Thursday, October 30, 2008
A cosmic year is the amount of time it takes the sun to revolve around the center of the Milky Way, about 225 million years.
MORRISVILLE, N.C., Oct 30, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- On November 1, an online sock-athon will unveil a new line of organic socks with the Sierra Club brand, at www.sierraclubsocks.com . During the sock-athon event, for every pair of socks purchased, a pair will be donated to The National Coalition for the Homeless, and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to the Sierra Club.
"There are videos, blogs, superheroes, on line communities, and a second grader in Michigan, Catrina, all championing the Sock-athon. People are coming together in unexpected ways. A musician even wrote a song about the Sock-athon," said Diogenes Ruiz, the Sock-athon sponsor.
Sierra Club socks are made from natural organic and eco friendly yarns, including certified organic cotton and bamboo, and recycled synthetics, all with recycled packaging. The Sierra Club socks become available on line at 12:01 a.m. November 1st. Ladies and men's performance, dress and casual style socks are available in fresh colors with red, purple, turquoise and brown, as well as classic black, navy, brown, beige and white color socks.
One of the sock-athon volunteers, Anora McGaha said, "The vision to raise a million pairs of socks for the homeless, and a million dollars for the Sierra Club was so awesome, I couldn't resist helping out. It reminds me of paying it forward on the spot."
About Devmir, Inc.
Devmir, Inc. is an organic sock manufacturer headquartered in Morrisville, NC. The Company has been producing socks for wholesale and retail clients since 2002. In 2007, Devmir was selected as the official licensee of the Sierra Club brand for socks. Company President, Diogenes Ruiz, can be reached at 919-536-0139 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the company's websites at: www.devmir.com and www.sierraclubsocks.com.
"We The People"....remember that phrase? It's in the Constitution somewhere. It means that this country belongs to the people - All the People, not just some group, or individual with a lot of money. When you take ownership of the country away from "some" of the people, by privatizing it, then the country stops being American.
Why are the Republicans so eager to sell off America to the highest bidder?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I am homeless. I have been homeless for a long time. It's been a yo-yo life, up and down, good and bad, homeless, not homeless, and back homeless again. And since I come to most people through the homeless door everything about me is perceived a certain way. They believe that the error of homelessness that made me homeless, this malfunction, must taint everything about me - what I believe, what I know, what I do and say. Everything about me is suspect. They take me with a large grain of salt, if they don't totally dismiss me.
But I am motivated to help, not for my own benefit, but for of others. The powers that be, though, can't bring themselves to see that.
Today's events at the Wednesday lunch for the homeless brought this all home again. The police are now making their presence at the lunch very well known.
Before the lunch starts, the homeless gather. Most times the church feeds between 200 and 250 people. Some of these people start camping outside the door at 9am. By 11:30am there's a fairly large crowd. And the crowd is usually so large that it causes problems for foot traffic on the fairly narrow sidewalk, but a little on the street as well. In the past, sometimes the police would usher the homeless back some. Yet no big deal was made of it.
There were other issues with the crowd of homeless folks outside the door as well. As the time grew closer to lunch, the homeless would grow increasingly tired and hungry and agitated. And since there was no crowd control outside the building, some less respectful homeless people would push themselves through the crowd to put themselves closer to the door, so to be some of the first served. The situation would sometimes become volatile. Pushing and shoving and cussing was the norm. It was not a good situation for the homeless to have to deal with every time they came into the church. Yet, this is how it went down every single week, year after year.
A few years ago I brought this to the attention of the guy mostly in charge the event - a wealthy man who spends most of his time in the church. He just shrugged his shoulders and said 'that's outside, there's nothing I can do about that.' (paraphrased)
Well, last week the church was talked to by the police about the situation. And today, with several police officers present, including the division captain, two members of the church worked outside, before the lunch began, directing the homeless to form an orderly line outside, off the sidewalk, and along the wall of the building. The homeless were very cooperative, everyone got along and the process of bringing the homeless inside ran smoothly.
When I had brought up the notion of controlling the crowd outside, what I said was quickly dismissed. I'd be amazed if the person I talked to about it even remembers. But now the city police are involved, and the church is eager to comply.
Another issue I brought up years ago, about the Wednesday lunch for the homeless, was concerning the issuing of tickets for the lunch. Usually, a place will issue tickets because they can not feed everyone who comes to their door, and so to avoid conflict, they only allow in those with tickets - and the homeless know this and deal with it. I'm not sure why this church started the ticket system, I was not around when it started, but it really didn't seem to make any sense considering the current state of the lunch - for years now, they haven't had to turn anyone away, they've always had enough food for everyone who wanted to eat - who showed up on time. There is another church that also feeds lunch to the homeless on Wednesday as well, which alleviates the demand somewhat.
For a homeless person to get a ticket for that lunch, they had to go to another homeless service provider, over a mile away, get in line, and wait til 10:30 am for the distribution of tickets. Then they'd have to walk back up to the church and wait in line for the church door to open at noon. To me this seemed like a big waste of time and energy. People with tickets always got to go in and eat before the others, but still, everyone got to eat.
When homeless people should be making the most of their time, this ticketing system seemed much more of a hindrance than a help. When I talked to the same person about this, as I did about the crowd, again he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "well, we like to be in control." Although I didn't quite understand what that answer meant, it was obvious they were not going to change, and where not going to give my input any serious consideration. Well, I saw today that they have done away with the ticket program.
I had done what I could to try and help them run their lunch program better. They chose to disregard what I said. What I had to offer was of no worth to them.
What can I do when people won't listen to me? when they discount or outright disregard my input, my efforts, my expertise on the subject of homelessness?
Not long ago, I was asked why I didn't speak up more in this church. Could it be because I know people won't really listen anyway?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Washington, DC —Most people living in cities have seen or been approached by homeless people asking for food or money, leading many city governments to pass laws restricting or prohibiting panhandling. Research at Pennsylvania State University, however, has found that exposure to homeless people, even when vicarious or indirect, actually improves public attitudes toward homelessness.
“Familiarity breeds sympathy rather than contempt,” explains Barrett Lee, professor of Sociology and Demography. “Anecdotal reports suggest that exposure causes a backlash against homeless people, but despite the stigma associated with homelessness and the often unfavorable conditions surrounding public-homeless encounters, exposure usually makes the public more sympathetic.”
Monday, October 27, 2008
Spreading The Wealth Around
Here's the deal - on average, the states that received more in Federal Funding than it's population contributed, voted Republican. The states that voted Democratic in the last presidential election contributed more money to the Federal coffers than they received.
WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (AP) -- An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.
An 8-year-old shot and killed himself with an Uzi submachine gun like the weapon shown here.
