Links|Nov 12-18

Things that are probably relavant to your interests if you’re hanging out at this blog

× What to do if you suddenly become homeless – some good basic tips
× Laziness Does Not Exist (but unseen barriers do)–  “It’s really helpful to respond to a person’s ineffective behavior with curiosity rather than judgment.” If you’re inclined to label someone’s behavior as lazy, there’s probably factors you’re not aware of that deserve consideration (not that it’s anyone’s job to concern themselves with so things but anyway…)

× Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned Her Most Important Lessons from Restaurants 

For Ocasio-Cortez, food is political, and the most tangible indicator of our social inequities. Sure, as living beings we all must eat to survive—and there’s unity in that—but what we eat and how much and where it comes from and what we must do to get it varies widely. “The food industry is the nexus of almost all of the major forces in our politics today,” she says. “It’s super closely linked with climate change and ethics. It’s the nexus of minimum wage fights, of immigration law, of criminal justice reform, of health care debates, of education. You’d be hard-pressed to find a political issue that doesn’t have food implications.”

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× As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare? – Answer: Because Cuomo is a turd

× New York Assemblymember Ron Kim wants to block that $3M handout to Amazon and use it to resolve student loan debt instead – I like this idea better.
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× Barbara Lee on Iraq, Poverty, and Getting A Seat At The Table – 
an excellent profile of Representative Lee by Rebecca Traister. In the 70s, Lee was a single mom on welfare and says since becoming a Congresswoman, she wants to focus on poverty and low income families.She also touches on the EACH Woman Act which repeals the Hyde Amendment (which disallows Federal money to be spent on abortions for low incoe women, restricting accessibility.

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Life |No Money November

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I was thinking the other day about how November is the worst but I realized I say that about most months. Not usually summer months. The bad months tend to end in “brrr” or have the weather that is brrr.

Winter is informally here. Weather doesn’t care about calendar dates. I cringe when I hear the furnace kick on, hoping there’s enough in the fuel tank to keep us warm until HEAP helps out. I might have to have fuel delivered before we get HEAP. It’s a minimum delivery of 150 gallons=to around $575 so I’m trying toIMG_0328 (2) hold off. The heat is turned to minimum comfort & I’ve turned the trailer into a winterized cocoon. I could have paid for fuel if I had a dollar for everytime I said to someone, “Put a sweater on! Where are your slippers?”.

I really hate being cold so trust me,kiddos, this isn’t because I like it. And remember that last place we lived that was probably a Truman Show like social experiment to see if a modern day family could live in 1820? This is loads better.

Hand-me-downs have made it so that the only winter clothing I’ll have to get is boots for the smallest one. He has little Timberlands ($3 at a yard sale!) but he really should have regular winter boots.I tried to take advantage of a BOGO sale at Payless Shoes this past weekend and they had no boots. The salesperson said, “Well, we might get some in the next few weeks.” Might? You’re a shoe store in the frozen tundra of upstate NY. You should start putting boots in stock in September,silly.

Fortunately-unfortunately, my husbeast has been getting a lot of overtime hours so we should at least have funds to go buy non-BOGO deal boots this week.

I say unfortunately because he’s stressed, sore, and tired. Also, we did reapply for SNAP and got approved but it’s only $59 for the month because they were looking at the OT. I made zero dollars the last few months while recovering from my health nonsense, otherwise I’m sure we’d have been denied. In January, husbeast gets a 50¢/hour raise. I’m guessing for sure we won’t qualify anymore. Although maybe without the overtime,we might? I guess we’ll see. I hate the uncertainty of the safety net.

This area – the space where teetering income that keeps us from qualifying for assistance and from actually being enough to make all the ends meet – this is the scariest place to be. We’ve been here before. We’ve risen just above it at times only to fall below it again and again. This is where the most instability always is. It’s scary as fuck.

 

[this post brought to you by my new-to-us free refrigerator and a five day visit from my NYC-living daughter]

September happened?

Happy October,ya’ll.

I don’t even know what happened to September but I’ll try here to figure it out.

September started out poor as usual. We had to borrow $500 from our teenage daughter to pay rent, for crying out loud.

Our electric bill was $1.32,though. Manageable.

I could not tell you a single food budget related thing except that because my husband worked overtime , we made $62 too much to recertify for SNAP.

My health issues continued but finally, I had a magic procedure done, which involved an overnight stay in the hospital and soooooo much pain for days.

My husband took a week vacation PLUS family leave time to basically be me for recovery time. He’s back to work as of yesterday but I’m still  recovering honestly. I’m still weak and have zero appetite. No more pain and I can feel that the procedure is working to kill off that life and soul sucking fibroid I had named Tammy but I’m still not 100% fully functional.

The day after I had the UFE,aforementioned teen daughter who graduated from high school in June a year early, moved to Brooklyn with her boyfriend who is now working at a certain late night comedy show that’s on TV Saturday nights . Live.

I’ve been very emotional about this. She’s my youngest daughter, my baby girl, except that she’s not really. She’s an incredibly smart,capable,brave young woman who is just fine without her Mama in the big city. *sniffles* But also, all my daughters(and one son)are grown and scattered to different cities and all I have at home now are these two stinky boys who spend way too much time playing video games and I swear they’re speaking an entirely different language from me sometimes.
(But according to their teachers, they are also fine young men who are kind and smart and all of that so yay )

So that was September.
I have just one basic goal for October and that’s to continue to mend and get back to work. EASY PEASY.

#HandsOffSNAP actions needed

I apologize for infrequent updating here over the summer. My ongoing health problems, busy children, a death in the family, and then the demise of my laptop have been factors that have kept me from here the past couple of months. I wanted to drop in quickly to alert readers to some action and activism needed on the SNAP (Farm Bill) front. Because I’m short on time, I’m sharing here a good summary from wall-of-us:

Because of your calls and letters, it’s down to the wire on SNAP (food stamps). The House version, which passed by just 2 votes, would tighten eligibility requirements and according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, lead to some 400,000 households losing eligibility and put kids in need at risk for receiving free and reduced-price school meals. Although it also includes money for education and training programs, the effectiveness of these programs need to be evaluated before they become a pre-condition to assistance. The Senate version, which passed by much bigger margin, is the better way to go. Reconciliation of the two bills is happening now and the House conferee’s have now been named.

Now is the time to make sure they know where you stand on SNAP.

Here’s how:

1 Review the Farm Bill Talking PointsFarm Bill Field Toolkit, & SNAP Fact Sheet

2 Use the handsoffsnap.org toolkit to urge the House’s conferees to adopt the Senate SNAP provisions.

3 For more, read FRAC’s new report, “How Hungry is America?“, on how the national food hardship rate has increased in recent years.

As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties

It looks like voting might matter

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I texted my adult offspring on Tuesday morning not to make sure they were eating a great breakfast or anything stereotypically motherly but to remind them to go vote in the primary. “Make sure you remind your housemates/boyfriend/girlfriend/co-workers/friends/baristas. Love you!”.

I think a lot of us, especially “millennials”, are disillusioned with Presidential elections, in part because of The Electoral College. It can feel like voting doesn’t matter in the presidential election. It seems like this also discourages some eligible voters to skip state and local elections. Or they just don’t think they’re important. I will always stress that these elections are even more important. These local & state elections decide the people we put in seats to fight for us, for your civil rights, for our infrastructure, our safety net programs, our schools, our environment.
They’ll be the ones who confirm Supreme Court appointees and keep the president from being authoritarian hopefully. Kind of important stuff right now.

When I ask people on social media to call their representatives about certain issues that are pressing, “What’s the point?” is a common response. I live in a district represented by Tom Reed, a Trump cohort. I get this frustration because I know firsthand how exhausting and defeated it feels to repeatedly “express my concerns” to my congressman knowing fully well he’s going to do whatever serves his own and the President’s best interests and not his constituent’s.  And that’s exactly why primaries and mid-terms matter. We need to get the best candidates on the ballot to unseat these (mostly) dudes seeking to put this country back a century and impede social & economic progress for all.

I know anarchists who voted in the primaries so that should tell you how bad it is.

This was the result for my district as of Tuesday night when I went to bed. 26 votes separate Della Pia & Mitrano. This will come down to absentee ballots being counted.  Every vote actually matters. Less than 20% of registered Dems in this district showed up though. We all really need to motivate eligible voters to get to the polls this fall.

 

The House Farm Bill passed. Now let’s look at the Senate bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill passes the House last Thursday by a very narrow margin. 213 yeas to 211 nays. If you’re interested in seeing if your rep was on the yea or nay side of this, go here: Final Vote on HR2, June 21,2018

This bill cut $19 billion from SNAP which equates to serving around 2 million low income, food insecure people. It imposes stricter work requirements that can’t be opted out by states.  Instead of giving working families a little relief when they finally get their heads above water, it imposes a strict benefits cliff that cuts off benefits to those who’s income rises even slightly above the income eligibility limit. People formerly incarcerated for certain crimes are banned for life from receiving SNAP.  It also adds a ton of paperwork and reporting that will not only be expensive for states to implement but just complicates the application process. There are already under served low income folks not applying for SNAP because of the process and a lot of caseworkers are less able to act like social workers because of the amount of clerical business involved.

The Senate has introduced it’s own version of the Farm Bill  that avoids all the mean stuff and instead expands the programs they know help and introducing pilot programs to improve healthy food access. It makes things easier for disabled and elderly people allowing them to certify for 3 year periods and tweaks the EBT system so it’s more reliable.

In short, this is a bill that recognizes that SNAP works and strengthens it instead of hurting low income families. This bill will probably be voted on this week so call your Senators and tell them to vote YES on the Farm Bill.  There is a form letter here you can submit or call direct using 888-398-8702 or their office number.

As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties

[today’s post brought to you by my delicious dinner of chicken stir fry that SNAP helped to purchase the ingredients for]

#HandsOffSnap

 


The House votes Friday on the current Farm Bill. This version cut or reduce food assistance for an estimated 2 million recipients. This bill imposes stricter work requirements and will highly impact single parents, older folks, and people with disabilities.
Take a few minutes to call your congressperson and ask them to vote NO on HR2 and cuts to SNAP. The Capital switchboard is 202-224-3121 or you can call your reps local office.

I’m including some helpful articles here if you need to familiarize yourself with the issues and talking points. As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties

What the hell is the Farm Bill anyway?

For Farmers on SNAP, the Farm Bill Will Hurt in More Ways Than One

Congress should leave the food stamps program alone

“It’s weird growing food and being hungry at the same time”

2018 Farm Bill imposes a lifetime ban from SNAP for people convicted of certain offenses w/ no option for states to opt out

Farm Bill seeks to restrict food stamp benefits while allowing subsidies for billionaires

 

UPDATE: This bill passed. To learn about the Senate bill, go here

kid lit: The Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot

 

My little reluctant reader has discovered The Owl Diaries series and we’ve been reading nothing but lately. They’re cute little chapter books featuring a little owl named Eva and her daily life in the treetops. In book 7 , one of Eva’s classmates has a little sister who can’t fly like the other owlets and needs a “wingchair”. The whole class decides to raise money to buy the wingchair for the little owlet.

I read a lot of diverse kids books with and

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pg 16, Owl Diaries #7: The Wildwood Bakery by Rebecca Elliot

to my kidlets but I honestly can’t think of another time I’ve seen this in a children’s book.   Books for young readers that have any representation of characters with disabilities are rare so to find that AND have the major plot point be that the family doesn’t have enough money to buy a wheelchair was pretty refreshing.
Because I know people think that kids shouldn’t have to think or worry about these sorts of socio-economic things but I think it can only help grow empathy and besides, there are kids who have to experience this sort of issue firsthand. Representation matters a lot and so does real life. I appreciate that in this sweet little animal land not everything is so perfect and even owls have to have gofundme to have healthcare and accessibility needs met.

Possible spoiler alert here but the main conflict in the story is that Eva’s classmates make the fundraising a competition and get so wrapped up in who is winning that they forget why and who they’re raising money for. This is something I’ve seen and complained about many times. When one of my older daughters was in elementary school they would have a canned food drive for low income folks every single year and every year it was a competition between the upper grade classrooms. The winner got a pizza party. I hated everything about this fundraising challenge. The recipients of the fundraising bounty weren’t even thought of or talked about and how weird that you get to have pizza (something that a lot of low income people won’t usually get to order out for themselves) as a reward for feeding hungry people. Anyway, I was annoyed. Probably the author has seen this happen before as well and was also annoyed.
(Or I’m overthinking as usual. That wouldn’t be unheard of)

podcast: ” LOLOLoligarchy” , Lovett or Leave It

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Listen on your favorite ipod app or at the Crooked Media website: https://crooked.com/podcast/lolololigarchy/

I think Lovett or Leave It is generally relevant to “us folks’ ” interests here but this latest episode focuses particularly on economic inequality. I’m also going to forever side with Franchesca Ramsey on those Paul Ryan workout pics.

There wasn’t  a single mention of universal basic income. That was disappointing. I know some people feel there isn’t much point in discussing it as a serious way to help bridge inequality because “it’ll never happen” but at this point let’s just throw all the ideas out there because UBI has just as much chance right now of being a thing in our country as truly universal health care but we’re still talking about that a lot.