Archive | April, 2016

Songs of Healing in a World at War

Country Joe McDonald’s songs denounce the atrocities of war and pay tribute to Vietnam War combat nurses and the legendary icon of mercy, Florence Nightingale, for bravely bringing medical care into war zones.

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Country Joe: Singing Louder Than the Guns

Country Joe McDonald stands nearly alone among the musicians of the 1960s in staying true to his principles — still singing for peace, still denouncing the brutality of war.

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 1

Women coming home from the Vietnam War never were the same after their wartime experiences. They were shoved into a horrific, unbelievable experience. That’s what I wrote about in the song: “A vision of the wounded screams inside her brain, and the girl next door will never be the same.”

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 2

“It was magical. All at the same time, amazing stuff happened in Paris, London, and San Francisco — and BOOM! Everybody agreed on the same premise: peace and love. It was a moment of peace and love. It was a wonderful thing to happen. And I’m still a hippie: peace and love!”

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Suitcase Clinic Holds Town Hall on Homelessness

“Homeless people are the most creative, talented people I’ve ever met — we have to be. I’ve seen it through artwork, musicians, the places we design to sleep,” one woman commented about the lack of employment for homeless people. “We are wasting huge amounts of human potential and talent.”

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Mike Deserves a House

Recently I had the misfortune to interact with Berkeley’s newest scheme in combating homelessness. It’s called the coordinated entry system. In a nutshell, it is supposed to be a one-stop shop for homeless services. In reality, it is piles of paperwork and, quite frankly, a complete waste of time.

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Sleeping Ban Defeat in Santa Cruz Raises Many Questions

For decades, Santa Cruz has progressively sought to criminalize homelessness and the recent vote is little more than a sad confirmation of that well-established and deeply entrenched policy. Following the vote, one longtime observer commented that “now our community is officially homeless unfriendly.”

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Dogtown Redemption: Finding Gold in the Garbage

“We started making a film about poverty,” said Amir Soltani. “We ended up making a film about love.” The poverty of the recyclers profiled in the film is illustrated as people find or lose housing and shelter, find or lose loving relationships, and get a handle on their health and hope.

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Tiny House Movement Spreads Across the Country

Dignity Village in Portland started when homeless activists claimed space under a downtown bridge. It has grown into a 60-person village with tiny homes built of recycled materials by residents and volunteers. Community members practice self-governance, and select their own members under their own community agreements.

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.