An 8-year-old shot and killed himself with an Uzi submachine gun like the weapon shown here.
The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, Police Lt. Lawrence Valliere said.
The boy was with a certified instructor and "was shooting the weapon down range when the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury," a police statement said. Police called it a "self-inflicted accidental shooting."
The victim was taken to Baystate Medical Center where he died. His name was not released.
Although the death appears to be an accident, police and the Hampden district attorney's office were investigating, officials said.
The club said on its Web site that the event, run in conjunction with C.O.P Firearms and Training, is "all legal and fun." People will be allowed to fire weapons at vehicles, pumpkins and other targets, it said.
Officials with the private club and the firearms group could not be reached for comment. A message left on a club answering machine was not returned. The C.O.P. group's machine clicked off without taking a message.
The sportsman's club was founded in 1949 and describes itself on its Web site as an organization that promotes "the interest of legal sport with rod, gun, and bow and arrow, both directly and through training."
It has eight firing ranges as well as archery and fishing facilities located on 375 acres in Westfield, about 100 miles west of Boston.
Gov Palin says Bill Ayers is a domestic terrorist. Sure, he was - emphasis on the "was." And lets not forget the "Why" part of it. No one, especially the Republicans, wants to talk about Why Bill Ayers was bombing government facilities. Let's be very clear about this.
BILL AYERS BOMBED GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS IN AN ATTEMPT TO BRING AN END TO THE VIETNAM WAR.
Sure, it wasn't the best tactic. But, I bet it did have an impact - no pun intended.
So, what about people who bomb abortion clinics? Are they not domestic terrorists too? And if not, just what is the definition of, "domestic terrorist?"
From Sharon Cobb via Kleinheider
Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's absolutely incredible how americans talk about being a generous nation, but when actually put to the task of sharing with their neighbors, (by way of a small tax) they balk. No, actually they freak out, lose control of their senses, and become monsters.
Find out the truth about the tax plans between Obama and McCain Here
That's something I've been thinking about recently - the future of blogs, or the lack thereof. Seems many people are thinking about it. The internet is certainly changing. I had just lucked into blogging just as the wave started to crest. Especially in the media, all sorts of reporters were writing about blogs, or starting their own.
But the wave has now crashed and making its way towards the shore. And other waves have crested behind it, mypace, facebook, secondlife, etc. So there are many more options for people in engage their fellow humans via computer.
I recently read this post by homelesstom: is blogging over with passe dead
On that blog post I made this comment: I have noticed that the total number of readers, of my blog, has dropped by half. But I have also noticed that the total amount of time the average read of my blog has increased by over 100%. Blogs used to be the coolest thing on the internet, and every one looked at them - but with myspace and facebook and twitter, etc, people have more options. and for those people with a shorter attention span, or less time to dedicate to their internet activities, they can do something other than look at blogs. But, there will always be an audience for more indepth, and greatly expanded thought. And blogs will be there to fulfill that need.
Warning: Explicit Language (bad words)
Friday, October 24, 2008
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― A campaign worker who claimed she was the victim of a politically-motivated attack in which she was beaten, kicked and cut, now admits that she made the whole story up.
According to Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard, Ashley Todd, 20, told investigators today that she "was not robbed and there was no 6'4" black male attacker."
Todd initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield Wednesday night and that the suspect began beating her after seeing a John McCain bumper sticker on her car.
Todd claimed that the mugger even cut a backwards letter "B" in her check.
But today investigators say Todd confessed that the attack never happened.
At a news conference this afternoon, officials said they believe that Todd's injuries were self-inflicted.
Police investigating the report said Todd's story began to unravel early on and they administered a polygraph test.
Investigators asked Todd to return to the police station today for more questioning and to help them release a composite sketch of the suspect.
When she did, police say she admitted that she made the whole thing up and that it snowballed out of control.
Todd told investigators today that she "just wanted to tell the truth" – adding that she was neither robbed, nor attacked.
"She indicated that she has prior mental problems and that she does not remember how the backward letter B got on her face," Richard told reporters today.
Todd told police that while she did not remember how the backward "B" got on her face, she may have done it herself since she was the only one in the car.
According to police, Todd said she thought of Barack Obama when she saw the "B" in her rearview mirror.
Officials say they do not believe any other people were involved; and Todd's friends believed the story about the attack – encouraging her to call police.
Todd is now facing charge for filing a false police report.
As of late this afternoon, Todd was still in custody under observation.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The first Black person to graduate from Harvard was W.E.B. Du Bois, in 1897. For his doctorate, he wrote the book, "The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America 1638-1870" This book lists every law ever passed in America, in an attempt to restrict or end slavery. That is correct, as early as 1638, there were people aware of the immorality of slavery and were moved to take legal action against it. Sadly, it wasn't until the end of the American Civil War that slaves were set free in our country.
When looking back at the history of our country, I think it easy to understand why all these many attempts to end or suppress slavery failed. It was because the government of our country was not strong enough to enforce the laws it had enacted.
Today there are many people calling for the reduction of government, and they make many claims as to why. But it all sounds like excuses. Mostly, these people want government small enough, and weak enough that they may be able to do whatever they want uninhibited by laws. These people see that if allowed free access, they can make much more money if their actions are not restricted or governed. In actuality, this extra profit comes by way of lying and cheating and manipulating the general population for the sake of a profit. Government only works to hold people to a fair ethical standard, for the safety and well being of all citizens. these people calling for an ever smaller government don't want to be concerned with the well being of all citizens - but only for their own personal well being.
Our founding fathers understood the need for a healthy and vibrant social community. That is why the Constitution begins with the words "We The People..." It does not say, "We The Wealthy" or "We The White People" or "We The Men" We are all in this together, and we are only going to survive unless "we all" survive. And if it means that government has to rein in the actions of the selfish, and unethical, and immoral, then so be it. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?
So depleted are the ranks of the F.B.I.’s white-collar investigators that executives in the private sector say they have had difficulty attracting the bureau’s attention in cases involving possible frauds of millions of dollars.
Since 2004, F.B.I. officials have warned that mortgage fraud posed a looming threat, and the bureau has repeatedly asked the Bush administration for more money to replenish the ranks of agents handling nonterrorism investigations, according to records and interviews. But each year, the requests have been denied, with no new agents approved for financial crimes, as policy makers focused on counterterrorism.
According to previously undisclosed internal F.B.I. data, the cutbacks have been particularly severe in staffing for investigations into white-collar crimes like mortgage fraud, with a loss of 625 agents, or 36 percent of its 2001 levels.
