Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Food"stamps: The New Currency

While watching CNN highlight Greek's economic descent, I took a break to visit a blog that I frequent and I was appalled by what has discovered: foodstamp flossin'. The images of the former middle class in Greece were shown with them at an outdoor soup kitchen--some of them with too much pride and so ashamed to receive aid that they confronted the camera crew or hid their face, while in the U.S., these welfare recipients are proudly displaying their cards which grant them access to much more than food stamps--as designated for proper use.

It was reported that ebt cards have been used everywhere from strip clubs to liquor stores. This goes beyond fraud and abuse and needs to be addressed and reformed. I want Americans to eat. We are great eaters--as our obesity rate clearly demonstrates--and the U.S. stipulates a diet that is recommended to the nation, therefore, I believe it would be economical to return to the time of government issued rations.

Government issued food items would ensure that foodstamp recipients are eating the government's recommendations and verifying identification. There could be job opportunities in having buyers--the extreme coupon people on TLC would be excellent for such positions and it could be used as a tax incentive for those who would like to donate government approved food items. The current system appears to be rewarding those who are supposedly needy and it is unfair to those who are truly in need and have been denied access to such programs.

Those who pose with an ebt card should be investigated for fraud. Since they are unabashedly displaying their ebt card and their name is traceable on Facebook, the government can create jobs to catch these thieves, too. I do not believe there is any shame in receiving aid when one is in dire need, but I do believe that foodstamp flossers are not milking but ostentatiously abusing the system and laughing all the way to the strip club, liquor stores, or any other business that--in my opinion should be fined-- for accepting foodstamps--when food is in no way involved.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Commoditization of Conversation

It is more than putting your two cents in, or a penny for your thoughts, conversation is more profitable now than anytime in history and sadly, some--note, Sarah Palin-- are well compensated to speak.

I was inspired to write this post because I am reading--as usual-- a book titled, "The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Negelected pleasure" by Catherine Blythe. Yes, sadly, that is the most conversation that I get. I also receive conversation from audio books and the television. I guess I should be one of the greatest listeners in the world, but, to be honest, I am usually distracted by my own thoughts to listen carefully.

I am paying to hear these conversations. We pay now for the mediums used to converse and contradictory to the saying, talk is not cheap. We are billed for the internet, cable television, and cellular phones. We tweet, facebook it, blog, vlog and text our thoughts and we pay dearly for this.

Even though, on the surface, we appear well connected, we are distancing ourselves and replacing our socialization with technology. I embrace technology, however, it seems the majority of people cannot create the balance that we need as social animals.

Blythe mentions that in South Korea children go to government sponsored rehabilitation centers to wean them from their internet addiction. This demonstrates how these new ways of communicating are altering our culture.

My two cents: we need to think before we speak--especially Sarah Palin-- and make sure to converse with family, friends and strangers in person as we would online.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Government Contracts: Owned versus Operated

I have been watching too much Discovery Id lately and it reminded me of a loophole that is very common--and not to mention, very lucrative--in "the haves'" circles.

In a nutshell, U.S. government contractors get paid a lot. They do very well for themselves and although I do not know what exactly is required of them, I think of them as people doing what the military and other government agencies used to do--and this can explain why a lot of their employment opportunities require a background check; a background check that they obtained being prior military!

Therefore, there are contractors. And there are some women that allow their husbands to get contracts as a "minority"--being that women are considered minorities. This, in my opinion, is far worse than Affirmative Action. The only loophole that I can think of is that it may be owned by the female "minority" but it is operated by her husband.

There needs to be reform so that these businesses are truly owned and operated by women. I cannot see how this is not considered fraud