 2002 after Bloomberg had become mayor and the UFT leadership seemed relieved at his replacing Giuliani - which goes to show you anti_Trumpers - lunacy is often followed by competent lunacy as Bloomberg laid waste to the school system. The Chicago Unity like union leadership also didn't oppose mayoral control and paid the price in the 2001 union elections where the PACT caucus won but then lost barely in 2004. However, that experience for young activists led them to form CORE in 2008 and they won in 2010 and have held power since then. George was heavily involved in both wins, using his widely read Substance newspaper (the model for Ed Notes) to great effect.

I reprinted George's article in that same Ed Notes, Fall, 2002. George was in NYC the summer of 2002 and visited me and a few people I called together to give details on his experiences. This item is from the Fall, 2002 edition.

George Schmidt Visits Rockaway

George Schmidt, founder and editor of the independent education newsletter Substance for the past 27 years and a major source of information on events in the Chicago school system, met with a group of NYC teachers at the Ed. Notes palatial estate this summer in Rockaway Beach. It was George’s first return to Rockaway since he went out on a date to Rockaway Playland in the 60’s.

Schmidt, accompanied by his 14 year old son, Danny, regaled his audience with tales of the Chicago “corporate” model of mayoral control, how school workers took back the union and shared his experiences at the AFT convention (attended by 800 Unity Caucus members at your expense) held in July in Las Vegas. George also gave us advice on how to make Ed. Notes a more viable and effective source of information for school workers in NYC. See George’s article on Mayoral control on page 5 and the stories on CTU President Debbie Lynch on pages 5 and 6.

My intro to the George piece [remember Arne Duncan was the CEO of Chicago schools for about 7 years].

Coming Soon to a School Near You: Mayoral Control

When UFT leader Randi Weingarten floated a proposal to give the mayor control of the school system in May 2001, Education Notes took strong exception, arguing that giving politicians control would only result in a system of education by the numbers in a corporate style system. Our opposition caused a breach in our relationship to the UFT leadership that has not been healed to this day. Weingarten took exception to what she perceived was an accusation that she was selling us out. We did not go that far, but we did feel that she was in favor of recentralizing the school system, thus opting for short term gains (a quick contract) while sacrificing the long term interests of school workers, whose ability to control the conditions under which they work decrease significantly under centralized control. Mayor Giulianiʼs scornful rejection of that deal delayed our contract for more than a year. It was the unionʼs behind the scenes support for giving Mayor Bloomberg control that finally got the contract done. Did Weingarten sell out our educational interests for a pot of gold? The next few years will allow people to judge for themselves. This month, we give our readers a break from our diatribes against centralized corporate style mayoral control and turn instead to surrogates.

We reprise the article George Schmidt, editor of Substance, Chicagoʼs independent educational newspaper, did for us in May which points to the lessons of Chicago over the last 7 years as a guidepost to the future of education in New York. Schmidt, accompanied by his 14 year old son, Danny, regaled his audience with tales of the Chicago “corporate” model of mayoral control, how school workers took back the union and shared his experiences at the AFT convention (attended by 800 Unity Caucus members at your expense) held in July in Las Vegas. George also gave us advice on how to make Ed. Notes a more viable and effective source of information for school workers in NYC. -- Ed Notes, Fall, 2002

Education Notes Apr./May ‘02/ 


by George Schmidt, Editor of Substance, 5132 W Berteau Chicago, IL 60641

Dear Brothers and Sisters in New York,

No teacher union should support mayoral control of the school system -- especially if the "Chicago Model" is invoked to justify that control. Chicago's version of urban school governance based on a supposed "busi- ness model" of how things should be run is actually the major form of "deregulation" aimed at the heart of public education (and the unions representing teachers and other school workers) in the urban north. More than vouchers, charters schools, or the antics of Edison Schools Inc., the "CEO model" for urban school governance is an attack on democracy, on public school teachers, and on the unions that represent the men and women who work in public schools. Despite the massive propaganda (including regular reports in The New York Times) praising Chicago's version of "School Reform," the model is based on shoddy public relations and relentless attacks on democratic public schools and democratic unions.

