* The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

City considers crackdown on panhandling near businesses, parking meters
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety

For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”

Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.

Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.

My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
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* “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor”

Yahoo! Voices has released my latest piece:

Chaos Overwhelms the Poor
10/18/2013
“Personal failings” and “an environment that is not conducive to success” so interact that many poor folk come into a state of self-generated, self-perpetuating crisis.  Personal failings can be outgrown, however, and untoward circumstances transcended.

For the moment, this is my definitive expression on the subject.

on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

* “Alice in Wonderland” had a Tea Party, too.

I’m angry. I don’t usually talk this way. But for better or worse, for the moment, I will.

I don’t know the numbers, and I’d welcome if someone would tell me. I also don’t understand how the numbers work here, and I’d also welcome if someone would tell me.

How is it that the Tea Party has not just hamstrung the Republican Party, but also the House as a whole?

Let’s say the President proposed that “tomorrow” be defined as “the day after today.”  Let’s also suppose there are 100 Tea Partiers in the House; of 235 Republicans; and that the remaining 200 House members are, you know, Them.

Obviously, the 100 Tea Partiers will oppose the President here, just as they do as to anything else.  But how can the remaining 135 Republicans, along with the 200 Them, fail to pass such a thing?

Call it kairotic, call it synchronicity, call it whatever.  I am working on the “substantial response” mentioned here, specifically just now on a passage about how the emotionally needy, the infantile, those who stomp their feet and throw tantrums like two-year olds, lack the wherewithal to learn problem-solving skills, being intransigent and unwilling and unable to compromise or negotiate.  I’m speaking there of what may be called the “underclass,” but the equal pertinence to the Tea Party leaves me speechless.

* Jacob’s ladder 09/28/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.
 5. Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Details here.
 6. Cut loose the losers. Details here.
 7. Smoking.  See posts tagged “Smoking”.

Smoking, part 1

(Saying “part 1” just in case.  There may or may not be a part 2, etc., in the future.)

My patronage has changed, and as a result I must quit smoking. As of 09/27/13, I have not managed this very well. As a result, I’m now in a terrific financial bind.

Forget about not having any more money for smokes; in this coming week, for financial reasons, I may have to spend several nights at a much less desirable shelter; where I don’t want to use the bathroom, haven’t figured out how to shower, and clean clothes aren’t available every day.  Then there are the issues of getting prescriptions filled and buying disposable underwear, of which I’m almost out.

Motivation doesn’t matter when one’s facing necessity.  However, I have had ample reasons for motivation:
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* Sneak peek

Thanks to the reader who sent me this link:

Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds

I am preparing a substantial response and should have it ready to publish a few weeks from now.  In the meantime, I thought others might be interested in the original article.

* The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’[”]

On the one hand, I don’t believe Jesus ever said these words. (Link) On the other hand, I firmly believe in the principles expressed, and will have occasion to refer to this text many times.