Archive for 2005

Bazelon reactions and non-reactions

posted by Mike on November 23rd, 2005

Last week the press reacted to a memo from Bazelon that said the recommendations of the (Worcester) Mayor’s Task Force on social service siting might violate federal law. (This even made it into a Daily Kos diary, which allows you to vote on whether “The Task Force on Social Services are Fucks.”)

Worcester Magazine ran a disappointing editorial on this issue. It began:

The inflammatory issue of social service siting received a kick recently when a Washington, D.C.-based agency weighed in on local politics, saying that a recent city report potentially discriminates against people with disabilities.

The national legal advocate for people with mental disabilities [Bazelon] issued its statement at the behest of a Cambridge-based social service agency, defending the position that such agencies have a constitutional right to locate programs wherever they choose. We realize that these people have to protect their turf, but the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Social Service Siting were eminently reasonable — and voluntary in nature. This response fans a fire that really doesn’t need additional fuel. Their position may well be supported by the courts in many instances, but it doesn’t advance the laudable and civilized objective of staying out of the courts in the first place.

(Bazelon argues that the recommendations are not voluntary in a footnote.)

The editorial doesn’t mention the charges again till the final sentence:

This recent salvo from Washington represents a half step in the wrong direction.

It’s odd that this editorial defending the Task Force report from the Bazelon memo never engages the charges in the memo.
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posted by Mike on November 19th, 2005

Clark University students yesterday installed 2,000 crosses and other faith symbols on the main quad to remember the 2,082 GIs who lost their lives in Iraq and to call for a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces.

2,000 crosses at Clark University, Nov 18, 2005. Photo by Emma Klein.
Photo: Emma Klein. More at Worcester Indymedia.

Other items:
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posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on November 19th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | 1 Comment »

Decline in Confessions

posted by Adam (Southern California) on November 17th, 2005

Here’s an interesting article on Slate about the declining popularity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Personally, it’s been maybe 6 years since my last confession. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Adam (Southern California) in Religion | on November 17th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Decline in Confessions” | 4 Comments »

How to knit a plastic bag

posted by Mike on November 17th, 2005

Reusable bag titan Rajiv Badlani points out that because you can’t convince every shopper to use cloth shopping bags, there will always be some plastic bags out there. He plans to recycle these into textiles.

You can do something similar at home, with shopping bags or the plastic bags they put your newspaper in on rainy days. All you have to do is cut the bags into ribbons, twist the ribbons into a sort of yarn, and then knit or crochet the yarn into whatever you like. This is an inexpensive way to make holiday gifts for the environmentalists on your list.
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Basil Pennington’s suits and other Items

posted by Mike on November 16th, 2005
  • I agree with Elwood:

    “I love my president, but he doesn’t love us.”

  • Pie and Coffee contributor and cinemaster Adam Villani started a personal blog last week. The next day he was namechecked by Boing Boing. Auspicious.
  • Father Basil Pennington was a Trappist monk who died in June at St Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer. Many know of him because of his work with the centering prayer movement, revitalizing the contemplative tradition among Catholics in America.

    Tom Lewis happened to go to mass at the Abbey the morning after Fr Pennington had died, and saw him lying in state.

    Mike: So his body was there in the chapel?

    Tom: He had enormous feet.

    Dom Basil was in many ways a giant of a man. Even physically, he looked like someone who stepped out of the Old Testament with his huge frame and long beard. He was also interiorly a giant in the sense of one of those rare people who is filled with many, many, many ideas. Big ideas.
    (from a homily by Abbot Francis Michael Stiteler)

    I stopped by the monastery last week to pick up a donation of food for some shelters and soup kitchens in Worcester, and they also gave me several boxes with Fr Pennington’s clothes. It was like being handed a crate of holy relics. After sorting through it, a lot of the clothes went right to the thrift shop—there aren’t many homeless people in Worcester who are that big. His suits were size 50L.
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South Bend Catholic Worker DOESN’T lose zoning vote

posted by Mike on November 15th, 2005

Update: The South Bend Catholic Worker has a good chance of winning its zoning battle. The article cited below says that they “lost” yesterday’s zoning vote because it was a tie vote. But all this really means is that it will go to another vote at the next Common Council meeting, when the missing councilor will be there and break the tie.

When I was in SB a couple weeks ago, the feeling was that few people in power were willing to support the CW. So this tie vote represents powerful momentum. One hopes that they can work something out with those neighbors who oppose the zoning change, and get a 9-0 council vote on the compromise solution.

Here’s the story, via WNDU-TV:

A public hearing was held on whether to re-zone a Catholic group home and took nearly four hours Monday night. Ultimately, it was defeated due to a tie vote.

A tie vote is much better than people were expecting.
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Task force recs “would violate federal law”

posted by Mike on November 14th, 2005

Headline in today’s Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Social service plans decried: Worcester taken to task.

WORCESTER— A Washington, D.C., mental health legal advocacy group says the recommendations of the Mayor’s Social Service Task Force would violate federal law if they were adopted.

The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, since 1972 a national legal advocate for people with mental disabilities, produced a legal analysis that said the recommendations, released Oct. 10 by the 14-member task force appointed by Mayor Timothy P. Murray, would violate the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if adopted as city zoning or funding policy. People with disabilities and social service agencies would then have standing to sue in federal court under the Fair Housing Act, according to the group, formerly known as the Mental Health Law Project.

The text of a memo from Bazelon with their legal analysis follows.
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How to make a canvas bag

posted by Mike on November 12th, 2005

Forget about “Paper or plastic?” It’s time to make your own canvas shopping bag.
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Coffee in Worcester–continued

posted by Mike on November 10th, 2005

Another interview with Bruce about Worcester’s upscale coffee joints, heavy metal, and watching The Ghost and Mr. Chicken two hundred times.
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An Interview with Zack Berger

posted by Mike on November 9th, 2005

A few years ago, Zack Berger and Celeste Sollod self-published Zack’s Yiddish translation of “The Cat in the Hat,” Di Kats der Piyatz. Following the success of that book, they’ve come out with Zack’s Yiddish version of “Curious George,” George der Naygeriker. We caught up with Zack via e-mail.
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