Thursday, August 31, 2006

We love fake flaks!

Spare Change News doesn't endorse crazy activists unless we employ them, and we aren't going to start either.

BUT, being journalists we have a soft spot in our hearts for The Yes Men.

These plucky tricksters impersonate company and government flaks, saying at press conferences and on television exactly what that particular agency or company would never ever ever never say!

For instance, they once gave a speech in front of European industrialists posing as representatives of the WTO, proclaiming the United States Civil War a waste of money, considering the influx of slave labor from third-world countries. They also revealed a gold suit that was allegedly designed to allow managers to manage from the comfort of their costume. It included a pop-up monitor screen that resembled a very particular element of male anatomy. They were taken seriously by the conference, and it wasn't until days later that the WTO found out about the dupe.

Earlier this week, The Yes Men struck again, this time in New Orleans, impersonating a flak for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and telling the gathered summit for "Gulf Coast Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness," that HUD wasn't going to tear down any public housing, and that they had reached an agreement with Wal-Mart to withdraw from low-income neighborhoods, in deference to local businesses, among other things.

HUD wasn't too happy with this. "We are destroying those homes for good reason," HUD spokesperson Donna White said. "It is terribly sad that some people can't understand that. That lack of understanding speaks for the low level of government education in this country."

Readers, what do you think? Cruel hoax or appropriate satire?

Spare Change News reserves its opinion, but admits to a certain thrill when hearing The Yes Men's impersonation of public relations flunkies. We wish all flaks would be as forthcoming.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

8.31.06 Edition of Spare Change News

Calm down, adoring throngs! We have your new copy of Spare Change News bubbling hot and ready for your sweet little hands to acquire. Just take deep, soothing breaths until tomorrow morning and then when you wake up scramble to your favorite vendor before he sells out, and enjoy the rest of your day, reading up on things other publications might have missed, while basking in the warm glow of righteousness.

Here's a teaser of the grand buffet:

  • Local arts columnist Kate Ledogar brings her wit and insight to SCN

    If you've missed her axed column in the Dig, you'll be glad to hear she's found a new home. Starting with this issue, SCN's Arts section will feature Kate Ledogar's excellent reporting on the local gallery scene as well as other unique events, in every issue.

  • Slavery in Brazil: 25,000 forced to work for no pay in the Southern hemisphere

    A report on the thriving forced labor situation in Brazil, its victims and societal implications. Read about the complex struggles of aid organizations to fight back against slavers, and glean insight into a unique social crisis.

  • Homeless veterans find comraderie, services in 2 day event

    A profile of Stand Down, an annual Boston event that brings services and compassion to homeless veterans. Find out the history of the event, meet the people involved in making it happen, as well as the veterans that utilize the services.

  • Out of the Wilderness: The Price of War, and its Cost at Home

    SCN co-founder and columnist Tim Hobson examines the bling bling price of the war on terror; for instance, at the cost of one cluster bomb, two kids could be enrolled in college! Could disproportionate spending on war instead of on human services have the potential to cause war at home? Hobson is considering all the possibilties.

    Oh man, that barely covers the full smorgasbord of thoughts, insights and news contained in this deceivingly thin newspaper. There's also info on the homeless hate crime bill (dead in the water), a peek into the confidentiality practices of drug counselors, insanely difficult crossword puzzles and SU DOKU plus a professional wrestling review and a solemn memorial to fallen SCN vendors. Enjoy in moderation!


  • Monday, August 28, 2006

    Focus on the Family fleeced by anti-fundie webizens

    The head of Christian fundamentalist think tank Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson, famous for disparaging homosexuals and spanking children, may see some revenues from his web shop go up in smoke.

    A LiveJournal user named Porphyre recently discovered a loophole in the store's coding that allows any internet user of the site to receive any merchandise over $100 for FREE:

    What with the Washington State Supreme Court handing down its anti-gay-marriage decision several weeks ago and the ever-hearing more about attacks on reproductive rights down south, I'm feeling that the States is tripping a bit too merrily down the Handmaid's path.

    This week, I found a way to strike back.

    Focus on the Family, the horrid anti-gay evangelical church based in Colorado Springs that wields too much power for anyone's good, has a store on their website that will give you books, CDs, and DVDs absolutely free of charge. Usually people pay for their items by donation, raising millions of dollars to help Focus on the Family produce more hate-propaganda featuring "experts" on homosexuality who claim it's a curable "sickness". (They're practically defined by their book A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Course, there's no mention of having less kids, which is the only proven method. No, no, you shouldn't use birth control, that would be wrong. They need more worshippers, how dare you prevent god's will.)

