Category Archives: Economy

Super Mayor Cory Booker and the Food Stamp Challenge

Man, is Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey for real? People tweet him about traffic signals being out, and he’ll respond, “on it.” I remember my partner showing me one of his Tweets. During Superstorm Sandy, someone asked him about the flooding situation on a certain street in Newark because his grandmother lived there. Mayor Booker offered to check up on her for him. He must have been vying for Superhero status when he rescued a woman trapped in her burning house. He sure is setting a pretty high standard for mayors all over the country.

The latest bit of news about him caught my eye. He will be living for a week (or more) on food stamps. A Twitter conversation on the role of government in funding school food programs prompted this challenge (that was accepted):

I love it! Both will experience what it’s like. I’m pretty sure, by the end of the week, both will be happy going back to their “regular” lifestyle.

A lot of us don’t see it, but kids are going hungry in this country. It’s absolutely shameful. Children benefit from these government funded school food programs, and it’s easy to see how:

These are just three backpack programs where a child’s backpack is filled on Fridays with non-perishable, kid friendly food for them to have on the weekend. Sometimes, their only meals are the ones provided at school. Where does that leave them on the weekend? The last link is for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. They started the backpack program in 2003 when an Oklahoma City elementary student fainted while waiting in line for lunch on Monday because he/she didn’t have enough food over the weekend. Absolutely heartbreaking.

In a country as rich as this one, this should not be happening. Some may say that it isn’t the government’s responsibility to feed kids. Well, ideally, yeah. We could have this debate until the end of time, but in the meantime, there are still hungry kids. The problem is still there.

This is the thing. We spend so much money in aid to other countries. We pay to blow up countries. Then we pay again to rebuild them. We send money to “allies” to help us fight our enemies. Billions of dollars on everyone else. How about taking that money and spending it on feeding American kids?

I’m glad that Cory Booker and this Twitter follower are taking this challenge. I hope they learn a lot from it. It’s easier to be open to alleviating a problem if you remember what it felt like when it was yours.

Joe Biden & the Ch-Ch-Chain of Fools

Oh Joe.

“He said in the first hundred days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put you all back in chains.”

*sigh* He’s our go-to gaffe guy. Of course he didn’t mean anything by it, but good God that was bad. If Mittens said something like that, would people be up in arms? I’m sure of it. In that hypothetical scenario, I don’t think he’d mean anything by it either.

Let’s focus on the point he was trying to get across – the GOP’s love affair with deregulation. I’m Liberal, but I have a lot of Libertarian blood in me. However, I’m über Liberal when it comes to regulation because it protects us -the consumers. I’m not talking stupid regulations, but those that actually make sense. Like not letting banks take the money we deposit and blowing it Vegas-style. And no loan free-for-alls like the subprime fiasco. Basically, regulation steps in and assists with the factor that the market can’t control. Greed.

Even though his delivery was horrendously cringe-worthy, he’s right. By deregulating yet again, we will be put back in those chains. If we vote for the ones who constantly push for that deregulation, our confinement would be voluntary. That would make us…the chain of fools.

Texana Hollins Got Her House Back!!

I posted about Texana Hollins, a 101-year-old woman who lost her house to foreclosure. HUD told her she could stay as long as she wanted – until it was deemed uninhabitable. Thanks to some amazing people in Detroit who bought and renovated her home, she got the keys to the house she lived in for 60 years. I love endings like these, and it’s great (and healthy) to read and watch good news.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

1). Win the Lotto 2). Still Get Food Stamps 3). Piss Off Spinny

Lottery Winner on Food Stamps: ‘I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working’

That must have been Amanda Clayton’s “To Do” list. Thank God I don’t live in Michigan. It would take every ounce of restraint I have to keep me from hunting her down and bitch-slapping her back to last week. I swear to God stories like these make me so angry. Did it ever cross her mind that someone who’s actually hungry could use them? Especially in this economy! Well, apparently not.

When Local 4 asked if she felt she had a right to the money, Clayton responded, “I mean I kinda do. I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”

Yeah, that second house sure does put a dent in your budget. Can someone in Michigan shake the living crap out of her? Terrance? Ugh!!!

When it comes to welfare, I think we should help our fellow citizens if they need temporary help. Please note the word, “temporary.” Welfare should be a springboard to get you back on your feet. It most certainly should not be a lifestyle. I read about 3rd and 4th generation welfare recipients, and I think, “God, that is just wrong on so many levels.” Is it because they don’t see mom or dad working, but getting food and shelter, that they figure it’s normal? That’s terrible. Don’t they want their kids to strive for a life that’s better than theirs? Don’t the kids want a better life for themselves? I don’t get it.

Another thing about welfare that bugs me is that you don’t have to do anything to receive it. Maybe they could help clean up their neighborhoods. Cities and towns could be much nicer and well-maintained if they made welfare recipients clean them up. Parks and sidewalks could be free of litter. Fences and buildings could have no graffiti. Unless they are completely disabled, they should do something to receive their benefits.

But stories like these, where the recipient who obviously doesn’t need the benefits and still gets them, really make my blood boil. I guess there are people who are just “takers.” Thing is, they’re taking from someone who could really use the help. And that is what disgusts me.

The C Word and the Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Republicans, Democrats Seal Rare Deal on Taxes

No, not that C word. COMPROMISE. Many Republicans, mainly those in the Tea Party wing, are severely allergic to that word. Yet, they did it anyway! They were able to work with Democrats to get the payroll tax cut extended to the end of the year. YAY!

