Feb 19, 2015

Response to "Truth about Charter Schools"

"they are explicitly denied some funding streams, like facilities funding, made available to district schools" So the 9 out of 45 charter schools that are being relocated out of public schools were doing fundraising to pay $0 rent? What facilities funding do they need if charter schools aren't paying rent?

"They educate some of our most challenging students, the vast majority of
them low-income, black and Latino. They are open to all applicants,
with seats determined by random lottery." Charter schools gets to filter out the most challenging students, those without family structure concerned enough to apply for the lottery.

"proof of what can happen when you smartly unleash innovation within a system that, thanks in no small part to a rigid teachers’ union contract," so the only means of succeeding is breaking the backs of unions? So the egalitarian and democratic need to have everyone educated
regardless of ability to pay can't be delivered by employees as long as
they have a say in their own workplace? Democracy is great, except in the workplace according to Josh Greenman.

The space that the charter schools were using as class rooms, you know the art, music, & other non-classrooms, they displaced public school children from their art and music facilities so there was significant draw back to students, just the ones that weren't in the charter schools. On second thought both are harmed by duplicating the bureaucracy of school administration and hampering art & music education of both segments of the student population.

What innovation can be transferred into the public schools system at-large? If charter schools were acting as they were intended to, as experimental educational policies that would benefit the greater school system, that previous question could be answered and the charter schools have self evident value to all students, currently they are not. When charter schools are used merely to undercut a unionized workforce, and educational benefits stem from culling students with family backgrounds that place value on education enough to enter the school lottery, then their raison d'etre is non-existent. Pointing out that there are outside funding sources for district schools just as there is for charter schools leaves me with the question: What is differentiating factor why donors contribute to charter schools instead of the public schools other than political philosophy? If someone is hellbent to privatize all functions of government, contributing to charter schools is an efficient means to get the camel's nose under the tent to an American expected government service. Charter schools should unionize, if they were creative in their contract maybe using project labor agreements (PLA) over the school year, and then deliver innovative educational solutions the so-called opponents of charter schools would either dissipate or have unfounded objections to charter schools. If in this hypothetical situation where charter schools tackle resolving both unionized workforce and policy solutions to our educational system, while receiving the same support from private sources, then my accusation that the charter school movement is entirely a stalking horse for plutocratic sycophants is unfounded; but in the case that a charter school can't raise funds for a democratic workplace then that would prove my accusation. And to avoid any benefit from prejudicing student body of charter schools, NYC should implement a charter school draft of all non-special needs students so the students with families that do not speak English at home and are domicile and nutritional insecure are included in the charter school experiment, since the leaders of these charter schools are run "remarkably well" despite being "complex and unique organizations" I'm sure they can handled that.

Feb 4, 2015

"Democratic Nominating Convention" or "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"

New York City Attempting to Gain Hillary A "Home Field" Advantage

If there was any question about whether or not Hillary was going to run for president in 2016, or more pedestrian of a question whether or not Brooklyn would host the nominating convention. The answer can be deduced from the following news stories:
Real estate insiders were thrilled at the idea of hosting Clinton HQ, and said the location makes perfect sense for a national campaign.
"There are 13 subway lines and 15 bus lines serving the neighborhood," said Tucker Reed, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. "Nearly 60,000 college students that could provide an army of campaign volunteers, and when the DNC convention comes to Barclays Center, headquarters would be blocks away."

Juxtaposed that with the visit from DNC Chairwoman in visiting  possible host cities of the 2016 Nominating Convention.
New York City Hosts DNC Chairwoman for 2016 Brooklyn Convention Bid
The de Blasio administration announced Thursday that it had raised roughly $20 million toward its $100 million target for the event, which would cost an estimated $140 million.
City officials also announced a group of 10 committee co-chairs, which included Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Ursula Burns, the chairman and chief executive of Xerox Corp.
Just as the party establishment in 2004 selected the host city to be in Boston for the establishment's favored candidate and eventual nominee John Kerry, it appears likely that the nominating convention will be hosted within a mile of the likely campaign headquarters of the party's favored presidential candidate: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is of course highly desirable for Ratner Properties to land both Clinton's National HQ and the DNC convention in their properties. Having Goldman Sachs, Xerox, American Express, and the SEIU 1199 behind the effort to get DNC convention to be hosted in Brooklyn coincidentally will also be bankrolling Clinton's presidential campaign. 

