Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. It almost sounds like someone has never heard of the charity vultures.
  2. Oh me, oh my.
  3. Somebody hasn’t understood Grand Torino.
  4. Hysterical cycles. Very heavy fog on the ride in this morning by the way.
  5. If you subsidize something you get more of it. Somebody somewhere will explain why making it easier to freeload on our healthcare industry will get less people to free load on the same. Kinda like the whole increasing demand without increasing supply will make it all cheaper.
  6. Or that part time labor is better than full time. Gosh, it’s all good. 1984 here we come.
  7. On liturgy.
  8. I have no idea what the word “lastaviglie” means, but “honey … don’t worry it won’t hurt your dishes and we won’t have road grease on our plates” is probably not the right translation.
  9. Or it’s because cricket races are crap on a stick.
  10. Market confidence.
  11. Some advice for Friday shoppers. Actually I heard at lunch a really good piece of advice, if you know what’s going to be on sale (and you think it will/might sell out) buy it today and go in to get the price correction only on Friday.
  12. Actually I’d go further, ignoring professional incompetence on account of race is not moral cowardice, it’s racism pure and simple.
  13. This makes no sense to me, Tyndale a religious book publisher gets the waiver … but others do not. It’s incomprehensible.
  14. The Rubio earth/age kerfuffle … well I didn’t get any time to make my own estimates … a co-worker offered that Mr Rubio should have asked the reporter what he thought the decay time of the neutron was, and when he got a huh? in response, should have said, well I don’t know either, how about we both talk about policy and politics instead of appeal to exterior authorities about stuff neither of us really has a clue about.
  15. Another guy who has no clue about what he’s talking about.
  16. Democrats against freedom.
  17. Syria.

8 Responses to Wednesday Highlights

  1. 5.If you subsidize something you get more of it. Somebody somewhere will explain why making it easier to freeload on our healthcare industry will get less people to free load on the same. Kinda like the whole increasing demand without increasing supply will make it all cheaper.

    How exactly does one ‘freeload’ on the healthcare system? Are healthy people showing up at cancer clinics to steal unneeded chemotherapy infusions?

    6.Or that part time labor is better than full time. Gosh, it’s all good. 1984 here we come.

    Few of these articles make any sense if you scrutinize them. So the college is cutting part time profs back to teaching only ten credits, but full time profs are unaffected. So whose teaching the classes that have been cut back from the part time profs?

    What usually happens in cases like these is that unpopular decisions that would have been made anyway can be blamed on some national policy that’s gotten lots of news attention thereby deflecting blame or scrutiny away from decision makers.

  2. Boonton,
    Re #5 …. seriously. You pretend knowing a lot about healthcare and the debate. Apparently, however, you were unware that uninsured people show up in Emergency rooms, which they treat as their primary physician ’cause many physicians and hospitals treat their Hippocratic oath seriously. Or is that you don’t realize that freeload means taking services you don’t pay for? Is that it?

    #6 … again you pretend to ignorance. You apparently don’t know the difference between full time (tenured) and not. You still haven’t gotten around to explaining why cutting back on full time positions in lieu of part time is a good thing for labor.

    Perhaps this is your rhetorical ploy of the moment, i.e., pretending to ignorance after all its (not) working so well on the Benghazi affair.

  3. What does that have to do with either Obamacare or subsidizing stuff? Are you saying non-sick people show up in ERs simply for the ‘free’ pleasure of sitting for hours before getting worked over by ER docs? And wouldn’t requiring people to carry health insurance be *reduce* the extent of that subsidy for freeloading?

    More importantly here is the problem with the Romney view of health insurance as a ‘free gift’ worth $10,000 or so. A person goes to the doctor once a year, maybe his wife and two kids go once two…that’s 4 doctors appointments for someone to look at stats and take ten minutes maybe to write a script. In their heart, no one believes that’s like getting $10,000 cash. Sure they understand in theory that if their kid needed a heart transplant, that $10,000 worth of coverage would be kicking in…but still acting like he has ‘taken’ $10,000 of stuff from taxpayers stretches credibility.

    On the second, you’re not seeing the problem. Full time tenured profs aren’t getting their workload increased, part time non tenured are. So whose teaching the classes they are cutting back from the non-tenured profs to keep them under 30 hours? They are either hiring more part time profs, or eliminating the classes.

    Which means you’re either missing an increase in part time employment or the college is cutting classes that aren’t economical for it to begin with and using the law as a scapegoat.

  4. 1.It almost sounds like someone has never heard of the charity vultures.

    Not for nothing but it’s always fascinating to see Republicans embrace price controls and class warfare. So the Executive Director of the Wounded Warrior Project makes $319,000 a year? According to Wikipedia, the WWP’s revenue went from $1M in 2006 to nearly $41M in 2010. The average compensation for a CEO of a firm making more than $5M in revenue was about $1.3M in 2010. It would seem the director is taking less in pay than he could command in the for profit sector AND the charity has done well with its spending on him. What has merited this sudden bout of right wing anti-capitalism? The charity didn’t want to participate in a pro-gun event. Yes, simply not being pro-gun control isn’t enough, one has to demonstrate one’s loyality to the NRA. Kind of like when Stalin used to give a speech and the audience couldn’t stop clapping since no one wanted to be seen as the first to sit down.

    I’m a little skeptical of charity myself. I get the sense that charity these days has become a bit too formalized and has become something more of a modern day indulgence selling business. But let’s be consistent, people have to make a living and if someone works full time in the non-profit sector they will make a full time living.

  5. Boonton,

    I’m a little skeptical of charity myself. I get the sense that charity these days has become a bit too formalized and has become something more of a modern day indulgence selling business. But let’s be consistent, people have to make a living and if someone works full time in the non-profit sector they will make a full time living.

    Uhm, I too am skeptical of charity organizations which pay their people mid 6 figures. Apparently that comes out as price controls … seems to me the way (I for example) do this is not to contribute to charities that do that sort of thing when possible, i.e., Salavation Army over Red Cross. And I think charity by action (volunteering) is better when you can do it. It’s hard, however to effect charity far from home by volunteering. And yes, you have to make a living … that doesn’t justify $300k+ as a salary of a charitable organization unless you want to be called a vulture.

    Apparently calling someone a vulture = price controls. How’s that work?

  6. Uhm, I too am skeptical of charity organizations which pay their people mid 6 figures.

    Errr no, drop that ‘too’. I’m not skeptical of a charity that pays its top people in the 6 figures. It takes real organizational skill to handle something that raises and spends 40+M a year. It also takes leadership to grow an organization in less than a decade over 40 fold from $1M to $40M. Those that have them command a high price in the market and I think the world would be less efficient if some misguided sense of ethics demanded that such people could not offer their skills to charity without having to take vows of poverty.

    My skepticism is that modern charity seems to be a bit of an indulgence selling business. Recall the first thing that lept to your keyboard when the issue of Romney’s very low tax rate was to comment about what portion he gives to charity. Likewise it never fails when an exceptionally high level executive ends up in some type of trouble (say insider trading), charitable contributions are invariably brought out as though they offset some sin in the accounting books…in other words an ‘indulgence’.

    Seeking out a quote but I can’t find it. If you ever get the chance, pick up Christopher Hitchens’ attack on Mother Teresa. Near the beginning he asks a question about why it seems almost nobody ever seems to have any desire to really question her activities or how helpful they are. His answer is that for many in the well off world, she provides the feeling that somebody, somewhere is doing something about horrible things. Hence it’s much easier to just write a check than to really scrutinize.

  7. Boonton,
    You dropped the “mid” from my sentence. That was a meaningful adjective. My wife suggests that one criteria for separating the indulgence/vulture aid orgs is to look at the percentage of their income that goes to overhead vs that which goes to aid. Those (like the red cross) which have high overhead because high travel + expenses + salary for their top people do poorly in her view. I tend to agree with her. The point of a organization isn’t “growth” it’s aid to those who need it. It’s kind of like going to work at a homeless shelter and figuring the most important thing there is how much you are being paid. If you need to pay a exec 300k per year to do charity he isn’t charitable.

    My skepticism is that modern charity seems to be a bit of an indulgence selling business.

    I don’t disagree. And fancy dinners and trips and the high number of vultures is a sign that the organization is only doing indulgences and skipping the whole charity business.

