More than 600,000 people are still homeless.


Got a warm place tonight?

The temperature right now in Bath, Maine is -4 degrees. Chance and I are fortunate tonight to have a warm bed and heat. There are about 650,000 people in the US who are homeless. I don’t know how many are here in the northeast or other places where the weather is so cold, but for those who are I hope they have something to keep them warm and alive.

Almost 40% of homeless people do not have a shelter or transitional housing. They are literally on the street or sleeping under railroad bridges or off somewhere in the woods. Many of these people have drug or alcohol abuse problems, mental illnesses, or the lack of will to live and care for themselves. Some are children. In most cases their families have disowned them or are punishing them for failing in some way and will not help.

Oddly enough I don’t remember a single moment during the presidential primaries or the national campaign when homelessness was even mentioned. In retrospect, it is shameful that we have forgotten these people. I will tell you that there is absolutely nothing more terrifying and emotionally crushing than not knowing where you are going to live or if you will ever find a place to call home again.

I implore you to look through your local newspaper to get the names of your local shelters and food pantries. If you can afford it, make a donation or offer to volunteer to help, even if it’s just to stop in and talk to these folks. They feel alone, ashamed, and worthless. Just by saying hello you might leave behind the spark that helps them make the next step to help themselves.

During this cold spell many of us make an extra effort to rescue animals that are at risk and I support that, but we also need to remember our fellow humans who could use some TLC right now.

Albuquerque Shooting: Teenager Kills 5 People, Including 3 Children

Gun rights advocates: your obsessive, extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment is responsible for another family tragedy.

Perhaps if the three children in the household had their own assault rifles, this tragedy could have been avoided?

How about putting armed security guards into every home where there are guns? Would that work for you?

From the Huffington Post –


In what amounts to one of the worst forms of journalistic character assassination, “Pravda,” long the voice of Russia’s power elite, is inferring that Hillary Clinton’s long-announced retirement at the end of President Obama’s first term is due to the deaths of State Department personnel in Libya.

“Hillary Clinton’s career ruined in Libya” is a news story that is more wishful thinking than fact. While 98% of their story focuses on the attack and State Department security lapses, there is no connection made, other than Russian hyperbole, that Hillary’s career has being “ruined” or that her retirement is due to the Libyan attack.

Keep in mind that Pravda is Putin’s personal newsletter to the world. No doubt he is happy to see a strong, principled, and respected voice like Hillary’s leaving the world stage. . .even if only for a short time. After all, this is a man willing to punish Russia’s hapless orphans in order to make political points with his Communist lackeys in Moscow.

Safe socializing: Can you trust your friends' friends.

Are your secrets safe with your friends?

This zinger came totally out of left field this afternoon. . .

A friend calls and wants to know how to spell ‘Tchaikovsky.’ Of course, I think I know how to spell Tchaikovsky, but just to be on the safe side I Google it. While I’m looking, I ask my friend why she just doesn’t look it up herself.

“I don’t have my computer,” she says.

“No? Where’d it go?” I wonder.

“A friend has it. Some guy.”

“What guy? Is it with those tech guys again?” She’s always having hard drive problems so I assume it is with the Paid Geeks Company.

“No, not there,” she says. “It’s a long story.”

As it happens, it really isn’t a long story — she just doesn’t want to tell me what she is doing. Seems she screwed up her copy of Photoshop, which she had “borrowed” from some guy in town. So she took the computer back to this civilian so he could download another unauthorized copy.

“Well, who is this guy?” I ask again.

He is, in fact, just “some guy,” a friend I have never heard of but who likes helping her out with her software (and, I suppose, other things as well).

Besides finding out that I don’t know how to spell Tchaikovsky without help from Google, it dawns on me that some stranger now has possession of my friend’s computer and along with it all the maudlin, sick, depressing, brilliantly humorous (slight exaggeration perhaps) email and other “for her eyes only” stuff that I frequently send her way.

Some of it is about the Center of the Universe (me), some about my ex-wives, friends, relatives, the President (lots of bad stuff about him that I wanted to take back after Hillary became Secretary of State. Sorry, Barack!).

