Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | November 4, 2009

One Ring-a-Ding-y

Becky FengerThis editorial by Becky Fenger won third place for “Best column, analysis or commentary,” for non-daily circulation greater than 10,000 newspapers. It was originally published in the April 1, 2009 issue of Sonoran News.

The 2009 Better Newspaper Contest was sponsored by the Arizona Newspaper Association and judged by the Mississippi Press Association.

Some vignettes are too delicious not to share. So here goes. What do Lisa Graham Keegan, the former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, and a male stripper have in common? Their telephone number!

When I received a notice from Lisa Graham Keegan regarding the Education Equality Project (www.edequality.org), I took note. The Education Equality Project (EEP) was founded last summer by Reverend Al Sharpton and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein as a national advocacy group focused on "closing the achievement gap in public education."
Keegan has been an enthusiastic advisor to the project. Her statement that "This is an extraordinary collection of unlikely partnerships," is putting it mildly.

Some of the signatories to publicly endorse EEP's statement of principles are Henry Cisneros, the skirt-chasing former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and former Congressman J. C. Watts, Jr.

Al Sharpton's National Action Network is holding its annual convention in New York on April 2 and 3 where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will lead off the event. Then on May 16 in Washington, D.C. supporters will gather on the Ellipse to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the decision in Brown vs. Board of Education which declared "separate but equal" school facilities for blacks and whites to be inherently unequal. The decision led to integration. EEP claims that "55 years is too long to wait" for true equality.

I'll have to find out secondhand how the consortium intends to achieve this equality. It seems that it is the black community that is demanding separate dorms, separate proms, separate student unions, etc., these days. The single most important change that would help blacks achieve higher goals would be to root out of their culture the denigration of "acting white" by studying and earning good grades. That and school vouchers.

Lisa Graham Keegan is cute as a button, sharp as a razor, and able to influence folks. She would have been George W. Bush's Secretary of Education if she hadn't backed the biggest tax for schools in Arizona's history, which made her white hot at the time. I wanted to ask why she would approve of Al Sharpton's up front involvement in the EEP project when his ambulance-chasing, race-baiting, violence-inducing ways have gotten people killed in the past. He never apologized for the hoax of Tawana Brawley and likely never will.

That said, I picked up the phone and called the number on the public notice listed for Keegan. The phone rang for awhile, and finally a machine answered with: "This is the man!" Then the man himself picked up, and he not only did not know Lisa Graham Keegan, but his line of work could be considered educational only in an anatomical way. Charles is a male stripper at Dicks Cabaret on East Van Buren in Phoenix. (There is no apostrophe in the name, as it doesn't stand for a person.)

That typo on the phone number is going to lead to a lot of interesting conversations. I know the feeling. Years ago, my husband and I were victims of our phone number being one digit off from that of Hot Hands Massage Parlor, advertising in the Yellow Pages for full body hot oil "treatments." Oh, the calls in the middle of the night. Sometimes we would play with them. For Sunday morning callers, I would ask why they weren't in church. Ha. My husband's line was: "Sorry, we're closed for inventory." By the time the horny dudes would process that statement, we had hung up. Life's a ball. No fooling.