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A generation with its hand out...

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by p51, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. It'll be interesting to see how this digital age of ours will affect our giving habits.

    Like Yogi, I'm reluctant to make predictions, especially about the future. But I've noted a trend of getting donors to sign up for a monthly contribution of, say, 10 bucks, which is debited automatically from one's checking account. Easier to get them to give it up in 12 little bites than one big one during the semi-annual on-air beg-a-thon.
  2. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I guess I didn't read it that way. It came off as snarky and condescending. I doubt that was your intent, but that's how it appeared to me.
  3. Many years ago, there was a mini-scandal in NYC as they caught (on video if memory serves) several Salvation Army workers pocketing the money from the buckets. It's a shame as I'm sure it was only a few, but I now won't give money that way. Like everyone, I have limited funds, so I avoid anything that has proven to be weakly policed. But as we know, there are plenty of needy causes, so I just directed that money to another charity (which probably has had its own issues, but I don't know about those).

    My mom, who doesn't have a lot, got so turned off after the United Way scandal in the '90s that she now only gives to people in her life who need help - she has sworn off organized charity completely. She says she loves knowing 100% goes directly to the person in need and she likes actually knowing the person she is helping. I haven't gone her route, but I understand why she feels the way she does.
    AmateisGal likes this.
  4. It's terribly inefficient for thousands or millions of individuals to send canned food or winter coats (or whatever) to people coping in the aftermath of a natural disaster (or whatever). So of course there's a place for organizations specializing in such relief efforts.

    But yeah, we can't help but feel like chumps when we hear of gross inefficiencies and outright corruption by the charities we have supported. It's akin to the particular sense of outrage and violation we experience when those entrusted with power and influence -- cops, clergy, the courts, etc. -- violate that trust.

    If I harbor any absolute belief, it is that we must combat corruption. We really don't want a society where only chumps play it straight, where getting what you want involves piecing off officials of one sort or another, where buildings collapse because inspectors are on the take, where those who can afford to buy the law enforcement apparatus live by one set of rules -- their own -- and those who can't lose their property and their liberty.
    MagsRags likes this.
  5. Or to boil it down as succinctly as possible, you can't plant a seed without dirt.
    ChiTownScion likes this.
  6. I'm a big believer in direct support too -- I've posted in the past about the explosive scandal that caught up our local community-chest organization a couple years back, where the smiling, glad-handing impresario of the organization turned out to have embezzled more than four million dollars in donations over a period of about seventeen years. I had always considered this guy a piece of work, going to back to when I was engaged to produce his radio commercials for a political campaign in the '80s, and while I was extremely upset to see the charity group sabotaged in this way, I was gratified, at least, to see that my early judgement of his character was not in error.

    My only disappointment in that respect was that this Enemy Of The People got a mild sentence in a Club Fed type of prison. There are a lot of working-class bookeepers around here who were caught with their hands in the till for a few thousand who are doing hard time. Justice may be blind, but it can smell the influence.
    Edward likes this.
  7. After many of the Wall Street crooks from the '80s got sent to Club Feds, there was a blowback in the '90s and '00s. As a result, many "white-collar" crooks were circulating in the regular prison system in those decades as the public had had enough - at least in the NYC region.

    I haven't heard much lately, so I wonder if that is still happening or if the system has "slipped" (with, I'm sure, plenty of money greasing the skids) back into a Club Fed option for the well connected.

    Somewhat related. I'm all for stiff penalties after a fair trial tilted toward letting 1000 guilty people go free before convicting one innocent one, but even for the clearly guilty, prison shouldn't be a circle of hell. Spartan - yes, but not the hell that many seem to be.
  8. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    For Justice to exist, there must also live a measure of Injustice.
    ---legal proverb
  9. Part of the contract ought be that a convict does his time and comes out with all the parts he went in with and is reincorporated in society. Alas, our society too often fails at that. It's not the justice system alone to blame, either. It's all of us, and most particularly the offenders themselves.

    I have little doubt that if all I knew before I went to the joint was a criminal livelihood, and if when I was released I found few willing to offer me gainful (let alone meaningful) employment in the straight world, I would go back to how I knew to turn a buck.

    I don't have the answers. I've known too many cons to be misty-eyed about the kinds of people they generally are. But they are our people, like it or not. We aren't gonna line 'em up and shoot 'em, so it's in our own best interest to work them back into the straight world.

    It's hard to make that case to a person whose education and work history barely qualifies him for a minimum wage job, especially when he knows he could be knocking down many times that amount by working his old hustle.
  10. Angus Forbes

    Angus Forbes One of the Regulars

    Did someone mention a movie theater a while back? Disney to the rescue -- see Goofy's performance of "Oh, the world owes me a living . . ." probably from the old cartoon Moving Day.

    At said theater, the projector jockey could run this cartoon before every show.
  11. Modern times ...

    We are all familiar with that particular definition of "flip."

    It wasn't so long ago that only cops and crooks and lawyers (forgive the redundancy) knew that.
  12. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    ...not all cops are crooks.:p:D;)
  13. I have kids and save rolls of change all year round for it. It ends up being a few dollars here and there (which adds up) but by spreading it out, I'm less concerned about the fingers in the cookie jar.

  14. I don't give to the Sally Am. Ever. The money tossed into those red kettles- at least in my area- doesn't go to support their homeless shelters or other charitable endeavors: those are supported through state, local, and Federal subsidies. The money tossed into the kettles supports the Salvation Army "officer training programs" (translation: ministerial training) and the last thing that I'd ever want to do is contribute to cranking out more abysmally educated mercenary religionists.

    My understanding is that in the early days of the organized labor movement in the US, the Salvation Army was paid off by union busting employers to have their bands disrupt organizing meetings. Perhaps Miss Lizzie can tell us more about this, but I was told that the reason that Joe Hill's songs (e.g., "The Preacher and the Slave," "Get the Bosses Off our Backs") employed the tunes of gospel hymns was to give groups like the Wobblies something to sing when the Salvation Army bands showed up to disrupt meetings.
    vitanola, vallettavalentine and tonyb like this.
  15. Yep, that did happen during the 1910s. The Sallies have a decidedly mixed record when it comes to Whose Side Are You On?, having been at least somewhat sympathetic to labor causes during their earliest years only to move firmly to the right during the 20th Century, as "respectable middle class" types became more involved in its administrative side, supplanting the working-class adherents who had formed the early backbone of the movement.

    Today, the SA is losing a lot of favor in our area for its stance on GBLT issues -- it may do good in its charity work, certainly but it's still a religious organization with a firmly fundamentalist worldview. Those who don't choose to support that particular brand of religion will often pass up the kettles and support other locally-based charity groups such as our local Interfaith Food Pantry, which has no doctrinal affiliation.
    sheeplady, ChiTownScion and tonyb like this.
  16. My experience, as a former Sally thrift store employee, is that the bulk of their organization, and the money accrued from selling cast-offs, was devoted to bringing drunks to Jesus. That may be because the store I worked in was right next to the rehab center.

    There was definitely a schism between the Salvation Army brass and us civilian employees. I always felt we were not quite considered, even moreso than in other top-down places I've worked for. I won't go so far as to say we were viewed as suspect, but there was a clannish attitude from the higher ups, especially those who grew up as S.A. brats. I can tell you that, as a charitable organization, they are permitted to pay less than minimum wage. And, what's more, they do.
    tonyb likes this.
  17. Well fed people have an even greater demand for food. :rolleyes:

    People want what the people get. The talent lies in creating a market, organizing the supply is a mere detail.
  18. Yup, human demand / want is limitless - that's my point, sans eye roll.

    The herculean efforts - physical, intellectual and logistical - employed, argue that creating supply (things like electricity, iPhones or cashews*) is more than a mere detail.

    * Interesting article in today's WSJ on the changing supply chain for cashews over the last seventy or so years https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cashews-explain-globalization-1512142823
  19. There's issues in some places with the rehab facilities the SA runs, particularly with them bringing addicts in from elsewhere and just releasing them locally after finishing their program.

    Addiction services are severely lacking in our country and the vast majority are religious, unless you're in a state one. If you want a free rehab experience, don't have Cadillac healthcare nor have you been in prison for an addiction related crime, your best bet is a religious service. Maybe things are different elsewhere, but where I've lived it's always been AA, NA, and the Salvation Army. All three are religious. (Where I used to live there was also a local organization that ran an even more religious one than the SA... like they answered their thrift store phones with a bible quote.)

    There's also the issue that some places in the United States have next to no non-religious charities. I live in one of those areas, but then its common here that people you just met ask what church you go to or share which one they attend in your first conversation with them.
    tonyb likes this.
  20. Having grown up agnostic in the (basically) secular NYC region and having lived in NYC for decades where religion is, IMHO, respected but not part of the daily conversation, I was surprised when I went to places in the country on business - Houston being one - where religion was regularly discussed / people left work to go to church before, say, a business dinner / and where you were asked about your religion (with the assumption being you practiced one).

    While I was surprise, I never felt any negativity or exclusion when I referenced my views - a devout agnostic who only finds himself in church for friends' weddings - but, sometimes, it did spark some lively conversation. While a lot of regionality has been homogenized out of our country, things like religion show it isn't all gone.

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