Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Go Team!

I've often pondered the "Go..." phrase that's used in sports.
“Go, Tigers!”
“Go, Rockets!”
“Go, Astros!”
Frankly, the metaphor's meaning escapes me.

Go??
Go where?
Go how far?
Do you want them to come back?
Or just Go and stay?

While they're going, do they need to stop and pick something up on the way for you?

"Go Flyers..." unless you can't fly. Or the TSA stops you.
Would you still yell, "Go Flyers," knowing that it might involve an invasive x-ray scan of your body?

Would you still tell the Flyers to "Go" if you thought they'd be held up at the security check point? Should you instead say, "Go, Flyers, once you've passed security"?

If the Flyers are doing really well, why would you even want them to leave?
If they "Go," when would it be appropriate to return? 

Perhaps the time to tell a team to "Go" is when they're losing. 
Or their season really sucks.
Like "Go Texans."
Git.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Merry Stinking Christmas, ChaseBank

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports ChaseBank is telling a business banking customer to remove a Christmas tree he donated to the Chasebank Branch where he does business. Merry Stinking Christmas, Chasebank.

Apparently, some people were offended by the tree, according to an e-mail from JP Morgan Chase. How freaking ridiculous is this?

There are TWO Christmas trees in the lobby of the CBS Broadcasting Complex and Deli. According to “Advertising Age,” 91% of Americans celebrate Christmas this time of year. So we’re going to take down a tree in a bank for the other 9%? 
That’s insane.
Get a grip, people.

You know what Chase’s official stance is? The Christmas tree supplied by the business man isn't a part of the decor supplied by the company to its bank branches. What, you might ask, does Chasebank supply its bank branches in the way of decorations? Why, they get “stickers that resemble Christmas lights,” according to the bank spokesperson, whom I know, and choose not to identify here for fear of embarrassing him because this is such a ludicrous issue.

Wait-wait--stickers that resemble Christmas lights. Sorry, Chase--if you cannot condone a Christmas tree, then what’s the rationale behind Christmas light decals??

What’s next on the agenda--are we going to remove “Christmas” from the calendar because it might offend too many people?
I am not a Chasebank customer, thank goodness. If you are, drop by your bank branch, and let them know what you think about this.
-------------------------------------------
This just in--Chase changed its mind about having a Christmas tree in its lobby, and has put one up at its own expense...because the original tree donor took his $3,000 Christmas tree elsewhere. Apparently, others are taking their business elsewhere, too.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Five-years Cancer-free

Those are magical words to a cancer survivor.
I know.
I am one.


Five years ago today, a doctor carved out my cancerous prostate, sewed me back up with a couple of tubes hanging out for drainage, and sent me home a few days later. 
My life was changed. I believe it was extended.


I remember the first week at home was a painful blur.
The second week, I went back on the air, broadcasting from a makeshift studio in the "solarium" of The Clanton Hacienda--what I euphemistically called my bedroom.


Brent Clanton behind the mic
at The Clanton Hacienda
December 2005
My Bride was the best nurse in the world, even when she slept through the shows I performed not 5-feet from the bed.
My convalescence was not textbook ordinary. I had several complications, a few "re-takes" in the surgical suite to repair some plumbing issues.


Would I do it the same way, all over again?
Given the same set of circumstances, probably so.


If it were to happen today, however, I think the outcome would be vastly different. Prostate cancer is one of the most treatable soft-tissue cancers around. The key is early detection, which in my case came about as the result of a simple blood test. I was 50-1/2 years old when diagnosed.
That's pretty young.


Doctors used to think you didn't have to really worry about checking for prostate cancer under the age of 50. Guess they're re-thinking that...and if you have a history of cancer in your family (like my son now does), the wisdom is earlier and earlier testing.


Men with my diagnosis today don't necessarily have to even face the kind of surgery I endured. The technology has moved so quickly within the past five years, that if you must have surgery, it's done laproscopically, for that least-invasive feeling when you awake. Or you can opt for other treatments that have been developed that do not require surgery.