In 1995, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law (the Amendatory Act) which gave Chicago's mayor complete control over the governance of the school system. At the time of the legislation, the Republican Party's most con- servative wing controlled both houses of the Illinois Gen- eral Assembly and the governor's seat. Thanks to the legis- lation he wrote with the Republicans, Chicago's mayor was able to abolish the old (appointed, but with many guide- lines) school board, appoint a five-member "School Re- form Board of Trustees", and appoint a "Chief Executive Officer" to replace the credentialed superintendent of schools. The legislation also prohibited collective bargain- ing on class size, abolished tenure, and took away other rights which Chicago teachers and other union workers in the city's public schools thought had been secured forever.

The Chicago system immediately went into an orgy of union busting, privatization, and teacher bashing. In July 1995, Mayor Daley appointed his former budget director (Paul G. Vallas) as Chief Executive Officer of the school system. Vallas, a career bureaucrat with no private sector experience, had no teaching experience and no other cre- dentials to run the newly deregulated school system. Presi- dent of the School Board went to Gery Chico, a lawyer who had most recently been the Chief of Staff for the mayor.

The key to the "success" of the Chicago "CEO Model" was control of public relations. From the very beginning of the Vallas administration, a careful campaign of slander and disinformation was launched against the unions repre- senting those who worked in the public schools. Thanks to a sweetheart contract with the leaders of the Chicago Teach- ers Union, by the fall of 1995, the mayor's propaganda people made the false claim that the new "CEO" (Paul G. Vallas) had ended what was claimed to be a $1 billion "deficit." The "deficit" had actually been created on paper by inflating estimated expenses and deflating estimated revenues. Within a year after taking over the school system, the mayor then announced that test scores had begun to go "up."

Deregulation in Chicago's schools was based on the same types of manipulation of numbers that served the execu- tives of Enron (and other crooked corporations) so well in the private sector during the "" and stock bubble manias of the late 1990s. The manipulation of financial information (the budget "deficit" claim) and test score information ("trending up" was what Chicago's school administration called the test score reports during the same years the stock market bubble was being in- flated) reduced the integrity of the school board's finan- cial and educational data to a shambles. But that was no problem in the short term, because Chicago-based Arthur Andersen was doing for the financial data (through the annual audit of the ending financial statements) and many educational programs (through multi-million dollar "consultancies" to "audit" everything from pre school pro- grams to some high school academic programs) the same jobs it was doing during the same years for Enron (and before that for Chicago-based Sunbeam and Waste Man- agement, both of which cooked their books and cheated their shareholders and workers years before Enron did).

For the union to support the rampant teacher bashing and union busting that comes with mayoral takeovers like Chicago's the union leadership has to be willing to be- come a company union. The company is City Hall.

By January 1999, the mayor's team at the Chicago school board had busted several of the union's that represented Chicago school employees and was ready to attack the heart of teacher rights: tenure. In February 1999, after safely getting a new contract from the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union (after a highly questionable referendum), the school board fired 137 tenured teachers, exercising its new power to terminate even those with tenure. When the union lead- ership challenged the firing in federal court, the school board, supposedly run by our friends from City Hall, not only used its own $8 million le- gal department but paid hundreds of thou- sands of dollars to the blue chip law firm of Jenner and Block to defeat the union's federal court challenge to the abolition of tenure for Chicago teachers. (To date, Jenner and Block has been paid more than $1 million to defend the school board against the union's challenge in the main federal case, Shegog et al v. Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees).

Throughout the entire attack on union and teacher rights, the union leadership refused to criticize the City Hall school "team" that was undermining the unions and slandering teachers and other school workers on an almost daily basis.

Critics within the union grew in size and strength during the six years (July 1995 through June 2001) that Paul G. Vallas served as Mayor Richard M. Daley's handpicked "CEO" of Chicago's vast public school system. On May 18, 2001, the members of the 36,000-member Chicago Teachers Union got their first change to vote on a referendum on the mayor's takeover. Paul Vallas, the school system's CEO, endorsed Chicago Teachers Union presi- dent Thomas Reece, an incumbent with a war chest on more than $200,000 and control of every one of the more than 40 jobs at the CTU's headquarters. The Chicago Sun-Times (circulation 500,000 daily) told Chicago's teachers to vote for Tom Reece and his "team."

