The Most Depressing Thing I’ve Read So Far This Year

The most depresing thing I’ve read so far this year is this post from Popehat:

The older I get, the more I see, the more I read, the more clear it becomes to me that the entire game is rigged. The leftists and the rightists each see half of the fraud. The lefties correctly note that a poor kid caught with cocaine goes to jail, while a Bush can write it off as a youthful mistake (they somehow overlook the fact that their man Barrack hasn’t granted clemency to any one of the people doing federal time for the same felonies he committed). The righties note that government subsidized windmills kill protected eagles with impunity while Joe Sixpack would be deep in the crap if he even picked up a dead eagle from the side of the road. The lefties note that no one was prosecuted over the financial meltdown. The righties note that the Obama administration rewrote bankruptcy law on the fly to loot value from GM stockholders and hand it to the unions. The lefties note that Republicans tweak export rules to give big corporations subsidies. Every now and then both sides join together to note that, hey! the government is spying on every one of us…or that, hey! the government stole a bunch of people’s houses and gave them to Pfizer, because a privately owned for-profit corporation is apparently what the Constitution means by “public use”.

He goes on with more analysis with which I suspect that some of my readers will agree wholeheartedly. He concludes:

The system is not fixable because it is not broken. It is working, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to give the insiders their royal prerogatives, and to shove the regulations, the laws, and the debt up the asses of everyone else.

His prescription: burn the whole thing down.

That’s the one thing that puzzles me about the post. What makes him think that doing that would result in an improvement? A better new system rising from the ashes of the old is not inevitable. I don’t believe it’s even historical. What’s much more common is more misery for the people at the bottom of the social hierarchy and us “regular peons” and a new group of amoral opportunists supplanting the old ones.

I think there’s some reason for hope. For example, here in Chicago recently. After noting that those attending the “town hall meeting” didn’t appear to be much interested in the meetings convener, Rev. Al Sharpton’s topic of gun control:

A second surprise was that many black attendees were so critical of corrupt local Democratic lawmakers, who one person called the “Chicago machine,” according to

“We don’t have a gangs, guns, drugs problem,” said one panelist. “We have a nepotism, cronyism and patronage problem.”

“The manner in which we have been voting needs to change. I’m here to say to you that we have been trained to vote in a specific manner,” said Wendy Pearson, an activist against Chicago’s recent school closings, according to Breitbart. “We need to start looking at the manner in which our elected officials have been voting…if they have not voted in a manner that is beneficial to you, yours, and your community, then you need to start voting them out.”

“I would call a serious town meeting, like the town meetings Republicans would call,” said an 82-year-old preacher. “They call it a Tea Party.”

My own prescription is small steps. Kaizen. Improvement will be slow. But it can happen.

48 comments… add one
  • ... Link

    Seems unlikely that we can use small improvements to improve things when those in control are making ever larger power-grabs for themselves. A million people, each throwing a teaspoon of water back into the ocean, are no match for the tide.

  • PD Shaw Link

    When I was in college, I had to read a book by Robert Dahl (might have been Who Governs?), which postulated that the best way to understand modern democracy in a large, complicated nation is a conflict btw/ special interests. This is necessary because how am I supposed to know what laws should regulate the banking industry? The solution as I recall was to make sure all of the special interests are represented, not just the banking industry, etc.

  • ... Link

    The part that resonates the most with me is this:

    There are multiple classes of people, but it boils down to the connected, and the not connected. Just as in pre-Revolutionary France, there is a very strict class hierarchy, and the very idea that we are equal before the law is a laughable nonsequitr.

    It is now seven days and thirty minutes since I was put on the priority list with Animal Services after coming uncomfortably close to getting mauled by my neighbor’s pit bulls. And I still haven’t heard jack shit from the county. I’ve got no connections, and when they see the Pine Hills address they know they can ignore me. I’ve had another recent call to 911 get ignored as well, though fortunately that problem resolved itself. (A roving band of teenagers beating the shit out of each other against a neighbor’s house. They moved on before the police could get here, but hey, that was weeks ago and the police still haven’t shown, so it didn’t really matter, right? After all, what could go wrong with people hitting each other and slamming each other into windows and doors?)

