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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Columns

Re: “School integration is more than enrichment

Mark, Sorry friend, I live in this district and I find I have to challenge your assertion. These people very much believe that it matters who their child sits next to in school. That is indeed the issue for them. They don't want their kid sitting next to a "city kid". And appealing to the common good is looked upon as a negative argument not a positive one. This is the place where the powers that be fought for exclusionary town prayers, the district has a Good News Club that teaches creationism as an after school program and the most important political issue is the registration of assault rifles. It is sad and ugly, but appealing to reason and the belief that it just can't be that bad and pervasive is simply naive.

1 like, 10 dislikes
Posted by gary pudup on 01/14/2015 at 7:16 PM

Re: “School integration is more than enrichment

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglas asked: "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?" Today, nearly 163 years later, I ask: What, to the African American is your bleeding-heart rhetoric? Douglass answered his own question by stating that, where black people were concerned, celebration of the 4th of July represented "fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages." With regard to the history of public education in this nation, state, county, and city, and ongoing, rampant, bleeding-heart-rhetoric about so-called "equality" --- my answer today is exactly the same as Douglass' was in 1852, which brings us to the article at the link below.

With regard to the historic, intentionally-created, and intentionally-maintained, dual, race-based, unequal, public education system --- the article (at the link below) easily ranks among the biggest bunch of bleeding-heart, super-liberal, hogwash that I have ever read. The content is nothing more or less than puffed-up, super-rhetoric of the highest order, which is so filled with fundamental contradictions, conflated distortions, and abstractions --- that the author ends up undoing some of his own arguments. Let us examine my claims.

1. There is absolutely no evidence --- nothing that substantiates the authors fairy-tail-theory that "most parents in the Spencerport school district would welcome participation in the Urban-Suburban program." In fact, if history is an accurate indicator, the exact opposite is likely true. Nor is there one single iota of evidence that "the voices of opposition [are] few" in number.

2. "Urban-Suburban [might be] a [so-called] low-maintenance integration plan," but way more importantly, is the fact that it is a thoroughly ineffective, miserably failed, so-called "integration plan." Let's examine the facts: a) The program is 50 years old; b) there are 18 suburban school districts in Monroe County (excluding two, overwhelmingly white BOCES districts) --- only 7 of which have participated in the urban-suburban program (over a 50 year period), which means the other 11 have made it clear that they want no parts of racial, so-called "integration" ; c) it's difficult (to say the least) to make a credible case that 500 students of color, spread out over 7 suburban school districts (while their own home district remains at least 85% students of color), and the districts that they are being "integrated" into remain, in most cases, over 90% white --- represents some type of effective model of so-called racial "integration." What a joke; d) Monroe County has some of the most racially segregated schools in the nation, and that's how the overwhelming majority of white people intend to keep it --- period. http://www2.monroecounty.gov/government-sc…

3. It's exceedingly easy to detect phoniness within the author's argument. For example, as a so-called benefit of the program, he touts the superficial, and largely irrelevant idea that "thousands of suburban kids get to know classmates whose lives are very different from their own." So what? By the way, since it's supposedly significant that "thousands of [mainly white,] suburban kids get to know classmates whose lives are very different from their own" --- is the opposite not also true, and/or important, i.e., that 500 urban students of color "get to know" white students whose lives "are very different from their own" --- or is this a one-way 'benefit'? And then there's the important question of how well most of them really "get to know" each other.

4. A classic, and extreme example of a fundamental contradiction, conflated distortion, and abstraction is contained in the author's claim that "our own experience [has] made it absolutely clear: socioeconomic integration of our schools is essential, though not sufficient to reverse the catastrophic outcomes in the city schools." What? The guy is literally making it up. There has been no local "experience" that involves, on any significant level --- "socioeconomic [and certainly not racial] integration of our schools." Thus, any claim regarding relational impact on "outcomes in city schools" is a matter of total fallacy.The writer is also very careful to shroud his argument in the cloak of "socioeconomic," as opposed to racial "integration" (even though we know that the two are as closely correlated as they could possibly be, especially within deeply-entrenched, thoroughly segregated, Monroe County).

5. Another conflated distortion is the idea that it "matters where you go to school, or who you sit next to." Of course, it "matters where you go to school" --- in the sense that some schools are much better than others (for many complex reasons), but there is no evidence what so ever, that it "matters who you sit next to." That is to say, just as in the case of good schools that are overwhelmingly, predominantly white --- good, overwhelmingly black or brown schools, don't become any less 'good' --- because few or no white students attend. Thus, again, in part, the latter quote represents a false dichotomy or fallacy, and really seems designed to skirt a critically important, historic issue, and question: 'Why are so many predominantly white, suburban schools good, and so many predominantly black and brown, urban schools bad (based on measures such as orderly classrooms, and general environments, modern, high-tech facilities and equipment, graduation rates, parent and community involvement, etc...)? This is NOT just one huge coincident. So, what (specifically) has produced this condition?

