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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

95% of NY State Teachers Rated “Highly Effective” or “Effective”

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 1, 2014

Marc Bernstein was a New York state superintendent of schools for two decades. His op-ed Where All the Teachers Are Above Average in the Wall Street Journal this week offered a chilling indictment for one of country’s largest school system.

DunceAccording to Bernstein, New York State has released its teacher evaluations that ranked 95% of its teachers as “highly effective” or “effective”. Of the remaining, 4% were considered “developing”, with only 1% listed as “ineffective” for the 2012 school year.  These percentages are incredible given that over half of New York State’s students in grades 4 through 8 were not proficient in reading or math skills in statewide tests.

How does this huge disconnect between the way New York teachers are graded and the outcomes with students? According to Bernstein, this comes from New York’s poorly formed laws and a school culture that obviates honest teacher evaluations.  For example, 60% of teacher evaluation in New York State is subjective, based on classroom observations that must be first agreed upon at the local level with teachers’ unions.  20% of the evaluation should be more objective measurements of math and reading skills, however they too must be agreed upon between local school systems and their teachers’ unions.  Adding insult to injury, New York’s largest school system, New York City, was not included in the evaluations because it’s union would not agree to language in their contract concerning the reporting of evaluation data.

Like teachers, school administrators are eligible for lifelong tenure in New York prior to three years of experience. This tenure protects unproductive teachers and administrators and Bernstein suggests removing it for administrators and having tenure review for teachers.  Both suggestions are no-brainers, but have little chance of being implemented given the political power of teachers unions.

Our children and greater society will continue to suffer until real competition is injected into America’s public education systems. The sad irony is that the most efficient school systems are located in the larger cities that include a disproportionate amount of minorities and disadvantaged children.  The poor education they receive is the largest impediment for these children to succeed in American society.


Posted in Education, Unions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Shows a Fascist Side

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 19, 2014

New York’s Liberal Democrat governor, Andrew Cuomo, exhibited a dangerous side of the Left; intolerance for political dissent.  During a recent interview on WCNY radio, Cuomo one after conservative Republicans stating:

Who are they?  Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are?  Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”  He also went on to condescendingly say: “moderate Republicans have a place in this state”.

What chutzpah!  First, it is not for Cuomo who is supposed to be representing all New Yorkers to define what is “extreme”.  That is up to the people of New York and as voters they speak.  In addition, the governor has no right to determine who has a place in the state.

This attack on political dissent by the Left is not only undemocratic, but dangerous.  However, it will get little play in the mainstream news media.  Just imagine the reaction from the press if a Republican governor would say: “If they are extreme liberals who are pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-gay, they have no place in our state”.

The liberal Left today has become what the McCarthyite’s were to the 1950s.  We can only hope that we get through this fascist mentality as quickly as we did it in the 1950s.

Posted in Radical Left | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Governments Take Advantage of citizens’ Weaknesses

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 7, 2013

This week voters in two states made decisions that take advantage and profit from human frailties.

PotIn Colorado voters approved a measure to place a 25% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana.  In this vote the good citizens of Colorado earmarked the first $40 million of pot revenue for public schools.  How noble!  How ludicrous!  Pot at the least is not a benefit to students or their education.  Recognizing the reality of this lunacy, Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper attempted to defer criticism of the tax saying: “We will do everything in our power to make sure kids don’t smoke pot and that we don’t have people driving who are high.  This ballot measure gives Colorado the ability to regulate marijuana properly.”  Since when has any government been able to regulate the actions of hormone filled teenagers?

New York’s voters legalized casino gambling joining other states who have found the allure of gambling revenues to be too goodCraps to pass up.  The media justifies this affirmative vote in financial terms, indicating it will bring revenues into New York State.  The fact that the money will come from many who cannot afford to lose it is of little consequence to these modern-day Robin Hoods.

With our Libertarian bent, this Blog does not believe morality can be legislated.  We therefore are a proponent of allowing individuals to gamble and get high, as long as their actions do not endanger others.  However, having governments benefit from these human weaknesses puts them in conflict with the interests of the greater society.