The point here is, get checked, fellas.
Do the blood test.


Now for my next challenge--finding health insurance coverage, since I'm Five Years Cancer Free!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Reminders

They were huddled on the shoulder of the highway.
A man and a woman, next to their pick up truck, parked on the southbound side. The wind was blowing stiffly out of the south, and slate colored clouds were scutting across the November sky. 
It was Thanksgiving morning.


The truck was a dull, dark green; not old, but no longer new.
The man was wearing a fresh pair of jeans, dark blue still, cinched against his slender frame by a shiny brown dress belt with scuffed cowboy boots, dusted to a faint shine. A plaid shirt was tucked in. He was dressed up, head bowed, hands clasped behind his back, on the side of the highway.


The woman was dressed in pink, and she was sitting on the ground, elbows on knees, face held in her hands, as if in prayer. That's when I noticed the cross.
That's what had drawn them to this particular spot, on this particular road, on this particular Thanksgiving morning.


A fresh mylar balloon danced in the breeze, and two vases of freshly cut flowers stood sentinel next to the wooden cross. The top and side bars of the cross were capped with a metal, five-point star inside the squared ends on the cross pieces.


A brass name plate noted the pertinent facts: "In Loving Memory of Samuel David Garza, Jr., 12-02-1973 to 3-21-2009. We love you. Dad, Mom & Jeremy." 
Only 36-years old. 
Not a kid, but a father with kids, and a sibling, and parents cursed by having to bury a child before his time.


In Texas, roadside crosses are legal, and apparently encouraged by the State as permanent behavioral reinforcements against traffic fatalities. For $300, the State of Texas will even erect a roadside memorial sign with the name of a lost loved one, as a reminder to drive safely.


For me on a blustery Thanksgiving morning, this scene was the only reminder anyone should need: A family still grieving over the loss of a son, father, brother, and friend. The image has haunted me all weekend. My foot involuntarily eased off the gas pedal as I whizzed past the melancholy moment, headed towards my own family reunion. 
The tacit warning worked.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: "Love and Other Drugs"

If you're still thinking about Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal's performances four hours after you've seen this film, call your doctor. Or your Congressman. "Love and Other Drugs" is a much more complex movie than just the first chick-flick of the holiday season.
Is this the “Love Story” of the New Millenium? Jake and Anne might or might not be the  Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neil for this generation, but the movie hits some pretty poignant nerve-endings, given the recent controversy over healthcare reform. 
This film also takes some hard shots at the prescription drug industry, painting an unflattering picture of the excesses of the 90’s and the lifestyles of the drug reps.  The most poignant moments are Anne Hathaway’s depictions of a Parkinson’s patient...and the lengths to which Jake Gyllenhaal's character will go to prove his commitment. 
Perhaps the take away on this film is just that: What Commitment Means...and how some love stories do--and don’t--have happy endings. Come to think of it, I like this version of Love Story better than the McGraw-O’Neil pairing.
This one’s not Family-friendly--it’s R for nudity, language, and...um, debauchery.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movie Review: "Burlesque"

Dancing with the Stars meets Sing-off…

Your first impression of "Burlesque" may be that you've walked into a two-hour Christina Aguilera music video, and in the words of Abe Lincoln, "this is the sort of thing you’ll like, if you like this sort of thing.” If you like Aguilera, you’re going to be in heaven. “Burlesque” showcases the 29-year old's vocal and thespian abilities...and the girl’s got chops.

Think “Chicago” meets “Showgirls,” with more musicality and less skin. While the film might have been using Cher’s star power (does it really need to??) to sell tickets, it would tend to validate Aguilera as an equal in vocal power. 

