‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

Why do so many poor people eat junk food, fail to budget properly, show no ambition? Linda Tirado knew exactly why… because she was one of them. Here, in an extract from her book, Hand to Mouth, she tells her story in her own words

Linda Tirado
The Observer, Saturday 20 September 2014

In the autumn of 2013 I was in my first term of school in a decade. I had two jobs; my husband, Tom, was working full-time; and we were raising our two small girls. It was the first time in years that we felt like maybe things were looking like they’d be OK for a while.

After a gruelling shift at work, I was unwinding online when I saw a question from someone on a forum I frequented: Why do poor people do things that seem so self-destructive? I thought I could at least explain what I’d seen and how I’d reacted to the pressures of being poor. I wrote my answer to the question, hit post, and didn’t think more about it for at least a few days. This is what it said:

Why I make terrible decisions, or, poverty thoughts

There’s no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6am, go to school (I have a full course load, but I only have to go to two in-person classes), then work, then I get the kids, then pick up my husband, then have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 12.30am, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3am. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr Martini [her partner], see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork.

Those nights I’m in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won’t be able to stay up the other nights because I’ll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can’t afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn’t leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn’t in the mix.

When I was pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel for some time. I had a mini-fridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC [government-funded nutritional aid for women, infants and children]. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12 for $2. Had I had a stove, I couldn’t have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron while knocked up.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

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Naomi Klein on the People’s Climate March & the Global Grassroots Movement Fighting Fossil Fuels

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Climate change is real. Want to live? It’s up to people like you

I couldn’t go to this march nor could I afford to take the time to go to the Dallas Pride Day events.

Over the last year I have been overwhelmed with personal disasters that require me to devote my energy to dealing  with.

Sometimes all these marches seem to be energy diversions.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/climate-change-common-people-march-jarvis-cocker

Politicians don’t understand. They just smile and hold the hand of big business. And so we march. Because destroying the Earth is not a good idea. It really isn’t

for Creative Time Reports
theguardian.com, Thursday 18 September 2014

Do I really have to march? It’s actually a serious question: I mean, marching’s rather … military, isn’t it? Bit aggressive. Bit too much like what the baddies on the other side would do, don’t you think? Wouldn’t you rather saunter? Or stroll? Mince, even? A hop, a skip or a jump – anything but stern-faced, humorless marching. And let’s face it: we’re probably going to need a sense of humor.

Remember 15 February 2003? If you’re taking the trouble to read this, then you probably went to an anti-war march that day. Didn’t turn out so well, did it? Nothing really changed. The “largest protest event in human history”, as we remember it today, was effectively ignored. That left a nasty taste. It might even have put you off the idea of protesting forever. The marching boots were thrown to the back of the cupboard and you went into a major sulk. Maybe you even wrote a song about it. Yeah, that’ll tell ‘em. You wrote the words:

If you don’t like it then leave

or use your right to protest on the street.

Yeah, use your right –

but don’t imagine that it’s heard.

No: not whilst c***ts are still running the world.

– “Running the World” (2006)

And you thought: “Yes! Smash the system!” And then … time passed. Until you got this email:

On Sunday, Sept 21, a climate march through midtown Manhattan will kick off a week of high-profile climate events in the Big Apple. Promoted as an effort to bring unprecedented attention to climate change, the gathering comes just as international climate negotiations ramp up in a major push toward a new global accord. The People’s Climate March, being called the ‘largest climate march in history’ by organizers, will potentially draw over a hundred thousand people to walk through Manhattan and show a level of demand for action not seen since the era of Civil Rights marches and anti-Vietnam protests.

Can you be arsed? Do you risk being disappointed again? Or do you sit this one out? I mean, climate change is a bit old-hat now, isn’t it? And some people say it doesn’t even exist – people like … Nigel Lawson. (A note for non-British readers: you may be more familiar with his daughter, the TV chef Nigella Lawson. The fact that he gave his daughter a “feminized” version of his own name tells you all you need to know about him, really.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/climate-change-common-people-march-jarvis-cocker

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Emma Watson at HeForShe 2014

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