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Sign petition to stop Keystone XL Pipeline

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Political clock ticking after GOP election win

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Trust in government is 'dead, Jim'

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Oreaviationwatch

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.


The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column


Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 



Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness, hunger & health care disparities in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

 Explore Intel emissions

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#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941

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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?'

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" 

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921)

 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”  

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."

- Abraham Lincoln

 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."

- Edmund Burke 

 

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."

- Garrison Keillor


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Friday
Nov212014

ENOUGH OF THE CULT OF PERSONALITY!

     One might have thought that abusive off the field behavior was a hallmark of Quack Attack U but revelations by the Oregonian's lead sports columnist of a gang-rape by OSU football players back in the '90s makes one wonder if there is a sickness in America's sports culture. 

    We are being flooded by stories of NFL football players being accused and sanctioned for abusive behavior towards women and even children.  The current Heisman Trophy winner FSU's QB Jamis Winston was accused of rape last year but Florida prosecutors looked the other way.  Remember the "Jail Blazers?"  

     Accusations of abusive behavior by Bill Cosby have added fuel to this fire.  Remember Slick Wille and the girl from Palatine Hill?  Closer to home the names of Bob Packwood and Neil Goldschmidt have brought shame to Oregon.  And Kitzhaber's bizarre relationship to Cylvia cost him votes.  At first fans hit the denial button, it can't be true!  Clearly it's not just jocks who act badly - who's next up for the Scarlet Letter?      

     When OSU's "good guy" Head coach Mike Riley is quoted that his players "made a bad choice" - one wonders does Riley really get it?  Since that comment came out OSU has been spinning like a top to get ahead of this story 16 years later.  Humm, sounds like PR 101...   

     The only thing that ties such disparate people is that each of them live is a privileged "celebrity" environment which seems to make them feel immune from the rules we regular folks have to live by.  The sports, political and entertainment cultures are "enablers" so it seems. 

     It illustrates the risks of creating icons out of persons who get center stage - like Oedipus they eventually succumb to hubris and there goes another cult hero.  That may be the problem - there is too much emphasis on fame, fortune and the cult of personality. 

     As my wife reminds me when I complain about my golf score - "it's only a game."  Maybe that's what we need to keep in perspective, it's only a game!  But fans invest so much personal emotional energy into their heroes it's hard to keep it in perspective.  

     Our icons also get invested in "group think" to the point of self-destruction - remember Tiger Woods?   Sports journalists like their counterparts in the world of political journalism love to play the "feeding frenzy" game of "gotcha" journalism which puts them on the front page!   

     But the public is the "great enabler" on the scene and/or via TV, social media et al.   Sometimes we need to hit the delete or turnoff button!          

Thursday
Nov202014

IMMIGRATION REFORM - SEND THEM HOME?  

Shaun Lawrence of Jamaica takes an oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty)

     I was listening to NPR’s “The Takeaway” program this morning (see link below).  One of the segments covered the upcoming speech tonight by President Obama outlining his executive order to grandfather in 5 million Latino immigrants whose children are US citizens.

     The last response was from a lady from Texas who predictably said – “send them home” the typical knee jerk reaction of those who oppose immigration reform unless we “seal the border” which comes down to erecting an Iron Curtain between Mexico and the US. 

     Border security has been stiffened in the years since 9/11.  The Obama administration has deported more people than any previous administration.  At a certain point this demand for more border security is absurd and morally reprehensible. 

     We need an “Emancipation Proclamation” on immigration reform which will allow the 12 million undocumented immigrants here to find a pathway to citizenship.  The party that does this will gain the undying support of the beneficiaries which is really why the GOP says “NO.” 

     All that has to be done is for the House GOP leadership to pass the Senate bill – it could be done tomorrow.  But John Boehner and Mitch McConnell would rather use this issue as the raw meat to appease their rightwingnut Tea Party "America First" base.   

     Let’s take a brief walk down history lane.  The Yankee settlers in the colonies didn’t like it when the Irish showed up on their doorsteps.  The Irish didn’t like it when the Italians came next.  And then there were the Poles, the Jews and a host of other immigrants from southern Europe. 

     They were all told “to go home.”  Some did but most didn’t.  This not so hidden xenophobia against “the other” reminds me of the German theologian, Martin Niemöller’s famous quote about how the Nazis “cleansed” Germany of the other. 

  When the Nazis came for the communists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a communist.

