January 4, 2012

"If your average homeless person spent 30 to 40 dollars a month on a gym membership, they could shave and shower..."

"... keep warm for most of the day, maybe stay fit and like they'd have a good opportunity to look at jobs," said a law student, who chose to go homeless to make life more challenging. Turns out it made life better in some ways: "It saves time... You know, all the little ways we waste time in our homes, watching TV or cleaning. I feel like there's a substantial amount of time I'm saving by not having a place."

Consider the possibility that a gym membership is more useful than an apartment, and quite a bargain. If you join a 24-hour gym, you could be safe and warm indoors — getting fit and cleaning and grooming — during the dark hours, and you can get your sleep — as this law student did — in libraries during the day or evening.

It's interesting to think of strategies for living without a home. It's a predicament that is so bad for many people that it might seem a bit insensitive to imagine doing it in a positive way or to experiment with it as a temporary challenge. But let's overcome our reticence — if any — and talk about it. How would you carry out your own personal adventure in homelessness? Picture yourself doing it well. What would you do?

127 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

That would certainly explain the workout-to-talk ratio at my local Y.

Also the funk in the mens room.

You could also wear only swim trunks and rinse/dry them after a dip in the pool. And the chemicals would sanitize your skin.

Win-win-win.

-XC

Wally Kalbacken said...

I would buy a Mercedes "Sprinter" van, and outfit it with all the goodies. I have seen a few of these here in South Florida, and it seems the right combination of capacity and and maneuverability.

Scott M said...

said a law student, who chose to go homeless to make life more challenging.

He's a witch!

MnMark said...

I did this for a year when I was young. I converted an old van, adding blackout curtains for privacy, a second deep-cycle battery to run a computer, tv/vcr/lights from 12 volts, a sink with water tanks, and a shower made of plastic curtains that drained through a hole in the floor. Worked great.

I learned not to park in the same spot more than a couple times a week though. The police visited me the third night I was parked next to a particular park. I learned to park near apartment buildings or shopping centers where there are a lot of cars.

Worked great for a year but I found out it's really not a great place to be sick (I got the flu once) and after a while you feel lonely at night because everyone else is snug in a home and you are living in a van down by the river. A year was enough for me.

Tim said...

Most homeless people are mentally ill, and/or substance abusers.

If they weren't ill, or addicted, they wouldn't have the problems they have, including having permanent shelter.

ricpic said...

Personal adventure? I'd be dead in a week...alright, two weeks.

Irene said...

#OccupyYMCA

ricpic said...

MnMark - An old van is not homeless. The horror of homelessness is precisely that there is no private space, no space that is yours to retreat to.

Seeing Red said...

I feel like there's a substantial amount of time I'm saving by not having a place."


And still find time to get a job!


So the new spin will be being homeless is freeing?

Sigivald said...

My impression is that most of the "real" homeless (as opposed to panhandlers who pretend to be for easy money) are either deep substance abusers or mentally ill.

(So basically I'm elaborating on Tim's comment.)

Neither of which sets are going to be real welcome in gyms for any length of time; the drunks and junkies would rather buy their poison, and the nuts will annoy real long-term customers, be bad at keeping up a membership, and quite possibly not want to join in the first place.

Now, if "the average homeless person" was a lawyer or law student who Was Just Down On Their Luck, sure.

Problem is, they aren't. That's why they're chronically homeless.

EMD said...

said a law student, who chose to go homeless to make life more challenging.

What an ass.

garage mahal said...

How would you carry out your own personal adventure in homelessness? Picture yourself doing it well. What would you do?

I would island hop fishing aboard a 80ft Hatteras. And I would do it well!

Simon said...

I think that's very smart.

Tim's comment seems quite dubious. Do you have any solid basis for it?

TosaGuy said...

I lived in a concrete bunker in Iraq for a year...when I wasn't walking around the countryside carrying an M-4.

Some of us have a different definition of "personal challenge."

LilyBart said...

If the average homeless person had an extra $30-$40 a month...they'd spend it on whatever substance they like to abuse.

Do these silly people not really understand who the 'average' homeless person is? I guess not.

DADvocate said...

A similar experiment was done by Adam Shepard in 2008. He started out homeless and, within a year, had an apartment, a car, a job and $2,500 in savings.

I'm sure being intelligent and rational helps. I wonder how many of the homeless not by choice fit that criteria.

Revenant said...

If the average homeless person had an extra 30 or 40 dollars, he would buy another 30 or 40 dollars of cheap liquor and crack.

Jay said...

It's interesting to think of strategies for living without a home.

Welcome to Obama's America.

Where we've denigrated from thinking of strategies for finding a job (which is no longer possible given the real UE numbers) to thinking of ways to survive on $40 a month.

What a Presidency this has been!

Freeman Hunt said...

Simon, yes, there is basis for it.

People who are homeless frequently report health problems.
38% report alcohol use problems
26% report other drug use problems
39% report some form of mental health problems (20-25% meet criteria for serious mental illness)
66% report either substance use and/or mental health problems


People who are temporarily homeless can just be down on their luck, but people who are chronically homeless tend to have other problems.

garage mahal said...

You're either on crack or it's Obama's fault!

Freeman Hunt said...

There's also this:

Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from Department of Health and Human Services). These 200,000 individuals comprise more than the entire population of many U.S. cities, such as Hartford, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; Reno, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; Scottsdale, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Winston Salem, North Carolina; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Abilene, Texas or Topeka, Kansas.

It's very sad.

DADvocate said...

You're either on crack or it's Obama's fault!

It's Obama's fault, period. If you're homeless, it's Obama's fault. If you're homeless because you're on crack, it's Obama's fault you're on crack, ergo Obama's fault you're homeless.

Come on. Get it right!

Expat(ish) said...

@TosaGuy - Thanks for your service, of course, and great comment.

@DADvocate - And yet his book got 1% the attention that the whiney and difficult "Nickled" attention hound got. (Won't give her any Bing love by naming names.)

-XC

Alex said...

The problem is the 24-hour gym solution doesn't scale to the population. What if we all became homeless, I think the 24-hour gym would be a hell on earth. As usual an occupy-type with no brain.

TosaGuy said...

"You're either on crack or it's Obama's fault!"

Pretty much ;)

ken in sc said...

I would shave every day. Use any money I could scrounge to wash my clothes. Bathe at the Salvation Army. Spend a lot of time at Waffle House drinking coffee. Eat at the complementary breakfasts of local motels—rotating among them. Sleep at the library during the day.

Pogo said...

Simon,

Heather Mac Donald has had many articles in over the years about the origins of and solutions for homelessness.

"To Reach the Homeless" proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the homeless are not on the street because they can't find housing: desperate to give away subsidized apartments, the BID found almost no takers. Clearly, most vagrants prefer the streets to the responsibilities of a housed existence. Some may simply refuse to play by society's rules, like many hoboes of old; for others, speculates the respite center's director, housing may represent a scary reencounter with whatever psychological demons drove them to the streets in the first place.

But although the homeless may prefer the streets, that is not why they are still there. They are there because the advocates need them to be there. Should society finally decide to end street vagrancy, it could go far in that direction by facilitating commitment to mental hospitals (see "Let's Stop Being Nutty About the Mentally Ill," Summer 1997) and enforcing existing laws against street living. Though the average householder would surely welcome such a change, the average householder has no say in these matters; a vocal minority purporting to represent the interests of the homeless governs homeless policy. And those advocates, who range from single-issue advocacy groups to the ACLU to left-wing churches, fiercely resist any measure that would restrict the "rights" of the homeless to live on the streets.

They do so not just out of material interests—though many of them make a comfortable living off of homelessness—but out of a spiritual need. Homelessness confirms for the advocates their dearest beliefs: that American capitalism is corrupt and cruel, that the American Dream is a delusion, that American society deals harshly with its rebels and nonconformists. Remove the homeless from the streets, and Exhibit A in the advocates' brief against America also disappears. Even the outreach workers on the front lines, who would say that their fondest wish is to house the homeless, nevertheless reflexively take for granted a definition of autonomy suffused with left-wing romanticism and at odds with the best interests of the homeless.
"

ricpic said...

garbage said...

You're either on crack or it's Obama's fault!

garbage stumbles into the truth.

What fascinates about this and many other comments garbage makes is that he knows the position he's mocking is right even as he mocks it and yet can't make that leap to adulthood which would put him in the enemy camp. What a rebel.

Lem said...

Instead of going for some world record attempt this guy went after a really scary challenge.

So scary, some of us can only cite statistics, goggles and make it inot an Obama spam

Maybe that's not fair ;)

PatCA said...

"He goes on to say he decided to give himself a problem and make survival more difficult."

He could always join the Army, to support something bigger than himself (thanks, TosaGuy).

Kids are taught today that the homeless are just "different" and do not acknowledge they are sick in the several ways people mention.

Pogo said...

The law student is merely displaying ignorance of Reynolds’ Law:

Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.

People with traditional bourgeois values won't find homelessness difficult to navigate; that's why they're not homeless, or not for long.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"and it seems the right combination of capacity and and maneuverability."


And, they get almost twenty miles to the gallon! This milage is for the RV version that is made by Fleetwood. These things come w/ all of the living and sleeping stuff (plus a bump out) preinstalled.

But, some of the mechanical systems are complicated. For example, I had an issue w/ the electrical system. For the fix I needed to suss out that there are at least three different fuse panels scattered around the vehicle.

But, truth be told, I don't think I'd want to live in that thing for more than a couple weeks, it's fairly tight. And, you can buy bigger (but clunkier) RVs for the same dough. So, a homeless person would probably be better off w/ the larger (less sleek) machines.

bbkingfish said...

I notice that the "law student" in the article does not have a verifiable name. As frequently is said around here, "...hmmm."

I worked with the homeless for some time in a previous incarnation, and I wouldn't bother actually to read such drivel in its entirety. But I will observe that if "David" did not experience forceable rape, group gangbangs, or at least a couple of physical assaults in his nine weeks, then he enjoyed less than the typical homeless experience.

This post reminds me of the rich folks here in Pittsburgh who, about 10 years ago paid $1000/couple to party and stay overnight in our old county jail.

The next morning, most of them thought they had experience actual incarceration! Most of them were Republicans, though. Could that explain their obtuseness?

Pogo said...

Simon,
'Heather Mac Donald has had many articles in City Journal over the years about the origins of and solutions for homelessness.'

ken in sc said...

Oh, I forgot, at about 3 AM at Waffle House, you can pick-up a drunk girl and sleep at her house.

traditionalguy said...

Such adventure at age 19-21 is good for the soul.The early frontier settlers to the New World were of two types.

Most Scots-Irish would bring along the wife and children and build a home wherever they went next.

Many English/French/Germans adventurers were single men that went into Indian country to trade the Indians for profits from furs.

My point is that unless you plan to marry and move in with an Indian girl with a tribal home place, then this lifestyle will stop when the wife and children appear.

Alex said...

What if you're just tired of the rat race and want out? There is no shame in saying "enough" and stepping off society's treadmill.

Thorley Winston said...

Worked great for a year but I found out it's really not a great place to be sick (I got the flu once)

That was my first thought as well, voluntary homelessness seems at first glance to be a rational decision like not buying health insurance – until something goes wrong and you find yourself without a safety net.

Also if you’re living at the gym, where do you store your clothing (if you’re working, you usually can’t get away with wearing the same outfit every day)? Also there are certain barriers to things like getting a bank account, credit, or a job for people who don’t have an address.

Lem said...

The 2L, who called himself “David,” told Above the Law that he didn’t intend to disrespect or marginalize anybody facing a real problem.

How does choosing.. something.. a challenge.. marginalize others who make the same choices?