    It's a little bit time-consuming, but not enough to deter me. (Nor should it you). The chance to take money out of their pockets is too useful, not to mention satisfying.

    Here's how to do it in 10 steps:

    The rest of the post is here. Will Focus act quickly to correct this seemingly legal exploit? (After all, they're asking for a suggested donation, so is a donation of $0.00 still a donation? When a tree falls in the... you get the idea)

    Who knows. Spare Change News hereby washes its hands of the link and of this hullaballoo. Oh and if anyone needs a copy of the Narnia film, we have about thirty to offload. Got to make a living somehow, you know.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Bad Day L.A. - The Redux

    American McGee = Kathie Lee Gifford?

    Nearly one year ago, Spare Change News wrote a story on a game being developed by American McGee, called Bad Day L.A.

    In the game, you play as a homeless man named Anthony Williams, who happens to be a former Hollywood producer that, becoming disenfrancished with life as it was, takes to the streets.

    One day, as he is crossing the freeway with his cart, a plane crashes overhead, releasing a zombie gas that begins affecting people around him, turning them into maniacal fiends. It becomes Anthony's mission to move throughout the city, putting out fires, killing terrorists and any other number of tasks that help preserve calm (there is a chaos meter in the game nearly identical to Homeland Security's; as the terror level is elevated, all the characters in the game act more insane).

    See the reprint of the article for more information.

    A year later the game has "gone gold," meaning it is nearing release, and a demo was made available to the public last week, to mostly negative reactions. When the fact came out that McGee produced the entirety of the game's art using the cheaper labor of China, even more negative sentiment emerged. American has been defending both the quality of the game and the use of Chinese labor in his blog:

    If you are uncomfortable with the concept of cheap, off-shore labor being used to produce the games you play, then I suggest you start making your own. We’re heading towards a world where %40 (or more) of a typical game budget is being spent on outsourcing. This money goes to places like China and India. That’s the reality of the world we live in. (Same goes for the majority of cartoons you watch, products you buy, etc.)

    It's a fascinating discussion, if you're so inclined. Slightly similar to (albeit a much fairer concept than) online game farming,a concept whereby young Asian twenty-somethings spend 20 hours a day playing online games (earning 1 dollar an hour if they're lucky), acquiring gold and armor and the like, which they then sell to fat white teenagers in the states who just happen to have daddy's credit card lying around and want to get the +3 Diaper of Might, without having to spend all day working for it.

    But that's an aside. Check out American's blog, and our reprint of the SCN story, which included an in-depth interview with the man himself.

    Activists vs. Game Designer... Fight!

    Reprinted from the August 18, 2005 edition of Spare Change News

    Video Game Divides Activists
    By Paul Rice
    Spare Change News

    A forthcoming video game has some anti-homelessness activists up in arms over its portrayal of a homeless black man caught in an apocalyptic day in Los Angeles.

    “Bad Day L.A.,” currently in development, puts the player in the well-worn shoes of Anthony Williams, a former Hollywood agent who voluntarily rejects the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown to live on the streets and ignore a society he despises.

    During the story, the worst possible disasters that could happen to a megalopolis like Los Angeles all occur in a 12-hour period: the release of a bio-weapon that turns people into zombies, meteor showers raining down on skyscrapers, plane crashes and a tsunami, as well as numerous riots induced by such events.

    Through all this tribulation, Williams inadvertently finds himself fighting for the lives of people about whom he could care less – people who would normally avoid him at every turn.

    Homelessness in the game, however, seems to be more than just a character trait. The first video game to feature a homeless main character, “Bad Day L.A.” is drawing a lot of interest from a variety of communities.

    “Do we really want our children to see homeless people as gun-toting, African-American ‘wackos’ and ‘bums,’ despite the failed attempt at some veiled redeeming moral theme?” asks Bob Erlenbusch, head of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness in a letter to city and state officials. The letter calls for Enlight Software, the game’s distributor, to cease production immediately.

    Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington, D.C., agrees.

    “This is really bad,” he said. “It’s a bad product probably thought up by some people who have stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about low-income and homeless people. We will do all we can to fight it.”

    American McGee, the game’s designer, responds by saying that “being homeless is what gives [Anthony] his strength – it is his superpower.”

    There are advocates for the homeless who would agree, like Tim Harris, executive director of Real Change News in Seattle. “Alienated homeless guy saves city and reluctantly defends people who normally wouldn't give him the time of day,” he said. “What's not to like?”