  When they locked up the social democrats,
I did not speak out;
I was not a social democrat.

  When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a trade unionist.

  When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a Jew.

  When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

     If we ethnically cleanse America of its newest immigrants – the inescapable logic is why stop there? 

     In the 1920s the Congress passed laws to restrict immigration from China and Japan even though those immigrants like later Latino immigrants were recruited to come “work but not stay” to help build the transcontinental railroad system and harvest food, respectively.  

     In the 1950s during the height of the Cold War we allowed Cubans, Hungarians and other “captive nations” folk to come to America.  Since then we’ve added new layers of immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, India and mainland China. 

     But let me return to the very beginning of this historical saga of immigration.  Who asked the Native Peoples of America to allow the first colonists to come to America?  All you descendents of the Mayflower – show me your passports, your visas, or working permits. 

     The fact is that all the "colonists" we WOPS - "without passports."  

     Sadly for the Native People they had no border security in place, no immigration laws – hell if we believe the mythology of the lst Thanksgiving they welcomed the earliest White settlers with open arms – yeah like Columbus found America.  Oops, the latter is not true.  

     And of course I’ve left for last the searing fact that the “other” immigrants – African-Americans – came here in slave ships to work as forced labor until the end of the Civil War and to have their freedom denied to them by Jim Crow laws until the Civil Rights movement changed the narrative. 

      America the Beautiful is “exceptional” because we are a diverse people, e pluribus unum – out of many one.  Out of this has grown our economic power, our political power and more importantly the power of the “American Dream” which MLK, Jr. framed so well on that long hot afternoon in 1963. 

     The “promissory” note Martin spoke of has been passed down to successive generations of immigrants memorialized by The Statue of Liberty, a gift to America by France.  We all know the words – the challenge is to live up to them.  That’s what President Obama is doing -

     “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

     Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

     On the eve of Christmas let’s remember the story.  There was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn so the  baby Jesus was born in a stable. He was in effect an exile in his own land under Roman colonial rule.  Immigrants are exiles, is that the way we should treat them too?  

Tuesday
Nov182014

THE REAL WINNERS OF THE 2014 ELECTION

EDITOR'S NOTE:  These articles were highlighted by Our Oregon, a liberal advocacy group in Oregon.  They uncover who wins the hidden behind the scenes "money game" of US politics. 

     If we want to lower the impact of big money then TV and radio money for campaign ads must be heavily regulated which would go a long way in limiting the power of big money to control the results of elections. 

     "The Center for Public Integrity estimates that at least $24 million was spent on broadcast TV ads in Oregon in the last election cycle.

     No wonder one of the hoariest clichés in politics is that the real winners are the TV stations, just like the merchants who made the real gold-rush fortunes providing the shovels.  (And here is where you provide your own joke about what the candidates shoveled on TV).

     What the numbers tell you is that, for all of the new technology to communicate with voters, old-fashioned broadcast TV still vacuums up the biggest share of campaign dollars.  Campaigns see it as the best way to reach a mass audience, particularly less-knowledgeable voters open to persuasion."

      "Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. A year-long analysis by the Sunlight Foundation suggests, however, that what they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 trillion in federal business and support.

     That figure, more than the $4.3 trillion the federal government paid the nation’s 50 million Social Security recipients over the same period, is the result of an unprecedented effort to quantify the less-examined side of the campaign finance equation: Do political donors get something in return for what they give?   Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested the answer to that question was no.

     Corporate spending to influence federal elections would not “give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” the majority wrote in the landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Sunlight decided to test that premise by examining influence and its potential results on federal decision makers over six years, three before the 2010 Citizens United decision and three after."

A Case Study in influence peddling: 

     Campaign money translates into "access" and access enables the moneyed interests to shape the political agenda in Congress and legislatures.  Who gets elected to office matters big time. A good example of the power of "access" is the current battle over the Keystone Pipeline. 

     Over the past decade a Canadian oil consortium and the Canadian government set up a well moneyed lobbying "front" in DC.  So far Obama has been able to fend them off but the House voted last week to pass the legislation and the Senate is poised to do the same.  But they face a presidential veto they can't override.

     But this will not deter the "dirty" oil lobby since the GOP will have more votes in January.  But on substance this is an irrational issue because extracting shale oil is an environmental disaster in Canada and would simply ad to climate change, an issue Obama focused on last week in China. 

