22 thoughts on “Open Forum!

    • I’d say it ranks a 3, given how it was thorough, unambiguous, and gave details on what they are going to do about it. One could be cynical and say it’s a 7 given the lateness of the apology, but it does look like they are taking steps to fix the problem.

  1. Given the post on Herschel Walker I’d like other’s take on the campaign strategy of one MD Gubernatorial candidate resorting to deceptive language to denigrate her opponent that relies on the ignorance and fear of the electorate. The other candidate simply puts forth his platform but because Trump endorsed him the power brokers lined up against him stating he is too extreme and unelectable. The Hogan heir apparent has only recently begun to put forth an agenda that mirrors what the other has been campaigning on from the beginning yet was usually absent from debates and public forums where we could have learned about such positions.

    The deceptive language referred to his successful representation of a pedophile who was only was sentenced to a year and the other sound bite of as that he voted against funding police when he voted against a huge budget bill promoted by the Republican governor and the Democrat legislature. I even got a snarky response from state Senator Corderman that implied I was a traitor if I was going to throw my vote away by not voting for his endorsed candidate.

    To me the ethical choice is to vote in the primary for the candidate who has not campaigned by smearing a fellow Republican and has not failed to appear at debates and forums. The odds of a Republican governor winning in MD is low to begin with so the idea that I am simply throwing my vote away seems like a desperate attempt to make me a pariah among the “cool kids”. I am also hesitant to cast votes for her endorsers who allow their names to be tied to the deceptive language in the flyer.

    What say you?

  2. I’m going to clean this up and repost from earlier in the week… It was tangental then, and more has happened since:

    I’m on the board of a Community Foundation associated with The Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). The CFC recently had a change in leadership after a wave of retirements, and the new leadership is, not to put too fine a point on it, insufferably woke. Every meeting is predicated by a litany of talk about personal privilege and land declarations. Every new initiative includes language about anti-racism or the importance of DIE. It’s creating issues.

    Community foundations operate endowment funds. We take in dollars from our donors, invest them wisely, steward the money, and disburse the proceeds net our expenses into our community. We are non-profits, so we’re tax exempt, and that’s wonderful, but it comes with some requirements: Regardless of how well the market does, we are required by law to disburse at least 3.5% of our funds back into the market on an annual basis. That’s referred to as the “Disbursement Quota” or DQ. We’ve always done better than that. Our positions are public, and we disburse on average 4.5% going back to the community (it varies a little) and budget a .75% management fee for overhead (mostly staff), which we’re never over. Depending on by how much we beat budget, we treat the difference as a kind of emergency fund for out-of-cycle disbursements (we recently hired a translator for the middle school from that pool). We fund investments to the local hospital, the schools, the golf course, the local theatre, the museum, kids sports, social groups, the Salvation Army… The list goes on. In an average year we’ll have maybe 50 requests and depending on the specific asks and our capacity, about 2/3 of them will get at least partially funded.

    This, we are told, is not enough. We are hoarding treasure, we are told. We are underserving our communities, we are told. Regardless of how the donors directed their funds, we should ignore their wishes and find some brown people to give money to, we are told… Perhaps not so directly, but I shit you not, that’s the spirit of that has been said. Last year, the government of Canada bandied the idea about of raising the DQ from 3.5% to 5%, or even 10%. In response, the CFC, who is supposed to represent us, said: “Yes please Mr. Government, please pillage our funds. Please fund your short term political aspirations out of our funds and destroy what community-minded people have spent a lifetime building.”

    I kid, of course, they didn’t say that. What they said was, and I quote:

    “The disbursement quota was created to make sure charities were moving resources to address societal needs. Many conversations around the disbursement quota have been debating percentages. Should it be 3.5%? 5%? 10%?

    These conversations tend to be reductive and risk being a distraction at a moment when the federal government can play a critical role in better enabling philanthropic organizations to meet the needs of their communities now and into the future.”

    https://communityfoundations.ca/boosting-charitable-spending/

    Again… We’re free to go above the 3.5%. We do this consistently alreay, in fact, raising the DQ to 5% probably won’t impact us all that much. The problem is that not all community foundations are as established as we are, and a DQ increase will hurt them and create barriers to future foundations starting up. The other issue is that we’re supposed to manage our funds…. There are years where the market does poorly. See: This year, as an example. In years like this, we try to fundraise the difference between our disbursements and our revenues, but if we can’t, the fund just shrinks. CFC is literally asking the Feds to take away our ability to manage our funds because they don’t think we’re doing enough. What’s the alternative? They’ve coached this in the language of “giving tools” to “challenge” us to do more, but they’re still saying the quiet part out loud. The reality is they aren’t giving us new tools, they’re taking tools away. The reality is that they *are* challenging us, but that’s not their fucking job, and frankly, they don’t know our markets. They don’t know the names of our communities, they didn’t look at where the disbursements went, they just have the perpeutal response from progressives:

    “More! More! More!” Never thinking, always hand to mouth. Like a toddler with Prader-Willi syndrome.