    James Shearer, a formerly homeless person who is a co-founder of and columnist for Spare Change News, shared Harris’ sentiments.

    “I’m an activist, but I’m also a realist,” he said. “And there are times when I wish these agencies would just shut up. [These] are the same types of homeless activists who didn’t want to see Spare Change News survive.”

    “I believe that the reason why people have such a hard time with this video game is because [homeless people are] a segment of society that has basically been ignored, and now society has to rely on them for survival,” Shearer continued. “And I think people are uncomfortable with that.”

    American McGee is a legendary figure in the gaming community, known for creating unusual, narrative-based gaming. His largest success to date is a game called “Alice,” which let players take on the role of Lewis Carroll’s famous fledgling as she fights her way through a twisted looking glass.

    In an interview with SCN, McGee explained his decision to create a homeless main character.

    “The choice came out of my initial thoughts about what sort of person would really be able to survive, alone, on the most apocalyptic day this side of Armageddon,” he said. “And when you think about it, the homeless are the closest thing you've got to urban survivalists.”

    Questioned further on Anthony Williams’ choice to embrace homelessness rather than a rich lifestyle, McGee said: “The concept of ‘homeless by choice’ is something that is alien to Americans who aren't familiar with homelessness beyond throwing a quarter into a cup from time to time.”

    “This game is saying, ‘if you aren't happy, you have other options. Even options that sound as insane as giving up on everything you've ever been told is right. Go and find your own solution.’”

    Finding solutions is the only way to progress through a video game. Although “Bad Day L.A.” won’t offer a solution to homelessness, perhaps it will “start a conversation,” as McGee put it. And for some homeless advocates, that’s more than they could ask for.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    WikiNotes, Part the First

    I could have written at least 5000 words on the WikiMania experience, but for some reason the bossman didn't want to do a whole issue on the "Free Encyclopedia." I tried to explain that nerds are people too, and we need our time in the sun, to rant and rave about the future of everything, because who else will predict the future but the nerds? He told me to go make a fluffernutter and shut up. Can't say I blame him.

    This week we're going to pontificate on some of the Wiki-flavored ideas and projects that we didn't have space for in the latest issue. This is the first in a series:

    Brewster Kahle wants your petabytes.


    One of the keynote speakers at Wikimania this year was Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, an ambitious project to "backup" the human race and the sum of its knowledge.

    Seriously. Kahle wants to make a copy of, well, everything. Every book, every song, every film, every piece of software, everything! And he wants that, the sum of human knowledge, in the hands of people, not governments. As he notes during his speech, governments have a tendency to burn libraries.

    In pursuing this goal, he's buying up acres of bandwith and creating an impetus for hardware designers to make bigger and bigger hard drives. Currently the Archive is storing around 2 petabytes of data (one petabyte is worth 1 million gigabytes), and is growing exponentially as the months go by.

    One of the more interesting things Kahle discussed is the Internet Archive's book projects. During his speech, he handed around paperback books that looked like this:

    Looks like a normal book, right? But this book is special. It was printed and bound in about 15 minutes from a printing press that fits into a minivan, and looks something like this:

    How much did it cost? A buck a book for your very own Alice in Wonderland, or any other number of books in the public domain. You may have even been involved in the binding process, or at the very least least watched the high quality printer churn out the leaves that you would soon be flipping.

    There are currently Bookmobiles touring the United States, and ones have also been set up in a couple different countries, not a few in the Middle East and so-called developing nations, according to Kahle. More information on the project can be found here.

    The selection right now is kind of limited. No books currently under copyright can be printed for the project. Kahle is currently fighting a court battle to prevent copyright extensions on older works by dead authors. Because of that, Kahle wants to scan one of the largest collections of public domain books in the world, namely the Library of Congress, and he thinks the Archive can do that for "less than 10 percent of the Federal library system's budget," or half a billion dollars. He's currently lobbying to have it done.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg. In his own words, Brewster is "trying to give every human being universal access to all knowledge."

    "We have all the tools to make this a reality; there's some stumbling blocks, but I feel we have the infrastructure to do it."

    An audio copy of the last 30 minutes of Kahle's speech is available here, and a video of the entire presentation is available here.

    -Paul Rice

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    8.17.06 Edition of Spare Change News

    The newest Spare Change News comes out tomorrow, to the dismay of self-absorbed commuters and the joy of compassionate life-livers. Run (don't walk, you need the exercise) to your nearest licensed vendor and demand a copy of the only newspaper in town with sex appeal and moral righteousness!

    Here's a taste:

  • The "Free-Rent Trick": Local landlords want you to tell you how not to pay rent in Massachusetts.

    Spare Change News examines the process of rent-withholding (AKA not paying rent until your apartment is brought up to certain standards) and how it is used and potentially abused in the state.

  • WikiFuture: Someday, everything will be "Wiki."

    A reporter's notebook from WikiMania 2006, held at Harvard University in early August. Wikipedia has become one of the most popular information databases on the web. At the WikiMania conference, some of the computer world's greatest minds discussed the future of free information sharing services like Wikipedia, and SCN was there. SCN exclusive coverage of WikiMania is here.

  • Nomadic Notes from Afghanistan

    Gary Moorehead writes for Spare Change News from Afghanistan, where is he currently rebuilding the schools, medical clinics and other services, in war-torn Afghani towns and villages. In "Nomadic Notes", he discusses the living cycles of Kuchi nomads and the positive effects such mobility can have on economy and culture. This is the first part in an occasional series.

  • Tales From The Curb: "What's in a Slur?

    SCN co-founder and longtime columnist James Shearer defends Mitt Romney's use of the word "tar baby"... sort of. Read it online.

    All this and more for ONE LOUSY DOLLAR and a second or two of your day that you weren't plugged into your iPod video, watching YouTube virals, or that new Brooke Hogan music video.
  • Tales From The Curb, 8.17.06

    What's in a Slur?
    By James Shearer

    A few weeks ago, Mitt Romney opened his mouth and firmly stuck his foot in it while giving a speech in front of Iowa Republicans. The subject of the Big Dig came up, and our governor told the his audience, "the best thing for me to do politically is stay away from the Big Dig. Just get as far away from that tar baby as I possibly can.”

    What is even more stunning is that he had no clue that the term "tar baby" was even an offensive remark to blacks. But what do we expect? Mitt was a pampered pup who went to private schools, never hung out with the fellas and thinks “projects” means “school projects.” He doesn't have a clue how the real world is; he's the type of guy that if he lost all his money, got thrown bare-assed into the street with a cup and was told to fend for himself, he wouldn't last ten minutes. There is a reason why I call him “Governor Irrelevant” – because he is.

    What bothers me more than that remark was the reaction – or overreaction – to it. Sure, Mitt could have come up with a better choice of words, but he was talking about the Big Dig. There was no mention of black people at all. When it comes to race – our race, every race – we all seem a little too sensitive. When we here a word that offends us – even when it has nothing to do with us – we rush to judgment: “they're racist” or “anti-Semitic” or “male pigs.” And you know what we give them? Even more power than they really have.

    Take Mel Gibson. Now, who among us hasn't gone a little too over-the-top after a few drinks? Is it right what he said? No. But the coverage this has gotten is even more over-the-top than he is, and all this is doing is giving him even more publicity until his next movie. And as far as folks saying they'll never see another Gibson movie: folks, the man is already swimming in green. He's not gonna care. The other thing you can be sure of is that if he ever makes another “Lethal Weapon” movie, for every ten of you who boycott it, another 25 will go see it.

    Am I saying it's okay to be racist? No way. I Just try not to spend a lot of time thinking about it, or thinking about people who are. When we overreact to what people like Mitt Romney, Tony Snow and the Klan say, we give them more power than they’re worth. We have lots of other things to work on rather than giving these bozos the time of day.

    If black leaders really want to get upset about something, they should ride a city bus and listen to black kids call each other "nigger" – like it's a badge of honor. Heck, even white kids do it to each other. We need to teach kids that that word is wrong. We need to tell them where words like that – and all the other ones – come from. We need to stop calling people anti-Semitic just because they don't agree with Jewish views and look at Mel Gibson for what he is: an overrated and washed-up actor.

    If we want people to stop it with racial slurs, then we must educate them to what the words are. Someone needs to send Mitt a list of words that offends people. What would be even nicer is if he got a list of words he could use (like the Weak Dig). I'm sure he would be glad he did. Then again, maybe it wouldn't do any good. After all, he'd still be irrelevant anyway.

    James Shearer, a Spare Change News columnist, is a co-founder, board member and former editor of the newspaper.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Happy Leary Firefighters Foundation Day!

    For some reason the City of Boston considers us a legitimate media outlet and sends us their favorite flack-flavored fotos.

