Lately there have been quite a few memes popping up regarding food stamp usage in America. Most of them are shared by the ignorant and bigoted people who feel the need to try to shame people who are using such benefits.
Why they do this, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it makes them feel better to put down those less fortunate than themselves. Maybe it’s because they are truly ignorant of what it’s like to be poor enough to have to use programs like these. Maybe it’s because they’ve been brainwashed by their favorite politician, news program or religious leader to think that people on welfare are lazy and selfish.
No matter what reason they use, the people who post these memes are the ones who are wrong. Wrong for not bothering – or outright refusing – to fact-check. Wrong for lacking compassion. Wrong for not using common sense.
The most recent meme that’s been floating around is the one complaining about restaurants accepting food stamps. Again, those posting it or “liking” it are guilty of not fact-checking and not using common sense.
Federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) policies allow each individual state to determine whether or not to allow food stamps to be used in a restaurant. Some states do, some don’t.
Now before you get your panties in a wad, or start screaming, “See, I told you so!”, there are a few things you should know about how it works, who qualifies, and the reasoning behind the policies.
You can’t just walk into any restaurant willy-nilly and use food stamps to pay for a meal. There are restrictions.
The restaurants have to be approved to accept food stamps. That approval isn’t handed out to just any restaurant. There has to be a reason that restaurant gets approval. Most of the time, it’s because it’s in an area where there are a high number of people who are qualified to use food stamps in restaurants, or in an area where there aren’t many other options for qualified food stamp users.
Then there are the qualifications for food stamp recipients. The only people who qualify are the elderly, disabled or homeless, and rarely, those who don’t have functioning equipment at their homes (refrigerator, stove).
According to the USDA website:
“With very few exceptions, SNAP benefits cannot be used in restaurants – less than one-tenth of one percent of SNAP benefits were used in restaurants in FY11. The law permits States to authorize restaurants to serve meals to some elderly, disabled, or homeless SNAP clients, who are unable to prepare meals at home. Only four States have chosen to do so.”
In the Pennsylvania SNAP handbook, section 503.3 describes what is and isn’t allowed:
SNAP benefits may also be used to pay for meals prepared and served by any of the following:
- Authorized meal-delivery services
- Communal dining facilities for the elderly or SSI households
- Rehabilitation centers for drug addicts or alcoholics
- Group-living units
- Shelters for battered women and children
- Authorized providers of meals for the homeless
- Authorized restaurants serving meals to the homeless, elderly, or disabled 7 CFR § 271.2(9)
Only homeless persons may use SNAP benefits in qualified restaurants. The CAO must issue a PA 2SP to the eligible client. The CAO must make the case record show that a PA 2SP was issued as a controlled document and include the name of the person in the household who is eligible for the qualified-restaurant program.
The reasons for allowing such provisions are because “homeless individuals don’t have kitchen spaces to cook meals, so buying unprepared foods at a grocery store may not be all that helpful. Those with disabilities might have a harder time cooking. And lastly, studies have shown that seniors are less likely to eat if they don’t get hot meals.” [source: Findlaw.com]
Anyone who disagrees with food stamps being used in this manner are also guilty of lacking compassion. If you continue to post these memes, do so at your own peril, because I will call you out on being willfully ignorant, bigoted, heartless assholes.
1. lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.
2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: ignorant of quantum physics.
3. uninformed; unaware.
4. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: an ignorant statement.
a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race.
When I was growing up, I thought my grandmother was the meanest woman on Earth. I don’t recall any good memories of her at all until I was around 19 or 20 years old. I have one funny memory of a time, while at my Aunt’s house, my cousins and I played a practical joke on my grandmother. The joke went smashingly well! The aftermath … not so well; we got into so much trouble for that one! But at least it was memorable.
I have fond memories of my grandfather, even though he died when I was 6 years old. I remember times spent at their little corner store, and a flash of a memory or two about times spent playing with my cousins in my grandparents’ backyard.
My grandmother moved to Arizona around 1980 when I was about 10 years old. I don’t even remember the occasion of her actually moving! I just remember that she lived in Tucson, and I had the worst time remembering how to spell that word.
Some time in the early 90′s, my grandmother came for a visit. She brought her “friend” with her – a man named Joe. I was living in my own place, and dating the man who would be my first husband. I remember my grandmother taking a bit of an interest in me and my life, and asking me to show her and Joe around town a bit. They both sat in the back of my car like teenagers while I drove them around. It was kinda cute.
