The Biggest Ghetto in America

Conservatives – especially their Lawn Jockey black conservative servants, like to talk about black folks and the inner city. It, like almost everything conservatives have to say is a lie – a flim flam game.Since I was hammering the Wall Street Journal’s professional Uncle Tom, Jason Riley a few posts ago - let’s use one of his buckdances for his WSJ Massa’s as an example -

Liberals in general, and the black left in particular, like the idea of talking about racial problems, but in practice they typically ignore the most relevant aspects of any such discussion. Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population.

“High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination,” wrote the late Harvard Law professor William Stuntz in “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice.” “The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments.”

The left wants to blame these outcomes on racial animus and “the system,” but blacks have long been part of running that system. Black crime and incarceration rates spiked in the 1970s and ’80s in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, under black mayors and black police chiefs. Some of the most violent cities in the U.S. today are run by blacks.

One more time for the Lawn Jockey set – the issue is POVERTY, not black folks, not white folks,not cities..The issue buckdancers is POVERTY.

The White Ghetto

There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation.

Driving through these hills and hollows, you aren’t in the Appalachia of Elmore Leonard’s Justified or squatting with Lyndon Johnson on Tom Fletcher’s front porch in Martin County, a scene famously photographed by Walter Bennett of Time, the image that launched the so-called War on Poverty. The music isn’t “Shady Grove,” it’s Kanye West. There is still coal mining — which, at $25 an hour or more, provides one of the more desirable occupations outside of government work — but the jobs are moving west, and Harlan County, like many coal-country communities, has lost nearly half of its population over the past 30 years.

There is here a strain of fervid and sometimes apocalyptic Christianity, and visions of the Rapture must have a certain appeal for people who already have been left behind. Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain. It’s a classic economic death spiral: The quality of the available jobs is not enough to keep good workers, and the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs. These little towns located at remote wide spots in helical mountain roads are hard enough to get to if you have a good reason to be here. If you don’t have a good reason, you aren’t going to think of one.

Appalachian places have evocative and unsentimental names denoting deep roots: Little Barren River, Coal Pit Road. The name “Cumberland” blankets Appalachian geography — the Cumberland Mountains, the Cumberland River, several Cumberland counties — in tribute to the Duke of Cumberland, who along with the Ulster Scots ancestors of the Appalachian settlers crushed the Young Pretender at the Battle of Culloden. Even church names suggest ancient grievances: Separate Baptist, with the descriptor in all-capital letters. (“Come out from among them and be ye separate” — 2 Corinthians 6:17.) I pass a church called “Welfare Baptist,” which, unfortunately, describes much of the population for miles and miles around. Continue reading

Republican District Hurt By Budget Cuts

Last night’s Gubernatorial election in Virginia went about as expected, although the Republican challenger was a bit closer than projected. Looking at the voting acrss the State, the more populaous and prosperous areas voted overwhelmingly Democrat, while rural counties and the southwestern mountain are voted heavily Republican.

There are a lot of similarities between those areas and the area in this article in Kentucky. Poor white folks voting for their own misery… wonder when these folks are going to finally wake up and realize their Tea Party representatives don’t give a damn about their welfare.

Austerity deals harsh blow to already stricken land

Republican Congressman Hal Rogers brought so many federal dollars home to eastern Kentucky’s coal country, he was crowned “Prince of Pork.”

Now that spigot has been turned off, just when his district might actually need it the most.

Competition from natural gas, cheaper coal, and environmental regulations have hastened the demise of the mining industry here, already in decline. More than 6,200 eastern Kentucky miners have been laid off since July 2011. There are now fewer coal jobs here than in 1920, when the great-grandfathers of today’s miners wielded shovels and pick-axes.

But sequestration—a series of across-the-board spending cuts that many Tea Party Republicans have come to embrace—and other austerity measures have accelerated the economic free fall. Unemployment benefits to laid-off miners are shrinking; fewer meals are getting delivered to homebound seniors; and there’s less money to help workers retool for new jobs. Beginning Friday, food stamps will be cut by an average of $36 per month for a family of four.

