october 3rd, 2017

Some things to wade through today

mental wellness: “Don’t not set yourself on fire to keep others warm”– a thread on balancing social responsibility and exhaustion

podcast: Radiolab’s More Perfect- “Who’s Gerry and Why Is He So Bad At Drawing Maps?”

The Supreme Court is about to hear a case on how legislative districts are drawn to favor one political party over another.Good episode that breaks it all down, including the mathy stuff like The Efficiency Gap equation.

community building: “When you get a front door, remember to leave it open” – urban grassroots orgs for low income people to support each other around food, markets, and other events.

environmental justice: Underwater and Rising-The Housing Situation in Florida is About To Get Much Worse – there are so many layers to this. It’s a mess and it impacts poor and non-white communities more than anyone else

Jobs & Welfare: Elizabeth Warren Introduced A Bill To Ban “Right to Work” Laws – Good for her. I was a single,teen mom between jobs when The Clintons (yes, both of them) introduced right to work laws. That one “welfare reform” alone hurt so many people and continues to do so. It also impacts bigger things like unfair, low wages and crappy labor laws that hurt workers.

Racism Gap: The American Economy Isn’t Getting Any Less Racist – anti-Black hiring prejudices are just as prevalent as they were 30 years ago, deepening income inequality for Black people.

Activism: Host Teach-Ins About Bail and Pre-Trial Detentions – a guide with resources to help organize a teach-in event

Thoughts: An Open Letter To Privileged People Who Play Devil’s Advocate – I always say, “May I play Devil’s Advocate?” is the cousin of “I’m not racist BUT…”
Just don’t do it.

Perfect World:
No automatic alt text available.

Art by the brilliant Ben Montero who always makes me have feelings


current anthem:

Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

Other places to find me:

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.



Healthcare: tweeted the other day about Senate quietly pushing for a change in the new bill that would allow states to eliminate Medicaid entirely. Read the whole thread here

basic income: Rutger Bregman’s TED talk “Poverty isn’t a lack of character;It’s a lack of cash”
There’s a lot in this TED talk that poor people already know (but no one listens to us). Like that poor people aren’t stupid but the stress and conditions of poverty make them do stupid things. Like that the best way out of poverty is to give people money, not for rich people to send them teddy bears and shoes. Unconditional basic income is how to end poverty.



wages: Missouri Republicans Lower St. Louis Minimum Wage From $10 To $7.70.  

LOWERED minimum wage. Those same Republicans probably won’t understand why more people will now be applying for assistance. “Get another job or two, slackers”

podcast: Radio Free Dystopia–  Dystopian fiction is my jam so of course I was going to love this podcast immediately.

A podcast about what we learn when facts and dystopian fiction start to look the same. Join dystopian novelist Toby Ball, journalist Meg Heckman and assorted guests as they talk about authoritarianism, free speech, environmental decay and what it means to commit acts of resistance. Also: Power, privilege, freedom and – perhaps most importantly of all – hope.

soundtrack: “Tin Foil Hat”, Todd Rundgren feat Donald Fagan

It’s about you-know-who



Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

Other places to find me:

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.






GREAT NEWS. Escaping poverty requires almost 20 years with nearly nothing going wrong. If you manage to combat race and class issues while in poverty while also making sure nothing happens, there’s a chance of getting out of it.

I will start my countdown now.

Image result for gif 0 days since

Actually great news: Canada released some details about the anticipated UBI program that will be launched in three areas of Ontario. 4,000 residents will participate and receive a basic income of $16,989 per year for single folks and $24,000 for couples. People with disabilities will be given an extra $6,000.  The participants are all lower income people, both working and non-working.

I’ve noticed a lot in mainstream news recently about jobs being automated and speculation over what this means for jobs in the U.S. The reports are always fraught with anxiety. There is never any mention of Universal Basic Income as a solution. This absolutely needs to be part of the conversation happening right now.

Song of the day: “My Country” by The Tune Yards

My country, tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
How come I cannot see a future within your arms

Podcasts to get you through Trump times

ADHD Coping Tip: Use podcasts to help you focus on tasks. A 40 minute episode=40 minutes of work.  Trump-related Anxiety Coping Tip: When listening to political podcasts, make that task something active to work your aggression out. Gardening is a fantastic option.

The news moves so fast right now and there is so much of it. Worse, some of the news that disappears off the radar quickly is important pieces that are being overlooked. Mainstream news cycle is often focusing on pieces that don’t really matter…or maybe they do but not in a big picture kind of way.  For myself, I’ve been surprised during these past 100 days of how ignorant I feel. I consider myself well informed on current events, politics,history, and civics/government but so far this administration has me scrambling to learn or relearn as the case may be. I mean, some of this stuff about how government works I learned 20 or more years ago in high school. It’s dusty. In my family, I’m the person who everyone goes to to get the explanation of what’s going on in and there’s been times lately where I’ve been at a loss or I’m not sure my information is correct.And this is a huge problem because you can’t properly be an activist working without all the information.

