take your answer off the air...

  • HorsesAss.Org: the straight poop on WA politics & the press
    progressive brilliance from the guy who pointed out Tim Eyman's nascent horse's-assedness
  • Talker's Magazine
    The quirky talk radio trade mag. Check the Talk Radio Research Project- it's not very scientific, but places on the top 15 talkers list (scroll down to Talk Radio Audiences By Size)) are as hotly contested as Emmys (and mean just about as much).
  • The Advocate
    No, not THAT Advocate... it's the Northwest Progressive Institute's Official Blog.
  • Media Matters
    Documentation of right-wing media in video, audio and text.
  • Orcinus
    home of David Neiwert, freelance investigative journalist and author who writes extensively about far-right hate groups
  • Hominid Views
    "People, politics, science, and whatnot" Darryl is a statistician who fights imperialism with empiricism, gives good links and wry commentary.
  • Jesus' General
    An 11 on the Manly Scale of Absolute Gender, a 12 on the Heavenly Scale of the 10 Commandments and a 6 on the earthly scale of the Immaculately Groomed.
  • Howie in Seattle
    Howie Martin is the Abe Linkin' of progressive Seattle.
  • Streaming Radio Guide
    Hellishly long (5795!) list of radio streaming, steaming on the Internets.
  • The Naked Loon
    News satire -- The Onion in the Seattle petunia patch.
  • Irrational Public Radio
    "informs, challenges, soothes and/or berates, and does so with a pleasing vocal cadence and unmatched enunciation. When you listen to IPR, integrity washes over you like lava, with the pleasing familiarity of a medium-roast coffee and a sensible muffin."
  • The Maddow Blog
    Here's the hyper-interactive La Raych of MSNBC. daily show-vids, freakishly geeky research, and classy graphics.
  • Northwest Broadcasters
    The AM, FM, TV and digital broadcasters of Northwest Washington, USA and Southwest British Columbia, Canada. From Kelso, WA to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, BC - call letters, formats, slogans, networks, technical data, and transmitter maps. Plus "recent" news.
  • News Corpse
    The Internet's chronicle of media decay.
  • The Moderate Voice
    The voice of reason in the age of Obama, and the politics of the far-middle.
  • News Hounds
    Dogged dogging of Fox News by a team who seems to watch every minute of the cable channel so you don't have to.
  • HistoryLink
    Fun to read and free encyclopedia of Washington State history. Founded by the late Walt Crowley, it's an indispensable tool and entertainment source for history wonks and surfers alike.

right-wing blogs we like

  • The Reagan Wing
    Hearin lies the real heart of Washington State Republicans. Doug Parris runs this red-meat social conservative group site which bars no holds when it comes to saying who they are and who they're not; what they believe and what they don't; who their friends are and where the rest of the Republicans can go. Well-written, and flaming.
  • Orbusmax
    inexhaustible Drudgery of NW conservative news
  • The Radio Equalizer
    prolific former Seattle KVI, KIRO talk host speaks authoritatively about radio.
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January 16, 2006



My perspective comes as a long time resident in The Beautiful U-District where I have watched the Ave become a hangout for many of Seattle's most disfunctional residents. Most are mentally ill and totally unable to sustain any lifestyle that anyone that can read this blog would ever choose, even for a night.

A handout, meal or warm bed doesn't even begin to touch the problem or reach a solution. The major problem is most of these people have made bad decisions in their lives and we (society) have made it acceptable to hang out on the street, live in doorways, beg and continue the cycle of hopelessness.

While people are beating our borders down to get into the country to work, we have a subset of our society that refuses to work or take responsibility for their actions. Those who give them handouts are only perpetuating the problem. If our local government is any example, they'll only make the situation worse ~ See: Seattle's Hotel For Street Alcoholics.

I believe organizations like The Union Gospel Mission which require accountability are the only solution for the homeless and mentally ill. Here, they are required to be sober and make real life changes. Anything else is no different than suffling the chairs on the Titanic.

"Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life." ~ JC


Ah yes, the Dori Monson talking point " people are on the streets because they made bad decisions."

Yes there are people on the streets who have succumbed to alcohol and drugs. But most are mentally ill and have been abandoned by their families. How does someone with schizophrenia make " good " decisions. That is what mental illness is--the inability to function normally.
What most people dont realize is that there is a HUGE segment of Americans who are one paycheck, one serious illness or one divorce away from being on the street. The only thing I hear that is worse than the " bad choices" argument is the " They want to be there" excuse. If you think that every homeless person is a grizzled, drug or alcohol-addled bum who would rather have a handout than a job, you are woefully blind to the economic situation in our country, and of the faces of the people who never dreamed they would end up this way. The overwhelming number of homeless are single mothers with kids. A minimum wage job does not pay enough for rent AND food, let alone utilities, clothing and other necessities for the kids.
As long as we can all point our fingers to the visible homeless on the streets of Seattle and assure ourselves that they somehow "deserve" to be there, we never have to acknowledge the invisible millions of others who dont fit the profile but are in just as much need.


