Thinking of Pittsburgh
I have just had the pleasure of a visit from an American friend from Pittsburgh. I first connected with Jim when he left a comment on my blog and I responded. He has been thinking of moving himself and his family to Canada. We have exchanged emails as I answered his questions and sent him information on immigrating to Canada.
It has been nice to finally meet him in person and show him a little hospitality. We seem to have an easy relationship and share values. I think he and his family could make an easy transition to Canadian society. He, a psychiatric nurse and his wife, a mathematic teacher, would be able to find employment here I have no doubt. But to leave one's country behind is a big decision for anyone. I wish them well in coming to a decision and am ready to sent them as much helpful information as possible.
Here is Jim as he is ready to leave.
Jim left with a couple of large jugs of Temagami River water. I had written him that the water is soft and leaves your hair clean and silken. His wife just had to try it. I hope it lives up to my praise.
Before leaving he drove to the town of Temagami and climbed the 100 foot fire town on top of Maple Mountain where he would get a wonderful view of the Temagami wilderness. I must do that myself some time.
Come back any time Jim!
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Speaking of Pittsburgh
I have been following the events in Pittsburgh with the meeting of the G20 there. As has become the tradition with such international meetings of heads of state and leading politicians, the city center has turned into a fortress by security forces and a form of street theatre for those who want to express their concerns to these politician by trying to assert their right to free speech and assembly, seen as a challenge by the security forces. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/24-0
It is telling that the security forces are there to protect the polticians. They do it in a way which sees them as battling the protesters. I wonder if there is ever an occasion when the security forces might be at such events to protect the protesters and their rights of free speech and assembly, not to mention access to the politicians who claim to represent them. It seems to me this would be more appropriate in a democracy, (government by the masses). But, of course,
democracy is largely a myth when real power and influence is at stake. Security is always there for the privileged and property class.
It would be nice at these international meetings if the politicians would come out of their "fortress" and meet and address the people protesting. I guess I am a dreamer!
It is interesting that Pittsburgh was chosen for this meeting so World leaders could see the economic recovery of this city after it had become the center of the "rust belt" with the collapse of the steel industry. I wonder what they might be shown? Certainly, they will not visit the nearby town of Braddock.
Braddock is one of the poorest towns in the United States. Once a working class community of workers in the steel industry. Now after, losing 90 % of its population it is a very desperate community. Braddock is an historic town. It is the home of the first Andrew Carnegie steel mill. It also has the first Library that Andrew Carnegie had built as his legacy to the country as a successful Robber Baron. It would be an interesting tour stop for the politicians sorting out economic matters at the G20 meeting. Here is a stark example of what happens when an industry collapses. The working class play the economic price while those who have become rich, filthy rich, as a result of the industry, leave public funds for public institutions so their legacy will be that of a great philanthropers rather than exploiter and destroyer of the working class. In Braddock, this is still visible in stark terms.
For a NYT article go here, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/us/01braddock.html?_r=1
You may have register to read this article but it is worth it
Here is another informative site, http://www.15104.cc/ruins
Braddock is only 8 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. It is hard to understand why it is not prime property for redevelopment, or why it did not survive as a bedroom suburban community with the demise of the steel industry. In Canada, I don't believe we have any such communities so near an urban center. They would undoubtedly come to share in the successful economic life of the larger community as they were trasformed after their major industry is lost. Some if this on a much smaller scale happens in Northern Ontario when towns lose their major industry, usually in mining or forestry. Workers move and the town shrinks or even become a ghost town. Many one industry town are just torn down and disappear all together.
A few towns find new life , and a reason for being, as was the case of Elliot Lake, Ontario, when its uranium mines closed. This town with the infastructure of 30, 000 people, transformed itself into a retirement community attracting retired people, who enjoyed the outdoor life of hunting and fishing. The cheap single family homes, available as miners left, attracted many initially. Now the town, even in a recession, advertises for workers to move to Elliot Lake to do the work made possible by the high retired population.
But in Canada, a town in decline within 10 miles of a major city would be snapped up for redevelopment. How something like what happened to Braddock, PA. comes about it hard to understand. There is something wrong about the political system. In the US, Braddock is not unique. Not long ago, I spend some time looking up some of the poorest communities in the US. There are many of them, both rural and urban. They are the sad underbelly of the weathiest country in the World.
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Some of my critters
Here are the porcine girls, Ruby and Babe. They have had a lovely summer and have eaten themselves into great condition. After some dry weather they have cleaned up quite a bit without mud holes to lie in.
A couple of my cats love to snuggle up to the coffee pot.
And, of course, here is Heidi.
I am rubbing her face and neck on the away side. (I do not have my hand down her throat). She loves to be rubbed around the face and neck. I am always willing to oblige. Here her fur is soft and silken. You can see by her closed eyes and and satified look she is luxuriating on this shared affection.