People in Power Still Don’t Get It: Poverty and Class Must be Addressed to Solve the Issues Our Country Faces

I came across 4 stories today and I found a common link they all share: Poverty and Class.

The first article comes from the Philadelphia Inquirer, written by Helen Ubinas titled, “Getting out of prison isn’t always a release

In it, Ubinas explains the difficulties that ex-cons have after leaving prison. She writes:

The film, “Pull of Gravity,” follows several Philadelphia ex-cons. It was shot over a year in North Philly and features three men in different stages of re-entry:

There’s Andy, 44, in and out of prison for 25 years, and home for six after serving 10 years behind bars.

Of the streets and old friends and habits, he says, “It pulls you” – just like gravity.

There’s Kev, 19, who served three years and was home for just a week when filming began.

“What happens in a month from now if I have no job?” He doesn’t blink. “Streets is where I go. That’s what I’m forced to do. I got a kid to feed. Mom to feed. Gotta hustle hard, man.”

And then there’s El Sawyer, who learned how to shoot video while in Graterford Prison.

Sawyer is one of the movie’s co-creators, with filmmaker Jon Kaufman. Sawyer served eight years for aggravated assault and has been home for 10. He works for the Village of Arts and Humanities. But freedom is still something he’s coming to terms with.

“It’s hard to be out here, and hard to stay out here,” he says. “It doesn’t get any easier.”

The film, funded by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, is one of the office’s many outreach efforts, which also includes a Re-entry Court.

Why is an office that’s in the business of convicting criminals doing all this outreach? It didn’t go soft. It got smart. And we better do the same.

“We can’t arrest our way out of the crime problem,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

We can’t incarcerate our way out of it, either. We have 200,000 Philadelphians with criminal records that keep them from getting jobs or housing and making it on the outside.

The last time I spoke with Colwin Williams, the ex-con I’ve been writing about since March, he was waiting to hear if he’d be allowed to leave a Philadelphia halfway house. He planned to move in with his mother. But the senior-housing complex where she lives doesn’t allow ex-cons. Now he isn’t sure what to do.

I encourage you to read the rest of the article, but I’ve bolded the parts that our system refuses to acknowledge or address. People in prison aren’t adequately taught the necessary job skills and education they need to succeed once release. These programs are poorly funded by state governments all over the country.

Not only that, but because of their past criminal record, many companies refuse to hire them because of the stigma of having committed a crime in the past.

We say that prison is about rehabilitation, but no one really believes it. So what happens is this: Joe gets out of prison, tries to find a job, he can’t, so he goes back to what he knows will get him some income to support himself. Joe gets caught again and is sent right back to prison and the cycle continues.

The second article is by Margaret Sullivan of the New York Times. In this piece, she addresses fellow Times writer Nicholas D. Kristof’s awful article “Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy“. Kristof’s article consisted of victim blaming, Republican talking points about “dependency on the system” (instead of addressing the system’s failure for allowing this), and even wrote:

Of American families living in poverty today, 8 out of 10 have air-conditioning, and a majority have a washing machine and dryer. Nearly all have microwave ovens.

Amazing.

Sullivan called out Kristof for his incorrect statistics and poor reporting: He didn’t speak with primary sources, “the parents of poor and developmentally disabled children”.

Kristof was called out by many poverty advocate groups, including Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. But instead of recanting and apologizing, he continued to argue his point despite the evidence slapping him in his dumb liberal face.

Sullivan was more polite than what I would have been, and pointed that she was grateful for Kristof pointing out the lack of poverty discussion during the 2012 Presidential election. But when you get the facts wrong about poverty when introducing the discussion, you’ve already failed.

The next article is by John Tierney, titled “Prison Population Can Shrink When Police Crowd Streets”. Tierney supports the near-fascist actions that NYC Mayor heir-apparent Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has implemented. Tierney argues that by placing a large police presence around “crime-prone areas” aka poor minority neighborhoods, that less people will be locked up.

However his argument doesn’t address the real problem: Why are these “crime-prone areas”? Tierney talks about how this tactic saves the city 1.5 billion dollars a year. That money doesn’t go towards addressing poverty in these neighborhoods at all. They just create a police state that harass minorities unfairly; e.g. NYPD Stop And Frisks being targeted towards minorities and the police not finding anything the majority of the time.

