Submitted by murph on 10 February 2008 - 12:41pm. family | history | politics
In 1920, my third-great uncle James M. Cox, was the Democratic candidate for President, with FDR as his running mate. I've just found that his campaign's equivalent of Dreams From My Father is available through Project Gutenberg - The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox, written by his secretary, Charles E. Morris. It includes some rather glowing bits on Cox's actions as Governor of Ohio from 1913-1920 with regards to labor:
Submitted by murph on 7 February 2008 - 1:04pm. activism | coops | ypsilanti
The Fair Trade Zone, a worker-owned cooperative clothing factory in Nueva Vida, Nicaragua, is apparently in danger of losing their land to a sketchy land grab. They're asking that letters of support be sent to Nicaragua's first lady in order to add political support to their legal case.
Check out the local angle: The Fair Trade Zone sews clothing for none other than Ypsilanti's own Maggie's Organics. If you've got a Maggie's t-shirt (an option for printing at Ypsilanti's own VG Kids, you've got a product of this Nicaraguan co-op. (Assuming the letter-writing campaign has any effect at all,) It seems to me that Ypsilantians can be more effective than the average American by pointing out how proud we are to be able to claim a connection to one of Central America's most progressive exports.
The request for help (sample letters in comments so my RSS readers don't kill me):
Submitted by murph on 30 January 2008 - 6:16pm. food | ypsilanti
Recently, the Ypsi Food Co-op has made some small rearrangement between every time I've been in, seeking ever more efficient utilization of their space. The most recent rearrangement, though, was to accommodate an entirely new category of product.
Yes, boys and girls, my food co-op has a liquor license, and are carrying various local and/or organic beers and wines - at no higher cost than my corner liquor store. Woot. The selection's not huge, but as long as they're carrying Bell's, they're doing one better than Chicago. (Ha ha, Dale. Ha ha.)
Submitted by murph on 14 January 2008 - 12:59pm. politics
Michigan's got its Presidential primaries tomorrow, and, on the Democratic side, there really aren't many choices to vote for. Michigan hopped the line to third, citing the desire for a state of meaningful size and demographics to actually matter (Michigan would have more delegates than the appointed four first-primary states put together), though the cynical explanation is that prominent Michigan politicians thought they could help out Romney and Clinton with an early primary.
As a result, the DNC stated that Michigan delegates would not be seated at the national convention, and issued a boycott order of our primary; as a result, the only candidates on the Dem ballot are Clinton, Kucinich, and Gravel (and Dodd, who has already dropped out of the race); the others withdrew from the ballot (in order to minimize the meaningfulness of a Clinton victory), and none of the Dem candidates, save Kucinich, have appeared or campaigned in the state.
Submitted by murph on 10 January 2008 - 8:44pm. food | ypsilanti
Submitted by murph on 10 January 2008 - 8:23pm. ann arbor | development | urban planning
My post expressing skepticism at the 26-story, 1,700 resident University Village proposal for Ann Arbor's South University corridor has gotten a decent number of hits from this thread in the UrbanPlanet.org forums. One pseudonymous commenter completely misses my point:
So the person's objections about this project has to do with the large number of housing units it will provide in a soft housing market? From what I know even in a housing market like this there is still high demand for units near college campuses. If the developers didn't believe they could fill these buildings they wouldn't propose something at such a scale.
First of all, my objection to the project is not particularly an objection, nor is it specific to this project. What I'm concerned about is the general trend of a large quantity of campus-oriented housing being built all at once - along with a large quantity of general housing being built downtown at the same time . . . all in the worst housing market in 25 years. This particular project is 50% bigger than Bursley, UMich's largest on-campus dorm, and this is on top of the 3 other student-oriented projects underway. Even setting aside the large number of rental units already sitting vacant around town.
Submitted by murph on 4 January 2008 - 12:54pm. ann arbor | development | housing market
In 2006, Ann Arbor loosened the zoning on the South University area, in the name of promoting some good, solid, mixed-use development. I'm fully in favor of this - South U's existing form, of strip malls at the sidewalk, has always seemed to me an underwhelming use of land, though I wasn't too happy about the first project that took advantage - the Zaragon Place replacement of the Anberay Apartments - what had been one of the best existing examples of compact urban housing in that area.
Submitted by murph on 29 December 2007 - 2:02pm. planning | seattle | transportation
Seattle's easy mark for cheap jokes these days is the South Lake Union Trolley, a working name for the newly opened transit line put out in the latest round of failure to proofread by planners who should have learned their lessons after those flyers advertising "pubic input sessions", complete with snacks, that every beginning planner produces at some point. The official name is now the Seattle Streetcar, but I expect the "SLUT" won't stop.
Part of the basis for the teasing is that the trolley is apparently seen by the neighborhoods hipsters, punks, and just folks as a tool of the gentrifying developers who even west so far as to impose a new name on the neighborhood "South Lake Union"). But a transportation planner's vantage provides so much more room for criticism. The SLUT is a pretty poorly implemented transit line, which makes an easy example for future critics to use when attacking other transit proposals. Badly done transit really annoys me. But, hopefully, some of the problems can be fixed over time - the SLUT has only been running for three weeks now, so there's still time to fix the obvious failures of foresight.
Submitted by murph on 28 December 2007 - 12:55pm. neighborhoods | seattle | trips
I'm in Seattle, visiting Elias, who lives round-about the Haller Lake neighborhood, at the northern end of the city. Elias doesn't drink coffee - but this is Seattle, right? I should be able to find coffee behind every tree and under every rock.
So I set out to find some. Haller Lake's not the most pedestrian-oriented of neighborhoods (though it could be, with the addition of a few sidewalks and some rezoning of the commercial strips), and all of the available coffee within walking distance appears to be along Aurora Avenue. I knew I was in some trouble when I checked the google satellite images for "coffee near aurora ave n & n 130th st" - mmmm, strip mall-tastic - but I'm never one to shy away from a challenge of pedestrianism.
And you, gentle reader, get to benefit from the results, in case you're ever in a similar situation:
Submitted by murph on 25 December 2007 - 10:35pm. books | internet
Part of me wants to get into the spirit of things by letting all of you vote on which one I should be on, but, really, I kind of lump these in with almost all other social software - even if I had an account, I probably wouldn't use it, just because it wouldn't occur to me at the proper time that something was an appropriate task to use it for.