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Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

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  • Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

    ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
    ** This thread discusses the Content article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
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  • #2
    Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

    ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
    and even capital punishment for that matter ... but there *is* a special place in hell waiting for them, the "hall/hell of fame/flame", if you will.

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    • #3
      Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

      ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
      Thanks Joel, Good Article, timely and right on the money. I still have a family, still have a house, still have a job but have a big hole in my heart right now for the city of my birth (born across the street from the Superdome). I can tell you that the Red Cross is ok, the Salvation Army is okay and your local Church is okay, so go ahead and give, we are receiving. My needs are nowhere near the needs of the ones you have been seeing on the TV. But in the first days after the 'Storm' I couldn't access my cash, couldn't find out about my family, couln't find out about my house. I saw my good my life of a few weeks ago disenigrating rapidly. That disenigration rapidly stopped with the help of the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Your local Church, my state government, GA state government, the best national government in the world (no matter what party is in power), the local community in Little Rock AR, the local community in Lawrenceburg Tenn, the local community in Cartersville GA, State Farm Insurance, and possibly Fema (even the local GMC dealer has me in a loaner while my truck is in his shop). Wow, what a safety net that has caught me. So, don't click on any links. Go straight to the source and give. Craig Thibodeaux

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      • #4
        Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

        ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
        Craig, Thanks for the kind words about the article. It's great to hear that you and yours are safe and well. Given your birthplace, that hole in your heart is probably larger than for people connected only through their television, newspaper, and Internet connections, but trust that there is an outpouring of sympathy and concern from around the world. I echo your sentiment about giving to legitimate charities that are helping out in the area. You say "So, don't click on any links. Go straight to the source and give." For those who don't know the best sources, most of the reputable media (including here in Canada and I expect elsewhere in the world) have links on their Web home pages to a "how you can help" page that provides links to legitimate charities. Thus, the reputable media Web sites are good places to go to find links that you can trust. Joel

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        • #5
          Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

          ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
          Joel: I look forward to enjoying your weekly tirade each Friday morning. This response is unually slow, because I was out of the office this past Friday. My thought, after the first few paragraphs of this week's column, was "C'mon, Joel - tell us how you REALLY feel about parasites." Having finished the article, that now seems somewhat flip, but it isn't intended to be. You make the point that there aren't words to adequately describe these creatures, but you do an admirable job of trying. Although I miss the humor of your more typical tirade, you are right on target in your characterization of the slime that is so quick to attempt to take advantage of people in need. They should be the target, and someone who doesn't have your ethical considerations should have his/her finger on the trigger (following due process, of course). Thanks for taking a detour from your more usual path; it is a good reminder and, typically, a refreshing perspective. Bob Wierman

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          • #6
            Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

            ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
            Joel, You're spot on regarding hi-tech S.O.B's. Locally, there are low-tech scammers. Two groups have been identified as using kids to go door-to-door asking for Katrina donations. People just can't turn down cute kids. The problem is these groups are keeping the money for themselves. They are organized low-tech scams. No arrests have been made, yet. The groups move on very quickly. There are also scams involving POTS. The local police are warning people about this. It's just so rotten that tragedies like Katrina bring out the worst humanity has to offer along with the best. Regards. Tom.

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            • #7
              Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

              ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
              However I see establishment as the biggest form of parasite. Establishment has many faces. Government, corporate media, organized religion, organized charity. I wish I could say like 50 cent, "you wont get a dollar outa me". However the government manages to take a big chunk out of salary in the name of taxes and there is nothing I can do about it. Come Tsunami and I receive an email from a self declared employee of a bank that a person named xxx Farooqi died in Tsunami leaving a big fortune and if I can help him, we can both get it by my pretending to be the heir of this dead Farooqi. Come Katrina and I receive another email that a Farooqi is dead in New Orlene. You know what? If a sicko falls for it, he deserves to be scammed! But why blame these low life scammers? Government has enough money to wipe poverty, hunger, disease, illitracy, etc etc from the face of the earth single handedly. One cruze missile costs $2 million, and in one war 200 cruz were thrown each day. Go figure, half a billion a day up in smoke! Yet come Katrina and the government announces it has to cut down the milk program in schools. Red Cross has collected $500 million and distributed %5 so far. We all know how stubbord Red Cross was in refusal to pass on all its 9/11 collection to the victims except a small percent. Another windfall is for the organized religions to tell that it was a wrath of god for not listening to them. As I open my small apartment for victims, I feel sick to my stomack thinking of all these parasites.