Do I detect a little condescension there on the part of this guy? maybe?

DADvocate said...

What if we all became homeless, I think the 24-hour gym would be a hell on earth.

The 24-hour gym business would flourish, many more would open to meet demand.

Actually, if a high percentage of members began using the gym 3+ times a week, they'd probably go under. These gyms depend on people joining and not using the club after the first 2-4 weeks.

With members using the club 3+ times a week, they'd have to enlarge, provide more equipment/facilities and increase staff. The gyms would increase fees dramatically or go under.

Coketown said...

Yeah. Paying $40 a month for a reliable place to have safety, warmth, and a shower is called rent. This arrogant little prick wasn't homeless. Also, the compulsive need to combat a feeling of unfulfillment by fabricating catastrophes and working through them is a mental disorder. It should be treated and not encouraged. Next he'll be burning down houses to save the people inside. What a hero.

garage mahal said...

What fascinates about this and many other comments garbage makes is that he knows the position he's mocking is right even as he mocks it and yet can't make that leap to adulthood which would put him in the enemy camp

Hitting the sauce a little early?

Pogo said...

There is an annual idiotic "cardboard city" here in town to "raise awareness" about homelessness.

For, I guess, all three of the schizophrenics that are actually homeless here. Well, they actually have housing, but somehow they're homeless.

Anyway, it's a big homeless party for the yoot activists, with delivered pizza and artsy cardboard boxes and sleeping bags and music and media interviews. Kum-effing-bayaaaaaah my lord.

Solves nothing and everyone feels better about themselves.

You know, the typical liberal virtues.

Lem said...

Solution for homelessness..

I guess as long as its not some communistic.. there is a word.. scheme where people are not free to be homeless.. if that's what they want.. then its probably..

I'm having a hard time imagining a world where a fundamental choice like how/where to live your life is solved and have it/make it a good thing.

Jeffrey said...

I was a homeless college student for about nine months. I wrote about the experience and here's the beginning of that essay (A Morning with Polly):

I only met her once, one summer a long time ago. I was in college at the time. A few months into the previous semester I had run out of money. I used the last of my savings to pay for tuition and then every two weeks I got a small check from my job as student assistant at the Zoology Library. So, from early January all the way through August, I roamed around campus at night, looking for a place to sleep.

After a month or two of this, I had figured out a few options. Sometimes my friend Adam would let me sleep on the floor of his apartment, the one above the bakery. Or I'd go to the lobby of one of the dormitories, find a couch and spread my books out. Then I'd lay down and fall asleep. The security guards thought I was one of the residents cramming for a big test. Most of the time, though, I'd either walk out to a Donutland along a highway or to the main lobby of the university hospital.


If you want to find out who Polly is, just click on the link above.

Pogo said...

I hate hate hate the phrase "raising awareness".

I want to shoot it in the head and drag its lifeless carcass through the streets.

Scott M said...

I want to shoot it in the head and drag its lifeless carcass through the streets.

You can do this, but you have to wear the red ribbon.

Lem said...

Its may sound uncharitable, callous or whatever.. but it is my opinion that most people who are said to be homeless are so by choice.

Dont worry, I'm not going to start a Newsletter ;)

MayBee said...

I would buy a Mercedes "Sprinter" van, and outfit it with all the goodies. I have seen a few of these here in South Florida, and it seems the right combination of capacity and and maneuverability.

Our local Mercedes dealership offers car washes, manicures, massage chairs, a cable tv lounge, water, soda, light snacks, wi-fi, and a very nice restroom facility. All free.

Keeping your Sprinter and giving up your more expensive rent would indeed be a wise choice around here.

Lem said...

I thought I had couched that censored opinion pretty good..

But.. I accept your condemnation ;)

Mark O said...

Everyone knows you can sleep in your car but you can't drive your house.

nervous and tired said...

I went to UCB for undergrad during the late 80s to early 90s. There were a TON of homeless people that I had to wade through every day on the way to class. That scared the CRAP out of me, so I have thought about this one a lot.

I came up with the same idea and kept my Bally's gym membership up. I still had it as of last month when they were bought out by LA fitness in SoCal.

I'm probably the oldest living continuous member.

I did come in handy once when my then-roommate and I were having a fight about my long showers and how much they cost. I showered at Bally's every day for a month. (It changed the water bill by $2 BTW.)

When I was a teen my strategy was to spend my days on the beach because I'd happily spend my days there anyway. The library is an obvious call, but there's usually one really smelly homeless guy sleeping there anyway. (But Hey! I wouldn't be smelly because I'd have a gym membership.)

When I was 8, my strategy was to be a nun if I absolutely had to. I don't think they allow that. It's like the army or moving to Canada, you have to join up when you still have some good years to put in before you avail yourself of the social services.

Sharc said...

So the new spin will be being homeless is freeing.

Or at the YMCA, the new free will be being homeless is spinning.

n.n said...

Keep the home, self-moderate your behavior, and donate your excess capital for charitable purposes.

There is the challenge.

Can the student achieve his goal without some form of implicit or explicit coercion? Apparently, a large minority of Americans cannot.

Sharc said...

People with traditional bourgeois values won't find homelessness difficult to navigate; that's why they're not homeless, or not for long.

This.

Methadras said...

I'd do the same thing if I had to actually.

n.n said...

Oh, and curb your dreams of physical, material, and ego instant gratification. They are the principal cause of progressive corruption of individuals and society.

The premise for a free society, where individuals enjoy optimal liberty, is the capacity to self-moderate behavior. The alternative is coercion to form through totalitarian policies.

A large minority of Americans seem prepared and even embrace the fate of most people throughout this world... to be subjects of individuals with assumed superior dignity. Supposedly, that deferential attitude was rejected with enlightenment.

edutcher said...

When I took care of my mother and aunt, I found I could have a car or a place to live. Living in a car didn't seem like an option.

Rabel said...

Mel Brooks tried this in "Life Stinks." It was a little bit funnier.

More interesting to me is that the full interview in the Yeshiva Observer seems to have been edited by a grammar nazi.
For example: "people that[sic]"
But an inconsistent grammar nazi as they missed several much more worser errers.

Grammar nazi's at Yeshiva University. I probably shouldn't say that.

BJM said...

@Alex

What if you're just tired of the rat race and want out? There is no shame in saying "enough" and stepping off society's treadmill.

That's not what this guy is doing, he never joined the rat race, he's just gaming the system.

Plenty of folks are stepping off the treadmill..they're fleeing failed blue states such as NY and California in droves.

We plan to do the same in early 2013, enough is enough.

Vanderluen has an excellent essay up today about the hive vs the town.

Blue@9 said...

said a law student, who chose to go homeless to make life more challenging.

What an ass.


Why? The kid is in law school. He's saving money and getting an interesting experience out of it. He's not complaining or sponging off anyone, so why is he an ass?

I've always wondered if this kind of living was feasible here. In Korea they have bathhouses that stay open 24 hrs. A lot of young working men rarely go home--they work all day, get plastered at the bar, and then go to the bathhouse to sober up and nap. Shower, change, and back to work the next morning.

Coketown said...

They should call this type of behavior McCandless Syndrome. You have a young, affluent, self-absorbed jerk who finds his affluent, self-absorbed lifestyle unfulfilling, so decides to upset his daily routine by repudiating his affluence and manufacturing a challenge to overcome--but in the back of his mind he a) doesn't appreciate the severity of risk involved and b) depends on having a fall-back contingency plan in case this little adventure gets a little too real.

McCandless starved to death in the wilderness. "David" is just insufferable.

Franklin said...

Kid sounds like a jerk - and look, he's going to be an NYC lawyer. Perfect fit.

I'd bet that, as Freeman says, there are many, many homeless who suffer from debilitating mental illness.

My wife was actually spit at by a homeless man this morning on the 1 train platform in NYC. It's hard to get pissed off when the guy is so obviously crazy.

Homelessness is going to be a problem for the human race until we have Neal Stephenson-esque matter creators, and probably will still be a problem even after that, and I don't think this genius "raising awareness" is going to change that.

dbp said...

"People with traditional bourgeois values won't find homelessness difficult to navigate; that's why they're not homeless, or not for long."

Pogo's wise comment makes me think that he would enjoy, or has already enjoyed Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

Rockeye said...

I tried the same thing, though only for two months. Kind of like going camping instead of backpacking I suppose. I slept in my car (a Geo Metro 2dr) and did my showering at the university gym. I was working full-time (nurse in a nursing home) and was taking a semester away from school. I echo the sentiment that I seemed to have lots more time. No escaping the alarm clock when you're sleeping in the reclined front seat of a Metro with a sleeping bag over your head in a truck stop parking lot-the sun has no mercy. As I said, not quite homeless but interesting experiment anyway. Somewhat liberating in a very lonely sort of way.

Levi Starks said...

I think it's a perfectly fabulous idea. In fact if I weren't living in a very nice paid for home in the suburbs, and working a well compensated 40 hour a week job, I think I might give it a try.
Of course the local school district would miss the roughly $60 a week I pay in real-estate tax.

dbp said...

It seems at first blush like an interesting challenge but on further reflection, we know it can't be too hard to live on the streets. If most homeless people are deranged in some way and they can survive, then how hard could it be for a mentally healthy person to replicate their success?

As for me, I would not bother joining a gym, my office has a shower, microwave, refridgerator and probably a few decent out of the way places to sleep. Restaurants, laundromats and grocery stores are distant, but walkable. Plus there is a cafeteria that serves breakfast and lunch, though it is vastly over priced. I don't use hardly any of the space in my file cabinets and could store my clothes in there.

Pogo said...

@dbp

I look forward to reading the book.

John Lynch said...

No, because the gym and the library would throw you out for living there rent-free.

The law student pulled it off because they looked middle class and could play the part.

Dan in Philly said...

If all the homeless did it, it would cease to be offered.

Scott M said...

The law student pulled it off because they looked middle class and could play the part.

Wouldn't the people at the gym and library be able to easily spot a schizophrenic?

Tim said...

Simon said...

"...
Tim's comment seems quite dubious. Do you have any solid basis for it?


...quite dubious?

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1992-09165-001

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/162/3/314.short

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213402003824

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.76.5.519

There are numerous studies on this; suffice to say, the homeless have many contributory problems beyond simple poverty.

Pogo said...

Our library has devolved into the LOUD MULTICULTURAL CENTER WITH LOTS OF YELLING AND SOMETIMES A FIGHT.

The schizophrenics left for quieter areas, like their public housing.

But remember, they're really homeless, at least for statistical purposes.

John Lynch said...

Scott M-

I worked at a library. Because I was a man I got to clear out the homeless schizophrenics at the end of the night.

So yeah, sleeping at libraries is bullshit.

bagoh20 said...

In my 20s I was homeless for a short while. I stayed with friends or slept in my car. I washed up in McDonald's bathrooms and spent a lot of time at the beach during the day, and at night I'd be in restaurants milking a small meal as long as possible.

I mostly hated it, but I know homeless people who I've known for decades that have always been homeless, and do it by choice. By that, I mean I've given them jobs, and some are very skilled. Even when they had money they wouldn't think of spending it on rent, and they usually wouldn't work much either, having "better" things to do with their time.

I think, that for at least half the homeless here in L.A. it's voluntary, in that they simply decide that the sacrifices for having a home are not worth it to them. A lot of this is due to drugs and alcohol being a priority, but not all it by any means.

A huge remainder are simply mentally incapable of doing it. I think very few are able and willing to work, but just can't find a job or make ends meet. I rarely meet homeless people like that. I know many and can't think of a single one like that who stayed homeless for long.

Scott M said...

So yeah, sleeping at libraries is bullshit.

Well, yeah, but I meant it more in the sense that The law student pulled it off because they looked middle class and could play the part.

John Lynch said...

bagoh 20-

The real telling fact is that most homeless people are men. Men will choose lifestyles that women will never contemplate.

I've worked with people in restaurants who clearly lived the lives they'd chosen. Drugs, sketchy "friends", chaotic family arrangements, and so on. It's all very exciting, I guess.

I've met Mexican immigrants who worked like dogs, lived with 3 other men in a one room apartment, and sent all the money home to support their families. They not only were not homeless but were contributing.

My life experience is that the values that people follow in their lives are ultimately what matter in determining their success. It isn't how much a job pays so much as what people do with it. People in low-wage jobs feel that they are low status and resent it. That, not the money, seems to me to be the real problem.

Robert Cook said...

"Welcome to Obama's America.

"Where we've denigrated
(sic) from thinking of strategies for finding a job (which is no longer possible given the real UE numbers) to thinking of ways to survive on $40 a month.

"What a Presidency this has been!"


Obama certainly hasn't helped matters, and I am definitely no fan of his--he's as much a mass murderer and war criminal and tool of the wealthy special interests as his predecessor--but this is hardly Obama's doing. This is the end result of years--decades--of economic policies crafted in Washington to serve the interests of Wall Street and the big corporations. As you prefer to ignore, the actual financial collapse happened while Bush was in office...but it can't even really be said to be Bush's fault...solely. It's the fault of all in Washington in both parties who have aided and abetted the financial interests over the past 30 years in their impoverishment of the American public in order to enrich themselves.

jeff said...

Who the homeless are depends entirely on who the president is. If the president is a Republican, the homeless population consists entirely of formerly working men and women, with children who, thru no fault of their own, find themselves homeless. Really due to the heartless policies of the Republican president. In fact, the homeless are just like you and me, as we are only not homeless due to dumb luck on our part. Now if the president is a Democrat then the homeless consist entirely of the drug addicted and or crazy people of which there really isnt, (despite much outreach) much that can be done. So the gym membership thing will only become a viable option should a Republican take the White House again. (there is a possibility I may be wrong about all this, I am basing it only on what I have seen in the media the past 30 years. AFAIK, homelessness didn't exist until Reagan.)

Alex said...

Robert Cook - yeah we can stick our head in the sand and pretend it's not a dangerous world. North Korea isn't threatening South Korea & Japan with nuclear annihilation. Iran isn't developing nukes to threaten Israel or shut down the straits of Harmuz.

If Iran shuts down the straits, what would your response be as POTUS?

DADvocate said...

Cookie - I find myself frighteningly agreeing with you. It's good to note the huge increase in deficits when the Democraps took over Congress.

Remember their 100 day plan? Bwaahahahahah.

It's also important to note how many members of Congress use insider trading to get rich(er). Pelosi an expert at it. It's a legitimate question as to whether or not either party really gives a crap about the average American, other than to sucker them for votes.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Cook,

The majority of the wealth my employees produce through my corporation is siphoned off to the government in taxes. The majority of that money goes to entitlements and government employee benefits.

It's not the corporations sucking people - it's one group of citizens living off of the productivity of the net producing group. If not for corporations, they would all need a handout.

Criticizing corporations for being greedy is like bitching about lions being carnivores. It's their nature and what makes them survivors.

The government takes much more from us all, and it's not even competing with anyone, otherwise you could choose to not support it, like you can corporations. And for all it takes, it doesn't produce 1 net job or any net wealth.

You need to redirect you animus where it's deserved.

Mary Martha said...

A friend lived in his pick up truck for 6 years in Anchorage Alaska while he had a good job as a computer developer. He never considered himself 'homeless'.

Initially he wanted to save some money and figured he would spend a summer camping... then he just didn't stop for 6 years.

He had a storage unit (to store seasonal clothes etc), a membership to the Y (shower), a PO box and a few different places he would regularly park his truck.

He filled his time with lots of volunteer work. In particular he volunteered with a homeless shelter and donated money to them. I am willing to bet they had no idea that he himself would be considered by many people 'homeless'.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

First....move someplace warm.

Robert Cook said...

"If Iran shuts down the straits, what would your response be as POTUS?"

I wouldn't threaten them in the first place by promising to put an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Make no mistake: Iran does not want a war with us...we want war with them. They are simply acting as any sovereign nation would do and stating that they will react to undue provocation.

Don said...

I'd look up Ricky from Trailer Park Boys and get a lesson on Living in a Car 101.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjbgBYSWexY

dbp said...

How come the Iranians are allowed to feel insecure from the perfectly legal presence of a USN carrier in international waters, but we are crazy to be troubled by the gross violations of the non-proliferation treaty which the Iranians are a party to?

Robert Cook said...

"Criticizing corporations for being greedy is like bitching about lions being carnivores. It's their nature and what makes them survivors."

Or, as the movie THE CORPORATION argued, if judged according to psychiatric standards of behavior, corporations must be seen as sociopathic.

I'm not bitching about corporations being greedy...as you correctly point out, it's their nature. I'm bitching that the agents of the corporations and of Wall Street--the lobbyists--and the economics of political campaigns, requiring constant huge infustions of cash, which only the wealthy can provide--have brought about a Washington that does not serve the national interest, the interests of we, the people, but a Washington in thrall to the financial interests. We are not the constituents of "our" (sic) elected "representatives" (sic); the great financial interests are Washington's consitutents. Rhetoric to the contrary is mere theater.

Obviously, our economic system can be and has been a dynamic engine of wealth creation, but it is Washington's job to manage the various competing interests in our country such that everyone is reasonably well-served and no one has undue advantage. Laws that were created after the Great Depression served for decades to prevent predation by the financial interests on the rest of us, and during that time, both our jobs-creating businesses and our working citizens prospered. But as Washington has worked to give greater advantage to the wealthy institutions over the last few decades, we have seen jobs disappear overseas, wages stagnate, unions decimated, and the great lawbreakers in corner offices go unpunished even as they continue to reap the rewards of their thieving and fraud.

