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the 13th juror the 13th juror

A poverty lawyer (and, by the way, law professor) comments on news and court decisions ... with a few other random thoughts thrown in here and there\r\n\r\n

Post Frequency: 8.2/day

Last Entry: January 26, 2014 at 10:11:00

Recent Entries: 610

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Americans are deeply divided over what causes poverty in the first place

Posted on January 26, 2014
The belief that people are poor more through their own lack of effort than their circumstances is widely held by large segments of the population, including 51% of Republicans, and 46% of people in the highest income group (which is not that high). If you fall into this category, then it clearly doesn't make sense for society to try to solve a problem that it had little hand in creating...


?What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can?t afford to buy a hamburger??

Posted on January 20, 2014
Over the years, Martin Luther King?s more controversial edges have been smoothed over. He was a strident critic of capitalism and materialistic society. Referring to the now iconic Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-ins, he asked, ?What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can?t afford to buy a hamburger??King also explicitly linked the problem of capitalism with the problem of racism...


Recently homeless older adults have different needs than those who have been homeless for a long time

Posted on January 19, 2014
In addition to the lifelong elderly homeless population, there are now elderly people who are becoming homeless for the first time in their lives. Recently homeless older adults have different needs than those that have been homeless for a long time, according to the study "Living on the Margins: Older Homeless Adults in Toronto," published in Journal of Gerontological Social Work...


As homelessness increases across Massachusetts, downtown Boston feels the surge

Posted on January 12, 2014
Local, state, and federal officials have reported record numbers of homeless people in Massachusetts, especially families and youths. In late 2012, city officials counted 6,992 homeless men, women, and children in Boston, 5% more than the year before and 17% more than in 2001...


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Florida can't drug test people simply because they?re poor

Posted on January 03, 2014
Citing the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable government searches, a federal District Court handed down a blistering decision in the final hours of 2013 that knocked down a Florida law mandating that all applicants for the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program submit to suspicionless drug tests...


"We are this close -- this close! -- to losing our democracy to the mercenary class"

Posted on December 13, 2013
Award-winning journalist Bill Moyers says America's social contract has to cover everyone, not just the wealthy.He quotes Justice William J. Brennan, who said: "We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for the members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses ...


RIP Nelson Mandela

Posted on December 05, 2013
?Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.?


Obama: Income gap a 'fundamental threat' to US

Posted on December 04, 2013
President Barack Obama put a spotlight on rising income inequality in a major economic speech, arguing that the disparity is poses a "fundamental threat" to the American dream.Marshaling both the recent papal exhortation by Pope Francis and a flurry of statistics reflecting a growing income gap between the wealthiest Americans and most others, Obama urged Washington to adopt policies to address the economic divide...


New Mexico?s largest homeless shelter challenges new HUD report on homelessness

Posted on December 02, 2013
HUD has released its national estimate of homelessness, reporting that the homeless population in New Mexico fell by 18% since 2010, to 2,819 persons in 2013."We know from first-hand experience that the number of homeless in Albuquerque continues to grow, and the need for meals and other services are on the rise," said Jeremy Reynalds, Joy Junction CEO...


Church group ordered to stop feeding homeless on Thanksgiving

Posted on November 30, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving to all, but apparently not for the homeless living at Palm Beach County?s John Prince Park in Lake Worth.A dozen church members from Acts 2 Worship Center in Loxahatchee showed up with packaged Thanksgiving meals. "We brought our kids out here so they could see what it?s really like for people that are struggling,? said church member Brian Oakes...


No more home-cooked donations at Thanksgiving meal for Pasadena homeless

Posted on November 27, 2013
Mark Rice lines up to get a free meal at Union Station Homeless Services' Thanksgiving dinner. Photo courtesy of Union Station Homeless Services.The Pasadena charity Union Station Homeless Services will not be serving home-prepared dishes donated by community members at its annual Thanksgiving meal this year...


Elected official uses sledgehammer to destroy homeless people?s possessions

Posted on November 19, 2013
A state representative in Hawaii is going around town with a sledgehammer smashing the belongings of homeless people to bits. He is "disgusted" by the homeless, doesn't want to see them, and is so proud of his actions that he happily allows himself to be filmed while swinging the hammer at the meager possessions of the most vulnerable people in our society...


One giant lie

Posted on November 02, 2013
The Republican war on food stamps is based on one giant lie.Ask any Republican on Capitol Hill about the proposed cut of $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, and they'll say that the billions we spend each year on the SNAP program are a waste, and that the program is hurting our economy...


Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South

Posted on October 17, 2013
A majority of students in public schools throughout the South are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation?s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year...


8 immoral ways the government shutdown is hurting the needy

Posted on October 15, 2013
?Many of us have been dismayed by media coverage of the government shutdown, which has too rarely focused on its impact on already struggling families in our nation," writes Sister Simone Campbell."Instead, media outlets have chosen easy visuals such as barricades in front of parks and monuments, along with disappointed tourists...


Boulder homeless turned away at Red Cross shelter

Posted on September 20, 2013
Collin Vanderharr near his sleeping spot, which is underwater because of the floods in Colorado. Photo by Cecelia Gilboy of Boulder Weekly.Many homeless people slept outdoors in Boulder during the flood -- even though the American Red Cross had set up an emergency shelter at the YMCA...


For want of a toilet, a life will be lost

Posted on August 06, 2013
Did you ever have a moment when something you already understood intellectually suddenly lands on an almost cellular level?, asks Amy L. Freedman, executive director at Bethesda Cares. The reasons that people experiencing homelessness are tremendously medically vulnerable are both physical and psychological, the factors quite complex...


"I have every right to give anyone I want money"

Posted on July 28, 2013
Matt Evans realized Flagstaff's efforts to criminalize panhandling had reached new heights (lows?) when a police officer intercepted him as he tried to hand a $10 bill to a homeless family in a supermarket parking lot."These people are breaking the law," Evans said the officer told him...


Arrests don't amount to a homeless strategy

Posted on June 30, 2013
The city of Tampa is poised to crack down on panhandling and the congregation of homeless people downtown when it should be engaged in a broader discussion about long-range solutions, says the Tampa Bay Times in an editorial today. The City Council endorsed two proposed ordinances last week that come close to criminalizing homelessness, and there should be a more thoughtful debate when council members return to the issue July 18...


Homeless New Port Richey man dies after beating from teenagers

Posted on June 30, 2013
Franklin Rudolph became homeless two weeks ago when he was thrown out of his apartment by a woman.Over the years, he was in and out of mental health clinics and halfway houses.Hours after the beating, and four days before his death, the homeless man told police what three teenagers had done to him...


Connecticut passes landmark ?Homeless Person?s Bill of Rights?

Posted on June 29, 2013
Connecticut is on the cusp of enacting a major new law to protect people who are homeless from discrimination. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers passed the ?Homeless Person?s Bill Of Rights? at the literal 11th hour ? 11:30 p.m. on June 5, one half hour before the legislative session ended...


Flagstaff panhandling arrests run into legal challenge

Posted on June 25, 2013
The attempt by police in Flagstaff, Arizona, to get panhandlers off the streets early in the day by arresting them has run into a legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has filed suit against the city, contending the state law authorizing the arrests is unconstitutional...



Kerry, if you?re out there, come home

Posted on May 28, 2013
Virginia Fisher Murdoch, who lives in Florida, searches for her brother Kerry Fisher, whom she believes is homeless in Las Vegas.  Virginia ?Jenny? Fisher Murdoch had a dream a few months ago that her brother is alive. The signal she?s getting is that Kerry Lee Fisher, missing since the 1980s, is alive and that his presence has something to do with Las Vegas, the place where people get lost and come to get lost...


The real numbers: half of America in poverty -- and it's creeping upward

Posted on May 28, 2013
The Census Bureau has reported that one in six Americans live in poverty. A shocking figure. But it's actually much worse.Almost half of Americans had no assets in 2009, and it's even worse three years later. Putting it in perspective: While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire 2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people...


Jacksonville homeless center moving forward

Posted on May 27, 2013
A day center to help homeless people in downtown Jacksonville could open in early July. Renovations at a 3,000-square-foot building started about a week ago. A ?soft opening? is scheduled July 1, though some renovations may still be underway then. The center would be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the daytime -- when traditional shelters are closed -- as a place homeless people can find washing machines, showers and services that might help them line up jobs, homes or other needs...


The cost of justice denied is more than any dollars the Legislature wants to save

Posted on May 26, 2013
Reality prevailed over the wishful thinking of legislative leadership in the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that reaffirmed the right of the poor to adequate legal counsel. The court ruled that trial courts can stop assigning public defenders to new cases when the Legislature has provided so little money that the result is overwhelming case loads...


Panhandler suspended from general assistance for failing to report income

Posted on May 25, 2013
A panhandler in Maine has been removed from general assistance for 120 days for failing to reveal the income. In an effort to control panhandling in Bangor, police and shelter officials are passing the names of known panhandlers to city staff who administer and monitor general assistance, an emergency safety net program...


Drug overdoses overtake AIDS as main cause of homeless deaths

Posted on January 15, 2013
Overdoses of drugs, particularly prescription pain-killers and heroin, have overtaken AIDS to become the leading cause of death of homeless adults, according to a study of homeless residents of Boston. The finding came from a five-year study of homeless adults who received treatment from the Boston Health Care for the Homeless program...


Bill Cady is gone

Posted on November 18, 2012
Bill Cady was homeless for more than four years. "Loading what I could in my car, I wiped the tears from my eyes, fired up the engine, and proceeded down a long, dark, gloomy tunnel into a squalid place called Homelessness."Bill Cady, author of the At My Friend's Place blog, passed away peacefully in Oceanside, California, on November 17...


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