Sunday, December 13, 2009

Desperate times in Southwest Suburbs for some

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I'm used to driving through Chicago and passing intersections like Pulaski Road and turning on to the Stevenson and being approached by several homeless people desperately seeking some money and donations. It's easy there because they can walk along the driver's sides of the cars without getting hit by cars ... some intersections are crowded with people each fighting for lanes to beg for help ... I carry these rolls of dollar coins that I get from Harris Bank (which needs to get its act together, by the way, with their outrageous fees and tight-wad practices -- I need ledger pads and they only will give you one. Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!) ...

Anyway, back to the concerns of the poor and those in need. There are so many people this winter who need help. It is so sad and difficult to deal with.

I was struck by the tragedy of the times when I was turning off of I-80 this afternoon returning from a trip to Dearborn, Michigan where I did a comedy show, and I saw a woman with a very desperate look on her face, holding up a cardboard sign that looked like it was made from the ripped side of a corrugated packing box. She had wrote with black marker "Desperate Mother needs help to feed her family and children."

The spot where she stood though, on the ramp facing west and turning right was tough because she was on the opposite of the cars and not on the driver's side so I couldn't get her any money. But there was no place for her to stand on the driver's side with all the heavy traffic. It was dangerous.

I help a person who is in desperate need for money and cash each month to try and make that person's life a little easier. And it is never enough to cover their needs. But anything can help make a little bit of a difference. I know how this person I know feels to relieved when I can send a check for $75 to help them just find a little place in their lives to relax and sigh with some relief.

I know what it is like to be worried about paying my bills and providing for my family. The truth is none of your friends want to be your friend when you are in trouble. They only want to be your friend when you are doing well and the calls are coming in like crazy now that things are going very well for me. But I remember wondering if I could pay the mortgage a few times, and calling to see if I could make arrangements to make a payment late.

People don't like to talk about this stuff publicly and thing it is shameful when you can't cover the basic necessities of your family like the mortgage, utilities and food. And then there is insurance costs for the car, home and that rip-off Humana Insurance that squeezes the blood out of the public so that their skunk CEO Mike McCallister can enjoy his excessive profits -- McCallister  made about $10 million in 2007 and -- poor guy -- only made $5 million in 2008. He is expected to make $10 million in 2009 and even more in 2010. Humana has no compassion for the public; the insurance industry employs people whose main job is to deny legitimate health claims in order to force the barely-able-to-survive-public to fight for the coverage they pay for each month in premiums, sold a worthless bill of goods in their Humana-bill of crap! (Click here to read a story from May about McCallister's pathetic fortunes and our misfortunes.)

McCallister doesn't have to worry about buying his food or providing for his family and I bet Humana never turned him down for coverage the way Humana turns down so many other of their insured.

I would love to see McCallister on the street one-day hat-in-hand begging for money just so he can know what it is like to be poor and without but I don't think that will ever happen until we gut the insurance industry of it's skunks and ban their lobbyists from buying off our spineless elected leaders in Congress, and that includes all the Republicans who are fighting to undermine healthcare for the poor and needy because their goal is to embarrass President Barack Obama.

And then as I was driving home, I saw one of those ugly hate-filled bumper stickers that said You should "keep working" because your money is going to cover more of "Obama's welfare" recipients. If you have a bumper sticker on your car that is so ignorant that you could care less about the poor, you don't deserve any breaks in life yourself. Apparently the only way to really understand the needs of the poor is to be in their shoes and I can tell you it is not easy.

-- Ray Hanania

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