    You’ve got connections, or you’re shit.

    Schuler: His prescription: burn the whole thing down.

    That’s the one thing that puzzles me about the post. What makes him think that doing that would result in an improvement?

    At this point I don’t care about improvement, as I don’t even think that is possible. It is nothing but a long downhill race to the bottom for most of us, while a few live like kings and another slice get to live as nobility. But it would be nice if, as in French Revolution, a fair number of those on the top were forced to pay for this with the lives of themselves and their most loved ones.

  • ... Link

    Shorter: Things might not get better, but they probably wouldn’t get much worse if the country’s elite were all shortened by about a foot. Or rather, a head.

  • michael reynolds Link

    A better new system rising from the ashes of the old is not inevitable.

    The USSR broke up, lost huge amounts of territory, gave up on its ideology and raison d’etre, moved from one party state to democracy and who runs the country? A former KGB officer.

  • ... Link

    Looking at popehat a little more, it appears that the author of the article is more or less an actual anarchist. (I would welcome him to m neighborhood to see it in practice.) So he’s probably not so concerned about what would come after.

  • TastyBits Link


    … I’ve got no connections, and when they see the Pine Hills address they know they can ignore me. …

    This is what most people in nice safe middle class neighborhoods do not understand. The police do not come running to help.

    Life in these neighborhoods is a different world. It is not just that the lot size is smaller, the cars are not as nice, the furniture is cheaper. It is that your neighbors do not sue you over minor disputes.

    You are nothing. You are nobody. You do not matter, and you know it.

  • ... Link

    Yeah, my neighbor’s dogs tore some stuff out of the bottom of my car. I’ve even got it on video. I’ve got exactly zero chance of getting any kind of financial remuneration for the damage. The best I can hope for is that whoever the bastard hurt in the hit and run has enough pull to get him thrown in prison, although that seems unlikely given that the trial date keeps getting pushed back. Important people get their Sixth Amendment rights respected (unless they don’t want them), but not so much for everyone else.

  • Red Barchetta Link

    I’m not big on mental health professionals……..but you need to see one, ice.

  • Red Barchetta Link

    “This is what most people in nice safe middle class neighborhoods do not understand. The police do not come running to help.”

    I think you are flat, damned wrong on this, tasty.

    I live in the oh-so-green, leafy suburb of Naperville, IL. Except for the North Shore, and Hinsdale out west here, its the ultimate la-la land. But the cops don’t come-a-runnin’ when you need.

    We have a wave of crime. West Chicago crooks coming out as they do their drug drop-offs breaking into the bedroom community homes.

    Its popular, and taken as a given, that middle or lower class people and neighborhoods are the unique victims of crime. Its also complete bullshit. Murder is disproportionate in the inner city. Theft is always and everywhere.

  • ... Link

    Yeah, Drew, you are so right. I should be thrilled to be out of work going on six years now. I should be thrilled that the government doesn’t provide the basic services I should expect as a citizen. I should be thrilled that my wife beating, cop assaulting neighbor is sicking his dogs on me and my family and that I cannot legally do a goddamned thing about it. I should be thrilled that a few weeks ago someone called in that I was a child abductor and that several sheriff deputies stormed their way into my house and made me prove that my daughter was my daughter. It was probably my goddamned neighbor calling it in for kicks. I’ll note that the police were eager to come chase after the one white man in Pine Hills who doesn’t have a record, but won’t do a goddamned thing to defend my daughter from the dangerous dogs of the criminal living next door. Yeah, I should be cheery that the neighbors dogs did damage to my car that I can’t pay to get fixed. (And that he wouldn’t pay for, even if he had the money, which he doesn’t.)

