The obligatory homeless-guy-with-cellphone post

posted at 11:29 am on March 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Call it the picture that set a million teeth on edge.  Andrew Malcom showed a shot of Michelle Obama serving food in a homeless shelter while one of the recipients of her charitable work took a picture with his cellphone.  This created a firestorm of debate over how a homeless person could wind up with a cellphone:

Both of these news photos were widely distributed across the country and even around the world.

It doesn’t detract from the first lady’s generous gesture or the real needs she seeks to highlight to ask two bothersome journalistic questions about these news photos:

If this unidentified meal recipient is too poor to buy his own food, how does he afford a cellphone?

And if he is homeless, where do they send the cellphone bills?

Kathy Shaidle and Stacy McCain both reported on government programs for those on food stamps, welfare, or Medicaid (via Michelle):

We can certainly debate whether we should be funding free cellphones as a form of welfare, but it’s not clear that the person in the picture used that program to get his phone in the first place. He may have bought it on a pay-as-you-go basis, which some systems use. I suppose it’s possible that a family member or friend bought it for him, too, or that he may have been another volunteer in the food kitchen that day who just wanted to get a shot of Michelle Obama doing volunteer work.

It’s important to remember that there are different kinds of homelessness, too. Some people are deeply homeless, with no prospects and no hope for getting off the street. Some are transitional, though, perhaps living out of cars or bunking in shelters while attempting to gain employment. Without an address, they’d need to have ways to contact potential employers, and more importantly, for potential employers to contact them. A cell phone gives them that opportunity, and helps reduce the need for the shelters.

And let’s face it — it’s better to have them spend the money on a cell phone than on drugs or alcohol. It’s not just cheaper, it’s a lot more productive.

In the end, perhaps it’s best to pray that the phone gets used as a lifeline out of that shelter than to worry about the cell phone itself.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Hey, lets attack the poor.

Stay classy.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

LOL,..and you think they would let just any “homeless” person get served by Husseins woman?
As everything else with them,..it’s all scripted.

christene on March 7, 2009 at 1:48 PM

You buy the package. You add water and boil. Is English not your first language?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Dude…calm down. It’s just rice risotto. Why buy “mushroom risotto” instead of just plain rice? Besides, Michelle should serve them brown rice. It’s better in the nutritional sense.

SouthernGent on March 7, 2009 at 1:48 PM

You buy the package. You add water and boil. Is English not your first language?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Your apparent point was that risotto was simply rice boiled in water. The packages shown at the site you link contain more than rice, as can be easily understood by reading the descriptions. Do you have any first language at all?

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.
getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Nope I wont because Obama is creating more poor people every day. Have to worry I might join them due to Obama’s cluelessness on the economy.

William Amos on March 7, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 1:42 PM

I was reading yesterday about an African who visits America occasionally.

I never said “African friend” and my point was there is American-poor and then there is the real poor found anywhere else. You know, the ones living in the open, no shelter, eating dirt, no electricity, 5 minutes from starvation, dying from easily cured diseases, no sewage treatment, contaminated water or no water at all. nakad and cold with starving bloated children screaming in agony as they die with no medical attention.THAT’S POOR. And that was my point.

Guardian on March 7, 2009 at 1:50 PM

This bush depression sure is making people testy.
/getalife

carbon_footprint on March 7, 2009 at 1:51 PM

$20 for 60 days for cell phone / 60 = $0.33. Yea 33 cents will buy me three meals a day in any city. In most cities even McDonalds will not sell food to the homeless. They mess up their bathrooms and damage them.

This “story” is ridiculous.

It is a very long ways from having $20 for a cell phone to $1400 for deposit and first months rent for an appt. Even then few landlords would rent with no history or good references.

It amazes me how little compassion people have for the homeless. Many are mentally ill. Many mentally ill people never thought it would happen to them. This is not their fault.

Not all homeless are drunks. Many are drunks because of their homelessness it is easier to survive that way. Most made big mistakes to become homeless I would agree but hardly all.

Steveangell on March 7, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Rahmbo:
“Sir, the poor don’t have enough cell phones.”
Obama:
“Let them eat at Michelle’s Homeless Kitchen.”

jgapinoy on March 7, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

If this guy looks poor to you, you haven’t seen any actual poor people.

