Monday, January 31, 2005

Falloff from talking about the firefighting capability of Vermont Yankee-much public good

Fallout from talking about the fire fighting capability of VY –much public good!

Boston Globe special Report
Deadly delays:The Decline of Fire Response

From: "Mike Mulligan" <steamshovel2002@y...>

Date: Tue Jul 6, 2004 5:27 pm Subject: Fallout from talking about the fire fighting capability of VY –much public good!

I guess the question is -we need a bigger creative conception ofwhat a fire department can do for us –how about homeland security specialist. Do we need a greater federal professional bureaucratic structure -such that the feds enforce nationwide minimum standardand train all local departments on the most current technology?

I think we really now need a national report on the current firefighting capabilities –I think you would find enormous deficiencies in services with budget problems in recent years throughout the country.

What we really need is a creative brainstorming session of professional experts -what is the most modern progressive new idea of the organization of a city's' firedepartment. I am telling you for a fact these fire fighters come in daily contact with members of the public –they see things that other officials don't –and I got a feeling this information could be put to great use for the public benefit.

I guess I would ask it to the firefighters, the fire department management, city and municipal managers --- tells us about your most creative prefect fantasy of a new ultra progressive modern public service and fire fighting department. Like community policing –how can we drive the skills of the fire department down into the ommunity. I am talking about big community pre fire fighting and pro public safety strategy. It's time to think really big!

Take for example the fire fighters, they would know of areas of the town with repeated fires. They would know of the economic concerns of the area -thus as the biggest pre fire strategy –the idea that the fire fighters could be the ones to push for economic development of the idea and the need for greater social services. What could we do with a closer collaboration of the fire fighters, the police, and the social agencies -the greater integration of all of our public services in bettering the lives of its people?

You see what I am saying –these fire fighters have become very skilled observers of the "fire situation" and they have a very accurate perception on the environment around them. We should use those skills in other ways.

How this relates to nuclear –it started with talking about the firefighting capabilities of Vermont Yankee!

Report: Fewer resources mean greater risks for firefighters
January 31, 2005

BOSTON -- Most firefighters who died fighting fires in recent years were working under substandard conditions -- arriving too late and without enough help or resources, according to a Boston Globe analysis published Monday.

And most were entering burning buildings where there was no one inside to save.2222
The newspaper examined federal investigative reports from 52 fires around the country that killed 80 firefighters between 1997 and 2004.

The Globe found that in just 35 of the 52 fires, departments were able to get one firefighter to the scene within 6 minutes.

In 27 of the fires, four firefighters were able to get to the scene within 6 minutes, the minimum force recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.

The manpower standard for safe and effective work at a building fire -- 15 firefighters arriving within 10 minutes -- was met in only 18 of the fires.

In 14 of the 52 fires, there was a suspicion that someone might be inside the burning buildings. In only six of fires was there actually anyone inside.

The deaths studied did not include those from heart attacks or motor vehicle accidents. The incidents involved a mix of volunteer and career fire departments in cities like New York and Memphis, as well as small towns.

Some fire chiefs questioned whether they should stop sending firefighters into burning buildings if they can't there soon enough and with enough people to do the job safely.

"We're a can-do organization. We give it the old college try," said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, former chief in Prince George's County, Md., who keeps count of line-of-duty deaths as executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

"But maybe we need to stop accepting a five-person crew to cover an entire town. Maybe we need to say, 'We don't have the resources to do this job.' We're losing firefighters, and there are so many near misses," he told the Globe.

The number of fires in the United States has declined sharply, but the number of firefighter deaths are steady at about 100 per year, not including Sept. 11. More than half of those deaths were from heart attacks and motor vehicle accidents.

Each death is unique, but delays and low staffing add to the risk, said Vincent Dunn, a retired New York City deputy fire chief who examined the Globe's findings.222
"The more firefighters you have, the faster you can put out the fire," he said. "Chances of a firefighter's death increase the longer a fire burns."

In Massachusetts, the firefighters' union estimates the state has lost about 1,000 out of 13,000 firefighters since 1981. That's when a state law took effect known as Proposition 2 1/2, which limits property tax increases.

During that time, the population has increased and departments have taken on added duties such as ambulance calls.

The number of full-time firefighters nationwide is essentially unchanged, but the volume of emergency calls has doubled.

Other hazards identified by the Globe include shortages of equipment, such as self-contained breathing apparatus, and use of risky tactics beyond the capacity of small departments. There is also a lack of available backup for weary fire crews, something federal investigators warned of after the 1999 fire that killed six Worcester firefighters.

It was lack of survivor benefits that drew national attention to the 2003 death of part-time firefighter Martin McNamara. Voters in Lancaster, the town where he died, later rejected a tax increase to raise $650,000 in pension funding for his family.

A legislative committee is working on a bill to require death benefits for volunteer firefighters, but there is no move to set state requirements for equipment, staffing or training. 22222

© Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

If there is a god, why did he enable us to build thermal nuclear divices.

…”if there is a God, why did he enable us to create thermo nuclear devices?...

Well, I believe we are embedded in a perfect system –a creative matrix. I mean, I’ve been out in a moonless desert by myself breathlessly looking up at the stars and universe -wondering about what the meaning of this is to me. Is it just a quantum chance that we are here?

I think god is saying to us when look up at the universe –this is how creative perfection can be –and it’s telling us that this is what we should strive for that in our individual and collective world. I believe god is saying you can be as creative as I can be. Isn’t making and having a baby a similar magnitude miracle as inventing the universe. I don’t necessarily believe in the god of religions—but you get some good clues in them.

So we are embedded in the dichotomy of good and evil. This system is designed to drag us into enlightenment. If you look at the planetary conciseness change from after the development of the bomb –look at the new language we invented (MAD); look at how the bomb made us more interconnected (the red phone line to Russia); what about the positive technological fallout…the internet as we talk... So in the face of stark so call evil –you see god has invented a system where he can transform the worst evil we can dish up –into a miracle of infinate hope and goodness.

So if you see another hungry abandon disabled child in he world; if you see tyranny of another Auschwitz; if you see the hopelessness of an inner city neighborhood, if you see the shallowness of a million dollar gated community –the universe is begging each of us to be as creative in counteracting these negative as she was in making the stars, in and above our heads. That’s right; any of us has the power to interact with any of these so called hopeless problems on this planet in a big way…. indeed we were born for that…

So we sit here wondering about the industry of making the hydrogen bombs –the negative image we get is wrecking our cities and the killing of millions…of ending humanity as we know it…

But the flip side of it is the universe is always asking us… is inviting us… begging… pleading… lovingly…confident in our goodness …. of who can you be creatively in relation to the perceived horrors of a nuclear exchange or any of the horrors that is facing us today –what kind of world relationship structure can you create to counteract that…

The bigger and more intrangent the evil –the bigger the jump we make in our race towards enlightenment. Just tell me who would we be if there were no evil?

The universe is the most optimistically creative structure that was ever conceived –and it has complete faith in us and our future enlightenment! Every one of us!


mike mulligan
Hinsdale, NH

Rudy Guliani and "The Million Dollar Baby"

Rudy Giuliani and Million Dollar baby?

(I am still working on this but here is a begginning)

I was employed as personal attendant for a troubled severe Cerebral Palsy man. I pushed his wheel chair all over southern NH for a year. He had two degrees –one in music and the other in history. I fed him most of the time –he had much difficulty in feeding himself. I was with him; I think three of four times when some small incident (to me) set him off to a temper tantrum. We called the police and rescue, where the police would subdue him –place him on a stretcher –he’s go to the hospital, talk to the Psychiatrist, get some pills and then go home. I was amazed that they would do this over and over again. I knew he was on the cusp of getting arrested.

What I will never forget in talking to all the town officials - what did they thought of the John in their minds. You know, I was trying to get the historic record. He had caused a lot of trouble in the town. I remember talking to one policemen –he told me a story of finding him in the night after a snowstorm (the sidewalks weren’t shoveled), a mile or so from his apartment –where he was wheeling in the middle of the road and no coat on. The cop said it was extremely cold outside. The cop passionately said John was a hazard to the cars and to an extreme hazard himself with the cold. The cop said it was very dangerous with nobody talking care of him. I didn’t catch the meaning with the term “extreme hazard to himself” –what the community was prepared to do in defense of the person.

So what I got from all of the people around John is he was very troubled –his problems happened over and over again without solution-and it was an extremely tragic situation for the town and John. They said he was going downhill fast in the last year. He live in the middle of a small town because there was flat side walks –so he could get around and visit the local college, restaurant, and stores on his own. I understood that Tom “though” he had a sort of girl friend where she dumped him –and this led to a severe depression. This is where I learned that minor issues facing us –ends up being a life or death situation for the disabled.

