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Election Trivia Question

October 16, 2016 am31 6:32 am

When was the last time 4 candidates each got 10% or more of the state vote in a presidential race? 

A Current poll (Y2 Analytics) has an interesting race in Utah:

Trump: 26%
Clinton: 26%
McMullin: 22%
Johnson: 14%

McMullin, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t) is a Republican running as an independent, on the ballot in 11 states. He is also a native Utahan, and a Mormon, and is polling well enough to get some interesting attention. (I wonder if he is having any impact in Idaho, Colorado, or New Mexico)

Anyway, here’s the question:

When was the last time 4 candidates each got 10% or more of the state vote in a presidential race?

October Surprise – in Iraq

October 15, 2016 am31 8:24 am

Off-topic, since I haven’t been writing on topic.

But there is an “October Surprise” coming. Not only that, it’s not a surprise.

ISIS has been losing ground in Syria. Since June they lost the entire Turkish border, hundreds of miles, mostly to a coalition militia (SDF) dominated by Kurds (but with other ethnicities, including Arabs). The rest of the border they’ve lost to the Syrian opposition (FSA), with direct backing by Turkey. That offensive continues, winning a town or village at a time, heading towards a large town, Al Bab. The SDF now holds Manbij (pop 100,000). The next obvious move in Syria would be towards Ar Raqqah, with a quarter of a million people and ISIS’s organizational leadership.

But none of that makes an October surprise. For the surprise, we need to look to Iraq. Over the last two years the Kurdish forces (Peshmerga) and the Iraqi Army have an impressive list of victories. One at a time. With gaps in between. Of months. The Iraqi Army has taken Tikrit, Hit, Fallujah, Ramadi. The Peshmerga have taken areas around Mosul. They took Sinjar. They have linked up with the Kurds in Syria, creating a continuous front.

All of this was spread out, over the last two years. Progress has not been regular front page stuff. But it’s about to be.

There is a massive offensive planned, could start any day, against Mosul. Mosul is a huge city. It used to have 2 1/2 million people. It’s an “oil capital.”

It’s not a secret, here’s a few 1, 2, 3, 4, descriptions of what’s coming up. And week by week the different armies and militias report moving men and materièle into position. Pre-offensive bombing has been ramped up. And political leaders say soon, or sooner. And ISIS is preparing defenses, and bracing for it.

And that’s it. Two weeks, or ten days, or five days before the US election, a massive offensive against ISIS will begin. Front-page, evening news stuff. Fighting will be raging as Americans go to the polls. The photos and video on tv will be of ISIS soldiers dying on one side, and “our allies,” but not Americans, on the other. The pictures of Americans will be limited to Obama, Generals, Diplomats, members of the State Department, and pilots, returning, giving thumbs up.

Donald Trump, already pretty much dead in the water, will watch as ISIS takes a beating on a huge, front-page stage. Even without him contributing stupid tweets (and he probably will) that counts as an October surprise.

After primary loss, Robert Jackson is still fighting for public education

September 18, 2016 pm30 7:40 pm

Robert Jackson is not the typical politician. He did not support public education so he could win elections, no, it was the reverse – he ran for office, in part, to help public education. And in defeat (he lost but a few hundred votes last Tuesday) he remains committed to public education in New York.

Here’s the classy letter he sent out:

Jonathan —
Thank you for standing with me in this incredible campaign and giving me the opportunity to run for State Senator.I am deeply grateful to each and every one who came to our Headquarters to make calls and those who reached out to their friends with “Dear Neighbor” letters or Facebook posts; or stood outside a subway station, an elementary school or polling site to hand out campaign literature; or read these emails and time and again helped us meet our funding goals; or simply greeted me with a smile at my daily morning and afternoon subway stops, on the street or at a senior center.

Thank you also to the many labor unions, education and community activists and progressive groups who worked so hard on our behalf. And I especially want to thank our great interns who did so much to propel this campaign forward and hopefully were inspired to be part of the political process.

While we finished 693 votes — out of more than 25,000 votes cast — short of winning, we can all hold our heads high and be proud of the race we ran. We worked hard, put together an amazing and diverse coalition of support and ran with energy, heart and integrity – standing up for the right priorities, staying true to the principles in which we believe and never wavering in support for better schools, affordable housing and more jobs and opportunities for all.

While this campaign has ended, the work goes on and the challenges continue. My commitment to the community and causes came long before I decided to run, and will continue now that this race is over. I will continue to fight for a real Democratic majority in the State Senate, to reform Albany and our campaign finance laws and continue my lifetime fight for education, hope and opportunity to give every child the chance to succeed.

In fact, starting October 2nd I will once again walk to Albany on behalf of our children as part of the AQE Education Walk to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision which ruled that the state is systemically underfunding Black, Latino, and low-income students in many districts. We will demand that NYS finally fully fund education in every district in NY. And while I had hoped to go as a Senator-elect, I am excited to participate as a parent leader, just as I was when we first made this walk. (read more here)

I am proud of all we have accomplished and look forward to continue working with you for our community. You can email me at with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. I hope you will stay in touch.



-=-=-Jackson for Senate 2016 · United States

By the way, those great interns? One was a former algebra student of mine. I was so proud!

The Day After – Looking Back

September 12, 2016 am30 4:20 am
tags: ,

August 1998 Rudolph Giuliani put a fence around City Hall with police checkpoints. The public could no longer gather by City Hall steps, not to watch press conferences, not to demonstrate, and not to hang out.

Why was Giuliani taking 9/11 countermeasures three years before 9/11 occurred? He was not. There was a movement afoot to restrict freedom, to restrict the press, to restrict the right to assembly, and that movement was pressing hard and limiting our freedom before 9/11.

Airport Restrictions, The Department of Homeland Security, preventing the public from accessing public buildings – there was a blueprint for all of these things BEFORE 9/11.  They were just waiting for a good enough excuse. (City Hall steps were blocked to the public ‘because’ the US launched missiles at Afghanistan and Sudan. Pretty flimsy excuse).

On 9/11 our city was attacked. It was personal. Many of us lost friends or family. All of us lost some sense of security in our own city. We know who attacked us, and in our country’s way, it got even (killed bin Laden, invaded a few countries that had not attacked us). Slowly those of us who survived and did not breathe the poison recovered, some of us continue to recover.

But on 9/12 Giuliani and his ilk launched an assault on our freedoms that continues to this day. There is no wall that will keep Tom Ridge out. Chris Christie need not fear a Seal Team. The damage done to us on 9/12, we need to begin addressing that.

Robert Jackson and Tuesday’s other Primaries

September 11, 2016 pm30 2:02 pm

Democratic Primaries in NYC for State Assembly and State Senate are usually ho-hum affairs, pitting local organizers who have become insiders against local organizers who would like to become insiders. The winner of most of the primaries then win the general election, many unopposed.

This time there’s a few interesting races.

State Senate 33rd District. Bronx. Gustavo Rivera, incumbent, you might yell at me for saying so, but relatively undistinguished, faces an opponent who has a reputation as a social conservative, including some anti-gay history, and doesn’t deserve any votes against Gustavo, who is also running on the Working Families Party line.

State Senate 36th District. Bronx. Wide open, with the incumbent having moved on to the Cuomo administration, with five? choices. Jamaal Bailey is close to speaker Carl Heastie, has a bunch of labor endorsements, and has the WFP line. I suspect he will win, but low turnout may be a factor.

But one race really has my attention: In the NY State Senate 31st, Inwood, Washington Heights, West Side of Manhattan and Marble Hill, Robert Jackson, champion of the children of New York City, is running against a school reform scumbag and a candidate who wants the right-wing to run the senate. These two might be worth voting against, no matter who their opponent was. But this is not a least of three (really four evils) situation.

Robert Jackson is a hero of public education. He walked to Albany in 2003 – 150 miles with a group of public education advocates. They demanded fairer funding for NY City schools. And they won.

Robert Jackson as a city council member fought fiercely for education. But that’s not all.

Robert Jackson stands for the best sort of immigration reform. He is a tenants’ advocate of the first order. His environmental record is superb. I’m not going on, but I could.

If you are a registered Democrat in the 31st NY State Senate District, get to the polls Tuesday and support Robert Jackson.



Contest: Telling Student Growth Percentiles and Random Numbers apart

September 5, 2016 pm30 5:54 pm

NYC Educator kindly posted my results. (CLICK HERE)

And a list of random numbers.

And my students’ ID numbers (last two digits)

Each list is sorted small to large.

Can you figure out which is which?

Can you figure out why numbers which determine my rating look completely random?

Good luck!

And good luck to each and every one of us subjected to this arbitrary system.

Free IFC Memberships for Teachers

August 24, 2016 am31 8:22 am

Reduces ticket prices $5, from $15 to $10 for most movies. (And no service charge for on-line ticketing)  Click for form for free educator membership.

Free previews and special members-only screenings.

IFC New York is in the old Waverly Theater, Sixth Avenue at 3rd Street, across from the basketball courts.

They show an eclectic mix of documentary, independent and foreign stuff.  And classics. They are one of the hosts of the Doc NYC Festival.

Disclaimer: I’ve had a membership for a few years, and sometimes wander in to see offbeat stuff.

Yesterday, when I noticed the “free for k-12 teachers” in the previews, I was seeing Miss Sharon Jones. Apparently I’ve been enjoying Sharon Jones and the Dap-kings for quite a while, without knowing anything about them.

A fan page on MySpace (remember MySpace?) says: “By the sound of them, you would think Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings started making funk-threaded soul music together in the 1960s.”

100 Days and 100 Nights

might be the catchiest. I’m Still Here

is autobiographical. But they do This Land Is Your Land

that is funked out, and totally enjoyable.