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Homeless freelance writer shocked at the venomous comments left on his story

Vegas, more than any American city, seems to really hate their homeless. We've run stories here on the Newswire of Vegas cops arresting people for feeding the homeless, and of the massive homeless population that secretly lives in the tunnels under Vegas--and the priority those underground dwellers place on appearing to not be homeless. Maybe it's because a town that runs on gambling sees them as a special reminder of the fickleness of luck? Maybe they see them as losers in a great game who should somehow leave the playing area once they've lost? Maybe they're just jerks? The Las Vegas Sun has hidden many comments that run on this article, but for a full dose of American bilious victim-shaming and poor-hating, check it out here. [Full disclosure: My father helps run a charity in Vegas that feeds homeless people. He distributes sandwiches and snacks to them most nights of the week.] Homelessness and the indignity of hurtful speech - Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 | 2 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun
Freelance writer Rodger Jacobs and his girlfriend Lela Michael moved to Las Vegas from California in 2007 to take care of Rodger's terminally ill mother, and when the recession hit, they ran out of money to move back home. The couple is now living in a weekly rate residential hotel after being kicked out of their North Las Vegas home in August when they fell behind on their rent. . . . Even more stinging has been the reaction by many readers to my first essay on being homeless in Las Vegas — mean-spirited remarks that have fueled my decision to leave town. We had arrived here from California in 2007 to care for my ailing mother, at a time when my freelance writing business was following a trajectory parallel to the recession. After her death, we moved to an apartment for two years and then to a North Las Vegas rental home. But we couldn’t afford the cost of maintaining the house that we were contractually saddled with, and in September, under threat of eviction, we moved to a small two-room affair at Budget Suites. Along the way, we have shed most of our possessions; the rest is in a 10-by-10 storage unit, waiting to be redeemed. . . . We did receive generous donations from a few readers after I first wrote about our homelessness — money that has been spent on groceries, rent, transportation, laundry, medical expenses and IRS payments. But any warmth of kindness was lost to judgmental creatures wrapped in their conservative ideology and intoxicated by their own venomous rhetoric. (One reader, Ron, called me a “lazy, lazy lazy loser” and worse.) As journalist and author Michael Scott Moore (“Sweetness and Blood”) wrote on his website Radio Free Mike: “The worst part is that the Sun has uncovered a new and virulent strain of American unfeeling for the unfortunate.” More than the tale of my plight itself, the vicious online response to the New Homeless series (particularly in Part One) became the story for the press beyond Nevada’s borders. And that will be my take-away from this unwanted experience: how others react to a stranger’s homelessness. During Channel 3’s recent Holiday Helping Hand Drive, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak summed it up best when he said, “Societies are judged by how they respond to those in need.” Indeed, the citizens of Las Vegas have been judged by the shrill voices of a very vocal minority. . . .

December 07, 2010

When rape isn't rape

The media keep reporting that WikiLeaks' Julian Assange has been "arrested for rape," stemming from a charge in Sweden. Except he hasn't been charged with rape, he's been charged with a minor crime for having sex without a condom. Because the condom broke. Seriously. REMINDER: The "Sex Crime" That Julian Assange Was Just Arrested For Wasn't Rape. It Was...
The "sex crimes" against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that led to an international manhunt, and, now, his arrest, have always seemed, if not false, lame. Basically, it seemed as though two Swedish fans that Assange charmed into the sack were mortified to discover that he actually wasn't that into them. But then Interpol launched its manhunt, rendering Assange a cross-border fugitive. So it seemed the "sex crimes" might be more serious than initially thought. But what are they? They're not "rape," everyone agrees (at least as of a few days ago)--because the sex was consensual. They also aren't unspecified "molestation." What they appear to be is a violation of a Swedish law against "having sex without a condom." . . .

December 06, 2010

Israel's worst wildfire ever traced to 14-year-old with a hookah

14-year-old from Carmel region admits to accidentally starting massive wildfire - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
Police arrested the teen early on Monday, and he admitted during his interrogation to smoking a Hookah pipe in the forest, and later disposing the burning piece of coal into an open area in the woods, which caused a fire to erupt. The teen said that he was so astounded at what had happened that he ran back to school and didn’t report the incident to anyone. He will be brought before the Haifa Magistrate's Court on Tuesday for deliberations on extending his remand. Earlier on Monday, the Haifa Magistrate's Court released two Druze teenagers who were suspected of igniting the fire in the Carmel. Police arrested the brothers on Saturday, who were residents of the Druze village of Isfiya, aged 14 and 15. The court remanded them for three days.