Keene NH had facing a downtown crisis many years ago. Many buildings became empty as the companies had left the area for economic reasons. Somebody had a good idea –where they though they would make apartments in these abandoned buildings. I won’t go into the politics of real-estate and making money, gaining local, state and federal bond monies –to bail out the people who owned the buildings –and the false altruism inherent in this.

So we ended up with a bunch of disabled and low income apartment ringing the center of this beautiful downtown –with a lot of so called malcontents milling around the downtown businesses. I became a low income project and section eight housing inspector for about 6 months –well until they figured out what I was up to. What I can say is the low income projects was totally mismanaged and in disgraceful conditions, we were in a severe housing shortage crisis, the section 8 housing was totally politicized and was littered with startling substandard section eight housing –and the landowners running around with amazing political power about the whole process. I imagine a lot of money was being made.

In the background of this there was rumors of a huge big box store building boom just around the corner –and there was going to be a new highway built in response to this. By the way, this has all come to pass. So as I was pushing around John –all the down town store owners were seeing a reduction in the size of their businesses –and they were very fearful of the future. (Today there are many new empty storefronts.) They thought the rather regular disturbances from the undesirables were affecting their businesses –so they passed a new noise, among other ordinances. It signaled a new police response in the area.

What can clearly be said is the low income housing immediate and long term management was in complete disarray –with those living on the margins being seen a creating more trouble –and with enormous new threat to the old businesses and real-estate of the inner town. We got a severe Rudy Giuliani response to this in the name of a business threat. Did I tell they had no room in the jails –and the jails were severely under funded and mismanaged? Did I tell you the social services were also under funded –were absolutely immorally politicized, fractured, mismanaged, and useless. What can clearly be said is the social services became a jobs program for the locally politically incestuously connected.

So John became to painful to watch as he was wheeling around town –he wet his pants often because of the drugs he was taking, and at times he smelled terrible. A rude and indecent comment was made at a restaurant from a drunken customer. John was running out of places to eat –they kept kicking him out because of him creating a disturbance. Well, I think the community became fed up with him –so the comments were coming more frequent. So we told him if he gets mad –go outside and start screaming. Well, he was outside this day loudly mulling over this rude comment –where the police got a report of this. Matter of fact he was only ½ block away from the police station. The cops quietly walked up to him, tackled him in his wheel chair and breaking the large pane front window of the restaurant with John’s shoes.

The chief of police gave me this rationalization for quickly talking John out on this day and putting hand cuffs on him. John could be sitting under a pistol –with the aim of killing the police. I quickly got thrown out of his office with the assist of many other officers – I became irrational. I said,” I have to feed the guy, I have to wipe his ass –he can’t put his finger around a pistil –he doesn’t have the muscle control to keep the gun steady –he couldn’t even shoot himself…..that’s the problems you see here you f….. Idiots.”

This began a series of arrest for John. I visited him at the jail. I talked to the warden –he said john is very lucid, talkative, and friendly to all the jailers and inmates. The warden told me his jail was violating John’s human rights –the jail was built at the turn of the century –and it was not at all adequately for John’s disability. He surprisingly told me over 25% percent of the inmates could be considered to have mental problem. The warden told me he was setting up a meeting with a judge about this-john was shortly released. They are in the process of building a new jail as we speak.

So effectively the community found it too painful to put up with John. So these repeated jailing interacted with his on going depression. Wouldn’t you be depressed if you couldn’t find a girlfriend? John is now in the state hospital.

You understand what I am getting at –you see how these subtle outside interactions set him up for death in a mental institution: the indifference of the community, and the social service, and the dead agencies who could have interacted with his disabilities. John is on social security disability. You see how the long term disjointed low income housing policies set the death of john – how the economic death of the inner town and it’s hollow rebirth had a hand in it; how the politics of making money in real estate; of the politics of altruism with overhauling dead and dying inner town buildings with local, state and federal monies for the low income; and of making enormous monies with mindlessly putting together dead buildings and the disabled in the inner town. Believe me the primary determinant of the policy and rationale was about maximizing profits and political power –you have no idea of the power with the real-estate people, the politicians and the investing elites. It is immorality of the highest order –and the liberal were up to there necks with it...

Come on, the whole community and all of our governmental agencies have committed mercy euthanasia in our hearts with john. He was suffering too much for everyone –he made us suffer by watching him wheel around in his broken body…dirty... smelling…shit loaded pants …his broken mind and heart… You wanted to mercy kill him no doubt, so he wouldn’t disturb your beautiful dying green garden plotted business sidewalks -- the tree lined artificial chemically fertilized and watered Central Square -right across from that beautiful old NH white church.

To put him deep inside a mental institution; to put him silently in a corner of a room where no could hear of his rages; we could give him comfort with a “I’m crazy for you teddy bear” in a straight jacket; we could smother him in the mother’s love of a snugglely papoose board – and then to silence him once and for all with a tormented death. You know what we were hiding from –it was too painful to imagine putting yourself in that wheel chair. We are so frightened by that –and we should be…. It’s a living decades worth of tormented death no doubt… Kill him …Kill him…Kill him …stop his pain…he hurting us too much…It’s better we kill him, oh he wanted that himself, we could all see that…than look at ourselves in the mirror. You see that it is better not for us to face moral death –than look at our collective indifference to the plight of the disabled –to understand our horribly dysfunctional interaction with John through his lifetime. It is better that John faces his death …that we all not face our moral death by looking in the mirror. Another worthless death for our collective good it becomes.

You know what I got out of it –I couldn’t behaved any better than John –I couldn’t control my life any better than him if I was put in that chair within the current system. It’s was a normal human reaction…………………………………………………………………….

You see, we wanted to control his normal response to a dyfuctional and immoral system.

Disabled child in suicide attact: Down's syndrome

This isLONDON31/01/05 - News and city section
Disabled child in suicide attack
Terrorists used a disabled child as a suicide bomber on election day, Iraqi interior minister Falah al-Naqib said today.
In all, 44 people were killed in a total of 38 bomb attacks on polling stations. Police at the scene of one the Baghdad blasts said the bomber appeared to have Down's syndrome.
Mr Al-Naqib praised an Iraqi citizen who was killed while preventing one suicide bomber from reaching a crowd of people outside a polling station.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

To my Jewish friends: Schindler asked what’s a person worth to you

Well, I am going to ask my Jewish friends for a favor. I am pitching you a slow ball –I hope you will hit it out of the ball park. The world desperately needs to hear some words coming from you now.

I will lay the card on the table. I have more than a theory that we in the USA and throughout the world – we don’t adequately care for our physically and mentally disabled – and our children who come from families of turmoil. The preferred manner of care of the disabled is we throw them in jails in the USA –or give them substandard care, if any at all. You know we have a budget problem –so it’s only going to get worst. According to the UN it’s a “crime against humanity" for any country to treat any group of individuals in a degrading and disparate manner. There is no doubt in my mind that we in the USA treat the disabled as a group -as in crimes against humanity.

So here are some excerpts from your Sharon’s 1/26/05 Auschwitz speech.

“Mr. Speaker, the sad and horrible conclusion is that no one cared that Jews were being murdered.”

“And indeed, during the most terrible, critical hour, those in power and the declared friends did not lift a finger.”

“ We know that we can trust no one but ourselves.”

So I think we need some words or a speech from one of your politicians –maybe somebody big in an academic field –somebody connected with the Nazi experience. So what is our human responsibility to care and stand up for the weak and powerless? What does it mean when we begin to treat one group in a degrading and inhuman manner –when we turn our heads- when the group disproportionally ends up in our jail for unexplained reasons?

So if we know that nobody would stand up to the Jews prior to WW II –so why wouldn’t a country not stand up again for the needs of the weak and powerless today.

As"Oskar Schindler asked: Look, All you have to do is tell me what its worth to you. What's a person worth to you?"

So what new country would we have to invent for the mentally and physically disabled –so that they have to power to demand full human dignity? We know the Nazi experience began with the mercy killing of the disabled.

Who is supposed to stand up for them today?


mike mulligan
Hinsdale, NH

Oil up the printing presses-fires highlight weaknesses...

Oil up the printing presses

I never understood on any public service spending (low income housing -public buildings) or infrastructure ---why does the financing have to go through the bond companies and Wall Street. So if you wanted to upgrade the BQE for 10 billion dollars –why couldn’t you borrow the monies from an efficient governmental agency -that charges no or nominal interest payments –for 50 or 100 years? I’d like to get the difference in financing cost from that.

Also why couldn’t we expand the money supply to the tune of the 10 billion dollars for a legitimate governmental infrastructure –oil up those printing presses.

