The Rent Is Too Damn High Party

Jimmy McMillan, who founded New York’s Rent Is Too Damn High Party, was just a little ahead of his time. Raising the issue of skyrocketing rents, both before and after the financial crisis, McMillan has had the issue pretty much to himself. Now, urban activists are wondering why the issue doesn’t come up in presidential debates…

The study finds housing costs – particularly skyrocketing rents – are largely absent from the 2016 presidential campaigns…

“You would think that housing affordability would be the number one issue in this year’s presidential contest, in light of the concern candidates from both parties have shown over the plight of America’s middle class,” said Kotkin. “But nowhere amongst the campaign rhetoric do we hear anything about this nation’s very real housing crisis…

In the wake of the financial crisis, banks made it much harder to qualify for a mortgage. As a result, homes for sale went begging while consumers competed for rental properties. The increased demand sent rents soaring.

The real estate industry has also tried to call attention to the plight of renters. In 2014 Zillow warned that rental affordability was currently much worse than mortgage affordability, largely because rents didn’t experience the huge drop seen in home values during the recession. Instead, rents continued to climb. As a result, renters have continued to pay a dangerously high percentage of their income for housing…

Guest Post: Donkey Edition

Please welcome Daisy and Danny to my blog.

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This is Daisy:

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And this is her lover, Danny:


They were thrilled to be guests on my blog. 🙂

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(Daisy and Danny have been living together for years, so they don’t talk much.)

Hi, Danny, I can see how busy you are, so thanks for your time.

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(Note:  I will be translating for my donkey friends.)

Danny:  You’re welcome. Do you have a question?


Me:  You have a nice smile, Danny. I was just wondering what it was like, living the donkey life?

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Danny:  Do you think my shadow looks fat?

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Me:  Huh?

Danny:  Mostly our lives are boring, but we do enjoy sex once in awhile…

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Danny:  You know what I mean, right? Have you ever heard of donkey porn?

Me:  Excuse me, I believe Daisy wants to join the conversation…

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Daisy:  Don’t listen to that jackass, we haven’t had sex in a decade.

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Daisy:  But we love to play Scrabble for Donkeys.


Me:  Hey, Danny, what’s that ball of light? It looks like it’s made out of rainbows…

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Danny:  Did I forget to tell you that I’m your fairy godmother?

Me:  Is there anything else that ya’ll would like to share?

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Danny:  How about a kiss? You know, to better the relations between donkeys and humans…

Me:  Dude, that’s gross. Didn’t you tell me earlier that you wrote a poem?

Daisy:  I wrote the poem. Danny doesn’t even like to read.

Me:  Well, thanks again for being guests on my blog. This was fun! Now, the floor is yours, Daisy.

Her Liberty
By Daisy the Donkey

There once was a donkey named Daisy
Known in her day to be quite lazy
But in all honest truth
She rarely expended energy
Unless it was done
rather cleverly
And while she was enjoying
Her Liberty

Danny:  Wait, I have one, too!

When The Cows Came Home
By Danny the Donkey

There once was a donkey
from Albuquerque
Prideful and stubborn
and ornery

And then to his surprise
he found a weed growing wildly
and he smoked that shit
until the cows came home

Future Visit to Serenity Mesa Addiction Clinic

Fri, Jan 29, 2016 12:17 am


I have “enjoyed” reading your continual posts about me and my advocacy work and your “opinions” about me give me a good laugh now and then. You question my ability to fact check and to be labeled as an “expert” in addiction but maybe you should do your own fact checking. Numerous entries in your blog are incorrect. Your most recent blog post listed several quotes that you said I made (see below). I never made these quotes and have no idea who did. Maybe there is another Jennifer Weiss in Albuquerque or someone made those comments in my name but I absolutely did NOT make those comments.

You can talk about me, my deceased son, my advocacy work all you want but please do not start posting false information about me and making up things that I did not say. I also do not receive endless amounts of funding from the state as we are up in Santa Fe right now fighting for the little funding we do get. Maybe you should do your own fact checking before you publish inaccurate information with my name attached to it.

