Originally posted on crazy dumbsaint of the mind:
I’ve been challenged three times to do this Ice Bucket Challenge goodness that’s been happening on an Internet near you. No, I’m not accepting the challenge. Sorry. No, I’m not annoyed by all the videos clogging up my feed, as some random person I don’t even know suggested.My annoyance mostly comes from people and their hurt feelings when I’ve pointed out some things about the challenge itself I find problematic. I really don’t have time for people having hurt feelings when their privilege is pointed out.
Let me get this out of the way right here. ALS is a terrible disease. I personally do not know a single person affected by it nor do I have the disease itself but I’m aware that the disease is awful. I think the pharmaceutical companies probably have better treatments they could be development that they choose not to (and that’s the same for…
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Nothing here that is new news to regular readers here , especially those who have lived it but always good to reiterate.
The grinding poverty in Mike’s world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. The students passed a gown from one to the other. Each put the gown on, in turn, and sat before the camera to have their graduation photographs taken. Until it was Mike’s turn.
But Mike wouldn’t be graduating in May with the rest of his class. There were additional class credits he needed to acquire and final exams yet to pass. So, Mike worked throughout the summer, every single day, to earn that diploma. According to his teacher, John Kennedy, Mike pushed himself hard:
Mike Brown didn’t have it easy, Kennedy said.
At the school’s alternative program, Kennedy was always the first one in the building. The place would be empty. He’d unlock the doors at 7 a.m. and he’d always find Brown standing there, smiling. Classes didn’t start until 8 a.m. But Brown was there. First one in the door.
On Tuesday, Kennedy, who has taught at Normandy for 19 years, struggled to reconcile that memory with how his former student was now part of a national debate, his death the spark for unrest in the streets. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Not for Mike Brown.
This is a brief glimpse of Michael Brown’s life and achievements. In a haunting Facebook post, just days before his murder, Mike Brown wrote: “If I leave this earth today, at least you’ll know I care about others more than my damn self.”
His death is another issue entirely and can only be understood against of the backdrop of poverty and racism in America. There are plenty of discussions going on here and across the nation about that.
None of these discussions will change anything in America any more than the endless discussions about Sandy Hook changed anything. It’s war. The American Civil war. And it has been raging for 160 years.
The question then arises: “Why bother to blog about it? What is the point?”
Quite coincidentally, I ran across a statement today on another blog, where the owner answered that question. I was very moved by what he had to say:
Today is my 70th birthday. That means for me that it is time to think about the last part of my life….
My generation has left an awful legacy to the young. As you well know dear Reader, there is little that any one person can do to change things….
But, life is fluid and even tiny changes in one part of the universe can affect other parts in ways we cannot possibly comprehend.
When we act, we do it because we hope and believe that a known effect or effects might come from our actions.
So it is with no more than faith that I throw my blog, this tiny pebble in the ocean of human thought, hoping that somehow, something I say may indeed make it better for generations to come.
Therefore, I am going to throw The Tiny Pebble, below, into the ocean of opinions about whether or not the US and its militarized police are engaged in a civil war against minorities and the poor in America.
Who knows? It might make a difference.
One of my favorite blogs Thrift Core has a great post today on not using shampoo, or as it’s commonly called “No Poo”
No Poo: Why to Forego Shampoo And How it Will Reveal Your Healthiest Hair, Ever.
I haven’t used shampoo in ages. My foray into No Poo began because I couldn’t afford to buy shampoo and the hair care methods when not using shampoo are things that can be purchased with food stamps, but most importantly, they’re food stamp allowable ingredients that are very inexpensive and don’t use a significant portion of your food stamp budget. Not to mention, they can be used for other things in cooking and around the house.
After using “no poo” out of necessity, I discovered that when I had money to buy shampoo, I wasn’t crazy about how my hair felt and went back to no poo.
I use mostly just apple cider vinegar and baking soda for my hair care with an occasional Hair Smoothie whipped up when I need some conditioning. I also have started making my own apple cider vinegar with apple scraps, which helps shave more off the grocery bill.
In my drafts, I have a long and still unfinished piece devoted to the pros and cons of people taking food stamp challenges. I’ve touched on key points here before but the subject deserves an indepth examination. Spoiler: There is one pro and eight different points that are cons.
Maybe some day I’ll finish that post I started. Right now, I’m juggling a lot and haven’t had time to write, so for now, I want to share some thoughts from people who share my frustration with SNAP / food stamp challenges for some of the same reasons.
Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans.
I want a reality tv show where politicians have to live in poverty for a month. They have to live in Government housing, shop with food stamps, and get only a limited amount of money for clothes. Because here, they still have all their trappings, lilke nice cars and thousand dollar suits. I want them in Walmart jeans trying to determine if they can afford a carton of milk.
Give them a full calendar year. I want to see them confident in January, and sometime around June choking back tears at the Safeway because they are tired, so tired, of eating 25 cent cup noodles, eyeing other peoples’ full grocery carts with a dull bewilderment.
