Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Hard and Brutal F**king of a Teacher

The DOE is still at it.

Whimsically destroying lives and careers.

It doesn't matter if you are about to become a parent for the first time ever. "Fuck that shit!," the DOE thinks. You are about to experience the birth of a person you have partaken in giving life to. So what if you have to worry how you are going  to take care of that baby.

You are the sole person with the health coverage, and a child is being born? Again the DOE says "Fuck that shit!," as you ponder if you and the baby will be covered for the birth and for the pediatrician visits in the future.

You gave up your career, rolled up your sleeves and not only earned a bachelor's degree but a masters as well. What do we hear from the DOE? "Fuck that shit!"

Walked into some "Kafkaseque" that in all your time of student teaching you couldn't even imagine? Well to the DOE that is "tough shit!"

As the wheels of the bus trample over you once, twice, three times and more? That DOE driver behind the wheel of the bus says, "Deal with the fucking tire tracks."

That new car you wanted? Yeah, it was supposed to be an SUV, but you went for practicality and that suburban look as you recently dropped bucks on a minivan. "Fuck you," will say  the DOE buyer when you sell it at a loss.

The white house with the white picket fence that is a dead ringer for the house that Wally and Beaver lived in that you planned on?  "Ain't going to fucking happen," says the DOE realtor.

"Hey, where is my mentor?" you ask. "Mentor? You don't need no fucking mentors," the DOE blabbers. "We're the DOE and we own your ass. We have the power to ruin your life at the snap of a finger."

This is where you have to tell them to fuck themselves and plant your feet firmly in the ground. It seems dark. It seems hopeless. But stay strong.

Remember, "fuck them!"

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Color Red

Oy! Too little going on. Anyway...

I see red
And it hurts my head

Guess it must be something
That I read

It's the color of your heartbeat
A rising summer sun
The battle lost or won

The flash to fashion
And the pulse to passion
Feels red

Inside my head
And truth is often bitter
Left unsaid


Said red red
Thinking about the overhead
The underfed

Couldn't we talk about something else instead

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true!)

What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes

The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Continuing Implosion of the MORE Caucus

The MORE Caucus is at it again. Well, really the de facto leader of the MORE Caucus and his sidekick, but they are the faces of what is left of the MORE Caucus and one can't really see either without thinking of the MORE Caucus so ipso facto.

At last night's UFT Delegate Assembly, there was some old putz handing out what some considered anti-Semitic literature entitled, "Why the UFT Should Not Partner With the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) on Anti-Racist Initiatives." This was due to a resolution that was to be voted on last night (and ultimately passed)...
"Resolution to unite with orgs against toxic political atmosphere. Supports. News stories horrible, frequent, don’t want it to become norm. Sacred spaces, of religion, and schools under attack. Don’t even want to talk about 45’s role. Let us stand against all kinds of discrimination and with orgs that speak out against it." 
So the UFT wished to join with the ADL in this battle. Gee, why not? But come to think of it, what timing it was to show some people's true colors in passing this literature.
I mean just about six weeks after 11 Jews were slaughtered in their own synagogue in Pittsburgh while praying and celebrating a new life.
But six weeks later many are still awaiting to hear an official statement from the MORE Caucus condemning this barbaric act. I guess no one should be holding their breath, right?

Enough of that. Let's get into the flyer, as well as the accusations thrown, that was being handed out in front of 52 Broadway last night. Apologies to one MORE Caucus member for my rejoinders.

I'm getting tired of this Israel/Jew bashing from the MORE Caucus. First, it absolutely has ZERO to do with anything that the 75k+ members of the UFT want or need. Secondly, I have the same disdain for those from the right that continue to sycophantically support Israel. Both the MORE Caucus and it polar opposites on the Right don't have a clue in what they are talking about nor the good grace and knowledge on when to keep their moths shut and when to open them.

Has the ADL done some not good things? Yes! Has it done a lot of good things? Yes! But has the MORE Caucus, whilst looking at the world in it's ISO hazed glasses, fails to see, as does the Rightists in this country, is that there is something called nuance.
noun: nuance; plural noun: nuances

a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

The world is not a vacuum.Let's just look at Venezuela.


But the MORE Caucus just decides to live in its own purity bubble. That those who are not pure are cast out, calling out others who don't think like the collective (BORG), while refusing to look inward to wonder why at a MORE Caucus meeting 95% of the attendees are WHITE!! And of these WHITE MORE Caucus members, most of these members work in schools that a certifiable wet dreams to work in. 

I despise the Israeli government and Bibi with a passion. I KNOW the Settlements are illegal and wish it would stop. Israel is so far from its roots and it's core beliefs now I am saddened.

But I shall not back down from Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. And I shall not back away from my belief that Palestine should have a state. But, it takes two to tango and I know for a fact that Israel has done much more tangoing.

Can those in charge of the MORE Caucus have this kind of nuance and thinking when it comes to other matters? Such as BLM, cops, Unity, capitalism, or dare I say...MORE Caucus members that disagree with the "ideals" of some fruity little ISO club? 

Not only was handing out the flyer and the motion to amend not working with the ADL done in the wrong place, at the wrong time (Many teachers are Jews!!!), but it shows yet again, that the needs and wants of the rank and file are way down the list of those at the MORE Caucus.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you guys were out there supporting the OT/PT chapter last night. Big deal. Anyone can be opportunistic. It doesn't take much effort. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Been Thinking of My Blood Sugar, The UFT, and the MORE Caucus

In the summer of 2012 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In retrospect I think I had
been having symptoms, constant thirst and always running to the bathroom, for two years before that.

At the time of my diagnosis my blood sugar level was nearly 500 as as my cholesterol level. My A1C was over 13. And my weight was 30 pounds heavier than it is now. I went from a size 38 waist to 32.

I am not on insulin, yet I am on Metformin, Glimepiride, and Jardiance for the Diabetes and Lipitor for the cholesterol. My cholesterol is now normal and my blood sugar, well it can always be improved, but my A1C is usually around 7 (it should be less, closer to 6.5) but I have cut out a lot from my diet.

I'm saying this because I remember several years ago talking about going on a hunger strike. Hunger strikes are hard. No food at all. Only water.

What's easy is going off my medications (OK, I have opened myself up to a litany of jokes!) . Flush it down the toilet. Stop going to CVS once a month for refills (except my Lipitor which comes mail order).

Why am I sharing this? Because something needs to be done with how our union elections and how decisions are made.

The UFT is calling, or at least exploring, earlier than usual elections for 2019. ATRs still have no voice, no functional chapter, no nothing. All teachers, all members of the UFT vote for every single officer. Why as an elementary teacher am I voting for HS VP? What purpose does an at-large executive board serve? Why at the DA is modern technology not used for voting of resolutions (simple, use an app to vote yes or no). There are a slew of other things to complain about.

That is one group. The other group is the MORE Caucus.

The MORE Caucus has gone bat shit crazy of late and is controlled by its patróns at the ISO and Gus Hall Superfriends Club, not to mention some truly demented human beings there. Worse yet, the purges of earlier this year in which the MORE Caucus stuck to the playbook of Stalin, Mao, and Saddam Hussein. The MORE Caucus still cares more for all this extraneous bullshit stuff rather than for the rank and file.

So what am I thinking.

I am really think choosing one of these two groups, that if things don't change I am going to go off the meds and set myself if I go hypoglycemic, or worse, so be it. But at least I will be doing it for for change, for the rank and file, a for a cause that means something.

If I do this I will be all in. Live on camera and streaming I will take my blood sugar. Instead of seeing between 90 and 150 2 hours after I eat, what will be seen are numbers like 600, 700, 900 or higher two hours after I eat. If I stroke out let it be on the UFT or the MORE Caucus.

I'm getting tired of the bullshit. I don't know what else to do. I am open to other ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Is the MORE Caucus About to Defraud Members of the UFT?

Imagine if you will that the MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators) has a baseball team. The team is down by a run, bottom of the ninth, no out, and a runner on third. The opposing team is so inept they are not even playing the infield in. A fly ball, a safety squeeze, a ground ball to the right side of the infield, almost anything will get that run home to tie the game. Heck, a dinger will win it. What would the MORE Caucus do?

In all probability refuse to send the next batter, or any batters up. This will necessitate a forfeit and the MORE Caucus will lose the game. Clutching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Crack Team was sent what appears to be the MORE's 2019 UFT election strategy. Not only does it follow the above scenario but worse. It is perpetrating a serious fraud among the rank and file. Read (click on image to enlarge)...

Some highlights of the fraud...

We did not want to exhaust ourselves in an election campaign to eke out as many votes as possible for the dubious goal of winning some seats on the UFT Executive Board. Instead, we want to organize, reach out and expand the caucus.

