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Chicago's Murder Problem

With six homicides, Saturday August 18th tied with an unseasonably warm February day for the dubious honor of Chicago's deadliest day, bringing the year's death total to over 340. Chicago is now one of the world's deadliest cities, much worse than the more populous NYC, even earning comparisons to Kabul. Possible culprits include failed urban policies, guns, concentrated poverty, and gangs (and counterintuitively, the fact that some are fractured and poorly run).
posted by melissam on Aug 21, 2012 - 39 comments

Paul Ryan as Romney's running-mate

Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 11, 2012 - 1550 comments

Jobs not Jails

"We don’t hire homies to bake bread. We bake bread to hire homies"--Father Gregory Boyle, Jesuit Priest and founder of Homeboy Industries. [more inside]
posted by apricot on Jul 16, 2012 - 23 comments

“Americans don’t look at us as human beings. They look at us as tools for work.”

Journalist Chris Hedges and Illustrator Joe Sacco have co-authored Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt about life in the ‘sacrifice zones’ in the American Dream.
Camden, New Jersey where:
The poor have to help the poor, because the ones who make the money are helping the people with money.
And from West Virginia: The Story of Rudy the Miner, with text.
An interview with Hedges.
(Mountain coal rape previously 1; 2).
posted by adamvasco on Jul 12, 2012 - 31 comments

Rapid declines into poverty

The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America's Middle Class (via The Billfold) [more inside]
posted by peacheater on Jun 27, 2012 - 83 comments

As a weapon in the hands of the restless poor.

After an inquisitive prison inmate challenged his notions of poverty and its solutions, Earl Shorris embarked on a project to share the humanities with poor students in New York City. In this article for Harper's Magazine, he remembers his struggles and triumphs with funding, material, and the students. As income inequality in the US continues to rise, other well known figures have different ideas. Shorris died recently this year, and obituaries appeared in The New York Times, The Daily News and The Nation. A full archive of his articles for Harper's can be found here.
posted by sophist on Jun 21, 2012 - 10 comments

'A childhood that began with a sort of cautious optimism quickly devolved into absolute horse shit.'

My mother became my daughter when I was nine years old. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 20, 2012 - 62 comments

The elephant moves

“Sexual orientation does make you poor,” says Manohar Elavarthi, a community organizer with Sangama in Bangalore. “Poverty is not just economic – you miss access to so many things: ration cards, inheritance rights, voter ID cards.” In several South Asian countries, there are reports that LGBT people have even been denied access to disaster relief. And homophobia is intricately connected with other divisions in South Asian societies, particularly around gender but also religion and caste. Yet I saw many signs of hope and change in both India and Nepal. Those transgender sex workers in Chennai have organized a coalition, called V-CAN, of every single community-based organization in the state of Tamil Nadu that serves homosexual or transgender people. Working with the NGO Praxis, they have been able to gain access to some public benefits, such as pensions and registering as “third gender” on government ID cards. Activists in Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society have achieved similar results and more. ~ World Bank blog post
posted by infini on Jun 3, 2012 - 9 comments

The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators.

How Corporations and Local Governments Use the Poor As Piggy Banks. Barbara Ehrenreich (previously) talks about how the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by wage theft, municipal/criminal fines, and debtors prisons.
posted by desjardins on May 20, 2012 - 85 comments

"A strict academic caste system."

"Sixteen years ago, Patricia (P.J.) Johnston of Des Moines made the front page of this paper for collecting her diploma from Drake University at just 19. “I think I’m probably meant to be an academic,” Johnston was quoted as saying. And she has been, getting a master’s in one institution, going to seminary at another, doing field research in India in her area of interest — Indian Catholicism — and currently working toward a Ph.D in religious studies at the University of Iowa....As it is, she sleeps on her office floor on the days she has to be in Iowa City, riding the Greyhound bus in from Des Moines."
[more inside]
posted by edheil on Apr 28, 2012 - 116 comments

A real world distopian sports event

Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
posted by Artw on Apr 28, 2012 - 68 comments

We need a better way to poop

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the second round of its Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, designed to prototype a means of dealing effectively and cost-efficiently with human waste for the 2 billion people on earth who currently lack access to safe and affordable sanitation.
posted by slogger on Apr 26, 2012 - 78 comments

