Archive | December, 2010

Ugly Laws, Bum Blockades and Sundown Towns

“The Lord Provides” Lithograph, 1934, by Jacob Burck, courtesy of M. Lee Stone Fine Prints

The Quality of Life ordinances enacted in cities across the nation to outlaw and banish homeless people from certain areas are our contemporary version of the vagrancy laws that have been with us for centuries. In the South, they were used to force freed slaves back to the plantation. In the North, they were used to instill a Protestant work ethic in indigent whites.

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Confronting the JFK Assassination

President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office. Cecil Stoughton, White House photo (public domain)

Where do we find hope when a peacemaking president is assassinated by his own national security state?

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Creative Acts of Housing Liberation in San Francisco

“Housing Is A Human Right.” Protesters take over a vacant building in San Francisco on Black Friday. Carol Harvey photo

Creative Housing Liberation would like to invite “all kinds of folks, including families,” to be involved in future housing occupations. Families are the largest new homeless group, a number that is skyrocketing since the housing foreclosure scandals and the economic crisis began.

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The Government’s War on Disabled People

President Obama was supposed to redistribute the wealth, yet this looks more like stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. Once again, the poor and disabled have been shortchanged.

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Obama Woos the ‘Economic Royalists’

ranklin D. Roosevelt denounced the heartless rich. Art by Victor Arnautoff

The last thing we need is further acquiescence to the economic royalists. What we need is exactly the opposite: leadership to push back against the right-wing ideologues and the forces they represent.

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”