Thursday, September 30, 2010
The article goes on to discuss programs that tried a different approach to addressing homelessness: putting the most chronically homeless people -- generally those who suffer from mental illness and/or substance-abuse issues -- into permanent housing. While it isn't a perfect program, it seems to work.
Yesterday, I heard a story on WBUR that said Boston's Pine Street Inn shut down one satellite unit and closed 100 beds in another. Homelessness in Boston during this time of economic difficulty is actually down. Why? Pine Street also runs more than 500 units of permanent housing and they are putting people into those units with an approach called Housing First. Instead of requiring that a person's substance-abuse or other issues be dealt with before they can be eligible for the housing, the opposite occurs. It turns out to be somewhat easier to deal with issues once the homelessness problem has been addressed.
Some people will be critical of the use of resources, but if an approach helps to solve a problem AND is less expensive, it seems like the way to go.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday was, however, a bit warmer than I'd hoped for, so I found myself doing more sweating than picking. October into November is really an optimal time weather-wise, giving me the opportunity to put my vast array of flannel shirts to work.
I did come home with cider, and if you've read this blog before you may know that I have a devout love for unpasteurized apple cider, which can only be purchased at the orchard of origin. My best spots are several small farms in Stow that sell the sweet, rich elixir deep into the season. I was recently telling someone about a cider mill in a small central Massachusetts town where jugs were sold from a cooler on the front porch, which also contained a jar for money.
Ah, the honor system. That really is a leftover from a time gone by.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Boston Police District A-7 Community Service Office and the East Boston Neighborhood Against Substance Abuse will be hosting a prescription drug take-back day this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boston Police District A-7 Police Station, 69 Paris Street in East Boston. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
Update (Sept. 25, 9:30 p.m.): Take-back day a success nationally. Article on The New York Times web site specifically mentions East Boston.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Photo courtesy Boston.com.
Monday, September 20, 2010
The national political discourse almost always teeters on the brink of absurdity. Mama Grizzlies...death panels...birthers...the victory mosque...the bailout stimulus. It all reminds me of the old TV show Green Acres, with lead character Oliver trying to function in a world where everyone around him is seemingly insane. (At least on the show part of the humor is that the bumpkins were smarter than they made out to be. In American political circles today? Not so much.)
Two recent stories caught my attention. First, the Fiscal Times noted that economists generally agree that the Bush tax cuts had no beneficial effect on the US economy. Of course, Republican members of Congress are trying right now to extend those cuts, which will only increase the deficit they claim to worry so much about. Second, a New Yorker column notes that most economists believe that the Obama stimulus package had several positive, though not exceptional, impacts on the national economy:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensityAlas, what are we to do? Well, there's Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity." In our distorted national dialogue, it takes a comedian to give us the straight truth.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Image courtesy EastBoston.com.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The media consortium sponsoring the debates is not a civic group, but is made up of The Boston Globe and several TV and radio stations. Yesterday Stein was kept out of a debate held on WBZ radio. The bias against third-party candidates in this country is what allows Democrats and Republicans to keep a lock on political power. Stein is a physician and an activist who lives in Lexington, and many of us would like her voice to be part of the discussion.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Two links I want to share today: first is President Obama's response at yesterday's press conference to a question about the Park51 project (starting at about 1:30). I think he nails it. Second is some remarks made by John Hodgman before he was a well-known comedian. As he introduces a literary reading two weeks after the attacks, Hodgman attempts to give some meaning to the world in the wake of 9/11.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Neapolitan pizza is cooked quickly -- a minute or so -- in very hot wood-burning ovens. They are 13 or 14 inches across, uncut and with spots of char all around. The dough is soft and chewy. The basic Pizza Margherita is topped with only tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella and basil.
The price? One can pay more at some restaurants, but the top pizzerias in Naples charge just three or four Euros. And when at DiMatteo, be sure to get the frittatini -- pasta and cheese deep friend with a center of meat and peas. Wow.
As good as it is, the food in Naples isn't what most amazes a visitor. It is the congested and crazy traffic on the narrow and seemingly patternless city streets. A feverish ballet of cars, scooters and pedestrians navigate the squares and streets with daring and skill. There appears to be few rules and fewer people to enforce them.
I've now been to Naples twice, and the city is both scary and exciting. It is the beating heart of southern Italy.