Fw: Re: PBS Special

H. C. Covington (ach1@sprynet.com)
Mon, 8 Jun 1998 07:00:40 -0500


-----Original Message-----
From: Cditmar7+AEA-AOL.COM +ADw-Cditmar7+AEA-AOL.COM+AD4-
To: WELFAREM-L+AEA-AMERICAN.EDU +ADw-WELFAREM-L+AEA-AMERICAN.EDU+AD4-
Date: Monday, June 08, 1998 2:06 AM
Subject: Re: PBS Special


I also found much to appreciate in the PBS Special.  There were a lot of
descriptive statistics thrown out, predominately percentages--so many that
I
wonder if many viewers were actually making the connection between what the
stats implicated and the stories they were hearing.  One that sticks in my
mind is a 36+ACU- error margin that swept what must have been hundreds off the
role in Wisconsin and resulted in the homelessness of many. Of course
churning
has been one of Thompson's tactics from day one.  I saw Thompson speak on
the
success of welfare reform--the speech was literally nauseating as was
he--the
man reeked of arrogance and ranted like a Nazi.

The one woman who had internalized all of the classist stereotypes really
bothered me.  She was a perfect prototype of the recipients they scout to
speak at the Welfare to Work conferences.  At the last one I attended in
Fort
Wayne, IN, the client speaker kept saying, +ACI-I'm no longer a needer, but a
leader.+ACI-  She was a supervisor over several other cashiers.  But it was
fortunate that every experience this woman on the PBS special had
completely
contradicted everything she said.  She was also a great contrast with the
woman from the South living in the trailer who was able to theorize her
situation and who spoke of +ACI-poverty.+ACI-  I really liked that Southern woman.
What a better world we would live in if she were doing Bill Clinton's job
and
he was stuck in a one-room trailer down South.  Oh well, you can't have
everything.

I'm a little testy tonight.  A nineteen year old girl living in New Castle,
Indiana, was burned to death with her two little children: age 6 months and
2
years, early Friday.  She was renting a 10 foot by 11 foot +ACI-apartment+ACI- that
had one door and one window that wouldn't open.  The firefighters and
neighbors heard her screaming for help and her children screaming from
fear,
but could not get to them.  The landlady had been notified that the
+ACI-apartment+ACI- was a fire hazard and not suitable for a family dwelling EIGHT
months before, but no +ACI-public officials+ACI- in New Castle bothered to follow
up
on it.  They had done their jobs. The landlady said she had never gotten
the
letter, although the building commissioner said he met with her in person
and
then sent the letter the following day.  According to the landlady, the
girl
was waiting for a voucher from the welfare department so that she could get
a
better place, and by letting her rent this +ACI-apartment+ACI- she was helping her
+ACI-keep+ACI- her children.   Apparently like so many mothers, this young woman
was
at risk of losing her children to the welfare department because of her
poverty (the PBS special cited a tripling of out-of-home placements).  The
victim's brother revealed that she was paying the landlady +ACQ-200 a month for
the aid of this 10 foot by 11 foot death trap+ACE-  But the good news is that
the
welfare didn't get them. They burned to death huddled together in a single-
stall shower in the corner of that tiny little room with the water turned
on
and trickling down over their bodies.

Welcome to welfare reform as it was known last Friday morning a little
after
midnight in New Castle, Indiana--and to a democracy in America that never
was
. . .

Poverty Kills+ACEAIQAh-  (and it is really no accident--just a direct result of
corporate-style entrepreneurial greed.)  Yes, Right America, there is
something worse than a welfare recipient.

C. Ditmar Coffield
MMESJ