    We pay membership fees to them. To represent us. Meanwhile, they seem addicted to Liberal policy prescriptions, and have a very comfortable relationship with a certain Liberal senator who likes to refer to our funds as “public dollars in private hands”.

    This has created something of a firestorm. No one liked that. And now we’re having discussions about whether we want to continue funding the CFC. The Calgary Community Foundation, holder of a $1.2 billion fund which represented about 15% of the funds under CFC’s umbrella, and the CFC is panicking. They held a town hall meeting yesterday, and it was disheartening. The presenters were reading scripts like a hostage statement. Questions from the group were generally very blunt and pointed, the support from the group read wasn’t substantive, and also seemed very prepared. They ended up cutting the last 20 minutes of Q&A off the end and not actually answering questions.

    So do we withdraw? Cards on the table, we might. The math is that we pay the CFC $X in membership fees, for that X dollars, we are given access to special government throughputs. Throughputs aren’t necessarily in line with the mandate of a community foundation, but if we didn’t get the throughputs, our community wouldn’t either, and we do have a mandate to act towards what’s good for the community, within reason. Those throughputs in the last two years were approximately 50*$X. That’s a little unusual, but generally, there’s enough there that it’s a good deal. Against that though… It doesn’t matter if we get 50*$X in 2021 if by 2041 there is no fund. The difference between 3.5% and 5% is whether the endowments grow or stagnate in your average year, and the difference between 5% and 10% is whether the fund stagnates or shrinks in your average year. At 10%, on a long enough scale, our disbursements will equal 10% of what’s left in a very small fund plus whatever we can fundraise in a given year…. Which will basically make us a throughput…. and at that point, if the donors could just pay their $50,000 directly to the hospital, why involve the middleman? Our management fees would eventually scrape away at what was left, because even if we worked with volunteers, there are things like rent, utilities and finance fees that we just can’t get away from, and eventually we fold. Do we want to give people actively campaigning for that the legitimacy of saying they represent us?

    And that grates. Because, again…. The CFC was created in a different time. There are so many more community organizations now – We all have our own priorities, we all have our own cultures, and if the responses from the water-carriers are any indication, some of them are *very* different than others. There are massive barriers to entry, and because of the government’s hostility to the model, they’re only getting worse.

    Which means that if these fucking wokesters manage to break up the CFC because their priorities in the name of their political ideology is so far removed from their actual mandate, at the end of the day, they’ll be able to sit proudly on their throne of ash, having “dismantled” yet another institution without a plan going forward, one of the better tools in our arsenal will just be gone, and they’ll move on to the next project with a tragic lack of self awareness.

    • Some terminology issues here. I am thinking it is Canadian versus American terminology, but it might just be common to charitable foundations (which is how I am thinking of your Community Foundations).

      Any way, from the context I gather that when you say ‘disburse at least 3.5% of our funds back into the market on an annual basis’, you are saying that that much money has to be given back to the community (i.e. market) each year. So if you have $1.2 billion in your fund, at least $42 million must be donated each year. Am I getting this right?

      Assuming so, being forced to give 10% per year would seem like a death sentence to any fund, given a long enough time frame. I am actually not a financial analyst but, barring a Ponzi scheme, my general reading tells me 10+% growth consistently every year is quite ambitious, so say the least.

      The other thing I still can’t quite fathom is ‘throughputs’ — can you elaborate what these are and what it means to ‘be given access’ to them? You also mention that if your fund went away, you would essentially become a throughput yourself?

      From what I’ve gathered about your overall point, it does seem sound to me. Somewhat akin to a college endowment — it’s no good if the trustees never disburse any funds, but at the same time they have an obligation to conserve the principal to be able to serve their institution in perpetuity.

      • “So if you have $1.2 billion in your fund, at least $42 million must be donated each year. Am I getting this right?”