It’s yet another blow to struggling Appalachian mining towns like Harlan, where the mayor estimates that 15% of the town’s residents have moved out in the past year, searching for work elsewhere.

Unsold guns are piling up in pawnshops. Even the local mortician is feeling the pinch: grieving relatives are downgrading from hardwood coffins to two-gauge steel, and ordering five baskets of flowers instead of twenty or thirty. “If I don’t sell to the coal people, I don’t sell,” one Harlan businessman explained.

Rogers has been one of the few Republicans to slam sequestration as devastating, unworkable, and unrealistic. Unless Congress decides otherwise, $109 billion in cuts will continue every year until 2021—a budget that Rogers must implement as chair of the House Appropriations Committee. But many of his Republicans colleagues have embraced the $85 billion in cuts this year as guaranteed spending cuts. It’s unlikely that budget negotiations that started this week in Congress will reverse all of them.

The incremental nature of sequestration —slow rolling, local, and scattered unevenly nationwide—has made the belt-tightening hard to measure and easy to dismiss since the cuts took effect in March. “The people that I’ve talked to seem to be doing well,” Missouri Rep. Billy Long said in April. “In fact, when I got out in restaurants here in town, people come up to me. They want to see more sequestration, not less.”

Even some Democrats believe the White House overhyped the cuts when it made dire predictions about their impact, some of which didn’t pan out. “I think they probably went over the top in terms of saying that the consequences were going to be horrible. The lines in the airports aren’t long, the world hasn’t changed overnight,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

But Harlan sees long lines. They are in the unemployment office, filled with out-of-work miners chasing any rumor of jobs left to be had. A TV in the waiting area explains how federal cuts have chipped away at the safety net most had hoped they would never need.

“Sequestration…What does that mean for you? Your Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits that begin on or after March 31, 2013 must be reduced 10.7% for each week of unemployment through September 2013.”

“Sequestration is a terrible way to do business. I’ve said it since day one. It slices the good with the bad, and removes the duty of Congress to ensure vital programs, like Head Start and various grant programs receive adequate support,” Rogers told MSNBC. “Couple those deep cuts with the rapid loss of coal mining jobs in eastern Kentucky and we’re now facing an economic superstorm.”

For Donnie Reeves, 40, each passing week of unemployment means less security. He lost his mining job in March, just weeks before his wife Tiffanie lost her job as a teaching assistant. “After December, it’s no more unemployment, no more nothing,” he said in August.

“I would have to work a minimum of three jobs, each 40 hours a week at minimum wage. That’s to keep the lights on. No groceries, no gas,” said Donnie, who made $70,000 in his best year.

Donnie spent the summer retraining for a factory job through an emergency federal program spared—this time—from sequestration’s axe. Tiffanie found a job helping unemployed Kentuckians like her husband find work.

But with two teenage kids and their hometown’s economy in tatters, the Reeves know that their future may lie outside Harlan, leaving behind a family rooted here for more than 120 years.

“Tiff,” he told her last spring, when they were first considering the idea, “we’re giving up.”…

The New Jim Crow – Racism or Class?

An interesting view from Author Robert D. Putnam on inequalities in American society and the economy. Putnam believes that racism isn’t the major impediment to economic mobility in the country anymore – class is. And as far as that goes he may be correct. However, in weighing whether racism is an issue – a lot depends on just what you define as “racism”. The conservative view of that is “we aren’t hanging you from trees and burning down your homes anymore – so there is no racism”. Of course to anyone else with an IQ above freezing water – racism is a lot more nuanced that just physical acts of depravity. I mean – just because you aren’t shooting me – doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to kill me with a knife.

Robert Putnam: Class Now Trumps Race as the Great Divide in America

Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, issued a strong warning to anti-poverty advocates at a forum on social connectedness at the Aspen Ideas Festival Saturday, urging the audience to get beyond talking about poverty and race and start thinking about social mobility and class instead.

