The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Food Stamps

Here’s hoping this Friday is yet another good Friday Widdershin friends.

Never stop questioning

Last weekend I reread the long story in The Washington Post of Lee Atwater’s deathbed confessions. Like several members of his family, Atwater was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor at the young age of 39 and lingered just a few days over a year with the debilitating pain of his medical death sentence.

Atwater was stricken just at the time when he was at the top of his game. In Republican circles, he was the amoral engineer of modern-day wedge issues. Giving us such 60-second slam dunks as Willie Horton and ads where white hands wadded up a job rejection letter while black hands held a job offer, he was the Picasso of divisive politics. Atwater defensively said he didn’t create the art form, but without fear of contradiction, his too short life was spent perfecting the technique.

Atwater spent his last year writing gracious letters of apology, shopping religions, and trying to reconcile both his open affair and his marriage. I don’t know if he succeeded in his personal absolution, but undoubtedly his quest was earnest and forthright.

Scratching HeadI was reminded of Atwater by the story about Charles Cooper, the attorney who argued in favor of California’s ban on same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court. It seems he is now in the throes of an earnest and forthright personal quest to “reconcile his beliefs” since he now finds himself planning his lesbian daughter’s wedding.

Then I read of Oklahoma’s ongoing bid to become the most crimson of the red states by making it illegal for local communities to enact raises in the minimum wage. Fearing this would not be enough to secure uber-infrared conservative status, Oklahoma has also enacted a tax on the sun via anyone who dares utilize solar panels.

Then I read about Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” legislation allowing guns in churches, schools, bars, government buildings, almost everywhere — that is except the state Capitol building. The Capitol is still off-limits for random pistol-packers since the sponsor of the legislation said, “We have some ongoing security concerns here in the Capitol.”

Then I found myself thinking about the states where making it harder to vote is all the rage to combat fictional voter fraud. And also thinking about the states where they are spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to prevent 5 million poor people from getting Medicaid coverage.

Then I found myself scratching my head about those who are opposed to both an increase in the minimum wage and food stamp expenditures. If ever there was a self-defeating Möbius loop this is it since an increase in the minimum wage would reduce spending on food stamps by $4.6 Billion a year or $46.0 Billion over the usual 10-year budget cycle.

Color Doubt

How to make sense out of this disparate group of facts and issues? It was then that I ran across an article about marketing and the genius of asking just the right question. Within the article was a quote from Descartes, “Doubt is the origin of all wisdom.”

Given that most of the tea party types have never before been part of the political process — never having sat through school board or city council meetings in seats of authority — they have no reason to doubt what imbued them with their new-found “power” in Congress and statehouses.

No compromise, no respect for another point of view, disrupting town hall meetings, being enthralled by conspiracies fomented by infotainment buffoons — why would they have any reason to doubt? They have ridden a tidal wave of unfocused anger to lead a band of voting pitchfork and torch wielders.

In the arena of politics for profit, doubt has zero purchasing power. Likewise, in a world where opinion has replaced reality, how could the seeds of doubt ever be sown? They can’t be sown in a media echo chamber where even a glimmer of doubt could foster the guilty pangs of responsibility.

Wisdom is rarely a spontaneous event and never is it found by those not seeking it. It took a medical death sentence for Lee Atwater and a father’s love for his lesbian daughter in the Cooper family, but inevitably their doubts led toward seeking wisdom and greater personal truth.

Sky question markIn those states where gun deaths, heightened hunger, deprived healthcare, or impoverishment wages are the spiteful answers for muddled questions of gossamer fictions, there is little hope for curative wisdom creeping into policy decisions. In the near term, the best we can hope for is the enlightenment of doubt.

This is an open thread.

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Good afternoon Widdershin friends. Here’s hoping everyone is warm and not suffering from what seems like a malady du jour. Cozy up with an adult beverage and watch an old movie — the best advice Dr. Prolix has to offer on this fine Tuesday.

As is the ritual in my life, Sunday morning is a cavalcade of one news show after another. I can’t help it — that’s theTalking heads mouths way I’m wired and instead of fighting it, I’ve come to silently suffer this abnormality. If there were support groups for such a thing, I’m not sure I would have the power to join one because admitting I have a problem would be steps 1 through 11, my twelfth step would inevitably involve a vat-o-scotch.

This past Sunday was particularly unenlightening. The questioning went something like this, “Well, Congress critter, thank you for joining us today. What I would like to ask you is, if this, and this, and this, and this happened, could it lead to something like this happening if this also happened?”

