June 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Reducing Homelessness with Homes. And Tamps Like Us...

Many American cities are facing an increasingly dire rise of homelessness. The situation seems intractable but, it many cases, it’s not for a lack of spending. In San Francisco, between government policies and non-profit efforts, we’re currently throwing well over a billion dollars at a problem that only seems to be getting worse. Every city faces different challenges, but you’d think residents of places where homelessness is getting worse would want to take a look at those where it’s getting better. With that in mind, let’s head to Houston for the inside story on a novel idea to reduce homelessness: homes. “During the last decade, Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, has moved more than 25,000 homeless people directly into apartments and houses. The overwhelming majority of them have remained housed after two years … Houston has gotten this far by teaming with county agencies and persuading scores of local service providers, corporations and charitable nonprofits — organizations that often bicker and compete with one another — to row in unison. Together, they’ve gone all in on ‘housing first,’ a practice, supported by decades of research, that moves the most vulnerable people straight from the streets into apartments, not into shelters, and without first requiring them to wean themselves off drugs or complete a 12-step program or find God or a job.” NYT (Gift Article): How Houston Moved 25,000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own. This is the literal definition of room for improvement.


Happy No Lucky

“A determination that Happy, an elephant, may invoke habeas corpus to challenge her confinement at the Bronx Zoo — a confinement both authorized and, by all indications, compliant with state and federal statutory law and regulations — would have an enormous destabilizing impact on modern society.” Happy the elephant isn’t a person, top New York court rules. (They should have at least forced the zoo to change the elephant’s name.)


A Cult Classic

“Many moments had delivered Jeff to this one. Since 1980, Ganas had been a community that embraced all manner of new-agey life. But his relationship with the group—particularly with its charismatic and often abusive leader, Mildred Gordon—had become unrecognizable since their early days. He’d signed over a small fortune, endured thousands of hours of ‘feedback’ sessions, and entered a four-way marriage. And now he was bleeding out in the back of an ambulance. How had Jeff gotten into this mess? And why had he stayed?” David Gauvey Herbert in Esquire with a story several readers recommended. The Follower. “When he was 19 Jeff Gross fell under the sway of the charismatic, fifty-one-year-old Mildred Gordon and spent more than half his life in an ‘intentional community’ they built together. It turned out to be much, much more than that.”


The Wrath of Con

Bill Barr voiced the obvious reality accepted by those who like to keep the real in reality. Trump’s false claims about the election were “bullshit.” But that bullshit has fans. In many places, promoting The Big Lie is the price of admission to get on a GOP ballot. The disease is spreading. Enablers are multiplying. And whatever you’ve been told can’t happen here, can (and is). WaPo: More than 100 GOP primary winners back Trump’s false fraud claims. “Many will hold positions with the power to interfere in the outcomes of future contests — to block the certification of election results, to change the rules around the awarding of their states’ electoral votes or to acquiesce to litigation attempting to set aside the popular vote.”

+ For many of the originators of the lie, it’s always been a big grift. Trump finally found a profitable business. Duping people into just giving him money. Kimberly Guilfoyle Made $60,000 Introducing Don Jr. at Coup Rally, Jan. 6 Committee Says.


Extra, Extra

Javelin Unravelin’: “They sought help from two Americans, who engineered a fix for one by cannibalizing electrical components from a video game controller … The others … were thought to be broken until it was discovered that the user instructions had gotten gummed up in Google Translate.” WaPo: For Ukrainian troops, a need arises: Javelin customer service. And, Bucolic Ukraine forest is site of mass grave exhumation. “The hands of several victims were tied behind their backs. The gruesome work of digging up the remains coincided with the Ukrainian police chief’s report that authorities have opened criminal investigations into the killings of more than 12,000 people since Russia’ invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.” Meanwhile, Russia continues to make slow, murderous progress and the world’s impending food crisis becomes more of a threat. Here’s the latest from BBC.

+ Travel Plans Change: Joe Biden called Saudi Arabia a pariah and looked to roll back relations with the now MBS-led country. Then gas prices went through the roof. Biden will visit Saudi Arabia in July.

+ Another Inside Job: “We’ve gotten used to staying in our homes because of Covid. Now, millions of Americans are being asked to stay indoors because of heat.”

+ Solving Guns with More Guns: Here’s another one for the burgeoning time capsule of stories that will show future generations how crazy we were. “Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill on Monday allowing teachers to carry guns in class after 24 hours of training, over opposition from teachers and a police group.”

+ Hall Pass: Magnolia, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Modern Family, Seinfeld. He was great in an endless list of great parts. Prolific character actor Philip Baker Hall dies at 90.

+ Tamps Like Us, Baby We Were Born to Run Out: “The shortage stems from a combination of factory staffing challenges, transportation bottlenecks, and the rising costs of key raw materials used to make the products.” Familiar reasons for a new shortage. It’s not just you: Tampons are harder to find — and pricier.


Bottom of the News

“The kit – which teens can access via the free sex education app Kama – is designed to demystify sex for those considering ‘doing it’ for the first time … The concept is the brainchild of entrepreneur Chloe Macintosh – best known as the co-founder of furnishing company Made.com – but the biggest influence on its content have actually been her two teenage sons, Felix, 16, and Elliott, 14.” Mum And Teenage Son Create ‘First Time Sex Starter Kit.’

+ Everything about this story is disturbing and depressing. And yet, it’s still a welcome reprieve from pondering the notion of creating a sex guide with my mom. Man arrested for leaving flowers on fiancee’s grave found guilty of littering.

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