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Look it is the wrong tact to disparage the poor because they are poor because of the lack of leadership in Washington. This is a poverty being driven by socalist elitists in Washington who know more about creating poverty to enhance their power then ending poverty.

The right tact for the Right is to assert that the American Dream isnt achieve standing in government lines or waiting in food kitchens for our political leaders to feed us. The American dream comes from each of us striving to acheive our own goals through self empowerment.

That is the contrast of messages that we need to emphasis. That Obama only knows how to MAKE poverty and that COnservatives know how to show people how to ESCAPE poverty.

William Amos on March 7, 2009 at 1:55 PM

I agree that poor in the USA is remarkably close to middle class in many “developing” nations. When I was growing up we were poor – had to share a house with another single mom family and eat a lot of cereal and peanut butter. No tv, hand me down clothes, first vacation when I was 12. Even when we climbed out of it due to mom’s hard work, we still had next to nothing. All our money went to Catholic school.
Funny thing is I never knew it until I was grown up. Why? There was always a family worse off, who we handed our clothes down to.
The real point – there are so many opportunities and resources in this country – even now – there is no excuse for remaining in poverty. (Well, I suppose there is mental deficiency and I say this with the most PC of intentions.)
Why I found this photo hilarious – Isn’t there anyone in the admin who thought “Probably not a good idea to give the poor-haters any ammunition. Nix the photo of the homeless guy with the picture phone.” The stupidity of this admin is beyond absurd – especially considering how all the fawning Obamabots mocked W. They have completely abandoned reality.

gopmom on March 7, 2009 at 1:55 PM

living in the open, no shelter, eating dirt, no electricity, 5 minutes from starvation, dying from easily cured diseases, no sewage treatment, contaminated water or no water at all. nakad and cold with starving bloated children screaming in agony as they die with no medical attention.THAT’S POOR.

And everything else is…rich…?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM

It amazes me how little compassion people have for the homeless. Many are mentally ill. Many mentally ill people never thought it would happen to them. This is not their fault.

Steveangell on March 7, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Many poor and homeless are mentally ill and for them I have the utmost sympathy and compassion but the vast vast majority are gaming the system. Go to any grocery store at the first of the month, especially in an urban location, and see how many obese people are standing in line at the checkout counter with carts stuffed with junk food and a big book of foodstamps.

Guardian on March 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM

29Victor is just wondering if Michelle had ever served in a soup kitchen when there weren’t cameras trained on her.

29Victor on March 7, 2009 at 2:02 PM

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 1:49 PM

The earlier link posted suggested that risotto required a bunch of fancy ingredients, implying that a homeless shelter is making fancy food for poor people. It’s not fancy food. They’re buying rice in bulk – apparently mushroom flavored rice. You can buy Cream of Mushroom soup and no one is going to be like “BUT YOU COULD JUST GET WATER WITH SOME CREAM IN IT INSTEAD, WHAT DO YOU NEED MUSHROOMS FOR, LORD FAUNTLEROY?”

Do you not have any common sense, or have you never been to a grocery store, worked in a restaurant, volunteered at a soup kitchen? Do you not understand how this works?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.

Stay classy.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Oh, please. If there was evidence this person was a conservative, you’d be first in line.

And for all of you singing the praises of the homeless, many of the homeless people in my area (Seattle) have admitted to the media that they are homeless as a “lifestyle choice”. It’s not always an occasion for pity. They have come here from across the country because they’ve been told that Seattle is a good place to live on the street.

When their primary advocacy group tried to blackmail the King County Executive into giving them public land by threatening to camp their meth addicts next to an elementary school illegally, let’s just say my opinion started to change slightly.

Oh, and that Executive? He caved to their demands (though the land they wanted ended up belonging to transit, so they couldn’t have it).

Guess where he is now.

capitalist piglet on March 7, 2009 at 2:07 PM

29Victor is just wondering if Michelle had ever served in a soup kitchen when there weren’t cameras trained on her.

29Victor on March 7, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I hope not. Charities would be better served by the rich making a donation. But, of course, we know how cheap the obamas are.

Blake on March 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM

capitalist piglet on March 7, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Poor as a lifestyle choice is a big problem in Hawaii too. Amazing how the poor can afford to fly all the way to Hawaii just so they can be beach bums.

Guardian on March 7, 2009 at 2:11 PM

And everything else is…rich…?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Bookmark this thread. Tomorrow (it’s late night here now) I’ll go out in my neighborhood and get some video of people that are clearly much poorer than the gentleman pictured, but engaged in productive activities while lacking cell phones and risotto. I’ll put in on YouTube and post a link here. It takes a while to upload from here, but expect it within 48 hours or so.

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Yeah, but can he afford to recharge it?

Cynics!

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 7, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Do you not have any common sense, or have you never been to a grocery store, worked in a restaurant, volunteered at a soup kitchen? Do you not understand how this works?

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:05 PM

As above, give me a day or two and I’ll post some video of actual poor people working hard to afford boiled rice without the mushroom flavoring. They’ll all look a lot thinner than this guy too.

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Yeah, but can he afford to recharge it?

Cynics!

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 7, 2009 at 2:13 PM

And is it enviromentally friendly ?

William Amos on March 7, 2009 at 2:19 PM

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Wow. Seriously, if English is not your first language I will stop picking on you, because I’m not trying to be mean.

We don’t even know if this guy is homeless. Could be a volunteer, could be someone off the street who wanted a picture of the First Lady…could have been anyone.

I’m not even saying there aren’t people taking advantage of the system; of course there are. Some of the outlier LDS sects in Utah actually do it intentionally for the purpose of “bleeding the beast.”

The argument was that there are no poor people in the United States. I have volunteered in rural Appalachia for years and I can tell you there are people who have no medical care, who live under a roof with 9-10 other people, who oftentimes go hungry, and who have no realistic way to support themselves. No, they are not 5 minutes from death. Yes there are people who have it worse off. But they are still poor, and they need help too.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Michelle Obama has finally found a job she can handle.

Slingin’ swill to drones.

BottomLine5 on March 7, 2009 at 2:20 PM

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Well, if they’re working for rice, then they must not be poor per Guardian’s definition of poor.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I hope not. Charities would be better served by the rich making a donation. But, of course, we know how cheap the obamas are.

Blake on March 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM

That’s really the irony of this photo of Mrs. Obama serving up a meal to someone in a homeless shelter that is probably mostly funded by tax deductible donations from those rich people that Obama is going to deny the very same tax deduction in his plan to raise taxes on rich people who are morally obligated (per Geither) to pay higher taxes.

Who pays for the risotto in 2011?

Texas Gal on March 7, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Who pays for the risotto in 2011?

Texas Gal on March 7, 2009 at 2:23 PM

комисса́р

OmahaConservative on March 7, 2009 at 2:26 PM

If any one thinks that just any person can walk up to an open window with the fl of the USA on the other side and snap a picture, you are addle pated..Like the SS guys are going to let that happen, yeah right! This, like everything else the ogabi’s do is scripted for consumption by the press and all those libtards that voted for the filthy bastard in the WH. “Ahhh, isn’t michelle a real saint, just look at her, what a great fl”. Get real, the woman is a self-absorbed narcissist like her partner…..*sigh*

clinker46 on March 7, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Wow. Seriously, if English is not your first language I will stop picking on you, because I’m not trying to be mean.

American English was my first language, but after years living overseas a few others have over-written parts of my brain.

In any case, check back here on Monday or so. I’ll post a video for you.

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Come on, Ed. Give the soup kitchen a call and find out if the guy in the picture is a customer or a volunteer. Put this thing to rest once and for all since Michelle M. won’t.

SnarkVader on March 7, 2009 at 2:35 PM

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM

My apologies. You don’t need to bother with the video; I understand your point but don’t think you understood mine.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Come on, Ed. Give the soup kitchen a call and find out if the guy in the picture is a customer or a volunteer. Put this thing to rest once and for all since Michelle M. won’t.

SnarkVader on March 7, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Miriam’s Kitchen
http://www.miriamskitchen.org

2401 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 452-8926

OmahaConservative on March 7, 2009 at 2:43 PM

I understand your point but don’t think you understood mine.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I think your point was summarized well here:

Yes there are people who have it worse off. But they are still poor, and they need help too.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:19 PM

I think I get it. My point is that the actual poor do whatever it takes to help themselves while most of America’s so-called poor seem to do whatever it takes to avoid having to help themselves.

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Google this

“As she served the food, she told them ‘this is the second time I’ve been proud of my country.’ Michelle Obama was in Miriam’s Kitchen feeding the homeless. …

OmahaConservative on March 7, 2009 at 2:52 PM

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

No. Poor people are poor people because of how much money they can make and how much money and/or fungible commodities they have. It’s not a moral status, it’s an economic status. The fact that some poor people are lazy jerks doesn’t mean they’re not poor, it’s means they’re poor, and in addition to that they’re lazy jerks.

I agree that the lazy poor are less deserving of assistance, if they deserve any assistance at all.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:57 PM

OmahaConservative on March 7, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Yeah…she didn’t say that.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.

Stay classy.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

There is more than one appropriate reason to attack what is being portrayed in this picture. None of which have anything to do with being poor, per se.

Argumentum ad Lazarum

Your fallacious implication of virtue is sophomoric and unimpressive.

An aside: I still find it noteworthy that you have avoided explaining a simple request of mine. Given your support for this administration, I am curious to learn how/why one would choose tyranny over liberty. If you understand the terms and are able to reason, it should not be difficult for you.

anuts on March 7, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Quick, someone needs to blame Obama for this, how?!?

DeathToMediaHacks on March 7, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Quick, someone needs to blame Obama for this, how?!?

DeathToMediaHacks on March 7, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Blame him for what, exactly?

anuts on March 7, 2009 at 3:08 PM

No. Poor people are poor people because of how much money they can make and how much money and/or fungible commodities they have. It’s not a moral status, it’s an economic status.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 2:57 PM

I guess we do disagree then, at least in the case of the United States. Any able-bodied person of sound mind in more than short-term poverty in the US is there for cultural and/or personality related issues (including laziness).

DarkCurrent on March 7, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Isn’t that the same outfit as on the oprah cover?

Dianna on March 7, 2009 at 3:12 PM

that dude has a nicer cell phone than I do

Opinionnation on March 7, 2009 at 3:42 PM

It amazes me how little compassion people have for the homeless. Many are mentally ill. Many mentally ill people never thought it would happen to them. This is not their fault.

Steveangell on March 7, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Blame your buddy Carter. He threw open the doors of mental institutions and created homelessness overnight. Being a hobo or bum used to be a stigma, but not anymore. Now, its our fault instead of theirs. We don’t have many stigmas left. It’s a shame, really.

Vashta.Nerada on March 7, 2009 at 4:04 PM

OK. So let’s assume the guy is homeless and needs a phone to find a job. Does he really need a camera phone? I got my first camera phone just a couple months ago. And I have been working and in a home for a long time. It looks fancy.

+10

I still don’t have a camera phone. No big screen or flat screen. No cable. No satellite. In 25 years, we’ve purchased just 3 used vehicles. We dine out only several times a year. We don’t go to movies. No extravagant vacations. Our family’s clothes are always purchased on sale and I often purchase from thrift or consignment stores. It’s not that we couldn’t have those things or didn’t ever want them; instead we chose not to for a reason. Yes, I do happen to live in a nice area with no debt and have had a nest egg and for this I am selfish and evil. It has nothing to do with planning, prudent decisions, and sacrifice? Oh yes, we have also consistently given to charity too. And I pay my taxes too… on time.

I am sick and tired of all the whiner low-lifes in this country and the politicians that create problems rather than solve them. If they had a heart for people, I could perhaps take some of it, but they don’t…. the liberal politicians only talk a grand game but their real goal is personal power. How do I know this? Because we’ve thrown 11 trillion towards the war on poverty… has it gotten any better? Hmmmm? I also look at bleeding heart liberals tax returns (if they have them – ha!) and see that they give nothing or next to nothing in charitable contributions.

They have not earned my respect to preach to me. And I’m going to stop being politically correct about it too lest I be called a coward. But I will debate on facts and results, not good intentions and rhetoric.

PrincipledPilgrim on March 7, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Go to any grocery store at the first of the month, especially in an urban location, and see how many obese people are standing in line at the checkout counter with carts stuffed with junk food and a big book of foodstamps.

Guardian on March 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM

I got one better on you, fella.

I knew of one guy (un-kept, who drank from a beer inside a paper bag and all) who used to hang around at the corner bodega, near where my family used to live in the Bronx (Moth Haven, to be exact. Poor area as it is.) I never really cared for the guy. One day, the owner of the bodega told me, “You see him over there?” as he was leaving the store. The bodega owner then told me that guy actually was rich: he owned lands in and around my hometown in Puerto Rico. I can tell you that the value of those lands has increased exponentially by now (this happened in ’91), and that he probably sold them at a hefty profit with the real estate boom in the island. Yet in NYC, he’s poor. Go figure.

Even better! My father’s bitter ex-wife gave my mother and I grief for many years: she didn’t want to end an inheritance dispute that lasted for over twenty years after my father’s death. Then I was told recently that her son (my half-brother) told a good friend of my mother’s that she owns two houses in MA (one in which he lives), while she collects welfare benefits there. (!) Yeah. Welfare fraud. I would love to rat her to the Feds, because I know then she will finally pay for all of the grief she caused my parents and I.

newton on March 7, 2009 at 5:02 PM

She kind of looks like Omarosa….

n0doz on March 7, 2009 at 5:21 PM

If I might also add my two cents: Yes Ed, please do not adopt the “obligatory” bit in your posts….

…or any of the other too often employed Allah-esque, cutesy and whiny sounding subtitles. It cheapens things and makes it come across as something akin to a ‘woe is me, it’s such a chore to do, but I must’ shtick.

Give us the goods, as you tend to do and less of the sideshow.

Please and thanks.

Chancellor on March 7, 2009 at 5:49 PM

That is so sweet of Michelle Obama to serve the homeless $100 Wagu steak prepared by her personal chef from her Chicago mansion, and have Stevie Wonder entertain while they dine.

Wait…

TN Mom on March 7, 2009 at 6:51 PM

First as someone pointed out we don’t know for sure that the guy with the phone is homeless and not a volunteer. Seconf the Risotto means nothing. Most shelters and food banks get donations from stores and they can be kind of off the wall at times. You know, like 500 cans of pickled beets. So it’s a good bet this so-called risotto was a pre-packaged donation. I’ll never put down somone for volunteering to help others, even if it’s for a photo-op.

And yes, there are truly poor people in this country. Someone mentioned Appalachia, and that they “choose to be poor.” I know this will destroy a myth, but there are actually people out there who are not capable of doing anything other than manual labor or very basic work, and living on minimum wage is barely above the so-called poverty level. So it may not be a “choice” to be “poor.”

And then there are the elderly. Many senior citizens didn’t have pensions or their medical expenses are over whelming. I worked with many elderly people who barely manage to get by, after a lifetime of work.

Deanna on March 7, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Why does that photo of Michelle Obama immediately make me think “Did somebody say McDonalds?”

BKennedy on March 7, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Got cable T.V. also i guess.

thmcbb on March 7, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.

Stay classy.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Seems like they’re attacking me. I budget!

hawkdriver on March 7, 2009 at 8:13 PM

You can buy a cell phone for about 10-20 bucks

Jamson64 on March 7, 2009 at 8:41 PM

I got mine for free when I signed up for my extremely cheap PAYG plan. It was a camera phone.

Proud Rino on March 7, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Hey, lets attack the poor.

Stay classy.

getalife on March 7, 2009 at 1:47 PM

What is your definition of poor? What is your definition of homeless? Are they the same? Poverty has many faces. Some of the so called impoverished are poor by choice. Some do need a helping hand (preferably from their neighbor).

Upstater85 on March 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

How else is that guy supposed to call 911 if somebody steals his shopping cart full of empty cans and baby-doll parts?

Jim Treacher on March 7, 2009 at 9:15 PM

I think he bought it at Walmark with his bottle of wine after standing at the intersection collecting hand outs for a few hours with a sign that said “Will work for food”.

paulsur on March 7, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Welfare in America is the biggest scam evah.

You can realistically earn $35-40K a year tax free from the variety of programs available for “the poor”. No surprise that a recipient of THE ONE’s free food has a cell phone. And I will wage his phone is better and has more cool feature than my 3 year old phone.

angryed on March 7, 2009 at 10:33 PM

Anyone notice the “mushroom risotto” on the menu sign? The “homeless” are eating better than I am!

SouthernGent on March 7, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Who cares how much it costs? It’s donated. The place where I normally volunteer sometimes gets amazing, hearty soups specially prepared by some of the best restaurants in town. Better than anything I eat.

Are they required to eat gruel, just because they’re homeless? (Stop by, if you want, we don’t check pay stubs.)

Tanya on March 7, 2009 at 10:48 PM

I have a nice home, hard working parents (one recently laid off), and food to eat every day, and I don’t have a cell phone. Not even ‘Pay As You Go’.

