Tag Archives: poverty

Fame Day: Jose Mujica

We don’t debate nearly as much as we should on what a Socialist society would look like, but if I had to guess, it’d probably be pretty similar to the administration of Jose Mujica.

Uruguay’s current leader has been dubbed by some as “the world’s poorest president”. Swiftly gaining acclaim as news of his actions and lifestyle spread across the internet, Mujica has been joined the all-too-small ranks of “honorable politicians”, perhaps filling the void left by the death of Nelson Mandela in December of last year.

In a world where poverty, inequality, and economic injustice are increasingly recognized, Mujica stands out for his shocking rejection of the pomp and circumstance that accompany power. Mujica drives a beat-up Volkswagon Beetle, and lives with his wife on a chrysanthemum farm on the outskirts of the capitol with their three-legged dog, Manuela. Living off of 12,000 dollars, and donating 90% of his presidential salary to charity, it sounds almost more like the setting for a political fairy tale than a reality.

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Fame Day: Alice and Kev

If you’ve been reading this feature for some time you’ll know that we typically laud things for being good and then some. Tom Morello is a great musician, sure, but he’s also an activist of the highest caliberIf I Were You is a podcast featuring a very funny internet duo, but it also has them tearing terrible people a new one. Today’s installment is a 60-part story that was created using the video game The Sims 3.

goodjobkev

It’s also a highly successful attempt at translating a game’s playthrough into a compelling narrative that discusses the realities of poverty. That may have been a lot to take in, I realize.

Alice and Kev was created by Robin Burkinshaw, a games design student at the time, in mid-2009. He describes the outset of this venture as starting out relatively simply:

“This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any of the game’s unrealistically easy cash routes. It was inspired by the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from players of The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3′s new living neighborhood features.”

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Fame Day: Micro Homes

Refinancing? Mortgages? Loans? No thanks, I own my home, and it cost me $15,000.

Nope, I’m not trying to spam you guys. I’m just sharing the title of my friend Kayla’s blog. Are you curious how she managed it? Well, she is the proud owner/designer/builder/etc. of a micro home.

Kaylas house

The exterior of her little place, and her loft bedroom.

 

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Guaranteed Minimum Income

Your name is John/Jane Smith, and you are an American citizen 18 years of age or older. On this merit alone, you will receive approximately 300 dollars per month to be deposited in a bank account of your choosing.

That right there is the gist of Guaranteed Minimum Income and the subject of today’s discussion. Continue reading

The Truth About Welfare (From Someone Who Works In Welfare)

I don’t talk about my work much. Partly that’s due to the fact that I tend to be pretty paranoid and partly because there’s not a ton of stories I can tell that’ll produce a reaction other than this:

I work at the intersection of nonprofits, social work, and welfare, and in spite of the relatively complexity (chaos might be a better term) of all that, I would still like to try to clear some things up about the system I work in and the people I try to serve.

I. The “Welfare Queen” is a Myth

There’s an imaged that’s been popularized in this country of the lazy, entitled so-called “welfare queen” who does nothing but collects a nice fat check every month which she blows on drugs, luxury cars, and plasma TVs.

This person, for all the outrage and bile she generates, does not exist. Continue reading

Gordon Brown Fixes Education (In A Single Post)

I’ve brought up the subject of education a few times now. I’ve never explored the subject on a grand scale, but I intend to rectify that today. Here’s some of the key issues our society seems to have with education, and what I think we could do to fix it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to say right here and now that I was homeschooled and can’t speak with first-hand experience on a lot of what I’m going to be talking about. A less arrogant man would take this as a sign that he should probably just shut his ignorant mouth about it, but I’m going to forge recklessly ahead. I do have some cursory teaching experience (though that’s to an adult population), I’ve helped kids with school in a professional capacity, and what with this culture’s frankly creepy obsession with high school (which oughta be a post in and of itself), I feel I’ve got at least a grip on what we’re dealing with.

Let’s begin. Continue reading

Shame Day: Treatment of the Poor

I work with a population the vast majority of whom live below the poverty line in one of tougher zip codes this side of the Rockies. I won’t say it’s the least stressful job I’ve had, but for all sweat shed and sleep lost, if nothing else you get an up close look at a part of life most people don’t want to even acknowledge exists.

Let’s talk about the poor of America, and how you’ve got a lousy attitude about them.

Now you might be thinking “Geez, stop the presses, a Commie is ranting about the treatment of the poor.”

Touché. Continue reading