Friday, July 4, 2008

oil reserve correlation and gas increase

I found an interesting table on wikipedia about the oil reserves in the middle east. since 1988, when Bush 1 went into office, the amount of strategic oil reserves have increased rapidly. for instance in 1988 iraq reserve was 47.10 and in 1987 it went to 100 in 1988, iran's reserve in 1987 was 48.10 to 92.85 in 1988. The biggest was saudi arabia who in 1989 was 169.97 to 258 in 1990. These reserves are being held as non consumable commodities.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What is a waitress mom?

I found a new word to add to my vocabulary: Waitress Mom. What is a waitress mom? Here is how the NY Times defines it: They are low-income working women -- not just those who wait tables -- and are mostly white and under 50 with a high school education. And while they may be Democrats at heart, they tend to sit out elections when they don't see the political debate as relevant to their families.
If you haven't watched the Roseanne clip from the previous post, do so or watch it again. This is the best example ever of a a waitress mom and it clearly possible these are the women who are going to determine if Obama will get the white house or not. Why? James Carville said it best: "Its the economy, stupid!"
Think about it: gas is nearly 5.00/gallon, eggs are nearly 3.00 a dozen. And if you have day care to pay for, your check that barely made ends meet, doesn't. So there maybe another job added. that adds up to more costs of gas/daycare. Its a never ending cycle.
SO why not go back to school? There always seems lurking overhead is the threat of removal of funding or changes in funding to help going back to school: For instance, the workplace tuition assistance program targeted working parents so they could go back and upgrade their skills so they could get a pay raise or retrain for a new job. The income guidelines were on net income, so a family of five @ 200% of the poverty line could use this: I used it to train as an LPN since my husbands salary as a school teacher was below their limit. But, the federal government changed it to gross income. We no longer qualified.
Another program here in Washington is the Insurance reimbursement program. If you have children on medical through the state (CHIP) and pay for private insurance too ( the state insurance is considered secondary, so whatever you private doesn't pay, the state does) they will reimburse up to 486.00/month.
It is these and other family affecting programs that the waitress mom demographic. If the candidate cannot reassure these women and their families that funding will not be created or already existing programs will be cut. And if Obama and other democrats want to be re/elected this fall they need to reassure these women it won't happen.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Defines 'Home Ec'?

Before you read my post, please watch this clip from Roseanne.

Now that you have watched this, think of how your economic status effects how you manage your home. Is there any luxury involved? When I use luxury in this, how much labor time is invested into the upkeep of the home. Is it literally another shift in the home, with the one free day devoted to getting all the washing/cleaning/grocery shopping? Or can it be done on a as needed basis. IS there a correlation between the amount of time that woman has to work outside the home and the amount she has to put into managing the house. Its clear that the home-ec Martha preaches is to those women who have the economic luxury of investing time and money into the trimmings of their homes. But does being less affluent mean unclean? There seems to a stereotype of people living in poverty and the outward appearance of their home. In his book 'Myth of the Welfare Queen' the author points out that the demands of trying to just keep up for one women with the grandchildren she is trying to raise and just keeping her head above water, her home suffers with unclean areas, because there is a point where the emotional and physical toll of survival means that her home may suffer. And there are others who believe that poverty is no reason for clutter or mess. Perhaps there is no one answer. But maybe for some the burdens placed upon them defines home-ec as matters of absolute survival and the rest is just not necessary.

creating inequality

In addition to her usual school budget this year, Bryant Elementary School principal Linda Robinson will have nearly $200,000 to spend on student field trips, library materials, instrumental music and artists-in-residence.

The school's Parent Teacher Student Association raised the money in a seemingly endless string of bake sales, pledge drives and other fundraisers — a common phenomenon in schools in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods.

The geography of poverty map shown on the homepage transfers of course to the school. Jonathan Kozal, in his book Savage Inequalities argues that the funding or lack of is social Darwinism, creating a permanent underclass of children who are educated just enough to enter into low paying manufacturing jobs, which disappear overseas daily. On the other hand we have schools like Bryant in Seattle, who raise HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars in fundraisers to create extra programs to further their children along. FYI: there is a correlation btw participation in music programs and children's performance in math and science.

So how do we level the playing field? Do we give scholarships to students who have a gpa over 2.0, who are eligible for free or reduced lunch like they are doing here in Washington state? But to get into a good school your gpa has to be 3+ and have lots of extra curricular stuff in it too. so what if you school doesn't have these opportunities? The cycle of poverty is ruthless for some: there is no way out no matter what they try there is some barrier, but nobody wants to spend the money to break those barriers down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scrape my chin off the floor

"School officials started looking into the matter an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. Several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were." All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. The girls who made the pregnancy pact, some of whom reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives and plans for baby showers, declined to be interviewed."

