Ten years of Pie and Coffee

posted by Mike on March 5th, 2015

Today is the tenth anniversary of Pie and Coffee! Thanks to everyone who’s contributed, technically and creatively, to making this thing happen.

I first got the itch to blog in 2003, when I was living at the Orange County Catholic Worker house, and the city decided to crackdown on their homeless shelter. It was a fascinating story, one that wasn’t being covered in the depth I thought it deserved.

I finally started blogging here in 2005, when some of my friends had returned from a trip to Darfur and were inspired to commit civil disobedience in response to the violence there.

Since then, a lot of people have posted things here. Some years it has been busy. In recent years, with the rise of Facebook as an outlet for casual online conversation, and with changes in my own life, it hasn’t been busy at all. This arc has been pretty typical of blogging.

One of the nice things about a blog is that you can post things when the time is right, and ignore it when it’s not. One of the bad things is that as the months turn to years, and years to decades, it turns into a junk drawer.

So we’ll be doing a once-a-decade cleaning of this junk drawer, looking back at the topics we’ve covered. We’ll revisit Darfur, reusable grocery bags, Worcester panhandling, climate change, Catholic Worker dramas, Guantanamo, podcasting, and more. How do our posts look in retrospect? What’s going on with those subjects today?

I don’t know if this blog will be around in 10 years. But I’m really looking forward to year #11.

posted by Mike in General | on March 5th, 2015 | Permanent link | 1 Comment »

Ash Wednesday

posted by Mike on February 18th, 2015

“The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference.” –Pope Francis

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Lent: A time of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and projects.

Project #1: What are you giving up for Lent this year?

This year I’m keeping it simple: no coffee.

Project #2: What extra meditations are you adding to your life this season?

I’m keeping it simpler than other years, but still a bit complicated. Inspired by Rod Dreher, and with the support of my Dante book club, I’ll be reading the Purgatorio (Divine Comedy, Part II).

Assuming all of the above goes according to plan, it should be a successful Lent. For those looking for more resources, Susan Stabile always posts great stuff. I am going to fight the temptation to browse these resources when I should be reading Dante. I will especially avoid spending too much time thinking about Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent.

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Beginning the journey through Purgatory: Gustav Doré’s “Dante Kneeling Before Cato”

posted by Mike in Lent, Orthodoxy | on February 18th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #253: Making Our Mark

posted by Mike on February 8th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk with some Worcester Public Schools art teachers, at the opening of their group show at the Sprinkler Factory, “Making Our Mark.” Guests include Keri Anderson, Jay Benotti, Christine Cross, Alana Juneau, Stacy Lord, Cory Shepherd, Michael Walden, and Fran Warner.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info | Twitter feed

posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on February 8th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #252: You Won’t Believe What These Journalists Just Said About Worcester

posted by Mike on January 31st, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guests are former Worcester Magazine editor Brittany Durgin, and former T&G online director Mark Henderson, now of The Worcester Sun. We talk about the state of Worcester journalism, exciting new projects, and staying warm.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info | Twitter feed

Staying warm:

posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on January 31st, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Love in the Time of Ebola

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on January 30th, 2015

bethuneSome Americans responded to the ebola epidemic in West Africa by offering to care for the victims. Unfortunately, most of us were swept up in fear of the disease’s dreadful symptoms and mortality rate. Proposals circulated to block all flights to and from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Emblematic of the hysteria, a Catholic school teacher and registered nurse from Louisville, Kentucky was forced to resign after returning from a medical mission to Kenya, even though she was never closer than 3,000 miles from the ebola outbreaks.

Fundamental changes in how we treat African visitors and returning medical volunteers were proposed for a disease that ultimately killed only two people on US soil. One can only imagine the draconian measures that would be adopted in a real pandemic.
Continue reading »

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Religion, Worcester | on January 30th, 2015 | Permanent link | 2 Comments »

508 #251: #blacklivesmatter

posted by Mike on January 24th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is Julius Jones. We talk about the Pulse’s “Ones to Watch” list, Communities United and #BlackLivesMatter, and the rapidly diminishing ranks of local pro journalists. Also: Follow us on Twitter.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info

Continue reading »

posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on January 24th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Closing Guantánamo, 2015 edition

posted by Mike on January 11th, 2015

“Vatican pushes US secretary of state on closing Guantánamo”:

As the Obama administration continues to look for ways to shut down the controversial Guantánamo Bay detention center in Cuba, Vatican officials pressed US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday to find “humanitarian solutions” for suspected terrorists.