To which the Congress critter replied, “Thank you for having me and that is a particularly insightful question you have posed to me right off the bat. Not only could something like that happened, if this happened, and then this happened, it could be worse than just that happening, it could be the end of constitutional government, locusts could descend, cows could run dry, and Adam Levine could be named Sexiest Man Alive.”

Parade of HorriblesWhy is there such a rush to get to something bad? Why is there such a rush to form up a “Parade of Horribles” based upon half a dozen predicate contingencies none of which are remotely possible without shifting the time/space continuum or selecting a Kardashian as an offering to the Middle Earth gods.

It just isn’t politics where there is overwhelming, absolute giddiness about all things bad happening. For instance take the exalted realm of free enterprise capitalism. Listen or read the business news and it is festooned with, “We have learned that the executives of XYZ corporation are fearful of the reaction of Wall Street to their stock price so they have concentrated on this quarter’s earnings.” Call me crazy, but nothing scares me more than a corporation with a strategic plan based around concentrating on the next 120-days in order to forestall potentially bad news.

Or take education for example — we seem to have a new educational initiative with every change in an administration. Last time I looked, once you put a child in the educational pipeline, it took twelve years to come out on the other end.

Or take infrastructure spending for example — we seem to have developed a surefire way to determine bridge replacement — when the roadway decking becomes impassable due to flooding from the bridge having fallen in the inconveniently placed river.

The list goes on. We have become a society obsessed with the here and now. We have forgotten only a few years 15 minutes of planningago what it was like to fill out an eighteen page insurance application detailing everything down to our bowel movements, handing it to an agent who mailed it or if they were really technically savvy, they faxed it, and then waiting ten days for a reply on whether or not our pre-existing third nipple precluded us from coverage.

This whole culture of here and now is going to be front and center this week in the brewing budget “howdy-doo-dah.” It is too much for our Congress critters to try and do big things so forget a “grand bargain.” It is going to be a whole lot of gnashing of Congressional chompers to get to an une petite budget deal. In an overall budget of $1.0 Trillion, this budget deal over which the Potomac has run red from the ink of slashers, entails a whopping $65 Billion. It doesn’t even get rid of all the sequester cuts.

One thing though, if a small deal is possible maybe bigger deals can be possible going forward. And barring that, if a small deal is possible, maybe subsequent small deals can also be possible. The real reason to be optimistic — at least Congress isn’t doing anything to harm the economy. You have to look for sunshine where you can find it.

Dominos fallingAs a short-term budget deal is announced this week I’m going to be watching for two things — how the upcoming cutoff of unemployment benefits and food stamps are handled. Those two issues will be a good measuring stick on whether or not Congress is up to the task of no longer inflicting damage upon the economy because unemployment benefits and food stamps are two of the most robust forms of economic stimulus.

The other reason these two programs are good measuring sticks — you don’t need a six part question predicated on “what ifs” to tell if something bad is happening to the Sixty-seven Million poor or near poor. For these folks, who weave in and out of being able to feed their families on a monthly basis, the only “what if” question that matters to them is: What if they can’t?

This is an open thread.

Good afternoon Widdershins.  Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving and Yerwelcome Days were bountiful in the pleasant memories they produced for you and your families.

It must be December.  Just like clockwork the one-sided “War on Christmas” has erupted in its annual skirmish.  That War on Christmasinimitable wartime correspondent, Bill O’Reilly, armed with his faithful soapy loofahs, has once again sworn his perennial fealty in protecting the “good Americans” so they can “worshop” at the nearest mall of choice comforted with the Muzak of the season.

Last night’s breaking news from the war front:  “Rhode Island has officially dubbed their celebratory state tree a Christmas tree instead of an atheistic conifer otherwise known as a Holiday tree.”  Crisis avoided.

December also brings us a Congress where both Houses will be in simultaneous session for four overlapping days.  That’s right — four whole days.

There’s quite a bit on the congressional to-do list.  There’s things like immigration, worker job discrimination, increasing the minimum wage, unemployment benefits, retraining benefits for displaced workers, reforms to the tax code, a jobs bill, a water bill, confirming Janet Yellen for Fed Chair, numerous judicial vacancies, continuing the ban of plastic guns that fire real bullets, and a little worrisome thing hanging out there — funding the federal government.

