Last night I watched Rahm Emmanuel “interviewed” for an hour by Phil Ponce. Interview is in quotes because I’m not certain that at any point Phil was actually able to finish an entire question before Rahm jumped in and, if it suited him, answered the question, and if not embarked on an emotional diatribe that had nothing whatsoever to do with the original question but ended with “God bless America” (no wait, this is local politics, make that “Chicago is the best city in the world.”)

I didn’t bother going through the 2 second drill of “ Is anybody out there really stupid enough to buy this crap?” We all know the answer to that. No one has ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

In fairness, Rahm seems like a take no BS kind of guy and I respect that. However, he is also a full of BS guy and that only leads to trouble, for himself and for Chicago. In fact what struck me the most as I watched was the thought “this guy is truly a psychopath.” He is charming in a non-traditional kind of way. While far from matinee idol good looks he is nevertheless a decent looking guy who looks like he’s been a the ring a few times. He talks like it too as he sometimes fails to properly annunciate, but any slight impediment is so overcome by his cockiness that it really just gets chalked up to character.

He’s a character. I’ll give him that. Likable in a way. And I want to believe him. But I don’t.

I don’t believe him because I know certain facts which I see him twist, distort and misrepresent. I don’t believe him because he plays a dishonest double standard and it is incredibly obvious, And I don’t believe him because he won’t answer the question but instead he goes off on this pseudo emotional rant about Darius and how Darius should be able to walk the streets of his own city after basketball practice, and how he NEVER (pounding the desk, yet another sign of a liar) NEVER wants to make another phone call to a grieving mother.

OK but the question was “Might you do more for the budget by cutting your own pay and unlimited perks, and perhaps pulling police off of body guard duty for every ex-alderman and mayor?”

You see, teachers, for instance, are being demonized for having the audacity to want to be paid to do their job. They are being demonized by a CEO of Chicago Public Schools who makes hundreds of thousands a year with a staff of 50 or more people (you know neighbors, friends “cronies”, gay lovers etc) who make 6 figures and do their jobs so well that they never even have to bother to show up. The city buys their SUV’s with special plates so everyone gets to know how important they are when in reality they are unproductive leaches getting fat off the public trough.

Teachers, on the other hand, are usually very intelligent people who could have had a career in finance or management but chose instead to work for a fraction of that pay because they felt a calling, perhaps an opportunity to make a difference. Out of that small paycheck they usually buy most of their own supplies from erasers to hand sanitizer to pretty much everything you see on the bulletin board or in the room. If the Chicago Teacher’s Union asked me I would say that instead of going on strike simply tell the teachers to work only with the supplies given by CPS and only for the hours they are actually paid for.

That’s right. A teacher is paid for 6.25 hours a day, the length of time he or she teaches the students. They typically put in 10 to 12 hours a day however, creating lesson plans, cleaning and arranging the class room and playing host to parents who come in for whatever reasons (disciplinary, extra help and understanding etc) who are rarely to never hurried away because the teacher has a million things to do. How many teachers work with students before and after school or even on weekends.

If I was the head of the union this would stop. You want to get penny pinching about our time, you got it. You want 8 hours a day. Great! That means now we can work 4 hours a day less you ungrateful bureaucrat. When has Rahm Emmanuel ever taught in a classroom? What the heck does he know about it? Why is he setting the standards?

And let us examine how and why he is setting these standards, which are really designed to make the public school system fail. Bottom line is that Public School costs a lot of money. The City can’t afford it. And while Hinsdale and Oak Park and River Forest and all the other wealthy (read predominantly white) suburbs are raising taxes to fund public schools of the highest quality where about 95% of students graduate and go to college, the kids in the city are of a different socioeconomic class (read predominantly black and brown).

I know of one teacher who paid to wash a child’s clothes (which mom said she couldn’t afford to do) because he came to school regularly stinking of %$^& only to have the kids mom show up in a Lexus SUV to talk about “well his baby daddy is in jail, at least I think thats his baby daddy and %$^&...” Do you really think its the teacher’s fault if that kid doesn’t graduate from 8th grade let alone high school? The new Mayor and his Haitian Hitman would like you to believe that.

But they know better. And they’re not idiots. What they are really saying is “look these inner city kids are a bunch of losers. Half of them are going to be in prison before they’re 25 and so heck with ‘em. We’ll open “charter schools” (read cheap) where there are no unions and we can get teachers (well not really teachers since they have no degrees but who cares) to work for ½ of what real teachers earn and for longer hours with no benefits.

