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Video game challenges players to live on $8 an hour



A new game developed by an advertising agency copywriter has captured the experience of being poor in a way no other game to come before it has even hoped to do.

Called “Spent,” the flash-based, mostly text-driven game challenges players to make it through one month as a single parent who’s lost their job, their house and their savings. It begins by forcing players to pick an $8 an hour job and make the math work.

Players have to pick their residence, pay bills, cope with unexpected expenses and still have enough in the bank at month’s end to make the rent. Challenges presented are along the lines of what to buy at the grocery store, whether to let a pet die or take it to the vet, and how to pay for those medical bills once the inevitable occurs, among others.

The game was created by 32-year-old Jenny Nicholson, an ad copywriter with Durham, North Carolina-based McKinney.

Intended to benefit Durham-based Urban Ministries, a non-profit that helps provide food, clothing and shelter to the city’s homeless population, “Spent” has begun to accrue a following. There’s even a petition asking members of Congress to try their hand at surviving on the edge of poverty.

“Social sharing is integrated into the game,” explains Nicholson, appearing on a promotional video. “There are some challenges where you lose a day of work and lose a day of pay, half to pay a lot of money, or you can ask your friend for help, which forces you to kind of experience what it means to ask other people for help, but it also serves to get word of the game out and get other people to be curious enough to try it out and see for themselves what it’s actually like.”


Users with a broadband Internet connection and modern web browser can try the game here.

The video below is from YouTube.

(H/T: Marketwatch.)

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Progressive reformer claims victory in fiercely-contested Queens DA race



Progressive reformer Tiffany Cabán has declared victory in her campaign versus Melinda Katz in the Queens District Attorney race.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Cabán held a lead of 1,090 votes, The New York Times reports.

Cabán was backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Katz was backed by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)



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2020 Election

New 2020 poll shows Trump trailing all Democrats — some by double-digits



President Donald Trump trails all of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups of the 2020 presidential race, according to the result of a new poll released Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Salon.

The survey, conducted by Emerson Polling, found that the president lags behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 10 points nationally — 45 percent to 55 percent. He also trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by six points — 47 percent to 53 percent —and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg by four points — 48 percent to 52 percent.

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Beto O’Rourke’s ‘war tax’ policy proposal is straight out of ‘Starship Troopers’



Amid an overcrowded Democratic presidential candidate field, it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack if you don't slot easily into the scale that runs from "pro-corporate centrist" to "left-populist." If you're former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke —  who falls somewhere in the middle, politically, and somewhere towards the top, looks-wise — you pull a militaristic policy proposal out of your hat that recalls some of the most campy pseudo-fascist sci-fi ever written.

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