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marvin schur

In my post about the stimulus package, I mentioned a man that froze to death in his apartment. My point was that in a time when people are losing their homes, losing their jobs, and literally freezing to death, there are more pressing matters at hand than condoms.

Now that more information about Mr. Schur has been reported, I wanted to revisit his story. Marvin Schur was 93 years old, and lived alone. He froze to death in his apartment after his power switched off.

After 50 years of paying his bills on time, he did not pay his power bill for four months and the power company attached a *limiter* to his power. No one explained to him what a limiter was. So, when he used *too much* power, his power shut off. In order to reset the power, he needed to go outside, and flip the switch to turn it back on. No one explained this to him, no one bothered to check on him. No one called to ask if he wanted to pay his bill, no one contacted him.

He was not poor, he had the money to pay his bills. More than likely he suffered from dementia, and became confused. He didn’t have any children, and his wife passed away a few years ago.

“When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur’s house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.”

That sentence just breaks my heart.

This was a failure of humanity.

The inhumanity of big business. In the quest for increased profit, we have the absence of human contact, and personal relationships. Humans have been replaced with automated machines. Companies are computerized and automized. We have been talking about the need to create jobs, but companies keep trying to figure out ways to eliminate jobs, and replace them with machines. “If people would know who their customers are and take concern for their customers, maybe they’d go knock on the door and see if everything is OK” Machines can’t do that.

But it’s not just the fault of big business. People don’t know their neighbors any more. We no longer care for and look out for our neighbors, not like in the old days.

And sadly, it seems the military lost track of one of their WWII veterans, as well. And perhaps his nephew wasn’t attentative enough, families move apart, grow apart.

Reading the story, it seemed like everyone was trying to pass the blame, but I think everyone is to blame.

So, when Obama calls for “a new era of responsibility”, I agree there is room for improvement, that MORE people should step up. I agree with his message that people need to be involved, be responsible, and have accountability.

But, this video makes me mad. I have to call bullshit.

MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst present The Presidential Pledge

The message sounds all well and good, but where the hell were they, and these sentiments, a month, or a year, ago? The video starts with, “They say the job of the President is the loneliest job in the world. You’re not alone.” Um, is Obama the first President, ever?

It actually takes Obama to call for responsibility and patriotism for Hollywood to make these pledges? This never occurred to them before? There is nothing wrong with Obama’s message, and there is nothing wrong with the pledges. It is just idiotic that they never felt the need in the past eight years. They had to wait until they had a young, hip president, that drinks green tea and eats arugula to embrace a generosity of spirit? (And this is hard, because I love a lot of these actors, I am a HUGE movie fan, and I have tried to just ignore most of them during the Obamania, but this is just TOO much.)

Did it never occur to them that the country could have been better served these past eight years with a little more *love thy neighbor* and a lot less America bashing. It’s a shame that Hollywood wasn’t using their *influence* the past decade to spread their message of patriotism and responsibility.

And it amazes me that they think this is a new idea, and they are somehow leading the trend – as if there wasn’t compassion, patriotism and responsibility before they got this *idea and inspiration* from Obama.

Many people have always been generous with their time, money, and spirit.

Well, I guess it is a good thing that they finally decided to do the right thing.

Perhaps, like the people in the story about Mr. Schur who were all looking for someone to blame, I am just looking for someone to blame, or be angry at, too. I’m just really, really sad that no one was there to help Mr. Schur.

Here is some more feedback on the Hollywood Pledge video:

hating the president doesn’t mean one can’t still help out the country in a great time of need. But many went to foreign countries and demeaned it instead. Called those that disagreed with them rubes and hicks. The elitism of the celebrities against flyover country America could not have been more pronounced. They made a boat-load of movies that affirmed this narrow and patronizing world view.
And now they want us back.
We’re all Americans — NOW.”

Zo is still at it, and has his response to Hollywood.

If you aren’t familiar with Zo (AlfonZo Rachel), here is one of my favorite rants of his. I might not always agree with him, but he gives me a lot to think about.

You can read the entire story about Marvin Schur here.
Freezing Death of Michigan Man, 93, Inside Home Sparks Anger

BAY CITY, Michigan — When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur’s house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

He froze to death — slowly and painfully, authorities say — days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills. Continue here.

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  • Julie Gulick

    I had not heard of this till now and it truely sickins me to here that this poor man suffered the way he did and then for the city worker to say that the neighbors should have checked on him earlier out rages me.
    There needs to be a change lets see it is deathly cold outside, why not leave power on till it gets warmer??? Um have the company make a call to help someone that might need help as a comunity effort??? Not only are you helping but also great PR for company.
    We need to start taking care of each other.

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  • Jay

    Did you know that this man had $600,000 total. His will left it all to a hospital?

    SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND! And he forgot to pay 1,000, because of forgetfulness. Some companies need to take a smarter stance.

    I just have to say lastly, “Poor guy.” Some people in this world are all about money. It’s just sad these days.

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  • Dana

    Why is it that the Right always refers to Bush-bashing as America-hating? Since when is George W. Bush two hundred and thirty-one-point-five years old?

    Or if I rant about stuff our foreign policy does to other countries–that’s hating America too?

    I thought we were a republic, not a democracy? So how can hating a supposed representative of this country be the same as hating the country?

    One way or the other, guys… pick a side.

    I don’t know how I would define my politics anymore but I refuse to identify as conservative. I also did not vote for Obama. (I voted Green, actually. A pox on both your houses.) But I believe that when you love someone, really love them? You hold them accountable for their bad behavior. Because if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t say anything. And declaring that you will stand by them right or wrong, and never hold them accountable for the wrong, is the same kind of mentality a battered wife has when her husband’s hit her for the tenth time in a day. It’s psychotic. You want to go down in history like that? You want to contribute to the downfall of our country like that?

    You’re perfectly willing to catalog all the wrongs and slights when it’s a damn liberal you want to talk about. But when it’s a Republican-backed government or the military you go mysteriously silent. Guess what? The damn liberal’s an American too. Guess what else? This country was founded by liberals (for the time), LAWYERS, rich guys, and intellectuals. Deal with it.

    I agree with you about how tragic it was that Mr. Schur died. I’m still waiting for proof that the previous Presidential Messiah actually cared one whit about the military. From going AWOL for a year in the Air Guard to forcing active-duty war wounded to shack up in Fort Stewart’s National Guard barracks. I’ve been stationed at Stewart, thankyouverymuch. I remember those barracks. I wouldn’t house my dog in them, if I had one.

    I wouldn’t have killed 5000-and-counting of our troops over a lie, either.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • ChooChooMagoo

    Excellent post Am. Girl.

    I had the same reaction about that celebrity ads. Have you seen the Starbucks commercial. The ads are targeted to the young. Suddenly its “in” to volunteer and care about your fellow man, but they want you to sign up and pledge too. Give them your information so they can contact you and tell you what to do. I find it terribly sad and creepy. I went on a bit of a rant about Obama’s follow me leadership on Susan’s News from a Friend post.

  • jbjd

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Schur. Thank you for your service to our country.

    Demi Moore actually promised to be a servant to our President. What is wrong with these people?

    Finally, I guess this explains why BO couldn’t care less about his aunt or 3-year-old Curtis Cooper; he did not have him – BO – to inspire him.

  • cathnealon

    Did BO take responsibility for his Aunt living in the projects in Boston? Did he take responsibility for his Kenyan grandmother living in a hut along with his half brother? No, only after he was found out he did something for his grandmother(I think). He is the most sociopathic liar we have ever had in the WH–his mantra should be “What’s in it for me?” He and his Hollywood marcisisits don’t make a move or sound unless someone has a camera on them, they do everything for applause and attention. This whole crowd makes me sick. On the other front the electric and gas companies have been doing this kind of thing for decades, every once in a while someone dies and they get found out-they are to blame, no doubt about it if only because of his age.

  • Patrica

    This is a sad story, but what makes me really mad is
    the fact that the media is talking about a woman that has 8 kids, a singer that has gained a few pounds,Michelle’s dresses, but nothing about this story, where are the reporters to investigate this story? nowhere to be found, this should not have happened,in my state of Virginia, the electric company has a service in effect to help people, who are having trouble paying for electric bill. Someone should have gone to the man’s home and talked with him!!!

  • Idiocracy08

    I was so pissed and sad when I heard this story. I heard a jerkoff blaming the neighbors, not the electric company on Fox news.

    This man may have even written out the bills and put them in an envelope and thought he mailed them. He was 93! We should look out for each other, yes, but we can’t go telling our neighbors we aren’t paying our bills. We can’t put the responsibility on our neighbors to take care of us! My neighbors are fraternities whose members come and piss all over my yard, car, and house; throw their trash in our yard, etc…(the list could go on for days). They are the most disrespectful groups of people I’ve ever seen in my life. One frat beat up a guy across the street from me. Yeah, these are the people I want taking care of me!

    I put the blame totally on the electric company. Whether I’m right or not to do so, that is who I’m angry at.

  • http://www.rabblerouserruminations.blogspot.com/ Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy

    Wow, AGII – what a powerful story, and so sad. I’m just shaking my head at how senseless this was…And, what a horrible way to die.

    Thanks for bringing this to us.

    • bert

      I second your comment RRRA. This is such a sad story. Something like this should never, ever happen in the United States of America. We must make utility companies more responsible for irresponsible actions like these.

      The Declaration of Independence says we are all equal and have the right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Bay City utility company deprived Mr. Schur of life with its money first and last policy. This is shameful in such a rich country.

      • beebop

        If Marv had been a lost dog, he would have received better attention. There is a point at which we have to take responsibility for our values.

  • Zut alors

    tragic. But I cannot see why some of the commenters suggest this has anything to do with the previous or current administration. This is a matter for social services and the utility. Between them they should be aware of single old folks living on their turf.

    • Huh?

      It gets political when you consider that people either advocate or oppose publicly funded social services, have varying opinions concerning who is deserving of receiving such services, and have varying opinions about how much the government should regulate the behavior and policies of businesses and corporations. You’ve got a liberal extreme and a conservative extreme, and you’ve got people in the middle.

      Then you’ve got poor Mr. Schur, who tragically demonstrates that politics have consequences.

      • Elizabeth

        The electric company should have contacted either a family member or an agency that deals with the elderly so someone could check on him. How much government regulation need steps such as that involve ?

        • beebop

          Isn’t this what the faith based initiatives are for? Where are they ????

          • Ferd Berfle

            Building million-dollar monstrosities in lieu of charitable work.

      • wodiej

        This is not about politics, extreme or otherwise. This is about plain and simple decency.

        • Elizabeth

          Whether Bay City was required to follow state regulations as a municipality or not, to shut off customer power in the dead of winter when this had been going on since October is totally inexusable and potentially criminally negligent.

          Yes, there should have been at least a single phone call or a knock on the door, but what is another month or two of rollovers ? Shutdowns or limiters when the temperature is 5 below at night and the person can’t even get outside is INSANE ! It’s almost the power company is practicing deliberate homicide.

  • leslie

    There was a line in one of the stories about the tragic death of Mr Schur. )I’d have to look to find it.) The line referred to a manager at the utility company saying the company “followed the rules” and he felt “sad” that this happened but the company was “not responsible” for the death of this man.

    B*st*rds

  • Tricia Spiegel

    That is such a sad story.

    I have noticed lately that people in egneral are being informed less and less about what is happening to them. Things just come along as awful surprises.

    • Huh?

      I just paid a heating bill of around $545. A tiny house, right? $331 was the charge for the gas; $78 was for interstate transport and storage; $100 was the delivery charge, which is evidetly something other than the cost of transport and storage. All those fees got added up, and the state tacked about $36 in taxes onto the total.

      Makes me wonder what I’d do if I were out of work. Or a single mother with a marginal job and kids to feed, clothe, and keep warm.

  • OhioMary

    Well, I pledge to NOT vote AGAIN for Obama in 2012 and to pray really hard that someone somewhere some how will be strong enough to prove him to be the Trojan Horse he is.

  • wodiej

    What happened to Marvin is totally unacceptable. It’s pretty fucking sad in this country that an elderly person, no less a military veteran, gets his electricity turned off and dies a painful death freezing to death. But someone who sits on their lazy ass all day popping out illegitimate kids can get help from all corners of the country. WHAT IS WRONG W THIS PICTURE?? It should be mandatory that before a utility cuts off someone’s source of heat, that they try to personally contact the person. Don’t they have it in their records any personal information like how old he was? For God’s sake.

    I like Zo and his message is right on…why is it now ok for Hollywood people to help others? They’ve got their pampered asses sitting on millions while California is going bankrupt. About 25 of them could bail out the state. Want to do something compassionate Hollywood-do that! That would help alot of people. Hollywood can kiss my ASS. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever go to a movie theatre again-not that I went much anyway.

    • Huh?

      We’re going to advocate government regulation of the behavior of private American businesses, just to protect unfortunate individuals? If we start doing stuff like that, where will it all end?

      • wodiej

        It’s called concern and compassion, it should not need to be regulated!! But as long as there are heartless assholes around, who won’t do the right thing, maybe so.

      • JulieD

        Huh? -

        I’m not sure where you live, but in the US, most utilities are highly regulated. Have you heard of Public Service Commissions?

