The thing about mass-forwarded right-wing emails is that they are almost always never true. They're like the headlines in the supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. There might be a grain of truth. But the basic theme, the ultimate point, is a lie.
[Now liberals forward some lies too, but not as much. Certainly not as much since people stopped forwarding that damned "Save Sesame Street" email five years ago.]
What here's what bothers me deep down. I don't know if conservatives really care about the truth. It seems that for too many "faith" and "belief" and "firm conviction" are more valued attributes that the truth. I always think, "Gee, I might be wrong." Does that make me a wishy-washy French-loving lefty? Maybe. But if your faith and beliefs are built on lies, shouldn't that matter?
For the record: Obama was born in the U.S., Saddam Hussein was not behind September 11th, and the ACLU never tried to ban crosses from cemeteries. Just because you get an email or hear somebody who say something on talk radio doesn't make it true! Not even if they're spittle-flying mad when they say it!
So here's the latest, an obit about one Larmondo "Flair" Allen. Now this is indeed a gem (and there's nothing on Snopes).
This apparently murderous drug dealer is called "an entrepreneur." He was 25. He left eight brothers, five sisters, and nine children. Three of his daughters are named Larmondhall, Lamonshea, Larmomdriel.
So I snicker at all this. I have a sense of humor. So do most liberals (despite what many conservatives think).
But here's the text with the email. As usual with right-wing email, it's large and in many colors:
Entrepreneur?????So the message isn't just to laugh at the obit and this loser (and I wouldn't be surprised if the writer of this obit was fully aware of the humor in using the word "entrepreneur"), but to blame the entire Obama communist liberal welfare state for everything that is wrong with America.
It took me a couple of minutes to get it, but imagine,
He's 25 and has 3 sons and 6 daughters
NINE welfare recipients collecting $1500 each.....
That equals $13,500 a month !!! Now add food stamps,
Free medical, free school lunches, on and on and on.
Now that, to me, is a real Entrepreneur.
Do the math, that's over $156,000.00 a year.
Anybody out there sittin' on their a** while reading
This message making that kind of money?
YOUR TAX $$$$ AT WORK??
First of all (and I only went online for a few minutes to find this out--so I can't vouch with certainly that this is all true), the obit is from 2004. OK, but it's still true, I suppose.
But who the hell thinks that an able bodied man (much less one with "flair") gets $1,500 a month per child? That's what set off my B.S. alarm.
I mean, this is America. We don't have such a welfare system. And yet I firmly believe that opposition to this non-existent welfare system is what drives the world view of so many conservative Americans.
And don't get me wrong. I know there is much abuse of disability and what little welfare system we have. But you can't help the "deserving poor" (my wife grew up on food stamps some of the time) without some abuse from those trying to milk the system. So friggin' what? It's not like we're talking big bucks.
In all of 10 minutes online, I couldn't find details about the welfare benefits (now called TANF) in Louisiana. But let's take Texas simply because I could find it on line. This is federal aid. In Texas, a family of eight with one or two parents gets less than $500 a month. Total. For each additional person, add... $60. [see the update below for Louisiana stats.]
$1,500 or $60 per kid? It kind of matters.
There might be some people out there who might have a kid for an extra $60 a month. But there can't be too many. But in addition to TANF, there are also food stamps and sometimes some city and state aid is well. Still, it doesn't add up to much. And if "Flair" had a legitimate job (ha!), he could get some earned income tax credit, something I have received for more than one year of my working life.
But the straight-up federal welfare for you and your Texas family of nine kids? $6,636 a year. Live large, baby. Live large.
Update, August, 2011. This is from a reader's comment:
In Louisiana, this (now) single mother with 9 children would receive $512/month with a lifetime limit of collecting this for 5 years. She'd be able to get another $500/mo roughly in food stamps and probably get some housing assistance as well.Shameless Promotion: This post has been viewed almost 30,000 times. If you found this post interesting, even if you don't agree with it, please consider buying one of my books! Cop in the Hood is about my days as police officer in Baltimore. Published Weekly called this award winning book , "An adrenaline-accelerating night ride that reveals the stark realities of law enforcement." Colonel (ret.) Margaret Patton of the Baltimore City Police Department said, "Cop in the Hood should be made mandatory reading for every recruit in the Balto. City Police Academy. ... I am so proud that you were a Baltimore Police Officer and a good one." By the end, you too may learn what police already know (but won't tell you): the federal war on drugs is doomed to failure.
Now as far as Survivor Benefits from Social Security for the children, it depends on whether or not Larmondo had a regular job and paid into Social Security for at least 18 months. If he did, then they'll qualify for benefits. If not, no soup for the kids. Being generous and saying Larmondo spent some time workin' at McDonald's to get his 18 months in... his partner may be able to collect the one time payment of $255 for his death and 7 of the kids would be eligible for continuing payments until 18. Those payments would be kind of small though, a total of less than $500/mo. combined.
Or maybe In Defense of Flogging is more up your alley. It's been called a Swiftian satire, except I'm serious. I say we whip the motherf*ckers. Or at least offer the choice: five years or ten lashes -- what'll it be? In Defense of Flogging is a short and fun book that makes a great Father's Day present in June. (Is it December? Then I mean Christmas. Hanukkah, too!)
In Defense of Flogging has been talked about on everything from Fox TV to NPR. Even The Blaze liked it. Atlantic Magazine listed me as one of the "Brave Thinkers" of 2011. It's a short book, a fun read, and, as Fat Albert used to say, "you might learn something before we're done."