There are several podcasts I’m listening to right now that offer good info and deeper looks at bigger issues, more than an headline or a cable news blurb will get you. While a lot of podcasts I listen to also have seen reason to touch on current politics, I didn’t include those here because politics isn’t the central focus although I’m sure in future posts I’ll share specific episodes. Besides keeping me up to date with current happenings, I’ve bee really appreciating when podcasters take the time to delve into the background of topics (North Korea, Syria, for example) to help me get a refresher course and better understanding of it’s place in current events right now.

If you’re listening to a good podcast right now you’re using to help you keep up with politics that isn’t here, by all means please recommend it! I used to listen to more but scaled back a bit. I also think I impulsively unsubscribed to a few because they probably said something minor to piss me off and I was in a mood at the time. There were a few that were still very focused on “If Hillary had won….” or really still stuck on the election. It’s good to examine what happened and why during this past election (if for no other reason than to figure out how to get Democrats into office and be effective leaders) but this can’t be THE thing to focus on.

Up First : NPR – a daily look at the headlines. This one is only 13 minutes long so it’s enough to get the key headlines in the morning.

Trumpcast –   Slate’s podcast dedicated to resistance in the Trump era. Always informative and hey, they even have a book club happening (although I didn’t finish The Confidence Man because my ebook loan from the library expired before I was finished)

Breakdances With Wolves Podcast  Indigenous centered and valuable conversations about issues white people like me need to take in and learn from

The 45th Podcast  Hosted by Rabia Chaudry (from Serial, among other things) with her cohost from Undisclosed Susan Simpson , and Sarah Basha.  I am gathering that a large reason some don’t like this podcast is because Sarah has Conservative views. Yeah, I mean I don’t agree with her sometimes but it doesn’t keep me from listening.  She still has a valuable voice here and understands policy. I was raised by Republicans and married one (reformed now, thank the gods) so my tolerance level might be different than others who aren’t used to hearing the other side though.

Politically Re-Active Podcast – W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu– my favorite and most reflective of my own views. Always stellar guests.

Pod Save the World 
Pod Save America 
“No-bullshit conversations” about politics and foreign policy. Hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.

Political Podcast, The Takeout – it’s a CBS podcast so I know some people will be thinking, “Oh, ugh…mainstream news!” but ya’ll, Major Garrett is great and I love him. So there.




Food News: Using post offices as food sharing stations, the 2018 Farm Bill,ending food deserts in Minnesota

This post covers food news that pertains to food insecurity and SNAP.

First Class , a project proposal by Washington University students that won the  Urban SOS: Fair Share Student Competition, suggest utilizing postal workers and post offices to alleviate food insecurity. Postal workers could pick up food donations on their route and deliver them to the food bank or bring them back to the post office, which would also serve as a food sharing station. Going to the post office would also mean you’re walking into a permanent food bank. This proposal was focused on L.A. county so it doesn’t address accessibility issues for rural folks,obviously but in theory, this is such a great idea.


Sonny Perdue, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Ag, hasn’t had a confirmation hearing yet but his staffers already have concerns about the lack of basic contact from The White House , as well as support through the hearings.   Perdue is likely to be confirmed without much of a challenge …if he doesn’t feel the need to withdraw his name first.

Meanwhile, the Farm Bill is up for renewal next year and understandably, there’s quite a bit of anxiety about what that’s going to look like. Food and ag policy people have already been discussing what the new Farm Bill might look like.
Civil Eats covered a discussion hosted by AGree and this is what was said about SNAP:

Another key topic of conversation was the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the food stamp program. SNAP and other nutrition programs are funded through the Farm Bill, and account for about 75 percent of the Bill’s spending (in 2016, nutrition programs accounted for around 89 billion of mandatory federal spending).

Republican legislators have in the past proposed removing SNAP from the Farm Bill and converting it to a block grant, which would allocate its administration to the states. Anti-hunger advocates have argued that block-granting the program would result in cuts, as the program would have less ability to respond to emergency situations.

Several participants at the AGree event seemed confident that the SNAP program wouldn’t experience major cuts, let alone block-granting. “Anyone who thinks we’re going to get a Farm Bill by separating [commodity and nutrition programs] is full of baloney,” said Yoder, an Ohio farmer. “It’s not going to happen.”

