It Is Expensive to Be Poor

From The Atlantic:  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/it-is-expensive-to-be-poor/282979/

Minimum-wage jobs are physically demanding, have unpredictable schedules, and pay so meagerly that workers can’t save up enough to move on.


Jan 13 2014

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a move that was unprecedented at the time and remains unmatched by succeeding administrations. He announced a War on Poverty, saying that its “chief weapons” would be “better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities.”

So starting in 1964 and for almost a decade, the federal government poured at least some of its resources in the direction they should have been going all along: toward those who were most in need. Longstanding programs like Head Start, Legal Services, and the Job Corps were created. Medicaid was established. Poverty among seniors was significantly reduced by improvements in Social Security.

Johnson seemed to have established the principle that it is the responsibility of government to intervene on behalf of the disadvantaged and deprived. But there was never enough money for the fight against poverty, and Johnson found himself increasingly distracted by another and deadlier war—the one in Vietnam. Although underfunded, the War on Poverty still managed to provoke an intense backlash from conservative intellectuals and politicians.

In their view, government programs could do nothing to help the poor because poverty arises from the twisted psychology of the poor themselves. By the Reagan era, it had become a cornerstone of conservative ideology that poverty is caused not by low wages or a lack of jobs and education, but by the bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles of the poor.

Picking up on this theory, pundits and politicians have bemoaned the character failings and bad habits of the poor for at least the past 50 years. In their view, the poor are shiftless, irresponsible, and prone to addiction. They have too many children and fail to get married. So if they suffer from grievous material deprivation, if they run out of money between paychecks, if they do not always have food on their tables—then they have no one to blame but themselves.

In the 1990s, with a bipartisan attack on welfare, this kind of prejudice against the poor took a drastically misogynistic turn. Poor single mothers were identified as a key link in what was called “the cycle of poverty.” By staying at home and collecting welfare, they set a toxic example for their children, who—important policymakers came to believe—would be better off being cared for by paid child care workers or even, as Newt Gingrich proposed, in orphanages.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/it-is-expensive-to-be-poor/282979/

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D.C. man sentenced to 10 years for stabbing transgender woman 40 times

From LGBTQ Nation:  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/01/d-c-man-sentenced-to-10-years-for-stabbing-transgender-woman-40-times/

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Monday, January 13, 2014

WASHINGTON — A D.C. man who stabbed a transgender woman 40 times last summer after an argument about sex was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday.

Michael McBride, 23, had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection with the June 21, 2013 attack on Bree Wallace, a 29-year-old transgender woman.

McBride had exchanged text messages and phone calls with Wallace in the lead up to the assault, and on the day it happened, officials say he met with her at an abandoned home in Southeast D.C. to have sex, reported WJLA-TV.Prosecutors say that the suspect and victim got into a verbal argument about sex that escalated into a physical altercation.

During the fight, McBride stabbed Wallace more than three dozen times.

After his prison term, McBride will also serve five years of supervised release and receive mental health services.

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The Fatal Transgender Double Standard

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/the-fatal-transgender-dou_b_4571932.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


01/10/2014

A few days ago, Katie Couric interviewed transgender model Carmen Carrera, and Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox. For whatever reason, Couric chose to veer suddenly into questioning Carrera about how her “private parts” are “different now” and if she’s had that surgery yet. Carmen shushed her immediately, and reminded Couric that’s a very private issue. In the next segment with Laverne, Couric went right back to asking Ms. Cox about the genitalia question.

Laverne’s answer was flawless.

“The preoccupation with transition with surgery objectifies trans people and then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we’re targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the [LGBT] community. … [B]y focusing on bodies, we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination.”

Other commentators have noted that the bodies of transgender people are somehow public domain. Though Laverne alluded to it, not only are our bodies expected to be public domain, but so are our histories. The results of this unrealistic expectation are horrific.

In Australia, police took a man into custody. While there, the police (illegally) informed him that his girlfriend was a post-operative transsexual. After being released from police custody, he went home, found his girlfriend sleeping, and woke her up by repeatedly bludgeoning her with a glass ash tray until it tore her lips off. After she lost consciousness, he took her to the attic balcony and threw her over the rail onto the concrete two floors below.

The police who leaked this information got community service as punishment.

In Scotland, a transgender man has been convicted of rape and placed on the sex offender list for not disclosing to his girlfriend that he was transgender before engaging in consensual sexual activity.

I have seen it expressed that any transgender person who does not tell their partner that they have transitioned is guilty of rape, and that violence against the transgender person is merely an act of justifiable self-defense. The way this man stuck his hands down the pants of a transgender woman without her consent and then beat her when he found out her birth gender. One commenter on this assault summed up how transgender people are expected to know their place:

“Since heterosexual males generally are not looking for a person of the same physical sex as them, shouldn’t this transgender person have informed the man that she is in reality a male? “Anita” Green is the problem here, not the poor guy who got duped.”

When 18-year-old Angie Zapata’s boyfriend found out she was transgender by forcibly groping her, he bludgeoned her to death with a fire extinguisher. A commenter on the Denver Post summed up society’s feelings in one sentence: “This transgender brought it on himself…”

Not only are our bodies not our own, neither are the history of your genitals or your genetics. For whatever reason, this seems to only apply to transgender people.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/the-fatal-transgender-dou_b_4571932.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Reefer sanity takes hold in Colorado

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/09/reefer_sanity_takes_hold_in_colorado/

A recent trip to a cannabis center in Denver offers proof positive that legalization is the prudent way forward

Seven years before legal marijuana went on sale this month in my home state of Colorado, the drug warriors in President George W. Bush’s administration released an advertisement that is now worth revisiting.

“I smoked weed and nobody died,” intoned the teenage narrator. “I didn’t get into a car accident. I didn’t O.D. on heroin the next day. Nothing happened.”

The television spot from the White House drug czar was intended to discourage marijuana use by depicting it as boring. But in the process, the government suggested that smoking a little pot is literally, in the words of the narrator, “the safest thing in the world.”

Why is this spot worth revisiting? Because in light of what’s happening here in Colorado, the ad looks less like a scary warning than a reassuringly accurate prophecy. Indeed, to paraphrase the ad, for all the sky-will-fall rhetoric about legalization, there haven’t been piles of dead bodies and overdoses. Nothing like that has happened since we started regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol.

Instead, as I saw during a trip to 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, it has been the opposite. There, I didn’t find the mayhem predicted by so many drug warriors. I found an understated retail facility, a technologically advanced horticultural operation, respectful customers and a staff with expert knowledge. It was, in fact, similar to one of Colorado’s much-ballyhooed craft beer companies. The only major difference was that, according to decades of medical and social science research, the mind-altering product being sold at the cannabis center is far safer than the alcohol being peddled at the breweries.

Of course, this portrait of tranquility, normalcy and pragmatism is often downplayed by the sensationalist national media in faraway Washington, D.C. There, amid wild speculation about absurdly apocalyptic hypotheticals, the fist-shaking “get off my lawn!” fogies are negatively caricaturing legalization in a fit of reefer madness.

For instance, there’s been tripe like Ruth Marcus’s Washington Post screed that at once warns of the supposed “perils of legalized pot” and absolves herself for previously using the drug. There was also the lament from the New York Times’ David Brooks, in which he first fondly reminisced about his erstwhile pot smoking and then claimed that legalizing marijuana harms America’s “moral ecology.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/09/reefer_sanity_takes_hold_in_colorado/

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Colorado Tourism Commercial: Weed is Legal

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