That there is significant income and wealth inequality in the United States is largely undisputed. The Census Bureau reports on the federal data and the Portland Press Herald reported earlier this month on poverty rates in Maine. Yet, much about why we have growing inequality, what it really means, and what to do about it are extremely contested issues in our communities and policy debates. Earlier this year, economist Thomas Piketty opened up conversations about the distribution of wealth and made specific recommendations for redistribution. The Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team held a community discussion on his book, as it was an unusually “hot” non-fiction title. The Rines auditorium filled– and from that evening came a request to screen and discuss Rober Reich’s film Inequality for All.
On October 29th, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, Portland, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the USM Economics Department, we will watch and discuss this movie — we hope all will feel welcome to join us for respectful and challenging discourse about this complex topic that shapes all our lives.
What income do you think qualifies as “poverty”? How well do our poverty guidelines capture the edge between poverty and financial security? What role does the Government play in providing a safety net or incentives for higher wages? What other questions do you ask about income and wealth inequality in our Country? Submit them through comments!
2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines
Federally facilitated marketplaces will use the 2014 guidelines to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP (this is effective February 10, 2014).
- See more at: http://familiesusa.org/product/federal-poverty-guidelines#sthash.rUyD1z6p.dpuf
“Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”(Healthy People). According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12 percent of adults have proficient health literacy. This is problematic as literacy impacts health knowledge, health status, income level, occupation, education, housing, and access to medical care (NNLM).
Here at PPL we have plenty or resources to help you find health information:
Health and Wellness Resource Center - provides information on the full range of health related information, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative medical practices. For all levels of inquiry.
Health Source: Consumer Edition – provides access to nearly 80 health magazines, including American Fitness, Better Nutrition, Harvard Health Letter, Men’s Health, Muscle & Fitness, Prevention, Vegetarian Times, and more. Contains Merriam-Webster’s Medical Desk Dictionary. Also included is access to health-related pamphlets and more than 100 reference books covering topics such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, drugs and alcohol, women’s health, and more.
Here at PPL we want to ensure that you have the best access to medical information you can understand, don’t hesitate to contact a librarian if we can be of assistance!
A rich online resource for all levels of inquiry, this comprehensive consumer health collection provides authoritative information on the full range of health-related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative and complementary medical practices. Articles, streaming videos featuring medical experts, reference books, news feeds, links to key health websites, and more. – See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/research/?related_highlight=5601#sthash.zrjAAtiS.dpuf
Health and Wellness Resource Center »
A rich online resource for all levels of inquiry, this comprehensive consumer health collection provides authoritative information on the full range of health-related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative and complementary medical practices. Articles, streaming videos featuring medical experts, reference books, news feeds, links to key health websites, and more.
- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/research/?related_highlight=5601#sthash.zrjAAtiS.dpuf
Telegram sent from Boston’s Lamp Department to the Mayor of Portland
“The oil will go by boat with agent this afternoon & Mr. Hibbard will go by rail Tuesday morning to light your streets tomorrow night.”
These are the words that the Clerk of Boston’s Lamp Department telegraphed to the mayor of Portland on July 9, 1866, just several days after the devastating fire of 1866 wiped out most of Portland’s downtown and left about 10,000 people homeless.
Stereoscopic view of Portland after the fire of 1866, taken by John P. Soule
This telegram is part of a remarkable collection that is housed in the library’s Portland Room. The collection,Relief for the Portland Sufferers: The Great Fire, 1866, documents the relief effort that was carried out in the wake of the conflagration. Mayors of towns and cities around the country, as well as individuals, wrote letters and sent telegrams to Augustus E. Stevens, Portland’s mayor, to express their sympathy and to offer help. Donations ranged from $1 (“which may aid some suffering family. I earned it cleaning the snow off the sidewalks last winter”) to thousands of dollars from organized relief funds. People also sent food, clothing, and other goods and services, like the Boston lamplighter’s offer to light the darkened streets of the city. Among the goods donated: a chest of oolong tea, a case of forks and knives, three train car-loads of lumber, 1000 feet of hose for the Fire Company, a supply of disinfectant.
Other people wrote to inquire about work opportunities, hoping to be hired to help rebuild the city. Still others inquired after family and friends. A little girl named Annie wrote this on behalf of her little sister, Alice: “PS Alice says that if you know “Suzy” and “Prudy Paslin,” give the money to them if they have been burned out.”
The collection includes hundreds of documents. A small selection has been digitized and can be seen here:
Copies of some of the letters and telegrams are on display in the Portland Room, along with the black metal box in which the documents were stored for years, tightly rolled up, before Portland Room staff found them and rehoused them in archival folders and boxes. We invite you to come up and see them for yourself!
The Portland Room is open Monday-Thursday 10-7 and Friday 10-6.