Among the many government shutdown stories that came over the wire in recent weeks was one about billionaire Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, whose foundation gave $10 million to the National Head Start Association to keep the program for low-income children running after the shutdown forced it to close in six states.
Not so fast, buster.
But The Nation’s Amy Schiller went further, lamenting the Arnolds’ involvement for undermining “a larger community that requires a major central government to properly care for all its citizens.” The entire shutdown, she wrote, “is undergirded by a fantasy of a world in which the government’s power is vastly reduced and private citizens step into the breach with better, more innovative ideas for solving social challenges.”
Whatever the intentions, progressives see the Arnolds’ entire approach to philanthropy as making things worse in the long run. Private philanthropy, in this view, is a threat not just to long-established government programs but to democracy itself. Charity is all well and good as long as it’s restricted to symphonies and other “ornamental causes,” but foundations that have greater public policy ambitions represent the “voice of plutocracy.”
(John Daniel Davidson, The Resurrection of American Philanthropy)
Amy Schiller should have been a lawyer. And I mean that in the worst possible sense.
If I was more intent on blogging about current events, I could easily fill a 40 hour workweek with Obamacare stories since October 1. But I’m not that intent, so I’ll just cut-and-paste a little:
Obama’s victory calls to mind that of King Pyrrhus of Epirus over the Romans at Asculum as described by Plutarch. Counting up his dead friends, dead commanders and dead soldiers, the king remarked, “Once more such victory and we are undone.”
Obama’s assurances of keeping your insurance plan if you like it now enters presidential history alongside George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips! No new taxes,” Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss. Lewinsky,” and George W. Bush’s tales of yellow cake in Niger and hidden arsenals of WMDs.
Here was the president’s signature program—what Social Security was to FDR, Medicare to LBJ—and one month into launch, it is grist for the mills of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central.
By the way. Yours truly, having officially entered the world of Medicare on the auspicious first day of the month of an auspicious birth anniversary, now heartily endorses raising not only the retirement age, but the Medicare age.
Wesley J. Smith wonders why, in an era when the Washington Redskins are being pressured to change their name (and Wheaton College dropped “Crusaders” a decade or so ago), “vegetable” still remains an acceptable label for some seriously disabled human beings.
Comments uttered by a politician’s parent may have little relevance in assessing an elected official. But it’s appropriate to take Rafael Cruz into account when evaluating his son the senator. Ted Cruz, the tea party champion who almost single-handedly spurred the recent government shutdown, has often deployed his father as a political asset. He routinely cites his Cuban-born father, who emigrated from the island nation in 1957, when he discusses immigration and justifies his opposition to the bipartisan reform bill that passed in the Senate. (Ted Cruz hails his father as a symbol of the “American dream” who came to the United States legally—though Rafael Cruz began his career in the oil industry in Canada, where Ted was born.) Moreover, Ted Cruz campaigns with his father; he had him in tow on a recent trip to Iowa (where the evangelical vote is crucial in GOP presidential primaries). Rafael Cruz regularly speaks to tea party and Republican groups in Texas as a surrogate for his son; during Ted Cruz’s 2012 Senate campaign, his father was dispatched to events and rallies across the state to whip up support. And thanks to Ted Cruz’s political rise, Rafael has become a conservative star in his own right. He has been prominently featured—and praised—at events held by prominent right-wing outfits, such as FreedomWorks and Heritage Action. What Rafael Cruz says—especially when he is speaking for his son—matters.
Translation: Cruz is a putative conservative, and thus is fair game for sleazy attack. Methinks Mother Jones protesteth too much. (H/T Religion Clause)
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)