Broderick Lloyd Laswell says
he isn’t happy that he’s down to 308 pounds after eight months in
the Benton County jail. He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining
the jail doesn’t provide inmates with enough food.
According to the suit,
Laswell weighed 413 pounds when he was jailed in September. Police
say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set
his home on fire.
"On several occasions I
have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I
felt like I was going to pass out," Laswell wrote in his
complaint. "About an hour after each meal my stomach starts
to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."
A frightening event is taking place, something I’ve never experienced in my
Major retailers in New York,
in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting
purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips
supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are
hoarding grain stocks.
In the New York Sun article, some are speculating that
businesses are flocking to retail stores since commercial prices have doubled.
It is a troubling scenario, because you don’t really know how to
react. Are people just overreacting and causing a panic? But what if
I do nothing and there is a genuine shortage?
The article quotes an anonymous writer in the investment
site Seeking Alpha:
he recently bought 10
50-pound bags of rice at Costco. “I am concerned that when the
news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the
shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a
panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just
hoarding some for my own consumption,” he wrote.
On April 1, British paper The Independent declared "USA
2008: The Great Depression". The opening line stated,
"Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the
credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive".
So that’s it then? Food stamps on the rise, we’re all going to be
living in cardboard boxes and the sky is falling. Maybe.
Richard Rector of the New York
Sun examines the numbers behind the increase in food stamp use and puts the
situation into context. The impression most media want to impose is that
if a record number of Americans are using food stamps then by default that same
number must be in poverty. However, as Mr. Rector points out, this is not
The recent Food Stamp
stories also feed off the idea that most of the 36 million
Americans who the government defines as "poor" face
ongoing, serious material deprivation.
The facts show otherwise.
According to the government’s own data, nearly two-thirds of
"poor" households have satellite or cable television.
Nine out of 10 have microwave ovens and 80% have air conditioning.
Nearly three-quarters own a car and almost a third own two or more
cars. For decades government data have shown that more than 40% of
the poor own their own homes, typically a three bedroom house with
On average, poor children
have the same high levels of protein, vitamin, and mineral
consumption as upper middle class kids. Only 1.5% of the poor
report they "often" did not have enough food to eat
during the last four months, although another 6% state this
He lists three reasons for the food stamp activity which are all
logical; the increase in in American population, the food stamp operation being cyclical
allowing spikes in economic slowdown, and aggressive campaigns with relaxed
Does it come as a surprise that people (and many who may not
need the help) would take advantage of government handouts, especially when it
is made easier for them to get it?