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              • #8
                Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                Joel, this tragedy has -- perhaps inevitably -- once again raised the race issue in the country. I personally don't think that at the Federal response level that race was nearly as much of an issue as general unpreparedness. However, I do find some of the issues unsettling, such as the ethnic makeup of the impoverished parts of New Orleans. I grew up in Chicago which is home to some of the worst examples of social experimentation gone wrong. The Cabrini Green neighborhood was once nice, single-family homes which were razed to put in the horrible high-rise, low-rent, no-access buildings which would quickly become dubbed "projects" and rack up the highest crime rates in the city. I know these buildings are a bad idea, just as I know there is no easy solution that will get rid of them, but at least we're trying. For the past couple of decades, Chicago has been trying to get rid of Cabrini and the other "projects". Here are some links to the issue: http://www.thecha.org/housingdev/cab...een_homes.html http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/...in532704.shtml http://www.lafchicago.org/articles/c...over_evict.htm http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/j.../nortclyb.html Anyway, why do I bring it up? Well, last night my wife and I watched a movie. The baby sort of snored through it, a trick he learned from his daddy, but this movie riveted me. Perhaps I was particularly attuned to the subject matter because of the racial tension that has been ratcheted up by some of the Katrina coverage, but when I did a little research, it turns out that the overwhelming majority of people who have seen the movie agree with me. In its short life, it has already been rated as the #49 movie in history on www.imdb.com, putting it in the company of films like Das Boot, Chinatown and The Maltese Falcon, as well as newer films like Hotel Rwanda and Se7en. The name of the movie is "Crash", and while it nominally "stars" Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle, it is in reality a staggeringly powerful ensemble cast who deliver a riveting performance about the state of race and ethnic relations in our country today. The story segues between several separate yet linked characters and their families over a head-spinning 24 hours that will leave you emotionally drained. I am absolutely certain that, no matter what your heritage, you will find at least one point in the movie where you will be angered, and another where you will be mortified, and another where you will be astonished, and another where you will simply be relieved. And at the end of the movie, you will realize that the issue, like so many that we struggle with in a free society, is much bigger than politics, or Katrina, or even economics. That the problem needs to be addressed at a much lower, simpler level, and that we still have a long way to go. In any case, you will be forced to examine your own beliefs, and see how they would hold up in the crucible of this movie's events. Joe

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                • #9
                  Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                  ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                  Joel, Thanks, as usual, for your unique and refreshing perspectivie on IT technology, and particularly on how it is so often abused and misused. Best Regards, Paul H. Harkins

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                  • #10
                    Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                    ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                    Joe, I agree with everything you said, including your opinion of Crash. I like seeing movies on the big screen in amongst an audience, while eating some popcorn, of course. Itís just a personal thing. Crash played here for a number of months and I resisted seeing it for a while because, based on the previews I had seen, I didnít think Iíd like it. I generally donít enjoy violent films and thatís what it looked like in the previews. But the reviews were good, so I went to see it one afternoon when I was looking for something to do. Iím glad I did. And, as you seem to be saying, I think that everyone should see it. I thought it was an excellent film. Youíre memory of it is much fresher than mine, but I think that one of its messages is that we are all racists to one extent or another, whether we are conscious of it or not. Obviously, racism is a much bigger part of some peopleís characters than others and in some itís more overt than in others, but we probably all have a little racism in us whether we know, or like it or not -- and that is going to affect our actions whether we are conscious of the affect or not. As to did racism play a part in the level of response to Katrina, maybe Iím just being naÔve (although I donít think so), but I donít think that race played an overt role. I think that poverty did play a role. Poverty is more prevalent among African-Americans in New Orleans than among some other segments of the population. I donít have any idea why that is--past racism, the effects of which have not yet been compensated for (itís difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty even in the absence of external factors holding you down); current racism; problems within the community itself--I honestly donít know. But a higher level of poverty among African-Americans in New Orleans is, as I understand it, a statistical fact. Poor people didnít have the means to get out of the way of Katrina on their own even if they were inclined to do so (even some people who had the means to do so chose not to for whatever reason). Furthermore, because New Orleans is poorer than many other cities it probably did not have the resources it needed to shore up its levees, despite warnings years ago that it needed to do so. So I think poverty played a role and since poverty is statistically more prevalent among African Americans the results came down on a racial divide, but I donít think that anyone consciously, or even subconsciously, said ďweíre not going to work as hard to help them because they are mostly of this particular race.Ē I just donít think that was the case. Of course, poverty was not the only culprit. The founders of New Orleans built it on a sinking plot of land that, Iím not sure if it was then, but is now below sea level. And they did it in an area that is prone to hurricanes. Go figure. I also think that when the various investigations and analyses into the response to Katrina is done, mistakes will have been found to have been made at all levels of government. But I think that they were made because governments and the humans that lead and administer them are fallible and, therefore, make mistakesósome, unfortunately with tragic consequencesóbut not because they took actions based on racism. Thatís just my thoughts on the matter. My information resources are limited to what I read in the newspaper and on the Internet news sites, as well as my minimal amount of television watching, so I may be proved wrong by people with more information. Hopefully, people in power who have a far greater access to information than I do will eventually look back on what went on and learn the lessons that need to be learned. Will that happen to the extent it should? I donít know. The past does not make me terribly confident, but I still hope so. And, getting back to Crash, I absolutely agree with you when you say, ďAnd at the end of the movie, you will realize that the issue, like so many that we struggle with in a free society, is much bigger than politics, or Katrina, or even economics. That the problem needs to be addressed at a much lower, simpler level, and that we still have a long way to go.Ē Letís hope that we begin to take the steps on that journey. Joel