    Yeah, I really shouldn’t feel angry or upset about this. It’s really shocking that I do worry, and that I’m not happy, and am even angry at my utter powerlessness to affect the course of my life. I really ought to be pleased with the fate my betters have chosen for me.

  • Jimbino Link

    Hey, we burnt down Germany and we burnt down Japan, and the countries that arose from the ashes are a thousand times better.

    Burning down the USSA might not result in the same improvement, but it would provide a history lesson to future generations that fancied maintaining a thoroughly corrupt regime.

  • TastyBits Link

    As soon as the economy picks backs up, things will get back to normal. If not, it really does not matter.

    Most of today’s issues are economic based: minimum wage, health insurance, unemployment benefits, taxes, etc. When the economy picks up, these issues go away. At some point the culture wars will break out again, and libertarians will suddenly become left-wing liberals.

    The US may be in a slow decline, but without a catastrophic event, it is hard to tell. There have been worse times, and there have been better. The US Constitution was designed with feedback loops, throttling mechanisms, and relief valves.

    Sometimes it takes a major event to right the country. The Civil War was necessary to rid the country of slavery, and we are still trying to end racism. The country makes strides forwards and back but more forward than back. Along the way, more *.ism’s are being identified.

    There are times when the safety mechanisms get tied down or thwarted, but eventually, they begin to get worked out. There will be “growing pains” along the way, but we will muddle our way through. In about 45 years, gay folks have gone from being in-the-closet (or much, much worse) to legally married.

    In Civil Rights, there could be a lot of progress made in the next 45 years, but there is too much money and political gain with the status quo. As today’s race hustlers and poverty pimps die off, progress will begin to be made, but it will just take longer than it should. It will be long, long overdue, but we will get it right at some point.

    It has always been a rigged system, but sometimes the hustlers get too greedy. An “honest crook” will just take a little off the top – “wet his beak”. I suspect history will record the last 10 to 20 years as the 2nd Robber Baron era with Warren Buffett being exhibit A.

    What is really amusing is that many of the people the Republicans worship are really Democrats, and these Democrats are fleecing the people that they are supposed to be protecting.

  • ... Link

    Yeah, drew, I’m sure your neighborhood is just like a scene out of the projects.

  • TastyBits Link


    First, I am not defending @Icepick, and I do not give a rat’s ass about the feud between you two. I riff off some of @Icepick’s posts because they are true for many people in the US, but he is a big boy.

    Second, I was going to unload on you, but you probably are really not familiar with what life is like at the bottom for many people today.

    Have you ever lived in a place where there were “bars on the windows; bars on the doors; hell, even got bars on the floors.” If you ever do, get a gun, carry a gun, pay no attention to gun laws. Unless your life is in danger, do not shoot gang-bangers or threaten them.

    If the police response time is not fast enough in your neighborhood, you all will elect representatives to fix the problem. If this does not work, you will hire a private security firm, and as a last resort, you will move. You have options.

    If you were dropped into one of these neighborhoods, your “half full glass” attitude would be difficult to get you out of there. It is not impossible, but it is very, very difficult. Many of the things you take for granted would no longer be available.

    On the street, staring at the wrong person will get the shit kicked out of you. On the street, you will quickly find out that the “big swinging dick” that impressed your golf buddies earns you an ass kicking.

    When you live in a shitty neighborhood, you need to be prepared to physically defend everything you own. If not, it is really not yours. You are just holding it for the guy that is going to take it from you.

    A lot of this is the result of government programs you do not support, and I do not think that you are too much in favor of the drug war. I do not care how much money you have, and I do not blame you for not moving your family into one of these shit holes. Now, it is a different story for people who support this crap.

    In many instances, life at the bottom is not a downscale version of your life. It is vastly and dramatically different.

    Where I now live, it is a nice middle class neighborhood. When I see a dog running down the street, I stop and catch it. The only dogs that are running the streets have gotten loose. I caught a pitbull mix one time, and I thought it was going to lick me to death.

