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Monday, August 17, 2009



I had read several reviews of Dan Pallotta’s book, Uncharitable, and had mixed emotions when I purchased the book.  His now defunct company, Pallotta TeamWorks, had raised millions of dollars for several charities via high profile events.  The worthwhile causes, fighting AIDS and breast cancer, received millions of dollars for their programs as a result of the special events conducted by Pallotta TeamWorks, but the company was brought down by criticism of the high cost of raising funds for these groups.

In reality, although the ratios were somewhat high for special event fund raising, the size of the funds generated was exceptional with some groups receiving more than $50 million a year for their projects after costs.

In their well researched and well thought out book, Forces for Good, co-authors Leslie Crutchfield and Heater Grant take issue with the self-styled charity regulators who rate nonprofits primarily on the basis of their efficiency in raising funds while ignoring the effectiveness with which they spend the money raised.  Pallotta also takes issue with these groups, but in a sour, self-serving way that will win no points with those who are open minded on the issue.  This is a book that fell far, far short of its potential.

Although I confess to not reading the entire text, it’s clear from the beginning that Pallotta is bitter and that his book is neither well researched when it comes to history, nor is it charitable to the incredible successes achieved by those who have given their lives to serving others through a nonprofit organization.

The book starts out with a diatribe against religion, especially the Christian religion.  His understanding of Christianity is superficial, at best, his knowledge of history is selective, and his assertions are inconsistent with the facts regarding who gives to charity in the U.S.

I was disappointed in the beginning when he didn’t even mention that the word “charity” means love.  I was further disappointed when he made no reference to Alexis de Tocqueville and his observations of the uniqueness of private charity in the United States.  Pallotta blames Christianity for creating a wrong view toward charity, although it was the church that has been and continues to be the primary source of charity in the United States.  If he had taken the time to read Who Really Cares? by Professor Arthur Brooks, he would have known that Christians are still the primary source of charitable giving in the United States.  This includes all causes, secular and non-secular. 

It’s not that Pallotta doesn’t make some good points about getting better nonprofit leaders by increasing compensation and about shifting the emphasis to the effectiveness with which an organization succeeds in reaching its goal, rather than the efficiency with which it collect funds.  He does make these arguments, but only after he has gone to extra lengths to offend those in the U.S. who are the primary sources of charitable funding.

Pallotta is an angry, bitter man.  This book had potential, but it will change no minds.  It’s not worth the price, nor is it worth the time reading, especially when there are so many other books out there worth reading.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Totalitarian Mindset

A Totalitarian Mindset

This is getting creepy.  George Orwell was amazingly prescient.

Now the White House wants you to spy on your neighbor?  I could see this from, but the White House?

Here’s is a word-for-word excerpt from the official White House Blog (found at

       “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out
        there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. 
        These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or
        through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them
        here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an
        email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that
        seems fishy, send it to”

Just what does the White House plan to do with this database?  Spy on fellow citizens?  That’s what totalitarians throughout time have done to control their citizens.

What about free speech?  What about the White House’s own disinformation? 
In two recorded speeches, Obama said that his healthcare plan was just the
first necessary step toward a one payer system, i.e. socialized medicine.  He went on to say that is his goal.  Now he says he doesn’t favor a one payer system.  And he and his supporters in Congress haven’t even read the bill!

And speaking of free speech, what about the White House dismissing and attacking those who attend town hall meetings in Congressional Districts as “mobs.”  I would think that a politician from Chicago would be able to
identify a real mob.

Nancy Pelosi said they were people carrying swastikas.  She said they were not grass roots protesters, just managed “Astroturfing” dissidents.

This is how Pelosi, Reed, and Obama treat average American citizens who are genuinely and understandably concerned with a government takeover of health care?

As I recall, it has been the left that has acted thuggish—throwing pies in the face of conservative speakers, shouting down those with whom they disagree, blocking access to attend speeches, breaking windows, and burning flags. 

Which ones are the mobs, the hard working average citizens who have turned out on their own to ask intelligent and informed questions about the proposed health care program, or the rabbles who harass and obstruct freedom of speech?

And as one parting shot, if you think this administration does not have a totalitarian mindset, check out this story on You Tube - - if it hasn’t already been taken off the air by the censors.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Obama’s Political Trajectory

Obama’s Political Trajectory

July certainly proved that the Obama honeymoon with the American people is over.  Over the past 50 years, nearly every President has had a higher approval rating at this point in their presidency by the American people than does President Obama.  What a fall!  He was elected overwhelmingly as President, only to tumble to record lows in disapproval ratings with the economy, with his health program, with his foreign policy, and with seemingly everything.

As of this writing, his government take-over of health care, his cap and trade (better written as cap and tax) program to curb scientifically questionable climate change, his take-over of General Motors, his support of a dictator in Honduras (as well as kowtowing to assorted other dictators in Venezuela and around the globe), his endless spending programs, bail-outs galore, high taxes (including the middle class), and giving more power to union bosses are all in disrepute by the American people.

The reason?  The American people are beginning to think they were conned by a politician who promised tax cuts but is instead delivering tax hikes.  They feel deceived by a politician who promised to balance the budget but has instead broken the budget by spending trillions of dollars we don’t have.  They voted by for a post-racial President who expressed his own racism by attacking police officers without knowing any of the facts.  They were assured of an economic recovery with shrinking unemployment, only to see unemployment soar after a questionable “stimulus” package laden with Congressional pork directed primarily toward Districts that voted for Obama.  They were promised bipartisanship and instead have witnessed the most partisan Presidency in history.

If President Obama continues to push his radical agenda, he will be a one term President.  He can recover, but only by backing off these unpopular programs and moving back toward the center.  If not, our economic woes will increase as we face skyrocketing inflation followed by high interest rates and a further slow-down in the economy.  That’s just Economics 101.  You can’t tax or spend your way into prosperity. 

If any one of his marquee programs stumbles, i.e. universal medical care, cap and trade, union card check, they are likely to all collapse.  There’s a herd instinct in Congress when it comes to political survival and it’s called “every man for himself.”  It has absolutely nothing to do with political philosophy or political party.  Getting re-elected to the next term takes priority over every other consideration by Congressmen and Senators.

Should Republicans sweep the statewide offices in Virginia and New Jersey in the off-year elections, the hand writing will be on the wall and Democrats in marginal Congressional districts will be running away from President Obama and all of his policies.

Unless Obama changes course, 2010 and 2012 could turn into a rout by the Republicans.  But, to be sure, there’s a political eternity between now and 2012 and anything can happen.  The GOP has to find good candidates for 2010, nationalize that election with a new contract with America, find a winning conservative candidate for President in 2012 and, along the way, raise millions of dollars and successfully play catch-up in political technology in order to win.  Should the Republicans do this, and should Obama fail to move back toward the center, his political trajectory will be down and out in one.