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“According to the UNCC study, housing these people led to dramatic cost savings that more than paid for the cost of putting them in decent housing, including $1.8 million in health care savings from 447 fewer ER visits (78% reduction) and 372 fewer hospital days (79% reduction). Tenants also spent 84 fewer days in jail, with a 72% drop in arrests.
What’s more, Moore Place is enabling the formerly homeless to find their own sources of income. Without housing, just 50% were able to generate any income. One year after move-in, they’re up to 82%. And after an average length of 7 years of homelessness, 94% of the original tenants retained their housing after 18 months, with a 99% rent collection rate.”
The cost of NOT housing homeless people is exorbitant — a stunning $39,458 in combined medical, judicial and other costs. This pilot program (rent for housing at Moore Place) is paid for 30% by tenant benefits (welfare, etc) and an additional $14k per person per year (comes from federal funding and donations). We are looking at more than $25k cheaper to house a homeless person per year than to leave them on the streets.
Moral legitimacy of this aside, economics supports providing more transitional/homeless housing.
Going over old paperwork and exams from teaching at community college. This was one of the more amusing essay responses to a final exam question (What are some positive symptoms a student with schizophrenia might exhibit. Compare and Contrast to the effects of LSD.)
My colleague added a follow-up question to the exam:
“How do you think Professor Umberg would react to a student showing up to class on LSD?”
“[Professor Umberg] be like “Yo dawg, you best get on outta here! You be like, distraction’ all up in here during the exam and that’s like, not cool brah.’ She’d use lots of hand movements to express her dominance.”
Great article by Jeffrey Toobin to frame the Michael Brown case not as “Guilty v Innocent,” but rather why the grand jury outcome was perplexing.
“Michael Brown’s death illustrates, there is a great deal to be said for prosecutors following the customary rules of their profession. To recap the relevant facts: Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen-year-old man, on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. Robert McCulloch, the local prosecutor, had the authority to charge Wilson with a crime; that’s how the vast majority of prosecutions in the area begin. Instead, McCulloch said that he was going to open a grand-jury investigation and, in an even rarer development, present every scrap of evidence produced in the investigation to the jurors for their consideration.
In Missouri, as elsewhere, grand juries are known as tools of prosecutors. In the famous words of Sol Wachtler, the former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich” if he wanted to. This is certainly true, but it is true, too, that grand juries retain at least a nominal independence. They usually do what prosecutors want, but they are not legally required to.
In sending Wilson’s case to the grand jury, McCulloch technically turned over to them the decision about whether to prosecute. By submitting all the evidence to the grand jury, he added to the perception that this process represented an independent evaluation of the evidence. But there is little doubt that he remained largely in control of the process; aggressive advocacy by prosecutors could have persuaded the grand jurors to vote for some kind of indictment.
The standard for such charges—probable cause, or more probable than not—is generally a very easy hurdle. If McCulloch’s lawyers had simply pared down the evidence to that which incriminated Wilson, they would have easily obtained an indictment.
The grand jury chose not to indict Wilson for any crimes in connection with Brown’s death. In a news conference following the decision, McCulloch laid out the evidence that he believed supported the grand jury’s finding. In making the case for Wilson’s innocence, McCulloch cherry-picked the most exculpatory information from what was assembled before the grand jury. The conclusion may even have been correct; based on a preliminary review of the evidence before the grand jury, it’s not clear to me that a trial jury would have found Wilson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
But the goal of criminal law is to be fair—to treat similarly situated people similarly—as well as to reach just results. McCulloch gave Wilson’s case special treatment. He turned it over to the grand jury, a rarity itself, and then used the investigation as a document dump, an approach that is virtually without precedent in the law of Missouri or anywhere else. Buried underneath every scrap of evidence McCulloch could find, the grand jury threw up its hands and said that a crime could not be proved. This is the opposite of the customary ham-sandwich approach, in which the jurors are explicitly steered to the prosecutor’s preferred conclusion. Some might suggest that all cases should be treated the way McCulloch handled Wilson before the grand jury, with a full-fledged mini-trial of all the incriminating and exculpatory evidence presented at this preliminary stage. Of course, the cost of such an approach, in both time and money, would be prohibitive, and there is no guarantee that the ultimate resolutions of most cases would be any more just. In any event, reserving this kind of special treatment for white police officers charged with killing black suspects cannot be an appropriate resolution.
Would Wilson have faced charges if he had been treated like every other suspect in McCulloch’s jurisdiction? We’ll never know—and that’s the real shame of this prosecutor’s approach.”
No, really. If a car-dependent infrastructure has already developed, why try to radically disrupt it for the sake of something that’s foreign to the local way of thinking?
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From those studying the medicinal benefits of centipede venom to those researching the existence of life bearing extrasolar moons, scientists have turned to crowdfunding for issues which have captured the popular imagination but have been overlooked by a traditional grant process. Without commenting on the value of individual projects (one questionable project has funded a review of frog sounds in the Amazon), I’m fascinated by the phenomenon of crowdfunding allowing people to put their money where their passion is.
It’s a cliché that everything in our society costs money, but that doesn’t make it less true. Rather than lament a reality that I can’t even see a way around, (after all, whether it’s rent, utilities, food, or equipment, most money for expenses goes to people who themselves have bills to pay) I love the idea that crowdfunding gives society the opportunity to pay for the things that they deem valuable…
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