I made potato salad for a lot less than $60,000

potatosalad3

 

I have table-flipping-She-Hulk rage over that dude who raised at least $60,000 to make a damn potato salad. There was a 3 day period where I may have needed a trigger warning for talk of potato salad.

Which was sad because I really wanted to eat some potato salad. Since,you know, that’s about all I can eat these days and it sounded like a nice change from soup.

Over the weekend, we had salt potatoes for dinner. The next day, I used the leftovers to make what could only be described as Rage Against the Potato Salad Kickstarter Potato Salad. It was good with only a slight aftertaste of bitterness & rage.

It doesn’t take a genius or $60,000 to make tater salad. You take potatoes

potatosalad2

…cut ‘em into chunks. Maybe peel them first. Maybe not. Whatever.

Add some mayo, Dijon mustard,a splash of apple cider vinegar…some herbs (I like dill & lovage). Maybe even chop up some onions, if that’s what you’re into. I like hard boiled eggs in it,too.

potatosalad1

 

 

That’s it. How much of each? Who knows. I just throw it together until it looks like potato salad. Like I said, doesn’t take a genius. Or someone who has money. I made a huge bowl for probably about $3.00 or so.

I need a kickstarter for a new house with better lighting in the kitchen so my food photography doesn’t look like crap. This potato salad tasted better than it looked.
potatosalad4

 

So, now that I showed you how to make a decent potato salad for free, do me ONE favor:

If you have money to throw at a cause, please give it to people who need it and not someone who started a fundraiser as a joke.  If you don’t trust people on the Internet, go buy some potatoes and other good food to donate to your local food pantry. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

The money spent on the F-35 would be enough to buy every homeless person in the country a mansion.

via Truth.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is looking like a very costly mistake for the U.S. military.

How costly? According to an analysis by ThinkProgress, the money spent on the F-35 would be enough to buy every homeless person in the country a mansion.

Read more

Now, every homeless person doesn’t really need a mansion but I understand why they used that to demonstrate the obscene spending here. I’d rather we find modest housing for everyone who needs it and then have some jingle leftover to feed the people who struggle with food insecurity. And we’d probably have some leftover for the other things that benefit society & low income families, like childcare  subsidies.

The Gregory Project, An Initiative to Turn Billboards Into Affordable Housing

 

The Gregory Project, An Initiative to Turn Billboards Into Affordable Housing

From the Gregory Project website:
Cities are engulfed with rigid constructions for billboard advertisement which are expensive to put up, maintain and their subsequent renting is a costly venture. The Gregory project brings optimization to the construction of billboard structures in a way that the insides of these, after the extension, could be turned into a living space. Such an object would need just  a minimal maintenance cost which could be partially paid through the rental of its advert space. 

I like that this is solution oriented.

Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon

via OUR TIME

Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon

I’m a woman. I’m a black woman. I’m a poor woman. I’m a fat woman. I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’m on welfare.

In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being. If you’re all those things, you don’t count at all. Except as a statistic.

I am 45 years old. I have raised six children. There are millions of statistics like me. Some on welfare. Some not. And some, really poor, who don’t even know they’re entitled to welfare. Not all of them are black. Not at all. In fact, the majority-about two-thirds-of all the poor families in the country are white.

Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women.

And that’s why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival.

Survival. That’s why we had to go on welfare. And that’s why we can’t get off welfare now. Not us women. Not until we do something about liberating poor women in this country.

Because up until now we’ve been raised to expect to work, all our lives, for nothing. Because we are the worst educated, the least-skilled, and the lowest-paid people there are. Because we have to be almost totally responsible for our children. Because we are regarded by everybody as dependents. That’s why we are on welfare. And that’s why we stay on it.

Welfare is the most prejudiced institution in this country, even more than marriage, which it tries to imitate. Let me explain that a little.

Ninety-nine percent of welfare families are headed by women. There is no man around. In half the states there can’t be men around because A.F.D.C. (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) says if there is an “able-bodied” man around, then you can’t be on welfare. If the kids are going to eat, and the man can’t get a job, then he’s got to go.

Welfare is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.The man runs everything. In ordinary marriage, sex is supposed to be for your husband. On A.F.D.C., you’re not supposed to have any sex at all. You give up control of your own body. It’s a condition of aid. You may even have to agree to get your tubes tied so you can never have more children just to avoid being cut off welfare.

The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost. If things-rent, for instance-really cost more than he says they do, it’s just too bad for you. He’s always right.

That’s why Governor [Ronald] Reagan can get away with slandering welfare recipients, calling them “lazy parasites,” “pigs at the trough,” and such. We’ve been trained to believe that the only reason people are on welfare is because there’s something wrong with their character. If people have “motivation,” if people only want to work, they can, and they will be able to support themselves and their kids in decency.

The truth is a job doesn’t necessarily mean an adequate income. There are some ten million jobs that now pay less than the minimum wage, and if you’re a woman, you’ve got the best chance of getting one. Why would a 45-year-old woman work all day in a laundry ironing shirts at 90-some cents an hour? Because she knows there’s some place lower she could be. She could be on welfare. Society needs women on welfare as “examples” to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man. So these ladies stay on their feet or on their knees all their lives instead of asking why they’re only getting 90-some cents an hour, instead of daring to fight and complain.

Maybe we poor welfare women will really liberate women in this country. We’ve already started on our own welfare plan. Along with other welfare recipients, we have organized so we can have some voice. Our group is called the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.). We put together our own welfare plan, called Guaranteed Adequate Income (G.A.I.), which would eliminate sexism from welfare. There would be no “categories”-men, women, children, single, married, kids, no kids-just poor people who need aid. You’d get paid according to need and family size only and that would be upped as the cost of living goes up.

As far as I’m concerned, the ladies of N.W.R.O. are the front-line troops of women’s freedom. Both because we have so few illusions and because our issues are so important to all women-the right to a living wage for women’s work, the right to life itself.

source

The Homeless Sign Exchange Project

April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Name: Mike a.k.a. “The Pope of Harvard Square”

Read Mike’s story here

Artists Kenji Nakayama & Christopher Hope have started a “Homeless Sign Exchange”. They pay homeless people for their original signs (I don’t know how much) and then do a sign makeover.

The end result is the homeless person’s words in stylized typography on a shiny new sign. Basically , a sign any hipster would be proud to display.

April 2013, Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Name: Jimmy Sunshine

Nice hat, Jimmy.
Read Jimmy’s story here.

Feb. 2013, Central Square, Cambridge, MA

Name: Angela Douyon-Previlon

Read Angela’s story here.

 

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Frank, February 2012. I-93 off-ramp near South Station.

“Frank is 74 years old. He has been homeless for twenty-two years in Boston, where he also grew up. Before living on the streets, Frank was in jail for theft. He says that since he has been sober, he “has been out of trouble.” When I told him I would stop by again soon, he told me that it wasn’t necessary—“you don’t have to buy a sign anymore!” He spends his days and nights near South Station. “

 

So, let’s talk about this.

The signs look great. But how does this work as activism? Are the homeless people benefitting from these “makeovers”?

Initially, I thought the motive of the project was for the signs to work basically as an eye catching ad. With the new signs, people are obviously more inclined to look and read them, possibly motivating them to donate some money to the sign holder. In a post on tumblr, one artist says, “The first phase of this project has never been about “increasing the money” they get from the new signs. We pay them for their original signs, and I help many of them try to find housing and work in the Boston area. But in fact, many of the homeless individual’s original signs in our project are not soliciting for money. The signs become an extension of each individual’s self-expression (since they contribute to the design and we use their original text), and act as an invitation to conversation. We as a society cannot solve homelessness without first humanizing the homeless. This means recognizing they are a historically excluded group that suffers great prejudice, in addition to knowing that the experience of homelessness is dehumanizing itself.

We ask for compassion, as people learn more about the reasons why people are actually homeless. Now, there is a strong possibility that the next phase of this project may explore more direct solution-oriented programming. So please stay tuned!

I don’t know if even Don Draper could create an ad campaign strong enough to change public stigmas about homelessness and homeless people. The personal stories shared on the tumblr page are important to hear  and I do hope that some of these people get to tell their stories to people on the street as a result of the sign being a conversation starter.

But still…this idea that we need to makeover any element of the homeless population to “humanize” them is disturbing. Making homeless people look nicer and more approachable in some ways demeans the actual aspects of homelessness that are very ugly.

I see a lot of what I call Ivory Tower Activism and people with saviour complexes involved in “helping” homeless people. They see themselves as compassionate and helpful but are removed from the situation ,and often see themselves as elevated over the people they’re helping, even if they say they see everyone as equal. They themselves do not do a very good job at humanizing the people they are advocating for. When they speak about their activism, they refer to themselves a lot in regards to what THEY accomplished, not what the homeless person gained from advocacy. I know it’s a hard battle to fight in some cities where the policy makers and politicians can’t see that homelessness costs their city more money than if they did the right thing and created more housing and programs that get people off the street. I feel like a lot of people who refer to themselves as activists for the homeless do an incomplete job. They alleviate the symptoms of homelessness instead of focusing on ways to change policies and inspiring others to work to change the system as it is. I  don’t want to hear people speak of their successes as a homeless activist if there is still homelessness where they are focusing efforts. Complete activism is hellbent on ENDING homelessness, not just being nice to homeless people and making sure they’re comfortable while homeless. Compassion & basic needs are certainly very important but providing these also has to exist alongside activism that moves towards solutions.

