Homeless Economics

In the post, below, is a picture is a Homeless Person (questionable) standing under a sign which was placed explicitly for homeless people to get help through various city programs. The program is intended to get Homeless People off the street and connect them to needed services. Unfortunately Homelessness has become a job in itself.

Begging pays better than working for many people.

On the Albuquerque, New Mexico, 311 website are listed the top ten reasons people are calling 311. Being homeless and asking for help is not one of the top ten.Albuquerque BioPark and Bicycling are numbers one and two.

Here are the Homeless Services offered on the city of Albuquerque 311 Web Page:

There’s a Better Way

 

View information about the program “There’s a Better Way.”

Want to Help?

Donations to the program help the issue of panhandling in Albuquerque.

The There’s a Better Way campaign gives panhandlers a chance at a change in life and provides caring members of our community with a better way to donate their money.

About ‘There’s a Better Way’

Begun in 2015, Albuquerque’s innovative “There’s a Better

Way” program addresses four main needs:

1. Give people dignity in work
2. Connect individuals with services
3. Collective Impact to end panhandling
4. Help the Community to understand “There’s a Better Way”

The plan is robust, and is of course intended to get Homeless People off the street and connect them to needed services. Interestingly enough, the BioPark, and Animal Noise Complaints are the most requested services from the 311 program.

The 311 program has a major economic fault that plagues state Welfare Services across the country. Homeless People are making more money standing on the street corner with a sign than they would working. This same problem applies to Welfare Services of many states. It is easier and more profitable to remain on Welfare than it is to get a job.

The sad economic reality is, many of the homeless people standing on the street corners, are not starving, stuck, or needy. For many, standing on the corner begging, pays better than joining the community and becoming a productive member of the community. Giving through charity is commendable. Giving money to people on the street corner who have no interest in becoming a working member of the community is something else completely.

Homelessness, Land of Uneven Surfaces

Sir, can you spare some change?

No, but I will buy you something to eat if you are hungry.

Three minutes of trying to get her act together, finally entering the Fast Food Place where they were standing six feet from the door.

Semi dirty hair, dirty hands, face, and skin areas, clothing and bags dirty.

“I just got out of an abusive relationship…referring to meth scabs maybe?

My Daughter is with a sitter today. Okay…

It’s my day off from work today…..

I stay in a hotel, it’s forty-two dollars a night.

I’m getting section eight housing in one week ten days…eighty-five dollars a month, I can swing that.”

I place my order, less than $3.00. Their food bill adds up to $9.86!?

She suggested, “Let’s sit here?” Okay.

I sit down, she leaves to fill soda from machine. Minutes click by. I wonder if she forgot what she was doing. Her number is called, called again, called a third time.

She comes back to the table. I say, “You order is ready, they called your number.”

She gets her food, three large drinks and a sausage biscuit and sits down.

Easy slide to the bottom when you are homeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Some Woman told an employee, they can’t believe they let people like me in here. Then she tells Me, ‘I am filthy and I stink’. Why do people think they can talk to me like that, like I’m a piece of trash, and not human?”

I am thinking to myself, well the filthy comment fits, I’m in agreement with the woman about the comments. However, there is no excuse for people talking like that to anyone like that, true or not.

She takes large drink of one large shake, then another, and nods off.

“You okay?” She wakes up, starts spreading jelly on her biscuit and her hands….Nods off again. Drooling this time.

Hello?

Opens her eyes, repeats section eight housing story. Nods off again. Opens eyes, “I’m so tired.”

I say, “It appears to me, whatever you have doing isn’t working to well for you, have you heard of “shelter name”.

I won’t go there! I won’t go to any shelter. They get into your business, and I don’t want that. I have been waiting two years for cheap housing, and I’m not going to blow it. I have to wait a week, and three days, and I’m in. Nods off again.

I wonder to myself if she has a week and three days left. I think it may be a coin flip.

I suggest (because she was nodding again), “Why don’t you use a different name? It would give you a chance to clean up, eat and get some real sleep.”

