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RT @CoryBooker: "We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn"
November 20, 2012 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ, will spend a week or longer living on food stamps, in response to a Twitter user who told him that, quote, "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government."

Recently, Booker invited victims of Hurricane Sandy to his house.

Past Booker awesomeness includes saving his neighbor from a burning house, and personally shoveling out residents trapped in their homes by a 2010 blizzard.

Governor Chris Christie is jealous.
posted by Rory Marinich (117 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cory Booker: the only man in the world who makes Batman feel small.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [50 favorites]


Wow, scaryblackdeath, I JUST posted this link on Facebook saying it was more evidence that Cory Booker IS actually Batman.

Seriously, Good on him. I look forward to seeing what happens. I would be tempted to try this myself if i weren't marathon training. Then again, maybe I should see if it's possible to marathon train on food stamps.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. The one week thing is kind of a gimmick but it could raise awareness in a meaningful way.
posted by headnsouth at 2:06 PM on November 20, 2012


Captain America wants to carry Cory Booker's books to school for him. Just sayin'.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:06 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Christie reminds me of Jeff on Curb.
posted by goethean at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cory Booker: Walking the motherfucking walk since 1970*

And for a few months before that, he crawled the crawl.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [26 favorites]


Cory Booker: The man that lives every day like that last day in the movie Groundhog's Day.
posted by FJT at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


So is then when we all start saying Booker 2012?
posted by symbioid at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of friends who were impacted by Sandy, who bemoaned that their mayors weren't Cory Booker.

Hell, I live in a town untouched by Sandy, and I bemoan that he isn't my mayor.
posted by librarianamy at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


On the other hand now it's only a matter of time before people just start daring Cory Booker on Twitter to perform stunts of various kinds.

CORY BOOKER TO ATTEND JUNIOR PROM WITH BENGAL TIGER
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2012 [53 favorites]


Cory Booker dismisses the importance of Hot Pockets, reconsiders
posted by bewilderbeast at 2:09 PM on November 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


The one week thing is kind of a gimmick but it could raise awareness in a meaningful way.

The Mayor of Phoenix recently did this, too. I grant that a one week experience doesn't likely create the full impact of living on food stamps, but to be fair these are both very busy men and their diets are probably pretty hard to manage even under normal circumstances. I imagine they probably eat out a lot, or eat on the run, or have working lunches, etc.

And I don't know how many more people Cory Booker could carry out of burning buildings if he had to seriously cut his caloric intake. Raising awareness is important, true, but so is saving the lives of his people.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:09 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


bewilderbeast, one of my favorite things about Mayor Booker is that he will RT no matter what the person's Twitter name is. my favorite was something like "Big Boobs Carly"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


A whole week!?
posted by mattoxic at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, just speaking as a high school teacher: the issue of nutrition is so very legit. I tend to really hate it when kids bring food into the room, but if it's first period and the food is ANY kind of breakfast-like thing (i.e., not pixie stix), I generally tolerate it because it's more important that they eat.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Cory Booker dismisses the importance of Hot Pockets, reconsiders

That's fantastic, and the fact that a mayor publicly released this statement...

I believe in you. I know this is a problem you can handle. RT @DAT_NIGGA_REEE a my nigga i m running out of hotpockets to put in the oven

...is kind of the best thing I've seen today.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


You already made everything about Cory Booker a favorite.

Dammit.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:16 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good God, I thought Reddit was hard to follow but Twitter is impossible for me to make heads or tails of. Thanks for the extra links because I have no idea what is going on in the Twitter link. How do you sort out who said what to who? Seems that the @ symbol can mean "this is addressed to you" and "I am quoting you" as well as "this is who I am talking about".

My inability to use Twitter aside, this dude seems like a pretty awesome dude. I mean for real. He sounds amazing.
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:16 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


More Cory Booker:

Booker helps transport 32 homeless men and women to a shelter in Sandy's wake

Booker declares drug war a failure, both economically and racially – endorses medical marijuana

Cory Booker's AMA on Reddit
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:20 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cory Booker is awesome, but I wish this process involved the part where you actually get approved for food stamps. Because the forms may as well say "ha ha good luck fucker" on them.
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2012 [51 favorites]


(However I am 100% behind greater visibility to the shit parade that is living on food stamps.)
posted by griphus at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


griphus, if you tweet him, he might just include it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:23 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


So is then when we all start saying Booker 2012

Well, no. Because:

a) 2012 elections have already occurred

and b) We just did this with a charismatic public speaker who makes liberals feel warm and fuzzy but has no serious political experience on the world stage to speak of, and it's not exactly going spectacularly.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:25 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I tweeted at him. However, having worked in a Heartless Bureaucracy, I think that without a fake identity that wouldn't tip the processors off to be on their Best Behavior with his paperwork, there's no realistic way to do that.
posted by griphus at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2012


...a charismatic public speaker who makes liberals feel warm and fuzzy but has no serious political experience on the world stage to speak of...

Actually, drjimmy, the 2008 elections already occurred.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Cory Booker is awesome, but I wish this process involved the part where you actually get approved for food stamps. Because the forms may as well say "ha ha good luck fucker" on them.

Every "big government" hating freedom-patriot moron would choke on his tongue if he knew what you had to agree to let the government do to get foodstamps. Access your bank account, Random home inspections, verify income, and so on.

It's humiliating and intrusive.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2012 [34 favorites]


From two days ago:

KECKempf: My trans-gender friends are nervous about moving to Newark. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker: Want me to call them?


chloevirginia: I am staying up all night to write a paper about you
Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker: Let me know if u need a quote. I'll call.


Three days ago:

Davermillion: Why is the popcorn at Newark Penn Station so outstanding?
Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker: They sprinkle it with Love & salt from Springsteen's sweat


MattorShirley: would you rather: host SNL or emcee the White House Corespondents Dinner?
Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker: How bout cameo in next Star Trek Movie.

posted by Iris Gambol at 2:28 PM on November 20, 2012 [99 favorites]


Cory Booker is awesome, but I wish this process involved the part where you actually get approved for food stamps.

Not to mention the two-hour wait in a too-hot room filled with people who are all embarrassed to be seen there.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:28 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


That said, good for him for caring about the poor. A very very rare thing on the national stage, and at this point equally rare across the political spectrum, as both parties fall over themselves to deify the "middle class."

I unfollowed Booker on twitter because he said something that annoyed me (I forget what), and because the endless attempts at self-meming wear a little thin after a while. But I think he's basically sincere, so I may have to follow him again.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:29 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, drjimmy, the 2008 elections already occurred.

yes, Obama's foreign policy is going swimmingly. But I realize that was a bit off-topic so sorry for the derail.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2012


Cory Booker is awesome, but I wish this process involved the part where you actually get approved for food stamps. Because the forms may as well say "ha ha good luck fucker" on them.

I was just going to say this. The part where you have to be working to get them but all the interviews / submission of proof has to be done during business hours is fun. Or the part where they hint that they'll call your work to confirm your income, which isn't stressful or uncomfortable at all.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yeah there's almost an extortionate quality to the process:

"Oh, you want free food, huh? How many days of work are you willing to give up?"
posted by griphus at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah and they don't say how much you might get, either, so for all you know you've given up $75 of income for $8 a month in benefits. Whee!
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


for all you know you've given up $75 of income for $8 a month in benefits

Aside from the making $75 thing, this sounds accurate to my experience.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG now I must have popcorn from Newark Penn Station.
posted by headnsouth at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


When Christie retires to run for president, we should make Booker governor of New Jersey. Give him a term or two in that job and then send him on the the White House. Experience problem taken care of and New Jersey get to say it has the awesomest governor for a while.

Win-win
posted by Hactar at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


How is Christie doing post-Sandy? I'd like to think that the "can I please get some fucking work done, maybe?" attitude he copped the whole time will sour him to the GOP.
posted by griphus at 2:41 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


chloevirginia: I am staying up all night to write a paper about you
Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker: Let me know if u need a quote. I'll call.
You should've asked him for a quote for this post, Rory.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:41 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the Reddit AMA I linked, somebody asks Booker about the War on Drugs, particularly its racial component. Booker's response is comprehensive and incredible and too long for me to quote in its entirety, but two pieces from it in particular that struck me:
Let me give you another NJ statistic: Blacks make up less than 15% of our New Jersey's population but make up more than 60% of our prison population. I can't accept that facts like this one do anything but demonstrate the historic and current biases in our criminal justice system. I strongly recommend people read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander it has very compelling parts and data. People should not see these facts and this discussion as an indictment of any one race, sector, or occupation, it should be seen as a call to all of us to do the difficult things to make a change because this isn't a "black" problem this is an American problem.

