Solution to Homelessness – Homes?

The Portland Police Department reported that in 2017 more the half the arrests they made were of homeless people, many arrested multiple times. The homeless are also frequent users of ambulance and hospital emergency-room services. The state of Utah estimated a homeless person costs taxpayers more than $20,000 a year. Colorado calculated its cost at $43,000.

Politically-conservative Utah has received a lot of positive press the past couple years for its surprisingly successful approach to their homeless population. In 2005, the state initiated its “Housing First.” The program targeted “chronically homeless” who numbered about 2,000, mostly in Salt Lake City. Although a relatively small part of its total homeless population of 14,000, the chronic cases absorbed 60% of the resources expended on the problem. The non-chronic, usually temporarily, homeless are mostly in shelters or couch surfing with friends and relatives. Assistance to them continued with transition services, helping stabilize families’ lives whether searching for employment or providing health care to children. Housing First made its priority people living on the streets, often mentally ill or debilitated by drugs and unlikely to be candidates for jobs any time soon.

Continue reading Solution to Homelessness – Homes?

Where Is Richard Nixon Now That We Need Him?

Since resigning in disgrace from the Presidency in 1974, Richard Nixon has symbolized the evil in politics and the rancid Republican Party. The Current Occupant of the White House and the recent joint press conference with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin calls to mind Nixon’s early time in the spotlight.

Back in the good old Cold War days, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, aka Russia, took a small step in an attempt to warm diplomatic relations a bit. For a “cultural exchange,” the U.S. and U.S.S.R. each set up a national exhibition in the other’s country. Vice-President Richard Nixon traveled to Moscow for the opening of the US display in July 1959. As part of the ceremony, Richard Nixon took Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on a tour.

Nixon proudly showed off American lifestyle features like color television and automatic laundry equipment. Khrushchev sneered at the American technology and boasted Russia would soon have those gadgets. Nixon retorted that the U.S.S.R. should not be afraid of ideas, “After all, you don’t know everything.” The arguing escalated as they moved to a U.S. model home presentation. Nixon complained about Khrushchev’s constant interruptions. With rising voices and finger pointing, the two accused each other of making threats that could lead to war. Leonid Brezhnev, who succeeded Khrushchev a few years later, watched over Nixon’s shoulder.

The “Kitchen Debate” was broadcast on all three U.S. television networks. (Only edited and abridged parts of the argument reached Soviet citizens.) The confrontation raised Nixon’s profile and helped him gain the Republican nomination for president the following year. Unlike the current Russian president, Khrushchev claimed to have done everything he could to bring about Nixon’s defeat in 1960.

Richard Nixon is remembered and reviled for the Watergate scandal and general corruption in politics. He is also responsible for cognitive dissonance in liberal heads with the other part of his legacy: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Bob and Ray

If you are no longer amused by the idiocy of the current occupant of the White House, you may be ready for some of Bob and Ray’s political humor.

Remember Bob and Ray? Of course you don’t; you’re probably not old enough. Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding made their name in radio, beginning in 1946 with their earnest, dead-pan “news reporting.” They transitioned to a new medium with a fifteen-minute program on the nascent NBC television network from 1951 to 1953. Two decades later they appeared on the “Saturday Night Live” in its early days.

They made regular appearances with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” and later showed up on David Letterman’s late-night program.

Don’t you feel better, now?

Who Could’ve Predicted This?

THEN

Arguing its case in federal court, AT&T assured the judge that its acquisition of Time Warner would, contrary to what the Justice Department’s anti-trust suit claimed, magically bring more competition to the industry and result in lower prices for its DirecTV customers.

NOW

DirecTV is raising prices $5.00 per month. “To continue delivering the best possible streaming experience for both new and existing customers, we’re bringing the cost of this service in line with the market,” AT&T said in a statement explaining their concept of more competition.

Oh, yeah and… (from the Los Angeles Times) “The announcement comes days after an industry analyst said AT&T had quietly increased an ‘administrative fee’ on its wireless customer bills in a recent move that could generate almost $1 billion a year in additional income. The analyst speculated that some of the fee could be intended to cover the costs of the Time Warner merger.”

Tourist’s Guide to Seattle

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc. and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon are competing to impose their own redevelopment visions on Seattle. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, got started first with his very own, taxpayer funded football stadium south of downtown and his in-progress makeover of south Lake Union on the northern edge of downtown. Bezos is coming on strong, with his new Amazon headquarters taking over central downtown… unless the city tries to levy a new tax; then he’s outta there.

Seattle still has a few quirky attractions that residents are proud to show off to visitors. They demonstrate how hip and creative they are, and are serious evidence that they do not take themselves too seriously.

Continue reading Tourist’s Guide to Seattle