Over all, the number of criminal cases that the F.B.I. has brought to federal prosecutors — including a wide range of crimes like drug trafficking and violent crime — dropped 26 percent in the last seven years, going from 11,029 cases to 8,187, Justice Department data showed.
Yeah, I'm going to Denver. For personal reasons I'm not giving out an ETA. I'll be visiting with a friend for a little while. And then I'll be striking out on my own. It doesn't take long to figure out the lay of the land. I'll get myself involved in homeless services. There is a we produced homeless newspaper there called Denver Voice and I'd like to work with them for a while. There is the infamous Colfax street which is very colorful and eclectic and where you'll find a good many street people. There are also the beautiful Rocky Mountains that I'd like to explore some. I believe I have had a positive impact on the homeless situation in Nashville, and I'd like to see if I can do the same in other places. There could be something in the stars for me beyond Denver, but I'll not spend much time contemplating that just yet.
My efforts on the internet are also about to intensify. I just received word that I'll be receiving donated web services - I'll have an entire webpage, of which the blog will just be a part of. With that, I'll be able to provide a much wider scope of coverage of homeless issues. Information about homelessness will be much easier to find - and won't be lost in some blog archive.
I'll be podcasting, and vlogging as well. (Watch out Youtube!) And that will allow for a more dynamic presentation of information on homelessness. I'm very excited about all this, and a bit nervous as well. Everything is changing - but change is a good thing, right? Right.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In a world that is so crappy most of the time, it amazes whenever people make an effort for the good. I have to keep reminding myself that such people exist. They are so hard to find through the pollution of souls.
On that note, I want to thank all you people who have come forward on my behalf to help me get to where I need to be.
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission's long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.
Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.
Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.
“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent," she said.
But hours after the story was posted on Politico's website and legal issues were raised, the campaign issued a new statement.
"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.
Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.
A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.
But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines.
What hasn’t been apparent is where the clothes came from – her closet back in Wasilla or from the campaign coffers in Washington.
The answer can be found inside the RNC’s September monthly financial disclosure report under “itemized coordinated expenditures.”
It’s a report that typically records expenses for direct mail, telephone calls and advertising. Those expenses do show up, but the report also has a new category of spending: “campaign accessories.”
September payments were also made to Barney’s New York ($789.72) and Bloomingdale’s New York ($5,102.71).
Macy’s in Minneapolis, another store fortunate enough to be situated in the Twin Cities that hosted last summer’s Republican National Convention, received three separate payments totaling $9,447.71.
The entries also show two purchases at Pacifier, a top-notch baby store, suggesting $196 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.
An additional $4,902.45 was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Click Homeless from Click Homeless on Vimeo.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Oct. 22, 2008- Nathan Baker, a new media specialist and Nashville local, and a large network of people from Nashville and beyond are launching a project that would raise awareness and support for homeless bloggers. The project, Click Homeless, is a network of homeless and non-homeless who would help design and maintain blogs for homeless writers, teach homeless writers invaluable Internet skills, try to get laptops in the hands of the bloggers, pursue sponsorships with food spots with free Internet access, and advocate that people “click homeless.”
The experience of Baker and many of those in the Click Homeless network have been greatly affected by homeless bloggers. "Homeless bloggers have an amazing perspective that can help inform the public from a well-needed perspective," Baker said. Click Homeless seeks to benefit both the homeless and the non-homeless as well. Baker said as a result of the network, he hopes homeless voices will be more greatly empowered, the public would be better informed on issues of homelessness from a need perspective, and bridges would be built.
Currently, Click Homeless is in a viral marketing campaign for votes at ideablob.com. Ideablob provides $10,000 in funding for the idea with the most votes at the end of the month. Click Homeless is on the path to becoming a finalist at Ideablob. However, even if Click Homeless does not gain the $10,000 support, Baker and the network do not plan to simply scrap the idea. Baker explains, “If we don't reach our goal of raising $10,000 from Ideablob.com by the end of the month, we will use the contacts we've made and continue to pursue the idea.”
You can offer feedback and vote for this idea at http://www.clickhomeless.com.
I only need to raise $50 more for the bus ticket to Denver, and a new life. Could you help me get just a little closer to the goal?
I have a tremendous opportunity before me, to move to Denver and into a more stable living situation. One that will allow me to grow and become more independent. A good friend I met here in Nashville now lives in Denver, and she's offered me her spare room. So I plan on going just as soon as I can afford a greyhound ticket. The ticket is $167. And I'd like to go as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday. I've raised about 75 dollars so far. If you could help out with this, I'd be most grateful.
I met her a couple years ago when she was attending Peabody University, getting her Masters in Education. Now she has a teaching job and home in Denver, (she's originally from Denver, too). Ever since she finished school and returned to Denver, she's been offering me a room in her home. I've decided to take her up on it. Now all I need to do is collect enough money to pay for the bus trip out there - $167.
Express. She will be out of town during fall break, and so I'd like to get to Denver before she leaves, next week. Otherwise I'd have to wait until sometime in November. She has two cats that need looking after while she's gone.
This is a big one. A "could you please help" moment. So, I'm asking for donations to that I can make the trip. If you could, please click on the paypal donation button on the right hand column.
Monday, October 20, 2008
They were on the Oprah Winfrey show.
While most newlyweds spend their time picking out new furniture and china, Daniel and Amanda are picking through eggshells to find salvageable food. This doctor and engineer are Nashville-area freegans.
When Lisa visits their home, Daniel and Amanda show off some of the items they have stored up. Their haul includes fruit and vegetables, frozen pizza, milk and eggs, 50 boxes of cereal, 2,000 envelopes, sheets, rugs, lotion, furniture…even workout equipment! They say they especially love cooking using cans that have lost their labels. "They're the most fun," Daniel says. "We call them 'mystery cans.'"
Daniel says he and Amanda adopted their freegan lifestyle out of frustration with our wasteful culture. "I think we're 5 percent of the population and we consume 30 percent of the world's resources. We just think that's wrong that so many people suffer," Daniel says.
Amanda says she is not worried about what other people think of them. "We'd much rather be known as people that dig in trash than people that buy needless things," she says. "You have to learn to not get your happiness from things. It's a pretty easy thing to learn once you try it."
Daniel and Amanda started their freegan lifestyle about two years after they started dating. "At first, I was really grossed out," Amanda says. Daniel says he introduced the idea to Amanda because he had some friends who did it first. When he showed Amanda the quality of what they could get in the trash, she agreed to give it a try.
What made them think it was a good idea in the first place? Daniel says freegan ideas about consumption fit into their beliefs. "We try to live very simply, and we don't spend a lot on ourselves. We are very happy with having a little," he says. "We like to make it a priority to share a lot of our money. A lot of that comes from our Christian values of sharing and generosity."