The next memory I have of her is when she was quite ill, and came to live with my father for a period of time in the mid 90′s. I remember visiting a couple of times, and how miserably grumpy she was, and not wanting to visit with her much because of her bad mood.
She ended up moving back to Arizona, where she eventually died in 1998. By that time, I was 27, divorced from my first husband, in a committed relationship, and my Son was just over a year old. I don’t even remember if she met my Son, or even knew I had a child.
As you can see, I wasn’t very close to my grandmother at all. Most of what I know about her came from stories I heard after she died. I’ve learned a good bit more about her since I’ve started doing genealogy research, which ironically started because I found out her side of the family came from Native American ancestry. I wish I’d known that growing up, and had taken the time to talk to her about what she remembered.
I’ve discovered that she and I have very similar qualities to our personalities. We both have a love of learning. We are excellent typists. And looking back, I’m thinking she wasn’t mean as much as she was someone who embraced her inner bitch, just like I do. In fact, I think she’d be pretty damn proud of me if she knew the person I’ve become.
The best evidence I have for this conclusion are the letters I uncovered while going through old photo albums. It looks like my grandmother was also an activist, in her own right! And that makes me grin from ear to ear!
The Case of the Missing Bandshell and Broken Lights
a.k.a. – The Verbal Bitchslap My Grandmother Gave the Mayor of Wilmington DE
Rockford Park is in Wilmington Delaware. It is one of the sites for the Summer Concert Series – free concerts in the park during the summer. This was something my grandparents enjoyed doing together in the late 1960′s.
There were some problems that occurred that must’ve made my grandmother downright furious, judging by the letters she wrote to the Mayor of Wilmington and the newspaper.
She received a note back from Mr. George Sargisson, on a membership letter, which is undated. The note at the bottom reads:
Many thanks to the [surname redacted] – thanks, too, for your letter to mayor, Frank, etc. It’s to the point & should get some positive results. Hope future concerts go OK & without a hitch.
George Sargisson -
Things didn’t go any smoother the following week, prompting my grandmother to show her skills at persuasive writing yet again. I may have to try this tactic some time in the future!
Finally, she received a reply from the mayor’s office. I must give proper kudos to the mayor’s Administrative Assistant, Allan C. Rusten, for a brilliant and funny reply!
Things seem to have been very different 40+ years ago … these days the typical kind of reply you’ll get from someone in office is a canned response that usually doesn’t even address your reasons for writing to them in the first place.
I’m also very impressed that the mayor remained calm and objective in his reply to my grandmother, even though he launched a bitchslap right back at her for her insinuation. (an insinuation that really pissed me off when I read it, thinking that not much has changed in 40 years when it comes to the vitriol aimed at those less fortunate)
And lastly, another written note from the Executive Director of RP&S, Wilmington DE. The note reads:
Thanks Mrs. [surname redacted], for showing Hal’s letter. You certainly got ‘em “moving” (slowly) – saw Hal yesterday at Rotary & told him that there were still 3 lights out! Hope remainder of concerts go well. Thanks again.
Incidentally, there was a write up about George T. Sargisson in 2007, about what he accomplished in Wilmington. There’s also a little bit at the end about the permanent bandshell that my grandmother was talking about. He appears to have been quite an extraordinary guy. I’m sure my grandparents were lucky to know him.
UPDATE! January 16, 2012:
SOPA has been “shelved” indefinitely, but PIPA is still a problem, and the blackout WILL continue!
So, you want to blackout your WordPress.com blog in support of STOP SOPA day on January 18, 2012?
It’s actually pretty easy.
Go to your Dashboard. On the Sidebar find APPEARANCE > WIDGETS.
Create a new Text Widget with this inside (make sure to save it):
<div align="center" style="position:fixed;width:100%;height:100%; top:0;right:0;background-color:#3D0707;-moz-opacity:0.9;opacity:.90; filter:alpha(opacity=90);text-align:center;font-size:700%; font-weight:bold;padding-top:300px;"> <span style="color:#fff;">Stop SOPA/PIPA </span> <a style="font-size:20%;color:#fff;" href="https://www.eff.org/#censored" target="_blank">https://www.eff.org/</a></div>
This is what it will look like *code changed slightly to include PIPA; screenshot does not reflect this change*:
Your blog will then be inaccessible to visitors. However, the link on the blackout screen is clickable and will open in a separate window, so your visitors will be able to get information about what SOPA is, and how they can help stop it.
If any part of this tutorial is too confusing, or it just doesn’t work right for you, please feel free to comment and I’ll do what I can to help you get it working. Except on January 18, 2012.
