Principles of less eligibility: The human cost of prison labor PART II

If you were to turn over a chair in a Minnesota public library, like at the Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault, you might find a tag noting the chair was manufactured by MINNCOR, a quasi public-private business operation within the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC). MINNCOR products are made by Minnesota inmates who make furniture for everything from public libraries to student dormitories. They also weld docks for Minnesota lakes and pack balloons destined for festive events. Additionally, minimum security work crews organized through the DOC – separate from MINNCOR’s operations – build low-income homes in greater Minnesota and have even assembled a sports facility dome on the University of Minnesota campus. The work of these inmates is all around us, yet hidden in plain sight. Continue Reading

Principles of less eligibility: The human cost of prison labor PART I

Jesse, an inmate whose name has been changed for his safety, began his incarceration in 2006 initially working as a baker for 25 cents an hour in St. Cloud. He later got a job pressing license plates for 50 cents an hour. During yet another job in prison folding and packaging balloons, Jesse noticed the balloons were being transported and sold by Anagram. While getting paid pennies on the dollar, his labor was being exploited for corporate profit. Continue Reading

Inside the Daily Planet, 9/23/11

MUSIC | Ben Folds at Orchestra Hall: A beautifully awkward symphony by Trang Do, TC Daily Planet • Combine the renowned Minnesota Orchestra with pop-star singer/songwriter Ben Folds‘s vocals and piano and what you get is an enchanting symphony of  bittersweet melodies, quirky lyrics, epic instrumental talent, and nostalgia for Ben Folds Five, before the year 2000. Looking at the audience who sang along, it was evident that the feeling was mutual.

Library and park design options to be presented
by Staff, Uptown Neighborhood News • Hennepin County Library (HCL) and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) will hold a combined open house on Tuesday, September 27 from 6:30 to 8 pm at Hennepin County Library – Walker, 2880 Hennepin Avenue. Design concepts for the MPRB’s land adjacent to the Walker Library and HCL’s new Walker Library will be presented.

Moving Planet plans rally this weekend
by Dale Connelly and Kate Faye, KFAI Radio • This Saturday a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol will attempt to generate excitement about moving towards an energy future without reliance on fossil fuels.

Sustainable landscape: Making grass greener
by Amanda Duca and Justin Sims, TC Daily Planet • Forests, prairies, and the land of 10,000 lakes—Minnesotans love the outdoors, even when it’s just their backyard. Making that yard greener can play a major role in adapting a more sustainable lifestyle. Water reduction and conservation, storm-water management and the implementation of native plants can play a critical part in creating a more sustainable landscape.

Upcoming events in the Summit Hill neighborhood
by Staff, Summit Hill Association • The Summit Hill Association will once again sponsor a fall neighborhood garage sale on Saturday, Oct. 1st, from 9 a.m. until mid-afternoon. Selling used items helps you clean out your attic basement or garage. For a $15 fee, participating households will receive copies of the Sale Site Listings flyer prior to the sale and two bright yellow “Summit Hill Garage Sale” posters. SHA advertises the sale in city-wide and local newspapers, on the SHA website and provide additional flyers for the public to pick up at the SHA office before the sale. Participating residents coordinate and staff their own garage sales and retain all proceeds. Consider having your own sale or join together with a neighbor.

CSE route-sharing project for bicyclists to expand statewide
by Jeff Hargarten, The Minnesota Daily • A community of Minneapolis bikers that share route secrets is about to spread throughout the state.

New site makes visa process smoother for international students
By Nick Sudheimer, The Minnesota Daily • For international students seeking to attend college in the U.S. or stick around after graduation, obtaining a visa just became a little easier.


ANOTHER VIEW | The time has come to pay college student athletes
by Charles Hallman • The NCAA reinstated three Ohio State football players last week who were suspended for taking $200 each from a university booster at a charity event earlier this year.

MN PROGRESSIVE PROJECT | The sad irony of the Stillwater bridge
by Eric Ferguson • A recent star Tribune guest column provided background on the proposed St. Croix River bridge at Stillwater. 50 years ago, residents of the Stillwater are organized to fight a proposed coal power-plant in an area that was still relatively undeveloped. They lost, but their campaign helped bring about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

HINDSIGHT | Idea Open results are in!
by Clara Peterson • A couple weeks ago I wrote about the Minnesota Idea Open contest taking place at this year’s State Fair. A contest for the best water conservation idea, the ultimate winner by popular vote was “Minnesota FarmWise,” a collaborative approach to implementing water-friendly farming techniques.

OPEN SECRETS MN | Monitor or surveillance in Minnesota licensed facilities?
by Rich Neumeister • The Star Tribune article called “Granny Cams” which appeared yesterday caught my attention.  It is the constant conflict with technology and privacy that is the heart of the story.  Cameras that are designed so small to be used to prevent harm to others who are vulnerable.  Sounds like a good idea.  It is not so easy to implement though.

TC JEWFOLK | On being bullied, and Tikkun Olam, “Bully Project” documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsch weighs in
by Leora Itman • Everyone knows someone who has been bullied.  Maybe you were.  Maybe it was your best friend.  Maybe it was because they’re gay. Or black.  Or fat.  Or Jewish.  Or just because they were the wrong kid in the wrong school at the wrong time.

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