They say their scavenging can be so productive that they sometimes can't even use everything they find! When that happens, Amanda says, they either give their surplus to others or donate it to shelters or charities. "Just put it back into the system rather than into a landfill," she says.
SACRAMENTO -- The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario over the weekend on suspicion of voter registration fraud.
State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that all signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. His firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM, collects petition signatures and registers voters in California and other states.
Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department late Saturday came after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by people employed by YPM. The voters said YPM workers tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters.
The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP.
I received a comment on an article I wrote for Associated Content that was appealing. It caused me to ponder my current situation.
Congratulations , you've got a job. You've joined tens of millions of working class slobs aching from the daily grind.[...]Soon you'll get a cubbyhole of your own and start paying [your bills], just as legions of faceless unsung plebe heroes do every day. Sure your life will be boring and unromantic- you'll be a solid cog in the machine- but much less dangerous and chaotic as having one foot planted in the gutter and the other in fringe Bohemia.
Sure there's a little bitterness in the tone of the author, but the idea is clear. There is some comfort and security in just doing what everyone else does. It's a proven method (for the most part) of making life's journey as safely as possible. And isn't that what people want? Safety?
But just as quickly I remembered, yet again, these quotes by Richard Bach. It counters the above mentality.
The Master answered and said "Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going it's own way, knowing only it's own crystal self. Each creature in it's own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom. The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!' But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah come to save us all!' And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure." But they cried the more, 'Savior!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior."
And [the Messiah] said unto them, "If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God answered and told him what he must do, should the man do as he is told?"
"Of course, Master!" cried the many. "It should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of hell itself, should God ask it!"
"No matter what those tortures, no matter how difficult the task?"
"Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned, if so be that God has asked," said they.
"And what would you do," the Master said unto the multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.' What would you do then?"
And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
A plumbing license is not the only license "Joe the Plumber" is having troubles with. The former Mesa resident has a suspended driver's license and outstanding court fines in Arizona, according to Mesa Municipal Court records.
"Joe," whose real name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was referred to more than 20 times by Republican Sen. John McCain in Wednesday night's presidential debate for questioning Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's tax policy.
The man portrayed by McCain to be the typical, hardworking American revealed this week that he actually does not have a plumbing license, and now court records show he should not have a driver's license either, making it potentially even harder for him to get to work.
Wurzelbacher, who lived in Mesa in 2000 and had an Arizona driver's license, had his driver's license suspended by the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division on May 4, 2000, following a nonpayment of a court-imposed fine for civil traffic violations, according to court records.
Well, I had a really good day, today. I was asked to help a group of youth in meeting with and helping some of Nashville's homeless people. And the event went very well.
I was contacted a while back by people involved in a group called Liv to Giv. It's an organization from south of Nashville that provides opportunities for youth to do community service work. And in the process, provides real life educational experiences for these young people.
They put together some gift/food bags for the homeless, and distributed them along Church St., Capital Blvd, and in Church Street Park. Along with passing out the bags, the young folks, with their parents and/or adult supervision, spent some time talking with homeless people, getting to know them. Afterward we gathered in the Downtown Library court yard and had a little discussion about homelessness, and my personal experiences with it.
Everyone had a good time doing this, the weather was very nice, and the homeless, as always, were very grateful. And it does my heart good to see young people voluntarily giving up a Saturday for the benefit of others. There is hope!
And I too received a brand new backpack for my efforts, of which I'm extremely grateful. With the holes in it, my old backpack wasn't going to last much longer.
If you have a group interested in doing something like this, please contact me. I'll help in whatever way I can.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Some people are calling liberals, "Anti-American." And they are calling for the media to investigate all of congress to find out who the Anti-American people are.
But are not Americans "free" to think and say what they want? I mean, isn't that a part of being a "free" citizen? If so, then the only "anti-Americans" would be those who don't want people to be free to think and say whatever they want. Right?
Did you know, if the coming Winter is going to be more harsh than usual, oak trees will produce more acorns for the forest animals? No? Well, I didn't either. Matter of fact, I never heard that one before. Of course it reeks of superstition, but I thought I'd check it out anyway. And yes, it is only a myth. And if you think about it, it's pretty obvious. First of all, if acorn production by oak trees was a true indication of predicting the weather, all the scientists would be out measuring and reporting the acorn haul. And weather men would be keeping us abreast of the acorn count with each nightly news report. And people would have acorn gages attached to the sides of their barns], like those used for measuring rain.
The really big deal about all this is, I learned of this myth from a financial executive of a large bank. He shared this information during a bible study I attended last week. And he believes this really isn't a myth. He stated it as if it was an actual and fairly well known fact.
Now, if such pillars of our community, and true bible believing Christians, are so gullible, and so easily taken in by such mumbo jumbo, then how are people ever going to be able to understand and accept the realities of homelessness? Without a true accurate understanding of homelessness we will never be able to overcome it.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Eventually, I'll be posting a seperate blog for my own "wish list" and on suggestions of how best to assist the homeless. But for now, I'll give you quick list of some things I need. Either for my personal basic needs or for expanding the reach of this blog.
* McDonalds Gift Certificates
* Back Pack (large enough to hold a 17in Laptop and all my homeless paraphernalia
* Luggage Locks for Backpack
* Hiking Boots for Urban Terrain size 10 1/2 Wide
* Heavy Socks
* Skype Headphone Set for Podcasting
* New or Used Digital Camera 4.0 mega pixels or larger for blog work
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Someone recently asked me what I meant by my statment: "God loves America because we are such good people." She wanted to know, "was that sarcastic or do you truly believe that?"
The statement I made, "God loves America because we are such good people" is a sarcastic take on the famous quote by, Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian in the 1800's, "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." This implies that America is a morally superior country. My sarcasm would hopefully inspire people to consider the real moral stance and standing of America. And if America appears to be lacking in the realm of morality, my hope is that people would begin taking steps to correct this, and return America to real greatness.
With regards to the treatment of the homeless and poor in the U.S., can America really be considered, "good?"
Evidently, before getting into politics, Palin was a member of an organization that wanted to seperate Alaska from the rest of the United States. And that Palin joined the Republican Party only to "Go along to get along."
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It's been a while since I last had a digital camera. But I'm really feeling the urge to start tacking pictures again, especially pictures relating to homelessness. I'm starting to ramp up my efforts on this blog now, and having pictures to go with the posts would really help. If there is anyone among you readers, with a digital camera you just don't use, and wouldn't mind parting with it, and would like to see it getting lots of use, and used for a good cause, please consider donating it to my blogging efforts here.
