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A musician tackles the shame associated with food stamps in an epic rant.

Mikel Jollett used to be on food stamps, and he's not ashamed.

When White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended cutting the food stamp program, musician Mike Jollett couldn't stay silent.

Food stamps, part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are in the news with the unveiling of President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal, which would cut $193 billion from the program over the next decade.

Critics of the SNAP program, like Mulvaney, think cutting social safety nets will motivate the people who rely on them to find work. The truth, however, is that many people who receive SNAP benefits do work — a fact Jollett knows all too well.


Growing up, Jollett's family relied on food stamps to live, and in this epic Twitter thread, he shares a personal anecdote to show how they helped him find success later in life:

He continues:

"If we’d not had food stamps, we wouldn’t have been able to afford a place to live. This would have made matters worse.

It would’ve exposed us to higher risk of crime, a vicious cycle of shelters or who knows what else. Instead, we got some help for a while.

My mom eventually bought a house. Instead of being homeless, I graduated from high school with a 4.3 GPA, went to Stanford & graduated w honors."



These days, Jollett sings with his band, The Airborne Toxic Event, and would personally benefit from Trump's policies that favor the wealthy — but he doesn't want that.

"I’m a person now who would benefit from this stupid Trump tax cut. But I don’t want it," he tweeted. "I want the kid that was me 30 years ago to have it. So he can do his thing, succeed and contribute something great to our society."

Jollett at a 2014 show in Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

"So yeah, people don't need a second sports car. But kids do need food. That's just common sense and common decency," he tweeted, before wrapping up the thread with a cutting concluding thought:

"Trump's tax cut plan is not only cruel, it's [INEFFECTIVE], it makes us a less equal and therefore a less PRODUCTIVE society."

Jollett hopes his tweets help clear the air around the myths and outright falsehoods when it comes to things like food stamps and health care.

"It gets intellectualized as Right vs. Left or something instead of, 'Hey this program feeds kids. That is good,'" he says. "I think it’s weird that the debate has this shaming aspect to it. Like poverty is a sin instead of a circumstance."

Jollett at the 2014 Firefly Music Festival. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival.

Public opinion about food stamps and welfare is too often shaped by caricatures rather than the facts behind them. Nearly 44 million Americans rely on food stamps each year. A January Department of Agriculture report found that the program had a rate of fraud of just 1.5%, and the truth is that most recipients of social welfare programs spend less than three years on assistance before getting back on their feet.

Misconceptions and stigma should not affect public policy, and that's why it's so great to hear people like Jollett (and so many of the people who replied to his tweets) speaking up.

By offering his own story and a bit of personal vulnerability, Jollet says he hopes to push back on what he sees as a "failure of empathy" that shapes bad politics. "It’s easy to reduce people to caricatures, to create an idea of people and dismiss their struggle. It’s a lot harder to dismiss a human being with a story."

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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