HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi Arabian filmmaker and writer/director of Wadjda

Meet Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi filmmaker. MSNBC did a special documentary about her, focusing on “Women Without Shadows.” Her husband, Brad Niemann works at consulates.

Howard Casner - Rantings and Ravings

This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.

First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE

 

Next up: a very special interview with Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi Arabian filmmaker and writer/director of Wadjda

 

al mansour use this oneHaifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia (for her first…

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Bruce Dickinson: Historically Underutilized Bohemian Intellectual — A Biographical Sketch, by J.D. Meyer

Top musicians in the hard rock/heavy metal industry rarely receive the widespread serious respect and attention that they deserve. Hence, the subtitle for this biographical sketch is a play on words, a take-off on the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification for predominantly minority or female owned businesses. Nevertheless, Bruce Dickinson succeeds in carving a wide range of niches for himself though his achievements largely go unnoticed as far as mainstream pop culture is concerned.

Best known as the lead singer for Iron Maiden since 1982 with a break for a solo career in the mid 90s, Bruce is a noted fencer who has a line of fencing equipment. Bruce has contributed his share of song lyrics to Iron Maiden, and he has written two novels. Dickinson also flies jets, does BBC documentaries on jets, and hosts a BBC music talk show.

Bruce began fencing at the age of 13 (1971) and became captain of the school fencing team by age 15. Music got his attention, so he quit fencing until 1983 when one of Iron Maiden’s roadies brought back his interest in the sport. Two years later, he endured a rigorous fencing trainers’ camp and earned a certificate. Bruce entered tournaments around Europe between the Powerslave (1984) and Somewhere in Time (1986-1987) tours. Bruce moved to Bonn in West Germany for tax purposes and to be close to the outstanding national center for fencing. Bruce ranked as high as seventh in Great Britain in men’s foil fencing, and his club—the Hemel Hempstead Fencing Club—represented Great Britain in the European Cup of 1989. Bruce founded a fencing supply company, Duellist.

Bruce wrote two novels, and they were translated into German. Bruce’s novels are about an English landlord, Lord Iffy Boatrace, situated in northern Scotland. Iffy’s problem in both novels is the lack of money. In The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, Iffy tries to solve his money problems through all-year long grouse hunting. But Iffy needs some grouse built for him, so his next-door neighbor, retired wing commander, Bill Symes-Groat builds some indestructible grouse. But first, the commander introduces Iffy to a huge plum pudding with a cherry on top, a very special and magical pudding. Then Iffy invites some folks from his old boarding school under the pretense of a school reunion. The guests arrive and strange things start to happen. The book was written during the Somewhere in Time tour (1986-1987) and published in 1990. It sold 30, 000 copies.

The sequel to this novel is The Missionary Position. The story begins with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 then switches to a flight to Los Angeles where an elderly couple meets Lord Iffy and his butler, ex-con John Butler. Lord Iffy and his butler scam the elderly couple of their money and tickets. Meanwhile, Lord Iffy’s new scheme is to become a TV evangelist under the guidance of Jimmy Reptile. The evangelist was modeled after a corrupt character in the Iron Maiden song, “Holy Smoke.” At the time of that song’s writing, there were at least two TV evangelist scandals, and they involved Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. There are a few other fascinating bizarre characters, including a US senator, a Japanese businessman golf fanatic, a rock manager who spends his days in an earthquake proof Jacuzzi, and a porn star.

Bruce Dickinson’s flying career started with getting a private license before being taught by British Airways pilot, Phil Dales. Bruce passed his commercial pilot’s license and later his ground and flight exams. Now Bruce flies Boeing 757s for United Kingdom airline, Astraeus. He flew the Rangers Football Club (soccer) to a UEFA cup game against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Bruce feels that the greatest innovations in jets are the aerodynamics of swept wings and power plants. Bruce’s flying career and radio/TV career have intersected through the documentary, Flying Heavy Metal, a five-part aviation series on Discovery Channel UK. He was even a guest on a Discovery Channel about trains, and he drove a Russian T-34 tank for a program on tanks.

Dickinson presents the Friday evening rock show on BBC Radio Station Six. Bruce interviews up-and-coming musicians and plays their songs. You can find this program easily in the US on the Internet, along with archives of the series. He has taken over the BBC Radio Two serial, Masters of Rock. Bruce’s documentary career led to a show entitled, “Inside Spontaneous Combustion with Bruce Dickinson.”

Iron Maiden songs represent the peak of thinking man’s lyrics. Like Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, bass guitarist, also was a history major in college and writes many of the lyrics for Iron Maiden. For example, Iron Maiden’s longest song (over twelve minutes) adapted Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The Flight of Icarus” comes from the ancient Greek myth. True to the British Air Force, “Aces
High” shows the life of the fighter pilot. “Trooper” recounts a cavalryman’s tale of the Crimean War between Russia and England in the mid 1850s. Yet “Mother Russia” (1990)hails the end of Soviet domination and welcomes the beginning of a new era; time has shown the change to be a major improvement over the Cold War era. Bruce may not have written all these songs, but his influence has always been felt in the lyrics of the band.

Bruce Dickinson certainly fits the definition of a Renaissance Man, someone with a wide range of intellectual pursuits and curiosity. Furthermore, he has taken all of them into moneymaking professions. Bruce can say that he has been 42,000 feet above earth in a Boeing 757 and played in front of 300,000 fans at Rio de Janeiro with the rest of Iron Maiden. What will he do next?

Note: This information came from various websites—Wikipedia, Bruce Dickinson’s Official Website, Discovery Channel, and BBC Radio Six. Originally, this article was published at the now defunct Voices.yahoo.

Arithmetic for Beer Drinkers: The Average Beer is 4.8% Alcohol. What if you drink strong beer, wine, etc? By J.D. (Joffre) Meyer

I am writing this beer consumption article because it seems easy to underestimate the actual number of beers that you have consumed. In other words, do you favor alcoholic beverages that go beyond the 4.8% average? Maybe you’re a fiscal conservative, who wants a cheap buzz? Usually, I walk a block to Speedy’s at the NE corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV in Midtown (Hospital District) Tyler, Texas. Speedy’s is also a gas station. This article focuses on drinks in my neighborhood.

My Choices at Speedy’s
Let’s start with my favorite strong, very cheap beer: Milwaukee’s Best Ice ($1.79). This quart comes in a fat can–blue and black with white letters, together with red and gold trim. Milwaukee’s Best Ice is 6.9% alcohol, meaning you really drank 46 ounces–closer to 4 beers than a quart.

How about a Bud Light-a-Rita ($2.69)? They come in a variety of exciting flavors—such as mango, lime, lemon, grape, strawberry, cranberry, apple, watermelon, peach, etc. The 24 ounce slender can is 8% alcohol, meaning you just slammed a 40-ouncer!

The Gold 4Loco ($2.69) tips the scales at 14%, the second strongest beverage you can buy at a take-out store in Damp Tyler, Texas. A 23.5 ounce can is more like 68.54 ounces of standard beer. I like mixing it with low-fat milk, horchata powder (Mexican rice milk powder with cinnamon), and water. I call it a Damp Eggnog! If it’s half-&-half, I’m still drinking a 40-ouncer.

The Schlitz Gold Bull ($1.89) arrives in a 24 ounce can that is 8.5% alcohol—roughly 1 ¾ times stronger than regular beer. So you really drank 42.5 oz of conventional beer. It’s stronger than the original Schlitz Malt Liquor. The original Schlitz with the brown label was my favorite regular beer; unfortunately, it seems to be rare, unless you leave town for a liquor store.

Once I got adventuresome and bought a Bud Light Platinum ($2.69)–a 25 oz. beer in a silver can. Don’t let that word, “Light,” fool you. It’s really 6% alcohol, or 1 ¼ beers. So 25 ounces is really the equivalent of 31 ¼ ounces.

Most Ice beers range from 5.5% alcohol (Bud Ice) to 5.9% (Keystone Ice). I’ll let you do the arithmetic this time; just divide the beer in question by 4.8 & multiply by the ounces per can. You’ll get less than a 1/4 extra beer per 12 oz. serving in both cases.

My Picks at Family Dollar
Steel Reserve ($2.35) combines size–42 oz–with strength: 8.1%. This big, plastic bottle condenses a staggering 70 7/8 oz of conventional beer—nearly a 6-pack! A new blue disk on the label tells you if your beer is cold enough, based on how blue the cold sensor gets. I buy Steel Reserve at the Family Dollar on the NW corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV–across the street from Speedy’s.

Let’s say I’m wheezing. I’m going to buy red wine because there are no bubbles like beer; plus, you get glutathione, a natural anti-inflammatory for those eggshell lungs. Liberty Creek Sweet Red ($6.49) is 8% alcohol in a 1.5 liter bottle. So that’s like drinking 83 1/3 ounces of standard beer.

My Choice at CVS Pharmacy
I go to CVS Pharmacy for asthma & COPD medicine: Advair, Combivent inhaler, & Dalisresp pills–as well as CoQ10, Red Wheat Rice, macular degeneration capsules, & Montelukast-an allergy pill at the corner of S. Broadway AV. & 5th ST in the Bergfeld Shopping Center—home of the 2nd Tyler Transit hub. I buy a bottle of Grape & Vine Sweet Red ($3.60), a 12% alcohol wine in a ¾ liter bottle. Once again, I avoid carbonation in beer and acquire glutathione. That’s like an even 2 ½ beers per drink, so it’s really like having 1 ½ liters of regular beer.

Miscellaneous
Wild Irish Rose is Tyler’s strongest takeout drink at 17% alcohol! Among other stores, you can find it at D&N in North Tyler near W. Gentry & Palace–next door to Neighborhood Services. Who could forget MD 20-20, aka. “Mad Dog 20-20?” This 13% alcohol, 3/4 liter wine comes in a wide variety of flavors, even Dragon Fruit & Habanero Lime-a-Rita. Alas, we can’t buy it around here either.

Conclusion
In conclusion, a beer needs to be over 6.5% to be particularly strong. So with standard Ice beers, you can have the full flavor without a severe alcohol level. Beware when your beverage is in the 8% alcohol level and over. Enjoy the flavor! Seek variety and save money.

THE TOWERING 5’10” BEAUTY IRISH MCCALLA | 1950s QUEEN OF THE (PINUPS AND) JUNGLE

The Selvedge Yard

irish mccalla pinup legs chest

Irish McCalla, the towering beauty who posed for Vargas, and then found fame as “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” was tough to measure-up against. She grew up humbly, forever the athletic tomboy, and even did her own vine-swinging and tree-climbing with her pet chimp, Chim, on “Sheena” until the day she misjudged a vine swing and crashed into it tree, smashing her knee. After that, the producers did the only thing they could do (due to her size), they hired male stunt men, and dressed them in leopard skins and blond wigs.

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VARGAS PINUP MODEL IRISH MCCALLA

5’10” beauty, Irish McCalla, posing for famed Peruvian pinup artist Alberto Vargas. Since she was born on Christmas Day, McCalla posed nude for the December page in a Vargas calendar. McCalla’s attention-getting measurements were reported as 39-24-38 in her heyday.

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NuGlarus Initiative of Switzerland, by Roberto Balmer (Translated from German by Google)

“The NüGlarus initiative wants to create the digital canton and build up innovation clusters. And then become a national model.

An initiative supported by industry and the private sector wants to use the rapid digital development in Glarus to make the canton attractive for start-ups. The young companies are wooed with the favorable tax foot which the rural community has just passed. At the same time, however, firms in the canton should also receive support for the economic changes that are likely to occur with digitalization. The initiative, organized as an association, is presented in the Glarner dialect as “NüGlarus” with the website of the same name, and not only started with initial private and company members, but also with concrete technical projects.

The initiative, launched as a non-profit organization, does not have its own office and all inquiries are processed online, promises
,
Companies, the administration and the private, to use development opportunities and niches. In the end of 2018 Glarus will be able to access the “fastest and cheapest data highway in the Alps”. Furthermore, new startup services will be rolled out and so-called co-working opportunities will be realized in all major locations in the canton. As the board of directors of Roberto Balmer explained on request, it is concretely about bridges, Glarus, Schwanden, Näfels and Linthal.

The fast data highway in detail
The good tax conditions for start-ups that want to settle in the canton are, moreover, determined by the government, which is represented as an observer through its business support. Balmer explained that the government had agreed on a quick and uncomplicated settlement, which did not presuppose the establishment of a company.

In addition to taxation, NüGlarus also promotes the deep space costs, the wide range of local services and good networking with local companies.

Ivan Büchi, privately in the steering committee of the initiative of dedicated head of the digital office of Glarner Kantonalbank, explains the specifications of the planned data highway. It will consist of a redundant network that provides the cloud connections with 0.5 milliseconds to data centers up to 80 kilometers away and delivers 2.5 milliseconds to all other Swiss data centers. It has already been implemented for the Glarner Kantonalbank and is now being expanded by Glarus (TB.glarus) and HIAG Data, with the result that the entire canton is now fit for new, eg cloud-based business models.

Discounts and expansion plans
NüGlarus also lures its members with discounts for offers of participating companies. It is always about innovation projects. For example, the first NüGlarus partners already promise special prizes, such as the telecom sector, premises for virtual collaboration, or for the field of hololens or special drones. At the same time, private persons can benefit from the Internet, TV and telephony. NüGlarus promises to expand its partner offerings on a continuous basis.

Mit-Initiator Balmer emphasizes that you have found strong support in the last few days. But it was necessary to support further Glarner, Neuglarner, Heimwehglarner and sympathizers. “Our instruments and fuel are ideas, networks and financial resources,” he adds. “As long as so many innovative sponsors, partners as well as private and company members join us, we can do something and will continue to engage with the initiative.”

As an ambitious one, one can describe the plan to make the initiative “nationally” a model for other regions. NüGlarus writes in any case that the expansion is already in the pipeline.

Currently, the HIAG Data initiative, TB.glarus and Netstream are active as telecom partners. In addition, the Rapperswil University of Applied Sciences, as well as Linklabs, IT service provider Glaronia, co-working provider Ungleich, the video producer BSV and the consultant ob8. (VRI)”

PROPOSED BUDGET CUTBACKS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD), 2nd Edition

May 16, 2017 by bohemiotx under Department of Housing & Urban Development, urban planning, urban studies

The Trump HUD Proposal
Trump’s budget proposal has severely threatened the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would be destroyed. Apartment rent subsidies for the poor would be in trouble too–especially since it’s a federal-only program, unlike Meals-on-Wheels. Let’s check an article from The Atlantic on this proposal–Sadly it was on March 16, 2017–my birthday.

“It also eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provides grants for low-income people to buy or rehabilitate homes, and the Choice Neighborhoods program, which provides grants to organizations attempting to revitalize neighborhoods. The proposed budget also eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates how 19 federal agencies respond to homelessness.” There would be cutbacks from two other departments: Education and Health & Human Services “How Trump’s Budget Would Impact Cities’ Poorest Residents” https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/trump-budget-hud/519870/

Carson’ s Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of HUD
However, two months earlier at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, The L.A. Times summarized, “For worried Democrats, he gave assurances that he would not try to strip programs like rental assistance and said he wanted to intensify efforts to remove lead and other hazards that harm children living in older housing.”
“When it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unusual punishment to withdraw those programs before you provide an alternative,” Carson said. Carson proposed he wanted to get businesses and faith groups more involved in helping people in HUD-backed housing, and find ways to enlarge the role of private industry in backing home mortgages. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-carson-hud-20170112-story.htmlBen Carson at Confirmation Hearing (HUD)

Apartment Subsidy Experience in Tyler
A Neighborhood Services inspector checked my efficiency–my fifth annual inspection. This time, I was required to scrub my oven and change the oven pans. Otherwise, it was adequate from my side. Meanwhile, the apartment’s maintenance man got a report on repairs–such as weather-stripping for the door and replacing an outlet. I utilized my social skills by turning down the news and turning on some Tejano music for the maintenance man and myself. A few days later, the apartment manager signed for the repair completion. We have monthly insecticide sprays too, so the apartment better pass inspection on a monthly basis to avoid fines.
I brought my annual apartment subsidy paperwork to our Neighborhood Services office, located on West Gentry & Palace on the North Side. While I waited for the Green South bus, I not only ate and shopped, but copied information on the Community Development Block Grant program.
Let’s start with the definition of how Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They “may be used for public facility and infrastructure improvements in low income areas. The funds are concentrated in the annual ‘target area’ for a variety of projects, including street renovations, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and water, sewer and drainage improvements.” Park improvements may be to create new parks or enhance existing parks. There’s also a Home Buyer Assistance Program that includes using the voucher towards buying a house, provided the individual completes Home Buyer Education workshops. Here’s the description of CDBG on the City of Tyler website, including eligible and ineligible activities. http://www.cityoftyler.org/Departments/NeighborhoodServices/CommunityDevelopment/CDBG.aspx City of Tyler: Neighborhood Services, CDBG

Conclusion
As you can see, these HUD programs are relatives of infrastructure repair programs. My voucher keeps me from spending over half my SSDI (disability) check in rent. At least I have one more year. I can only earn $120/month and still keep Medicare D. My COPD has improved from severe to moderate in the past year, contrary to folk belief that we either get worse or stay the same. Let’s save these fine programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by Congress voting against these proposals.
Excuse me for adding new information to a conclusion, but I received an article from Andrea Wilson entitled, “Congress Reaches Deal on FY17 Spending,” http://nlihc.org/article/congress-reaches-deal-fy17-spending We have a reprieve for the rest of 2017; none of the drastic cuts were approved because Congress wanted to avoid a shutdown. Mrs. Wilson works for PATH (People Attempting to Help), and she volunteers with me at ETHNN (East Texas Human Needs Network)–but in the housing committee. We may not be out of trouble yet, but the midterm elections in 2018 may help us. At least, Secretary Carson expressed an interest in looking for assistance from local business and faith groups, as well as private industry. Efforts to help the poor would need to come from local sources more often. Neighborhood Services has always been a jewel for the City of Tyler.

SOL17: World Asthma Day, Publicizing Dr. Tedros of Ethiopia for Director of WHO, etc.

I’m a retired teacher, disabled due to asthma and COPD. I developed asthma in 1987 and COPD in 2005. I got on SSDI in 2010. By 2012, I was on Medicare and Medicaid and had moved to the Hospital District, aka. Midtown, in Tyler, Texas–my third neighborhood in the largest city in East Texas.

Nowadays, I spend much of my time on Twitter and Facebook. I was happy to see that World Asthma Day fell on Slice of Life Tuesday today. One of the best articles that I read today was about the reasons for the rise in inhaler prices–a chilling indictment of “Big Pharma.” http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2011/07/cost-increase-asthma-inhalers-expensiveWhy You’re Paying More to Breathe

The happiest pack of articles that I’ve encountered lately is about Dr. Tedros of Ethiopia–the leading candidate for Director of the World Health Organization (WHO). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dr-tedros-is-the-leader-the-who-needs_us_59075cd2e4b03b105b44ba96?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 Dr. Tedros is the Leader that WHO Needs

A sad article that I read was about Trump ending Michelle Obama’s program, “Let Girls Learn.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/1/1657898/-Trump-administration-ends-Michelle-Obama-program-to-educate-girls-and-lift-them-out-of-povertyTrump administration ends Michelle Obama program to educate girls and lift them out of poverty Then I had a great idea. What if Dr. Tudros is able to revive Mrs. Obama’s program if he’s elected Director of WHO!

A different type of sad article shows that pollution causes lung disease. India is the most polluted country in the world with 13 of the 20 worst cities. Anti-asthma medicine has increased a staggering 43% in the past four years. Furthermore, it’s harder to measure the effects of air pollution in rural areas. Climate change is a big issue in political debate, despite its near unanimous recognition by science. However, how can pollution be denied at all? http://www.hindustantimes.com/health/world-asthma-day-india-chokes-sales-of-medicines-rise-43-in-4-years/story-mt5V9Kdqv4yGF062ZOmC6I.html World Asthma Day: India chokes, sales of medicines rise 43% in 4 years

To conclude, I started with the reasons for the rising cost of asthma inhalers, a graphic view of the actions of “Big Pharma.” Then I lamented the end of Michelle Obama’s project, “Let Girls Learn. ” Educated girls are more likely to be healthy and maybe wealthy. Then I campaigned for Dr. Turkos of Ethiopia for Director of the World Health Organization (WHO). Ethiopia has experienced dramatic health improvement through his guidance. I speculated that he may be able to save Mr. Obama’s project. Finally, I ended with the increase in asthma in India due to its air pollution. Nobody tries to deny that pollution can cause health problems. To conclude, improving health not only involves medical advances, but sound political decisions and cleaning up the planet!

SOL 17: City Planning Meeting

I attended a city planning meeting about the widening of I-16, an east-west street north of Tyler that turns into Hubbard, once it hits Lindale, the most expanding town in East Texas. This road crosses the northern boundary of Hideaway Lake. It’s north of I-20, a major highway that goes to Dallas. I was invited to attend the meeting by the Director of the Transportation Committee of the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN).

I took the opportunity to voice my concerns about raggedy sidewalks. Currently, sidewalks may not be repaired with asphalt. I’ve suggested twice that we start by applying a strip of asbestos when on cement block is higher than the next block. This would prevent tripping. A nurse friend broke her hand under such conditions a couple of years ago! Alternatives to the car must be nice, not just possible. The poor will put up with torn up sidewalks because we have no choice. But more bus riders would relieve street congestion.

Once again, I suggested that bike racks be installed at the central bus hub near Downtown Tyler on Oakwood, as well as at the Bergfeld Center in the south.

Anyway, I took a bus to get most of the way to the meeting, but I walked home–a distance of 1.1 miles. Is that COPD Olympics or what?…lol

Proposed Budget Cutbacks to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)–Including the End of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

The Trump HUD Proposal

Trump’s budget proposal has severely threatened the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would be destroyed. Apartment rent subsidies for the poor would be in trouble too–especially since it’s a federal-only program, unlike Meals-on-Wheels. Let’s check an article from The Atlantic on this proposal–Sadly it was on March 16, 2017–my birthday.

“It also eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provides grants for low-income people to buy or rehabilitate homes, and the Choice Neighborhoods program, which provides grants to organizations attempting to revitalize neighborhoods. The proposed budget also eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates how 19 federal agencies respond to homelessness.” There would be cutbacks from two other departments: Education and Health & Human Services
How Trump’s Budget Would Impact Cities’ Poorest Residents

Carson’ s Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of HUD

However, two months earlier at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, The L.A. Times summarized, “For worried Democrats, he gave assurances that he would not try to strip programs like rental assistance and said he wanted to intensify efforts to remove lead and other hazards that harm children living in older housing.”

“When it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unusual punishment to withdraw those programs before you provide an alternative,” Carson said. Carson proposed he wanted to get businesses and faith groups more involved in helping people in HUD-backed housing, and find ways to enlarge the role of private industry in backing home mortgages. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-carson-hud-20170112-story.htmlBen Carson at Confirmation Hearing (HUD)

Apartment Subsidy Experience in Tyler

A Neighborhood Services inspector checked my efficiency–my fifth annual inspection. This time, I was required to scrub my oven and change the oven pans. Otherwise, it was adequate from my side. Meanwhile, the apartment’s maintenance man got a report on repairs–such as weather-stripping for the door and replacing an outlet. I utilized my social skills by turning down the news and turning on some Tejano music for the maintenance man and myself. A few days later, the apartment manager signed for the repair completion. We have monthly insecticide sprays too, so the apartment better pass inspection on a monthly basis to avoid fines.

I brought my annual apartment subsidy paperwork to our Neighborhood Services office, located on West Gentry & Palace on the North Side. While I waited for the Green South bus, I not only ate and shopped, but copied information on the Community Development Block Grant program.

Let’s start with the definition of how Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They “may be used for public facility and infrastructure improvements in low income areas. The funds are concentrated in the annual ‘target area’ for a variety of projects, including street renovations, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and water, sewer and drainage improvements.” Park improvements may be to create new parks or enhance existing parks. There’s also a Home Buyer Assistance Program that includes using the voucher towards buying a house, provided the individual completes Home Buyer Education workshops. Here’s the description of CDBG on the City of Tyler website, including eligible and ineligible activities. http://www.cityoftyler.org/Departments/NeighborhoodServices/CommunityDevelopment/CDBG.aspxCity of Tyler: Neighborhood Services, CDBG

Conclusion

As you can see, these HUD programs are relatives of infrastructure repair programs. My voucher keeps me from spending over half my SSDI (disability)check in rent. At least I have one more year. I can only earn $120/month and still keep Medicare D. My COPD has improved from severe to moderate in the past year, contrary to folk belief that we either get worse or stay the same. Let’s save these fine programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)or find alternatives. At least, Secretary Carson stated he’d look for assistance from local business and faith groups, as well as private industry. Efforts to help the poor would need to come from local sources more often. Neighborhood Services has always been a jewel for the City of Tyler.