    Finally, this may all be lost on you. Not a problem. There are a lot of people reading this, and one of them may have learned something.

  • ... Link

    Poverty is about having no options and no security. A couple of people eating rhamen noodles and touching it in a flea-bag apartment while attending Harvard law are not in poverty.

  • CStanley Link

    I came of age in New Orleans in the late 70s, early 80s. Probably didn’t experience it to the extent that icepick is, but definitely knew what it was like to live in fear of crime. In sixth grade I had money stolen from me at school (administrators blamed me for bringing money), and then was nearly abducted while walking down the street in my neighborhood (adrenaline rush enabled me to swing around sharply and pull my clothing out of the creep’s grasp, and when I started screaming at the top of my lungs he quickly jumped in his van and sped off.) Cops persuaded my parents that it wasn’t in my best interest to file a report because they’d probably never catch the guy and if they did, I’d be further traumatized by having to testify.

    Then while I was in high school, my father and brother opened a snowball (NO style shaved ice) stand after tackling roadblocks put in place by the mob (true story- my Dad had previously testified against a member of the “Family” as an expert witness relating to a construction code violation.) When they finally got permitted, the stand was lucrative but we were held up at gunpoint several times, and although I was hoping to bankroll my college education through this as my brother was doing (he put himself through Tulane), my mother put her foot down after the third armed robbery. Of course in all of those incidents, too, the police filled out the reports as a matter of routine but informed us not to count on any justice being served.

    Lots to love about New Orleans, but I never want to live that way again.

  • jan Link

    Tasty, when I think of ‘no options,’ it’s because someone is a quadriplegic or in a coma. However, if you can walk, talk, run, swing your arms, grasp items, see, and hear then you are at least physically equipped to make changes. Life, for sure, is economically much harder for some than others. And, while I can’t even imagine the human crud you’re talking about being neighbors, if they were, I would move, rent, sell what little I had to get out of there. If I had nothing, then I would just take my family, get in a car, a bus or walk out. I’m not inferring any of this would be easy. However, why stay frozen in place, which only guarantees you misery and no options?

  • TastyBits Link


    I was renting around Camp and Felicity for a while. This was back when the St. Thomas was still standing, and the area was run-down. There were crack whores and drug addicts everywhere. Gun shots were a nightly occurrence, but I doubt anybody called NOPD.

    Years later I was renting in Woodmere after the oil bust, and it was pretty rough. One of the neighbors had bars around the porch. One night I came home, and somebody had cut the power. I am not sure if it was just a test run, but I decided to increase the firepower.

  • ... Link

    administrators blamed me for bringing money

    You realize just how valuable your hide is TO OTHERS when you find the authorities are more pissed off at you for being the victim of a crime than they are with perpetrators of the crime.

  • ... Link

    Was that still the Marcello mob back then, CStanley?

  • ... Link

    And, while I can’t even imagine the human crud you’re talking about being neighbors, if they were, I would move, rent, sell what little I had to get out of there.

    And live where? On the streeet? Think that is going to be a BETTER environment to live in? The only places to go from here are places that are worse.

  • ... Link

    IF there were better options I would take them. But there are no options for me, so I’m stuck, unless I want to make things even worse.

  • TastyBits Link


    If you are going to move, you need to be acceptable to your potential landlord.

    If you do not have a job, that is going to pose a problem. If you have a job, but do not make enough money, that is no better.

    If you are able to get over the job hurdle, you will have the previous address hurdle. More than likely, your old address was in a highly undesirable area of town, and your potential landlord will not want want to rent to you.

    If somehow you are able to get over the previous address hurdle, you will have the references hurdle, but if your potential landlord is still considering you, this should not be a problem.

    Now that you have been approved, you need a deposit – first month, last month. To get the electricity turned on, you need a deposit. To get the gas turned on, you need a deposit. Depending upon where you have moved, there are any number of additional fees and taxes. Some of these deposits can be paid over two or three payments, but you are probably cash strapped.

