A lot has been written and spoken about new media. In San Francisco, it’s a new flash point, as the inheritors of the golden kingdom of the Internet live and move in a city still bedeviled by poverty and homelessness. But it’s a revolution, no question. Those who get behind are left behind. Tweet your hearts out, folks.
I have some trouble with new media. I’m old, so of course I do. I get some parts but not others. People my age have a lot to unlearn.
I think that’s the problem. We grew up knowing how the world worked. Everybody did. Then the world changed, and we had to change too. But we still have the original template in our heads, so everything is referred back to that formative experience. Everything else is perceived in metaphors.
One quality of a great artistic work is its innate ability to speak to us, not in the time and space of the author, but in our own time and space. That it transcend its own moment, and become part of ours. Alan Ginsberg’s ‘America’ is one such ‘great work’.
I call it ‘fortuitous’, not because Ginsberg’s foresight was accidental, so much, rather for its intuitions and prescience.
H.G. Wells is known as a great 20th century futurist, but much of what he predicted actually has not come to pass. Much of his foresight was deliberate, imagined, and quantified. On the other hand, ‘America’, is as passive aggressively about the future as it is about the present, the now. That it is still of the now, is its genius.
Gay rights; marijuana; Russia; business; news media; Marxism; the ‘Atomic Age’; religion; it has it all, suggesting, we have not changed that much at all….
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.picture curtesy of meetville.com
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.picture courtesy of meetville.com
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don’re really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
The Wonder Years seem to agree:
At a luncheon for the Chamber of Commerce in Lexington, KY, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) floated the idea of capping government benefits for women who have children out of wedlock, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
While he said that preventing unplanned pregnancies should be in the hands of communities and families, he added, “Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount.”’ He went on to say, “I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”
The idea of withholding benefits from women who have more than a certain number of children is actually current policy in many states. While most programs through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or welfare) give families more money if they have more children, 16 states cap the assistance and don’t give any extra money for new children if someone in the household is already receiving aid.
These policies were initially adopted in an attempt to dissuade low-income women from having more children out of wedlock. But the results haven’t panned out. A 2001 Government Accountability Office report on whether or not they change birth rates couldn’t conclude whether there was any impact. In California, for example, where the state has been considering a repeal of its family cap policy, most women who receive welfare from the state have a similar number of children as those who don’t. What the policies do end up doing, however, is pushing people further into poverty. That can have serious health risks, with one study finding that some limits on benefits lead to a higher death rate.
The caps also get assumptions wrong about the people who rely on public programs. Overall, those who use public assistance have the same average family size as those who don’t. There’s little evidence that low-income women on welfare are having far more children than those who aren’t enrolled.
BUT NO BIRTH CONTROLS OR ABORTIONS FOR TEH SLUTZ!!11!!! HURR HURR SMALL GOVERNMENT!!!!1!!!
I live in the next province over from the one mentioned in this article, but the same problem exists here, too. Parents from rural areas go to the big cities for work and they leave their kids behind — not out of choice, mind you.
So, these children grow up with parents far away. Their grandparents shoulder the child-rearing duties, but many are not up to the task. My former students who now teach in the mountain schools worry that China is raising generations of children with little education and poor social skills, who will just repeat the cycle with their own kids.
About 61 million Chinese children—one of every five in the world’s most populous nation—haven’t seen one or both parents for at least three months, according to the All-China Women’s Federation, a Communist Party advocacy group. The total has grown so big that the children are widely known as left-behind kids. Nowhere else on earth do so many children live largely on their own.
Many migrant parents believe they are fulfilling their duty to raise their family’s standard of living. Income sent home helps pay for better food and education, and some workers save enough money to build a new home in their rural village. It is common for both parents to leave home together, since they can save faster and there are so many jobs in the city.
Their absence forces children to shoulder the responsibilities of running a household. Grandparents who live with left-behind children often are ailing or toil long hours tending fields or gathering firewood. Many rural Chinese grandparents are illiterate and can’t help with homework.
A few of these kids manage to do well in school, and go to college. I teach some of them.
Check the media and internet forums. You’re certain to overdose on a heaping portion of raw, cruel, uninformed and biased attitudes toward poverty and the poor. These quintessential stereotypes have persisted since the early 1980’s, when greed gradually began taking up residence within America. Fast forward to the millennium, and you see the GOP resurrecting the welfare queen trope, but this time, she’s all dressed up in some new rhetoric.
Twisting and condensing complex socio-economic concepts into brief clever memes so they can effectively whip their base into an evangelical frenzy, the Conservatives employ inflammatory phrases like “Welfare is slavery” or worse, they characterize America’s safety net as “Uncle Sam’s Plantation”.
