Ass & Cashing Checks
once in a while, if you live in a deeply depressed and impoverished
community, you’re lucky enough to wind up with a person
with lots of political power who is completely off their rocker.
If you live in Buffalo, you’re not new to this, and
you may soon be able to enjoy the antics of one such individual
in the person of Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools
recently employed the threat of physical violence as a contract
negotiation bargaining tool against Buffalo Teachers’
Federation President Phil Rumore. Williams called Rumore a
liar, and then said he should take him outside and “kick
his ass.” At that point, Rumore got up and walked away.
There was no indication at press time as to whether Williams
made chicken sounds or called Rumore a “wussy-boy”
as he left.
of Rumore and anti-union right-wingers, of course, heartily
applauded Williams’ threat amongst themselves, but publicly
the threat of physical violence – especially by a public
official in a school system that has been plagued by physical
violence against students and teachers such as the ones Rumore
represents – must be deplored. Privately, many folks
felt good about it, though. Maybe this is how all contract
negotiations should be handled – it would certainly
be a lot quicker.
if Williams was really serious, though? What if this guy really
is as sociopathic as he seemed to be when he was fired by
the school board of Dayton, Ohio? If you look back at his
term as superintendent of that school district, you’ll
find that he openly scoffed at parents and the press when
a twelve million dollar gap in the school district’s
budget was uncovered. He laughed about it and made a guarantee
to one reporter that he wouldn’t be going anywhere as
a result of the scandal. In a way he was right; the school
board bought out his contract and he simply moved up the food
chain. All of which raises the question: if you’re rewarded
for crazy or incompetent or irresponsible behavior, are you
crazy, or is the society that encourages such behavior crazy?
observers have expressed concerns that Williams may not be
just employing typical anti-union bullying tactics; he may
quite simply be a bit off the wall. Rumore wasn’t taking
any chances by walking away from Williams. Given Williams
comments about Rumore’s “sixties mentality,”
that was probably the right thing to do. We shall overcome?
Give peace a chance? Those are not the anthems of Williams
and his patron, M&T Bank Boss Bob Wilmers. What message
does this send to kids in the Buffalo Public Schools? The
same message they’re exposed to every day in countless
different media: life is all about endless self-promotion
and intimidation – and violence, if necessary.
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4. The Dead Zone
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