Saturday, November 13, 2004

Baghdad Burning

From the Preznit's radio address

In the course of this operation, Iraqi troops have discovered new evidence of the enemy's brutality. An Iraqi general has described hostage slaughter houses, where terrorists have killed innocent victims and proudly recorded their barbaric crimes. The terrorists have shown once again the stakes of this struggle. They seek to spread fear and violence throughout Iraq, throughout the Broader Middle East and throughout the world, and they will fail. The terrorists will be defeated, Iraq will be free, and the world will be more secure. Our commitment to the success of democracy in Iraq is unshakable and we will prevail.

From Riverbend

People in Falloojeh are being murdered. The stories coming back are horrifying. People being shot in cold blood in the streets and being buried under tons of concrete and iron... where is the world? Bury Arafat and hurry up and pay attention to what's happening in Iraq.

They say the people have nothing to eat. No produce is going into the city and the water has been cut off for days and days. Do you know what it's like to have no clean water??? People are drinking contaminated water and coming down with diarrhoea and other diseases. There are corpses in the street because no one can risk leaving their home to bury people. Families are burying children and parents in the gardens of their homes. WHERE IS EVERYONE???


Things are deteriorating swiftly.

More on Falloojeh crisis here:

Aid agencies say Falluja "big disaster"...

Eyewitness: Smoke and Corpses...

Iraqis will never forgive this- never. It's outrageous- it's genocide and America, with the help and support of Allawi, is responsible. May whoever contributes to this see the sorrow, terror and misery of the people suffering in Falloojeh.


Just in case Texas Hold ’Em is too mentally taxing or confusing for you to follow, Fox Sports Net comes to the rescue on New Year’s Eve, airing the RPS Championships from Toronto.

RPS stands for, get ready, Rocks-Paper-Scissors. The champion gets $10,000, and what I’ll bet is one interesting-looking trophy.

Thanks to Jerry Brown at the East Valley Tribune (AZ)

Ticketed for "begging"

From today's Houston Chronicle. Looks like they cover this issue better than the Statesman.

AUSTIN - With a reputation as the bleeding heart capital of Texas, Austin's recent designation as one of the meanest cities for the homeless caught some by surprise.

The National Coalition for the Homeless named Austin the nation's 10th-meanest city, based on its adoption of laws it says criminalizes the condition of living on the streets.

The ranking is contained in a report released this week that cites Austin for a host of ordinances the advocacy group deems hostile to the homeless. The report also asserts the city has lately been harassing street people for selling the homeless newspaper, the Austin Advocate.

Ticketed for 'begging'

Take, for example, the $250 ticket for "begging in public" given to 81-year-old homeless veteran Robert Stevenson, one of the paper's vendors, the report said. The charge was dropped once it was discovered no such offense actually exists.

Dallas and San Antonio made the top 20 list and Texas was cited alongside California, Florida and Hawaii as one of the four meanest states for the homeless.

"Austin basically made the list because there has been sort of a pattern of police harassment, harassing homeless people in the community," said Donald Whitehead, spokesman for the Washington-based coalition.

Friday, November 12, 2004

friday elfgirl blogging

 Posted by Hello

Ralphie Valladares Memorial Game

thanks to Scott Shults for the scan. Posted by Hello

The LA Stars skate off againts the Outlaws in the Ralphie Valladares Memorial Game in LA. Saturday, November 13th. City of Industry Equestrian Center.

Calvello Cup Weekend

The Lonestar Rollergirls Calvello Cup Weekend.

Friday, Nov. 12th- Calvello Cup Championship Kick-off Party
@ Headhunters located at the corner of 8th and Red River St. Starts at 9PM. Fun games and prize giveaways for the rowdy ones!
Music by the Rockland Eagles, Solis Rocket Booster, Suzy Bravo, and the bad Rackets

Saturday, Nov. 13th - Punk Rock BBQ- TXRD Style!
From 4-8PM at Headhunter's Bar
Music by Hole Punch, DumDum and the Smarties, The Panties & Teabag. $4 covers free B-B-Q, free music and benefits the SIMS Music Foundation.

The final bout of the 2004 season pits the Rhinestone Cowgirls against the Holy Rollers for the coveted Calvello Cup.
At the new Thunderdome, 618 Tillery Street .$10 Advance, $12 at the Door. As always, children under 12 are free.

T-Birds vs. Landsharks

The Los Angeles T-Birds take on the Landsharks at Glendale Arena, Glendale, Arizona. Friday, November 12. 7pm.

Gotham Girls to Stage First Bout Tonight

The dangerous divas of Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD), New York's only all-female roller derby league, will face off in their first-ever exhibition bout on Friday, November 12, at Skate Key Skate and Dance Family Center in the "Boogie Down" Bronx, NY. Two teams of badass rollerbabes — the Manhattan Mayhem, in inmate orange, and the Brooklyn Bombshells, in sailorette stripes — will battle to the bloody end for the title of "Toughest Gang of Chicks on Skates."