I mean china has a huge stash of American dollars –that they are using it to finance their infrastructure projects –why can’t we do that?


January 30, 2005

Fires Highlight Weaknesses New Yorkers Often Overlook


wo major fires rudely reminded New Yorkers last week just how vulnerable they are to a nearly invisible threat: Inadequate government investment in maintenance and modernization and the surging population are overwhelming the city's aging public works and its lagging supply of housing.

One fire, initially thought to have been caused by a homeless person trying to keep warm, destroyed a Depression-era subway signal relay room in Lower Manhattan, disabling two lines and disrupting 580,000 daily riders for months. The other, in an overcrowded Bronx building that had been illegally carved into smaller apartments, killed two firefighters and left dozens of tenants homeless.

The fires suggest that despite cheerleading over declining crime and welfare rolls and a heralded economic rebound, some of the same problems that have historically bedeviled the city - a fragile infrastructure and vulnerable residents - may once again be out of sight and even out of mind, but they have not gone away.

The city's public works and the state-run mass transit system are in vastly better shape than they were a generation ago after years of neglect. Still, the subway system just celebrated its centennial, 7 percent of the city's water pipes are more than 100 years old - one, in Greenwich Village, dates to 1844 - and more than 400 bridges are rated in only fair condition. Repairs often cannot keep pace with normal wear and tear.

Panhandling and public encampments by homeless people that invited comparisons to Calcutta have all but vanished. But nearly half the city's households spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, and about 15 percent are rated as overcrowded. The city itself estimated last year that hundreds of people live in the subways, and the shelter system is housing more than 8,800 individuals - more than in any year since 1989 - and more than 8,700 families, including 15,000 children.

In one sense, the city's real estate boom has become part of the problem.

"As the city becomes more prosperous, places you could squat -in Tompkins Square Park or in abandoned buildings in the Bronx or Harlem - aren't there any more," said Kenneth T. Jackson, a Columbia history professor and editor of "The Encyclopedia of New York City." "And it's not just the homeless. Some people have shelter, but in conditions going back to the turn of the century."

In the Bronx, two firefighters died when they jumped five stories to escape a fire in a residential building. The top floor had been converted into a warren of illegal apartments that evoked Jacob Riis's 19th-century photographs of immigrant ghettos, and the fire itself was tentatively attributed to a thin extension cord that snaked from one partitioned bedroom to another, overheated and ignited a mattress.

Most illegally renovated apartments are believed to be in one-, two- and three-family homes that have been converted into boarding houses to accommodate the city's burgeoning population, particularly newly arrived immigrants. Housing construction, particularly in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, has surged

According to a Department of City Planning report released last week, about half of the apartments rented since 1990 were occupied by a foreign-born head of household. The census estimated that the city's population surpassed a record eight million in 2000. The census counted 2.9 million foreign born, but Joseph J. Salvo, director of the department's population division, estimates that the immigrant population is at least 300,000 higher.

A telephone survey of low-income families last year by the Community Service Society, an advocacy and research group, found that almost half were on the verge of eviction and that most had less than $100 in the bank. David R. Jones, the society's president, said that the number of apartments renting for less than $500 a month was dwindling, and that prospective tenants faced a nine-year wait for public housing. He said the city administration was "not ill-intentioned, but they're not looking at structural issues."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has proposed spending $3 billion to build or renovate 65,000 apartments over five years. Last week, he proposed investing $60 billion on public works over the next decade, including $532 million in housing for the homeless.

But despite the economic rebound and real estate boom that enabled him to submit a balanced budget, overall, spending outpaces revenues. In addition, 15 cents of every tax dollar already goes to paying off past debt to build or repair 6,000 miles of water mains, 5,700 miles of streets and 1,000 school buildings, among other things. The mayor deferred $1.3 billion of the city's five-year, $13 billion school construction plan for at least a year, blaming Gov. George E. Pataki for not including the money in the state budget.

"The city has, in recent years, concentrated on maintenance," said Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the city's Independent Budget Office.

In 1998, Alan G. Hevesi, then the city comptroller, warned that the city needed to spend at least $40 billion more on public works over 10 years, but added, "While the need is enormous, the city's ability to meet all capital obligations is limited both by law and by insufficient funding capacity."

Mr. Hevesi, now the state comptroller, warned last year that according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's own estimates, stations and the signal system would not be in a "state of good repair" until 2024 and 2027, respectively. Despite fare increases and service cuts, Peter S. Kalikow, the chairman of the authority, said last month that without new taxes and fees from the state, the authority could afford either its $17 billion program to maintain the system or $16 billion to expand it, but not both.

Transit advocates said the governor's budget would cripple the expansion and even leave money for maintenance in doubt.

Last November, a report commissioned by the state warned of severe consequences - "the transportation infrastructure will deteriorate, the economy will falter, jobs will be lost and the quality of life in New York State will suffer dramatically" - unless tens of billions of dollars were invested in the next five years alone.

But when the system, whose cars date to 1963 and whose pumps were designed when the Panama Canal was being built, will be in good repair is arguable.

Last Sunday's subway fire disrupted service on the A and C lines. Transit officials had been warned for decades that the signal system was obsolete, but they spent most construction dollars elsewhere. The authority invested $288 million on its first computerized signaling system, scheduled to begin on the L line in July.

Repairs to the A and C line could be finished faster if the lines were shut entirely. But that is not considered feasible - just as it is not feasible to close one of the two existing tunnels for repairs or even inspections until a third water tunnel is completed.

In some cases, the delay has been in developing technology and finding suppliers. "If somebody gave us $50 billion tomorrow, we could not any faster upgrade these signals," Mr. Kalikow said Thursday.

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Matthew 5--48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5

“Love for Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Beatitudes

1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.[d]


27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’[e] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.


31“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.


33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Train wreck and Mattheu 5

"Michael Mulligan"
Thu, 27 Jan 2005 07:36:10 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Root_Cause_State_of_the_Practice] Train Wreck: What can rooticians learn from this one?

Sorry I forgot to copy over the references -but I had another thought.

“Later, police would find marks on the tires suggesting the Jeep had moved back and forth before the train hit. They concluded that Alvarez tried todrive forward over the tracks, but the car wouldn'tmove. So he tried to back up and failed. He wasstuck.”

The world is increasing asking these questions–witness Asia’s deadly Tsunami. So why don’t we charge god with the deaths of the 11 and the injuries of 180 people in California? Did he(She) actively keep the car on the tracts? Was god asleep at the switch? I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Boy, would I like to ask the question to the universe-like in a court proceeding –did you (god) cause that train wreck -If so why- why do you cause so muchsuffering of the innocence if you truly love us, when we love you so much.

Are you(god)and us using Juan Manuel Alvarez as ascape-goat for our failure?

...and “god's work must truely be our own” -I keep hearing in my head....?


mike mulligan

Hinsdale, NH

'I'm Sorry. ... I Didn't Mean It.'

Juan Manuel Alvarez showed up at the front door bloody and holding a scissors blade. Blocks away, bodies lay inside mangled trains.

By Sam Quinones and Erica Williams, Times Staff Writers

Reyna Barcena invited Juan Manuel Alvarez to spaghetti dinner Tuesday night.

He showed up the next morning, covered in blood, mumbling: "I'm sorry. A lot of dead people. A lot of people's dead. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."

"I didn't know what he was talking about," Barcena said.

Alvarez was crouched on her doorstep in Atwater Village, several blocks north of where rescuers had begun pulling the dead and injured from the trains mangled in Wednesday's crash. He was stabbing himself and making apologies for the people who had died. As he spoke, blood came out his mouth.

"He had no strength," she said. "The little strength he had, he kept poking himself in the chest over the heart."

Alvarez, accused of killing 11 people and injuring more than 180 when he parked his Jeep Grand Cherokee in front of a Metrolink train, appeared Friday bandaged and shackled in court, where his arraignment was postponed. He has been under suicide watch at County-USC Medical Center since the crash.

Barcena said she met Alvarez about three weeks ago at a practice session of danza Azteca, a traditional form of Aztec Indian dance. Alvarez began dancing about five years ago with the Xipe Totec dance troupe, said Lazaro Arvizu, the group's director. Alvarez's estranged wife, Carmelita, also danced with the troupe.

"He was always dressed like an Indian, with the feathered headdress, the loincloth, the sandals with rattles and bells," said Sergio Lopez, manager of apartments on Walker Street in Bell, where the Alvarezes lived in 2000.

Alvarez danced earlier this month at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Los Angeles.

In December, he was part of a procession for the Virgin of Guadalupe organized by East Los Angeles City College.