This is great news for us 160 million workers and for the economy:

Passage would end a battle that has raged since last year over legislation that some economists say is vital to keeping the U.S. recovery on track by injecting up to $130 billion into the economy through consumer spending.

$130 billion dollars. When we working schmucks have extra in the paycheck, we tend to spend it. It could be on anything – from necessities to indulgences. Groceries = stimulates the economy. Dinner out = stimulates the economy. Our consumption (or lack of) has a huge effect on this nation’s fiscal health. You can feel it whenever a Consumer Confidence Index® report comes out. The markets skyrocket or tank based on it. Extending that payroll tax cut will keep up that spending, allowing the economy to keep recovering.

Message to House Republicans: Allow me to be among the first to thank you for compromising. This is how things get done. I know that word gives many of you hives. And actually doing it makes you go into anaphylactic shock. Even if you did it out of self-interest because many of you are up for reelection, I thank you. Now, take this EpiPen®. You deserve it.

101 Years Old and Dealing with This?

Evicted Detroiter: ‘100 Years Old, and Don’t Have a Home’

This story broke my heart. Texana’s son is responsible for this mess:

…Warren Hollis, 65, failed to pay $7,000 in property taxes to keep a reverse mortgage taken out in 2002, despite months of warnings.

HUD foreclosed on the home, but they told her she could stay as long as she wanted. Then, they inspected the place and deemed it uninhabitable. HUD wasn’t willing to do the repairs. When her friend heard about the eviction, she took her in. That is awesome. Texana is grateful. Understandably, though, she said, “It’s just like living at home, but it’s not my home.”

When I read these stories, it irks me when the writer doesn’t include a number or e-mail so we can help. I e-mailed the author, Josh Katzenstein ( ), at The Detroit News for information on how we can help. I’ll update once I get the information.

I read a lot of the comments all over the web. Of course, there were a lot of political ones. But one blew me away. In a good way:

Daughtry Maher from the University of Memphis:

mrs. texana can come and live with me and be part of our family. I can accommodate her and my two (16 and 27 year old) children would love to have you. I am a disabled RN. I have rheumatoid arthritis.I can watch your health. My son and I will drive up and get you. You name the day and we will gladly offer you a home forever in beautiful, warm Pensacola, Florida. please pray about it. and let me know

Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity. Even if it is for 15 minutes or so.

Spinny’s Been Slacking

Ugh. No excuses. A lot has been going on, especially with the Occupy Movement.

Occupy Oakland organized a general strike last Wednesday. It was very successful, except for a few cretins who thought it would be fun to throw bottles and vandalize property. That kind of crap makes the Movement look really bad. So a pox on the ones who did that.

Those I were proud of were the people who Tweeted the OPD on the whereabouts of the vandals. And those who came back the next day to clean up after those jackasses. That’s what the media needs to concentrate on. But it doesn’t make for exciting news I guess.

The National Bank Transfer Day on Saturday was amazing! Transferring your money from the big banks to small community banks and credit unions is brilliant. It’s a great way to send a message to the banks. It’s the “free market” way of protesting. I hope more people do it. I’ve been a credit union member for years now. I broke up with the big banks a long time ago. It wasn’t a healthy relationship. They just took and took. I needed a partnership, give and take.

It’s been interesting to watch the Movement. The attention it’s getting and the impact is making. I wonder where this will lead…

A Letter to the 53%…

Scott Olsen and Stereotypes

It’s the end of another work week. I’ve been thinking about this Occupy Wall Street movement – the 99% and the 1%. Especially Scott Olsen. I learned more about him. In addition to being an Iraq veteran, he worked as a network engineer. He went to work every day, and then joined the protests at night. He had a nice apartment overlooking the Bay.

Right Wing pundits like to look down on the protesters as “parasites on parade” (Mark Levin’s affectionate description). It’s easy to dismiss the protesters by painting a broad brush. So what would they have to say about Scott Olsen. Lazy and on unemployment? Nope. He has a really good job. Unpatriotic and America-hating? Nope. He was a Marine with two tours in Iraq under his belt.

To the Right Wing pundits, Scott Olsen is their worst nightmare. He doesn’t fit the stereotype they love to perpetuate. Surprise! He isn’t an entitled, dirty hippie who smells like B.O. and patchouli.

And there are more just like him. A lot more. Regular people. Of course, the media and pundits won’t show and tell you that. I wonder why that is. To keep us divided? Liberal vs. Conservative. We may see and want to approach issues in a different way, but as regular Americans we have a lot more in common than they want you to believe.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s the point of my rambling Friday post. Left, Right, Center, Apolictical, Whatever. We’re Americans and just regular people trying to get through life.

Occupy Oakland and The OPD

OK I’m just disgusted with the Oakland Police Department right now, so I’m going to attempt to unspin my head in this post. I live in the Bay Area and have been hearing about what happened Tuesday night.

I get that the conditions at Frank Ogawa Plaza were deteriorating rapidly and something needed to be done. They have been warned over the past week that the encampment would be cleared. And they did just that. But throwing flash-bang grenades at protesters? Are you frickin’ kidding me?

Scott Olsen, a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, got hit in the head with a police projectile. When other protesters came to help him, OPD threw a flash-bang grenade. Of course, they denied, denied, denied. Video doesn’t lie:

They were just helping the guy. I don’t get it. They did get him to Highland Hospital. He’s in serious condition with a skull fracture and swelling in his brain. He’s sedated and waiting for an examination by a neurosurgeon.

Message to Scott: Thank you for your service. I’m sorry you came back from two tours in Iraq only to get injured by those sworn to protect and serve.