Monthly Archives: June 2014

Koch Brothers

“This year’s best-known politically active billionaires—liberal Tom Steyer and the libertarian Koch brothers—drew headlines Friday for a pair of hefty charitable contributions.  But that’s where the similarities end.”  Valerie Richardson

Kochs give to United Negro College Fund while Steyer offers climate-change aid

Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, June 16, 2014, p. 10

05963230-afa9-11e3-8787-d7e40bfa09ff_koch_brothersThis year’s best-known politically active billionaires — liberal Tom Steyer and the libertarian Koch brothers — drew headlines Friday for a pair of hefty charitable contributions, but that’s where the similarities end.

Charles and David Koch donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund, a gift that will support historically black colleges and provide nearly 3,000 merit-based awards to undergraduate and graduate students, the scholarship organization announced Friday.

UNCF is proud to announce this new scholarship program that will help motivated and deserving students not just get to and through school, but to become our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said UNCF president and chief executive Michael Lomax said in a statement.

“We are enormously grateful to Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation for their long-standing support of UNCF and for helping to create new opportunities for earned success and a better future for our students,” said Mr. Lomax.

Meanwhile, San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer announced Friday that he and his wife Kat Taylor have established a $2 million fund for victims of “extreme weather events” caused by climate change. Continue reading

SPU Student

“I was thrown into a life and death situation, and through God’s grace I was able to stop the attacker and walk away unharmed.”  J. C. Derrick

Unwelcome fame

NEWS | Student hero dodges public spotlight, financial windfall in Seattle shooting


LIFE AND DEATH: Meis and his fiancée.

Seattle Pacific University student Jon Meis likes to be prepared. That’s why he always carries a can of pepper spray. Meis was ready on June 5 when Aaron Ybarra, 26, allegedly opened fire at SPU, a private Christian school, killing one and injuring two. The 22-year-old Meis used his pepper spray to subdue Ybarra and put him in a choke hold until other students and faculty members rushed to help keep the suspect pinned on the ground. Police said Ybarra, who has a history of mental illness, was carrying a shotgun, ammunition, and knives, and the actions of Meis and others likely saved lives.

“I was thrown into a life and death situation, and through God’s grace I was able to stop the attacker and walk away unharmed,” Meis, an engineering student, said in a June 9 statement. “When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, Meis declined all media interview requests and even asked friends at SPU and his former high school not to divulge facts about his personal life. Yet some details still emerged, including his scheduled wedding on June 21. Well-wishers promptly purchased everything on the wedding registries they found at Target and Crate & Barrel. Jessamyn McIntyre, a Seattle area sportscaster, launched a crowd-funding effort and raised more than $50,000 for Meis’ “honeymoon and future” in four days.

In his June 9 statement, released by SPU, Meis called the outpouring of support overwhelming and asked that all future donations go toward the victims—who were all SPU students. He said it is hard to see himself as a hero and thanked emergency responders for willingly putting their lives at risk every day. Meis noted the “devastating reality” that heroes cannot emerge without tragedy. “We cannot ignore that a life was taken from us, ruthlessly and without justification or cause,” he said. “Nonetheless, I would encourage that hate be met with love.”

Who Wrote “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”?

“Now that we’re heading toward the All Star game, here’s a quick quiz:  Who wrote the unofficial anthem of America’s favorite pastime, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame’? (A) 1920s Brooklyn Dodgers fan; (B) Cole Porter; (C) a Jewish guy named Albert Von Tilzer who had never been inside a baseball stadium.”  Andree Seu Peterson

Chasing dreams

CULTURE | A spotlight on the athletic achievement of Jewish Americans

By World magazine, Issue: “2014 Books Issue,” June 28, 2014

Now that we’re heading toward the All-Star game, here’s a quick quiz: Who wrote the unofficial anthem of America’s favorite pastime, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? (A) A 1920s Brooklyn Dodgers fan; (B) Cole Porter; (C) a Jewish guy named Albert Von Tilzer who had never been inside a baseball stadium.

If you guessed “C,” you have a clue to the fascination of “Chasing Dreams,” this spring’s exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) on 5th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. An installation featuring Jews in baseball is not an oxymoron but, honestly, baseball has to be 45th or 50th on the list of things Jews excel at—not because they’re bad at it but because they’re so good at so many things (if one may say this without being censured for reverse racism). Even boxing and basketball would have been richer veins to mine.

You want to talk about Nobel Prizes? Jews have garnered 22 percent of them. (They make up less than 0.2 percent of the global population.) A “Greatest Jewish Ballplayer” bracket on one wall, designed by father of fantasy ball Daniel Okrent—a Jew—diagrams “great, good, decent, or barely adequate major league Jews,” and in parenthesis Okrent notes, “it’s not as if there were thousands to choose from.” (This nimble blend of chutzpah and humility marks the NMAJH presentation.)

In the late 19th century Cubans passionately took to baseball, but the love of Jews and the sport was more like the Hapsburg marriages of royal mutual advantage. The YMHA (Young Men’s Hebrew Association), started in 1854 to help Jewish immigrants, took a decidedly practical and cerebral approach to Americanizing their children through athletics. It’s great fun to read in the Aug. 27, 1909, Yiddish language daily newspaper, The Jewish Daily Forward, excerpts of “The Fundamentals of the Base-Ball Game Described for Non-Sports Fans”: Continue reading

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