[…]

[Las Cruces Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace] said that an expedited transfer of detainees out of Guantánamo and the eventual closing of the facility would represent a major step in “allowing the United States to regain its moral standing as a defender of human rights.”

(alternately: US asks for Vatican’s support to shut Guantánamo down)

This week I’ve been in Washington, DC with Witness Against Torture, working on the Close Guantánamo campaign. Closing Guantánamo remains a thorny issue. I’m glad to be here. Some of what we do rubs me the wrong way, but most has been inspiring.

Cliff Sloan: The Path to Closing Guantánamo:

While there have been zigs and zags, we have made great progress. The path to closing Guantánamo during the Obama administration is clear, but it will take intense and sustained action to finish the job. The government must continue and accelerate the transfers of those approved for release. Administrative review of those not approved for transfer must be expedited. The absolute and irrational ban on transfers to the United States for any purpose, including detention and prosecution, must be changed as the population is reduced to a small core of detainees who cannot safely be transferred overseas.

[…]

Cliff Sloan, a lawyer, was the State Department’s special envoy for closing Guantánamo until Dec. 31.

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Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the opening of the opening of the Guantánamo prison. There was a demonstration at the White House, with several dozen people in black hoods and orange jumpsuits representing the 59 men at Guantánamo cleared for release by the Bush and Obama administrations but not yet freed. The demonstrators then marched to the Department of Justice, and on to DC Superior Court, as a sign of opposition to the injustices both at Guantánamo and at our domestic prisons.

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McCain prepared to help Obama close Guantanamo:

McCain, himself a former prisoner of war, has long favored closing Guantanamo Bay, which critics say stains the reputation of the United States and is a recruiting tool for terrorists. But key players in Congress, including many senior Republicans, have barred funding for the administration to send remaining inmates elsewhere or to build facilities on the U.S. mainland.

posted by Mike in Shut Down Guantanamo | on January 11th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

The First Day of Christmas

posted by Mike on December 26th, 2014

Many writers have noted that, in terms of national and international news, 2014 was a bad one. (It was a tough year for me, too.) Advent didn’t give us a break. I’d like to think we’re due for a couple good months.

The best way to shorten winter is to prolong Christmas; and the only way to enjoy the sun of April is to be an April Fool.
GK Chesterton

Continue reading »

posted by Mike in Christmas, Itinerant Communicant | on December 26th, 2014 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Worcester Panhandling Update: the New York Times and the Supreme Court

posted by Mike on December 8th, 2014

It’s coming up on 2 years since Worcester passed its latest ordinance against begging.

I didn’t see any kids fundraising for little league over the summer. There still seem to be plenty of scruffy men with signs panhandling cars. I’m hoping we will soon get a report on the overall effects of the law.

The NYT today has a good roundup of the legal situation with the ordinance. The case may end up in front of the US Supreme Court.

A city ordinance enacted last year banned “aggressive begging,” but it used an idiosyncratic definition of what counts as aggressive. It encompasses any begging — including silently asking for spare change with a cup or a sign — as long as it is within 20 feet of a bank, bus stop, pay phone, theater, outdoor cafe or anywhere people are waiting in line.

The Supreme Court has said that asking for money is speech protected by the First Amendment. But in June, the federal appeals court in Boston rejected a challenge to the 20-foot buffer zones, saying they were justified by the unease that panhandling can cause.

A week later, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that had established 35-foot buffer zones around the state’s abortion clinics, including one in Worcester. The court said the law, which banned counseling, protests and other speech near the clinics, violated the First Amendment.

There was a tension between the two decisions, and lawyers for the plaintiffs in the begging case asked the appeals court to reconsider its ruling in light of the abortion case. The appeals court turned them down.

I appreciate the paper of record validating that our law is “idiosyncratic.”

posted by Mike in The Street, Worcester | on December 8th, 2014 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #250: So Much Stuff

posted by Mike on October 11th, 2014

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is Chris Robarge. We talk about our new permanent City Manager, eight stolen gargoyles, and Jodorowsky.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info

Continue reading »

posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on October 11th, 2014 | Permanent link | 1 Comment »