Why run then? Why give people false hope that the MORE Caucus finally gives a damn about the rank and file when all the MORE Caucus wishes to do is toe expand the brand? This can be done without giving the rank and file false hope. Want to expand the brand. Sit the election out and in the meantime expand the brand. Again, this is nothing other than the MORE Caucus putting themselves over others. 

If we agree at our next meeting that trying to capture the high school seats on the Executive Board should not be our priority, that frees us to run in a variety of different ways and to better use of the campaign to further the kinds of organizing we all want to do. First, it could make petitioning easier. 

So if it is not a priority to win HS exec seats why run? Why waste time of so many. Why waste the time and energy of those who sign the petitions? Why waste the money of those who give? Wait a minute. Will the MORE Caucus share with those that give money their real intentions? If not, is that not fraud? 

In 2016 we ran a joint slate with 300 candidates, including candidates for all 100 seats on the Executive Board. That meant we had to get petitions filled out for 300 people, many of whom were unwilling to help with petitioning themselves. 

Yeah, you know who put in the grunt work? Thanks to the trade unionists those petitions were filled out. Guess those who were unwilling for to busy supporting something tpotally irrelevant to the rank and file of the DOE or shopping for artisanal mayo in Brooklyn.

However, if we are not targeting particular seats, we could choose to run a much smaller slate (maybe 45-50) candidates for the officer and “at-large” seats on the executive board. Any UFT member can sign those petitions or run for those spots so it is much easier to get that petitioning done.

There you go. Yeah, go for the at large seats in which there is ZERO CHANCE of winning. God forbid if one has to take time from an ISO activity to do something for teachers. 

Second, once the petitioning is over, if our goal isn’t to win particular seats, we can campaign however we want.

Face palm. Why does this remind me of tee ball when my son was 4 1/2 and everyone got a trophy or the Wall of Gaylord

What we won’t have to do is figure out how to blanket every high school in the city with leaflets. That is the part that is exhausting and spreads us very thin.

Or find someone (a trade unionist) to stay in the South Bronx late and blanket practically every school in District 7.

Yes, there will be menial labor involved. Petitioning involves some tedious record-keeping and planning. 

Menial? Hard work? Isn't that the opposite of what we try to teach our offspring? That no work is menial. That we grow from tedium. 

Ya know, it is about sales. Selling yourself and selling what you believe in. Look like the MORE Caucus can't do neither. 

But frankly, I think we’ll be better off for the future if a few members from the younger generation get trained in how to do it. And somebody will have to represent us on the UFT election committee. But, usually, that isn’t much work.

Seriously, I can go down to the chimp house at the Bronx Zoo and train the chimps in about 5 minutes. The work is not hard, it is the dedication. And yes, it is difficult to be dedicated to something when you have lived a life of white privilege, gone to the best private high schools, gone to top notch universities and mummsy and dada, as well as Jeeves are shelling out for your apartment in Brooklyn. 

How can anyone trust the MORE Caucus now? How can anyone see any leadership qualities? The MORE Caucus is about to pull off the biggest con on the members of the UFT ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Francesco Portelos Puts Foot in Mouth Yet Again

Oh geez, it's coming up to that time. The UFT elections. Here we go again.

ICE has been meeting contemplating whether or not to run in the upcoming UFT elections. Recently members of Solidarity have reached out to us hoping to form a joint slate. Most of us, including myself, were amiable to this.

At one meeting, speaking only for myself, I took the position that for any "joint slate" to move forward that Portelos cannot be involved at all, though I left room open for something for him running downslate. Even him politicking for the election did not sit well for me. But I was open. One pre-condition was for Portelos to actually show up at an ICE meeting and eat crow, mend fences, and be a mensch. But curiously, each meeting in which we were told he will be there something always came up for him at the last minute.

But the more things change the more the stay the same.

Here we go again with alternative facts and whining. I'm not well informed about Portelos' accusation about Shulman to comment. I do know that Portelos did creepily show up at his house in 2016 to whine about not getting his way. But Mike, remember this. New York State has the Castle Doctrine. But I digress. As for the second paragraph, it will be revisited later on in this post.

But bashing Arthur Goldstein? Come on. I have had my disagreements with Arthur. But to accuse him of wanting to be a Unity hack, come on.

If there is an offer for Arthur to join with Unity for HS executive board, it's fine by me and if he doesn't want to, again, it is fine by me. In fact, I hope if he is offered he takes them up on it. With Arthur on exec board I am sure he'll keep Unity's feet to the fire and teachers will continue to have a voice. Portelos, Arthur has something you want. Actually two things you want and will never have, Being on the exec board and integrity.