Dueling Diva's? 
Perhaps, but if there is a Number One Hit to come out of this film, the prize goes to Cher for her “Yeah, I may be 64, but I can still belt out a tune” anthem: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me…”  I predict this one will be in hot rotation as early as Christmas...or when the corporate Radio stations finish their Christmas-only playlists, ad nauseum. 

There are some clever twists and turns to the story line, and an interesting resolution to this treatment of the age-old story: "Let’s put on a show.” But how will we save the show house? You won’t believe the irony to solution to the problem in "Burlesque." 

If it were up to me, I’d have cut the budget for props and stage craft—which would have kept the Burlesque Caberet from going into the red in the first place. But they didn't ask me.

Stanley Tucci nearly steals the show with his understated role, and there's a memorable scene with Aguilera and love-interest, Jack, played by Cam Gigandet, involving pajamas and a box of cookies which is wittily written and more than aptly acted.

"Burlesque" is rated PG-13 for adult situations and flashes of skin…but no more than you’d see at a high school football game or on the Texans sidelines. Go for the music...especially if the Texans continue their winning ways. (Did I say that out loud...?)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I am Not a Sports Fan

To what ring of Dante’s Hell have the Houston Texans taken us?
Yesterday was the last Sunday afternoon I give up my nap to watch these losers...well, lose.

Last weekend it was a fluke flap straight out of a volleyball handbook that flipped the game in favor of the other team, literally with seconds left in the game.

Yesterday once again, the Texans managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of success by blowing a 4-point lead over the Jets in less than a New York minute.

The only squad on the Texans roster with a perfect season at this point is the Texans Cheerleaders. They weren’t even at the game yesterday. 

Maybe they should have been, and left the boys at home in Houston.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter Pilfered?

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning 36 minutes of the new Harry Potter movie have been leaked online, causing an investigation by Warner Brothers. Both of them. 

According to the story, "the watermarked footage was available for download on the BitTorrent file-sharing sites IsoHunt.com and PirateBay.com as late as Wednesday, despite Warner Brothers’ attempts to have the illegal downloads removed."

Arguably, Harry Potter is among the most successful film franchises in history, but there are those within the business who worry audiences won’t turn out for the final film's first installment after seeing the early minutes of the film. The WSJ article takes pains to note the film footage was not stolen from the premieres in London and New York.

That’s good, because as much as I like going to the movies...and as much as I appreciate the privilege of getting to see first-run films first, sometimes before anyone else...the process of getting into a theatre for a screening has almost become as onerous as getting on a commercial aircraft.

One theatre in particular in my town is especially aggressive about screening entrants to its screenings, going so far as to inspect women’s purses and running magnetic wands all over your body.

Inside the theatre, as with most businesses, you’d think the proprietors of these movie emporiums would want to lavish you with hospitality and warm feelings of welcome. Ha! Stern-faced “security” goons troll the aisles, looking for a tell-tale flash of LCD-blue in the semi-darkness, betraying the use of a (gasp) smart phone inside the theatre before the movie begins. And just before the film rolls, one of the more authoritarian phone-Nazis intones a final announcement that if they see your phone light up during the show, they’ll escort you from the theatre, “never to return.” Does that mean you’re off to the anti-piracy gulag, or just on the street until your date finishes watching the movie.

Let’s think about this. Most Cinemaphiles are extremely critical of the quality of the presentation--we have come to expect precise, digital sound and digital images that are more crisp and vivid than ever before. Plus, as influential members of the Media, some of us can see a movie nearly anytime we want--most times for free--and generally before anyone else. Who in their right mind would jeopardise that gravy-train by attempting to capture on a smartphone a video of a movie for reposting to PirateBay.com? And if we did, why would anyone want to watch a copy of such poor quality?

Dude, wait a week and you can catch a matinee in a theatre nearly all to yourself, and within 6-months, you can own a virgin, Blue Ray copy of any film, complete with bonus tracks about the special effects, making of the movie, and directors’ comments--usually for less than the price of your tab at the concession counter (that’s a subject for a whole other rant!)

