Re: Unto one of the least of these.

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But it works so splendidly with pigeons.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:03 PM
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Old news, although I'm glad to see that Cleveland is jumping on this bandwagon -- stay cutting edge, Cleveland, just like with the foreclosures. FNB members are absolutely right to go out and get themselves arrested (and hurrah for the churches backing them up, many of which I would probably disagree with politically), just like they were when that asshole Frank Jordan was running San Francisco in the early '90s.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:05 PM
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This nicely complements Florida's Shoot First Law.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:07 PM
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Apparently they're too tolerant of the homeless in St. Petersburg.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:27 PM
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I smell a huge issue for the Religious Right: government banning the fulfillment of one of Jesus' most important commandments! Compared to this, the no-prayer-in-schools thing is a mere mote in the Supreme Court's eye.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:44 PM
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Finally, politicians who stand up for the little guy.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:37 PM
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It's official: I hate America.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:12 PM
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Homeless folk are in the news here, too. Money quote from the local paper: "People are starting to realize that you can hate George W. Bush and still not want someone crapping in your doorway." Not that they're trying to make feeding them illegal or anything...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:17 PM
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5: You are, of course, joking.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 2:43 AM
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It's official: I hate America.

I've been officially hating America for years now. Speaking of, where's my Clinton Hearts Torture thread? I was working a double when the usual blogs picked that one up, and now on my day off I've missed it. Come on, Unfogged, I need venting room.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:46 AM
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Come on, Unfogged, I need venting room.

I was thinking about posting about this today, but now you're scaring me, Stras. I'll only do it if you lay off the perfidy of the Clintons and spread your hate to America more generally.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:49 AM
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Look at me, negotiating with terrorists.

In addition, I too officially hate America now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:51 AM
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If this is the hating America thread, let me just remind you of some grounds rules. "[A] State [may not] forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Brandenburg v. Ohio 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969). Go nuts people.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:56 AM
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So here's a question, apropos of nothing in particular: what should be one's intellectual response when one finds oneself in a *very small* minority of opinion? For example, if 95% of people believe X and you believe not-X, how concerned should you be about your reasoning process? There are lots of reasons why this might not be a concern. It may be that in general, majority opinion is irrelevant, or the issue is one where most opinions are not informed, or it may be that you have special access to information, or it may be that you are not drawing your sample set broadly enough (you would be in a larger minority if you were looking at everyone on earth, not just in your society, or everyone alive in the past 200 years, not just everyone alive today).

Do people here have views that they would describe as 5% views? How do they justify them? Do people have a strong bias towards believing that most people are right about things most of the time? Or does it weigh not a hair in the analysis?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:03 AM
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Do people have a strong bias towards believing that most people are right about things most of the time?

Good lord, no.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:07 AM
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I don't know what the numbers were, but opposing the war on Afghanistan in 2001 felt like a 5% opinion to me then. I was sure it would work out badly, but felt pretty isolated, and had to wonder if there were some important moral understanding I might be lacking, even though I was pretty sure this was not the case.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:09 AM
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or the issue is one where most opinions are not informed

This would include virtually every issue, as far as I can tell, except about things like how to treat members of your family and what to do when someone is threatening to beat you up.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:09 AM
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Not believing in God is apparently about a 9% opinion in the US.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:12 AM
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This would include virtually every issue

Right, this would be one way to go. So maybe the better case is where one defines some set of relevant people in a non-question-begging fashion, and still finds oneself in the minority. Are people aware of 5% or 10% opinions here?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:13 AM
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Baa, quit diverting the thread with your "epistemology" and your "intellectual norms." It's time to speak truth to power by reiterating that indeed, homeless people crapping on your stuff does suck.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:13 AM
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churches could no longer provide food in the Public Square because of health hazards. Davis was told the city had discovered rat holes at the park

Ah, yes. All those rats running around behind restaurants in Adams Morgan are, if fact, from some homeless shelter up the street. It's making sense now.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:15 AM
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Fontana, are you referring to that article about the homeless in SF? I am surprised the worm hasn't turned on that one sooner.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:17 AM
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20: Homeless people crapping on your pain-in-the-ass neighbor's stuff, though? Priceless.