When the results of the election were announced on May 25 af- ter a hand-count of the paper ballots, the opposition slate from the Pro Active Chicago Teachers and School Workers (PACT) caucus had won the election with 57 percent of the vote to Reece's 43 percent. On the day they voted, all five of the PACT candi- dates for city-wide union office were teaching in their schools (or, in the case of Maureen Callaghan, candidate for treasurer, working in the school office where she served as secretary). Deborah Lynch (now CTU president), Howard Heath (now CTU vice president), Jacqueline Price Ward (now CTU recording sec- retary), James Alexander (now CTU financial secretary) and Maureen Callaghan (now CTU treasurer) all had to clean out their classrooms (or desks) before they reported to the down- town offices of the Chicago Teachers Union on July 1, 2001, to begin leading one of the largest locals in the American Federa- tion of Teachers.

The victory of PACT in the May 2001 CTU election was an over- whelming vote of no confidence in the union leadership that had allowed the once powerful Chicago Teachers Union to become a company union under the domination of Chicago's City Hall. The victory of Deborah Lynch Walsh (who dropped the "Walsh" from her last name recently) and the other members of the PACT slate (including 40 of the 45 
members of the CTU executive board, was a victory for the rank-and-file and for the secret ballot and democratic unionism. The betrayal of the teachers and other union members in Chi- cago by the former union ad- ministration was decisively re- pudiated on May 18 in what was the most exciting union election in recent Chicago memory.

The hard work began immediately. The new leadership of the CTU is rebuilding a coalition of more than a dozen unions representing those who work in Chicago's public schools -- from janitors and school engineers to truck drivers and lunch- room workers. With an eye towards the negotiations for a contract which expires on August 31, 2003, Deborah Lynch and her colleagues in the union leadership have been mobi- lizing their union membership in unprecedented ways.

On March 19, the Illinois AFL-CIO's candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, former congressman Rod Blagojevich, thanked the unions for the support which carried him to victory in a hard-fought three-way race for the nomination against former Chicago schools CEO Paul G. Vallas. A signal issue during the debates and in the pri- mary race was Vallas's union busting record as schools CEO. Democrats and the members of Illinois unions are optimis- tic that the Democratic Party can retake the governor's of- fice in Illinois for the first time since Jimmy Carter was Presi- dent of the United States.

On March 23, for example, the union leadership concluded the third of a series of three two-day leadership training con- ferences that involved all of the more than 800 elected del- egates representing the union's 36,000 active duty and re- tired members, teacher and career service.

Not only has the election of Deborah Lynch provided a re- pudiation of the politics of union busting and teacher bash- ing in Chicago's public schools, but it has begun to lead to an unprecedented era of mobilization and hope among a for- merly demoralized membership of the once mighty union. With every step the Chicago Teachers Union takes towards getting its strength back after years of convalescence in the isolation ward of company unionism, teachers and other union members add their voices, votes and hard work to the massive job of rebuilding the city's public schools after years of mismanagement by the political cronies of City Hall.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

FAIR Exposes NYT Ed Reporter Eliza Shapiro Bias on school closings (and what else?)

 Eliza Shapiro on Twitter

Eliza Shapiro on Twitter (12/7/20) takes on “the very lefty Chicago teachers union.”

Shapiro takes it to the next level, though. On Twitter, she editorializes beyond what appears in her published articles, as she cherry-picks pro-reopen quotes (8/7/20), parrots executive power (8/12/20), blames pesky safety protocols on union action (9/27/20), framing unions that oppose reopening as extremist outliers (12/7/20) and frames all problems as hindrances to the ultimate goal of reopening as soon as possible (8/9/20). When Shapiro (12/2/20) appeared to apologize on behalf of the mayor for racial disparities in reopening, the anti–high-stakes testing group NYC Opt Out responded: “We desperately need journalists who will scrutinize and challenge claims made by people in power, not cling to them even when they’re proven to be utterly false.”    FAIR

The NYT has generally had biased coverage of education issues with an anti-union slant and over the years we’ve tangled with the revolving doors of Ed reporters, many of whom have moved on to bigger things. Eliza Shapiro came to the NYT from Politico. Her use of sources from the fringe anti union neoliberal E4E, supported financially by the Ed deform crowd (you will not see Shapiro report that info) has grated on activists.

