“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher

 


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American Failures: sounding like a manifesto writer #njpoet

She told me she doesn’t expect me to ever make any money. Her love for me isn’t about that. That’s what she told me during one of our rides from the train station last week. She desperately wants me to let go of the feeling of failure that burns into the pit of my chest […]


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Nearly all Americans — 96 percent — have relied on the federal government to assist them. Young adults, who are not yet eligible for many policies, account for most of the remaining 4 percent.

On average, people reported that they had used five social policies at some point in their lives. An individual typically had received two direct social benefits in the form of checks, goods or services paid for by government, like Social Security or unemployment insurance. Most had also benefited from three policies in which government’s role was “submerged,” meaning that it was channeled through the tax code or private organizations, like the home mortgage-interest deduction and the tax-free status of the employer contribution to employees’ health insurance. The design of these policies camouflages the fact that they are social benefits, too, just like the direct benefits that help Americans pay for housing, health care, retirement and college.

SUZANNE METTLER and JOHN SIDES

(Source: The New York Times)


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It’s absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does—the violence of that system.

Chris Hedges

(Source: t.co)


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With climate change intensifying weather cataclysms, with the economy still on the verge of collapse and with foreign conflicts showing no sign of slowing down, America faces emergencies of no less than biblical proportions. Literally, biblical — wars,drought, famine and crushing poverty, to name a few. And yet, in the face of this, there’s more often than not total apathy and rampant disdain for the mere idea of political activism.

Except, of course, when it comes to the bizarre nexus of fast food and homophobia.

Then and only then, it seems, do the masses rise up in solidarity to miraculously transform stuffing one’s face with processed junk food into a proud way of opposing equal rights for gay people. Then and only then do people seem willing to drive out of their way and stand on long lines — all to somehow transform gluttonous gorging into a form of anti-gay protest.

David Sirota

(Source: salon.com)


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Why Are Working People Invisible in the Mainstream Media? | Alternet: http://bit.ly/NeyoNW

Why Are Working People Invisible in the Mainstream Media? | Alternet: http://bit.ly/NeyoNW

(Source: facebook.com)


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My feeling about the coverage of poverty is that we have had a lot of stories. There’s the story of a hard-working, good person or family, ground down to nothing. We all quietly read and say, ‘Oh yes, gee, this is terrible; these nice decent people.’ Well, I don’t think that’s enough anymore. I don’t think that does the trick. I want stories that really make you indignant.

Barbara Ehrenreich

(Source: alternet.org)


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Poverty in the U.S. is approaching its highest level since the 1960s. Economists predict that the percentage of Americans who lived below the poverty line in 2011 might be as high as 15.7%, up from 15.1% in 2010. About one in six Americans lives below the poverty line. For a family of four, that means earning less than $22,314 per year.

Joanna Laine

(Source: policymic.com)


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There’s really no proper statistic to encapsulate the amount of desperation a working mother feels when she has to send her kid to school hungry. Abstract numbers under-represent the real, actualized human suffering when a parent has to make tough decisions between housing and food for their children. Profit doesn’t care about the hunger pains of someone who’s been unemployed for an average of 40 weeks. That personal financial terror matters only to people, not to the profit motive that has colonized our government with the well-paid hands of the Right Wing.

Manny Jalonschi

(Source: politicususa.com)


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99% v 1%: the data behind the Occupy movement

As poverty and inequality reach record levels, how much richer have the rich got? This animation explains what the key data says about the state of America today

(Source: mainstreamrevolution)


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I could propose all kinds of policies to curb the ongoing predation on the poor. Limits on usury should be reinstated. Theft should be taken seriously even when it’s committed by millionaire employers. No one should be incarcerated for debt or squeezed for money they have no chance of getting their hands on. These are no-brainers, and should take precedence over any long term talk about generating jobs or strengthening the safety net. Before we can “do something” for the poor, there are some things we need to stop doing to them.

Barbara Ehrenreich

(Source: tomdispatch.com)