Thriving Problem Solver


“I can walk into a situation and see where the holes are and what changes need to be made . . . then I do it. If I have the freedom to do that, I thrive.”

Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction by Marcia Reynolds

Truth Will End It


I remember a verse I once spotted that Julia had highlighted in her Bible: The truth will set you free. I’ve never been able to forget those words. Even when it hurts, it’s more empowering to know the truth than to stay blind to it. Once I know the truth—and once Paul knows the truth—I’ll be finished. In my life I’ve found that you can’t let something go until it’s really over and it’s never really over until you learn the truth.

-Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra


Huffington Post on

This article is one of many thousands (millions?) of examples of stories that begin with poor people, desperate for basic resources, taking offers of work and finding themselves enslaved. I can’t help but think that a livable wage, world wide, would take a huge chunk out of the human trafficking/slavery industry by eliminating the needs that make people vulnerable. It’s not a cure, but it is an absolutely necessary step – both for the reduction of slavery and addressing basic human rights issues worldwide (yes, that includes the United States and other first-world nations).

Human Trafficking Survivors Open Up About Horrors
The Huffington Post | By Eleanor Goldberg

James Monroe and National Self-Sufficiency



Our manufacturers will likewise require the systematic and fostering care of the Government. Possessing as we do all the raw materials, the fruit of our own soil and industry, we ought not to depend in the degree we have done on supplies from other countries. While we are thus dependent the sudden event of war, unsought and unexpected, can not fail to plunge us into the most serious difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our manufacturers should be domestic, as its influence in that case instead of exhausting, as it may do in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on agriculture and every other branch of industry. Equally important is it to provide at home a market for our raw materials, as by extending the competition it will enhance the price and protect the cultivator against the casualties incident to foreign markets.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.


Deserving of Poverty

I am convinced it is impossible to select single quotes from this book. I have highlighted almost everything. Honestly, I am caught between posting the entire book and posting nothing but a link to the text and a suggestion that others read for themselves. (sigh)

That said, the following quotes highlight the intersection of race and poverty during the 60s and 70s. THese are media-manipulations and political maneuverings that continue to haunt members of the lower middle and lower classes, to this day.


Thus in the late 1960s and early 1970s, two schools of thought were offered to the general public regarding race, poverty, and the social order. Conservatives argued that poverty was caused not by structural factors related to race and class but rather by culture—particularly black culture.

The “social pathologies” of the poor, particularly street crime, illegal drug use, and delinquency, were redefined by conservatives as having their cause in overly generous relief arrangements. Black “welfare cheats” and their dangerous offspring emerged, for the first time, in the political discourse and media imagery.

The late 1960s and early 1970s marked the dramatic erosion in the belief among working-class whites that the condition of the poor, or those who fail to prosper, was the result of a faulty economic system that needed to be challenged.

They repeatedly raised the issue of welfare, subtly framing it as a contest between hardworking, blue-collar whites and poor blacks who refused to work. The not-so-subtle message to working-class whites was that their tax dollars were going to support special programs for blacks who most certainly did not deserve them.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Race, Class and Educational Amnesia

The following quotes are much longer than those I generally post. However, they illustrate one of the most powerful responses I had to this book, specifically: this was not covered in history class.

I would really like to participate in a reading group, class or other discussions about this book and all of the issues it raises because of the direct (and devastating) effect class wars have had on people in the U.S., particularly (though not exclusively) people of color. This is infuriating on multiple fronts, not the least of which being the complete absence of this information from my many years of education.

Obviously, the above statements open up a huge landscape of potential commentary, but I will leave it at that (for now).


Here, in America, the idea of race emerged as a means of reconciling chattel slavery—as well as the extermination of American Indians—with the ideals of freedom preached by whites in the new colonies.

Instead of importing English-speaking slaves from the West Indies, who were more likely to be familiar with European language and culture, many more slaves were shipped directly from Africa. These slaves would be far easier to control and far less likely to form alliances with poor whites. Fearful that such measures might not be sufficient to protect their interests, the planter class took an additional precautionary step, a step that would later come to be known as a “racial bribe.” Deliberately and strategically, the planter class extended special privileges to poor whites in an effort to drive a wedge between them and black slaves. White settlers were allowed greater access to Native American lands, white servants were allowed to police slaves through slave patrols and militias, and barriers were created so that free labor would not be placed in competition with slave labor. These measures effectively eliminated the risk of future alliances between black slaves and poor whites. Poor whites suddenly had a direct, personal stake in the existence of a race-based system of slavery. Their own plight had not improved by much, but at least they were not slaves. Once the planter elite split the labor force, poor whites responded to the logic of their situation and sought ways to expand their racially privileged position. By the mid-1770s, the system of bond labor had been thoroughly transformed into a racial caste system predicated on slavery. The degraded status of Africans was justified on the ground that Negros, like the Indians, were an uncivilized lesser race, perhaps even more lacking in intelligence and laudable human qualities than the red-skinned natives. The notion of white supremacy rationalized the enslavement of Africans, even as whites endeavored to form a new nation based on the ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Before democracy, chattel slavery in America was born.

The system of mass incarceration is based on the prison label, not prison time.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Transforming Individualism


What sort of person would cling to the hope that someone else would return to give meaning to her life? What sort of quivering parasite needed someone else to validate her existence?

Her resolution grew as she left the settlement behind. She could change. She wasn’t chained to her past. She could become someone who wasn’t merely a product of what others had done to her. It wasn’t too late.

She had a place now and a life, and it was one of her own making.

Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles Book 4) by Robin Hobb

Freeing the Snail


“I’ve brought you home,” said Wilbur as he stepped ashore. He put his hat on again.”I hereby release you from your enchantment!” The Golden Snail snorted in delight as the chains, collar and bell fell away.”

“He knew he hadn’t been a very good Grand Enchanter. But he was probably the best Gallant Captain there ever was.”

The Legend Of The Golden Snail by Graeme Base