15 July 2004

Clean environment at the NY Times


Barbara Ehrenreich writes:

[…] I have been endeavoring to calculate just how many blue-collar men a T.A.N.F. [welfare] recipient needs to marry to lift her family out of poverty.

The answer turns out to be approximately 2.3, which is, strangely enough, illegal.

[…] If she’s serious, how exactly did she calculate that 2.3 figure? .…Some numbers: The 2004 government poverty line for a family of four is about $18,850. For a family of three it’s about $15,500. […] Even at the current minimum wage, a full-time worker earns $10,700 a year and an Earned Income Tax Credit of $2,500 (three person family) to $4,200 (four person family). Add in $4000-5,000 of food stamps and subsidized Medicaid or CHIP health care for the children, and you’re well above the poverty line even with a single breadwinner and a stay-at-home mom.

Kaus provides some possible alternative explanations, all of which rely on Ehrenreich making non-obvious hidden assumptions. My explanation is that she writes for the NY Times and is therefore not allowed to handle actual facts.

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Tiny violin time

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations has tried to play down claims that the UN envoy to the Middle East is banned from Palestinian territory.


Earlier, Palestinian officials said the UN’s Terje Roed-Larsen was “unwelcome” after he criticised the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.


A senior adviser to Mr Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said Mr Roed-Larsen had shown he could not be objective.

He described the envoy’s statement as “inaccurate and biased”.

The militant group, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades also said Mr Roed-Larsen was “banned” from Palestinian territory.

While saying no formal decision on a ban had been taken, Mr Kidwa said the earlier Palestinian comments were a reflection of “real” anger over Mr Roed-Larsen’s remarks.

“Several Palestinian statements were made to the effect that the Palestinian side is angry, and to the effect that Palestinian officials will not welcome Mr Larsen,” Mr Kidwa said, the AFP news agency reported.

Roed-Larsen ought to refuse to enter the West Bank or meet with Arafat until the al-Aqsa Brigade retracts the “ban” and guarantees his safety. After all, Arafat’s gang, Fatah, is fully responsible for the actions of the al-Aqsa Brigade.

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Recruiting suicide propagandists

[source, source]

ISM was founded by Israeli and Palestinian peace campaigners and leading members of the Palestinian Communist Party. It is run by Communist Party activist George Rishmawi and party politburo member Mustafa Barghouti.

Rishmawi said the ISM’s main purpose is to increase international awareness of Palestinian suffering through the involvement of foreign activists, who pay their own way to the West Bank, where they are trained in various methods of nonviolent direct action.

“When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore,” Rishmawi said. “But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”

ISM is the group Rachel Corrie was working for. The last paragraph puts her fate in perspective.

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Looking down on you from my knees

[source, source]

Bradford city councillor for Wisbey, Arthur Redfearn, drove a bus for children and adults with special needs.

But West Yorkshire Transport Service said it was “incompatible” for a BNP member to transport the mainly Asian passengers every day.

Note, as seems usual in the UK, no actual complaints. It’s the astonishing mixture of arrogance and subservience that strikes me most — one the one hand the fear of offering the tiniest offense and on the other the presumption that the enlightened know best what’s offensive.

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