Ari Paul digs deep into her coverage on the school closing issue.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Republicans are the real election thieves - The real 2020 election scandal: voter theft targeting Black people, youth | The Grayzone

While Republicans create election chaos the Dems are silent on where real fraud takes place. Inept, Inept, Inept. Interesting how initial reports gave Stacie Abrams credit for Biden win in Georgia but it turns out that it was college educated white voters who came out in force. Yet, There are reports that turnout in black communities in Georgia did not increase since 2016. Aaron Mate interviews Greg Palast - The real 2020 election scandal: voter theft targeting Black people, youth -- 

Friday, November 6, 2020

The long-time Trump plan to steal Pennsylvania and why it may still work even if Biden "wins"

On Politics: The G.O.P. Lines Up Behind Trump - NYT Nov. 10, 2020

Who are the election thieves?  

[Posted Nov. 6, reposted Nov. 10, 2020]. Since I published this the story has grown over the weekend with the idea of delay, delay, delay. Keep watching Pennsylvania. I wasn't celebrating on Saturday like so many because I never pre-count unborn chickens. Last Friday, Nov. 6, I posted a summary of the long-term plan to steal the election by delaying the certification until December when electors are supposed to meet and giving the Republican legislatures in states Biden won a chance to choose a Trump slate of electors. The cutting of postal services last spring was a major plank, along with creating doubt about mail-in ballots. Since Friday the story has grown, with 60 Minutes and Brian Lehrer doing segments on the idea that Republican legislatures (Penn, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona) can appoint pro-Trump electors - they actually just have to do this in a few states to win. And half the country will back them.]

The Pennsylvania situation was set up purposely to create chaos to contest the election by not allowing them to count the mail ins until election day, as opposed to Florida and Ohio which allows ballots to be counted as they come in. Did you notice how Biden was winning Ohio in early voting? They counted and released the mail-in first so we saw a blue mirage instead of the red mirage where day of voting gave the edge to Trump.

I've been tracking the timeline for months. Biden was leading in the polls - they were wrong but what if they weren't - so there had to be a backup plan if Biden won Pennsylvania, which all along looked like the deciding state and still might be if Biden doesn't win Georgia and Arizona.

The fundamental idea was to emphasize day of election voting and disparage mail-in votes as subject to fraud. And it was clear that Dems would be voting mail-in and Republicans would be day of voters.

The takeover of the mail delivery service to create delays was part of the initial plan.

Part 2 was to make sure the mail-ins were not counted in advance like in Florida so results would be delayed and give Trump a few days to attack the vote. The Republican controlled legislature is part of the plot and rejected attempts to have ballot opened and set up for counts before 7 AM election day. They wanted chaos. They attacked the rules that accepted late ballots if they were postmarked on election day.

Part 3 - There were court cases about this and the Supreme Court allowed this in essence in a 4-4 tie vote - which is important because 4 justices were willing to go along with this scheme. But now there's a 5th justice to join them and will we be surprised to see the Court issue rulings in favor of Trump? From what I hear all ballots arriving after election day are being separated with the expectation that the Court may still get involved in rejecting them. How many are there? We don't know. Today - Friday at 5PM is the final deadline.

Part 4 - delay, delay, delay until the time for electors to be picked. Here is where the state legislature gets back involved. Even if Biden wins in Pennsylvania, the legislature declares doubt and choosed a Trump slate. Dems go to court and Kavanagh laid the ground work in his Wisconsin ruling for supporting this move when he declared the legislature was primary over state courts and governors - there is a Dem gov in Penn.

So if Pennsylvania is the key, it would go to Trump even if Biden wins.

The idea is to cause so much chafe that results are not certified in time to choose the electors in December and allow Republican state legislatures to choose Trump electors. 

But the fly in their ointment is Georgia and Arizona, which is why they are so important and if Biden wins there, we will see challenges and strife. So now they have to do what they are doing in Penn in one of these other states.

Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, George, Pennsylvania are all Republican and would I be shocked to see every one of them choose a Trump slate even if Biden wins the state and have it all validated by the Supreme Court? 

They're Republicans, aren't they?

So if I were Biden and the Dems I wouldn't get out the champagne until we see Biden sitting in the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. Don't bet on Trump still being there to serve his second term.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Back of the envelope election math

If people want post election order, even some Trump backers, they should root for a Biden landslide but even more a quick win - like in Florida - to end the misery early. So if you are still voting in Florida today, even for Trump, switch to Biden for the sake of the country. I actually think many in the Republican leadership will not be unhappy to see Trump lose - they are much better at opposition.

