Things I Will Never Understand: Why Billionaires Pay Less For Everything
Giving even a little bit more would change so much.
Here’s what people facing food insecurity want you to know about solving the hunger problem in America
Even though America is the world’s wealthiest nation, about 1 in 6 of our neighbors turned to food banks and community programs in order to feed themselves and their families last year. Think about it: More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021 (1 in 8 children).
In order to solve a problem, we must first understand it. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its second annual Elevating Voices: Insights Report and turned to the experts—people experiencing hunger—to find out how this issue can be solved once and for all.
Here are the four most important things people facing hunger want you to know.
Hunger is still an urgent crisis despite signs of economic recovery. In the months following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, headlines report that the nation’s economic health is bouncing back after years of hardship. However, a big chunk of our population is experiencing a different reality. Recovery has been uneven nationwide, and grocery prices are still higher than normal despite easing supply chain issues. With the end of the federal support offered throughout the pandemic, child poverty rates have shot up, and families like Donnette McManus’ are feeling the squeeze.
“Even though you have your list, you have your budget, things are changing so quickly. Your salary can’t keep up. So, you get to the store with the same exact list, the same 10 items can cost you 50% more,” said McManus, who lives in Massachusetts.
Feeding America Insights Report
People facing hunger say that ending food insecurity is about more than just food. Ending hunger may sound like a simple task: make sure everyone, regardless of who they are and where they live, has access to the food they need. However, as neighbor-advocate Jennifer Estrada of Wisconsin pointed out, the reality is a bit more complex, especially considering that hunger is only a symptom of bigger economic challenges.
“As much as you work, the system is set up for you to continue in a cycle of food insecurity,” said Estrada. “Your whole check goes to a rent payment if you’re not fortunate enough to own a house, with nothing leftover. But you get kicked off if you make $2 more. There needs to be some security, there needs to be a revamping of the whole system ... It seems like instead of creating less barriers to help the families in our community, it seems like policies and procedures continue to make more barriers.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the 2023Insights Report is that housing is unaffordable. Working 40+ hours a week still isn’t enough to get by for many folks. Stopping hunger in its tracks is as much about strengthening economic well-being as it is about providing equitable access to enough nourishing food.
Hunger is an issue that intersects with more than what we put on our plates. Hunger strikes without discrimination, affecting anyone, anywhere, at any time. Millions of people in the U.S. are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from experiencing food insecurity. Due to a long history of racism, discrimination, and oppression in our country, hunger impacts some communities more than others, including communities of color and communities in rural areas.
While the impact of hunger is widespread, people facing it note that the stigma associated with it can strip people of their dignity or deter them from accessing the food assistance programs they’re eligible for and need. There are also inequitable systems in place that do not work for everyone.
“Your basic clerk at your local DHS [Department of Human Services] office is only employed to input information and output information back to you. A lot of times, you feel like you’re not even a human. You’re just a number to them. And if I’m just going to be a number to you, I have a mental meltdown,” said Kimberly Harris, a resident of Washington, D.C.
Feeding America Insights Report
Ending food insecurity requires a catalyzing movement. While hunger remains a widespread and persistent problem, our country already has the tools to eradicate it forever—they just need to be utilized. Most people facing hunger said that federal and local governments should treat hunger as an urgent crisis—signaling that it will take all of us to bring hunger to a halt.
So how can you take action right now? Do your part and visit FeedingAmerica.org/ElevatingVoices to read the 2023 Elevating Voices: Insights Report and sign a petition to encourage Congress to pass legislation that will help ensure no one in America goes hungry. Let’s all pitch in to make the wealthiest nation become the happiest and most prosperous—for all.
A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.
It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.
Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.
See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.
Once the dog was in their house, they noticed that their cats started behaving strangely towards their canine sibling. The cats started attacking the dog, likely trying to get it to tell them what they did with their real dog sister. Cat slaps and a house full of strange people didn't dampen the imposter's spirit though, in fact, that's what helped reveal the switcharoo.
This dog kept handing out face kisses and had no interest in seeing her favorite neighbor. After putting all of those things together, the owners decided to hightail it to the vet's office to scan the dog's microchip. Alas, they indeed had the wrong dog.
"We just never even thought that that would happen, and of course we thought we would know right? Like we're her parents, we would know something was wrong, we would know right off the bat that it wasn't Emmy," Kebby Kelley told Fox 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Seems both golden retrievers got to go on a really strange adventure that deserves a lifetime of delicious dog treats for the confusion.
See both sweet pups below:
Here are 17 rules that would make life better for everyone.
The world would be a much better place if humans weren’t so … human. We all fall short of perfection. Common sense is, sadly, not too common. And there’s one guy out there who always manages to screw things up when things start getting good.
Call it Murphy’s law. Call it the great “reason we can’t have nice things.” Call it entropy. It feels like a whole lot of pain could be avoided if we all had just a little bit more sense.
But what if there was one rule that we all agreed to follow to make everyone’s life better? What would this magical rule be?
A Reddit user who goes by the name P4insplatter came to this realization and asked the AskReddit subforum, “What simple rule would fix the world if everyone actually followed it?” They received dozens of simple rules that if everyone got behind would make the world drastically better.
It’s no shock that most of them felt like a variation of the Golden Rule. It’s funny that a lot of folks believe the world would seriously improve if we could just abide by a simple saying that we all learned in kindergarten.
Also known as the “ethics of reciprocity,” the Golden Rule is so innate to humans that versions of it have been found in religions and cultures throughout the world.
Here are 17 of the best responses to P4insplatter’s simple, but world-altering question.
“Let go or be dragged” an old zen proverb I heard at a meditation class. Really changed the way I let myself worry about things." — civagigi
"Don't be a dick." — WuTangLAN93
"Treat others how you want to be treated." — AlbanyGuy1973
"I read somewhere that if you want to change the world, you have to change the community, to change the community change your relationships, and to change your relationships change yourself." — cagibaxii
"Don't use more resources than what the Earth is capable of renewing." — DaethSpiral321
"Be excellent to each other." — pnotar
“Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." — Bonhomme7h
"Use your turn signal(s) properly." — futilelord
"Simple, the non-aggression principle. You don't do, initiate or threat any harm unto others, unless acting in true self defense." — ufrag
"Leave it better than you found it." — Narcoid
"Be generous and humble. Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community. Humility teaches you to improve and make a positive impact on the world." — SuvenPan
"If you are not educated on the subject, sit down and stfu. Let the experts with years of education and experience talk." — Ch3m1cal420
"Everyone gets a chance at one [thing] before anyone gets seconds." — ehsteve23
"Obviously making daylight savings permanent." — ObviousINstruction18
"Listen more, talk less." — TryToHelpPeople
"All empty buildings should not have any lights/ac/heating on at night or after business hours depending on the nature of the work. their ac/heating and lights if necessary should only be turned on before the start of the day. This will not only help with energy costs but also with light pollution." — hadrainsgate
"You cannot do ANYTHING without consent." — DeepCompote
This article originally appeared on 03.17.22
The music of Queen is a universal language.
The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.
It wasn’t long before the entire stadium was singing along to that beloved tune and acing every single lyric. As one person commented on YouTube, even though most people in Warsaw don’t speak English, “they sing Queen.”
The passionate impromptu performance serves as a reminder of how special both Queen and the late Freddie Mercury remain today.
“No other band will ever come close to Queen. They were lightning in a bottle and Freddie was a whale in a teardrop. Once people keep singing his words, FM will live on forever,” another YouTube viewer wrote.
Indeed, seeing an entire stadium come alive with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you can’t help but feel Mercury’s soul return to the mortal plane, as if we’ve all been transported back to that historic Live Aid concert in 1985 when he had the entirety of Wembley Stadium wrapped around his finger for 21 glorious minutes.
Watch below, and try not to sing along. Scratch that—sing your heart out.
This article originally appeared on 7.14.23
"They do not have to 'represent' their people!"
It’s been ten years since the world lost Roger Ebert to cancer, and his voice is sorely missed. Ebert had a pure love of cinema, and even though he was a film critic in a sweater with a Pulitzer Prize, he wrote and spoke in a way accessible to every man.
He didn’t care if a film was a Hollywood blockbuster or art-house fare; what mattered was whether it deserved his highly-coveted “thumbs up.”
Ebert was an extremely gifted communicator whose interests went far beyond film. In his later years, he often mused about music, politics, and American cultural events with the same eloquence, thoughtfulness and wit.
A great example of Ebert’s passion for film and artistic expression is his rebuke of a heckler at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival after a screening of “Better Luck Tomorrow.” The film, directed by Justin Lin, who went on to direct multiple films in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, is about a group of Asian American teens who are perfect students in class but do morally reprehensible things for money in the shadows.
The heckler lashed out at the filmmakers for showing Asian Americans in a negative light.
“Why, with the talent up there and yourself, make a film so empty and amoral for Asian Americans and for Americans?” the heckler yelled.
As the filmmakers gathered their thoughts, Ebert stood up to defend their rights to artistic expression. He also passionately spoke up for an artist's right to depict people however they like, regardless of their race.
"What I find very offensive and condescending about your statement," Ebert lashed out, "is nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, 'How could you do this to your people?' This film has the right to be about these people, and Asian American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to 'represent' their people."
The crowd broke out to thunderous applause as Ebert passionately supported the young filmmakers. Sadly, Ebert would lose his voice to thyroid cancer just four years later.
Ebert’s response was also a bold statement about civil rights. Even though, twenty years ago, Asian Americans were severely underrepresented in American cinema, that shouldn’t limit a Taiwanese American filmmaker from portraying them how he saw fit, even if the portrait was unflattering. What gives the heckler the right to tell Lin how he should depict Asian Americans on the big screen?
Ebert further supported “Better Luck Tomorrow” by giving it a glowing 4-star review and naming it one of his top films of 2003.
“‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ is a coming-of-age film for Asian-Americans in American cinema. Like African-American films that take race for granted and get on with the characters and the story, Lin is making a movie where race is not the point but simply the given. … Lin, who directed, co-wrote and co-produced, here reveals himself as a skilled and sure director, a rising star. … His film is uncompromising and doesn’t chicken out with a U-turn ending.”
Dangerous? Sure. Super fun? Absolutely.
Gone are the days of metal slides that scorched the derriere in the summertime, seesaws that doubled as human catapults and the notorious merry-go-rounds that separated the weak from the strong. Good old fashioned character building—safety be damned!As it turns out, a few of these old relics are still standing. And footage of kids playing at one of these bygone parks is filling adults—particularly Gen Xers—with sweet nostalgia.
Dubbing it the “Last Gen X Playground” by Ronda Schofield filmed a video of the local haunt in all its rusted glory.
As the iconic 80s song “Maniac” plays in the background, we first see some kiddos swinging on a very odd contraption that sports a generic clown face.
Then the camera pans out to reveal a metal slide weighted down by a concrete cinder block (classic), dilapidated rocking horse swings, and a spinning seesaw that’s certainly seen better days.
But you know what? The kids today seem to like it just fine.
@over40_slbmom Last GenX Playground!❤️ #genx #genxtiktokers #over50#bestgenerationever #genxkid ♬ Maniac (Flashdance Version) (Re-Recorded / Remastered) - Michael Sembello
While plenty of these staples have been replaced by safer alternatives, viewers on TikTok couldn’t help but reminisce about their childhood favorites.
“The lunch ladies at my elementary school would give us waxed paper so we would slide faster down the slide,” one person recalled.
The horse swings were my favorite,” add another. “Impossible when you get bigger, no knee room!”
One even quipped “Metal slides on a hot summer day... getting blinded and burnt at the same time.” Ah yes, a simpler time.
As people shared their recess war stories, it became all the more clear why many of these fixtures are no longer around.
“Broke my leg on the spinning thing and got stitches in my chin from the teeter totter,” one person joked.Still, folks definitely felt their childhood come alive again after Schofield’s clip. Many felt it should be restored and kept a historic landmark of sorts.
The pre-internet days might have been a little rough around the edges, but there was an undeniable rugged charm about it all. In many ways, it was easier for kids to just be kids, allowing for social interaction, reckless abandon and learning that a few knee scrapes doesn’t signal the end of the world.
Those days might be behind us—and probably for the better, ultimately—but it’s still nice to hop back in from time to time.
Now, where’s the vintage mall with cheesy glamor shots, vinyl shops, video game arcades and RadioShacks?
Here's why the family is moving to Spain.
Although it is difficult to tell if there is a trend of Americans moving out of the country, rough estimates show that around 8 million currently live in other countries—double the 4.1 million living abroad in 1999.
The most popular countries for Americans to move to are Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, in that order.
A big reason why some are leaving the U.S. is that an increasing number of employers allow people to work abroad. Others are choosing to leave because of cost of living increases and “golden visa” programs. Golden visas offer the chance to get a foreign residency permit by purchasing a house or making a significant investment or donation.
A couple is going viral on TikTok because they’ve decided to leave America and move to Spain. Luna Ashley Santel had wanted to move for a long time, but her husband wasn’t on board with the change until he had a lightbulb moment while visiting a Spanish café. The couple are parents of a 4-year-old daughter, and a big reason for their decision to leave is her safety.
Here’s what shifted for him. I’m sure this’ll piss the right people off. No pun intended. #movingabroad #spaindigitalnomadvisa #movingabroadwithpets #movingtospainwithkids
While spending time in Spain, the couple went to a crowded café, which would have made them uncomfortable back home in St. Louis, Missouri.
“There's a ton of people walking around. Being from St. Louis, that's not a very comfortable place for me to be in,” the husband said. “And you turn to me and say, ‘Have you seen all these people?’” he recounted his wife saying.
“And you're like, ‘None of them have guns,’” he continued.
At this moment, he realized that living in America caused him to be on alert whenever he was out in public. A feeling he never got in Spain. “And I realized this weight that I had been carrying around my whole life wasn't necessary. Like what we think is normal is not normal,” he said.
When it comes to firearm policy, Spain and Missouri couldn’t be more different. In Spain, owning a handgun for self-defense is allowed when you are in verifiable danger. In Missouri, there is no permit requirement to carry a firearm, whether it’s concealed or carried openly.
In Spain, the gun death rate per 100,000 people in 2019 was 0.64. Whereas, in Missouri, the chance of being killed by a gun is more than 36 times greater, with 23.2 people per every 100,000 dying by gun in 2021.
The video resonated with many Americans who feel uncomfortable living in a country that has become accustomed to mass shootings.
"There’s so much mental energy we dedicate to simply existing in the U.S.," Mintmage wrote.
"As a father of two young boys, your husband’s explanation has me shook because I cannot disagree," Astrolo-G added.
"That is literally my main motivator for leaving the country. I am terrified for my son," Doula Faye wrote.
Luna’s husband isn’t the only one in the family concerned about school safety in the U.S. Luna, a former teacher of 7 years, believes that sending her daughter to a school where they have “terrifying” intruder drills is unacceptable.
“It's nothing that I want my 5-year-old child to have to accept or learn as normal,” she says in another TikTok post.
Replying to @CholeraMeBadd a huge reason we are getting out. #gettingoutoftheusa #movingabroad #alicedrill #alicedrills #iquitteaching #ididntsignupforthishit #movingtospainwithkids
This article originally appeared on 7.14.23