A Raw Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation that would require thousands of people applying for welfare to pass a drug test before they could receive benefits. [more inside]
posted by goHermGO on Apr 16, 2012 - 166 comments

Where cabs and omnibuses are ruthlessly driven against them

In the frantic pace of modern life, it is often easy to forget what life was once like for those who built the world we now live in. More from Bishopsgate library here and the Institute itself is worth a poke around
posted by mattoxic on Apr 3, 2012 - 34 comments

The War Against Youth

The recession didn't gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Apr 1, 2012 - 317 comments

In a sympathetic biochemical photo-reactive process, the Biosphere has altered the litho-sphere into the pedosphere, the cryo-sphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere*

The Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest is home to more than 50 million people. Centuries of overuse led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty. Two projects (results) set out to restore the Loess Plateau. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Mar 22, 2012 - 7 comments

Life on the Breadline

Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor. The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 18, 2012 - 105 comments

if I can do it, so can you!

6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying. (SLCracked by David Wong) [more inside]
posted by changeling on Mar 6, 2012 - 223 comments

Were single mothers better off in the 19th Century?

"As far back as the 1800s, single mothers were receiving benefits. At that time, they would be paid up front and in cash, but were they better off than today?" [via] [Spoiler Inside] [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Mar 4, 2012 - 23 comments

The Nutrition Puzzle

The nutrition puzzle Why do so many people in poor countries eat so badly—and what can be done about it?
posted by storybored on Feb 24, 2012 - 10 comments

Satellite views of the world's largest slums

Satellite views of the world's largest slums
posted by Trurl on Feb 23, 2012 - 48 comments

Marriage is a luxury good

Marriage is a luxury good [NYT] After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 18, 2012 - 66 comments

Let there be

Life Without Lights Energy Poverty Photography.
posted by infini on Feb 12, 2012 - 28 comments

Hustlin': The Rise of the Privileged Poor

Writer and comedian A Wolfe writes a compelling piece on education, poverty, and shame.
posted by Dokterrock on Jan 31, 2012 - 42 comments

ReWired

After the Wire, actress Sonja Sohn couldn’t leave Baltimore’s troubled streets behind.
posted by modernnomad on Jan 27, 2012 - 18 comments

When you're poor...

The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor (sl Cracked list) [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Jan 19, 2012 - 368 comments

"Liberal, Pretty, and Pro-Titty"

GOOGLE RUPAUL. Drag superstar RuPaul (whose reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" returns later this month) has enjoyed piles of free publicity thanks to name association with presidential canditate Ron Paul (NY Times). [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on Jan 6, 2012 - 35 comments

Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life.

Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 21, 2011 - 22 comments

Poverty and Race in America

Article suggests that we need to reassess our assumptions about the relationship between poverty and race. Following the article published in Forbes magazine dealing with poor black kids, this article brings up the question about poor whites and how invisible they have become.
posted by RedShrek on Dec 20, 2011 - 38 comments

The Seat Pleasant 59: A social experiment

A three-part series on the fate of 59 fifth-graders who were given an extraordinary gift: the promise of a college education paid for by two wealthy businessmen. Part 2, Part 3
posted by RedShrek on Dec 18, 2011 - 74 comments

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor?

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor? Forbes writer John Koppisch says it's because of a lack of individual property rights. In a detailed response, the executive director of non-profit organization Village Earth says: "I find it ironic how academics and journalists try to come up with new theories to explain poverty on reservations but fail to take into account the obvious. The government owes Native Americans at least 45 Billion dollars yet, in the settlement offered by the Obama administration, they are being compensated for less that .06% of that." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Dec 14, 2011 - 101 comments

Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum

"If I Were A Poor Black Kid" by Gene Marks. "If I Were The Middle Class White Guy Gene Marks" by Kelly Virella
posted by griphus on Dec 13, 2011 - 203 comments

Before the Occupy movement, there were tent cities.