Sparky: I was anxious to give my opinion on the homeless subject, but there is no way I can put it into words any better that you.

We cannot paint ALL homeless people with the same brush. Some make bad choices, others had life's circumstances make the choices for them. How can one possibly say little children are there because of bad choices. Yes, their parents MAY have made bad choices but the child is suffering just the same.

Whatever the reason, we do not need to enable the homeless with handouts NOR do we need to turn our noses up at them as if we couldn't end up exactly where they are.

It's a difficult and terribly sad situation.


Joe said "I believe organizations like The Union Gospel Mission which require accountability are the only solution for the homeless and mentally ill."

Make the mentally ill accountable? We should hold you accountable for saying something so out of touch with reality. We can't treat the mentaly ill the same way we treat able bodied people.

Much of the problem must be that homeless people don't vote in great numbers and people who do vote don't care about homeless people in great enough numbers.

Too many voters are selfish and comprehend their reality like Dori Monson does. If homeless people want to raise awareness with voters I believe they have raise some havoc and cause some mayhem to force the issue, otherwise they are too ignorable simply begging for money and sleeping on sidewalks.

I don't like seeing people beg for money but I'll be honest, it slips my my mind in mere seconds.


I agree..I am not advocating passing out change to people sitting on the street. I am talking about the big picture of providing opportunities and shelter and food for those who are trying to get out of their situation. The vast majority of them are not alcoholics who need counseling. It is the painting with the big brush that I object to...I think of all the people who have lost what little they had in New Orleans because of the hurricane and dont have any resources to rebuild.



Maybe I wasn't clear. I was agreeing with you 100%. I was just adding my 2 cents to your excellent comment. No argument here.


Go to ANY of the homeless shelters or to the Union Gospel Mission, and ask them what is the worst thing to do when confronted by a homeless person asking for a handout. Every one of them will tell you its giving them money.

Who is painting the homeless with a broad brush?? The evil conservative based churches, shelters, missions, non-profit organizations, et al that willingingly take in almost every homeless person that ends up on their doorstep?? I guess its what they ask in return that keeps these lost souls from entering....accountability, a true desire to change, to eventually get a job if possible, and re-enter society...and here's the big kicker.....to re-examine their faith, and perhaps realize that there is another reason why they ended up on the streets?? This certainly isn't the case for every homeless person, but it is for most who go down the path of alcohol and drugs.

Spending millions on an apartment for homeless drunks, who can still keep drinking???? Is that the "housing first" answer? I think not.


I knew someone like Andrew would jump up and point out that the mentally ill can't be held accountable. You can't, of course, lump up all homeless people into one category, but you've got to start somewhere. Organizations like Union Gospel Mission are doing the right thing in requiring some behavior modification for those who can handle it which includes most of the people I see on the streets.

The term mentally ill is too broad, but when I use it, I don't mean crazy. I see the same men on the street, every single day, asking for a handout or sitting by a freeway exit. Try offering one these guys a job and see how far it gets you. They can make more in a day then I do, just sitting there and why not? They aren't crazy, but I think we are.

I think a lot of well meaning people are ignoring the root of the problem and thereby losing any chance of reaching a solution, but Andrew wants to shift the accountability back on people like me and Dori. That's insane. The more you perpetuate or enable bad behavior, the more you sentence these people to lives without purpose or hope.

"Sooner or later you reap what you sow." ~ unknown


"But most are mentally ill and have been abandoned by their families."

Joe, you got data to back that up?


Audioslave, I think every person needs a place to live. I don't care what their problems are. A safe, dry place to sleep without strings should be the expectation of every individual in a civilized society.

I happen to have the article. I picked it up yesterday cause of the 127 best dentists cover! So, it has some interesting numbers:

"Based on information from the last One Night Count, the best figures available on the homeless in King County, 59 percent are single adult men, 20 percent are single adult women, 18 percent are families with children, nearly four in 10 report a mental illness, one in three report alcohol and substance abuse and one in 10 has a physical disability."

It goes on to say that 61 percent are people of color and that 43 African American families account for 43 percent of all homeless families.

(Seattle Magazine, January, pg. 79, Michael Hood)

I used to work for the City downtown and I would have expected the majority of homeless to be alcoholics and schizophrenia because that is what we encountered the most. I'm guessing families are invisible because they find day shelters and churches and other organizations more amenable to taking them in.

We live in such a rich region. I've been a northwesterner my whole life and have never seen so many expensive cars on the road as I have since the 90s. It is inexcusable that we should have so many homeless people and so many poor schools.

It is a good article and I was hoping to hear Bill and Melinda Gates would be participating in the effort. I didn't see Paul Allen's or Howard Schultz's names. I hear Howard wants the City to buy him a new sports arena.

Too many people with too many competing agendas for the homeless. I say you just build lots and lots of living spaces and then go from there. Of course, I know I'm inviting grief when I say that!

I think you have to start somewhere . . .


The intriguing aspect of the homeless problem lies in the question - How did this person end up homeless?

One portion ends up there because of horrible choices. I had a nephew that left home, dropped out of high school and hung around on the streets of Seattle for a few weeks. Then he stayed at friends houses (don't ask me why there were parents that didn't find it odd that a teenage boy was staying overnight on school nights). The government probably has little to offer people like that.

Other people end up there because their families/communities have abandoned them. Why does that happen? Beyond true mental illness, there are lots of bad choices again. How can someone that is willing to be a decent citizen get rejected by their family and community? I don't know a mainline Christian church anywhere that would turn their back on person willing to be a good citizen that has fallen on hard times (e.g., lost their job, husband ran out on them, victim of a fire or flood, etc.). Those that need medical/psychological help that get rejected by those closest to them, well that's just evil. The government could help here but will our society let them? The government could run insane assylums and lots of good-hearted people might oppose the treatment offered if it is less than perfect.

There are no easy answers, but the question of how most of these people end up on the streets usually points the finger back at the victim. Nature's way of handling continual bad choices by individuals is harsh. As a society, we can do a little better and offer some compassion. I think organizations like Union Gospel Mission in Seattle or Nativity House in Tacoma approach it the right way. Throwing money to someone on the street is not a good approach.


I just read Joe's and Drool's responses:
Joe, you can't solve a huge problem by focusing on the abusers of the system; Drool, the numbers are now up per Hood's article.


audioslave says "Is that the "housing first" answer? I think not."

I don't advocate simply buying homeless people housing, I never said that I did.

If the mentaly ill had caring families that could afford care for them they would have received that help through other means. The tax payers can just let such incapable people rot away.

The chronicly lazy should be held accountable for how they waste their time. If they sleep in a door way or beg on the side walk they should be arrested and they should continue to be arrested until they find something better to do.

If it turns out lazy homeless people love jail then so be it. They could as easily rob a post office and ensure a healthy jail sentance in a federal prison.


One thing that is missing from the above posts is the number of people who are out of work due to medical issues. Not the alcoholics or schizophrenics, but normal "could be you or me" type medical events. In our society, such bad luck can begin a free fall from grace into a bottomless sink hole.

Why are we so petty? We have so much money in this country yet we do so little for the common good. This morning Thom Hartmann compared a region in France to a region in Texas. He compared social safety nets, wages, work week, a whole array of items. Yes, in France it looks like socialism. And in lots of other European counties they seem to have defaulted to socialism. But, they've had several thousand years of history that have led them to this end. Perhaps we will have to undergo the ravages and wars before we understand that in the long run, it is best to take care of each other.

Socialism is not Communism. Why are we so afraid of the word?


Andrew, do you know how much it costs to arrest and arraign somebody? Why not give them a place to live instead? Actually, a lot of drunks like getting arrested because they get a meal, a place to sleep and some even dry out for a spell.

Such mean spiritedness I think is becoming the American way.


Joe says "I think a lot of well meaning people are ignoring the root of the problem and thereby losing any chance of reaching a solution, but Andrew wants to shift the accountability back on people like me and Dori."

You also say "Organizations like Union Gospel Mission are doing the right thing in requiring some behavior modification for those who can handle it which includes most of the people I see on the streets"

If that's so true why is the problem still so bad? Are you satisifed with your answer?


Joanie said "Andrew, do you know how much it costs to arrest and arraign somebody? Why not give them a place to live instead?"

If you make the living conditions favorable they won't have incentive to become less of a burden to society. It takes upfront investment to get a long term benefit.


Andrew, that sounds like a well-meaning truism but I don't buy it for a minute. We've been doing it your way for a long time. How about trying something different?