The so called War on Drugs has not succeeded in making significant reductions in drug use, drug arrests or violence. We are pouring huge amounts of our public resources into this current effort that are bleeding our public treasury and unnecessarily undermining human potential. I see the BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars being poured into the criminal justice system here in New Jersey and it represents big overgrown government at its worst. We should be investing dollars in programs and strategies that work not just to lower crime but work to empower lives.
And then, after listing the various steps Newark is taking to ameliorate the situation:
Douglass says; "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." So much of this problem could be solved by strong education systems and other systems of support for our children before they get in trouble. So let me offer this as a final action item to heal our nation, end many insidious racial divisions and exalt our country's highest ideals. Mentoring. It takes 4 hours a month to mentor a child, the amount of time most watch TV in a day. There are hundreds of kids in Newark on waiting lists for a mentor: a positive adult in their lives who cares. Mentoring has demonstrated a profound ability to dramatically lower incarceration for youth and even lower early unsafe sex practices. And it has shown to boost youth outcomes from self-esteem to dramatically increasing school performance. EVERYONE who is qualified should be mentoring a child who is not their own OR encouraging others to do so OR supporting mentoring organizations. If every so-called "at risk" kid in Newark had a mentor we could dramatically end future crime in our city. So please advocate for policy changes, challenge our current system, fight for change but before you point fingers at all the things that aren't being done by others, look in the mirror at your self and ask could I be doing more for our kids.

In the end BIG changes are made most by small acts of kindness, decency, love and service.
He says a lot of interesting things in that thread, but that in particular stood out to me as exemplary.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:42 PM on November 20, 2012 [66 favorites]


You should've asked him for a quote for this post, Rory.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:41 PM on November 20 [+] [!]


Hell, I'll pay his membership fee so he can be "Metafilter's own Cory Booker."
posted by miss-lapin at 2:44 PM on November 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Never mind the mayor of Phoenix, various members of Congress did this in 2007. (With all the usual suspects as participants.)
posted by hoyland at 2:46 PM on November 20, 2012


I really like the guy but having spent the first half of my life below the poverty line, this stunt just kind of bothers me. I hope it does some good.
posted by the_artificer at 2:46 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should've asked him for a quote for this post, Rory.

Want me to tweet him? Though I wouldn't even know how to ask.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2012


He is so fucking awesome, I wish Newark would manifest destiny NYC so he could be our mayor too.

i just need some campaign slogans for New Jerk now
posted by elizardbits at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I have to say as much as I would vote for Cory Booker for basically any office so fucking hard there would be smoke coming out of the scantron, I think his deep dedication to the city of Newark is admirable (and also truly rare in a modern politician). I also think that if he is given time to really succeed as he wants to in Newark, it could have repercussions not just for that city (already an important, worthy goal) but also for places like Trenton and Camden, and for many other American cities that were harmed by unemployment, drug trafficking, and embedded racial and class inequality. I think a lot of people in the political mainstream have written off places like Newark as having problems that are utterly intractable, and I would love for him to prove them wrong.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:49 PM on November 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


My own favorite @CoryBooker tweet:


@Leedailyire: Here @corybooker, can you sort the pothole outside? Granda swears blind he only votes FF but if ya sort that he'll take care of ya next time
@CoryBooker: Sir, it looks like you live in Dublin, Ireland. I've got 99 problems & your ditch ain't one MT @leedalyire Can u sort the pothole outside?
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:51 PM on November 20, 2012 [97 favorites]


I really like the guy but having spent the first half of my life below the poverty line, this stunt just kind of bothers me. I hope it does some good.

I think this kind of "stunt" should be mandatory. Everyone that holds a public office should be required to, for the first quarter of their sitting term eat only what they would normally receive off food-stamps for their own jurisdiction. No candy desk, no lobby dinners, just brown-bagging it from home with what they would receive off of food-stamps.

