The flame-throwing going on this week over the stupid decision by SGK to insert conservative politics into the dealings of a medical foundation overwhelmingly funded and adored by women has been interesting to watch. This wasn't only pressure from outside groups, although there was that, too. SGK pissed off the people it exists to serve. They betrayed their core constituency in the worst possible way. That kind of mistake is usually fatal if the problem doesn't get fixed quickly, and thankfully that's exactly what happened this afternoon.
SGK (the foundation) posted on its blog (currently offline) this morning that it was reversing its decision to ban Planned Parenthood from applying for grants. PPH is back in the fold as of today.
The only question now is who will pay the price for causing this mess in the first place. It's hard to believe that the pressure will ease enough to allow this to be an "oops, my bad" day, where everyone goes home happy and forgets this ever happened. Someone needs to be fired over this. Not because my politics were offended or to appease the angry masses.
Someone caused an unacceptable level of bad press for this organization, some of which might have been defensible if the decision to blacklist PPH hadn't just been reversed. But reversing that decision makes clear to the entire planet that it should never have happened, and errors of this size simply can't be ignored. SGK is not a small company, it probably just lost a lot of money over the short term and absolutely lost a lot of good will, much of it forever. And for what gain?
It's not like the right would have suddenly embraced SGK and started donating enough money year-to-year to make up for what it just lost, just because it flipped off PPH. And now the right will probably flip out over today's news and the foundation will have to eat yet another cycle of bad press. The only saving grace is that someone working at that place was smart enough to pull a 180 on a Friday, with the good fortune to have this be a Superbowl weekend.
But someone on the executive level made the kind of mistake that you don't get to make while keeping your job, and I think we all know who those two people are. The only way to make this stop is to fire those people and move on.
I've attached the letter below since the SGK blog is down as of publishing time.
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As for the other items alluded to in my post title: the monthly jobs report came out this morning. The economy added 243,000 jobs in January, about 100,000 more than expected. That's the third straight month of job growth month-to-month (meaning the economy didn't just add jobs in November, December, and January, but has added more jobs than the previous month in every month since November.) The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, the fifth straight month dating back to last August, and hasn't been this low since February of 2009. First-time unemployment claims are also down month-to-month and have been trending down as well.
In other words:
2009: 4,197,000 jobs lost.
2010: 1,161,000 jobs added.
2011: 1,606,000 jobs added.
2012: 2,412,000 jobs added (estimate).
And unemployment: (low, high)
2007: 4.4, 5.0
2008: 4.9, 7.3
2009: 7.8, 10.0
2010: 9.4, 9.8
2011: 9.1, 8.5
The reason good jobs reports are good for America and Democrats but bad for Republicans is because every new good jobs report makes it that much harder for Republicans to claim that Democratic policies aren't pushing the economy towards recovery. Or in the case of that idiot who will say anything to get elected, Mitt Romney, that Democratic policies are actually making the economy worse.
All in all this has been a great day for women, liberals generally, Democrats, and the country on the whole. Not such a good day for conservatives who hate Planned Parenthood and the 2012 Republican presidential candidates who think they can run on a bad economy. That platform has been slowly rotting under their feet for months and we've got another eight months of reports to go before the general election.
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We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics — anyone’s politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.