Also, if people sit in their little rooms and watch TV all day, or drink, that is fine with me. I'm paying for them with my taxes either way. I'd rather have them sitting in a dry place with a bed available than on the street spreading disease and begging.

Also, as I said before, I think lazy people are a very small percentage of the overall homeless population. If that small percentage is going to determine how we treat the rest, I can only grieve for our future because many more of us will probably end up there.

I cannot remember the source for this . . . but a study was done that put able-bodied men in a room equipped with a TV set and some other entertainment for a period of time. They enjoyed the first few days and then began to go nuts for nothing to do. I think most people want to work. Those that don't, well so be it. I won't penalize the majority for that small minority of lazy people.

Would you be a lazy good-for-nothing if you had the chance?

BTW, have you ever used the Millionaire's Club? Or gotten involved with the methadone population? These people want to work! Honestly, they do.


>> ExDem: I agree with you 100% Union Gospel Mission in Seattle or Nativity House being great examples of people trying to make a difference and not just mask the problem.

>> Joanie: Please don't misunderstand me. I realize that there are a lot of people who are victims and need and deserve help. We as a society must make available, housing and food for those who can't work or for other reasons find themselves on hard times.

I think if you walk daily through the U-District, you'll find the majority of the homeless street people don't fit that category. Many of these so-called victims are victimizing the weaker in their family of street people. Add to it a few gangs staking out turf, selling crack and you've got a real mess.

This has been my neighborhood for most of my life and I'm sick of seeing it takin' over punks, bums and street thugs...

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" ~ Howard Beale


One more thing . . . the article also says that some of the homeless are working homeless. They just don't make enough money to cover their housing needs.



{Repost} since I posted it in the wrong section the first time:

We posters cannot solve this problem on this blog. And, as long as our government is so busy aiding other countries and inviting their citizens (open borders) to reap the benefits of the United States, we'll never be able to solve this problem.

Maybe I'm simple minded, but lets's stop sending our money to aid other countries (just so we can pat ourselves on the back) and clean up our own back yard FIRST.

How many other countries are over here aiding the Katrina victims?


Joanie, read this again....what you wrote:

"A safe, dry place to sleep without strings should be the expectation of every individual in a civilized society."

You seem like a thoughtful caring person. How can you say something that is so irresponsible? A safe dry place to sleep comes with strings attached whether it's in the jungle or in a free civilized society. Why should there be different standards for the homeless? It goes back to enabling. If we give them a roof over their head, food, and a chance to clean up, and not ask for a commitment of some type in return.....what have we accomplished? Oh, well we got a few homeless off the streets and that makes us feel better. Out of site, out of mind. Well, that same end could be accomplished if it were illegal to sleep on the streets in Seattle, and was strictly enforced. The violators would either end up in jail, or move out of the city, same result. I prefer giving help, with strings attached.

Utopian thoughts and ideas are


Joanie those are exactly the people I am talking about--those who work where and when they can but the wages are not enough to pay for food, shelter, medicine, transportation or daycare, let alone more education or training so they can get a better job. Some still manage to find a way, but it is hard.
It is also true about the part where this is going to happen to more and more people. A serious illness can bankrupt a family and now Congress has taken away the ability to file for bankruptcy if that happens.
The idea that everyone has family who cares, that every kid comes to school clean and fed and rested, that if they just "tried harder" there would be no problems...well it just amazes me that people still believe that stuff. Bless those who try to help. Those of us who are employed, healthy and loved should count our blessings every day.


Joe, the numbers are posted. Do you still think your eyeball account of your own neighborhhood should override the official count? The U District is not a typical area.

Also, Howard Beale is a fictional character. It is okay to enjoy the movies but they are not real life. Wasn't Beale railing against corporations and TV news? Refresh my memory please. I'm with Paddy Cheyevsky in that regard. But, this is not about the corporate takeover of news. This is about real people. Of course, corporate news probably contributes to the failure of our society to know much about the homeless population to begin with. So, people can continue to have their personal unsupported beliefs about homelessness and continue to blame that population for its hapless situation. And we can all continue to feel good about ourselves.

It is about self interest, small mindedness, and blame. It is about subsidizing the Howard Schultzes of the country and blaming the poor, the sick and even the lazy for their lots in life. What does it gain us to refuse a decent living space to all people. Do you feel better when you pass a drunk on the street that he's not occupying a room somewhere? Boy, I'm glad he's on the steet. He doesn't deserve any better! Let him stay there. Is that your thinking? Well, it is not mine.

Why can't people get out of their little boxes and generously provide a decent shelter for all people. And for those of you so enamored with keeping every little penny of your taxes, you are paying more in the long run by not taking care of these people. It is not only cruel but short-sighted financially. I suppose we could save money if we just bull-dozed them into a heap every night and dumped them into mass graves ala Hussein. But, we're better than that. We leave them to rot and say it is their own choice and willingly pay our taxes for that.

Sorry. I think Americans have a lot to learn from Europeans. I think we have a lot to learn about Christianity - I'm not one but I sure think I live the life better than many Christians I know. I believe if I give a helping hand to someone in need, I will get a helping hand if I'm every in need. But, you know what, I know that's BS. If I'm ever in need, you will all pass me by on the street and think to yourself, "well, she has only herself to blame."


Also, the point of the article is that Bush expects cities and counties to "fix" the problem in 10 years....sometimes his lack of understanding of the world is just breathtaking..


You know, I sound angry. But, truth is, I'm almost begging for people to look at the bigger picture and provide something decent for all people.

It doesn't cost anymore. And it is such a kind thing to do.

Please try to look beyond the few who are abusing the system. Focus on the wonderful results of reforming the system so that those truly in need - the majority of that population - get help.

As one person commented in the article, it is hard to expect someone to get clean and sober if they're living under I-5. We really need to look beyond our prejudices and biases and see the big picture.

We need to look not only with our heads but our hearts. It will never be perfect but we sure can make it better. All people deserve decency. Even those lazy good-for-nothings we all think we see everyday. I, for one, am not omniscient. I don't know what has happened to all people and I can't pretend to know. Mostly we guess.

I am a single person with very little family left. I can't tell you how often I say to myself, "there, but for the grace of God, go I."


For well intentioned people that have tough circumstances, their families or communities need to be there to support them first. The government should not be the primary solution for someone who has tough luck.

So let's go through a short list of some of those tough circumstances:

a. Someone works but doesn't get paid enough to have their own home or apartment. Get a ROOMMATE who has a job and pool your resources. Or, move in with your family - they should be willing to subsidize your living conditions.

b. Someone has a terrible medical condition that causes them to lose their job. If it's a short term condition, turn to your family to help you through until you can stand on your feet again. If you don't have any family (should be exceedingly rare since we all were born from some parents, and those parents had siblings and they had your grandma and grandpa, etc.), then just pick up the phone and call your church congregation. They will help. If it's a long term condition (e.g., permanent disability), then there is social security. If social security isn't enough, then turn to the other solutions to situations (a) and (b).

c. Someone lost their job (the famous "we're just one paycheck away from being homeless"). Collect your 13 weeks of unemployment - that gives you 3 whole months to find another job. If it takes longer than 13 weeks and you lack savings to sustain you longer, then turn to the solutions in situations (a) and (b).

d. Someone doesn't have any family to pick up the slack and lost their job. Request assistance from your local church. They will help. If they won't, then call Catholic Community Services in your county and they will definitely get you assistance.

e. Someone doesn't believe in any religion. Hmmmm, their choice. Choose not to believe in any religion and don't get help from a church or choose to believe (or at least go along) and get help from religious people.

f. Someone is a drug addict/alocolic/gambler/(insert destructive behavior here) and has lost their job and their friends and their family. OK, check into a rehab clinic and ask for help from local churches. And, if you truly want to change your life, they will help you. If you don't really want to change your life, then perhaps you'll end up in jail or dead. Not sure the government can do much else for a person beyond what Salvation Army or Union Gospel Mission would do for them, and yield a different result.

g. Someone is mentally ill and has been abandoned by their family. This is truly a heart breaking situation. And this is where the government is probably the practical solution, since family and friends not directly related to this person are unlikely to pick up the tab for their care.

h. Someone is abandoned by their breadwinner and has children to care for. Turn to grandma and grandpa first. Or turn to your brother or sister. If there is no family there to help, turn to a shelter that aids broken families. Or call your local church. Someone is willing to help if you reach out. If your kids are some kind of monsters and that causes others to not help, then you've got a real problem. I guess the kids either straighten up or go to juvenille detention, unless you can find someone patient enough to put up with them.

I mean really, we could go on. And I'm sure someone can identify 100 other situations that are much less common, but we can't run our society based on every single rare/odd exception. There is help available to people and the government doesn't have to be the primary care giver for many of these situations. There is a good incentive for people to get along with each other and stay in communion with their family, friends and neighbors. If people break those bonds and have tough circumstances - well, then they end up suffering for that. I'm not in favor of the government trying to remedy people that isolate themselves excessively to the detriment of their families and communities.