I used to be a photographer back in the day and have had a few local art shows and have been published in several publications and have won a few awards for my images.
More On Parenting As Hospitality
This past Sunday I received one of the most meaningful compliments in my life. It was a comment said just in passing, by one of the more respected people of the church I attend. He is an author of a couple books, with another one about to come out, and he has written countless articles for publication, mostly on the subject of religion. He is currently a professor at Vanderbilt University. And as far as I know, he never speaks an idle word.
He told me that he found my blog post on Parenting as Hospitality through a link on another blog, The Bald Blogger, while on a search of a completely different subject. No, he doesn't usually read my blog. But, he complimented the post and said he'd never made that connection before, between hospitality and parenting.
Immediately, I felt like debasing myself, and shying away from any credit for the post. Hospitality, especially Christian hospitality isn't something I came up with. It's just an idea I've been reading about recently. What I wrote in the post was, if anything, only a variation of the theme – someone else's theme. But, instead of embarking on some rant of self denial and false humility I just blushed, and thanked him for the compliment. He knew, and I didn't have to say.
Hospitality, especially of the Christian variety, is not one of my strong suits, and I think this blog bears witness to this, to some degree. As I wrote in another recent post, there are two attributes to all chronically homeless people, sadness and anger. And I certainly possess both of those, in spades. And it is anger which inhibits people, including myself, from acting out real hospitality. And this anger, I must admit, is not some cross to bare as some people might claim, it is instead unadulterated sin, and I must work to overcome it. I believe this anger within me comes from life experiences with the world, but especially from events with my family when I was treated with less than the respect. Well, "lack of respect" may just be a nice way to describe moments of abuse that shaped who I became as an adult.
Yesterday I watched the movie, “The Breakfast Club,” for the umpteenth time. And this story took on a new dimension, in light of the concept of parenting as hospitality. It was clear very early on that each of the five students was suffering from a lack of hospitality from their parents - the kind of respect that is necessary to make hospitality real and meaningful. By the end of the movie, the characters discover themselves, and become the hospitality for each other that they are not receiving from their parents. (As a side note, you can see how this movie could have turned out badly, if the hospitality they received came by way of a gang involved in criminal activity. And that is exactly how gangs recruit, by finding youth in need of a little acceptance and respect and who are currently not receiving the kind of hospitality the need from other sources.)
I empathized mostly with the Brain of the group, played by Anthony Michael Hall, because I too felt so much pressure that I could not handle it. Like the character, I took a gun to school. And although I did not hurt anyone, including myself, I got very close to doing so. I was expelled from that school, and was sent to another one farther away, where I didn't know anyone. Sadly, this new social isolation also caused my problems to worsen. This new school was on the outskirts of a “bad neighborhood” and so there were few expectations on the students to achieve anything – except to stay out of trouble. That school's definition of “trouble” was a lot more lenient than the schools in the rest of the city. And I quickly learned that I need not complete any class assignments to receive passing grades from my teachers. I was actually allowed to graduate without having the required number of class credits. My counselor allowed two of my elective class credits in Physical Education to count towards the two math credits I did not have. During these last years of school I was more inclined to press weights than press buttons on a calculator. I wasn't the dumb jock type, though. Statewide standardized academic testing put me in the top ten percent of my class. But, because of my suspension from my first school early in my sophomore year, I was not eligible to play for any of the school's athletic teams. I learned this only after attending tryouts for the football team. I never told any of the students in my second high school why I had to leave my first one. And so I was accused of being “chicken” by some of the members of the football team for not playing.
Ok, I really digressed there. Just something I hadn't thought of in a while.
The pressure I was under, that nearly led to early tragedy, (as apposed to the later tragedy my life turned into) was due to my inability to perform well and succeed academically. Although there was every indication to believe I was smart, my grades did not reflect it. And instead of my parents and others thinking that I may need help, I was instead accused of being lazy, and lacking the essential character necessary for success. It was my father's belief that, “a good swift kick to his ass,” would fix the situation. Only once did my father make good on this threat, by hitting me a couple times with a two by four piece of wood, when I was in the 8th or 9th grade. It did not have the desired effect. My grades did not improve. More specifically, I had a memory problem, actually I still do, but my father was under the belief that the threat of violence, and making that threat real, would motivate me to remember. And I extrapolate this a little and say that this type of motivation is just as ineffective as attempting to get homeless people to leave homelessness by punishing them for it.
From the very beginning of my career as a public school student, I had trouble with the subject of English, and all its various forms. I was good with memorizing the alphabet, but beyond that I had difficulties. My spelling was atrocious, and I was a painfully slow reader. And though I was a solid C student in every other subject I was a D to F student in English. Actually I was more of an F student, but most teachers took pity on me. The additional problem with not doing well with English is that reading and writing are essential for doing well in every other subject. Given my level of intelligence, if I had been just a solid C student in English, I would have excelled in everything else.
Again, according to my parents, and eventually everyone else, my problem was that I was lazy. Of course the logic doesn't really follow, being that I did satisfactorily in all other subjects. For a brief moment there was hope that I would get the help I needed. I was either in the second or third grade when my parents considered sending me to a psychiatrist. When I asked them why, they said it was to determine if my trouble was based on me actually being smarter than the other kids. But, before seeing a psychiatrist, my mother first had a conference with my school teacher on the subject. I remember going with my mother to this meeting. It was after school, no other kids were around. And when my mother went into the classroom with the teacher, my teacher told me to stay outside and go to nearby playground. When the door shut, leaving me outside, I tried to peer into the classroom, past the side of the closed blinds, but all I could see was darkness. What was said during this conference, between my mother and teacher, I was never told. But afterward, my parents no longer pursued the psychiatrist idea, or any other form of help for my condition.
In hindsight, this event seems extremely pivotal, setting the course for the rest of my life. Things could have gone in a completely different direction from that moment on, but they didn't.
Part two I'm still working on, and will post it here. And believe me, this is just the start. No comments will be allowed here.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Regardless of my personal beliefs that run counter to much of how Catholics do religion, I must agree with the Protestant man who said, "But all my Christian heroes are Catholic." Say what you will, Catholics walk the walk.
John Dear is a Catholic Priest (not a tractor) who has dedicated himself to the pursuit of ending Nuclear Proliferation. He also has some pretty cool ideas about peace. Best of all, he actually lives out his beliefs in a very intentional way. He is coming to Nashville for a book signing. What he has to say about the purpose of Christian living is very important and every Christian, regardless of denomination, would benefit from his words.
Geoffrey invited you to "Geoff Little introduces 2008 Peace Prize Nominee John Dear SJ " on Sunday, October 19 at 2:00pm.