And being a hypocrite. Portelos, come with me down memory lane (click here).

"You miss the point. Unity is laughing at the Portelos spectacle - they know he is nuts but are happy to be using him to divide the opposition. They even brag privately how Solidarity is doing their work for them - and they also spill the beans that Portelos was asking Unity for a job and when he didn't get it he figured he could win favor by creating a caucus that could prevent MORE from winning executive board seats. Is that what the meeting with Randi was about? Play the tape."
No onto the second paragraph and this little whine from Portelos...

It is you. It is always about you. That's the way you want it. Yes, we heard the right things. "Portelos is not involved," "Portelos is too busy," "Yada, yada, yada..." But face facts. You are the face and heartbeat of Solidarity. And you love it. But even if it is not true this is the perception others have. Remember, there is no such thing as reality only perception. 

I spoke to a revered member of NA a while back. Under no circumstances will this person work with Solidarity as long as you are involved. There are many who share the same thoughts at MORE and several with ICE. Are you noticing a pattern? 

Portelos, if you truly, truly care about the welfare of teachers everywhere perhaps it is time you fall on your sword? Divest yourself of Solidarity. Ride off into the sunset and let those who are not seeking fame and glory take the reins. You have some good people at Solidarity, it's time to set them free. You are the one holding back Solidarity.

Is this about you, or is it about the teachers? 

Monday, November 12, 2018

UFT President Mulgrew Gets $8,250 in US Open Tickets for Free

Dang. Our venerable UFT Presidenté Mike Mulgrew was in the Post yesterday. It seems that he has accepted...
...two tickets worth a total of $1,250 in 2012, and two tickets worth $1,300 in 2013. In 2014, he received $2,700 in tickets. In 2015 and 2016, he got tickets worth $1,500 each year.
That's a total of (Hang on The Crack Team is crunching the numbers.) $8,250. Who did he get these tickets from? According to the New York Post these tickets were obtained through.
a that firm represents the UFT and other city unions in litigation. In 2017, it collected $2.9 million in legal fees from the UFT...Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, the firm that collected $15.5 million in fees from the UFT in that time.

Yes, I get it. The UFT needs a law firm to do whatever it does. Virginia LoPreto, while probably less costly, can't do everything herself. I also understand that a business wishes to reward clients and throws them tickets. My dad had a business for years, and he would get tickets for his clients as well. It's the price of doing business.

But running a union, especially the UFT where time and time again it's leaders come across as tone deaf to the masses this is bad optics. James Eterno as quoted on the Post article as saying...
“It doesn’t pass the smell test. Your average teacher isn’t getting these kinds of perks — and nor should our union leaders.”
No, it doesn't James. Yes, Mulgrew can do this, but should he? That is the bigger question.

Just as out to lunch is Stoock partner Charles Moerdler who said he was unaware of the ticket exchange and went on to say...
“We have season tickets to a whole variety of sporting events, and we give them to clients who ask for them.”
So Uncle Mike asked for US Open tickets? Why? I used to the men's finals every year when  when I was a kid. I had to sit through a 5 1/2 hour match between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in 1980 (I think).

Sorry Norm, no raffle for winter coats. Technically, myself and every single UFT member are clients of Stroock. I am putting my request for tickets to Mr Moerdler. Other UFT members should do the same. Let's see if he comes through.

In order of preference this is my wish list I will present (I will accept two tickets please.).

Super Bowl LIII (I will find my own way to Atlanta.)

Opening Night (Can you believe? Game is scheduled at 6:35!) for Yankees April 1. If game is moved to the afternoon please disregard. And no substituting with Opening Day Mets tickets. I only watch Major League baseball. 

Giants vs Cowboys last game of 2018 and possible Eli's last game as a Giant. 

Any home Rangers game or a Devil's game. 

The 2020 US Open (golf) at Winged Foot. Final round. Mickelson might finally atone for his 2006 disaster.

2019 Masters.

Knicks or Nets home game. 

Islanders, only at the Coliseum. 

Oh, if Rush somehow starts touring again, Rush moves to top of the line.

If Mr Moerdler is kind enough to give me four tickets, I will take two UFT along with myself and my son. Beers on me. 

With Janus looming over the UFT and all public sector unions like the sword of Damocles the optics of our union leaders must improve.