The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, September 23, 2005

The den of vipers

Remember Jesus throwing the moneylenders out the temple? Well, check-cashing services are the modern equivalent of those enterprising free-marketeers. You're in a pinch to pay off a creditor, and your only hope is to get some cash quick. But no one wants to help you for anything less than a usurious interest rate. And trying to pay that creditor off makes you even poorer. But the creditors are doing all right. 'Till Jesus comes along. Again. Apparently it didn't take the first time. End of editorial.

"I done called for a shelter, I done called for help. There ain't none. No one answers," she said, standing in blistering heat outside a check-cashing store that had just run out of its main commodity. "Everyone just says, 'Get out, get out.' I've got no way of getting out. And now I've got no money."

With Hurricane Rita breathing down Houston's neck, those with cars were stuck in gridlock trying to get out. Those like Skinner -- poor, and with a broken-down car -- were simply stuck and fuming at being abandoned, they say.

"All the banks are closed, and I just got off work," said Thomas Visor, holding his sweaty paycheck as he, too, tried to get inside the store, where more than 100 people, all of them black or Hispanic, fretted in line. "This is crazy. How are you supposed to evacuate a hurricane if you don't have money? Answer me that?"

The press has gone from outraged and honest to weak-kneed and complicit over the course of the Katrina disaster. It really shouldn't take another impending disaster to get them back on track.