Geoffrey says, "Y'all come. If you get bored, there's always the MAGAZINES."
Event: Geoff Little introduces 2008 Peace Prize Nominee John Dear SJ
"Talk and Booksigning!"
Start Time: Sunday, October 19 at 2:00pm
Where: Borders - West End
As I have said before, there are two types of homeless people. There are those people who become homeless only because of some financial crisis. Yet, no financial crisis lasts forever, and once these people over come their financial problems, they leave homelessness, never to return. The other kind of homeless people, are those who become homeless for every other reason. And though these people become homeless through an infinite variety of circumstances, they all have two things in common. They are either very sad, as in suffering a tremendous depression, or very angry, usually a non-violent variety, where the person is given to dispersing much blame, and harbors a considerable amount of self loathing.
Now, someone may say that all people experience sadness and anger at different times in their lives, and that they never become homeless for it. That is true. But for homeless people, the amount of sadness and anger they feel is so extreme that they are unable to overcome it.
The key lies in the human event of "loss." Again, every person experiences loss in their life, but it has been proven that homeless people experience many more loss events in their lives than other people. Also, for a great many homeless people, opportunities to learn loss coping skills are rare. And, the types of loss homeless people face are usually more severe. Divorce is very common, as the straw the broke the camels back, so too is the death of a loved one, especially a child. And, so is the loss of a healthy childhood, due to abuse. But the loss events homeless people face, and have faced, run the whole gambit of negative experiences.
The inability to cope with these problems of loss ushers in all sorts of coping attempts, by the soon-to-be homeless person. They begin taking drugs and drinking alcohol. And often, under the duress of these issues, a person may become ill, physically and/or mentally. But these coping attempts only exacerbate the problems the person experiences, and their lives eventually collapse. It is not long after this collapse that people begin to lose their jobs, their friends and family, and eventually their homes. Now homeless, their situation becomes significantly worse. The opportunities to overcome personal problems are almost non-existent while homeless. But, much more problematic is the superstitious stigma society places on homeless people. Instead of seeing homeless people as being in need of great care, much like a person with cancer needs care, homeless people are usually ostracized from society, and blamed for the condition their lives have fallen into.
Now, there is something that society says about homeless people that is true, although it sounds harsh. But the harshness isn't in the truth of this statement, but in how people generally respond to it. Others will say that homeless people lack the proper motivation for successfully leaving homelessness. Yes, for the chronically homeless that is true. But then most of these people will also say that the best way to motivate homeless people to get out of homelessness, is to make homelessness as difficult as possible. And that is just not true. When you take a person who is feeling so much sadness and anger, and who has experienced an inordinate amount of loss in his/her life, and then add more loss to their life, you only make their problems worse – the loss of good shelters, the loss of proper quality and quanity of food, the loss of proper health care, the loss of adequate mental health care, the loss of the basic rights of citizenship, the loss of being treated like an equal, of thus being harassed by the police and other citizens, the loss of the right to walk through a park, or sit on a bench, the loss of access to basic facilities like clean restrooms....etc. All of these only compound the exacerbate the problems homeless people face that led them to homelessness in the first place, and making it all the more difficult for people to overcome their homelessness.
For homeless people, but mostly chronically homeless people, the solution to ending their homelessness is found in countering all the losses they have experienced in life with positive experiences. They need to start having some real and serious gains in their lives. They need friends, and family if possible, to have positive experiences with. They need to have experiences in life that don't end with some kind of loss. They need for others to stop passing judgment on them. They to have a real community to belong to. They need to be treated with respect. They need people to be on their side, and to not give up on them. They need access to health care, and a clean and safe and dependable place to sleep, they need to start collecting personal belongings without the threat of theft, or of some shelter employee throwing their belongings away. They need for the police and other law enforcement types to leave them completely alone, if they have committed no crime. Etc.
It must be known, that even with nothing but positive things happening in a homeless person's life, it will still take quite a while for it all to have a permanent effect against all the negative things the homeless person has experienced in life. So it will require constant vigilance on the part of everyone who comes in contact with homeless people, so to make the transition from homeless to homed as quick and permanent as possible for all homeless people.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It gets worse. So I ask, Why are these people obviously lying?
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A new study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Wednesday ranks Tennessee 50th when comparing infant mortality to a mother's education.
They study says Tennessee has the highest rate of uneducated mothers whose babies die before their first birthday.
Metro Health officials said they aren't surprised by Tennessee's last place ranking.
"It's really not a surprise," said Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, Interim Chief Medical Director for the Metro Public Health Department. "We've been following our infant mortality rate for years and have known that we rank very poorly cross the nation."
She said key social factors, like income and education, correspond with children's health
"The more education a person has, the better their health is. In turning that around the least education, the sicker, the more chronic diseases, the lower their life expectancy [is]," she said.
Ignorance Kills Babies
As someone mentioned, once the boos started, the music in the hall is cranked up to drown them out. And there is this article on the Forbes web site that says Palin deserved these boos. In the back ground of the following video, you can see some people clapping, and some people giving the thumbs down.
Why are some Feminists voting for McCain - just to get Palin into office? Palin will set back the Feminist movement back another 50 years. Palin is not a Feminist, she is a Christian Fundamentalist. Palin wants to take away women's choice with Abortion. Palin wants to teach teens to only practice abstinence - and is against teaching safe sex. Palin thinks homosexuals and lesbians are an abomination to God, and will burn in Hell. And yet, in spite of all this, some Feminists still want Palin to have access to the highest office in the land? Whats the matter with these people? NOTE: Whenever Palin is asked about her views on issues, she always prefaces her statement saying, this is what I personally think, and purposely discusses how she would actually do while in office. This gives her one big loophole to say what she thinks people want to hear, and then do whatever she feels led to do when in office. This is incredibly disingenuous. Why doesn't she just tell people what she will do/strive while in political office?
Relatively speaking, homelessness is a small and insignificant issue. And it could be easily reduced, if not eliminated altogether. But people's reactions to homeless people have cranked up the controversy and thus the media attention. And this controversy arises because the issue of homelessness and it's causes, both real and imagined, strike at the very heart of people's beliefs about life, about citizenship, about God, about ethical behavior. And so many people cannot resist the temptation to pass judgment on the actions of others, especially on the subject of ethical behavior. For many people, it is important that their own behavior be seen as above reproach. And the best way to make that happen is to point out, and cast dispersions on the activities of people who do not act the same way as themselves. A false issue about homelessness is the question as to who would pay for the keeping and rehabilitation of homeless people. Relatively speaking, homelessness is rather inexpensive to fix. For the cost of our military being in Iraq for one month could also house and provide services for every homeless person in the U.S. for an entire year. Yes, with a homeless population at any one time in the U.S. of less than a million people, and the cost of housing and feeding a homeless person being less than $5000 a year...Actually the cost would be less than the 10 billion spent each month in Iraq. Such a program as housing all the homeless would mean that by the end of the year, many people would have found a way out of homelessness, so the next year, there wouldn't be nearly as many homeless in our country, and the cost of the program would be much less.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A homeless man died after being doused with gasoline and set on fire on a street where he had lived for many years and was a familiar face to residents of Koreatown, police and local merchants said Friday.