“Have you ever been in one of those places? You don’t know what they are like! (hmmm) How can you sit there and tell me what to do? I don’t want CYFD (Child Welfare) in my business. Why does everyone who gives me money or buys me food think they have the right to tell me what to do?

Maybe they care about you and your condition?, I’m thinking, if I were someone else, I may have paid you for other things, if I didn’t care about my health and well being….

“Are you from here, where did you grow up?”

“I was born in the xxx area, and grew up in the xxxxxxx area.” I’m getting housing in one week and three days, $85.00 a month. My own place. A bed for my daughter.” Nods off…

Opens eyes, “Did you hear a thing I said?

I repeat back what she told me, only one iteration though. “Are you sure about not getting some help, you look like you could use some good sleep.”

“I’m so tired….Why do you think you have the right to tell me what to do? I’m sick of people like you telling me what to do! Who do you think you are?” (I am thinking, ‘someone who is concerned about you doesn’t count I suppose’.)

I’ve had about enough at this point. This woman either hasn’t hit rock bottom, or she does not realize she has already crash landed, and they only place left to fall is to die. Frustration overrides my concern. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In her case, I’m not even sure, if she knows what is going on.

“Do you have some money you could give me? Anything will help.”

“I do not have any money to give you. I spent almost ten dollars on your food. That was a lot of money for me to spend on you.“

“I only need like twenty more dollars to get a hotel room for the night…for my daughter and me. I have almost half of it.”

“I do not have any money to give you.”

She starts falling asleep again.

“I have to go now, I have somewhere to be. I truly hope the next time I see you, you have your apartment, your daughter, and you are doing well. I hope I do not see you as you are now. Good Luck, and my best for you.”

No response, or perhaps that was the response. As I drive, the conversation slowly fades away, forgotten.

Today, I am getting ready to meet someone, when crashing into my thoughts is the woman I left at the table yesterday. Almost overwhelming thoughts of her. It’s not apparent to me why she has taken over my thoughts, and what these thoughts mean. Twelve hours later, and they still haunt me, coming in lingering waves spacing farther apart, and smaller with each arrival.

Perhaps it is because she isn’t the run of the mill homeless person I am used to seeing. Most homeless people are obviously homeless, but getting along somehow, semi clean and looking like they eat enough.

This woman was skinny as a rail, no fat on her. Dirty, and nothing worth anything on her person, worn out cloths and flip flops. She had a half pack of cigarettes, and a container of bright pink lipstick she wore above and below each lip. She like her clothes looked worn out. The one bag she had her possessions stuffed into was in worse condition.

I say more than a few short prayers today for this woman. If anyone ever needed at least praying for it is her. I know she is beyond anything I can do for her. I doubt she even remembers yesterday, the meal and halting angry conversation.

Tariffs and Embargoes, Oh My

Now that we are into the Tariff Trade Game, let’s take a minute and see what it really means. From the U.S. side, the cost of a new home on the northwest coast has seen an average of $7,000 increase due to the increased cost of lumber due to the imposed tariff.

Those not buying a new home, really aren’t effected, or are they? For whatever reason home sales are now a tight market. Prices for used homes have outpaced wages. It really doesn’t matter, what happens to the price of new homes from this perspective, in the short term anyway.

In the Midwest, Farmers are feeling the brunt of losing their largest export consumer of soybeans. Almost one-third of the soybean crop is exported and now faces a Chinese tariff. So far the U.S. Government has put up eleven twelve billion dollars to offset those losses. The American Taxpayer will foot that eleven million dollar bill. Unfortunately there will be fallout among the Farmers who for whatever reason will not see a dime of the these monies for one reason or another. More small farms will cease to exist.

Coca-Cola has announced it is feeling the rise in the price of aluminum for cans. Of course this will only effect Coca-Cola in the short term. These increased costs will quickly be passed on to the consumer. The downside of this price adjustment for the added cost of aluminum is the American Taxpayer is also the consumer.

General Motors and one of the Home Appliance manufacturers announced the rise in the price of steel has arrived at their door. Some of this steel was ordered months past. Once again, American Taxpayers will foot the bill as this cost is passed on.

Tariffs are not effective, and never have been.

Passing on the cost is what big business does. Generally these costs increased are in excess of what the additional or new cost of aluminum and steel will be. If challenged big business will claim they are adjusting prices according to projected future costs. To get a better idea of this, think of how gas prices at the pumps increase well before the holidays, or summer. The upward price rise is much quicker than any downward price adjustment. Why reduce profit if the customer is already willing to pay a higher price….

The Soybean Tariff reminds me of the Russian Grain Embargo of years past. The U.S. placed an embargo of grain sales to Russia. The grain market was in dismay, as they like to export wheat, but enterprising business started raising wheat fed chickens for export to Russia, informally reducing or eliminating the effect of the famous grain embargo.

In the moment, America will experience a temporary soybean glut. This will last until the excess soy is converted to a food China wants that is not subject to a tariff. Business creativity is the work around of Tariffs, Sanctions and Embargoes. Perhaps U.S farmers will start exporting soy fed beef and chicken to China offsetting or bypassing the soybean surplus and tariff.

America may shift production into soy based housing material, soda and food containers, cars and home appliances made of a soy product instead of metal. Let’s not forget more soy meals instead of beef, chicken, and fish, and perhaps soy based gasoline.

This alternate soy fantasy would cost billions in investment dollars. Of course the American taxpayer is more than happy to foot the bill. Generally the common man suffers the biggest burden when these unworkable policies are put in place, paying more for living day to day, and seeing a bigger tax bill which like the increase in production cost prices, will not be reduced when no longer needed. Tariffs have not worked as planned since they were first tried.

Of course following the current fake news line, ‘If you see it, and you hear about it, don’t believe it, it’s not true’. You can take that thought to the bank….

Gangs, Forced Labor, and Slavery in America

There are an estimated 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs criminally active in the U.S. today. Most of these Gangs feed the prison system with new or repeating inmates.

Afraid your child may be falling under gang influence? Check out the parents guide to gangs. Once gang members and other criminals are behind bars, they are eligible to become forced labor, or Legal Slaves. Some may work for a tuppence which is minimal.

There are about 2,220,300 inmates in state and federal prisons. Many of these inmates, survive just like the prison movies…Forced labor in all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes alive.

While an argument may be tabled that some of these inmates are paid for their work, it isn’t the same as a real job. These jobs are jobs are not jobs anyone not in the prison system would want to do. Hours are long, and pay is short or not at all. Average pay is a couple of dollars a day, with no benefits. Hardly an amount anyone would willingly work for.

Then there are the chain gangs. Dangerous work using the forced labor of about 870.000 inmates. With little or no pay, basically Convicts are America’s Legal Slaves. Many of these inmates are in chain gangs. Just like the movies…forced labor, all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes.

As out of sight,  is human trafficking, or Slavery in America. Hard to believe, but the United States is far from the bottom of the list of countries with a Slave population.

The Federal Government does appropriate monies to combat slavery, but with forced inmate labor, and other issues, the monies are little more than a splash in the bucket.

From the Office on Trafficking Persons, yes there is such a place, we have a budget:

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.

Fiscal Year     Programs for Foreign National Victims   Programs for Domestic Victims  Total

2018              $17,000,000                                         $6,755,000                  $23,755,000

So, does forced labor start with Gang Members and other Criminals feeding the system, or is forced labor inherent in America, being a part of the American System as long as America has been around?

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a possible link between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease. From what I read, the Herpes virus that causes cold sores which goes dormant appears to eventually move into the brain, and create what we know as Alzheimer’s Disease.

We all have a blood-brain barrier that stops almost all virus’ from entering the brain itself, but as we know, there are some brain issues that show some virus’ are able to make it through the brain-blood barrier and cause brain infections.

Here is a link from the most comprehensive article I stumbled across. There was another article commenting on this study, but I could not retrieve the link.

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

Personally, I hope this link proves to be false….

Veiled Racism in Advertising

If you watch network television or other media using general family advertising, it is likely you are unknowingly being sublimely influenced by well Veiled Racism. This current approach is so subtle, that unless you are doing the almost unheard of – thinking while watching – you do not even realize what is going on.

There are only a few of these commercials showing in the moment, but more are likely on the way. These few commercials are getting a lot of air time. These commercials are, “Family” scenario commercials, in that they take place using a basic family unit for the commercial. The family unit consists of a White Father, Black Mother, and a Black Child, a girl of course.

On the surface these commercials seem perfectly harmless. On the surface they are Family oriented commercials with a story wrapped around the selling of a product. We sit and watch these commercials, brain off, waiting for the show to resume. Turn your brain back on, and give these commercials some thought and you should become angry over what you are seeing!

Are your thoughts on Racism and the Family Unit being manipulated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps and more to the point, angry about what you are not seeing. The family unit in each of these commercials is a White Father, Black Mother, and Black girl. Get it? Of course the White Father is the role model of all Fathers. The Black Woman and Child are of course, the perfect compliment to the perfect White Father.

In one commercial, the White Father is suffering some intestinal disease. The Black Mother and Black Child look on with dismay and concern as the White ignorant Father struggles with his dilemma. Really? Is this how it is in the real world?

I didn’t really ‘see’ what I have been watching in these commercials until today when something triggered how well Veiled Racism is alive and well, buried in these disturbing commercials. If these marketers are trying to break down racial barriers and further promote interracial relations while promoting their product, they are doing a rather poor job. If they are trying to reflect current reality, they are doing a worse job. That only leaves on other option, and it is ugly.

Why don’t we see a Family Unit commercials consisting of a Black Father and a White Mother, with a White Child who is also a girl? Are we only accepting of the idea of White Men and Black Women with a Child who may or may not be theirs together?

Do we see in our everyday day life any semblance of what we see in these commercials? I don’t. How about a commercial with a Hispanic Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? How about an Asian Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? Perhaps Marketers see this scenario in the same light they see a Black Father with a White woman and White child?

This idea of one acceptable racial family unit may or may not be influenced by the current President and his politics. However, we need to think about this and express the right and need to vote with our pocketbooks. Let these racially biased advertisers and the product they represent know without a doubt that making selectively, “approved” commercials needs to expand to other family units, and quick. Either advertise using mixed race combination of family units across all markets, or stop these types of commercials completely.

Every Race has outstanding Fathers, Mothers, and Children. Almost every community enjoys mixed race family units as part of their population. Except for some very shortsighted people, we do not think twice seeing a mixed race family unit during our daily activities. We must not be willing to allow advertising to reshape our view of what is acceptable, and what is not for a family unit?

Mixed Race Family Units is reality. Selectively using, “approved” mixed race families in advertising is just plain wrong. Take a moment, when you see one of these very slick, focused, White Father, Black Mother and Black girl family unit commercials, and let the the product manufacturer know you live in the real world, and they either need to get with the program, or you may prefer to purchase a competitor’s product, which may be better than their product.

Dieting Decoded, The Simplest, Easiest, Ultimate Healthy Diet

The diet light bulb came on last evening, or put another way, I experienced a diet epiphany! This refreshing thought came about while trying to explain what the Whole30 and Paleo diet are in there essence. I do not assume to speak for either of these diets, but rather provide a simple explanation of what their long term goal is.

This is the last diet advice you will ever need. You can stop searching the Internet for the latest and greatest diet advice. You may give away your diet books as you won’t need them any more. You can say goodby to your frustrations from trying to diet, and enjoy all the positives a better way of eating provide.

