Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Stories We Must Watch...

There are two stories that I’ve run into today that bear watching.   One is a warning from Katha Pollitt, the superb feminist writer for The Nation, and the other is NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg’s appointment of Cathleen Black to become the new New York City’s School Chancellor.  
First to Katha Pollitt.  Pollitt has been with The Nation as a reporter since 1980 and has had her own column, “Subject To Debate,” for fifteen years.  We’ve also been treated to her essays in Truthout and other outlets.  [Here]
Her latest column in the November 10, 2010 edition of The Nation, titled “Antichoicers on the March,” has some wake-up calls and alarming statistics:   [Here]
When the 112th Congress convenes in January it will have at least fifty-three additional antichoice Republicans in the House and five in the Senate. Some of the newcomers are particularly extreme: Senator-elect Rand Paul and incoming Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick and Tim Walberg oppose most common methods of birth control, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research, and join Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey in opposing abortion even for rape or incest; Toomey supports jailing doctors who perform abortions. Supporters of reproductive rights are looking at the most hostile Congress since abortion was legalized in 1973.
Pollitt goes on to warn what we might expect from this new Congress and the list is not pretty with items such as reinstating the global gag rule which bars foreign aid recipients from mentioning abortions in their work, making the Hyde Amendment permanent and so on.  Pollitt names 7 different GOP attacks against women’s choices that she expects will be made in the next Congress.  (The only good thing that might come out of this is that perhaps women will wake up and realize what’s afoot and become more solidly Democratic.)
Pollitt ends her column with this reminder about this crop of GOPers: [Here]  
...only one of the new Republican senators thinks man-made global warming is real...
Groan.  We should all continue to keep our eyes on The Nation which is one publication that continues to hold true to liberal and progressive values under the steady, intelligent editorship of Katrina Vanden Heuval.
The other story that we are watching is the New York City School’s Chancellorship.  The 66-year-old Cathleen Black, currently the chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, was named by Michael Bloomberg with no prior public warning.  (Some Bloomberg aides claim they were not given prior notification.)  Black will be the first woman to lead the city’s complex school system that has 1.1 million students, 80,000 teachers and about 1,400 school buildings.  
The current chancellor, Joel Klein, is leaving to become an executive vice president of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  Interesting, eh?  Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg L.P., a privately held financial news and software company, names Cathleen Black of Hearst Magazines to replace Joel Klein who will be a vice president of the media giant, News Corp.   This is a small, small, exclusive, powerful and luxurious world which is also probably very inbred.
The disturbing fact is that Cathleen has spent not ten minutes in a public school.  She attended parochial schools herself and a Catholic college.  Her own children have attended private schools and Kent, the Connecticut boarding school, where their mother is currently a trustee.  Black is also on the Advisory Board of a charter school, Harlem Village Academies, which she joined just this summer. [Here]
In order for Black to become the city’s chancellor, she will have to have two waivers from the state to serve because of her lack of education credentials.  Ms. Black has already announced that she would resign from the corporate boards of Coca-Cola and I.B.M. from which she earns half a million dollars a year.
Well, we have our work cut out for us, don’t we?  Both of these stories not only demand our attention, but require it. 
By the way, did you catch Cathleen Black’s recent experience with a charter school?  (Is Naomi Klein paying attention?)  
(Is this another fox in the chicken house?)...

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