Police were called to Third Street west of downtown Thursday evening and found the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A man in his 20s was seen throwing gasoline on the man, chasing him, throwing more on him and running from the scene, said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz. Scorch marks stained a wall Friday where the man was burned.
The burning horrified even officers who routinely witness violent crimes, Diaz said.
"To murder somebody who's probably suffering from mental illness issues and not bothering anyone — just a poor wretch on the street — you've got to be a soulless nitwit to do something like this," he said.
The victim remained unidentified, and coroner's investigators might have to rely on fingerprints, Diaz said. Investigators canvassed the neighborhood Friday looking for evidence, witnesses and information about the victim.
Shopkeepers said the man was a fixture in the dense residential neighborhood at the northern edge of Koreatown, and residents were shocked to hear about his violent death.
Every day, the man drank a Dr Pepper, ate a bag of chips and smoked cigarettes, said Young Kim, who owns a nearby dry cleaner.
The homeless man had been in the area for at least 20 years but never bothered anyone or begged for money, Kim said. People gave him food, clothes and spare change.
"This is a terrible shame. He didn't deserve this. It's so cruel," said Jose Antonio Gonzalez, who owns a vitamin shop near where the man was found.
Gonzalez said some longtime residents called the man Johnny and believed he had fought in the Vietnam War and had a wealthy family somewhere. Gonzalez didn't know whether the stories were true.
"He didn't seem to have mental problems. He understood and spoke well. I don't know why he lived on the street," Kim said.
A witness, Thomas Lopez, told KCAL-TV he saw a teenager walk by the homeless man and pour something on him. Moments later the man was on fire.
"To actually see this guy on fire, it was unbelievable. Who would do such a thing?" Lopez said. "I took my shirt off and started putting him out."
The man, who paramedics thought was about 50 years old, had burns over 90 percent of his body, Fire Department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies said.
Andy Bales, chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission on downtown's Skid Row, said the incident was "part of a long history of people attacking vulnerable homeless individuals in Los Angeles."
"They think the person is less than human because they happen to be homeless. I don't know how you could do that to another human being," Bales said.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Watch how McCain supports actually boo McCain for suggesting that they treat Obama with respect. Can you say, "Hate Mongers?" It is also interesting that CNN chose to cut the tape every time the boos start up.
And this retraction from McCain comes only after this...
Thursday, October 9, 2008
General Petraeus Agrees With Obama.
I've been asked to talk to a group of teens - twelve to sixteen year olds - about homelessness. All the talks I've given up to this point have been to old folks, at least of college age. I have advised other youth group leaders, but I've not done the talking myself. And so I've been wondering how best to go about explaining to young people the very adult situation of homelessness. Of course I must be more gentle about it, but I also don't want to sugar coat things, or give them any untrue or misleading ideas, either. If you have any ideas of how to go about this, please add it to the comment section here.
It's me, Kevin, otherwise known as "The Homeless Guy." I've been known as The Homeless Guy for so long that that moniker will certainly stay with me long after I leave homelessness. And being as honest as possible, we must admit that there is a very good chance of me becoming literally homeless again. Actually, I still consider myself homeless. Yes, I have a small apartment, but it is still just part of a shelter system. If a person living in a rescue mission is to be considered homeless, you have to consider me, in my current state as homeless too. And I am barely able to maintain this place. And at any time, I could lose it. But that is ok. Really. Yes, my current situation is much better than living at a rescue mission. But I am certainly able to handle a more stark homeless existence. Any one could. It's not pleasant, by any means. But it is doable. Yes, even you could do it, if you had to. Being homeless isn't the end of the world.
I have recently noticed a more negative, perhaps angry, tone in my writings. I will try to tone it down some. Still, it is very easy to become angry, or at least frustrated with the rest of the world - the world I'm trying to address here. The subject of homelessness hits at people's basic beliefs about religion and politics and society in general. And as I try to point our that certain changes are needed in all aspects of life, in society, many people resist my ideas.
Socialism is considered by many to be "UnAmerican." Although, I don't really get that designation. Being that Americans are supposedly free to pursue whatever they want, anything could be considered "American" if it is what an American wanted. Recently, our Capitalist, Free Market, socioeconomicly based society has taken a turn for the worse. Actually, this religion of money has failed to prove itself as reliable. And it has taken an act of Socialism to save our country from further deterioration. Although, our forefathers didn't use such terminology as "socialism," they most certainly believed in it, saw it as necessary for the health and security of our nation.
When people rail against Socialistic ideas they only do so because they fear that socialism will hinder the profit making process. In this day and age of "money as God" there is a perception that every profit is a good profit. And yet, it was this drive for ever increasing profits that has caused the collapse of our financial institutions.
Yesterday, on Oprah, the subject was on how people could become more thrifty and better weather this economic storm. It was rather pathetic in that the show never dealt with real issue of poverty and how to survive it. Instead they talk about how wealthy people could still maintain a wealthy lifestyle while having less money to spend. And, Oprah avoided any discussion on the unethical practices of lenders and mortgage companies, and laid all blame for the collapse of our country's financial integrity on the greed of people taking out more credit than they could pay for. Sure, people can be stupid and gullible, but those attributes are not criminal. What Oprah avoided was the fact that all lending institutions know exactly how much credit people can safely handle, and they knowingly sold more credit to people anyway. And such is not a matter of stupidity but of malice, and should be made illegal. If we had laws that punished lenders for this practice, would could avoid this kind of serious financial problem in the future.
The Ann Rynd preaching John Galt wannabes have been proven wrong. Hopefully our society will not forget this important lesson.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In a last ditch effort to win a few votes, the McCain camp is trying to make people think Obama has evil intentions, that he is associated with "bad" people.
Hmmm, let's see. We have a general heightening of national security since 9/11. We have the patriot act. We have open and secret departments in our government following any and every half assed, quarter assed, not even assed, claims and accusations of anti american people and associations.
If there was ANY hint of Obama being one of the bad guys, he would have disappeared a long time ago. He wouldn't be allowed to fly, (he flies everywhere), he wouldn't be allowed to hold public office, (he's dedicated his life to public service), and certainly no one would allow him to run for the office of President of the USA.
