True Nobility

I found this story on:
Nearly $30,000 Raised for Homeless Man Who Helped Manchester Arena Attack Victims
I chose excerpts to highlight something good that is coming out of a tragedy:

A homeless man who was hailed as a hero after coming to the aid of the wounded as they fled the Manchester Arena following Monday’s deadly attack is now
receiving help himself.

Stephen Jones’ selflessness has not been lost on social media where one woman
set up an account on the charity fundraising site Just Giving,
which has now raised close to $30,000.

And on Tuesday, David Sullivan, joint-chairman of English Premier League club West Ham United, told the BBC he would like to help Jones further.

“It looks like he needs some help, so we are desperate to find who he is and give him six months free accommodation and a little bit of money to help him
on his way,” Sullivan told BBC Radio 5 live.

Sullivan, together with his son, David Jr. tracked Jones down with the help of social media. The pair are now working out how to pay his rent for the next
six months while supplying him with new clothes and work opportunities.

“Dave and myself were both hugely impressed by the bravery shown by Steve, the emergency services and all those who rushed to the aid of those affected
by the Manchester attack,” said Sullivan in a statement….

Jones was outside the arena when the bomb went off.

“First there was a bang, I thought it was some kind of firework, and then there was a big explosion,” Stephen Jones told CNN affiliate ITN.
“I just felt the wind force, and then everyone started screaming and running. Me and my mate we got up and we started running. We realized what had happened,
we run back, and all the women and children were coming out with blood.”

“We are human, we still have a heart, we still have that instinct to help people out that need help and that’s what we are doing. And obviously when we
are seeing children like that, with blood and, pulling nails out of their arms and stuff, and there were a couple in a girl’s face,” he said.

“It was children, a lot of children with blood all over them, crying and screaming. If I didn’t help, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking
away and leaving kids like that.”

“We wiped blood from children’s faces. I mean, one little girl, she was covered in blood. Her mom was screaming so some guy was coming at her, took the
little girl’s t-shirt off her, and it was someone else’s blood shed on her.”

Jones described how he and a friend held the legs up of a woman who was severely bleeding while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. “We thought she was
just going to bleed right out.”

Jones’ actions have shined a spotlight on Manchester’s growing homeless problem. The newly elected mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has pledged to donate
15% of his salary to a homeless charity.

He said a lot of homeless people sleep outside near the Manchester Arena.
***
Let love, compassion and valor prevail, no matter how hard evil tries to injure and destroy.

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Let’s Do Some Math

There is a whole group of people in the world who work very hard…

And still live in poverty or in “near poverty.”

 

I’m writing to recognize and honor them.

They are almost never acknowledged when the powers that be talk about poverty and programs that help, so join me for a moment to consider them.

Many of these people get SNAP benefits and Medicaid…legitimately.

Many of them work at least two jobs, just to make ends meet.

 

They do things like:

Housekeeping at hotels, hospitals, resorts and malls

Pumping gas

Working in stores and restaurants

Care giving

 

They work for minimum wage.

Below is a link to show what the minimum wage in each State is.  Another good question to ask would be, “What is the cost of living in each State?”  That would paint a more thorough picture.

Just for kicks, let’s do some arithmetic here:

If John works 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour (the Federal minimum wage, what will his gross income be? Answer: $1290.50.  Now, take away about 30% of that…(that would be $387.15)  The final result: 903.35

That would be impossible to live on if John is an individual.  He might get a few dollars from SNAP; if his employer isn’t providing insurance, he would get a break under the ACA.  And so it goes.

Now, what if he has at least one child?

Hopefully, he is in subsidized housing; he definitely would get SNAP; Medicaid or help with insurance would be part of his support…

 

Even if John supplemented his full-time job with say another 15-20 hours (he does have to sleep sometime) he would be below the poverty line.  And nothing unexpected had better come up:  He won’t make it; he might even join the many homeless people in the land.

 

BTW:  Many homeless people work.  The challenge is, the cost of living is so high, they can’t get out of the financial hole.

 

https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

 

Think of the people you know personally who work long and hard, only to struggle.  I am not talking about the ones who manage their resources poorly or refuse to work when they could.  They get too much attention as it is.

 

I know some:

Educational assistants – I have a neighbor who is doing that.  If she had to support herself, she would need a second job or some subsidies.

 

Fast food workers – Again, if there is a way to share expenses, maybe.

We need these people.  We need what they do.

Thank you, all who clean the motel room before I arrive, so that it is fresh, well supplied and clean.

Thank you, stockers at the grocery store, servers at restaurants and workers who make sure that the sheets on beds in hospitals and care centers are clean.

 

The next time you find yourself in a conversation about “the poor,” would you remind all involved that these are people…and countless numbers of them work?

Thank you.

Holes in the Safety Net

These are excerpts from an article in the Washington Post.  The url is at the bottom of my post, in case you want to read it in its entirety.  Meanwhile, I have some thoughts:

“President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would
give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety
net.

For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by
House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits
for about 10 million people over the next decade.”
*****
In spite of negative imagery that paints a picture of people on Welfare and Medicaid as “moochers” and “manipulators,”  The reality is, the vast majority of people receiving these benefits are there legitimately.  Many of them are very ill or disabled.  Moreover, these programs are monitored on a regular basis, making it very difficult to misuse the system.  Anybody caught doing so can be charged with Welfare fraud.
***

“The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people
familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors. Many anti-poverty programs have
elements that are run by both the states and federal government, and a federal order allowing states to stiffen work requirements “for able-bodied Americans”
could have a broad impact in terms of limiting who can access anti-poverty payments — and for how long.”

****
People receiving benefits in many States are already required to “work toward work.”  In my State, for example, anyone who doesn’t have a disability must take part in a jobs program designed to get them into the work force, starting with volunteer work if appropriate.  It is obvious that a rather large group of people don’t know this.  They assume that those on Welfare are whiling away their days while they collect benefits.  Again, the truth:  The days of sitting home and collecting a Welfare check until your youngest child turns 18 are long over and past.
***

“Trump’s decision to include the Medicaid cuts is significant because it shows he is rejecting calls from a number of Senate Republicans not to reverse
the expansion of Medicaid that President Barack Obama achieved as part of the Affordable Care Act. The House has voted to cut the Medicaid funding, but
Senate Republicans have signaled they are likely to start from scratch.”

***
Dear senators:  Our hope lies with you at this point.
One colossal advantage of the Medicaid extension was that small towns could afford to have a medical clinic.  This allows their citizens to receive care in a timely, healthy way in a non acute setting.  They can now have preventative services and important monitoring without driving at least 200 miles, in some cases, to see a doctor or go to the hospital.  This means better care at far less cost per patient.  This also impacts whole communities; not just individuals.
***

“Trump offered a streamlined version of the budget plan in March, but it dealt only with the 30 percent of government spending that is appropriated each
year. In that budget, he sought a big increase in military and border spending combined with major cuts to housing, environmental protection, foreign aid,
research and development.”

***
Do you have a problem with Mr. Trump’s priorities?  I do.
***
“But Tuesday’s budget will be more significant, because it will seek changes to entitlements — programs that are essentially on auto­pilot and don’t need
annual authorization from Congress. The people describing the proposals spoke on the condition of anonymity because the budget had not been released publicly and the White House is closely guarding details.”
****
This is significant because it forces these programs to compete for funding, along with everything else.  Imagine that you rely on subsidies for food, housing, basic living expenses and medical care.  Now think about how secure your living situation will be if that funding is subject to whatever party has the majority and the mood of the nation.  Basics are necessary if people are to have the time and energy to improve their lives…including the development of job skills and the procurement of employment.
***
Programs in danger include:
Medicaid
SNAP (The modern version of food stamps)
Habitat for Humanity (which, by the way, includes some “sweat equity” on the part of the people getting the house.)
subsidized school lunches (Children learn better when they are not hungry…just a thought.)
“The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness
across 19 federal agencies.”

