Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

Of artists and safety nets

November 13, 2019

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a story in the Colorado Springs Sun, mentioning President Nixon, written by Your Humble Narrator in the Year of Our Lord 1974.

Thank Cthulhu I’m not an artist like Russell Chatham. We hacks have a safety net.

Here’s mine: This past weekend, Herself signed me up to start collecting Socialist Insecurity payments beginning in March 2020. If I live that long, and assuming that Agent Orange doesn’t redirect all SS monies to his Wall or his wallet, I will receive a princely sum indeed, each and every month.

After accounting for inflation, it’s roughly equal to what I was paid as a copy boy back in 1974, when I first got into the writing racket.

I figure I can score a used Chevy Express 1500 for about 12 large. The monthly payments should take about 18 percent of my income, which sounds about right. The camping gear I’ve already got.

And parking down by the river? It’s free! Winning!

Median income

November 7, 2017

The Duke City is taking a page from the Bibleburg playbook and trying to croak panhandling.

My old hometown has spent years wrestling with the issue of how the less fortunate earn their living, losing two falls out of three.

Nevertheless, that fair Christian community persists; its latest panhandling ordinance, like the new one here, seems targeted more narrowly on the red herring of “safety,” and the ACLU is watching closely to make sure this is not just another cudgel to beat the homeless out of the public right-of-way so their betters don’t have to see them, or think about them.

The ACLU will have its eye on the Duke City, too. And it seems likely that the lawyers will earn, and the City Council will earn, and the police will earn, and the reporters will earn, and the needy will not (for a while, anyway).

Both communities have more pressing safety issues, or so it seems to me. Duke City and Bibleburg-El Paso County both are on track to break homicide records, for example.

And as regards traffic hazards, I’d say the distracted, drugged and/or drunk Duke City driver poses more of a threat to life and limb than does the limper with the homemade billboard working the median at the corner of Fifth and Vermouth.

Part of the problem may be that Limpy has found his way north and east, where the money is. I’ve seen (and donated to) representatives of the Placard People all the way out here in Dog Country, at Tramway and Montgomery. By golly, it’s one thing if they’re shambling around down by Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments, but up here? What about our real-estate values?

What about our values, indeed.

It might be educational for some of our elected representatives to stumble a few miles in Limpy’s brogans. I’ve done a little panhandling my own bad self, back in my Jackoff Kerouac days, and I can’t recommend it as a career choice.

I was slumming, of course, as are a few of the people you see working the off-ramps. I could go back to my real, privileged life anytime I chose, and I did. But not everybody is so fortunate. If we really want to get the needy off the streets, and keep them off, we need to think a little harder, a little smarter, and with a whole lot more compassion.

On the other hand, maybe this new ordinance will stop the cashier at Whole Amazon from asking me if I want to donate my bag credits to some “worthy cause.” Bloody do-gooder.