Stamping Out Hunger…No Stomping on Hunger!!!

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I lived in the woods north of Santa Cruz, CA. for part of the summer in 1978.  The rest of those five or six months (it was California) I either lived on the beaches north of the town or was on the road.  Living was cheap and living was easy.  Mostly, my friends and I had to stay a couple steps ahead of the cops and away from the straight and rich white folks.  We weren’t alone in that.  I lived off of fifty bucks worth of food stamps per month and money I made doing odd jobs.

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Image: ABC11

Then it was off to the grocery store and then back to the camp in the woods or on the beach.  Since fifty dollars didn’t really cover a person’s food costs even then (and even though we ate lots of beans, rice, cheese and potatoes), we usually pooled our resources with other folks living in the encampments, conjuring up some dandy meals of the aforementioned foods.  Spices can work wonders, as any cook knows.

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Trump to shrink Utah monuments, riling tribes and environmentalists

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U.S. President Donald Trump announced big cuts to Utah’s sprawling wilderness national monuments on Monday, angering tribes and environmental groups that want to keep the areas off limits to development.

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Unlike national parks that can only be created by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the century-old Antiquities Act, a law meant to protect sacred sites, artifacts and historical objects.

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Trump Proposes $54 Billion Defense Spending Hike

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Image: CNN via CBS Philly

President Donald Trump proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending Thursday as promised, a plan that the White House says will provide the necessary funding to ramp up the fight against ISIS, improve troop readiness and build new ships and planes.

Released as part of Trump’s $1.1 trillion budget outline for 2018, the 10% boost to the military comes at the expense of deep cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and dozens of other federal programs.

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Aetna Cuts Back on Affordable Care Act Public Exchanges

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Aetna will become the latest health insurer to chop participation in the Affordable Care Act’s public exchanges when it trims its presence to four states for 2017, from 15 this year. The cuts, announced late Monday, come after United Health and Humana announced their own exchange pull backs for 2017 and after several nonprofit insurance co-ops…

via Aetna Cuts Back on Affordable Care Act Public Exchanges — TIME

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Tom Price hopes to reform Social Security in House budget

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The Crisis in Philadelphia Public Schools

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Diane Ravitch's blog

Claudio Sanchez of NPR did an excellent analysis of the tragedy unfolding in the Philadelphia public schools. The schools have been under state control for a dozen years. When Paul Vallas was in charge, he implemented a bold privatization experiment, which failed. Now the schools are vastly underfunded by the state of Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Corbett can find any amount of money to give corporate tax breaks, but he wants to extract $300 million from the Philadelphia schools. His big idea is to squeeze the money out of the budget by cutting jobs and teachers’ salaries. The schools have been cut to the bone. Many lack guidance counselors, arts programs, librarians, social workers, and in addition, thousands of teachers were laid off.

The governor (whose approval rating is currently about 20%) wants more charters so that private operators can take charge of the kids. The city’s superintendent, Broad-trained William Hite…

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NC’s HBCU Elizabeth City State may cut history program

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Image: Elizabeth City State University

As UNC-system schools continue to make tough decisions in a difficult financial climate, Elizabeth City State University is considering discontinuing its history program — a move that could be virtually unprecedented for a public university.

Earlier this fall, system General Administration staff directed the 16 system universities to recommend low-productivity degree programs for discontinuation by November. ECSU, a historically black school with an enrollment of about 2,400 students, received a nearly 10 percent cut to its state funding this year.

Ten programs at the school fit the system’s criteria for low productivity. ECSUadministrators determined that three of them — middle grades education, special education and a master of science in biology — are central to the university’s mission and will not be considered for elimination.

Seven programs — history, political science, physics, geology, studio art, marine environmental science and industrial technology — are still in limbo. If the seven are discontinued, some coursework in each area will still be offered at ECSU, said Ali Khan, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, in a statement.

Jurgen Buchenau, history department chairman at UNC-Charlotte, said he knows of a couple of small private universities who have considered eliminating their history programs, though he said the move is rare. Buchenau said he’s surprised that system universities are held to the same standards as far as discontinuing programs, given large differences in student population.

Buchenau said cutting any university history program could have far-reaching effects in the long term, perpetuating worry among humanities departments throughout the system.

“It’s not going to stop at history,” he said.

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