    Are you working? How far is work? If you take the bus, is there a bus route? Do you have children? What about their schooling? Are there additional costs – supplies, clothing, lunches, transportation – from the move? Will they be held back? Will they fit in?

    Do you have a car? If not, how are you moving your stuff? Does the place that you are moving into include a stove and/or refrigerator?

    Please put together an action plan for me and use real numbers.

    Why is that middle class children with far, far more advantages than lower income children are never required to pull themselves up out of the middle class. No, they “will stay frozen in place”, and yet, these are the “bright shining” examples the lower classes folks are supposed to emulate.

    If it were as easy as it looks, we would all be doing it.

  • CStanley Link

    Yes, ice, it was the Marcellos, although the individuals involved weren’t high up in the organization. The story of how my brother and Dad worked around the red tape is pretty amazing, though it’s best told by my brother. Basically he found a back door employee entrance to the permitting office, walked in and started chatting people up as though he belonged there. He was able to BS his way into the office of the official that they’d been unable to get an appointment with. I don’t remember all the details but that was how they broke the logjam to move their application through.

  • jan Link

    And live where? On the streeet? Think that is going to be a BETTER environment to live in? The only places to go from here are places that are worse.


    I don’t know the details of your circumstances, only the generalities. But, I do know that if my husband, son and myself were stuck in a hell-hole, like you seem to be, the top priority in our lives would be to get out. And, when my head and heart are bent on doing something, that’s all I think about — not the negatives of my situation — just the ways and means of changing them.

    I was brought up to not depend on life being fair, that there’s no free lunch, and if you want something, “it’s up to you” to get it. A sign as such, sits in my bookcase — a remembrance from a deceased elderly dentist friend who had it nailed to his wall during his 40 year practice.

    While I cringe when I read your posts, and truly sympathize with the unsafe conditions surrounding you and your family, I really don’t see any signs of stretching for something better. The societal climate, beyond your home, seems to be viewed as only ‘worse’ by you. And, if that is your gut belief, then that may also be your destiny. Oftentime it’s mind over matter, and if the mind says it can’t work then it doesn’t matter.

  • CStanley Link

    A day or two ago I read icepick’s post where he stopped just short of saying that he was considering sacrificing himself to the pit bulls. I couldn’t help but imagine a darker version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Jan, what you and Drew don’t seem to realize, perhaps never having had the life experiences to understand it, is that there really are some circumstances that we can’t will ourselves out of. Some people have never seen those circumstances, and some have had benefactors whom they didn’t see or acknowledge at the time. I’ll never forget, for instance, the scholarships that got me through college and vet school (I’ll never know the names of the donors but I’m eternally grateful), and the cranky old aunt of my husband who lent us money so he could buy a few new suits when he got a new job right after our first daughter was born.

    Unfortunately there may not be a fund that icepick can tap into, and his spouse may not have an unpleasant but basically good hearted old aunt to whom they can turn for financial help. For you to continually berate him when you don’t know the details, is really kicking a man when he’s down.

  • ... Link

    Jan, my circumstances can’t improve without more revenue. I can’t get more revenue without a job. And people who have been out of work for years do not get jobs unless they’ve got connections. I have no connections.

    What do you recommend? Should I get a STEM degree so I can do useful things? Already got one. It’s useless.

    Get a work history where I can show what I did? Have one of those. It’s worthless now.

    Maybe I should go back to school, get an education in something useful. Well, you gotta have money to do that. Or you have to take out loans. Did that. When I got done with that, the jobs in the new line of work dried up for everyone but people that already had experience. No new hires were wanted. That was actually years ago, now, and all that knowledge so expensively acquired is now out of date.

    But surely I can get something, right? Well, if you try moving DOWN the corporate ladder, prospective employers think you won’t be “happy” at your work, so they won’t hire you.

