Long Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply

“And the sign says, ‘Long-haired freaky people need not apply.’  “So I tucked all my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why.  He said ‘You look like a fine, upstanding young man – I think you’ll do.’  “So I took off my hat and said, ‘Imagine that! Huh… me, working for you!’

Woah-oh-oh.

-Lyrics from Five Man Electrical Band’s Signs

Throughout history, people have been pre judged by their appearances, as in the example of Five Man Electrical Band song.  Today, there is a stereotypical perception of the homeless.

In her column in The Daily Californian, Hailey Yook writes about the negative reactions people have to the homeless they see everyday on the Berkeley University campus.  She related that most people who pass near them see them as nothing.  Ms. Yook relates an occasion where, in an area of campus where people hang out, where there is activism and other social activities, on a day when there was a lot of activity, a woman with a shopping cart with her belongings, who looked homeless, sat down on a bench in the midst of all this activity.  http://www.dailycal.org/2014/03/03/attitudes-toward-homeless-affect-us/

Almost every student that she sat near got up and walked away, as if she were a leper.  Even on a college campus, where people are supposed to be there to learn about the world and open their minds, there was ignorance about the homeless.  Ms. Yook explains that this is a common phobia based on presumptions — that the homeless are beggars, are lazy, are addicts, crazy, violent, etc.  People have mental images of homeless people going berserk.

This was the case at a Burger King in Bristol, PA when the general manager banned a homeless friend of mine from the fast food restaurant.  The reason?  She doesn’t want homeless people there because they panhandle.  In her few visits to this Burger King, she never panhandled.  Nor has she anywhere else.

At another Burger King in the area the general manager, near the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, PA, threw my friend out arbitrarily.  Without discussion, he threatened to call the police.  My friend has lung cancer, is very thin and looks sickly but doesn’t dress like the stereotypical bum.  Evidently, he didn’t like her looks and booted her, even though severe weather threatened the area.

At the Veteran’s Memorial by the Levittown Public Library, a guard at the nearby municipal building occasionally finds an excuse to roust the homeless who hang out there.  He said that there are people who are uncomfortable about coming up to the monument when they are there.

That’s their problem.

One problem the homeless have is being accepted by the rest of society.  They don’t like being thought of as being on the fringe of society.

In lower Bucks County, PA, there are people in the community who reach out and get to know the local homeless.  There is a bus that takes the homeless to community meals, where the hosts reach out and get to know their quests, often forming relationships with them.

There was a volunteer from a local faith based organization who dedicated herself to ministering to the homeless who frequent the Levittown Library and surrounding areas (she moved but someone will take her place).  She helps setup events, such as picnics for the local homeless.  She considers them her friends and is staying in contact on Facebook.

No matter what our station in life, God made us all.

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

— Proverbs 14:31.

We are all equal in the site of God:  “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”

— James 2:1-4

Another problem the homeless have is the obvious:  they don’t have a home.  To join with the homeless to help them resolve that problem, Gimmee Shelter was created.  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

There’s a saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  That’s not always the case.  I’ve learned new tricks.

Sometimes I don’t listen to my master, and I end up getting in trouble.  Once I almost got hit by a car.  Doing what’s right isn’t only good for me, but the people around me.  I don’t want to disappoint people around me, especially my loved ones.

Once I ran away from home and ran wild with the other dogs.  I drank heavily and hung out at the pool halls, where I became a pool shark.  Nobody expected a dog to play pool so well, if at all. I was able to get a lot of beer money that way.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” –Proverbs 26:11, is another saying.

As I said in an earlier post on Facebook, before I point out, in a loving manner, someone engaged in destructive, sinful behavior, I need to be a good example.  I need to put my own doghouse in order.  And believe me, that can be a lot of work.

Recently I’ve seen people engaged in destructive behavior, which negatively affects them and those around them.  I want to bark out a warning to them; it’s like they are riding a log heading towards Niagara Falls.  That falls comes to mind because I remember my master watching over and over again the Three Stooges short where when Moe hears the fall’s name, he goes nuts:  Nie Agara Falls!  Step by step, inch by inch and I…

I digress.

There are a few homeless people who have engaged in drunken binges and have become drunk and disorderly in public places, alienating themselves from others and getting into Dutch with the authorities.  I saw them growling at one another.  If they were dogs they would have bit each other, but their folly resulted in minor injuries.  The biggest hurt was the animosity and alienation between people who should be helping one another, that resulted.

I get as crazy as Moe does when I witness this.  These people suffer the consequences of their actions, realize they are wrong, and then go right back to their foolishness.  This has been happening a lot at the Veteran’s memorial, which shows disrespect for other people who visit the memorial and the veterans, for whom it’s supposed to honor.

It’s getting to the point that if someone mentions “The Memorial”, I start to get rabid and utter “Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch, and I grabbed these fool’s pant legs and shook my head violently to shake some sense into them!”  If you see my growling at certain people, you’ll know why.

People need to stop making excuses for their behavior.  Homeless life is ruff, but that doesn’t justify anti-social behavior.  As is the case with homeless people, it’s assumed that dogs bite.  On one occasion, when I was walking with my master, some strangers who approached us asked “does your dog bite?”

My master responded “no, do you?”

Homeless people don’t have to bite.  The first step for someone with issues is to admit that he or she does not have the power to overcome a life that has become unmanageable on one’s own.

There are 11 more steps:

http://12stepjourney.com/ http://12stepjourney.com/

Besides overcoming one’s spiritual problems, there is an opportunity to ameliorate the actual problem of not having a home.  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

Between the 12 Steps program and Gimmee Shelter for the homeless, maybe we can just take a bite out of homelessness.

Keeping Watch

It’s believed that aliens from a spaceship that left the formation on its way to Roswell took a wrong term and ended up at the Levittown Public Library, in Levittown, PA.  There are different theories how the aliens were dropped off but the prevailing theory is that they were dropped at the old bus shelter at the library and took on the form of homeless humans.

The aliens in the guise of homeless people have camped in and around the Levittown Library, and have made the Veterans Memorial just outside the library their headquarters, where they conspire against us.

One clue Bucks County authorities have to indicate the homeless individuals are aliens is that they are not like us.  They use shopping carts to transport their belongings, camp in the woods, on sidewalks, and in cars.  We know they are up to something.

In any case, these so-called homeless people are strange.  This is why during an expedition to a tent city to check out these aliens who migrated from the library, a representative from Penndel Mental Health Center came along. Since then, authorities have been trying to bring all the aliens to special facilities to examine and readjust them, so they can fit into Bucks County society so they can go along to get along, known as Operation White Picket Fence.

For public safety, Bucks County authorities have been trying to move the homeless aliens out of the area, but have so far been unsuccessful.  It’s believed that other aliens, who have blended into the population and live in homes, have been helping the homeless.

Hunting the homeless is as much a conundrum as Lewis Carroll’s Hunting the Snark.  Modeling Carroll’s poem, first Bucks County tried to nail them with offenses however they could.  In the words of the accused homeless (channeling Lewis Carroll):

“You may charge me with murder—or want of sense—

(We are all of us weak at times):

But the slightest approach to a false pretense

Was never among my crimes!”

Bucks County tried everything, as was the case in The Hunting of the Snark:

“For the Snark’s a peculiar creature, that won’t

Be caught in a commonplace way.

Do all that you know, and try all that you don’t:

Not a chance must be wasted to-day!”

Bucks County has come up with a unique way to deal with the homeless aliens at the Levittown library.  They will sound an emergency alarm in the library, after telling the Soccer Moms and other normal people it will be a false alarm, and send them to the Emergency Assembly Area, at the old bus shelter.  An AHTN bus will then pick them up as they usually do and take them to the Levittown train station.  They will be told they are going to a special event, but in actuality they will ride the Disoriented Express, which will take them to indoctrination camps.

The homeless aliens have been driven from camp to camp, and now they have nowhere to go.  The Disoriented Express will take them to their final destination, where they will rest in peace.

No Dogs or Homeless Allowed

There’s a Charlie Brown episode in the Charles Schultz series where everywhere a dog wandered, he was not wanted.  Everywhere he went, the sign “No Dogs Allowed” appeared and the off camera narrator said, in a deep, deliberate voice “No dogs allowed.”

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the homeless find there are not wanted in many establishments, just because they are homeless, as are dogs.  The way things are going, signs will be put out in front of buildings and parks “No Homeless or Dogs Allowed.”

First it was the McDonald’s in Fairless Hills, PA, where a manager, whom I refer to as “Twenty Minutes” kicked my homeless friend out.  She told the manager that she was waiting for a ride as she nursed her coffee, but that didn’t matter to Ms. Minutes.  I couldn’t find my friend when I went to pick her up.  The manager was cryptic  with me and snippety when I asked about my friend.  It was cold and raining, and my friend found the shelter of a nearby office building, where I picked her up.

This was the second time Ms. Minutes booted my friend.  The first time Ms. Minutes made my friend leave, my friend called me and I picked her up, as she got in touch with me before the 20 minute warning was up.    After this first McDonald’s booting, as I was eating with my friend, this manager did a California stop, turned and quickly glanced at my friend, as if she were a dog, and uttered “remember, 20 minutes”, and walked away.  McDonald’s never addressed my complaints; they just sent a form reply. No dogs allowed.

Next it was Subway in Fairless Hills, who threw my friend out.  She had to call me for a ride.  No dogs allowed.

Burger King was the next “no dogs allowed”.  On one occasion, a shift manager at the Burger King in Bristol, PA relayed a message from the general manager that she’s no longer allowed in the restaurant.  When I pressed for an answer why, the shift manager admitted that the general manager doesn’t want homeless people at this particular Burger King because they have the potential of panhandling.

Hummm…  I guess with that kind of reasoning, because some black people have committed crimes, they should be kept out of restaurants because they may rob somebody.  Imagine the outcry if that happened?  Well, it’s happening with the homeless.  No dogs allowed.

The Burger King near the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, PA threw my cancer stricken friend out arbitrarily after I dropped her off, with severe weather threatening!  She had just finished her lunch, and as she went to get her free coffee refill, the manager swooped down on her and demanded she leave or else he’d call the police.  There was no discussion even.  To get out of the elements, she walked over to the Boston Market, where the people there were much more hospitable to her, and I picked her up.

When I confronted this Burger King Manager about him arbitrarily throwing my friend out, he said that after someone eats and is alone, there is nobody to talk to so he/she should leave.  When I mentioned she had cancer, as if he couldn’t at least tell she was non contagious sickly (and that’s why he booted her out), he made the excuse “I didn’t know she had cancer.”  It wasn’t until after I showed him how irrational and wrong he was did he hint at the restaurant being crowded.  It wasn’t.

We had visited this Burger King a few times.  On one occasion this manager started staring at us after we had spent most of the day there, having had ordered breakfast and lunch.  “Are you waiting for a ride?”, he asked.  When we said “no”, he mentioned us being there awhile.  “Is that a problem?”, my friend replied.

“You’ve been here since this morning”, the manager quipped.  “So…”, I replied, and he walked away.

The manager at this Burger King told us, about 10:35 p.m., “you better start packing up, we’re closing in ten minutes.”

I mentioned that the restaurant closes at 11 p.m.

“We have to clean up…”

We packed up and left.  No dogs allowed.

Why stop with arbitrarily booting the homeless out of establishments?  Why not have a separate water fountain for the homeless?  Why not make them sit in the back of the bus?

We need a Rosa Parks for the homeless.  Through my blogs, I try to emulate her.  The laptop is mightier than the sword!  I don’t accept the homeless being told to take a back seat — to be treated as second class citizens.

Not all establishments virtually post “No Dogs Allowed” signs for the homeless.  Denny’s, on Business Route 1 in Langhorne, PA,  knows some of their patrons are homeless, and treats them like other customers.  They allow them to hang out and linger (some establishments call this loitering) after buying a meal.  As long as it’s not a crowded weekend, we can stay “all day”, the manager told us.

At the Langhorne Denny’s, instead of being annoying at the sight of an old, weak, homeless woman, people have showed compassion and bought us meals. In most cases, they did it anonymously, and when they didn’t do it anonymously, they did it without fanfare.  Last night, for example, someone came to our table and handed us gift cards and said we could use it then or another time, and walked away.

Wendy’s, in Levittown, has been hospitable to the homeless.  We hang out there for hours, sometimes just buying a cup of coffee each.  One night, after having been there a couple hours, we left about an hour before closing time.  One of the workers remarked that we were leaving early that night, as we usually stay until closing time, often up to the wire.  On one occasion, a customer, divining our  situation, approached a worker whom I think was a manager who was eating.  I overheard the manager say “you might embarrass him.”  The guy offered me money.  I thanked him and declined.

The manager told me that he doesn’t have a problem with us hanging around at the Levittown Wendy’s.  He doesn’t understand the problem people have with the homeless, as he related a story.  He said when he worked at another fast food restaurant, someone invited a homeless man out of the cold and into the restaurant and bought him a meal.  A customer was ready to call the police, exclaiming “there’s a homeless person in the restaurant!”

“We know”, someone told him, and explained someone invited him in and bought him a meal.

There are a few establishments, when a time comes when they are required to post their homeless policy, like the ingredients in their food, will not post “No Dogs Allowed” signs.  It’s my dream that “No Dogs Allowed” — I mean “No Homeless Allowed” signs will be posted anywhere.

There are gracious people out there who help the down and out.  And there are others, who not only harass the homeless, they get in the way of others trying to help.   One example is a cook in Houston, Texas, who cited and fined for feeding the homeless.  Fortunately, she’s fighting it

The Levittown branch of the Bucks County Free Library system sees the homeless collectively as a persona non grata.  Although most of the librarians there are friendly with the regular homeless — they know each other by name and some of them sent a homeless person who went to the hospital a card — the head librarian, who calls herself “the office manager”,  has been harassing the homeless in an effort to drive them out of the library.

Recently, a friend of mind overheard a speaker at a library meeting ask about answering people’s question about dealing with the problem of the homeless “making the library a hangout for the homeless.”  Someone responded “Pat (the office manager) is handling it.”

The Levittown Public Library should follow the example of the library in Petaluma, California.  Instead of trying to keep the homeless out of the library, as if they were dogs, the Levittown library should work with the homeless as the Petaluma librarian has been doing.  “Most of the homeless library users are well-behaved and considerate, even helping clean up the surrounding landscape ”

And when there are problems with people who happen to be homeless, hold them individually accountable, and don’t punish the whole group, as does the Levittown Librarian, whom I refer to as “Bull Connor”.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_Connor

There had been fighting and drunkenness at the Petaluma library but was curtailed.

The librarian said:

“I can ban an individual from the library if it is determined that person is disturbing others. We have very clear policies that make soliciting, begging, dressing inappropriately — as in bare feet, bare chests, disturbing outfits — and excessive problems with body odor or decorum unacceptable. But you have to use that power with good judgment. A person’s excessive use of cologne or perfume can be as unpleasant as someone who has not showered in a week.”

In other words, apply the same standards to the homeless that you do for anyone else who visits the library.

We shall overcome!

Emergency Assembly Area

At the public library in Levittown, PA, the spot where the bus shelter where the homeless waited for a ride to go to community meals and other places was removed.  Now just a concrete slab, a sign “emergency assembly area” was erected.

There are different kinds of emergencies.  I’m not sure what kind of emergency this concrete slap is for.  I think a tornado, hurricane, flood, volcano, cyclone, tsunami, and brush fires can be ruled out off the bat.

It was in this area where there was an altercation between homeless people.  It was caught on camera at that spot, so maybe the emergency could be the homeless people getting restless and attacking, maybe the people outside their circle who visit the library.  They have been too preoccupied fighting among themselves, but should there be a detente, they could easily conspire against us, and we need to be prepared.

There’s been a grave concern about the homeless people lurking at the Veteran’s memorial.  The security guy from the nearby municipal building, perhaps under pressure from people in that building  or from visitors to the area who don’t know the folks who socialize at the memorial who are homeless phobic, has been periodically discouraging them from staying very long there during business hours.   He has told them that people feel uncomfortable about visiting the memorial with them there.

For public safety, and the public’s welfare, the emergency assembly area is a place where people can go if the homeless suddenly go on the attack.  Like aliens from outer space, we don’t know much about their kind, and a contingency plan is in order.  For all we know, the former bus stop may have been the place where these people, possibly aliens from space, were beamed aboard.  If more of them come, we’ll be ready for them!

Someone may have forgotten to add the “51” to Emergency Assembly Area 51.

Maybe we’re supposed to assemble the homeless in this area and figure a way to send them back to their planet.

There is a story found in the Levittown library archives about how the homeless came to the library.  An alien spaceship on its way to Roswell, New Mexico got off course and landed on the roof of the library.  It deposited liquid eggs that oozed through the cracks in the roof and seeped into books lying on the shelves.

The eggs hatched and the bookworms found their way out of the library into the surrounding area.  They became the homeless, for whom the library is their nesting place, their home.

From the emergency assembly area, we can watch the homeless at the memorial from a distance.  The librarian will sound the emergency alarm when she senses an emergency.  She’s already had at least one false alarm.  On one occasion when two homeless people were briefly  talking quietly just outside her office, the librarian burst out of her office and stammered “this conversation is getting heated; you better read a book or something!”

Holy Don Quixote, batman!

