September 14, 2005

The "Culture of Hopelessness"

Whenever I’m in the car at a certain time – driving home early or heading to a client meeting – I tune into Bill O’Reilly. I’m a masochist. To be fair, however, there are lots of conservative folks I don’t have a problem listening to. And O’Reilly, despite calling himself an “independent” is, at the very least, entertaining. Full of shit and a bully, but entertaining. Yesterday, however, he just plain pissed me off.

The topic: poverty and hurricane Katrina. Almost as soon as I turned the ignition, I heard a caller stating that, in New Orleans and elsewhere, there is a “culture of hopelessness” among the poor. Further, she expressed the hope that Katrina would “provide the electroshock therapy” to snap them out of that mindset and force them to “focus on making their lives better.” Instead of laying out a rational argument why this woman was being insensitive – and why I’d expect O’ Reilly to do this is beyond me – he agreed. The implication was clear – this supposed “culture of hopelessness” festering among the impoverished was the fault of the impoverished. Worse, it was a mindset they were responsible for changing. I’ve got a few issues with this.

1. There may or may not be a “culture of hopelessness” among the poor in the South or anywhere else. And it’s anyone’s right to voice their opinion. But watch how loud you scream that from the rooftops. There are two ways of looking at this culture. Either it’s inherent and endemic among those living below the poverty line or its foisted upon them by those in greater positions of social and financial power. More clearly, they’re poor and hopeless and keeping themselves that way or those with greater political, social and financial power are creating an environment in which it’s impossible for them to gain any traction. It’s their fault or our fault. Given that, what kind of damage does it do to use the soapbox hand-crafted by the mainstream media to undermine the efforts of those living below this poverty line? The implication made by O’Reilly is clear and, in one terse comment the value of the poverty-stricken is marginalized. Worse, its made clear that there’s nothing the poor can do nothing to redeem themselves, that it’s a foregone conclusion that the poor, through the implied lack of motivation having succumbed to this “culture of poverty” will do nothing to change the situations in which they find themselves. This culture isn’t being discussed. It’s being reinforced.

2. In 2003, the last year for which complete data is available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 35.9 million people, or approximately 12.5 percent of the US population, lived at or below the poverty line. 7.4 million people were designated as “working poor.” Also in 2003, slightly more than 140 million people were employed in this country. Nearly 4% fit the definition of working poor. Three out of every five people designated as working poor worked a full-time job. Nearly 2% of the working poor have college degrees. During the same year, 4.2 million families were determined to be working poor. Now I ask – as over one-fifth of the poorest people in the country were holding down jobs and, as there were 4.2 million families considered working poor which, depending on the size of those families could make up a significant difference between those working and those who weren’t (because they were dependents), where is this “culture of hopelessness”? If they were truly hopeless, if they were committed to sitting around collecting welfare checks, having kids and drinking 40s, shouldn’t the number of folks with jobs be a lot lower?

3. Regardless which side of this argument you come down on – whether you believe this culture, if it exists, is the fault of the poor or something that’s been imposed upon the impoverished by those with the financial, political or social clout to change these circumstances – does it really matter? When the founding fathers and those that came after them, backed up the democratic cement truck and started pouring the foundation of the country, wasn’t one of the main ingredients in the mix compassion? One of the driving forces behind the creation of this country was a commitment to the welfare of its citizens, the fact that we’d all try to help those who can’t help themselves, that you’d be looked out for if you couldn’t look out for yourself. The huddled masses, and the like. Who listens to O’Reilly and the rest of the political pundits, conservative or liberal, saturating the radio waves? People like me. People tuning in from a decent car, driving home from a job that pays pretty well, headed for a home with a decent sized mortgage full of stuff we probably don’t need but sure make life more comfortable. I don’t want to police the media. Censorship is wrong and people can express whatever opinions they happen to have. Broadcasters have the right – even the obligation – to point out the problems but to sit and bitch about them, to contribute nothing but anger, is irresponsible. To encourage the same behavior in others, especially those who are in a position to do the most good, is unconscionable. Following the logic on display yesterday, I can visualize O’Reilly’s advice to a rape victim. It wasn’t his fault for raping you. You probably provoked him. And you better expect it to happen again unless you start wearing longer skirts and shorter heels. Because you’ve clearly created a “culture of sexual assault” here.