6. It is most interesting that, in the process of attempting to validate the 'significance' of the miserably-failed urban-suburban program, the writer extracted a totally de-contextualized quote from "the 1966 Coleman report on equality of educational opportunity." The full truth of the matter is, the Coleman report raised more questions than answers regarding widespread, educational improvement for black and brown children attending public schools. And clearly, with regard to public education, where the masses of children of color are concerned, in some respects, since the time of the original 1966 Coleman report, overall conditions have grown worse. For example, I'm quite certain the author would shy away from discussing the facts that: "The Coleman report gave rise to mass busing in public schools. As a work of sociology, the Coleman Report was full of subtleties and caveats, but the mass media and makers of policy focused on one prediction--that black children who attended integrated schools would have higher test scores, if a majority of their classmates were white. That last point is key because in 1975 Coleman concluded in a new study that busing had failed, largely because it had prompted white flight. As white families fled to suburban schools, the report concluded, the opportunity for achieving racial balance evaporated. Political support for busing quickly waned. Many civil rights leaders, educators, policy-makers, and sociologists who had embraced Coleman's earlier findings now were outraged.They blasted him for abandoning his earlier commitment to desegregation. Some members of the American Sociological Association even moved to have him expelled, albeit unsuccessfully. (Coleman was elected president in 1991)." http://pages.jh.edu/~jhumag/0400web/18.htm…

7. Of all the many illogical, nonsensical, abstract notions contained in the article, the following takes the cake: "If we are going to give the poorest children in our community a chance to succeed in school, we need not just Urban-Suburban, but a family of urban-suburban prodigies to bridge the gap." What?

8. The author is obviously speculating relative to when or how "socioeconomic [/racial] integration works." Since it has not existed on in any large, or even medium scale within Rochester, and certainly not within Monroe County --- none of us know for certain how, or even IF it works.

9. IF it is true "that good schools teach students how to care for each other, and about our obligation to work for the common good" --- then how do we logically explain that, as stated in the article --- according to "Chris Widmaier, a science teacher and the swim coach at the city's World of Inquiry School --- suburban kids don't even make eye contact with my swimmers. The fact is many of them have no idea how to talk to people who are different from them?"

10. Based on a very long, and clear history of well organized, well financed, and thoroughly effective resistance, I would urge urban parents and families to categorically, unequivocally reject (as totally unrealistic) the old, old, hyper-liberal, bleeding-heart, rhetoric regarding the assertion that: "If we truly believe in equal opportunity, we must break up the segregated schools that have preserved inequality for decades." Socioeconomic / racial inequality was built into the fabric, foundation, and structure of the public education system (from day one), and there is absolutely no evidence that the vast majority of predominantly, but not exclusively, white parents have the least bit of interest in "breaking [it] up." In fact, nearly all available evidence seems to indicate the exact opposite. Thus, my humble, but staunch recommendation would be focusing with laser-like precision on fixing urban schools as they currently stand --- as opposed to chasing an integration-pipe-dream for another 50 or 100 years. Our children can't afford to wait --- period. http://blackagendareport.com/content/publi…

4 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 01/13/2015 at 2:03 PM

Re: “For the homeless, no shelter from the storm

Rochester has a housing issue from homeless, to affordable living, and on and on. There is a lack of innovation going on. A homeless village where it was set to be a skate park at one time is absurd. This location is ideal for a skate park yet such is dashed. The subway used to house the homeless but not its an urban tour destination that still lays undeveloped. There is a lot of undeveloped and under developed in the city. Then there is the fill in of the inner loop instead of doing a tunnel as Boston and other cities have done.

Rochester is a hot mess... Yet we have resources we should turn to. Like Cornell University and other Colleges that have architectural programs could easily solve homeless housing. Forget Pike and the construction firms we have who want huge profits. Lets turn to students and professors to develop housing and to rezone Rochester. We have homes filled with asbestos, lead paint,inefficient mechanicals, and are out dated. Lets get rid of such. Bring in RIT students and professors to collaborate with other Universities to provide diverse efficient and innovative housing for our City. With the understanding that we need to coexist with the Diversity we have. Neighborhoods that are a solar co op as is in DC and other cities, linked into a Geothermal co op, metal roofing and hardie board siding so that fires don't spread house to house, and such other innovations to make living affordable. This way we can have resources to share with homeless shelter co op style housing. Tiny homes and small homes are in now and we as a community should pioneer this by taking down abandoned housing stock to build tiny and small home communities where less is more. Build brownstone and row housing for middle class families. Build condo's and Townhomes for empty nesters. Revive neighborhoods via culture centers. Such as lil havana, chinatown, and such so that heritage can be built, explored, and enjoyed. Repurpose old factories or tear them down and rebuild. Build up our water front properties for high end housing so we have tax income coming in. Issue permits so we can have street vendors, street performers, and street exhibits so that jobs are created and to attract people downtown or into cultural neighborhoods.

Also transition employment to be flexible so that part time jobs offer health care or dental and vision so that people can be offered 2 part time jobs where one offers health and the other offers dental and vision so that there is diversity of employment options beyond full time shift work or 9 to 5, 8 to 4, 7 to 3 full time day shifts. So this way we have neighborhoods alive with people being able to securely afford a home and to invest in their home.

Neighborhoods with schools, parks, shopping, and such in walking distance... infrastructure for every neighborhood. Festivals, block parties, and such community events that is meant for the community to come together and not to draw in tourism as park ave and corn hill festivals are. Make housing affordable and break away from slum lords who are from california or some other state who don't care about community. The City allowing this is what has destroyed our City. Lets set our city as one tolerant of each other be ye homeless, a struggling college student, young professional, empty nester, disabled, or what ever. That the city is the place to flock to to start home ownership be it starter home, homeless housing, family housing, empty nester housing, and such. If we fail we will be more like detroit. If we area success then we will grow. It is a risk we need to take.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jason JamesMichael O'Beirne on 12/31/2014 at 2:48 PM

Re: “The ACA's poison pill?

Before the ACA the poor and uninsured could easily get health insurance for free in Arizona. It is called ahcccs or Mercy Care for the poor. GOP don't need a new healtcare plan to replace the ACA since the old system was very effective.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Arizona Jim on 12/24/2014 at 4:15 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

To Martin J.

Your thoughtful, knowledgeable comments here encourage me to ask if you
would consider joining a panel on Ukraine that Rochester Against War
(RAW) plans to hold in the near future. We already have confirmed a UR professor as a panelist and are seeking a panelist from the local Ukrainian-American community.

RAW has organized many such events during the past decade, in order
to offer public discussion of critical issues not adequately debated
in mainstream media. The complexity of the Ukraine crisis, ignored by
mainstream media, is a case in point.

I am the author of this City piece and a co-founder of RAW over a decade ago. Please contact me at dougdnoble@gmail.com. Thanks. Doug Noble

Posted by DOUG N on 06/02/2014 at 10:12 AM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

All the back and forth from various state press agencies aside, there are a handful of facts about Ukraine that are pretty clear.

There was a democracy in Ukraine with a democratically elected President - that he was corrupt, and his govt inefficient and largely unliked by many simply means they are no different from most governments across the globe.

While most of the Maidan protesters simply wanted a better life and felt Yanukovitch was sacrificing a great opportunity, the elements that escalated the conflict to a deadly one were absolutely neo-Nazi and hard right. The photos don't lie, plenty of neo-nazi symbols on the barricades and adorning the riot shields and garb of the anti-govt combatants. Far right leaders were rewarded with several high level posts in the current govt, also not propaganda. The resignation of many regional elected officials associated with the ousted Part of Regions, by threat of a hammer or bat to the head, also not propaganda.

What Yanukovitch ultimately wound up sacrificing was a continuity of legitimate govt by not responding with enough force when the protests turned into a violent coup attempt (pics of law enforcement being hit with firebombs also not propaganda). If the capital of Ukraine had been in Donetsk or even Odessa, it never would have blown up the way it did. Keep in mind the wretched hypocrisy of the EU and USA, threatening all manner of consequences if Yanukovitch used force to restore order when folks were burning people and government buildings, yet they rubber stamp use of artillery and air support on people who aren't threatening anyone and whose only initial demand was a referendum on greater autonomy. If only they weren't sitting on a sizable shale gas formation, or dealing with a legitimate, accountable government, they might have gotten somewhere.

Voters across the country and primarily across the East had the legitimate expression of their political will flushed down the toilet. It was many weeks of buildup and requests to the coup imposed government for a referendum on Federalization before the E Ukraine residents started to take political matters into their own hands. I cannot fathom how the democratic political will of these people can be so casually disregarded as Russian manipulation, yet the product of a violent overthrow can be immediately accepted as the legitimate voice of the entire country's will. Note, the coup imposed government was quick to accept an EU deal with no legitimate mandate - what cannot be done democratically, the EU, IMF, USA is always ready to accept on the decree of a self-imposed government - send in the CIA and assorted psyops and military advisers to safeguard the investment!

This is tied in to the delay of the "interim" government in responding to the Eastern region backlash - they had to import troops and recruit a "National Guard" from hard right activists in the Western parts of the country, the locals wouldn't shoot at their fellow citizens. These can only be called paramilitaries, and their arrival on the scene was punctuated by a willingness to use force where unquestionably, dialogue would have sufficed.

Another fact - Yanukovitch and Putin weren't good buddies. The EU integration deal was scrapped because it wasn't a good deal for Ukraine's economy or banking sector aside from the agricultural sector(read the details and how it would have worked when the rubber hit the road). To top it off, it would have trashed the export potential of the only consistently functional industrial region of the country, the Eastern third. Yanukovitch might have done a better job of explaining this to his countrymen, but likely wouldn't have helped. The EU deal is all about access to Ukraine's natural resources, much like the recent Colombian trade deal with the US, it has nothing to do with democracy or a beneficial outcome for the majority of Ukraine's citizens.

A final thought when comparing propaganda from various state sources, one would be hard pressed to find a more consistently dishonest source of information than the US State Dept, anywhere in the world. Generally speaking if one is interested in the truth you can start with an assumption the State Dept is lying and work backward trying to prove otherwise - is frequently impossible. If one simply waits a few months even the mainstream media will eventually have to publish the truth regarding their overheated falsehoods ...in a trickle on page 5 or 6.

Posted by Martin J on 06/02/2014 at 9:26 AM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

I am an American that just returned from Russia because the non-profit I was working for was shut down. I have two graduate degrees related to the study of the former Soviet Union and have spent nearly five years there.

The assertions that the US frequently misled and even lied to Russia regarding NATO enlargement are largely true. We have engaged in an extremely flawed and often disingenuous policy towards Russia since 1991.

That said, where is your evidence that the US was paying people to protest in Kyiv? I know hundreds of western-minded people who participated in the protests in the last year in Ukraine (by the way I speak Ukrainian, have published articles on national identity in Ukraine, and have been to Crimea and Donetsk) and none of them were on the US payroll. That is a Kremlin assertion. People protested because they were not having their needs served by a corrupt and inept government. And to deny that Russia is not getting involved in developments in Eastern Ukraine would make one wonder if you're not on the Kremlin's payroll. As someone that consumes Russian news media on a daily basis (both official and opposition) it's obvious that Russia is very involved. Of course, they are not sending ground troops, but don't deny that there are thousands of troops amassed at the border (a message in and of itself), communications, and encouragement. And never mind the many Russian citizens that have crossed the border to get things rolling in Eastern Ukraine.

This statement is absurd:

"Much of the unrest in eastern Ukraine was driven by fear over austerity measures threatened by the pro-Western government. This in part was why in Crimea, people voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, although the US still blames Moscow's aggression for this voluntary annexation."

I was in Russia the whole time. I don't know where you get this information from. I don't even think anyone would agree with you here, neither anti-Russian Americans, pro-European Ukrainians, Russian nationalists, or residents of Donetsk.

I would love to debate you, but please spend a few years learning about what's going on there first. This analysis is nearly as bad as the US government's.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Peredelkino on 05/25/2014 at 8:05 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

Mr. Noble's open affection for soviet style communism/socialism is on full display here. He is in disbelief that his beloved communism/socialism is being exposed worldwide for the inhumane fraud that it is. So what does mr. Noble do as a response? He fails at attempting to slander and discredit the ukranian people struggling to free themselves from it. Pathetic.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mika on 05/23/2014 at 7:29 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

The article is not based on "inconvenient facts", like the author puts it, but on the Russian propaganda pieces. The author displays a pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian, anti-American and anti-Western point of view. He is lucky to live in the U.S. and not Russia - where such article criticizing the Russian government would not be published and would cost him his freedom.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by The Patriot on 05/23/2014 at 11:35 AM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

The author in his anti-war activism not only repeats all the cliches of the kremlin propaganda, but even goes beyond it.
Not even Kremlin takes the recent farce in eastern Ukraine seriously enough to call it "referenda" without quotation marks.
I do not agree with some of my Ukrainian friends, who are fast to blame the author of being a payed pro-kremlin mouthpiece.
But I blame him of being lazy and naive, and as a consequence - immoral.
Mr. Noble,
You get your information from only one source just because it fits your ideology so well. If only you spent some time researching the readily available information from Ukraine you wouldn't call the Russian aggression "alleged". You would repeat the myth about thousands of payed Maidan activists. To make a long story short, you wouldn't write this piece. Maybe, you would write another one - about the striking differences between the belligerent conduct of the American administration in 2003 and the indecisive conduct of the current administration.

I am a former Russian citizen. It is hard for me to see that my home country became a fascist state, an aggressor. People who do not see it fall into two major categories: those who are not really interested in what is going on there, and those who get their information about Russia and the world from Russian TV.
It looks like you belong to both categories.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Semion Kiriakidi on 05/21/2014 at 10:44 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

As an American of Ukrainian descent, I'm not picking sides, I'm just praying for peace.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Roman Divezur on 05/21/2014 at 9:07 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

Here is better explanation about fascism in Ukraine:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/?insrc=rel

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mary on 05/21/2014 at 3:28 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

Author doesn’t say anything regarding memorandum signed in 1994 in Budapest:

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is a political agreement signed in Budapest, Hungary on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France gave somewhat weaker individual assurances in separate documents.

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.

Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the U.S., Canada and the U.K. all separately stated that Russian involvement is in breach of its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, and in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Vlad SlavaUkraini on 05/21/2014 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Facts, fiction, and Ukraine

as an american,i do beleive that we have a trustworthy government,but its no secret that there is no honest politician.when bush jr was in office he declared war with saddam and other supposed iraqi terrorists,because he wanted the american government to police the world. 9/11 was a trick by government agents to pin something on these supposed terrorists,when they had nothing to do with any attack on us,the boston marathon bombing was similar to this trick to further plant something on fake terrorists.politics is a game of the best liar and there is a winner....the president of the united states

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by Drake365 on 05/21/2014 at 9:36 AM

Re: “The high-risk stakes in Crimea and Ukraine

To his credit, President Obama today flatly and forcefully debunked Putin's pathetic attempts to equate his seizure of Crimea with the allied liberation of Iraq.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by b.d.g. on 03/26/2014 at 7:48 PM

Re: “The high-risk stakes in Crimea and Ukraine

So the argument is that everyone should talk it out rather than beginning a war involving the two largest military powers in the world? Groundbreaking conclusion. Also you condemned Hillary for comparing Russian actions to Hitler's, then say that she was right. We can't condemn polititians for lying constantly, and then condemn them for telling the truth. And FINALLY it comes to light that the the Nazis invaded the nations of Europe because Woodrow said it was cool.

Posted by Jeff on 03/21/2014 at 7:50 AM

Re: “The high-risk stakes in Crimea and Ukraine

Crimea and Kosovo are not in the same moral universe — nor are the other situations the author cites remotely comparable.

Iraq, for example, was liberated precisely because the vaunted "international system" proved itself incapable of dealing with a psychotic despot like Saddam Hussein.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by b.d.g. on 03/20/2014 at 10:58 PM

Re: “The high-risk stakes in Crimea and Ukraine

While I agree that the US's (and Europe's) response to the crisis has been ill conceived, your defense of the people of Crimea's right to self-determination seems a bit naive. How can their cries for self-determination be taken seriously when only a slim majority of their citizens are ethnic Russians and when this cry of freedom suddenly rang out when Crimea was full of Russian troops. I'm sure the Tatars and the Ukrainians who live there don't feel the same way.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Osadciw on 03/20/2014 at 9:33 AM

Re: “The real solution to Rochester's poverty

And if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity (a good definition of "wealth creation") then the minimum wage would be at $22 hour at this point.

Meanwhile, the ratio of (American) CEO salaries to average worker salaries, 1980: 44:1; 1990: 91:1; today, somewhere in the 200 - 300 to 1 ratio.

4 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Troll Whisperer on 03/05/2014 at 8:24 PM

Re: “The real solution to Rochester's poverty

We can easily go back to the dawn of the industrial revolution (a little over 200 years), when wealth creation took off although mostly for management and owners: "The unions" gave us, you know, the weekend, the end of child labor, the minimum wage, paid vacation (for workers), the 40 hour work week, workers safety and a bunch of other things that we "couldn't afford." People were killed to get us those things - in our time. Funny what the wealthiest country in history can and cannot afford. And the secret to America's post war success, 1945 - 73? A well-paid work force.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Troll Whisperer on 03/05/2014 at 8:17 PM

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