The emergency assembly area is there for any contingencies, whether real or imagined.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,  Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167

Remember, the Bookworm was one of Batman’s enemies!  Now there are scads of them!

Reach Out in the Darkness

I’m a great believer in truth in advertising, so I think we should be up front about the attitude Bucks County PA has towards the homeless.  Therefore, we need labels.

We can start with the water fountains by the restrooms in the library. One can be for the homeless, and one for those who have homes.  The labels can be “homeless” and “homes.”

Just as the original Jim Crow laws were based on white supremacy, the Bucks County adaptation touts the superiority of those with houses over those who don’t.

When Jim Crow Infested the South

In 1885, journalist T McCants Stewart, who was black,  wrote “I can ride in first-class cars on the railroads and in the streets. I can stop in and drink a glass of soda and be more politely waited upon than in some parts of New England.”  The Republicans, who championed freemen’s rights and fostered equal protection under the law created this climate during Reconstruction.

But as we know, the good times are invaded by the Blue Meanies, as they did in The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Meanies_(Yellow_Submarine)

In this case, the Blue Meanies were southern Democrats, who stripped the black’s equal rights away ten years after federal troops left.    Although there were isolated moments of positive change, blacks lost all they had gained during Reconstruction.

The denial of the rights of blacks became official and was codified in a series of racist statutes called Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow, a slur for a black man, came to be known as any law that was passed in the south that established different rules for the white man and the black man.  Likewise, in places such as the Levittown library in Bucks County, there are different rules for the soccer moms (the ones who are an amicus curiae of the librarian) and the homeless.

The homeless cannot have a civil,  adult discussion with the librarian about how they are treated.  They are tacitly told to shut up and if they get uppity, they are threatened with being in trouble with the man.

As was the case in the south after reconstruction, it is the Democrats who oppress those whom they consider an underclass.

In fact, it was the Democrats who were responsible for much of the discrimination throughout the 20th century in the United States.

President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, segregated the military.  The military wasn’t integrated until 1952, by IKE, the Republican.  Democrat President Truman tried integrating the military, but chickened out, for fear he’d alienate the southern Democrats.

FDR rounded up Japanese Americans, without even a shred of evidence that they were aiding and abetting the Empire of Japan, just because they were Japanese and put them in internment camps.

Today in Bucks County, PA, the homeless are treated like prisoners when they visit the Levittown Public Library, just because they are homeless.  The librarian, as well as others in the Bucks County liberal Democrat establishment, would like to round them up and send them somewhere away from the rest of the population.

The homeless in Bucks County need to follow the example of passive resistance that Dr. Martin Luther King practiced.  There are people who have been putting pressure on a local security guard to roust the homeless from the Veteran’s Memorial near the Levittown public library, even though they respect the place, because “they are uncomfortable” with visiting the memorial when the homeless hang there.  The homeless should form a chain and make the police physically remove them from the memorial if their civil rights to peaceably assemble in a public place are violated.

It is the people who demand the homeless get rousted who disrespect the memorial and what it stands for.

Instead of shunning the homeless, people should talk with them to see what they are really like.  They may find, as in the song Reach Out in the Darkness by Friend and Lover:

“I knew a man that I did not care for

And then one day this man gave me a call

We sat and talked about things on our mind

And now this man he is a friend of mine

Don’t be afraid of love Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid to love

Everybody needs a little love Everybody needs somebody  That they can be thinking of”

Reach out in the darkness, baby, you may find your preconceptions of the homeless may be wrong.  The main difference between you and them is that they don’t have a home.

We at Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless want to change that:  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

Fight Homelessness Don’t Vote for Progressives

Although some people become homeless because of problems caused by addictions, anti-social behavior and other social aspects, much of homelessness is rooted in economics — long term unemployment, underemployment — people just don’t have the money to have a place to live.

In states ruled by progressives, homelessness is running rampant.   Late 2013, The Boston Globe reported:

Record numbers of homeless families are overwhelming the state’s emergency shelter system, filling motel rooms at the cost to taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars a year.

“An average of 2,100 families a night — an all-time high — were temporarily housed in motel rooms in October, just about equaling the number of families staying in emergency shelters across the state, according to state Department of Housing and Economic Development.

The demand for shelter is so great that the state has been temporarily shipping homeless families from Boston to motels in Western Massachusetts…

So much for liberal Massachusetts.  In New York, as New York Magazine reports:

“Here in New York, they found a thirteen-percent increase, for a total of 64,060 people living in shelters and on the street. And in Los Angeles, the homeless population jumped 27 percent, to 53,798.”

The New Yorker brought up The Skinny Socialist’s, aka Barack Obama’s, promise to end chronic and veteran homelessness in America by 2015 and presented a reality check that all the homeless in NYC can’t fit into the seats at Yankee Stadium.

By contrast, Texas, a red state where freedom, low taxes, and restrictions on government intrusion prevail,  is the place where people are fleeing from blue states, an exodus like the Israelites fleeing Egypt.

The Social Aspect of Homelessness and economics can be intertwined.  We’ve become such an Obama Nation as a result of greed, sloth, envy and other collective character defects.  Back in the Eisenhower 50’s and the early JFK 60’s, people lived within their means.  Debt didn’t pile up the way it does today.

Years after my family moved away from a neighborhood where I spent my early childhood, I learned about a former neighbor who was jailed because he pilfered money from the bank where he worked because he wanted to keep up with the Joneses, who had a swimming pool.

People become homeless because of addictions and other character flaws, but some develop addictions as an escape from their situation, and a bad attitude on life, after then become homeless. After frustrated homeless people turn to booze or drugs, and lose hope, they need hope and to stop their addictions.  It’s hard to hold a job if you are constantly drunk or high.  This is when homeless people need friends to minister to them to help them get on the right track.

In the mid 60’s, when the economy was good and getting better, government programs, such as LBJ’s War on Poverty/The (alleged) Great Society fostered moral depravity,irresponsibility, dependency on government,  broke up families, created more crime and increased poverty.  The war on poverty was a losing battle, just like LBJ’s handling of the “war” in Vietnam.

The 70’s, called The Me Decade by author Tom Wolfe, was marked by greed and selfishness.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_%22Me%22_Decade_and_the_Third_Great_Awakening

The prosperity started by the Eisenhower 50’s was squandered when parents, who didn’t want their children to suffer economically the way they did, spoiled their children.  Materialism reared its ugly head.  By the way, it’s not money that’s the problem, but, as Jesus said, the love of money that is the root of evil.

I saw an Ed Wood story about a girl gang, which robbed stores and generally ran wild.  At the height of their depravity, one of them raped a guy at gunpoint in front of his girlfriend.  The girl subsequently died because of complications with the pregnancy.  Her mother lamented that [sic] “instead of buying her fancy dresses, we should have given her more hugs.”

To get out of the Red and into a black economy, vote blue, true blue, I mean vote Red to get out of the red and into the black .  This is one occasion where I don’t want to be color blind.   There is a difference between the Red and the Blue, as documented in this blog.

I keep thinking red denotes Democrats, as in being a Red (communist).

It was individual achievement and entrepreneurship that made us a prosperous country.

To the Back of the Bus Homeless

Today, a film crew is shooting footage to call attention to the homeless problem, using actors to make a sort of docudrama about the homeless.  So far, it seems it’s a feel good dog and pony show and not about the reality of the homeless, as found here in lower Bucks County.

In researching material for The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck visited migrant camps in California, where the homeless Okies fled after they left their homes in places such as Oklahoma.  Today, actors on the film crew about the homeless walked by a group of homeless regulars who were at the Veteran’s Memorial, as if they were mannequins, on their way between a snack and beverage station and a playground at a church across the street, where there was pizza.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Volunteers for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN), who manned the snack/beverage station where the actors stopped, knew there were homeless at the memorial, and either didn’t mention that fact to the actors or the actors just didn’t want to acknowledge the people they were making the footage about.

AHTN also knew that there was no community dinner tonight, and there probably were hungry people at the memorial.  One AHTN volunteer used to bring food to the homeless, but not today so far.

James 2:14-18   What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

I hinted to AHTN volunteers about portraying the truth about the homeless, but I was told “it’s not about that”.  Hummm…  I was told the crew was making  public service spots of sorts and those spots may be combined later to make more of it.  I made the analogy to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, where Ms. Shelly wrote a short piece after she, her future husband Percy Shelly, Lord Byron, and another Romantic poet had a contest to see who could write the best horror story.  Mary was encouraged to expand her story and thus she created Frankenstein, the novel.

I could be off base.  Maybe someone already wrote the script and the crew was just filming.  I know from having make films and videos in college, a lot of work is involved.  But nobody said anything about that.