    After yesterday's Bill Hicks blogging, we figured there was serendipity in Denis Leary's smug appearance in our morning inbox, as if we were being chastised for our appraisal of Rescue Me.

    So in order to stave off any bad karma that might possibly accrue from writing anything potentially negative about the hero of Boston's firefighters in a blog that no one reads, we are sorry Mr. Leary.

    Sorry you had to steal jokes from the best stand up comedian in history.

    A minor caveat: We really really loved you in Demolition Man.


    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Vegas feeding ban, meet eugenical sterilization!

    Las Vegas is still citing people for feeding homeless people in a Vegas park. The penalty for such unruly behavior?

    Up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    SCN sincerely hopes that states take a fine look at the example Vegas is setting: you see, homeless people are more likely to die if they aren't provided with services in the very places people tend to congregate, so if you're worried about a rising spike in your "indigent" populations, simply make it a crime to feed them, and sooner than later, the problem solves itself.

    Reminds one of another era in the United States, when it was thought that compulsory sterilization would get rid of all the retards plaguing our soon to be ubermensch-country. Unfortunately, the eugenics program died when people realized how "immoral" it was. Let's not let the bleeding hearts win this time, friends.

    Yours always and forever,


    "A virus with shoes"

    Spare Change News just finished reading the biography of one of its favorite comedians, a William Melvin Hicks, and was reminded of a favorite routine that Mr. Hicks used fairly consistently, throughout his far too brief, 15-year career:

    I love being in New York, I love running the bum gauntlet down every street. God I hate those guys, man. The very idea they want me to give them the hard-earned money my folks send to me every week. Leech, get a job. My dad works eight hours a day for this quarter. I mean, the nerve.

    Not that you hear many in this state talking about Mr. Hicks. His humor is of a forgotten relevance, and SCN encourages its readers to seek out the works of this latter-day prophet. Start with this DVD.

    P.S.: If you think Denis Leary is funny, you'll want to know it is widely believed Leary stole a bunch of material from Hicks. And really, who can blame him? Rescue Me sucks.

    Yours forever,


    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Layout Day Glamour

    Editorial assistant Amanda Morley proofs telepathically.

    SCN designer Brendan Bernard, right, gives love, as legendary curmudgeon James "No Prisoners" Shearer disapproves.

    Managing editor Paul Rice doesn't want you to know his secrets.

    Tired of words. Home go soon. Buy read paper do. Love much we for you. Caring thanks for.

    Yours forever,



    Tired of vacationing in the Florida Keys? (SCN goes every year, and boy are we tired of the Keys)

    How about checking in to a space hotel?

    Just float around in zero g all day, and when you need to eat (or perform some other mundane human task), there are velcro patches on the walls of your room that you can stick to.

    Perhaps it would be exciting for a day or two. Any longer though and we would miss our televisions and internets.

    Also, how does room service work? Also, can we order dirty movies? Also, fresh towels?

    Yeah, maybe these space hotels aren't such a great idea. After all, where would we be without our nice things? Just staring off into space and thinking about Nietzsche. How productive is that?



    Source, via we make money not art.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    The Internet: 1, Work: 0

    It's deadline day here at Spare Change, so of course we're watching internet videos:

    A tornado rips through a Japanese soccer game:

    During a televised debate, a Florida strip-club owner is assaulted, first verbally, and then with a chair, by a local radio host:

    The unparalleled Nina Simone, singing "If You Knew":

    Spare Change may just have to fire itself and give up this business, because writing a newspaper is no match for YouTube.

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Our first accolade!

    We have our first fan!

    A user of the Dig's website named "Douchey Douche" (a name certainly not indicative of the Dig's readership) has brought up several interesting points of discussion about Spare Change's newly-christened blog:

    Does anyone find it ironic that the newly anointed alt-bi-weekly dedicated to all things alt, bi and homeless, is embracing a technology that neither it’s imbibed constituents, nor its feeble minded staff, actually know how to use?! I mean, even if you could pull it off, it’s got to be a bitch blogging from the ‘99’, and God knows how worse from the bottom of a bottle of Popov. Here’s an idea, how about a “flog”? You know, that time honored tradition of standing on a corner but instead of begging for “spare change”, you litter passersby with your musings and spittle! It’s a perfect accoutrement to highway blogging, other wise known as “gay.”

    Here at Spare Change News, we believe that if Furries can have a Wiki, then we can have a blog.

    See what we did there? It's like some sort of clever syllogism! Could an inebriated feeble-mind come up with that? We think not.

