Famine afar, famine of compassion at home

Dan Morain: “Last month, the New York Times reported significant progress in Somalia. The number of people “facing imminent starvation” fell from 750,000 to about 250,000. Yes, that’s an advance since August when news accounts and photos like this one detailed the magnitude of the crisis.  But imagine 250,000 people facing starvation…

But we who have stocked pantries and full refrigerators and yet feel that we don’t have enough ought to think of what we might do for people in a place halfway around the world, or maybe for the person sleeping under the overpass.”

Hunger at Thanksgiving

Ertharin Cousin and Tony Hall: “As a global community, we must all make sure that every country can produce the food it needs, that every mother has the means to feed her children, and that smallholder farmers, especially women, have the tools they need to better produce, store, and market what they grow. These values are at the core of Feed the Future; by alleviating hunger and the desperation it causes, we promote stability and security for all of us.”

A Diplomatic Surge to Stop Somalia’s Famine

Ken Menkhaus: “Somalia is dying. Three-quarters of a million people are at immediate risk of famine; another 750,000 are refugees in neighboring countries, and 4 million – half the total population – is in need of emergency aid. It is a calamity that could join the ranks of the Rwanda genocide and the Darfur crisis in terms of scale and human suffering. And for Somalia it is a terrible repeat of the 1991-92 famine that claimed 240,000 lives.”

Glimpses of the Next Great Famine

Nicholas Kristof:  “What’s most heartbreaking about starving children isn’t the patches of hair that fall out, the mottled skin and painful sores, the bones poking through taut skin. No, it’s the emptiness in their faces.

These children are conscious and their eyes follow you — but lethargically, devoid of expression, without tears or screams or even frowns. A starving child shuts off emotions, directing every calorie to keep vital organs functioning.

The United Nations warns that the famine in the Horn of Africa could kill 750,000 people in the coming months, and tens of thousands have already died.”

The Lucky Ones Make It To Dadaab

PBS: “In Somalia, a lethal mix of drought, poverty, war and political instability has led to widespread famine. Tens of thousands have died, and half a million children are on the brink of starvation. Refugees — mostly women and children — have flooded into the Dadaab refugee complex in northeastern Kenya, overwhelming aid workers and exhausting supplies at the world’s largest refugee camp. But it’s the lucky ones that make it to Dadaab.”

How the Working Poor Became the New Welfare Queens

Ed Kilgore: “The transformation is widely observable across the conservative landscape, with Republican fiscal proposals in the states and in Washington going after a host of other key support systems for the working poor with a vengeance: state-level EITCs, job training programs, unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, you name it. It’s also no coincidence that, in the agitation against the Affordable Care Act, many conservatives deliberately stoked resentment towards alleged redistribution of federal largesse from virtuous Medicare beneficiaries to the uninsured, who are, by definition, working individuals and families who don’t qualify for Medicaid for one reason or another.”