For more help with this topic, try the WordPress forums: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/how-best-to-go-dark-for-sopa-protest?replies=55
For help with other ways to participate:
I was watching a show on Current tv this morning, called “Two Americas“. It showed the lives of 1 very rich family, and 1 very poor family. In the poor family, the man had a job where he was making $55k a year, and I believe the woman may have had a job as well. Then he got laid off. Their dream home went into foreclosure, and they moved to Texas to find work.
The man was in construction, and spent 5 months looking for work, sending out hundreds of resumes, and getting only 3 interviews, which he never heard back from. They were desperate for money, as the pitiful job the wife had was also lost, and they were trying to get by on the $19k he was getting from unemployment. They have 2 children.
During some interviews with the man, he said he hated that he was on unemployment, and would much rather have a job where he could earn a living and care for his family. He also hated being on food stamps ($178 a month), and snarkily replied, “Thanks Texas” about the small amount.
Every bill was past due, and they needed to come up with hundreds just to keep from having their electric, water, and phone from being shut off. He sought out help from his mother, who was living on SS. She was able to contribute some, but not enough. He went to a charity, and was lucky to get $75, which was a once a YEAR allowance from the charity.
At the end of the show, they were watching one of the GOP debates. When Newt said that he disagreed with giving people unemployment, the poor man said, “I totally agree! Our government is too big. We shouldn’t have to rely on our government. If they didn’t help, someone else would have to step in to help their neighbors!” When Romney said that the rich shouldn’t be taxed at a higher rate, the poor wife replied, “They already pay their fair share. We all pay the same rate, right?”
*facepalm!* This man had scoured his area to find help, and none was out there! Does he REALLY think that without unemployment and welfare, that charities would help people MORE than what they’re able to do now?! Did he really think his neighbors would help him, since they were all having their utilities shut off for non-payment as well?! What kind of people fight/vote against their own best interest, and the best interest of their neighbors?! What kind of people take unemployment and welfare, then say we don’t need them and shouldn’t have them?! What kind of person doesn’t know that the rich pay far less of a percentage of their income than the middle class?!
I can only assume that these people are completely ignorant. Or brainwashed. Or both. I feel sad for them. But if they vote in the next election for someone who would strip away everything they need just to survive, then they deserve what they get.
For more info and a discussion about the show: http://current.com/shows/vanguard/big-featured-discussion/93567183_what-did-you-think-of-two-americas.htm
A market consists of supply, demand, providers and consumers. The business exchange rate in a free market is initially set by the provider and then either accepted or declined by the consumer who has the freedom to go elsewhere to meet their consumption need. The reason that the provider must set the initial rate is that they know the energy they apply and the compensation they must receive to stay in business. If the consumer were to actually set compensation for a given provision, the most likely outcome would be that the provision would cease because the consumer would naturally want to set the rate lower than the provider could provide it.
In a free market, the consumer does not set, but rather only affects the exchange rate through the freedom to shop for the most favorable rate within their market based on available supplies and the magnitude and immediacy of their demand. Through this consumer decision making, the most competitive provider is likely to be the most successful, unless they provide at a loss, in which case, the provider most likely eventually goes bankrupt which can cost the whole system money. Although honest providers would not likely do this, providing at a loss can run other providers that cannot sustain the equivalent loss out of the provision market. The nature of big business is that it has little or no element of compassion for the competition.
External elements can affect the market such as tax laws, legal privileges and wage dictatorships. We live in a market where many elements of business can be separated through legal privileges creating different forms of business. A corporation is a business that separates those who benefit from the provision of business, (Investors) from the risks of loss associated with business activity. A person providing business services on their own takes full business risk and thus is at a decided disadvantage to the corporate investor even though they are actually doing the work that generates their own gain and the investor is not.
The privilege given to corporate investors enables the business they profit from to risk greater loss than the individual conducting business since the investors never take the risks. If the business fails, the most the investor loses is his or her investment. The business can file bankruptcy and the government, (tax payers) and market will pick up the costs. Contrarily if a person conducting business on their own fails, they can loose everything they own and more. There are other advantages corporations (and their investors) enjoy that individuals doing business do not; corporations set the compensation rate of their employees based on the ability to give investors (who take no business risk) a gain. This is a wage dictatorship.