Most, if not all, politicians at the national level have no fucking clue what it's like to live anywhere near the poverty line today (that's not to say some of them didn't have humbler beginnings, but they probably weren't there in the past 10 years), so they have no clue what it's like to be living at the bottom right now.

Good job New Jersey. Your representatives are putting the rest of the country to shame.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


tomorrowful that is a-fucking-mazing
posted by en forme de poire at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2012


Newark is too big for Booker and America is too small. He should be governor of the Earth like the fucking Watcher or something.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Any thoughts as to why he isn't married anyone? Not trying to start any blasphemous rumors...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:00 PM on November 20, 2012


I really like the guy but having spent the first half of my life below the poverty line, this stunt just kind of bothers me. I hope it does some good.

One one hand, yeah, it's a stunt. The thing is, I haven't heard of anyone emerging fro the other side of it saying "pffft, that wasn't so bad, I don't know what the big deal is." Almost the universal reaction I hear is "Oh, jesus fucking christ, it's hard. It's really really hard." And no, it doesn't always lead to direct amazing action, but I daresay it certainly doesn't hurt. People with power tend to be drawn from a well-off background; very few of them have even the slightest clue what it's like to genuinely struggle like this. To you, yes, it's a stunt. For them, it's very often a shocking experience that hammers in empathy for people in poverty like nothing else.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:00 PM on November 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Any thoughts as to why he isn't married anyone? Not trying to start any blasphemous rumors...

For a few years now he's been in a steady relationship with the City of Newark and shows no signs of letting his eyes stray.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:02 PM on November 20, 2012 [24 favorites]


A witty, hard-working politician in the United States? When's the sex scandal?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:05 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cory Booker also has a long history of visible protest and showing that he has skin in the game (going on a hunger strike to protest gang violence in Newark, living in the projects during his first term, etc) which helps to elevate this beyond a stunt, I think.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


A lot of Christians would do well to learn from this guy. He walks the walk.
posted by desjardins at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


A lot of Christians would do well to learn from this guy. He walks the walk.

Non-Christians too I'd imagine...
posted by DynamiteToast at 3:14 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


A witty, hard-working politician in the United States? When's the sex scandal?

The primary knock against him (other than on strict policy grounds, I suppose) is that he's a tireless self-promoter. Now, that's not always the worst thing; certainly you can't succeed in politics without some self-horn-blowing and if you're known for doing great things, everybody wins. But this is the guy who used his twitter account to make sure everybody knew he'd just run into a burning building to save a woman's life. My gut feeling about him is this: He really, really wants you to like him, and he wants you to know how awesome he is. Then again, he is pretty legitimately awesome, so he gets a pass.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


A lot of Christians humans would do well to learn from this guy. He walks the walk.
posted by stenseng at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, in my book, the guy who rescued someone from a burnin building and bragged about it on the internet is a bona-fide hero first and then whatever comes after that is a distant second, probably somewhere around "Scorpio" and "tone deaf."
posted by griphus at 3:23 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the food stamp challenge will be easier for him since he's vegetarian.
posted by desjardins at 3:24 PM on November 20, 2012


Probably not, cheap meat is a lot more palatable and filling than bad veggies.
posted by griphus at 3:26 PM on November 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Not to intrude too much on on all the justifiable Cory Booker love, but I wanted to throw in a link roundup about The Food Stamp Challenge, focusing on earlier this year when Chef Mario Batali took part.

Mario's Discusses Food Stamp Challenge—The Chew, 14 May 2012

Mario Batali Food Stamp Challenge: Chef Spending $31 On Food For One Week, Leanne Italie, The Huffington Post, 14 May 2012

What Is Mario Batali Eating On His Food Stamp Budget?, Mariella Mosthof, The Braiser, 15 May 2012

WATCH: Fox News Slams Mario Batali’s Food Stamp Challenge, Mariella Mosthof, The Braiser, 16 May 2012

Mario Batali, the Food Stamp Challenge, and a life of generosity, Kimi Harris, The Nourishing Gourmet, 1 June 2012

Believe It or Not, You Need Food Stamps, Mario Batali and Margarette Purvis, The Huffington Post, 5 June 2012


cf. Mario Batali takes ‘Food Stamp challenge’? What challenge?, Howard Portnoy, Hot Air, 17 May 2012
posted by ob1quixote at 3:28 PM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ramen Noodle Surprise
Ramen Noodle Scallopini
Ramen Noodle Krispie Treats
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:29 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I'm feeling depressed I just read Cory Booker's Wikipedia page
posted by The Whelk at 3:33 PM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "Wow, scaryblackdeath, I JUST posted this link on Facebook saying it was more evidence that Cory Booker IS actually Batman."

No. He's Sam Vimes.
posted by schmod at 3:41 PM on November 20, 2012 [22 favorites]


I think this kind of "stunt" should be mandatory. Everyone that holds a public office should be required to, for the first quarter of their sitting term eat only what they would normally receive off food-stamps for their own jurisdiction.

This for truth. The assholes don't have a clue. They also need to sit in the office and apply like regular schmoes without being recognized. THAT would give them a serious wake-up call on what it means to be humiliated by our society.

Of course, they'll know in their pitiful little rock-hard hearts that being the dregs truly doesn't apply to them.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:44 PM on November 20, 2012


Cory Booker is pretty great. I saw him speak for some kind of business executives from NYC event. I was somewhat surprised that our CEO was psyched about going, since he is basically the kind of person who is, like, "Thank god the job market is getting worse, now we can pay the employees less." (I think it was mostly the feeling of getting to see some famous person, like CEOs love to meet NASCAR drivers and such.) But I was really impressed that he could take the podium in a room that was probably full of assholes, and captivate them without selling out. Obviously, he spoke mostly about effective management in a way that business people could relate to, but he didn't pander to them or contradict the values that he expresses in other venues.

I guess I just mention this because no one posts on Metafilter when he is able to get big financial firms to open offices in Newark (not that I think that should get posted), but it is a testament to the depth of his skill at relating to different constituencies.
posted by snofoam at 3:59 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


A whole week!?
The idea that he's some sort of short term poverty tourist doesn't seem well-founded to me. I don't know if he still does, but for years -- literally years -- the man lived in some of the shittiest shitholes of Newark, trying to get a better idea of what people go through and how to effectively help them.

And believe you me, Newark has some truly shitty shitholes.
posted by Flunkie at 4:02 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


To be honest, he probably is Jesus. Or what we always wanted Jesus to be.
posted by four panels at 4:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Americans think Jesus is a blond-haired blue-eyed dude who judges who you sleep with, though. Cory Booker is approximately eleventy billion times better.
posted by elizardbits at 4:13 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


The Mayor of Burlington, VT is doing this too, without the sassy twitter battle.
posted by Grandysaur at 4:14 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


One nice thing about being single is the ability to crush hard on public figures, guilt-free.

I LOVE CORY BOOKER I LOVE YOU CORY MAN ANNOYED ME WHEN YOU HARSHED ON OBAMA'S BAIN CAPITAL ADS BUT ASIDE FROM THAT I LOVE THEE, I DO!
posted by angrycat at 4:16 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cory Booker is approximately a million times more Christ-like than Romney or Santorum or any of the dudes who have been running for office on a faith-based platform, I tell you what.
posted by KathrynT at 4:17 PM on November 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I unfollowed Booker on twitter because he said something that annoyed me (I forget what)

Probably because back in May when Booker went on "Meet the Press" and complained that Obama was being really mean by calling out Wall Street big shots like Mitt Romney and proceeded to defend private equity hedge funds as model citizens that promote growth.

I trust this guy about as far as I could throw him. He's got his head so far up Wall Street's arse he can't even see daylight.
posted by JackFlash at 4:18 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes my brain likes to match up people who are currently in the public eye and man, Cory Booker and Nate Silver would make an awesome couple. Or Cory Booker and Lena Dunham. YOUR CHOICE, CORY.
posted by punchtothehead at 4:20 PM on November 20, 2012


YOUR CHOICE, CORY.

Maybe you'd prefer a threesome?
posted by goethean at 4:24 PM on November 20, 2012


Former Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski.
posted by rainperimeter at 4:24 PM on November 20, 2012


I think I'd like him as a person, I really do, and even (mostly) as a politician, but holy balls, Booker called teacher's unions "BULLIES AND THUGS"?

That wooshing noise you hear is the sound of my crush evaporating.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:26 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, man - wait til he has to run the gauntlet of checking out at the market with a food stamp card. If people don't recognize him?

JUDGEMENT AND MORAL SUPERIORITY NOW OPEN ON AISLE 2
posted by Space Kitty at 4:35 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is to say, the application process is far from the last bit of humiliation public assistance has to offer. I swear, if we could get a politician to support the poor the way they support the rich and middle class, the changes could be amazing.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:40 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hero worship leads to disappointment, and hurts the "hero."
posted by Kruger5 at 4:53 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That wooshing noise you hear is the sound of my crush evaporating.

I've heard the thugs and bullies line attributed to Christie rather than to Booker, and google seems to bear this out. The whole teacher lobby thing is pretty contentious in Jersey. Check out The Cartel for more.
posted by BWA at 4:54 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cory Booker fucking rocks. I have a sneaking suspicion he is gay, which I couldn't give a rat's ass about -- whatever makes him happy -- but I fear if it is true and it came out, he will never be the president, and I so want him to be our president. Anyone not familiar with him, watch the doc STREET FIGHT, about his first unsuccessful run for mayor of Newark and the multipart show BRICK CITY, about his successful run. The man is a wonder.
posted by old_growler at 5:01 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Booker 2016.
posted by jcterminal at 5:16 PM on November 20, 2012


WidgetAlley: "I think I'd like him as a person, I really do, and even (mostly) as a politician, but holy balls, Booker called teacher's unions "BULLIES AND THUGS"? "

Christie said that. Not Booker.

Also, the NJ teachers union have made some not-so-great arguments against education reform, so I can see why Booker might side against them on some issues (or why he'd want to be on Christie's good side, given that the governor has has frequently suggested gutting urban education budgets to relieve property taxes on wealthy suburban municipalities that don't receive much aid from the state).

The Unions' arguments against reform in NY and DC have also been occasionally weaksauce -- the rubber rooms should have been indefensible, and the unions hated Michelle Rhee. I don't think you can argue that she was in the business of union-busting, privatization, or acting against her students' interests.

But this all is neither here nor there, and I really don't want this thread to derail into the larger education debate
posted by schmod at 5:19 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope Cory will never run for president (although I would hella vote for him), because being president seems the ruination of any man and their plan. I think its just too hard to be truly effective with all the politics you have to deal with. I'd rather Cory stay pure and keep working in places where he can REALLY make a difference.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:27 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I almost kinda wish I had kids so I could convince them that THIS is who you want to grow up to be. No, not a mayor, or a politician, or a suit, but someone who is genuinely willing and able to help people regardless of whether there's a tangible reward. See also, my Dad.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:57 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am among many others who is a big fan of Booker.

That said, Newark needs him a lot more than just about any other elected position in government, be it state or national. I hope he stays in that mayor position long enough to turn things around permanently for Newark.
posted by gen at 6:01 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Booker is pretty great for Newark. I just got back from my regular workshop stint at the maximum security juvenile detention center there tonight, and let me just say how much I appreciate his very public stance on our prison industrial complex. He really, really, *really* gets the community on a deep level and isn't afraid to denounce the prison system (which employs no small number of people I might add) and the war on drugs. He's a big self-promoter but that gives him a big national pulpit from which to express what are sometimes fairly progressive ideas that a lot of other politicians don't want to touch with a ten foot pole.
I am possibly biased in his favor because he once direct messaged me to talk further about his stance on gay marriage. Yep, I wish he was my mayor too.
posted by stagewhisper at 6:34 PM on November 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Can he really get food stamps, or is this just him sticking to a small budget for a week? Also, is there any suggestion that he'll spend the same amount on toiletries and personal maintenance as someone eligible for food stamps?
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:48 PM on November 20, 2012


I have an old-lady crush on Cory Booker.
posted by maggieb at 7:34 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can he really get food stamps, or is this just him sticking to a small budget for a week?

