Occupy Our Homes Atlanta protests Fannie Mae executive at press club event

APC protest photo

An Occupy Our Homes Atlanta protester stood up during Egbert Perry’s conversation with Atlanta Press Club guests. – Survivingtimes.com photo

Protesters from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta today crashed the Atlanta Press Club during a luncheon for Egbert Perry, Integral CEO and Fannie Mae board chair at the Commerce Club in Atlanta.

After the lunch and an introductory conversation with Perry,  APC facilitator and board member, Maria Saporta,  noticed the Occupy members starting to spreading themselves throughout the meeting room, standing in between tables and chairs, and also holding up signs and distributing printed materials stating, “Shame on Fannie Mae.”  Saporta asked the protesters repeatedly to sit down and remain quiet.

“What Fannie Mae has done to this country is criminal,” said the protester closest to the podium where Perry was speaking.   But not heeding her demand, she announced the program was over.  Perry was whisked away by his staff as Occupy members encircled him for a direct talk.

In his short stay as a highlighted speaker, Perry did say that the city of Atlanta has “an absent vision and is left with opportunities to cannibalize” both at the urban and rural levels in Georgia. He said Atlanta is not a city of collaborators, and leadership does not exist to make investments in infrastructures including transportation, education and water issues.  “The metro area (Atlanta) is separated by large distances,” said Perry in regard to the city’s public transportation system.

The city of Atlanta started discussing the MARTA system (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit System) in the 1950s, but the first bore hole was not made until June of 1979.  With $12.9 million in their pocket, the vision was to be Atlanta’s primary bus and rail transportation system.  By the 2000s, MARTA rail line only expanded to one stop north of Sandy Springs and as far south as the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. To the east, the last stop ended at Indian Creek and the western stops ended at Bankhead and another stop inside the 285 beltway

Egbert Perry

“It ought to be a ‘no brained,’” said Perry. As far away as the state of Connecticut there are effective transportation services to provide an infrastructure up and down the East Coast, he said.

A U.S. veteran, Mark Harris, also interrupted Perry’s conversation with APC guests.  He said Fannie Mae evicted him from his home. Literature distributed by protesters stated that Harris was only $100 away from a compromise to keep his property, when Fannie Mae evicted him.

The day in the life of a homeless person

Through the use of a 35 mm camera carried by a homeless person, viewers of HomelessGoPro can experience first hand what it is like to be Homeless.

Most Americans have never experienced what it is like to be homeless.  Through a San Francisco project called Homeless GoPro, photos and reports are developed to build awareness around homeless individuals’ daily interactions, as a way to experience them together and also address another aspect of homelessness – the empathy divide.

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How long will it take for the unemployed to find a job?

While market reports seem to be noting an upswing toward recovery in the U.S. economy, there are still many people who are unemployed that lost their jobs as a result of the Great Recession.  How long will it take for these individuals to find a job … a lasting job …?  The Brookings Institute Papers on Economic Activity reveals:

“The short-term unemployment rate is a much stronger predictor of inflation and real wage growth than the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. Even in good times, the long-term unemployed are on the margins of the labor market, with diminished job prospects and high labor force withdrawal rates, and as a result they exert little pressure on wage growth or inflation.”  See the study report here.

In addition, a FiveThirtyEight analysis says Americans who had the misfortune of losing their jobs during the height of the most recent recession in 2009 were more than four times as likely to end up out of work for a year or longer than those who lost their jobs during the comparatively good economy of 2007.  See analysis report here.

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Pop-up store might provide dignity for America’s homeless

Capetown, South Africa, has found a way to clothe their homeless with dignity. Can we do the same here in America? The Street Store concept is to provide a series of multifunctional cardboard posters that would turn city sidewalks or fences into a shop for the homeless. The posters are designed with holes in them for citizens to donate clothes and shoes they don’t wear and to provide an inventory of clothing for the homeless living on the streets. Instead of rummaging through dumpsters and trash cans, the homeless can with dignity select clothing of their taste and need.

For more information on this movement, link to The Street Store and read the article from the Huffington Post entitled, “Charity ‘Store’ For Homeless Gives Customers So Much More Than Just Clothes.”

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Mississippi single mothers poorest in the nation

Shae Hill holds her 3-month-old daughter inside a store May 7, 2009 in Glendora, Mississippi, a highly impoverished town in the rural Lower Mississippi Delta region. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation.  But its status is not without trying to walk away from this title.  Although social services and benefits have allowed the poorest of the poor to receive more food and health care, the ability for Mississippi’s poor to journey out of poverty has been a long and challenging battle.