4. To say, or even agree with the sentiment, that a natural disaster of such proportions should be seen as a catalyst to such drastic societal change is a theory founded on such a flawed premise, and is fundamentally asinine, the theorist can only be irresponsible and just plain mean. Sure, you can say that an earthquake should prompt people to build sturdier houses or a hurricane should clue people into the fact that they might not want to set up a restaurant three feet from the ocean. But the same arguments don’t hold when you’re talking about social forces. Katrina highlighted some significant problems in the ways in which emergencies and disasters are handled, not to mention the financial and racial lines along which people see divisions. But to point out a natural disaster and say, essentially, maybe this will force the poor to improve themselves is just silly. And to expect that to be possible without a greater amount of compassion for those in need is ridiculous.

The solutions? I’m not sure. It’s a tough problem. For many years, I worked with the homeless. I learned a lot of interesting lessons, some of them tough to deal with. But one thing that was abundantly clear was that, in the vast majority of cases, poverty was attributable to pure, dumb luck. Sure, I saw a lot of strung out heroin addicts, a lot of single mothers with five kids and a lot of alcoholics. But in almost all cases, if someone had taken the time to cowboy-up a job and a place to sleep, situations would have changed drastically. For the better. So, who has the power now? Is it the poor or is it us reinforcing the “culture of hopelessness?”

Posted by Chris at September 14, 2005 9:35 AM
Comments

Many of these people were not homeless until this disaster. How is that supposed to restore hope?

Posted by: Queen of Ass at September 14, 2005 8:17 AM

I do the same thing to myself (listen to Bill O'Reilly) and then I wonder why I get so frustrated. But really, I don't think it's a partison issue. It's not a left wing or a right wing thing to just be plain old fashioned compassionate and sensitive in a time of such tragedy and loss. I think there are just some people out there, this turd for example, who are just missing a crucial part of their brain. These are the same assholes that send me hatemails saying I should DIE because I let my daughter pet someone else's cat.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at September 14, 2005 8:46 AM

hmm.. well all I have to say is, I am SO very glad I got outta T*xas (your system will not let me say t*xas and send a comment?) before all this happened. It was bad 3 years ago, it will be worse now. I have been to Louisiana and trust me, you would NOT have wanted to live there. It is not just that those people are poor.. they are plain out mean. There is a difference. Unless you have lived in the south, you will never be able to understand. Things really are different.. the people are much different. Yes I agree alot of people are homeless because of things happening to them beyond thier control.. but then you have the ones (many of them) that refuse to help themselves. These people are not the homeless they have moved to T*xas.. these people are the ones on government assistance and have been I would think all thier lives and probably enjoy it. Don't let me piss you off, just stating what I have seen. But I truly fear T*xas is soon to become a crime zone even more. Also.. T*xas has that law where you can only be on public assistance for like 2 years.. what will they do then? They might not have that law any more, but if they do that is gonna piss alot of people off..

Am I a Liberal?? no.. not even a republican either really... but just have experienced meeting and seeing these states and people within them (lived in T*xas my entire life) and trust me.. they do NOT try to help themselves but to get to that welfare office on time.. also they are so ready to blame everyone else for being poor.. ugh, it sickening

Posted by: soniclibra at September 14, 2005 8:51 AM

Right on. Barbara Ehnreinrich (or whatever her name is) wrote about the fact it's more expensive to be poor than to be rich. Having the internet means you can buy stuff for cheap on e-bay. Having a car means you can go to Costco and Shoppers and save on groceries. Having a mortgage means you have equity and a tax deduction. I would like to see how easy those people think it is to save money on a minimum wage job.

Posted by: verucaamish at September 14, 2005 8:52 AM

Hmmm... I know I should be applauding your welll written argument, and even be agreeing with you, but you know what? All I can think about is that there are no pictures of you in a onesie.

Posted by: alfredsmom at September 14, 2005 9:01 AM

Bill O'Reilly along with folks like Howard Stern, or Rush Limbaugh are all a bunch of One-Trick Ponies. They've found one thing to do, and they do it well. That is, they get under people's skin and force discourse. They use heated passion and shocking oratories to provoke us. This is the recipe for they're success and longevity. If they change the station, phone lines would go dead and books would not sell. It works for them. Listeners end up talking, arguing, bitching, acting, doing, or defending. It's all an important process and catalyst. It works for Bill O. He's big on the radio, and now he's big in your blog. But look at what you did, you gave it some *serious* thought, took the time to post some great points and in this "process" the thought pattern gets passed along to the next guy. To quote Martha Stewart, "This is a good thing."

Blog on!
Sam

Posted by: Sam at September 14, 2005 9:07 AM

Word, word, word. It is a portion of the criminal negligence of the disaster that followed Katrina that we cannot acknowledge unanimously that we have a problem with how we as a nation treat (a) minority and (b) poor people in this country. We bend over sideways into yogic positions of charity to help the poor of other countries, but if you are poor in this country, there is a very prevalent attitude that it is somehow your fault.

More than anything, this disaster means we need to refocus on how we address poverty in America. But I'm not optimistic that change will happen.

Posted by: Sarah at September 14, 2005 9:08 AM

...recipe for "their" success.
I haven't had my coffee today.

Posted by: Sam at September 14, 2005 9:09 AM

As always, well said. There may be a culture of hopelessness at work among poor families, but there is also most definitely a culture of indifference among the privileged, including me. Until some crisis like this happens, it is all too easy for people to become invisible and desperate. For me, Katrina's electroshock reminder was "there but for the grace of God go I," and I hope I don't forget again anytime soon.

Posted by: Julie at September 14, 2005 9:12 AM

i'm on the fence on this issue. like most things, change takes two, or in our country's case, 295,734,134. i do believe that the root of change does come from within oneself, but goddamn, everyone needs help sometimes, especially when the working-poor of new orleans just lost what little they did have. america needs to step up in order to expect a change in said "culture of poverty," and yes, those living at the poverty-line need to make sure they are doing all they can to better their lives. hopefully they're doing that already. i could go on for a page, but i'll stop. bill o'reilly is on the same par with me as howard stern-- i only listen, while cringing, to hear what idiocracy he's spewing today.

Posted by: misifoota at September 14, 2005 9:43 AM

My brother would agree with that woman; if a person is homeless or poor, it is their fault and solely their responsibility to find a way out of it. I know that in some cases, this is true. Some people abuse the system and make it even more difficult for those who are earnestly striving to better themselves.

However, as a person who is educated, white, and middle class (at least growing up), it's hard even for ME to get a job, let alone one that pays well enough to support a family, which most of these people are trying to do. It makes me sick to think that we are, as a "culture" or whatever you want to call it, perpetuating the "culture of hopelessness." Were I in that position -- homeless or very close to it, jobless with a family to support -- and someone told me it was my fault and that all I had to do was buck up and get my life together, I would feel even more hopeless.

Work is distracting my train of thought (stupid work!) but I'm on the side of helping those who have less than I do. If I give five bucks to a homeless guy on the street and he spends it on booze, what do I care? That five dollars isn't the difference between living on the streets and living in an apartment.

(Sorry this is so long!)

Your post fits almost perfectly with one of my midterm essay questions for my anthropology class: what does it mean to be American? I might pick your brain on this later once I am able to fully form my thoughts...

Thanks for the post! It got my brain cooking. And! Kind of related -- I'm going to D.C. for a protest next weekend. Wee!

Posted by: Rhonda at September 14, 2005 12:04 PM

Mr. Fish tunes into Rush and O'Reilly, too. What's wrong with you crazy kids that you have to annoy yourselves so?

Personally, when I listen to O'Reilly I end up in a culture of hopelessness -- hopelessness over the crap that's passing for 'conservative' these days. My grandfather, who was definitely not a perfect man, would roll over in his grave at some of the crap bull these people are saying.

Posted by: mac at September 14, 2005 12:26 PM

I'm Canadian, so I will just never understand the philosophy of indifference. We pay a lot in taxes here to subsidize our social programs and we may complain occasionally but when we look south, we know what it looks like to live without the safety net and, I personally, think, "not on my watch".

On top of our high taxes, every year the united way comes into our office and tells us how a simple monthly donation can help a family that is part of what can only be described as you put it, "the working poor". Those trying to get on their feet so we should be helping them. Last year, our one dept raised $30,000.00. Not bad for an office of about 150 people.

As for Bill O'Whatever, I watch him when there's no other comedy on tv. He's good for a laugh. But I'm a bleeding heart liberal in Canada. We allowed Fox News up here to amuse ourselves.

Great post. I hope more people read it and think about the great divide. Only through understanding like this, can fundamental changes happen.