Jerry Hagstrom, a veteran agriculture journalist, echoed this sentiment. He said that from what he’s seen, there is “complete unity” among agriculture and trade groups that nutrition and commodity programs should remain together in the 2018 Farm Bill.

But Eric Mitchell, from the anti-hunger advocacy organization Bread for the World, was more skeptical. He encouraged the audience to consider political forces beyond the food and agriculture industry. He expressed concern that the Republican Congress might still pursue block-granting SNAP even against the wishes of agriculture groups. Several powerful Republicans have supported a move to block grants, including House Agriculture Committee chair Mike Conaway and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The last Farm Bill process was paralyzed for over a year by political debates surrounding possible cuts to SNAP. Those debates were in large part responsible for the delayed passage of the Bill, which was two years overdue when it was eventually signed in early 2014.

I’m with Eric Mitchell on this. Not to sound dramatic but Paul Ryan is a formidable enemy of poor people and the programs that help them. I fully believe he & others will work hard to move SNAP to block grants and at this point, I can’t be sure he won’t succeed with that.

At this Food Tank  Summit event, Rep Chellie Pingree from Maine laid out what she thought the Farm Bill could look like.  About 2:30 in, Pingree starts discussing food insecurity and SNAP policies. Again, I think it’s highly optimistic to think this is an issue both parties will work together on. There are members of the GOP who can be presented with all the information that shows the different ways hunger in America looks like and disputing poverty as a moral failing and they still won’t try to do the right thing.

New bill aims at eliminating food deserts in Minnesota – the bill expands mobile pantries and asks for funding for more grocery stores and farmers markets ,too.

That’s all for now. I haven’t done one of these news wrap ups in awhile and I definitely missed a lot. I’ll have to aim to let less time pass between these types of posts.

Today’s song of the day… “Do You Still Love Me?” by Ryan Adams, for no other reason than this new album is being played heavily in my house this week.

Net Neutrality,DeVos confirmation, #NoDAPL

I had this conversation yesterday:
Me: Blogging is soooooo frickin’ depressing right now. If I’m not talking about how poor I am, I’m talking about the garbage fire America is. Or telling people how to try to put out the garbage fire.

Friend: Yeah…
*long pause*
I miss the days when you blogged about art involving clitorises. The Song of the Day was nice,too.

In honor of that conversation, here are a list of links about how America is a garbage fire and a song of the day. You can google clitoris art on your own.

This Sure Feels Like the End of Net Neutrality– The FCC took steps last week towards cutting the Lifeline program for low income folks that has helped tremendously in bridging the digital divide.

Check out: Pod Save America, a new podcast that tracks the misdeeds and nonsense of this new administration. (latest episode briefly also mentions the cutting of Lifeline programs)

Also, here’s an earlier post of mine that explains why it’s important for low income people to have access to the Internet. It isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

ICYMI: DeVos was confirmed for Sec of Education. Here are the Senators who voted for her who are up for re-election in 2018:

Flake AZ
Wicker MS
Fischer NE
Heller NV
Corker TN
Cruz TX
Hatch UT
Barrasso WY

Don’t let them keep their positions.

This piece written before DeVos’ confirmation is now a scary reality – 10 Public High School Teachers Explain Why They’re Worried…

I’m also urging everyone to take some time today to make a public declaration on your kids’ or local public school’s Facebook page (if they allow comments) to let them know how much you value their contribution and support the job they do. A lot of educators need to hear something good today.


It turns out that the so-called president had no idea that an executive order he signed gave Steve Bannon a seat on the National Security Council and he’s mad about that. Also, no one can figure out how to work the light switches in The White House.

“We’ve Woken Up”: What It’s Like to be LGBTQ Under Trump – lordy

Read about all the new ways our food policy may change and regress now

On the #NoDAPL front, the Army Corp of Engineers granted an easement that allows pipeline construction to go forward. So-Called Pres said that the DAPL isn’t controversial and “he hasn’t had one call”  to which anyone opposing DAPL responded, “Uh,hey there,buddy…YOU SHUT THE COMMENT LINE DOWN SO WE COULDN’T CALL!”.

Taking many deep breaths right now.

Here is Dallas Goldtooth talking about what the next legal steps tribes might take from here

And on that note, here’s my song of the day. No significance or relevance to anything…it just happened to be the last song I heard.

Links: What I’ve been reading

This has been the reading I’ve done lately that keeps me from finishing the actual books I’m reading   This list is all pre-Trump’s travel/immigration ban.

How I Stopped Worrying About Riots and Began Loving Anti-Fascist Rage

The Long History of Nazi- Punching

When You Brag That the Women’s Marches Were Nonviolent

The Future of the Left is Female

What Standing Rock Meant for Those Who Took Part, and What Comes Next

This Is How You Own a Politician

Why Do We Accept Villainy From Real-Life Humans That We Don’t Accept From Pop Culture?