For decades governments at various levels spent hundreds of billions of dollars attempting to eliminate gambling and drug use in society.  Many governmental employees and industries earned a living on these massive efforts.  Now their pensions will be paid for by those currently legal practices.  What a clear example of governmental moral corruption.

Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eliot Spitzer Hypocrite

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 11, 2013

Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor, resigned from his office a few years ago in disgrace after being caught using the services of prostitutes.  Last week the former Governor announced his intention to run for New York City Comptroller.  He is but a politician with no shame.

Spitzer understood that his decision to again run for public office would raise the inevitable questions concerning past indiscretions.  One would think that he would be prepared for the inevitable questions.  However, Spitzer showed a complete lack of preparation in the videoed interview below.  Spitzer’s response which included that prostitution should remain illegal, but that he should get a pass, borders on being comical.

If New Yorkers once again make Spitzer a “public servant”, they will get what they deserve.


Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eliot Spitzer is Back

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 7, 2013

Eliot-SpitzerIn March 2008 The New York Times reported that then New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was using the services of a high-end prostitution service.  Shortly thereafter Spitzer resigned as governor in disgrace.

The New York Times has just reported that Spitzer has announced his intention to run for the New York City Comptroller.  According to the Times, Spitzer issued a statement to the public that included: “I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it”.

Spitzer’s request for voter forgiveness follows South Carolina’s Mark Sanford run for Congress and more recently Anthony (Oscar Meyer) Weiner’s announcement that he will run for mayor of New York City.  These three gentlemen, two Democrats and one Republican, once again have proven that politicians have no shame or capabilities outside of the political arena.

It is one thing to ask the electorate for forgiveness for bad one’s conduct.  It is another for the scoundrels to ask that we trust them to make important public decisions.  However, if voters elect them and place them back in positions of power, then those voters deserve what they get.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Anthony “Oscar Meyer” Weiner Announces Candidacy for New York’s Mayor

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 22, 2013

In the summer of 2011, New York’s Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned in disgrace for inappropriate Internet sexual banter and then lying about it.  This included sending lewd photos of himself over the Internet.  Since his resignation, Weiner has done what so many other “retired” politicians do, enriched himself as a paid Washington consultant.

anthony weinerShowing no shame, Weiner has just announced that he is running for mayor of New York City, according to the New York Times.  The announcement came via a YouTube video in which Weiner stated: “Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down.  But I’ve also learned some tough lessons.”  This meaningless dribble is merely an indication that Weiner was caught lying about his inappropriate acts.

Weiner is a typical elitist liberal who lives in luxury in a Manhattan apartment.  Like other well-to-do liberals, he attempts to cover up his wealth by supposedly championing the less fortunate.  In his YouTube video, Weiner states: “I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life, and I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”  Once again he is being disingenuous.  Weiner and others like him become “public servants” as a profession and a way to better their own personal well-being.

It is remarkable that Weiner has the audacity to run for mayor of New York just two years after being publicly disgraced.  More remarkable (sad?) is that the New Yorkers are likely to give him the job.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Piers Morgan Taken to the Woodshed by New York Politician

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 23, 2013

CNN’s Piers Morgan stands out as a particularly obnoxious Leftists journalist; a pretty tough barred to cross.

On Piers Morgan Live this past Monday, Morgan took on Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball on a comment he tweeted concerning one of the Boston Marathon terrorists.  As typical with Morgan, he attacks those on the right who disagree with his Progressive agenda.  Ball would have none of it and shot right back at Morgan in the aggressive, yet appropriate fashion.  The video posted below is amusing.


Posted in Mainstream Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mayor Bloomberg’s Soft Drink Rule Struck Down by Court

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 11, 2013

The Wall Street Journal has reported that New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been taken to task by a State Court.  Bloomberg attempted to enforce a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces that was slated to begin on March 12.  However, today in a stinging rebuke, New York State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling invalidated Bloomberg’s plan stating that he exceeded his authority by not having the plan passed by the City Council.  Judge Tingling’s findings included:

  • The Mayor’s regulations would “not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it.” ….. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened beverages.”
  • The Mayor’s regulations are “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences“.