Through mechanizing, outsourcing, importing and keeping compensation in a market to a minimum, they can force the compensatory value of the market for human energy down below the market’s capacity to sustainl. The individual conducting business ultimately cannot compete. So as you should see, we do not live in a free market because advantage is given to the corporate form of business. We do not live in a free market because in a free market, the providers set the rate of exchange. In corporate employment, the laborers are the providers yet they do not set their rate of exchange, the corporation is the consumer and it sets the rate of exchange based on the ability to generate profit for investors.
That our labor system is not a free market system is obvious. That systemic reward for providers is arbitrarily based in favor of the sustained winnings of the mere gambler is also. So long as the class war enabled through this non-free market system is waged by investors through corporations against laborers, there will be no free market or wide spread economic prosperity. It is not that the politicians don’t understand this, they do. The allegiance to the money that is pumped through this abomination perpetuates a slave market for human labor. Capitalism is not the problem, corporate capitalism and its influence on government is the entire problem.
Billy and Bobby – normally well behaved boys – are bored one day, so they pick up a few stones and throw them at a house.
There’s some minor damage – a chipped window, a broken light fixture, some dents in the siding.
Johnny – the neighborhood terror – comes along with a bowling ball, and throws it at the house.
The ball crashes through a window, then shatters a glass coffee table, ultimately landing on the dog laying under the table, killing the dog.
Neighbor A calls the cops. Neighbor B runs outside to confront the children.
The police arrive, and question the boys and the neighbors separately.
The homeowner arrives home, sees the damage and becomes justifiably angry. He wants to know who did this to his home and dog.
Neighbor A tells the homeowner which damage was caused by each boy.
Neighbor B tells the homeowner that all of the boys were responsible, and they should be blamed equally, and should receive equal punishment.
Word starts to spread throughout the neighborhood about what happened.
Billy and Bobby try to explain to people that they know what they did was wrong, and they’re willing to pay for the damages they caused, but don’t feel it’s right that they share equal blame for the worst of the damage. Neighbor A corroborates what they’ve said, and defends them.
Neighbor B and Johnny very loudly and persistently try to tell people that all the boys are equally to blame, and that Johnny wouldn’t have done what he did if he hadn’t seen the other boys throwing rocks first.
It ends up going to court. You’re the judge. What’s your ruling? What is the punishment? Who pays for the damages? Are all three boys equally responsible?
Now apply this scenario to politics and news. Are all politicians the same; should they share equal responsibility for destroying our country?
Are all news outlets the same? Is it morally right to say, “they all did it, they’re all to blame!”? Or are you just trying to obfuscate the fact that one news outlet is much worse than all the others.
When the wrongs that one person, one company, one political party do severely outweigh the wrongs that another person, company or political party do, should they all receive equal blame, equal punishment? Is that fair?
Again, you’re the judge. What’s your ruling?
I was planning on writing a blog about this tonight, but it would seem that my friend World.B.Free got to it before I did in his blog, entitled “Of Mosques and Ground Zero.. Sarah Palin is right on this one“. So, instead of writing an entire blog in response, I figured I’d go ahead and post my own.
WBF, I don’t think you’re wrong. But then again, I’ve been fighting against this mosque since the first I heard of it, months ago.
Most of the people reading this will recognize me as a very Liberal Democrat, an Atheist, and very outspoken against the Right-wing Conservative Repukes. However, this is one of those instances that I completely agree with them (shocking, I know!).
But my reasons don’t necessarily mirror those of the right-wing. For me, it’s not about religion, per se. I should clarify, it’s not about me feeling like my religion is being competed against (which is how most of them see it), and it’s not about me not wanting any religion (which is how most of them will view my point of view). My reasons go much deeper.
In addition to my life-long studying of the Christian Bible, I have also been recently studying the Muslim Qur’an. Granted, I don’t have as many years “under my belt” with the Qur’an as I do the Bible. But in my research, I’ve found that most Muslims don’t argue the meaning behind each passage in the Qur’an, as the Christians do with the Bible.
Most Muslims take the meanings literally, and most Muslims still follow all the rules written in the Qur’an, no matter how barbaric. The same can’t be said for Christians. I mean, when is the last time a Christian was stoned to death for some indiscretion? And on the flip-side of that coin, when is the last time a Muslim was stoned to death for some indiscretion? Starting to see where I’m coming from?
In anticipation of this moving even farther to the West, Oklahoma has made a preemptive move to ban Shari’a Law. In my view, that’s one of the smartest things they could have done, and it needs to be something that all states, and our federal government, do to ensure the safety and well-being of all it’s citizens, Muslim or not!
Now, back to the mosque that’s being planned, only 2 blocks from the site of Ground Zero.