Not to worry though, this Congress will be record-setting.  The record they are set to break is for the least productive Congress in the history of the country.  Previously that honor belonged to the 1995 Congress led by the “Gingrich who stole Congress” with a total of 88 public laws passed.  This Congress, led by the burnt umber Boehner, has passed less than 60 public laws.

Future member of Congress?

Future member of Congress?

Let’s take an example of the illusive logic dogging these over-employed legislators who could be favorably compared to rutabagas in stretch wigs if it were not so insulting to root vegetables everywhere.

Without being able to definitively inflict the pain of a $40 Billion cut in food stamps, Congress has passed no farm bill.  Without a farm bill, there are no commodity price supports.  Without them, be prepared for milk costing $7.00 a gallon.  That’ll teach those food stamp moochers who dare to splurge on milk for their children.  Hopefully, it will teach the rest of us the corrosive futility of electing a bunch of people who believe the First Amendment should stop after, “Congress shall make no laws.”

There was a small article over the weekend that might shed some light on why Congress is so abysmally dysfunctional.  The article recited the findings of a survey concluding that, “Americans don’t trust one another.”  Only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted.  In 1972, one-half of Americans felt that way.  Two data points result in an alarming trend line.

Regrettably, we see others not with the potentiality of goodness, but rather with a jaundiced eye of preordained potential for evil.

In explaining our wary nature, two-thirds of Americans say, “You can’t be too careful and you have to be suspicious in all Trust torn 2your everyday encounters.”  With crime falling in both the 1980s and 1990s and now at, or near, an all time low for violent crime, we have constructed personalized penitentiaries steeped in the mistrust of others.

With these self-imposed sentences of less civility and increased social isolation, we have lost a true sense of a shared national fate.  It is no longer “united we stand,” but rather “divided we feel reinforced in the isolation of our mistrust.”

Is there any question why a fictitious ginned-up issue like a “War on Christmas” so conveniently exists?  Or why it is such heresy to aspire toward healthcare coverage for those who face bankruptcy with an emergency room visit?  Or why it is acceptable to carry handguns in churches, in bars, or even on playgrounds?  We have withdrawn our helping hands and instead filled them with firearms to do battle not with an unseen foe, but with ourselves.

Maybe — just maybe, a Congress based on the loudest, angriest, least informed malcontent sitting in the back row at a town hall is more representative than we would dare to believe.  I hope not.

This is an open thread.

And they say Congress can’t get anything done!Congress on Vacay

This Halloween week is full of treats for those who have gone all biblical on whether or not to put food in the bellies of the poor and it is one big trick for those who might be so unfortunate as to be hungry and poor.

Friday, November 1st, is the date upon which $5 Billion is pulled from the food stamp program.  Not the $400 million reduction passed by the Senate or even the $4 Billion passed by the House, but the full Monty of $5 Billion being wrested from the poor in the remaining eleven months of this fiscal year.

Five billion dollars is a number too large for most people to grasp, so this is what this cut does to an average family of four on food stamps — the LOSS of 21 meals a month.  This represents a 15 percent across the board reduction in the food stamp program and will affect about 48 million Americans.

Even Congress had to have some luck to produce this perverse result.  With the economy shedding 750,000 jobs a month in 2009, as a stimulus the food stamp benefit was increased between $20 to $25 a month.  The idea was that this increase would be eaten away by inflation by the end of 2015.

Not so fast — Congress got involved.  With this monthly largess of taking a “Jackson” to the grocery being too much, Congress accelerated the sunset of the legislation.  In 2010, Congress moved up the expiration date to April 2014 to help pay for the Education Jobs Act, in order to keep teachers on the job.  Then four months later, Congress moved up the expiration further, to October 31st, to pay for the reauthorization of child nutrition programs.  This would be the point where thinking, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” would be appropriate.

So in about 60-hours the food stamp slashers will have their way.  Not from their clever legislative maneuvering costing the economy $24 Billion through their government shutdown.  No, not from anything other than utter malfeasance and convenient neglect.  Remarkably, it seems food stamp recipients have very few lobbyists to remind these Congressional cretins of their plight.

This $5 Billion cut is due to the total inaction of Congress.  Congress has nothing on the burner to address this problem, nothing in the hopper, nothing in the pipeline — pure unadulterated, unabashed inaction.  They didn’t return from their latest impromptu vacay until today since running to the World War II Memorial to mug for the cameras took too much out of them during the government shutdown.

Artist's Rendering of Rep. Stephen Fincher...

