Sunday, February 22, 2009

Obama’s Unfortunate Hoop Dreams (or schooling ArneDuncan)

I've decided that all of the wonderful emails and news i've been getting about Obama's true warmongering nature(bombing and further invading Afghanistan), nazi style power politics(his whole sadistic cabinet and political advisors), murderous cowboy language (hunt em down, round em up, and kill em), is just to good not to send to all of you who:
1. Voted for Obama just because he has black skin and it would be nice to see someone other than a white male in office.
2. Believe he really means it when he promises you change and gave you that false hope
3. All throughout the Bush presidency i saw and heard you keep saying..."i can't wait until the 8 Bush years are over!" and "We just need a new president".
4. Cried tears of joy when he got SElected.
5. Threw or attended a "Change" party in your neighborhood.
6. Bought a shirt in South L.A. somewhere on a corner with Obama on it that said, "just let a brotha in" or "stop the drama vote Obama", or with Obama's face next to Dr. King's that said, "i have a dream". (Never ever Malcolm next to Obama or any reference to Malcolm's legacy...strange isn't it?)
7. Had your child believing that Obama was the one to vote for and telling him/her that he is a good man or buying him/her the Obama comic books, games, video's, speeches, cereal, Obama cookies, Obama candy, Obama toilet paper. (some of these may not exist at this time).
8. Don't care or believe that Obama is related by blood to Bush and Cheney and that this got him Selected.
9. Don't know what is what Malcolm called a "House Negro".
10. ...and i'll end it here for now...You're a person who will campaign for and vote for Obama again in 4 years even after you continue to see his true colors.

Until next article exposing him...
-El Machete
Obama’s Unfortunate Hoop Dreams (or schooling ArneDuncan)
By Dave Zirin

"I think we are putting together the bestbasketball-playing Cabinet in American history." So said Barack Obama uponnaming Arne Duncan his nominee for Secretary of Education.

There is no doubt that when it comes to hoops, Duncan hasgame. The man stands six feet, five inches. He was an Academic All-American baller at Harvard University and played professionally inAustralia for four years. Long before becoming "ChiefExecutive Officer" of Chicago Public Schools, Duncan put in time in the UnitedStates minor league hoops circuit with teams like the Rhode IslandGulls and New Jersey Jammers.
No question, if I was on the court choosing teams, I'd pick Duncan in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, we aren't selecting a pick up squad. Whatis at stake is the future of public education. And when it comes toour schools Duncan's record brands him as a scrub. Take this critiqueas something from someone who taught in DC Public Schools for four years and whosewife still slogs through the crumbling infrastructure of the system.If you believe that "we can't just throw money" atschools, that unions are a block to reform, that the military should have openaccess to our kids, and that charter schools are the greatest thing tohappen to education since corporal punishment, then you willprobably disagree with what will follow and Arne Duncan should warm thecockles of your heart.
Duncan might not have fulfilled his dreams of scoringtwenty a game, but he has converted roughly twenty Chicago publicschools a year over to private operations. He has rejected many of Chicago's "Local School Councils", loves the stultifying test taking used tojudge national standards, and stands firmly with the notion thatteachers at poorly-testing schools should be canned. Duncan has alsoturned a blind eye to addressing a study from his alma mater, HarvardUniversity, that Chicago's Public School's are "only a few percentagepoints from an experience of total apartheid for Black students."
But the experience of Chicago teacher Jesse Sharkey are more damning that anything I could write. Sharkey teaches at Senn HighSchool where students, parents, and teachers organized togetherin ahigh profile campaign to keep the city from installing a Naval Academyinside the school. As Sharkey wrote, "We asked Duncan to postpone the decision to put the military school at Senn. Duncan's answer was aclassic. He said: 'I come from a Quaker family, and I've always beenagainst war. But I'm going to put the Naval Academy in there, becauseit will give people in the community more choices.'"He's just thekind of person who will look at you with a straight face and tell youthat, as a person with a pacifist background, he supports a military school."
Well, at least we know Duncan will fit in well inWashington, where personal conviction means little when up againstpolitical objectives. (See Warren, Rick.)
Make no mistake about it: I like the fact that hoops willbe part of the culture of the new White House. Duncan, AG nominee EricHolder, National Security advisor General James Jones andambassador to the UN nominee Susan Rice all havea serious basketball pedigree.And as someone who grew up in New York City playing hoops onlyslightly less that I breathed, I strongly relate to the passage inObama's 1995 book Dreams From My Father, where he wrote, "I could playbasketball, with a consuming passion that would always exceed my limitedability. . . On the basketball court I could find a community ofsorts, with an inner life all its own. It was there that I would make myclosest white friends, on turf where blackness couldn't be adisadvantage."
For me as well, in a divided New York City, thebasketball court was where walls felt like they could come down. But I havefar more faith in the sacred power of hoops than I do in an educationsecretary who presides over an apartheid system and attacks teachersand public education in the name of reform. If Duncan tries to bringthat into my lane, I won't be the only person ready to smack that junkback into the third row.
[DaveZirin is the author of “A People’s History of Sports in the United States” (TheNew Press) Receive his column every week by emailing Contact him at]

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