Thursday, September 13, 2012

Homeless Ending Birthday (Thursday LINKS)

I turn 31 tomorrow.  While I'm never one to lament getting older (at least not yet), 31 is rather inglorious.  It has the tune of 21, but less excitement.  It is a neighbor of 30, but less "arrival" themed.  Just 31.

As I noted last month, I wanted to hold a fundraiser on my birthday.  Not so much in self-glorification (although I will forgive anyone who sees things in that way), but rather because I know I am never happier than when we are raising money.  Last July was tops.  I was walking on clouds.  My e-mail box became a vehicle for change with every notice of another donation.  I've said this before, but I never feel closer or more connected to all of you than when we are raising money together.  Maybe this satisfaction (better termed "joy") diminishes the altruism of philanthropy, but I don't think it should.

So what better time to tap into that joy than your birthday?

A few weeks ago, I asked you to submit proposals for nonprofits we would feature for this Birthday Fundraiser.  I received four nominations.  What I failed to anticipate was just how hard it would be to pick between deserving organizations that ask you to help them raise money.  I would think about these nonprofits while on long runs, when I would try to sleep, and on my commute in and out of Baltimore.  Every time my mind would be made, I would see or hear something else that would send me back into contemplation.

We finally chose Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services recommended by Lisa B.  LARS is a "non-proselytizing ecumenical ministry serving the Greater Laurel area by assisting homeless and low-income individuals and families who are experiencing a crisis by providing both emergency and long-term services designed to promote self-sufficiency."  As noted in Howard County's Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, a critical step is providing crisis intervention to help those that are not homeless remain in their homes.  I particularly like the fact that LARS focuses on overcoming "barriers to self-sufficiency" indicating a larger strategy other than "what do you need?"

This is an important organization that deserves our help.  I've set a fund-raising goal of $1,000 by Monday (my brother's birthday).  By my math, if 100 people give $10, we're there.  If 50 people give $20, we're there.  You can do the math.  This is an achievable goal, so long as you are willing to participate.

I didn't post this on my birthday because tomorrow will be a CA Board Recap.  I want to add that I am very self-conscious about this, but would see any hesitancy as an excuse not to follow through.  Whenever you have an opportunity to help people get off the streets and back into productive lives, you do it, right?


Ray Rice has continued his support for Old Ellicott City with his new initiative 27 for Old EC.  Local businesses will feature one item or dish that will have special pricing over the next two weeks to encourage residents to get downtown.  Seems like another great opportunity to help our neighbors recover from a tough year.

If baseball is a game of inches, the Orioles cashed in about 9 of them last night with Nate McLouth's scoreboard double in the bottom of the ninth with Manny Machado on second base to win the game.  This W was made possible by one of the most heads-up defensive plays I've ever seen, as Manny Machado faked a throw to first, spun to JJ Hardy behind the bag at third, and set up a run down to end the top of the 9th.  I fell asleep with a huge smile on my face.

I found James Taranto's Op-Ed in the WSJ about "Class Warfare" to be interesting, mostly because it presents a point of view that is very different from my own.  What he does point out is that President Obama finds himself in a very uncomfortable position with the Chicago Teacher's Union striking against his former chief of staff, with Paul Ryan lending his support to Rahm from afar.  There really is no way for teachers to go on strike without infuriating the public at large, particularly when the starting point, according to this piece, was a 30% raise.

John Dickerson has an op-ed in Slate noting that some Republicans have been cited as showing some anxiety regarding Mitt Romney's campaign, particularly with regard to specifics.  Without getting into, or implicitly endorsing, too much of the piece, I think this paragraph is certainly worth considering:  "If Romney doesn't get more specific, whichever party wins will have no mandate for governing. If Romney wins, his lack of specificity will mean he has no mandate. If Obama wins, Republicans will conclude that the president didn't prevail in a contest of ideas; he simply defeated a bad politician, which will make them no more likely to cooperate with him."  From my perspective, the retreat of the over-thinking voter is that so long as President Obama is in the White House, nothing is being done by either side to fix this economy.  A vote for Mitt is a vote for congruence between Congress and the Executive.  Whether those ideas are right or wrong, at least they will be tried.

Muslim leaders in Maryland have condemned the attacks in Libya and Egypt, noting that these types of attacks undermine their efforts for interfaith understanding.  Well, yes, but only with a solid assist from those ignorant enough to suggest Muslims in Maryland should have to apologize for attacks occurring hundreds of thousands of miles away.

Lest we get too far away from this unbelievable story about the 1st Congressional District, the Democratic candidate for Congress, Wendy Rosen, has resigned after it was discovered that in 2006 she may have voted in both Florida and Maryland elections.  Considering that Democrats have spent much of 2012 refuting accusations of voter fraud in relation to new voting requirements across the Country, Ms. Rosen's deceit could not be much more embarrassing.  It is almost like a Republican demanding government provided health care.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Sarah breaks down the League of Women Voter BoE interviews.  I truly appreciate her (and Chris's) work on this project and will (again) encourage you to check this clips out.  I think you will find some certainty in the sea of "what-the-heck-am-I-doing" that normally makes up the Board of Education ballot choice.  I've made no secret of my support for David Gertler, and I particularly liked his story about growing up the son of a carpenter, yet lacking in applicable carpentry skills.  Education provided him the opportunity to be something other than a failed carpenter.  As the math-disabled son of an accountant, I could absolutely empathize. 

I'm going to the game today.  It is a mini-birthday present to myself.  I never take off work (haven't taken a vacation this year), but this Orioles season is one to remember.

That's all for today.  Have a great Thursday doing what you love!