Monroe County New York Voter Information Presentation


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Monroe County New York Voter Information Presentation

This is an updated version of a presentation I’ve been giving at the Charles House Community Center in Rochester, NY.



Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching…

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The Growing Unemployed: A Case of Benign Neglect


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From MARK THOMA at The Fiscal Times

The high unemployment rate ought to be a national emergency. There are millions of people in need of jobs. The lost income as a result of the recession totals hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and the longer the problem persists, the more permanent the damage becomes. Why doesn’t the unemployment problem get more attention? Why have other worries such as inflation and debt reduction dominated the conversation instead? … the increased concentration of political power at the top of the income distribution provides much of the explanation.
The imbalance in political power, obstructionism from Republicans designed to improve their election chances, and attempts by Republicans to implement a small government ideology are a large part of the explanation for why the unemployed aren’t getting the help they deserve.
Continue reading here.

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A small, and potentially momentary, victory for Mother Earth, but a victory nonetheless.


This morning, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-of-its-kind greenhouse gas regulations, dismissing out of hand a variety of challenges from industry and states. The findings uphold the agency’s rules defining limits to the emission of greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. Specifically, the court ruled: Yes, the agency acted properly in determining that CO2 is a danger to public health; yes, it was right to use that determination to regulate vehicles; and yes, it was within its authority to determine the timing (Timing Rule) and scope (Tailoring Rule) of the regulations.

The Wall Street Journal called the decisions “a blow to an array of industry groups”; Politico declared them “a surprisingly sweeping win.” In short: very good news.

Here’s how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided. (At the bottom of this post, you can…

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Job Creation and Our Diminished Economic Engine: The Middle Class


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Found this well-sourced well-written article on Art on Issues and thought I’d share it here. 

Over the past 30 years the vast majority of income gains have gone to the wealthiest in our country. In an economy that is 70% personal consumption, we will continue to experience slow recovery and anemic job growth until we more broadly share prosperity and rebuild the purchasing power of our economic engine, the middle class


The median household income between 1979 and 2005 rose only 13 percent while the income of the richest 0.1% increased 296%.  And as Krugman points out, it was politics that drove both the Great Compression and the Great Divergence.

As income began concentrating at the top over the past 30 years, taxes on the wealthy were reduced from 70% pre-Reagan, to 28% under Reagan, and now 35% since the Bush tax cuts.  The increase in income at the top along with lower tax rates destabilized income inequality.  And the Tea Party’s recalcitrance about raising taxes on the wealthiest while adopting a spending cuts only approach, places safety nets at risk that further exacerbates the plight of the middle class and the poor, and thus our economic recovery and jobs creation as well.

The entire post can be found here and is well worth the read.


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Rule of thumb for me: if you can’t peel it, buy it organic or do without it.


Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a new version of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides just as I start gearing up to fill my gullet with watermelon, peaches, and tomatoes.

That’s right, it’s peak produce season, and — unless you eat everything 100 percent organic all the time — pesticide residue is a valid concern. What’s more, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables pose the same risk. The EWG site ranks 45 foods and pulls out the best and worst on the list. “The Dirty Dozen” are the foods most likely to be coated with pesticide residue (peaches happen to be No. 4 on the list, while apples have earned the No. 1 spot for several years running). “The Clean 15” are the foods (including onions, corn, and avocados) that are safest for consumers.

Of course, as I’ve written before, this list doesn’t necessarily correspond to…

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An iPad costs you at least $400. That’s for an older model; the latest version runs up to $830. And that doesn’t include the data plan. Depending on your carrier and options, you could be paying another $50 a month. So for a year, the high-end iPad with the most expensive data plan will run you over $1,400.

On top of that, you have to charge the thing. According to a study from the Electric Power Research Institute, adding the cost of powering your $1,400 investment brings your annual total up to … $1,401.36.

Consumers who fully charge their iPad tablet every other day can expect to pay $1.36 for the electricity needed annually to power the device, according to an  assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The analysis shows that each model of the iPad consumes less than 12 kWh of electricity over the course of…

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Women continue to get the short end of the stick in this economy.


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A report released by the Department of Labor today says women are nearly 50% of the national workforce, yet we outnumber men in holding low-wage jobs. And if you happen to be a black woman, well you’re just shit out of luck.

Millions of working women struggle to make ends meet every day.  Although women now make up close to half of the national workforce, they substantially outnumber men in holding low-wage jobs. In addition, women of color are disproportionately affected, resulting in an increased risk of living in poverty.

Despite the fact that women, and women of color in particular, are bearing the brunt of the Great Recession, the Tea Party controlled congress continues to side with Big Corp. and refuses to pass the Equal Fair Pay Act.

 Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that Democrats say would increase paycheck equity for women. Republican lawmakers argued the bill would put an undue strain on businesses.

An undue strain on businesses? Are they kidding? What then would they call it when an unemployed or underemployed mother can’t feed her kids or end up homeless? A minor inconvenience?!?! Who are these people that Americans voted into power in 2010? They care nothing about the lives of regular americans and are there only to serve the interests of the oligarchy. They must be rooted out this November!

Teabaggers love to run around screaming, “Take our country back!” Well I want my bloody LIFE back!

Strange episode tonight.


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I got very ill this evening. It happened right after I ate. I had a simple meal of linguine with tomatoes sautéed in olive oil and garlic, chopped parsley, and slivers of parmesan. I washed it down with homemade iced tea.

Within a few minutes of finishing my dinner, I started getting violent stomach cramps and waves of nausea washed over me. I started sweating profusely. I ended up in the bathroom on the throne and my head over the waste basket. This went on for about a half hour. I laid down for a while, but had to run back to the bathroom. After a while, this subsided and I was able to fall asleep. I woke up about an hour later feeling cold and lethargic.

The whole episode was flashback to my days of chemo. I have a nagging feeling something’s wrong, but being penniless and unemployed, I can’t afford to see a doctor.

I hope it was nothing and I’ll feel better tomorrow. I’m going to turn in early tonight.