You would think that people on the crew, actors and directors, would want to talk to the homeless people, so they could really tell it like it is.  But maybe they don’t.  Instead, it’s about things such as a homeless person giving a non homeless person some food, so far.  Feel good. Kumbaya.  I feel your pain.

I can understand some of the schtick used in advertising to catch people’s attention, and that aspect is valid.  But you would think that the crew making the homeless film would like to get a first hand feel at least by talking with the homeless.  Right out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak.  Of course, some of them may just be complainers and just full of bull.  But, like a lawyer, it’s the art of an artist to filter out what’s true and what isn’t.

It could be that the people who say they want to call attention to the homeless problems in reality just want to feel good about themselves, and that they see the homeless as Frankenstein monsters, or a real live version of the walking dead.  In this context, something interesting happened this morning before the crews came to film.  A Bucks County security officer approached some homeless people and told them that County Commissioners were coming to visit the area, and asked them to be out of sight when they came.  An AHTN volunteer, who arrived by the time the commissioners were supposed to come, said they never came.

This is getting curiouser and curiouser, Alice!

This wasn’t the first time the security guard asked the homeless, in an indirect manner, to make themselves scarce because of the County Commissioners.  He implied that during “business hours” he didn’t care about how long the homeless stayed at the memorial, but a commissioner  might show up during those hours and “stuff may be scattered all over the place.”  Oh, he expects the homeless to make a mess.

On the contrary, the homeless have been cleaning up the place.  A local VFW (which created the memorial) volunteer, told the regular homeless people who frequent the memorial that their clean up efforts leaves him little to do there.  The homeless clean up trash and do other things to respect the memorial and keep it nice.  The only thing the VFW volunteer seems to do is trim the grass.  He knows most of the regulars by name, including myself.

Actually all this business of telling the homeless they need to make themselves scarce is just a ruse and is the equivalent of telling Rosa Parks to sit at the back of the bus.  The homeless are just supposed to shut up and know their place!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks

Instead of getting the word right out of the horse’s mouth by talking with the homeless and hearing their stories, we may be getting what people think the homeless are, from the opposite end of the horse.

I’ve hung out with the homeless before I became homeless, for a total of more than a year.  I’ve broken bread with them, slept around them, hung out with them, heard their stories, heard them cry, heard them laugh, helped move the belongings long distances over rugged terrain when they were booted from public property — I think I have an idea of what they are about.

I will continue to be their voice.  And I tell it like it is!

We will not go to the back of the bus.  We shall overcome!

The Homeless and Public Libraries

Throughout the country, in places such as Levittown, PA., the public library is a place where the homeless can go to get out of the cold and rain, find their friends, use the resources to find jobs, educate themselves, and meet with representatives from various organizations.

In Levittown, like the rest of the country, there have been conflicts between the homeless and the library.  As is often the case, a few bad apples can make the whole barrel look bad by some people’s estimation. In a blog on housethehomeless.org, blogger Pat Hartman relates a problems and solutions with homeless patrons in libraries across the country.

http://www.housethehomeless.org/homelessness-and-public-libraries/

In Gloucester, MA, library employees said they had a problem with 10 to 15 percent of the homeless who frequented the library.  Police were called to the library 2-3 times a day and there were occasional ambulances.

Local churches took turns opening up their buildings to give the homeless a place to go during the day.  It’s believed this alleviated some of the problems at the library.

The key to handling problems with particular homeless people is to hold individuals accountable for their behavior.  In a library in Petaluma, CA, the librarian said “most of the homeless library users are well-behaved and considerate, even helping clean up the surrounding landscape “

There had been fighting and drunkenness at the Petaluma library but it stopped.

The librarian said:

“I can ban an individual from the library if it is determined that person is disturbing others. We have very clear policies that make soliciting, begging, dressing inappropriately — as in bare feet, bare chests, disturbing outfits — and excessive problems with body odor or decorum unacceptable. But you have to use that power with good judgment. A person’s excessive use of cologne or perfume can be as unpleasant as someone who has not showered in a week.”

In other words, apply the same standards to the homeless that you do for anyone else who visits the library.

At the Levittown, PA library, most of the homeless visitors are well-behaved and use the library to meet people from various organizations and agencies, read, use the computers to look for jobs and to educate themselves, and to pass information between homeless and non homeless friends.  Of course, some of them just play games.