Case in point: This last week, the constituents of District 19 saw our Congressman drag his little red wagon from Lubbock to Plainview to Abilene. His “listening sessions” were a show and tell, dog and pony, snake oil and medicine show full of misinformation and outright lies to a room full of low information voters.
It’s hard to believe that no attendee called him out on his mistakes and blatant fabrications.
Too many freeloaders are filling the wagon, he said, creating a heavy burden for the taxpayers forced to carry them. Did the audience know that only 12% of our budget goes toward safety net programs?
He even referred to our growing deficit. News flash—Congressman! The deficit is shrinking quite nicely! Just this week, it was reported that the Federal deficit is down 37.6%.
How is it that the GOP can continue to spin myths, urban legends, and flaunt outrageous errors in the face of real facts and face-to-face with their constituents?
It’s because of us…
Low-information-uninformed voters continue to elect empathy-challenged individuals to make our policies. Those above the poverty line continue to believe AND perpetuate stereotypes and second-third-fourth-hand fictions about food stamp recipients who drive Cadillacs, carry designer handbags and cell phones.
In the minds of the injudiciously judgmental, there is an unspoken dress code for the poor, in order to be evaluated as legitimately needy.
I’ve heard those stories. I’ll bet you’ve heard them too. They’re filled with dangerous assumptions and judgments. The stories vilify the poor and they elevate us to the role of a hypercritical omnipotent being, who is magically familiar with each individual’s situation.
In truth, we don’t know the individual in the check-out lane in front of us; nor do we know their story. Perhaps the holder of that EBT card at whom we’re scowling has a severely handicapped child or perhaps they’re seriously ill themselves. Maybe they are shopping for an elderly parent.
That nice purse, designer jeans, or expensive shoes they’re wearing? It might have been something they purchased long before they lost their job or got sick. It might have been a gift from someone. And their children? Perhaps they were born before the job loss or debilitating illness? There’s no return policy on children you can no longer afford, you know…
Here’s the real truth: Bad things can happen to good people.
Unfortunately, we never grant the benefit of the doubt to anyone, until it happens to us. The next “toss of the dice” in life’s gamble might be your own sickness, your job loss, or your accident. Empathy is difficult for the lucky. Other people’s hardships should be a gentle reminder that hard work doesn’t guarantee a lifetime free of trouble.
In reality, most regular Joes and Janes are only three paychecks away from sinking into poverty ourselves.
Not many politicians, or even average citizens, know the day-in-day-out miseries of poverty. Few are personally acquainted with even a single individual who suffers from lack. They don’t know senior citizens on SNAP; they’ve yet to meet a single mother utilizing the WIC program for her infant, or a family lucky enough to get a Section 8 Housing Voucher.
I have a surplus of personal stories about the poor in Lubbock County. I worked with them (and FOR them) in my time as a teacher and counselor. Perhaps someday, I’ll write a book about those experiences. Everything I know about life, I learned from Lubbock’s poor and their children. I worked in many schools; all were east of University Avenue. I worked in the downtown areas of O.L. Slaton before it was a magnet school, in deep East Lubbock as a counselor at Alderson, in the barrios of North Lubbock as a counselor at Cavazos and finally, as a career counselor at Lubbock High School.
Carol Morgan is a career counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Follow her on Twitter @CounselorCarol1, on Facebook: CarolMorgan1 and her writer’s blog at http//:www.carolmorgan.org
Much more, including a lot about Carol’s experiences with the poor in Lubbock County: Poverty’s Reality and Red Wagon Fiction
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.
Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”
“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.
“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”
While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.
The gauge defines “economic insecurity” as experiencing unemployment during the year, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.
“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.
He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.
“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” Wilson said.
Wingnuts are laughing and gloating ITZ OBAMUZ FAULT!!11!!! just like they laughed and gloated over Detroit.
In an interview with NBC News, Rep. Paul Ryan claimed that Obama’s policies are the reason why people in poverty are poor. Ryan tried to convince the poor to blame Obama, not Republicans for their struggles.
Rep. Ryan spoke in his usual Ayn Rand code when asked by NBC News to talk about poverty. Ryan blamed Obama’s policies for creating more poverty, “This top down big government approach that the president has taken, I think the evidence is very clear has been proven not to help people out of poverty, but more importantly to trap people in poverty. He’s pushing the same old ideas that have been proven to fail. He’s pushing polarization. He’s pushing big government regulations, and taxes, and spending that actually make it harder to create jobs. That make it harder to get jobs and get out of poverty. Everybody cares that we get people out of poverty, but unfortunately, these strategies have failed miserably to the point where we have the highest poverty rates in a generation.”
Ryan said that he thought it was insensitive to not have work requirements in food stamps, “I think it’s insensitive to not have a work requirement for food stamps, and what I mean when I say that is: our goal in these programs is not to make poverty easier to handle and tolerate and live with, our goal in these program ought to be to give people a temporary hand so that they can get out of poverty.”
