>Salon has a moving essay ("Our cupboard was bare," by Heather Ryan) about a woman with three kids who took a job as a government secretary after her divorce. Although she made a decent salary with benefits, the cost of full-time child care for three kids during the summer left no room in the budget for food. Desperate to keep her kids fed, she took them to a soup kitchen one night. Her analysis of the chronic issues facing the working poor made me cry.

That said, I've been reading some insane drivel from conservative bloggers lately about individual responsibility. They believe that hard work alone is enough for people to succeed in life, and feel that wealthier households should thus not be "punished" for their success by paying taxes that support losers like Heather Ryan's kids. Clearly, it's Ryan's fault that she had three kids and now that she can't afford it, she's got to deal with it.

On the flip side, a comment from someone who I suspect is a hardliner left-winger reminded me why I loathe zealots on either side of the spectrum. She wrote:

I have no sympathy for breeders, or for brie-eaters. Go to a dairy farm and ask yourself if you'd want your own children imprisoned as milking machines. You can feed yourself and your 3 children a healthy vegan diet for about $5 per day (for all 4 of you).

Wow, she makes "compassionate" conservatives like Bush look like child-huggers. I'm just blown away by how fucked up people are and how unable they are to look at people who are unlike themselves with anything but contempt. It's enough to make me want to live in a cave and never have to deal with people again.