Why and what is going on in these girls lives that persuaded them to pack with other girls to get pregnant? Did the promise of attention in the form of shower gifts and people rubbing their tummies attract them to having sex with a 24 yo homeless man and other 20 something men who had no intention of being a father either emotionally or financially?
Some people think that schools unintentionally reinforce by allowing girls to go to school while pregnant, ( think Juno the movie) since she has the most limitations placed on her. By giving her these opportunities, some argue, the attitude of safety net being always being there is inferred.
Some girls are lucky to have their family there to take care of the child while mom finishes school, others aren't, forced to reach out to social service benefits. But these too have a cost: expectations of the mom having to work by time the baby is 3 months in order to get those benefits. But how are you going to work, needing day care and wanting to get out of this cycle if you are stuck in this cycle of poverty?
I always hated the statement free white and 21 when it came to men and their ability to sow their oats without consequence because its sexist. But it is true: teenage girls who get pregnant are more likely to be poor, in abusive relationships and undereducated, preventing them from making a living wage.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have 50.00 dollars. My copays equal 30.00 for my medicine. I am almost out of gas. Where should I put the money?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Enough said

Working Poor Families Project
WA State Data


State %

State Rank



Low-Income* Working Families





Low-Income Minority Working Families





Low-Income Working Families with No HS Degree/GED





Low-Income Working Families with No Postsecondary Experience





Low-Income Working Families Paying 1/3 or More for Housing





Low-Income Working Families with Parent without Health Insurance





Children in Low-Income Working Families





Low-Income Families That Work





Adults 18-64 with No HS Degree/GED





Jobs in Occupations Paying Below Poverty




Low-Income is defined as a family income below 200% of poverty. In 2006, the poverty threshold was $20,614 for a family of four and thus the low-income threshold was $41,228.

Data sources: All data from American Community Survey, 2006 except #6 from Current Population Survey, 2005-2007 and #10 from Occupational Employment Statistics, BLS 2006.

This is my state. Only 2 hours north of me resides the world's richest man, Bill Gates. All you have to do is is drive across the 520 or I-90 bridge and go south you will find schools that are crumbling, homeless, mentally and physically ill people who cannot afford to be treated or eat a solid meal. The area boasts large employers such as Boeing, Microsoft, civilian military. Yet we rank 4th in the country with jobs that pay below the poverty line. And I would argue that teaching is one of them: My husband teaches in a district that takes over 800.00/month for insurance. after taxes and retirement, we clearly meet the definition as working poor. If it weren't for children's medical and a new program that reimburses our insurance premium we would be suffering even more. And we're lucky. What is it going to take to bring these people out of poverty? Is it education? More jobs? Better social services? The questions are too numerous to post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fat kids or a far more serious problem?

A recent article in Time magazine lamented: "In 1971 only 4% of 6-to-11-year-old kids were obese; by 2004, the figure had leaped to 18.8%. In the same period, the number rose from 6.1% to 17.4% in the 12-to-19-year-old group, and from 5% to 13.9% among kids ages just 2 to 5. And as with adults, that's just obesity. Include all overweight kids, and a whopping 32% of all American children now carry more pounds than they should."
the reason, argues time is the proliferation of fast food, starbucks, video games and lack of exercise. I offer another more sinister explanation: poverty and industrialization.
Food scarcity is defined as the lack of food: you pay your bills and there isn't enough food to feed everyone. with increase of meat and produce prices, cheap carbohydrates become the mainstay of a diet. When a body consumes carbohydrates, it causes the body to produce insulin, a molecule that carries glucose into cells. Plus what the body doesn't use, is converted to fat. The more weight one gains, the risk of type II diabetes increases.
Diabetes and obesity wasn't an issue for our agrarian ancestors: before we as a nation became industrialized, we ate what we grew. There were no stores to go to except maybe a dry goods to buy fabric or sugar. There was a dry root cellar for vegetables, wheat was for flour make bread, milk was drank or turned into creme, butter or cheese. You made your own everything. Plus there was the energy invested into the farm, you had to invest 8 or more hours of heavy physical labor, building muscle and burning calories, If someone developed diabetes, it came from genes not food.
Take for instance the Gila Indians: They were, as most traditional tribes, hunter/gathers, living off the food they grew and gathered. When the Gila river was diverted, the incidence of type II diabetes increased leaps and bounds. Why? Because they were taken off their native diet and forced to live a white man's diet of refined carbs ( white bread, pasta) and little energy expended to create that food.
So is the white bread/junk food/sugar sodas /video games really the culprit? For some maybe. But it maybe a side effect of a far deeper social problem

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 13, 2008

Here in my hometown, we are fortunate to have four stores that are considered discount grocery stores. One is a dollar store, the other is a grocery outlet and the other two are locally owned. It is with these stores that I create the basis of our food budget. Just the other day, I bought a 1/2 gallon of milk for 1.00. the pull date wasn't until 6/17. Noone was buying it because it was organic. well it was alot cheaper than what was offered at the local safeway @ 2 gallons for 5.38. Brown eggs were 1.00/dozen. Another great source of protein, cheap. Custard yogurt @ 6/case. that is how we are surving.