Artist’s Rendering of Rep. Stephen Fincher…

Just to put this in perspective about those who have gone all biblical about this lavish benefit of $1.40 per meal per day, we have exhibit number one — Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-TN.  Rep. Fincher said he turned to Thessalonians for his guidance on the food stamp issue, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Of course Rep. Fincher didn’t say where he found the spiritual guidance to be the second largest recipient in Congress of millions in agricultural subsidies.  The golden trough doesn’t stop there for Fincher since he could possibly be the largest recipient ever of subsidies in Tennessee.  I’m sure Fincher will get back with us on where he finds his spiritual guidance since being a present day money changer is quite taxing.

Fincher is joined by many others in the Tea Party who are constantly hogging the nearest microphone about their worries over Medicare or Social Security funding.  Medicare that is financially sound through 2024 or Social Security that might face a potential cut — in 2033.  This food stamp reduction happens Friday.

These Tea Party cutters are thinking ahead.  They must want to begin the process of cutting benefits right away so that seniors can get used to living on less.  Why wait until 2033 when you can start Friday?

They can take solace though, of the 48 million affected by this $5 Billion cut, eighty-seven percent (87%) are households containing children, seniors, or people living with disabilities.  For the Tea Party you can’t start too young or too old in explaining the rules of their zero-sum-game — no matter what the need, it’s always someone else adding up the zeroes.

As Fredster reminded us yesterday, remember your local food bank — they will need help come Friday.

This is an open thread.

Homeless

The poor in America with no voice

You probably didn’t know this, I know that I didn’t until I saw it on HuffPo.   There’s going to be a reduction in November in folks’ monthly SNAP benefits, aka food stamps.

Pamela Gwynn of Crawfordsville IN found out in a letter sent to her from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.   Pamela probably didn’t know it but she was getting some extras and “freebies” courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the stimulus package that gave SNAP recipients a little bit extra in their allotment.  Pamela’s letter said “The increased benefits provided by this law are expected to expire on November 1, 2013, Most families will see their benefits decrease in November due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 law.”

Pamela had a series of brain surgeries in the 1990s that left her partially deaf and she receives $731 per month in disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.  Her SNAP benefit will drop from $91 per month to $80 per month.  She said she did some math and that breaks down to about 88 cents a meal.

“Eighty-eight cents won’t buy anything except a cup of ramen noodles,” she said. “They just keep cutting and cutting. Eighty-eight cents — you cannot even buy a can of tuna for 88 cents.”

I know one thing:  you can’t buy a can of Campbell’s Chunky Soup for 88 cents a can.  Normally those run a dollar plus or sometimes over two dollars a can.    Sometimes you can get a sale on them and when I find that, I stock up.  Being basically by myself now, I end up eating a lot of soup and sometimes a sandwich for supper.  It’s just a lot less hassle than trying to cook for one.  I don’t think, however, it’s a choice for Pamela.

This is actually the second cut in food that Pamela has faced.  Back earlier in the spring there was a cut in the Meals on Wheels program which helps with the elderly; Pamela is 63.  That cut was due to the sequester kicking in for programs run by the Administration on Aging.  Pamela said she used to receive a hot lunch each day, but that was stopped.  Said Pamela:

“They took my lunches away because the sequester cut their budget so much they couldn’t afford to pay the driver and they cut back to a once-a-week delivery,” Gwynn said. The local agency on aging offered to bring seven frozen meals once per week, but Gwynn said no thanks. “When you live in an apartment you do not have a freezer large enough to hold what you already have in there and seven meals.”

The Recovery aka stimulus package food stamp increase wasn’t supposed to go away quite so drastically.  There was a plan to leave the increase in place until inflation caught up with the increases, which they thought would be in 2015.  The Dems had a plan for this but as HuffPo said:

congressional Democrats essentially raided the cookie jar, using the future planned spending to offset the cost of priority legislation in 2010. They said at the time that they would put the money back before any decrease could take effect, but they have not kept their promise.

From the other HuffPo piece, from 2012:

In 2010, Democrats took roughly $14 billion worth of funds that had been allocated for future SNAP benefits and used it to help pay for a child nutrition bill and a state assistance bill. The SNAP money had originally been put there by the 2009 stimulus bill, boosting the value of SNAP payments 13.6 percent. The plan had been to allow food price inflation to catch up to the increase sometime after 2015 so there would be no precipitous drop.