As was the case at the Petaluma library, there has been fighting and drunkenness at the Levittown public library.  In reaction to this, the head librarian removed the bus shelter, where the homeless waited for the bus to go to community meals and other places and two benches.  As has been the tacit policy all along, the librarian has been doing what she can to create an atmosphere to make the homeless uncomfortable, to make them feel unwelcome at the library.  The homeless are held to a higher standard at the Levittown library and much less tolerance shown to them than the rest of the patrons.

This attitude towards the homeless in unproductive.  The homeless need someone who doesn’t write them off but respects them and encourages them to better themselves.  Nevertheless, the homeless need not use this as an excuse to misbehave.  Wrong should not be returned for wrong.

Romans 12:17-21 New International Version (NIV)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

You cannot control other’s behavior but you can control your own.  Years ago, when I told a counselor that I was troubled by a jerk who was in a position of authority, who was really out of line, he told me that there are jerks out there and you just have to continue on around them; don’t let them get in your way.

Press on, homeless, there are some of us who accept you and genuinely want to help you.

http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

Ever Done Any Boondoggling?

“Ever done any boondoggling?”

–Egbert Souse (W.C. Fields) in The Bank Dick, 1940

In lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, the mental health industry has been hustling to get clients on their roles.  They are so eager to do so, that many of them don’t really belong there.  Even for those who do, I question whether the mainstream mental health industry really helps people.

The tactics Penndel Mental Health Center, who sent a representative to a meet and greet at a homeless camp in January, 2013 in Bristol Township, PA., employs is tantamount to ambulance chasing.  Much of the mental health industry is a boondoggle.  And this Bucks County health center incessantly attaches itself to other services, particularly for the homeless, such as housing. Like manure, they are everywhere.

Holy pork barrel, Batman!

For those of you in Doylestown, PA, “boondoggle” is defined as:

noun

  • work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.
  • “writing off the cold fusion phenomenon as a boondoggle best buried in literature”

verb

  • waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.

The word “boondoggle” has a funny sound, especially when W.C. Fields says it.

And the mental health industry is a joke, with it’s boondoggles.

There are certainly many people out there, including some homeless, who have problems and need help.  And there are some people who have serious issues who are in important positions that affect others who have flown under the radar.

I’m not a psychologist but, as Bob Dylan sang, “you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”.  The head librarian at the public library in Levittown, PA has an obsession, a phobia about the homeless.  I have been referring to her as “Jihad Jane”, but I now think that “Bull Connor” would be a more suitable term.

Like the Democratic Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement in 1963, the Levittown librarian  has been figuratively hosing the local homeless who frequent the library. Instead of having dogs attack those she considers persona non grata, she gets her dogs (and herself) to employ measures to make their visits to the library uncomfortable and even have them removed.

Just a disclaimer, sometimes banning particular homeless people from the library is warranted, but in many cases homeless folks are thrown out for the day, sometimes longer, if they just nod off.

To make the homeless unwelcome at the library, many of whom are baby boomers, Bull Connor had two benches and the shelter for the homeless bus removed.

There are many more examples about how our local version of Bull Connor oppresses the homeless and treats them like second class citizens, but suffice it to say, this librarian has major issues.  About 15 minutes before closing time, like a child, she flashes the lights on and off countless times, creating a light show or lightning effect.  She’s not playing with a full deck.

The problem with the conventional wisdom of modern psychology is that people are not held accountable for their actions; something not their fault has caused anti-social behavior.  In their estimation, it has nothing to do with a character flaw, which we all have to some degree.  Some people are just bad, mean.

Instead of the self serving boondoggles concerning the homeless, there are people out there who offer genuine help to the homeless.  In a blog from the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission’s website, the blogger relates how the mission helped bring around a homeless man who had mental issues,  problems with alcohol, and suffered many bouts with pneumonia.  By ministering to the man’s medical, physical and spiritual needs, the formerly homeless man moved into an apartment and lived a normal life.

The mission’s outreach worker was able to help the man by getting him on the right track, especially by pointing him to God.  And the outreach worker’s motivation to help the man was driven by God.  This is where it’s at — our only hope.  http://www.sundaybreakfast.org/2014/03/27/tentsbuckscounty/ 

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come”

by William Croft, Isaac Watts

In the early 1970’s, Jay Adams started a revolution where he argued that the church should not relegate “mental health” issues to secular psychology, but use Biblical resources to counsel people with problems.  http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography 

This is no boondoggle.

Also not a boondoggle is our nascent non profit organization that was created to help the homeless in lower Bucks County with their need for shelter.

http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

And this is no Bull!