 If Biden wins I won't be euphoric, just relieved to not have to see Trump as president, though I have been predicting that Trump will run again in 2024 even if he wins -- yes, he would believe he deserves a 3rd term. Actually, assuming Biden wins and doesn't run again, the 2024 battles in both parties should be wild. Harris will face pushback. Now if Trump loses and doesn't run, the Republican battles will be wild as there are a lot of people looking to run, including Don Jr. If Trump loses he won't go away-- he and Republicans will spend the next 4 years going after every thing Biden tries to do. Biden will reach out but be stonewalled. Republicans stand for nothing other than protecting the unborn and screwing them once they are born.

And of course, if Dems don't win the Senate, it's pretty much over. And the virus and depression will cause so much devastation and unrest, the Republicans will use that to get back in operation in 2022.

But I don't have great hope for Biden -- like the floating of the god awful Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo - anti-union, anti-worker, anti-teacher especially - for a cabinet position. What excites me about a Biden win is the coming battles inside the Dem party as a more vibrant progressive wing will be much more willing to challenge the hierarchy than we saw with Obama.

The election is so close in so many states, there is a pattern for Trump to win along the lines of last time, so don't light up a cigar yet. Let me do some back of the envelope math which on the surface should give Biden an edge. Some Trumpies are predicting a win and even a blowout. Magical thinking on the latter. With a 9 pt lead nationally Biden will get 5 million more votes than Trump but could still lose. There are also predictions of a Biden blowout. Only if he wins southern tier states even without Texas. It looks like Michigan and Wisconsin are in the bag for Biden.

Today's NYT made this important point:

If Biden seems on track to lose Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, he is no longer a big favorite to win. That would suggest the polls had underestimated Trump’s support. In FiveThirtyEight’s simulations, Biden has about a 50 percent chance of victory if he loses all three Southeastern swing states. He would then probably need to win at least Pennsylvania or Arizona.

Finger nail biting time and they are running neck and neck in all three states so going from Biden 85% chance to 50-50 and that is pretty scary, which is why Trump is in play seriously. 

I've been watching the polls. I'm confused. I don't get why Trump is even in contention and it shows just how weak the Dem Party is. By all logic this shouldn't be close.

But I will go with some of the data on how different groups are voting in this analysis.

Women are for Biden, white non-college for Trump. But what about white non-college women? Does the gender gap cover them? And we hear about suburban women, who are mostly white. What about the suburban men? 

And then there is the Black vote, which reports that Trump is gaining with Black men. Also the crucial Latino vote which is a mess. Bernie was capturing it while Biden is slipping behind Hillary totals in a serious way. The Biden campaign rejected offers from the guy who ran Bernie's Latino machine for help and is now paying the price - if he had used him this election would be a slam dunk. I had assumed the influx of post-hurricane Puerto Ricans into Florida plus younger Cubans would have given Biden a real shot in Florida. And have the Dems managed to counter the socialist charge effectively? I could do a better job. I don't see Biden winning Florida and I remember how things began to sink in 2016 when Trump won Florida, followed by North Carolina - I smelled doom at that point. That same feeling tonight is an even bet. One of my hopes is that Trump has lost enough of the elderly vote in Florida due to the virus to counter the Cuban/Venezuela vote in Florida. Adv Trump.

As to age groups we hear Trump backers among the elderly has slipped and shifted to Biden. The only age group which supports Trump is the 40-60 group. Interesting. I can't figure out why but I bet health care and jobs are a key. Since Biden wins all the other age groups. Adv. Biden.

How many Hillary voters will vote for Trump this time? Are there any? Not much. On the other hand how many Trump voters from 2016 will vote for Biden? There has certainly been a move in that direction from probably about 12% of Trump voters. Adv. Biden.

Early voting - an astronomical number so far but turnout today may Trump that. Do we give the Dems an edge here? Does enthusiasm for voting due to hatred of Trump drive this engine way more than even more enthusiasm for Trump from his voters from last time? I think both are at play here but just from the people I know who would crawl across broken glass to vote, Adv Biden.

No one thought Trump would win last time so Hillary haters stayed home or voted third party. The Trump win has changed this group. What about the hard core left? Even though I still see anti-Biden refusniks, the vast majority sees Trump as a threat and after months of mourning the Bernie loss, have mostly come around. Last time about 12% did not vote for Hillary. The Green Party vote will be minimal this time and the libertarian vote which is a bit more robust will take more votes from Trump than Biden for those Republicans who can't stomach either candidate. Adv. Biden.

Young people - 14 year olds in 2016 are going to vote - that's four years worth of new voters, who mostly favor Dems. Adv. Biden.

Turnout of young people is higher than ever - Adv Biden.

Old people who died - Trump won the old vote in 2016 and even though he has slipped this time - given that Trump won this group by a lot last time, the ones no longer with us can't vote for him - but maybe the Supreme Court can find a way to rule that the dead Trump voters can still vote. Amy what's her name believes. Given that more Trump voters probably died than Hillary voters - Adv Biden.

The virus. Closing the economy vs the virus. We know that there are people who feel the virus should take its course and keep the economy open -- but reality is that even if they did, many people wouldn't participate - ie. go open restaurants - people just won't go. Try to fill a stadium - unless its a Trump rally.  - Adv Biden, big time on Trump handling of virus.

Even some evangelicals. sick of Trump, have slipped a bit - a few points but that can't help Trump if it drops from the 90s to the 80s.

It's hard for me to imagine how Ohio can be close this time and Pennsylvania not be a slam dunk for Biden given the numbers last time  - Trump slammed in Ohio but squeaked in Penn. I do think the Biden error on the energy issue in the debate will cost him points in Penn - and he had been trying to be so careful. His answer overall was terrible -- there will be a shift in jobs but how about guaranteeing energy workers they won't lose a job until it can be replaced? Not in the Biden world of neo-liberalism. If Ohio numbers are serious - even if Trump wins by 2, Penn should be Biden's - but here is where Trump plans to steal the election if it comes down to Penn -- by going after the absentee votes. Voting suppression, Adv. Trump.

I might be amending and adding to this post later. Or not if I start drinking this morning. 

I will be watching my fave podcasts and you tuber - Brian Lehrer, Krystal and Saagar at Rising, Sam Seder at Majority Report and a few others. I have the laptop and ipad and phone plus TV. I like both board guys at CNN and MSNBC and will also check out CBS since I am a fan of their morning show.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Video: We've Got The Power - Vote Them Out


This Trump administration is just too much. We couldn't just sit in our basements on our unemployed asses, watching the news, the debates, and just about everything happening in our failing democracy. It was hard to refrain from throwing something at the President of the U.S. and those smug self-serving Senators on the screens. We had to do something. Instead of breaking something expensive we created a song. And our friends created a video. If there are kids in the room, you might want to play our other, slightly cleaner, version. (We've Got The Power [Clean Version]
Thank you. Mothers of Exile

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Retro-gate: What did Mulgrew know and when did he know it? Unity brags about "win"

James Eterno: Jeff asked - "Was it imposed or an agreement?" Waiting to July was an agreement between the city and UFT. We have proven that by posting the consent award. Page 6, Line 2 says "it is agreed." What else do you need to know?

Anonymousjeff said... I understand. I wanted Mulgrew to answer that. And explain why he agreed.   ---- ICEUFT Blog: LIVE BLOGGING FROM OCTOBER VIRTUAL DELEGATE ASSEMBLY

Norm here - October 17, 2020

Generally, I've been laying back and trying to give Mulgrew the benefit of the doubt on the school closing situation. I think he is trying to walk a fine line politically and I've even heard from some people who are critical generally about the union leadership who are not happy with the kind of attacks calling for all schools to be closed - and go remote until - WHEN? Mostly likely the entire year in reality but they don't want to say that out loud. I've been wanting to write more about this push back but since there are real reasons to keep school closed due to the insane hybrid approach I slip back and forth depending on the last person I hear from. 


So there is some confusion regarding the Retro pay dispute that raged in the UFT when de Blasio decided to cancel the final payment. The UFT seems to be declaring victory for getting half of what people were due with the rest to be paid in July. I initially wrote about it where I reviewed the opposition to the 2014 contract that gave people this deal: City Love Letter to Mulgrew - No Retro Payment to UFT Members - It's Only the Beginning

The UFT bragged that they made sure to have the right to go to arbitration and the ruling was issued immediately -the arbitrator split the baby 50-50, as they often do, an argument we've often made about relying in arbitration. The union is taking the 'Half loaf better then nothing" position. The critics are saying WTF?