“Trump has instructed his budget director, former South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney, that he does not want cuts to Medicare and Social Security’s
retirement program in this budget, Mulvaney recently said, but the plan may call for changes to Social Security Disability Insurance, seeking ideas for
ways to move people who are able out of this program and back into the workforce.”
***
Social Security already conducts regular evaluations to determine the ability of beneficiaries.  They also offer assistance, such as the PASS Plan (Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency) so that anyone who is able can become employed.  It is a grave misconception that people are lazily hanging out on Social Security Disability.  Moreover, SSDI is based on a person’s work history:  He or she has paid into the system, at least a little bit.
One more thing:  There are strict criteria for who is eligible or not, to the point that some people who truly would benefit from SSDI are not enrolled.
Mr. Trump really doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance.

I do have to say, it’s appalling to me that the ones making these decisions have absolutely NO idea about what these programs are, who benefits and what their lives are like, especially Mr. Trump, who is so isolated from the real world.

I think every congressperson, senator and president should have to live for one year on the amount of money that people in poverty relief programs receive, in the same neighborhoods and with the same level of care.  They might…possibly, maybe, I hope…find some compassion.

One more thing:  This “safety net” affects everybody from the poorest to the wealthiest among us, whether people recognize that or not.

There are more points on which to comment.  If you want to read the article, here it is:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-to-propose-big-cuts-to-safety-net-in-new-budget-this-week/2017/05/21/62c01f44-3e34-11e7-adba-394ee67a7582_story.html

The Adolescence of Puppyhood

Just as humans go through stages in the process of growing up, so do puppies.  Here are some attitudes you might recognize:

“Yeah, I heard you call me, but I’m busy tearing this up!”mark-taylor-yellow-labrador-retriever-bitch-puppies-10-weeks-lying-with-yellow-daffodils_a-g-10575753-14258384

“I know what ‘sit’ means, but do I have to, just because you said so????”mark-taylor-yellow-labrador-retriever-puppy-8-weeks-yawning-in-lionhead-cross-rabbit-s-ear

“Heckling the cat is soooo much fun!”

dog-and-cat-yellow-labrador-puppy-with-chartreux-kitten

“I know you want me to do my business in the yard, but it’s cold and rainy; I don’t want to go outside!”Golden-Labrador-Puppy

“La la la la – Can’t hear you!”So Tired

“You say you’re in charge…can’t I be my OWN boss?”yellow-lab-puppy-600x449

“I love you, need you, can’t live without you…Oh…”golden-lab-puppy-smiling-funny-animal-dog-pictures-pics

Simplicity

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There is a kind of simplicity that is undesirable:
It’s the simple minded demand that all situations, no matter how complex they ar, be addressed with simple explanations and solutions.  “Don’t bother me with the facts,” such a person says.  “I don’t care about the details; they only confuse me.”  The lack of insight and engagement is both mind boggling and burdensome.

Soundbites and the opinions of talk show hosts will suffice for these shallow, unwise ones.  To think for themselves would probably give them a headache!

Then there is a simplicity that is beautiful and noble.
It is often quiet and unassuming; bathed in thought and prayer.
People who practice this lack of complication enjoy the good things of life; yet they are not in pursuit of prestige or extravagance.  A beautiful sunset delights them.  Time spent with family and friends is priceless.
One hallmark of such individuals is astuteness.  These ones think with both sides of their brains.  They question, explore and research; never settling for the status quo.  If you were to visit their homes, you would find shelves full of books, art and music in every room, along with creative endeavors.  They might not have the most uncluttered place you’ve ever seen.  That’s because they are busy with thought, creation and relationships.
Another quality is the very high amount of respect and honor these people have for the world:  Their fellow humans, animals, the environment, principles such as decency and generosity.
This simplicity is a paradox, filled with all shades of reality and nuance.
To know people who live this life is to be inspired and encouraged.
How very different these two kinds of simplicity are!  One word; opposite meanings.
That really describes our world, doesn’t it?  The Earth and her inhabitants are concentric systems, interwoven into complex patterns and relationships; yet there is a simple matter of watching, listening, tasting, feeling, smelling, enjoying and caring for all that is around us.

May you discover and appreciate the lovely, noble sort of simplicity that revives and nurtures you.