Joanie, one more quote from you:

"Socialism is not Communism. Why are we so afraid of the word?"

Name one country in the history of the world where socialism has been a more successful way of life than our democratic capitalistic society. If you want to see a dramatic decline in the quality of life, freedoms, and ability to succeed, then socialism is the first step.


ExDem, were you an abandoned child? I can't think of any other predicament you could have overcome to cause you to display less compassion for these people than you do.

You must be in your twenties or thirties or very well-heeled forties. This does not sound like someone who has lived a full life. Your lack of understanding of people's family and personal situations is breathtaking.



Help me understand. You are saying that it is uncompassionate for family members or church communities to help those in need? Is that what you really believe?


Audioslave, we are a very young country. We rose to the top because we had a new uninhabited land (except for those pesky Indians), an abundance of natural resources, and total freedom to build from the ground up whatever we wanted. Also, we had an abundance of relatively free labor - remember slavery?

Our standard of living has been slipping. Some would say our standard of living is not on a par with parts of Europe right now. That is a complex debate and one I'm not equipped to take on. But, I believe it is premature to say that we will continue to be the international standard for success both socially and economically in the long run.

As of last year, our infant mortality rate was 38th in the world. People who used to come here for university educations would stay here are now frequently returning to their native countries. Access to healthcare in almost any industrialized country outpaces that in the US. People are taking vacations to India for surguries that are equal in excellence but priced lower.

European countries have been way way down and come back up. I don't think we've seen bottom yet. That is yet to come. And it is my opinion we have accelerated our trip in the last five years. Actually, really since Reagan.

It isn't perfect in any country. When I have time on my hands, I'm going back to school and learn some real history. I think then I will be a wiser person.

But, just like understanding homelessness is complex and demanding, understanding what works politically for different societies requires an open mind and lots of knowledge as well as being able to envision what's ahead instead of just seeing where we are.

I see America as on the decline I don't consider that unpatriotic but an objective analysis of the kind of people and society we are becoming. That doesn't mean I sit back and mutter incoherently about it. I try to stay informed; I work for change. But, it is awfully discouraging at times.

You know, I better get off my soapbox before someone tells me to! But, this topic has my attention like no other. Sorry.


Finally, ExDem, it is uncompassionate to think you know what choices people have? It is uncompassionate to think everyone has family. It is uncompassionate to think you have an appropriate answer for all people. Not only is it uncompassionate, it is arrogant.

By the way, when was the last time you asked a church for help? They don't help like they used to. How do I know? Two ways: I rented a place to a woman who was a fundamentalist Christian. You should hear the stories! Even you might be surprised. Also, churches are comprised of people just like you. Some of them welcome homeless people and some of them don't. We have a church in the Ballard area with a very liberal pastor who welcomed tent city. There were churches that would not.

Churches are not perfect places you know.


One more . . .

Sparky, I believe we can do it in ten years. The list of people working on this and listed in Michael's article is awesome. I just hope they leave their personal and political agendas behind, look at the big picture and get it done! I'm excited about it!

This is not a kudo for Bush. It is a recognition that Seattle just might have the right mix of people willing to try.

I can't wait to hear Monson denigrate the effort. Yikes! Yes I can! I just won't listen!


Joanie, I agree with you, going back to school might be a good thing, but it all depends on who's teaching you history, because you are not getting or giving a subjective point of view.

Where on earth did you read or hear that our standard of living is slipping? My goodness, it has never been better, with new technology, better working conditions, better pay (Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country now)and more people in the U.S. own their own home than any other time that I can certainly remember. Get past all the doom and gloom that some like to paint on our society, and look at the positive things that we do, mostly without the aid of big government. You mentioned Reagan, and that reminds me of one of his best quotes:"Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem."

There's a good first lesson.


mistake in wording above:

objective not subjective, sorry


Thank you. I thought my argument was rather objective as well.

I gave examples of things that are not going so well. New tech and better working conditions? Where? Bush has steadily eroded working conditions and Osha over the last five years by paring budgets and staffing with people in the industries. Outsourcing of jobs at an all-time high? Higher minimum wage? Still not enough to pay for housing.

You choose to live in your bubble. I can't change that. May you continue to be prosperous and healthy and oblivious to the needs of those who are not.



I'm not sure why you believe it is arrogant to want for people to choose their family, friends and community as their first source of assistance. Call Catholic Community Services sometime if you don't believe churches are helping people. Go talk to the priest in your neighborhood and ask him for help - and then tell me if they have nothing to offer.

