Index
Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS/ART/MEDIA: Bill Cosby, controversy: "An art loan from Bill Cosby draws the Smithsonian into a national debate" ....

* Washington Post:  "An art loan from Bill Cosby draws the Smithsonian into a national debate" - From the WP:

Bill Cosby’s interview with an Associated Press reporter, filmed Nov. 6 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, shows power and privilege in operation. After reporter Brett Zongker asked the comedian about allegations that he had raped or sexually abused women, Cosby suggested that such questions were irresponsible. He and his wife had chosen to sit down with the AP, he said, because they thought the AP was a reputable news organization and would not dig into those unpleasant accusations.

Cosby tried a classic power play, hoping to intimidate the reporter into suppressing the video: “I think if you want to consider yourself to be serious, that it will not appear anywhere,” he said to Zongker­. After making this equation — between reportorial seriousness and deference to himself — Cosby asked David Brokaw, his longtime media representative, who was standing off-camera, to get on the horn to the AP and do everything possible to ensure that the videotaped encounter was “scuttled.”

Zongker, who covers art and cultural issues in the nation’s capital, deserves credit for asking the hard questions. “It was his duty to ask the question as a reporter and journalist,” said Lou Ferrara, an AP vice president whose purview includes entertainment news.

Cosby may have hoped that as an arts reporter, Zongker would limit his inquiries to art matters. Arts reporting is often assumed to be soft reporting, a feel-good beat on the edge of the real news business. Sometimes this is true, especially on television, where stories about the arts are vanishingly rare and almost always are used as inspirational postludes to the main event, which is all about strife, mayhem and the downward spiral of civilization.

But Cosby’s effort to hold the hard questions at bay also was premised on assumptions about the larger field of arts and culture. . . . . . . .

He was sitting in a museum, at the Smithsonian, surrounded by his own art, in the midst of being feted rapturously for having lent his collection.........................................

Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: UC tuition increase, state budget negotiations: "California tuition fight shifts to Sacramento"; "After UC regents OK tuition plan, eyes turn to Gov. Jerry Brown, state funding"; "Showdown looms over tuition hike"; "For Jerry Brown, tough going with UC regents"; editorial, "UC regents place college costs on front burner" ....

***Sampling of coverage, UC Regents, approval of tuition increase, fight now shifting to Sacramento....

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "California tuition hike fight shifts to Sacramento"

* Los Angeles Times:  "After UC regents OK tuition plan, eyes turn to Gov. Jerry Brown, state funding"

* Sacramento Bee:  "For Jerry Brown, tough going with UC regents"

* Capitol Weekly:  "Showdown looms over uition hike"

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "UC regents place college costs on front burner" - "Governors always have the last word"

Friday
Nov212014

SACRAMENTO: California budget -- revenue vs. spending: "Fiscal outlook brighter, but fingers crossed"; also, commentary (Dan Walters), "Brown tries to hold line on spending" ....

* Capitol Weekly:  "Fiscal outlook brighter -- but fingers crossed" - From Capitol Weekly:

California, long bedeviled by daunting budget deficits, is likely to end the next fiscal year with $4.2 billion in reserve, with half that amount due to a budget-reform measure that voters approved on Nov. 4, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan financial adviser.

The estimate by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said revenues were flowing to the state at some $2 billion above original projections, but that much of that amount likely would be eaten up by higher spending on public education and voter-approved requirements to retire the debt..........................

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Brown tries to hold line on spending" - From the Bee:

The election is over, the Legislature will soon reconvene and interest groups are starting to beat their drums – signals that the Capitol will soon begin its annual spasm of Darwinian combat known as the state budget.

Gov. Jerry Brown, of course, is the main player and he and his fiscal advisers will soon finalize a proposed 2015-16 budget for the Legislature. It’s a proposal that will be affected by Proposition 2, which voters, at Brown’s behest, passed this month, creating a new rainy-day fund that would partially cushion the budget from future economic and revenue downturns.

The Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, said this week that with revenue running above estimates in this fiscal year, the state could end up next June with more than $4 billion in reserve, but with half of it locked up by Proposition 2. That would, as Brown intends, temper ambitions for new spending, but there’s an even greater curb on spending the expected revenue surge next year, Taylor says, and it’s another ballot measure, Proposition 98, passed in 1988.....................

Friday
Nov212014

MISCELLANEOUS: Big $$$$ divorce: Report, "$1 billion divorce settlement not enough: Oil tycoon's ex"; commentary, "When a $1 billion divorce award isn't enough" ....

***A big $$$$ divorce....

* New York Post:  "$1 billion divorce settlement not enough: Oil tycoon's ex"

* Washington Post (Michelle Singletary):  "When a $1 billion divorce award isn't enough"

Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Charter schools, "requirement" for parents to volunteer: "Charter schools break law by making parents volunteer, report says" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Charter schools break law by making parents volunteer, report says" - From the LAT:

Scores of California charter schools require parents to volunteer as a condition for their child’s enrollment in violation of state law, according to a report by a civil rights organization. 

Public Advocates, a California nonprofit law firm and advocacy group, surveyed about half of the state’s 1,100 charter schools, and found that about a third of those required parents to work at the school in return for their child's enrollment. Some forced parents to pay fees in lieu of working.

In Los Angeles, the group found that parents at Academia Moderna in Walnut Park, which is overseen by the Los Angeles Unified School District, must volunteer 20 hours per family, and that those who fail to fulfill that requirement could be at risk of losing their child’s spot the following year.  At the Academy of Science and Engineering charter school, also authorized by L.A. Unified, parents must volunteer to work at least 20 hours in a variety of jobs: document translation, school cleanup and facilities maintenance.

Hilary Hammell, the Public Advocates attorney who wrote the report, said the practice clearly defies state education law, violating California's guarantee of a free education. By compeling work hours, the schools are essentially requiring a fee, she said. “When work is required, it’s not voluntary,” Hammell said. “It’s wrong and unlawful to punish a child for what his or her parents can’t or won’t do.”

n a statement, the California Charter Schools Assn. said it was not familiar with any situation in which a student was excluded from a school as the result of a parent’s failure to volunteer. The group said it would provide guidance to its members on the issue...............

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