Poverty

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Saturday Open Thread: NY Equality and Soul-Sucking Poverty Edition

  • Posted on: 25 June 2011
  • By: Open Thread

One of the biggest news topics of the day on the topic of gay rights occurred in New York late yesterday. From Voice of America News:

The U.S. state of New York has approved same-sex marriage, handing American gay rights advocates a major victory in their quest for equality.

After extensive debate, the New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as two previously undecided Republican lawmakers cast the deciding votes in favor of it. A short time later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.

With the final approval, New York became the sixth U.S. state where gay couples can wed, and by far the largest state. Gay couples can begin marrying in the state in 30 days.

As the right to marry spreads from state to state across the nation, perhaps the adult perspective and realization of shared humanity will help quell further foolish attempts to discriminate against others due to factors like race, gender, religion or sexual identity.

Some people may be unable to evolve and grow up, and thus never accept the growing, expanding realization of common humanity that marks an advancing civilization's mental and ethical state, but as more people through the nation are introduced to the concepts of equality it will be just that much more difficult for isolated bubbles of self-interest and hatred to propagate.

Congratulations, New York.

For our second topic: have you ever been in, or witnessed, poverty in the United States - or anywhere, for that matter? Did you realize that poverty in the United States is on the rise, or the impact that it has on individuals and families? Did you know that it's actually more expensive to be poor than not? This is a topic that gets a bit of a review by teacherken of Daily Kos in a piece called Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul. He draws upon a recent piece by Charles Blow and adds his own heartfelt commentary. Here's a bit of it:

America is increasingly becoming morally corrupt. Those who are wealthy and powerful are not even punished when they are caught - they are allowed to pay a relatively small portion of their ill-gotten gains and somehow keep the rest. Hello, Wall Street, and not just Goldman Sachs.

Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.

And not just the souls of those we are condemning to remaining in poverty. It strikes at the very soul of the nation, and should strike at the soul of every person who is part of We the People.

That it does not so strike is to my mind a moral condemnation of America.

You should check out the whole piece here. After reading it, please also check out the comments from some of the insightful commenters.

 

That's it for this Open Thread. If you've got some news to share, or if you'd like to comment on either of the topics listed here, or something else, the comments are open. You know what to do.

 

Sections: 

Pine Ridge Billboard Project by Aaron Huey

  • Posted on: 23 March 2011
  • By: navajo

Bumped by GH. Originally posted 2011-03-10 10:29:06 -0400. For a donation as little as $10, you can help launch this project - and help make a difference. -- GH

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.

Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey

Sections: 

EMERGENCY: Updated Summary of Dakota Rezs, More Snow Coming

  • Posted on: 3 February 2010
  • By: navajo

At my invitation, navajo has crossposted this important cry for help on behalf of the reservations of South Dakota. Please pass it along and help out in any way you can. Thank you. -- GH

More snow is on the way for the reservations in South Dakota!


The temperatures there can go below zero with the wind chill factor.


Many members of these tribes are trying to cope with no power for heat and they haven't had running water since Jan. 21st. Some folk have just been dug out and rescued.



There has been massive support from Kossacks in keeping my diaries on the REC list and donating money and supplies. Federal help is slow to arrive and your help is still urgently needed to prevent homes from freezing and people going without water and food. The major news coverage is weak.



Please help me again today with your RECs and spreading the news.



Below the fold are links to my previous diaries that provide background on the reservations and descriptions of the current disaster and a summary of donation links we have collected.

It's the Inequality, Stupid!

  • Posted on: 14 August 2009
  • By: DrSteveB

Crossposted at DKos. Graphs there are in wider format.


Updated numbers and commentary from Emmanuel Saez (h/t Krugman) reminds us just how bad things are and have been for a while.  One might hope that the current economic crisis does not divert our attention from the longer term issues.  


I would argue that pretty much all of our problems and issues, be it health care, education, environment, collapsing public infrastructure, jobs, trade, taxes, and yes right-wing populism can be directly linked to income and wealth inequality.  And the fact that inequality has gotten MUCH MUCH worse ever since 1979-1980 (I suggest looking up who became president in the United States at that time):



 


On the one hand, it is not just a U.S. story. Income inequality has risen throughout the developed world, according the OECD.

A Crock Full of Happiness

  • Posted on: 6 January 2009
  • By: supak

Originally posted 2009-01-06 10:17:07 -1000 - promoted by roxy.

This was posted at the Daily Kos yesterday, where it got rescued, but was still little noticed. I'd like to reprint it here as my first post because it is a pretty good introduction to who I am at this moment: a philosopher in economic trouble (there's a shock), exploring the dark hallways of unhappiness, stress, pain, and despair. It seems to help a little.