In addition to three 15-minute periods of hot girl-on-girl action, the bout will feature live music by bands Black Moustache and Sex Slaves during game breaks, and a DJ to spin the crowd into a frenzy while the action's taking place. Also keep an eye open for beer specials, snack bar goodies, and GGRD merchandise and bout programs.

Skate Key is located at 220 E. 138th St. in the South Bronx, just one stop out of Manhattan on the 4/5 subway lines. From the 138th Street/Grand Concourse station, walk one block east on East 138th — Skate Key is across the street. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the bout starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Art From the Streets

Art From The Streets has its 12th annual show and sale of art created by homeless and recently homeless individuals! This is an amazing show -- one you must see to believe it! There is an incredible diversity of art, something for everyone's taste. And this year's collection is the most incredible yet! We have some new artists with amazing talent as well as some other familiar artists who continue to grow and hone their work!

Besides an amazing number of peices to choose from - AND all at LOW prices - the show provides an opportunity for homeless persons to directly sell their art work to the public, and earn income from sales. Art From The Streets is run by all volunteers, so nearly all the proceeds from sales go directly to the artists (Art From The Streets keeps only a small portion of the sales proceeds to help pay the costs of preparing the art.) Some of our artists depend on this income to help pay for housing. A few are hoping that this year's show will help them get off the streets and into an apartment.

What I really love about this show is the opportunity it provides to visit with homeless people in a completely different context. Here they are an artist first, not a person in need. The artists are always greatly moved and inspired by the support they receive from the general public. They appreciate the patrons, not only because they buy the art, but because they offer praise and encouragement for their work. You must come to see and feel the joy this brings ! --Joyce Pohlman

ART From the Streets Show and Sale
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless
500 E. 7th Street (7th and Neches)

Saturday Nov. 13th, Sunday Nov. 14th
Noon - 5 p.m

First come - First serve. Come early for the goooooooood stuff!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Falluja? Tiananmen Square?

 Posted by Hello
No, Westwood, California.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Pennsylvania Roller Derby

The Pennsylvania Roller Derby (PARD) is recruiting rough and tough women 18 and over in the area to join the all-female roller derby.

Women of all ages, shapes and sizes throughout the country are teaming up in roller derby leagues.

The PARD covers South Central Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.

Skating experience is not necessary, we will train. PARD is hoping for
at least 15 women by the end of November so the women can be trained on skates.

For more information or to join,
e-mail: parollergirls at yahoo dot com.

Fallujah Burning

Riverbend explains the term "civilians".

...there are only an 'estimated' 100,000 civilians in Falloojeh (and these are American estimations). So far, boys and men between the ages of 16 and 60 aren't being counted as 'civilians' in Falloojeh. They are being rounded up and taken away. And, *of course* the US forces aren't going to be doing the killing: The bombs being dropped on Falloojeh don't contain explosives, depleted uranium or anything harmful- they contain laughing gas- that would, of course, explain Rumsfeld's idiotic optimism about not killing civilians in Falloojeh. Also, being a 'civilian' is a relative thing in a country occupied by Americans. You're only a civilian if you're on their side. If you translate for them, or serve them food in the Green Zone, or wipe their floors- you're an innocent civilian. Everyone else is an insurgent, unless they can get a job as a 'civilian'.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"No good American will be left behind"

Marry an American


Texas Rollergirls 102 - Tent City Terrors 60

Texas Rollergirls 110 - Saddletramps 70

I hope that Sparky brought me back some nice swag.

Illegal to Be Homeless

The National Coalition for the Homeless has just released their "Illegal to Be Homeless" report.

Class discrimination is still legal and acceptable in the United States. There is no protected status for those who are economically oppressed or excluded, much less those who are homeless, although homeless people are very often the targets of discrimination. On the contrary, the growing body of laws passed by local governments criminalizes activities necessary to survival on the streets. Because people without homes often have no option but to perform necessary functions in public, they are vulnerable to judgment, harassment and arrest for committing "nuisance" violations in public. For these people, economic or housing status effectively becomes the cause of their incarceration under "quality of life" ordinances. Instead of providing affordable housing and livable wages, our communities choose to protect themselves from visible homelessness under the guise of assumed threats to public safety.

Criminalization is the process of legislating penalties for the performance of life-sustaining functions in public. It also refers to the selective enforcement of existing ordinances. Both practices are intended to harass and arrest homeless people. Laws against obstruction of sidewalks and public ways such as sitting or lying in public spaces are largely enforced against homeless people. This report focuses on both kinds of criminalization.

Police in many cities commonly conduct "sweeps" in downtown areas before large political, religious, athletic or entertainment events. Police routinely stop people they suspect are homeless, ask for identification and run warrant checks. There have been many reports of police urging homeless people to leave town or face arrest if they are stopped again.

The underlying assumption behind these actions is that homelessness is a "public safety" issue. Therefore, cities attempt to eliminate visible homelessness through enforcing "quality of life" ordinances, which seek to improve the "quality of life" of housed and higher-income individuals by removing from sight those people who look poor and homeless. Arrest and incarceration has become an expedited way of removing individuals from sight. Unfortunately, many people justify criminalization as a "benevolent" means of coercing individuals into treatment and other services that are not voluntarily available.

Desperately needed voluntary services are diverted into the correction's system, which in some communities have actually become part of the Continuum of Care, the explanation for the diversion is to provide an "alternative" to hard time. The growing tendency to "track" homeless people and their use of services is an insidious means of controlling the actual quantification of need. This tracking system also classifies some people as "service resistant" or not really homeless; the system excludes others as criminals.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is no state or local jurisdiction in this country where a person who works a minimum-wage job can afford housing at HUD’s Fair Market Rents. The continuing decline in real value of minimum wage income, as well as the dramatic reduction of income supports like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), without the subsequent availability of public housing units, creates and increases homelessness.

Forty-two percent (42%) of homeless people, nationwide, work. However, the income they earn is not sufficient for accessing safe, affordable and appropriate housing. In many cities the majority of available emergency housing or shelter costs at least $7.00 per night. Labor Pools become the trap for homeless people who must pay for their shelter and take whatever income-producing work is available. Making the transition from labor pool to permanent, living wage employment is the only way into permanent, reliable housing.

For women and families who live on TANF benefits (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) and must work for their monthly allowance, housing in the private market at 30% of income is impossible to find.

Access to health care for individuals experiencing homelessness is limited and difficult to obtain. Homeless people with chronic illnesses often do not continue receiving treatment or medication in jail. Incarceration also poses deeper health care dangers. With incarceration comes an increased risk of contracting chronic illnesses or serious health problems such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.

Because of the limited availability of mental health care facilities, many individuals with mental health problems live on the streets or are incarcerated in jails where they are unlikely to receive the treatment they need. Due to the lack of long-term residential mental health care services and the number of people with mental health problems living on the streets, police officers often assume the role of determining the need for treatment. Following the model Memphis has developed, some cities are training special units to specifically deal with people with mental health problems. These programs seem to be successful, but not without sufficient housing and supportive services.

In many cities residential treatment and recovery for addictions are not readily available. As a result, cities often jail users. The cost of jail time far exceeds the money spent for residential treatment with supportive housing.

Most communities in this country lack enough shelter beds for the number of homeless people. Many shelters charge between $5.00 and $10.00 per night for a bed or even a mat on the floor. An overwhelming majority of communities lack sufficient social services to meet the needs of all their low-income/homeless individuals and families. And the recent economic recession has caused major cutbacks in funding to non-profit and service organizations. Already shelters operate above capacity and some have had to close for lack of funds. Thousands of people across the country need shelter and cannot get it. According to the 2003 U.S. Conference of Mayors Report, requests for emergency shelter increased by 13% over the previous year, with requests from homeless families with children increasing by 15%. Of the number of people requesting emergency shelter, 30% of homeless people and 33% of homeless families were turned away.

Every year hundreds of people die from exposure or from illnesses associated with long-term exposure.

Criminalizing the life-sustaining acts of people experiencing homelessness without offering legal alternatives is supported by conservative think tanks like the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (CJLF),, and the Center for the Community Interest (CCI), formerly the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities, These think tanks apply the rules of private ownership to public space. These groups advocate anti-homeless policies under the guise of preserving the "common good."

The CJLF has especially targeted "begging" under the justification that whatever is good for private development is good for all urban residents. In addition, the CCI publishes anti-panhandling guides and defines itself as "a leading advocate for urban quality-of-life and safe-streets measures" that work "to get guns out of schools, gangs off of street corners, drug dealers out of housing projects, porn shops out of neighborhoods, aggressive panhandlers out of ATM lobbies and put mentally ill substance abusers into treatment and off the streets."

Bans on aggressive panhandling are viewed as a means of severely restricting panhandling without violating a person’s freedom of speech. Laws or ordinances that include the language "aggressive" panhandling or solicitation are common. Most aggressive panhandling laws restrict locations where panhandling is permitted and the way in which individuals ask for money or goods.

Public spaces like streets, sidewalks, and parks are by definition "common property" and may be used by anyone. Private property owners are often able to persuade city officials to limit the use of public space and establish Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs. These areas exclude people with no access to private property from public property. The CJLF and the CCI’s recommendations for regulating public space limits the use of common property and seeks to justify exclusion by calling homeless people criminals and threats to public safety.