This is always done by fixing a budget. I believe my grocery receipts show how much of the purchase was allowed to be bought with food stamps (certainly this shows at the cash register--I don't have a receipt to hand to check if it's printed), so 'enforcement' isn't that hard either. (Targets around here mark what's WIC eligible on the shelves, too, but I think they're wildly inconsistent. Or whoever wrote the WIC rules is crazy.)
posted by hoyland at 7:51 PM on November 20, 2012


Or whoever wrote the WIC rules is crazy.

/me taps nose.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Probably because back in May when Booker went on "Meet the Press" and complained that Obama was being really mean by calling out Wall Street big shots like Mitt Romney and proceeded to defend private equity hedge funds as model citizens that promote growth.

The big-money connection makes me uneasy too - esp. when Bain employees were big donors to his campaigns - but in fairness I think that's sort of a strong reading of what he said.

He also responded to this criticism in that Reddit thread from above:
From my position as mayor it is important for me to state that many banks and financial firms are HELPING our city. They are not ALL bad actors and in fact I reject any claim that vilifies the financial industry as a whole. [...] This is what I meant: we in Newark are in our biggest period of economic development in a generation or more. Major projects are going on in my city from our first new hotels in 40 years to our first new office towers in 20 years. We are creating entire new neighborhoods like our 130 million dollar Teachers Village project that includes work force housing for teachers. [...] These projects that I mentioned and others (we have over a billion dollars worth of ongoing projects now) are creating over 6 thousand jobs in Newark and have countless other economic and quality of life benefits. Many of the projects have needed help from financial firms and institutions (investment banks, etc) and in this difficult economic time when so many banks and others aren't loaning or investing some strong firms have stepped forward and helped. I will not be one of those people who vilifies or paints a broad brush on an entire industry.
Like I said, I do not love his connection to this industry and it is certainly something we shouldn't be blind to, but this also seems like a pretty reasonable response (without being an about-face on what he said earlier) so I don't really know how I feel on balance.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:14 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whew, okay, crush survives on a moderated level, although he does seem to still be pro-charter school. Which still sucks, and that (combined with awkward banking connections) is enough to cool the fires a bit, but I can still admire him from afar. This is an acceptable compromise.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:23 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cory Booker is a bona fide American superhero with the best disguise ever: civil servant.

Witty, compassionate, geeky, deeply intelligent, bracingly authentic, brave, and committed - and that's just a surface read.

Of course, he's human and so he can't be actually perfect - some complicated loyalties and supported policies bring him into "troubled hero" territory. Good with the bad, bad with the good.

I'd still vote for him in a Presidential election.
posted by batmonkey at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you think we could get this guy to join Metafilter?
posted by alphanerd at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2012


In the mid-eighties a Vancouver provincial politican, Emery Barnes, lived for 7 weeks on welfare. He was trying to raise the profile of the issue, in an effort to raise the welfare rate from $350 a month to $700. Twenty-six years later the welfare rate in BC for a single employable person is $610. In January of this year, another Vancouver area politician spent a month living on welfare for the same reason Barnes did: to raise the issue of doubling rates.

When Morgan Spurlock did his whole thing of living on minimum wage for a month in front of TV cameras, that pissed me off as a stunt. I think when the people who actually have a hand in shaping social policy do it, the potential for real impact can be great.
posted by looli at 8:43 PM on November 20, 2012


I would weep with glee and pride if we did, alphanerd.

GLEE AND PRIDE, LEAKING FROM MY FACE!
posted by batmonkey at 8:44 PM on November 20, 2012


Christie will be murdered in the primary as a RINO... big money will flow in from out of state to send him packing in revenge for doing his job after Sandy... his only hope is to go Chaffee's route and leave the GOP.

Without the Party machine behind him, he'll loose to a strong candidate like Booker.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:44 PM on November 20, 2012


Several congresspeople, including my esteemed representative Jim McGovern (MA-03), did this a few years back and wrote about it.
posted by rollbiz at 8:50 PM on November 20, 2012


A couple of other thoughts:

I wonder if some of his magic would wear off as he stepped up in scale of office. Surely as governor (or president) he couldn't respond to nearly each and every tweet by offering to make a phone call or by jumping in his vehicle and heading to the scene.