Posted by: Grace at September 14, 2005 12:28 PM

I took a class in college called "The Theory and Dynamics of Racism and Oppression." Very complicated, and very tough class. I squeaked out with a B.

The one lesson I took from it that sticks with me whenever I think about something like this is:

"When evaluating the failure of any kind of system involving people, it is necessary to examine ONLY who had the power to form the system, administer the system and set the rules by which the system operates. When the system fails, it is the nature of those very people to blame the participants in the system for their misuse of the system rather than the faults of those in control. But when giving careful thought to how it all worked, the only people to consider are the ones with the power because it is human nature to take ANYTHING and try and work it to one's best advantage."

So about the "culture of hopelessness," I'd be pretty freaking hopeless too if I was born into a situation that I didn't have the education or knowledge to get out of but was blamed for getting into in the first place.

I hate to be this blunt, but all of this "welfare state" nonsense is just a lot of people trying to ignore their own guilt by blaming the people themselves. We all do it- it's MUCH easier than giving up something of your own to fix it.

Sorry for the dissertation. You inspired me.

Posted by: Bonanza Jellybean at September 14, 2005 12:39 PM

This is the conversation on so many of our lips here, Chris. we're talking about it in the office, at home, and feeling like, have we contributed to this? It's not to be denied that some of the people from the 9th Ward have gotten a new start, that their lives may be better now that they're in a new place, with different and sometimes better opportunities. That's the - dare I say it - blessing from this crazy disaster. I've heard their thick, beautiful Cajun accents, saying they will not go back, they will never return to a place that betrayed them. And yet they've lost their way of life, their home, and there is an well so deep of loss, of losing your sense of identity.

That said, in part I agree with someone in the comments who said, 'the poor in the south are different'. I've been saying that over and over again. People don't understand our culture, the culture that is not only about race, but about class. That is not Southern, that's just American. It hurts to look at the poor, doesn't it? We barricade ourselves in neighborhoods where they are far, far away. It's nice to pat them on the head, to do our small bit, but oh my god let's keep them there, god forbid we fight tirelessly for EDUCATION, equal education, that we fund inner city schools, in districts like the 9th ward, that we take the time and effort to say, 'You're worthy. You can go beyound this.' It is our responsibility, as a decent person, to try to extend hope.

Yes, there are people who abuse the system. Oh my God, yes, and yet there are those who have very little resources to find the road out. It is so frustrating. Thank you Chris, for writing about this. I'll shut up now. But I don't listen to Bill O'Reilly or Rush because it makes me want to throw things. ;)

Posted by: samantha at September 14, 2005 12:51 PM

The term "Land of Opportunity" is branded into our developing minds throughout our stay in the public education system, leaving us with the mindset that we can overcome any circumstance, that there is no "social class" system in the US. Especially true if you were educated in an affluent white community.
Our government has shoved this crap down our throats since its inception. Once the victims of Katrina are no longer in the spotlight, people in the US will most likely go back to ignoring the poverty stricken and heroitizing those that don't deserve it.
I hate to be so cynical but this is how I feel.
I wish there was some kind of "culture of hopelessness" summer (boot) camp to send Bill O'Reilly and other like minded people to.

Posted by: Diane at September 14, 2005 12:57 PM

Trickle down economics, espoused by Republicans in the time of Reagan, and again championed by Bush and his cabal are an unmitigated failure. Just as the other side of the coin, the so-called Democratic vision of the Welfare state is an equal failure. Right now the Republicans are in control, and their insistance on the free-market to perfectly regulate society is utter bullsh!t. That classroom economic cr@p has no place in reality. There are times when people need help, and the free market will not respond to those situations, thus sending those on the margins down a slick slope towards hopelessness. I don't have the answers, but I know that I would not trust Bush, John Kerry, Trent Lott, or any other politico to know just what in the hell to do about it. They are so detached from reality, the Katrina disaster was just another in a long line of examples of the separation of classes, the rich and the poor in this supposed great country.

Posted by: Chris at September 14, 2005 12:57 PM

Seeing the thoughtful coments here gives hope that this country will finally examine its proprities and get its collective head screwed on straight.

And O'Reilly doesn't deserve the audience he has. Yet people are attracted to his dog and pony show like a moths to a flame.

I just don't get it.

