Who can defend payday lenders?

Payday Loan Place Window Graphics

Some jackwad with the not so subtle username of paydaylendingrep defended payday lenders in the comment thread of the editorial I mentioned yesterday. Here’s what he said:

To be clear, not all customers who use payday loans are in poverty. Research shows payday advance customers to be low to middle income, educated, working families, with most earning between $25,000 and $50,000 annually. The fact is that payday lenders provide short-term credit to a broad cross section of Americans because there is widespread demand for their financial services.

My response: Yes and a lot of people smoke crack so that must make it okay to be a crack…

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The most important poverty statistic: One

in the morning, while he waits for the coffee to be served

Last week I wrote an editorial about local poverty that appeared in the Muncie Star Press. The piece was in response to multiple editorials in the paper about poverty in Muncie, specifically the poverty stats that just came in from the 2010 census.

Muncie is home to Ball State University. Students account for about 1/4th of Muncie’s population, and since they don’t earn much they are essentially living at or below the national poverty level. Anyhow, everyone was arguing about what the numbers mean, how to factor in/out the students,…

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Mental Illness & the Tucson Shooting

I watched Jon Stewart deliver his scriptless take on the Tucson shooting (see below), nodding my head in agreement. But my friend Pat  stood up and walked out of her living room.

Why? Pat’s mom suffered from a mental illness and she can’t stand how loosely terms like “crazy,” “nutjob,” and “loon” are being thrown around to describe the shooter. Yes the Tucson shooting is a monumental tragedy, but what if the first tragedy was that Jared Loughner didn’t receive the help he should have? Few people are talking about that.

Pat wrote a wonderful editorial title “Get educated about mental Illness” for the Muncie Star Press that has made me look at this tragedy in a whole new way….

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This is My Normal

I can’t wait for the release of the blooper reel of the “This is My Normal” documentary shot by Wonderkind Studios & Rule29 for Life in Abundance. I ruined more than a few shots and it would probably be a Kelsey Blooper reel. You can see me getting my key grip on at 29 seconds (look at that form!).

But seriously, my time in Kenya with the gang that made this film was amazing. I’ll never forget it. I knew that if the documentary that resulted captured 1% of the vibe and energy and spirit of the slums it will change a little something in everyone who watches it. I think the film far exceeds this and I hope that you all get a chance to see it someday.

Here’s…

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1 of 7 billion

They’ll be 7 billion humans on Earth by the end of 2011. If you are able to watch the video below from the comfort of your home, you are one of the privileged few. I think that comes with some responsibility. I’ll get to that in the near future.

National Geographic magazine is doing a series on world population. A piece by Robert Kunzig titled 7 billion begins with 17th century scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek examining his own semen. Despite the odd beginning, it’s worth a read.

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What giving away $520 taught me

Just give me arms!
Last year I gave away $10 every Tuesday.

Ten bucks might not seem like a lot, but I started the year as an unemployed writer. How cliché, no? I could’ve spent the money buying a new/fresh pair of sweatpants from Wal-Mart each week ($7), eating hot pockets ($3 with coupons), and watching the Price is Right. But the Price is Right sucks now that Drew Carey took over.

(My Why Price is Right sucks now theory: When Bob Barker was the host, the host, decor, and cheesy games all matched. But Drew Carey is a little too hip (and by too hip I mean that his hips…

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Our shrinking world{view}

Day 432 / 365 - It's a small worldI hopped on the stage and faced the crowd. A thousand students stared at me, laughing at my jokes, being pin-drop silent when they were supposed to be. Every one of them had read my book. I introduced them to the workers pictured on the 30-foot screen behind me who I had met on my Where am I Wearing trip. I talked about global poverty. I talked about the decade long journey that started with my first solo-trip to Australia, that led to writing, that led to my book, that led me here to this stage.

On…

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