     Nobody needs this oil, it's price point is too high and it's slated for off shore use in China - when China is converting to alternative energy sources.  And the jobs that will be created are short term construction jobs not long term jobs.  The oil guzzling states of the Mississippi Delta need to instead protect their wetlands against the next Katrina!   

     An example the Canadian spin on Keystone was sent to me today by my "CC" -

     Here's the "key" part (pun intended) - it hinges on two words - crude vs. refined petroleum.     

     "Key players (who are?) in the project insist they won't ship Canadian crude abroad...   The same guarantee doesn't extend to finished petroleum products. Nobody's offering any promises — let alone hard projections — about what share of the oil that flows through Keystone XL might eventually wind up abroad after it's been refined." 

     Politics 101 - the devil is in the details and follow the money.  

Monday
Nov172014

THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF "THE TYPOGRAPHER'S DREAM"

     Last Saturday we saw the matinee showing of PCS's production of "The Typographer's Dream" in the Ellyn Bye Studio of the Gerding Theater in the Peal.  This is a very intimate venue which seats @ 200 people just right for a 3 person play.

     The scene was a panel discussion by a typographer, a geographer and a court stenographer trying to explain what they did and why they enjoyed their work.  But it really was a conversation among three friends who were like trains passing in the night. 

     As the one act play evolved none of the friends were hearing each other and at times they went off script into petty conversations about how each of them bugged the other.  I assume this was the point of the playwright to show how "listening impaired" we moderns have become.  

     The typographer (a woman) had an especially hard time getting in a word edgewise in a trialogue dominated by a self-centered Canadian born geographer (a woman) and the stenographer (a man) who was stereotypically mousy. 

     As we have moved into the social media age, one wonders if the art of conversation will be totally erased from our collective speaking repertory.  It's painfully obvious that the inability to hear the other has become the hallmark of modern politics - the dance of the deaf. 

     The impact of social media on parenting is also obvious.  One sees inattentive parents consumed by text messaging while their kids are playing at the local library, in a park or at home.  Social media is addictive.  One wonders what's so important that a tweet is more important than your toddler. 

     The most compelling part of the play for me, of course, was when the Canadian woman and the American man got into an incoherent screaming match about Canada and the US.  I wasn't sure what the point was except that Canadians and Americans have "issues." Oh really?   

     But clearly beyond the political eruption the point seems to be that we've lost our ability to engage each other.  On that score I think the author is right on target.  At least these three friends were willing to engage on some level however labored - most people just won't go there. 

     The old bromide is "don't talk politics or religion" - you might offend somebody.  Well here's "friends" who can't talk to each other except via a monologue and when they get to an interesting point of the conversation they implode.  Somewhere nobody taught them the art of "active listening."  

     As a species increasingly inured to computers, cell phones, I-pods and/or I-books what's the common ground in this multiple platform world of g-mail, text messaging, face book, twitter and Linkedin where the instantaneous and the trivial replaces substance and introspection?  

     Welcome to our hi-tech typographer's nightmare!         

 

 

Sunday
Nov162014

HOMELESS STUDENTS IN OREGON

Picture from 2013 Report:  Michelle Nelson, her husband and their school-aged children were homeless for six weeks after she lost her job. Like most other Oregon students without stable, permanent homes, the children stayed with various relatives until the family got help and got a home of their own. (Stephanie Yao Long / The Oregonian)

     This week a report disclosed homelessness among school aged Oregon kids grew to 19,000 this year, after having dipped from 20,000 in 2012 to 18,000 last year.  Most "homeless" school aged kids are "couch surfers" who are not on the streets but living with friends or family but not in their own homes. 

     The interesting factoid to me is that the two school districts where homeless is highest in Oregon is Beaverton and Eugene.  One does not think of either area as especially poverty stricken - one a yuppie suburb, the other a university town.  

     As a housing advocate, I'm familiar with Beaverton.  Their district does a great job of keeping tabs on this issue and homelessness among school aged kids has been a problem for many years before, during and now after the Great Recession. 

     The report also found that non-white students were statistically more likely to be at risk of homeless than their white peers though in total numbers white kids are the larger number but the face of homeless is more diverse than one might realize. 

     The existence of suburban poverty and homeless is still largely invisible.  When the TV stations during the upcoming holiday season do reports on local soup kitchens in downtown Portland - they only capture the most visible face of the homeless thus creating a myth about who are the homeless.