So, for the same reasons you must now shed your shoes and belts, and subject yourself to invasive searches and patdowns because some fool tried to light up his sneakers or pack his pants with explosives...now some fool’s attempt to hijack Harry Potter’s next movie will likely make your next visit to the theatre slightly less (or more) titillating than the title you’re there to see!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gnawing Through the Straps

"Sometimes, it's just not worth the effort to gnaw through the leather straps."
--Emo Phillips

I’m driving in early this morning, listening to NPR, and I gotta tell you, it’s tough to get motivated some mornings. My son, the Sports Anchor, tweeted to me last night, he’s so over reporting on mediocrity. Can’t blame him, after Sunday’s botched game-ender by the Texans, and last night’s heartbreaker between the Rockets and the Bulls. It’s enough to turn you off of sports and drive you to a business talk station...which is probably why you listen to me now.
We all want to make sense of things.
We’re all working harder than we ever have, bringing home less than we need, and at the end of the day we stare across the dinner table at each other and wonder, what’s it all for?
You want examples?
Another Ways and Means Committee Chairman has been found guilty of ethics violations. Same song, sequential verse; the only difference is that this time it’s a Democrat; last time it was a Republican. Some things never change.
I scan the morning headlines, and I want to scream.
Some jerk towing company on Galveston Island ripped off a trucker’s trailer with a bull dozer on it, charged the driver $15,000 for the towing charge after four days of haggling, caused the shipper to miss the boat, literally, so now the trucker doesn’t get paid the $30,000 feight fee. What a mess. 
Where’s the common sense?
Who charges $15,000 to tow a parked trailer with a ‘dozer on it?
I’m working with our HOA management company and they think that our neighborhood is just going to roll over and pay a higher fee next year because things are going up. Really? 
When I question policies and contracts, I get the cold shoulder from the management company. I found an insurance policy for nearly half the cost of the existing one--which was jacked up because someone sold the previous HOA Board a Terrorist Policy three years ago, for which the agent received a handsome commission. Let's think about this: Terrorist Insurance for a neighborhood association? 
Really??
Meanwhile, We in Texas, pay the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the country. Why is that? It’s because the fox is in the hen house up at the state legislature, and you’ve got the Insurance industry calling the shots on the rest of us. 
Why can’t we fix that? 
When do you get fed up, or mad enough, or broke enough, to tell your legislator to make it right??
I’m still torqued over this stupid, insipid, ridiculous--and I believe illegal--Transportation Safety Administration policy of groping passengers before they’ll let you on an airliner.
This morning I learn that, with unemployment flirting with with 10%, there is an undeniable bias against unemployed job applicants by hiring managers...because the applicants are unemployed. 
Well, duh.
So, yeah, I'm a little irritated, to start of the day.
"Target" the Rescue Dog Euthanized
But the capper for me today is the story of “Target,” a rescue dog that saved the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan, survived being shot by the Taliban, was brought to the US by his handlers, appeared on Oprah, and was living in Arizona... Target the Rescue Dog was euthanized over the weekend because of a freaking clerical error, and an owner who was either too stupid or too lazy to put a tag on the dog’s collar, or get a chip implanted.
I have a friend who's a plucky reporter on a local TV station, who has an adorable pooch the entire community loves. The dog decided to tour the neighborhood last week while the intrepid reporter was out of town...which caused untold pannick and angst, and generated a storm of Tweets, e-mails, and Facebook posts to rally a search party. 
Happily, the prodigal pooch was found and returned, and they’re all living happliy ever after...but I was shocked to find that my friend hadn’t had a chip implanted in her dog. Yet.
She said, "the dog's always with me." 
Uh-huh. Except when it's not.
There some things that are just beyond our control.
Sophie, Our Family Mascot, w/chip.
You and I cannot legislate morality, nor can we effectively protect ourselves from the stupidity of those around us; but we can sure prevent many of the problems that would cause us to question whether we should just leave the leather straps in place, by taking pre-emptive steps. 
Like microchiping our pets. Or using tags. 
Even the US government knows enough to put dog tags on people. For Target the Rescue Dog, there’s no second chance. 
Is there for your family mascot?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Junk that's Worth Touching On

There is a troubling dichotomy running rampant in our nation. While this is a national problem, it touches each of us locally--and in some ways, very personally.
Just a couple of weeks ago, you and most of our neighbors in Houston voted to turn off one of the more public examples of government intrusion into our lives. Passage of the proposition to kill 70 red-light cameras is cause for limited rejoicing, because it now leaves open the question of how to properly--and effectively--enforce traffic laws at intersections where drivers insist on running the lights.
It also leaves the Houston Police Department with an instant budget deficit of $10-million in a year in which tax revenues for local, county and state agencies are already thinly stretched. You can be sure that “fees” in other areas of public service will be “enhanced” to make up the difference. 
The sum total of what it takes to run municipalities is what it is. And much like your own household budget, choices will be made on where to cut, what to drop, to balance reduced income with adjusted outgo.
At the same time, there is a hue and cry being raised louder and louder against those of you who insist upon operating your smart phone while you drive your car. I see it every day, coming and going, at 4:30am and 4:30pm, incredibly inattentive drivers on all sides of me, focused more on a touch screen telephone instead of the road ahead. 
It scares the crap out of me. 
I’ve been nearly creamed many, many times by drivers who are oblivious to me and others on the road, while they text, tap, or read their phones while they drive. (I still also see idiots reading the newspaper or books in traffic, driving at speed, with the pages propped on the wheel in front of them.) I was going to snap a picture of these morons with my own smart phone, until...
Frankly, I think that in this instance, with overwhelming statistics showing the incidence of distracted driving in fatal or horrifically damaging traffic accidents, it’s time for the government to step in and say “enough is enough.”
I support a ban for texting while driving.
Now--here’s where the real dichotomy is apparent: We the people are now being subjected to what I would charitably describe as government heavy-handedness towards our own citizenry at airports around the country...while our southern borders leak like a sieve. I just viewed a video recorded on Friday in an airport terminal in which a caucasian male was pulled aside for refusing to submit to a full-body scan, and commenting to the TSA worker that if the man “touched his junk” he’d have him arrested.
Earlier this week New Jersey lawmakers demanded that Congress review the TransportationSecurity Administration's new "enhanced" security screening of airline passengers involving either an X-ray scan, revealing a virtually nude image, or a full-body pat-down that touches private parts.
Even a former top TSA official has admitted to Fox News what many passengers already knew: The procedures are legally questionable.
Mo McGowan is the former fed head of TSA security operations, and is flummoxed to find a compromise between feretting out terrorists without unneccessarily pawing passengers. McGowan told FOX, "We're not dictating these events that are occurring. Events are happening across the world … driving us as a society to have to go to these measures."
So does this mean that the terrorists have won? Have people who wish to do us harm pushed our buttons to the point that they’ve effectively disrupted our way of life to that which is unrecognizable?
Meanwhile, illegals continue to pour across our southern borders. And there does not appear to be anything the Federal government is willing--or able--to do about it.
Part of the problem is the vastness of the border itself, stretching from Brownsville to San Diego. Which in someways mirrors the problem federal transportation safety wonks are facing--it’s vast: how to effectively find the needle in the haystack, or bomb in the luggage, or shank in the pocket, of people who’d like to go to glory at the expense of a downed airliner.
History has proven that you cannot do much to deter a determined enemy. You can prepare, you can plan, you can try to protect against. 
But at some point you have to ask the question of what civil liberties are worth giving up...and if you give up enough, have you already lost the war?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God Bless Chile

The Big Story this morning is one of hopes realized, patience rewarded, and courage personified.

