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July 10, 2003

Heard NPR talking about Creative Class yesterday. I first heard of this book a couple of months ago and thought it sounded like an interesting idea. I might even buy it, when my current to-be-read pile gets down into single digits. I do encourage you to go check out the website, though. Especially the links to various articles. Interesting reading.

When I read articles like this one, my first thought is always that if USofA citizens think we're giving more to the world's poor than we are, then we're not actually giving enough. (I mean, before the current Administration's let 'em die strategy.) Seriously. In terms of what we have, we give so little it's embarrassing. I know this is the kind of remark the militant always scoff at liberals for making, but when I think of how many people the money for just one "smart" missile would feed....

Moreover, during the Cold War and even today, too much U.S. foreign aid went to tyrants and crooks for tactical foreign policy purposes, while too little aid was used to fight poverty, hunger and disease. Not only have the amounts been much too small, they have been poorly directed.
Maybe we need a change in rhetoric. Something a little more honest? How about we have a "foreign aid" budget that, you know, aids people.

Separate from that we can have a "Who's Your Buddy?" budget with money that can be used to continue this country's history of trying to buy love and support from terrorists and totalitarian dictators, hmmm?

You know what I like about the internet? Lists. I love how people make lists of things. The NRDC has a record of Bush's record on the environment. Campaign Watch has a list of links to major media articles on the Bush families financial dealings. (They're a bit hysterical, but there are some interesting links.)

I think the Palace of the Republic should be saved and maintained as a museum or something. You cannot erase history by demolishing the symbols of it and we all need these kinds of reminders.

It's good to know that it wasn't Savage's lousy ratings (less than one percentage point) or his mind-numblingly foul mouth or his blatant hate-mongering that got Savage fired. Nope, he was done in by that evil, liberal media.

The Dead

An AP story (via the Guardian) puts the Iraqi civilian body count at 3,240. (How very precise.) In another forum, someone posted that a just-completed NGO, Survey put "civilian deaths during the war with Iraq" (I guess that means they're not counting anyone who died after Bush played Top Gun) at 2,652. (I haven't been able to find an on-line citation for this.) On the other hand, Iraq Body Count* is currently showing 6,055 7,706, so who knows what's right?

* I think they're probably cheating by adding in too many dead people. They have some dumb idea that it doesn't amtter whether you died before or after Bush's photo-op.

The Poor

Colleges today seem to be very weird places. For one thing, objective thought seems to be out of fashion. How could anyone claim with a straight face that Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed has a liberal bias?

It's a book about living on starvation wages. The author went out, tried to live on entry-level wages for the unskilled worker, then wrote a book about it. Rather than calling the book "intellectually dishonest" and objecting that it only portrays "one side" of the economy, these kids should read it and think. But no, they don't do that.

The bottom line is that they don't want to be poor, don't want to think about the poor, and object to being educated about the lives of the poor. They see it as propaganda instead of understanding the truth of the situation...that we're all impoverished by the poor in our society.

Unfortunately I have to say that I doubt Ehrenreich's book will change many minds. I was disappointed by her shallow coverage of the experiences she had, by her willingness to "take a break" from her self-imposed short-term poverty, and by the lack of...well, I guess the lack of human feeling she expressed for others. She spends a lot of time inside her own head and far too little time trying to grasp the long-term implications of generation after generation living in poverty. Maybe it's because the experiment was so short-term. Instead of a month in three different cities, she should have had to live three months in each. There's nothing that brings poverty home to you like the long-term vista of an unchanging, hopeless future.

And, finally

Read this. It's very, very on target. I've been saying it for years. The cult of anti-intellectualism in this country is going to bring us down.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:04 AM