Well, not really. I've found they'll show up daily for $5 a pop.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:18 AM
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No, baa, I speak almost from personal experience. In grad school I lived in a building with an entryway that got peed on a lot. Sometimes there'd be dudes sleeping there in the morning. Finally we got a lock on the door, but I've been voting Republican ever since.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:19 AM
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Are people aware of 5% or 10% opinions here?

philosophy is fun


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:22 AM
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I would quit before prosecuting someone for feeding the homeless.

As for the whole "Clinton Hearts Torture" thingy, turns out she was kinda sorta quoted out of context by WaPo. Check out the truth, courtesy of Greg Sargent.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:24 AM
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Here's the article.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:24 AM
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baa, that's hilarious. If it weren't for a faculty meeting a few days ago, that would have been the funniest thing I've read all week.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:27 AM
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Do people here have views that they would describe as 5% views? How do they justify them? Do people have a strong bias towards believing that most people are right about things most of the time?

I probably do. But I also have a strong bias to believing, not that most people are right most of the time, but that most people have pretty good reasons for the things they believe/feel (even when those things are wrong).

This, of course, makes me a better person than the rest of you.

Also, the solution to homeless people crapping in doorways might be to build fucking public restrooms, much the same as the solution to garbage on the street is to provide garbage cans.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:39 AM
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"Maybe," Rhorer says, "you just need a guy with a badge standing over them and saying, you can't stay there any more."

Or maybe we should think about reintroducing some of the social support systems for the destitute and crazy that we used to have, including the existence of affordable single room occupancy places (which I'm willing to bet are thin on the ground in SF these days).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:43 AM
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B: too bleeding-heart for San Francisco.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:45 AM
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31, see 29: The homeless probably have pretty good reasons for crapping in doorways.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:50 AM
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Or maybe we should think about reintroducing some of the social support systems for the destitute and crazy that we used to have, including the existence of affordable single room occupancy places (which I'm willing to bet are thin on the ground in SF these days).

You'd probably lose that bet, we've got a fair number of them. I also think that part of a social support system for the destitute and crazy can and should include the concept that no matter how gratifying it may be, sleeping on the street surrounded by your own excrement because you'd rather spend your money on heroin or crack than go to the shelter where people have all these rules you have to follow is not an acceptable life choice.

Of course, "stories about homeless people in the chron" just means that Gavin Newsom is up for an election, not that anything has really changed.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:54 AM
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for the destitute and crazy... no matter how gratifying it may be... is not an acceptable life choice.

Are we really talking about gratifying, here?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:56 AM
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much the same as the solution to garbage on the street is to provide garbage cans.

Not in San Francisco, it isn't.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:57 AM
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Gratifying in the sense that if you only have the money for drugs or a place to stay, there's plenty of world views in which it makes sense to spend it on drugs.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:58 AM
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So maybe the better case is where one defines some set of relevant people in a non-question-begging fashion, and still finds oneself in the minority.

For me, "set of relevant people" begs the question. The set of issues that yields to purely formal, technocratic methods seems pretty small. Who you define as the relevant people is often going to silently assure that you trust the opinion of the people you've decided are relevant.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:01 AM
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As for the whole "Clinton Hearts Torture" thingy, turns out she was kinda sorta quoted out of context by WaPo. Check out the truth, courtesy of Greg Sargent.

The full quote doesn't look much better, especially in light of her previous "we need the power to torture in ticking time bomb situations" statement, along with, of course, her husband's use of extraordinary rendition. There's nothing like a clear, solid denunciation of Bush administration tactics here - instead, there's an extremely weak "we don't know what's going on, it's all very fuzzy, the next president - ahem - will have to sort it all out."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:03 AM
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world views

See, putting it that way really makes it sound as if the problem is that living on the street just isn't unpleasant enough, and if we make it worse, these people will stop indulging themselves with their cushy street-living. (You have not explicitly said this -- I'm still reacting to the word 'gratifying'.) Living and shitting on the street is already about as unpleasant as life's going to get. Maybe the problem's that the other options are also intolerable, and they should be less so?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:04 AM
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You'd probably lose that bet, we've got a fair number of them. I also think that part of a social support system for the destitute and crazy can and should include the concept that no matter how gratifying it may be, sleeping on the street surrounded by your own excrement because you'd rather spend your money on heroin or crack than go to the shelter where people have all these rules you have to follow is not an acceptable life choice.

Barf, Jake. We do not have mental institutions for people with chronic mental illnesses, many of whom live on the street. We do not have well-funded, affordable, espectful alternatives for adults with severe developmental disabilities to live as independently as they are able. We do not have adequate rehab facilities for indigent addicts and alcoholics.

We *do* have shelters where people get raped, stolen from, attacked, and dehumanized.

People do not just randomly decide they'd "rather" spend their money on heroin or crack. Heroin and crack and meth are actually *addictive*. People who are addicted to them *need* those substances, and if they are going to detox, they need serious support to do so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:09 AM
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When I go to nyc, I notice the difference in homeless environment from dc. What are the policies in place for the homeless situation there?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:09 AM
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I think there's a distinction between making living on the street unpleasant and providing some some coercion to not do so. Even along the lines of "hey, we'll feed you dinner and breakfast, but you gotta sleep in the shelter."

I come from enough of a middle-class background to realize that no matter how bad things seem it's probably possible to climb out of it, but once you spend a year living on the streets that may no longer be the case. I'd want people to take pretty extreme measures to prevent me from doing that were I ever tempted, just because it's one of those things (like dropping out of high school) where the negative ramifications of the decision are not apparent to those in the situation.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:13 AM
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41: colder winters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:14 AM
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Living and shitting on the street is already about as unpleasant as life's going to get.

We had a well-known bum in my home town who lived under bridges by choice. There were a few stories in the paper about him - he had siblings who did what they could to move him into a house, and give him a normal lifestyle. He wouldn't have it.

Of course, this was in the warm south, and in a low-crime area. I think he got giveaways from McDonalds and such. He had lots of choices for support if he chose to take advantage of them.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:17 AM
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Did he have medical and psychiatric care and support?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:19 AM
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We *do* have shelters where people get raped, stolen from, attacked, and dehumanized.

Right. So if the populace isn't going to pay to do it right, is it doing anyone a favor to demand that shelters not tell people that they can't take drugs there out of respect, even if it makes them so inhospitable that people stay on the streets with all the physical and mental health problems that causes?

It feels like "heightening the contradictions", and I think it's bullshit.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:20 AM
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providing some some coercion to not do so

Right, like, maybe mental institutions and rehab clinics. Instead of cops with badges telling people to "move along" and annoyed citizens nattering on about addicts' and crazy people's "choices."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:20 AM
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44, was he causing any trouble to anyone? was he sane?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:21 AM
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If there was an easy, obvious solution to homelessness, it wouldn't be the problem that it is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:22 AM
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45. don't know. he was well-known around town.

People do not just randomly decide they'd "rather" spend their money on heroin or crack. Heroin and crack and meth are actually *addictive*.

While surely some people do not get off these drugs b/c they're dependent, you're denying here that people really do chose to spend their money on drugs rather than food. And that really is sometimes the case, even if they're not currently chemically addicted. Some people - there's just no helping.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:25 AM
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46: That's an argument that some people need to be excluded from shelters because we don't have the resources to deal with them without making shelters inhospitable for other people who aren't as drug-addicted or mentally ill, and it's a fine one. But it's a lousy argument that we're doing anything good for the people excluded -- if their situation is such that living on the street looks like their best option, making living on the street worse isn't going to give them an incentive to change. They need some better option. We may not have the resources to provide the kind of care and support needed, but this isn't about finding living on the street gratifying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:26 AM
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If there was an easy, obvious solution to homelessness, it wouldn't be the problem that it is.

Oh sure, you defeatist. How many homeless could we put up in Britney Spears' various residences? And have we done it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:26 AM
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42: A lot of shelters etc. are much more coercive than that. `we'll feed you dinner, but you have to come to a sermon first and we'll be patronizing and tell you how you should be living your life'. `we'll let you sleep here, but we're going to line you all up and march your around and give you these stickers on a board like you're back in grade 4'.

A lot of people just can't be assed. More free form ones aren't really more respectful, they just tend to be bigger, understaffed, and have real problems with crime.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:26 AM
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48. seemed like a nice guy the handful of times I crossed his path. He looked like a dirty santa claus.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:26 AM
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Is "various residences" a euphemism?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:28 AM
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Ongoing medical treatment would be insanely expensive under the current model of medicine. SROs would be quite cheap. Theodore Dalrymple, who works with british junkies, has interesting ideas about addiction. He disputes that junkies need as much as they say they do.
He points out that the frequency of addiction in China dropped very sharply after Mao came to power.
Personally, I'd support one publicly funded trip to rehab for every citizen, but not repeats, and would contribute to any local politician that would roll back laws, I guess mostly zoning, that forbid SROs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:28 AM
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re: 56

Yeah, iirc, Dalrymple points out that junkies when left alone with no prospect of heroin sit quietly and miserably. When faced with medical staff they wail and writhe and moan piteously, as that's the best way to extract opiates from them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:32 AM
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Ok, so maybe "gratifying" was a bit trollish. But...

if their situation is such that living on the street looks like their best option

Don't you think that it possible that a lot of the people who think that living on the street looks like their best option are in fact wrong to think so, and would indeed benefit from a police officer telling them that if they're sober enough or willing let someone preach at them for a while they need to go to the nice and clean shelter, and if not, they'll go somewhere else?

Not as much as they'd benefit from a comprehensive social support network, surely, but a lot more than they'd benefit from the nothing that they'll get otherwise?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:34 AM
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There have always seemed to me to be a bunch of different kinds of homeless people. Some of them seem almost to be homeless by choice---even if that choice is made out of despair and hopelessness and addiction, this sort of people are lucid enough to refuse certain kinds of help. Other people are in temporary crisis and can be helped, if the help is well directed and actually, well, helpful. Then there are a whole bunch of very sad, very fucked-up people, whose motivations and problems are probably difficult to categorise in any predictable way.

There's not going to be a single solution for "homelessness" I don't think.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:34 AM
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you're denying here that people really do chose to spend their money on drugs rather than food. And that really is sometimes the case, even if they're not currently chemically addicted. Some people - there's just no helping.

No, I am not. I was responding to the drugs you specifically mentioned, both of which are apparently highly addictive.

The fact that addicts will manipulate people to get the drugs they need doesn't mean that they don't need them.

In any case, whatever--if you think that Morally Disapproving of homeless addicts for Choosing to Spend Money on drugs rather than food is an effective solution to the problem, more power to you. Luckily I'm not a homeless addict, so I don't really care if that's the approach SF or any other place takes. More power to 'em, call me if you find out it actually works.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:46 AM
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That said, I think I do agree with Jake in the sense that the "well, if people choose to be homeless, who are we to judge that choice? Let them shit in doorways and don't bother them, because that's Judgmental" approach is obviously morally bankrupt.

I'm just saying, if people are more bothered by shitting in doorways (which affects them) than they are about, say, the lack of mental health facilities for people who are genuinely and demonstrably unable to take care of themselves, so that their response to the doorway shitting is "more cops!" rather than "hm, let's address the *reasons* people are shitting in doorways," then those people are being assholes, as well as not really addressing the problem.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:49 AM
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And I think that it's pretty clear that in most parts of the country and indeed world, moral bankruptcy of some homeless advocates has so little affect on anything to be worth mentioning.

But San Francisco has to be one of the ten most progressive cities in the US, so it seems bizarre to me that some of the worst problems with homelessness.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:56 AM
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One of the problems with inpatient mental health or addiction treatment for homeless people is that you have to figure out what you do when the patient wants to leave. Is it an involuntary commitment? And in the case of addicts, how long are they going to be locked up away from their drug supply, and how do you square that treatment (in their best interests, surely!) with their right to fuck up their own lives if they want?

