Real Estate 'values' at year's end... Reading Articles about Real Estate Sales in the Wall Street Journal

There’s no quicker way to get a look at income disparity in this country than to look at Wall Street Journal articles gushing over luxury real estates deals. Here are two items appearing in the Dec. 30, 2011 paper, offering a fitting close to the year: Mere 110 Million Penthouse Near Carnegie Hall Gets Ever-Higher Asking Price... Jenny Craig Sells Home for $6.1 Million

When the USA proclaimed the "Four Freedoms..." as the objectives of World War II, there was not consideration of a "Race To The Top" or any of the other eugenics theories that America and the allies were fighting to eliminated. It took another half century for the same theories that were defeated during World War II to come back in fashion in programs like "Race To The Top." But perhaps one of the reasons why FDR was so sensitive to the reasons for opposing fascist theories of superiority and inferiority, the 1920s and 1930s versions of "Race To The Top," was that he knew from personal experience that after his polio, he could never again hope to compete in such a race. By the time "Hope" became an obscenity in 2008 and 2009 with the appointment of Arne Duncan and the inauguration of Race to The Top, things had changed again.The six-bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park has 10,923 square feet. Among other amenities, Jenny Craig’s 10,000-foot abode has an 11-car garage.

I was provoked to rage on Twitter:

Jenny Craig sold home near San Diego 4 $6.1 million. Poverty rate Chavez Elementary = 95%. Remember, teachers, NO EXCUSES!

Askng price 4 penthouse overlookng Central Park: $110 million. Poverty rate 4 public school overlooking Central Prk: 86%. No Excuses teachers!

There was a third real estate story in today’s Wall Street Journal: Asking price for an English Cotwold Estate on the coast of Maine : $6.3 million. This 5,800-square-foot home has only four bedrooms and 6 1/2 bathrooms. The poverty rate at the nearby Riverton School in Portland in 67%.

If you need a reminder of the income gap in this country, then you can read the annual New York Times feature, Neediest Cases. Take Rosa Alberto, who adopted her grandchildren aged 10 and 5 after their mother died. The news account doesn’t indicate how many square feet their living space is, but Ms Alberto sleeps on a mattress on the floor in the children’s room so she can rent out a room in their apartment to a couple for $600 a month. When the children outgrew the bed they shared, Ms. Alberto turned to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, and received $275 to help buy a bunk bed and school clothes.

Those children attend public school. Do you think their teachers’ college GPAs or those teachers’ devotion to the Common Core Curriculum and Testing mandate will be the deep and abiding element in their education futures?

FDR wasn't the only Roosevelt who took on some of the hardest realities in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s.NOTE: Although the New York Times does pull at our heartstrings once a year with this Neediest Cases section, their frequent stories on real estate tend to run along the lines of What a couple can get for $2,300 a month rent. The intent seems to be to leave the reader relieved that the couple manage to find a space NOT near a school (they're afraid of the noise) and where they could negotiate for a portable dishwasher.

Let’s remember FDR’s second inaugural address, in which he reminded the nation:

"But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens — a substantial part of its whole population — who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

"I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

"I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

"I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children

"I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

"I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

"It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope — because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful, law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. . . ."

Above, December 8, 1941, the President of the United States standing addressing a join session of Congress as war begins against the Axis and the Empire of Japan following the "Day that will live in infamy...", the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.Our politicos has definitely failed this test. The economic gap between the uber-wealthy and the growing number of people living in poverty is obscene. As we face the incessant noise of an upcoming presidential election, we should remember that “The Solution” will not and cannot come at the polls when we are faced with what John R. MacArthur calls the “bipartisan oligarchy,” two arms of the Corporate Party.

Remember Prince Salina in The Leopard? He said, “Ours is a country of arrangements.” Stephen Marshall refers to this movie in Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The New Liberal Menace in America:

"Prince Salina explains that the election was merely a ruse to ‘cure’ the passions of the people who had become ‘overexcited by Garibaldi’s victories. He understands that the elite will always hold true power, as long as the masses are focused on the battles waged at the political level, where the results are superficial and without any true impact."

Look at those real estate ads and know that Glen Ford as Black Agenda Report is right: “There is only one alternative, and that is mass political action in opposition to the rule of the rich. Without a people’s movement, the people inevitably lose.”

This is why we’ve lost in education: no mass movement against federal policy. People would rather complain about DIBELS than refuse to do it.

The sign on Woody Guthrie's guitar reads "This machine KILLS fascists." Revolution begins at home — and it can start — in our classrooms. Taking back our curriculum and our classroom means taking back our professionalism. This is the political choice that could make the difference we need. We are the only ones who can save us:

The Republicans are ugly, nasty and evil. President Obama is the most attractive and articulate servant of Wall Street and war — and, therefore, an even more effective evil. There is only one alternative, and that is mass political action in opposition to the rule of the rich. Without a people’s movement, the people inevitably lose.

–Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, Dec. 27, 2011

“A false friend is more dangerous than an open enemy.”–Francis Bacon


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