“Those two conceptual moves, framing it as poverty and thinking about it as a matter of race, have a very deep history… and I think both politically and analytically that’s an almost fatally flawed framework,” said Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in response to remarks from co-panelists Anne Mosle, vice president of policy at the Aspen Institute, and Mario Small, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

“You say poverty to most ordinary Americans, most ordinary voters, they think black ghettos,” he continued, whereas over the last couple of generations “class, not race is the dominant — and becoming more dominant — dimension of difficulty here.”

“Relatively speaking, racial differences controlling for class are decreasing while class differences controlling for race are increasing in America,” he said. “Non-white folks with a college education are looking more and more like white folks with a college education and white folks who haven’t gotten beyond high school are looking more and more like nonwhite folks who haven’t finished high school.” Continue reading

If There Were a 1% Debate… MLK vs. Romney

What would MLK do? What would MLK say?

There is very little evidence that MLK would have anything good to say about today’s Republican Party. Indeed – for many folks today’s Republican have gone about as low as you can go.

Here is a mash up of points by MLK and “Willard” Romney…

O’Reilly vs Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have a tete a tete over poverty, Occupy Wall Street, and jobs…

OReilly’s 9% “addiction” number is questionable – when he ties it to poverty.

Lot of rich junkies in this country.

American Tent Cities

What is the difference between Picture 1 and Picture 2?

But they live here and allowed me inside

Picture 1

 

Picture 2

 

Picture 1 is in America – right here in New Jersey. It, and the “Tent City” it is in, are all some luckless Americans have to live in anymore.  Picture 2 is of a Tent City in Haiti.

They, a poor country to begin with,  suffered a massive earthquake, destroying tens of thousands of homes and villages… These Americans are trying to survive the impact of conservatism in America, where our country’s jobs and manufacturing have been sold to the lowest bidder, and 28% of the Middle Class has fallen into poverty. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, with no chance of getting them back anytime soon. Millions of Americans have lost their homes due to predatory lending and the bust of the Credit bubble. Millions try and survive without Healthcare.

It is the Second Great Depression.

I see Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas leading in the Republican Primaries bragging on his Texas Economic Miracle…

Except it seems that the Texas Economic Miracle is about as fake as the Texas Education Miracle under the last Texas Governor to run for the Presidency.

Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

Lot of folks figured out former Governor, former President Bush was “all hat an no cattle” to borrow a Texas phrase. Seems that Governor Perry doesn’t even have the “hat” part right.

Which is why the Tea Party Republicans are trying so hard to sell racism against the nation’s first black President…

Instead of politics.

 

 

The New Jim Crow – Virtual Slavery – Republicans Bring Back Chain Gangs to Replace Paid Labor and Illegal Immigrants

Post Civil War Much of the South Was Rebuilt By Prison Labor Slavery

Chain Gangs were once a fixture in the South. Used as a slavery replacement strategy, prisoners – almost exclusively black, were used for everything from rebuilding the City of Atlanta after the Civil War to picking cotton, and laying railroad tracks.

The Prison Slavery System is making a big comeback, with major corporations – and in states which have driven out their “illegal immigrants”, now need Prison labor to pick the crops.

With black unemployment hovering at 16.5%, and teen unemployment hovering at 50% – in conservative America, if you are black – you have to go to jail to get a job.

Wisconsin Republicans aren’t that ambitious…yet.

Prison inmates replace unionized workers in Racine, Wisconsin

 

Prison inmates have replaced union workers in Racine County, Wisconsin, thanks to the changes to the states collective bargaining laws that went into effect at the end of June.

The Journal Times reported prison inmates will now be able to do tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter that were previously performed by unionized employees.

Inmates are not required to do any work for the county, but can receive time off their sentence if they do. Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig said the use of prison labor would not result in any public works staff reductions.