Basically, all the stuff that I trusted her with is now in the hands of someone I don’t know, about whom I can only guess the worst. Is he a closet hacker? Will he be sending me emails loaded with viruses? Will he contact people to tell them the awful things I write when I think no one is reading my stuff? How about that long, detailed email concerning the threesome I had with those big-breasted red-heads in the back seat of my Porsche when I was still a bachelor? (Alright, that one is not entirely true. There was only one red-head. She had normal sized breasts. And it was a Volkswagen, but I was single.)

The point is, my stuff — your stuff — is only as safe as the people our friends call friends. Sure, we have anti-virus software and all that other garbage. We practice safe sex on Facebook. But many of us who are normally paranoid — if there is such a thing — think nothing of spilling our guts to long-term, trustworthy friends WHO HAVE LESS COMMON SENSE THAN MY DOG CHANCE!!!!

Do you have friends like that? Only me?

So I am praying that this stranger who is kind enough to pirate a copy of Photoshop and share it with a good friend, is also nice enough not to read the emails I wrote or the copies of friends’ emails that I sent to my friends with one of those ‘Can you believe this?’ introductions.

My friends tell me — actually, after my rant my friend did tell me — I am not that important or interesting enough for people to want to snoop. Under most circumstances that is true, but if he scans her emails and sees stuff with headlines like: ‘The latest from the lesbian room’ or ‘Is this really cheating?’ or ‘Too much sex can be bad for your back,’ my guess is that he is going to read a little further.

My advice? Throw caution to the wind! Tell your friends all your dirty secrets! Live a very public sordid life and invite the world to think you are wickedly interesting!’

One way or another, if there is any dirt about you worth finding, someone will find it because your best friends will show them where it is.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. . .

Last year's Irene

Here’s last year’s storm Irene making its way up the coast.

I shouldn’t tell anybody this, but these days the thing that reminds most of my mortality if a friggin hurricane. “Oh, gee, I could get hurt!” Pathetic. When I did start thinking like that?

When I was younger (last week?) I’d get dressed up and deliberately go out into those things just feel myself fighting back against the wind and rain. I thought it was fun. Flooded basement, great! A broken window or two? Come get me, you mother!

Now I start watching the Weather Channel five days in advance like everyone else over 50 and worry about my food going bad or having no Internet connection for a few days. That’s probably the worst we’re gonna see up here in Maine, along with the inevitable “localized flooding.” The wimp in me hopes that’s all we get.

But if I lived in New Jersey or on Long Island, then maybe I could really get excited, get my rain gear on and go check on the neighbors.

“Don’t worry, Chance. I’ll be back!”

After posting a modest defense of Columbus on Facebook, I quickly learned that my friends on the left — my people — can be as rigid and close-minded as those on the right. In both cases, unless you strictly adhere to and champion all their values and beliefs, they will pounce on you like a hungry cat on a sick mouse. There is no room for discussion or debate, and certainly no tolerance for new ideas or perspectives. 

I call this group the “new reactionaries.” Personally, their close-mindedness and intolerance saddens and worries me. They remind me of the many far-right conservatives and Tea Party types who express a “my way or the highway” mentality. In that environment, political and social progress cannot be accomplished. Nothing good comes from it. We end up talking only to ourselves because no one is willing to listen.

How did we end up in such a dark place?

In "A Rake's Progress," Rake Morgan offers his take on politics, society, and the detritus of modern life. He has been a Wordpress blogger since 2004 and lives in Maine.

Email: rakemorgan at

Rake welcomes spam-free, thoughtful comments and feedback. Have a lot to say? We suggest getting your own Wordpress blog or emailing us about becoming a guest writer.

The header image for this blog is "Rake in Bedlam" from William Hogarth's series of prints entitled "A Rake's Progress."
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A Rake’s Progress Classic

Spanking children -- a euphemism for beating -- only teaches kids that violence is OK. Here is Rake's story about disciplining children and a news article about "hot saucing."

All Physical Discipline of Children Is a Form of Abuse


"A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help."

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