Of course there's mean-spirited policy towards the homeless, but there's also lot of genuine bewilderment at how best to design effective, humane, and just systems.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:56 AM
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61 is exactly correct.

59: Basicallly, the homeless break down like this in my experience:

- A segment that are mentally ill, and basically incompetent in some way. You'll get people who actually have a home or a bed somewhere, but spend quite a bit of time `out' because they can't or won't find their way back to it. In places like Canada and the US where available care is seriously below par, this accounts for quite a few. Some places have far fewer, but there are probably always some.

- Seriously disfunctional alchoholics and addicts. This is often where you end up when your addiction gets the better of you and nobody else picks up the pieces

- People running or hiding from something nasty.

- Young adults who've fallen through various cracks. Wards of courts, runaways, chronic juvie offenders. Some overlap with above groups. People old enough to get out on their own, too young to easily navigate the system on their own. Too young for a decent job (if they could hold it) too old to be easily corralled into some group home. Strong overlap with previous.

- petty criminals often bounce on/off the streets.

- a small % is just made of misfits. Basically functional people who like the freedom and lack of structure. Some artists, musicians, dreamers.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 11:01 AM
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49: Don't vote for Ronald Reagan.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 11:56 AM
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38: Seems like you've got to work kinda hard to see her answer as an apologia for torture, but your mileage may vary.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:01 PM
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66: it's not an apologia, it's simply not possible to determine one way or the other whether she would stop the CIA from using hypothermia, stress positions, etc. Which is not good enough. She might actually be okay on this, she might not; I'm glad she's getting called out & pressured to be explicit, though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:05 PM
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"hm, let's address the *reasons* people are shitting in doorways," then those people are being assholes

But some of the people in the article (and some of the people I know in San Francisco who are similarly tired of that) ARE working to address the problem--volunteering at shelters, giving money to Glide, advocating for a better mental health system. At the end of the day, they are ALSO upset about people violating the public sphere with their feces and vomit.

And the fundamental reason a person is crapping in your door way is that at that moment that person is too inconsiderate to find a public restroom and use that public restroom. They do exist. San Francisco, unlike some places, actually does try to make it possible for a homeless person to have facilities to use. Calling the cops on someone who is voluntarily defecating on your space seems like a legitimate thing to do, and not at all odds with a generally compassionate attitude and life-practices that work to alleviate thoe problems.

All of that said, I clicked on this comment thread to say I'm totally irate about that law, and if I lived in one of those cities I would battle against it on religious discrimination grounds. I'm sure one could find some real Christians to join cause with me, but I've done a lot of "feeding of people" in public parks as a religious observation, and two permits a year is an unreasonable limitation on that process. Sure, make sure that people know how to be clean and know what they're doing, but once you've done that let them feed others.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:27 PM
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you have to come to a sermon first and we'll be patronizing and tell you how you should be living your life'.

Or how about 'how would you like to pay for that?' on your way out? In nyc, Bloomberg's administration charges homeless 30% of their income for shelter.

That's part of why I asked about nyc homeless policies before. Some in DC say let's do what NY does to 'help' get them off the streets. The DC mayor replies that DC first needs to develop a social system comparable to that of nyc.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:32 PM
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There's a link on 'Bloomberg' if you care to read the article (don't know why it didn't change color).


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:34 PM
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don't know why it didn't change color

Because it isn't a functioning link.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:37 PM
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71-

Crap. Can't get it to work. Sorry.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:52 PM
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Crap. Can't get it to work. Sorry.

You're squatting in the wrong doorway.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:37 PM
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67: Katherine, Best wishes for success in your latest case! Wish there were a way to get you assistants and structure that would make it all a little less "exciting" and a little more manageable. But go get 'em.


Posted by: Nell | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 2:22 PM
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67: Actual honest question: Have other candidates been as explicit as you'd like?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 2:51 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 2:53 PM
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Could be worse.

"But the dead man's next-door neighbor, Yoshiaki Kita, 72, said the city had handled his case appropriately.

"He may have starved to death, but I believe he reaped what he sowed," Mr. Kita said. "He was still young, so he could have taken on any job to feed himself.""


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 6:51 PM
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