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Posted by on Mar 6, 2009 in Society | 8 comments

First Lady Michelle Obama And The “CAMERA PHONE”


For all you “American poor people aren’t really poor look at those people they don’t look poor and they should get a job and if they can afford a cell phone they can buy food and they are just lazy living on the streets” types that look at the above picture and scoff so smartly, let me break something down for you, ghetto smarts style (I volunteered at homeless shelters for 10 years in inner city Detroit, Michigan USA):

1. Many pre-paid cell phones come with cameras.
2. Pre-paid cell phones are inexpensive at legal vendors.
3. Pre-paid cell phones and non pre-paid cell phones are frequently stolen and sold on the street DIRT CHEAP ($2 to $3 a phone many times).
4. Many homeless people buy the pre-paid cell phones and walk around with no service BUT still take pictures.
5. The same homeless people hold on to those cell phones and it is the first thing activated when they get more cash.
6. Many homeless people have only one way to be contacted, the cell phone. Thus it is HIGH priority especially in job searching.
7. Many homeless people are homeless because of loss of a job and inability to find solid work.
8. Homeless doesn’t mean shiftless or lazy. When jobs showed up at homeless shelters, everyone wanted one DESPERATELY.
9. There have been many programs in inner cities to provide cell phones to homeless and poor people for safety reasons (emergencies, etc). Don’t believe me? SafeLink Wireless, please educate those not in the know!
10. As the First Lady, it is her duty to smile if a citizen wants a picture (provided the situation is safe).
11. The guy could be a plant to embarrass First Lady Michelle Obama in a picture or just a regular guy that wanted a picture (hope he didn’t just cut in the line).

Criticism of this photo and situation is pointless, nonsensical, quite petty, and loopy. That goes double for you here and here. And Mrs. Malkin, your Blackberry Pearl comment is cute but no cigar. Read my list MRS. SUPER MAGNIFY VISION!

Hat tip to our Editor-In-Chief for the first post on this

UPDATE: Here’s some additional background on the role cellphones now play for the homeless.

UPDATE #2: Wow! Read this outrage from Kathy Shaidle at her blog five feet of fury:

Today’s “poor” are the rich Jesus warned you about: fat, slovenly, wasteful of their money and other people’s.

I prefer to call them “the broke.”

A lot of (really naive) people are wondering (or pretending to wonder, when they’re in public) how this “homeless” guy could “afford” a cellphone:

It would be better phrased: why is a guy with a cellphone homeless? Because then the question answers itself.

He spends all his (our) money on cellphones and, most likely, tattoos and drugs and booze and other crap, and has no money left for a home and food. And why should he bother? We pay for his shelter and food anyhow.

Then she drops the rhetorical hammer down on Alex Koppelman at Salon for daring to be reasonable about this issue non-issue:

And Salon’s Alex Koppelman is obviously a delusional liberal pantywaist who can’t stand to have his romantic notions about “poverty” challenged (by someone who knows what they’re talking about firsthand, and is also a better writer than he is.)

I’d rather be right than “nice” and “polite” — and so would any intelligent adult who values the truth.

I’m betting Alex Koppelman is a grown man who still rides a bicycle. By choice. On the sidewalk.

I’m thrilled. That line is going to look SO great on my next book jacket.

Between that and my handgun license coming in the mail this aft, this is turning into my favorite day in a long time!

Simmer down now will ya! The presumption is just toxic. Maybe not. I get it! I’m calling The X-Files so they can investigate Kathy Shaidle for her impressive psychic abilities. Reading the mind of a person through a photograph? Absolutely amazing. Do we have a character on Heroes that can do that?

Kathy Shaidle does sound like a good shooting partner on a gun range. I can grab my 9mm CZ 75B and we can put a few holes in some fake people. But with that temper (especially over non-issue), I better make sure I have body armor on. I’m certainly NOT saying she would put a few bullets through yours truly intentionally, but all that anger is bad for the stomach, which can effect aim.

Personal attack level (1 lowest, 10 highest): 8.75. Proportional response requested please.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • pacatrue

    Thanks for the post.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Yes, many thanks for providing simple, obvious facts.

    The writer for the LA Tines is very out-of-touch.

    Why does anyone ever pay money for information from them?

  • You missed one. Volunteers are allowed on BOTH sides of the sneeze guard. I have served at homeless shelters and, when I was done serving, eaten there (I can’t resist my collard greens; I’m that good). Yes, I have a cell phone. Why are we all certain that that dude is homeless?

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Ah, thanks to Janine for considering another obvious possibility: he wasn’t even a homeless guy, just a guy who knew the First Lady was there and wanted to get a photo of her.

    Thanks again, LA Times!!

  • The dust-up over this is in the right-wing of the blogosphere is appalling. They look like absolute fools, and should be embarrassed. I’m glad you put this up, T. The pettiness of it all pulled me out of my many months of online silence.

  • StockBoySF

    This is a great example of envy- people wanting other people to lose what they have… As far as I can tell the right wing believes these people are getting something they don’t deserve. Well before anyone can accuse anyone else of that then they need to know the situation and not make assumptions.

    It’s not my place to question why people own (or maybe even borrow) what they do. And being in a “soup line” does not mean that someone should not have a phone.

    Back to envy… it’s one of the seven deadly sins. I think to be compassionate one should be looking at ways of improving the quality of life for the homeless, not trying to take their few possessions away.

  • My apologies for posting again on this same story before checking and reading T-Steel’s post. But anyway… I agree with the above.

  • JSpencer

    Well done T-Steel. The debunking of wrong-headed atttudes and information is always refreshing.

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