When they grabbed the money in 2010, several Democrats, including Sens. Ron Wyden (R-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said they’d try to find a way to prevent the cuts from taking effect. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told the Columbus Dispatch Reid would find a solution and that “we need to talk to the White House on how to deal with this.”

Well those Dems weren’t counting on Debbie Stabenow (D [?]-Mich.).  What Ms. S. did was to target a plan called “Heat and Eat” which worked this way:

“Heat and Eat” states can send nominal utility assistance checks as low as $1 to needy households, which in turn automatically qualifies them for a boosted utility allowance under SNAP. Fewer states would participate in “Heat and Eat” under the farm bill, because it will require them to send utility assistance checks worth at least $10 for the recipient household to get a SNAP boost.

In 2012 during this mess, Kristen Gillibrand of NY “introduced an amendment to strike the Heat and Eat cut from the bill, but 22 Democrats helped a near-unanimous GOP defeat the amendment. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who shepherded the farm bill through the Senate as chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, spoke out against the amendment.  Here’s what Stabenow got on the floor of the Senate and said:

“Here’s what’s going on: In a handful of states, they found a way to increase the SNAP benefits for people in their states by sending $1 checks in heating assistance to everyone who gets food assistance,”…”For the small number of states that are doing that, it is undermining the integrity of the program, in my judgment.”

Heh.  As Kathy Bates, playing Madame Lalaurie said in American Horror Story:

Pamela Gwynn says it’s okay though she won’t starve:

“I drink a glass of V-8 juice in the morning,” she said. “I don’t eat breakfast other than that and I don’t eat lunch because I just can’t afford to buy that much. I will eat a cup of soup if I get hungry.”

Here’s a suggestion Widdershins:  If you are fortunate enough to have a few extra dollars and you are at the grocery store when they have a canned goods sale, pick up a few extra and drop them off at your local Second Harvest Food Bank, or other food bank organization you may have locally.  The Republicans, led by Eddie Munster, want to cut SNAP even more, citing the increase in the costs of the program but fail to acknowledge that the Great Recession has not and may not ease for many Americans.  Eighty-eight cents a meal to live on.  I am so embarrassed for my country.

This is an open thread.

A super superlative Friday to you my Widdershin friends.  Here’s hoping the day is a great one.

To borrow the words of Sherlock Holmes, “There’s something afoot.”  There are indeed ill-winds blowing when it comes Core Valuesto our shared values.

The Syrian situation got me thinking about sustainable values — an essential element of leadership.  Values are those things we all come to have through our environmental socialization process.  We all have a core set of values.  They just differ in their makeup, intensity, and number.

The core values of some people are unmistakably pronounced.  The core values of others are hidden beneath layer upon layer of unattractive and unacceptable behaviors, but make no mistake they are there.  In speaking and teaching about core values, I firmly believe, “It makes little difference what an individual’s core values are, just that an individual has some sustaining values to serve as moral and ethical guideposts.  The most dangerous leader is the one who has no discernible core values or at the very least, negotiable core values.”

Politicians often prattle on about American exceptionalism.  For what it’s worth, if there is such a thing as American exceptionalism, it has been based in our societal values.  Regrettably for us and the world, those values seem to be waning.

The Syrian situation is a good example.  In our not too distant past, using weaponized chemical agents to indiscriminately kill children and non-combatants would have been an unspeakable atrocity to Americans — an assault upon our collective values.  Now, by a margin of almost two and a half to one, we hang and shake our heads, shuffle our feet and say, “Not our problem, no national interest over there.”

Another example of eroding values is cutting food stamps to millions of the poorest among us in order to funnel tax cuts and tens of billions in non-productive agricultural supports to multi-national agri-corporations.  It has indeed been a fast erosion of values when a $3.00 a day food allowance for the poorest of children falls victim to corporate largesse.

Take for example the decades of our collective chagrin at low voter turnout.  In this age of new values, state legislatures with the imprimatur of the Supreme Court can’t legislate fast enough to make it almost impossible through de facto disenfranchisement for large segments of voters to vote.

Or look at our borders where innocent babies were brought to this country, have grown up here, been educated here, speak perfect English, and know no other home, but now we can’t find a place for them in our new value system.

Value Word BubbleWithout a sustainable set of values, we become a rudderless raft susceptible to the ever-changing whims of fate and circumstance.  Without values, the “shining city on a hill” dims from a beacon to an afterthought.