“We’re gonna have them do landscaping at county buildings, have them pick up trash on the roads,” he told local Fox News 6. “So we can use some of the county personnel to do difficult tasks, such as putting in a parking lot at the park.”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a non-fiscal version of his budget plan into law in March that stripped nearly all collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin public workers, giving officials the power to make many changes affecting workers without formal negotiations.

 

Eric Sheptock, Homeless Advocate for the Homeless

Meet Eric Sheptock, who lives on the streets in Washington, DC, and is a homeless advocate using the power of the Internet to get the message about the homeless out…

D.C’s ‘homeless homeless’ advocate

Eric Sheptock has 4,548 Facebook friends, 839 Twitter followers, two blogs and an e-mail account with 1,600 unread messages.

What he doesn’t have is a place to live.

“I am a homeless homeless advocate,” he often tells people. That’s the line that hooks them, the one that gives Sheptock – an unemployed former crack addict who hasn’t had a permanent address in 15 years – his clout on the issue of homelessness. Continue reading

1 in 7 Americans Now on Food Stamps

No jobs…no food. The wealth gap moves into dangerous territory in the US.

1 in 7 Americans rely on food stamps

The use of food stamps has increased dramatically in the U.S., as the federal government ramps up basic assistance to meet the demands of an increasingly desperate population.

The number of food stamp recipients increased 16% over last year. This means that 14% of the population is now living on food stamps. That’s about 43 million people, or about one out of every seven Americans.

In some states, like Tennessee, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oregon, one in five people are receiving food stamps. Washington, D.C. leads the nation, with 21.5% of the population on food stamps.

“The high unemployment rate caused the high participation rate,” said Dottie Rosenbaum from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank.

But it’s not just the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate of 9.8%that’s driving the increase in food stamp use. Some states are expanding their definitions of poverty to include more people.

At the same time, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted annual funding to the nationwide food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by $10 billion.

The average recipient receives $133 in food stamps per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That amount varies from state to state; in Hawaii the average is $216, while it’s $116 in Wisconsin.

But the Recovery Act funding increased the maximum food stamp benefit by 13.6%, which translates to about $20-24 dollars per person per month.

The U.S. government considers food stamps to be effective stimulus for the economy, because the recipients usually spend them right away.

Idaho saw the biggest increase in its food stamp program, with a spike of 39% compared to last year, followed by Nevada, at 29%, and New Jersey, at 27%.

 

 

That Post-Racial America

The demographics of the United States are changing rapidly, making a number of assumptions and stereotypes utterly wrong.  Among them -

You will never see this on Faux news but – More poor now live in the suburbs than in urban environments.

Low-density suburbs

 

The United States is no longer the “Land of Opportunity” – economic upward mobility between generations is lower in the United States than in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, and France. British kids born to fathers in the bottom fifth of U.K. national earnings have less than a 30 percent chance of ending up in that earning group themselves, while U.S. kids have more than a 40 percent likelihood of remaining stuck at the bottom.

Worse – By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.

However – in this here “post racial” America, where we are in vast majority doing worse than our parents…

Segregation Drops to Lowest Level in a Century

America’s neighborhoods became more integrated last year than during any time in at least a century as a rising black middle class moved into fast-growing white areas in the South and West.

Still, ethnic segregation in many parts of the U.S. persisted, particularly for Hispanics.

Segregation among blacks and whites fell in roughly three-quarters of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas as the two racial groups spread more evenly between inner cities and suburbs, according to recent census data.

The findings are expected to be reinforced with fresh census data being released Tuesday on race, migration and economics. The new information is among the Census Bureau’s most detailed releases yet for neighborhoods.

“It’s taken a Civil Rights movement and several generations to yield noticeable segregation declines for blacks,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who reviewed the census data. “But the still-high levels of black segregation in some areas, coupled with uneven clustering patterns for Hispanics, suggest that the idea of a post-racial America has a way to go.”