De Blasio showed the first signs of intelligence in a long time. Just cancel a wing of a contract and end up only having to pay half with the rest an interest free loan. (I'm sure he's ready to try this with the police union.) Let's get creative: What else can be canceled from the UFT contract and get a 50-50 split? How about eliminating lunch hours for teachers and settling for 25 minutes instead of 50? Just joking. He'd never dare tamper with food. Or better yet, eliminate Easter vacation days without pay - ooops, been there done that. Why not take a shot at Xmas week - what does deB have to lose?

Arthur has a different view at

I disagree about the retro being so awful. I actually anticipated being totally screwed. I remember that rules went out the window during the last financial emergency, and I wrote about it a little here. I've also seen arbitrators do things that border on insane. So while I would not call this a victory, I was quite relieved it was made into what it was. It could've been way worse, and I really expected it would be.

He raises the last fiscal emergency that I lived through in 1975 where the contract was mush - but we didn't have an arbitrator - they just slashed us to bit then, but if you've been reading this blog you know the option of declaring a fiscal emergency is still in their bag of tricks. 

The union seems to be celebrating how smart they were to be able to go to arbitration. I would expect that such a clear abrogation of a contract would lead to a better outcome than 50-50 but once the union agrees to go to an arbitrator they pretty much always split the baby -- this is a pretty bad precedent for the future if the city/DOE wants to screw us.

Now some people don't believe this even went to an arbitrator but was a pre-agreement between de Blasio and Mulgrew - I heard conspiracy theories that Mulgrew's initial video announcing the retro-kill and publishing the letter he was sent acting shocked was phony- that he knew for days or weeks and had pre-agreed to the 50-50 split and the entire arbitration deal was a game.

Eterno goes through the timeline here:


I continue to be suspicious by how quickly the UFT and the City were able to come to an agreement to delay payment for work we did up to 11 years ago that was due to be paid this week. Half of that money will not come until the end of this month and the other half will have to wait until the end of July 2021 to be received. The delay will be almost twelve years by then from the time we did some of the work.

No other city union has agreed to postpone their back pay. If the UFT said to Mayor de Blasio, "Go ahead, make my day," when the mayor tried to withhold money the city owed us, the city would have had to back down. There would be consequences for the city's credit rating if the city refused to pay one of its bills. In court, we could demand interest. We would have had a very strong case.

Michael Mulgrew is trying to say that independent Arbitrator Martin Scheinman made the decision to split the lump sum payments due this month in half.

The arbitrator ordered nothing. Arbitrator Scheinman's own words:

I implored and pressured the parties to explore a possible resolution to this matter. 

The parties then negotiated a deal and asked Scheinman to write it up as a "consent award."

Well, there was this no layoff deal for the school year, which is interesting since the city is supposedly looking to hire teachers and probably can't lay people off until the end of the year. It's all a crazy mess, but what else is new?

Now Mulgrew has been getting pretty unpopular due to his agreement to keep schools open but was hanging in there with no major in school outbreaks yet. While we in the opposition wing have always been critical of Unity and have managed to generally garner in the 10-12,000 votes in UFT elections over the past 30 years (discount the massive MORE screw-up in the 2019 election which took votes down to historic lows), there is a sense out there that things have reached beyond the usual suspects in opposition to Mulgew as I've seen new voices popping up from the rank and file. Some in Unity think if Mulgrew ran in an election now it could be ugly - which is why

I am speculating about Mulgrew's future as UFT leader - See Speculation on Weingarten and Mulgrew futures - Part 1. Part 2 and 3 and 4 are coming - Hey, don't be so impatient I'm busy resting - or hiding from Covid. 

Why don't we submit Mulgrew's future to an arbitrator?

Eterno still questions the Mulgrew position:


UNITY Caucus is Trumpian

I even heard of some internal Unity criticism of Mulgrew behind the scenes. One Unity hack attacked me on FB for daring to mention this: "Don't listen to Norm Scott, she said. We had to listen to him for too many years. We are united. UNITY FOREVER." Yeah, Unity forever will justify ANY act of the leadership and when the leadership reverses itself it will justify that -- positively Trumpian.

Are the Unity hordes running scared - see evidence in this Unity-UFT promo video. LOL.

James Eterno left a comment on You tube (Unity critics should take up a collection to pay James for working full-time to expose them) and writes about the video here:


A serious bad sign for Mulgew is when people start mocking him as this video by teacher/comedian Gaspare Randazzo - @StandUpRandazzo  - makes fun of Mulgrew talking to the members.