Friday, December 11, 2009

Silver Lining

There's some good economic news this week. While liberalism can still claim to be politically ascendant, some of its key institutions are struggling in the face of the Great Recession/Little Depression.

The ACLU has incurred a sudden loss of cash flow: ACLU Loses Donor, One-Fourth Of Yearly Donations

The American Civil Liberties Union has lost a quarter of its yearly donations after a major donor cut off $19 million in annual donations because of economic difficulties.

David Gelbaum, a wealthy California conservationist, said he was indefinitely stopping the donations that had made him the New York-based group's largest anonymous donor.

"For a number of years, your organization has received very substantial charitable contributions from me," Gelbaum said in a statement. "My investments in alternative, clean energy companies have placed me in a highly illiquid position as a result of the general credit crisis in the American and world financial systems."

Gelbaum was also a major donor to the Sierra Club. Note that he has to cut back on his donations because of malinvestments in "alternative, clean energy companies." Hey, when you invest with your heart, and not your head, you have to expect years like this.

Harvard's once mighty endowment has forced it to cut down on its ambitious expansionary plans: Slowing Expansion, Harvard Suspends Work On Tower
Harvard announced Thursday that it would indefinitely suspend construction on a high-tech science complex in the Allston neighborhood of Boston because of money problems.

“The altered financial landscape of the university, and of the wider world, necessitates a shift away from rapid development in Allston,” Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, wrote in aletter released Thursday.

As part of a larger long-term expansion into Allston — a pet project of Lawrence H. Summers, Dr. Faust’s predecessor at Harvard and nowPresident Obama’s chief economic adviser — the university also bought a string of buildings there over the last 20 years. But many have remained vacant, to the chagrin of Allston residents who have accused the university of buying land and holding onto it, a practice known as land banking.

The four-building science center, estimated to cost at least $1 billion, was originally scheduled to be finished in 2011. Dr. Faust’s announcement comes 10 months after she announced plans to slow the pace of the project while the university assessed whether it could continue. Harvard has since disclosed that its endowment declined 27 percent from June 2008 to June 2009, to $26 billion, and the university has made several cost-cutting moves.

This was one of those grandiose projects that progressives love, but which make no sense. Building a "science center" in Allston - a neighborhood across the Charles from Cambridge - and then buying adjoining land with vague plans for "revitalization" is not something most people would want to spend $1 billion on. Luckily, "genius" investor Larry Summers has moved on from giving bad advice to Harvard to giving bad advice to the President.

Finally, the media deathwatch continues: Editor & Publisher Folding

Editor & Publisher, which has chronicled the closing of numerous publications in recent years, now suffers the same unhappy fate.

Nielsen Business Media is selling eight magazines — including AdWeek, Billboard and Backstage — to a new consortium, e5 Global Media Holdings. But two of their other brands, E&P and Kirkus Reviews, will be shuttered in the process.

E&P was the voice of mainstream media journalists; always ready to diss bloggers and other new media outlets, always ready to rationalize the MSM "gatekeepers" who always managed to bury stories harmful to progressive interests, and of course always ready to deny that there was liberal bias in the news.

The dirty secret of progressivism is that they rely heavily on the mighty engine of America's economy to fund their anti-American activities. They despise wealth, yet they need tons of money to thrive, and best of all, they are incapable of earning it themselves. No wonder they are always so grumpy.

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