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Adjusted for inflation, our government has spent five times more in 50 years “fighting poverty” than we’ve spend onwelfare spending and percentage of poor every war since the American Revolution. Yet, the number of people classified as “poor” has not changed much in 40 years. How can this be? The percentage of people considered poor has remained pretty static for a long time, yet spending grows at an atmospheric rate. Could it be there are too many programs? Too many agencies? Too many government functionaries collecting a paycheck to do the same thing as someone in some other department?

Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S. But today the Census will almost certainly proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. The present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years.

How is this possible? How can the taxpayers spend $22 trillion on welfare while poverty gets worse? The typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in its home.The answer is it isn’t possible.  Census counts a family as poor if its income falls below specified thresholds. But in counting family “income,” Census ignores nearly the entire $943 billion welfare state.For most Americans, the word “poverty” means significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter and clothing. But only a small portion of the more than 40 million people labelled as poor by Census fit that description.

The media frequently associate the idea of poverty with being homeless. But less than two percent of the poor are homeless.  Only one in ten live in mobile homes. The typical house or apartment of the poor is in good repair and uncrowded; it is actually larger than the average dwelling of non-poor French, Germans or English. According to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in his home. Forty percent have a wide screen HDTV and another 40 percent have internet access. Three quarters of the poor own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. These numbers are not the result of the current bad economy pushing middle class families into poverty; instead, they reflect a steady improvement in living conditions among the poor for many decades.

poor infographic

via The War on Poverty Has Been a Colossal Flop.

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This particular story is even sadder for me, because it happened right here in the Old Dominion, just about two hours west of Richmond. I had heard about this story at the end of last week, but this particular site puts an interesting spin on it: while this kid needs a doctor’s note to have lip balm applied by the school nurse, in 26 states, she wouldn’t even need parental permission to get an abortion. World gone mad.

A news story has been making the rounds about a ridiculous elementary school regulation against students’ use of lip balm. A fifth-grader named Grace Karaffa requested some Chapstick while on the playground and was denied.

Eleven year-old Grace started a petition to allow Stuarts Draft Elementary School students to use the product and gained 236 signatures before testifying to the school board.

She explained, “I was told I couldn’t use it. Then later that day, they started to bleed so I asked for Chapstick again and I was told that it was against the school policy for elementary kids to have Chapstick.”

The assistant superintendent of administration for Augusta County Public Schools informed reporters that Chapstick is considered an over-the-counter medication by the school board. In Augusta County Public Schools, Chapstick may only be administered by a school nurse and only if a physician has prescribed its use.

This may seem like a somewhat silly story about bureaucracy gone too far. However, it is outrageous and infuriating when you consider that a child may need a physician’s note to apply Chapstick — but, in 26 states and Washington, D.C., teenagers and pre-teens don’t even need parental permission to obtain an abortion.

An 11 year-old girl has to apply to her school district’s board to be able to use Chapstick on her chapped lips. Yet in some states, if an 11 year old girl wants a life-altering and potentially life-threatening surgical procedure, nobody has to know. In many other states, parents, guardians or even just a sibling or “mental health professional,” need only be informed of this child’s decision.

via Doctor’s Note Required to Use Chapstick in School, Yet Abortions Available to Minors | LifeNews.com.

Aside from the fact that it’s demeaning to the thousands who died to observe 9/11 with a silly service project stuffing backpacks, the group they chose to serve was uh, not very-well chosen. Look at the picture and you figure it out.

Really? Ka-BOOM? On the day when planes went exploding into buildings?

Folks in the western world hear about an outbreak of Ebola in Africa, and we usually just dismiss it as mildly interesting news. That stuff will never travel over here. This year, when we actually brought Ebola patients into the United States for treatment, it caused some people’s antennae to lift a little. But only a little. An epidemiologist from Minnesota thinks we should be more concerned, because Ebola has a history of mutating in animals that would prove disastrous if it happened in humans. He thinks we’re not prepared to do what it takes to contain an outbreak.ebola map

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.

There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.

There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.

The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. This outbreak is very different from the 19 that have occurred in Africa over the past 40 years. It is much easier to control Ebola infections in isolated villages. But there has been a 300 percent increase in Africa’s population over the last four decades, much of it in large city slums. What happens when an infected person yet to become ill travels by plane to Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa or Mogadishu — or even Karachi, Jakarta, Mexico City or Dhaka?

The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.

If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.

via What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola – NYTimes.com.