A Dirty Hippie By Any Other Name:
An article last week in the NYTimes exposed the freegan (free + vegan) movement. Urban dwellers from diverse ages and backgrounds are beginning to dumpster dive (a process they refer to as waste reclamation or urban foraging). While true bums have been doing this for as long as there have been dumpsters, the freegans base their lifestyle on the moral grounds. To a certain extent they have a point, one study shows that half of all food in the US is wasted. And the practice of freecycling is something that many young people (my AC, TV and dresser) do. However, the freegan.info website is mired in hippie clichés like the stance on squatting: “Freegans believe that housing is a RIGHT, not a privilege…and human needs are more important than abstract notions of private property.” Which reminds us all that reducing consumption and recycling are great things that we should all embrace, but if d-bag hippies want to live outside of society, there is plenty of space in Alaska and Montana where they won’t bother the rest of us.
Raise the Roof, Raise the Whole House, Too:
This weekend Harvard Law School dropped $1 million to move a couple of old Victorian houses. Mass. Ave between Harvard and Porter was shut down for the entire weekend while the houses, which will become law school dorms, were lifted, put on wheels, and rolled three blocks down the street. The process required all wires that crossed the street to be removed as the historical homes were moved.
Which reminds me of another house that was recently lifted. According to recent reports Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and his son are being investigated by a grand jury for receiving illegal considerations. These include Veco, an oil company, paying for an expansion on Stevens’ Alaska home in exchange for (among other things) getting Pakistan to pay Veco the $70 million it owed for pipeline construction. The unconfirmed reports are that Stevens had the first floor of his home raised and a floor built underneath it.
This story has been covered closely by the TPMMuckraker.com, a great political blog by the people behind the Talking Points Memo. Also check out the Daily Show’s “Coot Off” between Ted Stevens and West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd. And yes, they really are the people running this country.