And, as it appears that you have an excessive amount of time on your hands, maybe you should come visit Serenity Mesa and I will give you a personalized tour showing you all of the evidence-based therapy we provide our young residents who suffer from heroin and meth addiction. Maybe if you saw the services we provide and the work we are doing you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. It’s obvious you have never been an addict, loved and addict or lost an addict so maybe you should try a little more empathy and a little less judgement for something you know nothing about.

Once again, the comments below were not made by me:

Jennifer Weiss · Top Commenter · Albuquerque, New Mexico

And one more thing. Since it looks like you hate cops, how many times has APD arrested your dumb butt for just being a jackass or slapping around your p*nis because no hooker in their right mind would ever touch you. So how many times have you been locked up?

Jennifer Weiss · Top Commenter · Albuquerque, New Mexico

Loretta Baca obviously you think your s*it doesn’t stink because you think violence begets violence. Wow, you’re more into death and destruction for your own gratification because your life is so boring and lacking of what is truly important. And you know what, I actually feel sorry for you. You are a pitiful excuse for a human.

Jennifer Weiss-Burke
Executive Director
Healing Addiction in Our Community &
Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center
(505) 363-9684


Tue, Feb 23, 2016 4:36 am

Dear Jennifer:

I’m sorry it took me so long to respond to your email, but if you follow my blog, then maybe you can understand the lateness of my reply. (Being disabled, poor, and powerless is no fun, believe me.) And if you’ve read my blog, then no doubt you are prepared for the type of response you would receive. (At least, I hope so.)

You may not believe this, but it was nice to hear from you. And it’s nice to know that I could give you a good laugh, even if it was at my expense. After all, I’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine. 🙂

We’ll have to disagree about the Facebook comments you’re now disclaiming, because I think they were, in fact, made by you. However, there have been plenty of times when I’ve responded in anger and said things I didn’t mean, so let’s just forget about those comments for now.

It’s funny what some people use to claim the title of “expert” these days, especially in the addiction industry. Considering your background, you can’t be surprised that anyone would question your credentials. Maybe that doesn’t happen in the addiction and political industries? Or is this the very first time? Being rich and white is something I’ve never experienced, but I’m guessing the combination has been really helpful for you.

Maybe you can tell me why you think your experience — specifically in pain management — qualifies you for things like this:

“The council shall meet at least quarterly to review the current status of prescription drug misuse and overdose prevention and current pain management practices in New Mexico and national prescription drug misuse and overdose prevention and pain management standards and educational efforts for both consumers and professionals. The council shall also recommend pain management and clinical guidelines.”

“We will have a discussion on how opiates affect the brain, their addictive qualities and how prevention is a far better option than treatment. We will also offer ideas on how the dental community can help be part of the solution to an epidemic affecting so many people in NM.”

I can’t help but wonder if these are paid positions, and if so, which part of your work experience has qualified you for these positions? Maybe all you need is a college degree, like doctors who become addiction “specialists”?

You say you’re now fighting for more government funding (an endless task, right?), but you didn’t mention the funds you’ve already received:

And remember when you advocated to deny the approval of Zohydro?

I also have to wonder, what is your experience with Zohydro? Do you think that treating pain and drug addiction are the same thing? Do you also advocate to deny patients access to opioids like Suboxone, Methadone, and bupe?

And why doesn’t your addiction clinic accept Medicare/Medicaid?

With all your advocacy work on pain management and addiction, you must be aware of the crisis that millions of pain patients are experiencing. You must also be aware that even if your work helps thousands of drug addicts, at the same time, it is also part of terrorizing tens of millions of pain patients. So, with this knowledge, I assume that you also understand why I have felt compelled to publicly point out all the hypocrisy.

We might be fighting on opposite sides of the opioid war, Jennifer, but as a 30-year intractable pain survivor, at least I can say that I’ve tried very hard to understand your side. Can you say the same? Not in my opinion.

For all these reasons, I would be happy to accept your offer for a visit to Serenity Mesa. However, I don’t think it should be a scheduled visit, or include a tour given by the owner of the facility. And because of my current financial difficulties, as well as my disabilities, I don’t know when I’ll be able to plan this visit.