Not sure of the preposition choice was the Wall Street Journal reporter Mara Gay or Mayor deBlasio's, but no one grew up IN Long Island, people grew up ON Long Island
“I’m going to be spending time with her and updating her on our effort,” he said of the Florida congresswoman. “She obviously knows New York City quite well,” Mr. de Blasio added, noting that she grew up in Long Island.

Jan 15, 2015

Church, A Gun, Lesbians, and Death: How Is This Not The Biggest News Story in the Mainstream NEWS?

So if I were asked what elements being included in a news narrative would be so tantalizing that no American news director would (out of reflex) not run with, I would include guns, young attractive lesbians and some very accessible form of Christianity, maybe even include a popular sport figure. And yet this past week has had exactly that but without the sports figure; in a beyond the pale scenario a lesbian's funeral was abruptly terminated by a pastor due to a slide show that dared to include a picture of the dead woman proposing to her wife (whom she had 2 children with) making the tragedy of the 33 year old Vanessa Collier's death while cleaning her hand gun or possible suicide, that much more tragic.

So what theological critique would this pastor have with a family of 2 female parents to 2 female children, self-evident that this family was if not loving certainly monogamous and stable with the purpose of raising children? If it is Biblical critique based on Leviticus then  does this pastor also want to ban pork and shell fish? If the criticism is based on the epistles to the Romans, then is the pastor also against passing judgement (which is far more enumerated by St. Paul than the tacit admonishment giving to the practice of same sex flings) on a same-sex couple, clearly not since judgement was passed when the pastor decided to throw the funeral out of the church like they were money changers.

Again I am at a loss on why this isn't the scandal de jour, I understand the Parisian terrorist attacks are far more urgent but no telegenic grieving lesbian widow who owns guns?!?


Jan 9, 2015

Racism and the Law: Spirit of the Law for Most and Equality for None

The overwhelming belief that racism can be cured through regulations and statutory cures is a liberal/progressive ideal, while the opposing worldview that regulations and overbearing laws are contrary to liberty and are intrinsically tyrannical. It could very well be that both perspectives are wrong. Racism may not have a cure available in the law, no matter how ingenious and wise the law is crafted to be, while the freedom to being racist carries with it the tyranny that that perspective actually despises.

The following is a quote from a book review that proposes the liberal white agenda of civil rights being partially responsible with the current Prison-Industrial-Complex:
This is the fundamental thesis of Murakawa’s book: legal civil rights and the American carceral state are built on the same conceptions of race, the state and their relationship. As liberals believe that racism is first and foremost a question of individual bias, they imagine racism can be overcome by removing the discretion of (potentially racist) individuals within government through a set of well-crafted laws and rules. If obviously discriminatory laws can be struck down, and judges, statesmen or administrators aren’t allowed to give reign to their racism, then the system should achieve racially just outcomes. But even putting aside the fact that a removal of individual discretion is impossible, such a conception of “fairness” applies just as easily to producing sentencing minimums as school desegregation.How White Liberals Used Civil Rights Create More Prisons thenation.com

This is an article from the New Republic that profiles the current NYPD work slow down in response to #BlackLivesMatter protests and the killing of two police officers in Brooklyn back on December 20th:

Many of the offenses police have tacitly declared legal are considered quality-of-life (QOL) infractions. Those follow the broken window strategy, a policing philosophy that has been widely discredited since its heyday in Rudy Giuliani's mayoralty. QOL meets small transgressions with arrests and finesa way, it's thought, to nip more substantial crimes in the bud. Perhaps because QOL policing grants cops near-unlimited discretion in determining whom to sanction, its penalties fall disproportionately on people of color. Between 2001 and 2013, the New York Daily News found, more than 80 percent of the 7.3 million people penalized for these infractions were black or Latino. The vast majority of African Americans and Latinos in all walks of life feel like they're treated unfairly by law enforcement, and consider police discrimination the most endemic form of societal mistreatment. It's unfairbrutalracist, and financially burdensome, and it often follows such small transgressions as jaywalking, skipping $2.50 subway fares or merely irritating police.  NYPD Work Slowdown Being Celebrated New Yorkers of Color newrepublic.com