If you are not familiar with a better way to eat, here is my explanation, which is not formal, nor accepted as a proper explanation. I am sure many diet authorities would be willing to say I am wrong, so be it. First, as you know I recently completed the Whole30 program. Whole30 eating program removes all foods known to cause problems when eaten. Food allergies, intolerance, or simple indigestion followed by constipation and/or diarrhea are taken out of the 30 day diet.

I changed to the Paleo diet, which attempts to go back to the way our ancestors ate before the rise of farming and ranching. Both ways of eating are very similar from my understanding, though Whole30 is more restrictive. Either one is a great choice, but they do not easily get down to the essence of making food choices simpler. In both eating styles, there are a lot of vegetables, with some type of protein. Though knowing this does not make for a simple explanation to family and friends.

My light bulb moment was the relationship not only between these two eating styles, but comparing them to a general diet as an understandable spoken explanation of, “What I can eat”, which is the topic of much conversation these days. Now, that I made the leap to a simple explanation everyone can understand, I simply say, “I eat what you and I were fed as a baby”. Obvious and transparent with no ambiguity.

When feeding an infant starting on solid food, vegetables generally comprise the whole meal. Typically, a jar of green beans is a complete meal for an infant. Or when a little older, perhaps two vegetables, or a vegetable and fruit. Further along the infant diet, meat is added.

Stop Diet Hopping!

The last words you will ever need to read about Dieting!

There are no sweet fruit juices, candies, cakes or cookies given to a baby. At least not more than a taste. We want our babies to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, not chubby and sickly. We know how to feed an infant. My comparison to an infant’s diet struck me as a perfect explanation for an answer to, “What do I eat”? “I eat what we both ate as babies.” How succinct.

Suddenly, as if coming out a fog, friends and family understand I am not on some exotic, secret diet plan with exotic foods. They remember what they have fed to their children as infants, or have seen the foods other parents feed their infants. “What can I eat”, is clarified and taken out of the category of mystery and placed in the, well, that is obvious now category.

I no longer have to go through any long drawn out explanation, of what foods I wish to eat, and what foods I no longer eat. I simply say, I eat those types of foods we ate as infants, the same foods you were fed and fed your children as infants.

I am not sure where we transgressed from being fed wholesome healthy food to living on fast food, soda, and sweets. We did this very bad food substitution, and convinced ourselves we are eating healthy. Surprise, we’re eating like everyone else is, not eating healthy. Eating as healthy as our friends who take an average of five pills a day to offset their serious medical conditions. High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Arthritis, and a host of other common diet related medical conditions which were practically unheard of a few hundred years ago.

Now don’t go out an buy baby food, the cost is too high, and the taste too bland. Instead buy the same foods you find in the infant section of the baby food aisle. In ending, you no longer need a diet plan, all you need is apply the common sense your Mother had when she fed you for your first year of life.

Bodhi and Q4OS Linux Short Minor Review

I downloaded and ran Bodhi Linux, which turned out to be a short session. I also did the same with Q4OS. Neither Linux distribution is ready for the average users desktop judging from my experience. Both distributions quit functioning at different times, during my first initial use period.

If you are not a new user, and know why you want either Bodhi or Q4OS linux, they are perfect for your needs. If you are a general user, and you need more programs than are included or in the repositories, you may be up to a bit of a challenge to use these distros.

Bodhi Linux crashed and burned rather quickly. I installed Bodhi Linux to a hard drive. Bodhi Linux looked a lot like an old version of Vector Linux, which is a lightweight straight forward simple to use Linux, unless it has changed. Once Bodhi installed to my hard drive I rebooted into Bodhi. All went well, until I opened the web browser.

What happened next, I wasn’t sure if it were a Bodhi issue, or a Midori issue, but the end result was the same. When I try out a new Linux Distro, I like to see if the browser can handle two web sites, both main stream sites, Youtube.com, and Ted.com.

