Bans on Feeding the Homeless Are Discriminatory and Unconstitutional

In 1921, in Boston, an activist named Urbain Ledoux—going by the moniker Mr. Zero—happened on an idea to help unemployed veterans and their families. Ledoux, leader of what he called the “Church of the Unemployed,” would “auction” off the veterans in public parks. He hoped that the stark image of such auctions—which brought to mind horrific slave auctions that some still alive at the time would have witnessed in person—would galvanize the public and help find people work.

In Boston, where one such auction took place on the Common over several days, Ledoux and the veterans were overwhelmed by public support:

Small sums of cash were given daily; free food was delivered by restaurants and bakeries; an experienced cobbler set up shop to repair the shoes of the jobless; several women volunteered to sew and clean the bed linens; furniture was donated; a local dentist announced that he would take care of any toothaches that occurred among the unemployed; and…. scores, perhaps hundreds, of Ledoux’s followers obtained jobs as a result of the auctions.

Ledoux and his supporters met a different fate in New York City—at least initially. City police refused to let Ledoux’s group serve food. When his supporters served food in Bryant Park, police moved in and beat “forty jobless men who had gathered about six elderly women distributing sandwiches, cakes and crullers in the park.” The American Civil Liberties Union launched a complaint.

And, though Ledoux stepped into the spotlight from time to time, this was largely the end of his auctioneering days.

Read more here.

Detroit could go broke in one week

Detroit Free Press:

Detroit will run out of cash a week from today if a lawsuit challenging the validity of the city’s consent agreement with the state is not withdrawn, city officials said this morning.

Jack Martin, the city’s new chief financial officer, said the city will be broke by June 15 but should be able to make payroll for its employees. He said the city will be operating in a deficit situation if the state withholds payments on a portion of the $80 million in bond money needed to help keep the city afloat.

The battle ultimately could lead to an emergency manager if state officials deem the city to be in violation of the consent agreement that gives the state significant control over Detroit’s finances.

Deputy Treasurer Thomas Saxton told the city Thursday that the lawsuit against the consent agreement could force the state to hold back $80 million in revenue sharing that was used, essentially, as collateral for interim refinancing of bonds issued in March so Detroit would not run out of cash.

Detroit has already used $35 million of the $80 million. The money is in an escrow account, but based on Saxton’s letter city officials will not be able to draw down any more of the money, Martin said.

“If our city runs out of money, there is no bigger crisis that we would have in our city,” Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said this morning, adding that his frustration level is “off the charts.”

But Council President Charles Pugh said he and several other council members want the city’s top lawyer, Krystal Crittendon, to “stand her ground” on the lawsuit she filed last week challenging the consent agreement as a violation of the city charter.

Catholic Priest Slams Atheism in New Spoken-Word Video Performance

Van Jones Issues Dire Warning: The Tea Party Will Use Power to ‘Decimate Us’

“If the Tea Party is allowed to score a trifecta, their ideas already are corrupting the Supreme Court, you see that with Scalia’s antics, they already have half of the Congress. If they get the rest…and the White House…if the Tea Party governs America — if this time next year, you are living in a government run by the Tea Party — let me suggest to you that they might use power a little bit differently than we did. When they get power, they use it to decimate us…”

See the video here.

Mob attacks women at Egypt anti-sex assault rally

A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment Friday, with the attackers overwhelming the male guardians and groping and molesting several of the female marchers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

From the ferocity of the assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organized attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement.

The attack follows smaller scale assaults on women this week in Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year. Thousands have been gathering in the square this week in protests over a variety of issues — mainly over worries that presidential elections this month will secure the continued rule by elements of Mubarak’s regime backed by the ruling military.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before men trying to help could reach her.

Friday’s march was called to demand an end to sexual assaults. Around 50 women participated, surrounded by a larger group of male supporters who joined to hands to form a protective ring around them. The protesters carried posters saying, “The people want to cut the hand of the sexual harasser,” and chanted, “The Egyptian girl says it loudly, harassment is barbaric.”

After the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded into the women, heckling them and groping them. The male supporters tried to fend them off, and it turned into a melee involving a mob of hundreds.

The marchers tried to flee while the attackers chased them and male supporters tried to protect them. But the attackers persisted, cornering several women against a metal sidewalk railing, including an Associated Press reporter, shoving their hands down their clothes and trying to grab their bags. The male supporters fought back, swinging belts and fists and throwing water.

Eventually, the women were able to reach refuge in a nearby building with the mob still outside until they finally got out to safety.

“After what I saw and heard today. I am furious at so many things. Why beat a girl and strip her off? Why?” wrote Sally Zohney, one of the organizers of the event on Twitter.

The persistence of the attack raised the belief of many that it was intentional, though who orchestrated it was unclear.

Mariam Abdel-Shahid, a 25 year-old cinema student who took part in the march, said “sexual harassment will only take us backward.”

Read more here.

Denver Neighborhood Wants to Ban ‘Distracting’ & ‘Offensive’ Sidewalk Chalk

While 90 percent of Americans associate sidewalk chalk with harmless childhood fun, one Denver neighborhood homeowners association (HOA) wants to ban the “offensive” and “distracting” art, CBS Denver reports.

“It’s definitely better than video games,” said Sarah Cohen, mother of 3-year old Emerson Cohen. “It’s a simple pleasure for her.”

By drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk, little 3-year old Emerson is practically engaging in a criminal act, according to the report.

Seriously.

“My initial reaction was, ‘You have to be kidding me,’” said Cohen.

Cohen said her family moved to Stapleton, Colo., because it was supposedly a “family-friendly” neighborhood.

“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing a space,” said Cohen.

However, because it’s “a shared space,” the HOA prohibits anything that “offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment.”

You know what this means, right? It means that unless the HOA is arbitrarily coming after kids for playing with sidewalk chalk, someone actually registered a formal complaint.

“The association is trying to go down a path of do no harm and prevent the sidewalk art as opposed to… until such time as it can get together and discuss it,” said an attorney representing the HOA in Stapleton.

Cohen said no one in her neighborhood has said anything about her daughter drawing on the sidewalk and that she has no plans to make her stop.

Read more here.

Koran-Burning Pastor Hangs Obama in Effigy in Church’s Front Yard

Florida Pastor Terry Jones — whose Koran-burning activities have gained worldwide attention — is in the news again, this time for hanging President Barack Obama in effigy in front of his church.

A photo posted on The Smoking Gun shows a dummy with Obama‘s likeness hanging from a yellow noose outside Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center. The scene also features an American flag, a rainbow-striped gay pride flag, an Uncle Sam dummy and a child‘s doll in the Obama figure’s hand. The words “Obama is Killing America” are posted on a trailer nearby.

A photo posted on the Broward-Palm Beach New Times‘ website shows a different set-up, this one with Uncle Sam hanging from the noose and the Obama dummy standing by.

According to the New Times, a church spokeswoman confirmed the effigy is real.

“We have chosen to hang President Obama as a symbol of what America needs to do. We must remove him, we must vote him out of office,” Jones said in a video statement.

Read more here.

Teen Radio Host Who Ranted Against Gays Dropped From Online Radio Platform

Caiden-Cowger_Facebook-620×388.jpg

The 14-year-old radio host whose comments about gays ignited a firestorm this week has been dropped from the online radio platform Spreaker.

The page that was once the home to “The Caiden Cowger Program” now returns an error message saying the show is no longer available and has been deleted due to “offensive contents.”

In Cowger’s now-viral rant against homosexuality, the West Virginia teen called being gay a choice, not the way someone is born.

From The Blaze’s original report:

Cowger says that homosexuality is “not mandatory in that person. That person was not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says.” He explains that he feels homosexuality is becoming more prevalent in society. Why is this? According to Cowger, “it‘s because they’re being encouraged by it.”

He goes as far to say President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are “making kids gay.”

Cowger does say that he is against bullying of homosexuals but feels “when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying” this is a problem. He says that it is a getting to a point where he can’t express his beliefs to homosexuals about God anymore.

Read more here.

Has Obama lost ‘Obama Girl’?

If President Barack Obama (D) has lost “Obama Girl” has he lost the rest of the country?

Remember Amber Lee Ettinger, the dark haired young lady who breathlessly sang for all the world to hear–and see–of her crush on then candidate Obama four years ago? Her several minute video was a youtube sensation.

Well, that was then, this is now. And now, the slightly more mature Ms. Ettinger seems to be a bit crushed by the one time object of her oh so deep, oh so public affection.

Amber Lee Ettinger, widely known as “Obama Girl” during the 2008 presidential campaign, told The Daily Caller she is “not as excited as I was the last time, that’s for sure.”

(snip)

This time, however, Ettinger won’t say if she still supports Obama.

“At this point I’m keeping that to myself,” she told TheDC. “If I’m not making videos, I’m not sure it’s anyone’s business who I’m voting for this time around.”

“I think in the next few months it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens,” Ettinger said. “I’d like to get out there and see what the young voters think about both candidates… I might need to break out my flip cam and take a road trip.”