DEF: Food and Financial Class

"Among the lowest quintile of American families, mean household income has held relatively steady between $10,000 and $13,000 for the past two decades (in inflation-adjusted dollars); among the highest, income has jumped 20 percent to $170,800 over the same period, according to census data. What this means, in practical terms, is that the richest Americans can afford to buy berries out of season at Whole Foods—the upscale grocery chain that recently reported a 58 percent increase in its quarterly profits—while the food insecure often eat what they can: highly caloric, mass-produced foods like pizza and packaged cakes that fill them up quickly. The number of Americans on food stamps has surged by 58.5 percent over the last three years." 

Via Newsweek


Nation’s Suburbs Hit Harder by Recession Than Urban, Rural Areas

Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

"It’s a longer historical trend where you’re seeing cities and suburbs moving closer together, not just in unemployment but also in poverty and food stamps," said Emily Garr, a research assistant at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

From January 2008 through July, while the number of food-stamp recipients grew by 21.5 percent in the cities, the program grew 36.3 percent in higher-density suburbs (usually the inner ring, or street-car suburbs) and 30.6 percent in the lower-density suburbs.



$9.3 million from 42,000 donors. Not bad Minnesota. Yet another reason I’m proud to call this place home. 


From The Next American City: 

Last week, the second annual Open Cities conference got underway in Washington D.C. at the headquarters for the American Institute for Architects. Hosted by Next American City with support from the Rockefeller foundation, the conference brought together a group of urban planning and policy practitioners, technologists and public officials to discuss how new media can help local governments and community organizations make cities better.
One of the more exciting projects that was announced was Give a Minute Chicago, an effort by CEOs for Cities that was designed and created by Local Projects, with support from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The project asks Chicago residents to take a brief moment to contribute their ideas about what would make them walk, bike or ride transit more often. Citizens can submit their ideas online or using a mobile phone. People’s input is creatively displayed on the Give a Minute website, and an analysis of all the input received will be provided to several key local officials. CEO for Cities plans to expand the concept to New York, San Jose and Memphis,Tennessee in the near future.
Me now. Amazing. It’s like the online town hall meeting I’ve always wanted. Now if only these comments could actually be taken as part of the public record…

From The Next American City: 

Last week, the second annual Open Cities conference got underway in Washington D.C. at the headquarters for the American Institute for Architects. Hosted by Next American City with support from the Rockefeller foundation, the conference brought together a group of urban planning and policy practitioners, technologists and public officials to discuss how new media can help local governments and community organizations make cities better.

One of the more exciting projects that was announced was Give a Minute Chicago, an effort by CEOs for Cities that was designed and created by Local Projects, with support from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The project asks Chicago residents to take a brief moment to contribute their ideas about what would make them walk, bike or ride transit more often. Citizens can submit their ideas online or using a mobile phone. People’s input is creatively displayed on the Give a Minute website, and an analysis of all the input received will be provided to several key local officials. CEO for Cities plans to expand the concept to New York, San Jose and Memphis,Tennessee in the near future.

Me now. Amazing. It’s like the online town hall meeting I’ve always wanted. Now if only these comments could actually be taken as part of the public record…


Why I love Minneapolis, even as the first wet, heavy snow cracks the trees in half. (h/t Boing Boing)

Why I love Minneapolis, even as the first wet, heavy snow cracks the trees in half. (h/t Boing Boing)


Fix the Budget

The New York Times has a fantastic interactive tool, allowing readers to select specific opportunities for spending cuts and tax increases to balance the budget. Through a mix of both tax increases and spending cuts, I was able to balance it on the first try. Check it out



Social Security Cuts and Higher Taxes

From The New York Times:

The chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the national debt outlined a politically provocative and economically ambitious package of spending cuts and tax increases on Wednesday, igniting a debate that is likely to grip the country for years.

The plan calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending, a gradual 15-cents-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax, limiting or eliminating popular tax breaks in return for lower rates, and benefit cuts and an increased retirement age forSocial Security.

Those changes and others, none of which would take effect before 2012 to avoid undermining the tepid economic recovery, would erase nearly $4 trillion from projected deficits through 2020, the proposal says, and stabilize the accumulated debt.

Oh America. We have some hard conversations ahead. 


Social Media’s Real-Time Impacts on Congressional Policy

Fast Company just published a really nice piece on the field guide to modern campaigns. I’m currently impressed by Eric Cantor’s use of social media. Check it out: 

Stay engaged on social media after the election’s over.

Don’t let Facebook and Twitter go dark after Election Day. Use them to stay involved with your supporters and keep them enthusiastic about what you’re doing—so that they’ll be there for you the next time around. One veteran e-strategist recommends that politicians start to use social media to include the public in the process of governing—not just the process of campaigning. House whip Eric Cantor, for example, recently introduced a program called YouCut, a crowdsourcing project that gives his online followers an actual, tangible say in policy. Every week Congress is in session, users can head to YouCut to vote for the spending items they want to see eliminated from legislation. Cantor takes the winning item and offers it on the House floor for an actual up-or-down vote.