I never made it to Youtube. I entered the url for Ted.com first. The page loaded, and I clicked on the first video. The browser locked up and itself shut down. When I reopened the Browser, the browser went directly to Ted.com, displayed and error message. That was it, the browser refused to clear itself of the error message. The only option that worked was shutting down the browser. I took the browser through a few cycles, rinse, repeat, until I decided it was not going to clear the error caused by Ted.com. Now you know everything I know after trying out Bodhi Linux.

Built for a purpose, but not for an average or beginning user?

Q4OS linux started out very well. I looked like an old windows version, but everything worked as expected. I was starting to like Q4OS, and was wondering how it would work for me as a desktop Linux. Q4OS was growing on me. It was dated looking, as I mentioned, but it was solid and fast.

After a short time period Q4OS wanted to update itself. I told it go ahead. What I thought would be an update, turned out to be distribution upgrade, or close to it. Once the update completed, that was the end of Q4OS. It refused to work any longer.

Now it may be possible, I missed something about not letting it upgrade, or went about the update wrong. Anything is possible. All I know is Q4OS quit working after update. If you know what you want to do with Q4OS, and are not new to Linux, Q4OS bills itself as an adaptable Linux for you to use.

One big note of caution, if you try and install Q4OS, and the install tells you it will erase the whole disk and install itself, it means literally. I had the disk divided into two separate partitions, and wanted to install Q4OS on the second empty partition. When the install was done, I had one large partition with a very small Q4OS as the only OS on the drive. You have been warned.

 

feren OS Minor Review

feren OS Linux Distribution, was next on my test list. feren OS caught the attention of Distro Jumpers (Linux distribution jumpers – I used to be one), and I wanted to know why feren OS is so well liked in the community. I downloaded the feren OS iso, and ran it. I was pleasantly surprised! While feren OS is a long way from the future lightweight desktop in the plans, feren OS is an impressive distribution. An obvious amount of work and attention to detail being put in it.

Did I mention I appreciate the quality of thought and work going into feren OS? feron OS is a newer distribution and a work in progress. The distribution borrows a lot from the big Linux distributions, though it manages to stand out on its own. Taken from the feren OS website,

“…Cinnamon DE that’s simple to use as well as showing off many user contributions to Cinnamon. Soon enough, in a couple of years, feren OS will get an upgrade to its design with a new Qt-based Desktop Environment to look like the concepts of feren OS’s design.”

In the moment, feren OS is running a Cinnamon Desktop. feren OS’s closest competition is Mint Cinnamon, I am guessing. feren OS is currently not the lightweight the feren OS team hopes it will become as it transitions to Qt Desktop Environment, feren OSweighed in at 544 Mb usage at boot-up. For comparison, Mint Cinnamon booted up using 441 Mb. Not a lot of difference, but if memory is at a premium, feren OS may be too heavy for your system right now.

feren OS is a solid Linux OS being made even better. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two points really stand out with feren OS’s for me. The Desktop is pretty upon boot-up. A few mouse clicks provide several more desktop background images to choose from. Personally, I do not enjoy a dark desktop, so changing the background was my first priority. Perhaps if I sat in front of my computer eight hours a day, I would prefer a dark desktop. For now I do not.

The second best thing feren OS has going for it is the software. The menu is filled with programs I would probably pick myself if I was starting with a bare bones operating system. One major gripe of mine with a number of Linux Distributions is the overflow of software, or the overly minimalist approach. I think every computer user has their won default set of programs they prefer to use. feren OS, hits a perfect balance with their application selections.

The feren OS menu itself is clean and well thought out. I think almost any user, new or not, that is not set on the XFCE way of right clicking for the menu will find little fault with the menu layout. I think this comes from having a design in mind and working towards it.

If memory is not an issue, and you want a clean, well designed Linux OS, you could do a lot worse than feren OS. For myself, I am looking forward to the transition to the lighter Qt Desktop environment.

Wrapping up, feren OS, feels a little more polished than other Cinnamon Desktop Distributions I have looked at. feren OS has the right amount of applications for almost any user. Definitely resource hungry in the moment, I think you will find feren OS an enjoyable experience.