A Few Notes on Gaslighting

Meet Wendy Carriloo, a Former Undocumented Immigrant, Running for Congress to Fight Trump

10 Stories We Love About Women and Food — Weekend Reading

The Man Who Sleeps in Hitler’s Bed


Let’s talk about Mexican produce


Yesterday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that one of the options being considered to pay for the border wall is a 20% tax on Mexican imported goods. Later various White House people scaled back on that saying it would be more like 5% or emphasizing “it’s just one of the options” .

I don’t think this option will be popular with Congress and it won’t be an option they’ll go with but it’s worth talking about anyway.

Americans, especially those who support Trump, should be offended by this proposal. This administration is essentially asking Americans to pay for the wall not once but twice. Taxpayer money pays for the building of the wall. Those funds are “reimbursed” through this tax, paid for by American consumers. Either Trump is truly an idiot or he believes Americans are idiots. He’s counting on his sales schmooze to put this through.

People responded on social media to this proposal by freaking about about their avocados and tequila. The impact would be so much bigger than avocados and tequila. Mexico is the biggest importer of fresh produce to the U.S. Tomatoes,melons,lettuce,peppers,pineapple,coconut, sugar,cukes,grapes, COCOA. 70% of vegetables and 40% of fruit imports come from Mexico.  This tax obviously will increase the cost of produce at a time when accessibility to produce for low income people, especially in food deserts, is already a crucial issue in food justice.

And let’s not forget Mexican Coke.

With Trump’s new immigration policies and wall building, we will already see the price of produce increase anyway, 20% tax or not. The workers who grow our food domestically are from Mexico and other countries, usually paid less than American workers. The price of food will reflect the loss of underpaid labor .( As always, I advocate for migrant food workers to be paid fairly and our food system is reliant on these workers. I’m just stating that the system as it is currently will bring this about).

The hypothetical boycotts that could take place could be interesting. If those who don’t want the wall and buycott Mexican produce, they’ll have to be satisfied with limited produce options in winter or grow and preserve their own food. Or actively participate in the growth of these industries domestically. I already have seen some on the conservative side want to buycott Mexican goods anyway just on the premise alone that “Mexico is bad” per Trump’s commentary.  Both ways, the Mexican economy suffers and that wall isn’t getting paid for by anyone but American taxpayers.



SNAP News: Beginning Summer 2017, you can use food stamps to buy groceries online (in 7 states,anyway)


The USDA is launching a pilot program this summer to test out the feasibility of allowing online grocers to accept SNAP. The intention is to help serve the needs of low income people in areas deemed food deserts, both rural and urban, as well as those who  have transportation and mobility barriers.

This may prove to be a crucial service for some people affected by the new USDA requirements that convenience stores and other vendors offer a wider variety of foods in order to qualify to accept food stamps and have been left with a larger gap in their accessibility to grocery stores. So far the program will be limited to just seven states to begin with – New York, Maryland, New Jersey,  Pennsylvania, Washington, Iowa, and Oregon, and only a few vendors have been selected. Amazon, FreshDirect, Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Inc.,Hart’s Local Grocers , and Dash’s Market, the grocer behind the Rosie app.

This new pilot program could be a huge step forward to bridging that “healthy food” accessibility gap for low income people. The push for this began last summer with Thrive Markets (not chosen vendor) and Russel Simmons being among the biggest advocates.

Also in (trivial) SNAP news, a Republican guy who wants to be a politician in Oregon was on food stamps after his first Senate run, after spending $15,000 of his own money. Mike Callahan was unemployed and had joint custody of his two daughters. He qualified for food stamps and received them.
He wasn’t earning enough money. He and his kids had to eat. That’s what the program is for. The gross thing here is that he fully admits that yep, he got food stamps but “it was a meager amount in comparison to others”. He’s better than everyone else who ever needed help. And sure, he basically squandered $15,000 that he could have used to support his family but so? He was trying to make something of himself!
(you know, not like the struggling Americans who get assistance who are thousands of dollars in debt because they spent money they didn’t really have on their own education who are now working in low wage jobs instead of what they have a degree in)

I’m not mad about the food stamps. I’m mad at the hypocrisy. Don’t tell me you want to represent “The People” if you think there’s a distinction between certain kinds of people.

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please consider being a supporter at Patreon! You can pledge as little as $1 a month. Your support will keep content on the blog free and available to all on the internet, as well as help me develop printed publications.  Donate here:  Poor as Folk on Patreon or one time donation via Paypal to luckyfishhomestead@gmail.com