It’s kind of sad that wanting people, regardless of their financial situation, to be able to enjoy life in some small way opens yourself up to being called a communist. Not that it is really an insult, it’s just sad that being decent is such an anomaly.
I will not look at a Feministe food thread. I will not look at a Feministe food thread. I will not—*clicks* GOD DAMN IT(via wildunicornherd)
Uh-oh. Looks like Florida’s mandatory drug testing for taxpayers is costing the taxpayers more than they’re actually saving.
Governor Rick Scott had praised the program when he signed it June 1st of this year, proclaiming, “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars.”
However, the numbers are not adding up. From WFTV:
Just six weeks after Florida began drug testing welfare applicants, WFTV uncovered numbers which show that the program is already costing Central Florida taxpayers more than it saves. 9 Investigates’ reporter George Spencer found very few applicants are testing positive for drugs. The Department of Central Florida’s (DCF) region tested 40 applicants and only two tested positive for drugs, officials said. One of the tests is being appealed.
Governor Rick Scott said the program would save money. Critics said it already looks like a boondoggle. “We have a diminishing amount of returns for our tax dollars. Do we want out governor throwing our precious tax dollars into a program that has already been proven not to work?” Derek Brett of the ACLU said.
DCF said it has been referring applicants to clinics where drug screenings cost between $30 and $35. The applicant pays for the test and the state reimburses [the applicant] if they test negative. Therefore, the 38 applicants in the Central Florida area, who tested negative, were reimbursed at least $30 each and cost taxpayers $1,140. Meanwhile, the state is saving less than $240 a month by refusing benefits to those two applicants who tested positive.
I’m not at all shocked by this, and the ACLU is planning to file suit. Oh, and they’re also saying to Rick Scott: “We told you so.” Literally.
The sad part? These measures scare people off from applying for benefits. If people test positive for drugs, it means two things: Either they ingested that substance at least once, and maybe only once, within the testing window - or it’s a false positive. Here’s a short list of things that can cause a false positive:
- Poppy seeds: (Opioids)
- Cold medications: (amphetamines)
- Wellbutrin: (amphetamines)
- Tricyclic antidepressants: (amphetamines)
- Zoloft: (benzodiazepine)
- Daypro: (benzodiazepine)
- Quinolone antibiotic drugs: (Opioids)
- Sustiva (prescribed for HIV): (cannabinoids)
- Ibuprofen: (cannabinoids, barbiturates, phencyclidine [PCP])
- Foods made with hemp and hemp oil: (cannabinoids)
- Effexor: (phencyclidine)
- Vicks Inhalers: (methamphetamines)
- Zantac: (amphetamines)
- Ultram: (phencyclidine)
- Over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan: (Opioids)
Huh. So drug tests aren’t infallible and they’re not saving Florida any money? As the ACLU points out, Florida should have learned this 10 years ago, when they tried this program and had to dump it for cost reasons.
I’ll indulge the governor for a moment, though. Let’s say there’s parents who have used some kind of drugs in the period before the test. Why deprive children of quite possibly the only support they’ll receive because their parent(s) may or may not have used drugs voluntarily or involuntarily in the testing period? I’m not comfortable with that thought, and any other person with an iota of compassion should not be thrilled with that proposition either.
Mental health discrimination strikes again!
Got into a discussion about this on facebook a few weeks ago, thanks to a status going around that says, “Thank you Florida, Kentucky and Missouri, which are the first states that will require drug testing when applying for welfare. Some people are crying and calling this unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional? It’s OK to drug test people who work for their money but not those who don’t? Re-post this if you’d like to see this done in all 50 states!”
I didn’t even think about the cost/benefit analysis, OR the chance for false positives. I mostly focused on the fact that people who are actually addicted to drugs need help to get off, so punishing them doesn’t help, and maybe we should also help them get into programs. But what’s more frustrating is that the drugs that cause the most deaths (like, say, tobacco) are legal while others are criminalized. If maybe there was more rationale behind our drug law I wouldn’t be so pissed but… The laws really aren’t rational.
I’m taking a course this semester on the anthropology of drugs that I’m WAY excited about, so hopefully I’ll have a more fully-formed opinion on this topic within a few months.
That list freaks me out. God forbid you’re sick and then have to take a drug test. :(
Also—I can’t believe they made a law based on a stereotype. Way to fail.
Also, the drugs commonly perscribed for narcolepsy)? Amphetamines. As in, on the street you’d call it speed. Also used for narcolepsy? GHB. That’s right, Ecstasy. This is what they wanted to put my mom on. (She decided against it because the cardiac tests they would need to schedule fairly often seemed a bit worrying…)
Just adding to the list of ways to test positive while not engaging in illicit use.
especially for michiganders…
image in text reads:
Find your legislators’ name & phone number on these websites:
If you need help or don’t have computer access call Debra Eaton in the church office, 313-965-5422.
Gustavo Gutierrez (via thirdw0rld)
“Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.” I get this.
I don’t have anything relevant to add—just that it’s 2:30 a. m. and I am worried for my neighbourhood. The local food bank almost had to shut down this month.
When you are poor
People won’t consider you a reliable source of information about your efforts. You are forever the leech, and no amount of words you can produce will change that.
People will either assume that the system is already in place, or that you are trying to game it. Can’t get source of income? I’m sorry, but you might not be eligible for those services that non-poor people think exist to help (or “enable”) you.
People will assume that the services that are available are suitable. While they’d never take their family member to the county MH office, they are shocked if you say that they aren’t suitble and you need help to get money for the other provider in the county.* They will think that if you are going to be picky, you need to just earn more.
