The Nanny State

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

The exchange of labour for money is the greatest confidence trick since some dude called Abraham duped his slave into paying for his own circumcision. I don’t know the finer details but apparently it’s all there in the Book of Genesis. Read it if you like. Don’t tell me how it ends. Badly, I imagine.

This is how transactions involving the swapping of work for currency almost always end. Badly. Bosses feel they’re not getting value for their money and employees feel they’re not getting money for their value. So the bosses start firing people, some of whom come back a bit later on with their 9mm and do a bit of firing of their own. Fair play to them.

Unskilled labourers have the worst jobs and are the least protected. Despite the way they’ve been and still are treated, domestic workers, for instance, hardly ever wake you up with…

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Daily Inspiration: Hearty Start

The Purple Almond

There is a lot of talk in the media, recently, about people needing help in other countries, and, I 100% agree. My heart goes out to these and all people throughout the world who are in danger or without homes or who need assistance. This includes people in America, who are hungry and homeless. The following statistics are from


One new non-profit is trying to help  curb hunger and assist the homeless population in New York City. Hearty Start provides breakfast sandwiches for the homeless population in New York City.

It all started one day in 2014, and Hearty Start founder, Teddy Fitzgibbons, was walking to work, enjoying a breakfast sandwich, when he was approached by a young homeless man who said “Sir, are you going to finish that?” After deciding he could afford to replace his sandwich, he handed his remaining sandwich to the young man.

Since that summer, his…

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Homeless Children: The “Mostly Unseen”

Art by Rob Goldstein

Faceless Children

According to a November 2013 Huffington Post article 1.6 million “mostly unseen” children are without stable housing in the United States.

The National Center on Family Homelessness reported that 1 in 45 children experience homelessness each year. This number amounts to a staggering 1.6 million children in America. Reports also indicate that 71 percent of homeless children are “doubled up” (living with friends, family or nonrelatives for economic reasons), placing them among the 6.8 million people who stay in living situations they do not control. As such, they could eventually find themselves in a shelter or ultimately on the street.

America’s homeless children are mostly unseen, but they are counted. The troubling part is that these numbers have been climbing for some time now.

In the 2011 school year, enrollment statistics in preschools and K-12 programs reported a figure of 1,168,354 children known to be homeless. These trends show…

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Homeless: Banned From Life

Southern By Design

As I drive my car past the third person I’ve seen panhandling on the street today my mind wonders. Over the past few years it seems to me that there has been an increase in the homeless population, or perhaps I’m just more aware. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 million people are homeless. I hope you will take a moment to read this in its entirety…


This is a difficult subject for some and one many would like to ignore it altogether. But, in a nation of wealth such as the United States, it is deplorable to me. As we aide other countries, takes in refugees and rally around so many causes- why are so many in our own “back yard” forgotten? Homelessness effects all ethnicities, does not play favorites, nor does it know race. While protesting against police officers or politicians…

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Making it write


In sleep, you forget what you knew the night before —
until you’re rudely woken by it knocking at your door.
You rise from bed, scratch your head, to try to dispel the daze;
as you open the door to let him in, “She’s gone again,” he says.
I, in my PJs, make a soothing cup of tea –
the simple British reply to dire difficulty.

When man or android beats the dust, or the dachshund runs away,
when air grows fat between the hand-picked words we want to say,
when cabbages and kings can’t change the way we feel,
we make a cup of tea, and as it chills, we wait to heal…
though for many, wine suffices and our well-worn ways are gone,
my daughter’s man is old-school, so I put the kettle on.

This decent man has angles, and some of them need grinding,
and, despite his…

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A Lawyer's Prayers

A homeless man outside the UN in New York, Author/Source CGP Grey (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic) A homeless man outside the UN in New York City, Author/Source CGP Grey (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

We have learned to ignore them:  the homeless.  Fixtures on every street corner.  Present but, for all practical purposes, invisible.

Population Size

On any given night there are over a half million Americans sleeping on the streets [1].  Slightly under half those are homeless families. Approximately 50,000 are veterans (down from a high of 76,000 in 2010).

About 15% of the total are chronically homeless.

Contributing Factors

“…for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in…” (Matt. 25: 35).

The problem of homelessness is complex.

A significant percentage of the homeless will, when questioned, reveal that they were abused.

A large number are children, made homeless along with their parents.  This creates issues involving…

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We Built Tiny Houses For Homeless Cats In Riga To Help Them Survive Winter


In our last article, we told you about our photo projects documenting the secret lives of street cats in Riga. But when the weather gets colder, we worry about the cats we see around our neighbourhood.

They may be pets whose owners left them outside, or they could be homeless cats, who are afraid of people or who have been lost or abandoned. No matter how resourceful these outdoor cats are, they need help surviving winter. Every day we receive a cry for help, looking for a temporary or permanent home for abandoned and homeless cats. That is why we created a project: Outdoor Cat Houses.

These safe and inventive structures offer cats refuge and protection from the bad weather and outside world. All the houses are built by a native Latvian master, using donations made to our non-profit cat protector organization Cat Care Community. The native Latvian Facebook blog…

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What we talk about when we talk about sexual harassment

One of the most pernicious ideas in American life is that sexual harassment lawsuits are an example of political correctness gone mad.

For the last few months I’ve been working on a video series for Highline, a re-examination of all the things we got wrong in the 1990s. The first episode is about the sexual harassment freakouts that cropped up in the wake of the Anita Hill hearing and what was really behind them.

Here’s a sequence that didn’t make it into the final cut, four women testifying at a 1992 Congressional hearing:

This is why we have sexual harassment laws.

Before 1986, none of these stories would have been illegal. Until Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the only workplace discrimination that fell under the law was quid pro quo harassment, the kind where your boss explicitly tells you that if you want this promotion, you’ll have to sleep with him. Skeezy comments about your looks, getting groped at the water cooler…

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A Short Analysis of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Going’

Interesting Literature

A summary of a classic poem

‘The Going’ is one of Thomas Hardy’s great ‘Poems of 1912-13’, written in the wake of the death of his first wife, Emma, from whom Hardy had been estranged for a number of years prior to her death in 1912. Like many of Hardy’s other poems written at this time, it is a moving and powerful account of personal grief, and worthy of some close analysis.

The Going

Why did you give no hint that night
That quickly after the morrow’s dawn,
And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
You would close your term here, up and be gone
Where I could not follow
With wing of swallow
To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

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