But rest assured, I plan on visiting Serenity Mesa in the future. And just like any stranger off the street who may have questions about your facility (and the treatments offered therein), I hope my visit will help me better understand addiction. After all, I advocate for access to all treatment options for all patients, not just for those suffering from chronic pain.

Now, Jennifer, what are you going to do to learn more about chronic pain?

Johnna Stahl
Executive Director of My Own Blog
The Disabled Community
No phone


I took this photo a couple of days ago, and when I read the following words, I’m like, these words match my photo:

I figured it out yesterday while on a walk and I saw a tree. This tree was so tall, it’s branches long and broad and I just looked at it and thought, “Wow, it looks so stable and safe”. And immediately I got the realization of my need for safety…

And perhaps that’s why I love trees so much, because I see them as a symbol for safety. Tall, imposing, protective. Is there anyone who doesn’t love trees? 🙂

Thinking of those who go unnamed

From the Albuquerque Journal (2/21/2016):

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police say a pedestrian was fatally injured after stepping into traffic on I-40. Officer Fred Duran says the incident occurred Saturday shortly after 11:30 p.m. between Wyoming and Eubank boulevards.

According to Duran, police determined the pedestrian had been walking on the freeway for an unknown reason. Then the pedestrian walked into the far right traffic lane was hit by two vehicles.

Authorities pronounced the person dead at the scene. The pedestrian’s identity is not being released pending notification of next of kin…

Go Ahead, Ignore Me

Go ahead, ignore me
Like I’m dirt under your shoe
Just a speck of nothing
Waiting to be screwed

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What does it feel like
to have so much power?
Do you get enjoyment
from watching me cower?

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I am your sister,
your daughter, your niece
the gal who cuts your hair
your grandma, Denise

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Don’t treat me as other
as if I’m beneath
When all I am asking
is to live in peace

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(Photos taken yesterday.)

Attracting Attention

Sat, Feb 20, 2016 8:22 am
Re: No response from Mr. Morehead

Although I emailed Doug Morehead, CEO of CRHMI Management Group, a week ago, I have yet to receive a response. Since this is a time sensitive matter, I’m sending this email to all of the above recipients in the hope that someone else can attract Mr. Morehead’s attention regarding a retaliatory Notice to Vacate:

I thank you in advance for whatever assistance you can provide,

Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(No phone)


If you’re reading this and have a minute or two, feel free to send your own email to my landlord and her corporate bosses.

Soon You’ll be Able to Buy Headphones to Get You High

The Florida-based startup claims they’ve invented a pair of headphones that can bring users a high comparable to a hard workout — if not exactly comparable to weed.

Here’s how Nervana explains it: The headphones will pump music into your ears like any other but will also use an electrical signal to stimulate the Vagus nerve from inside the ear canal. This will result in — allegedly — the release of all those fun brain compounds like dopamine and serotonin…

While it’s natural for a company founder to be enthused about her invention, critics at the CES also said the experience was something special.

“I felt the electricity go into my arm, and everything was tingling there, but the best moment for me was afterwards when I finished and stood up,” one user reported to Futurism. “I felt like I reached a personal high point. I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing. I was like, ‘Oh wow’. For about five minutes, my happiness level was a 10 out of 10. Then it got foggier, but I was still unusually happy for about an hour.”

The device is currently in the final stages of durability testing and if all goes well Nervana says they expect to go on sale to the general public next month…

“[We’re] not going to recommend driving, certainly not while using it,” Brannon said, adding that while she was confident there was no impairment, the company suggested that driver’s stay off the road for at least 30 minutes after use…

Unfunny Irony

The time for smoke-free public housing is here, at least according to the Obama administration. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a ban in November on smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes inside all homes under jurisdiction of a public housing authority…

Studies show that it’s mostly poor people who smoke, which is why it’s mostly the poor who are affected by cigarette taxes and bans. (And I think poor people know more about underground markets than rich people, which is why there’s still an underground market for cigarettes.)

It reminds me of other drugs that were characterized in the past as being used by a certain disenfranchised group, like marijuana, crack, and heroin. The drug war doesn’t discriminate against drugs that rich (white) people use — that is, until the opioid war began.