It is easy to think somehow that everyone is in some kind of dire, unrecoverable position (e.g., people don't have family) - the truth is different than your belief. If you tell me that not everyone's family will help them, then I'll go back to my initial question - why? You may not like the answers to that question and I'm not one to defend people that make horrible decisions and alienate themselves from their family and community. As a Christian, I believe God has a purpose for every person - they are all precious and important to Him. But, I don't believe His purpose for them is to be at odds with their blood relatives or to engage in destructive behaviors. Do you?

If you think real compassion comes from a faceless government entity before it comes from a human person that cares for the well being of an individual, then you and I are in totally different realms. Please don't call me arrogant. We both agree we want to help people. We just disagree that it is the responsibility of each of us as individuals to meet those needs. I guess you think that individual people should be disconnected from helping their neighbors and just leave it all to some annonymous entity to handle.



If we do manage to pare our homeless population by providing housing for all, will that be a magnet attracting more homeless from other states? Was there any discussion of that possibility?


ExDem, you want to help them on your terms. I just want to help them.

Again, you do not nor cannot know what the situation is between every person and his/her family or even if that person has a family. All people are not the Nelsons. I'm sure having Ozzie and Harriet in your corner would be a dream for many homeless people. Also, according to you, a person who doesn't belong to a church makes a choice to be homeless. That is true arrogance.

Faceless government? Government is there to support civility. It supports infrastructure; provides leadership for engagement domestically and internationally; and since the New Deal, it provides a safety net for those in need. I consider that evolving to a better place.

I think for people like you who are certain about what they believe and have no room to grow and change, it is an endless debate. You define the problem and you define the answer. And you expect it to apply to everyone.

Who can argue?


One more thing, ExDem . . .
That faceless entity you talk about. . . it is me and all the other people who generously vote to give help to others. And our hearts and minds are the happier for it.

And those people we are helping, they don't care if we are faceless. They will see the face of the underpaid social service agent that helps them. Some of those faces will be kind and others not so. But the people who get the help won't care. They'll be grateful for whatever they get.

You know, what you see as a faceless, uncaring entity I see as an expression of a compassionate society. I see it as an outreach of a community that cares.



Where do you derive from, your news of the day? Newspaper? If so, which ones? Television news? If so, what outlet? CNN, MSNBC....?? How about radio news and talk?? Do you think you get a well balanced view of things??

I bet my bubble is bigger than yours.


You tell me where you get yours and I'll tell you where I get mine. Deal?


Okay Joanie, here you go:

Newspapers: I start with the NY Times, then move on to the P.I. and Seattle Times because most of it is repeated there. The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Washington Times online, and for local news, the South County Journal.

I also read news from many online newsources: CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, BBC, Salon.com, Slate, worldnetdaily, among others.

TV: Since I pulled the plug on cable over a year ago (it was rotting my kids' brains) I am limited to the 3 major networks, plus nightly news on PBS, and Fox News Sunday.

Radio: I pretty much keep it local for the most part. I listen to Dave Ross, Kirby Wilbur, used to listen to Mike Webb, Dori sometimes, but mostly Michael Medved during that slot because he offers a 2 sided debate.


I don't watch much television other than CSpan and the Seattle Channel for it's American Voices Series (Foolproof presents), budget meetings and monorail meetings, and Project Runway.(LOL) I will occasionally watch Stephanopoulos (sp?) and Russert but very rarely - too much "from the mouth of government! Also, I always check out Frontline and Nova and do like Now and Fareed Zakaria. Also, the occasional documentaries by Hedrick Smith (a favorite journalist I discovered on Washington Week in Review many years ago!)

(I ought to mention I like the weekend cooking shows when I'm home!)

You ought to check out basic cable: basic means I get a clear screen (sort of) and CSpan for a pretty cheap price. You go get a series of infomercial channels but I eliminated those from my remote. CSpan is worth it! Especially book TV on the weekends.

Radio: any centrist-to-liberal host I can find which includes Tom Hartmann, Al Franken, Dave Ross (conflicts with Al and right now Al is winning unless I'm interested in local stuff), Erin Hart (who seems to be a "former"host as she's no longer listed on the show list - check it out.) I listen for a while to Randi Rhodes till I've heard enough. Also, Stephanie Miller is great..

I like Ross Reynolds "The Conversation" and "All Things Considered." I esp. like "Llving on Earth" and "Alternative Radio" on NPR. Also, "Democracy Now" on 91.3 with Amy Goodman.

