Archive | April, 2011

Berkeley Merchants Try to Ban Sitting

“Segregation, After Norman Rockwell” Art by Nili Yosha

There is not nearly enough shelter to serve homeless youth in Berkeley. With such a dire shortage, is it fair to fine and arrest the exhausted and, unsurprisingly, sometimes dirty youth sitting on our sidewalks?

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YEAH! Shelter from the Storm for Street Youth

At Berkeley’s YEAH! program, an adult and a homeless youth walk arm in arm.

Many participants from Berkeley have helped to build YEAH!, tended it, fed the youth, and donated time, energy and money to the endeavor. They bring their warmth, their respect, and their desire to make a difference. The Lutheran Church of the Cross, which houses the shelter, has a commitment to making a difference for people who would otherwise live outside. YEAH! is their commitment.

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Building a Budget for Humanity in California

California, #1 in Prisons. From Center for the Study of Political Graphics

Instead of funding affordable homes, we are housing over 160,000 people in over-crowded prisons and jails. Instead of funding In-Home Support Services, we are building prison hospitals. Instead of building community colleges, we are building county jails.

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New Priorities Seeks End to War, Big Cuts to Pentagon

The two party system “debates” the military budget. Democrats and Republicans are in collusion to give endless billions to the Pentagon. Art by Doug Minkler

Every minute of every day, the U.S. government spends $2.1 million on the military. In 2012, the United States will allocate about 60 percent of its discretionary budget for military spending. This includes $553 billion as the base budget for the Pentagon.

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House Votes to Terminate Key Foreclosure Program

“Last week, the U.S. told the United Nations that addressing homelessness here at home is a human rights obligation. Cutting vital housing programs gives the lie to those obligations — and damages our credibility as a leader in the world community.” — Maria Foscarinis, NLCHP executive director

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Defending the Right to Serve Food in Public

Food Not Bombs in Los Angeles provides a free meal, as part of a picnic on Skid Row to defend the right to share food. Photo by Dan Bluemel LA Activist

We believe that sharing food with our brothers and sisters is a fundamental human right, protected under the First Amendment.

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Landlords or Panhandlers: Who Is Really to Blame?

But before Berkeley sends another potentially pointless anti-poor ordinance through the courts, it makes sense to institute a retail vacancy fee on landlords who keep storefront locations empty for years, refusing to acknowledge the recession’s effect on merchants, generally, and the effect of empty storefronts, specifically, on a struggling commercial area.

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Obama Pursues the Madness of Nuclear Power

The two party system “debates” the military budget. Democrats and Republicans are in collusion to give endless billions to the Pentagon. Art by Doug Minkler

Nuclear power is a moral crime against future generations. It is up to us to peacefully and insistently shut those plants down.

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A Nonviolent Path to Peace in the Holy Land

by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta Ithaca Press Hardback, 528 pages

Increasing numbers of Palestinians and thousands of Israelis see nonviolent action as an effective way to challenge the Israeli military occupation. This excellent book encourages all of us to get beyond the all-too-common division of the world between “us” and “them,” and the need to resort to war and killing as a way of solving problems and achieving security.

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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.”