In short, I fault the zookeepers for allowing the predator animals to roam unimpeded through the areas where prey animals live, unprotected.

Wally Kalbacken said...

John Lynch said...
bagoh 20-

The real telling fact is that most homeless people are men. Men will choose lifestyles that women will never contemplate.


Yeah, but those few women who dare to go homeless, they're extra special.

Crazier than shithouse rats, every one.

Robert Cook said...

'How come the Iranians are allowed to feel insecure from the perfectly legal presence of a USN carrier in international waters, but we are crazy to be troubled by the gross violations of the non-proliferation treaty which the Iranians are a party to?"

How do you know they're violating the non-proliferation treaty? And, don't be mistaken: our putting an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf is intended as a provocative gesture to Iran. How do you think Washington would have reacted if, during the height of the Cold War, the Soviets had placed military naval vessels off the coasts of our eastern and western seaboards? How do you think they would react now--if Iran had a mighty navy--if Iran placed an aircraft carrier off the coast near New York or D.C.?

Alex said...

Make no mistake: Iran does not want a war with us...we want war with them. They are simply acting as any sovereign nation would do and stating that they will react to undue provocation.

You are insane.

kiruwa said...

Make no mistake: Iran does not want a war with us...we want war with them. They are simply acting as any sovereign nation would do and stating that they will react to undue provocation.

There's this rather delightful delusion going around the extreme-right and the moderate-left that Iran is about the same as any other random country with a large Muslim population. This can only come from a position of complete ignorance of the particularly bizarre bit of apocalyptic insanity that the rulers of the country are obsessed with.

The problem is not that they are Islamic, they'd be just as dangerous and nutty if they were radical Greek pagans (who happened to believe that the point of ruling a country was to bring about the end times).

John Lynch said...

Radicals have an amazing ability to ignore contrary facts.

There are many, many oil-producing and Islamic nations who aren't threatening to attack anyone. For example, Indonesia has a strait through which a large number of tankers travel, a long colonial history of exploitation, a brutal occupation during World War II, and a modern history of Cold War US meddling (including the mass murder of Indonesian Communists.) Yet, the straits of Malacca are open.

Denying agency for foreign leaders simply perpetuates the myth that the West dominates the world. We don't.

The real agenda of radical critics of US foreign policy is to support anyone who resists US imperialism, no matter who or when. Whatever we do is wrong, whatever Iran (or Vietnam, or China, or the USSR) does is right.

Ralph L said...

lawbreakers in corner offices go unpunished even as they continue to reap the rewards of their thieving and fraud
They still can't force you to buy their goods and services--only the government you love can do that. They steal mostly from their own stockholders.

LarsPorsena said...

"...How do you think Washington would have reacted if, during the height of the Cold War, the Soviets had placed military naval vessels off the coasts of our eastern and western seaboards? ..."

They Rus did this with regularity from small 'trawlers' (actually electornic intelligence platforms) to ballistic missle subs.

It's called freedom of the seas and it cuts both ways.

HT said...

"Picture yourself doing it well."

Are you quite serious?

Tom Scott said...

At times Seattle is loonier than Madison. Several years ago (2005) tent cities for the homeless became an issue in Seattle. A church decided to ameliorate the problem by allowing the homeless to camp on church property. The feeling sorry for their hungry arranged for a bakery to send out their day-old pastry. The residents of tent city soon began to gain weight so the congregation collected $2,800 to buy health club memberships.
Read about it here. http://www.soundpolitics.com/archives/004152.html

bagoh20 said...

Robert Cook said:

"...constant huge infustions of cash, which only the wealthy can provide--have brought about a Washington that does not serve the national interest, the interests of we, the people,..."

Since the depression. the government has overwhelmingly favored the poor, minorities, and left wing special interests like environmentalism, victimism and unions. That's where the money has gone - not to corporations building products and services that people want. They make their own money just fine without the government.

It's the unproductive that have been getting the lions share of other peoples' money, since ALL their money is other peoples' money taken by force.

Corporations make all their own money and all the money the unproductive get as well, so a little thanks would be nice. Nearly every pay check in America comes from a corporation with the unproductives' ill gotten share conveniently taken out first. That means taken from the ones who earned it and used by the lawmakers to buy friends who didn't earn it,and don't contribute.

Sure the legislators do the bidding of special interests, but there is more influence from the unproductive than the productives' lobbies, and it should be the opposite if you want the greatest benefit for he greatest number.

bagoh20 said...

1) Iran proceeds to develop nuclear weapons, while openly threatening with psychopathic passion to annihilate an ally (Israel).

2) Other nations try to dissuade this through a punishing embargo.

3) The Iranians do their own punishing embargo by closing the straight.

4) Other nations bomb the Iranians to open the straight.

5) Straight gets opened and we are back to step 2.

This will inevitability lead to Israel getting nuked.

Knowing the Iranians in charge, Is there any other possible outcome?

Only one: The U.S. and Israel destroy the regime and all it's nuclear capability. Kill as many of the leadership as possible. This IMHO is the least deadly course of action, and the most just.

wildswan said...

It seems like some people picture "homeless on a good income" (use your Mercedes van), some "homeless while at college" (sleep in the library, shower at the gymn), some people picture "suddenly homeless with nothing and making it back to something". I think what I would do is go to the Occupy Santa Monica camp and pose as a fired WalMart worker.

Robert Cook said...

"They still can't force you to buy their goods and services--only the government you love can do that. They steal mostly from their own stockholders."

Dude, the no-strings-attached money given to the banks is your money and mine. The money given to the Pentagon and the Spy agencies and arms manufacturers to build death technology is yours and mine. When they say the can't afford to provide for Medicare or Social Security or other "entitlements" or they can't afford to repair crumbling infrastructure what they mean is they won't allocate your money and mine to those things, as they are allocating to enriching thieves and murderers.

tim said...