    Mr Hitchen’s criticisms are not necessarily well founded. See wiki. 4k nuns with basically no possessions is not a high overhead and accusing a Christian nun of thinking spreading the Gospel is not a valid criticism. But yes, if you are “writing checks” and don’t think spreading the gospel a bad thing, then giving to Missioners would be a bad move. If you think giving money so people can go to parties in fancy hotels in Darfur then Red Cross and the like are for you. I’ve never pretended that learning about what you give to is a bad idea. I think I too agree that is necessary. Right now, for example, we tend to give to the Salvation Army and the IOCC.

    Let’s see your criteria is to reward with handsome salary a person who expands a charity by 40 fold. Mother Teresa started with 13 nuns in Calcutta and now has over 4k. I guess you’d reward her even higher.

  8. My wife suggests that one criteria for separating the indulgence/vulture aid orgs is to look at the percentage of their income that goes to overhead vs that which goes to aid.

    I think this requires a like-to-like comparision of charities. Wounded Warriors is much more of a niche than the Red Cross. By choosing a specialized mission, aiding soldiers wounded in combat and their families, you’re likely going to start incurring more overhead than, say, the Red Cross.

    The point of a organization isn’t “growth” it’s aid to those who need it.

    True but how much money is needed to accomplish the charity’s mission? Does the costs of wounded warriors not exceed $40M? I suspect it probably does so I’m not seeing how a charity is likely to have a problem with a President who is growing donations too quickly.

    I think this might become an issue in some cases where you’re talking about a limited mission. Sometime after 9/11 it felt like nearly $1M was being promised to the family of everyone that died. When you get to points like that I think a charity should consider declaring ‘mission accomplished’ rather than trying to continue to solicit more donations.

    I don’t think ‘mid’ helps very much. The best I can find for a market rate of a CEO of a company in the near $40+M zone is several million dollars a year. That would mean pay even in the mid-six figures represents something a below market rate.

    If you need to pay a exec 300k per year to do charity he isn’t charitable.

    No one said he is ‘doing charity’, he is doing his job and the charity pays him to do his job because it makes the charity do its mission. I have no idea what types of charities and how much he gives out of his personal paycheck but I don’t buy that he is unjustly milking the charity.

    I think you’re missing my point about indulgences. It’s not so much that charities are ineffective, they very well may be. I think they’ve become something very different than a more ancient understanding of charity.

    After the storm, we didn’t have power for nearly two weeks and for a few days a friend took us in and we slept in her house, her mother even giving up a bed for us. IMO I suspect that’s closer to the ancient understanding of charity….direct giving by one to another. Industrialized charity breaks that IMO into simple and easy giving of money. I don’t doubt that’s more efficient in terms of the charity accomplishing its mission. A lot more people would be helped by Lady Gaga writing a $1M check to Doctors without Borders than if Lady Gaga volunteered to work as a medical assistant at a clinic in Darfur. But there is something I think that gets lost with ‘industrial charity’. It becomes a type of indulgence rather than social cohesion. Instead of the industrialist directly letting some misfortunates live at his estate, they become something to simply write a big check too and hand to someone else who looks just like him….perhaps at some elegant social event.

    Mr Hitchen’s criticisms are not necessarily well founded…

    Not a very good summary of his criticisms. I suggest perusing the book. It’s pretty brief and very well written. When it came out years ago I made an effort to find anything to refute it but I came up pretty short. While there was some effort to examine his charges, the stance most seemed to take was that they preferred not to be bothered. Or rather a critical examination of the nature of her charity would not have served the purpose many had in praising and giving to it.

    Let’s see your criteria is to reward with handsome salary a person who expands a charity by 40 fold. Mother Teresa started with 13 nuns in Calcutta and now has over 4k. I guess you’d reward her even higher.

    And what exactly is this a measure of? A charity or a missionary effort? If its the a latter then I guess your opinion will be based on the theological value you hold for her missionary work (no doubt Tom Cruise brought a lot more than 4K to Scientology….but you’re probably not going to think that’s esp. praiseworthy). If its the former then you should critically evaluate her charity just as you do all the others you consider giving too. That is if your purpose in giving is to help people….if its to ‘buy indulgences’ then you wouldn’t be so inclined.

    If you think giving money so people can go to parties in fancy hotels in Darfur then Red Cross and the like are for you.

    I don’t think the Red Cross spends money to send people to fancy hotels. Maybe the Red Cross will sell tickets to a fancy event, the profits of which go to Darfur. Two radically different things….although both are ‘industrializing’ charity.

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