Focusing on Dallas Finds Some Good, Some Bad and Nancy Brinker

Categories: Schutze

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Now that we've given up hope that state or federal governments will ever do us any good, the focus is on cities. So what about Dallas?

The Brookings Institution is offering us advice as part of its "Global Cities Initiative," telling Dallas to concentrate on education, exports and sister cities in other countries. OK. Check, check, check.

The Rockefeller Foundation might be willing to give us a nice grant if we can make the cut as one of the nation's top 100 "most resilient cities." I have my doubts.

Another story in the news this week may tell us something we need to know. The Komen Foundation, truly a product of this city even if CEO Nancy Brinker now lives in many elsewheres, apparently is grinding down into some sort of final demise brought about by what may be this city's real ultimate challenge -- the echo chamber. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Komen is canceling a third of its big fund-raising races for lack of interest, still bleeding from self-inflicted wounds incurred last year when Brinker, the foundation's founder, tried to suck up to Republican right-wingers by cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood.

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Nancy Brinker
Remember how Brinker said she had learned her lesson so bad that she was going to resign? Well, it turns out that everybody else at Komen did resign, but Brinker stayed on and gave herself a pay raise. She said recently she was "humbled and excited" to be named by Reader's Digest as one of American's most trusted citizens, an announcement greeted in some quarters by the inevitable question, "What is Reader's Digest?"

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For the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, a Cold Shoulder from ATTPAC

When Komen hit the wall over Brinker's right-wing suck-up play, public relations experts were calling it "the New Coke of nonprofits," a reference to one of the more famous marketing miscalculations in recent American history. I always thought Brinker's huge goof-up was the product of the Dallas echo-chamber effect.

Here's my point. Any leadership that was even minimally in touch with political culture in the big wide rest of America would have said, "Wow, cut off Planned Parenthood? Doesn't Planned Parenthood have an awfully strong brand going way back with most people in the nation? Shouldn't we test that first?"

Great, tell me you admire Brinker for doing what she thought was right instead of listening to focus groups. Everything she has done since, from offering to resign, not resigning, watching her own top people defect, now hacking entire limbs off the operation to stave off gangrene, is evidence that she just didn't know what she was doing in the first place and apparently still doesn't. If Komen had been able to get even a glimpse of the blow-back ahead of time, they would never have taken on Planned Parenthood.

Brinker still deserves credit for founding a worthy enterprise in the first place, for having the guts and brains to make it thrive and grow. But you have to ask what happened to all that I.Q. later on?

The echo chamber in Dallas is I.Q. poison. It's why we are not going to get selected as one of the nation's top 100 most resilient cities, for example. If Dallas even tries for it, I personally will send a long email to the Rockefellers with lots of stories about the Trinity River toll road attached. No city that wants to build an underwater freeway in the flood-plain deserves a prize for resilience.

The Brookings Institution's take on Dallas, on the other hand, is intriguing. They cite a number of strengths in the local economy, advantages they say offer the city a potential edge in competition with the nation's other great metro areas.

There may also be some strengths they missed. In our business leadership class, for example, are the people who brought this city its first black mayor and are now pushing for public school reform. We are fortunate in Dallas to have a cadre of people in both the corporate and entrepreneurial environments who get out into the rest of the world a lot and know what Dallas needs to look like in order to succeed.

It needs to be diverse, for example. I have to think those people are cringing right now over the story here last week about the Dallas Arts District, where the city's famous and revered black dance company is getting pushed out of prime entertainment venues. The same business leaders who talked Ron Kirk into running for mayor in 1995 have to understand and rue the way this city cripples itself every time it allows its funky old-guard echo-chamber class anywhere near the steering wheel.

So what about Dallas? Our moment is full of promise. The focus on cities isn't only American. Europe, too, is looking to cities and regions as engines of growth and effective policy. In that global competition for robust regions, we look good.

We also happen to have a terrible proclivity for making ourselves look bad. The remedy isn't anything too commie, like abandoning the business class as leaders. It's much less disruptive: To do more and better business, we just need to ditch the old echo-chamber and rely on smarter business leaders. They're here among us. Quick, somebody put them in charge of the arts district before the next ballet slipper drops.

What about Dallas? It looks good. Or bad. Depending.


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45 comments
WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Like many "non-profits", tt looks Komen has morphed from fighting cancer to enriching certain executives, publicity, and inflating their egos.  Brinker might have had good intentions but that ridiculously high salary for a "non-profit" is not an indicator of good, honorable intentions and in remembrance of her sister.  She is certainly already wealthy.  Why can't she contribute with a salary of say ...$100?