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.—Robertson Davies

What a crock. Here's a man who's father was a Canadian Senator. He never went hungry or cold. His family owned a media empire. Was there anything he ever had to worry about? Did he have unhappiness to pluck treasures from, or did his treasures just show up via the family bank account?

Are we too stupid to save ourselves?

  • Posted on: 21 December 2008
  • By: the national gadfly

(Image courtesy of indiesocial.com)

I walked onto the train platform in downtown Chicago today.  A woman had just finished shopping at Macy's and had several red shopping bags.  She was trying to put everything into one bag.  The wind picked up and blew some of the empty bags down the platform.  I took off running and stopped them from blowing out onto the street. 

A sane voice: Arundhati Roy

  • Posted on: 14 December 2008
  • By: the national gadfly

 

arundhati roy

Image courtesy of cesr.org

This post begins a series to recognize people that speak about the world in terms of what they observe and what they can prove.  Their voices stand out in the crowd.  In their words, they speak not of fantasy, delusion and rationalization.  Instead, they utilize the gifts of human cognition, awareness to observe what is here in the world around us.  They are not dogmatic, but analytic and take in the world 'warts & all' for what it is and what it is not.  They do not separate humankind from nature in any form of grandeur.  In short, they look at things the way they really are and not what we would have them be.

Note: The term 'reality' is subjective because of differing perspectives from one person to another.  Our individual experiences with language, sensory perception and associative cognition all conspire to individuate and isolate us from each other.  The differences can range from miniscule to incomprehensible. 

Then, there are shared agreements of 'reality' that occur nonetheless.  We can look at a mass grave and all agree that there are dead people there.

Given all of this, it's a wonder we communicate at all.

On to Arundhati Roy.  I first learned of her this year.  John Cusack quoted her in this article about his film "War, Inc." 

Making a Difference, by Doing the Right Thing!

  • Posted on: 22 November 2008
  • By: jamess

After Evicting thousands of Families in the last year, and enduring many gut-wrenching episodes, at the bequest of the Big Banks -- Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart, finally said:

ENOUGH!

Rachel Maddow thanks Tom Dart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7w0x09vFlc

Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?

  • Posted on: 19 October 2008
  • By: jamess
Have you been working harder and harder, becoming more productive all the time, only to see your wages, fail to keep up with that ever increasing cost of living?

It's not your imagination ...

It's just the way our Economic System tilts ...

-------

For example, check out these disturbing trends:

Real Median Household Income [Notice the Flat-line trend over the last 8 years.]

Video-Edwards Endorses Obama: "There is One Man..."

  • Posted on: 14 May 2008
  • By: NCDem Amy



"There is one man who knows that knows and understands that this is a time for bold leadership. There is one man that knows how to create the change, the lasting change, that you have to build from the ground up. There is one man who knows in his heart there is time to create one America, not two ... and that man is Barack Obama, " John Edwards told a fired up crowd in Michigan, as he endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Video-John Edwards on FTN: "It's Important We Get United as a Party"

  • Posted on: 11 May 2008
  • By: NCDem Amy

Appearing on Face the Nation this morning, John Edwards stated, "It's important we get united as a party."

Edwards responded to Schieffer's question regarding Hillary's "hardworking white Americans" comments noting that likely she feels it was a poor choice of words. Edwards furthered discussed how "Hillary needs to decide as she makes her case for herself...she has to be very careful she does not damage our prospects for the fall." Edwards believes that it is not possible for Hillary to win the nomination at this point, based on the math.

Edwards aims to "Reverse the War On Work"

  • Posted on: 25 January 2008
  • By: jamess

John Edwards is still focusing on Issues that matter to Working Families!

like the Economy ... like Taxes.


All the while the GOP continues to "debate" that "only MORE Corporate Tax Cuts will create Jobs and keep the Economy strong!"


Hmmm ... Where are all those Jobs, by the way?

Billions in Tax give aways to the Rich, for the last 5+ years, only seem to have strengthen the Rich, it seems to me.

CWA Union & Harry Belafonte Endorse John Edwards!

  • Posted on: 7 December 2007
  • By: NCDem Amy

While out on the campaign trail in South Carolina on Thursday, Senator Edwards won two key endorsements, the first from the Communications Workers of America of the early primary state of Nevada, with the second from notable social activist, Harry Belafonte.

Nevada CWA Union Endorsement

As labor expert Jonathon Tasini predicted, the Nevada Communications Workers of America endorsed John Edwards.