    Now, if you don't mind D.D., let us get back to saving the world! We promise to save the Popov for after work and, from this day forward, we will only allow our musty effluvia to fly towards those who deserve it.

    Yours always and forever,


    Let the punishment fit the crime.

    From today's Globe:

    Former housing authority head, wife to change pleas

    SPRINGFIELD --The former head of the Springfield Housing Authority and his wife are scheduled to change their pleas from not guilty in the city's largest public corruption case next week, according to a published report...

    Raymond Asselin, 69, is facing racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, theft, fraud, extortion and money laundering and other charges stemming from his 33-year tenure as director of the housing authority.

    Janet Asselin, 70, is charged with bribery, fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and filing a false tax return.

    -AP and Springfield Republican

    Should these two be found guilty, they should not go to prison. Considering their septuagenarian status, we has selected an appropriate alternative sentence for the Judge to administer:

    An extended stay at a Springfield homeless shelter, where the Asselins must give talks every night about how they swindled money out of the hands of those very shelter residents, who could perhaps be staying in stable housing if it weren't for their deceit. After the talk, they can strip down and receive the customary de-lousing, perhaps play a game of Scrabble with the other residents, then move into their sleeping bunks for lights out.

    Rinse wash and repeat until homelessness is eradicated.

    Then they can go to prison.



    Weekly Dig celebrates Spare Change's Blogging Achievements

    Spare Change News is the talk of the town these days:

    Thanks again, Joe! You know we're your favorites!

    Always and forever,


    Dog Day Sunrise

    SHANGHAI, China -- A county in southwestern China has killed as many as 50,000 dogs in a government campaign ordered after three people died from rabies, official media reported Tuesday, August 1.

    The five-day massacre in Yunnan province's Mouding county spared only military guard dogs and police canine units, the Shanghai Daily reported, citing local media.

    Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten on the spot, the newspaper said. Other killing teams entered villages at night, creating noise to get dogs barking, then honing in and beating them to death.


    Here's hoping this is anti-China propaganda, perhaps spread by that mischevious Falun Gong.

    In case it's not, Spare Change News salutes those 50,000 (cruelly) euthanized canines, who probably never wanted rabies in the first place. Perhaps we can reanimate Louis Pasteur and get him into Yunnan province, STAT.



    Monday, August 07, 2006

    8.03.06 Edition of Spare Change News.. Does Romney Care About Homelessness?

    The newest edition of Spare Change News went on sale last Thursday for one dollar per copy, available as near as your nearest licensed vendor (and they are everywhere, if you haven't noticed; you just have to look up from the sidewalk you're walking down. Try it, it's fun!)

    Highlights from this edition:

  • Romney's latest vetoes of homelessness prevention funding fail, again.

    A look at Romney's double standards on homelessness funding issues; what the Governor used to say, and what he doesn't say now. And, we wondered, what do the Mormons think of all this?

  • A well-mannered discourse on the war in Lebanon from SCN's Top Brass

    SCN executive director/editor Sam Scott and SCN founding member Tim Hobson go toe-to-toe in their very own civil (as in well-mannered) war on the current crisis.

  • A former Lebanese citizen's first-person perspective on Lebanon, Israel and the United States

    Zackaria Hantar was born in Lebanon, and has since lived in the UK, Canada and finally the United States. A philosopher in training, in this piece he comes to grips with thinking he understands all sides in the conflict, but realizing he understands none.

  • Are hospitals preventing drug addicts from kicking their habits?

    Hospitals treating patients who also happen to have drug problems may be inadvertently causing those same patients to relapse, Jennifer Hayes reports.

    All of this is included, plus increasingly difficult crossword puzzles, Sudoku, our never-imitated "Helping Hands" page, not to mention that good feeling you get when you know you've done the right thing.

    See you next week, with WikiMania 2006 coverage exclusive to this blog (find out about the growing rift between the internet and major corporations, and who the government would support if it ever really came to blows; also, a Wiki-fied look at the future of books, schools, and commerce) , as well as something you probably didn't know about paying rent in Massachusetts.

    Yours forever,

  • Welcome to Spare Change Online!

    Welcome to Spare Change News Online, a 14-year old Boston/Cambridge institution, now on the World Wide Web.

    On this site you will see:

  • Issue summaries and links to stories

  • Commentary and news you won't read in the print edition

  • Homeless wit and super-nerd savoir!

  • A "slew of inane, half-baked thoughts" that you won't get anywhere else. Except perhaps on every other local paper's website. But oh well.

    Without further ado, let us begin.