Oh, and please, if you think you know more about Obama and his true intentions, than the FBI, the CIA, and every other government office, please chime in.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Detractors is a better word to use than critics. Critics use facts and a balanced perspective, mentioning good as well a bad aspects of the subject they are speaking of.
Detractors only want to diminish, to take away from, etc.
I have my detractors. Afraid of my message, afraid that what I say may be true, and the consequences of that truth. They are afraid that people truly are communal in nature. Afraid that each individual has a responsibility to the rest of society. Afraid that selfishness is not justified. Afraid that the cure to homelessness really will require their participation. Afraid that everyone will have to make at least a small sacrifice to insure the well being of all people.
And so they attack me - not the issues I talk about, not the stand I take on behalf of others, they only attack me personally. The reasoning being, that if they can prove me as being less than perfect, then they can disregard the things I say, the things I proclaim.
For example, a person says I am being a fraud because I still call this blog "The Homeless Guy" even though I am now living in transitional housing. And I've been told that I should not talk about what makes a good parent because I am divorced and no longer have contact with my children.
All I can hope for is right thinking and open mindedness of my readers - that they judge what I say on the merits of the statements. You bet, I admit to being as flawed as anyone else. But, I have also learned a few things during my 47 years on this planet. And these things I share with whomever wishes to talk to me, or read my blog.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators, Alan Cranston (D-CA), Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), John Glenn (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), and Donald W. Riegle (D-MI), were accused of improperly aiding Charles H. Keating, Jr., chairman of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of an investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB).
The result of the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan was that 21,000 mostly elderly investors lost their life savings. After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB in its investigation of Lincoln Savings. Senators John Glenn and John McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised "poor judgment".
Interesting! SnL pulled this video from its website, and thus from this website. It was the skit about the press conference made after the passing of the bailout bill. Bush, Pelosi, and that other guy herald the plan. Then a parade of people are brought forward, explaining how the housing crisis effected them. The skit showed that there was plenty of blame to go around, most of it based in greed. And those who have profited from it.
Hummmm, now it's back. Cool. It had actually disappeared from SNL's website too, I swear it did!
By Howard Gentry in the Tennessean
Will Nashville's latest coordinated efforts to reduce poverty work?
Yes, they will!
You had to be there, the morning of Sept. 22, attending Nashville's Poverty Symposium, to really understand the source of the certainty in my response.
Had you been there, you would have heard Mayor Karl Dean deliver a message of confidence that "as a city, we can do what is necessary to reduce poverty and positively impact the lives of the citizens of our community who are in need. It is time, and it is the right thing to do."
You would have seen Chamber CEO Ralph Schulz and Metro Action Executive Director Cynthia Croom standing together as Ralph told the audience that the Chamber and business community are committed to reducing poverty. Had you been there, you would have witnessed Charles Strobel's amazing message that eloquently answered any question of why we should want to make reduction of poverty a priority. You would have heard a panel of experts in health care, housing, economic opportunity, child care, food, neighborhood and work-force development speaking of the gaps in services that currently exist and the importance of working together to close those gaps.
Had you been there, you would have heard from a panel of recipients of services provided by programs and agencies about how the assistance they received helped them move beyond their circumstances of poverty to become self-sufficient, productive citizens. You would have heard guest speaker William Porro from Miami talk about a city that is committed to the reduction of poverty and about a program that works.
More than 450 people were there on that historic morning, representing government, business, nonprofits, service providers, faith-based organizations, homeless citizens and other concerned community members, all ready and willing to work toward one common goal.
Though I state with certainty that Nashville's efforts to reduce poverty will succeed, I must acknowledge the constant disenchantment and frustration that arises from excessive dialogue and failed promises concerning solutions to poverty. The reason these renewed efforts will work is because our symposium was not mired in rhetoric; instead, it was a call to action.
This next step has attracted more than 350 people who will serve on seven action teams. These teams will work to develop a strategic plan to coordinate the multitude of efforts being made to increase the value and reach of what is already being done. The teams will also be asked to think outside the box for new and innovative ideas for change.
My good friend, Avi Poster, reminded me of a quote from Nelson Mandela: "Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the collective actions of human beings." On Sept. 22, concerned citizens, stakeholders, business, community and government leaders committed themselves to that collective action. As a result, lives will forever change, and all citizens of Nashville will have the opportunity to prosper.
Howard Gentry Jr., is CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce's Public Benefit Foundation.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Some people may wonder why I talk about religion and politics on this blog about homelessness. The truth is, the issue of homelessness strikes at the very heart of people's beliefs. Of course it's more because of their miss understandings about politics and religion, but still. People believe that lost souls must be "saved" by God. and that people become homeless in reaction to political actions taken, etc.
I choose the posts and subjects I do all with the intention of teaching and/or leading people towards a deeper understanding and sympathy for the plight of the homeless.
Some time back, a woman with a home was attacked, allegedly by a homeless man. The new urban loft dwelling residents of Nashville were appalled. And they demanded that something be done about the homeless situation. They even got on the local news stations to express their outrage that homeless people were allowed to loiter.
Just the other day a homeless man was murdered by another homeless man. I'm still waiting for the publicly announced outrage from the new urban loft dwelling residents of Nashville. But all I'm hearing are crickets.
Question: Who won the VP debate?
The bar was set so low for Palin, given her performance on the Couric interview, that anything short of her drooling on the podium in the VP debate would be considered a success.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Conservative minded people, for some time, have complained about the biased nature of the media. So for the past few years the media has opened it's doors, so to speak. Now, any person can sign on to just about any website associated with any major media outlet, and add his/her own views on any subject.
And what I see coming from these conservative types, in their participation in media, is truly obscene in its bias-ness. Evidently, to a conservative, if the media doesn't paint the rosiest of pictures of their particular ideologies, they feel justified in lam basting the media for it's lack of balance.
And, these conservatives deem only those media outlets that favor conservative viewpoints to be balanced, and fair.
"There is nothing original about any of us, nor is there anything essentially individual, permanent or stark. We are each just a near-random scoop out of the batter of human-beingness, which allows any of us who are aware to fully appreciate and sympathize with the plight of others and have keen insight into others' points of view."
A homeless man was found dead outside a building in Centennial Park on West End Avenue overnight, according to police. He had been stabbed.
A Parks sergeant found the deceased victim on the stairs to an arts and crafts building, police said. After the medical examiner arrived, it was determined that the man, who was in his 50s, had been stabbed.
The victim had a recent hospital bracelet and bandage marks, police said.
Detectives were interviewing another homeless person who stated that he had been drinking with the victim earlier in the day.