State, Not UFT, Screwed Kids Out $250 Million With Teacher Eval Demands

UFT Head Michael Mulgrew announces failed talks at news conference this afternoon.
For a sample of the over-wrought backlash that the United Federation of Teachers will face after failing to come to an agreement with the city on a new teacher evaluation system this afternoon, go check out today's opinion section in the NY Daily News.

In an impressive show of mutual-strokage, the News published an opinion piece by former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., entitled "A Stubborn Union Blocks Reform," opposite its editorial headlined "Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew is about to cost the city millions in state aid."

Now that the UFT and the city failed to reach an agreement, we will see whether the post-deadline headlines can match the narrow one-sidedness of the stories in the Daily News this morning. Even the most half-assed attempt to assess the situation beyond its most superficial layers should prevent New Yorkers, and highly-circulated newspapers, from heaping all the blame on the union.

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NYC Versus Montreal: Another Urban Cultural Breakdown

MONTREAL -- This past summer, I took a quick, leisurely trip to the capital of our country for both historical and introspective reasons. D.C. was a far cry from New York; its citizens did not curse at one another, and no one dared to jaywalk. The city was arranged in neatly kept lines with neatly kept traffic and neatly kept people. All of these differences were epitomized in a piece you can find here.

Riding off of that compare-and-contrast mind-set, I spent the past five days up north with our Canadian brethren in the good ol' city of Montreal. So returning to New York, I have decided to once again do another urban culture breakdown, a la D.C. However, this one is a bit more international, and, on a side note for those predicting a relatively warm winter, it's already snowing in Montreal.

Now, the Quebec stronghold is similar to New York in a few aspects. The price of food and a night out on the town borders on the line between tolerable and pretty expensive. Also, to maintain a healthy smoking habit is a hefty burden in both cities (unfortunately, New Yorkers are blessed with packs that do not bare the "SMOKING KILLS" ads). Rent is a bit cheaper in Montreal -- a friend of mine had a beautiful two-bedroom apartment and only paid $800 a month -- but most people know by now that everywhere is cheaper than New York in that area of business.

All that aside, Montreal denizens do things drastically different than us. Here's a few things I picked up over my stay there:

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N.Y.C. Vs. D.C.: An Urban Culture Breakdown

WASHINGTON D.C. - Every year, during the hot, humid, heat waves of summer, my father and I plan a historical trip of some sort to escape the hustle and bustle of New York for a few days and surround ourselves with nothing but some good ol' Founding Father lovin'. 

Last June, we traveled to Gettysburg and Antietam to check up on the once bloody Civil War sites. After endless amounts of shirts that said "Don't Tread on Me," faux Confederate flags and that fine line between insanity and historical re-enactment, we left the small towns full of antebellum nostalgia and headed back to Yankee Town.

This time around, we headed down to Washington D.C. for three days vacationing in our nation's capital. As homegrown New Yorkers, it was only natural that we stressed the fact to people where we're from, whether it was in a hotel lobby or in the back of a cab. While we explored the federal metropolis, our city instincts began to notice inherent differences between D.C. and N.Y.C. Streets, museums and general infrastructure aide, the urban cultures of both have striking characteristics that defines what it means to be from New York... and from D.C., we guess. 

And there's more than enough to scrap them all together into this blog post. Here's a few snippets from this tale of two cities:

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Your Day to Drop Trou on the Subway Is Nearly Here Again: Here's How to Do It

It seems like it JUST happened, and now, here we are again, just days away from the 10th annual time you get to expose your nether regions to the pristine and germ-free interior of a subway car. It all goes down this Sunday, at 3 p.m. If you're new to New York or have for some reason not been exposed to this treat, there are some rules, from Improv Everywhere. They are brief.

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If Your Dance Moves Could Talk, They Would Probably Call You Neurotic

In the latest in scientific experiments focused on getting at the you of you, scientists are analyzing dance moves to uncover people's personalities, reports the Telegraph. Apparently the way in which you shake your groove thing to music reveals key truths about your character. Read on for your own dance-analysis!

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We Rank the New Cigarette Warning Labels: The Good, the Bad, and the *NSYNC

​The FDA has released a bunch of new warning labels to be prominently displayed on all cigarette packs sold in the United States by June 2011. The 36 large, full-color ads (9 of which will end up on packs) are all meant to deter the buyer from smoking. Clearly. But which work the best? And which are simply ridiculous? Don't worry, we'll tell you!

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Subway "Report Card" Reveals That Even the Best Line (the 7) Isn't Worth $2.25 a Ride

The State of the Subways Fall 2010 "Report Card" (seriously, guys, can we get a new name for this? We're having icky flashbacks) has been handed out by the Straphangers Campaign. And the rankings are intriguing! Did you know that subway riders want "short waits, trains that arrive regularly, a chance for a seat, a clean car, and understandable announcements that tell them what they need to know"? Us neither! But all kidding aside, some things were kind of intriguing.

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Mike Bloomberg Still Thinks Bloggers Are Lawless Partisans

Today, the New York Times City Room (blog) runs excerpts from an interview with Mayor Bloomberg in which he's asked a range of questions about whether he'd run for president (no, but maybe), how much he likes shaking hands (a lot), how much he likes being "popular" (well, who doesn't?), and, oh yeah, how does he feel about bloggers?

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The Onion So Gets New Yorkers, It's Not Even Funny (But It Is)

via The Onion
It's funny, 'cause it's true. Even if it is fake. In today's "8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live," the Onion captures the bittersweet mystique of why we live here: In a word, masochism.

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News Riddle: How Many Floors Did Thomas Magill Fall Before He Landed on the Dodge Charger?

via the Daily News
No one can definitively answer this question! Yesterday, the Daily News reported that Thomas Magill fell seven stories and lived -- quite an impressive feat. Today, however, the Daily News updated the story, reporting that the man fell 39 stories -- holy shit, that's a big difference. The URL is true to the original headline: ...man_plunges_seven_stories_crashes... So, which is it? Should be an easy question to answer, right? Wrong.

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