Sunday, May 22, 2011


21,000 is a special, but not quite magical number this month.

Dan Akroyd lost 21,000 bottles of vodka. He released a statement to TMZ -- claiming, he is both "distressed and elated" after hearing that several hundred thousand dollars worth of his vodka was hijacked within the last few days. The statement continues, "My partners and I are sorry to lose this much vodka to theft and do not condone criminal activity in any fashion, but we are happy that some consumers will be afforded the opportunity of tasting Crystal Skull at significantly lower than retail price."

The Keystone tar sands pipeline spilled approximately 21,000 gallons of crude in North Dakota. This is its eleventh and most significant spill. Considering that Keystone has been in operation for less than a year and it was predicted to spill no more than once every seven years, this is yet another troubling indicator that U.S. safety regulations intended for pipelines moving conventional oil may not be sufficient for pipelines moving diluted bitumen.

A minor in England invited 21,000 guests to her 15th birthday. The girl, a pupil at Sir John Lawes School, had meant to invite only 15 friends to her 15th birthday party, but within hours of appearing online the event escalated out of control as her mistake was subjected to online ridicule. At one stage, 21,000 Facebook users had clicked the RSVP button signaling they would attend the party, including fake celebrity accounts in the name of Justin Bieber, Professor Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder, Susan Boyle and Rick Astley.

This month also marks the beginning of the OC Partnership’s machinations to convince the voters, the Funder’s Roundtable, and assorted 2020 Plan dignitaries that 21,000, the current number of homeless, is somehow a magical number, exempt from the laws of physics, to wit:

21,000 times $100 still equals $2,100,000

21,000 times $1000 still equals $21,000,000

21,000 times $2156 still equals $45,276,000

21,000 times $12,000 still equals $252,000,000

Clearly there is some secret dividing going on; the OC Partnership cannot really believe, that we believe they are going to treat each of the OC’s 21,000 homeless people with equanimity. And they won’t. As always, the real plan is not to end homelessness, which would, of course, require dealing with every last person. No, the real plan is precisely the same as their current plan. Neither Larry Haynes nor Jim Palmer is clever enough or honest enough to have attracted their current million dollar bundles of voter and donor support without a plan. Their current plan is to help a few folks, talk about it every chance they get, and to try not to explain that neither one of them has ever, in any given year, helped anywhere near even 1000 people become less homeless, so that leaves 19,000, or pretty much everyone, homeless, and completely un-helped.

Now when I bail a swamp, my first inclination is to choose someone who has a plan for the alligators, so I have absolutely nothing but respect for the 2020 Plan committee in choosing the OC Partnership, which I’ll take the candid liberty of calling the Jim and Larry Plan. Now, Jim and Larry are both old hands at choosing which alligators can be made into purses. Given that both are still both deserving of and nearly free from nasty bites, what else could you do? This time, however, the Federal Government has committed to draining the swamp, and these two purse-snatchers know little or nothing about that.

Eliminating homelessness is going to involve considerably more than lining up new donors who are again willing to completely ignore the bottom line: Neither Jim nor Larry has any expertise at caring for homeless people for anything nearly as economical as $1000 per month. Jim has a $30,000,000 palace that houses 150 people, graduating a little over one a week, and Mercy house has a $12,000,000 palace that houses a mere 25 people, some of whom will likely die before they ever “graduate.” Taking them at their word, we’ll need just over a quarter billion dollars to get the job done the first year alone! So any talk of ending homelessness might have to be put to rest, at least with these two spenders.

I think it’s time we invite both of them to get their hands out of our purse, and admit that never once in their lives have they ever held the honest end of a shovel. Bailing the swamp will require an entirely new way of doing business.

The best first step is to fire the guys that were in charge of the old way.

After all, its how we got here.

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