Nonprofit Newswire | August 18, 2009

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PR advice for Vick: Don’t pass on charity
Aug 15, 2009; Philadelphia Inquirer | Without having to comment on what the hiring of Michael Vick as the back-up quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles means to starter Donovan McNabb, we do take note of this piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer of marketing pros advising Vick on how to burnish his post-conviction image now that he’s been readmitted to the NFL.  It is sort of hard to listen to lots of PR hacks suggesting that Vick has to show contrition, how it has to be meaningful, and so forth.  Makes you sort of wonder how they define the terms, no?  Concerned that Vick’s community service and public apologies might seem contrived, one marketing guy suggested the following; “I think he’s going to have to form a foundation, a nonprofit, with total community ties.”  There it is.  Want to demonstrate uncontrived sincere contrition?  Create a foundation.  Thanks for the advice, marketing pros.  Somehow, despite the clearly and demonstrably sincere Tony Dungy as a personal adviser in his corner, Vick’s best post-conviction actions might be to simply function like a normal person, out of trouble, out of dog-fighting, doing his job.  Creating a foundation and doing PR-hack- and sports-agent-crafted community service gigs might not convey the sincerity that Eagles fans and others will automatically buy.  —Rick Cohen

Obama Joker artist unmasked: A fellow Chicagoan
Aug 17, 2009; LA Times | The only instance of “right wing street art” reported of late was actually made by a Kuchinich-supporting college student, critical of the Obama administration.  —James David Morgan

Full text of Obama’s Colorado healthcare town hall
Aug 15, 2009; Toledo Blade | Give President Obama credit for showing up at community meetings to take unscripted questions and offer unscripted answers on health care reform.  The text of the President’s speech and subsequent Q&A at a town hall meeting in Colorado had one mention of nonprofits, with the President offering a confusing definition of “public” and then casting some odd aspersions about the performance of the public sector.  He was asked how private insurers would be able to compete with a government health insurer given that the government entity’s inherent advantages of not having to make a profit and not having to pay local property taxes—or other taxes for that matter.  The President correctly added that private corporations incur a cost of capital that a government program wouldn’t have.  He also correctly noted that simply having a government option hardly means that private entities would be automatically driven out of the market.  However, to validate the point, he suggested that Federal Express and UPS “are doing a lot better than the post office” (which served as an applause line).  Ah, Mr. President, let’s remember the following: FedEx and UPS get to accept certain kinds of mail and reject others; the Post Office as a public service doesn’t.  FedEx and UPS get to serve some communities and rule out others as unprofitable; the Post Office as a public service has to serve everyone.  We don’t think those are FedEx carriers lugging junk mail, post card reminders from the dentist, and birthday cards up and down the stairs.  The President also equated “public” with nonprofit, and said that the government entity or public option would have to “operate independently, not subsidized by taxpayers…it would be a nonprofit…that…would have to go on the market and get a market price for capital, so (it) would be able to just have the Federal Reserve write them a check.”  As an example of this public qua nonprofit entity, he cited BlueCross BlueShield.  If anyone has watched the nonprofit insurers act like for-profit entities, rejecting applicants willy-nilly for minor preexisting health conditions, denying doctor-recommended procedures and prescriptions for unfathomable reasons, and more, one might not feel heartened by the President’s allusion to BlueCross BlueShield as the model for the public option in health insurance reform.  —Rick Cohen

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