hunger

The Buggiest Pun Yet

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 6 September 2016.So … right.

You probably don’t want to know.

Except you know you do, don’t you?

Mmm. Naughty, naughty.

It’s okay. You can blame Adam.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 6 September 2016.

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Oklahoma Virtue

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

Oklahoma. Republicans. Of course they did:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and not learn to take care of themselves." Thus ends today's lesson in irony #OKGOP. (Oklahoma Republican Party, via Facebook, 13 July 2015)The Oklahoma Republican Party is under fire after a controversial Facebook post.

In the post, the Oklahoma GOP compared providing food stamp benefits for Americans in need to feeding animals at national parks.

“The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people,” the Oklahoma Republican Party said on Facebook. “Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because ‘The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’ Thus ends today’s lesson in irony #OKGOP.”

(Franklin)

The KFOR report notes the predictable negative reaction, including the obvious question about comparing people to wild animals, an invocation of the words of Jesus Christ, and an identifying conservative denouncing the “counterproductive” “disgrace” and “awful taste” of the post.

Which leaves only the other obvious question: What the hell is wrong with the Oklahoma GOP?

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Image notes: Top ― Detail of Lucifer, by Franz von Stuck, 1890. RightImage of Facebook post by Oklahoma Republican Party, 13 July 2015.

Franklin, Dallas. “Oklahoma Republican Party under fire after controversial Facebook post”. 14 July 2015.

The Funky Fishscale Fog

Detail of 'La Pêche Miraculeuse', ca. 1610, by Peter Paul Rubens.

The fictional Jebediah Springfield famously explained, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” In the modern day, wise men like Bill Maher question the vapidity of the word “spirit”. Either way, a transfusion seems out of the question:

So, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is blocking health care benefits for low-income families in order to help them “live the American dream” and Gov. Pence is curtailing food aid in order “ennoble” people.

How very gracious of them.

In theory, the “give someone a fish” adage sounds quite nice, and in a booming economy with low unemployment and broad job opportunities, we can have a credible conversation about work requirements and the safety net.

But Pence, like Walker, runs the risk of sounding horribly out of touch – their argument is predicated on the assumption that the economy is in great shape, and everyone who wants a job can easily get one. I suspect most of the American mainstream would offer a different assessment of economic conditions.

(Benen)

We might also note that while once upon a time perhaps it was possible to teach a man to fish, such that he could do the work properly and earn a living, in a day. In modern times, though, that isn’t quite so easy. That is to say, we can certainly test the thesis, but probably need not: Go out on the street and give a job to the first unemployed person you find.

The objections and complications are easily predictable.

Who says that person is qualified, for instance? Maybe she was a waitress before the restaurant closed to make room for the McDonald’s in the Walmart, or he was a janitor who cleaned the school restrooms before being laid off for budget cuts. In either case, though, you need a “people person” with strong reading, speaking, and interpersonal skills, and maybe, just maybe you can teach that person to solicit telephone survey responses and appropriately record the data in a day.

Or maybe not. Either way, that person is going to need to eat at some point during the day.

And, you know, in most markets you’re probably going to be paying that employee less than they need to continue living in order to do the work.

(more…)

Three Percent

One … last … lede:

The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation’s high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence.

(Crary and Leff)

Now, just stop and think for a moment.

Remember when you were a kid, and would look at the nutrition information on the cereal box, and there were all of those asterisks that meant “less than two percent of USRDA”? Well, do the freakin’ math. One in thirty is over three percent. This isn’t an asterisk.

These are the United States of America.

Congratulations.

Good night; sleep well.

Presuming, of course, that you have a place to sleep.

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Crary, David and Lisa Leff. “Number Of Homeless Children In America Surges To All-Time High: Report”. The Huffington Post. 17 November 2014.

Florida (Outlaw Mix)

Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale, where compassion is against the law.

Two stories from the annals of Florida justice. In the late nineties, a judge removed custody of a daughter from the mother because the mother was a lesbian; the judge feared the lesbians would sexually abuse the girl. So he put her in custody of her father, a convicted murderer also charged with sex crimes. And it was sometime in this century that a jury acquitted a rapist on the grounds that a woman wearing a bikini and short skirt in the Florida summer was asking to be raped.

Yes, really. Those are both real.

Florida.

There is no sex crime in this one, yet it seems to fit with the theme of “America’s wang” to consider that two pastors and a ninety year-old volunteer face prison time for the crime of feeding the homeless.

Arnold Abbott faces prison time for feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.A 90-year-old man is facing up to 60 days in jail for feeding the needy due to a new law that bans people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from meal-sharing with the public.

Arnold Abbott risks being fined $500 and spending time in prison after police officers apprehended him while he was handing out meals to homeless people in a park on Sunday.

He was arrested and charged along with two ministers from the Sanctuary Church, which prepares hundreds of meals to dish out every week in their kitchen, while onlookers shouted to officers “shame on you!”

Mr Abbott said: “One of police officers came over and said ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon.”

(Sabin)

'Texas Secession', by Jeff Danziger, 15 November 2012Every once in a while, it occurs to us that if Texas ever follows through on its childish secession threats, we ought to sit down at the table and deal: Fine, you can go. But you have to take Florida with you.

Yeah. That would start a war.

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A Reminder: Hungry People Edition

Pretty straightforward, this time. Katherine Mozzone of KRQE reports:

A hundred people or more showed up to a meeting about proposed food stamp changes and many were not happy. The State wants to require recipients to get a job if they want to receive benefits. The Human Services Department says this proposal will help people become more self-sufficient but critics say it will mean less food on the table for those who need it most.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program“We stand strongly opposed to the new work requirements,” said one speaker. “It’s just bad policy,” said another.

One by one, people took to the podium at Friday’s Human Services Department food stamp hearing to share their concerns about the proposed changes.

“I think the work requirement is based on the mistaken notion that people receiving SNAP benefits don’t know how to spend their time to better their lives,” said another opponent.

(Boldface accent added)

And that last would be the important point.

(more…)