Rahm, by the way, sends his kids to private school. Can you blame him? So why, I ask you, if these Charter Schools are so great, doesn’t he send his children there? I’m certain that question, at a polite dinner party, would be met with an incredulous glare, and you would likely not be invited back. And I'm sure that if Phil had pressed him instead of accepting his trite response "How I raise my kids has nothing to do w/ how I govern," that he would lose access and WTTW might even lose funding.

The Charter Schools (at this time) cherry pick the top students leaving the lesser ones in the public system. This causes a greater demand for charter schools (me too, me too!) while, for now, causing them to test higher. Except they’re not really testing higher and they’re fudging the numbers. One clear reason is that you still have good teachers in the public schools who can teach despite a system which is setting them up to fail.

They are doing so by pushing this standardized testing wherein the entire curriculum is geared toward making students perform better on tests. The so called “merit based pay” means that the better your students perform the more you make. Now that goes for principals as well.

So now you set up a pressure cooker situation wherein teachers compete for the best students pulling all sorts of political backstabbing to get the known trouble makers out the door and into the “other class.” Colleagues are pitted against each other and principals become micro managing task masters while there are overlords above them all worried about their own merit pay and nobody ever mentions the students, except at election time.

Nor do they really mention the parents. The key to an education is having loving attentive parents who clothe, house, bathe and feed you as well as reading to you and encouraging your creativity. Period. If on the other hand you grow up in a setting where Father’s Day is the most confusing day of the year, where you learn to cook rocks before you learn to read (if you ever learn to read) and where sometimes bedbugs are your only source of protein, it would be pretty silly to think that the public school system is going to make you ready for college.

You may think I’m over the top here but school lunch and breakfast programs are sometimes the only meals these kids get. If you consider 8 ounces of rice crispies to be a nourishing breakfast. I challenge Mayor Emmanuel to subsist for 8 years on nothing but school lunches. Absurd isn’t it? And yet that is reality for tens of thousands of kids. You know, “the children,” that these psychopathic politicians are always invoking when they want to stomp on certain constitutional rights or be one of us at campaign time.

One of the other things I noticed about the Mayor is that when asked about the parking situation in the city, wherein Daley privatized the parking meters and now there is basically no free parking anywhere, leaving many many many people to blow off the city altogether when considering dinner, a night out etc or now even where to live. There’s plenty of parking in the burbs and the accommodations are often way better as is the service. There just comes a time in life when you get tired of a 20 something with blue/orange hair and multi facial piercings acting as though she’s doing you a favor to take your order.

The City is not anywhere near as cool as it was in 1987. It just isn’t. And this parking situation is the nail in the coffin. The point where a lot of people have said “Forget it! I’ll take my business elsewhere.”
Therefore, if he really was in it for the residents as he claims to be he would sponsor a “Tear these meters out of the ground Day!” He would have my vote forever. But NO! In this case he invokes the sanctity of the contract. “We have a contract. We have to honor it.”

Well the City has a contract with the teachers union too. And that he is trying to change, in every detail he can devise, NOW! Only a psychopath can invoke the sanctity of a principal on one hand while completely desecrating it on the other. That is what they do. They lie and charm and kill without flinching. That is what makes them dangerous. They seem like one of us. Politics seems to be a natural fit.

And it would have been nice to see Phil Ponce follow up on some of these questions. Perhaps he could have said “Wait a minute Mr Mayor. How can you be for honoring a contract in which everyone under the Sun, including you knows that the city got the bend over (the parking deal), base your decision not to fight for the residents on “the sanctity of the contract,” while at the same time attempting to pretty much void the contract we have with the teachers union? And how exactly Mr Mayor do you have the cajones to call yourself a Democrat?”

But Phil couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Nor would he because I’m certain he considers the ramifications to his career with far greater weight than he considers his journalistic integrity. Having a cushy relationship with the mayor is far more important than the truth. Not to mention PBS doesn’t need more funding cuts now do they? And so the so-called 4th Estate is nothing more than the lapdog to the politicians. They eat well as long as they serve their masters. Perhaps they’ve long since stopped considering journalistic integrity. I ask you again. Does anybody out there actually buy this crap???