People will second guess when you say that your SO, Brother, caregiver, room mate is abusive or harasses you. Or maybe they’ve just made life untenable. After all, if that were true wouldn’t you just move out? Or hire another caregiver. (Though maybe the caregiver is family, or a land lady, or the only one you can afford in the area.) And after all, there’s reason for the protection and advocacy centers isn’t there?
They will point out all the options they think exist, and give you a new label when you walk them through why you aren’t eligible for them, or why they cannot help you. After all, look at all these things that are supposed to help- surely you are “shooting them down” because you aren’t “reasonable” or are “unstable and paranoid” or maybe even a specific diagnosis.
And when you come to them with a solution? Maybe if they know you or even care for you, they will see some solutions as appalling, or as surely too hard or scary or whatever for you to do or “sink” to. Otherwise they might call you presumptuous, especially if it’s anything beyond you “pulling yourself up by your boot straps” and “getting on with life.”
ya know? (I’m venting, but it’s all true, and all things we hide behind that stiff upper lip or cheerful facade.)
*I’m rural too- so there’s an additional limit on resources or alternatives here.
Link: The Mental Burden of a Lower-Class Childhood (from Sociological Images)
This part hit me especially hard:
But I recognize the sentiment expressed in the postcard — the ever-present possibility that you’ll un-self-consciously mention something from your childhood and be met with gleefully horrified looks and giggles, and not know what’s so funny about shrugging and off-handedly saying, “I don’t know if I really need to see a movie about it, I’ve watched my relatives do it tons of times” when someone suggests watching the documentary Okie Noodling. It’s an extra little mental effort you have to expend as you navigate social encounters, trying to imagine whether something as small as honestly answering a simple question like what was your favorite food when you were a kid might open you up to ridicule. It’s not really the laughing itself, which is often good-natured and comes from people who do honestly like you, that’s so bothersome; it’s the realization that you still don’t know the cultural rules, and thus can’t necessarily protect yourself from being laughed at even if you wanted to — or in my mom’s case, that you don’t know what it is you’re doing that makes you a redneck in other people’s eyes.
Some of this is why I refuse to give a shit in informal situations like tumblr. I write precisely what’s in my head, even if it starts with a y’all and calls everyone Children and cusses a lot. Welcome to my brain, y’all; we serve Dr Pepper and Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese. This is one of precious few spaces where I don’t have to be conscious of sounding like everyone else’s construction of an intelligent person - so I don’t. And you kinda can’t make me.
I agree with the above. This entire feeling of caution and tension can be applied to both my childhood (lived in a lower-class neighborhood in this tiny apartment with parents living paycheck-to-paycheck) and as a person with a non-American background. You learn that there are things you cannot mention, like traditions or practices, things you can’t joke about, stories you can’t tell, etc etc because you know people would not be able to understand it. As a kid (up into my last day of high school) I never brought any traditional/”poor” food to school. I couldn’t deal with being laughed at or, worse, having someone question what I was eating. Food is just a small example of this, but for me, it meant a lot. Everyone understands peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with crackers, but very few understand fufu (a traditional Nigerian dish) or cereal (which is what I would take when we had no food) or rice and stew (another last minute, shit-there’s-nothing-else-to-eat dish.)
This is why I don’t really care to censor or watch myself on Tumblr. I have to be so fucking cautious everywhere else that I need a place to just be. I don’t have to type in capitals or use commas and I don’t have to avoid slang or whatever. I’m not looking to sound intelligent and I’m not looking to impress someone—if my writing style prevents you from reading my words, THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM. I’ve seen people reblog me and correct my shit (add capitals, punctuation, edit slang) and that pisses me off. Let it be, for God sakes. That’s just the most obvious (and disrespectful) way to show that you don’t think I am as smart or as capable as you. That’s not true. I just do things differently.
I have actually been trying to give the damned self-censor some time off, but that’s not always easy. (Spending half my time growing up with a grandmother trying to be a self-loathing, internalized racist Appalachian answer to Hyacinth Bucket did not help. *shudder* *twitch*) With the school system I ended up in, I also forgot how to relax to some extent. Even knowing now that there’s nothing to be ashamed of (class, cultural background, disability, etc.), I still fight the feeling of having too much to prove a lot. It’s hard sometimes just to do what seems most right here: let people make their own assumptions, which they will no matter what you do! To some people, you’ll always be a stupid hick/etc., and that has everything to do with their own assumptions.
From the OP:
It’s not really the laughing itself, which is often good-natured and comes from people who do honestly like you, that’s so bothersome; it’s the realization that you still don’t know the cultural rules, and thus can’t necessarily protect yourself from being laughed at even if you wanted to — or in my mom’s case, that you don’t know what it is you’re doing that makes you a redneck in other people’s eyes.
Actually, for me it’s the laughter too, which brings back all the times that it was not good-natured at all—outright vicious, in a lot of cases—and I mostly could not tell what I was doing “wrong”. (I have gotten triggered and turned verbally nasty on friends who really were trying for lighthearted ribbing. Which made me feel like an ass every time. *sigh*) That is such a rude way to treat other people, regardless—by my standards, at any rate.
But, indeed, the “still don’t know the cultural rules” bit is probably disconcerting and demoralizing enough. Thrown in autism and a culture of origin rather different from the dominant US/now UK ones, and I’m not even sure what a reasonable multiplier would be. Being aware of what the problem is—and that it’s not limited to you, but rather has little to do with you personally—helps, but that can still be difficult to deal with.
yeah, being Autistic (and rural) totally does add multipliers to this cultural class divide.
Interestingly, the anecdote I used in my latest wordpress post got more comments than the subject of the post because it dealt with the class + Autism thing.