        Placing a regulator that can only be adjusted from the

        outside

        on the home of an elderly or infirm person of any age

        in the dead of winter

        is despicable.

  • andrew191

    A typical liberal response to this tragedy might be “Isn’t there some government program that could have prevented that man’s death. If not, there should be.”

    For years I’ve listened to the liberal left squawk about how the government should take care of these issues, because in my opinion, they don’t want to actually get personally involved, or heaven forbid, get their manicured mitts sioled. That’s government’s job.

    Because of this, we’ve lost meeningful contact with our neighbors, and fail to lend a helping hand as good neighbors do, because a lot of people in this country have a misplaced faith that some government program, or social worker will take care of it.

    I’m a volunteer firefighter/EMT and I was initially shocked by the amount of incidents of misery that could have been avoided if people didn’t assume that someone else would take care of it. It’s not pretty, I’ve been up to my elbows in shit, piss, vomit, and blood, and I can’t imagine ANY of the celebrities in the above clip in a similar situation, unless they were acting out a role and getting paid a fortune.

    • native1

      The same or more could be said about conservatives.

      • andrew191

        Except that studies, surveys and all of the evidence show beyond a doubt that conservatives volunteer more, and donate more to charities, than liberals. It’s a fact. Compare the charitable giving of Al Gore, Biden, and Obama, with Bush, Cheney, and McCain. The evil Dick Cheney gives more to charity in one month than the first three combined have in their lifetimes.

        The Hollywood types in the video are notoriously stingy, but they’re the ones that scream the loudest for taxpayers to pony up for inefficient government solutions.

        • LonnieH

          The GOP just happens to LOVE AMERICA. The Dems HATE AMERICA and are currently looting and stealing from the taxpayers. I was an Indie until six months ago. Dems are filth and scum and I am embarrassed that they exist.

        • http://americanpumainitaly.blogspot.com/ sarainitaly

          I linked to three stories about that fact, in my post.

          • andrew191

            Amazing isn’t it? Liberals are very generous……….with other people’s money.

        • Elizabeth

          Neighbors absolutely should keep an eye on neighbors and if the issues are not resolvable on an individual level, contact the appropriate government agency. But unregulated corporations, yes even those run by Conservatives, don’t always do the right thing, obviously. Which means for rural folks, those with apparent family “fued” issues like Schur, or whose nearby residents are unable or unwilling to perform their duty — the state does need to be there as a bottom line defense.

          Not shutting off electricity in a Northern state middle of January is a humanitarian public service policy that doesn’t fit neatly inside the black and white liberal/conservative mindset.

  • barry bums a ciggie

    LOL, Zo. “Because I got what I want, I will be a better person.” If that is the mentality of Hollywood, then I won’t be expecting much. The pledge is bullshit…just like Paris Hilton urging her fellow Americans four years ago to get out and vote. And what did she do on election day? She partied and never made it to the booth to put even one tick mark on the ballot.

    This story about Marv is tragic. I watched the news and they said that Marv actually had money clipped on to the electricity bills that were overdue. I am at a loss for words when something like this happens.

  • Prem

    Thank you, AGiI, for your post expressing the sentiments that many of us are feeling about what has been happening to our country—losing our humanity and concern for each other. When Beyonce Knowles was interviewed after she sang for the Obamas’ dance, she said that having Obama as President makes her want to be smarter, more involved in voting, paying attention to the Inaugurals and elections, I thought OMG, where has she been all these years when our country’s economy, politicians, etc., have gradually been sliding down the tubes. Oh yeah, she’s been busy making her millions.

    On one level, it is encouraging that perhaps more Black and young Americans are inspired to get involved in politics, develop their intellects, but I wonder truly how long that will last.

    Of course, I would like to blame their “former(?)” apathy on the incompetent Bush/Cheney administration which did turned a deaf ear to a majority of Americans who were participating and actively trying to halt its chewing up our Constitution, neglect in the case of Katrina, illegally taking us into war, and on and on. It was extremely frustating and definitely created a sense of “what’s the use of trying.”

    But, Beyonce’s comments about her “change” made me realize how uninvolved and apathetic many “Hollywood” types (not all of them) really have been and how self-absorbed they have been.

    The story of Marvin Schur made me cry and also weep for our country. Mr. Schur’s story is symbolic of our country’s failure by our political leaders, business leaders, and civic leaders to focus on the important matter of caring for each other. Greed, lack of awareness and selfishness have replaced our former values of honesty, trust, respect, concern, generosity in the treatment of others, our citizens that comprise our country. Once those humanitarian values are gone, our country and democracy is gone.

