Bloomberg's Schools Chancellor Hire Looks Like a Practical Joke Gone Awry

A lot of people have been wondering why New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tapped former Hearst chief Cathie Black to run the city's school system. Add Black to the list: Bloomberg never even interviewed her before offering her the job.

Black told the New York Post's Cindy Adams that Bloomberg just randomly offered her the job out of the blue, with no preliminary conversations about, you know—what she thinks ought to happen to the New York City public school system:

Couple of weeks ago on a Monday the mayor called," she told me. "We know each other a long time. I didn't know what he wanted. He only told me this was a personal call and he wanted to meet.... He said, 'How's 7 a.m. tomorrow?' I said, 'Fine.' We met in his foundation offices. The offer came out of left field, and my stomach did a flip-flop.

Black's account makes clear that Bloomberg's story of how he came to hire her—"I did have a public search, and I picked the best person. I considered as many different people; I talked to people for suggestions"—is pretty much a lie. He just decided, "The next person who walks through that door will be schools chancellor," and Black got lucky.

But the main lesson of Bloomberg's life is basically that rich white people can do whatever the fuck they want, so why not?