Saturday, January 15, 2011

proof of the depth of the great recession

i am told that costco, the liberal middle class warehouse shopping
experience for those who disdain the people of walmart and can afford
the membership fee, now accepts food stamps. (i haven't confirmed this
yet, btw)
what does it say when the symbols of middle class consumption need to
refocus on poverty economics?
(i actually like costco. they start employees at a living wage, or
used to, and promote from within. and i've been wishing they took food
stamps for years)

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Friday, January 14, 2011

There's an old addage that

the hyper-jealous spouse is the one that's actually cheating.

I was reading this post on declining union membership at Sociological Images. I was struck by how rich people talk about working class people.

Let's see, shall we, by taking some standard tropes about the poor.

1.They have numerous babies with multiple partners

A picture of Donald Trump making an angry face while standing next to his current wife. Mr. Trump has 5 children by 3 different women.

2. They use fraud to milk the system for money that doesn't belong to them.

A picture of Bernie Ebbers, whose fraud cost MCI about 11 billion dollars and the jobs of about 20,000 people.

3. They're hypersexed and lazy

Hugh Hefner in the ubiquitous robe. For the lazy part, you have to go google the stories about the baby oil anal sex for yourself. I feel gross just typing it.

I could go on, but the more I google the more skeeved I get.

The point is, what we believe are truths about the awful stereotypes of poor people are really deflections made by skeezy rich white dudes to draw attention away from themselves.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transportation is a class issue

So I've heard a lot of middle/upper middle white people in Seattle talk about what an awesome public transportation system we have (cough, sputter, cough). I could pull out my pretentious traveler card and point out that most of Europe has cheaper, faster, cleaner transport. But fuck that.

Tomorrow I have to take a minimum of 3 buses and 1 hour 45 minutes to go to a housing interview (with Seattle Public Housing, who I've fought with in the past, and my stomach is turning at the thought, but that's another story). Metro's online trip planner is giving me a range of between $7 and $9 EACH way for bus fare. For just me. The Kid is another $3.75 each way. It would be slightly cheaper if I had a prepaid or bank funded Orca card, but the cards themselves cost $5.

It used to be that I could pay for our bus fare by scraping the loose change from my purse. Now you get super shitty treatment from the bus driver and passengers behind you if you use actual money. The price for riding the bus has so far outpaced inflation as to be comparable in increases to health care and higher education.

For the last 9 years, I have been a reasonably happy public transit rider. I gave up my car when we lived in the city because the cost was too high compared to the bus. But I lived walking distance to work, and for most of my employment I got discounted bus passes and everything I wanted to go to was within city limits, so I got the low one zone fares. The $20 I am spending tomorrow is way more than I would have spent in gas, insurance, etc, to drive a whole 15 miles and back. Not to mention the extra 2 hours of transit time that I would save.

Of course, if you work for somewhere like Microsoft (a big company that subsides bus passes and offers privately paid connector shuttles to eliminate the patchwork of city & county buses) then yes, the Metro system is a peach. If you are a poor person trying to get to poor places that are poorly served by public transit because poor people live there, then you're fucked.

If I had to make this trip everyday, for work, it would kill me both financially and timewise. A 9 hour day (8 hours plus lunch) plus nearly 4 hours of commuting, plus 14 fucking dollars a day. At minimum wage, the first 2 hours of work I put in every day would go straight to bus fare. What a waste of fucking time.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

oh patriarchy, don't you have any new tricks?

there's a story at the nytimes about Arizon's new law prohibiting
classes in ethnic studies. to here the patriarchy apologists whinge
about how the chicano students became angry instead of staying docile
little mexicans after taking the class is funny. it also makes me
think of charlotte perkins gillman being locked in a yellow room with
no books because she might become agitated. if you don't get pissed
off reading about milleniums of oppression, you're probably an
but can we please get an oppression system to fight that has some new
tricks please? i mean, keeping the brown folk and the ladies
illiterate and ignorant is sooooo 19th century.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning