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Archive for May, 2011

Lives Less Valuable


Homeless News-3

Prison Inmates and Homeless Wrestle It Out At the Chelsea Flower Show

Headliner Watch

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show would see a garden done by some of the prison inmates who would fight the top position with the fellow contenders, coming from an orphanage against a luxury designed spa featuring a swimming pool in the most popular flower show conducted in London.

Around 6,000 exhibiters are expected to be at this Flower Show along with more than 150,000 garden lovers to witness this magnum opus. Though, the designers are finding it tough to fight out for quality flowers in this unseasonable frost, just before the contest week. This situation has lead to the apprehensions if the 2010 contest would be less colorful than the previous year.

But organizers of the Royal Horticultural Society has made their worry too light by taking in a pair of giant seeping lock gates, swimming pool with submerged bar seats and a section of wrought iron bridge all vying for the judges’ attention. The exhibitor has been since the whole last week putting in the final touches to the contest. They were seen busy brushing up the hundreds of exhibits, 15 show gardens and 21 small gardens.

Hate Crime Laws Now to Protect Homeless

South Florida Gay News

On Thursday, May 20, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist (R) signed a bill into law (HB11) that adds homeless persons to the list of protected classes in Florida’s Hate Crime legislation and another bill (Jeffrey Klee’s Law) that lifts the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims are most commonly referred to as the “civil suit” that results from a murder.

“I would like to thank the families because it was their courage that made sure the right thing happened in Tallahassee,” said Crist. He then turned to extend his appreciation to State Senator Nan Rich (D) for co-sponsoring the latter bill but she was absent from the signing. However, State House Rep. Ari Porth (D) who sponsored the bill in the House was present.

Crist shook hands with Simone Manning-Moon as he signed HB11 into law. Manning-Moon is the sister of the late Norris Gaynor – a homeless man who was savagely beaten by teenagers with baseball bats in Broward County back in 2006. The incident was caught on security cameras and soon became a national media headline.

Los Angeles homeless blog transforms into an online poverty site

Dallas Examiner

Back when online journals were just becoming a fresh communications tool for teenagers wanting to make their diaries public, and passionate advocates using the written word to change public perception and policy, a small blog created in Los Angeles started in hopes of covering the contentious social issue known as homelessness.

Six years later, with nearly a million hits, and a following from advocates, policy makers, and media who are still concerned about the human tragedy on this country’s streets, LA Homeless Blog is re-branding itself into www.PovertyInsights.org.

For years, this unique blog has tracked violence against homeless persons around the country. It has told the story of the man beaten by a couple of Florida teenagers with a baseball bat, or the Los Angeles man torched on the streets of this city of angels.

College district rules leave Green Hive homeless

Daily Breeze (Los Angeles area)

Last spring, a couple of beach cities residents with a devotion to sustainable building and “green” practices were excitedly promoting their vision.

They planned to open a unique resource center for homeowners, city planners and commercial builders to get hands-on learning about eco-friendly design.

They called it The Green Hive.

Then the district pulled the plug.

In April, Kimble and Robinson were told that the project could not move forward. They were stunned.

After spending more than two years and their own money creating The Green Hive, they face a shutdown of their business in a matter of weeks.

Undie runners leave 1,760 pounds of clothes behind

The Lantern

By Lauren Hallow

Thousands of half-naked Ohio State students stripped to their skivvies and ran through the streets Thursday night to support local homeless during the OSU AXE Undie Run Challenge. Through the clothes shed and other donations, AXE collected 1,760 pounds of clothing for the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless.

“I thought the event was a total success,” said Jake Schnall, a third-year in marketing and logistics and an organizer of the run. “We collected a ton of clothes, everyone had a blast and no one was injured. I think this might become a tradition at OSU.”

Schnall estimated 2,000 people were at the run, which started in front of O Patio & Pub at the corner of 15th Avenue and High Street. The runners ran east on 15th, north on Indianola Avenue, west on Woodruff Avenue and then south on Pearl Avenue to the finish line at 15th.

iHobo: No 1 on the street

The Guardian

It sounds like a sick joke but in just one week iHobo – an iPhone application that allows you to interact with your very own homeless person – shot to the top of the iTunes download chart. At the end of last week, 210,000 iHobos had been downloaded. But the thinking behind it, the app’s creators claim, is as serious as it is provocative.

“The challenge was how to grab attention without falling back on the traditional route of creating a high-impact, attention-grabbing TV or poster ad,” explains Tom Ewart, an executive creative director at the ad agency Publicis, which came up with the idea for Depaul UK, a youth homelessness charity. “People have grown bored of the shock tactics marketers in the charities sector have come to rely on.”

Step forward, then, iHobo – an otherwise nameless youth who, when you activate the free app, “lives” on your mobile, making a series of direct and increasingly desperate appeals for help, knocking on the screen for attention at any time of day or night.

Begging on the streets of love

Australia/National Times

What do people on the streets asking for money, asylum seekers, burqa-wearing Muslim women, Jews, gypsys and the disabled who lived in Nazi Germany have in common?

All these groups have suffered and been exploited or persecuted by being characterised as other and, therefore, less worthy. They have also been mercilessly used to advance political power and advantage.

During the years of the Pacific Solution, as with the current wave of arrivals, political opportunism fanned flames of resentment towards the “boat people” and our compassion was largely dormant until the human stories hit the media. And when the words and faces of current asylum seekers being processed off-shore find their way to the mainland, the compassion that is a necessary precursor to genuine humanitarian action, will be revived and do its work.


Sheryl Crow On America

I think this is a really stellar photoessay, along with a great song.


Can’t Blame This One On Spiders

Do Bedbugs Spread MRSA?
Drug-Resistant Bacteria Cultured From Bedbugs

Web MD, today

May 11, 2011 — Bedbugs removed from people seeking care at a Vancouver hospital were carrying drug-resistant MRSA or VRE bacteria, Canadian doctors report.

The patients were residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, an area with high rates of homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and injection drug use.

Because such patients are often infested with bedbugs — and often show up at the hospital with community-acquired MRSA and VRE skin and soft tissue infections — Marc G. Romney, MD, wondered whether the bugs might be carrying these drug-resistant germs.

This story is of interest to me, as the most common thing misdiagnosed as recluse bites is MRSA. Bed bugs, being blood suckers (true bugs), are much more likely to be biting people than are spiders, who gain no benefit from doing so.


Edward Current is Doing More Covers

Here’s his first one:

Better than the original IMHO.

You can check out his new channel here.

Edward Current has previously published a lot of great satires about Christianity and Christian attitudes towards homosexuality, and I personally think he just totally rocks.


Apaches Not Happy about Bin Laden “Geronimo” Code Name

Bin Laden killed: Geronimo code name angers Apaches

BBC News

An Apache tribe in the US has demanded an apology from President Obama for using the name of the warrior Geronimo as the code name for Osama Bin Laden.

Jeff Houser, Fort Sill Apache Tribal Chairman, said equating the legendary Apache to a mass murderer was painful and offensive to all Native Americans

In his letter to Mr Obama – also posted on the Oklahoma tribe’s website – Mr Houser said: “Right now Native American children all over this country are facing the reality of having one of their most revered figures being connected to a terrorist and murderer of thousands of innocent Americans.

Fair enough. That’s my country – insensitive and getting everything backwards, as usual.

Oh, and good job, President Obama. Next time, could you please use the name of some African-American radical type? Perhaps “Malcolm X” would do.


The Joys of Free Enterprise

I read in Tampa Bay Online that people are selling T-shirts celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden.

Are these going to become collectible? Could we not have had ears?

Imagine what they would have brought on eBay. We could have donated the proceeds to help fund SCHIP.

No, I guess not. We had to go and wimp out and actually respect Islamic death rites, or something like that.

Well, all I can say is that I’m glad at least *somebody* is making money of of this. This is, after all, the home of the free merchant.


Remember the Bad Cold?

Blame game continues in gas outage


At a Public Regulation Commission hearing Tuesday, KOB Eyewitness News 4 obtained a staff report from a PRC engineer that basically says the gas company followed policies, regulations and the law when it cut off gas to thousands of customers.

The report from PRC staff says New Mexico Gas tried to get large customers to voluntarily reduce their gas use before they were forced to take communities like Taos and Espanola offline in order to avoid a system wide crash. It also says the company tried to buy extra gas before the cold snap but the supply was interrupted by shortages.

One question still yet to be answered is who was responsible for not delivering gas to the company.

Gas company officials told regulators that at last count, they have paid out well over $600,000 in damage claims to more than 2,000 customers.

Well, who was responsible was the electric companies that shut down the compressors that were required to deliver the gas through the lines. Or whoever decided not to have backup systems for the compressors.

I wonder who the large customers were?


Copyright Barracudas

Enforcing Copyrights Online, for a Profit

NYT, today. Important story.

DENVER — When Brian Hill, a 20-year-old blogger from North Carolina, posted on his Web site last December a photograph of an airport security officer conducting a pat-down, a legal battle was the last thing he imagined.

A month later, Mr. Hill received an e-mail from a reporter for The Las Vegas Sun who was looking into a Nevada company that files copyright lawsuits for newspapers. The e-mail informed Mr. Hill that he was one of those that the company, Righthaven, was suing. Though the airport photo had gone viral before Mr. Hill plucked it off the Web, it belonged to The Denver Post, where it first appeared on Nov. 18.

Mr. Hill took down the photo. He was too late. A summons was delivered to his house. The lawsuit sought statutory damages. It did not name a figure, but accused Mr. Hill of “willful” infringement, and under federal copyright law up to $150,000 can be awarded in such cases.

This company, Righthaven, goes around looking for copyright violations, even when the owner is given credit, and buys the copyright from the owner and then sues the blogger.

This happens even when the blogger is using a photo that was posted elsewhere without credit.

I see this as a predatory practice in some ways, but in any case, we should all pay attention to this news and take it into consideration in our work.