Despite the fact that Stop-and-Frisk was found unconstitutional, King Bloomberg managed to get the ruling lifted temporarily because:

The city said that unless its request was granted, the NYPD would be required to take the immediate and burdensome step of having to retrain its police officers.

God forbid the police would have to be retrained to not be racists. In fact, the NYPD has unveiled another way to get around the order. By producing, and I shit you not, radiation scanners to detect guns.

Again, those in power ignore the actual problem of poverty and create NEW problems to continue the cycle of poverty.

The last article comes from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Being a Philadelphian, this one was near and dear to my heart. Pennsylvania now ranks 2nd in black homicide.

Folks, the black poverty rate in Pennsylvania is 35%. Homicide is always related to class and poverty. Without a way for people living in poverty to move upward the social ladder due to the State and Federal government continuing to punish and ignore people in poverty, they have no hope.

I want you to imagine being a 17 year old black male in the projects going to an assigned public school where there is little funding, and the teachers don’t care. All you have is the streets. This is all you know. You are traumatized so much that you do not believe you can ever achieve anything other than being a statistic. Black Hopelessness exists. But we need to extend this to ALL races and genders. Poverty Hopelessness exists.

By the way, Missouri was ranked #1. It has a 39% poverty rate for black people.

Until we start forcing our government to start caring and addressing poverty, then we will continue being a Nation of Violence, Born in Violence and, Will Die in Violence.

 

Michael Bloomberg is a dumb sexist pig and he’ll get away with it

From Gawker:

When the latest New York magazine cover story on leading New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn came out this week, it quoted current Mayor Michael Bloomberg as telling a reporter to “look at the ass on her” while gesturing toward a woman at a holiday party. Elsewhere in the piece, Quinn spoke briefly about the frequent comments the mayor makes about her clothes and appearance:

[S]he said, “The mayor is going to yell at me when I get out of the car because I have flat boots on. The mayor has no use for flat shoes.” Really, I said. Why would he care? “I was at a parade with him once and he said, ‘What are those?’ and I said, ‘They’re comfortable,’ and he said, ‘I never want to hear those words out of your mouth again.’ ” Everyone in the vehicle, including the security detail in the front seat, cracked up. “He likes me in high heels. Let’s see how long it takes before he notices.” She scrolled through her BlackBerry. “Another big thing with the mayor, when I am rooting … like, the couple of days a week before I need to get my hair colored, he’ll say, ‘Do you pay a lot to make your hair be two colors? Because now it’s three with the gray.’ And I’m like, ‘Did you wake up being this big of an asshole? Or did it take, like, all day to ramp up to it to be able to insult me like that?’ ”

More here: http://gawker.com/5979679/id-do-her-a-brief-history-of-michael-bloombergs-public-sexism

Bloomberg is pretty much King of New York. The guy was able to bend the law to run for mayor beyond the limits. Worse enough, his heir apparent Raymond Kelly is the guy who started the stop and searches in NYC.

Also:

Under Mayor Bloomberg, Kelly’s NYPD also incurred criticism for its handling of the protests surrounding the 2004 Republican National Convention, which resulted in the City of New York having to pay out millions in settlement of lawsuits for false arrest and civil rights violations, as well as for its rough treatment of credentialed reporters covering the 2011 Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.[28]

Decisive Campaigns:Case Blue – 2nd Kharkov Turn 8

Here it is… the last turn.

Germany: Turn 8

When we last left our Germany Army Soccer team playing the 5-4-1 defense, well.. Look up.

This is the south

Losowaya must be protected at all cost, and honestly, it will be. The soviets didn’t make any good moves to fortify it and i’m going to break their backs here for my minor victory.

But first, lets look at the causalities.

This is what I like about grognard games. When you’re playing an RTS or normal strategy game, they’re just units. I don’t know if its just me, but I really do get frustrated when I lose a unit in these types of games. It really does put the idea of war in perspective for me. Because of my incompetence, 34600+ men are dead under my command. It also makes you think about the other side. Under my orders, I have killed 41900 men.

And i’m going to kill more. Like I said, this is presents a different perspective on video games for me, which is why I became such a grognard addict. It made me read a lot of history, and I sorta do care about my little digital dudes.

Anyway, rant over. Lets finish this up.

I put more units in the town and set up to take out that stack that really wants to connect for supplies. It’s not happening. under my watch.

There’s not much left to do in the South. I make attacks to push them away from the town. It is secured. I am sure of it. I’m a little sad that I was so close to Izium. Oh well. Next time.

In the middle I bomb the cut off tanks just in case, and move around more units for defense.

Up north I let the men rest. No more deaths. They entrench and relax. We have won. It was bloody but we have won. Oberst Heyhellowhatsnew has seen enough bloodshed this past week.

This is the map at the end of the turn:

This is the map of the end of the Soviets turn:


They throw everything they can at me… all in vain.


This is our death toll. Rest in Piece, friends and foes.

Decisive Campaigns:Case Blue – 2nd Kharkov Turn 7

Germany: Turn 7

When we last left our inept German army, this was the map:


Oberst Heyhellowhatsnew had a dream last night… he was visited by the ghost of Hitler (who was not dead at the time) who told him that it’s about the VPs, stupid. And then Hitler took out a device he called an iPad and showed Oberst HHW a motivational “youtube video”

MOTIVATION

And thus, the current plan has changed. For you see, when I woke up, I looked at the battlemap once more and saw this:

And then I looked at this:

I then realized I was one VP away from a minor victory. I have 2 days to capture Losowaya, something I should have done a long time ago.

We’ll worry about the middle later, they’re not important anymore. Lets go to the south first.

Losowaya is protected by two poorly entrenched troops.

So lets take it

In my excitement I only got the bombing. Sorry, anyway as you can see, we win the battle

Thank you Romania! We now have our 64th VP point. Now we must hold it for 2 turns. So lets make some moves to secure that.

I apply some pressure west of the town by attacking the 317th. The attack succeeds and we encircle any units that may cause any trouble in the south. No supply for you guys!

Right away you can see that my main trouble will come from the 411th, 317th, and the 6th army who will of course try to liberate that town. I need to bloody their nose a bit.

I had a screen cap of a very bloody battle for the 6th, but I lost it. Sorry 🙁 But I got the punch I needed to make sure they wouldn’t mess around with the town.

There is nothing I can do about the 317th right now, but lets see what I can do with the 411th

Not a good battle, but it was necessary to hurt them. This is what I end up with

It’s the best I could do with what I have left unfortunately. I’ve played terrible all game. And as Donald Rumsfield once say, you “You go to war with the army you have—not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Okay, still in the south, I want to pressure the right side of it too, just in case the AI gets coy. This is what is known as a “feint”. I think. I just made it up, it’s probably not really a feint.

I harass the 335th

I want the AI to think i’m still going for Izium. Is that possible? I wonder. Lets hope so.

Holy crap they hold. Note to self. YOU HAVE CARDS, USE THEM.

After some movements, the South now looks like this

Now about that middle

I don’t know how to tell you this 1/3 44th… but you’re going to have to sacrifice yourself for the Reich. We will tell stories about your bravery.

As you can see, the issue is that I need to close that gap the Russians opened and play defense. I am satisfied with my points. Now we defend.

So, last night after I posted my last AAR post, I stared at the pictures for 15 minutes
and knew what I had to do.

Cut off the 44th and bomb the tanks to hell.

“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” (Please note this clever call back from a few AAR posts earlier 😉

Thats it for those tanks. I want to weaken them so they stay out of supply and not attack

Now my plan is to weaken any unit that might try to save them. I want to stop their advance and make them stay put. I bloody some noses some more

Our attacks have not been perfect (sorry I got too amped up playing the game and forgot to take screen caps), but they were necessary to throw off the soviets and make them think less about attacking.

Now onto the north:

I really don’t care about the north. I make some arty attacks and thats it, just to throw them off. They aren’t going to push. I do make note however that the next time I play this game, I should think about taking Woltschasnk.

I attack the 84th just to shrug them away.

Yes I attacked with Engineers. We are desperate at this point.

And this is how the north ends up.

I double check my defenses and get ready to pass the turn. This is how the board looks:


I take a deep breath, and hope it plays out how I want it to.

This is what the map looks like after the Soviets move:

They do exactly what I want them to do. They only commit to one battle. The pocket blobs up. The next turn is the last turn and we’re going to play prevent defense on this one.