“Saver’s Remorse?” Try Reader’s Remorse, NY Times.

I have minimal expectations of the NY Times.  The bar is low.  And this article didn’t even come close to clearing it.  The point of Susan Saulny’s Even to Save Cash, Don’t Try This Stuff at Home seems to be “If at first you don’t succeed, give up forever and pay someone else $1,000.”

It’s not just that I disagree with what’s said.  It’s that I think even the author would disagree if she’d spent a moment of thought on it.

Yes, I know, when you’ve inadvertently flooded your house, you don’t have a lot of choice but to call a plumber.  But since when is having ugly hair an emergency that requires $1,000 to fix?  And you’re telling me you don’t have even one friend who could help you change your car battery?  Come on, people.

No mention was made of actually learning how to do things yourself through research and tapping your network for help.  There’s no acknowledgment, explicit or tacit, that there’s any value in to trying to do something for yourself.  There’s no link to actual DIY resources.  There’s no reference to “best practices” (read: common sense) such as starting small.  There’s no mention of honestly evaluating the necessity of the project and the worst-case impact of your utter failure before you begin.  I didn’t even get a good laugh out of it.  There’s basically nothing of value in this article.

I guess you could argue that adding value to the world wasn’t the point.  And I guess someone very clever could argue that that’s ok.  Who am I to say that the NY Times can’t print shallow drivel if it wants to?

I guess it falls to bloggers like Trent at TheSimpleDollar.com to put thought into written pieces.  Check out a home repair gone awry as told by Trent, and a few other related articles of his that might also be useful to you.

Regarding Russia/Georgia

I majored in International Studies and Russian in college, and while I am by absolutely no means an expert, I’m relatively well-informed and extremely interested in the goings on in Russia and Georgia.

My concern is that most of the American reporting I’ve seen reports on the rhetoric the US has been directing at Russia.  People who skim a headline or read a regular article about the situation here and there are likely to not be getting anything close to the big picture.

I thought the Wall Street Journal did a pretty good job in “Smoldering Feud, Then War: Tensions at Obscure Border Led to Georgia-Russia Clash.”  I especially appreciate the short but to-the point mention of the history (it sites tensions since the 1990s, which have actually been there since before Georgia was a country) and additional politics (especially that Georgia is working to become part of NATO).  The summary of how events in this chapter of the conflict unfolded was also nice to see in one place.

However, I think that the article biased in favor of Georgia; for politics this entangled, I think it’s too early in this piece of the conflict and too coincidentally in line with the US government’s stance to conclude that Georgia is at fault.  I also find the title offensive.  For an article that does a decent job of conveying the fact that this is one of a couple of long-time areas of dispute in the region, calling it “obscure” seems contradictory and… well, kind of stupid.  Please, stop pandering to the audience you’ve managed to come close to informing.

That being said, give this article a go if you’d like a better idea of what’s going on.  Any other great resources out there?

Can you see your organization with a jet?

I found myself with some extra time and a cool breeze and paged through the NY Times to see what I could see.

The business section includes an article, “On the Road – Boss in the Corporate Jet is Likely to Be a Woman.”

When I finished the article, I didn’t know quite what to focus on first.  Here’s what came to mind, in no particular order:

  • Shoddy statistics made for a misleading title and overall weak article.
  • It’s sad to me that women with money and power are anomalies to be reported on, though of course I’m glad to see successful women featured.
  • I’d like to know what the author’s basis was for generalizing male motivation for private jets (ego, status) and women’s (buying time, avoiding problems). He doesn’t say
  • Reading this while commercial flights are getting worse for the rest of us who don’t have $130,000 (or $375,000+) for a plane was a little hard to swallow, though of course I’m very happy that women are better represented in the “haves” category.
  • Oh yeah, what about all those people who can’t afford a coach-class commercial flight to whine about?

And that leads me to my nonprofit-related thoughts and questions:

  • What would I do with $130,000?  What would my organization?  Who could we serve, and how?
  • Does it make sense for a charitable organization or foundation to have a private jet?  At what point does the cost of elaborate organization cause a poor return on investment and defeat its own purpose?
  • Where does nonprofit reporting live in our major newspapers?  Where should it?  Business?  Education?  Health?  Our strength, that we address all of those categories, can be a weakness because we’re hard to feature as one entity.

What do you think?