Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Last night I was watching NOW, featuring Harvard law professor and TPM guest writer Elizabeth Warren, discussing the rapidly melting down state of consumer credit in a segment entitled, "The Secret History of the Credit Card." And do check out the full Elizabeth Warren interview.

It reminded me of how funny it was, that time when I lost my job a couple months ago and called the company that was 'insuring' my credit card, charging a moderate fraction of the balance so that in the event I lost my job they'd make my payments for me. And they asked how many hours I'd worked a week, but because I was a part-time contractor who only worked 20 hours a week, they wouldn't pay.

Then I called the credit card company, who had marketed this product to me while I was doing part-time contract work to complain, and they said it was too bad, but if I could come up with some money, then a consumer credit counseling service would be able to negotiate a fair deal with my creditors. So I told the nice, not very helpful lady on the phone that it's too bad my creditors wouldn't just give me a fair deal. So hilarious.

In other news ...

- I have a philosophical dilemma that maybe you can help me answer. Certain Democrats who shall remain nameless: are they arthropods or annelids? Both phyla are comprised of spineless organisms, but I lean arthropod (your crustaceans, insects, spiders, etc,) and it's because creatures with jointed exoskeletons can occasionally show a little verve, usually at times when you wish they wouldn't. On the anti-arthropod side, even their tiny brains have better friend or foe recognition than your typical elected Democrat. Annelids (segmented worms like earthworms, leeches, marine tubeworms, etc,) on the other hand, tend to be bottom feeders when not parasitic, and when more classically predatory they usually attack other invertebrates. On the anti-annelid side, earthworm sh*t makes the flowers grow, which is to say that they serve some greater purpose. I'm open to lively debate on the matter.

- These facets of society are features, not bugs.

- This is not the 'business cycle'. This is the whole nation getting bled dry by a bunch of greedy f*in' bastiches.

- What's wrong with 'public' solutions?

- Intriguing. Is climate change an energy problem? The author contends that it isn't, and when he puts it as he does, I must admit that he makes a fine point.

- Facebook fratboys think breastfeeding is obscene, but pasties, not so much. It should be understood as a friend of mine explains: breastfeeding women are performing the public service of calming hungry babies, and is it ever a public service. It's unreasonable to make women choose between giving their children formula at an early age and cloistering themselves in private for what can add up to quite a lot of time. Total *sshattery.

- The Israel/Palestine thing just isn't that hard to understand. Unfortunately, we can't get a better press, so here's a translation guide for reporters. Why Americans can't predict the likely outcome of a powerful nation deciding to dispossess, starve out, financially ruin, institutionally destroy and disproportionately attack a weaker population, I just don't get.

What're you reading these days?

Tags: blog roundup, consumer credit, Debt, Elizabeth Warren, news open thread (all tags)



Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Isn't the 'Free Market' grand?

by QTG 2009-01-03 02:40AM | 0 recs
The insurance for being unemployed

This is so typical of the credit card industry.  I bet they did not even offer to refund whatever premium you paid for that service after pronouncing you unqualified to receive the benefits!

by politics64 2009-01-03 04:23AM | 0 recs
They did not offer a refund

In fact, they made sure to say that no such thing would happen.

by Natasha Chart 2009-01-03 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Yeah, those credit card payment deals always sounded like a scam to me.

by Bush Bites 2009-01-03 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

A woman's "right" to post breast-feeding pictures on Facebook?  It never ceases to amaze me what people get worked up about.

To be fair, I can't imagine being a woman and having a desire to post pictures of myself breast-feeding online, or to look at other women doing so.  It's not titillating, educational, or scenic -- what gives?

by username 2009-01-03 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Well, that's really sort of the problem. Too many guys think that if they're not personally titillated by a picture of a woman, it lacks value. Are you entitled to be turned on by every female breast image you see? Is that your right?

And ... drunken party pictures, vacation photos, while they might in theory be educational or scenic, they usually aren't. The vast quantity of photos I've seen posted up on facebook fit none of these criteria you've listed.

This childish 'eeew' reaction to breast feeding has real world consequences in terms of making new mothers feel isolated and shunned. All because there are men who find it gross that something they normally enjoy looking at has a baby attached.

