February 23, 2006

HUNGER IN THE USA

Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”—T-Bone Slim

In another sign of the times, a new study found that more than 25 million Americans had to depend on food from America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest network of food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters. This includes nine million children and three million senior citizens. Presumably, the number would have been greater had it included the many similar food services outside the network.

The number of people depending on these services has increased by 9% since 2001. This is no surprise. The US Census Bureau reported last year that the number of Americans living in poverty had increased each year since 2001, as has the number of uninsured Americans.

More than a third of those who depended on these services came from a household where at least one person had a job. According to an Associated Press report, the numbers “show that many working people don’t make enough money to feed their families.”

There is something wrong when people who work hard don’t earn enough to feed themselves or their families. There are two take home messages here. One, the country is clearly heading in the wrong direction; and two, it’s time to raise the minimum wage. As Holly Sklar, a policy analyst and co-author of A Just Minimum Wage, has said, “A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH…

Over 100 advocates for children and families attended a Public Policy Forum on Children’s Issues yesterday organized by Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia. The keynote speaker was Pam Costain, director of education and training for Wellstone Action and events included briefing sessions and workshops on organizing and advocacy. Today, participants will visit the legislature in support of children's issues--one of which is raising the state minimum wage.

Speaking at the forum, WV AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Larry Matheney said, “There are two wars going on today and I think both of them are wrong. One is overseas in Iraq. One is going on right here and it’s the war against the poor.”

Speaking of the war overseas, WV Patriots for Peace sponsored a vigil yesterday displaying the Wall of Remembrance, which contains the names of all US soldiers killed in Iraq. They were joined by many others, including a strong contingent of union members. The occasion of the vigil was a fundraising visit by Karl Rove.

Not a good day to forget one's camera...

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: UNFATHOMABLE

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