Tuesday, March 01, 2005


The Jurorista

I'm "enjoying" the use of quotation marks in the online guide for jurors.

Welcome to jury service!

Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial, then "decide the facts"-- decide what really happened. The judge's job is to "decide the law" -- make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. All must do their job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.

Also Pondering
A veteran comes back from the war suffering from severe trauma. In a very short time, he finds his marriage collapsing and ends up on the street. A woman flees for her life. An abusive and violent spouse has threatened her with prolonged violence.... An elderly person suffers from cancer and has drained all of her resources in this life-threatening crisis. She has no caretaker, struggles to keep going, and is not sure what the future holds....

All of these situations are true stories within our community. Oftentimes such men, women and children have no advocate. Overwhelmed, they may despair and wonder if there is any hope whatsoever....

Everyone has an obligation to speak out for justice. Once you are aware of the situations that I have described, you simply cannot walk away and say, “It is their problem, not mine.” Christians everywhere are called upon by Christ himself to exemplify compassion.

I found the full text from which the above quote is taken by googling curiously about the St. Martin de Porres shelter. The shelter in downtown Seattle provides space for 212 homeless men, age 50 and older, every night of the year; during the winter months the shelter makes arrangements with six local churches to provide space for 34 additional men each night.

Up to ten of those men stay at KUCC on Monday nights during the winter. Janet and I stayed with them last night, and her husband cooked everyone breakfast this morning. Ten men snoring in a room together...that's an impressive chorus you don't hear every day.

Well, of course, unless you're without a home, just looking for a warm place to sleep through the night and some kind of food in your belly. Then you get used to a lot more than snores disrupting your sleep.
By 2009, funding for non-entitlement programs in areas such as national resources and the environment, veterans’ health benefits, health, and agriculture would be 10 percent to 20 percent below the 2004 funding levels, adjusted for inflation....The proposed cuts include a cut of $5.7 billion — or 17 percent — in veterans’ health benefits. (via billmon)

Veterans account for nearly one-third of all homeless men in America, even though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says they comprise only 13 percent of adult males in the general population.

"Studies show that mental health issues for homeless vets begin later in their lives -- as much as twelve years later," [Linda] Boone [executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless Veterans (NCHV) in Washington, DC.] explained. "They will seem to be doing well mentally, despite being on the street, and then some event will trigger a problem. The public should be really concerned about that because the VA doesn’t have the facilities or resources to treat the current number of homeless vets with mental health issues, let alone any new ones."

Meanwhile, say veterans’ advocates, the Pentagon appears to be a in state of denial. While admitting to some problems in treating soldiers returning from Iraq, Pentagon officials have told the press that the situation has been addressed.

Homeless vet advocates remain unimpressed. "The military has done a terrible job easing vets back into American life once their tour of duty ends," Stoops said.[/understatement]

Hmm...do you really think that yellow ribbon is doing anything to, you know, actually "support" the troops?