June 28, 2013 |
On their release from prison or jail, inmates can return to their communities with transitional assistance to keep them fed while they look for work - or they can return desperate and hungry. Which circumstance is more likely to keep the neighborhood safe? In its wisdom, or what passed for it at the time, Congress in 1996 banned anyone convicted of a drug-related offense from ever getting food stamps. People convicted of rape, murder or armed robbery were eligible for food aid, but not former drug offenders.
June 20, 2013 |
"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat," Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) said in quoting the Bible last month of the 48 million hungry Americans, mostly working families and senior citizens, who require federal help to put food on the table. That misguided principle stands at the center of a House farm bill that threatens $20.5 billion in cuts over a decade to food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Pursuing the sacred cause of deficit reduction, Congress would sooner shrink aid to struggling families than substantially reform farm subsidies, of which Fincher, who owns a family cotton farm, is one of the largest recipients in Tennessee history.
June 20, 2013 |
Supporters of the federal food stamp program exulted Thursday when the House defeated a major agriculture bill that would have trimmed its budget by a few percent. But if they think the House rejected the bill because of the food stamp cuts, they can't count votes. The bill, HR 1947, would have reauthorized the full range of farm programs for five years at an estimated cost of almost $1 trillion. About three-quarters of the funds would have gone to food stamps, a.k.a. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
June 20, 2013 |
It's back to the drawing board as Congress voted against its farm bill Thursday in an unexpected defeat for legislation relied upon to set U.S. food policy. Some conservative Republicans thought the bill didn't curtail enough spending, while many Democrats opposed it because of cuts to the food stamp program. As The Times wrote in an editorial , those draconian cuts would have hurt struggling families and undermined a program that expands during down economies because hungry Americans need it to. Before the bill failed, Rep. Michael K. Conaway (R-Texas)
June 14, 2013 |
As a member of Congress, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) is proud to stand up for the principles of limited government and individual responsibility. The first-term congressman expresses skepticism about such safety-net programs as food stamps, regarding them as the handiwork of an "oppressive" government that snatches wages from the hands of working people. Helping the poor is better left to individuals and churches, he said at a recent committee hearing in Washington, because then "it comes from the heart, not from a badge or from a mandate.
June 13, 2013 |
Beginning today, nearly 30 members of Congress will get a small taste of what it's like to rely on food stamps. Those calling for deeper cuts can rest assured though; this will come at no cost to the federal government. The group of House Democrats will voluntarily live off a budget of $4.50 per day, the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit (somewhere between the price of a Starbucks latte and a Cronut ). Their pledge is part of the SNAP Challenge, which is protesting a farm bill poised to make significant cuts to the program.
May 30, 2013 |
The U.S. Postal Service's new Forever postage stamp honoring Johnny Cash will be unveiled Wednesday at a special ceremony at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with a gathering of country music stars, including some of the Man in Black's family members. His son, John Carter Cash, step-daughter Carlene Carter, Marty Stuart, Randy Travis and the Oak Ridge Boys are scheduled to appear at the event, which will be free and open to the public. The image on the stamp comes from a 1963 photo shoot for Cash's album “Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.” PHOTOS: Iconic rock guitars and their owners It's part of the Postal Service's new series of Music Icon postage that includes stamps saluting Ray Charles, which will be released in September, and Tejano music star Lydia Mendoza, which are available now. The stamps are available at usps.com/stamps . ALSO: Jewel enters June Carter Cash's stage The last chapter in Johnny Cash's 'American' series George Jones dies: Listen to his one-of-a-kind duet with Johnny Cash Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 PHOTOS AND MORE COACHELLA 2013: Full coverage THE ENVELOPE: Awards Insider PHOTOS: Grammy top winners
May 29, 2013
Re "The case for food stamps," Opinion, May 24 The proposed reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) are more evidence of the inequality between rich and poor in the United States. There are some 50 million Americans who are "food insecure," including roughly 17 million children, according to the charity Feeding America. The cuts are more than an economic misstep - they are a moral failing. The average food stamp benefit is a little more than $4 a day, about what one pays for a latte at Starbucks.
May 25, 2013 |
CANNES, France - "A Touch of Sin," an early critical favorite among the films in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year, has been widely greeted as signifying a new direction for the Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke. The claim is only partly true. A martial arts movie of sorts, this is the first genre picture by Jia, 43, known for such contemplative dramas and documentaries as "Still Life" (2006) and "24 City" (2008), which reveal how the forces of modernization and globalization have affected individual lives in 21st century China.
May 24, 2013 |
To hear Republicans - and some Democrats - in Congress talk, you'd think food-stamp dollars just disappear into a black hole. The prevailing debate in the Senate and House versions of the farm bill, which contains funding for food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), is over how much to cut. But when more than 15% of Americans remain impoverished, slashing food assistance for the poor makes no sense in humanitarian, economic or public health terms. The House bill, which is gaining steam after passage by the Agriculture Committee last week, is the more draconian of the two. It would chop $20 billion over 10 years from SNAP, and its changes to food-stamp eligibility rules would cut off vital sustenance for about 2 million low-income people, including seniors and families with children.