Quick Followups

A couple of quick follow-ups to posts from earlier in the week:

* First, someone might want to show FEMA director Michael Brown this article from the Washington Post” “Living Paycheck to Paycheck Made Leaving Impossible.” It explains some of the economic realities of the people who stayed behind. Pay attention to the sums of money these people have and recall Cherie Priest’s comment that if most of these folks had had $300 and a car, they would have been out of there. Ms. Priest’s comment, it seems, was spot on.

* Second, CNN pair-growing continues, as you can see here:

Defending the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.

But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years.

I like that the press is beginning to remember that its role is not merely to reprint the mouthings of people in power. An adversarial press is exactly what we need now — and what we need, in fact, all the time.

* The response to “Being Poor” has been both phenomenal, in the number of links and visitors, and humbling, in the additions that people have added to the original list, most of which it’s clear come from personal experience. I will have more to talk about with my experience writing and posting the piece, but that will be for later. For now, I’ll note one thing: Some folks out there have pointed out the being poor in America (and the first world in general) is a different proposition to being poor in the third world: There’s Nick Mamatas’ pungent commentary, which I linked to in the original thread, and also this piece, which I found earlier this morning.

My response to this is: Of course. As Nick points out, there’s “relative poverty,” which is by and large is what we have here in the US, and “absolute poverty,” which is what you get in places where the vast majority of the population could live immensely comfortably on $300 a month (individuals in the population, mind you, not the entire population itself). The latter link in the last paragraph is written by someone who seems to be angry at the American poor for not knowing how good they have it, and with me for suggesting the American poor are genuinely poor. I don’t want to address that in any extended sense, since I think having a “poorer than thou” pissing contest trivializes the plight of the poor, whether they live in the first world or the third. I will suggest that going hungry feels the same wherever one might live. But by all means, follow these links and get a perspective on what being absolutely poor entails.

* Given the volume of posts in the last few days that are explicitly or implicitly political in nature, and the sheer volume of recent comments, this is a good time to remind people that a) I actively moderate comments, b) I’m not shy in expunging ones I don’t find appropriate (this is manifestly different than expunging ones I disagree with), and c) I’m also not shy expressing my opinion when I respond to comments.

All of those being the case, I heartily encourage everyone here, both long-time residents and brand-new visitors, to examine both my site disclaimer and my comment thread rules. In them you will discover that in regard to this site, I am indeed a petty tyrant, but generally a tolerant petty tyrant. Have fun.

Oh Boy

Chief Justice Rehnquist has died. Now things get really interesting.