Homeless during the holidays

December 25, 2013 | By Les Gapay, latimes.com

"Recently, in my old hometown in Montana, a man died of exposure. According to news reports, he was a Wal-Mart employee in the town of Miles City, homeless and living in his car when the weather plunged to 27 degrees below zero.

"We tend to shrug off the homeless when we see them pushing their shopping carts or holding up signs asking for money. They're mentally ill, we assume, or drug addicts. But I know from experience that a lot of the homeless are like that man in Montana: struggling to make it but not quite able to."

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/25/opinion/la-oe-1225-gapay-homelessness-20131225

Kiribati faces its future, and a rising ocean

By J. Maarten Troost, Special to the Los Angeles Times
November 17, 2013

"Recently, a curious case appeared before New Zealand’s High Court. The plaintiff, Ioane Teitiota, a resident of the island nation of Kiribati, was seeking refugee status in New Zealand. His reasoning? Climate change and rising sea levels were making Kiribati uninhabitable. 'There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,' Teitiota argued."

"I used to live in Kiribati, a remote nation of 33 atolls in the equatorial Pacific scattered over an area nearly two-thirds as large as the continental United States. When I lived there, in the late 1990s, the island elders were beginning to notice a strange new phenomenon. The spring tides, or king tides as they are sometimes called, were beginning to breach the typical high-water mark on the beach, inundating homes, flooding pig pens and streaming over the causeways that linked the islets of South Tarawa, where most of the nation’s 100,000 inhabitants resided."

"...Not long ago, I visited Kiribati and was struck by the changes. Those sea walls, built with hope, now look like the grim remains of ancient fortresses destroyed long ago. The coconut trees near shore — the source of the nutritious toddy that children drink for breakfast and provider of the copra that Kiribati depends on for its meager income — stand like mute sentries, dead and useless as they succumb to the tide. The groundwater is now so brackish that gardens refuse to grow."

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2013/nov/17/j-maarten-troost-kiriba...

Pope Francis denounces 'trickle-down' economic theories in critique of inequality

By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post
Published: November 26

"Pope Francis on Tuesday sharply criticized growing economic inequality and unfettered markets in a wide-ranging and decidedly populist teaching that revealed how he plans to reshape the Catholic Church.

"'Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,' Francis wrote in the papal statement. 'This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacra­lized workings of the prevailing economic system.

"'Meanwhile,' he added, 'the excluded are still waiting.'"

Full story at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pope-francis-denounces-tr...

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