Barack
Barack

Yo yo ACORN wuz not as bad as dey could gots been what 'chew trippin foo'

randi.trollop
randi.trollop

I bet if you flicked her nose with your finger it would sound like a drum head being struck.  Her face looks overly taut from cosmetic surgery.

EastDallasMom
EastDallasMom

I find it ironic that conservative friends who oppose choice, are all too willing to unplug their grandparents and parents from feeding tubes and fluids, because they have had a stroke and for some reason they did not die. Why is it okay to have the choice to starve granny to death, because relatives don't want to see her hooked up to tubes, but they can't conceive of women having the right to choose?  Isn't it amazing how one can justify killing their  parents when there is insurance or inheritance involved?

kduble
kduble

That's a classic photo. She looks like a Stepford wife.

animas
animas

The Komen foundation has failed to adhere to their original mission--to effectively support  legitimate  scientific medical research efforts aimed at improving women's  chances of survival  following a diagnosis of breast cancer.  Since the causes of breast cancer are  multifactoral, including in some cases-genesiological, a "cure" is not likely.  Komen never had the right kind of  focused intellectual direction in order to achieve these goals.  The public is,quite correctly, leery of Komen's  diffuse and ineffective  political-publicity seeking agenda.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Taxpayer-financed Planned Parenthood dwarfs tiny Komen' donations for breast cancer.

but it had to be done lest the rest of the neighborhood bodegas think they too can escape "La Mordita" (the bite).   

After all, women might get breast cancer after multiple abortions.

Atrophy I suppose.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Brinker's greatest mistake was in bending to the pressure of the pro-abortion lobby.  If one looks at the many polls, you'll come away with a roughly 50/50 split on abortion.  The thing is, pro-abortion folks and lefties in general are not big on charitable donations and volunteerism.  Pro-life and conservative folk do much more per capita of both.  When Brinker and her little Komen Foundation decided to flip=flop and again fund the very large & hairy 800lb gorilla of Planned Parenthood, she alienated the folks who gave the most money and time.

All the rest is static.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Nancy Brinker has learned a pay raise uplifts spirits better than chocolate, especially if it is a big raise. This is an obviously necessary, clear as glass, pure as water, best practices method for a World Class foundation in a World Class city to boost her morale.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

....or we could ditch the city manager system and have the strong mayor system with a mayor with big 'ol balls who has that "vision" thing. Instead, we have unelected Joel Allison and Donna Halstead running the city.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@roo_ster I'll point out the obvious: she would not have made her "greatest mistake" if she had not initially decided to fix something that wasn't broken, namely sucking up to conservative bible-thumpers with money by pulling the rug out from under PP.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@roo_ster 

I'm sorry but can you provide some evidence of your assertion that conservatives give more money and volunteer time per capita than liberals?  I was under the impression it was the opposite.

Lorlee
Lorlee

A little linguistic clarification.  Those who oppose someone's right to choose are not pro-life, they are anti-choice  so let's keep our language clear.  I don't know anyone who is pro-death -- We are all pro-life -- some of us don't think we have the right to make choices for others. A wise woman who volunteered on one of the campaigns I managed said "Unless I have volunteered to take that child and raise it for the next 18 years, it isn't my right to tell a woman what to do."

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@roo_ster 

You and Phyllis Schlafly, man: just drill down tighter on those old rich white people. Please, keep, it up.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Poor use of link on my part - my mistake.  

Still believe there are more worthwhile cancer organizations not run by wanna-be socialite celebrities skimming donations to get a 64% pay raise.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@JimSX @holmantx 

Sebelius is a one-man death panel.

I'll take my chances on an ice flow.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@CornyDoggy@roo_sterNicholas Kristof had something to say about it in the NYT.

Bleeding Heart Cheapskates

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html?_r=0 

"Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children...

...Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent." 

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@CornyDoggy @roo_ster 

This is a no-win argument. A number of studies show that conservatives are bigger on private giving. But, of course, they don't give a shit if people lose their jobs and starve to death or die of disease because there is no public safety net. Liberals are willing to vote for consistent universal safety nets supported by their own taxes. In the end it's probably more  a cultural difference than moral. The habit and need of conservatives like Rooster is to believe that all people who have not signed up with their group and do not wear their insignia are members of a fundamentally different and inferior species. They can only define themselves by opposition, by what they are not. It's why they love that goose-step thing. They can't even guess why nobody else is doing it.    

