I have a friend who just three years ago was making six figures as a freelance artist. Now he's down to $1,000 a month when he's lucky, has sold everything he owns except his computer (because he uses it for work) and can't move to a cheaper place (he's already living in an efficiency) because he literally can't afford to move. I've been trying to talk him into applying for food stamps; so far, he hasn't.
And I don't think he's all that unusual. Right now, I know people who are selling their blood, lying their way into marketing focus groups, and trash-picking stuff to sell on eBay. (If I don't get a job before the latest unemployment extension runs out, it won't be long before I join them.)
It's really, really bad out here and getting worse. Mr. President, stop giving money to bankers and help our desperate unemployed:
CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After an improbable rise from the Bronx projects to a job selling Gulf Coast homes, Isabel Bermudez lost it all to an epic housing bust — the six-figure income, the house with the pool and the investment property.
Now, as she papers the county with résumés and girds herself for rejection, she is supporting two daughters on an income that inspires a double take: zero dollars in monthly cash and a few hundred dollars in food stamps.
With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.
About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.
Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card.
“It’s the one thing I can count on every month — I know the children are going to have food,” Ms. Bermudez, 42, said with the forced good cheer she mastered selling rows of new stucco homes.
Members of this straitened group range from displaced strivers like Ms. Bermudez to weathered men who sleep in shelters and barter cigarettes. Some draw on savings or sporadic under-the-table jobs. Some move in with relatives. Some get noncash help, like subsidized apartments. While some go without cash incomes only briefly before securing jobs or aid, others rely on food stamps alone for many months.
The surge in this precarious way of life has been so swift that few policy makers have noticed. But it attests to the growing role of food stamps within the safety net. One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.
Everyone in the political world saw all the polls over the last several days, and they all pointed to a big Barack Obama win in New Hampshire. Given Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory, this has prompted many to suggest polls shouldn’t be taken seriously anymore. I think that’s a little rash under the circumstances.
Josh Marshall reminded us overnight that, by and large, polls are usually right.
[B]y and large they have a very good record. It’s silly to think that we — whether ‘we’ is reporters or political junkies or ordinary voters — are going to ignore the information that’s right in front of us. And why should we?
It’s true I guess that in an abstracted reality we could simply listen to the candidates, ignore all probabilistic data available, go to the polls with no idea of the result and learn the outcome the following morning. But that’s not the world we live in nor do I think it’s one I’d want to live in.
Agreed. Pollsters put surveys in the field, and tell us the results. The numbers offer us hints of what’s to come. When all the polls agree on a likely outcome, far more often than not, that’s what’s going to happen. Yesterday was obviously the exception, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to trash the rule.
On a related note, Matt Yglesias offers an interesting observation (and accompanying chart) from one of his commenters: “No one is talking about how the polls actually nailed Obama’s number. Obama didn’t lose this election. He stayed steady and Hillary surged ahead.”
Hamsher: So let me do the dirty work and mention what the wonks won’t — this guy has a perfectly frozen forehead. Per. fect. ly. Watch the clip at Media Matters and look betwen his eyes and at his eyebrows. Absolutely immobile. No lift, no scrunch. Nobody of Williams’ age has that little movement without being shot to shit with Botox unless they’ve got some sort of neurological disorder. Watch him. He’s a preening, vain little trash talking popinjay and my guess is Matthews (or any other anchor) probably doesn’t want anyone delving too heavily into the subject of cosmetic enhancement on his show lest the floodgates open and everyone’s fair game.
Can we call him Botox Mark? Media Matters supplies the transcript and has video also:
WILLIAMS: I hope what we get is the truth from General Petraeus about every step forward on the ground being made by the military since we started this being ruined, and two steps backwards being taken on Capitol Hill, by the Democrats playing politics with this and plucking the pennies off the eyelids of the newly dead. Meanwhile, "Nancy Botox" is out there saying, you know, "We're leaving! We're running! We're gonna go away!"
MATTHEWS: This doesn't help me any.
MATTHEWS: You know, Mark, that doesn't help me any.
MSNBC needs to answer a simple question. Why is he on your network? Media criticism has aways been a big part of C&L....And you wonder why I've written about him for a few days...
If you haven't heard by now, XM shock-jocks Opie and Anthony are in full apology-mode over crude sexual comments (WARNING: disgusting language) guest “Homeless Charlie" made about Condoleeza Rice and Laura Bush. This kind of trash should be universally deplored, but when other idiot shockjocks like Mancow Muller -- who describes himself as a "conservative, Bible-thumping radical who curses" -- claim that Opie and Anthony are "liberal guys" and that's why they're "getting a free pass" from the media, I'd be remiss if I didn't call him out on it. Here's a contrast of what he said and what O&A themselves said about their political leanings in an interview on "Hannity & Colmes" last year.
Mancow: "These are liberal guys. Can you imagine - these are liberal guys, can you imagine if-if Rush or Hannity or you, Bill got on and talked about raping Hillary? You'd be out of the country by now, but these guys are getting a free pass because the media hates - hates -uh this First Lady and hates Condoleeza Rice."
In that H&C clip, Opie and Anthony had just gotten their show back after a two year hiatus from terrestrial radio where they were fired for running a contest in which they encouraged listeners to have sex in public places. One of those places was St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC, and the uproar that ensued resulted in their canning.
The funniest part has to be when Hannity asks them when their next outrageous controversy will happen and when he will have to defend them. Well, here you go, Sean. Will you stay true to your word? Something tells me no.
A woman was blasted by a trash can while entering a St Louis Cardinals game over the weekend. This was captured by a cell phone. Emailer E: These storms caused a lot of damage at this game and around St. Louis, even knocked out the windows of the broadcasting booth.
While talking about the shake up at MSNBC, Cal Thomas was very candid about what FOX News is really all about. Download | play -WMP Download | play -QT
Thomas: "All of them are trying to copy FOX News now to be honest. Many of them are doing tabloid, more big lipped blonde's and all this kind of stuff. There's only so much of that trailer trash pie to go around."
Everyone on the set laughed because____? What type of pie did he have in mind?
Thanks for being so honest about FOX News. Will Bill O'Reilly want Cal fired next?
"A few of them weigh in here. Personally, I think it's sleazy for a blog to accept an ad and then mock and trash the advertiser, as Junkyard Dog and Right Wing News have done. I wouldn't mind a reasoned debate on the issues raised in the ad, but to make statements like "So click on the ad. Laugh at the page it links to. Amnesty International is a joke" and "The ad is a lame little connect-the-dots video they really didn't put much effort into...read on"
This American Life: Is Gitmo a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of our mistakes? Reporter Jack Hitt unveils everything we know about who these prisoners are. I listened to this show last Saturday and highly recommend that you either purchase a CD of it now or wait until next week when the archive version goes up at their site.
War and Piece: Duke Cunningham's Iranians. Something funky goin' on here...