Ask Anne Valdez what poverty means for her, and her answer will describe much more than a simple lack of money.
"It's like being stuck in a black hole," says Valdez, 47, who is unemployed and trying to raise a teenage son in Coney Island, New York City. "Poverty is like literally being held back from enjoying life, almost to the point of not being able to breathe."
For years, researchers have complained that the way the government measures income and poverty is severely flawed, that it provides an incomplete — and even distorted — view.
We're deep into Lent, the season when Christians prepare themselves for Easter. For those of you who have been preparing by giving up something — chocolate, or driving, or yelling at the kids — it can feel like a pretty long time.
But, some folks are looking to reframe Lent, with a little madness.
The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria.
It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:
Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014?
Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.