Barcena had heard Alvarez, 25, was a construction worker and thought she might hire him. Alvarez told her he had no money or a place to stay.

"I asked him, 'Why don't you have a place to live?' " Barcena recalled. "He said, 'My wife and I are separated. I got involved in drugs, cocaine.' "

Alvarez told her he had been in drug rehabilitation for six weeks, and said he doubted that his wife would take him back. In December, a judge issued a restraining order that kept Alvarez away from his wife, his stepdaughter and the couple's 3-year-old son.

Barcena told him that he needed to " 'prove to her and yourself that you can do it'…. He was very honest with me, and that's the reason why I liked him."

She offered to let him stay in a duplex she owned around the corner from her home in exchange for making some repairs.

In the days before the crash, Barcena drove by the duplex where Alvarez was staying and noticed that his Jeep was parked in the same spot.

"Three days without leaving. Not working. Not eating. He was depressed," she said. "If I would have known, I would have stayed with him. I would have held his hand. I would have prayed with him. I would have not left him alone. That's my remorse. But I didn't know."

Moans awakened Barcena on Wednesday morning and she found Alvarez on her doorstep, bleeding and calling her name.

At least one of his wrists was cut, Barcena said. Alvarez's torso was cut in a long slice from his chest to his navel. In his hand was a 4-inch scissors blade.

He didn't smell of alcohol, she said.

Alvarez asked to use the phone, Barcena said, and she ran inside to get her cordless phone. When she returned to the front door, Alvarez had dragged himself 40 feet to a parking lot and was on his back.

Barcena brought him the phone and Alvarez called a cousin, Beto.

"I heard him say: 'Tell Gloria and my children that I love them,' " she said, " 'that I didn't mean to hurt them.' "

Barcena took the phone and called 911.

"I'm 52 years old and I have seen a lot of children in this life," Barcena said. "I think he was just troubled. He was alone. He didn't mean to cause what he caused. He was trying to commit suicide and he kills innocent people. He didn't plan it. It just happened. Unfortunately, he didn't die."

As the paramedics drove Alvarez to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Barcena went to check the duplex where he was staying. Below a broken kitchen window, Barcena found a Spanish-language Bible.

Barcena believes that Alvarez went to the duplex after the crash, Bible in hand. With his keys somewhere at the crash site, he broke into the duplex.

Inside, Alvarez left a sleeping bag, a blanket and a pillow, a black suitcase on rollers, a candle in a glass with a prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe and a CD of Mexican ranchero duets.

He had the book "The First Book of the Aztecs," belonging to Garfield High School, which he attended briefly after transferring from Roosevelt High in the late 1990s.

He also had a an English-language Bible. It has a handwritten notation on one of the first pages: Matthew 5: 22-25 — passages that warn of God's judgment against those who lash out in anger.

It reads in part: "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment."

Inside the Bible were photographs that appeared to be Alvarez in Aztec garb. Police later took a large serape drenched in paint thinner.

"That kid struggled the whole night with whether to commit suicide," Barcena said. "He believed in God. He had the Bible with him there. He had been reading it. My opinion is he was struggling not to kill himself."

Times staff writers Monte Morin, Christine Hanley and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The mega train wreck in us and the disabled

"Michael Mulligan" Add to Address Book

Thu, 27 Jan 2005 06:07:45 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Root_Cause_State_of_the_Practice] Train Wreck: What can rooticians learn from this one?

Well, I am getting ready to charge the United States with “Crimes Against Humanity”; in that we are negligent with our care of the mentally disabled. We know there are 10’s of thousands of premature deathsbof the disabled ---and we know the disabled have caused the premature deaths of many of the rest of us-as in this tragedy.

The idea here is to create planet wide controversy on how all the countries of the planet takes cares of the mentally and physically disabled. There is no doubt that “we collectively” are monsters about our care ofthe disabled –all of us, and most especially the good people who would speak well of the current system–those who are hiding the real results of what’s around them. As bad as we are, there is much worst–just think how the dictators and third world countries are treating the mentally disabled –wonder what Bin laden thinks about the care of the disabled.

Of course you know what anniversary it is today:Auschwitz-Birkenau –we know that it was a early precursor to the horrors of the death camps –are how they treated those that they defined as defective and different from the best of them. Collectively today inthe USA we are erasing the living troubles for many tens of thousands of us –hiding these people in our jails--- which is not that much different from what happened in the 1930’s. And the dominant reasons is we are doing it is for an unthinking economic rationale–high taxes- and we are wrecking the lives of the disabled and the non disable alike ---when we equate the value of humanity with money. How much are youworth! It severely hurts us all.

But can there be even a bigger issue here –I think so. I can’t understand why you people don’t see it. All of our national infrastructures are sitting on the edge of dysfunctions and enormus ineffeciency; have become extremely fragile just sitting there waiting for a avalanche or cascade ---our roads, rails, public transpotation pipe lines, electricity, health care, our educational systems, our water systems…indeed our national economic system as witnessed by our deficit. Your gated communities are not going to protect you from the results of this. It is common knowledge thatour roads and rail lines should be completelyseperated –with the theme is it would be too expencsive. Maybe for an increasing proportion of theworld it’s gotten just to expensive to live!

There is no doubt we are heading for a cliff with a host of planetary changes including global warming. It’s like we are driving in our car –we are heading towards a cliff -with the idea and rational in ourhead that it’s going to cost us too much to move the steering wheel or apply the brakes. Do we have a collective planet wide mental illness?

The issue in front of us is we –the whole planet –is going to have to create an unprecedented public works program; we are going to have to invent a whole new planetary economic system -we are going to have to engineer the whole planet for the 21st century –both in the realms of our material infrastructures and in those systems which brings security, human dignity…creativity…modernity … the painful hunger forindividual and planetary progress –the real food that quenches the unfathomable depths of our human spiritand of minds.

Oh, president Bush has got it right this time….it isfreedom that we all seek….

mike mulligan
Hinsdale, NH

"Michael Mulligan" Add to Address Book

Thu, 27 Jan 2005 07:36:10 -0800 (PST)

Re: [Root_Cause_State_of_the_Practice] Train Wreck: What can rooticians learn from this one?

Sorry I forgot to copy over the references -but I had another thought.222

“Later, police would find marks on the tires suggesting the Jeep had moved back and forth before the train hit. They concluded that Alvarez tried to drive forward over the tracks, but the car wouldn't move. So he tried to back up and failed. He was stuck.”222

The world is increasing asking these questions–witness Asia’s deadly Tsunami. So why don’t we charge god with the deaths of the 11 and the injuries of 180 people in California? Did he(She) actively keep the car on the tracts? Was god asleep at the switch? I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Boy, would I like to ask the question to the universe-like in a court proceeding –did you (god) cause that train wreck -If so why- why do you cause so much suffering of the innocence, if you truly love us, when we love you so much.

Are you(god) and we using Juan Manuel Alvarez as a scape-goat for our failure?

...and “god's work must truely be our own” -I keep hearing in my head....?

mike mulligan
Hinsdale, NH,0,3761980.story?coll=la-home-headlines,0,6996255.story?coll=la-home-headlines 222

"It was almost like a perfect storm of an accident,"said Mary Travis, who oversees rail programs,including Metrolink, for the Ventura CountyTransportation Commission. "The timing of those threetrains being at the same spot at the same time is justtoo horrible."

…The crash renewed long-standing questions about railsafety in Southern California, where commuter linesshare tracks with busy freight systems and intersectfrequently with parts of the nation's most extensiveurban road network.

Could have been worst… Trains can attain up to 79 mphin the stretch where the wreck occurred. Officialssaid, however, they were probably traveling moreslowly because the northbound train had just left theGlendale station and the other was approaching it.

…He apparently turned onto the tracks just south of acrossing at Chevy Chase Drive. Police said there wereindications that he tried to back out but got stuckbefore abandoning the vehicle.

…Wednesday's crash was the third fatal Metrolink crashin less than three years, and it brought fresh urgencyto calls for costly projects that would put railsbelow or above roadways.

…It also raised questions about Metrolink's practice —a common one among commuter railroads — of using a"push-pull" system in which locomotives are in thefront of the train in one direction and in the rearthe other.

Michael Mulligan" Add to Address Book

Thu, 27 Jan 2005 10:24:57 -0800 (PST)


Re: [Root_Cause_State_of_the_Practice] Train Wreck: What can rooticians learn from this one?

For decades, transit officials have been aware that the system was obsolete, but updating it - both logistically and financially - has been seen as impractical.”


If you think this is a republican issue or President Bush with the disabled you are wrong. Most of the managers and the "hands on" people with the disabled are hard nosed liberals. What I find most amazing, is how the good people can turn any ideology into a destructive tool of self interest.

You should see the distorted liberal rationales they use as tools to hide what is going on in the name of human rights and dignity. Almost without any controls they can accuse any employee with a human right violation in an attempt to hide the greater abuse that is going on. It is a concentration of unconscionable power bar no other industry, because it is perceived and structured as they are doing it in the interest of the weak and powerless. They are abusing power in this manner for the sole interest of selfish self interest. It’s the old iceberg.

We see it in the Clinton(president) and Dean (VTgovernor) where they created policies of economic governmental efficiencies in the name of votes–cutbacks to the least of us- and they slit the throats of many helpless people in the name of a smaller government philosophy –i.e. it’s clearly what the public wants and demands of the democratic politicians. You see that’s the dirty little shameand secrete of our whole nation –is the majority of us are systematically abusing the least of us. That’s why it’s so intractable. Didn’t the governmental cutbacks in the Clinton administration lead to the NASA Columbia tragedy? Didn’t that destroy the NASA safety culture really? So what do we really think about theVermont state mental hospital meltdown?

You see it’s us…us…us… –who is committing crimesagainst ourselves-most especially our liberals.

We’ve seen many so called liberals democratic governors, who have with malice have cut costs of the human services in a bid to get reelected even as they intentionally reduced transparency to themselves of the wreckage of lives all around them -and to the public. What we get is these perpetual seasonal political reorganization of the human service agencies– they spends tons of money on experts, reorganization experts and credit card dinner and drinks, thus the elites gets a bonus out of the horrors, everyone gets destabilized by the repeated changes of the organization -but it creates the illusion that the political class is acting on the horrors of the system.

Folks it’s political class protection and nothing elsehere –and the democrats are up to their necks withthis knowingly disgrace…

We are watching very closely the recent subway fire inManhattan subways –the A and C lines. It’s amazing the interactions with the “undesirables”( homeless and disabled) potentially setting the fires –and disrupting 600,000 people’s lives for months and years–antiquated and 1930’s engineering of the wiring ofthe subway –not being able to find the money for the system upgrades – and the status of our mega cityinfrastructures as seen in this. It’s a world wide problem.

We sit there looking at these sparkling cities from a distant -but we wonder what is really going on in the belly of the beast.

Isn't that the symbol of our times on the big picture?


Humanity With Flaws Forgiven -the divine in us

January 28, 2005


Humanity With Flaws Forgiven
-the divine in us



THE woman, hand to chest, leans a little forward, head turned and tilted, lips slightly parted, liquid eyes gazing into the ether. She is dressed in a dark, fur-lined cloak that reveals a peek-a-boo white chemise; a robe sewn with gold is draped over her right shoulder and it glints, like the gold fillet in her hair. Her round, pretty face is a little puffy and sad, and she seems oblivious of us. But she is no doubt alert to the painter, her lover, whose gifts are so surpassing that simply by virtue of being the object of his devotion she looks divine.

This is a portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's companion. In the little Rembrandt show opening Sunday here at the National Gallery, the picture is tentatively identified (with a question mark after the title) as "The Sorrowing Virgin."

Had he been a poet instead of a painter, Rembrandt would have seduced countless women with his love sonnets. Every lover would have believed him when he wrote yet another poem that swore undying devotion to her unrivaled feet and peerless earlobes.

His portraits convey pretty much the same message, after all. Each one says: "Here, stripped bare, is the true essence of this person, the depth of his or her soul in paint. Have you ever met anyone so authentic and remarkable?" Painting after painting makes that point. Rembrandt's touch was itself about his own individuality, suggesting the inimitability of his genius (never mind that his style was imitable enough for assistants and followers to flummox future generations of experts, and delight those who mischievously enjoy seeing other people's gold turn out to be brass).

Not everybody would want to be painted by Rembrandt - launched into posterity in such an eloquent brown fog, bearing the weight of the world on one's shoulders, looking watery-eyed and wrinkled. But it's flattering to think of yourself as the sort of person, spiritually speaking, that Rembrandt concocted: soulful, substantial. Every Dutch burgher became a saint in his hands. My favorite Rembrandt portraits may be a pair of pictures in London, the ones of Jacob Trip and his wife, Margaretha de Geer, at the National Gallery there. Trip was a Dordrecht mining honcho and an arms dealer, rich as Croesus. In his portrait, he looks like the aged Moses leaning on a cane instead of a staff.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., the curator of this focused gem of an exhibition, contemplated including the Trip portrait, which was painted sometime around 1661. It would have joined 17 other works from the 1650's and 1660's, pictures late in Rembrandt's career (he died in 1669, at 63), which have mystified scholars.

They are paintings of Jesus, Mary and assorted evangelists, apostles and monks. Or some are. Others may be. Some look like "portraits historiés," commissioned portraits in which Rembrandt decked out his hoity-toity patrons as holy men and women. Some are clearly not commissioned portraits but models. We know this because the same face appears in different pictures, here as a St. Bartholomew, there as a St. Paul.

Portraits like the one of Stoffels are more ambiguous: an "Apostle Bartholomew" is so titled because the alert, heavy-lidded, mustachioed man with his hand to his chin staring melancholically at us, clasps a knife, the symbol of Bartholomew's martyrdom. But at one time this same painting was called "Rembrandt's Cook," then "The Assassin."

Cook, assassin, lover or the Virgin Mary? The first question is why Rembrandt, reared a Protestant, whose religious beliefs nonetheless remain largely unknown, would have painted saints and apostles at all. In Protestant Holland, Catholic religious orders and monasteries were banned. Reformationists regarded saints as needless intermediaries in the quest for salvation. For whom did Rembrandt paint these pictures? For himself? Did he have Catholic patrons, perhaps, outside Holland?

It's clear he was going through a bad patch at the time. The church condemned his relationship with Stoffels when she bore him a child out of wedlock in 1654. Debts forced him to auction off his house, his personal effects, his art collection, even his wife's grave. His style of painting also fell out of fashion in Amsterdam; young artists were deserting his brand of expressiveness. It's hard to know how much trouble Rembrandt really was in, whether he sheltered income from creditors, whether he still had assistants. He was commissioned to paint not just Trip's portrait but also the "Syndics of the Drapers' Guild," so he was not without opportunities.

But in various ways, Rembrandt's difficulties might have caused him to identify with saints and apostles. His self-portrait as St. Paul, Mr. Wheelock speculates, is "about the supremacy of grace over law" and the notion of "the great but flawed man who, saved by God's grace, reveals the power of the Christian faith to those struggling with their own human limitations." Rembrandt's Paul is not a sturdy and forbidding pillar of righteousness but a scruffy, ordinary old man, hapless, weak-chinned and quizzical, gazing at or just past us with arched eyebrows, crumpled brow, a big, fleshy nose and wild tufts of hair escaping from his turban: a humble Paul, on whom God happens to shines the bright, consoling light of grace.

Perhaps Mr. Wheelock is right. It's as if Rembrandt, at odds with the law now, were saying the only law that matters ultimately is divine law. He's also admitting in this picture, "I'm not perfect."

The flawed humanity of his saints is the heart of the art, and what gives it spiritual truth. Plain sight suggests that some of the paintings might have been linked as a series because they're the same size. But others differ; their touch varies wildly - so much so that people might well wonder whether Rembrandt even did them all.

I prefer to flip the question: could any other artist have painted with such affective variety? Rembrandt by this stage knew how to do everything: how to scuff and scratch and scribble, where to leave passages rough, where to smoothen, how to telegraph forms, to hint at volumes, to paint thin and dry or thick and pasty. In a version of "Apostle Paul," this one with a bearded model sitting before a table, hand to brow, rapt in thought, Rembrandt painted flesh tones as a thin layer over a warm primary. Then he suggested eyes, nose and beard without drawing any sharp contours, letting light sculpture the hair, skin and bone, a different tack from the one he took for "Bartholomew" or Stoffels or himself.

What's constant is the human aspect. It's what Rembrandt focuses our eyes on: on St. James's meaty hands; on Simon's long, rugged face, like a lumberjack's, brooding, his thumb casually hooked over the handle of the cross saw that is the instrument of his martyrdom; on the sad eyes of the man with the reddish mustache and bushy beard, a portrait that used to be called "A Jewish Rabbi."

Rembrandt's power was to show us ourselves in these portraits of holy men and women. Which is to say, the divine in us.

"Crazy for you" Bear -Vermont teddy bear co

OPINION Thursday, January 27, 2005 Opinion News Archives for:

Pull the bear

The "Crazy for You" bear controversy inches toward resolution with a meeting planned between the president of Vermont Teddy Bear Co. and the state's mental health care advocates.

