Seattle's win could transform NFL

The Times ran a fawning profile of Seahawks owner Paul Allen that never mentioned a man with a $15 billion net worth keeps almost all revenue from a stadium that cost Washington State taxpayers $425 million, adjusting to current dollars. Allen was lauded for liking Jimi Hendrix and for creating an institute that he named after himself. The money Allen gave to found the institute represents less than 1 percent of his net worth. To the Times this made him a great benefactor, while the public subsidies he benefits from weren't important.

Having the Super Bowl come to your city seems big, so why did the New York Times and New Yorker not respond with enterprise reporting? A friend who for years has been near the top of the New York City media establishment had this to say: "Football has never been big in New York City high schools like basketball is, so much of the city is out of touch with football culture. There is little youth football -- lack of space. Top personnel at the Times and New Yorker send their children to private prep schools that don't emphasize football, if they even have it. Basically, it's a class distinction thing. New York high society thinks football is for rubes in the boondocks."

This Week's Owl Item: Most people don't normally turn to sports columns for news on the migratory patterns of North American owls, though TMQ has been way ahead on the snowy owls story. Last week a snowy owl, normally found in the sub-Arctic, was hit by a bus in downtown Washington, D.C. Reader Morty Gaskill reports that snowy owls have been observed on a North Carolina coastal island. What is all this an omen of? That's what I cannot figure out.

College Board Scores an 800 on Fleecing Kids: It's scandalous that the mega-profitable NFL has a tax exemption for its Park Avenue headquarters. But football surely is not the only offender when it comes to hiding behind tax exemptions.

Benjamin Tonelli, a senior at Garfield High School in Seattle, noted in last week's Wall Street Journal that he and his parents have paid a total of $750 for the many SATs now administered by the College Board, plus another $534 for the Board's Advanced Placement tests. A generation ago, there were two SATs, in math and English. Now there are three basic tests plus 20 " subject tests," many overlapping with the basic tests. High school students are encouraged to take the basic tests at least twice, to take at least two subject tests and to take several Advancement Placement tests.

All this testing drives profits for the College Board: it pushes the Advanced Placement tests despite knowing that many colleges neither factor them into admission nor accept them as credits. Tonelli and his family spent about $1,250 on College Board tests, plus endless rounds of driving back and forth to testing centers -- and then were hit with a $11.25 charge for each college the scores were reported to, though this is done electronically at close to zero cost to the College Board.

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