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Last night, I attended a fundraiser for Key West the Newspaper (www.thebluepaper.com) at Turtle Kralls in Key West. A number of local yokels did different kinds of home spun skits, which were entertaining, and some were actually quite good. Arnaud Girard, co-publisher with wife Naja of the blue paper,
videoed the event, so maybe they will include it in this Friday’s weekly online issue.
Here’s what this yokel recalls of his skit during the 5 minutes allotted.
Asked where I was from by the MC, I said, “The moon, by way of Birmingham.”
Asked what I would do as a skit, I said, “Poetry I feel fits the blue paper.” The MC gave me the mike and stepped aside.
I said, something like, “The first poem I gave to Dennis Reeves Cooper years ago (Dennis founded the blue paper) and he didn’t want it, so I took it back, and now I give it to the blue paper again.”
The pen is mightier than the sword, thus the sword defends the pen.
“The second poem was provoked by that terrorist right over there in the audience, Erika Biddle, for her In Plain View Homeless symposium at Studios of Key West, and it is for Charles Eimers, who was killed by Key West police because they thought he was homeless.”
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and there are far worse things than being homeless.
“The third poem fits the blue paper.”
Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but if there were no fools, who’d lead the angels?
“The final poem is about poetry, and it applies to the blue paper, as well.”
Who invented the rule that poetry must rhyme, have pentameter, be cast into verse, be politically correct, or remain on the safe side of the fence? Yes, please tell me who invented that stupid fucking rule? Obviously it wasn’t the maker of the first stone – otherwise, there’d be no stones to break all those stupid fucking rules!
Again I say, the Arnaud and Naja and the blue paper should get a Pulitzer for breaking and covering the Charles Eimers case. Here is a link to their most recent article,
which contains a link to all of their earlier articles on the Eimers case.
Drifting up to where the key deer roam,
yesterday on bigpinekey.com’s popular Coconut Telegraph (CT) blog, a perhaps sideways swipe at something I reported recently.
[Homeless] Down in Key West somebody was fighting at the homeless shelter. A person got violent and was thrown out of a place? Really? Good job whoever threw the violent individual out. As for getting stolen from at a homeless shelter? Are those choirboys really capable of theft? Why, hell, someone that would resort to violence in a place provided for them to sleep free of charge would never lie or twist a fact to justify their violent attack on another human being. Would they? Ya’ll got too much time on your hands down there in Key West. Stop to smell the frangipani, come up feed a Key deer or whatever, but sitting around writing about bums being bums is just plain weird. That guy Sloan that talks about bums all the time can tell you homeless people are addicts and drunks and some are violent. He has said it over and over. Ask him what he thinks of a guy getting thrown out for being violent around other people for whatever reason?
I submitted this reply:
Sloan says the fellow told him he was pissed off because someone had stolen some of his possessions while he was sleeping at KOTS, and later he got into a fight about it. I imagined he probably knew he would get kicked out of KOTS for it, and he did not complain about that. In fact, it was me who asked him why he was not staying at KOTS. If I had not asked, I would not have known what you just read. He said he is glad he is living outside again, KOTS is full of black mold, he had lung congestion when he stayed there at night, now he does not. Theft is a constant problem at KOTS, as anybody who ever stayed there, including me and a good woman friend of mine, knows. As is contagious disease a constant problem there.
Come on down to Key West and I can introduce you to a heap of bums, who are not homeless. Some of them are city officials, some of them are city cops, some of them are city business men and women. Stay at KOTS while you are down here, get to know it so you can write more about it. And eat at the soup kitchen on Flagler Ave, serves daily at 4 p.m. Meet homeless people, get to know see how close you are to being like them yourself. Some of them are a lot more fun to be around than lots of mainstream people I know.
And, yes, lots of homeless people are addicts, obnoxious and violent, just like lots of mainstream people, some of whom live up the key deer way, and some of them write into the Coconut Telegraph. Some nice folks live up that way, too, and write into the CT. You ain’t one of them.
Sliding back down in Key West, where plenty of homeless people roam,
excerpt from today’s Key West Citizen (keysnews.com):
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Hunting for the homeless
Annual survey sends 100 volunteers across the Keys
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
David and Jacqueline Martin carry their belongings with them on wheels: Twin grown-up tricycles they say a woman from Ohio bought for them.
“Our condo,” David said Tuesday afternoon, pointing at the trikes. “We’re not homeless. We’re houseless.”
The Martins happily took part in Tuesday’s Point-in-Time homeless survey, which a local nonprofit organized by enlisting about 100 volunteers throughout the Florida Keys to spread out in search of men, women and children living outdoors.
The survey is held at the end of January each year to deliver data on homeless needs and services to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It began with “Where did you sleep last night?”
By 6 p.m., organizers had collected 163 surveys in the Lower Keys alone, and more were on the way. The count was scheduled to continue until about 11 p.m.
When a stranger approached the Martins on Tuesday afternoon, they were affable and spoke of the many times strangers have left them money while they slept outdoors or provided them with things they can’t afford — including a marriage license for their recent nuptials.
Since 2004, the couple of 24 years has lived outdoors in Key West, before the city put up its first homeless shelter, which they say they steer clear of because it’s a good way to have their things stolen.
They don’t have a real address and use “general delivery” when asked. But in order to acquire valid identification in August, the Martins were guided by staff at the Division of Motor Vehicles staff to choose an Old Town address where they don’t sleep nights.
Under their names and birthdates is this address: Panhandling zone, Caroline Street.
For the very basics of living, the Martins depend on the kindness of strangers. The couple get food stamps and Jacqueline started collecting Social Security recently. David, who had an operation last year, says he’s too sick to work and is trying to get disability.
For about one month after the surgery, a local nonprofit provided the couple with a real roof over their heads.
“So he could heal,” Jacqueline said. On Tuesday, she had just done laundry at a nearby coin-op business and was folding her clothes just right to fit into her trike’s back basket.
Jacqueline appeared more fresh-faced and better dressed than most Key West snowbirds.
A Key West marina sells daily showers for $4, they said. Sometimes, boaters will share their cards with those who don’t have cash.
The Martins have called Key West home since 2000, when they rented a room on Flagler Avenue. But when the landlord sold the place in 2004, they ended up living outdoors.
“We lived on the Bridle Path in a tent,” Jacqueline said. When the city forbid that type of public camping, having put up the homeless shelter, the couple said they lost everything they had.
St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen serves a 4 p.m. hot meal daily at its Flagler Avenue location to at least 100 people at a time.
But the Martins say they don’t eat there. It’s difficult for David to even walk a tiny distance and they prefer to stay closer to downtown.
The couple is just one story of homelessness on the island, where rent for a pool house goes for $1,200 a month.
On Craigslist Tuesday, a “one bedroom” in Bahama Village, where bedroom means a Murphy bed, was available for “$1,500 per month for off-season months, $2,000 per month for in-season months,” the posting said. “Plus cleaning fee and tax on rentals of six months or less. Minimum rental of three months paid in advance.”
At the soup kitchen yesterday afternoon,
I was approached by a young woman who said she worked for Catholic Ministries and was asking people to fill out surveys. I asked for what? She said, to help determine who needs assistance and housing. I ask for more. She said it was the annual homeless survey. I said I was not homeless, but had been, and I knew all of the city officials and a number of people involved in trying to help homeless people.
I said, one reason for doing the survey is for outfits working with homeless people to be able to get grant funding, some of which is used to pay the salaries of the people working for those outfits. Was she a volunteer, or a paid worker? Paid, she said, but she loves her work, trying to help homeless people. It’s good to try to help homeless people, I said.
I asked if she had known Dorothy Sherman? No. I said, Dorothy is the reason we are sitting here today having this conversation, she started this soup kitchen.
I asked she knew of Father Stephen Braddock at FKOC, its CEO? Yes. And of Sam Kaufman, its Chairman of the Board? Yes, she’d heard of him. I said, they are friends of mine and Sam is my lawyer. I am a lawyer. Sam and I were the reason KOTS was built, because we told the city we would put it into federal court, like what happened up in Miami, if it kept hassling and arresting homeless people for sleeping outside at night. So, the city built KOTS, even though we advised against it, because it would be a den of awful goings on, and it became a den of awful goings on, and then the city begged FKOC to take over KOTS and clean it up, and FKOC did that.
I said, instead of trying to provide homeless people housing, what needs to be done is to provide affordable housing for people who are about to go homeless, so they don’t end up homeless. She said there is a rent assistance program for such people, offering $3000 for first, last and deposit. I said, and how do they pay that rent after the first month? That’s at least $1,200 month, that’s not affordable. More like $1,500 a month, or more, she said. I said, yes, I was being conservative. That’s not affordable. No, it’s not, she said. She said she needed to get more forms filled out. I thanked her for her time and wished her well. She was nice.
In yesterday’ where the king mackerel swim, soup kitchen Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Key West post at goodmorningkeywest.com, I reported my conversation with a fellow over dinner at the soup kitchen, who is a resident client in Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC). I talked with him again yesterday over dinner, after talking with the woman from Catholic Ministries.
He has post traumatic stress. He may have attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, and he may be stuck in the manic side of bipolar disorder. I did not probe with him what soul trauma had caused all of that.
I was heartened to hear he’s been attending 12 Step AA/NA meetings regularly, which FKOC requires of all of its clients, and that he feels the 3rd Step is in play, God is in charge of his life. I said that’s essential. The angels running me applied the 12 Steps to me in 2003, when I was a resident at FKOC. It was awful for me, but it proved to me the 12 Steps are a true spiritual path. I said, without Step 3 in play, the 12 Steps don’t work. He agreed.
He said he had taken my telling him the day before that he needed a massive infusion of estrogen, the feminine, as needing a human woman in his life. I said perhaps being with a woman is in his future, but the feminine is a spirit vibration, something not of this world. The feminine is what Christians call The Holy Spirit. Addiction is one symptom of her absence.
Moving laterally, a follow up to this part of yesterday’s where the king mackerel swim, soup kitchen Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Key West post at goodmorningkeywest.com.
Also in that vein, posted to my Facebook timeline yesterday by one of my vicious van dweller criminal friends, who has become a steady source of entertainment, cannon fodder, and me getting to bitch and moan.
The latest fad among would-be Republican presidential contenders is to proclaim their deep commitment to fighting poverty and inequality – which sounds as plausible as a promise by McDonald’s to abolish greasy food.
Decades of abuse of the nation’s poor and working families, which reached a crescendo in Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” campaign in 2012, hasn’t left much space for Republicans to follow the public morality of Pope Francis. Yet for the moment at least, they seem to think that they must.
They also seem to believe that reminiscing about bread-bag overshoes, like Senator Joni Ernst, or jeering the wealth of the Clintons, like RNC chair Reince Priebus, will somehow transform them into Franciscan populists. But such delusional ploys only make them look ridiculous.
So in the gracious spirit of the pontiff, who told us that even atheists can be saved, let’s help our Republican brothers and sisters.
Actually, there is a very easy way for people like Romney, his former running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Chris Christie, Senator Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and every kindred right-wing politician to start reforming themselves. First, they just have to stop doing almost everything they’ve done for the past 10 or 20 years.
Stop smooching the behind of every predatory billionaire who shows up with an open checkbook and a loud opinion, from the Koch brothers and Paul Singer to Jerry Jones and Sheldon Adelson.
Stop pretending that the best way to reduce inequality – or poverty – is to lavish more trillions of tax breaks on those very same billionaires, as the infamously plutocratic Ryan budget would. Do they really think every blustering donor at the very top of the income scale needs another million dollars? Stop defending capital gains loopholes, offshore accounts, and all the other scams that rig the game for the likes of Romney.
Stop snatching bread from the mouths of small children and their mothers, with gratuitous cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance and WIC programs, as if that would appreciably reduce the federal deficit — or be worth the moral cost even if it did. The Ryan budget proposes to reduce food stamps by 20 percent or more, which would mean either terminating benefits for millions or reducing benefits below their already meager level. (It would be interesting to see how the Wisconsin Republican and bodybuilder got by on $1.40 per meal.)
Stop ripping up unemployment checks for families whose lack of remunerative work Republicans have always blamed on Barack Obama, not them. Unemployment insurance kept at least 2.5 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of kids, above the poverty line in recent years. If joblessness truly isn’t the workers’ fault, why decimate them and their children?
Stop rejecting Medicaid, the literal lifeline for poor Americans who have no other health coverage. And stop “repealing” the Affordable Care Act, whose actual repeal would cruelly end coverage for tens of millions of Americans – and in some cases, end their lives.
Stop undermining Medicare and Social Security, the two most successful anti-poverty programs in the nation’s history, which have vastly reduced the impoverishment and early mortality of elderly Americans. And stop telling voters that the endless attempts to cut, privatize, block grant, and otherwise diminish those programs is how you intend to “save” them.
Stop legislating cutbacks in Pell Grants, federal student loans, and other assistance to young people from modest backgrounds — whose educational advancement lifts them toward greater financial security and independence. Anyone who honestly cares about reducing inequality supports aid for higher education.
And please stop mouthing so much meaningless, self-flattering rhetoric on this vital issue — as Romney did when he assured the Republican National Committee that “Republican principles” will “break the cycle of poverty.”
Sorry Mitt, but that hasn’t been true under any Republican administration for the past hundred years. Instead, try to recognize the unpleasant but undeniable fact that unemployment and poverty have increased every time a Republican occupied the White House.
Then, by all means, get back us to with your platforms to end poverty. Someone might even believe you.
My reader comment:
Victor also provided related cannon fodder:
by Mike Sygula
Click the link/article title just under the pic to see entire article and videos and related links. A few excerpts.
-I want to take just a few minutes of your time because this is really important. Please read this article, watch the videos and check out the documentaries linked below. If you’ve got any friends in the army or know anyone considering joining up please share it with them.
“Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”
– Henry Kissinger, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.
-The US spends more on defence every year than the next 10 highest spending countries in the world combined!
-According to a recent study conducted by Morgan Stanley (cited in Barron’s, 6/9/14, p. 19) stocks in military-industries have risen 27,699 % versus 6,777 % for the overall market in the last 50 years. Eisenhower’s fears have turned out to be true. War is a business and there are many ways in which special interests and particular individuals can profit from it.
-In 2012 the US military suicide rate exceeded the number of deaths on the battlefield. We can not even imagine what horrific traumas these combatants had to suffer and how severely it affected them … ends when you lose your leg or your best friend dies.
-War creates terrible human suffering, causes appalling environmental devastation and also wastes enormous sums of money. In 2012 the military budget in the US had reached $737 billion when only 30 billion dollars would be enough to feed all the hungry people on the planet for the whole year.
-There will be several thousand people who will read this article. If everyone could share it via social media or with their network of friends this would massively multiply the numbers of people who read it and potentially change many people’s minds. We do our job trying to find out and connect the dots so please do yours and share this material with as many people as possible. We all have to work together, people are dying, trillions of taxpayers’ money are being wasted profiting the few. It has to end.
Kurt Wagner That’s why you never had the balls to defend this country. If ever one thought like you we would have lost WWI and WWWII. Sure I admit Korea, Vietnam, and all the so called wars since have been for corporate profit. But you cannot blame the soldiers who put their lives on the line for this country.
Sloan Bashinsky I did not say that about WW II. USA should have stayed out of WW I, in my opinion, and then there most likely would not have been WW II. I have never blamed US soldiers for fighting in wars, I feel terrible for them, past, present; however, it is my view they were gravely mistaken in believing they fought for this country in Korea and thereafter, and you yourself wrote what they fought for after WW II: corporate profit. I wish they would start looking at it that way. I wish US generals and admirals would start looking at it that way. And I wish they would just say no to such wars. But I don’t see that happening. I give thanks to God I did not end up in Vietnam, and I wish no American went over there. I know Vietnam combat veterans who feel the same. Balls has nothing to do with it. Brains and hearts should be in charge, or God. I wish you could see, hear and feel what I go up against day and night. It would leave you with an entirely different view of war and danger. Did you write into the Coconut Telegraph that you contracted a rough mosquito-borne illness?
The soldiers Army, Navy Air Force, Marines do what they are ordered to do by the commander in chief( Oblohole) If I was under his athority I would tell him to “fuck off” I wish every military person would do the same.
Sloan Bashinsky Agreed, and wish every military person had told G.W. Bush and his father to do likewise. Now, America is in a world war with Islam, whether America believes that, or not. Sorry about the mosquito malaises, that’s a double heap of a load.(For some time, Kurt has been living on St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands, that’s where he was infected by mosquitoes,)