In the meantime, the $69.95 honey-colored bear, wearing a straitjacket and carrying commitment papers, continues to sell. On the company's Web site, the bear is posed under the heading, "She'll go nuts over this bear."

Although Vermont Teddy Bear President and Chief Executive Officer Elisabeth Robert deserves credit for agreeing to meet with local groups, the meeting isn't scheduled until Tuesday -- less than two weeks before Feb. 14, when the shelf life of this Valentine's Day gift will essentially expire.

Previously, Robert had declined to meet Vermont advocates, preferring to limit the discussions to the National Association for the Mentally Ill at a meeting the week before Valentine's Day, according to Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, an advocate who has suffered mental illness.

These meetings shouldn't be necessary. The "Crazy for You" bear should be pulled today. It doesn't represent a light-hearted message of love. It is a demeaning and humiliating symbol that perpetuates a stigma about the mentally ill that people have fought hard to change.

Gov. Jim Douglas, who is among the heavy hitters who have stepped into this debate, has said he wouldn't have marketed the bear in the first place. It sends a "dramatic and inappropriate statement" about mental illness, he said.

The bear was a mistake, but the bigger mistake has been the company's lack of recognition that a bear in a straitjacket isn't funny to people who have suffered such a debilitating illness, especially those who have been committed to a mental health institution.

Donahue, who will be among the advocates meeting with Robert, said she wants to focus on helping the CEO understand the gravity of the issue.

Robert must also answer to Fletcher Allen Health Care, where she has been a member of the board of trustees since December 2002. This hospital has had enough conflict with the mental health care community in the past that the board's handling of this issue will be a test of its values. The board plans to discuss the bear at its Feb. 8 meeting, and board Chairman William Schubart says the hospital and board of trustees take the issue "deadly seriously."

"This is our patient community," Schubart said Wednesday. "We mended a number of historical fences with them and we have a partnership -- we don't want to jeopardize that. I know Liz (Robert) knows this."

If Robert knows it -- really knows it -- then the bear will be retired. click here to chat about this news item in our subscriber only forum! -->


Former CEO guilty in hospital conspiracyBoettcher misled state on cost of constructionBy Jill Fahy Free Press Staff Writer

Published January 19, 2005

William Boettcher, former chief executive officer of Fletcher Allen Health Care, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal conspiracy charges, ending a major chapter in the story of a scandal that rocked the hospital and called into question the honesty of its leaders.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions, Boettcher, 57, agreed to a plea deal in which he could face up to two years in prison. He also has agreed to pay $733,210 in restitution to Fletcher Allen, the approximate amount of the retirement package he received upon his resignation from the hospital in 2002.

Boettcher, who waived his right to a trial when he accepted the plea deal, admitted during the hearing that he was part of a conspiracy to hide the real costs of the hospital's $367 million expansion -- dubbed the Renaissance Project -- from state regulators. He will be sentenced at a hearing that is to begin April 18 and which could last a week.

Boettcher is the second former Fletcher Allen executive to be criminally charged in the scandal that led to the resignations of several top hospital executives and eight trustees.

"My, how the mighty have fallen," Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said Tuesday. "Before today, Boettcher was a free guy with a clean resume living on a yacht in Seattle, and he starts right now as a convicted felon. Bad day at the office."

Boettcher's case was investigated on both a state and federal level, but the former CEO was brought up on only federal charges because the financing of the Renaissance Project involved issues that crossed state borders, Sorrell said. Conviction of the hospital's top executive does not close the book on a multi-faceted investigation that involves "tens of thousands of documents, e-mails and numerous individuals," Sorrell said.

"Boettcher's plea is a major step, and we're pleased to have gotten here," he said, "but there is much left to be done."

Sorrell and acting U.S. Attorney David Kirby declined to comment on the investigation, noting only that the facts remain under litigation.

Facts of the case

During Tuesday's hearing at U.S. District Court in Burlington, Kirby and assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher laid out the facts of a case they believed would prove Boettcher conspired with others between 2000 and 2002 to stonewall state regulators and hide from them the true costs of the hospital's expansion project.

Drescher said Boettcher and other top hospital officials created two budgets for the Renaissance Project -- one for state regulators and the Fletcher Allen board that showed the project coming in on budget at $173 million -- and another that reflected the project's true costs, which had actually increased to more than $250 million.

Prosecutors also said Boettcher and conspirators concealed from Fletcher Allen trustees the full cost of the hospital's agreement with the University of Vermont to develop the education center component of the expansion project.

Boettcher, dressed in gray slacks, a navy blazer and a light blue shirt, appeared relaxed through much of the proceedings. He leaned back in a chair, his feet rocking back and forth. He nodded when affirming statements by Sessions, saying he was of a good mind to admit guilt.

Boettcher's demeanor changed when Drescher read the charges against him. He leaned forward. Whispers to his lawyer, Jerome O'Neill of Burlington, grew louder.

O'Neill told the court he and his client don't agree with all the facts Drescher laid out, saying Boettcher did not participate in any conspiracy to dupe the hospital's board of trustees about the project's costs.

"We're not here to minimize ... (Boettcher's) involvement. He was involved, but many other people also participated in this very complicated project," O'Neill said. "Many events took place without his knowledge, and some took place with his knowledge."

Later, when Sessions was placing restrictions on what Boettcher can do between now and his springtime sentencing, the former hospital CEO interrupted his lawyer while he was speaking to the judge. After a series of whispers, O'Neill asked the judge to allow Boettcher to bring a boat from Mexico back to the United States in March, as he had planned. The boat in Mexico is not the one he lives on. His boat is docked in Seattle.

Sessions told O'Neill his client would have to work it out with his pre-trial services officers.

After the hearing, Boettcher paused to speak to reporters, but was stopped mid-sentence by O'Neill, who urged him not to comment.

"I'm happy to see you guys," Boettcher said to reporters, "and I'll have to talk to you later. I have to go with (O'Neill) now."

Reputation declined

Boettcher was hired as Fletcher Allen's CEO in 1998. He was chosen because he had a reputation for cutting costs at troubled hospitals. His salary and benefits were tied to the hospital's prosperity. But his tenure at the hospital only worsened the hospital's reputation and financial situation.

Soon after his arrival at Fletcher Allen, he pushed through the long-stalled $173.4 million Renaissance Project. State regulators, embodied in the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration, are required to give a nod to projects costing more than $1.5 million in an effort to control healthcare costs. Boettcher was required to notify the regulators if the total cost of the project rose more than 10 percent or $500,000, whichever was less.

As the project's price rose, Boettcher persuaded high-ranking hospital officials to lie to the state. Concerned the public and regulators wouldn't support a cost-inflated project, he insisted his subordinates find a way around the public process.

Ultimately, the hospital's chief financial officer quit. State regulators later determined if this had been done in the open, tens of millions of dollars would have been saved.

Boettcher is the second former Fletcher Allen executive to be criminally charged in covering up the real cost of the hospital's now $367 million Renaissance Project. Thad Krupka, the hospital's former chief operating officer, pleaded guilty last fall to three misdemeanor false claim counts. As part of his plea deal, Krupka agreed to cooperate with state and federal investigators and be a government witness at any trials connected with the Fletcher Allen scandal.

Boettcher's agreement gives him immunity from cooperating in ongoing investigations into the Renaissance Project, and guarantees that no new criminal or civil charges will be brought against him concerning the project. Also as part of the agreement, Boettcher was ordered to relinquish his passport and must remain within the United States and U.S. territorial waters until his sentencing.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are looking to Boettcher's sentencing as a time to show just how Boettcher's dirty dealings hurt the hospital and how he might have personally gained from his actions.

While the investigation has yet to reveal the true scope of the scandal, Sorrell said, Boettcher's conviction is a major piece of the whole.

"This is a man at the top of the food chain at Fletcher Allen saying, 'Yes, I was involved in a conspiracy with others to lie, fraud and mislead the state,'" Sorrell said. "Here, we have the number one guy saying, 'I'm guilty.'"

We will protect the weak:Auschwitz -NYT

We will protect the weak?

"We didn't see God when we expected him, so we have no choice but to do what he was supposed to do: we will protect the weak, we will love, we will comfort. From now on, the responsibility is all ours."

January 27, 2005


Always, Darkness Visible



IN January 1945, 60 years ago today, the wheels of destruction in Auschwitz stood still.

The few people left alive describe the prevailing silence as the silence of death. Those who came out of hiding after the war - out of the forests and monasteries - also describe the shock of liberation as freezing, crippling silence. Nobody was happy. The survivors stood at the fences in amazement. Human language, with all its nuances, turned into a mute tongue. Even words like horror or monster seemed meager and pale, not to mention words like anti-Semitism, envy, hatred. Such a colossal crime can be committed only if you mobilize the darkest dark of the soul. To imagine such darkness apparently needs a new language.