Let me see them despair because they have a persistent nagging cough that won’t go away and might be turning into pneumonia but the minute clinic is $60, which might as well be as six million dollars, either way they ain’t got it to spare – and that doesn’t count the cost of prescriptions. Let me hear them tell people about the muscle cramps they get at night due to eating non-nutritious garbage for months, the weakness from persistent hunger.
Let them know the shame and frustration of only owning one pair of cheap polyester pants for work and one pair of thrift-store jeans, and both persistently have ripped crotches and seams coming undone, no matter how many times they get sewn back up.
Let the women know the particular sort of despair that comes once a month when you can’t afford even the cheapest pads or tampons.
Let them understand the frustration of being charged a $35 fee for a $2 overdraft. Let them watch as the bank holds charges from different days in “pending” till they all come through on the same day, and the bank charges them four times for a single overdraft because “the charges all cleared at the same time”.
I want them to know the particular pain of having to decide between food for the week, or transportation costs to and from work. You can’t have both. Choose wisely.
You do not truly understand poverty until you’ve lived it and a month isn’t enough to encompass it. Not even close.
I have $7000 in medical bills this year because I let something go untreated for nine years because I couldn’t afford it. When I broke my hand I refused to go to the doctor because I couldn’t afford it – it wasn’t until my manager swore up and down that worker’s comp would cover it that I even considered going – and there were pieces of bone sticking out of my hand. I once walked on a broken foot for a year. A year. Because my boss wouldn’t let me have the time off to let it heal properly and my job required being on my feet for 8+hours a day. And that fucking foot kept starting to heal and then re-fracturing all over again. Spaghetti makes me sick to my stomach because I ate it every fucking day for months on end because pasta and tomato sauce are CHEAP, but there was no meat and no veggies, so it didn’t really do me any good.
Sometimes I buy things I don’t need just to prove to myself that I can. And sometimes I go crazy and buy bags of things for the homeless shelter and the food bank because Jesus, do people need it and I have a little extra to spare now. Sometimes I hoard things, like soap and food and old clothes that I don’t like and will never wear again, because what if I need it in the future and can’t afford it?
Sometimes I remember being so poor that my power was turned off and my bank account was negative and I had nothing in the kitchen but ramen noodles and canned beans and god only knew how I was going to scrape together $475 to pay the rent on my shitty apartment and the lingering stress makes me start to cry.
Rice for a whole winter, except weekends when my boyfriend came down and took me out, and margarine—forget butter—for it only rarely, so I couldn’t eat white rice for forty years. Pasta and soup with maybe a burger on payday as my only meat. No dental work, so my teeth are an ongoing trainwreck. Living in one-room studio apartments in residential hotels for a decade because we couldn’t afford a real apartment or utilities. And yes to all the bank crap.
I want the Congresscritters to live through a year of THAT before they vote on programs for the poor.
This is why I can’t stand people taking the SNAP challenge.
You don’t know the reality. You don’t come away with true empathy for people living the reality. And you still don’t listen to people living the reality.
The conventional definition of is one based on calories, on having access to the affordable and healthy food necessary to keep oneself alive. When people talk about the food challenges facing low-income urban communities, areas without supermarkets or neighborhood corner grocery stores, where nutritious food is scarce or nonexistent, they often use the term . It’s a colorful, descriptive term. It’s also inaccurate. Food deserts are just as likely to exist in rural areas as in cities; anyone driving cross-country knows that. Our centralized food system is partially responsible for these geographic gaps. Their omissions are less the result of careless oversight and more the outcome of judiciously considered design; either these areas aren’t profitable enough or they are too dangerous or inconsequential to worry about. Urban communities are now using a variety of tools to strengthen their local food systems, including growing food in urban gardens and putting a new twist on .
He still makes $259,744 a year and those employees who got raises still probably only make about $20,000/year, so this isn’t like the man reduced his pay to poverty wages to equalize things. Still… that $90,000 salary cut isn’t something most CEOs would ever consider.
We all know that, on some basic level, money is purely symbolic. It only works because everyone collectively agrees to participate in the fantasy that a dollar bill is worth a dollar, whatever that is. Moreover, most of our money these days is purely electronic, represented by ones and zeros and real only in the most abstract sense possible.
Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post offered another way of thinking about money as a social construction: how much it costs to make it. None of our coins are actually worth what they cost, and pennies and nickels are worth quite a bit less.
The excess cost of producing pennies and nickels means a budget deficit for the Treasury. In 2013, producing the coins cost the government $105 million dollars above and beyond the coins’ value.
Interestingly, moves to eliminate pennies have been successfully opposed by the zinc industry for years, illustrating another sociological phenomenon: the power of corporations to shape government decisions.
For more relevant discussion about the worth of our money, watch the documentary The End of the Road. (available streaming online or at the local library, if your library rocks like mine does).