508 #259: Ana Sequera

posted by Mike on July 23rd, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is Worcester City Council District 2 challenger Ana Sequera.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

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posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on July 23rd, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #258: Cindy Nguyen

posted by Mike on July 16th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is Worcester City Council District 1 challenger Cindy Nguyen.

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posted by Mike in Podcasts, Worcester | on July 16th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #257: Tina Zlody

posted by Mike on July 9th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is Worcester City Council At-Large challenger Tina Zlody.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

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posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on July 9th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Supreme Court vacates Worcester panhandling ruling

posted by Mike on June 29th, 2015

The US Supreme Court has told the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that the lower court made a wrong decision in upholding Worcester’s 2013 anti-panhandling ordinances.

Supreme Court of the United States [PDF]:

14-428 THAYER, ROBERT, ET AL. V. WORCESTER, MA
The motion of Homeless Empowerment Project for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for further consideration in light of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 576 U. S. ___ (2015).

SCOTUSBlog: “When the Court “GVRs,” it “grants certiorari,” “vacates” the decision below, and “remands” a case to the lower court without hearing oral argument or deciding its merits. A GVR order is not accompanied by a written opinion addressing the merits of the case, but the Court usually provides some direction to the lower court by, for example, instructing it to reconsider its decision in light of a recent decision by the Supreme Court.”

The anti-begging ordinances, which began being enforced in February 2013, have stopped kids from holding fundraising events on street corners, but don’t seem to have cut down on the number of down-and-out adults panhandling in those same spots.

Part of Worcester’s anti-panhandling package discouraged people from wandering on traffic islands and in the road; part tried to keep people from being persistent or scary in their soliciting; another part set up hundreds of “no begging” zones around bus stops, ATMs, and doors. This court case focuses on the third set of ordinances, those establishing buffer zones for certain kinds of speech (asking for money or other things of value).

Reed v. Town of Gilbert held that certain “content-based regulations of speech” were not allowed.

For what it’s worth, I remain mildly opposed to the anti-begging ordinances and majorly opposed to the shoddy process through which they were enacted.

ACLU:

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert confirms that laws regulating speech are subject to the strictest scrutiny when they hinge on the content of the speech. And the Supreme Court’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley holds that buffer zones banning speech are rarely if ever constitutional.

How, in light of those decisions, can Worcester enforce hundreds or thousands of buffer zones that prohibit begging but do not prohibit other kinds of speech? The answer is that Worcester absolutely cannot do that.

posted by Mike in Worcester | on June 29th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #256: This Drone Survived 508

posted by Mike on June 26th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guest is drone enthusiast and “This Car Survived Kelley Square” creator Chris Markman. We talk about unmanned flying machines and Worcester’s capital budget.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info | Twitter feed
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posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on June 26th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #255: Election Introduction

posted by Mike on June 11th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s panel is Brendan Melican and Paul Cooney. We hash out the questions we’d like to ask this year’s Worcester City Council challengers.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

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posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on June 11th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Donna will leave Worcester’s Mustard Seed

posted by Mike on May 13th, 2015

Telegram & Gazette:

On June 1, Ms. Domiziano, an unpaid volunteer of nearly 30 years, will finally be leaving. However, her missive came not from God, she says, but a formal letter.

…The organization’s founders had, via a letter delivered by a local pastor, informed her of vital changes to the operation that would drastically limit her autonomy.

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posted by Mike in Catholic Worker movement, The Street, Worcester | on May 13th, 2015 | Permanent link | 2 Comments »

508 #254: Questions

posted by Mike on April 30th, 2015

Every election year, inspired by Jay Rosen, we ask: “What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes in this year’s Worcester City Council election?”

We sift through the suggested questions and pick 3 or 4. Then, we try to interview every City Council challenger on the show, asking those same questions.

To prime the pump, this week we get some suggestions from Brendan Melican, Bill Coleman, and Virginia Ryan.

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Contact Info | Twitter feed

posted by Mike in 508, Worcester | on April 30th, 2015 | Permanent link | No Comments »

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 | 3 Comments »

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

wpid-wp-1424283560976.jpeg

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.

0115cato
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 »