"Where were we?" "What did we go through?" "What's left of us?" the survivors wondered. Primo Levi tried to use images of Dante's hell; others turned to the works of Kafka, especially "The Trial" and "In the Penal Colony."

In the penal colony of Auschwitz, the Jew was not condemned because of his old or new beliefs, but because of the blood that flowed in his veins. In the Holocaust, biology determined a person's fate. In the Middle Ages, the Jew was killed for his beliefs. A Jew who chose to convert to Christianity or Islam was saved from his suffering. In the Holocaust, there was no choice. Observant Jews, liberal Jews, communist Jews and Jews who were sure they weren't Jews were crammed into the ghettos and camps. Their one and only offense: the Jewish blood in their veins.

The Holocaust stretched over six years. Such long years there probably never were in Jewish history. Those were years when every minute, every second, every split-second held more than it could bear. Pain and fear reigned, but even then, in the midst of hunger and humiliation, the amazement sprouted: "Is this Man?"

During the Holocaust, there was no place for thought or feeling. The needs of the hungry and thirsty body reduced one to dust. People who had been doctors, lawyers, engineers and professors only yesterday stole a piece of bread from their companions and when they were caught, they denied and lied. This degradation that many experienced will never be wiped out.

Under conditions of hunger and cold, the body, we learned in the camps, is liable to lose its divine qualities. That too was part of the wickedness of the murderer: not only to murder, but first to humiliate the victim utterly, to exterminate every shred of will and faith, to turn him into a despicable body whose soul had fled, and only then, that degradation complete, to murder him. The lust to debase the victim until his last moments was just as great as the lust for murder.

In 1945, the ovens were extinguished. Jean Améry, a prisoner of Auschwitz and one of the outstanding thinkers on the Holocaust, says in one of his essays: "Anybody who was tortured will never again feel at home in the world."

Great natural disasters leave us shocked and mute, but mass murder perpetrated by human beings on human beings is infinitely more painful. Murder reveals wickedness, hatred, cynicism and contempt for all belief. All the evil in man assumed a shape and reality in the ghettos and camps. The empathy that we once believed modern man felt for others was ruined for all time.

In 1945, the great migration of the survivors began: a sea of bodies, killed many times over and now resurrected. Some wanted to return to their countries and their homes, and some wanted to go to America, and some wanted to reach the shores of the Mediterranean and go from there to Palestine. Even then, in that strange resurrection, the first questions arose: What is a Jew? Why are we persecuted so bitterly and cruelly? Is there something hidden in us that condemns us to death? Many felt - if an individual may speak for the many - that the six years of war were years of profound trial. We had been in both hell and purgatory and we were no longer what we were.

Some entered hell as pious people and came out of it just as pious. That position deserves respect. But most survivors - myself, and especially the young - were outside the realm of faith, and from the first stages of the liberation, we were engaged with the question of how to go on living a life with meaning. The temptation to forget and be forgotten and to assimilate back into normal life lurked for every survivor. We can barely grasp and internalize the death of one child. How can we grasp the death of millions?

For the sake of sanity, the survivors built barriers between themselves and the horrors they had experienced. But every barrier, every distance, inevitably separates you from the most meaningful experience of your life, and without that experience, hard as it may be, you are doubly defective: a defect imposed on you by the murderers and a defect you perpetrated with your own hands.

God did not reveal himself in Auschwitz or in other camps. The survivors came out of hell wounded and humiliated. They were betrayed by the neighbors among whom they and their forefathers had lived. They were betrayed by Western culture, by the Germans, by the language and literature they admired so much. They were betrayed by the great beliefs: liberalism and progress. They were betrayed by their own bodies.

What to hold onto to live a meaningful life? It was clear to many that the denial of one's Judaism, which characterized the emancipated Jew, was no longer possible. After the Holocaust it was immoral.

No wonder many of the survivors went on to Israel. No doubt, they wanted to get to a place where they could leave their victimhood behind and assert responsibility over their fate, a place where they could connect with the culture of their forefathers, to the language of the Bible, and to the land that gave birth to the Bible.

This is not a story with a happy ending. A doctor who survived, from a religious background, who sailed to Israel with us in June 1946, told us: "We didn't see God when we expected him, so we have no choice but to do what he was supposed to do: we will protect the weak, we will love, we will comfort. From now on, the responsibility is all ours."

Aharon Appelfeld is the author, most recently, of"The Story of a Life." This article was translated by Barbara Harshav from the Hebrew.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Pervasive and systemic Crimes against Humanity in USA

Pervasive Crimes against Humanity in USA 23, 2005, 12:43AM


In the shadow of a crisis

A new law was supposed to streamline services and improve care for the sickest patients. But thousands still go without treatment.

By CLAUDIA FELDMAN and JEANNIE KEVERCopyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Call him the money man.

He's schizophrenic, obsessive-compulsive and so ill he can't remember things from one day to the next. Until he was moved to a nursing home recently, he spent years entering downtown skyscrapers and holding forth on Hitler, Mussolini and the Beatles.
Security guards asked him to leave, but he couldn't, he had to get to the end of his spiel. Inevitably the police came, charged him with misdemeanor trespassing and put him in jail. From jail he went to a state mental hospital, and from there he recycled back to jail, the county psychiatric hospital and the streets.

He has cost taxpayers at least $2 million over the last 30 years, says a mental health expert who has followed his case, and even at that price tag he didn't get what he needed — long-term outpatient services or a spot in a supervised residential facility. He represents a state mental health system that's been broken for years.

Millions of dollars in tax money — the exact amount is untallied, but an informal survey of area mental health providers shows that it easily tops $70 million — goes to the treatment of mental illness in Harris County every year. While 25,000 received services from the public mental health system in 2003, almost three times as many did not.

Texas House Bill 2292, which became law in September, was supposed to fix things.
To streamline services, agencies for mental health and substance abuse were combined and eligibility requirements tightened. To save money, most mental health benefits were cut from Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor, leaving nearly 128,000 Texas Medicaid recipients with mental illnesses without a way to pay for care.

To improve patient care, the law also implemented the concept of disease management. Instead of treating everyone with a mental illness with medication and little else, staffers at the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County and other community mental health centers across the state now assign clients to one of four levels, with Level IV clients receiving the broadest range of services.

Legislators said the sickest people in the state would receive effective, even improved, treatment.

It didn't turn out that way, say those who work most closely with the mentally ill.
"Are we comfortable letting people die on the streets? Are we comfortable having a level of health care that may approach Third World status for some portion of our society?" asks Steve Schnee, executive director of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County.

Tom Mitchell, who has worked with the indigent mentally ill for 28 years, describes the four months since the law has been in effect "as the worst I've ever seen. The population is growing, and we're cutting services."

MHMRA, the region's largest provider of mental health services for the uninsured and underinsured, simply can't keep up with client demand. People not in crisis wait up to 3 1/2 months for an appointment. The day of the visit, they wait hours to see a doctor, who typically has a caseload of more than 600 patients.

According to a 2004 report by the Mental Health Needs Council, a local advocacy group, 84,000 Harris County residents who are severely ill with depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia depend on the public mental health system. Twenty percent of county residents in jail or prison and one-third of the county's homeless population are severely mentally ill.

Since September, mental health services in Harris County have undergone changes. Here's a look at what's happened and what the outlook is for the future.

Rationing of care

Only people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression now are eligible for more than crisis care at MHMRA. People in acute psychiatric crisis are eligible for treatment, regardless of their diagnoses, but under the new law they may be forced out of the system once they are stabilized.

Theoretically, people with other serious mental illnesses — anxiety and panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and nonsuicidal depression — will be referred elsewhere, but they have few other places to go. The other main public provider, the Harris County Hospital District, has little capacity to absorb the overflow.

So far, about 125 clients who don't meet the new eligibility standards have been or soon will be purged by MHMRA, and 120 people, or 15 percent, are turned away each month, says Rose Childs of MHMRA.

At any one time, MHMRA juggles 8,830 clients, Childs says. That's one-tenth of those who need public treatment

Funding cuts

Texas already ranked near the bottom in per capita state spending for mental health care — 48th in 2002, according to a study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute. And spending has dropped since then. The local MHMRA has lost $8 million in state funding for mental health services since 2003; of its $129.1 million budget for this fiscal year, $35.1 million is for adult outpatient mental health programs.

"With all these budget cuts, I'm afraid one day I might not be sick enough to qualify for help," says Bobby Harper, who has spent much of his life homeless, severely depressed and occasionally suicidal.

