Is Grandma a Minority?

Who pulls out the SNAP card at the checkout line? Rick Santorum has the profile.

TROY, Mich. — Rick Santorum on Saturday resuscitated one of his more controversial remarks from the past few months of campaigning for president, connecting food stamps with “minority communities.”

Speaking to a large crowd at the conservative Americans for Prosperity Presidential forum here, Santorum said he planned to “talk to minority communities, not about giving them food stamps and government dependency, but about creating jobs so that they can participate in the rise of this country.”

Okay. I’m not a brilliant politician/preacher/patriarch. I’m just one of the women you see walking around in scrubs. I see the people who use food stamps. The elderly widows whose late husbands worked in factories and fed their children–failing to consolidate their capital gains. I see the parents of children with disabilities, and the kids cut off at legal adulthood with the burden of mental illness they will carry through life.

Rick Santorum has claimed that the Affordable Care Act passed in President Obama’s administration will make life harder for people with disabilities, like his daughter, Bella.

But here on the ground, it looks like shaming people for using food stamps and other government assistance is bullying some of the people who have been hit by adversity, by circumstances that none of us can control.

The mother of a disabled child who has to devote 24/7 to care may depend on food stamps. Should she apologize to the taxpayers? I want specifics on Rick Santorum’s health care proposal that will protect the least among us. While ensuring tax cuts for the rich and dismantling big government. Let’s see it.

Meanwhile, don’t assume the food stamp users are a minority. Grandma’s demographic is on the increase, and she votes.

I hope candidate Santorum keeps his promise to talk to minority communities. It will be an eye-opener for him. He’ll meet parents, workers, service members and community organizers, clergy and congregations, students and teachers. Kind of like the rest of America. Which a real leader should unite, not divide.

FRONT LINES: Ethecofem writes a firsthand account of getting food assistance after losing her job…

I’ve been there, in that place where I don’t make enough money to shop at fancy healthy food stores, but I still don’t qualify for food support. And it sucks, because you want to be able to eat decent food, but you only have your own income to use, and you just flat-out can’t afford what you would eat if you had more money. You know what else I had when I was in that position? A job; a place to live that, at the very least, I could afford to maintain because of said job; a vehicle that was both insured and working; a MetroTransit pass that I had as a benefit from my job that allowed me unlimited use of any public transit in the metro area for a payroll deduction that was so small I didn’t even notice it was gone; the occasional ability to go out with friends and socialize at concerts, bars, wherever; f—-g money. The only thing that I, as a freshly-on-the-dole person have that you don’t have is taxpayer-subsidized, designated money for groceries. If I don’t have a job by April, I’ll be evicted.

Read the rest here, because we don’t hear enough from the percent of the 99% who are hit hardest by this recession.

Occupy at First Unitarian

First UU has a monthly Parish Supper with speakers invited. This Friday, February 24th, Occupy Providence shared potluck and gave us an update on the Occupation statewide.

Pat Raub, who has facilitated in tents by flashlight, and Jon Lax explained the process of the General Assembly– rules of order, hand signals and the agenda for the evening.

Ally Trull, Randall Rose and Jared Paul presented the five campaigns Occupy Providence supports.

Take Back Our Homes– fighting illegal foreclosures
Tax Justice– so the 1% pays their fair share
Solidarity Economy– business that gives back to the community
Gendered Economic Inequality– in case you’ve noticed that women are still underpaid and under-represented
Civil Rights-Racial Profiling and Prisoner Rights– supporting a bill against racial profiling that codifies what police acknowledge is best practice

It was a cool Unitarian practice of our principles, with an occasional mic-check, chalice lighting by Reverend Ford, and Hymn #121 ‘We’ll Build a Land’.

I’m still processing all this, will write more later. I just want to thank all the good people who came out last night to share a meal and democracy.

Voting for Koch Brothers

With your dollar, or not. Daily Kos has a list of Koch Brothers products to boycott–at the link here.

Most of this list is upscale paper– napkins, paper towels– the more expensive kind I usually skip past in the supermarket.

If you are ecologically inclined, you’ve been looking for ways to use less paper anyway. I don’t trust that the above list is more than partial. Corporations are networks of smaller businesses and you have to be an MBA to decipher a big one.

Re-use is a step above recycling. I have a bin full of newsprint and junk mail. I use it instead of paper towels sometimes. Any ideas on conservation and Koch Bros. frustration?

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Those Koch brothers and their money sure get around!

WASHINGTON — At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections.

A source who was in the room when the pledges were made told The Huffington Post that, specifically, Charles Koch pledged $40 million and David pledged $20 million.

The semi-annual, invitation-only meeting attracts wealthy donors, Republican politicians and conservative activists. Last year, hundreds of activists gathered outside the walled-off resort to protest the meeting. This year, however, the conference went off quietly.

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A More Beautiful Life

Not to get all Martha Stewart, but author Mary Callahan had this up on Facebook today, Save Food From the Fridge.

Fridges are big, and energy suckers too. For keeping things cold, they’re great. But for the default food storage? Maybe not. Especially when so many things taste so much better at room temp.

Seems like unwisdom to congeal in the fridge and zap in the microwave. I use my ambient defrosting system (countertop) when I can plan that far ahead. But knowing what’s safe to leave at room temp means getting involved with your food. Maybe a good idea.

I’m on track to screw up the latest weight loss study (not really, they have a mathematical way to screen out the total fails), due to I can’t get started.

I’m reading, Born Round, by Frank Bruni.

Frank Bruni was set up by heredity to crave food and pack it on. His secret–I’ll spoil it– was more exercise and smaller portions. How he got to that point is the interesting part. His book is a love letter to food, fast and slow, haute and low.

So how to get on track, and not a joyless track, is my weight loss challenge.

The New Frontier

Earthrise from Apollo 8
Earthrise from Apollo 8

It’s hard to believe fifty years have passed…

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) – Astronaut John Glenn, marking the 50th anniversary on Monday of his historic flight as the first American to orbit the Earth, remembered it as the best day of his life.

Glenn, 90, told an audience in Columbus, Ohio that the flight was the result of “more than two years of training and working with a marvelous team.”

“That is why the craft was called Friendship 7, because of the team,” he said.

Glenn’s groundbreaking flight on February 20, 1962 put the United States into a heated space race with the Soviet Union, which had launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit 10 months earlier.

Astronaut Glenn returned to space at age 77 for science experiments on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Where is the next New Frontier? I see a Green Energy Race. Optimistic? Yes. When you know that we put a man on the moon you’re not afraid to think big.

And let’s hear it for science. When you’re sitting in a tin can orbiting earth you trust the ground crew to work on fact, not opinion. Especially when they are calculating how to get the Friendship back without burning up in the atmosphere. Faith has its place, but not in math.

A good post reminding us about the importance of play….

Teachosaur Thoughts

It makes such sense and yet we seem to have forgotten its logical intrinsic value. In our test-driven educational world of today being on task and on time in many schools leaves little time for play. Recess has shrunk or disappeared from most of our schools. Lunch periods have been shortened and days and years have been lengthened in an apparent quest to make our students into perfect little technicians, automatons who can react specifically in isolation to a set of pre- set stimuli in a consistent and certain way. Little room is left for the unexpected or the un-planned in our modern classrooms. It is a strangely disastrous way to prepare our children for a future where it appears that the only constant will be continual change. It is not that I believe that drill and practice are bad or being on task and on time is necessarily a…

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