Friday, February 25, 2005

Where I Hang My Hat(s)

Woonsocket, RI
Condotopia in Woonsocket: Editorial from the Providence Journal - Friday, February 18, 2005

Things are bursting out condos in Woonsocket, and one reason may not be hard to find -- a few miles to the northeast, housing prices are booming in the Boston metro area. That's good news for Woonsocket, and all of Rhode Island.

Four completed projects have produced 287 condominiums, three projects with up to 42 condominiums are being built, and four projects with 148 condominiums are being planned. None of these condos are "affordable" units, subsidized by the state's taxpayers -- although to many refugees from the housing crisis in Massachusetts, they may seem that way. More than two-thirds of the completed condos have been sold to former Massachusetts residents -- newly minted Rhode Islanders...

...The infusion of residents downtown should support more and better shops and restaurants than the current tattoo parlors and other small enterprises. This, in turn, will make the city even more attractive to potential Rhode Islanders from north of the border.

It should be noted that 10 of the 11 projects are rehabs of old mills or other historic structures, including a courthouse and a police station. Several of the developers either have secured or are applying for state historic-preservation tax credits, without which the developments -- and their expected local and state economic spinoff -- might not be financially feasible...

Well, thank goodness none of the new units are "affordable"! It would be a real travesty to have low income residents living in beautiful new apartments, wouldn't it?

Also, note the comparison of "better shops and restaurants" to "tattoo parlors and other small enterprises," in which I read "local, ethnic, and struggling businesses." I've heard ProJo was conservative; this editorial proves it.

Minneapolis, MN
This looks to be an awesome event on March 3rd, found through OutFront MN:

Quadriga and Workplace Alliance sponsor "Is your Passport Current? Societal Reactions to GLBT People from the Holocaust to the Present", featuring discussion and a presentation by GLBT historian J. Nicholas Tretter, GLBT Collections Specialist at the U of M offering a historical examination of the plight of GLBT people during the Nazi Holocaust, and how the extreme bigotry of that time may inform our current situation, at Trikkx Nightclub, 490 North Robert Street in downtown St. Paul from 5-7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Contact: (612) 822-0127 x111 or

I can personally vouch for the expertise and sheer generosity of J. Nicholas Tretter and the Tretter Collection at the U of M. He helped me with a research project, producing a fantastic male shower room scene lunchbox from the Vietnam War era.

Check out the always fantastic "Feminist Finds Issue" of the Minnesota Women's Press.

Washington, DC
As always, the National Building Museum provided an entertaining visit on Saturday. I've never seen it so crowded, especially with energetic tykes so into science and engineering. It almost made me not hate kids.

And, finally, my local record stores churned out a pretty good selection this past weekend. Herman's Hermits and the Distillers top the list.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Take Your Testimony and Shove It

From a Press Release:

Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) was denied an opportunity to speak or submit testimony at a public hearing held by the Justice Department that was scheduled to gather public comment on its National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination. Instead of accepting Congresswoman Maloney’s statement or written testimony, she was asked to leave by an official who suggested that if she did not leave security would be called.

Congresswoman Maloney was at the meeting to call attention to the glaring omission of Emergency Contraception in the Justice Department's first ever national protocol on treatment for victims of sexual assault.

Unfortunately, Maloney was not allowed to speak, even though she was the only Member of Congress present. Rep. Maloney was also refused the right to submit or even leave her written testimony at the site. A representative of the Justice Department threatened to call security if Rep. Maloney did not remove herself from the room.

Yes, Rep. Carolyn Maloney is rather threatening looking, isn't she:

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Cure for Insomnia:

A concert featuring Minnesota's own beloved band, Low.

"Sing me to sleep..."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hardscrabble City

It's a special day when your middle school French teacher and drama club coach is quoted in the New York Times. One question: which are we - "hardscrabble" or "sleepy"? Is it possible for a city to be both?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

"The Dangers of the Hour"

In light of our fair leader's arresting speech last evening, I offer a rebuttal (of sorts) from Matilda Joslyn Gage, a suffrage movement leader in the late 19th century, a spokeswoman for Native rights, and an avid supporter of a REAL separation of church and state. [Read the entire amazing speech here.]

For one hundred and fourteen years we have seen our country gradually advancing in recognition of broader freedom, fewer restrictions upon personal liberty, and the peoples of all nations looking towards us as the great exemplar of political and religious freedom. But of late a rapidly increasing tendency has been shown towards the destruction of our civil liberties. The work has been stealthily carried on for a number of years under names and purposes which have prevented a real recognition of the design in view...

...Personal freedom is now threatened by two foes, alike in character although differing in name, centralization and clericalism, ever the great antagonists to liberty. The control of questions which should be entirely left with the respective States in being gradually assumed by the United States.

It has been said that the war proved one thing — our nationality; it seems likely to prove much more — the destruction of local self‑government, which is becoming gradually lost. This general tendency towards centralizing power in the nation is a vast help to those persons who wish to incorporate certain religious dogmas in the Federal Constitution. The Constitution is superior to all statutory enactments and for this reason the Christian party in politics is not content that laws favoring it should be enacted by Congress alone, but aim to secure a constitutional amendment of like character...

...There is an impending struggle greater in its influence upon humanity than the one fought for freedom thirty years since. The government is undergoing changes which are signs of danger. The red signal is out, if you are color blind and cannot see it the more the pity for you. An unreasoning confidence is the chronic state of the people. To them it does not seem possible there is danger to their free inheritance. They forget that liberty must ever be guarded. They forget the hereditary enslavement, the bondage of the human will to the church, and thousands bound do not heed this enslavement — to them it seems liberty...

...We are told the country is in a dangerous condition with tens of thousands uncultured emigrants yearly pouring onto its shores; we are told our flag is hissed by anarchists who have 25,000 drilled men at their command; we are told the experiment of free government in towns and cities is a failure, but what danger from ignorant emigrants so great, what peril from anarchists so near, what experiment of free government such an utter failure as the admission of four new States largely populated by native-born American citizens, men and women of eastern birth, the young, the cultured, wide-awake business men and business women, under denial of the first principles of Dakota.

The danger menacing our country does not lie with the foreigners, nor the Anarchists, nor in municipal mismanagement. Free institutions are jeopardized because the country is false to its principles in the case of one-half of its citizens. But back of this falsity away down to the depths of causes deep in the hidden darkness of men's minds, must we look for the source of this perennial wrong...

...Yes, it is daybreak everywhere; we see its radiance in Europe, in South America, in Africa. Peaceful revolutions are rapidly taking place on two hemispheres, yet just as a dark cloud shadows some parts of the earth even at break of day, heralding a coming storm, so while it is breaking day in many countries, yet over our own beloved land the fell shadow sweeps, — over it falls the pall of a coming storm. Amid so much liberty, people fail to see the gradual encroachments of organized power either in the church or in the state. But so sure am I of the coming storm that I cannot believe it will pass over us without the possible shedding of blood. The struggle will be fierce and bitter; a man's enemies will be of his own household, for this storm will not be, as some surmise, a warfare between Catholic and Protestant; it will be a battle of the liberal element against the church and its dogmas of whatever name or nature. After a time liberty will triumph, and then and not until then shall we see a true Republic upon this soil. As the battle for political liberty began here so will that for full religious liberty end here. The conflict we were sure had gone by will again arise; the decisive battle has yet to be fought. It seems to me when that hour has passed there will be no more church forever, for science and the spirit of free thought will have destroyed its very foundations.