Homeless does not mean voteless

November 10, 2006

From Wednesday’s Boston Metro:

Jacqueline Johnson has lived at the Pine Street Inn off and on for 20 years. It hasn’t stopped her from having a voice on Election Day. “I vote because civil rights leaders worked hard for us to have the chance to vote, so I’m doing my part,” said Johnson, who registered with the Pine Street Inn address. “Voting is my duty.” Aimee Coolidge, the director of community and government relations at the Pine Street Inn, makes it her duty to help the homeless get heard through their vote.

A nice short interview follows. Coolidge adds that “[the homeless] can use [their shelter] as an address,” implying that this practice extends beyond Boston. Pine Street seems like a pretty stellar, example, though:

Have there been more seeking assistance for this election? Not at Pine Street, as we [promote voting] all the time. We are always trying to register them. We ask them when they come to us if they are registered. As we get closer to an election, we organize voter registration events. The hardest part is having a homeless person believe their voice does count. Sometimes they are just worried about where they are going to sleep tonight. But the results can affect them more than anyone.

Well put, Ms. Coolidge. Well put.

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The beginning of the news blogging.

July 6, 2006

And so beging the posts of the former News Musings, largely informed by the Metro from my morning commute and my daily dose of NPR, which accounts for anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5 hours of my day. Interestingly enough, the Metro seems to be a fairly accurate predictor of the news I’ll find later on NPR, though condensed into bite-sized stories for easy digestion.

This morning, NPR’s On Point is starting with the issue of cars in China. According to our guest expert, an author in residence at NYU, China will ultimately have more miles of road that the States; it’s currently second but expanding quite rapidly. What’s the impact of a billion people suddenly driving cars, our host asks? Aside from the obvious environmental impact and a boom for the automotive industry, the Chinese already boast an impressive 21% of automobile fatalities. According to the guest, this is probably due in no small part to excessive speeds; drivers with licenses only two or three years old are so thrilled with the road that speed comes almost naturally. I would wager that infrastructure is also partly to blame–I imagine building roads and dumping cars into the country hasn’t necessarily been accompanied by signage and increased police vigilance, particularly since roads aren’t confined to major cities where these would already be in place.

The next question is whether China’s “exploding love affair with the automobile” will lead to a new Chinese auto industry, and I think it will. Given China’s knack for getting Americans to buy cheap crap, how will this affect the world automobile market? As the Chinese demand more autos, will we see an influx of Asian models on our streets as well? Will American auto prices be undercut by foreign competitors?