 
After 70-days a half-mile below the surface of the earth, the first ten Chilean miners have been hoisted to the surface in a tiny escape pod, dubbed “Phoenix.”

 
The live feeds on the internet and TV have been mesmerizing. The joy that erupts on the surface as each entombed miner is released from the pod is palpable, even through the video screen. It is truly a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving, and not just in Chile.

 
The world needs a good story like this to take our minds off the dreariness and dread of soured economies, dashed retirement plans, and mud-slinging politicians. The world needs an antidote for the sadness and anxiety, and the Chileans have provided this much-needed diversion for media addicts.

 
So what happens after the 33rd Miner is retrieved, and the rescuers are all pulled safely back to the surface? Life will go on in Chile. Life will go on in the United States. Tomorrow we will awaken to the same drudgery of high unemployment, embarrassingly low interest rates, and a shallow pool of options with which to solve these problems.

 
The Chilean Miners’ rescue gives us all a glimpse of the kind of success that we can look forward to with patience, determination, focus and planning, whether it’s plucking 33 trapped miners from a hole in the ground a half-mile deep, or steering the national well-being back to acceptable levels from our own deep economic hole. Perhaps that's the best lesson for us all, from the mountainous country half a world away from the U.S.: 
Steady and slow saves the day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gifts vs Freebies?

Seth Godin’s Blog today looks at Generous gifts vs. free samples

He writes, "Free isn't always generous. Free can be a legitimate marketing strategy, an ultimately selfish way to increase sales. Once you spread your ideas (and free is the best way to do that), there are all sorts of ways to profit.

"But don't be confused. Free samples and free ideas and free bonuses are not necessarily generous acts.

"A generous gift comes with no transaction foreseen or anticipated. A gift is a gift, not the beginning of a transaction. When you see a Picasso painting at the Met, Picasso doesn't get anything (he's dead). Even his heirs don't get anything. His art is a gift to anyone who sees it.

"Giving gifts is a fairly alien endeavor. In most families, even the holidays are more about present exchange than the selfless act of actually giving a gift.

"The cool part, the punchline, is that giving a gift for no reason and with no transaction contemplated is actually incredibly powerful. It changes your approach to the market, it changes your relationship with the recipient and yes, it changes you."

Speaking of which...a sincere thank you is in order for the Service Team at Joe Myers Mazda where I have The Silver Bullet serviced and cared for. 
They know my name there. 
They covet my car. 
Ellis McGowen is the Executive Service Consultant who is always wanting me to sell my car...to him. 
Hey, Ellis, get your own drop-top. 
You can probably get an employee discount!

I took The Silver Bullet in for an oil change, and a week later, as luck would have it, the check-engine light came on. Ordinarily, the check-engine light is a revenue generator for a dealership service department, because they want to charge you to run the computer scan diagnostic that tells you what the light means. 

Joe Myers didn’t do that.
The last time it happened, they ran a scan, found no problem, reset the alarm, and sent me on my way--at no charge. This time, the check-engine light was for real, signaling a failing thermostat. 

So we replaced it...and during the repairs, a tool or something hard, was dropped on the fender: Door ding where door dings don’t normally appear.
Ellis said, “no problem” (his favorite phrase), and told me he’d take care of it...and any other door dings I might have. (He really DOES want my car!)

Enter Steven Clifton, Dent Man of Houston, who in 45-minutes, corrected the fender, as well as a half-dozen other minor door dings on both sides of The Silver Bullet.
No charge.
That was my check-out price.

I could have taken The Silver Bullet anywhere for service--it’s been out of the factory warranty for months. I took it back to Joe Myers because Ellis takes care of me.
Generous gift...or savy customer service philosophy? 
Doesn’t matter what you call it--it works for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Workin' at the Y'

I have a bone to pick about a story published tonight (Thursday) in the online edition of the Houston Chronicle, taking a pot shot at the top executive of the YMCA of Greater Houston for being the highest paid CEO of any nonprofit human service organization in the country.


