Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Whats Up has joined with Spare Change!

IT'S HERE! After months of plotting our eventual collaboration, Spare Change News and Whats Up magazine are finally one super street paper, 20 pages of news, notes, quotes, and insight. That's right -- at a time when so many print media outlets are rapidly losing readership, we added four pages to this humble newspaper with a purpose.

The rain and snows of this month have streamed down around us, on us. The torrential downpours mid-month left even my boots feeling breached. In the middle of winter, I have to remind myself that spring is indeed coming, that change is in the air.

You can see it in the small details, like the way the light lingers later in the sky every night. You can see it in the way that the snows are giving way to rains. Cold rains, soaking rains.

This issue is a bit like rain coming after a long drought, a bit like spring coming in after a long winter.

After a brief hiatus, this month marks our joining forces with Spare Change, an enterprise that gives the street magazine, Whats Up, a rebirth, an inaugural voyage, a new beginning. But while the merger is new, our mission is not. We are still committed to activism, social justice, and change. We are still community-minded and arts focused, still dedicated to improving the cities--and the world--that we share.

Bill O'Reilly Riles Veterans
Popular political commentator and Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly is receiving much criticism for his recent assertions that there are “not many” homeless veterans in America. Veterans have responded by protesting outside the studio where O’Reilly’s program is produced, creating a petition against his comments, and attempting to educate the public about the realities of homelessness.
O’Reilly’s string of comments began when former presidential candidate John Edwards brought up the issue of homelessness in his concession speech following the Iowa Caucasus on January third. “Tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates,” said Edwards, “We’re better than this.” According the Department of Veterans Affairs about 195,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and roughly 336,000 will go without shelter at some point this year.
O’Reilly responded the following night on his popular news and opinion show “The O’Reilly Factor.” “That was Edwards’ concession speech last night,” said O’Reilly. “I mean, come on. The only thing sleeping under a bridge is that guy’s brain.”

Baghdad, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Every week, letters from Iraqi widows spill across Samira al-Moussawi’s desk. One wrote to ask whether she should spend what scant money she gets on her infant or on school books for her older son.
The member of parliament and head of a parliamentary women’s committee is at her wits’ end as to how to answer the desperate pleas from what could be as many as one to two million women.
Violence has fallen sharply across Iraq, but the number of women left without breadwinners is mounting, and with only a fraction of them receiving financial support from the government, officials fear the consequences could be explosive.
“What shall the widow do, deviate from what is right?” Moussawi said. “Terrorist groups exploit the destitute.”
No-one can give an exact figure for the number of widows left by the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War and in sectarian bloodshed since the 2003 invasion.
Moussawi, basing her estimate on a Ministry of Planning report from mid-2007, put the number of divorcees and widows close to 1 million of a total of 8.5 million women aged between 15 and 80.
Narmeen Othman, Iraq’s acting minister for women’s affairs, put the number as high as 2 million in a country of 27 million people.