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Mmm-Mmm Good!

AWESOME ARTICLE on great soups (“Soup of the Evening,” Restaurant Review, January 7). I shall treasure it. THANK YOU.

  • Eric Alan Jones
  • via email

Perfection, At Last

I want to congratulate the Reader at finally becoming a real, perfect-bound magazine, just like Time, Life, and all that. Plus, your color use is amazing.

  • John Kitchin
  • via phone

Me Too

I just wanted to say to Elizabeth Salaam that my husband and I really enjoyed the article “I Never Thought I’d Become a Welfare Queen” (Cover Story, January 7). It was the closest scenario to what I am going through right now. Of course, I have been one for a while now. I am also going to be applying to public assistance for food stamps and Medicare (I am approaching 60 very fast and need it very much).

  • Christine E. Eret
  • via email

Child Welfare

Re “I Never Thought I’d Become a Welfare Queen” (Cover Story, January 7).

Am I the only guy who sees Mr. and Mrs. Welfare Queen as children pretending to be adults? In fact (to be undeniably judgmental), it seems to me their behavior reflects the classic definition of a child’s world, wherein immediate gratification trumps mature planning, failure is not their fault, life’s necessities are owed them by real adults, and there is a dearth of gratitude.

Add a heaping measure of denial to that brew (“But this isn’t the way it was supposed to be. I have a master’s degree”), and you have the potential makings of a death spiral into generational welfare.

I hope Mr. and Mrs. Salaam prove me wrong, and I sincerely extend to them the very best wishes for 2010.

One more observation, if I may: I was puzzled that security checks and metal detectors protect welfare offices. The reason soon became clear. Who amongst us cannot be righteously enraged by the laconic rudeness of the welfare personnel depicted in this article?

And then, another epiphany: If the government workers can reasonably expect violence from a client denied a welfare benefit, what can be expected when the unwashed masses on the other side of the Plexiglas are being denied life-saving medical treatment for themselves or a beloved family member? Do we really want Ms. Red Lips or Ms. Smokey making our health-care decisions or directing us through the double doors for end-of-life counseling?

For this insight, I am immensely grateful to the Reader and to Mrs. Salaam. We should all take her tale as a grim and solemn preview of future events if health care in this country is nationalized. A blind man can see it coming. Is there any reason to believe otherwise?

  • Ed Dunne
  • via email

Pay For The Piper

I enjoyed the cover article for its tongue-in-cheek humor (“I Never Thought I’d Become a Welfare Queen,” January 7). Mrs. Salaam is obviously a well-educated lady and, if the article is true, has fallen on hard times. Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. If she had an earlier income of $49,000, why isn’t some of it in the bank for her emergency fund? That is what I did, forgoing the pleasures of dining out, movies, plays, and vacations, knowing that one day the piper would have to be paid. I can understand people living from hand to mouth being unable to put anything away — I’ve been there, on food stamps for five months, which I paid back in full a year later; the taxpayers are not responsible for my living expenses. No savings for a better-than-average income and a good education is inexcusable. Apparently not in her case, but I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been behind someone in the checkout line with their bread, cereal, milk, juice, etc., being paid for by WIC and food stamps, and then they pay for the liquor, cigarettes, imported hams, and cheeses with a wad of C-notes that would choke a horse.

Bottom line, you have no right to complain about the hoops you need to jump through to enjoy the fruits of the public dole. You should be forever grateful for the money coming from my pocket to yours — I have to work for it; all you have to do is wait in a line for it, so who cares how long it takes; it isn’t like you have anything else to do.

When the current administration is out of power and the economy can rebound, your family should get their income back, hopefully saving money for the next rainy day and paying back the taxpayers for their largesse. In short, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Name Withheld by Request
  • via email

See The Future

Anyone who wants to know what ObamaCare will be like, “Welfare Queen” should be mandatory reading (Cover Story, January 7).

  • John Sadle
  • Lakeside

Stop It

Sorry, but no dice (“I Never Thought I’d Become a Welfare Queen,” Cover Story, January 7).

Be grateful. Be grateful for what you get, no matter how small it is. I’ve lived in San Diego County in a family of nine kids. My mother was and is the most beautiful human being I have ever known, not that she doesn’t have her moments, but she made it work. You can too. You get rejected, reapply. You lose your patience, don’t. You only have to worry about three people: you, your husband, and your child. You worry about only three papers; now multiply by three. I hate to say it, but easy pickings. The welfare women you got sounded real nice compared to the ones we have on our rez back home. That is why we moved out here in the first place. Be poor out in the middle of nowhere or be poor in the city where you can collect cans, plastic bottles, and live off the charity of a church you don’t remember the name of. My point is, stop complaining. It does you no good when the food runs out. Did you have a Christmas? That’s what I thought. I sure didn’t.

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