The Mississippi poor consist of a large population of single mothers — who are working.  Many have graduated from high school but are unable to find a living wage in the small town and rural communities for which they live.

In an article by NPR’s WUBR, “Women and Children Most At Risk in Mississippi,” Carol Burnett, executive director of the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, discusses the situation in Mississippi, as well as underlying issues and myths.

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Hunger agency asks for help on Day of Service

America’s are asked to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service volunteer at local agencies serving the needs of communities, such as a food pantry. sfgate.com photo

Food banks provide nourishment for millions of people each year. Feeding America encourages people to work at food pantries on the MLK’s Day of Service, Jan. 20. Texans.clubs.com photo

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

Chicago, Illinois – The nation will pause to reflect and remember the legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 20. To honor his memory, his birthday is now commemorated as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Each year millions of Americans across the country gather on this day to serve their neighbor s and communities, especially for those who are hungry.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is asking people to consider volunteering at a local food bank, food pantry or soup kitchen to honor the holiday this year. Feeding America is a network of 203 food banks providing food and groceries to 37 million Americans each year.

“Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?” said Dr. King as a challenge to the nation.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports 49 million Americans are food insecure, including 16 million children. “Our economy continues to be troubled, and many Americans are out of work,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding of America. “Our state and federal governments face enormous budget shortfalls, and there is concern that there will be significant cuts to SNAP (food stamp) benefits.”

Aiken says everyone can do something to help their neighbors who live at risk of hunger whether it is sorting food, packing boxes, or serving a meal at a soup kitchen. “We particularly want to encourage children to volunteer on this national holiday, when most schools will be closed,” said Aiken.  He said it is important for future leaders to learn more about the 16 million children who live at risk of hunger.

“Feeding America believes that together, we can solve hunger.” said Aiken.  To find volunteer opportunities in your community, visit: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx

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Shriver Report website brings issues of women to forefront

The Shriver Report is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary look at how American families live and work today, giving clear insight into one of the most important social trends of our time: the emergence of women into all areas of society.  To view this new website, link here.

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Unemployment rates dropping, also wages and quality jobs

While unemployment percentages dropped in December, 3.9 million Americans are still on long-term unemployment. overfiftyandoutofwork.com photo

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

Today’s jobs report at first glance looks promising with the unemployment rate falling to 6.7 percent.  But if you look at the guts of this information, the unemployment crisis is still affecting so many Americans.

In an Associated Press’ article, “US economy adds 74K jobs; rate falls to 6.7 percent,” by Christopher S. Rugaber, this week’s figures are only a weak gain compared to other reports since October 2008. Yes, the unemployment percentages are falling, but the figures might not show the circumstances behind the drop.  For example:

  • Many individuals looking for jobs have stopped looking; therefore, the government no longer counts them as unemployed
  • The jobs acquired might be part-time or contract positions leaving many Americans with lower and unpredictable wages
  • Many new older workers now working again are earning less pay; new younger workers are in entry-level positions
  • December is a time for seasonal employment, and many employers are not hiring for permanent positions, especially in retail
  • US minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living since the 1970s

To stimulate the economy, U.S. businesses need to provide better paying jobs, support more job training and provide more security in the job market. Without these elements, the dropping unemployment percentages could only be an illusion of statistics rather than the reality of workforce.

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42 miners died in U.S. mines in 2013

The most common cause of mining accidents last year involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. Thinkprogress.org photo

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, 42 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2013, an increase from the 36 miners who died in 2012.

While mining fatalities occurred at a record low rate for the first three quarters of 2013, during the fourth quarter of 2013, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents, a significant increase from the same period in 2012, when four coal miners and two metal/nonmetal miners died.

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Unemployed over age 55 face only 47 percent chance of new job, statistics reveal

The unemployment trend since the beginning of the Great Recession is to layoff workers over the age of 55. Many are joining the college graduates in search of career opportunities. Phys.org photo

At the beginning of the Great Recession and continuing today is the trend to layoff individuals over the age of 55. The layoffs or firings have nothing to do with job performance or loyalty to a business or corporation. Employees over 55 just cost to much. If you think about it, most 55+ are at the highest salary of their careers and are looking toward the end of the tunnel called retirement. Another reality check facing 55+ employees is their increase use of health insurance to cover medical needs as they grow older.  In return, those medical needs could possibly cost an employer more and affect their financial bottle line.

Read Tom LeCompte’s blog from Boston’s NPR news station website, WBUR, which discusses job loss statistics and why over 55 might mean delayed retirement and new career challenges.

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