YoungAmerican on March 7, 2009 at 11:01 PM

That is so sweet of Michelle Obama to serve the homeless $100 Wagu steak prepared by her personal chef from her Chicago mansion, and have Stevie Wonder entertain while they dine.

Wait…

TN Mom on March 7, 2009 at 6:51 PM

And don’t forget that they live in a huge mansion in downtown Washington, surrounded on all sides by fences (elitists), with a butler and probably a driver, too. Just who do they think they are?!

YYZ on March 7, 2009 at 11:10 PM

How many here think the secret service likes allowing any homeless, nameless, unknown of unknown political affiliation approaching the presidents wife without a good scouring?

They probably didn’t want that at all, so they got a wad of ‘more’ trustworthy folk to come on down dressed in their weekender clothes and take a meal from the first lady.

I’m sure they didn’t scan them for electronic devices first. Next time journalists, have a look at the wrists of those accepting meals at homeless shelters from politicians or their wives, what do you want to bet there will either be an expensive watch on that wrist or a large lump in the back pocket from the cell phone, blackberry, or over stuffed wallet.

As with anything involving sock puppet, it’s an illusion.

Spiritk9 on March 7, 2009 at 11:55 PM

I agrre that this is a molehill, and does detract from the First Lady’s work at the homeless shelter. We all should be more understanding. Especially since her husband’s policies will likely assure a lot more people will be using such facilities. Maybe even some of us commenters.

michaelo on March 7, 2009 at 11:57 PM

I disagree that the guy is taking a picture of Michelle “My Belle” Obama. Actually I think he is answering his phone and it playing the tune from Afroman Colt 45 Song. Can’t you just hear the chorus…Said colt 45 and two zigzags baby thats all we need
We can go to the park, after dark
Smoke that tumbleweed

Dire Straits on March 8, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Oh no! Now Ed is getting the ‘obligated’ bug that AP has!

Kevin M on March 8, 2009 at 5:38 AM

On risotto: The fanciness comes not from the cost of the rice (which can be relatively inexpensive), but in the other ingredients (wild mushrooms – not those cheap white button things, Parmesan – and the crap in the green bottle has the wrong texture) and the labour. Properly-made risotto can only be made for a handful of people at once, and takes about 40 minutes of constant effort. So you’re basically talking about one chef’s labour, for almost an hour, for the exclusive purpose of feeding two or three people. Once you’re done adding your $20/lb cheese and mushrooms, it’s not cheap.

On poverty: it’s not just a geographic thing, but a temporal thing. Imagine telling people in the 1950s that today’s poor would all have televisions, microwaves, computers, and medical care that includes ultrasounds, MRIs, and pharmaceuticals. Now imagine going back to the 1910s and telling someone that a “poor” person in America would have running water, electricity, a car, the aforementioned medical care, vaccines, air conditioning, internet access, but would have to go to the local Kinko’s to use a fax machine.

To the class-warfare ideologues: imagine what capitalism can do for the poor of 2110. Let the current system continue – let people get rich off of innovation, efficiency, and talent; let the rich subsidise the development costs of new technologies – and try to imagine what the left-hand side of the bell curve will be like in a hundred years. Bill Gates’s fortune can only buy him two more things than the lower-middle class of a future, capitalistic America would possess: more living space, and less worry about money.

If you actually care about improving the lot of poor people, you would get up every single morning, smile, pump your fists into the air, and launch into a cheer for capitalism. Then again, if it’s all about envy of those who have more than you, or a power grab, then you’ll hate on the thing which does nothing to alleviate your envy, or get you power, but does everything to help the less fortunate.

Roxeanne de Luca on March 9, 2009 at 1:59 AM

PS – the fact that we can even debate about the affordability of cell phones for the poor is a testament to the near-miraculous wonder of capitalism. Maybe this is sacrilege, but capitalism does more to give hope to people all over the world than does the rhetoric and passion of the Obamessiah. ;)

Roxeanne de Luca on March 9, 2009 at 2:07 AM

They need cellphones so they can set up their drug deals, which is their job. I bet they deduct it from their taxes as a business expense.

workingforpigs on March 9, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Oh, I forgot, they don’t PAY taxes, they only collect a check from those that do pay taxes.

workingforpigs on March 9, 2009 at 1:08 PM

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