    Well, maybe try starting from scratch, and get some job for minimum wage. But do you know who Wal-mart and McDonald’s don’t want to hire? A middle aged man with a lot of experience doing other stuff who has been unemployed for years. They won’t even interview you. I found this out the last time I looked for work two years ago. They will not even speak to you.

    So far the only jobs I haven’t tried for a male prostitute or drug dealer. But the dealers only like to deal with people they know, and really prefer to deal with their own home-boys, if you know what I’m saying. And since I am white living in a black neighborhood I don’t have much useful ethnicity to use, even if I wanted to. And male prostitute? Sorry, not looking to get a communicable disease.

    And let me be even more clear. I volunteer with a group that works with unemployed professionals. I’m around LOTS of people in the same circumstances. I hear the same stories from them that I recount here. And I’m not seeing any improvement for those folks either. The best thing I’ve seen recently was someone that used to make six figures a year ECSTATIC to get a part-time job as a book-keeper for $12 an hour. This in a Central Florida economy that is allegedly booming, though two friends have just lost their jobs.

    Last summer, when I stopped keeping track because it was too depressing, the BLS stats showed that we were five MILLION full time jobs short of where we had been six years earlier. The working age population has increased since then. We are well short of where we were. In that situation, as a matter of mathematics, millions of someones are going to be permanent losers. And lucky me, I got selected for the loser heap.


    It’s funny. People like you and Drew are quick to point out the failings of the government to create a better economy when you want to cheer-lead for your own team. But when it comes down to it you are blaming the unemployment problem on the people who are unemployed. Which was the final straw that broke my back, and why I will never support the Republican Party or Republicans again.

  • ... Link

    Oftentime it’s mind over matter, and if the mind says it can’t work then it doesn’t matter.

    Yeah, if all those millions of us that had full-time jobs six years ago just really BELIEVE, then we’ll all be employed again!

    You can believe in mind over matter if you want. I’ll continue believing that if someone drops a boulder on me, I’ll die no matter how hard I THINK at the boulder.

  • jan Link


    Our business is rentals. I know the game. However, it’s not always what’s on the application, the job, the referral etc., that is the major component in renting to someone. It’s how the person presents their case. We’ve rented to some pretty sketchy people — people who had bad credit, were coming out of a divorce with nothing, bankruptcy, a drug runner posing as a limo driver, single mothers with lots of debt looking for a better place — we’ve reviewed a diverse crowd. What catches our attention is the honesty of an applicant, acknowledging their lack of qualifications, but still wanting to be given a chance despite these flaws. We’ve often taken those chances, and have infrequently been burned, as there’s nothing more potent than genuine motivation — people who put their heart and soul into something — to achieve some kind of success.

    The rental gauntlet you listed might be more applicable in big, impersonal rental companys. But, in smaller ones, there’s a greater opportunity to market yourself, your goals, getting a reasonable shot at something that might otherwise be deemed impossible. However, if you don’t at least try……..

  • CStanley Link

    Jan, so you waive deposits for folks in those situations?

  • TastyBits Link


    There are only a few people at the top of the bell curve. We all cannot be above average. You are at the top, but are you at the very top? Are there others above you who wonder why you are not doing your best? In essence, you are slacking. You are only doing as little as you can to get by.

    Why is it so easy to move to move up a quintile or two from the bottom but not from the middle?

    Is your son handicapped? If not, why is he not playing for the NBA? Michael Jordan showed what hard work could do.

  • PD Shaw Link

    The law stuff in that post bothers me a bit.

    People who don’t get caught never go to jail, even if they later say they’ve used drugs. Its a bit nihilistic to compare a _rumor_ that George W. was caught using cocaine in ’72 with a kid arrested for a baggie last week.

    Prior to the sentencing reforms, there was a wide discrepancy in drug sentencing because the poorer you were, the less likely you understood what the judge wanted; the judge wanted repentance and sorrow and assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. They want to hear that you’ve voluntarily entered rehab without being ordered. They loved to see a family show support.

    They still do; I’ve watched a lot of drug sentencing from the back row, and the judges want these people to clean-up. Mandatory drug sentencing guidelines have limited the judge’s discretion to the detriment of the privileged. There are two ways to even things out, and libertarians lost out.

    And people who’ve inherited good genes and breeding, can screw-up now and then and be fine. Some people cannot lose an IQ point from drug/alcohol abuse or lose a good paying job because they won’t ever get that type of job again.

  • TastyBits Link


    I usually try to stay out of other people’s business, but for what it is worth:

    The traditional job market is closed to you at this time, but you know that. Your best shot would be something local based (curtain hanging service) or internet based. You would need to use your imagination.

    If you want to do software development, there are any number of free tools, and there are numerous sites to learn how to program. If you are into graphics or animation, it is similar. If you are into PC gaming, you can create mods. If you are into hardware, you can play around with the Arduino boards. If nothing else, any of these would keep you occupied.

    Your mathematical skills would be very useful for many computer related areas. You might be interested in assembly or machine languages, and there is a lot of work going on in the GPU area.

    You may be able to do something with history. Mish was an out-of-work programmer, and he started writing about economics.

    If this was worthless, disregard.

  • jan Link

    so you waive deposits for folks in those situations?


    In situations where people don’t have money to pay deposits we prorate them, sometimes over a long period of time. We’ve also reduced rents to help people, and even given money to someone to pay their rent, who was in a particularly dire circumstance. There is no free ride, per se. We work with people, though, who are willing to work with us. Our basic formula is to treat anyone in the manner we would like to be treated.

    I’m truly sorry you construed what was posted here as berating someone. What I was attempting to convey, something attributable to Lena Horne, is oftentimes “it’s not the weight of the load you carry, but how you carry it.”

  • ... Link

    Its a bit nihilistic to compare a _rumor_ that George W. was caught using cocaine in ’72 with a kid arrested for a baggie last week.

    Yeah, but how about comparing that kid with the baggie to a President that has openly written about his own drug use, and even sounds a bit proud about it? (I’m pretty sure the current President has admitted to cocaine use to go along with the bountiful amounts of weed he used to smoke.)

  • ... Link

    If this was worthless, disregard.

    Not worthless, but I’m not sure that it is all that helpful. Even on days when I can distract myself with other things, my daughter usually manages to keep me from focusing on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. And I’m old enough that I’m already having problems retaining stuff unless I can hammer away at it regularly.

  • TastyBits Link


    I am not trying to give you a hard time, but I want people to understand what some of the hardships of the “pulling oneself by one’s bootstrap” strategy.

    I do not think that your area is typical for most of the lower income folks, but I will use it as a best case scenario.

    I am guessing that there are few landlords who are as accommodating as you, and in any case, there are a limited number of units available. I am going to make another guess that the number of non-accommodating landlords is much larger than the accommodating ones.

    In most cases, the potential renter is going to go through through many rejections before they get to you. Depending upon the size of your area, number of landlords, etc., this could be quite a few. How many rejections does it take before a person gets too discouraged to continue looking.

    Did we discuss the time involved, child care, gas money, work time?

    For most people, the rejection is also personal. They are not good enough. How much rejection is one person supposed to bear? At some point they will throw their hands into the air and say “fuck it”. While they are not moving, this is the perfect time to kick them in the teeth. Life at the bottom, ain’t it grand.

    The truth is that nobody gives a shit about these people. The conservatives want to kick in the ass to get them moving. The liberals want to put them in diapers and give them a bottle. Nobody wants to help them brush the dirt off, give them a kind word, and point them in the right direction. Nothing to be gained by that.

  • CStanley Link

    Tasty it’s- great comments, and I agree, except that for individuals who aren’t politicians- even those that might strongly align with a party or ideology- I don’t think the typical problem is lack of caring. It’s that they just don’t get it.