People that think the guy is a stunt or a gimmick should really, really watch "Street Fight" and "Brick City". He's not right on everything and I for one am really uncomfortable with some of his thoughts on public education, but he's either noble for passing up a career as the nation's best actor or he really, really gives a shit about his job and the people he governs.
posted by rollbiz at 9:20 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's clear I didn't really read the comments before I posted, isn't it?
posted by rollbiz at 11:10 PM on November 20, 2012


When Morgan Spurlock did his whole thing of living on minimum wage for a month in front of TV cameras, that pissed me off as a stunt. I think when the people who actually have a hand in shaping social policy do it, the potential for real impact can be great.

There've been a couple of UK Conservative politicians who've had a stab at living on benefit levels for a whole week to prove that it was enough to manage. Neither Matthew Parris nor Michael Portillo came anywhere close. IIRC, one was continuously bumming off his generous and more experienced neighbours (who were also living on benefits) while the other just cheated and gave up way short of the week.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:35 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about how hard it is to keep foodstamps? My son is autistic and there's a lot of things he won't eat or can't eat, and we aren't junk food eaters. I buy what I need for the week. But because I don't spend every last penny and have built up a surplus, they want to take away my stamps. So my choice is buy a lot of stuff I don't need and have no room to store, or starve. I just can't win for trying.
posted by FunkyHelix at 4:18 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I spent 2 years give or take living on food stamps (and received WIC vouchers for even longer, which was always much more of a hassle both in terms of the application/qualification process and the actual utilization). Maybe my calibration is off, but I didn't find it all that awful. But not even on a bet would I want to spend 1 week as the mayor of a troubled major metropolitan city.
posted by drlith at 5:09 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


FunkyHelix, it is illegal to purchase food for friends in exchange for cash. I would be tempted, personally. I do know that my grandmother always gave her commodity stuff to the food bank when she ran out of storage room for similar reasons.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:27 AM on November 21, 2012


Well, this stunt seems like it might overshadow the foodstamp challenge.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:50 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


re: this stunt

I think the use of the word 'stunt' gives away some sort of pre-defined notion of good versus evil there.

Seems like people should be angry at those who walked out, not at the people following the rules.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:04 AM on November 21, 2012


Seems like people should be angry at those who walked out, not at the people following the rules.

I loves me some Cory Booker, but I strongly disagree. A chair refusing to recognize a speaker under Robert's Rules is dirty pool in all but the most exceptional circumstances where a speaker is just trying to gum up the works. I don't blame the James backers for walking out to deny quorum for what they rightly thought was an attempt to railroad one of Booker's cronies into the spot, and the fact that Booker was there just to pounce on the opportunity to cast the deciding votes looks really, really bad.

This definitely changes my opinion of Booker going forward, and not in a good way.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2012


I'm just posting so I can get the update when Booker gets his account set up and posts on this thread.
posted by Theta States at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the use of the word 'stunt' gives away some sort of pre-defined notion of good versus evil there.

I don't claim to know enough about local New Jersey politics to know who the "good" or the "evil" are in this particular circumstance. But to deny your opponent the right to speak is just, as Tonycpsu said, "dirty pool." Sometimes good guys can do calculated, shitty things.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2012


After reading the AskMeFi on the Booker City Council issue, I have less of an issue with how that was handled. Thanks for being a wealth of information everyone!
posted by Arbac at 10:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


A chair refusing to recognize a speaker under Robert's Rules is dirty pool

Booker's last six predecessors were convicted of felonies for their conduct in office. To turn violent over not getting a chance to speak strikes me as a particularly choosy way to pick your battles.
posted by dry white toast at 1:17 PM on November 21, 2012


Fox's Tantaros Treats Food Stamps As A Diet Plan: "Do You Know How Fabulous I'd Look?"
posted by homunculus at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's a real Marie Antoinette moment. When I see comments these sort of comments I'm amazed that the USA doesn't fall into civil war or revolution. Is it like, you're only allowed one of each, you've already had yours, any further disputes must be settled via tabloid media?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:58 PM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Booker begins his food-stamp regimen.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:09 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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