Comparing the two different implementations of criminal justice, one that removes discretion under guises of making it impossible to have one set of laws for people of color and another for whites and the other that provides absolute discretion to the beat cop, provides an anecdotal example how neither is a step closer to alleviating racism from the criminal justice system. No matter how impartial the law may be the individuals that are the cogs within the criminal justice system all get to do their bit to tip the scale towards their own bias. On the other hand, letting the wisdom of the individual rule supreme will lead to confirmation bias where any citizen that for whatever reason is not relate-able to those cogs of the criminal justice system get harsher treatments. This isn't merely a racial prejudice being played out in both scenarios, but a powerless versus powerful prejudice as the NYPD officers are now more likely than not non-white. Though it may very well be a demonstration of how flexible the classification of 'white' is in contemporary America as the term begins to become inclusive to 2nd generation (and further) South Americans, Caribbean-Americans, East and South Asians. We may even forgo the nomenclature of 'white' and replace it with 'middle class' or some other term that won't be so exclusive to race; this is a problem that the term 'white' didn't have when it excluded Irish, Southern Europeans, and Slavs in the first half of the last century and second half of the 19th century.

But I digress, to return to concept of racial prejudice or racial indifference being codified in the law or race being overtly absent from the law entirely, it is quite impossible to eliminate what is in the hearts of individuals through legislation. Either setting the terms of racial tolerance in stone or intentionally ignoring race and hoping that it would resolve it self, would do little to progressing what the society as a whole knows to be their Truth. It may be that their Truth is that they do not interact more than tacitly on a daily basis with someone of another culture, race, religion, etc, so they can only base their reality of what the people that they never interact with on a substantial level, on media representations or the most memorable (and likely worst) interaction with a member of that demographic. Since the most innocuous actions are neither memorable nor dramatic, no matter what the law says, we as human beings will revert to our tribalistic caveman minds and feel uncomfortable to whatever we are not regularly exposed to. So as much as those that wish it would all work itself out, the criminal justice system actually reimposes much of the racial prejudices on the society as a whole and all the cogs of the criminal justice system participating in the system. Simply saying "If it was purely a market based society, we wouldn't have segregation because there wouldn't be a government to enforce Jim Crow Laws" are deluding themselves, just as much as those that say "If we struck just the right balance in law and police regulations, we would eliminate racism altogether from society." It will take a cultural shift and a transformation of the human heart throughout society that will weaken racism to the point of insignificance, this has already begun but not in earnest. Those of white or middle-class privilege still play the 'good block/bad block' within metropolises, or denoting shared entitlement towards individuals of color with a toothless decree of "well, you are basically white anyway" blissfully unaware that their black-friend will not get to skate by police harassment because they are "one of the good ones," but that is by definition the white privilege. To be privileged to lead a life that is blissfully unaware of the dangers that exist in parallel to the swaths of society not already in receipt of an universal pass to be assumed innocent; presumed guilty with legal statutory so thick that it could choke a horse means that we are all acting outside of the law at some point or another and yet only those of color get slapped with the book for those misdemeanors.

In the TV series The Wire, Deputy of Operations Rawls (the series' go to hardass for everything) demands of one of his intradepartmental snitches to find something that the protagonist cop is doing against policy. The snitch replies, "But he's not doing anything wrong." Which riles up Rawls to respond with "With this big book of regs, and you can't find anything that he has done wrong?!? If you can't find something that he has done wrong then you shouldn't even call yourself real police!" In this vein, communities of color are held to the 'letter of the law', where the law is written in such a way that it is impossible to lead a life without some minor offense and the majority of those with middle-class privilege receives the 'spirit of the law' treatment and then turns around with genuine incredulity that if cops are arresting these people of color they must have been doing something wrong.

So what is the solution to this paradox that can't be ignored and worked out on itself nor legislated away?