The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bill Kumbier Letter 9/28/04

Dear Editors:Since I am at least two of the glass-half-empty individuals cited and criticized by Allen Shirley in his latest, upbeat letter on the "truth" of the state of the economy (Globe, 9/28), I want to respond to a couple of points.First, Shirley questions the use of recently released U. S. Census Bureau data on the grounds that the bureau "only does complete data every 10 years." Of course, as most Americans learn in grade school, a comprehensive U. S. Census is conducted only once every decade. Yet census data are collected and analyzed all the time, and the recent statistics that show that there are now 35.9 million poor Americans, that there are 45 million Americans without health insurance and that, during President Bush's term so far median family income has fallen by $1,535, are deeply disturbing and should be faced squarely, not rationalized away.Second, Shirley rhapsodizes about full parking lots at shopping centers and the presence of "over 100 restaurants on Range Line alone." One, truly, can see a lot at Wal-Mart if one's eyes are open, including underpaid, overworked associates trying to support a family on meager incomes and struggling young families, seniors and students buying crates of Ramen noodles and other cheap foods. In my neighborhood, I see more and more shoppers, but at convenience stores and the proliferating "dollar shops."Mr. Shirley may well see the glass "half full and filling," but his perception has no corner on economic "truth."Bill Kumbier

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