Displacing the Problem of Poverty

Since the topic came up recently, here's a story out of Sacramento that parallels CU's Tent City. Here in Champaign, private trespass isn't the problem since St. Mary's allows the Tent City to stay there. But...it does beg the question: how are we going to proceed?

From Crooks and Liars:
As The Homeless Are Chased from Campground, We Keep Displacing the Problem of Poverty

The problems of poverty keep getting pushed from one place to another (literally). We have so many people out of work and losing their homes. What, exactly, are we going to do about it?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ―A local attorney opened up his private property for homeless campers to have a place to stay, but authorities are already warning they will have to shut it down.

Attorney Mark Merin is leasing his property on 13th Street and C Street in Sacramento to about three dozen homeless men and women for one dollar a year, which is meant to give them the legal rights of lessees and property renters.

'It's a matter of human dignity, and it's life and death,' said Greg Bunker, executive director of Francis House in Sacramento.

According to Sacramento police, it isn't legal to live in a tent anywhere in the city for longer than 24 hours. The department wouldn't say when, but did say that they would soon enforce the city ordinance and kick the homeless persons out of the property.

The lot is located in a mostly industrial area, with only one home backing up to the property, but the city has received complaints about the campers from nearby residents.

Also, there's an article in Smile Politely by Caleb Curtiss looking at Champaign's antagonistic response to Tent City.
City stance on Safe Haven ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Since first gaining media attention in June of this year, Safe Haven Tent Community has presented the greater C-U community with a real challenge. It has forced us to qualify how we define community members while exposing the inadequate way in which we deal with poverty. Some of us have stepped up to this challenge by promoting an attitude of acceptance. Others have gone a step further by openly advocating for the people who make up this small community of homeless people. But most of us have responded with complacency or even worse, antagonism, when confronted with the questions that Safe Haven’s mere presence has begged.

City Manager Steve Carter, arguably Champaign’s most powerful member, has chosen to respond with contempt. On very shaky legal ground, he has chosen to represent the will of the people by pursuing the dozen or so homeless people who comprise Safe Haven in a manner that is reminiscent of a Dickensian villain. Carter, (the unelected administrator of Champaign’s municipal policies) along with Mayor Jerry Schweighart and the Champaign City Council, have not only chosen to follow Safe Haven all the way to St. Mary’s Church in order to rigidly enforce the zoning laws that ban people from living in temporary structures, but they have done so without what appears to be a complaint on file. It makes me wonder how many complaintless noise violations the city has lying around?

The article has quite a few comments and some good discussion going on.


Google Reader Updates: New "Send To" Feature

I'm gonna start using a new feature via Google Reader. Hopefully, it will spur me into some new blogging habits.
Google Reader Updates: Share News on Twitter, Facebook, and More: "

Today confirms that Google’s not giving up their quest to become more social media friendly. Earlier today they introduced a series of new iGoogle features that make it more of a social network than a start page, and just now they’ve released an update to your Google Reader to turn it into a social distribution utility for news on the web.

Google Reader “Send To” is the new feature that you’re likely to love instantly. It’s the feature we’ve wanted from our reader since Twitter became our favorite place to share interesting links. In fact, with Send To you can set your settings to send posts to almost every social site that matters: Blogger, Delicious, Digg, Facebook, MySpace, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and — obviously — Twitter.
Google Reader social

Once you configure your favorite social sites to send to in settings — you can even add your own custom destinations — you’ll notice that you can then select the send to button at the bottom of the post and pick your final destination.

google reader send to

Google Reader has also introduced a few less social, but more practical ways, to engage with their feed aggregator. They’ve added a better way to quickly subscribe to the feeds from people you follow, and also given you an easier way to mark items as read in bulk. So now you can select the “Mark all as read” drop down to fine tune your preferences and only mark items older than a day, a week, or two weeks as read in one easy click.

Google Reader is starting to blossom, and we’re a big fan of the new social additions. Share your thoughts on the refreshed Google Reader in the comments.
So...basically, that's what I did for this post. Clicked "Send To," reworked the text and images imported into a new window, and soon, I shall click "Publish Post." Couple weird things. First, it imports all the stuff at the bottom of the blog post that I would normally see in Google Reader. The following is something I deleted:

Reviews: Delicious, Digg, Google, Google Reader, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Twitter, blogger, facebook

Tags: google reader

Not sure why all this imports as it's not part of the post but rather stuff added on by FeedBurner. I have some of these on my posts.

Also, I kinda hoped it would just post the snippet of what I see in Reader to my blog, but after seeing all this extra stuff, reworking the posts are sorta a necessary evil. I was hoping for a more "Share with Note" kinda set up---add my comment and publish a snippet of the article.

Regardless, I'm wondering: Do you use Google Reader? If so, will you use this new tool? So far, I'm trying out the Blogger and Twitter options. I think it may prove very useful....

Rumble Gut Averted!

Thanks goodness my co-workers staged an intervention with me and stopped me from eating old food....
When is it OK to eat moldy food

My friend (and MAKE managing editor) Shawn Connally posted a chart about what kinds of moldy foods are safe to eat, and which ones are dangerous.

My husband and I have battled continuously for years about whether scraping the mold off the top of -- well, anything -- makes it OK to eat, or if once a spot of green invades the top of a barely used jar of jam we've got to call it a loss and toss it out. I'm always willing to scrape off the top, cut off the moldy crusts, etc., and carry on with the meal. My husband, not so much.

Well, turns out the USDA has weighed in on the argument with interesting findings. My favorite part of the Safe Food Handling fact sheets is this chart on how to handle moldy foods (very, very carefully is not one of the answers).


Via BoingBoing.