        On the nose.

        “The other thing I still can’t quite fathom is ‘throughputs’ — can you elaborate what these are and what it means to ‘be given access’ to them?”

        You might have heard them called Flowthroughs? When the government grants money, they generally have conditions on who is qualified for the grant and what hoops they have to jump through, but they’re notorious for not actually wanting to do the administration work, particularly as the projects get smaller. So they’ll tell us the max dollars they’re willing to disburse in our area, the terms we have to abide by, and then once we signal we have enough grant requests for the total, they’ll disburse the money to us, and we’ll disburse the money to the grantees. If we have the money for all of a month, it’s very unusual.

        Our model is “hold money in perpetuity, disburse the proceeds”, so like I said, not exactly within our mandate… But the area wouldn’t have access to those funds otherwise, so we play ball.

        • Actually, I don’t know that I’ve heard them described at all, although it makes perfect sense to me now.

          I can see why your foundation would feel it incumbent upon them to be involved in these throughputs. Not only would would the money disappear if you didn’t make an effort to claim it (and worthy groups would go wanting for those funds), but if your board has a reasonable amount of self esteem, it likely would feel it could do a better job of directing such funds than some other group or foundation.

          Still, kind of an odd way for the government to hand out its money, it would seem.

    • If the link was to expose section8 arbitrage I advocated for years that section 8 funding SHOULD be used to help low income renters become home owners. This would help mitigate the wealth gap as well as reduce the total social burden over time. As long as the well to do create the programs that allow them to profit at taxpayer expense we will never fix the budget. There is a reason that Montgomery County, MD an Northern Virginia are the wealthiest in the nation and it has little to do with creating long term value.

    • Historical observation: Since it’s degenerated into TikTok links (just like Althouse, who is an addict!), this seems as good a time as any to mention that as of 5 am, EST, this is by far the least active Forum in EA history.

  3. Fresh from its latest “compromise” on firearms issues, the House is already spinning up a new “assault weapons” ban,
    HR 1808 .
    As it now stands, it would ban more than just certain rifles with various (often cosmetic) features, but also affect pistols, magazines, bumpstocks, and shotguns .
    It seems likely that some variation of this will make it to the Senate, where maybe the only thing blocking it there could be Manchin (who has previously said he might support some version of such a ban), and the two usual unreliable Republican suspects. The only other possible general roadblock might be that some standing for reelection would fear getting embroiled in this issue so close to November.

    The House also just passed HR 6538, the “Active Shooter Alert Act”. Seems maybe rather benign, but who doubts that active shooter alerts and stats won’t be used to gin up further anti-firearms hysteria. Other bills in the works include “safe storage” (make gun owners liable for criminals), and “universal background checks” (needs a firearms registry to enforce). The House had previously attached anti-gun provisions to the already passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense bill that directs funding for our nation’s military.

    In better, but local news, our county (north Atlanta suburbs) school board has passed, 4 to 2, a measure to allow hiring non-LEO armed security (preferably retired LEO or military) for the schools. It is, of course “controversial” and some parents are “outraged”.

  4. I have been trying to sort through my thoughts to make a comment for the past couple of weeks. It has been difficult to come to the conclusions I have.

    I have been demoralized and depressed over the current state of the nation. President Biden has consistently attacked the culture and societal standards. We had politicians who are lying outrageously and refusing to do their due diligence. This encompasses both sides of the political spectrum.

    After reading and perusing many different sources, I have become more absolutist on Constitutional Rights. Especially after seeing the continued attacks on all of our rights. It has become very difficult to accept any constraints on the second amendment, though I see the necessity to do so. I have always thought of the second amendment as the amendment to protect all others as a last means. With that said, how do I rationalize the laws that wish to regulate gun rights? Personally, it comes to restrictions such as licensure and tracking. Which we do already. The enforcement of laws already on the books needs to happen before we decide to add even more laws.

    The constant push to add more and more laws seems to be a band-aid to a complex issue. I’m one of the many people in this nation who face mental illness. Without my medication, I am thoroughly hopeless and would likely end my own life. But with medications, I am a normal person who functions extremely well. I even work in health care taking care of the ID/DD people. The laws on the books make it so I cannot purchase any firearms because I have been hospitalized. But with treatment, I am a normal functioning person. How does one correct laws for that? Or should we correct the laws on the off chance that someone who isn’t me who is in a similar situation decides to not take their medications?

    That should cover it for the second amendment. I honestly think we should enforce laws currently on the books before we decide to add more.

    Next, the southern border. We are a nation of immigrants. We always have been. But why are we allowing the Southern Border to overflow with desperate people willing to do anything necessary to flee their home countries? We need to close our borders. We need to punish those states and cities who have deigned to ignore and outright refuse to enforce federal laws. But how do we do that? I honestly have no idea how to go about fixing the situation. I might as well be pissing into the wind and hoping it all doesn’t come back on me.

    My father works for immigration helping people gain citizenship through the proper routes. He is terrified to even speak up at work because his politics are not mirrored or allowed. He has expressed multiple times how toxic his work situation is. It doesn’t help he is in California I am sure. But what do we do when the culture is so toxic and anti-law?

    I personally would love to see the immigration process simplified and made to be cheaper. At this point, it is bloated with government bullshit. We have so many illegal aliens throughout this nation from all over the world that it is ludicrous to believe we can send them all home.

    Roe V Wade… I have had a lot of time to become entirely disgusted by both sides of the argument that it is just messing me up. Ethically and morally, I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of abortion. But. I am so thoroughly done with the conversation that it is making me sick to see and hear any more arguments on it. And that isn’t fair to anyone. People need to advocate clearly, concisely, and reasonably on why abortion is terrible for society as a whole. And people need to stop muddying the waters and confusing facts and feelings. Safe, legal, and rare. That is obviously not what has been happening with abortion, but is the trade that needs to happen.

    I don’t know. I guess I wanted a space to write and clear my thoughts. I am not sure if most of this is legible or worth reading. But it has been weighing me down and affecting my personal life.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these matters. It is difficult to have a discussion when one is afraid that sharing one’s views will result in persecution, even to the point of losing one’s job. It is a toxic environment.

      Regarding guns and your situation — there are valid points for both sides. If someone in a similar situation doesn’t take his meds and would be a potential danger to society, should they be able to buy a gun? Conversely, as with being convicted of a crime, should a single hospitalization result in a lifetime punishment? Maybe we don’t have good answers to those questions, but they are worth exploring. The rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution are so important that none should be abridged lightly.

      The numbers of people wanting to emigrate to the United States gives the lie to the claim that this is just a horrible country. Unless, of course, we say that the United States is a terrible place to live … except for almost all of the other countries in the world (thanks you Winston).

      I recall hearing somewhere about a proposal regarding the illegal immigrant population here in the U.S., don’t recall from where. Basically the idea was to establish a legal residency status for those already here and willing to register. There would not be an immediate path to citizenship. If each person completed 10 years of legal, law abiding residency — then they would be eligible to apply for permanent residency and eventual citizenship.

      I suspect that — if made sincerely — a lot of illegal immigrants would jump at the chance to eventually become legal permanent residents of the U.S. Becoming a part of this nation is why they came here in the first place, is it not?

      I am sure there would be opposition. It would get around the idea that this is a simple amnesty, such as was given in the 1980s, because you pretty much have to prove yourself first.
      Another part of the opposition would be, whether admitted or not, those feeling we need the cheap labor these folks now represent. That, I think, is a positive feature — we shouldn’t have a permanent second class tier of Americans.

      Is there any chance of something like this? Realistically, it’s a long shot. I think it would take a Republican with a lot of oompf to push it through — some like a Trump, or a Desantis, or perhaps an Abbott.

      I always wonder if Bush in 2005 had decided to push immigration reform instead of Social Security, if he might have accomplished something. I think it was a missed opportunity.

  5. The story about Alex Stein reminded me that he exists. His usual method is to join town hall and school board meetings across the US, and I believe in Canada as well. This is possible because of the mass adoption of Zoom and similar services in 2020. When he is called upon during question and answer periods, he will spout a synthesis of the most ridiculous of the left’s talking points, if not go beyond even those. From what I’ve seen of his work, he doesn’t interrupt other people. I believe his goal is to show how ridiculous the left’s positions are to as many people as possible.

    Is it unethical to join these town hall and school board meetings when he is not a resident of those communities, and wouldn’t be affected by any decisions that they make? Regardless of whether it is ethical or not, is it just moral luck if his proverbial mirror holding causes the local board to pause and reconsider some leftist plan that would most likely harm the community in the long term (I don’t say that this is the result, though it is a possible result)?

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