Even the headline is slanted, in my opinion: "YMCA Leader's Pay Tops Peers in U.S. ...Study: $700,000 is vastly more than income of other nonprofit execs"

Boy, doesn’t that just make your blood boil?
This guy’s earning $700k a year for running a Y (sarcasm).
That’s outrageous (more sarcasm).
Everybody knows the YMCA is a charity…it’s a non-profit…how can they pay a guy $700k a year to run it (sarcasm dripping onto the floor in pools)??

According to Chron.com, a compensation study by Charity Navigator examined the CEO salaries of 3,000 mid- to large-sized charities. They determined the median salary of top leaders was $147,273 in 2008, which, by the way, in the depths of a recession, reflects a 4.7% increase over the previous year.

What does that tell you, when the economy has sputtered along at less than 3% growth, the average non-profit CEO’s income went up nearly 5%? 
Are you still as miffed?

And that’s the thing about median numbers: by definition, the number is in the middle of the pack. Certainly, there’s going to be SOMEONE earning top-dollar, just as there’s going to be some poor sap at the bottom of the heap.

There’s a very interesting passage on the first page of Charity Navigator’s report the Chronicle neglected to note in its story: “…these CEO’s are running multi-million dollar operations that endeavor to change the world. (underline emphasis is mine)

“Leading one of these charities requires an individual that possesses and understanding of the issues that are unique to the charity’s mission, as well as a high level of fundraising and management expertise.

“…it is important…to understand that since the average charity CEO [pay] runs roughly $150,000 a six-figure salary is not necessarily a sign of excessive pay for…a large sized charity.”

Clark Baker, who has led the Houston YMCA for eight years, earned $661,634 in 2008. The YMCA’s expenses that year were over $109-million.

Whoa.
Did that just hair-lip the governor?
The CEO of the Houston YMCA banked over $661-k?

So now the bleeding hearts are making hay about whether Baker is being paid too much to run a charity. One YMCA member quoted in the paper said Baker’s paycheck is an “obscene amount of money," …five times the median salary of men doing similar jobs at nonprofits.”

Well someplace, somewhere, some poor sap is making five-times less than the median salary. Where’s your bleeding heart concern for that sucker?

Our man Baker makes more than the CEOs of the YMCA of Greater New York and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. He also earns more than the CEO of the American Red Cross, the largest human services charity, with $3.4 billion in total expenses.
Whoopdedoo.

I am sick and tired of a disturbingly growing mentality that allows you to look at a report on median income and take pot shots at the guy on the right-end of the scale because he’s at the extreme end of the pay chart, and then say he’s making too much money.

How much is too much money?
Is $661K too much money to pay a guy who has run an organization  with 36 facilities, more than 300 programs and serves more than 700,000 people each year?

According to the Chronicle’s biased headline, Baker’s making about a dollar-per-person served. Is that too much??

You may recall earlier this year a group of Republican senators in Congress questioned the nearly $1 million salary of the top leader of the Boys & Girls Club of America, and refused to approve $425 million in federal funding for the organization.

Not the Houston YMCA
Compensation Committee
"You make too much money.
"You need to be punished."
Is that the American way?

I say don’t blame Clark Baker
Blame the Board of the Houston YMCA. 
Their executive compensation committee is responsible for reviewing Baker’s performance and setting his pay each year.

Here’s another galling point—buried deep, deep, deeply in the story is the only counter-weight to the premise Baker’s making too much dough working for the Y: “Despite Baker's huge salary, the YMCA is doing well financially, according to the charity watchdog, which has given the local organization four stars — the highest financial performance rating - over the past eight years. Its fundraising expenses are low, and it has a good level of working capital…”

 

Sounds to me like Clark Baker is worth his salt, and earning every penny he makes, working at the Y.