2008-04-25 / Columnists

From the Editor's Desk

Nobody Asked Me, But … (Odds And Ends Edition)
Commentary By Howard Schwach

Nobody asked me, but … What Fox Sports did by cutting from the last pitches of the Yankee-Red Sox game last week gave people who are old enough to remember flashbacks to November 17, 1968, when the NBC network left the Jets- Raiders game in its final minutes to show the movie version of "Heidi." That has always been remembered as the "Heidi Bowl," and old-timers still deride the network for that move. Last week, the Yankees were down 4-3 with two outs in the ninth inning. Rather than staying with the end of that game, Channel Five switched to a NASCAR race that was just beginning and was to last for 312 laps or 500 miles. It ended more than four hours later, and the network certainly could have started its coverage five minutes later and covered the end of an exciting game.

… Stanley Kaplow, the last non- Orthodox member of the Lawrence School Board had decided that he will not run for office in the upcoming election. That raised the near-certainty that the entire public school board of education will be made up of people who staunchly refuse to send their children to public schools. That should not be allowed to happen. Even New York City realized the problem and made it mandatory for the elected board members to be parents. They compromised by allowing two non-parents to be appointed to the board by the Borough President. At present, one of those two members of Community Education Council 27, our CEC is orthodox. The other appointee is a Far Rockaway activist who has been involved with education for many years. In addition, while there has never been a challenged election for president of the Lawrence Association. (people move from lower positions to higher each year), an orthodox man has announced that he will challenge the woman slated to take the office in an election. You might wonder why people who have no stake in an institution want to control that institution. It's the money, honey!

… Dith Pran, the New York Times photographer who died two weeks ago used to say, "I'm not a hero, I'm just a messenger." I actually spent some time with Dith, who was a survivor of the Cambodian killing fields and was best known for his part in a 1984 movie of that name. When he got to the states he began to work as a photo-journalist of some renown and wound up with the Times. And, that is how I met him. I was standing in Breezy Point at the end of the Al Sharpton march in that community more than 10 years ago, beginning to walk back to my car when I saw a small Cambodian man overloaded with camera equipment moving slowly north on State Road. He noticed my press credentials and the fact that I had a camera as well, and asked where he could get the bus to Beach 116 Street so that he could grab the A Train back to Manhattan. I explained to him that there was no public transportation in Breezy Point and offered him a ride. On the way, we got to talking and I offered him a cup of coffee at the Beach Club. We spent a pleasant hour or so talking about his experiences and Rockaway and he left to go back to Manhattan. He was a real gentlemen in the strongest sense of the word, particularly for somebody who had been through three years of forced labor and daily torture. Both he and his work for the New York Times will be missed.

… Felicia J. Nu'Man is a prosecutor in Louisville. She is often asked the question, "How can you put our black men in jail?" You see, Nu'Man is black as well. She recently wrote a "My Turn" for Newsweek magazine in which she discussed the fact that most of her job entails putting black men in prison. She wrote: "Many accuse me of being a race traitor, a puppet of a racist criminal-justice system. Race does not enter the equation for me. My question to those black people who believe me to be a traitor is when will you connect the dots? Please realize, the police and the prosecutors are not the problem; it is the criminals in these depressed neighborhoods who are. These young, directionless men are the true menace. In order to settle the score, many think protection for these 'victims' can be had through jury nullification, impeding investigations and elevating 'social justice' instigators who demonize the police. There are prosecutors and police who are not pure of heart and definitely have an agenda - hidden or obvious. But how do these young men find themselves in the justice system? Their choices. In the past, black people argued for justice from a place of moral superiority, but now who can take seriously anybody who defends drug dealers, child abusers, wife beaters or rapists? The victims deserve more." Amen to that!

… Do the crime, reap the profits. Kirk Radomski, is the former Mets clubhouse attendant who became the key supplier of performanceenhancing drugs to dozens of major league ballplayers and to other suppliers such as Brian McNamee, the Breezy Point man who admitted to using the drugs he got from Radomski for Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. Radomski is writing a tell-all book, and he will get big bucks for writing it. He reportedly just snagged a mid six-figure payout for writing the book. He will be aided, of course, by a real writer, Jim Fisher, to do the heavy lifting. All Radomski has to do is tell his stories, sit back, and collect the money.

… What is a gifted student? It depends on how many seats you have to fill in gifted programs. At least, that's what the chancellor and his toadies seem to think. That's the plan. Fill some of the seats with real gifted students and then fill the other seats that are available with semi-gifted and the kids whose parents have some pull in their individual schools. That's the name of the game, make it look reasonable and do whatever you want. Like everything else with the Department of Education, it's all smoke and mirrors.

… Under the "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" category, the Mayor is calling on the City Council to use competitive bidding for community organization funding for any grant in excess of $10,000. This is the same man who has approved million dollar no-bid contracts for consultants working for the Department of Education, including one that brings people from Europe to rate the public schools, which adds housing and transportation costs to the mix. Why? He says that there is nobody in the US qualified to do the job.

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