July 15, 2015

Wondering, on Wednesday (v37)

Tonight, I'm revisiting a few things I've touched on in the past, starting with our Sonofa Governor Andrew Cuomo's education proposals, and looking at what's happened in other areas where similar plans have been tried.

Cuomo's plan, you remember, included tax credits for people and corporations donating to schools, tax credits for some families to offset the cost of private school, and scholarships, again for families who send their kids to 'nonpublic' schools. This appears to go against the NY constitution, but that didn't seem to matter for the Governor.

It didn't matter in other places either: there was a program in Colorado, referred to as Choice Scholarships (aka vouchers), for families who sent their kids to religious schools.  It was recently struck down by the state's highest court as unconstitutional, as it violates a provision noting that school districts cannot provide aid to religious schools.  And, in Louisiana, a court similarly determined that public money being used for supporting religious schools is unconstitutional.

At the same time, some states, are having success with these types of programs. Most of them, not surprisingly, are led by Republican Governors and Republican legislatures, who have adopted a 'constitution be damned' attitude.  Which has me wondering, whether Cuomo, who was challenged from the left in the last election, thinks that making a turn to the right will help him in the next?

A few Wednesdays ago, I shared the thoughts of Bob Costas on the decision by the powers that be at the ESPY awards to honor Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe award, given for "strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost..."

Costas noted that this was all about getting eyeballs on the ESPYs broadcast, which has always been aired on ESPN.  It's their show, after all.  Yeah, it's always been on ESPN, until tonight, when it's being broadcast on ABC.

Now, some people might think that's OK; after all, the networks are in the same family and all. But you can't convince me, and I wonder who could be convinced, that this was anything other than the tabloid play that Costas said was the whole point of giving the award to Jenner.

And finally, there's this: New York Giants defender Jason Pierre-Paul had a little fireworks problem, one that only cost him a finger, not his life. In the flurry of media activity surrounding this story, an ESPN reporter tweeted an image of Pierre-Paul's medical records which included a note about a finger amputation. Sharing someone's medical records without authorization is a violation of federal privacy laws. And of course, a violation of journalistic ethics and human decency and all that jazz. Sure, it was just a finger, but it doesn't matter whether it was a finger or a toe or a penis or an ear. It's wrong.

Mike Freeman, on Bleacher Report, wrote about the lessons to be learned from the accident and the media coverage, noting that
Maybe all journalists should stop and think about where our profession is going. A journalist I really respect joked that someone was probably periscoping JPP's finger surgery. I laughed and then thought someone probably will try that in the future. Unfortunately, that's where journalism is headed, and it's not good. 
I wonder if anyone will see this and take the message to heart?