The race trends also hint at the upcoming political and legal wrangling over the 2010 census figures, to be published in the spring. The data will be used to reallocate congressional districts, drawing new political boundaries. New Hispanic-dominated districts could emerge, particularly for elected positions at the state and local level. States are required under the Voting Rights Act to respect the interests of minority voting blocs, which tend to support Democratic candidates.

Milwaukee, Detroit and Syracuse, N.Y., were among the most segregated, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the “ghetto belt.” On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Fort Myers, Fla., Honolulu, Atlanta and Miami…

 

 

Poverty in America Moves to the ‘Burbs

That stereotype of poverty being solely an inner city phenomenum just blew up – if it ever was really true at all. Seems there more “po'” folks in the ‘burbs than ever before. Indeed, there is now more poverty in the ‘burbs, than in urban areas.

What this means for the country is another harbinger of a disaster, brought on by disastrous legislative and economic policies. The modern poor include a lot of folks who pushed all the right buttons, and jumped all the right hurdles in life – working hard, getting an education…

Who are now jobless, and increasingly homeless.

A Modern Ghost Town

Poverty surging in U.S. suburbs

Poverty is rising all over the United States, but it is especially pronounced in the suburbs, which were once regarded as a haven from the ills of the inner cities.

According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, one-third of the nation’s poor now reside in the suburbs.

CAP explained that the last decade set in motion this shift in the map of poverty, but the recession exacerbated key economic trends that rapidly increased the growth rate of suburban poverty to more than double that of central cities.

According to data from the Brookings Institute, as of 2009, 13.7-million poor people lived in the suburbs, a 37 percent increase since 2000 (compared with a 26.5 percent growth for the nation as a whole). In fact, it is now estimated that the number of poor people living in suburbia exceeds the number in the inner cities by about 1.6-million.

For example, poverty in the suburbs surrounding Chicago has climbed by 50 percent between 2000 and 2009 (while, ironically, the city’s poverty rate actually declined by 0.9 percent). Continue reading

America Joins the 3rd World

This looks like something I’ve seen in Haiti…

30,000 queue for housing assistance in Atlanta

Some 30,000 people lined up outside a local shopping centre in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday in the hope of receiving public housing assistance. The authorities were unprepared for the throng, which was unruly at times. Amid sweltering conditions, 62 people were hurt and 20 needed hospital care. Only 455 rent assistance vouchers and 200 public housing spaces were on offer – while 13,000 applications were taken.

Some had lined up since Sunday for the possibility of discounted rent.

It was the first time in eight years that the housing authority in East Point, a municipality in south-west Atlanta, had accepted applications for public housing and rent subsidies, known as Section 8 vouchers. Authorities estimate it will be six months before any vacancies become available for the small number of successful applicants. Most of the 16 other local housing authorities in Atlanta have closed their waiting lists. But Section 8 vouchers are portable, so people flocked from across the city for a chance to receive housing aid.

Atlanta is an economically polarized city: it has the fastest growing number of millionaires in the US but also has the third-highest proportion of people living below 50% of the poverty line.

“People are desperate. They are really willing to do whatever it takes to get into housing,” James Fraser, a public housing expert at Vanderbilt University, told the BBC.

Welcome to America after 30 years of conservatism. One of the favorite stitch’s of a black conservative buckdancer from Atlanta is to berate the City of Detroit. The line goes that Liberalism and Unions killed manufacturing in the North, as companies sought lower wage Continue reading

Haiti’s History of Hardship

Part of why Haiti is so poor…

One of the parts missed here is the occupation of Haiti by the US Army for 30 years, and setting up Papa Doc as Dictator…

Another is the economic embargo of Haiti for nearly 100 years, after they overthrew the French slavers.

Haiti also sent a Regiment of soldiers as allies to the Americans in our Revolutionary War. These soldiers participated substantially in the siege of Savannah by Colonial troops, and were instrumental in eventually defeating the British in the South – even though the British prevailed at the battle of Savannah.

more about “Haiti’s history of hardship“, posted with vodpod
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