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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘religion

[URBAN NOTE] “Nuns who feed San Francisco’s homeless face eviction”

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Al Jazeera America notes that rising rents are driving a Catholic sisterhood out of San Francisco.

Sister Mary Benedicte wants to focus on feeding the hungry lined up outside a soup kitchen in a gritty part of San Francisco.

But the city’s booming economy means even seedy neighborhoods are demanding higher rents, threatening to force out an order of nuns who serve the homeless.

The sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame’s Mary of Nazareth House said they can’t afford a monthly rent increase of more than 50 percent, from $3,465 to $5,500, and they have asked their landlord for more time to find a cheaper place to serve the poor.

“Everywhere the rent is very high, and many places don’t want a soup kitchen in their place,” Sister Mary Benedicte said Tuesday, in French-accented English. “It’s very, very hard to find a place for a soup kitchen where people can feel welcome and where we can set up a kitchen for a reasonable price.”

Since 2008, the modest kitchen has sat on a derelict street in the Tenderloin neighborhood, long associated with homelessness and drug use. But it’s within walking distance of a revitalizing middle Market Street area, led by the relocation of Twitter in 2012.

There’s been a “dramatic increase” in residential and retail rents in the middle Market area since 2010, spilling over into the Tenderloin, said Brad Lagomarsino, an executive vice president with commercial real estate company Colliers International.

The still-seedy neighborhood, in other words, is trending up.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO identifies five fast-changing neighbourhoods.
  • Crooked Timber praises Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze examines the formation of supermassive stars.
  • A Fistful of Euros reflects on global income inequality.
  • Geocurrents examines Russia’s demographic issues.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has blamed ISIS on gay pride parades.
  • Language Log looks at how language issues influenced the outcome of Taiwan’s election.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that First Worlders are responsible for poor conditions in Bangladeshi factories.
  • The Map Room examines “persuasive cartography”.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that discrimination hurts economies.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg notes Ukraine’s rapid shifts in natural gas consumption by source country.
  • The Power and the Money considers if the United States might be governed by people who think it a good idea to provoke a war with China.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to sources on the Circassian genocide.
  • Strange Maps notes Chinese cartographic propaganda.
  • Transit Toronto favours a partial pedestrianization of King Street.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO reports on five up-and-coming Toronto neighbourhoods.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly discusses one issue of migrants: where is home?
  • Centauri Dreams considers globular clusters as locations for starfaring civilizations.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes hot Neptune HD 175607b and brown dwarf Gliese 758b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the importance of Neandertal genes in the modern human immune system and notes the climate impact of eclipses on the climate of Titan.
  • Geocurrents maps crime in California.
  • Language Log notes the popularity of “they” used in the singular third-person.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests tariffs could play a useful role.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of the biomes of an Earth where the continents were tilted 90 degrees.
  • Nicholas Whyte notes J.R.R. Tolkein was a teacher of Mary Renault, and that the two writers were fans of each other’s work.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares photos from England.
  • Peter Rukavina notes his work in assembling a Schedule for Charlottetown transit.
  • The Russian Demographicsd Blog notes a global survey on the importance of religion in different countries.
  • Torontoist looks at political turmoil in pre-1837 Upper Canada.
  • Towleroad notes a gay couple that got on kiss cam in a Kings game.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests nationalism in Tatarstan is on the point of boiling over, notes the dire demographics of even large Russophone communities like those in Latvia, and notes the arguments of a Ukrainian who suggests the example of Belarus shows Russian should not be given official status.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Anthropology.net notes the study of ice man Otzi’s gut flora.
  • blogTO shares photos of different Toronto intersections a century ago.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly considers the virtues of rest.
  • Centauri Dreams considers how we date stars.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers the fates of exoplanets in untable circumbinary orbits.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s construction of a second, indigenous, aircraft carrier.
  • Geocurrents maps real estate prices in California.
  • Kieran Healy notes an odd checkerboard of land ownership in Nevada.
  • Languages of the World notes a study suggesting that one never truly completely forgets one’s first language.
  • Language Log notes the snark directed at the Oregon militiamen.
  • The Map Room maps thawing in the global Arctic.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests one way in which religion is good for the poor.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes an exciting proposal for a Europa lander.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer does not think the 2016 American presidential election will necessarily change much, not compared to 2012.
  • Peter Rukavina shares the results of his family’s use of a water metre.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps the distribution of Germans in Soviet Ukraine circa 1926.
  • Towleroad looks at syphilis in the male gay/bi community.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the alienation of Donbas, looks at the decline of Russia-linked churches in Ukraine and a proposal to shift the date of Christmas, and wonders about Tatarstan.