  • ... Link

    One of my complaints is that the local government ISN’T PERFORMING ITS BASIC FUNCTIONS. Forget giving me a leg up, how about sending the police when I call 911, or Animal Services before a week haws gone by on my PRIORITY TICKET (their language, not mine).

    As for not having anyone else to help: Don’t I know it. My family (excepting the wife and child) are all either dead or distant, and my wife’s close family consists of her mother and sister, both of whom have their own economic troubles (both have lost long-term jobs in the last 12 months) and a great long way away, as the Mojave Desert isn’t exactly proximate to Florida. We’ve got friends but none we can really ask for help, and at least two of them are in much worse shape than we are.

    Yeah, there’s no help. All performances done without nets or any other safety devices. But it would be nice if out betters didn’t make such a show of stamping their boots in our faces when we do try to climb up, or even just slither along.

  • PD Shaw Link


    Popehat alludes to Obama and complains that he isn’t commuting the sentences of all the cokeheads in the federal pens. I can’t tell if he’s joking or thinks past drug use should be a disqualifier.

    I think there is a rehabilitive strain in drug enforcement, so long as its first possession in an amount that is not considered dealing. I really don’t know if Obama had been caught w/ a small amount of coke that he’d have faced any jail time. People get screwed buying in quantity and not stopping after the first time.

  • Popehat alludes to Obama and complains that he isn’t commuting the sentences of all the cokeheads in the federal pens. I can’t tell if he’s joking or thinks past drug use should be a disqualifier.

    I suspect he thinks that it’s hypocritical of Obama to keep people in jail for doing things he’s acknowledged doing. I suppose that depends on whether you think the crime resides in the act or in getting caught.

    I certainly don’t think that hypocrisy is disqualifying. I think it’s practically a prerequisite.

  • michael reynolds Link


    That first post of yours up there achieved the beauty that comes from truth. Nice.

    The only thing you left out is that if your car is a piece of shit you may want to park it well away from a rental office. ’72 repainted robin’s egg blue Plymouth Valiant with the obligatory rusted-out rear wheel wells.

  • TastyBits Link

    @michael reynolds

    I think a lot of people think being poor is the same as being “down on your luck” or “hitting a rough patch”. If one day you woke up in a shitty neighborhood with a college degree, good credit score, family support, and an overall positive life experience, moving out might not be very difficult.

    Many people do not understand what life is like at the bottom. Having a better understanding does not mean supporting government programs, but some church groups might be inspired to venture into the uncomfortable parts of town.

  • CStanley Link

    LOL- my first car was a 74 Plymouth Valiant.

    There was a short in the wiring , so in order to prevent the battery from running down when the car was turned off, I had to disconnect the battery cables. I had it down to a quick pop of the hood, hop out and wiggle the connector to slide it off of the terminal.

    All of this would have been humiliating for a guy, I suppose, but as I was a girl it worked to bring out the chivalry in guys. Can’t tell you how many times guys stopped to ask if I needed help, and gave me admiring glances I received when I answered, “No thanks, I’ve got this.” Well, maybe it wasn’t my mechanical abilities they were admiring…

  • ... Link

    Cstanley, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. 🙂

  • Cstanley Link

    Heh, I suppose that’s true.

  • ... Link

    Yesterday’s good news: my mom’s cat (which has been mine since my mother died) died. Poor kitten always had bad luck.

    Today’s good news: one of the new tires I put on the car last summer had a nail in the sidewall. Had to replace that with money I don’t really have to spare. Found out the the car in general needs $1,000 worth of work. $200 got done today. Don’t know when we’ll have the rest of the money. The best part was finding out that my nuts were swollen.

    I can hardly wait to find out what surprise tomorrow has in store.

    But this is the country the voters want more of, especially the Obama voters who think this is at least a B-fucking-plus economy. Fuck the revolution; bring in the apocalypse.

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