Newspapers: Not much! I read the Washington Post, New York Times and Christian Science Monitor on line. Will occasionally pick up Seattle Times or PI but not often unless I'm looking for something special. Will occasionally pick up the Tacoma Tribune. I actually think it is the best of the three. I think local newspapers are afraid to take on the establishment and advertisers.I do pick up and usually read Seattle Weekly and The Stranger. Much better writing!

Also, on line I do read Slate, Salon, Common Dreams, Truthout, Buzzflash, Aljazeera.net (2 differerent sites) and the Guardian and an awful lot of sites to which these sites link.

Magazine subscriptions and writers:
I've been a lifelong reader of the Atlantic Monthly where I found James Fallows who is a superb thinker and writer. Of course, I subscribe to the Nation. I used to read The New Republic but no longer do. I read the New Yorker and the Economist from time to time.

I really love to listen to good thinkers and so I have a love for the books and writings of Pete Hamill, Joe Conason, Bill Moyers, Molly Ivins, and Mark Danner (and many more - these come to mind). CSpan is probably where I get many of my ideas because of the diversity of guests on Washington Journal and fantastic coverage of many, many good thinkers, writers and political debates and conferences that they cover. So much can be picked up when these people are talking in free formats such as the aforementioned "American Voices Series" replayed on the Seattle Channel. In the last two weeks they replayed Bill Moyers and William Kristol/Michael Medved appearances. These people are speaking off the cuff so to speak and you hear a lot more than you do from the various regular news sources.

I do sleep and I don't watch everything above every week. But, where I've specified certain shows, I do try to listen or watch. I'm a cruiser and a news junkie from way back. I most enjoy hearing it from the horse's mouth rather than warmed over by newspapers and news readers.

I do have a life! And I know you do too! i love the debates we have on Blather . . . but I think we all get burned out from time-to-time as well.

Best regards to a well-read Blatherblogger!


It also occured to me to suddenly that if we do anything to actualy help homeless people then all the homeless people within a bus pass' reach will come to Seattle and overun out resources.

For Bush to put the burden on localities he effectively makes it so that nothing can possibly happen to help the homeless. That's genius. Evil genius.

We have a border patrol to turn away Cubans and Mexicans and Canadians. If we don't have a border patrol to turn away Portlanders then we face the same resource drain if we become an attractive alternative.


I was just rereading your post and wish you would have named some of the specific people and programs you like. I love to find new sources of information!


Give it up, Andrew. That's not a new thought! And it sure isn't one that would keep me from helping people. :)


We turn away Canadians?


There, now you feel better about yourself Joanie. You've said all of the right compassionate things about how heartless everyone else is but that enlightened people supporting government solutions to personal issues is the answer.

Some corrections to your interpretations of my position and then you can go on feeling self justified.

1. People don't have to belong to a church to avoid homelessness. I advocate them turning to family first. I wish they did have a strong faith in God, and that they lived their lives in a Godly way, but I'm not requiring anyone to do that. It's their choice to be religious or not.

2. I don't assume everyone has a family like Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. I wish they did. The problem of homelessness would disappear if we lived in world like that. Recognizing that they don't have those types of families, I'd rather work toward people establishing those type of loving, safe, concerned families. I'm not a fan of throwing up my hands and believing that all families are broken and it will never get better.

3. I believe a safety net is fine. I don't believe we should foster a culture of dependency like they have in Europe. Some countries like Sweden have 15% of their eligible workforce living off welfare. Why? Because they can! As a practical matter of economics, I don't want that (neither do the overwhelming majority of our citizens). On a personal level, I believe that God created each of us for a purpose, and that He didn't create us to sit around and be unproductive while others supported us. But, I understand that not everyone wants to get into a religious discussion, so let's focus primarily on the economic reasons.

I choose to be part of the solution. Me and my family volunteer to help prepare the Community Supper for the homeless our church sponsors, and we also prepare sandwiches for Nativity House. I don't want to be one of those people that says "The government should help these people", feels all warm and fuzzy about myself, and then uses that position as an excuse to wait for someone else to fix the problem.

There you are. My lack of compassion is fully exposed now.


Do I really have to justify "myself?" I don't think so.

1. I agree. People have a choice whether to believe in God or not and to choose the way they wish to show that belief.

2. No, you're just a fan of leaving them in the streets while you all work on family relationships.

Of course, an fas kid might be able to work it out with his/her alcoholic mom and then again might not. But, of course, if the fas kid really wants it, he'she will absolutely be able to change mom.

We agree that we both want to be part of the solution. We disagree on how broad that solution can be. Making sandwiches and helping a few homeless at a time through your church is absolutely wonderful.

Now, what do we do about all the rest?

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