Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why are there so many homeless veterans

             In January of 2014, approximately 50,000 veterans were identified in the unites states, accounting for 9% of the homeless population as a whole. There are various reasons for these unsettling statistics including mental health and lack of specialized care. 

             As a result of traumatic experiences in combat situations veterans are at an increased risk for developing debilitating mental disorders, such as PTSD. This anxiety disorder makes it difficult to maintain relationships, hold down a job, and often leads to homelessness. Maintaining relationships is a crucial step in re-entering life outside of war because continued contact and immediate treatment help prevent additional mental problems. Holding down a job is also important as it allows the veteran to become self-reliant and independent which significantly improves their mental health. Also, Upon becoming homeless 50% of veterans resort to drugs and alcohol to solve their problems which makes it increasingly difficult to obtain employment and restart life. 

              To help combat this problem the V.A. and government should implement programs for veterans to receive employment opportunities as soon as possible and reach out to veterans to access their mental health and help them recover. This would decrease homeless population because by employing veterans right away the likelihood of them becoming successful increases, as it grants them independence and income. 

             Women have an increased risk of becoming homeless. This is due to organizations dedicated to helping veterans basing their services on the needs of males. This decreases the effectiveness of care for both women as they have gender-specific needs. A main cause of homelessness for women is MST, or military sexual trauma, and around 50% of homeless female veterans report having experienced it during service. “Homeless veterans who experienced MST demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of almost all mental health conditions”( c All of these factors cause the women who suffered from this event to be at a greater risk of becoming homeless than other veterans. Specialized care and counseling for those who suffered from this are often not available through veteran organizations due to lack of gender specific care and offering these services would help decrease the population of homeless veterans.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Power gap In Nickel and Dimed

The book Nickel and Dimed follows Barbara Ehrenreich and her experiences working multiple low paying jobs. She is constantly struggling to make ends meet and have enough money to purchase bare essentials such as housing and food. The places she worked at usually had a significant power gap between the workers and the managers, causing a perpetual sense of powerlessness. 

Barb experienced the most overwhelming sense of powerlessness while working at Hearthside. This was due to the oppressive manager, Stu, who would demeaningly watch his employees to ensure they never got a moment of relaxation. This had a negative effect on all his workers mentally and physically. Since she wasn't able to sit down the end of the day was characterized by extreme fatigue, which was new to her. Also, she worked constantly fearing that Stu would force her to do a more strenuous task that would follow him catching her Idling.

During her time at Woodcrest, she was able to control her work environment the most. Her supervisor, Linda, made this possible by demonstrating that she cared about her workers, Ehrenreich even describes her as “kindly”, the opposite of how she described her other supervisors. Unlike Stu, Linda didn't watch her employees so Barbara was able to focus solely on working, rather than constantly being under the pressure associated with a manager watching you. 

When Ehrenreich worked for Molly maids she had the most “say” and the ability to collaborate with her co workers. This is because the employees aren't under a manager's supervision when they are cleaning the houses. One time where she was able to have control over a situation in the workplace is when Holly hurts her ankle. Ehrenreich was determined to lighten Holly’s work to preserve her wellbeing and prevent her from further injury, so her and her other coworkers took steps to minimize the amount of strenuous tasks that Holly had to do.  For example, Barb worked hard to complete her assignment quickly so she can do the ones Holly isn't able to do, while Holly does the cleaning that doesn't require standing, such as cleaning bathrooms. The fact that she was able to do this shows that she is able to control some aspects of her workplace and collaborate with her co workers to get the job done.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

nvisible Effects of Poverty

           Poverty is often characterized by strenuous labour and a substandard mental state. These effects are evident throughout Ehrenreich’s experience working low paying jobs and they continuously deteriorates as she struggles to get by.
          As a maid Barbara felt a persistent sense of inferiority, chiefly from people outside her profession. She often describes the owners of the houses she cleans as acting “hostile or contemptuous”(99) towards them. When she cleans they frequently glare and spy on them in a demeaning manner, resulting in a lowered self esteem and sense of self worth. This is crucial to a person’s quality of life and makes the strenuous job of cleaning even more detrimental to their health and well being. According to The Self Esteem Institute “Most cases of depression are the result of low self esteem”. 
            During her time working for molly maids Ehrenreich also experienced feelings of worthless and a lack of dignity. This was evident when she was cleaning for a woman named Mrs. W. As Ehrenreich was cleaning on her hands and knees she endured her persistent, judging glare. This scene shows their difference in power, as she stands over Ehrenreich she is showing dominance and stripping Barbara of her dignity. This had a negative effect on her during her time working at Molly maids as it became increasingly difficult to endure the physically and mentally demanding days.
These invisible effects of poverty affected her in every job she worked at and are what the working lower class face everyday.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Should Lottery Winners Name be Released?

Recently the largest lottery jackpot in United states history was won by three people. The Winners of this 1.6 billion dollar Jackpot live in states that require them to make their names public. I believe this law is detrimental to the winners saftey and according to Andrew Stoltmann it's like "throwing meat into a shark-infested ocean." What he means by this is that the winners are often harassed, used, and taken advantage of. Banks and other corporations that are supposed to help the winners manage thier money often push them into bad investments. In addition, winners are more susceptible to stalkers and people who are hungry for their newly acquired money.

An example of tragedy following a win is Abraham Shakespeare, a janitor won $17 million in the Florida lottery in 2006. His big win attracted the deranged Dorice Deedee Moore who proceeded to track down Abraham with a plan to burglarize his remaining money. Her scheme involved her befriending Abraham and convincing him to let her be his financial advisor, giving her control of his money and house. After achieving her goal she murdered Abraham in July of 2007. Moore is currently serving a life sentence for the crime.

The reason they are released is due to public suspicion. If the public doesn't see the winners they may be discouraged to purchase a ticket according to supporters of the laws. But, I believe that the safety of the winners should be the top priority of law makers.

Read more here:

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Taboo of Interfaith Marriage

 Interfaith marriage occurs when partners who identify with different religious groups marry. Although this seems like a common occurrence today, it was highly frowned upon in the early-mid 1900s. Many religions rejected the validity of these marriages back then, such as Jews and Catholics. Jewish rabbis would often refuse to marry interfaith couples unless the non-Jewish spouse converted and raised their children Jewish. This made it really difficult for couples of different religions to find someone to marry them. Catholics had similar close minded beliefs during this time period. This is largely due to the bible mentioning that these types of marriages shouldn't be permitted, causing priests to refuse to marry interfaith couples.

In addition to the churches forbidding interfaith marriage, families often did as well. Some went as far as disowning their child for being in an interracial marriage as it was considered a blasphemous taboo. This was due to clashing religious beliefs and the question of what religion their children were going to be. Jews who participated in interfaith marriage “in the 1950’s often faced strong sanction from their families”( A combination of religious reasons and disapproval from family caused interracial marriage to be strictly taboo.

My great great grandparents, Nellie and Carl, entered into an interfaith marriage in 1939. Nellie was a Catholic immigrant from Sicily and Carl was Jewish entrepreneur. They desperately wanted to marry but feared the religious stigma surrounding interfaith marriages. In order to avoid any unwarranted religious backlash they decided to elope in Iowa. It took them a long time to find someone to marry them but they eventually found someone in Iowa, so they traveled there from Rockford, IL. They didn't tell anyone about their marriage until years later, when it was more acceptable. Eventually they had two kids, and raised them Jewish. 

Their marriage exemplifies social non-conformity because they did the opposite of society's expectations. They did not conform to the social pressures to marry someone from their own religion and went against the standard behaviors of the time. Not only was this a brave and admirable act of love, it was an undeniable act of nonconformity. When people decide to push against the current of modern belief is when true progress is made. Those who conform become faceless statistics, those who challenge conformity change the world

Nellie and Carl in the early 2000's

Read about current views on interfaith marriage:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Flaws in the United States Prison System

The United States prison system is extremely flawed, leading to a gross overpopulation. To reduce the amount of people, sentences should be lowered for petty crimes and nonviolent drug offenses. Due to Ronald Reagan's “war on drugs”, prison sentences for drug offenses are excessively long and borderline ridiculous. If a person receives a trafficking charge along with 2 separate drug charges of any kind they receive life in prison. Around 50% of all the prisoners in the US are incarcerated for these nonviolent charges, making us the country with the highest amount of people in jail. So, reducing sentences for nonviolent drug offenses would significantly lower the number of people in prison. This would have an extremely positive effect on the country, as the taxes that were previously used for prisons could be used to provide higher education to poorer parts of the nation. This would help to further reduce the amount of prisoners as well, due to the fact that people who didn't complete high school account for 41% of American inmates.
            In addition, the living conditions in prisons should also be addressed. Prisons should not only punish, they should also “repair” the prisoner to make them suitable to be a productive individual in the outside world. This should include education, rehabilitation, and work skills. Allowing the prisoner to pursue a job or career after their release, rather than going back to a life of crime. Since only a small amount of prisons offer this, 68% of prisoners return to jail, and I believe reforms like this could reduce that number significantly.

read more here

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ben Carson controversy

Recently controversial allegations concerning presidential candidate, Ben Carson have been made by the media. The media dug into his childhood and uncovered events that could possibly harm his campaign. It has been reported that the candidate had anger problems in the past, even including a failed attempt to stab a kid at school. But as time went on, he learned how to keep his anger under control and eventually became a successful surgeon. His anger issues  shouldn't be a problem, since they are under control and no recent evidence has suggested that they are still present. 

Is it really fair to look into his past like this?

The media went so far as to interview his old classmates to find out his information. This is extremely invasive and unfair. This brings up the question of why the media is doing this, and what their motive is. Ben Carson seems to believe that the media doesn't want him to become president and is therefore ruining his campaign and painting a negative picture of him. In a press conference he stated that “There is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find ways to tarnish me because they've been looking through everything, they have been talking to everybody I've ever known, everybody I've ever seen”. Everyone has things they are not proud of, but they definitely don't define the type of person they are. By the media constantly bombarding him with questions concerning the validity of what he says about his pasts and the events of his past he is unable to showcase his ideas for the country, which is what the elections are about. The media should solely focus on what his ideas are for the future of and the type of person he is now. 

Read more: