Archive for July, 2013

Checking Out at Whole Foods

July 31, 2013

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Standing in the checkout line in downtown Whole-Foods trying to buy some blueberries when I notice the eerie computer voiced line director (what are those things called?) sending person after person to a line where the transaction is still in process. Customers are pissed or confused and the poor cashiers are stressed out of their minds and profusely apologetic.

“You’ve got to get someone to fix this gizmo, “ I say to the beautiful African born cashier when I arrive at the checkout. “No, no,” she replies, “ it’s not broken. We are. They used to give us ten seconds a customer before it send another. They’ve cut it down to five. We can’t keep up.”

All the time she’s saying this she’s moving like a speed freak, as are all the other cashiers.

I tell her I’m going to speak to her manager and a look of fear covers her face. “ Don’t tell them you talked to me,” she says. “ Don’t tell them my name.” I assure her I won’t and can’t find him anyway.

And so it goes. Yet another casual example of absolute subordination to gratuitous technology, a little more evidence that we lack the moral and spiritual maturity to deal humanely with the gadgetry we are constantly improving and constantly employing to degrade each other as we engage in this a-human idiot corporate dream of ever more efficient efficiency, whatever the cost in human dignity.

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Mighty Moon Over Manhattan

July 21, 2013

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Bloomberg Again Attempts to Extend his Education Policies into Successor’s Term

July 18, 2013
A parent speaks out against Bloomberg's weasel  maneuver.

A parent speaks out against Bloomberg’s weasel maneuver.

Not content with circumventing two referendums establishing term limits at two terms or eight years, multi- billionaire Mayor Mike R. Bloomberg is now attempting to extend his disastrous educational policies and hence his third term into a 13th, 14th and 15th year – or well into the mayoralty of his successor at City Hall.

Almost certainly such arrogance and contempt for the democratic process is without precedence, even in New York.

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Some weeks ago it was reported that Bloomberg had hired a PR firm to finagle some way into saddling the next mayor with his much loathed and transparently incompetent Children’s First Network. Bloomberg’s latest circumvention of democracy is to attempt to insidiously cement plans for a dozen or more new co-locations — giving charter schools free space in public schools — that would begin after he leaves office. In effect, Bloomberg is attempting to use his final months in power to create what is in some ways a forth term as mayor.

Attempting to cut the process off before it begins, the United Federation of Teachers announced a lawsuit against the move at a rally today on the steps of City Hall. Despite the sweltering heat, the rally was well attended and supported by teachers, parent activists, community organizations, several City Councilman as well as several candidates. All spoke in unambiguous terms of their rejection of Bloomberg’s intent and his tactics.

None seemed saddened at the prospect of seeing the back of this bitter, small, very, very rich man.

Fueled By Rage and Sadness, Hundreds Gather In Union Square To Protest the Verdict in the Trayvon Martin Trial

July 14, 2013

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An eclectic, racially diverse group of 200 or so gathered at Union Square early this afternoon to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the slaying of of Trayvon Martin.

The rally, organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, included representatives of the Green Party and several other groups, as well as and many unaligned citizens.
The crowd, fueled alternatively by rage, sadness and outrage, listened to speakers talk of “legal lynching,” call repeatedly for an end of racial profiling and, above all, an end to the seemingly endless line of murdered Black males.

At times the anger was almost palpable.

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The rally was carefully monitored by the NYPD including the Anti Terrorist squad which added to the eerie police-state-feel to the gathering.

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Even the New York Post is outraged.

Even the New York Post is outraged.

Anti Racist Rally Held at Tweed to Demand Immediate Investigation

July 8, 2013
A diverse crowd

A diverse crowd

Reacting to allegations of language as astounding as it is repulsive, an appropriately diverse group of educators, union activists, parents, students, and politicos gathered on the steps of Tweed Courthouse, head quarters of NYC Department of Education, to demand an “an immediate, rapid and unbiased investigation by the Chancellor’s office into allegations that Minerva Zanka, a Queens principal called African American teachers she was firing “big lipped,” “nappy haired,” and “gorillas.” The rally drew significant media coverage, including ABC News.

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The terminated teachers, John Flanagan and Heather Hightower who until recently taught at Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens, related their stories before a passionately supportive gathering.

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John Flanagan

 Lisa-Erika James, theater teacher at Pan- American International HS.

Lisa-Erika James, theater teacher at Pan- American International HS.

Members of various groups including the Movement for Rank and File Educators ( MORE ) spoke in support of the two teachers. Missing from the rally was Assistant Principal Anthony Ricardo to whom Zanka made the alleged statements. In typical DOE fashion, instead of being commended for his ethical actions, Ricardo himself was reportedly told to find work elsewhere. The DOE under Bloomberg is notorious for protecting principals no matter what they do, often warehousing them as assistant principals in different schools or finding work for them at Tweed at enormous cost to taxpayer.

Flanagan, Hightower and Ricardo are all deserving of the support of all people of good faith. Anything less than an immediate investigation into this incident would render the DOE, despite its often-lofty rhetoric, complicit in outright racism.

Mike Schirtzer of MORE:" There is no place in our city for hate."

Mike Schirtzer of MORE:” There is no place in our city for hate.”