Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans.
I wonder how they’re doing it. Cuz living off food stamps has been really easy for me the past 10 months. Maybe because they’re supporting their whole family off the same amount of $? I’m curious.
The Think Progress article says that for the SNAP challenge these senators are living off of approximately $130 per month (“4.50 a day” or “30 per week”) and are only feeding themselves. This is less than what most Corps Members at City Year New York have been getting ($200/month), but not by much.
I have mixed feelings about these SNAP Challenge publicity stunts politicians have been making this year. It’s hard for me to understand what the ultimate goal is of doing something like this. Connecting to “the people”? Proving how little benefits ultimately provide and thus demonstrating why cuts are ridiculous? When I read about these “challenges” it almost makes me angry. What I’m sure is supposed to come off as a sacrifice for the benefit of the people who depend upon assistance simply solidifies in my own eyes how disconnected lawmakers are from the experiences of those they are supposedly serving.
For me, $200 per month is plenty to buy groceries for a month. I usually average out at $30 a week on groceries without worrying about whether I have enough to eat. But this is because I am used to saving money on a constant basis because - let’s be real - there’s not a lot to go around in the first place, that’s why I’m on food stamps. When you are often unsure of whether any given month you will break even on your costs/earnings, living paycheck to paycheck, you learn what is and what isn’t necessary very quickly, and you learn to plan your meals so that you waste as little as possible. This is the reality for millions of Americans, and when I see a bunch of suited politicos exclaiming surprise at how little money $30 is a week, I can only imagine the giant shiny refrigerators they have at home overstocked with more food than they truly know what to do with, about half of which doesn’t get eaten because they eat out for the the majority of their meals. In my mind it makes them sound like over-tanned teenagers rolling around in their Explorers pronouncing they’re going to only buy clothes from American Apparel - you know, for the poor children in China.
But hey, if it gets Republicans to decide against budget cuts (doubtful), then I guess I can live with that.
France’s relationship with women continues to confuse me. But I like things like this.
The lower house of the French Parliament voted on Friday to fully reimburse all abortions and to make contraception free for minors from the age of 15 to 18. France’s national medical insurance pays for abortions for minors and the poor, while other women are reimbursed for up to 80 percent of the procedure’s cost, which can be as much as $580. Contraception is partly reimbursed. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass.
When Americans travel abroad, they are often surprised at how well other countries do the things we used to think America does best. In fact, one reason so many American businesses still lead the world is because they benchmark the competition and emulate best practices. But suggest to an American politician that we should try to learn from other countries, and he will look at you like you are from Mars. It is somehow unpatriotic even to raise such comparisons.
Imagine if a politician were to say, “France has a better health care system than we do.” I can almost guarantee that politician would suffer electoral defeat — even though the statement, in most objective respects, is true. The U.S. is, for too many, the only country that matters; experiences anywhere else are irrelevant. Remember, we have many members of Congress who boast they have no passport.
At a time when many trend lines in the U.S. point to relative decline in this regard, one actually brings hope: More and more young Americans go abroad for some of their education.
Read more. [Image: jbachman01/Flickr]
I was just thinking on the train yesterday how embarrassing America’s rail system is and how embarrassing we are at frankly a lot of other things, and wondering how the world lets us get away with invading other people’s countries and bossing them around when we are clearly not number one anymore, and thinking about how nothing will ever change because too many Americans can’t help but see Europeans as moral-less commies.
This article contemplates these things well.
Daenerys Targaryen: Wrong For Dragons, Wrong For The Realm (by MotherJonesVideo)
Yes, the gender pay gap is real. It’s not statistical tomfoolery. Not sure you believe me / need help convincing others it’s not? Read this. Courtesy of The Political Notebook (a Tumblr crush of mine).
Women are very much a part of the economy, and choosing to vote against their pay equality, as every single GOP senator did this week, is not a vote in support of the nation’s economy or businesses
I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Interesting article on France’s memory laws, and the intersection of history with politics and culture.
In all ages, it has been first the radical, and only later the moderate, who has held out a hand to men knocked to the ground by social order… The politician, by the very nature of the electoral process, is a compromiser and a trimmer, who sets his sails by the prevailing breezes, and without the hard blowing of the radical reformer would either drift actionless or sail along with existing injustice.”
— Howard Zinn, “Abolitionists, Freedom Riders, and the Tactics of Agitation” (1965) On Race
This Is Important, You Should Know About It of the Day: Republican presidential nomination hopeful Michele Bachmann is the first candidate to sign the “pro-marriage” pledge of conservative Christian group The Family Leader.
According to the Des Moines Register, those who sign “The Marriage Vow” [pdf] agree “to personal fidelity to his or her spouse, the appointment of ‘faithful constitutionalists’ as judges, opposition to any redefinition of marriage, and prompt reform of uneconomic and anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy and divorce law.”
The vow also affirms the signee’s belief that homosexuality is a public health risk and a choice, and on par with polygamy and polyandry.
Worse still is the vow’s shocking suggestion that children born into African-American families under slavery were better off than they are today because they were “more likely to be raised by [their] mother and father in a two-parent household.”
And, finally, for good measure, candidates who sign the pledge must also make a point of rejecting Sharia law.
A spokesman for Rep. Ron Paul has expressed reservations on behalf of the congressman, while Tim Pawlenty’s spokesman said the former Minnesota governor was reviewing the document. Most of the other candidates refused to comment on their plans; only Jon Huntsman has stated (through an aide) that he will not sign the pledge as he “never signs any pledges.” Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats — who was state chair of Mike Huckabee’s Republican presidential campaign in 2008 — said his organization will only support candidates who sign the pledge.
(NB: It should be noted that the controversial passage in the pledge that refers to the “protection” of women and children from “all forms of pornography” may not be a call for the outright banning of porn as some assert, but is certainly worth questioning.)
Related: Bachmann compared same-sex marriage to Pearl Harbor in 2004.
Excuse the French, but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
Talking on political disillusionment, violence, Vietnam.