Posted by: Allan at September 14, 2005 1:02 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/opinion/14friedman.html?hp

for a while I hated most of what Friedman wrote, even have some issues with his whole "the World is Flat" thesis, but this article is right on. Bush has destroyed the credibility of the gov't. After his inept failure which lead to and probably caused 9-11, the failed war in Afganistan, the Iraq War, the ridiculous tax cuts/economic policy, and now management of the Katrina aftermath; how can anyone in their right mind not call for impeachment. He is a disaster unto himself. How many failures will he be allowed to foist upon this country?

Posted by: Chris at September 14, 2005 1:07 PM

My daughter says that there are now LOTS of kids from New Orleans at her school. All say they love this school (Friendswood High School - one of the top 13 high schools in Texas), can't really believe how nice it is, and don't want to leave. Having grown up in south Louisiana and being originally from New Orleans, I doubt that many of these students have the skills to do well initially in school. However, I hope for their sakes that they do stay and choose to make the most of this chance. I believe that improving peoples hope and opportunity begins with providing an adequate education - which they were not getting in Louisiana public schools.

Posted by: Theresa at September 14, 2005 1:09 PM

I am so glad that someone else agrees! My husband did not see that side of Bill when we watched him during a "spin factor" episode. I had a perplexed look on my face filled with disgrace from what my ears where hearing. My husband said "what you don't agree"? HELLO????? You put the words together for the discussion I would love to have with him. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

Posted by: Jennifer at September 14, 2005 1:32 PM

Having grown up well-below the poverty line, having gone through college and graduate school on my own, and having worked with the poor--I have to say that I agree with you--IF there is a culture of hopelessness (I think it's more accurate to say there are POCKETS of instilled hopelessness), it is OUR culture which is most to blame--a society in which the poor get the worst-quality education, the least support for higher education, in which the bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork and silly requirements stymies many job training and education programs, and most of all--a society where even if you work back-breaking labor for 40, even 60 hours a week, you and your family can still live well below the poverty level, go without basic health care, and remain in high-crime neighborhoods. If Bill O'Reilly and other conservatives truly want to fix the "culture of hopelessness", they'd be championing universal health care, clamoring for a higher minimum wage, demanding better schools, and pouring more money into housing, job training and higher-education programs.

Posted by: wavybrains at September 14, 2005 1:40 PM

Two words.....Republican Agenda :)

Posted by: Lainey at September 14, 2005 1:40 PM

One of my Poli Sci profs had a saying, don't know if he came up with it, but he loved to repeat it:

"People get the government they deserve."

I agree completely. We're all at fault, from the poor suckers who swallowed Bush's line about WMD's in Iraq to those of us who thought that Gore, then Kerry, would provide a better alternative. The Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin; our elected officals want nothing more than to keep their jobs and get paid, and need to maintain the status quo to do that.

Posted by: Jason at September 14, 2005 4:16 PM

Each time I've tuned into The O'Reilly Factor since Katrina, I've wanted to throw things at my television. It's people like this caller who considers the disaster the "electroshock the poor need" and statements like that of Barbara Bush, who said being canned in the Astrodome is working out "very well" for the evacuees, that reflect how utterly clueless a good part of our society is.

Posted by: Daria at September 14, 2005 5:39 PM

-the "working poor" is so wrong, they hold down full time jobs for peanuts....it's not right, it is disgraceful to think of these people working 40 hours and sometimes more to make what some of us make in a week...i know education plays in here, don't get me wrong...ugh, it is just a mess.
-i would like that caller to have to be put in these "poor" peoples shoes and see how happy and friggin smiley thay wake up every day! something tells me they would get discouraged after a few days out and about, trying to get a better job or even one that pays enough to cover the childcare they probably need in order to be at work, YIKES!!!! yeah, they should really be taking care of this all by them selves, PLEASE!!! how would one propose they do that??? cuz, i am sure they would like to know!!

Posted by: lizabetty at September 14, 2005 8:09 PM

I can speak to this somewhat - at least of the poverty in M-town.

Poverty is a problem in the south... it is. There's a lot of it here... Two things that I noticed about the people that I have worked with here that are either homeless or are poverty stricken.

1. A lot (not ALL) here in M have some mental problems - they could have the mental capacity of a five year old... I don't know if they are "hopeless" so much as they just DON'T KNOW any better... I don't know how they end up on the street... I don't know a lot of their stories - just that they need to be cared for because they can not care for themselves.

2. You have to give the people (the ones that are able bodied and minded) who have never had advantages TOOLS. And by tools I mean knowledge... and by knowledge I could mean an education - the ability to read - access to a computer - workshops on how to find a job. These people were never given a chance for whatever reason - I don't know why. Are they hopeless? Maybe - but with some help I've seen LOTS of families get back on track.

No one that I have run across has had a college degree... few have high school degrees... To me (and just MY OPINION) it's an education problem... for the most part.

I really wish I would have heard that segment... I try not to listen to B.O. He's EXTREME to me. It's something that I feel strongly about... Turtle and I work with two families here in M-town. These people aren't hopeless - they just need some help. They don't know where to begin.

Posted by: Snidget at September 14, 2005 10:38 PM

Well, all I know is the truth in MY life. I was poor...I mean POOR...I was hopeless for awhile with nothing turning around, I had two small children in a 1 bedroom apt that cost $485 a month and my income $600+/ a month, you figure it out, I know despiration, and in the Reagan years as he cut more and MORE programs for the poor, I was one of the last to get in the door for job training...

I was able to get my GED...graduate from the job training program AND ACTUALLY GET A JOB that I have held for 21 years!!!

So I am now the working poor...but I am not POOR! I wanted to eat...I wanted my two kids to eat...and I wanted a break in my really bad luck! Yes, people look down on the poor, we have a class problem...duh! You just have to be poor to see that! When you are shining sitting on a hill in luxury you can't see that!

My point? Train people...invest in the future AND THEY WILL FEED THEMSELVES! I have the last 21 years! Dispite the idiot president who cut the program I was in!

Some of those people were probably barely hanging on with this struck...they need the opportunity to change their lives...a career is a gift of a life time that everyone should have here in the land of the free!

Posted by: Gypsy at September 15, 2005 12:10 AM

YES! I came back and just ready gypsy's comment. That's what I was going to return and say. So I won't repeat what she said, but yah... gypsy... agree agree.

I don't have the answer for the people with college degrees that are still barely able to make ends meet... I don't know...

Posted by: Snidget at September 15, 2005 12:19 AM

Entitlements are money that was not earned. At it's height, welfare was still only 1% of the entitlement program in this country. Yet you rarely see anyone protesting against other entitlements, especially those given to the middle class (ie, mortgage interest discounts). I also think it's truly funny that everyone is so concerned about crime in LA. When a poor person steals money and possessions we call it a crime a blame it on their lack of education and opportunity. When a rich or middle class person steals (enron anyone?) we call it being smarter than the system.
The truth is, people will always steal as long as you have a culture of people who believe in "I got mine and screw everyone else".

Posted by: That Girl at September 15, 2005 5:28 AM

Hey, I'm a Brit living in Canada (and this is my first post..whoa, I guess that makes me a lurker...?!)

We, up in the wild north have been watching with interest (and horror I might add) the unfolding of the katrina story.

Poverty has definately been the white elephant in the room in the US for some time. 40 MILLION without health insurance...???!!! Bloody hell, (excuse me) thats more folk than in this whole country!!!

I hope (though am not confident) that this sad and unfortunate disaster will wake people up.

The comment by that pol sci prof re people getting the government they deserve is a valid one but relevent (in my opinion) only to the "western world". For example, I can't imagine a starving african agreeing with that.....

I think the whole Bush family should be deported (but not up here please) for their frightful disservice to their country, (good god, that Barbara Bush statement...), but gee I'm just a bleedy heart uber-liberal foreigner, so what do I know.

Great discussion.

Love the writing and definately the attitude Chris!

Oh, and about that complete tosspot O'Reilly...STOP WATCHING !!!!!!!

Posted by: englishthorn at September 15, 2005 2:11 PM

Maybe we should evaluate each "Poor" situation on a case-by-case basis. Having taught high school in the mid 70"s, and tried to teach English to some of the inner city poor, I saw a variety of circumstances in the students. Some fall into that described by O'Reilly...some did not.You have to sort out the bad seed from any crop on the planet and do something about it.Supporting some of the poor in toto is not working

Posted by: at September 16, 2005 8:05 PM

Tuning into Bill O'Reilly is masochistic indeed.

Posted by: catbird at September 16, 2005 8:32 PM


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