Paul Ryan was absolutely and comprehensively lying about what the president has done. Obama hasn’t pushed big government and taxes. In fact, the president is the biggest tax cutter in American history. The regulations that he was mentioned was Randian code for Obamacare. Obama hasn’t pushed polarization. It is Ryan and his fellow House Republicans who have repeatedly tried to cut food and medical aid for the poor while giving the wealthy huge tax cuts. Ryan’s own budget guts or privatizes programs for the needy, while giving millionaires an additional $265,000 a year on top of the Bush tax cuts
When Paul Ryan mentioned a work requirement for food stamps, what he really meant was the Soultherland Amendment, which is anything but your standard work requirement. According to the CBPP, “It would allow states to end benefits for most adults who receive or apply for SNAP — including parents with young children and many people with disabilities — if they are not working or participating in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week. The amendment provides no jobs and no funds for work or training programs, and it does not require states to make any work opportunities available. People who want to work and are looking for a job but haven’t found one could be cut off.”.
Earlier this week, McDonald’s made headlines for offering a sample budget to its employees living on minimum wage.
Instead, the company’s goodwill gesture seemed to highlight the near impossibility of surviving on that level of pay. For example, the budget assumed the worker had two jobs.
To find out what it’s like living on minimum wage, we asked one McDonald’s worker. Below is an edited transcript of the conversation with Carman Iverson, 28, in Kansas City, MO.
When did you start working at McDonald’s?
I started working there in April 2012.
How much do you make per hour?
$7.35. When I first started working there, I was making $7.25.
When did you get the extra ten cents an hour?
When the President [of the U.S.] raised our minimum wage. [Ed. note: She was mistaken; On January 1, 2013, the minimum wage was raised to $7.35 because in 2006, Missouri voted for an annual cost of living adjustment in the minimum wage. The previous few years, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 was higher, so Missouri followed the federal minimum.]
How many hours do you work per week?
I work close to 27 hours one week, and then I might work 20 hours the next week.
How do they decide how many hours you work per week?
They decide by how many days you get on the schedule.
So, even if you wanted to work 40 hours a week, you couldn’t do it?
I couldn’t do it.
What’s the fewest hours you ever worked in a week?
How much do you make after taxes each month?
Probably $200-something, some paychecks are $300-something. Between $400-$600 a month.
How much is your rent?
My rent is $650.
How many bedrooms do you have?
Do you have children?
I have four — 11, 7, 4 and 5.
If you make, on average, $500 a month and your rent is $650 a month, how can you afford your house?
I have a landlord that works with us. I’m kind of on my last little leg, because I’ve been late on rent. I’m actually behind three months in rent.
If you only ever make $400-$600 and your rent is $650, can you ever pay your rent?
Sometimes I can pay it, sometimes I can’t. I get paid twice a month, and both checks go to rent and the rest of it goes to utilities to the point where I don’t have any money left to buy anything for my kids — to buy them clothes, shoes or anything they need.
If all of your money is going to your rent and your utilities, how do you feed yourself and your four children?
I get food stamps. I get about $543 a month.
Is that enough to feed everybody?
Not really, because they eat so much. They’re growing kids, so they eat a lot. The food can be gone by the time I get to my next food stamp day. And then we have to wait two more weeks before my food stamps come next month, before I can get something to eat, and then I have to ask my sister for food and all that.
The comments are especially sickening. The commenters, the usual frothing wingnuts. excoriate Carman for having four children. Why didn’t she use birth control? You would think that Birth Control is totally free and being handed out by Planned Parenthood on every street corner and you just have to be stubborn and a welfare queen not to take it.
Also, a few people did ask the logical question “Why pay the CEO’s such obscene salaries?” To which the wingnuts answered BECAUSE THEY ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT!! IF THEY DIDN’T GET PAID WHAT THEY ARE WORTH, THEY WOULD GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.
To which I say to all the CEO’s who think they are not getting paid what they are worth:
A wave of immigration, the aging of non-Hispanic white women beyond child-bearing years and a new baby boom are diminishing the proportion of children who are white. Already, half of U.S. children younger than 1 are Hispanic, black, Asian, Native American or of mixed races.
“A lot of people think demographics alone will bring about change and it won’t,” said Gail Christopher, who heads the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing project on racial equity. “If attitudes and behaviors don’t change, demographics will just mean we’ll have a majority population that is low-income, improperly educated, disproportionately incarcerated with greater health disparities.”
In 2010, 39.4 percent of black children, 34 percent of Hispanic children and 38 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native children lived in poverty, defined as an annual income of $22,113 that year for a family of four. That compares with about 18 percent of white, non-Hispanic children, according to Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey.