MMS Friends

Friday, November 11, 2005

Does anyone read this stuff before press time?

The Chron's house editorial displays a stunningly good (for the Chron editors) understanding of economics. At least at the beginning. Unfortunately, the wheels fall off near the end, when the editorial board makes its recommendation about how Big EEEEVIL Oil can best help hurricane victims:
Houston's safety net for the neediest residents is torn and stressed — by curbs on federal and state spending and by eroded corporate giving. Now is the time for energy companies, whose profits derive from high prices that many residents can ill-afford, to meet the high post-hurricane social needs by increasing the level of their giving.
Okay, I'm listening. How, Oh Mighty Editorial Olympians, should oil companies help the downtrodden in the aftermath of Katrina?
Houston's fine arts organizations have had to tighten their belts in recent years as corporate support declined. Some, whose loss would be calamitous for a city with global ambitions, are struggling to survive. Flush energy companies have an opportunity to make up lost ground through endowments and operational funding. One way would be to subsidize the museum, theater and concert attendance of low-income families, whose members are in sore need of the inspiration and catharsis the fine arts supply.
Are these guys freaking kidding? Just about everything in that paragraph is dead wrong. Let's analyze it, sentence by sentence:
Houston's fine arts organizations have had to tighten their belts in recent years as corporate support declined.
That's crap. As the Chronicle reported in February, the Museum of Fine Arts got the biggest donation ever made to an art museum. Meanwhile, the Houston Grand Opera described its latest fundraising campaign as a "stunning success."
Some, whose loss would be calamitous for a city with global ambitions, are struggling to survive.
I guess the editors got tired of the phrase "world-class."
Flush energy companies have an opportunity to make up lost ground through endowments and operational funding.
They already do that, more than any other industry. Take a look at the donor list of any arts instutition, and its a veritable Who's Who of the Houston energy sector.
One way would be to subsidize the museum, theater and concert attendance of low-income families, whose members are in sore need of the inspiration and catharsis the fine arts supply.
How out of touch can you get? Find a low-income family who fled to Houston from Hurricane Katrina, and ask them what they need to get back on their feet. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that artistic catharsis doesn't crack the Top 100.

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