I thought that this article about shopping on SNAP benefits was particularly amazing. SNAP (aka food stamps) comes with quite a lot of stigma, and very little compassion. Why not take a moment, snap your listening ears on, and review this article from Brooke McClay (a photographer) who wanted to take a woman on SNAP benefits shopping. (photo is linked — photo from Death To Stock). McCray writes:
I look at this list and can’t help but wonder how she’s supposed to do it. If $11 of apples equals two snacks but $3 in Ramen will feed her entire family for dinner, how can she possibly pick apples with her limited food stamp budget? And how will she ever afford to fill half of every mealtime plate with fruits and veggies, the amount recommended by the same government that issued her food stamps?
Does this make you think a little harder about those with SNAP cards? About the homeless? About food insecurity? Maybe or maybe not, but just take a moment to consider it all!
I’ve written about this topic before, but I think this video is a fantastic piece of statement-art-meets-PSA. I originally viewed this video from an Upworthy link on my facebook feed, but I thought it would be poignant to share on my blog.
Really…it’s down to this….bah
While CNN is quickly removing the majority of it’s hosts of color, MSNBC has added another African-American female. Now if they only would kill the SECOND hour of Hardball [at least]…..
*** This post appears on a blog that I am required to write for a class that at this point in the semester I only marginally tolerate. However — I thought it was a good post. That and it took me long enough to write I thought I should get a few more miles out of it. We are required to write in a “What; So What; Now What” format — which you will see below. However — the point is that we have a major policy issue on our hands. Food insecurity. What in the hell we do with it — I don’t know. As you can see from the end, I’m mad as hell and I don’t have an answer. This problem is not as simplistic as organizational change. It won’t be solved by taking a personality inventory on how you solve problems. This is a real issue — where real people in this nation are hungry, sometimes hungry, or are unhealthy due to their ability to purchase foods [that is not just obesity, but also developmentally challenged due to malnutrition]. So what do we do — and is the nation hungry enough to care about this issue? ****
For most Americans — the idea of hunger conjures up a photo of a modern day Christian missionary in sub-sahara Africa. The man or woman is pleading with you to open your purse and sponsor a child for a few cents a day. Then they pan to a small child who looks completely emaciated and devastated. Videos like the one above are truly heartbreaking. However, is this the only face of hunger? Is this the only face of people who are searching for their next meal? No.
“I have enough to pay my rent, but not enough for food.” –“Who’s Hungry in America” Second Harvest
There are people right here in the greatest Nation, who are hungry and/or food insecure. As of 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has introduced language to describe various ranges of food security and insecurity. The USDA now defines food insecurity as: “the condition assessed in the food security survey and represented in USDA food security reports–is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” Hunger is defined by the USDA as: “an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity.” (Source: USDA Economic Research Service, “Definition of Food Security“) The ranges the USDA has adopted are as follows:
Food Security: High food security (old label=Food security): no reported indications of food-access problems or limitations; Marginal food security (old label=Food security): one or two reported indications–typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake. Food Insecurity: Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake. Very low food security (old label=Food insecurity with hunger): Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake. [SOURCE]
Soon on the blog we will be welcoming our first guest blogger. A former college of mine will be providing post weighing in on tough political issues of the day, from a conservative perspective. Although he and I usually are polar opposites, we do sometimes see eye-to-eye but always respect each other. I’m proud to have graduated with him. By way of a preview to our post/counter post blogs that will be forthcoming. Here is some of the testimony that occurred on January 30th by Mark Kelly. Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — who was shot during an open air town hall.
The issue of gun control is a fascinating one, filled with lots of twists and turns. More so it is a polarizing issue — that can pit friends and family against each other. I found part of Kelly’s testimony fascinating because he is part of the new generation of pro-gun regulation advocates. Kelly, and Giffords BOTH own firearms, and have no plans on relinquishing them. I think this is a movement for the regulation side that will be more prevalent. I plan to explore that dichotomy in my counter post to Jonathan’s — as I am pro-regulation but a gun owner myself — marrying a Libertarian leaning NRA member (odd I know).
“Rights demand responsibility, and this right does not extend to terrorists, it does not extend to criminals and it does not extend to the mentally ill,” he said. “When dangerous people get guns, we are all vulnerable, at the movies, at church, conducting our everyday business, meeting with a government official, and time after time after time, at school, on our campuses and in our children’s classrooms.” – Mark Kelly [Jan 30, 2013]
What do you think about Kelly’s testimony?
