Monday, November 14, 2011


From a former social worker: True story. 7years ago as a case mgr at a homeless center I broke the rules to let in a young mother w/2 kids. It was very cold.It was night time. I got the cold pizza from the kitchen and she cried. 2 months later, while at the center she killed the 3 year old.

I had forgotten about that. Blocked it right the hell out. Like so much of my time in the career.

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But we have to cut taxes for millionaires so they can create jobs in China...

-- Badtux the Sad Penguin


  1. What can I say? I feel like I need to say something... but words don't carry the magnitude of it.

    Every day it dawns on me how extraordinarily lucky I am. I'm certainly not part of the 1%, but I have a husband who loves me and supports me, a roof over my head, a food budget that allows some luxuries, a reliable car, and come December I'll have a newly minted MS degree. (At age 52 yet!)

    I eat well, I sleep well, I make strides toward my goals. And I am totally aware of how lucky I am to have this situation. I was lucky in that my parents insisted I attend college (which they paid for), and that they supported my choice of major (engineering) although they both had trouble getting their minds around the concept of a female engineer. I was lucky several times during my engineering career, to change jobs and find new opportunities. I was lucky in choosing a husband who would remain compatible over the years, and who was willing to support my change of career to geology. I have been so lucky...

    Anyone who insists they're successful and totally self-made are deluding themselves. There was luck involved, the kind created by family, friends, and contacts. There always is.

  2. Which reminds me of one of the crimes that the various Occupy groups has committed: They have fed the homeless.

    What kind of society is it where the homeless are so desperate that people only slightly less desperate than them are left to feed them? But no one feels shame about these laws prohibiting the homeless from being fed in parks, no one feels shame about these laws that prohibit the homeless from setting up tents to get a tiny modicum of shelter from the wind and cold and rain, no one feels shame.

    And the world grows colder and meaner and harder every day, even though, even today, there is more than enough of everything for everybody in at least this nation to have a roof over their head and a warm meal at least twice a day...

    - Badtux the Sad Penguin

  3. @Karen. You are so right. I am very lucky too. I always like to joke that the best decision I ever made in my life was choosing to be born to upper-middle class well educated white parents.

    @Badtux I have so much to say on this subject. OMG. Maybe I'll have to start writing on my blog again. haw. But you are 100% right. We have the resources to make our entire planet (not just the usa) a better place for everyone. But we aren't going to do it. Not when so many people consider poverty to be a moral failing at any rate.

    On a side note, I have been so impressed with Occupy Detroit and the way they've embraced the homeless community.

  4. They claim that creating jobs in China creates jobs in America. Oh well, I'm bum and not looking for a job.

  5. Lynne, I don't think it matters what you are born into, what matters is what you do with your life as an adult.

  6. Obviously what one does as an adult matters. But the circumstances of one's birth matter too. To give an extreme example, if I were born to a poor laborer in a country like Saudi Arabia, it would have taken a real struggle for me to get to where I am now. I would have started out in a culture where women and women's education isn't valued for one thing. I would likely have grown up illiterate. I wouldn't have been a citizen of the USA so I would have faced the hurdles of immigration, etc and so on.

    Luckily, I didn't have to struggle too hard to get to the position I am in or not as hard as someone else with less advantages would have had to struggle. I've noticed that most people in the USA like to think that they got to where they are just by the virtue of their own hard work but that isn't actually true of hardly anyone. Even just being born in the USA gives a person huge advantages over people born in most other places on the earth.

    People have a tendency to assume that others face the same challenges that they do even though that isn't true. Think about our discussion on your blog about living on boats. Sure, anyone can do it but it is something that is easier for some people than for others. It would be likely be much easier for me to make that move than for many other people. Why? Because of who my parents are. They've taught me to sail so I already have that skill. They've given me a knowledge base of things like what boats are worth and where to dock them and how to take care of them, etc. They're members of the yacht club so I wouldn't have to go far to find someone to sponsor me if I wanted to be a member, etc etc. A transition to life on a sailboat would simply be easier for me than for many others. That doesn't mean others can't do it, just that it would be harder for them.

  7. "... what you are born into, what matters is what you do with your life as an adult." - BBC

    BBC, do you really think that what you can do as an adult is somehow not dependent on what you are born into? Really?

    I was born into poverty or at least a lower-class background. We had little money, but my parents believed in education, and Dad worked two jobs at once so I could afford college. Even that would not have paid for the highfalutin' college I managed to get admitted to, but that institution had scholarships for poor kids who were smart (or smart kids who were poor). I managed to get one of those scholarships and worked at a part-time job most of the time I wasn't in class or studying... and look at my career, a very respectable effort considering my background.

    If I had been born in today's world, there would be no scholarship; I'd have graduated college with a debt in the multiple $10k range, or even over $100k. Part-time jobs for college students are now very hard to get. Individuals motivated to help me... including my parents, but there were others... might not have been in a position to do so.

    More than likely I would have taken odd jobs and ended up with nothing to retire on. That's what happens to today's generation.

    You say it doesn't matter what one is born to? I'm here as living proof that, at least in today's world, you are just plain wrong!

  8. Steve, no, you are wrong, but have fun destroying the planet.

  9. You know, because you have bettered yourself.

  10. Steve, I think I do pretty damn well on my SS money, maybe you are doing something wrong?

  11. BBC, I already posted a link to the study showing that a 35 year old man today makes less money than his father did when his father was 35 years old. This isn't the world you grew up in, where each generation did better than the last. We have two generations now where at age 35 they're doing *worse* than their fathers were doing at that same age. Things are fucked up, and they're not getting better, they're getting worse.

    So if you have a point, make it. Otherwise I'm going to just start deleting your comments again.

    - Badtux the Pointed Penguin

  12. Otherwise I'm going to just start deleting your comments again.

    Every time I see a deleted comment, I figure that was yet another point that you, BadTux, simply couldn't counter and instead just had to make it go away.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot of what is said here...but the overzealous BanHammer seems, well...overzealous. Having seen some of these comments before they are deleted, I know that it ain't 'cause they are obscene and/or rude...rather, it seems to always be just a different point of view that you don't personally agree with.

    Granted - your house, your rules. But the casual reader is gonna think less of your opinion when you delete comments in the manner you have been doing.

  13. Purple, it annoys me when someone posts the same goddamn thing over and over again and never addresses the point either the post or admits the existence of previous arguments that he doesn't like to address. It's an attempt at bullying via verbosity and frankly bullies annoy me.

    Although BBC isn't a bully. He's just a lonely old man posting shit on boards in order to annoy because of some personality disorder that leads him to think expressions of annoyance with him are the same thing as expressions of love for him. But again, I'm not running a psych ward here. Just sayin'.

    - Badtux the Annoyed Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

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