It’s funny how the government loves to tax and criminalize the use of certain chemicals, but mostly for the ones used by the poor, and not the ones used by, say, oil and gas companies.

I suppose when the final regulations come out, vaping will be included, because isn’t a vaporizer similar to a pipe? Which is so totally unfair to the disabled living in public housing who have chosen to vape or smoke medical cannabis. Should all these pain patients use opioids instead? Not according to the government, who’s motto should be, “Suffer or die, dickheads, we don’t care.”

Tobacco and nicotine are a few of the legal drugs you can buy without a doctor’s prescription, which is why, even with the outrageous taxes and cost, they’re still cheaper than a prescription drug. And whether you believe it or not, nicotine does treat some medical conditions, although smoking it (with all the additives) is not the best delivery system. Don’t blame poor people for how products are made.

The federal government started promoting the idea of smoke-free public housing in 2009, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in 2014 that found a smoking ban in public housing (excluding subsidized housing) could save states almost $150 million a year. Most of the savings would come from reduced health costs related to secondhand smoke…

It’s funny how these figures are thrown out, as if these savings can be proven. Well, what can you expect from the CDC?

And you have to wonder, does that $150-million-a-year figure include the cost of smoking cessation treatments? Does it include the cost of a single parent who goes outside to smoke, only to come back inside to find an injured child? Does it differentiate between medical conditions caused by pollution (and things like lead and asbestos) and those caused by cigarette smoke? How many public housing complexes are located near manufacturing plants, highways, or other highly polluted areas? All of them?

I really dislike hypocrisy.

“It would also save money because there would be less need for renovations,” said Brian King, a deputy director in the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health.

I once asked my landlord about why they spend so much money on getting new renters, instead of taking care of the renters they already have. Each renovation costs more money than just regular maintenance, so why not spend that money on existing tenants? She agreed with me, but basically said that’s just the way it is. Whatever.

While the proposed HUD rule advises authorities to use the enforcement standards already in place for grievance complaints, cities that already have some sort of smoke-free policy vary in their enforcement. Some have a three-strikes policy, while others give multiple warnings and fines before evicting people. In Fresno, Calif., which implemented a smoke-free policy in 2011, the homeless and mentally ill living in public supportive housing are exempt from the rule.

“Of course we don’t want our homeless population smoking,” said Preston Prince, executive director of the Fresno Housing Authority. “We just don’t want eviction to be the hammer we hang over their heads about it.”

When you exempt one group, like exempting cancer patients from the new rules on opioids, it’s called discrimination. Eviction is a constant fear for poor people, so fining and criminalizing smoking will only add to all the stress, possibly causing more health damage than the smoking did in the first place.

Poor people call that unfunny irony.

Shall we begin a petition for banning the use of alcohol in homes and public places? How much money would that save? Oh, but wait, isn’t alcohol the drug of choice for politicians? Yeah, it’s not like rich people who live in apartments will have to worry about a ban on smoking.

You Are One Left Turn From Eternal Happiness

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I passed this sign while searching for apartments. The happiness it’s referring to has to do with food (although I forget what kind). It was this sign that told me it was time for a visit to the ducks at a local wetlands park. (Because I’m waiting for the ducks to tell me the secret to eternal happiness.)

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But the snobbish ducks didn’t want anything to do with me, so I made a left turn, where I found that someone had kindly left a butterfly sticker (on the back of a sign) for me to enjoy.


And I found some dancing Cottonwoods. (Shake it, dudes!)


And lovers parking. (If the car’s a rockin’…)


I made another turn, and found what looks like…


The Death Of The American Dream

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Another turn took me down a bridge…

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And onto a path, where I passed a few people, but for the most part, it was empty…


Until an old man pedaled by… (Show off.)

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Making me wonder why someone hasn’t invented a more comfortable bike seat.

It was a longer walk than I had intended (stupid ducks), but it felt good to stretch my legs. Still, I’ve been paying for it ever since (ducks suck).

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Just kidding. 🙂  Of course ducks don’t suck.

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Some of my best friends are ducks.

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Selfie of the day:

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