Red Wall, Merrimack Street, Lowell, photographed from parking lot of Enterprise Bank by Tony Sampas.
Red Wall, Merrimack Street, Lowell, photographed from parking lot of Enterprise Bank by Tony Sampas.
Our friend and colleague David Blackburn, who leads the Cultural Resources and Programs unit at Lowell National Historical Park, sent a link to a Los Angeles Times article by James Rainey via the Sacramento Bee and a listserv of David’s. He writes,
“It places Lowell National Historical Park themes and our stories on labor, fair pay, fair work, intellectual property rights, and other subjects in a 21st-century information economy perspective.”
Read Nancye Tuttle’s advance report in the Sun on the Actors Inc. production of “The Porch,’ an insightful comedy by Jack Neary. Both Nancye and Jack are regular contributors to this blog. Read her article here, and get the Sun if you want more. The shows are set for June 2, 3 and 4 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St, downtown Lowell. For ticket info, call 978-984-3151. This is a presentation of the UMass Lowell Center for Arts and Ideas.
With residential conversion permits in hand, the former St. Jean Baptiste Church in Lowell, MA is being given a second look to determine if it’s more suitable as a community arts center. See ComeToLowell.com/TMI for details and updates.
This video was originally posted by copleymedia
One of the more fascinating trends to arise in the wake of the financial crisis has been the renewed interest of the political right in gold. Today’s New York Times ran a story about the latest part of this trend: Utah has passed a law allowing gold and silver coins to be used as currency. While there is certainly a question of the constitutionality of this law, it’s interesting to think about the arguments and reasoning behind it.
The main idea driving the interest in gold is the fear that the US dollar will eventually collapse. Baring a failure to raise the debt ceiling before August 2nd, the probability of this happening is effectively zero (discussed at end of post). Besides, a collapse of the dollar would lead to a worldwide depression far worse than the Great Depression; I doubt having a form of currency based on a traditionally precious metal will be our greatest concern.
Investing in gold is actually a fairly risky action for a number of reasons. The first is that the price of gold, assuming the current trend of holding it rather than spending it continues, is effectively a function of how quickly it can be mined in South Africa. If the relevant companies mine a lot, the price will go down. If they mine a little, the price will go up. It has little to do with the actual intrinsic value of the metal, which is, if we are honest with ourselves, not that great.
But let us assume that gold does become a normal form of currency. What happens then? Well, as the amount of gold being used for currency increases, one would expect its value to fall. This would mean that any gold you held would be becoming increasingly less valuable. That doesn’t exactly seem like a great investment.
The market, as opposed to the advertisers on TV, is still making it very clear that US Treasury Bonds are the safest investment available. There are no indications from the bond market that investors think the US is facing a debt crisis or that the dollar is at risk. In fact, rates are currently falling, presumably due to both political parties contemplating austerity measures, indicating the investors are worried about more economic stagnation (due to austerity measures).
Yesterday at the Memorial Day Service of the Greater Lowell Veterans Council on the steps of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, I was invited to speak about Lowell and the Civil War. Rather than speak from a prepared text, I used a rough outline so I could gauge the length of the talk to the occasion. Here’s a rough approximation of what I said plus some material I could have added:
When the topic is Lowell and the Civil War, two stories predominate. The first is of Ben Butler, the prominent lawyer and politician who became a Major General, held many important commands throughout the war, and who left a fascinating legacy of decisions, some bold and successful, others not so much. The second story involves two young men at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum. Luther Ladd and Addison Whitney were two young mill workers who would have been forgotten to history but for the riot in Baltimore on April 19, 1861. There, Ladd and Whitney, two privates in the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, died, making them the first soldiers to be killed by hostile fire in the Civil War.
But Lowell had many other Civil War stories. More than 5000 men from the city served in the Union Army and Navy during the war and nearly 500 of them died in the service. While men were scattered in across a multitude of units, three Massachusetts regiments had large concentrations of Lowell men. The 28th and 30th were both recruited by Ben Butler and served under his command in New Orleans and on the Virginia peninsula. The third of these regiments, the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry had 282 men from Lowell in its ranks and it participated in some of the greatest campaigns of the war.
Soon after it was raised and trained during the summer of 1862, the 33rd Massachusetts joined the Army of the Potomac (the main Union Army in the east) for the momentous battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The devastation to both sides at Gettysburg caused a pause in the action in the east which allowed Confederate commander Robert E. Lee to dispatch a Corps across the Shenandoah Mountains to join Confederate forces in Tennessee. In reaction to this, the Union sent a Corps of its own under the command of Major General Joseph Hooker to reinforce the Union army in Tennessee. (It’s widely and wrongly believed that the word “hooker” as in prostitute was derived from General Hooker’s name because of the women who used to follow his army columns but the word was used for that purpose in newspapers at least a decade before the war). Of the 40 some-odd regiments in Hooker’s Corps, only two – the 2nd and the 33rd – were from Massachusetts. read more »
John Edward, a resident of Chelmsford who earned his master’s degree at UMass Lowell and who teaches economics at Bentley University and UMass Lowell, contributes the following column.
Last year the Supreme Court overturned campaign finance reform that limited how much corporations could spend to influence federal elections. UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, coauthor of the reform law, expressed the sentiment of many when he said, “I believe this decision will result in influence-buying and corruption.”
It was the latest in a long line of Supreme Court cases dating back to 1819 that relate to “corporate personhood.” The trend is for the court to grant corporations the same rights as individuals.
If you cannot beat them, join them. By incorporating myself, I could lay claim to the rights of corporations when it comes to avoiding taxes.
Last year I took a large (for me) capital loss when a company I used to work for was bought out. I claimed the maximum allowed deduction from income of $3,000 and paid taxes on the remaining income. I had to carry over the rest of the capital loss. Unless tax laws change I will be carrying that loss for a long time.
In the same tax year, many profitable companies paid no federal income taxes. In most cases, it was because they had losses from previous years. Corporations are not limited as to the amount of losses they can write off against earnings. State Street Corp. reported a $1.6 billion profit yet received an $885 million refund. I want part of that action. read more »
Holy Poets, Batman! Lowell’s own Tom Sexton is in the New York Times today. The front page of the Arts section/C1 includes an image of the cover of his newest book, “I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets” (Univ. of Alaska Press), and his paragraph of attention is on C5. Here’s the link to the group review of “Five Poets Seasoned By Life” written by Dana Jennings. The other books are by Dean Young, Dorianne Laux, Jim Moore, and Laura Kasischke.
Jennings describes Tom as “an atavistic avatar of how to look hard yet write simply,” and says “his Alaskan-Asian poetics are quite practical.” The practical thing must be from Lowell.
Cheers to Tom, one of this blog’s contributors and faithful readers. He’s back out west after some months Down East during which he spent time in Lowell and Salem. His readings at the National Park Visitor Center and Coburn Hall at UMass Lowell were two of the highlights of the cultural menu this past April. He also headlined the Mass. Poetry Festival in Salem in May.
MassMoments reminds us this morning that on this day May 30, 1971, hundreds of anti-war protestors – in an operation organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War – occupied Lexington Green. Viet Nam veteran John Kerry had emerged as a leader of the VVAW. Earlier that spring, the future Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate testified at a nationally televised Congressional hearing. Arguing that the war was wrong, he posed the now famous question, “How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” His appearance was a catalyst for this Paul Revere-like march and protest when they would “alarm the countryside”— sounding a message that the war was unjust and must end.
…in 1971, over 450 anti-war protesters occupied the historic Lexington Green and refused to leave. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War had organized a three-day march from Concord to Boston — Paul Revere’s route in reverse. According to Lexington’s by-laws, no one was allowed on the Green after 10 PM, so the selectmen denied the protesters permission to camp there. With many townspeople supporting the veterans, an emergency town meeting was held. When no agreement was reached, the veterans and their Lexington supporters decided to remain on the Green. At 3 AM on Sunday, they were all arrested in the largest mass arrest in Massachusetts history. After being tried, convicted, and fined $5.00 each, they continued their march to Boston.
Read the full article at MassMoments.com: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=159.