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Everyone’s favorite article explaining the British youth riots: Panic on the Streets of London by Penny Red.

An excerpt:

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Read the whole thing. H/t RH.

“Our failure to create jobs is a choice, not a necessity.”

-Paul Krugman, in Sunday’s New York Times

The government claims it’s only 9.5%.

FYI during the Great Depression it reached a peak of 25%.

Read more.

A quarter of Americans are having trouble finding medical care and/or paying their rents and mortgages. 70% have had job- or finance-related problems in the last year. Of workers, a quarter expect to take a forced pay cut this year, and another quarter expect to lose their jobs within a year. 85% of Americans are having trouble finding jobs in their community. 44% of American workers are long term unemployed.

Or so says the Pew Research Center report, “A Year or More: The High Cost of Long-Term Unemployment”.

An interesting article about these numbers: Collapse of the Standard of Living in the USA.

I’m tossing this little post out there because I want people who are able to remain comfortable during this economic downturn to get a glimpse of the choices that some people face when money and jobs disappear. I’m not whining for the sake of sympathy… if I went totally broke I could probably find friends and family to lend me money until I found work. But nobody really wants to go that route.

I’m facing a tough choice: how to maintain my mental health while unemployed, uninsured, and running out of savings? Previously, when on health insurance, I would go to a psychiatrist regularly, get a prescription, and fill it at the pharmacy.

Then I quit my job and moved. As I began my job search, the economy tanked. My circumstances changed rapidly. Finding, vetting and paying for a new psychiatrist is not an option. Even if money were no object, I am not thrilled about learning the hard way (again) whether my psychiatrist is a homophobe or not, whether s/he will say that I had a distant mother, and that made me queer, and that’s why I struggle with mental illness.

I started splitting my last pills in half, to make my final prescription refill last longer. Then taking them every second day instead of every day. Still no job- but the symptoms started coming back. Friends have offered to split their prescriptions with me- something I can’t accept, because it isn’t fair for them to put their mental health on the line for the sake of mine- there is no net gain.

A friend from out of town visited. She’s in herb school. We talked about doctors controlling my access to mental health care. I could probably afford to pay for the pills alone, but I would have to see a new psychiatrist first and convince them to write a prescription for the same dose of the same medicine that was working for me before. Though it is likely the psychiatrist would write the prescription I need, it is not given- they are in control, they could decide not to. We talked about how money was impeding my ability to get the care I needed, care that if I go without, will eventually impede my ability to find and keep work, leading to a really crappy cycle I want to avoid.

She suggested I try herbs. They are commonly available and require no prescription or doctor visits, i.e. no one controls my access to them. They aren’t cheap, but the expense seems small compared to the alternative of going unmedicated.

So I’m trying it. You have to take them more frequently, and in larger quantities. The therapeutic effects that I previously got from a single tiny pill per day I now get from hundreds of drops from tinctures spread throughout the day- it kind of makes me feel like I’m on a constant drip.

So far, so good. We’ll see.

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