    I do believe our Founding Fathers did not want our country’s government to be comprised of career politicians. They foresaw that having a body of our legislature, the House of Representatives, being made up of concerned and aware citizens, who would serve perhaps two terms in the House, return to the congressional districts and allow new, fresh faces to win elections. Those new, fresh faces would be more in touch with what was currently of concern to their communities that they represented. I believe it is time to make that happen again.

  • http://bloghopenchangery.wordpress.com/ DeniseVB

    Nothing says “failure of humanity” than PrezBO turning up the WH thermostat….grrrrrr

    http://bloghopenchangery.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/hes-from-hawaii-ok/

    • http://americanpumainitaly.blogspot.com/ sarainitaly

      Thanks for posting this. I was lying in bed last night and thought about this story, and wished I would have included it in my post! He tells America to turn down the thermostats, and he is living in a sweathouse…and some Americans are freezing to death.

      • andrew191

        Let them eat cake.

  • oowawa

    When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur’s house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

    Somehow reminds me of a verse in “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” by Peter LaFarge:

    He died drunk early one mornin’
    Alone in the land he fought to save
    Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
    Was a grave for Ira Hayes

    Yeah, Marvin Schur wasn’t any Ira Hayes, but damnit, we have to take care of our veterans, even if they served a long long time ago.

    • Ferd Berfle

      You are spot on. There is no excuse at all for the sort of treatment our veterans are getting from the US government. It is absolutely appalling. Bazillions for one greedy corporate welfare queen or another but never enough to give veterans the basics they were promised. Shame on the bastards responsible for this mess.

      • beebop

        How is it we can form “crime patrols” to watch out for the bad guys but there are no “neighbor patrols” to keep an eye open so that the good guys don’t come to a bad end? Before I moved back to the city of my birth, my mother still lived in a neighborhood where people looked out for each other. We don’t have to ask “what is wrong with those people?” We are those people!

        • Ferd Berfle
          Before I moved back to the city of my birth, my mother still lived in a neighborhood where people looked out for each other. We don’t have to ask “what is wrong with those people?” We are those people!

          For sure, beebop. That is one of the reasons I moved back to small-town America, where people still do look out for each other. I try to stay as far away from “civilization” as is possible.

  • Magic Puzzle Box

    Don’t even get me started about neighbors or people not helping. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for about 16 years, and when I moved it we liked to sit out on the porch in the summer and spend time together, but over the years as people died and moved out, the new ones don’t care about the neighborhood at all, they never come over to meet you, and the ones I’ve got now party all night a couple nights a week, leave sterile needles in the dryer, and throw trash in the yard. As for people helping, I learned years ago in a really serious family crisis that people talk big about helping if, say, the local news does a poll, but when it all hits the fan, they are either entertained by your problems, will exploit you because they realize you’re vulnerable, or can’t run fast enough the other way. It caused the situation to get so out of hand that it was hard to not be bitter about it. What’s so hard about just being kind or giving people the correct information?

    This old man’s situation is really terrible. I don’t know what’s the big deal all the sudden that the “new era” of Obama makes everyone suddenly interested in being a humanitarian, but then there is a lot of New Age hooey around him to start with. Did you read any of the quotes from Oprah? They’re even wilder.

  • LonnieH

    Did it never occur to them that the country could have been better served these past eight years with a little more *love thy neighbor* and a lot less America bashing.

    Thank you so much for this. I see all of the America hate on this blog and it drives me batshit crazy. It’s so sad and, sorry, it’s ALWAYS the left. The party that’s supposed to be about the “people” in my opinion has become nothing but left wing hate. I know there’s blame to go around, but the country has been under the control of Pelosi and her thieves for a while now and we’re in hell. Maybe once this Pork Bill backfires then we can all do a Bipartisan hug and get rid of these haters. I am all for stopping partisan politics if the DNC will start obeying the law and loving America.

    By the way, I love that Macho Sauce guy. I attended a lunch with him. What a nice guy with a great heart.

    • Ferd Berfle

      Did it never occur to them that the country could have been better served these past eight years with a little more *love thy neighbor* and a lot less America bashing.

      You have a point, but we could have also used a lot less of the Terra-ist and fear claptrap coming from Cheney’s puppet, Bush. Those two morons set up the reaction which caused a climate for That One to win. Extremism is no virtue, irrespective of political affiliation.