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The Sun Magazine



Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

World of Trouble

The place in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I went to give plasma looked like it had recently been a small grocery store. I had never given plasma or blood before and had no appreciation for the difference. All I knew was that you got eight bucks, which was the going rate for a full day’s labor through Manpower back then, in 1974.

Sy Safransky's Notebook

October 2005

“We can’t forget,” my friend C. said. “Forgetting what happened to the people of New Orleans will exact too high a price. We can’t just send off a check, and cry again over the images, and pretend there’s nothing left for us to do.”



My stomach lurched because I realized that Carl looked like his father, and therefore would not become handsome. He would never escape the prison of his ugliness. I hated Mr. Leach for destroying the beauty of Carl’s face for me.



Being a mother is a noble status, right? Right. So why does it change when you put “unwed” or “welfare” in front of it?

Florynce Kennedy

The Sun Interview

Will Work For Food

Sharon Hays On The Real Cost Of Welfare Reform

Look at it this way: Keeping a child on welfare costs about sixteen hundred dollars a year in cash and services. To keep that same child in foster care costs about six thousand dollars a year. And if that child winds up in prison, the cost is around twenty thousand dollars a year. Most governments figured out a long time ago that welfare is the cheapest way to keep people out of institutions — and also to keep them from taking to the streets to protest their poverty.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Wonder Bread

All that winter, when I was deep into my self-deprivation, self-imposed-poverty phase, I walked the filthy, noisy streets of downtown LA, my used laptop on my back, toting a Ralph’s grocery bag containing my lunch: a quart yogurt container of brown rice and cabbage, a half-rotten apple, and a few crumbled matzohs (two boxes for ninety-nine cents at the ninety-nine-cent store).

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