Archive for April, 2010

Anchee Min

Posted in Dollhouse and censorship with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by toresimonsen

I am attending another Talk of the Stacks event at the Minneapolis Central Library.

Tonight’s speaker is author Anchee Min. Anchee Min runs onto stage and is filled with energy. She is discussing her new book Pearl of China. She was born in Shanghai and grew up in Mao’s China. She was recruited to perform in propaganda films for China before moving to the United States.

Today, Anchee Min’s books are not published in China although underground copies are available. Anchee Min lived for 27 years in China and is approaching her 27 years in America. For Anchee Min, she feels writing a novel is like singing a Chinese opera. She likes to live a life of heroes and heroines. Her motivation is to live as the heroine through her writing.

I have some brief excerpts of Anchee Min’s speech here. (Unfortunately since my digital camera mysteriously disappeared, my ability to shoot footage is more difficult now. I filed a report with the Minneapolis Police Department. The last time, they were able to recover my notebook. As an aside, I have been informed that you can store valuable items such as notebooks and digital cameras with the staff at Safe Harbor. This does not appear to be something widely known. I have entered many times with my equipment, and was never informed of the option until this most recent incident).

The podcast of Anchee Min may at some point be available online. Until then, here are two brief excerpts of her speech.

Anchee Min is writing about Pearl S. Buck. She is concerned that Pearl S. Buck is overlooked. Anchee Min encountered Pearl S. Buck in 1971. As a student, she was supposed to denounce Pearl S. Buck as an imperialist. She did not have to actually read Pearl Buck- merely criticize Pearl Buck. When Anchee finally actually read the Good Earth, she realized how wrong she was about Pearl S. Buck. Anchee Min wants to celebrate Pearl S. Buck.

Anchee Min shares the hard lessons her grandmother tried to share with her about a life of hardship. Anchee felt she was a rebellious youth, who embraced feminism. Her character, Willow, shares many of these traits.

Anchee Min’s past is colored by many bad experiences. She shares the sad stories of a classmate who died of tapeworm. Anchee Min ended up with a tapeworm and ended up with the nickname tapeworm. She also talks about her mother’s turberculosis.

She talks about the horrible mistake that the Chinese make with their emphasis on sacrifice for the greater good. Anchee Min then begins to discuss the labor camps. One third of China went to labor camps, which was the subject of her book Red Azalea. She summarizes the experience. She talks about working 16 hours in rice fields and not even having a bucket to use to go to the bathroom. She had to stand on a board and try to squat in order to go to the bathroom while avoiding mosquitoes.

Anchee Min talks about issues regarding the introduction of Christianity by Absalom (Pearl Buck’s father). Apparently, the Chinese suggestion was to “improve” Jesus with armor and more clothing. Anchee Min then says you cannot find God through formulas.

Anchee Min reads a second passage and has a bit of fun by breaking into Chinese opera, which she almost raps.

Anchee Min also rewards us with the reading of a poem.

Anchee Min’s presentation then focuses on love, but teases us a bit by withholding the love scene from us.

Anchee Min talks about Mao’s cultural revolution and its roots in fear, before circling back to her book. During the question and answer, she feels that western style democracy is impossible in China. Anchee Min says that while Mao’s portrait remains on the walls, the Chinese are now on their own path.

Anchee Min feels that we need to know where China is coming from in order to know where China is going. Anchee Min feels that China fears the west.

The presentation concludes with a short 3 ½ minute film about her new book and the celebration of Pearl S. Buck in China.

After the speech is over, Anchee Min engages in a book signing. There is an extremely long line for books.

I thank Anchee Min for coming and, of course, inform her about the efforts to save Dollhouse. I appreciate the fact that she shared her experiences of censorship.

Of course, I spend considerable time trying to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the e-petition.

Save Dollhouse by signing the TNT petition online to save Dollhouse.

Please send emails.

Save Dollhouse by sending TNT EMAILS to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the Twitition.

The twitition to save Dollhouse is here!

PLEASE!!!! Let other people know about the efforts to save the show.

My goal is to save Dollhouse.

Posted in Dollhouse and censorship, Dollhouse and homeless, Save Dollhouse, Saving Dollhouse with tags , , , , on April 28, 2010 by toresimonsen

I attended the Minnesota House committee meeting at Health Care and Human Services Finance Division. There was extensive testimony, much from institutional players, about the proposed changes to the MFIP funding and more.

I am homeless. I am not receiving GA, but I took the opportunity to testify. I focused on the deprivations of fundamental rights and censorship threats to democracy.

You can watch my testimony here.

I am uploading the video to Dailymotion.

I mentioned my interaction with other political figures, specifically Rep. Tim Walz and Gubenetorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Those stories can be found on my post on unconventional politics.

As I summarized in my testimony, my goal is to save Dollhouse.

Please help save Dollhouse.

Please sign the e-petition.

Save Dollhouse by signing the TNT petition online to save Dollhouse.

Please send emails.

Save Dollhouse by sending TNT EMAILS to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the Twitition.

The twitition to save Dollhouse is here!

PLEASE!!!! Let other people know about the efforts to save the show.

MFIP Cuts? GA safe for now.

Posted in Dollhouse and homeless, Dollhouse and Jobs, Save Dollhouse, Saving Dollhouse on April 26, 2010 by toresimonsen

As regular readers know, I am not currently on GA. In my case, it does not seem necessary.

I found out today that the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee released its proposed budget. I heard about this by chance while at Central Lutheran Church. There was a table with flyers. I picked one up.

I decided to head over to the capital. Getting there was not easy. I had to pay for a bus fare to get to the capital. I am not sure how many people in a similar situation will be able to get to the capital. The Basillica would not provide tokens to get to the capital and there did not appear to be any coordinated effort to get people from Minneapolis there. For example, the organizers from Stand Together Minnesota focused on outreach at drop-in centers in St. Paul.

There are some budget cuts coming. At the time being, the current budget proposes no cuts to the $203 general assistance program. In a somewhat unusual move, the cuts are being made to the MFIP program which supports families.

The MFIP program is being impacted. The current proposal is to cut $9.5 million from MFIP. The eligibility requirements for MFIP have been reduced to 110% from 115% (so you must be poorer to qualify). There is also a reduction in asset values. Cars can only be valued up to $7,500. The old limit was $15,000.

A handful of people wearing supportive stickers regarding MFIP were walking around the capital.

Public testimony on the proposed cuts is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at the capital tomorrow.

As for me, I spent most of my time to try to conduct outreach to save Dollhouse. I handed out materials to various people at the capital about Dollhouse.

Dunn Bros on 3rd Avenue: New cups-New Refill Policy

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 by toresimonsen

On weekends, I spend a lot of time at Dunn Bros Coffee on 3rd Avenue. The good news is they have new coffee cups. The cups are very attractive. I was told that I got the inaugural cup.

Dunn Bros Coffee

New Cups Thumbs Up. New prices 😦

The bad news is that they have a new refill pricing policy. The current price is now 50 cents for a refill. This will effectively price me out of their market. I was relying on free refills and wifi. Now I will have to take my business elsewhere. Panera on Nicollet still offers free refills and wifi access. I am exploring other coffee shops in the area as well. (My primary criteria are free refills and open wi-fi).

Unconventional politics

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by toresimonsen

It is convention season. As I am homeless, I will not be attending the convention. (I have not applied for GA, MA, SSI, or other forms of assistance.) Nevertheless, it is time for a little reflection on some of the stories, I have covered. Most of these stories have recieved little reader interest.

At netroots, I begin with Rep. Tim Walz’s statement that people were being “warehoused” in mental health facilities without need or benefit. View the video response here.

Meanwhile, Gubenetorial candidate RT Rybak had some comments on violence in the shelters. His video respons is here.

If you spend time on this blog, you are aware of the deplorable conditions in the shelters.

This led to a few questions for Minnesota Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher regarding perverse funding incentives to maintain homeless populations. Another question she was asked was whether homeless people should be videotaped while sleeping in the shelters. You can view her responses here.

Recently, I obtained footage of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar speaking about the issue of Russian adoptions. Watch the event here.

There are so many more people we have run into at various times. For example, we ran into U.S. Senator Al Franken, State Senator Linda Berglin, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at Cavalry Church. Read about that here.

We have also seen County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin at several events including the opening of the downtown central library on Baseball Monday as well as the opening of the North Star Line.

Not to leave out people from the Republican camp, we have this unfulfilled promise from Republican Nathan Hansen who is currently campaigning for Minnesota House of Representatives in district 55A.


As you can see, Nathan Hansen claims he failed in his efforts to save Dollhouse and gave up. (I can’t find his signature on the e-petition, perhaps I missed it…)

We also have the footage of a chance encounter with Ralph Reed during the Palin/Bachmann rally. Watch the video here.

There are, of course, many many more political figures I have run into in various contexts and if you spend some time on the blog, you will realize this. There are also people like lawyer Galen Robinson who gave us a detailed overview of the unallotment issue currently pending before the Minnesota Supreme Court. A decision with potentially far reaching budget consequences is looming. You can watch the video of Galen Robinson here.

Of course, my goal is to save the television show Dollhouse. Most of the afformentioned politicians have by now been informed of my efforts to save Dollhouse.

Spend some time on the blog, and you may find other stories of interest- but most importantly please help save Dollhouse.

Please sign the e-petition.

Save Dollhouse by signing the TNT petition online to save Dollhouse.

Please send emails.

Save Dollhouse by sending TNT EMAILS to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the Twitition.

The twitition to save Dollhouse is here!

PLEASE!!!! Let other people know about the efforts to save the show.


Posted in Dollhouse and homeless with tags , , , on April 24, 2010 by toresimonsen

As I am staying at various shelters, having a beer is a very difficult process. Many shelters are so-called “sober” shelters. This means they conduct random pbt tests of their guests at night. When I say random, I mean completely random. They do not even look for an indicia of intoxication. At Simpson shelter, for example, on lottery night, every single person who walks through the door is given a PBT.

One place which does not (yet) conduct PBT testing is Harbor Lights Safe Bay shelter. They satisfy themselves with conducting random searches of our bags at nights.

In any event, I am so low on the waitlist this week, I cannot seem to get a bed at Our Savior shelter. Since I am condemned for the time being to staying at the awful Safe Bay, I have decided to make the best of a bad situation. After being informed there was no bed for me to stay in last night, I took the opportunity to have a beer! I got this beer because various bars have been handing out free drink flyers at various Twins games to promote their bars. I am not sure how many more opportunities there will be to collect free drink flyers as the police are slowly pushing some people off the corners. Currrently, two primary corners have been closed, but there is nothing to say another corner (or corners) won’t be closed in the future.

In any event, here I am enjoying my first beer in months.

Free Beer

Of course, I took the time to handwrite some more flyers out to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the e-petition.

Save Dollhouse by signing the TNT petition online to save Dollhouse.

Please send emails.

Save Dollhouse by sending TNT EMAILS to save Dollhouse.

Please sign the Twitition.

The twitition to save Dollhouse is here!

PLEASE!!!! Let other people know about the efforts to save the show.

Twins Outreach:Game 3 Twins versus Cleveland.

Posted in 1, Dollhouse and censorship with tags , on April 22, 2010 by toresimonsen

The Twins are playing well and the fans seem to be enjoying the new stadium and are very supportive of the team.

Meanwhile, police have cleared two corners for the stated purpose of facilitating the flow of pedestrian traffic. I was handing out materials by the Smalley’s 87 sign. After a scalper and liquor store were cleared out at the direction of the police, I moved as well. Police then apparently allow people in Twin’s outfits to distribute material. (Sources have indicated these people are actually volunteer county workers.) The people distributing materials are in the red outfits. You can watch the video which shows the police next to the distributor of materials while they distribute. This may not seem interesting to you, but it involves “state” selection of speech. The atmosphere has a carefully crafted appearance of normalcy, when in fact other voices have been eliminated.

The police provide a facially neutral reason to clearing some people out, but apply it selectively. It gives some groups preferential treatment over others. This could impair a myriad of groups trying to conduct outreach- bars, scalpers, night clubs, energy companies, environmental groups- you name it. I’ve received plenty of promotional materials from a wide range of people. Of course, it affects me as I am trying to save Dollhouse.