Things That Are Trifling

Thoughts on Food, Gender, Race, and Popular Culture

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Food Stamp Cuts…

This makes me SO incredibly mad! Sorry not sorry, asshole republicans who don’t know ANYTHING about this program but just want to legislate to be mean.

“It is terrible policy wrapped in a terrible process…It was just cooked up in the majority leader’s office as some sort of Heritage Foundation fever dream,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “It is a rotten thing to do.”

Republicans keep being quoted as saying that it only ends the waiver that let ABAWDs get SNAP for more than 3 months in a 3 year period. That’s only part of the story.

First, nearly all states extended this waiver, and FNS allowed and encouraged it, because of the recession. Jobs aren’t really coming back. What are the jobs? They are poor ass paying jobs that don’t even get people enough to get by. Also, as I saw in DC, the job training programs that SNAP offices provide are no substitute for a real job, unless they allow flexibility in what counts as work training. It’s insulting to make people who are homeless fill out resumes or apply blindly to jobs online when the people who are getting hired are probably those with college degrees or GEDs at minimum. Now if we could get behind, oh I don’t know, MORE ACCESSIBLE SCHOOL OR VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS, that would be good. But no, let’s drug test them all.  Drug testing has been proven to be a waste of money and waste of time for public benefit recipients in many states.

This bill also stops seniors and household with kids from benefiting for SNAP if their gross income is slightly higher than 130% of poverty, even if their housing costs or childcare costs put their net income afterwards below 100%). I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it costs thousands of dollars to put a kid in childcare. Under this rule, a mom making like $8/hour wouldn’t qualify for SNAP anymore even though after childcare/rent, her gross monthly income would be way less than 100% of FPL.

Also by instituting an asset rule it basically wipes out the point of saving money. Why save money if the government is going to stop helping you after you have just 2K saved.  Where’s the incentive?

I am so freaking mad that Fox News put this dumbass who buys lobster with SNAP as the poster child for this program instead of the fact that like HALF the people on SNAP are CHILDREN. I hope this dude doesn’t sleep at night anymore.

On the plus side, this Congresswoman had a great tactic. Too bad this type of talk isn’t what gets national news. Stupid Lucas and King should be ashamed. What if all of their constituents who were on SNAP decided to vote against them in the next election? Steve King’s district has a 17% Food Hardship rate. Lucas’s food hardship rate in his district is 18.9.

Finally- something that no one else has mentioned. SO MANY of the legislators I saw walking up to talk about the evilness of SNAP cuts were representatives of color and women. Who wanted to cut SNAP? A bunch of white people. Mostly white men.



No Other Kitchen Would Do

The undertones of this are almost too much to bear.

So much appropriation going on I feel like I’m in Congress.

Nutrition Ed In One Color

As I was writing this title I thought about a parody character of all the well-meaning white folks who want to “teach” people how to “eat well” but actually have no idea of the cultural, social, economic circumstances affecting how people relate to food in this country, assuming they can access it, afford it and have time to know what to do with it. You’d call him Nutrition Ed. Nutrition Ed would be a cartoon character I could use to illustrate all the nonsense I see going on in the food “justice” and “advocacy” world.  The misadventures of nutrition education.


This is my point. Nutrition Ed thinks that coloring pages or cooking classes will help kids learn good habits. Nutrition Ed has never really spent time in a classroom but thinks that kids can benefit from his knowledge.

Nutrition Ed clearly will never get a job at Mars, Inc. when he graduates. They’ve already got him schooled. Make any label green and people will think it is HEALTHY!

I finally get a media hit. On a conservative blog.

Every now and then I get a google news alert for D.C. Hunger Solutions. My first reaction is always “OMG how are we in the news” because I never know to look for it. Then once I read it I remember that we did a press release on the topic recently, or of course Alex would be interviewed for school breakfast, etc.

But this one wasn’t even quoting a news release. It was quoting something that I wrote like four months ago.

Suppose is the conservative version of HuffPo…

The federal government’s food stamp recruitment program SNAP, the AARP, and the Urban League  are teaming up to end “senior hunger” in the nation’s capitol regardless of an individual’s income level. According to the D.C. Hunger Solutions website:

DC Hunger Solutions joins with AARP DC Volunteers, the Greater Washington Urban League, and AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly to fight senior hunger Senior hunger in Washington D.C. is real and it is growing. 10% of District seniors, regardless of their income level, were worried about food running out sometime in the last twelve months. Approximately 14.5 percent of the District’s 94,400 adults aged 60 and over lived below the federal poverty line in 2009.

D.C. Hunger Solutions is working with AARP DC volunteers and the Greater Washington Urban League to delve deeper into senior hunger issues and connect eligible seniors to the SNAP/Food Stamp program.

– See more at:


So, this is hilarious in its absurdity. I mean really. I am preying on seniors by telling them about the food stamp program?

Jesus! If anyone deserves food assistance it is our nation’s seniors. Especially those folk who worked and got paid VERY LITTLE because they are women and people of color so their social security checks are nowhere near enough to live on. You think telling them about a program that they might not even have considered applying for otherwise because of all the misinformation out there, is a crime? If there were ever any implicit racism going on, this would be it.

Also, they are stupid. They say we are trying to sign people up regardless of income level but we clearly say that we want to sign up ELIGIBLE seniors because MANY SENIORS REGARDLESS OF INCOME are at risk of going hungry.

Also, SNAP is not the “food stamp recruitment program” it’s the new name for SNAP. SNAP OUTREACH is not recruitment.

Apparently comprehensive reading isn’t in their repertoire.

To their credit they do quote some Democrats at the end talking about how the poverty rate would rise if we cut SNAP. Which is true. But just thrown in.

There is no real point to this article- no argument, just a summary of whatever Jeff Sessions rambled on about in a hearing. Let’s not forget the fact that his state is majority black, has high rates of obesity, terrible school systems, and generally is comprised of the very people he is denigrating as dependent on government.

Sometimes I really can’t understand what goes through the head of white men with so much inborn privilege. I wish someone would create a medicine to change the chemical balance of their brain so they can realize what’s actually going on in the world.

Also “means-tested federal welfare” does no one know that only 1 million people TOTAL in the country receive TANF?


Another gem from Sociological Images, one of my favorite blogs. 

I would have never thought that someone would be video blogging about the cultural capital of hipsters. I think what it all boils down to is conspicuous consumption. Hipsters want others to be aware of their appropriations and cultural statements. Nerds and geeks don’t care if anyone outside their niche group does or doesn’t know what they are up to, and can enjoy what they are doing in the privacy of their own space without the need for approval, reaction, or judgement from anyone.

I think wearing a shirt with an ironic statement on it is hipster. Wearing something unironically… is nerdy. Like…. Thrift Shop is not a song for people who actually have to rely on thrift shops for clothing because they don’t have the luxury of “choosing” anything else. Wearing something from Goodwill because it’s all you can afford might classify you as one thing (not nerdy or geeky though, possibly out-of-place, especially if your social circle is one that values name brands precisely because they are out of reach) but wearing it to make a statement about consumerism, is “cool” and “trendy”.



Super Bowl Halftime Show

People need to get over Beyonce because let’s be real, MICHAEL was the original superstar AND the original Pepsi spokesman. (let’s forget about the hair incident..)


In the words of my fellow blogger, “MJ is legend! People also act like Beyonce is the first woman to assert independence and be unapologetic about it while singing and dancing. That other woman is also from the Jackson family.”

Environmental Racism at its finest

More gentrifiers are moving to the walkable cities and pushing low and middle income folks to the car heavy suburbs. That’s my overgeneralization of the day. Only then does urban infrastructure become a priority… when Capital Bikeshare can amass a following. (no one cares to notice the delivery boys on bikes. No one invites them to participate in Bike to Work Day.

chocolate city is changing

Mayor Gray’s 2013 State of the District, which I watched from the balcony of 6th and I alongside probably the most diverse crowd I’ve ever been in, despite my hopes, really rubbed me the wrong way. (The Root agrees).

Here’s what he thought pertinent to address (all of this, excepting that the $100 million to affordable housing is great if he’ll actually do it)

-Cell Phone Theft on the metro as an area of concern. HARD LIFE

-Metaphors to sports teams. Were you trying to be funny? I’m sorry. No.

– MoveDC- the plan to make DC more bike friendly. Umm, how about you take care of metro and its shittiness first. (

-Bringing more jobs to DC. Umm, most of these jobs are for well-educate white folks. Not for the folks east of the Anacostia who you are claiming to help.

Here’s what he didn’t think pertinent to address.

Raging income inequality. We’re #3 in the nation. How’s that for “major league city”?

The fact that people need a lawyer or below freezing temps to get into a shelter.

The 600 kids in DC general., the city’s sorry excuse for a giant homeless shelter. The place apparently has rats. Fun times.

The Uneven Spread of Urban Poverty- from the Atlantic Cities

Mmm. Farmers.

God made a factory farmer


This is great.

I’m not gonna lie

This article appealed to me because it says “no Teach for America recruits toil in their halls”. That’s right, they can turn themselves around without your ivy league idealism.

I wish he had gone into a little more depth about what exactly spurred this transformation, how bilingualism is helping students and if that’s universally something to push for in ethnically diverse communities, and if there are any well-off families trying to join this school district – which I feel like inevitably happens when a neighborhood gentrifies; if this area isn’t gentrifying, well, more power to them.

I’m thinking specifically of how all the yuppie white families in DC want to get their kids into Oyster Adams Bilingual or CentroNia/DC Bilingual PCS. (See the front page article here, “Too few Spanish speaking families live within Woodley boundaries”)

I think lower income families should get a preference. If you really want your kids to learn spanish, send them to a latino-owned family day care center in Petworth or Brightwood or somewhere out of your way that forces you to ride public transportation like the rest of us. Notice I didn’t say hire a latina nanny. I hate that shit.



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