"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue." -- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, explaining that the surge in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1, 2, 3, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ / Photo Gallery / Video. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 10, 2011 - 40 comments

Chinese heavy metals

About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 9, 2011 - 37 comments

Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015"

Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015". Officials have been working over the years to reduce the city’s homelessness, and in July passed an ambitious plan that targets eliminating street homelessness by 2015 and creating nearly 40,000 new units of social, rental, and condo housing by 2021. The plan is aimed at building multiple types of housing to address shortages, but the first three years focus mainly on supportive and social housing. It calls for 3,650 units of such housing, 1,700 of which are already funded and in either the planning or construction phase. According to city councilor Kerry Jang, the need for this type of supportive housing has skyrocketed in recent years.
posted by modernnomad on Oct 24, 2011 - 96 comments

It takes some Sachs to raise a villiage

The Millennium Villages, launched in association with the Millennium Development Goals (wiki) adopted by the UN in 2000, recently received a grant of $72 million to continue its work. In a post on the always interesting Guardian Poverty Matters blog, a group of poverty researchers has recently summarized their findings that the project did not plan for a rigorous evaluation, and thus we will not know if they worked. Jeff Sachs, the scholar most strongly associated with the MDVs, disagrees. The blog Development Impact (which, in fairness, is basically all about randomized controlled trials in development) weighs in here and here.
posted by shothotbot on Oct 21, 2011 - 3 comments

“Eventually, someone is going to pick up a brick.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire, delivers the 2011 Frank Porter Graham Lecture at UNC-Chapel Hill. [more inside]
posted by enn on Sep 30, 2011 - 15 comments

SCC OKs Safe Injection Sites

SCC approves safe injection sites. The Supreme Court of Canada today ordered the federal government to stop its efforts to shut down a safe injection clinic in Vancouver, opening the door to more clinics opening across the country. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 30, 2011 - 35 comments

Cheap Internet for Low-Income American Familes

"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 20, 2011 - 108 comments

The bottom of the pyramid

U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) - An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch. That represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four. (related)
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2011 - 121 comments

Decision Fatigue

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? "The very act of making decisions depletes our ability to make them well. So how do we navigate a world of endless choice?"
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2011 - 71 comments

Nickel and Dimed, 10 years later.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the the 2001 bestseller "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America", releases a new afterward for the tenth anniversary edition of the book, focusing on what has changed in the last 10 years. The conclusion: Poverty has since turned into an American crime. [more inside]
posted by windbox on Aug 11, 2011 - 178 comments

Still Down And Out

On the trail of George Orwell’s outcasts. 'Some 80 years after George Orwell chronicled the lives of the hard-up and destitute in his book Down and Out in Paris and London, what has changed?' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Aug 7, 2011 - 11 comments

If I Could Have Light In A Bottle

MIT students created water bottle light bulbs that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
posted by COD on Aug 3, 2011 - 74 comments

The pivot from the quantitative finding to the speculative explanation

Everyone knows that correlation doesn't imply causation, but researchers invariably need to come up with plausible explanations (i.e., models) for the patterns found in their data. However, very different models can "explain" the same pattern. The books The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It and Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Oxford economist Paul Collier try to explain why some countries have remained poor using data from econometric studies. In his very interesting review (PDF), Mike McGovern, a political anthropologist at Yale, critiques the types of explanations found in popular economics books. Statistician Andrew Gelman has further thoughts on descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jul 13, 2011 - 59 comments

What happens when you give poor people health insurance?

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year (or, What Happens When You Give Poor People Health Insurance?) "We find that in this first year, the treatment group had substantively and statistically significantly higher health care utilization (including primary and preventive care as well as hospitalizations), lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt (including fewer bills sent to collection), and better self-reported physical and mental health than the control group." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Jul 11, 2011 - 65 comments

Outliers

The World Top Incomes Database (click on "Graphics" and select countries, years and other variables) (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 7, 2011 - 5 comments

Why Can’t More Poor People Escape Poverty?

Psychologists are now theorizing that humans have a depletable reservoir of self-control, and that this is why poor people remain poor.
posted by reenum on Jun 6, 2011 - 118 comments

100 Bottles of Beer

Street interviews with Buffalo's freelance bottle collectors – the people who wander through the city to recycle our empties. [more inside]
posted by skoosh on May 28, 2011 - 5 comments

Short Films Against Global and Social Injustice

In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift, the "youth initiative of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices, HIV: The Musical, Man Made, No Way Through and War School. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 24, 2011 - 3 comments

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