Calls for change

MHMRA of Harris County juggles funding issues and the delivery of care. Some lawmakers and other experts want community mental health agencies across the state to choose between the two.

State Rep. John Davis, R-Houston, filed a bill earlier this month to regionalize state-funded programs for mental health, mental retardation, substance abuse, aging and services for the disabled. Among other things, it would prohibit agencies from both overseeing funds and providing services.

The local Mental Health Needs Council and other groups focusing on the system's shortcomings agree. They'd also like to see much greater coordination between the Harris County Hospital District, MHMRA and the county public health department. The newly formed Harris County Public Health Care System Council is supposed to oversee that coordination.

Harris County faces special challenges, including the fact that rural areas in Texas have historically received more money per capita for mental health services than the state's urban areas. Couple that with urban areas' attraction for people who need such services, and the problems become clear, said Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. The county's geographic sprawl complicates the problem by making it difficult for many people to reach clinics where services are available.

Several other urban counties have begun to address the challenges, but change has been slow to arrive in Harris County.

"There are people who think we (in Harris County) have the worst mental health system in Texas," says Lois Moore, administrator of the University of Texas-Harris County Psychiatric Center, which provides short-term inpatient treatment. "It's very dysfunctional."
Once, MHMRA operated seven outpatient clinics; it's down to four. The places almost smell of budget cuts that have been going on for years.

Outside the northwest clinic, clients smoke and keep wary eyes on a man who is shouting — to himself.

Inside, patients recline in well-worn chairs and wait. For hours, they wait.
Irene Castorino, a middle-age woman, skipped breakfast to make it to the clinic for her 9 a.m. appointment. Then she sat in the dusty waiting area until her name was called at 2:15 p.m.
She waited more than five hours for a five-minute meeting with a social worker. Had to, she says. She needs medication for her depression, but she can't see the doctor who will write a prescription until she gets past the gatekeeper.

"You have to put up with it," Castorino says. "If you don't come and keep your appointment, they drop you."

Castorino has been an MHMRA client since 1995. "The waits are so much longer now," she says. "Also, I used to come to group therapy. They stopped that."

Specific budget cuts are decided locally. But the major changes have been dictated in Austin.
Davis described the legislation as an attempt to bring mental health care into the modern age.
He and other proponents note that the old system was cobbled together before the explosion of information about brain-based diseases. Now that society knows more about mental illness, they say, treatment needs to change, too.

Combining effective, new drugs with meaningful therapy will help more people manage their mental illnesses, Davis said.

Most experts like the idea of disease management.

"In theory, it makes a lot of sense," said Betsy Schwartz, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston. "But it's mandated without any new funding in a system already totally underfunded."

MHMRA, for example, has about $35 million a year to spend on outpatient adult mental health services.

That's not nearly enough, says Schwartz, who estimates roughly 35,000 mentally ill adults would seek services if the system were accessible.
Thousands of others are so sick they may not know they need treatment.
"It costs $10,000 a year, minimum, to give an adult the care he or she needs in an outpatient clinic," Schwartz says.

"It costs $55,000 a year not to treat that client. They cycle into crisis, and crisis care is prohibitively expensive. We pay now or pay later."

Sandra Robles' story

When Sandra Robles first called for help, she was so depressed she couldn't leave her bare west Houston apartment.

She lost her job as a nursery-school teacher when she took time off to help Steven, her adult schizophrenic son. At her next job, in a nursing home, a colostomy bag exploded in her face and caused an eye infection so severe she couldn't work.

Panicked about her bills, her son, her vision and her sanity, Robles called the Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, a free emergency service that is part of MHMRA. MCOT made several home visits, providing counseling and medication. Robles' employer also came through, giving her the temporary assistance she needed to pay bills and buy groceries.

Crisis averted, it seemed, for the licensed vocational nurse who feared she'd be living on the street. Her apartment was just a little box, she sobbed at one point, but it was all she had.
Two weeks ago, just as Robles planned to return to work, everything unraveled again.

Her doctor told her she wasn't ready — one eye was getting worse. A few days after she asked her employers to extend her medical leave, she was fired. That meant she lost the financial help. Then her mother died.

Thank goodness, Robles said, she had the anti-depressants from MCOT. Otherwise, she said, she'd be suicidal.

The MCOT services, designed to be temporary, actually came to an end before the latest series of crises. The MCOT counselor directed her to MHMRA's eligibility center, where the staff told her she qualified for services but would have to start paying $89 a month.

Robles didn't have the money and gave up on any hope of treatment. The MCOT staff stepped in again, assuring her that MHMRA would help her, even if she couldn't pay.

And that's what happened. Now Robles is trying to figure out how to come up with rent and put food in the refrigerator when she has no money coming in.

"I'm not going to cry — I can't cry anymore," she said. "I'm going to fight."

When Robles is not worrying about basic survival, she frets about her son. She wants to help him, she says, but sometimes the schizophrenia is a destructive force bigger and more powerful than either of them. Even when he gets free care, she says, he sometimes refuses it.

She's no longer surprised by that, she says. He's very ill. And sometimes they both question the value of 15 minutes of talk therapy here and there.

Tom Mitchell, the MCOT director, worries about the folks he and his team members lose while transferring them from their jurisdiction to the eligibility center and outpatient clinics. He feels particularly bad for the clients who are bounced because they don't have one of the big three diagnoses.

That, says Dr. Avrim Fishkind, is his biggest beef with the legislation: "It's almost a 'who should live and who should die' kind of decision."

Fishkind is medical director of MHMRA's NeuroPsychiatric Center, which provides assessment and treatment for people in psychiatric crises. Because of their emergency status, doctors can treat them without worrying about an approved diagnosis.

"But then what?" Fishkind asked. "There are dozens of psychiatric illnesses with the risk of violence and suicide as great or greater than major depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Think what would happen if doctors at Ben Taub (General Hospital) or the hospital district were told they could only treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease. That's how limiting (House Bill) 2292 is."

Joe Lovelace, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Texas, acknowledges that some people will lose services, but he says the limits are necessary to ensure that those with the greatest needs get help.

"It's a rational rationing," said Lovelace, who got involved in mental health issues after his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1988.

The legislation was an appropriate if difficult step to take, says Robert Black, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry. "2292 merged 11 state agencies into four, eliminated a lot of duplication and saved taxpayers dollars. With a $10 billion shortfall, legislators had to make some hard decisions."

For clients who get the ax, the Harris County Hospital District is the logical fallback. But it was stretched beyond capacity even before House Bill 2292 took effect.
Already Ben Taub and other emergency centers in the Texas Medical Center, including the NeuroPsychiatric Center, periodically go on diversion, too crowded to accept even the most critically ill patients.

"We will do everything we can, but we are not staffed and funded to provide adequate mental health care to everybody in Harris County," said Dr. John Burruss, chief of psychiatric services.
Those who call for outpatient treatment aren't denied outright. The waiting time is about three months. People wait, and often they cycle into crisis.

"They end up in the ER, they end up in jail, they end up dead," Burruss said.

Limited by the system

Bobby Harper had been homeless for much of his adult life when he moved to Houston in 1997. He would get a job, rent an apartment, buy a few appliances. Then he'd get fired.
Harper's fortunes changed when he met his wife-to-be, Deborah, in a church singles group. She suffered from severe depression, she told him, and she recognized his untreated symptoms. If he didn't take care of his own mental illness, they were finished.

Last year, at age 35, Harper sought help from the Safe Havens Transitional Living Center, an MHMRA facility for homeless, mentally ill men. He is stable now. He and Deborah are married, living in their own apartment and expecting a child. He would like to say all is well, love conquers all, but in their case, it hasn't.

Deborah can't work because of multiple health problems. She receives Social Security payments of $564 a month. He wants to work, but if he earns as much as $825 a month, Deborah loses her benefits. He can earn enough to jeopardize her income but not enough to pay for their living expenses, their health problems and a high-risk pregnancy.

"I'd feel better working," Harper said. "But the system penalizes me if I do."

Harper knows most people can't relate to him or his story. He's short, stout, and can't take care of himself very well. When he and his wife first learned she was pregnant, they were thrilled but also frightened. They didn't plan the pregnancy and they knew they couldn't afford to raise a child.

In the past few weeks, they've contacted an adoption agency.
"We're going to give up the baby," Harper said.

He knows most people don't understand chronic depression.

"You're depressed?" people ask him. "So am I."

He said, "I'm not talking about getting sad or a bad day. I'm talking about waking up and not wanting to live."

Harper is not an expert on House Bill 2292, but he knows it means even more budget cuts in the future, and the prospect terrifies him.

"I just can't be homeless again," he said.