[LINK] “Saudi Executions That Riled Iran Meant as Domestic Message”

Bloomberg’s Vivian Nereim describes how Saudi Arabia’s recent executions, which have taken tensions with Iran to new heights, were apparently intended as messages to its domestic constituencies. How short-sighted.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 men last weekend quickly became an international drama, agitating markets and triggering a flare-up with longtime rival Iran. But Saudi-watchers say the move was really meant to send a message inside the kingdom’s borders.

After a year of domestic attacks that left dozens dead, and with the economy hurting from the oil slump and a prolonged war in Yemen, the rulers of the world’s biggest oil exporter may be seeking to show the Saudi public that they’re tough on terrorism and won’t tolerate dissent. A large majority of those executed were Sunni Muslims said to be linked with al-Qaeda and implicated in attacks more than a decade ago, though it was the death of Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr that received the most overseas attention and spurred protesters in Shiite-ruled Iran to set the Saudi embassy on fire.

“It largely plays to a domestic audience,” said Toby Matthiesen, author of The Other Saudis, a study of the kingdom’s Shiite minority. “The executions, especially the one of al-Nimr, are very popular among a lot of Saudis,” he said. “It’s a way of kind of rallying people around the flag.”

Al-Nimr’s execution on Saturday and the subsequent breakdown in ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran raised the specter of deepening conflicts in a region where the two powers are already on opposing sides of wars in Syria and Yemen. Tensions have escalated as the administration of King Salman, who ascended to the Saudi throne almost a year ago after the death of his brother Abdullah, breaks with the kingdom’s traditionally cautious foreign policy.

The executions may be intended to reinforce Salman’s more assertive stance, said Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

[LINK] “A conflict of faith between Russia and Ukraine”

Al Jazeera’s Tamila Varshalomidze notes how the collapse in Russia-Ukraine relations is encouraging many Orthodox Christians in Ukraine to break away from churches linked with the Russian Orthodox Church, with entire parishes breaking away.

Father Sergei Dmitriev meets us at a hospital in Kiev where he has been admitted for two weeks suffering from kidney problems. We suggest holding our interview in the garden of the hospital’s church, just a few metres away. The Father refuses, sternly but politely. He will “never set foot” on the ground of the Church, he says, accusing it of “using propaganda to cover up Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict”.

The Church he is referring to is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy which is ultimately governed by the patriarch of the Russian Church, who is accused of being an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Moscow Patriarchy is different from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchy, which was established after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. And the two churches are perceived as taking very different positions on the current conflict.

Before the conflict, a divided Church had hardly been an issue for Ukrainians. Worshippers would usually choose which church to attend for prayers and services based on where they were and their personal preference for the individual priests.

But that began to change when the conflict broke out and some Ukrainians found themselves questioning the supposed pro-Russian position of the Moscow Patriarchy.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 29, 2015 at 11:04 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO looks at Toronto’s north/south-divided streets.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze suggests that there might be lightning in protoplanetary disks.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers way to make gasoline a biofuel.
  • Far Outliers notes the breakdown of interethnic relations in the late Soviet South Caucasus into war.
  • Joe. My. God. let George Takei explain why he stayed in the closet.
  • Language Hat likes the poetry of Pasternak.
  • Language Log notes a bizarre clip from 1930s New York City featuring a boy scout speaking Cantonese.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that economists overlooked the rise of the 1% because of sampling issues and argues that power couples worsen economic inequality.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares photos from Paris in December.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes unhelpful reactions to the decline of Russian as a language of wider communication.
  • Window on Eurasia notes turbulence in the Russian Orthodox Church (1, 2) and suggests the Donbas is likely to evolve into a second Chechnya.

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