Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31: Pre-September Sniglets

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Some things to think about:

*Somebody with a government attachment might want to start an investigation into the accounting practices of Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson. The revelation of the profit the team made as Loria and Samson cried poverty while campaigning for the new ballpark now under construction comes as a dismaying surprise to Marlins fans who believed.

Both Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami are asking about re-tooling the construction contracts either for the ballpark or the parking garage - or both. They should.

Samson is simply lying when he says the county knew. If the county had known, someone like retiring Commissioner Katy Sorenson, an honest and honorable person, would have said so during the negotiation process. It speaks to how much Sorenson will be missed when her successor is picked on Election Day.

A public investigation is needed, because heaven knows Major League Baseball's fearless leader, Bud Selig, won't conduct one. Questions should also be asked about what he knew, given that he and the Major League Baseball Players Association rapped the Marlins' knuckles last winter for not spending enough on players.


*A time for reflection during the weekend, as the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall along the Gulf Coast was observed.

Have Americans learned anything?

About disaster preparedness, perhaps. About the other major issue of Katrina - race - maybe not, given the level of hate currently in the country.


Too many states and the federal government haven't learned that one size doesn't fit all in education, either with students or teachers.

Many teachers in the Los Angeles area are angry at The Los Angeles Times for publishing a database of teachers between third and fifth grades. The teachers are ranked for their ability to raise test scores.

Testing as education policy has been going on across the United States during the last decade-and-a-half - during the same time as the U.S. rankings in the world for students' knowledge, college success and genuine education standards have been declining.

That's not coincidence. If children are learning only how to take tests, they aren't learning what they need to know in order to function in the world.


A slap on the hand to Anthony Horowitz, writer of the "Alex Rider" novels and creator of the marvelous television series "Foyle's War," for a very dumb comment about singer Susan Boyle.

Horowitz has complained about reality television shows, and he has reason to be angry: Greenlit Productions, created and run until recently by his wife, Jill Green, had produced "Foyle's War." But in a series of business moves in the United Kingdom, a mega-company that had purchased Greenlit basically threw the company under a bus; it filed for bankruptcy. Jill Green is now trying to get back the rights to "Foyle's War."

But that doesn't excuse Horowitz' recent comments about Boyle's weight and looks. Boyle, who has had her struggles in life, has a glorious singing voice, discovered last year on the program "Britain's Got Talent."

Boyle isn't what's wrong with reality shows. What's wrong are the numbers of exploitative television executives, producers and - in the case of shows with children - parents willing to do anything for money.

But what's wrong with traditional television folk like Horowitz is a narrow-minded, backwards view of who has the looks to be on TV. He owes Susan Boyle an apology.

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