Not exactly the same thing but I just happened to tel my wife today that I would like to do something with our son when he is older like get dropped of in a very remote part of Alaska for several weeks.

Robert Cook said...

"'Make no mistake: Iran does not want a war with us...we want war with them. They are simply acting as any sovereign nation would do and stating that they will react to undue provocation.'"

"You are insane."

Not at all...I am quite rational. You are simply a credulous dupe who uncritically believes the propaganda we are fed by those in our government and out of it who wish to have a war with Iran that Iran's government is somehow uniquely evil and irrational and is willing (or even desire) to sacrifice their country and all the people in it to some sort of crazed Islamist suicidal dream of martyrdom.

But then, when have we ever warred against a nation that we did not demonize similarly?

KenK said...

Sounds like something Kramer on Seinfeld would do.

Carol said...

AFAIK, homelessness didn't exist until Reagan.)

Very true. In the Seventies, they were called "street people," glorified hitchhikers out to see the country.

It was all quite charming.

wildswan said...

I have some friends who are organizing an Occupy Tuscany. We staying till our goals are met.

mojomurphy said...

I find this kind of heartening. I'm in my 50s, I lost everything* and now I have a subsistance job and a older compact car. Kids have aged out into their own lives and I am one flu or injury (already have two joint replacements due to accident years ago) away from homelessness and I've just kind of figured if it came down to it I'd kill myself rather than be homeless. This makes me feel like I could survive it.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, the radical critique. People don't agree with me-- because they're brainwashed! It's, it's, the propaganda! The media! Corporations and their advertising create manufactured consent!

Come on. No, it's simply a way to explain why radicals, who supposedly represent "the people," can't win elections where real people vote.

BJM said...

@Cook

that Iran's government is somehow uniquely evil and irrational and is willing (or even desire) to sacrifice their country and all the people in it to some sort of crazed Islamist suicidal dream of martyrdom.

Dude, Iran did that in 1979...btw-what part of a national policy that sentences women to death by stoning for adultry is rational?

BT said...

Hang in there Mojo

J said...

[Not the crazy J]

If you kill a few people and do some whacky things while doing so, then you can spend your life in a prison or mental facility. You will get meals, medical care, access to books, etc.

That's warped and one reason I never want to see the death penalty totally abolished.

Lawler Walken said...

I'd make a list of everyone I know, starting with family --fortunately I have a ton of relatives, cousins galore especially who I haven't even seen in years. And adding in friends, acquaintances, former neighbors, everyone I can think of that would be good for at least a night or two and a couple of bucks as they push me out the door when it becomes obvious that I've got no home on my own. And then when I've worked through all those people, I'll move on to perfect strangers, people who possibly could be persuaded to let me sleep in the garage or in the basement. I know! Ann and Meade, I'll go to their house and ask to crash for a couple of days. I'l remind them of this blog post and how Althouse encouraged me to go live the dream of homelessness and I found it just amazingly inspirational and so here I am, living proof of how influential this blog truly is.

They'd have to let me in. They're really nice people. Right?

Chip Ahoy said...

Wai wai wai waitaminit, wait, wait, WAIT, FULL STOP !

Are you trying to tell me, ken in sc back there @1:07, that local hotels have complimentary breakfasts?

Robert Cook said...

"Dude, Iran did that in 1979..."

Did what? Some students and militant Islamists took over our embassy and held personell hostage. They didn't kill anyone and they did it to protest what they perceived as intrusive American interference in their own internal affairs and the Iranian revolution after the ouster of the hated Shah. How does this prove Iran is "uniquely evil and irrational?"

"btw-what part of a national policy that sentences women to death by stoning for adultry is rational?"

BTW, what part of trying 14 year old as adults and sentencing them to life sentences without parole to adult prisons is rational? What part of putting people in prison for years for smoking plants is rational? What part of arresting adults for participating in consensual paid sexual transactions is rational?

Every culture has their traditions which will seem--and may actually be (see examples above)--irrational to those outside the culture, but what is it about Iran's present or past behavior that demonstrates they are uniquely evil or uniquely irrational, to the point where they would knowingly commit national suicide?

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...
When they say the can't afford to provide for Medicare or Social Security or other "entitlements" or they can't afford to repair crumbling infrastructure what they mean is they won't allocate your money and mine to those things, as they are allocating to enriching thieves and murderers


Um, the majority of the federal budget goes to Social Security and Medicare.

That is almost a trillion a year.

Trillion. Per year. clown.

Further, "repairing the (non-existent) crumbling infratructure" is a state function.
Even so, the federal government spends $10s of billions a year on transportation and all the 50 states combined spend hundreds of billions a year.

One wonders how gullible, ignorant, and frankly stupid one has to be to believe this insane drivel.

Rusty said...

Having spent the holidays in the OC Cali area this year I idly asked where all the homeless people went.

They are usually around every freeway overpass and nook and cranny of every public park.

"San Diego" I was told. I doesn't get so cold at night, there.

Robert Cook said...

"Um, the majority of the federal budget goes to Social Security and Medicare."

What budget figures are you looking at? Here are figures I found for fiscal year 2010:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File:U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2007.png

Combined spending on Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security makes up a large part of the budget, yes, but it is less than half, so it is not "a majority."

Moreover, we cannot know how accurate the data is for military and intelligence spending, (the latter is not represented on the pie chart, so we must wonder: is it included with "discretionary"?), as both the military and intelligence agencies maintain "black budgets," that is, secret budgets that are kept secret from US Taxpayers and Congress, but that are estimated to total additional billions of dollars that are completely unaccounted for.

Even the portion of spending that is revealed as defense expenditures should be slashed at least in half; we spend as nearly much per year on defense as all the other nations on the earth combined:

http://www.wattscookinblog.com/2010/12/u-s-military-budget-exceeds-all-other-countries-combined-is-it-any-wonder-we-are-the-worlds-1-warmonger/

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/u-s-military-spending-v-the-rest-of-the-world/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

And what has all this money wasted on war spending got us: a failed war in Iraq and a failing war in Afghanistan, neither of which should have been initiated. All those expensive deaths we have paid for could have gone toward spending programs domestically that could help American citizens.

Every dollar spent in the last ten years on our killing in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan and Libya, etc. etc.) is a dollar stolen from the American taxpayers.

You appear to refute one of my statements by asserting that infrastructure spending is a state function, but you then concede that federal spending is also allocated to infrastructure construction and repair. So, it seems it is not merely a state function after all.

Andrea said...

I hate hate hate the phrase "raising awareness".

I want to shoot it in the head and drag its lifeless carcass through the streets.


Quote of the year.

Baronger said...

Seems more like optional living arangement then homeless.

You could be more gypsy, and transient. As a libertarian, I applaud his desire to try an alternate lifestyle. Why does society have to force everyone into the same box.

I would like others add a van, to the mix. My personal favorite would be the Roadtrek, camping van.

Add a UPS, or similar store and bang you have a mailing address.

Cell phone, and you have a phone number.

Tarzan said...

This post reminds me of the rich folks here in Pittsburgh who, about 10 years ago paid $1000/couple to party and stay overnight in our old county jail.

The next morning, most of them thought they had experience actual incarceration! Most of them were Republicans, though. Could that explain their obtuseness?


Bottom line, 'rich rethuglicans' played along nicely with the offer and donated some big money in the process.

What did the folks on the left do?

Sneer and complain, of course!

kiruwa said...

...what is it about Iran's present or past behavior that demonstrates they are uniquely evil or uniquely irrational, to the point where they would knowingly commit national suicide?

Mostly because of what they say. That's all. I'm not even talking about their aggressive posturing around Israel. The constant blathering about the imminent return of the 12th Imam in Ahmadinejad's public announcements should be mandatory reading in this sort of debate. Please read them, get a decent translation or learn a bit of the language.

It is very possible to have a corrupt, anti-human-rights, hopelessly cruel theocratic state, and still not be as big of a problem as a perfectly reasonable democracy... whose leadership is taking cues from Saturday morning cartoon villains.

kiruwa said...

And what has all this money wasted on war spending got us: a failed war in Iraq and a failing war in Afghanistan, neither of which should have been initiated. All those expensive deaths we have paid for could have gone toward spending programs domestically that could help American citizens.

I'm not actually going to argue about the "should" bit above. That's a rather complicated moral question, basically boiling down to a sortof twisted Nationalism: "Our unemployment programs are more important than their lives". That is more or less the view of right-wingers such as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

I guess I'm more curious why you're calling Iraq a failed war. Sure it was messier and more expensive than planned, but they do seem to have a parliamentary republic functioning as inefficiently as any other government of that type.

Jay said...

Combined spending on Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security makes up a large part of the budget, yes, but it is less than half, so it is not "a majority."

Your ignorance is sad.

Here is a link to help you.

Social Security: 20%
Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP: 21%
"Safety Net" :14%

That is a majority.

Jay said...

Every dollar spent in the last ten years on our killing in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan and Libya, etc. etc.) is a dollar stolen from the American taxpayers.

Every dollar spent on the Department of Education, the EPA, the Department of Commerce, HHS, and Department of Energy is stolen from the taxpayers.

You appear to refute one of my statements by asserting that infrastructure spending is a state function,

It is. Just like unemployment benefits.

but you then concede that federal spending is also allocated to infrastructure construction and repair. So, it seems it is not merely a state function after all.

Um, no, stupid. The federal government over steps their bounds.

But that doesn't mean that hundreds of billions aren't spent yearly.

Which of course refutes your idiotic "point"

Guyslaptop said...

I am currently in this situation and not by choice. I guess my question would be how to get away with sleeping in the gym. As soon as I became homeless I had 60 bucks to my name. Working at dominos part time doesnt allow for bills to get paid, but it can afford you a, if your lucky enough a 24 hour gym membership. working at dominos I know I will be able to afford it. Its cold here in maryland but im worried about falling asleep in the gym. Even though no one is here. Im worried to lose my membership or get arrested.It does give you a lot of spare time and the will to fill in the gaps. I plan on getting a second job and getting food stamps till I get on my feet, but if this gym thing doesn't work out or it doesn't warm up I'm skrewed. So please give me details on what I should do to keep my membership and or keep my freedom. which by the way you feel like you got a lot of it being homeless although you are limited in choices. It still feels more freeimg. I got a bag of clothes and purchased a towel, body wash, razors, tooth brush and tooth paste. I currently have no money, but I do have a gym membership and a drive to make a chang ein my life. Im not saying kick your kids out quit your job things like that. Cause to be honest there are other ways for your kids and what not. I wish things would of worked out but it seemed evwry time I had help somwthing would go wrong. This way Im in control. Every decision is mine alone. No one to tell me what I should do. Its me making the decision with the only pressure is to survive, but for some reason I would take that any day over feeling like I've failed somwone or made them dissapointed. Also, at this point things can only get better. Unless I loae my job, membership or thrown in jail. Thats it. I only got three things that are a big worry. Everything else is minor, and if I get thrown in jail at least Ill have a warm bed a toilwt and warm food. Dont sound so bad, but I like my freedom. so....

James Nelson said...

Im homeless in Minnesota at the moment on probation and the probation department is a big contributing factor of my losing public housing telling the HRA people of my felony conviction while on public housing.Now what the Hell kinda sh@t is that? Felony terrorists threats because of an over exaggerated argument well thanks America thanks for nothin now i might be able to violate probation now seeing Im homeless and now unemployed of lack of housing . Then the probation people just laugh at me and expect me to pay them 6,890 dollars in court costs and legal fees What the Hell is happening with this country? Sent from my android up at the homeless camp spot in duluth Minnesota....