First is the emotional response. Let’s just get that out of the way, and call it what it is. Just knowing there will be a mosque in the shadow of the WTC makes my stomach turn. The fact that this has been so heavily publicized means that everyone will know it’s there. Nobody can say, “you won’t even realize it’s there” … not after all the news coverage of it. To know that this is right around the corner, is a slap in the face to all who died there, to all the families who were left behind.
Suppose they wanted to build a mosque 2 blocks from the Pentagon, or 2 blocks from Shenksville PA site of Flight 93? Would the reaction be any different? Not for me, it wouldn’t. But somehow, people think that it will be “hidden” because it’s in a city of millions, amongst other tall buildings. So was the World Trade Center! And plenty of people know if the existence of that!
They want to say that this will be a “center of healing”. For who?! Or a place to learn about Islam and the Muslim religion. Really?
Through my research, I’ve found out some things about that mosque that raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Just reading the Qur’an told me most of what I needed to know, without having to research things. Paying attention to the news about the Muslims and their religion was more than I needed to know.
Remember, most Muslims (extremist or not), take the Qur’an literally.
Qur’an 3:28 Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security.
4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them
What does that mean? Well, it’s actually pretty simple: Muslims are not allowed to befriend non-believers, unless they need to do so for their own security. In a country where Muslims are highly outnumbered, it’s in their best interest to pretend to be friends/friendly to infidels. But once they feel secure enough, they are instructed to kill the non-believers.
It’s also apparently ok for Muslims to lie to non-believers about friendships, and their intentions.
What does this have to do with the mosque, you ask? Well, those “extremists who are terrorists” (which, as you can see is not so extreme) sure felt secure enough to kill those who they considered to be infidels, on our own soil. What’s going to happen when this mosque is built? How much more secure are they going to feel? How blinded by “tolerance” do we need to be, to completely ignore the history of the Muslim religion.
How many people know that when the Muslims “conquer” an area, or an entire country, that they build a mosque as a sign of victory? And that mosque is usually built over the site of the religious “center”?
Let’s take, for example, the Muslims conquering Mecca. They entered the Kaaba, destroyed everything that represented the Meccan religion, and declared it as their own mosque. It is now the place that all Muslims face during their prayers.
Obviously, we don’t have a “religious center” here in America. The closest thing for us is our economic center, which was the WTC. And since there is no way in hell that anything but a memorial will be allowed to be built on Ground Zero, the Muslims had to go to Plan B: get as close as possible to the “center”.
Now, knowing that they’re allowed to lie about their intentions, and their history of building their mosques as a sign of victory, and their desire to Islamicize the West, how can anyone really believe that this a good thing for NYC or for America as a nation?
“Oh, but you’re just being as intolerant as the Right-wing nut jobs”, some will say. My response: Being tolerant doesn’t mean being naive and ignorant of the facts. Being tolerant doesn’t mean that we just allow Muslims to change our laws to suit their religious intolerance. Being tolerant doesn’t mean that we lay ourselves down and become doormats.
Nobody is telling anybody what they should or shouldn’t believe.
But have a little common sense people! And some TACT. Please don’t support this mosque. Tell them to take it elsewhere.
And for my fellow Liberal Democrat brothers and sisters, please do what you do so well, and RESEARCH THIS … just like you’d expect the Repukes to do.
UPDATE 7/30/10: This article has recently come to my attention.
Also, the Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement.
Because their server is spastic, at best, today, I’ve taken the liberty of copying what they’ve said:
We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.
We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.
However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.
The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.
In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.
I welcome comments, however, I will not be around to reply and/or moderate very much. So please keep it civil! Any drama brought from other blogs will be deleted. I do not tolerate drama or harassment on my blogs. Thank you for being considerate.
After reading this article, I’ve written yet another letter to Washington. It concerns S.3466 – Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2010, the legislation introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D. VT)
Please feel free to copy this, or write your own letter. Congress.org is a great place to get letters to your representatives.
On June 9, 2010, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced legislation, S.3466 – Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2010, to require restitution for victims of criminal violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and for other purposes.
Without this piece of legislation, the families of the workers killed aboard the Deepwater oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico will not be able to receive a fair settlement from BP, since the accident that killed them happened at sea. DOSHA, created in 1920, has not been updated to keep up with the times.
I stand behind Senator Leahy, and ask that this piece of legislation be passed and signed into law. The unfortunate victims of the Deepwater disaster, and any family of those who die at sea by the crimes or negligence of others, should be compensated properly.