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Lorlee Pro-Choice and Pro-Life are the accepted terms for the two sides of the abortion debate.  In the same way, 'anti-semitic' refers to prejudice against Jews only, not including the other Semitic peoples (in fact, Palestinians are sometimes referred to as being anti-semitic, even though Palestinians are Semitic themselves).  No one is equating Pro-Choice with Pro-Death.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@Lorlee Sorry, I don't buy and won't comply with your twisting of the English language.  We are not all pro-life.  If you are fine with killing unborn children, you are definitely not pro-life.

And your "wise woman" was a nincompoop in more ways than one. 

1. Responsibility lies on the shoulders of those who so acted as to conceive the child, thus making new life.  Plenty of choices up to that point (to abstain, to use birth control).

2. It is her and our right to say whatever we damn well please.

Phil_S_Housefly
Phil_S_Housefly

OK...as long as you keep thinking that killing little ones is not only acceptable but desirable.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@JimSX @roo_ster How many jobs are being created by young, poor, non-white people?  How many charitable foundations have been founded by young, poor, non-white people?  Care to compare charitable giving in either absolute terms or as a portion of income between old, rich, white people versus young, poor, non-white people?


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@JimSX

you must forgive roo_ster, he is one of the uninformed bots who think that Planned Parenthood is all about abortions.

the fact is over 90% of Planned Parenthood services are in women's and men's health needs, such items as contraception, cancer screening and the like.

cancer screening. that's why komen realized their error and continues to work with PP. the early detection of cancer is critical to winning that battle.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@JimSX @CornyDoggy @roo_ster Interesting here, how you are decrying conservatives by defining themselves through what they are not; when what you are doing is defining yourself, as not conservative.

In any case, you are painting with too broad a brush, just as Rooster is painting with too broad a brush.  I think a more accurate way to put it would be: Good people are more charitable than assholes, in most cases.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@JimSX@CornyDoggy@roo_sterIt is a no-win argument _because the facts are unfriendly to lefty notions_.  Reality, she is a female dog.

"But, of course, they don't give a shit if people lose their jobs and starve to death or die of disease..."

Just where do you think those charitable dollars go?  Have you ever darkened the door of the Dallas Life Foundation?  It is the largest homeless shelter in Dallas.  DLF helps more folks than they city's (taxpayer-funded) shelter and is largely funded by those old, rich, white people you hate.

But do we see anything in DO about DLF?  Nope, unless gov't is doing it, it doesn't exist or count to the deranged left...even if charities help more people better themselves and do it without recourse to gov't violence.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@roo_ster @RTGolden1 @Lorlee I was only wondering your stance, not judging.  I am, myself, against abortion and support the death penalty (with the same reservations you have against it).  I do not consider myself 'pro-life' however, just anti-abortion.  

In a somewhat complex twist, I'm also pro-choice.  It is not my place to dictate my own morals and beliefs to the rest of the nation.  It is not my place to judge the actions of my fellow man, only to keep my own actions in agreement with my morals and values.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@RTGolden1@roo_ster@LorleeDo I believe it exists?  Sure, it does.


Do I believe it ought to be applied?  Not so sure, given the junk science that masquerades as "forensic science" and the rampant testilying by law enforcement.  I am loath to grant to such people and a system the authority to kill in my name (outside of immediate threats).

Either way, you are committing category error.  Even granting my reservations, the murderer has had due process, been tried and found or plead guilty to murder.  What crime as the unborn child committed such that they ought to be subject to death? 


Also, one might argue that one inflicts the gravest of punishments on those who violate those values which we hold dearest.  And that something less than the death penalty for those who murder indicates we do not hold human life in the highest regard.  On the flip side, condemning unborn children to death indicates we have elevated convenience and copulation above human life.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@roo_ster @Lorlee Do you believe in the death penalty?  I'd think that would sort of cancel out an Pro-Life label that might be applied.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Here's a clue: Poor people don't have any money to give.  If they are working their asses off to survive, they don't have any time to volunteer.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@roo_ster

Islamic is not only a reference to the religion, it is a reference to the civilization as well.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@mavdog Transliteration of Arabic to English is not as systematized as it is for say, Mandarin.  I recall a Saturday Night Live skit on the very topic.  Also, there is no "Islamic" spelling of anything, given it is a religion and not a language. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@roo_ster

interesting to note that you use the islamic spelling of hezbollah...

actually hezbollah isn't "all about killing jews". if you haven't noticed, they are also adept at killing sunni and druze, not to mention the random kurd and christian.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@mavdog We all must forgive mavdog, he is one of the uninformed who think Hezboallah is all about killing Jews.

The fact is, over 90% of Hezboallah's services are in community uplift, such as health clinics and youth education, and the like.

Community uplift.  That's why Iran continues to work with Hezboallah. 

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