“And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Amen) That’s a new definition of greatness.”
In remembrance of today’s Federal Holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States (January 21, 2013)– I want to simply publish one of his speeches that does not talk about having a dream (source HERE). Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon was given on February 4, 1968. According to the text “A Knock at Midnight”, this speak was an adaptation of J. Wallace Hamilton’s (a liberal, white Methodist preacher) 1952 “Drum-Major Instincts” homily. This sermon is quite powerful, and made me pause to consider what my goals are in this world after I read it again– and what legacy I would like to leave. However, the sermon was also eerily timely when it was given — as towards the end of the sermon Dr. King discusses his own funeral and what he would want said. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 — two months after this sermon was given. It is published in full below the jump, but here are some of my favorite portions of the sermon that Dr. King gave before his untimely death.
“But very seriously, it goes through life; the drum major instinct is real. (Yes) And you know what else it causes to happen? It often causes us to live above our means. (Make it plain) It’s nothing but the drum major instinct. Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income? (Amen) [laughter] You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. (Make it plain) But it feeds a repressed ego.”
“The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I’m in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, “Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You’re just as poor as Negroes.” And I said, “You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you’re so poor you can’t send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march.”
“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes) I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that’s all I want to say.
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, (Yes) not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.”
Has this newscaster been watching Django Unchained (which is an excellent movie FYI)? Or is this a slip that only Freud would be proud of?
“In a democracy, voting is a right, not a privilege. Yet in our democracy, well over five million Americans are unable to participate in this most basic, fundamental right of citizenship because of past criminal convictions. As many as four million of these people live, work, and raise families in our communities, but because of past convictions are still denied the right to vote.” — ACLU
Something extraordinary has happened in the Commonwealth. I am a Virginia girl — born and raised. We are traditionally a conservative strong-hold. Home of the Capitol of the Confederacy, one of the first states to adopt Confederate History Month. Typically as red as red can be. Now mind you we did go blue for President Obama both in 2008 and 2012, but that is just the changing tide of Virginians -mostly due to the demographic changes in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads areas. But really this year already something amazing has happened that delighted and surprised me, then made me just as angry and cranky as normal.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia (no we aren’t just a “state”), if you are adjudicated a felon your voting rights are revoked, along with your rights to own a firearm (so much for this talk about everyone’s 2nd Amendment right to carry…because I sure haven’t seen the NRA advocating for felons to have their carrying privilege reinstated….things that make you go *cough* bullcrap *cough*). In most states, including the Commonwealth — there is a process to having your voting rights restored (sorry, still negative on gun ownership). However, in some states you can loose your rights to vote for life (source: ACLU). The ACLU states that there are rougly 5.3 million Americans who are disenfranchised from voting due to “a criminal conviction, most of which are non-violent in nature, thirty-nine percent have fully completed their sentences, including probation and parole, yet such individuals are still deprived of their right to vote. In several states, people with criminal records encounter a variety of other barriers to voting, including, most often, cumbersome restoration processes or lengthy waiting periods before rights restoration applications may even be submitted.” Further, this disenfranchisement disproportionately effects communities of color due to their historical roots in the Jim Crow era. The ACLU states that roughly 1.4 million of the above cited 5.3 million American’s who are disenfranchised are African-Americans. Voting disenfranchisement codes in states like Mississippi, stem from specifically intended constitutional changes that removed voting rights for crimes that were shown to be committed most often by African-Americans.
I’ve decided to jump into the blogging world for various reasons. First, because I sincerely think my poor friends on other social media outlets are tired of hearing my ramblings and rantings. I think they would rather me post when I’m out shopping, and what color top I purchased than have deeply contentious postings on incarceration policy, gun control, community policing, and why the hell weddings cost so damn much. Second, I’m a PhD student — and perhaps I need to give myself more room to write. To build that analytical muscle. Third, I’d like to experience the growth that can come with journaling. However, I know damn well I’m not going to scribble my thoughts down in a leather bound book. Yet, I might do it here — and who knows, my ramblings might just resonate with someone out there. Give them a forum to discuss, talk, agree, or politely (and I mean that) disagree.
This blog is going to be about my research interests, my passions, and my life. Cooking side-by-side with politics. Wedding laments followed by fashion. The prison industrial complex, and my admitted love of Ugg boots.
I’m complex, but hey this is my little nitch on the internet.