 

(I’m not saying these sign makeover people are like that. That was just a stray related rant because of very frustrating conversations I’ve had recently with homeless “activists”. )

 

And I’m glad the artist mentions that she does try to help them find housing but it’s a bit disingenuous. If someone is homeless, they have already tried to find housing and the system didn’t work to help them.  People who do not want to be homeless have already tried to not be that way. At least it sounds like this project will hopefully lead to a more complete solution oriented activism.

One of my concerns here with the Homeless Signs project is the language used in reference to people. The most recent post is a memorial to a young homeless woman who died, Colleen. The artist referred to her as “nice but broken”. In an earlier post, the woman’s story is shared. She was a runaway and alludes to abuse as the cause of her running away. She became an  addict .

Colleen was not broken. The situation that caused her to become homeless and an addict was what is broken. Society is broken. Colleen herself should be remembered as a nice young woman. Not but.

April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA   *REST IN PEACE

Name: Colleen

Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised between Boston and Cambridge.

 How old are you?
20 years old.

What was it like growing up?
My childhood was good. My family did provide the basics. I do remember being a kid and imagining more for my life. I did not aspire for this. No one wants to be homeless. I hope that people read this and understand… no one sets out to be on the street. Its just that life happens, and it can happen to anyone. Growing up I was told not to judge anyone, so I hope people don’t judge me.

How long have you been homeless?

I have been homeless for three years.

How did you become homeless?

I ran away from home. I don’t feel good talking about why I ran away. Speaking about it is very difficult for me.  Unfortunately, when you’re living on the street you get exposed to different things and so I started taking drugs. It is something that I constantly battle with everyday.

A few months ago, I woke up in the hospital, and my boyfriend and the doctors were looking down at me as I lay in the hospital bed. They told me that I had a drug overdose. My boyfriend is the only support that I have out here, and he also struggles with addiction. I love him a lot. But it is difficult to try and help him with his problems when I can’t even help myself. I am hoping for a miracle so that we both can get “clean” soon and get off the streets.

What is your biggest struggle being homeless?I would say it is the bridges that I’ve burned with my family and friends. My addiction has created so many problems between me and my family. I don’t even know where to start to make amends. Every time that I think I’ve got this thing beat, I let them down. It hurts because I miss my family but I understand why they stay away.

Dumpster Diving Privilege

 

via Dumpster Diving Privilege | Dumpster Divers Diary

Discussions I have had with other low income folks about dumpster diving, their concerns are primarily being arrested but these are all great tips that point out the privileges associated with dumpster diving.  . Low wage earners at grocery stores and big box chains have lost their jobs over taking food from the dumpster and in some cases, the store will even press charges for “stealing”.  One thing poor people absolutely cannot afford is being arrested.

Lunchtime Links: A Commercially-Zoned Community Garden, a no-waste concept supermarket,and Women Food & Ag reporters you should know about

 

Feed Fayetteville plants community garden in downtown commercial zone | Fayetteville Flyer

There are very few community gardens that exist in commercial zones. In my local “green” city, I walk by so many commercial properties with landscaping space like this bank in Fayetteville, Arkansas that are either poorly tended or just have impractical shrubs and inedibles. Cities and businesses need to follow the Fayetteville example here.


 

 This concept supermarket has no packaged products, reduces #foodwastepsfk.com/2014/05/origin… via @PSFK

When the article refers to it as a “high end co-op” , that makes me think that it’s another concept that won’t benefit low income people.

 


“24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About ” by ow.ly/x6yRV via @CivilEats

[D]oes it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does. Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world.

I think it matters,too.

 

Robin Hood 101

There’s a kickass organization in NYC called The Robin Hood Foundation. Every penny donated goes to charity. Since it’s founding in 1988, they’ve contributed $1.45 billion to homeless shelters, food programs, soup kitchens, education, job training…if it helps fight poverty,they’re on it.

Of all the charities in NYC, they only work with 2%…those 2% being the ones proven to be effective at fighting poverty. The foundation is one every charitable org could learn from. This is how they do it.

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via Robin Hood Foundation on Twitter