* I’m getting interviews!

Yesterday at noon I had an interview for a Program Assistant position at a medical professional society downtown. This is straightforward secretarial work, and if I get hired will be $15.00/hour 40 hours/week. Thus my gross pay would be $600/week.

I have another interview on Tuesday, October 15, for a Secretary II position at a City agency. I am well familiar with this agency from my previous work with the City, and the job is located just a few blocks from the shelter. The pay would be the same.

(I observe that secretaries’ pay hasn’t changed since 2006.)

An income of $600/week has been my long-range financial goal for a long time. I figured out several years ago, long before Obamacare was ever conceived, that this income level was the threshold for my being able to buy my own comprehensive health insurance. Also, now I will be able to give $60/week to church! But will I be able to get my own place?

Or instead merely take my place among the working homeless?

I want to get a little studio or efficiency apartment in Washington Hill, a nice neighborhood located midway between my church and downtown. Then I’d be able to walk to and from work, and to and from church also. But will I be able to get that for $600/month? (The rule of thumb is that one month’s rent should not exceed one week’s pay.)

Affordable housing is a big issue in Baltimore, one I’ve heard a lot about, but have not personally had to face till now.

I’d rather not get a “room”; I just spent five years in a rooming house prior to becoming homeless, and am not eager to go back to the “drama” such places offer.

The other question I’m asking is spiritual: Do I deserve these opportunities now? Have I earned them? Have I done the work that my homelessness was meant to do? I recall having had the sense in January that my fortunes were about to turn around; that homelessness for me had accomplished its purpose. Maybe I’ve been homeless long enough. It’s been 2½ years.

* Grow the pie, or re-slice it?

Here comes the spoils society

Don’t let that odd title put you off.  I think this op-ed by Robert J. Samuelson is pretty important.

The question is whether we direct the economy so as to increase wealth for everyone, or instead merely give poorer or richer people larger pieces of the “pie.”

In my conversations with other homeless folk and poor people generally, I hope to emphasize the desirability of creating wealth as opposed to merely taking it away from others.

On that point, I’m certainly prone to agree with Andy Kessler, though I have uneasiness as to whether or not he would support corresponding policies.

Other recent articles on similar questions:

An Obituary for the American Middle Class
Race, income, education increasingly polarize U.S. families since recession
Higher education’s biggest challenge is income inequality

As to Catharine Hill’s piece, I really have to question what “special services” rich families are “demanding” that are bidding up tuition costs.

 

My record cannot be expunged

Yesterday I researched expungement in Maryland.  My conviction was in mid-October 2010, and I’d understood one could get a misdemeanor expunged after three years, so I was hoping to take care of that now.  Turns out there is no expungement of any guilty verdict, except in the case of any of a long list of truly trivial nuisance crimes, e.g. urinating in public or not paying one’s fare on the subway.  To clear my record, I must apply for a pardon, for which I become eligible only after five years of being arrest-free after the end of probation (Oct. 2011).  The paperwork is extensive.  One’s application must include copies of one’s high school and college diplomas, any discharge from bankruptcy, and certified copies of one’s driving record from any state in which one has ever had a license (as in my case, Ohio until 1978).

So for the time being, until October 2016, my one (1) misdemeanor conviction will continue to bar me from employment with many of Maryland’s largest employers.

Previous post:  Hiring discrimination and “backgrounds”
 

* The power of presence

[Note, 08/15/13: Releasing this now as I will have another post on similar topics in the very near future.]

Wednesday afternoon 07/03/13 I stepped into the shower and said, “OK, what will I think about?” The answer came, “Think about nothing. Give yourself completely to this activity, this experience.”

And at once, for the first time in weeks, I felt the boost that comes from conserving one’s energies, when they are no longer being drained by attention to things distant from here and now and what I myself can do.

This is the power of presence.

[Notes to follow up on in the future:
– Scott Morrison
– Brother Lawrence: silence; feelings
– Forgive us our trespasses
– Take no thought
– The needle’s eye
– Just for today
– Serenity prayer
———
– Be here now
– Wherever you go, there you are
Conspiracy Theorists:  America’s Lost Sheep?
Was There a Jesus? If So, What Was He Like?]

(Reblogged 05/21/14.)

The Zimmerman Verdict: Get Over It

Zimmerman protesters raid Wal-Mart, stop freeway

The world will not turn itself upside down to please you.

Neither will the law.

Neither will the facts.

Neither will the fact that the law is what it is.

Nor the fact that, under American law, a jury verdict is prima facie (Go ahead, look it up!) correct.

Under the rules of due process, the lawful evidence was presented to a competent jury. This was not so with TV news or radio talk shows.

Moreover, in civil suits, the standard of proof is “a preponderance of the evidence,” but in criminal trials — all criminal trials — it is much higher, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This standard is so high I wonder that any criminal conviction is ever obtained. Thus in a very similar local case here in Baltimore, an off-duty police officer was recently acquitted in the strangling death of a black teen.
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* When you can’t get what you want

There is a song from The Sound of Music that relates; it concludes, “… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Wednesday morning I stood outside McDonald’s having my last smoke before leaving.  I considered that as soon as I got to the library, I’d need to count my pennies and plan spending for the rest of the week.  I pondered whether or not to buy a soda on my way there.  I’d had some unusual spending earlier in the week, and faced some more unusual spending in connection with the 4th of July (The library’s closed.).  The wisdom of having bought or not bought a soda at this time would depend on the outcome of that planning.

I decided not to buy a soda at this time.  If I had enough cash left, according to the plan, I could enjoy a soda later in the week.

This isn’t sacrifice; that’s a topic I must discuss in later posts.  It’s a matter instead of delaying gratification; a decision to forego a pleasure now for the sake of possibly having the pleasure later.  This is an important strategy in learning stewardship (right management of one’s resources) and in improving one’s lot in life.

It still leaves me without a soda, when I want a soda.  What to do?
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