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Archive for April, 2011

Wider Impact

[ 4 ] April 30, 2011 |

Cameron McWhirter on the impact of the Mortenson scandal:

Grass-roots nonprofits across the country now find themselves under intense scrutiny because of the Mortenson scandal. Many are considering going to new lengths to demonstrate to potential donors that they are on the up-and-up. All are bracing for an impact on giving. Many foundations and wealthy donors now are cautious because of “reputational risk” if they give to an organization that falters.

The scandal is the talk of the nonprofit community—though many won’t talk about it on the record. More extensive auditing is likely to result, according to Jim Zoiklowski, founder and president of BuildOn, a nonprofit that runs afterschool programs in American cities and builds schools abroad.

“Anything like this out there in the media can shake stakeholder confidence,” he said. “It’s going to elevate the scrutiny, elevate the expectations.”

Several groups that rate charities are rethinking the way they assess organizations, and others are working hard to get the word out about their rankings. Charity Navigator, one of the largest charity-watch sites, gave Mr. Mortenson’s institute four stars—its highest rating—but now has a large “donor warning” label in red for the group, with links to the recent stories.

For what it’s worth, we’re keeping Mortenson on our summer reading list at Patterson. The reasons are to indicate the difficulty of monitoring NGO behavior, as well as to familiarize students with the controversy over Mortenson’s work. We’ll certainly be supplementing with a selection of articles about Mortenson and CAI.

Is Your Cat Confused by AV?

[ 29 ] April 30, 2011 |

While there was a wedding of some apparent note yesterday on the island where I work and usually live, more interesting are the series of elections on May 5.  These include local elections, both the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, and the second ever UK-wide referendum.  As most here know, the latter is on whether or not the UK should scrap the FPTP electoral system for elections to the Westminster Parliament, and adopt the Alternative Vote.

It’s almost certain to lose.  It’s easy to understand why.  The Tories are dead-set against, Labour is deeply divided, with only the Liberal Democrats in strong support.  Of course, the ranks of Liberal Democrats is considerably smaller than it was just a year ago.  While I’ve been quite occupied with a variety of work-related shenanigans the past couple of weeks, I’ll have more to say about this in the nest few days.

For now, I leave you with this pithy guide:

h/t Chris Terry at Britain Votes.

Worthwhile Canadian Blogging

[ 0 ] April 30, 2011 |

Excellent roundup of the 2011 election from Tom Slee.

My additional comment is that the rise of the NDP/fall of the Liberals is another example of self-congratulatory liberal hawks being very, very special. There’s room for only one prominent Iggy in Canada. I mean, say what you will about the Democrats, at least they didn’t run an O’Hanlon/Berman ticket in ’08…

By “Truce,” I Mean “You Unilaterally Surrender.”

[ 26 ] April 30, 2011 |

I don’t know if this means that Daniels is running, but it certainly confirms that he’s an asshole.

One by One, Our Old Friends are Gone…

[ 0 ] April 30, 2011 |

Friend of the blog Jason Sigger is moving onwards and upwards. Unfortunately, this means that Armchair Generalist will be shutting down.  DHS’ gain is our loss; Sigger has long been a vital progressive voice on hard security affairs.  Also, the green dragon graphic is absolutely perfect for a blog specializing in chemical weapons analysis…

Libya and Syria

[ 4 ] April 29, 2011 |

Last night I was on the Alyona Show, talking differences between Syria and Libya.

Friday Nugget Blogging, Three Cups of Tea Edition

[ 44 ] April 29, 2011 |

“People should just chill. He’s done a lot of good in this world.”

This was my daughter’s general reaction to the 60 Minutes expose on Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea who now stands accused of misrepresenting his charity’s efforts in Pakistan.* While it’s true that he may have made himself look needlessly bad by exaggerating the success of his efforts, in her mind the emphasis is on the words “needlessly” and “success.” Read more…

Sticking Up for the Already Grossly Overrepresented

[ 25 ] April 29, 2011 |

I have a new column up about the Supreme Court stretching to defend corporate interests — who saw that coming? — in AT&T v. Concepcion. Another point about the preemption cases is that they’re a classic example of Lemieux’s Law: Nobody Actually Cares About Federalism.

Nor can the outcome in AT&T v. Concepcion be justified by broader conservative constitutional principles. The Court’s conservatives are allegedly committed to federalism — that is, states’ rights — but here they called for federal uniformity. (Some of these same justices are likely to argue against federal uniformity when the Affordable Care Act and its alleged intrusion on state sovereignty comes up). From the Fugitive Slave Act to the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Act, alleged conservative commitments to “federalism” rarely survive clashes with cherished conservative interests, and Wednesday’s ruling is another case in point.

You could be committed to federalism and uphold uniform rules where Congress clearly preempted state law — but in this case it did no such thing.

McCarthyite of the Day

[ 12 ] April 29, 2011 |

Appropriately enough, Andrew McCarthy.

In related news, it’s amusing to see Glenn Reynolds “forgetting” about the right-wing smear campaign against lawyers who defended Gitmo detainees. I actually don’t agree with pressuring firms not to defend DOMA and respect Clement for resigning, but to argue that it’s “the left” that “put this tactic on the table” is beyond ludicrous. That lecture should be given to the other side.

Rifle Squad as Imaginary Community

[ 11 ] April 29, 2011 |

Via Ricks, a brief addendum from General William DePuy to Charli’s post below on small unit dynamics:

Why is that? It is because unlike a bomber crew, they don’t have a bomber, unlike a tank crew, they don’t have a tank; unlike a howitzer crew, they don’t have a cannon; and unlike the radio section, they haven’t got the VH radio vans.

What have they got? Well, they have got an idea and so a rifle squad consists of a kind of an agreement, a common understanding by a bunch of limited guys about how they are going to go about their business.

So what we have is an intellectual exercise being performed by non-intellectuals. So we have got to help them. We have got to make it a simple, clear system that doesn’t require each member of the squad or the fire team leaders to be eloquent because they are not.

To a certain extent any small unit is imaginary, even if there’s some kind of material focus. Nevertheless, DePuy was probably correct in suggesting that the lack of any material focus for the unit brings makes the imaginary nature of the rifle squad manifest. This has implications for how the unit binds itself together, which of course has implications for how it behaves with respect to the laws and customs of war.

Small Government and Fiscal Discipline

[ 10 ] April 28, 2011 |

…goals that, whatever their merits, certainly have nothing to do with what Chris Christie is trying to do.

Thanks Tucker!

[ 30 ] April 28, 2011 |

You know, I used to think that Barack Obama would make a vastly better president than the Donald (or even the Donalde), but if a washed up sixth-string child star thinks otherwise, I might have to reconsider. Maybe Mickey Kaus can find out what the kid from Family Ties thinks about Herman Cain.

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