Welcome Back to the Hard Times:
At last night's news conference, Kevin Chappell of Ebony magazine asked President Barack Obama, "A recent report found that as a result of the economic downturn, one in 50 children are now homeless in America. With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country. In passing your stimulus package, you said that help was on the way. But what would you say to these families, especially children, who are sleeping under bridges in tents across the country?"

Obama's answer, a combination of sorrow for the poverty and restatement of his budget proposals as they relate to jobs and veterans, was pretty much what you'd expect, the non-committal commitment of a politician trying to negotiate this savage landscape in and out of Washington. Of course, there's a reality behind this that makes the seemingly exaggerated question appear that it's understating the case.

This is Nickelsville in Seattle:

That's the Reno skyline in the background (this could have been a Vegas photo, too):

This orderly set-up is in Pinellas Park, Florida:

And here's the place made famous by Oprah, Sacramento's Tent City:

One imagines that as the weather warms up, the flutter of cloth homes will be as prevalent around the nation as the sounds of the flag in the breeze.