The incentive to deemphasize our once unequivocal values is intense.  The conservative infotainment complex is awash with untested and fictitious stories to complete the day’s narrative.  Progressives wince and refrain from doing the heavy-lifting when it comes to standing against the political tide.  Both sides too keenly eye the next election cycle when it comes promoting sustainable values in the face of political expediency.

When confronted with tough choices in defense of a position, I have too often found myself muttering, “It’s the right thing to do.”  That is stupid.  I feel stupid as soon as I say it.  Trial and error have taught me something.

Without logical or emotional antecedent or predicate, to utter, “It’s the right thing to do,” lays one bare to the rabid rejoinders of those stoked with the anger of their unknown demons.  I’ve found it much more useful to cast away the general for the specific by asking:

“Is it the right thing to allow children to be gassed?”

“Is it the right thing to allow children to go hungry for corporate giveaways?”

“Is it the right thing to make it more difficult to vote?”

“Is it the right thing to tear children away from the only home they have ever known?”

Only the hardest hearts and the most cynically bankrupt minds could deny those values.  We have an obligation to one another to do a better job of reminding ourselves of the values that once made us exceptional.

This is an open thread.

Morning Widdershins. I hope your dreams last evening were not of yesterday, but were of tomorrow.

MLK looking back...Dreaming has been on my mind of late with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It is also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation — something too often overlooked.

The way the human brain works, we remember and process in tiny snippets of about 3 seconds. The way we remember Martin Luther King’s speech from that day is the line, “I have a dream.” There’s more to the story.

With the three networks covering the March on Washington, it was the first national exposure of MLK. His entourage of advisors wanted his introduction to be spectacular, but measured. Like anything created by committee, they penned an unimaginative, stem-winder of a speech so dry it was essentially technocratic tender.

MLK was the last of sixteen speakers on that humid, oppressively sweltering August day in Washington.

Ms. Mahalia Jackson was in the VIP section that day — close to the speaker’s dais. She had met MLK at a Baptist Convention and occasionally traveled with him using her enormous talents to help him inspire crowds.

As she listened to his uninspiring prepared remarks, she shouted, “Martin, tell us about the dream!” MLK continued, but Ms.Mahalia Jackson Jackson again insisted, “Tell us about the dream!”

It was at that point Martin Luther King launched into his extemporaneous poetry of “I have a dream.” And thus history was made, lives were changed, and things were never again quite the same.

My point in recounting this story is pretty simple. Without the bravery and emotional intelligence of Mahalia Jackson, Martin Luther King would have been just another speaker that day. His oratorical skills were olympian, but without the prodding of Ms. Jackson’s unabashed audacity, we would not have recalled the poetry of “being judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”

While there are multitudes of wanna-bes to deliver the quintessential political oratory today, there are too few who exhibit the audacity and emotional intelligence of Ms. Jackson. She knew what could move the emotions of a heart and the logic of a head to dance in perfect synchronicity. She knew the essential purity of selfless source credibility. She knew the needs of thirsty souls.

When I look at those who reveled last week in Fifty-seven Thousand little children cut from Head Start or those who boast about cutting 12 million poor from food stamps or those who accept with a shrug the stagnation of the middle class, I don’t hear the piercing intelligence and righteousness of Mahalia Jackson.

What I hear are Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles being paid $40,000 a pop for speeches aggrandizing failed austerity or Jim Demint being paid $1.0 million plus a year for contrived divisive research or Dick Armey basking in the lavishness of an $8.0 million payoff for his hand of hatefulness in the birth of FreedomWorks.

Mahalia Jackson (2)We don’t have those with the heart or the tenacity of a Mahalia Jackson to speak to our heads and our hearts. Wall Street and the One-percenters have made us deaf and unfeeling to the inescapable truth that the greatest indicator of success or failure of a child born today is the zip code of his mother. We have no one who dares tell us science should not frighten us, but give us wings. We have no one who tells us a job is more than a paycheck, but a barometer of one’s self-esteem.

When I hear the “Randian austerians” drone on about bootstrap stories, I am left emotionally and logically saddened. Those of impure hearts and biased motivations are using the one-in-a-million success story to justify foreclosing opportunity to the millions left behind. We can’t forget that the anecdotal is merely incidental. We must remember reality is too often finality for those who are beyond the graces of fate.

In that moment, Mahalia Jackson had the courage to allow her emotional intelligence to speak that day fifty years ago. Think of the world in which we could live if we had that moment of courage each day.

This is an open thread.


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.3 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

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Manafort’s Jail Photo

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