Grow up and get over it.

by Natasha Chart 2009-01-03 06:47AM | 0 recs
too many women also find it "gross"

I have attended more than 100 La Leche League meetings as well as other mothers' support groups.

People have no idea how many women give up breastfeeding because of other people's disapproval.

And yes, some women quit breastfeeding because they are tired of staying at home and nervous about going  to any public place where they might need to feed their baby.

Coming from a family and social network where women have not breastfed and disapprove of breastfeeding is a far bigger barrier to nursing than any kind of physical issue like "not having enough milk" (which is extremely rare).

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-03 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Just the kind of "discussion" I was trying to avoid: You call me childish, then I tell you that the Internet's a big place with plenty of room for breast-feeding sites, then you call me sexist, then I nit-pick your response, then we flame each other a couple of times for the hell of it.  Oh, well.

When did I say that I felt entitled to be turned on by all breasts?  Never.  Breasts can obviously be titillating, but also educational (e.g. a self breast exam how-to) or scenic (e.g. paintings, sculptures, endless National Geographic articles on Africa).

Most Facebook photos are slide-show material like weddings, trips, and parties.  As such, they're "scenic" or "educational" in some sense to the narrow audience for which they're intended -- the person's friends.  They're pictures of public acts intended for private consumption.  If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon and bothered to take a picture rather than buying an infinitely better professional one, you will understand.

Americans are prudes about all kinds of nudity that are common in other countries.  Little girls don't go topless at the beach, there aren't many nude beaches, and, yes, most women breast feed discreetly.  It's not sexual or a "childish 'ew' reaction," it's just the semi-Puritan outlook we've inherited, and Facebook caters to middle-of-the-road American tastes.

But like I said above, "the internet's a big place..."

by username 2009-01-03 07:14AM | 0 recs
I don't post any photos of myself

of my family online, but I do have friends who have posted pictures of their babies, including their babies nursing.

This is not an exhibitionist thing. A lot of women like posting baby photos, and babies nurse a lot, so naturally there will be some cute photos of their baby nursing.

Sometimes a nursing photo can be a funny snapshot of multitasking, like holding the nursing baby in one arm while vacuuming or doing some other chore at the same time.

Sometimes women who are nursing two kids at the same time post photos to show how they were able to arrange everyone.

This can be helpful for women who have twins and have been told by other people that it's impossible to nurse twins, for instance.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't post any photos of myself

I don't post any photos of myself [or] of my family online,

The wisest course, my friend.  One of the most amazing things the web has shown is just how many people are exhibitionists, blithely posting their diaries and photo albums out in public.

I guess I see a limited interest in breast-feeding pics (the twins thing sounds like a royal pain), but I remember maybe 1 or 2 breast-feeding pics in my family's copious photo albums, so it hardly seems worth getting worked up about.  Besides, one of the articles seemed to imply that the pics were only pulled because other users complained, which means that these people either have no clue about Facebook's privacy controls, or have friends who don't want to see the pics anyways.

by username 2009-01-03 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't post any photos of myself

Maybe I'm reading the original story incorrectly, but I got the impression that Facebook USERS complained, which is why the photos were pulled.  
If you know how to use the privacy controls - and most people do - your photos are only viewable by users you "friend".  So it's most likely that an acquaintance of one of these women was the originator of the complaint.  This friend was uncomfortable having that image on his/her computer screen - why are we assuming it was a man who reported this? - on a website s/he accessed, perhaps from school or work.    

I dunno, I can see some of my more conservative acquaintances doing something like this.  

by tammanycall 2009-01-04 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Harry Reid's an Annelid.

Interesting story about Harry in the Chicago Sun-Times today, tho.

Apparently, Harry told Blago not to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr., Emil Jones or Danny Davis, because he said they wouldn't be able to win reelection.

But what do they all have in common? They're all black.

Time to go, Harry.

by Bush Bites 2009-01-03 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Rich Blog, Poor Blog

What am I reading? Hugo - Les Miserables. Timely.

by Coral 2009-01-03 06:44AM | 0 recs
Elizabeth Warren

needs to be in high office regulating banking or finance or something.

by Sandwich Repairman 2009-01-04 06:24AM | 0 recs


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