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                    • #11
                      Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                      ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                      Joe, I watched Crash just yesterday! Living single, I watch a movie every other day but very few movies have moved me the way Crash moved me. People do not understand racism because they refuse to give it an emotion free look. I was born in Southern part of India. I was taunted for my religion (hate word Muslah) but I knew deep inside it was fear of my physique. I was too big, too white etc etc. When my family migrated to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I saw the same hatred in the eyes of a Bengali when I was taunted as a Bihari (hate word for all non Bengalies althought a Bihari is one whole foot shorter than me at an average). Then only I knew it was a fear of my physique and color of my skin. When we migrated to West Pakistan (now just Pakistan) I realized it was a fear of an ancient culture being overtaken by a foreign one. Hence the hate word Makker (locust). When my family finally moved to Canada (finally found the ultimate homeland) I decided to give a shot to Saudi Arabia only to be called a Rafik (****ing Paki). My collegues are fine, cultured, church going people but when it came to Katrina, they all acted like racist pigs painting the Katrina victims are low life thugs playing race card to extort money. Crash addresses the race issue like no movie has dared to! It shows what taken a fine person to become a racist.

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                      • #12
                        Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                        ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                        So I think poverty played a role and since poverty is statistically more prevalent among African Americans the results came down on a racial divide, but I donít think that anyone consciously, or even subconsciously, said ďweíre not going to work as hard to help them because they are mostly of this particular race.Ē I just donít think that was the case. I agree. I simply don't believe that in this day and age that anyone in Congress, with the exception of a few antiquated antebellum lifers (we have a few), would willingly deny the people of New Orleans aid because of their race or social status. I figure the basic camps break down into the folks who are truly interested in helping others in need and the folks who are interested in their own skin. The former (who, from my informal polls of frioends and family, tend to greatly outnumber the latter) are the ones who are out there giving inoculations, bringing food, maintaining order, and so on. Watch the news and take a good look at the makeup of the people providing the aid, and I don't think you're going to see much racial bias there. As to the folks interested in their own skins, the only ones who make a difference in NOLA are the politicians, and even the most self-centered of those are smart enough to realize the political suicide that would result from not helping the citizens affected by Katrina. So I think that really poverty and circumstances played more of a role than any sort of government conspiracy. Of course, poverty was not the only culprit. The founders of New Orleans built it on a sinking plot of land that, Iím not sure if it was then, but is now below sea level. And they did it in an area that is prone to hurricanes. Go figure. It's also at the end of the Mississippi, in what is usually a relatively placid Gulf of Mexico, such that NOLA ships 2/3 of America's grain. Sometimes expediency wins. I also think that when the various investigations and analyses into the response to Katrina is done, mistakes will have been found to have been made at all levels of government. But I think that they were made because governments and the humans that lead and administer them are fallible and, therefore, make mistakesósome, unfortunately with tragic consequencesóbut not because they took actions based on racism. My biggest concern is that the Al Sharptons of the world who are busy raising the race card are going to make so much static that there won't be a good hard look taken at the role of the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans to get those people out. People tend to compare Katrina and 9/11, and while they were vastly differing circumstances, you'll note that the primary response was by New York City and to a lesser degreee New York State. Where were the New Orleans and Louisiana support teams during those crucial hours just before and after Katrina? It seems to me, and I may be wrong, but a lot of the finger pointing is of the type that people use to deflect the blame. Hopefully we'll find out. Joe

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                        • #13
                          Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                          ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                          My collegues are fine, cultured, church going people but when it came to Katrina, they all acted like racist pigs painting the Katrina victims are low life thugs playing race card to extort money. That's the problem with painting any portion of society with a broad brush. My guess is that the majority of the impoverished NOLA citizens who couldn't get out will turn out to be people at the very margins of poverty, and were more worried about the day-to-day stress of living than about trying to mastermind a multi-million dollar fraud against the government in the wake of the worst natural disaster to ever hit the country. No, when you struggle from day to day trying to figure out where to get food, when you live in a neighborhood where the primary business is drugs, if you've got five mouths to feed and have a hard time getting transportation to your minimum wage job, if you have to sleep on the floor to avoid stray bullets, these all tend to wear you down to where the thoughts of a hurricane are not a call to nefarious action, but are instead met with resignation. "There's no way I'm getting me and my three kids and their Grand-Nana and all of our posessions meager as they may be onto a hot, smelly, horrible bus to be driven to stay like cattle with strangers. Uh uh. I'm staying right here with my friends and family and together we'll pray that we'll be alright and if not, then that's His will, and His will be done." Yes, there will be the criminal element looking to make a gain on this. They're everywhere, and some wear do-rags and some wear three-piece suits. Bloodsuckers come in all races and social strata. But the vast majority of those affected by this disaster are people with souls, and those souls are simply trying to find a way to go on. Crash addresses the race issue like no movie has dared to! It shows what taken a fine person to become a racist. It shows how easy, how instinctive it is for many people -- for most people today, I think -- to fall into stereotypical thinking. How somewhere below our conscious level of thought there lurks a very tribal animal that distrusts those who are different. At the same time, it shows the incredible courage that lives in the human spirit, and the ability that we all have to break those bonds of animal instincts. It is this spirit, in fact, that separates us from the animals; the ability to transcend our baser selves and to become more perfect despite our natural prejudices, and the fact that when brought face to face with our demons, most of us recoil rather than rejoice. I'm sure it's no accident that Matt Dillon's character, perhaps the most prejudiced of all, best embodies at least for a moment this ability to rise above himself. The movie insists that few of us want to be racist, and that the hard part is recognizing that to some degree we all are, and that we must actively pursue choices that nullify that prejudice. Joe

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                          • #14
                            Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                            ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                            Joe, Wow! We agree on something. I hope someone has marked this day in the calendar. It feels good. The only, ONLY area where I might disagree with you--and it is only a disagreement in degree, not direction--is that I don't think that you give enough weight to the differences between 9/11 and Katrina. You said:
                            People tend to compare Katrina and 9/11, and while they were vastly differing circumstances, you'll note that the primary response was by New York City and to a lesser degree New York State. Where were the New Orleans and Louisiana support teams during those crucial hours just before and after Katrina?
                            The physical destruction of 9/11 was limited to a relatively small area. If memory serves me correctly (not always a good bet), I think that it was nine square blocks. Outside of that area, police, fire and ambulance stations were still standing and operational; hospitals were fully functional; and municipal buildings had power and other services. Roads were passable. Firefighters went to the scene of a fire, open a hydrant and water came out. People could go home and, when they turned on the tap, potable water came out; when they flipped the switch on their lights, stoves, televisions and other appliances, they came on; when they flushed their toilets the waste water went to the sewage treatment plant. What's more, the surrounding areas were not physically affected and the first responders outside of NYC did not suffer losses of life, so they could help if needed. I recognize that the emotional and psychological loss extended well beyond those nine square blocks and, in fact, well beyond NYC. People around the world, even those who did not lose loved ones, felt the pain as fellow human beings watching the tragedy unfold in real-time on their television screens. I don't want to diminish that loss in any way. But in terms of the cityís and stateís physical infrastructure that was used to deal with the emergency, that damage was limited to a relatively small area. Contrast that with the destruction caused by Katrina. After the levees burst 80% of New Orleans was flooded. That includes fire, ambulance and police stations, along with civic buildings that were needed for city workers to coordinate the emergency measures. Sewage was overflowing into the city rather than going to the treatment plants. People (and city services) had no clean water and no electricity. Hospitals that could still be occupied were operating without those basic necessities. And, what didnít get as much play in the media as it probably deserved, New Orleans wasn't the only place affected. Katrina devastated a large swath along the Gulf Coast. As a result, many of the surrounding areas were too busy dealing with their own emergencies to help New Orleans. In addition, I've never done a comparative study of the economies of the various American states, so somebody please correct me if Iím wrong, but my understanding is that New York State is a fair bit wealthier than Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama (the Katrina-affected states). And New York City is a fair bit wealthier than New Orleans. Consequently, New York City and State probably had more resources at their disposal to deal with 9/11 than New Orleans had to deal with Katrina. If 9/11 had been more like Katrina would the Mayor and Governor of New York City and State have responded any better than the Mayors and Governors of the areas affected by Katrina? I don't know, and because they werenít tested in the same way, I donít think that anyone can know for sure. One disadvantage (although the words "advantage" and "disadvantage" sound like horribly wrongs word to use in the case of disasters like 9/11 and Katrina) that NYC might have faced in having a relatively geographically contained disaster is that they had a specific place to send first responders and they had the roads and vehicles to get them there. As a result, many valiant first responders lost their lives during 9/11. If 9/11 had been more like Katrina, if NYC had not had one specific place to send its first responders, nor the means to get them there if it did, then maybe instead of, very deservedly, describing those first responders of NYC as heroes, we would instead be describing them as lacking in their initial response. You said:
                            It seems to me, and I may be wrong, but a lot of the finger pointing is of the type that people use to deflect the blame.
                            I think that, at least in the initial phases, the investigations should not attempt to assess blame. Instead, they should attempt to learn lessons--what was done right and what was done wrong--so that when the next disaster hits, the response can be better. The problem with starting off by assessing blame and, as you, I think quite correctly, say, finger-pointing, is that it forces everyone involved to adopt defensive positions that obscure the facts, and I don't think that's what's needed. Blame can come later. Now we need to learn lessons because another "Katrina" will happen. Maybe it won't be a hurricane or a terrorist attack the next time. Maybe it will be an earthquake, a burst dam or some other disaster that we canít imagine. But something will happen, because bad things happen to good planets. Itís inevitable. The more prepared we are by learning from our past mistakes and successes, the better off we'll be. Joel

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                            • #15
                              Cut-Rate and Other Parasites

                              ** This thread discusses the article: Cut-Rate and Other Parasites **
                              The physical destruction of 9/11 was limited to a relatively small area. If memory serves me correctly (not always a good bet), I think that it was nine square blocks. ... municipal buildings had power and other services ... Joel, On 9/11 roughly 16 acres in the heart of NYC's financial district was destroyed. The phone service was out in lower Manhattan south of 14th street for at least 2 - 3 weeks. I forgot how long electricity was out. I was there 2.5 weeks after 9/11 and I distinctly remember walking in lower Manhattan and more than half of the businesses were still closed. The handful that were open were taking cash only because they couldn't verify credit cards. Wall Street and many banks closed. Many business relocated to NJ and some haven't moved back into Manhattan. The 2 towers were vertical cities, and tens of thousands of jobs were lost in an instant, along with thousands of lives. NYC had very strong leadership in Rudy Giuliani on that horrible day. Thank goodness. Yes, Katrina is a much bigger disaster. Obviously. But things could have, and should have, been managed better - especially when they had at least 2 days warning that a category 5 hurricane was headed straight to a city (New Orleans) that sits below sea level. Remember, 9/11 was a surprise attack. I didn't see the "Giuliani" leadership from anyone with the Katrina disaster. It doesn't matter what "resources" are available when the mayor, governor, and/or president don't deploy them quickly and efficiently. I think we (the USA) got help to the tsunami victims half a world away faster than we helped those people trapped on their rooftops on the Gulf Coast. This is not a resource (or lack thereof) issue - it is a lack of leadership issue.

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