20 September, 2005

Busy, busy; Question of the Day; Freak of the Week

Busy, busy
What has happened? All of a sudden I am so busy I just don't have time to blog...I don't have time to do laundry, I don't have time for TV, I am just busy, busy, busy.

I am busy with meetings, church, work, activities for the kids, family obligations, and whatever else comes up. But it does make life more interesting and keeps time moving swiftly from summer to fall - and that, as you know, is a good thing. The last few days have been exceedingly hot again, and I am more ready for fall than ever.

Question of the Day
I have been in several meetings lately with other agencies talking about all the wonderful things they are doing to "make it easier" for Katrina victims to sign up for services. One DSS rep from another county went so far as to tell us about how they set up a gymnasium and were ready to process people for all the things they might need, all in one place, one day, one shot deal. Requirements for ID were waived, standards for criminal records were relaxed, police departments were doing background checks for free, apartments and individual landlords were waiving application fees, job requirements, credit standards, and giving people 2-12 months of free rent...so here is my question.

Why, if we can do this for Katrina victims, can we not do better than we do for people already living in our communities?

If you have ever signed up for government benefits, or helped someone do it, you know it is a nightmare. People in our own communities often do not have many more resources than Katrina victims. Transportation is, without a doubt, the number one barrier. But places like DSS, food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, and Social Security are inconveniently located miles apart. And it can take hours at each place just to see someone. The people who work there are overworked and underpaid and end up losing their heart, so they do not seem, at least, to have compassion...they just want the facts, ma'am, and the documents, and if you make $1 per year too much, well, too bad.

Katrina victims are being rushed through, and they are getting benefits that they need...and don't get me wrong, I think that is great! I am ecstatic to see the government realizing the urgency of the needs of these people - because their needs are real. More real than we probably will ever understand.

But here's the rub - the people already living in the ghetto in every city and the "bad part" of every town in this country have needs that are just as urgent. And if we can find the money for Katrina, and if we can make all this business just a little easier for the victims, can we not do the same for the people who need it, and have needed it for years, that live and die in our own backyards?

Freak of the Week
This week's Freak is none other than...Frank Clewer, an Aussie whose clothing, all made of synthetic fibers, built up a 40,000 volt charge of static electricity and set a building's carpet aflame.

See, children, this is why we wear natural fibers.



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