While Judge Tingling’s rebuke was strong, it did not dampen the spirit of a Mayor who believes his position as a public servant offers him imperial powers.  Bloomberg stated he plans to appeal the ruling and will not bring the measure before the City Council, as required by the Court.  With typical Progressive logic, the mayor justified his position stating: “It would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives.”

When taken in the overall context of Progressive endeavors to save people from themselves, the Mayor’s big gulp ban idea is remarkable.  The same government that offers people all sorts of handouts without strings attached now wants to control how people spend their money that was either received from that same government or through their hard labor’s.  It seems that George Orwell’s 1984 has finally arrived.

Posted in Progressives | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bloomberg’s Nanny State Now After Ear-buds

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 7, 2013

BloombergNew York’s Mayor Bloomberg is at it again.  His past crusades include smoking, fatty foods, salt, baby formula and large soft drinks.  Now the good Mayor is out to protect us from our iPods.

The City’s Health Department’s assistant for environmental-disease prevention Commissioner Nancy Clark went after ear-buds saying: “With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players ….. and risks of loud and long listening.”  This “public-education” campaign will cost taxpayers $250,000.  You would hope that Mayor Bloomberg had more important things to do.

As ridiculous as Bloomberg’s ear-bud crusade is, it is but a minor irritant compared to ignorant statement Bloomberg made about the Country’s debt last week when he said:

 “We are spending money we don’t have.  It’s not like your household.  In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’  That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money.  When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money.… Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story:  If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.”

It would be curious to understand how Bloomberg defines “infinite”.  Using a standard definition one would conclude that the Mayor believes in perpetual motion or alchemy.  Countries have over borrowed throughout history.  None escaped the laws of supply and demand in the long run.  Those that did not put their fiscal houses back in order defaulted on their loan obligations with serious negative consequences.  Bloomberg is either ignorant of history or purposely misleading the public.  This Blogger concludes it is a little of both.

Posted in Politics, Progressives | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bloomberg Limiting Painkillers in City Hospitals

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 13, 2013

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again.  Last year he went on a rampage against sugar, limiting the size of New Yorker’s soft drinks to 16 ounce cups.  The Mayor is also a strong advocate of gun control.

Michael_BloombergLast week Bloomberg added to his crusades, this time attacking painkillers.  Politicker.com reported on the Mayor’s announcement that the City will limit supplies of painkillers at city hospital emergency rooms.  The Mayor explained that this new limitation is made in an attempt to address the growing addiction problem.

Mayor Bloomberg is a full-fledged Progressive who believes government should control many aspects of human behavior.  For those of us that believe in the U.S. Constitution, this is appalling.  In addition, Progressive experiments with societal interventions have failed enough over the years to prove their lack of efficacy.  Their repeated willingness to continue with similar interventions is not merely done out of ignorance, but more nefariously due to the Progressives desire for power and wealth.

More than 40 years after the County’s initiation of the war on drugs and its abysmal failure Progressives believe that more the same will lead to a different outcome. More amazingly in defending his new policies Bloomberg indicated that limiting painkiller availability will lessen crime stating: “You see there’s a lot more hold-ups of pharmacies, people getting held up as they walk out of pharmacies.  What are they all about?  They’re not trying to steal your shaving cream or toothpaste at the point of a gun.  They want these drugs.”

If the mayor is successful in limiting the amount of painkillers illicitly available, he will succeed in increasing their street prices.  This will not lead to less crime, but more as the criminal activity becomes more profitable.  For a capitalist, the good Mayor isn’t too bright.

Finally, limiting painkiller availability at city hospitals will mainly affect New York City’s least fortunate individuals who will be force to suffer with more pain during visits.  Mayor Bloomberg and his wealthy friends will have no such problems purchasing/obtaining the painkillers they demand.

Posted in Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »