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Best (North American) places to live for the progressive-minded

By migrantatheist in Culture
Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:50:19 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

So there I am. Fed up with the (mostly)reactionary, (mostly) poorly educated, (mostly) close-minded and heavily religious American South, I have decided to embark on that great adventure : moving to a greener pasture (pun intended).

I find myself challenged, though. I DO NOT wish to wind up in the same town, with some of the serial numbers filed off, trees moved about, etc, and all other things being equal. I intend this to be a move for the better. So. Where do I go? K5, I ask your advice!!

I've been to college in metropolitan areas, and my goodness, what a breath of fresh air that was. People were of course, college-educated, but beyond that, in the community, there was a ...call it 'cosmopolitan' attitude, an understanding that the world is a diverse and varied place, and that 'our way' is one of many. Then I found myself back here in a small southern town. Don't ask why, because I'm still asking myself. : )

I don't want to move back to that college town, but I do want to find another area with similar traits, and that is where you, the K5 folks, with your varied personal stories, in various locales, can help.

If you live in an area where there are a few college-level educational institutions, where the local industry is supporting a well-educated population, let me know. If the progressive element in local culture/politics is healthy and not anemic as in some areas, please do tell. I'm not asking for a hippy head-count, but just...how tolerant are the folks who aren't progressive minded? I live in a place where progressive politics are practically considered a sin, or at least something just this side of a criminal personality flaw. I don't understand that mindset, but either way, I want away from it.

Oh, and religion. I live in a fundamentalist ghetto. Someplace on the other end of the spectrum would suit this pleasant atheist quite nicely. I'm looking for a town that celebrates it's diversity.

So, there it is. Let's talk about the hometown we (progressives anyway) are looking for or have found. Friends of mine have suggested Portland, OR ; Vancouver, BC; Flagstaff, AZ; San Fransisco, CA (of course) and others. Anyone else have a suggestion? Why there? What's the cool-factor??


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Best (North American) places to live for the progressive-minded | 233 comments (192 topical, 41 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oh that's an easy one (3.00 / 6) (#5)
by zephc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:45:30 AM EST

The PRSC: The People's Republic of Santa Cruz =] I seriously suggest you take a vacation for a week or so and just ride a bicycle around Santa Cruz ("The Lost Boys" was filmed there =D )... not so much the touristy stuff, but hang out downtown, riding around up at UC Santa Cruz, to some of the smaller surrounding towns, soaking up the atmosphere.

It's a college town, very liberal, very free-thinking, but you're not going to find much in the way of miniscule taxes ;)

You have to experience the town to really understand how nice it is =] Plus, its a close (enough) drive to the Silicon Valley.

SSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhh!!! (none / 0) (#13)
by snowlion on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:33:16 AM EST


You are not supposed to tell people that..!


(Best 1st night celebrations in the country... & I have a hankering for El Palomar... Have a crush on the flower shop girl... I was a Santa Cruz resident for ~14 years; Live in Seattle now.)
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

hehe sorry =] (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by zephc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:18:10 AM EST

Yeah i guess housing prices are high enough as-is =P I was born and raised in SC, and after I get out of college, I fully intend on moving back. I miss foggy mornings, and... everything about SC.

[ Parent ]
Santa Cruz & my life (none / 0) (#176)
by snowlion on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:38:16 PM EST

Lived in SC until 6th grade (DeLaviega student). Then moved to Watsoville, went to E.A. Hall, (got beat up every day), transferred to Aptos Jr. High, then AHS. Went to Southern California for college (HMC, Claremont). Lived 1 month in Santa Monica and 2 months in Venice. Moved back to Watsonville after college, then moved to Seattle 3 years ago. Miss Santa Cruz many times, but enjoy life out here. Think of moving to Alaska.

Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
With any luck (none / 0) (#227)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:36:42 AM EST

rents will have fallen a bit by then, too; prices finally stopped rising. :)

I didn't realize how important Santa Cruz had become to me until I went travelling for six months; after a month away from the ocean I was pining for it in a horrible way.

[ Parent ]

Pretty, but (none / 0) (#58)
by spacejack on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:59:55 PM EST

Those left coast hippie towns are expensive. All those places, like Santa Cruz, Arcadia, Eugene, Victoria, Nelson BC,.. last time I heard prices, they're more expensive than living where I do, in downtown Toronto -- with fewer, worse-paying jobs, and lousy nightlife. Made me wonder, what's the point?

[ Parent ]
Because ... (none / 0) (#230)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:43:53 AM EST

Santa Cruz is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Why else? :)

[ Parent ]
Changed so much (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by pietra on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:07:41 AM EST

I went to UCSC between 1994 and 1998. Couldn't get a job the entire time I was there. I loved it, aside from the being broke part, and it is definitely the most gorgeous place in the whole entire world. I miss the Bagelry. I miss the redwoods. I miss the funky-ass brick temple with an obelisk down by the Safeway on Mission. I *don't* miss the godawful neon obscenity that Pacific Ave has become, and manohman, do I not miss the pretentious yuppie hippie spawn panhandling for Odwallas. Expensive? My former roommates and I were horrified to discover that our previous 1 br/1 loft apt., which was just barely big enough for the three of us and almost affordable at $930/month, is now more than $2K a month. I went back a few months ago and actually cried when I saw what downtown looks like. The place has gone from being a funky, gorgeous little beachside town to expensive yuppie hell. We won't even talk about the traffic on Highway 17. I miss my old Santa Cruz. I got really lucky to live there when I did.

[ Parent ]
Now THAT's comedy (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by ttfkam on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:31:40 AM EST

I miss my old Santa Cruz.
Which old Santa Cruz? The one from 1994!?! Hasn't changed that much since then believe it or not. Expensive? It's been expensive for a long time. It's just more so now.

Now let's go back to 1989; Just before the earthquake. (Apparently before your time. Slightly before mine as well truth be told.) I've been told it was far more eclectic. I only first saw it soon after the quake. Let's put it this way: you could see Laurel from Water. Most of downtown looked like one big parking lot.

I believe that this was just after the secession of Kresge College from UCSC. Yep, you heard right. You needed to show a Kresge student ID or show that you had a class there in order to enter the college. I don't remember anything quite so rebellious while I was there. Not even when I stripped in Crown core lecture as a birthday present to a friend (but that wasn't really rebellion but rather good clean fun).

Let's go back a bit further. Back when Santa Cruz was the (per capita) murder capital of the country. Late 70's I think.

And a bit further. My friend just bought a house last year up in Lompico (Santa Cruz mountains). The deed -- dated somewhere around the 50's or 60's, I don't remember exactly -- stated in no uncertain terms that the house could only be sold to someone of the white race. I'm not making this up!

Change happens. Sometimes it's not so bad. At least for me, rent ain't so bad. I live near Bay and Mission in a four-bedroom house with three other people. I pay the most at $650/month. The others are closer to $450/month.

As the recession goes on, you'll see the rent prices drop further and further.

The things I truly miss are my old college buddies and a few of the billiard parlors. That and the Silver Bullet.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

best time in SC (none / 0) (#129)
by zephc on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:05:24 AM EST

in my OWN opinion, Sc was funnest/most interesting back in the 80s, when i was but a lad =] Of course, we're all biased by good childhoods =]

[ Parent ]
I still love the place too (none / 0) (#160)
by ttfkam on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:57:54 PM EST

After all, I'm still here right? :)

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
No! Change bad! (3.00 / 1) (#195)
by pietra on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:06:17 PM EST

Everyone knows that your college town is supposed to be set in stone the second you graduate, and never, ever change! ;) And you get twenty lashes with a wet noodle for mentioning the Crown core course... AAAAGH! I think what bothered me so much about the changes I witnessed in SC was that they all seemed to be for the worse. At least after the earthquake, things gradually improved. I'm also not too sure that housing prices will go down as the economy continues to suck; what I saw happening in SC near the end of my stay there involved landlords selling houses to single owners who lived in them rather than renting them out. As long as lots and lots of people want to live in SC, there's always going to be a housing crunch, and as long as the rental market continues to shrink, that's going to be the case. However, the whole area is due for another earthquake soon, so perhaps the housing market will crash again. Yay, natural disasters!

Myself, I prefer to live in a place where you can rent an entire 4-bedroom house with a yard for what you're paying for a room.

[ Parent ]

I was looking at the classifieds today (none / 0) (#229)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:42:58 AM EST

and I saw something that I thought epitomizes what is wrong with the economics in this town.

They're building this new condo/townhouse complex on the corner of Laurel and Chestnut, where Logos used to be. There was an ad in the paper for places here; a 1-BR, 1-BA was going for $1300.

Except for the fourteen "affordable" units. The "affordable housing", which I guess they were required by the city to put in, goes for $1260.


[ Parent ]

Where Logos USED to be? (none / 0) (#234)
by pietra on Wed Feb 27, 2002 at 12:25:22 AM EST

Dear holy God, don't keep telling me these things! I'm gonna end up like some crazed ex-hippie asking piteously where College 5 (Porter) is.

But yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The thing that bothers me the most about the housing in SC is that I know I wouldn't have been able to go to school there if the housing rates had been as high 5-6 years ago. I just simply wouldn't have had the cash. Makes me wonder how many good students end up going somewhere else, and how much UCSC is losing out. I mean, they need all the actual studious types they can get... or at least they did when I was there ;)

[ Parent ]

LOGOS used to be (none / 0) (#236)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 06:30:28 PM EST

Yeah ... after the earthquake it was in this cool abandoned wherehouse building on Chestnut, set in from Laurel a bit; they had a new building constructed for themselves on Pacific, across the street from the Del Mar. Which is now operated by the Nickelodeon.

[ Parent ]
The silver bullet (none / 0) (#228)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:40:22 AM EST

in theory is back; the people who owned it opened up 'the garage sports bar' in the first floor of that hideously ugly parking garage. (The city was actually required to let them do it by the terms under which they purchased the lot to build the garage).

I still miss the tents, though; there was something cool and exciting and ... optimistic ... about them. :)

[ Parent ]

All I have to say is (none / 0) (#139)
by blankbox on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 06:10:49 AM EST

The people who go to UC Santa Cruz are fun to date. ;)

[ Parent ]
Forget about the US (4.00 / 6) (#6)
by p0ppe on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:57:04 AM EST

Why not move to liberal Europe? Copenhagen, Denmark (my current hometown) is a good example. Dope is sold in the the streets in some parts of town and the age limit on hard booze is 15.
Sure, the weather can be lousy, the taxes are high (50%+), but most people are actually educated and liberal.

"Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
Immigration policies? (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:30:32 AM EST

I was given to understand that the liberal northern European countries like Denmark had restrictive immigration policies, precisely to discourage everyone from moving in permanently. Sort of like Grand Cayman's policy of not allowing you in for a visit unless you've already bought your return ticket :-)

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Depends on your skin color (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by p0ppe on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:18:53 PM EST

The point you're raising reminds me of when I did a drivers license theory test in English here in Denmark. Except me (the Finn), there was an Arab, a Filipino and a Jamaican.
One of us didn't have to show any ID. Guess who???

"Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
[ Parent ]
uh.. (4.00 / 3) (#29)
by rebelcool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:22:26 PM EST

Dope is sold in the the streets in some parts of town and the age limit on hard booze is 15. Sure, the weather can be lousy, the taxes are high (50%+)

Uhm, yeah, sounds like a great place to live, and even better place to raise children.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I know it might sound unusual. (4.60 / 5) (#31)
by Hillman on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:49:06 PM EST

But in country like Holland where shrooms and pot is tolerated, the % of users is way lower than the % of users in America.

[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by p0ppe on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:27:28 PM EST

Since your not going to live in the dope selling area, you can be sure that no one will OD in you backyard, since they're all hanging out where the dope is.

"Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
[ Parent ]
Find your spot: compare the best cities (3.60 / 5) (#8)
by I am Jack's username on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 08:33:27 AM EST

Saw Find your spot in a blog Friday. According to it, if I lived in the USA, I'd probably love Oregon.

I'd think most Canadian cities would be much better, not to mention northern Europe. Cool places =~ very high taxes?
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

resources - find your spot (none / 0) (#111)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:13:59 AM EST

Another resource post! Thanks!

[ Parent ]
New Orleans (3.62 / 8) (#10)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:07:35 AM EST

Since you already live in the South, you might want to look at New Orleans.
  • The heavy proportion of Catholics keep the Protestant fundie element at bay. Since the Xtians never can agree on anything, they can't say much about other religions.
  • Mardi Gras and the French Quarter
  • We have the second-largest "gay ghetto" in the US (after San Francisco) which keeps things interesting
  • Prices are reasonable. Where in California could you buy a house in a good neighborhood for $80,000 or find a 3-BR apartment for $500/mo?
  • Tulane, Loyola, and UNO which is part of the LSU system (and LSU itself about 1.5 hours away by car)
  • Bars and liquor stores open 24/7, and you can buy hard liquor at the grocery store
  • Zoo, aquarium, several museums, art galleries, symphony orchestra, etc.
  • Not quite big enough to be of interest to terrorists
  • Since it's in Louisiana, you already know the politicians are corrupt, so it won't be a surprise when you find out.
  • Although we have a bit of boom-and-bust in sync with the oil industry, we did not participate in the dot-bomb implosion.
  • Flipside is that tech jobs tend not to be the primary focus of employers, so it's harder to find the ones that are there
Anyhoo, good luck on your search regardless of where you end up.

I can haz blog!

Uptown NO (none / 0) (#35)
by demi on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:30:07 PM EST

Being trained for jobs in high technology and research, I'm somewhat limited in where I can live in the US. I'd love to go back to Louisiana, though, for all of the reasons you cite and a lot more. Every football season I recall with much fondness the myriad tailgate parties at LSU with Abita beer and giant cauldrons of jambalaya. My family was involved with local politics too, so I got to experience the comedy of electoral misbehavior that is commonplace in that state.

If I had to go back, probably the only place that is good to live in New Orleans would be uptown, unless I could somehow afford to live near the Quarter. Metarie or the West Bank would be awful, and even though I appreciate the quietude of Covington and Mandeville, I wouldn't like the daily commute across the Causeway.

[ Parent ]

plus the subculture (none / 0) (#117)
by joshsisk on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:13:02 AM EST

there are a few varieties of subcultures here... The Amazing Mister Quintron and Ms. Pussycat live there, run a club in the Ninth Ward. I have a friend there who books punk shows every weeknight... There is a lot going on in N.O. and it's very cheap to live.
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Tech Jobs (4.00 / 1) (#152)
by zephiros on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:30:57 AM EST

Flipside is that tech jobs tend not to be the primary focus of employers, so it's harder to find the ones that are there

Since this is K5 and all, I think this is worth underscoring. A lot of the consulting/management oriented tech companies out here were pretty heavily tied to the oil industry. In addition to the layoffs, quite a few geoscience jobs moved westward, taking with them their custom apps, nifty workstations, and giant datacenters. From what I've heard, the prospect for techies is less than stellar. This is sort of a snowball thing; as IT jobs move out, the talent pool shrinks, the commercial datacenters close, and the telcom infrastructure stays 1995-current. Which means companies are less likely to move their operations here.

To our credit, we still have quite a few large companies like Bellsouth, Entergy (outsourced to SAIC), and Chevron (somewhat outsourced to IBM/GS). We also have a few remaining post-dot-com smaller companies, like Protier and Intercosmos. And, of course, we have an international airport, and (IME) New Orleans can be quite comfy on a flying-and-consulting salary.
Kuro5hin is full of mostly freaks and hostile lunatics - KTB
[ Parent ]

Why not look further afield? (3.85 / 7) (#12)
by m0rzo on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:21:20 AM EST

I agree with the other comment; why not cosmopolitan Copenhagen, Denmark? Or the literary haunts of Paris where you can live under the stairs eminating great philosophers, artists and writers from ages past? Or embrace some London culture; Soho - it's chique, trendy and bright! Or New York's Tribeca?

No aspiring 'intellectual' neighbourhood would be complete without the mandatory Starbucks and Barnes and Noble, so make sure wherever you move has one! Don't forget the fully furnished IKEA batchelor pad either.

If it's cultural diversity you're looking for, I hear South Central L.A is a good choice...

My last sig was just plain offensive.

That college town (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by Kellnerin on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:35:48 AM EST

It would help if you would tell us which college town that was ... because I won't suggest Cambridge, MA if that's the one you won't go back to, but I might if it isn't ...

--got to be a way to make it sweeter, little more like lemon meringue--
naming names (none / 0) (#113)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:40:05 AM EST

I know, I've just been trying to avoid specifically naming the places I have problems with, because I want to put a more positive spin on this. I don't want to give the impression that I'm trolling for bashing any communities. I'm looking for cool places that are something a person would want to go to.

And besides, I don't want to stifle discussion. Some folks may have something to say about my old college town that would change my mind. I'm not under any delusion that I saw all that was to see while there. It's entirely possible I missed out on all sorts of coolness. I want folks to feel free to talk up any place without feeling like there's some sentiment already set against it. Does that make sense? : )

[ Parent ]
Ottawa (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by Ken Pompadour on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:04:20 AM EST

If you live in an area where there are a few college-level educational institutions, where the local industry is supporting a well-educated population, let me know.

This describes Ottawa perfectly. Most educated populace in Canada, and many high-tech companies.

There's just one problem though. It's a total shithole. A sterile, crimeless, horrible horrible excuse for a city. Where people either walk around like robots or like they've got a stick up their ass. Where smiling is considered a crime.

So maybe you should reconsider your criteria. Otherwise, you might get what you wish for.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
Ottawa - more opinions (none / 0) (#144)
by Iceblue27 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:35:50 AM EST

As a long time resident of Ottawa I have to...totally agree with your assessment. The crimeless part isn't so bad though. I actually kind of like the idea of being able to wander the city at 4am and not have to worry about being attacked.

The "many high tech companies" statement is still true although NONE of them are hiring right now. There have been a hideous number of layoffs in the past year so the city is saturated with high tech workers looking for jobs. As a result, companies can be insanely picky about who they hire.

I suppose I should say a few good things about the city...

The bike path network is amazing and the public transportation is decent (if expensive). It's a short drive to Montreal and Toronto, so you can still experience the big cities. No matter what people may say, Ottawa is still "small town" in many ways. My friends and I still call it "the biggest small town in the world".

[ Parent ]
Possible places (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by Maclir on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:04:15 PM EST

Check out San Antonio - like Nawlins, the strong Catholic presence controls the Southern Baptists, and it has a downtown worthy of a true city.

As far as comments on "high taxes" - while some countries (like most in Europe) may have high taxes, you have to look at your total cost of living. For example, some countries include excellent and usable public transport systems, meaning you don't need a car. Maybe there is an excellent public health system, as compared to the US "let the medical establishment and drug companies suck the blood of ordinary people" system. And while personal income taxes may be higher than US Federal Income taxes, there may not be the additional state, city, school district, county, and other taxes. You need to consider it in total.

Finally - have you considered Australia? Sydney is a great city, and has avoided the downturn that has affected the US.

Hmm... (none / 0) (#69)
by Danse on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:05:48 PM EST

Being a San Antonian myself, I'm not sure I would hold it up as the model of open-mindedness that the story author seems to be seeking. It's not a bad city, and the people are relatively tolerant, all things considered, but I think he could do better. Perhaps somewhere on the outskirts of Austin?

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Boston! (4.00 / 6) (#27)
by RareHeintz on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:04:22 PM EST

I'm a big proponent of the Boston area (including Cambridge, which I believe was mentioned in another comment to this story). People here tend to be educated and cosmopolitan (though there's a mixture of attitudes, like you'll find anywhere), there are lots of cultural resources - museums, theater, etc. - lots of continuing education opportunities, excellent public transportation coverage, and plenty of young, hot members of both genders. If you're into outdoors recreation, it's not a long drive to ski slopes, campgrounds, hiking, and all the rest of it. I'm not sure what kind of work you want, but there's an excellent market for technical types here (though that's taken a downturn, as it has everywhere).

On the downside, it's expensive. The only places more expensive would be New York and San Francisco, at least according to my own research. Of course salaries generally reflect the higher cost of living. If you insist on having a car, that will be even more expensive - insurance rates here are through the roof. (Myself, I call that a positive feature: Public transportation is such that I don't need a car or the associated hassle.)

As for religion and politics, it's a mix. Massachusetts is one of only two states with a Catholic majority (the other is Minnesota), but most of those are of the Easter-and-Christmas variety, and Rome's conservatism doesn't show up much in politics here. Most folks here are (to indulge in some flagrant over-generalization that is probably biased by the crowd I run with) pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-peace, anti-bigotry, critical of what they're told by the media, and generally tolerable to be around compared to your experience of the South (which I share, by the way). One more piece of political trivia: Massachusetts was the only state to carry McGovern in his Presidential run against Nixon.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it, biases and all. I hope you find a good place to live. Feel free to drop me a line via email if you have any specific questions about the Boston area (e.g., good neighborhoods for apartment hunting, etc.).

- Brad
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Catholicism in Boston (2.20 / 5) (#63)
by Rahaan on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:15:34 PM EST

..plus, being Catholic in the Boston area has its perks, especially if you're either a) a child, or b) have a priest fetish. Or both.


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
[ Parent ]

Rest of New England (3.66 / 3) (#91)
by rusty on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:12:46 PM EST

Actually, all of New England is more or less a haven for old-line liberalism of the pioneer flavor, perhaps best summed up in New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die." With the possible exception of Connecticut, which is such a festering hellhole that I long ago removed it from my mental map of New England. The following shall consider Maine, Vermont, NH, and Mass to be "New England" and Connecticut can rot in the Mid-Atlantic where it belongs.

Boston you've got summed up above, but there's more good places in the region too. Portland Maine is a great city, especially for those of the "progressive" stripe. The great thing about Portland is that not everyone is a would-be Wobbly. There's a strong working-class base here, whose politics you'd probably hate (and vice versa) but who keep the place from becoming a "hipper than thou" fascist ghetto like San Francisco. You don't feel like Portland really forces any kind of views on you, but it tolerates just about anything.

The Maine economy... well, sucks. That's something to look into before coming here. Portland is a better place to get a job then most everywhere else in Maine, unless you're a logger.

Elsewhere in New England is Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which I haven't spent much time in but have heard a lot of good things about, and Burlington, Vermont, which is both a hippie's dream city, and a really nice place for normal people to live.

Above all, do not move to San Francisco. I can't urge this strongly enough. Just don't do it. It would be a nice place, if it was half as crowded and 1/4 as expensive. As it is, it's not even close to worth it.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

San Francisco isn't (none / 0) (#104)
by mlinksva on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:26:56 PM EST

nearly crowded enough. Most of SF is essentially suburbia with smaller than average lawns. I find it incomprehensible that people consider 'Manhattanization' a epithet. Can't there be one friggin' real city west of the Mississippi? Yes, if you don't like crowds, stay the hell out of SF, you're holding it back!
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
[ Parent ]
Keep in mind ..... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
by ckm on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:21:47 AM EST

..... that Rusty moved from San Francisco to an island off the coast of Maine!!!

San Francisco is not for everyone. I agree with mlinksva that San Francisco is not crowded ENOUGH. That's part of the issue here. It's SUPPOSED to be a bit denser than an island in Maine, that's why it's a city. More density would mean better public transport. And cities are somewhat dirty. That's what happens when lots of people live together in a small area.

And, yes, it is expensive, although rents have gone down a lot in the last 12 months (about 1/2 as expensive and still falling).


[ Parent ]
Heh (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:43:01 AM EST

And you have also swept away Rhode Island, apparently. Oh no, wait, it just slipped under the couch.

My sister's trying to get up there. She'll probably like it.

All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Rhode Island (1.00 / 1) (#149)
by rusty on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 10:53:44 AM EST

Rhode Island never counted. It's just far-southern Massachustts anyway. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
About RI (1.00 / 1) (#207)
by RareHeintz on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 08:57:39 AM EST

Well, I don't know about that. Providence used to be competing with Springfield, MA for the "Nastiest Rathole in New England" title, but it has shaped up a lot in the past 8 years or so. Newport is also a fun weekend destination. I also use the Providence airport because I can often get cheaper flights than I can out of Boston.

Just my US$2e-02.

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]

Nothing against RI (none / 0) (#208)
by rusty on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 11:26:10 AM EST

I have nothing against Rhode Island one way or the other. The really-excessive-mansions tour in Newport is interesting if you have a day to kill, and the western part of the state is pretty. But as it's own state, well, there's not much going for it. I'd be for just annexing it back to Mass, except that we do need someplace for the New England mafia to hang out. So Rhode Island doesn't factor in much anywhere.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
'a "hipper than thou" fascist ghetto... (none / 0) (#150)
by wiredog on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:26:48 AM EST

like San Francisco'

OK, that one goes in the "misc" file, with all the other interesting quotes.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Burlington, VT (none / 0) (#213)
by ChannelX on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 06:56:35 PM EST

HAve to agree with this. I was very impressed by Burlington when I visited there (and VT in general). Seems to be a pretty progressive state.

[ Parent ]
Size and coastal (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by goatse on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:07:16 PM EST

The first thing I would do is look for a large city within a few undred miles of the coast. There are progressive places inland, but they tend to be harder to find. You might end up at a small collage town, a crystal worshiping loony bin, or a massive place like Chicago. Plus it's easyer to find a places with interesting culture if you restrict your attention to the coast. If you are going to live in the deep south, I'd suggest New Orleans, Atlanta, or Miami. (There is no place worth living in Alabama)

If your just going to pick up and move, you shuold choose one of the best cities in the country. My pick up and move list would be NYC, SF, New Orleans, and Bostin.

Huntsville (none / 0) (#51)
by ASimPerson on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:02:39 PM EST

If you must live in Alabama, the only place that might be worth your time is the Huntsville area. It's in one of few counties that not solidly Republican, and it's home to lots of college-educated engineers (think NASA and space defense). Of course, it's still the South, so....

[ Parent ]
Oakland (2.75 / 4) (#30)
by Arkady on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:41:58 PM EST

First, skip San Francisco (you can read through Rusty's diary for corroboration on this); it's _way_ too expensive and slimy. It's got some nice bits, but you can get at them by living _near_ San Francisco, but in a more interesting and way less expensive area.

Personally, I live in (on the Eastern fringe of) Oakland and, other than the patriotic wankers you'll find anywhere in this country and the raving loonball we have as a mayor, this is a pretty nice city. It's got a rep as the Bay's arpit, of course, but it's not as bad as that (the real arpit is probably Richmond).

I really like living on the fringe of the Bay, though I didn't much like living down in the actual cities themselves; having grown up a farm-boy, the urbanness is a bit too gritty here to like living on the flats.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Come to Massachusetts! (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:53:51 PM EST

Great question. It sounds like the Northampton, MA area is right up your alley. I live in Amherst, which is next door and also pretty progressive. The Pioneer Valley is extremely liberal and tolerant of just about anyone. This is in part due to the colleges here - you have Hampshire, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and UMass all in the same general area. So you'll have a lot of young people, professors, grad students, and dropouts like me.

Boston is great too, but the cost of living difference is night and day. I pay $500/mo for an apartment that would go for at least double in the city. You can get as low as $200-$300 if you're not picky about your neighborhood and living condition.

There are all kinds of people here, nobody'll bother you about religion, lifestyle, etc. You said you don't want to go back to your college town so I don't know if this area is for you. Northampton and Amherst are both college towns.

The area works for me. I have friends here, a job, there's good food and there are places to hang out.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

college towns - what they got that's worth wanting (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by migrantatheist on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:31:21 PM EST

> You said you don't want to go back to your
> college town so I don't know if this area is for
> you.

Ah - sorry I meant my particular college town, which is Albany, NY. It had many good points, but, alas, just didn't 'do it' for me. I actually am very much in favor of the generic 'college town' aspect. The place I'm currently in just simply has no intellectual community to speak of. I fear that grad school spoiled me. I got used to being able to talk about nearly anything with anyone without having to worry that I'd have to pause to explain every little bit of background info. It was very cool.

Lately I've noticed that, lacking that vital intellectual stimulation, I'm frankly getting a bit rusty. I'm just not as mentally active as I used to be, and it's largely because I've got no one to exercise in intellectual discourse with that can keep up with me. Sounds arrogant, but believe me, I've looked. I do not want to be the intellectual big fish in any bowl. The big fish is a lazy fish. I want a community that will provide a diverse and progressive forum for discussion. These religious nuts aren't able to discuss anything without a static worldview that I've just gotten tired of, not least because it has few if any merits that I can identify and ...ah too much to go into there.

Anyway, there's one person, and it gets a bit stale having only two perspectives in the mix at all time.

I may be a bit of an intellectual bigot, but I'd like to at least be able to discuss current events without having to play remedial education instructor for the first half of the discussion. Explaining things all the time is just simply too tiring and not the role I wish to be in anyway. And this is especially true when it's stuff that folks should have learned already, nothing arcane, just the stuff you'd expect (in theory) any educated adult in a free nation to have a grasp of.

I figure a college town is my best bet for this. It raises the standard in the area, which helps everyone be better people, whether directly exposed to college-level education or not.

[ Parent ]
New England has various options (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by isdnip on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:03:28 PM EST

I'll second New England, a province I moved to after attending college not far from Albany. Yeah, prices here in the Boston area are outrageous. Though not nearly so bad as, say, the San Francisco-San Jose axis (and don't even joke about Palo Alto). The People's Republic of Cambridge is of course famous for its Progressive politics, though it's not as uniform as one might guess (between the various ethnic factions with other interests). Numerous other towns are also politically comfortable, though the tiny Republican minority holds sway in a few overpriced suburbs like Wellesley.

The Amherst-Northampton area ("Granola Valley") isn't bad either, if you can find good work. NoHo as Northampton is called is to lesbians as SFo is to gay males, but there are males there too... Vermont is quite progressive, especially around Burlington, having the only Socialist in Congress. New Hampshire is of course the Republican heartland, but there are Progressive or at least neutral islands like Concord, Portsmouth, Hanover and Keene. (Nashua seems more apolitical, the NH end of Nerdistan, a techie-heavy area centered around Westford MA.)

Providence is an up and coming city too, a whole lot cheaper than Boston but only an hour away. Politically it seems just weird but accommodating -- they love Buddy the Mayor regardless of his uh Record (and I don't mean political one).

[ Parent ]
Agree on Northampton (none / 0) (#177)
by SnowDogAPB on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:41:41 PM EST

I grew up in Northampton and loved it. Not a lot of tech jobs, though ... but I love the feel of the place and would gladly move back if there were jobs for me closer. I think there's a very big social "split" in Northampton/Amherst, though ... a lot of the old-time natives aren't nearly as "progressive" (fill in your own definition here) as the college-age crowd. That is changing, over time, but I remember getting to know more than my share of bigots in my high school years (late 80s, early 90s). One thing I like to tell people, which may reflect more on my sheltered upbringing, but also surely reflects on Northampton -- it wasn't until I got to college that I ever heard the word Liberal used as an insult. And to the poster who called it NoHo ... man, am I the only native who can't stand that designation? *shiver*

[ Parent ]
In the south... (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by demi on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:03:42 PM EST

You don't need to leave the south to find places to live that should be more accomodating to people like yourself. Here are a few places that I would suggest.

  • Athens, GA
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
  • Houston, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • New Orleans, LA
I'm originally from up north but I have lived for a fair amount of time in the south. Now I prefer the southern lifestyle, but I've known many for whom the reverse is true. But, if you are just trying to get away from conservative-Republican-evil-white people, then you should probably head for the coasts or leave the USA.

Athens, Houston - relationship to Midwest. (4.66 / 3) (#55)
by valeko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:25:28 PM EST

Athens, GA
Houston, TX

I felt compelled to respond to this as someone who has lived in both of these places.

I lived in Houston in 1998-1999, an extremely uplifting experience after having been stuck in a relatively small town in Indiana for six years. Unfortunately, I only got to stay in Houston for a year, but it's probably the best place I have ever lived in ... in the United States. The climate is extremely tropical and entirely not what I am adapted for, but such unpleasantries are offset by what Houston offers as a truly great city.

One of the big misconceptions about Houston is that it's a really "Texan" city; I disagree. In many ways it's like any other urban environment in the US, but far more cosmopolitan and internationally integrated in my eyes. I think San Antonio is a much better example of something that has the stereotypical characteristics of a "Texan" city. Either way, after living in Indiana/midwest for six years, Houston was the most pleasant experience I could imagine. It was a shame that I had to leave after only one year. One of the chief characteristics of Houston that really is unique is that it's far more internationally integrated than a lot of other American cities - regions aren't segregated by nationality or ethnicity, although naturally they are by economic affluence of course (which often follows national/ethnic divisions unfortunately). It has an excellent and diverse population of people from virtually everywhere in the world. I also liked Houston's two or three different "downtown" nuclei - the real downtown's corporate blandness (i.e. Chevron tower) was offset by the cultural life found within in the form of theatre, ballet, concert, et cetera. There is a second downtown near Rice University, the medical centre complex, which rivals the "real" downtown in size. There is also an area in the southwest of Houston that you could argue is a third downtown.

One of my favourite aspects of Houston was definitely the Hispanic population. While it was unfortunate that they occupied most of the jobs that self-respecting middle class Americans would not take, they still strived to maintain a respectable appearance and disposition and dignity. A lot of them were in fact very cultured people. All of these characteristics are the diametrical opposite of what could be found where I had lived in the Midwest, even in large cities. Nobody there looked after themselves and gave much thought to how interesting they are. I don't really know how to articulate it. In the Midwest, people are just absurdly stone-faced and inanimate. Living in Houston after that is like diving into hot springs in the middle of Antarctica or coming upon an oasis in Sahara.

To this end, I find it very difficult to understand why you place Athens, Georgia in the same category with a place like Houston. While Athens, as most southern towns that I have seen, still features animated and interesting people with actual facial expression (in contrast to the Midwest!), I can't say it's a very interesting place to live. I guess it's tolerable if you're a student at UGA and live close to the centre, but otherwise it's the same monotonous suburban society found elsewhere. Still, between a small college town in the Midwest and a small college town in the South, of course I would choose a southern one. I don't really know how to explain the difference - the people .. they just look like they find some sensation to living. They actually make eye contact with you when speaking. This is not this way in the Midwest. Otherwise, Athens features a large university and a very large "alternative-music" scene (it is the home of R.E.M. after all), but I'm afraid it doesn't have a very large edge in the "progressive" sphere compared to more "liberal" (term used loosely) university communities.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

On Houston vs. the midwest (4.50 / 2) (#61)
by demi on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:06:04 PM EST

One of the big misconceptions about Houston is that it's a really "Texan" city; I disagree. In many ways it's like any other urban environment in the US, but far more cosmopolitan and internationally integrated in my eyes.

True, Houston is indeed much more cosmopolitan than any nearby cities, but it's city of almost 5 million people so that shouldn't be too surprising. When I was going to move to Houston, I heard a lot of this 'Hell on Earth' talk, but in the last 6 months I have found a ton of fun stuff to do here, even if things tend to close earlier than I would like (~2 am). There is no way a small town can match the variety of things that a large city can offer, but the reason I liked Athens a lot is because there was (talking about early 1990's here) a thriving cultural scene that was very accessible, open, and somewhat famous. From my perspective Athens was much like one of the little towns in the northeast with an ivy league university in it, with its attendant cultural offerings to the students and other residents.

About the midwest (although I already responded to your comment above), it wasn't obvious but there is a lot of underground progressive culture going on, across the US, that is very accessible if you meet people. A few years ago, Indiana's bigger cities (Indy, Lafayette, Bloomington, Muncie, don't know about SB) had a pretty good punk/hardcore/garage scene, all you needed to do was to look for the flyers here and there and you are in. Most people were unaware of it, but many of the towns that I thought were 'backwards' actually had quite a lot to offer once I looked closer. One advantage to that is when the scene is smaller and more close-knit, often you can make a big contribution just by being supportive and active, which is not the case in larger cities.

[ Parent ]

blargh, houston. (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by rebelcool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:26:43 PM EST

I was born there, lived there for 18 years and am back there every few weeks or so (family lives there).

I don't know anyone who lives there for a good amount of time that enjoys it..you're the first person i've seen say anything nice about it. The hellish, humid climate, the smell of being the most air-polluted city in america (take that LA), the insane roadways full of very, very, angry people and those stupid kids with coffee cans on their tailpipes driving 95+ mph... I'm glad I got the hell out and moved to Austin.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Well, of course. (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by valeko on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:03:21 AM EST

Everyone's experience is different. If you lived there for eighteen years of your life you're probably not going to appreciate the nuances of the urban landscape or the international community as much as somebody who arrived there from a xenophobic, suburban midwestern dump. The bitterness of having been born in a Houston-like environment and being transplanted to aforementioned midwestern dump allows for further appreciation.

It depends on what you do and what you're looking for. If your Houston lifestyle is mundane enough that when you think of it, you think of traffic on the 610 Loop, that's fine. That's not what I think of when I think of Houston. Guess it just depends on your lifestyle ultimately. I really loved Houston for its people - some of the friendliest I've met in America. I really would give anything to go back and live there.

But yes, it's a bit polluted. If you go to ScoreCard.org, you'll find Harris County, TX in the #2 spot for overall pollution last time I checked...

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Traffic and rent (none / 0) (#159)
by King Salamander on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:26:04 PM EST

I also lived in Houston for 18 years and moved to Austin.
I love Austin to the nth degree above Houston. I can breath in Austin. My allergies cleared up dramatically since I moved from Houston. Austin is a lot more expensive than Houston though. I wonder if it is still so great away from the UT campus area. I think the problem is all the Houston drivers(since I have no car I feel exempt from my complaint) moving in and plugging up Mopac and I35. If you live anywhere except around central Austin, getting to the awesome night life sucks.
My friend whose parents convinced him to live at home with them in Round Rock while he is at UT is very rarely able to do anything the rest of us are doing because of the time constraint imposed by the long drive on a crowded highway.
My sister used to live at Zilker Park(close enough to 6th street to be good) and work at Mopac and Research(another long drive down a crowded highway). I think she really enjoyed that arrangement, and the rent wasn't terrible either. Now she lives in Athens,GA and complains that it is not as open minded as Austin.
There are plenty of good places to work in Austin though(they may not be hiring): Intel, IBM, AMD, NI, Dell, etc.
As far as congressional representation, Rep. Lloyd Doggett seems to take tech market constituents seriously. He has online forms and surveys to get our opinions. The Senators aren't as open. They will at best say they agree to get your vote, but I still don't know where they stand.
Despite the high traffic and the high rent, I will probably continue to live here long after I graduate.

In a very real sense, *anyone* who makes a public issue out of the fact that they are involved with Linux in any way is seen as an advocate. (Derek Glidden)
[ Parent ]
yeah it is a pain (none / 0) (#172)
by rebelcool on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:17:49 PM EST

my allergies actually got worse, since apparently my one and only allergy is to the damn cedars that grow here. But at least there is wind which removes pollutants and humidity and keeps it cooler.

traffic does suck, the roads are badly designed, but fortunately I don't have to drive much. When I do, the people are far nicer and you won't get cutoff my some idiot 16 year old doing 95+. Whereas in Houston you MUST drive to go ANYWHERE. Urban sprawl maximus.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Why People Like Athens (4.00 / 1) (#175)
by epepke on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:23:03 PM EST

At least it isn't Atlanta.

I'm sure people in the third circle of Hell really think they're special for not having to live in the seventh.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Tengo una pregunta. (none / 0) (#203)
by valeko on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 01:01:40 AM EST

Why? Atlanta, even granted that it's just a giant suburb, seems like much more fun than Athens - purely out of "stuff to do" considerations. There is nothing in Athens for the person who has horizons that extend beyond ... well ... Athens.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Happiness Is Houton in the Rearview Mirror (3.00 / 1) (#185)
by Hillgiant on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:13:03 PM EST

I suspect that your's may have been too brief. For the record, I am a Navy brat and have lived all over the USA and the world (well, the parts within easy driving distance of the ocean that is). I have lived in Houston for the past five years. Living in Houston is like living in a dog's mouth. Hot, wet, and smelly. I have lived in tropical locations, hot and muggy are only bearable when there is a breeze and there never is one in Houston when you need it.

I agree that Houston is not a very "Texan" city, but really not many big cities in Texas are. Ft. Worth has a bit of a cowtown history, but you have to go pretty far out in the country before everyone wears cowboy hats and boots.

I disagree with your contention that Houston is internationally intergated. With a population of over 5 million, you can find significant populations of any ethnicity you care to name. However, this does not imply that they are intergated. Take a walk through 5th Ward and count hispanic and white faces. Isn't it odd how there are so many mexican food places in South Houston, but I cannot find a decent one within easy driving distance of either work or home? With the exception of Montrose and the Heights, Houston suffers from some of the worst defacto segregation I have ever seen.

You touched on one of my prinical gripes about Houston. It is two spread out. The reason there are three distinct downtown area is most professionals are only willing to drive so far to work. I can leave my house, get on the freeway, and drive north at the posted speed limit for almost two hours without leaving the city limits. Its like someone took NYC, scrambled it, and threw it at a wall. Sure there is lots to do, if you don't mind getting in the car and driving 45 minutes to an hour to get there.

Which brings me to traffic. Funny how what little southern hospitality Houstonites posses evaporates once they get behind the wheel.

Do you remember the movie Independence Day? When they nuked Houston, the entire audience stood up and cheered.

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

I was sad when Houston was in rearview mirror. :( (4.00 / 1) (#191)
by valeko on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:17:37 PM EST

Living in Houston is like living in a dog's mouth. Hot, wet, and smelly. I have lived in tropical locations, hot and muggy are only bearable when there is a breeze and there never is one in Houston when you need it.

Oh, no dispute - the climate is utterly horrible. But, take for example Athens, compared to Houston. The climate is nearly the same (as far as I, a northern person, am concerned), but it's a monotonous suburban hole. Houston is interesting, and I think this does a great deal to counteract the horrible climate - a misfortune I don't wish upon anyone.

As for driving, well, I was there not in a position of an employed, automobile-owning person. I suppose if I was and always was in a hurry, I might have more objections to the situation on the freeways, etc. But I think that the characteristics of driving on such freeways are the same pretty much everywhere you go... certainly worse in some places than others, but basically the same idea. Luckily I didn't have to deal with it personally and was never in a hurry, so Houston's spread out topology offered me something to look at.

I like Houston. I'd give anything to go back there or to an equally interesting and diverse place.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Houston? Liberal? (none / 0) (#186)
by Hillgiant on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:25:26 PM EST

This is the city that Big Business(tm) built. Where Republicans are always playing "more conservative than thou". The city that voted overwhelmingly for Bush the Lesser. Where Oil is king and they only consider taking care of the environment when the feds threaten to cut of the road-construction spigot. Liberal. Hrmph, as if.

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

No, the city is not liberal... (none / 0) (#196)
by demi on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:12:07 PM EST

and that's an understatement. But, being a large city with a diverse culture, there are places to go and people to hang with if you are inclined toward unconventional beliefs and lifestyles. I live there, and I'm not your average Texan, to say the least.

This is the city that Big Business(tm) built. Where Republicans are always playing "more conservative than thou". The city that voted overwhelmingly for Bush the Lesser. Where Oil is king and they only consider taking care of the environment when the feds threaten to cut of the road-construction spigot. Liberal. Hrmph, as if.

Of course progressive does not necessarily connote liberal, no matter what some people may think. I don't feel like disputing any of what you say about Houston, but I will say that all of it can be true without making it especially inhospitable to liberals, progressives, gays, blacks, hispanics, or greens. I am white and I live in a low-income black/hispanic neighborhood, and can walk around after dark without fearing for my life. You can't say that about most 'progressive' cities.

[ Parent ]

Do NOT go to the Midwest. (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by valeko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:38:25 PM EST

I have lived in the Midwest for six years (Indiana), from 1992 to 1998. I have practically grown up there, for better or for worse. Right now, I am also stuck in the south (Georgia).

I will tell you from experience that the Midwestern belt is something you wish to avoid. For the most part, it's extremely socially backward, monotonous, and just outright crude in how it treats you. And after you see the fundamentalist zones of the Midwest you will quickly understand that this "religious" south is completely dwarfed and relatively benign in its disposition.

Please, for your sake do not go to the Midwest. It leads to a complete loss of interest in life. Complete. And if you do end up there, certainly do not go to a university town ("college town") - too many [outside] people commit suicide there because of the oppressive nature of such a small (but dense) society.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Major exaggeration alert. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by demi on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:13:01 PM EST

Hey, I went to grad school in the middle of the corn field, and I will agree that it is mostly boring, but a lot of people go there and love it. For example, the best creative writing program in the country is at the University of Iowa (Iowa City), which exceeds Indiana many times over in its blandness and rectitude. There's not much in the way of high-tech jobs in the midwest, unfortunately, except at the more well-known universities.

[ Parent ]

I disagree - live in a college town! (none / 0) (#48)
by Kasreyn on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:40:26 PM EST

As a hoosier (that is, "Indiana native"), I agree that there's a ton of fundamentalism and just plain ignorance here. But the BEST places in IN are the college towns, TRUST ME. Or anywhere else in the U.S. There's no reason to have a "loss of interest in life" where you live - cities and towns don't provide that, you have to provide your own reasons.

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, which is the most disgusting city I've ever lived in. Hideous suburban sprawl; today it's nothing but so many square miles of pavement, strip malls, and SUV's. It has all the ugliness of a big city, without any of the cultural benefits that should go with a big city. Avoid Indianapolis, at all costs. I mean, I hate it more than I hate NYC, which is saying a lot. =P But then, I'm not one for the "human anthill" way of life.

But now I'm living in Bloomington, which is a college town that's home to Indiana University's main campus. And I really love it here. It's the most progressive, open-minded city I've ever lived in. It has IMO the most racially diverse population of any city in this state, with a surprisingly large asian population. Elsewhere in IN is predominantly (and boringly) white, but here, there are different cultures going on. It's a small, but I think beautiful town, whose only real problems are a poor job market and a severely insufficient transportation system (roads and buses both need a huge upgrade). And there's a ton of free performing arts and music to be found here, and with the IU School of Music being what it is, much of it is quite good. =) If not Bloomington, then maybe Lafayette, home of Purdue University, would be nice - I visited there many times as my brother went there, and found it to be much the same. I really must advise against small towns in Indiana though - those are where you'll find an all-white, highly religious, highly intolerant culture. I used to live in a town here in IN which is believed to be where the Indiana KKK was founded, so I have firsthand knowledge of how bigoted and ignorant small towns here can be.

So I agree that IN in general is a backwards and fundamentalist place, but I disagree that college towns are the worst; they are the best. I believe, anywhere in the world they are the best. Even though you have to put up with the presence of idiot college kids (yuck ;-), there's still a progressive, open-minded, and culturally diverse mindset that is more present in college towns than in other places to live that I know of. And I have not found them to be unaccepting of outsiders as valeko states.

Anyway, to the author of the article, good luck in finding somewhere you'll enjoy living. I think such places can be found in any state in the union - even in Georgia. ;-)


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Alright - you win, but hear me out... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by valeko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:06:38 PM EST

Sorry, I guess I posted my initial comment in a slightly overzealous fit of passion. I agree that it certainly couldn't apply to all of Indiana equivocally. And I do have a best friend that goes to IU/Bloomington who basically says the same thing that you do; he likens Bloomington to Ann Arbor, MI in many ways. I would tend to agree, as I have been there once or twice - it's very pleasant.

I lived in South Bend/Notre Dame. Have you ever been there? What are your impressions? That was the place that defined the midwest for me, mainly because when I ventured outside of it to other parts of the midwest I found the same mentality I saw there to be prevalent elsewhere.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Perhaps. (none / 0) (#68)
by valeko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:04:26 PM EST

I think saying that any aspect of society in Indiana is relevant to even entire Indiana is a bit pushing it, and of course, how possibly could one make such a generalisation of the Midwest...

I've traveled around most of the Midwest, though, except for the western/northwestern parts of it. From what I could observe, the same essential social macrostructure holds things together elsewhere in this region too. This thesis is supported by a number of academics, including the authors of "The American Midwest"1, although that one's a little politically correct for my tastes.

But anyway, the whole point is that you're supposed to refute my bigoted impression of the Midwest. I'd be glad to hear some evidence to the contrary.

1 Andrew R. L. Cayton and Susan E. Gray, Indiana University Press, 2001.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

uhhh (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by tarsand on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:57:41 PM EST

I agree with many of the things valeko says, but that doesn't mean he can use my account. I don't recall anyone 'confirming' anything, and if they did, they're incompetant. Valeko and I don't even live in the same country. Don't be paranoid.

"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
No, I think I'll stop. (none / 0) (#75)
by valeko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:05:55 PM EST

That would require you to expand on your criticism into something that is refutable. All your original comment contained was a few anecdotal observations presented as facts. Please expand on "extremely socially backward."

You're right; I shouldn't have started this discussion. This is going to sound overwhelmingly as coming from a person who simply finds that when questioned further cannot come up with supportive arguments, but I honestly don't want to elaborate. It would require expanding into an indictment of specific people, institutions, and entities. No, I am not bullshitting you to save face and walk away from this argument. I just don't think this is the time and place to do so. I suggest that I am defeated in this discussion (provided you accept this dichotomy of victory and defeat) and that it should be dropped.

As for the matter of tarsand, I am most certainly not tarsand. I do not know which admin "confirmed" such a thing, but I am most certainly not tarsand. However, what you believe is ultimately up to you...

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Sounds right to me (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by stinkwrinkle on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 09:44:13 AM EST

My experience is in Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan, and I have to agree with your opponent completely. When you see politicians do something entirely bizarre, and you think, "Who the *hell* could support crap like this?", the answer is usually: Midwesterners.

[ Parent ]
Bridgeport, CT (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by medham on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:02:31 PM EST

Hands down. Bucolic and progressive, with a diverse, well-educated (though not as insufferable as New Haven and the surrounding enclaves) population. There's plenty of high-tech industry there, and it has an impressive skyline.

Lots of fine microbreweries and nice sunsets. Home to at least one university and near several more. Right by I-95, for ease of travel. Low crime rate.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

I-95 (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by Dredd on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:19:55 PM EST

I don't think I'd call I-95 "ease of travel", least not on a weekday, not from where I sit in Trumbull, anyhow. :-)

[ Parent ]
Bridgeport, the crack capital of the East Coast? (2.00 / 1) (#82)
by myshka on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:02:46 PM EST

Are you sure you are talking about the Bridgeport that has a crime rate comparable to that of Newark and Detroit, urban blight that rivals that of Jersey City and Cleveland and an impressive skyline of smokestacks, silos and port cranes? The city that has one of the worst public school systems in the state and hasn't seen jobs since heavy industry left the East Coast a generation ago? Or perhaps do you mean suburban Bridgeport, which has nothing to with the daily struggle going on inside the city limits?

Cities are Connecticut are uniformly dreary, with the possible exception of New Haven, which has some entertainment left in it despite Yale's unflinching efforts to replace local culture with a faceless corporate theme park apparently appealing to suburbanites eager for an urban and yet familiar environment.

[ Parent ]

The preferred nomenclature (none / 0) (#87)
by medham on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:24:58 PM EST

Is the "armpit of North America," actually.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

errr... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by CodeWright on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:46:54 AM EST

That "honor" is already claimed by Cleveland, also known as "The Mistake on the Lake".

[ Parent ]
well, try (4.33 / 12) (#50)
by raaymoose on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:01:07 PM EST

Montréal. It has a large english population as well as french. People walk down the street smoking some bud without fear of arrest, the local arts and music scene are great. Very 'cosmo' and european feel to the city.

As for schools, there's Concordia University, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, McGill University, Université de Québec à Montréal, and handfuls of smaller trades colleges.

Montréal is quite diverse, linguistically, and culturally, there's an italian quarter of the city and a chinatown, and then just the heterogenous mix elsewhere. I've been there a few times and if I were move back east, Montréal would be my first choice.

Except for the Quebec "Language Police" (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by Trepalium on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:45:02 PM EST

Montréal isn't too bad if you only want to live there. The problem is the Québec language police, if you want to open up a business. I know Montréal is one of the few Québec cities that oppose that law, but are still bound to it.

[ Parent ]
Come to Canada! (4.14 / 7) (#59)
by xriso on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:00:03 PM EST

Even our official conservative party is called the "Progressive Conservatives"! (I'm not joking)

Also, Canada is generally more secular than the USA. And don't worry -- the religious people up here are open minded (though I'm not sure what to compare them to). You might want to avoid British Columbia, as our official provincial religion is Native Spirituality, it seems.
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Except... (4.00 / 3) (#77)
by vambo rool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:11:20 PM EST

...for Surrey, BC, you mean?

[ Parent ]
From what I've learned... (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:10:51 AM EST

... from some Canadians, there are rules for some types of jobs that discriminate in favor of natives. That downed some of my interest in moving north.

[ Parent ]

elaboration (3.66 / 3) (#112)
by raaymoose on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:33:17 AM EST

Mind explaining the 'Native Spirituality' quip? I've spent large amounts of time living in BC, but I don't quite understand what you're on about.

[ Parent ]
Other things you may wish to consider... (3.80 / 5) (#60)
by omegadan on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:01:27 PM EST

In your musings you mentioned California, and I'd like to comment on the good and bad points of that state having been a resident my entire life :)

Unless you land in a small bible town, almost any place in California is going to be more tolerant then any place in the south. Homosexuality is widely accepted, bisexuality is *everywhere*. Most educated "college type" people don't go to church, and most people will respect your beliefs. Porn is practically a way of life.

But this has its downsides as well ... Drugs are absolutely out of control in California, and so are sexual practices. You wouldn't believe the things that happen every day here. There's also a rape epidemic that *no one* is talking about. Easily 50% of the girls I know have been raped/molested in their teens. Teenage pregnancy is out of control.

The problem is that the things that keep people "narrow minded" also seem to keep them from things that are genuinely destructive (drugs / teenage sex etc. ). Note that I'm not making any moral/ethical judgments -- I do enjoy at least some of things I've lumped into the bad category :) when in Rome ...

Also employer attitudes are different in California. The attitude is that people are worthless things to be used and thrown away. I know it's this way everywhere to a certain extent, but I think in California it's worse (save for a 3rd world country)... On this point I will elaborate. The University I work at - people work 10 - 12 hour days every day - when their load is "49%" so the university doesn't have to pay benefits. I've worked 17-hour days with no breaks - and at 3:00am my boss had the balls to ask - "What's the earliest you can come in tomorrow?" When I was in junior college working the obligatory shit job I ran a subway sandwich shop for 12 hours as the only employee, by the end of the evening I could barely stand ... other horror stories ... My x-g/f's step father worked for a mechanic shop - they required him to stay from 7:00am to 7:00pm but only paid him for the hours a truck came in for him to work on. My employer ripped off one of our secretaries for 70 overtime hours (we're all looking for new jobs believe me!). I have never had a vacation at my job in the two years I've worked there. A buddy of mine was ripped off by the Press Enterprise for about 1200$ of contractually obligated wages (their reply was - if you don't like it, sue us). Another one of my friends lost about $12000 in owed wages from eknowledge.com when they tanked (yet curiously the owners were still driving the company corvette). The San Marcos Toms Hardware Guide office had the balls to offer me a "position" reviewing hardware - pay? 0$/month/hour. I told them I could make 6 bucks more an hour at McDonalds.

The older you get the harder it will be to find employment to - especially tech jobs. They want young people without families who they can work 60 hour weeks.

These are some of my concerns ...

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

Rape Epidemic? (3.44 / 9) (#92)
by Allusion on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:14:26 PM EST

What rape are we discussing here? "I got into bed with him, let him have sex with me, then decided I didnt like him" rape? "I was drunk" rape? Or "Held down with a knife" rape? I think the only epidemic of such large proportions is one of girls using "rape" as a weapon against men for personal reasons...

I personally know a woman, whom was having an affair while married, was caught in bed with the other man (whom she'd slept with several times before apparently) saw her husband, screamed rape, and the man she was having an affair with was given 3 years in prison. Not only is it wrong to falsely charge someone with such a heinous crime(or even just accuse them) but it is disrespectful towards those who went through the horror of an actual rape.

AIM: Allusion420
ICQ: 61966358
[ Parent ]
mmm sorta .. (2.50 / 2) (#165)
by omegadan on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:03:57 PM EST

your right, about 50% of reported rapes are BS. And thats one of the reasons nobody cares ...

but thinking back, I know I think, 9 girls, who have confided in me they were raped when they were young ... it's always the same story, family member, family friend ... It makes me wonder how many *didn't* confide in me (although most do because they are pity whores). Either way, thats *way* too many.

It's like, the old are poisioning the young with the same bullshit that makes their world so bad.

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

Got any hard data on that 50%? (none / 0) (#216)
by pietra on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:07:10 AM EST

Because I'd love to see it. I won't say any more, because I'm sure you're either trolling or not worth the effort.

[ Parent ]
Queasiness (none / 0) (#217)
by pietra on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:20:04 AM EST

I've been thinking about this comment for a couple of days now, and I've written a couple of very angry responses, which I haven't posted simply because they veer far too quickly into the "I HOPE SOME ASSHOLE HOLDS YOU DOWN AND MAKES YOU BLEED SOMEDAY!" vein. Probably the only measured response I can give to this post is simply this: Many people lie about complicated things which most other people tell the truth about. I find it fascinating that rape is one of the very few things in which the victim's story is frequently in doubt. I almost wonder if attitudes like yours are a kind of self-defense--that this awful thing isn't really happening quite so often, oh no, there aren't men who are really that bad. There aren't *that* many people in this world who will take advantage of someone smaller and weaker than they are. It's got to be those lying women, because we honestly can't acknowledge that something that twisted and horrible happens that often.

But I suspect I'm giving you a little more credit for sympathy and decency than you really deserve.

[ Parent ]

absolutely disgusting (none / 0) (#220)
by m0rb on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:49:42 AM EST

First things first. Your comment about the validity of rape is completely uncalled for, given the context of the article. Not only are you accusing a *large* amount of people of being outright liars, you're making a gross generalization based on a few people you know.

If a few specific examples could dispell the "myth of rape" you seem to be speaking of, don't you think they would have already? Rape isn't a myth. Just as you know of cases where a woman used rape as some sort of escape, I know of many cases where rape was genuine. It'd be great if we could just accept the perspective you seem to be presenting in this post. I'd really like it if rape didn't exist, had never existed. At one point, I was very much involved with someone who was raped, and I know what kind of pain it can leave behind in a person, because it definitely left some in me. I really do wish it didn't exist.

Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. People lie about things a lot in life for personal gain, or just out of fear. People also tell the truth. What you seem to be saying in your post is that rape is uncommon, unlikely, and mostly doesn't happen. In fact, most rapes are just women trying to get back at men. Your only evidence is that you knew a woman who engaged in such behavior. Come and speak with person I discussed, because she most certainly didn't. Gee, now all of your evidence is bunk. Do you see why you shouldn't make arguments about outlandishly large groups of people, based on single individuals?

Finally, I'm not sure if it's some sort of poor joke, but why does this post have a rating of 3.71? For a post that makes insensitive, loaded, (almost on the level of trolling) statements about a very sensitive subject that touches large numbers of people (maybe even some of whom read this site), I'm not really sure I see the value. Also, I'm voting this post down because of the last sentence (and I'm offended, and I'm pissed off). How are you able to judge what rape claims are legitimate or not? After ranting about how any "rape epidemic" must be nonexistent, and how most rapes are actually nonexistent, you suddenly appeal to righteousness? Please. When you become omniscient, get back to me. Until then, you don't know what you're talking about. Literally.

[ Parent ]

Uh? (none / 0) (#222)
by Allusion on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 03:07:02 PM EST

What exactly are you talking about? I make no more generalizations based on one person than you do, and my generalizations were intended to be alot less broad. If you think that its ok for these women to do this, than I don't think theres any point in your presence in this discussion.

Fact #1 Women get raped, legitimately. It's about the worst crime I can imagine and I wouldnt wish it upon my worst enemy.

Fact #2 Rape being as heinous a crime as it is, is difficult for people to question, which causes men to get put in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Fact #3 Women do lie about rape.

These are all basically indisputable facts.
Part of the problem with #2 is that people like you refuse to even question a woman that claims she's been raped because of the crimes awful nature. Another part of the problem, is that I wouldnt have reason to call into question womens claim if they didnt lie about it in the first place. I'm a product of my environment, If I see women lying about rape, I will perceive SOME rapes as lies. I have known women that have been legitimately raped (my Aunt for one) and the damage it causes is beyond words. But letting women lie about it because of how awful it is when it actually happens is not justice and its not fair.

AIM: Allusion420
ICQ: 61966358
[ Parent ]
In brief: (none / 0) (#224)
by pietra on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 02:26:07 AM EST

What exactly are you talking about?

You seem to have a short memory, particularly regarding your own statements. Here's what m0rb's talking about:

I think the only epidemic of such large proportions is one of girls using "rape" as a weapon against men for personal reasons...

What m0rb (and I) took offense to is the fact that you 1) assume that a majority of rape victims (or at least enough to comprise an "epidemic") are lying, and that 2) you automatically doubt the basic legal definition of rape, which is unwanted and forced sex. Yes, that includes women who are too drunk to make a rational decision one way or another. It's true that some women lie about rape. People, both male and female, have been known to lie about just about everything at times. Do you automatically doubt everything that everyone says to you, including whether or not the sky is blue? More to the point, why don't you question the rather more leading assertions about job conditions in California? Simple: insane hours are infinitely less interesting than the off-chance that rape victims are lying.

Part of the problem with #2 is that people like you refuse to even question a woman that claims she's been raped because of the crimes awful nature. Another part of the problem, is that I wouldnt have reason to call into question womens claim if they didnt lie about it in the first place. I'm a product of my environment, If I see women lying about rape, I will perceive SOME rapes as lies. I have known women that have been legitimately raped (my Aunt for one) and the damage it causes is beyond words. But letting women lie about it because of how awful it is when it actually happens is not justice and its not fair.

Hmm. So I should assume that because SOME men are rapists, it's logical to perceive any given guy as a rapist? I don't assume that all women who say they've been raped have been, but I do know one thing: the standard defense in any rape case is "She's lying. She asked for it." People like *you* bolster those defenses by automatically placing the onus of guilt on the poor victim. Do you take the same attitude towards, say, robbery victims? Some of them lie too, for insurance payoffs. But again, that's less entertaining.

Do you know why a significant minority of rape victims don't ever press charges?

They're afraid of people like you on juries. That's not justice, and that's not fair. *YOU* and people like you are the reason why the standard defense works: because your default response is to question the victim, not her accused attacker. I find it fascinating that all you talk about are the *women.* Women get raped all by themselves? When you perpetrate an attitude like this, you're taking men out of the equation. Rape doesn't work that way. Talk to your aunt if you don't believe me.

[ Parent ]

Montreal: live here, love it (4.77 / 9) (#67)
by johnnyc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:56:50 PM EST

I've lived in Montreal practically all my life, and I doubt you'll find a more progressive big city anywhere in North America. I live in the Plateau Mont-Royal area, but very close to the so-called McGill Ghetto.. There are 4 major universities nearby, 2 English and 2 French - and this says a lot. It's one of the few functionally bilingual cities in the world, no matter how much legislation the provincial government passes.

Montreal is a great place for neighborhoods and a great place if you like to get around by walking and cycling, though the Metro is always convenient. It's cheap to live, though rents have risen quickly over the last couple of years. You can hear French, English, Spanish, Portuguese....spoken anywhere and everywhere, and you meet people from anywhere and everywhere. It's about as far away from being a fundamentalist hot-bed as you can get. Not the kind of place for those who have a problem with sinners, unless they like a challenge:-)

While I've lived here all of my life, many of my friends are people who came to visit or attend university and wound up staying and calling it home. For some people, it's strikes the right balance between a university town and a big city. So while there are 4 universities, Montreal was as much a working-class industrial city as Glasgow or Liverpool, because of the port. It has moved on to high-tech in the past few years, but for a long time the city was mainly hard industry and textiles.

If you're looking for a city that "celebrates its diversity", Montreal is for you, especially if you don't mind cold winters. Winter is about the only thing people find difficult about Montreal. If you can get past the winter, all the other stuff is worth it.

Canada.... (none / 0) (#107)
by migrantatheist on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:48:03 PM EST

Thanks. : )

One thing I've noticed - of the friends and acquaintances I've known who've lived in or visited Canada, I've never heard anyone come up with anything bad about it, excepting those who, as you mentioned, simply prefer warmer weather.

I've even got to applaud the massive cool-factor in the Canadian government's decision to create the Inuit territory of Nunavut. An amazing, well-thought out act of statescraft.

[ Parent ]
Canada is huge (none / 0) (#148)
by johnnyc on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 10:30:23 AM EST

Second largest country in the world in terms of physical size, with something like 90% of the population living along the Canada-US border. Up in Nunavut, they have it very rough in winters. Montreal winters are rough, but only a little rougher than what you get in upstate New York - it's only an hour from the US border at Champlain, NY. Still, if you don't like cold weather Montreal is rough between December and March. In spring, summer, and fall I wouldn't live anywhere else. In the height of summer it's as stinking hot as anywhere else.

Oh, and the women here are beautiful 12 months a year, but look the best in summer:-) Apparently, they have a great eye for fashion.

[ Parent ]
Women are the best (none / 0) (#162)
by CrazyJub on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:25:04 PM EST

I have to agree, Montreal has the BEST women. The food is amazing and it's a great place to party.

Work? Well.....ummm....errrrr....well hey, who needs to work, right?

[ Parent ]
Who needs work? I do. (4.00 / 1) (#168)
by johnnyc on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:44:52 PM EST

Like everyeone else at Flipr. We had a good thing going. Actually, up until a few months ago there was loads of work in IT and tech in Montreal. Few people were out of work. Now, many are out of work but there's loads of jobs if you're a sysadmin who can bare to support Windows. I can't any longer - it's bad for my health and doesn't pay:-). There's still loads of good jobs for experienced programmers, though.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by mujo on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:30:00 PM EST


Sorry about the too many levels of recursivity, hahaha

[ Parent ]
Yep... (none / 0) (#235)
by MKalus on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:09:38 PM EST

>Oh, and the women here are beautiful 12 months a year, but look the best in summer:-) Apparently, they have a great eye for fashion.<


I can attest to that. I was in Montreal a couple of times on a business trip from Toronto, and even though Toronto isn't bad, Montreal is a lot better...

I guess that's where the "european" thing comes into play.

Or as a collegue put it:

"I don't know what it is? They're smoking? Something in the water? But whatever it is, I think they should do it here in Toronto as well."


[ Parent ]
Berkeley (3.33 / 3) (#70)
by Cal Jayson on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:08:48 PM EST

I grew up in Orange Country, the Bible-belt of California and also rated as the most conservtive place in the country.

I went to attend Cal up in Berkeley for college. For the first 6 months I was in culture shock. Berkeley has to be the most liberal place I have ever been in the country and I have been to most of the places that you mention.

The benefits of Berkeley to you are:

First, you are in a heavy college town and the city knows it and keeps it that way. There being a large college educated 20-something crown makes the place very liberal and open to anything.

Second, there are many intellectuals, even our homeless people are intellectuals that are incredibly intelligent and can carry on great in-depth conversations (they just happen to be mentally ill, too). However there are also many differnt religions represented, such as the Hare Krishna's that parade down Telegraph avenue once a month.

Third, Berkeley has a very wonderful and rich history of being the center of many protest from the 1970's to today's affirmative action issues. There are still demonstrations on Sproul Plaza and people locking themselves in the registrar's office. This is all tolerated. The Berkeley political tickets are usually between the liberal left and the far liberal nutcase left (this is not an exageration and very true as any Berkeley resident can tell you).

Fourth, you are right across the bay from San Francisco so you always have a place to go.

For the first 6 months I wanted to leave, but soon I found myself enjoying it and adapted to the climate very well. After living in Berkeley for 6 years, I am now trying to adjust to NY, but I really cannot stand it here and miss the Bay Area too much.
kx.com: 2.5 billion trades
select max price from trade takes 1 second
The hazards of renting in Berkeley (3.50 / 2) (#110)
by pietra on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:12:42 AM EST

Berkeley has rent control. This feature is awesome if you happen to have lived there for 10 years. It blows if you're moving there. I lived in Berkeley for three and a half years, and the last year and a half was in an apartment in South Berkeley. It was $850 a month, no utilities included, and it didn't meet half the county building codes. The heater did not work, there was no insulation in the building, and the landlord left a non-working refrigerator and an old sofa in the place when I moved in. Despite a year of the landlord promising to move both of them, they were both there when I moved out.

I got lucky. Most one-bedroom apartments in Berkeley go for an average of $1200 a month. Many of them have no heat, owing to a nasty scandal involving malfunctioning heaters, abusive landlords, and dead underage illegal immigrant women (but that's another post). My neighborhood could be generously described as "ghetto"; a neighbor was shot and killed in a drive-by across the street two weeks before I moved out. My car was hit multiple times while it was parked on the street. There are nice parts of Berkeley, but it's hard to find places to live in them, as many landlords are capitalizing on the insane property values and selling rental houses or turning apartment complexes into condos. Every September, you see hordes of frantic students milling from apartment complex to complex in search of a place, any place, to live. It's not at all unusual for students to live out of their cars for months at a time while they're looking for a place to live. The university has no interest in building additional housing anytime soon, nor do they have the money to do so. If you want to buy a house, you cannot get even a pathetic fixer-upper for less than $300K. At one point, a house on our block went on the market. I counted 4 Porsches and 3 Mercedes immediately outside during the open house. Granted, that was the height of the dot-com boom, but it's hard to live in Berkeley and not go broke. I liked the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and you certainly won't lack for interesting people around, but it gets wearying to always be scrambling to make ends meet to live in a shithole. After a while, I realized that I never had the money to go anywhere or do anything, and I was living in the ghetto to boot. I was miserable, and moved a few months ago. I wouldn't recommend anyone relocate to Berkeley anytime soon.

[ Parent ]

Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA (2.60 / 5) (#73)
by farl on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:40:13 PM EST

Best place I have lived in the USA

Although (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by skim123 on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:31:03 PM EST

San Diego is fairly conservative with respect to the rest of California. I live in PB - it is great, lots of night life, lots of college-aged kids, something's always happening, and the beach is a 5-minute walk away at most.

I actually moved here from the Midwest, and San Diego is much more liberal than small-town Missouri, and, what I've really enjoyed, is the large amount of diversity. Feels predominantly non-white at times, with a very large Mexican and Asian population. Not many African Americans, however.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Europe (4.28 / 7) (#76)
by schrotie on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:08:25 PM EST


depending on what you consider progressive politics, Europe should be your first choice. Metropolitans in northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Finland) generally have an average education level and open mindedness you'll find nowhere else on Earth. Though, as has been said already, the weather is lousy throughout winter. However, if you go far enough north, that's no problem, cause you won't see any weather - farthest north the sun disappears for a couple of months ;-)
But Stockholm and Kopenhagen are still absolutely amazing cities. Stockholm is simply gorgeous. But compared to American cities many European cities are beautiful (I've been to a couple of american cities ... beauty is certainly not an outstanding attribute of any of them, though some have their merits - e.g. parts of San Francisco, New Orleans' garden district ...).
Amsterdam in the netherlands is one of the most liberal places on Earth. Dutch politics are probably beyond anything you'd imagine when it comes to progressiveness. Cultural diversity is much of what Europe's about. You drive 500 miles and see four very different cultures. Metropolitans became real cultural melting pots in the past decades. As an american you'll be welcome in most places, if your not black. Racism is a problem, but most people - especially in metropolitan areas - don't give a shit what color your skin is. There are however places in Europe where I would not move if I were not white (well I am white and would not move there anyway ...).
Berlin, the Ruhr metropolitan area, Edinborough, Paris, London, Prague, Zurich, Rome, Bologna, Barcelona and Sevilla are also great places and most of them feature better weather than Scandinavia.
From all I've heard from people who worked in different areas around the world, you should look for your place in Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Europe.



Europe (none / 0) (#120)
by eli867 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:33:13 AM EST

Personally, I'd go with Denmark over Sweden just based on what I've heard and seen. I was really just passing through, but I found Copenhagen to be one of the most beatiful cities I've ever seen. Oh, yeah, and there's blue-eyed college co-eds that speak English with cute accents, if you're into that kind of thing. ;)

Switzerland is quite impressive as well and it has (what seemed to me) to have a pretty decent up-and-coming tech sector. I'm going to be working in Zurich this summer, as a matter of fact.
Just to be fair, I should point out that this is a country that didn't give women the vote until the '70s (yet they've decriminalized marijuana. odd...).

[ Parent ]
No diversity (none / 0) (#130)
by ckm on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:08:04 AM EST

Having lived on both sides of the pond, and being both European and American (dual national), I think that I can fairly accurately state that one of the wierdest things about being in a European city is the astounding LACK of diversity.

Compared to the US, most European countries are incredibly homogenous. Sure, you can drive to another country in less than a few hours, but even then, it's all very, very homogenous.

The notable exception to this is London. London is a pretty diverse city in some senses, but still not in the same way as major American cities.

My significant other, who is Dutch, has a funny reaction to the homeginety (sp?) of her homeland. When she goes back to the Netherlands, her first feeling when walking down the street is that everyone is so familiar, in the sense that people on the street look like friends. Of course, they aren't, it's just that everyone looks so similar that it seems that way.... at least it does after living in the US for many years.


[ Parent ]
Diversity (none / 0) (#199)
by schrotie on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:37:49 PM EST


strange. I live in Germany and can - like most Germans - guess from which part of Germany (Alps, Rheinland, Schwabe, East, North, Westphalia, Sea coast ...) somebody comes from based on his mentality. The French (300 miles from here) are from a different planet, the English transended Earth based existence a couple of centuries ago. You see somebody walking along the beach in Spain and you know that person comes from England by just looking at him from behind.
I can tell spanish people from the north east (Catalunya) from people from the north west (Pais Vasco) and from the spanish from the south (Andalucia which was reigned by muslims a couple of centuries).
Swiss and Austrian speak something reminiscent of German but their culture is a far cry from German (bless them for that ;->). You can tell Italians by the way the move. Parties, table manners hospitality, music, attitude ... everythings very different in different parts of Europe.
If a German says Morgen, you bet it's tomorrow. If a Spanish says man~ana ... well, but spanish fiestas make good for all waiting ;-)
But I admit that culture at a given place is pretty homogenous ... which is not bad if you are in the right place.



[ Parent ]

Language (none / 0) (#197)
by psicE on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:20:36 PM EST

I've been thinking about going to Europe for university for just that; the fact that Europe's so liberal. However, the language barrier seems to be a problem, as there's no way I can become as fluent in French, Dutch, or Finnish as I am in English, so I've been looking at universities in the UK and Canada instead. Is there any way you can live (or go to university) in any European country, besides the UK and Ireland, and still speak mostly English?

I'd be perfectly willing to learn another language, but unlike in European schools, I didn't start learning a second language until after age 10, so it's much harder to become fluent than it would have been otherwise.

[ Parent ]
Speaking in tongues (none / 0) (#206)
by schrotie on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 08:52:14 AM EST


at my university in Bielefeld, Germany, it's common that foreign students take one semester to learn nothing else but German. You'd be surprised how much you can learn in half a year. I saw Chinese do it, and I would bet that you do better than they (cause English is much closer to German).
I guess universities in other countries offer similar pre-study courses. However if that is not an option for you, than you can't go to a European university before you make a grade. The first university grade in Germany is called Diplom or Magister (both comparable to master). Then comes phD. Diplom takes about a years work, phD can be anything from 2 to 6 years. If you make a grade you work almost exclusively with a defined group of people (your workgroup). Now if you get into an international group, the common language will be English. I worked for my diploma thesis in Zurich in such an international group. That's a great experience.



[ Parent ]

Cool places that don't get cold! (3.75 / 4) (#78)
by interrupt on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:25:04 PM EST

My girlfriend and I are currently living in the San Francisco bay area, having moved here from Chapel Hill, NC. The notion of a "progressive area" is something that appeals to both of us. We aren't hippies or extremely left wing, but we don't like living in areas that exude right wing morality.

The bay area has a lot of upsides, but we are both a bit weary of the big city feel of the whole region, the heinous commutes to get anyhwhere, etc., so we have been thinking about moving. We are really open to anything, potentially even international, with one major caveat: it can't be too cold.

Canada and the Pacific Northwest region of the US look promising, but definately sound too cold. What are some good European cities? Australia seems like it may be promising, but I understand that getting in is not easy.

As far as employers go, my background is finance and computer science, and hers is biostatistics, but we are both somewhat flexible and willing to re-tool.

Any ideas?

Australia (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by enterfornone on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:55:17 PM EST

Australia seems like it may be promising, but I understand that getting in is not easy.
Well we are an island, so you can't just cross the border. But if you go the legal route and have skills (or money) Australia is much easier to get into than the US. Sydney and Melbourne would be your best bet for both jobs and liberalness, Sydney would be the best in terms of weather IMO.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Getting in... (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by interrupt on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:23:54 PM EST

Does one generally have to get a visa first, then find a job? Is there a mechanism whereby employers can sponsor a potential hire for a visa?

[ Parent ]
I think... (none / 0) (#96)
by enterfornone on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:18:42 PM EST

you can do it either way. Check out this page.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Cold? (4.00 / 1) (#142)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:50:26 AM EST

I lived in Seattle for two years. It's not especially cold. Temperatures get up to the 80's in the summer, which is the dry season. There might be a little as high as the 90's if it's bad. During the winter, there's a lot of clouds and drizzly rain, but actual storms are unusual. Temperatures then go into the 30's and 40's.

Snow is virtually unheard of. I think I saw it snow twice, and in both cases, it melted away before the day was through, when it was lucky enough to stick to something.

Compared to most of the country, it's not all that cold. Heck, in both Seattle and Vancouver, I've seen palm trees planted in the ground.

All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Toronto ain't bad (3.50 / 4) (#81)
by calimehtar on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:57:52 PM EST

The liberal politics of Canada and all that; it's possible to get around without a car (if you're into that sort of thing); it's warm (by comparison with most other Canadian cities that is -- the average winter temp is a *cough*mere -7 C or so ); and the economy is booming. Diversity and tolerance are Toronto's hallmarks and unlike a lot of your other options Toronto is (kinda) a metropolis, which means you get to see some decent concerts or plays or movies or whatever every now and then.

But don't let me dissuade you from Vancouver or Portland. I've been thinking of moving west myself -- the thought of above-freezing winters is a great temptation.


The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.

Come to New York (3.50 / 4) (#85)
by myshka on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:19:48 PM EST

New York, baby. As tolerant or close-minded as you want it to be, the city is completely anonymous and fluid, which avoids many of the trappings I've seen in smaller communities where people tend to meddle in others' affairs. No matter how well-intentioned, I don't want my neighbor to even think about the comings and goings in my apartment. I don't want to have hippie moms with strollers or pumped up clean lifestyle freaks give me and my fellow smokers dirty looks. I want you to leave your life as you see fit and let me do the same.

Needless to say, you'll have all the culture, entertainment and work you've ever dreamt of having within a few subway stops, great - by American standards - public transportation and a feeling of actually living in a city, as opposed to an open air suburban mall like DC or Seattle.

Sheez... (none / 0) (#143)
by arcade on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:57:57 AM EST

No matter how well-intentioned, I don't want my neighbor to even think about the comings and goings in my apartment.

Yikes! One of the things I really really like about where I live, is that I can talk with my neighbours. I get invited over, for a good political discussion, and mayhaps some whiskey / cognac to accompany the discussion.

I _want_ my neighbours to care. I want'em to notice it if someone tries to break into my apartment.

Of course, I don't want'em to start commenting on what I do if they disagree with it. They don't. As long as I'm not playing loud music at 3 o clock in the morning. :) Which I perfectly well understand that they don't want me to.

[ Parent ]

Things to consider (4.71 / 7) (#93)
by Global-Lightning on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:18:27 PM EST

Due to my highly mobile job, I have lived on both coasts of the US, everywhere in between, and a couple of continents.

If you want to stay in the US, start with where you live now, the South. Head towards the coast. The northern Gulf of Mexico, from New Orleans to Mobile, is a big suprise to people who are expecting Bible-thumpin' hicks. Continuing into Florida, Tampa and Miami are the bastions of liberalism. Tampa has slipped lately into a more conservative stance, but Miami is it's own world. You'll probably want to avoid the northern and central parts of the state (they don't call it the Redneck Riviera for nothing)

You could always try the cradle of modern US Liberalism, New England. From New York to Maine, with the possible exception of New Hampshire, you won't have to go far to find others with your beliefs. The big factor here will be your weather tolerance. It can get freezing. The cost of living will also be higher than what you're used to. Of course, coming from the South this will be true of the entire country except for the Mid-West

Finally, many people will recommend the West Coast. Starting in California; Los Angeles, The Central Coast (Monterey to Santa Cruz) or San Francisco are good choices. The downside to these is cost of living that ranges from "obscene" to merely "rediculous". The rest of California can be suprisingly conservative.
Oregon can be clearly divided into Portland and Everywhere Else. Portland is a very progressive city, many activities, and breathtaking scenery not far from the town.
Continuing up to the Puget Sound, besides Seattle, there are many other towns to consider. Olympia, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Bellingham, and even Tacoma have very progressive elements. Once again, weather-tolerance will be an issue. It's not as bad as it's reputed to be, but the rain and clouds do get to some people. On the good side it seldom gets cold and the place is breathtaking. If there is one place I could move back to, this is it. The environment promotes rugged indivualism without invoking the yuppy flakiness of California or the near-paranoid Anti-Guv'ment sentiment of other parts of the Northwest
As for the rest of the west, Vegas Baby. Beyond the casinos and the madness of the Strip, the locals are very laid back. It's actually a good place to raise a family!

The most important to remember is listen to your gut. There are a million of variables that go into finding a place to live. If possible, visit a place before you move there. On paper a place may satisfy all you desire, but only after living there will you find out if it satisfy your needs.
If I may finish with one piece of advice, go to your public library and look at the Places Rated Almanac. It's a very good measure of many variables that influence a move, including cost of living, jobs, crime, weather, recreation, arts, transportation, etc... This guide has proved invaluable in my many moves.

Good luck in finding a new home.

reference material (none / 0) (#108)
by migrantatheist on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:53:33 PM EST

"If I may finish with one piece of advice, go to your public library and look at the Places Rated Almanac."

Thanks. I hadn't thought about that. Reminds me of the Real Genius quote, "Always, no, no - never forget to check your references."

[ Parent ]
Places Rated Almanac (none / 0) (#145)
by kcollett on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 09:17:06 AM EST

Places Rated Almanac isn't very useful in terms of identifying progressive cities. In the latest edition, the only reference to politics is an appendix that lists the majority party for each city and the percentage of that party (e.g. "D 55.3" for Seattle).

[ Parent ]
hey! (Oregon) (3.50 / 2) (#189)
by persimmon on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 06:45:30 PM EST

That's Portland, Eugene, and everywhere else!

Eugene is a university town of about 13000 (if you believe the city limit signs), with rampant bike paths, a weekly farmer's market in the warm season, and a constantly bickering city council. It's not what the author is looking for in a city, very true, but surely you can't lump us in with eastern Oregon when we have that lovely hippie/developer political tension going on?
It's funny because it's a blancmange!
[ Parent ]

Oregon (none / 0) (#211)
by Global-Lightning on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 02:57:52 PM EST

Sorry about that.
My impression of Oregon was based on a good friend from near Prospect, OR.
He was the only person I ever knew to use "Dad-Gum Hippy" in a serious context!

Oregon is beautiful. When I lived in Tacoma we would take the 2.5 hour drive to Portland, Cannon Beach, or Astoria. The best thing was taking US 30 East along the Colombia River, and hiking the waterfalls. Man, I need to get back west...

[ Parent ]

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by mike3k on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:26:24 PM EST

If you're looking for diversity, this is one of the best places. It's also one of the most gay-friendly cities in the US. You have all of the culture of a major city with a nice pleasant climate.

That's not what Elvis said...(OT) (none / 0) (#100)
by Macrobat on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:59:57 PM EST

Gay friendly? Let me quote the King:

"Any male in Fort Lauderdale
who is not pursuing a cute female
will automatically land in jail.
That's the law in Fort Lauderdale."

--from "The Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce," from the movie Girl Happy. Elvis wouldn't lie, would he?

(Yes, there really was such a song. Yes, the rest of it is just as bad, from a lyrical standpoint.)

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

The best balance - Boston. (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by Apuleius on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:57:57 PM EST

Santa Fe (my current digs) is so damn progressive and enlightened that sometimes I want to hurl. But at least in Boston I can go to any cheap diner and chew the fat with people who are back down to earth. (I could do the same here, but my Spanish sucks.)

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Well... maybe... (none / 0) (#138)
by blankbox on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 06:04:36 AM EST

Unless you're one of the Santa Fe liberals.

[ Parent ]
I agree (none / 0) (#184)
by Altus on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:58:46 PM EST

I have lived primarily in boston and philadelphia. I just cant bring myself to recomend philly (its not that bad realy, its just not that great either, maby my standards are high)

Boston though. I recomend it in a heart beat. Its expensive here but the prices are on the way down and they are lower here than in say SF. there are many many many universitys (did I say many?) and the over all population is young but the city has a nice old feel to it.

Its realy good

the best part is that you can choose your exact environment pretty easily. want liberal lip service but with a surprisingly conservitive twist, try living in the peoples republic of cambridge. want college partys going on all the time, try Alston ect... there are even nicely balanced areas to live to. its pretty much all here.

my only real gripe with boston is that other than the students, the population isnt extremely diverse. this isnt the end fo the world, but it is one complaint.

"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]
Research Triangle (4.00 / 2) (#102)
by kneelconqueso on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:10:37 PM EST

Having grown up in a military family and visiting cities all over the world, I think that the Research Triangle Park (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, in case you didn't know) is about the best place I have been able to find, Raleigh specifically.

Most of the people here are pretty open-minded (especially in Chapel-Hill), although It is not to the extent of, say Berkely, CA. We have several of the best Universities in the country (Duke, UNC, and State to begin with) in the area. The median age here is about 31 (five years below the national average). 50% are college educated.

Chapel Hill has one of the greatest music scenes (especially if youre into punk/indie music) on average I go to see a local or touring act at least once a week there, and sometimes here in Raleigh as well.

Being that this is the RTP, we have a (usually) great Tech job market. There are countless pharmacutical companies in the area as well as lots and lots of internet companies and the like. Median pay here is about 50k.

Raleigh is mostly a pretty clean looking city, I think. Homeless rates are pretty low, and most of the city is just kinda classy. People keep their grass mowed, and that kind of thing.

The weather here is pretty temperate. It doesn't rain too much and it never gets too cold.

Although Raleigh is in the deep south, it doesn't have the southern feel. There are lots of northern (especially from NY) implants here and they all seem to like it. It is also situated between the mountains and beach, just like the CA towns.

Basically its just a really nice place to live. You get all the conveniences of a big city (shopping, arts, music, etc) without all the hassle (high crime, bad traffic, and general dirtiness)

Huzzah! (3.33 / 6) (#103)
by labradore on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:25:47 PM EST

We're rounding up all the liberals into ghettos. Almost time for phase two.

Why does K5 always seem to put me into conservative mode?

good list at turnleft.com (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by spudlee on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:35:29 PM EST

http://www.turnleft.com/geo.html has a pretty good list of liberal-friendly and -unfriendly places. It's a little idiosyncratic, because it's all inconsistent individual comments.

individual histories and experiences are ... (none / 0) (#114)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:42:26 AM EST

all that I expect to be able to rely on. Unless someone comes up with a scientific measure of coolness, the methodology I'm going with is to look for the places that elicited the most passion among former/current residents.

Thanks for the link!

[ Parent ]
Great list (3.80 / 5) (#106)
by bsletten on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:40:31 PM EST

The Utne Reader did a comprehensive inquiry on this topic a few years back. The results are available here.

A couple questions (2.66 / 3) (#115)
by kaitian on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:48:45 AM EST

Why do you think that religion is bad? You list it as a fault, and you want to get away from it, so why do you think this way? Does it really matter if the people you see at the supermarket belive in God or not?

Why do you care if the population is well-educated? In your day to day interactions, all that really matters is if they are friendly. College education has not effect on that.

What exactly do you mean by progressive? Is it just another word for liberal, with the implication that conservatives are backward?

Just a cheap shot - (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by ragnarok on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:51:12 AM EST

maybe the question shouldn't be

Does it really matter if the people you see at the supermarket belive in God or not?

But: would God believe in the people in the supermarket, given the choice? I'm not so sure I would.

"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies
[ Parent ]

Religiousy groups. (2.00 / 1) (#135)
by katie on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:15:05 AM EST

Because irreligious, well educated people are capable of forming their own opinions.

Given any group of ten religious people and one minority person, at least one of the religious group will find some reason to be unable to tolerate that minority person. They can't see the actual person for the foaming religious hatred. They won't take the time to know them because God tells them they can't possibly like them.

Ill-educated people are just the same, except they take their lessons on what to think from tabloid television, rather than hate-mongering churches.

I've had friends who've been "run out of town" by mobs like this. Actually stoned their houses. That sort of thing.

And it doesn't matter how big the peaceful majority of the groups are, it only takes the one of them to burn your house down with you in it.

[ Parent ]
reasons to fear for one's safety... (none / 0) (#157)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:18:41 PM EST

"Because irreligious, well educated people are capable of forming their own opinions."

Thanks, Katie. I'm going to reply separately to Kaitan's post because I think he/she is serious and being very polite in asking for clarifications. It doesn't surprise me. A lot of my more conservative friends (yes, i do have them, many of them actually) have a hard time accepting that there are people, even many people, out there who share thier general beliefs and political sympathies, and yet have far less personal ethics or ability to respect persons who disagree.

We actually had a interesting conversation along those lines recently. It was very cool. But it also reminded me that even being reasonable and intelligent, it still often takes personal experience to overcome one's personal states-of-denial or hesitancy-to-accept regarding things like this.

A lot of folks of conservative bent are friendly, outgoing, even tolerant folks, and they have my sympathies when I see them try to deal with some of the people who are supposedly 'on thier side'.

[ Parent ]

good questions, maybe this will clarify (4.75 / 4) (#161)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:59:50 PM EST

"Why do you think that religion is bad? You list it as a fault,..."

Because, honestly, even the religious cannot agree on a consistent myth to believe in. No one argues seriously about nature. No one will scream at you on the street for not believing in Penguins. Reality does not need an advocate, much less a violent, terribly offensive advocate. I don't think religions are bad, per se, as long s they are understood in a historical context of humanity seeking answers. I do think grasping onto one for no better reason than it being the locally popular one, and refusing to reconsider it's veracity at all throughout one's life is not the sign of a mature mind. Name one other topic on which you regularly see people refuse to even reflect on, much less seriously re-examine thier own positions. I'll always listen to a good counter-argument because I want to find the better answer/position/solution. Religious folks, by definition, do not. At best, they will pretend to engage in a discussion with one, (bearing false witness in doing so) in order to seize an opportunity to convert you. But they are only giving you as much respect as a horny frat-person trying to get into a girls pants.

..." and you want to get away from it, so why do you think this way? Does it really matter if the people you see at the supermarket belive in God or not? "

I undertand your confusion, but perhaps you should engage in an experiment. Try passing as a recent convert to liberal attitudes, or even atheism. See how your friends react. Then try doing the same with strangers. Feel free to stop as soon as you feel you may be in serious danger. By that point, I suspect, the point will be well made.

I'm not being sarcastic. I'm trying to communicate to you that you are looking at it backwards. There are people, whom I have identified by the banner they ride under, who have very serious problems with letting me be. Laizze-faire, it seems, is good enough for economics but not good enough for culture. These people believe (without satisfactory explanation, IMO) that there must be a double-standard - they get to live free, and I get to live the way they tell me to. They are very serious about it, it is not a joke, and I am not laughing. Re-read my post. I'm not out to change thier world or take any action against them. I am, if we wish to be blunt, fleeing. I'm simply exercising my right not to be thier target. I'm exercising my right not to provide thier vicious rhetoric and occasional outbursts of violence with a captive audience.

May I ask you why this bothers you? Is it because my leaving these people suggests they may not be pleasant to live around? Or do you have a position that I am somehow obliged to enable thier crass anti-social behaviour by playing audience to it?

"Why do you care if the population is well-educated?

I'm nearly speechless with shock that you could ask this, but I respect your willingness to do so.

In your day to day interactions, all that really matters is if they are friendly. College education has not effect on that. "

Ah, yes, if I never wished to discuss anything more substantive than the weather or recent sports games, that would be true. However, I like to exercise my mind, as some might exercise thier body. In fact, I find the former more valueable than the latter, as I have never heard of well-exercised bodies doing much to improve the world, or people's lot in it, whereas healthy , fit, regularly used minds tend to accomplish wonders that regularly make history. I'd be satisfied, though, with simply not being bored to tears by an endless array of blank-faced persons who will loudly proclaim agreement with the simplest 'belief' or political position condensed into an easy-to-digest sound-byte, while amazingly being nearly completely ignorant of any of the reasons and considerations that would make that position make sense. In short, I find it difficult to explain/discuss things with persons who can't even suggest one premise/notion that supports thier own positions.

More importantly, I am an adult. I wish to associate with adults. If I wished never to be able to discuss actual topics with an actual thoughtful mind, I'd work in a preschool or perhaps a coma-ward.

"What exactly do you mean by progressive? Is it just another word for liberal, with the implication that conservatives are backward?"

Responsible, thoughtful. It is not just another word for liberal.
Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods: a progressive politician; progressive business leadership.
Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

(those were taken from dictionary.com) So, while there is of course a correlation between liberal and progressive politics, the emphasis is different. As a progressive, my main interest is in improving things. My positions range from the classical liberal to the very far-conservative. The one fixed element is that i prefer consistency. For instance, explain why traditional conservatives are conservative only in regards to the economy, but are authoritarian bastards and advocates for heavy regulation...when it's people's personal lives being discussed? Consistency. It's not a bad word, but many think so.

And besides, modern 'liberals' are just a huge disappointment, by and large, and generally no better educated than the right-wing drones. I've tried to like the dirty, crusty, crystal-worshipping hippy-element, because many of them are friendly, but I've had to accept that there are nice people and good people, and those traits aren't always both there. I'm nearly as upset with the hippy-left as I am with the reactionary right, if only because the left likes to trumpet and proclaim sympathy with many of my politics, while simultenously providing the worst sorts of role-models, thus effectively doing more damage to my positions than any putative 'opponent'. Those folks just ain't welcome on my team.

Thanks, though, for your honest questions. I've tried to address them fairly. Let me know if there's anything else I can (try to) clarify. : ) I'm just trying to find d nice, friendly place to live where folks (gasp) practive mutual respect, not just of folks like them (which isn't too hard) but for folks who are different (for progressives this will often mean tolerating a [polite] liberal/conservative element).

[ Parent ]
reply (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by kaitian on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:57:42 PM EST

Because, honestly, even the religious cannot agree on a consistent myth to believe in.

That's because the religious aren't one monolithic group.

I do think grasping onto one for no better reason than it being the locally popular one, and refusing to reconsider it's veracity at all throughout one's life is not the sign of a mature mind.

Other people have different systems for understanding the world, and I think it's better that way. Also, I don't think it's very mature, on your part, to dismiss their systems as immature. Maybe it's better that you move away from such people, but that's more of an acknowlegement of flaws in yourself, than flaws in those around you.

Try passing as a recent convert to liberal attitudes, or even atheism. See how your friends react.

I'm an agnostic. I have friends who don't like it and wish I went back to church, and they try to get me to go back, but it isn't much of an issue because there's no reason for it to come up very often. I think I see where you're problem is...

Then try doing the same with strangers.

Why would you want to do this? I don't see the point, at all. First off, religion isn't something like the weather that you can bring up, all the sudden, when talking with strangers. Questioning a person's fundamental personal beleifs isn't material for small talk, and doing so is a good way to get the person you're talking to on the defensive. No one should be on the defensive when they're engaged in small talk, it's not fun, and I can see why you'd be shunned for acting this way.

Ah, yes, if I never wished to discuss anything more substantive than the weather or recent sports games...

A college education doesn't mean that someone has anything interesting to say. You seem to want to be around interesting people, not necessarily college educated people.

modern 'liberals' are just a huge disappointment, by and large, and generally no better educated than the right-wing drones.

I'm probably closer to you politically than I orginially thought. I was under the impression that you were just another radical leftist.

[ Parent ]

and around we go! :) (5.00 / 2) (#201)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 10:57:49 PM EST

"That's because the religious aren't one monolithic group."

They all claim access to a universal truth. By definition, this truth should be, ah, universal. :) And still, they don't get the clue. Moreover, they don't acknowledge that they varied myths are a sign that perhaps they are myths and not related to an observable, consistent reality. There are not hugely divergent myths about gravity. Competing theories, yes, but which share a common basis of observed evidence, and the diverging stories are simply proposed explanations, not asserted immutable facts.

"Other people have different systems for understanding the world, and I think it's better that way. Also, I don't think it's very mature, on your part, to dismiss their systems as immature."

Any system which includes as a serious component, ignoring reality when it conflicts with stories, is simply not a good system. It is perhaps a mild insanity. Or, if you prefer, a foolish choice. I trust a rock before I trust any human agent. Humans are capable of manipulating thier environment to present illusions. Rocks just kinda sit there, like fossils.

As far as my maturity in dismissing thier 'systems'. I've already said in one post that I respect the effort of all early human efforts at learning about the universe. Before we had science, we had myth. But we learned. we discovered we could test our myths, and later we learned to create specific types of myths, precisely so we could test them. This led to myths that actually were ...true! Or at least true-ish, like Newton's mechanics. That we later refined the myth doesn't say anything about Newton's effort. However, folks still insisting that only Newton's truth is True don't need me to enable thier delusion. Ask any psychologist. You shouldn't enable deluded people by providing a supporting voice regarding thier illusions. It can set thier progress back tremendously. Similarly, you won't find me nodding my head blithely when some fundie is ranting at me about jesus or whatever. I inform them as politely as I can that I think they are fucking crazy. I use different words, of course, in the interest of civility.

"I'm an agnostic. I have friends who don't like it and wish I went back to church, and they try to get me to go back, but it isn't much of an issue because there's no reason for it to come up very often. I think I see where you're problem is... "

Well, it is in fact, that religious life is very much a part of public life here. I'm trying not to give too much evidence of where I live, because I don't want to get into bashing any community with this story posting. However, as an example, it was recent frontpage news that a lot of local politicians had some "God in government" shin-dig. I'm sorry, or glad-that-you-don't , but I live in an area where some pretty kooky religious stuff is thrown in my face on a daily basis. I can consent to it, play silent, even PASS as one of them, or I can be who I am. I compromise and keep my ideas to myself, for the most part, but sometimes comments, epithets or other crass things are said in my presence that I have to respond to if I wish to continue respecting myself.

At that point, I'm usually identified as the dreaded 'other', and the more intelligent figure out that I'm holding more back than I'm letting on. I'm an outgoing person, tho, so as long as I go back to passing, most are content to just accept me as being a little odd.

"First off, religion isn't something like the weather that you can bring up, all the sudden, when talking with strangers. "

I'm sorry, this is my fault - i thought I'd made it clear. My problem is that I live in an area where it is like the weather. We have fundies on street corners screaming any time it's warm out and not raining. (the word of god can always wait until better weather, we've noticed)

The atmosphere of the community is actively hostile to anyone of even moderate political views. Agnosticism or atheism are seen as identical - i've tried to explain the differnce to blank stares and the usual, "but they both don't believe in Jesus, right? Are they satanists?" response. It can be hard to believe a place like this exists, but it does.

"A college education doesn't mean that someone has anything interesting to say. "

Oh, I agree absolutely. It doesn't even mean the education 'took'. It does however adjust the probabilities we are dealing with. Nothing certain, mind you, but just more likely that the person not only went thru high school, but learned some of the material, and then went on to learn some more, perhaps, we may hope, even acquiring learning as a habit. I'm just lazy. I don't want to provide a half-hour history/context lesson for every discussion I have. I want to get past the remedial information that really, they should know, and on to substantive discussion, even debate. I can't debate with a person who doesn't know anything about the topic that they didn't hear from me. Bo-ring. Believe me, I've tried, in desperation, I've tried. <shakes head sadly> Worse. Those lacking in education have acquired the despicable habit, much like reading poetry in public, or voicing opinions generated entirely off of thier initial impulse, without any examination of bakground material or the reasonings behind the various available viewpoints. Eiwww...

"I was under the impression that you were just another radical leftist. "

<grin> Fuck no. I do tend to curse a lot. It's just my way. But seriously, I don't like parties or platforms. I've got principles. The resulting view on any given topic varies across the political spectrum. You can usually figure out which one's I'm for by looking for me where there's something like: respect for people, the principle that we can work together to improve everyone's lot, the notion that responsibiity isn't just for other people, and let's see...if it can be paraphrased as, "Be excellent to one another.", I'm probably for it.

How's that for a political platform soundbite. Maybe I should start my 'nice and responsible' party with the 'leave them alone if they ain't hurting no one' platform. Add on it my 'Acceptable public behaviour for businesses' community responsibility plank and the 'you pollute it, you live on it' environmental plank.

I'm not saying the board of directors can't pollute the Alaskan shoreline, I'm saying that's where they get to live if they do. (ok, it's a tongue in cheek joke, folks. But you get the sentiment.) People and businesses (people acting in concert) should just be responsible for thier actions. Call me a flaming radical, but it makes sense to me. Has since I learned it from my parents after doing a no-no.


[ Parent ]
Some thoughts .... (4.00 / 1) (#226)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:33:18 AM EST

Why do you think that religion is bad?

I can't speak for the author of the story, but I find living in areas with a large quantity of overt religion to be unpleasant because it can easily develop into a situation where, if you aren't attending the dominant church in the community, you are treated as being untrustworthy and worthless; and because in areas that are dominated by a single religious sensibility, dissent from that sensibility is often treated sharply.

This goes for secular religions, too, of course; dissent from environmentalism where I live gets an individual to be ostracized just as much as dissent from belief in God did where I grew up.

Why do you care if the population is well-educated?

I can think of two reasons where this would matter. One, I like being in an area with a high density of bookstores, and with academic material available in those bookstores; these tend to be correlated with a well-educated population. Also, in general, I prefer to interact on a social basis with well-educated people; this is more likely in a region with a well-educated population.

What exactly do you mean by progressive?

This is an etymological problem that is made more confusing by the way political labels have changed over the years. In the late nineteenth century, "liberal" was a word that indicated a political philosophy which endorsed free market economics and personal freedom; "progressive" was a word which indicated a political philosophy which called for reform of government and society, and which typically called for greater government regulation of social behavior (prohibition was a progressive platform element for decades). Liberalism over time came to be more and more associated with individual freedom and with state power to regulate economic matters (something that would have shocked nineteenth century politicans); Progressives came to be more and more associated with state power to regulate economic matters; and eventually the two groups more or less merged.

Many groups who are considered to be "liberal" under the modern definition of the word continue to call themselves "progressives", although the origins of that term have been largely lost to them.

[ Parent ]

Ann Arbor, MI (3.00 / 1) (#118)
by irksome on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:22:29 AM EST

Ann Arbor is a pretty nice city. Population is roughly 100,000, give or take a few. It's home to the University of Michigan, and a lot of people in the town are somehow connected with the University. However, not everything is connected with the University. Warner^H^H^H^H^H^H Parke Da^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Pfizer has one of their research facillities here, as does NSF. There are also some jobs that are connected to the Auto industry, either in Production (not directly in Ann Arbor, but close enough), Testing (the Chrysler Proving Grounds is in Chelsea, which could be considered a suburb of Ann Arbor), or R&D.

The University of Michigan, in addition to providing lots of employment or education opportunities, boasts a top-notch athletic program. The University also serves to provide a pretty liberal atmosphere in the city. A lot of people in town are connected with the University in some way, and the city, as a whole, is well educated. The public schools are good, very diverse (due to the University), and there's not really a "ghetto" section in town.

Ann Arbor is close enough to Detroit to take advantage of Detroit Metro Airport, and various entertainment options in Detroit, but far enough away to have established it's own identity. If Detroit isn't enough, you can always go across the border to Windsor for an evening or two.

Lastly, Ann Arbor is a very attractive city. Lots of parks, recreational areas, and lots of trees. Even in the busy downtown area, there are trees lining nearly every street. The Huron River flows through the north edge of the city, and you can rent canoes at some of the parks along the river. The University campus and the surrounding city are blended together very well. In some neighborhoods (including the one I grew up in), you can have a house full of full-time townies, right next to a house of University students. The city is big enough to offer a lot of variety, but still small enough that you feel like you know everyone.

(disclaimer: I grew up in Ann Arbor, and my bias is probably not hidden at all)

I think I am, therefore I'm not.
Have live many places, and the best is..... (long) (4.12 / 8) (#121)
by ckm on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:34:23 AM EST

I've lived in seven countries, and many, many cities, including:

* Amsterdam
* London
* Brussels
* Paris
* Vienna (Austria)
* Aix-en-Provence
* Utrecht
* Naples
* Washington, DC
* San Francisco
* Old Town, Maine

The best places in Europe were Paris and London, hands down. Amsterdam is not all it's cracked up to be, beneath a venier of liberalism there is a very, very rigid society. Aix was also great, but boring. Paris and London are fun, exciting cities with tons of personality, London more so, however. Be wary of the total cost of living in these places. Salaries are comparatively low and taxes/food/travel are pretty expensive. Public services of all kinds are FAR better than in the US, even in London, where they are awfull by continental standards.

In the US, Washington, DC is a little too suburb driven, although it's very international and has some great (and awfull parts) downtown. Montgomery County, MD (a suburb) has the highest concentration of scientist, engineers and PhD's in the world. Everyone is very geared to politics (not suprisingly) and family is a big deal (it's the land of minivans).

NYC is great, loads of fun, never sleeps (really, you'd be amazed how many people are out and about at 4am....). There's tons of little cosy things and places about NYC. And public transport is the best in the US. BUT, New Yorkers are cynical and prone to naval gazing. It's easy to think that the world revolves around NYC when you live there, and the fact that it's so hard to escape the city reinforces that.

By far my favorite place to live so far is San Francisco. It's absurdly expensive here, yeah. People are so liberal sometimes you just want to puke. BUT. Public transport is reasonably good (at least in SF), there are a lot of very cool neighborhoods, the weather is just right (not too hot, not too cold), it's easy to get out of the city (10 minutes by car and you are alone in the woods), people like to live life, there are a higher proportion of interesting people here than most other places I have lived and, finally, you can be on the beach in the morning and ski in the afternoon. It's also very international. There are 40,000 French nationals living in and around SF, and there are a lot of Asians here. The SF City gov't. is also now recognizing Mexican ID cards as a legal form of ID and Americans of European descent are now a minority in California.

There's something else, too, about the Bay Area which is hard to describe to people who don't live here. That's the can do, forward looking attitude that people have. They don't just sit around and talk about stuff, they do it, and they push the envelope while doing it. That's why .coms started here and that's why we all (me included) got burned. That's the very [I don't know what to call it] thing is also what makes the Bay Area such a great place to live. It's also the very thing that almost turned SF into a yuppie hellhole, forcing out a lot of artists and other people who actually made the city interesting (that's changing now, thankfully).

As much as I love SF, after having been here for a number of years, I would like to move on. But where? My significant other and I have been looking worldwide to figure out where. I don't know. It's hard to find a place that has the combination of lifestyle, dynamism, opportunity, people, location and climate somewhere else. Since we're both dual nationals (Europe/US), we could move back to Europe, but that's not that attractive for some reason (we've looked hard).

I understand your dilema. It's one I go through regularly. SF is a great place, but it's sickly expensive (although getting cheaper). A friend of mine in a similar position wound up in Portland, OR. I've also heard good things about Boulder, CO and Vancouver, BC. Also, a fair amount of people from SF have moved to LA in the last 12 months.



Berlin (none / 0) (#167)
by Rhodes on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:29:23 PM EST

I have not lived in Berlin, but I visited a number of times (before, during, after the wall).
The capital of Europe is still rebuilding, and offers a lot, like the love festival, a weekend of raving and general mayhem. Excellent public services, and plenty of nightlife.

[ Parent ]
Food for thought (3.57 / 7) (#122)
by spoonz on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:34:58 AM EST

As I was reading this story, it just occured to me that this story would have probably never left the queue if it had been written from the "other" perspective. (A conservative wanting to know where is best to move to be near other conservatives). I have always thought it funny that liberals are "open minded" to all views except conservative ones. Hmmmmm......

the way it is (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by eli867 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:53:35 AM EST

Likewise, I'm sure a discussion on most liberal places to live wouldn't do very well on the Christianity Today Weblog.

Granted I'm a newbie, but it seems to me that K5 is (mostly) a pretty liberal place with (mostly) pretty liberal people that can more easily relate to a story such as this one.

It is an interesting point, though.

[ Parent ]
Really no way to find out but to submit it. (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by jlinwood on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:00:39 AM EST

Well, I'm not much of a conservative or right-winger, but I could still try and recommend a few places I've been where conservatives would enjoy life.
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • The Phoenix, AZ metro area
  • Waco, TX
  • Idaho
  • Green River, WY
  • Cincinnati, OH
Let me know what you think of my choices. I would pick Phoenix for sun, but I can't really recommend Green River. But I live in Austin, TX, which is the most liberal city in Texas, and probably one of the most liberal big cities in the country. We do have some Republican-dominated suburbs, though.

[ Parent ]
Obligatory defense of Moscow, ID (none / 0) (#218)
by pietra on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:42:49 AM EST

but the rest of Idaho would do a red-blooded conservative just fine in the southern parts. The fact that our peabrained moron of a governor might just get reelected solely for being a Republican is proof enough of that (though no guarantees; he's really pushing it). Far as I can tell, your average impose-my-will-and-religion-cos-I'm-right conservative is going to have *real* problems in the northern parts, given the individuality and contrariness up that way. It's a weird sort of turning so far right you go almost left.

[ Parent ]
Bakersfield, CA (none / 0) (#219)
by pietra on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:44:45 AM EST

Can't leave that one out!

[ Parent ]
Not getting your point (3.75 / 4) (#146)
by stinkwrinkle on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 09:34:22 AM EST

What's "funny" about it? No conservative would ask, "Where can I go to be with like-minded neighbors?" The question would be something like, "How can I run the scumbag hippies out of town?" or (more charitably) "How can I bring the Lord's light to the unbeliever?" This guy doesn't want to ram his lifestyle down anyone's throat, he's just tired of living where he doesn't feel like he belongs.

[ Parent ]
ramming throats... (3.50 / 4) (#156)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:05:42 PM EST

Thanks, stinkwrinkle. Isn't it amazing how (cultural) conservatives get so disturbed by my the suggestion that people who share thier beliefs and attitudes may not (gasp) be nice people to live around? (Speaking to the world here) How deluded can folks be? I don't want to let to much us vs. them creep into this discussion, but I gotta comment on Spoonz' comment. How often, I wonder, has he ever seen progressives (whom he easily lumps in with liberals, which I don't accept, but am not going to waste time addressing) gather in numbers to strip conservatives of legal protections. Or ban them from adopting kids. Or call them vicious slurs, attack them, shoot doctors, bomb medical centers, and really, really, put conservatives in fear for thier personal safety?

I'm not saying the left doesn't get violent. Spiking trees and breaking into research labs happens. What I'm saying is that the left isn't waging a war against you, John Q. Conservative's personal life, and basically arguing that you ought to be stripped of all but the most essential self-determination.

And oh, since it's been pointed out that a "Where are good conservative communities" discussion wouldn't be popular, could it be because you'd have to be amazingly dense if you couldn't find a robust conservative community in *any* American town? I think perhaps yes. Looking for conservative commuities would be like asking if anyone's seen a town with a larger than 10,000 population. People would wonder if you were serious or just stupid.

Why not ask for help finding a road? Not just any road, but a paved one? I suppose if you never leave your computer you may have trouble finding one, but perhaps if one were to step outside...

[ Parent ]
Devil's Advocate... (3.50 / 2) (#166)
by ti dave on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 02:13:29 PM EST

What I'm saying is that the left isn't waging a war against you, John Q. Conservative's personal life, and basically arguing that you ought to be stripped of all but the most essential self-determination.

I see copious evidence around me that the left does, in fact, have a general tendency to want to change the way of life of the American Conservative.
Hell, that's the definition of "Progressive".

I'll provide an example;
Liberals have all but eliminated Corporal Punishment in schools, and have taken up the cause of eliminating it in the Home as well. Not just Liberal Homes, mind you, but all Homes.

I won't attempt to weaken the essential meaning of "War", but I see a concerted effort by the Left/Progressives to change the way of life of Conservatives.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
It's for the children (3.00 / 2) (#182)
by psicE on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:23:52 PM EST

Liberals or progressives who try to ban corporal punishment in schools and homes are not trying to change the lifestyle of the conservatives, but rather that of the children being abused. For the same reason that very few people would support a law allowing genital mutilation by parents, I don't support (albeit less extreme) corporal punishment. Do cultural traditions justify violence?

[ Parent ]
Love that phrase... (5.00 / 1) (#205)
by ti dave on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 05:21:16 AM EST

"For the Children"...the impact is just about gone from that one.

Interesting stuff here;

...are not trying to change the lifestyle of the conservatives, but rather that of the children being abused.

I don't believe that one can accomplish the latter without affecting the former.
Many conservatives believe they have a religious mandate to raise their children in a manner they see fit.

Abuse and Neglect span an entire spectrum of behavior.
The question is, where do we as a society want the "Line of Legality" to fall on that spectrum?

...very few people would support a law allowing genital mutilation by parents

Would you classify Male Circumcision as Genital Mutilation?
How about Female Circumcision?
Is an Attention-Getting Swat on the Butt acceptable?
What about those who adhere to "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child"?

Would your Neighbor believe the same way you do?

We do our best to codify Acceptable Behavior, it's just that the different groups have different notions on where to draw the line.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
DA and "conservative mandate" (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by migrantatheist on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 01:06:30 PM EST

First off, regarding the Devil's Advocate post and my own response to it, yer right, I think I also may have replied too directly to you, rather than the issue you raised. It's hard online...one is both speaking directly to a person and generally to the third-party public at large...very strange...I'm going to try to get used to it...

    "...are not trying to change the lifestyle of the conservatives, but rather that of the children being abused."

"I don't believe that one can accomplish the latter without affecting the former. Many conservatives believe they have a religious mandate to raise their children in a manner they see fit."

The only thing I can suggest is that this is yet another expression of a principle underlying the attitude and ethic of many on the far-right and far-left. The morality of a three-year old. They insist without explanation that they must have the unfettered right to act. Absolutely. Consideration of others? Unfair! Respect for others? Ha! We want favoritism, as long as it favors us, and we want it now!!! Waaaaa!

My more right leaning friends are as disgusted by this as I am when I see it on the so-called contemporary left. Thier religious mandate is just them trying to put a more respectable face on thier hypocritical insistence on favoritism/double-standards. Causing harm to another person deliberately is wrong. End of story.

"Would you classify Male Circumcision as Genital Mutilation?

It's genitals, they are mutilated, hmm...seems pretty straightforward to me. Don't even get me started on 'sex-assignment' operations to cosmetically modify genitals. Ever wonder why you don't see a lot of girls with big clits? Doctors trim them to look less penis-like. No joke. Check out the survivors at http://www.isna.org/ ...doctors are society's secret agency of body-conformity.

You ask me, involuntary cosmetic surgery is assault.

How about Female Circumcision?

Let's see. Thems genitals, thems mutilation. Looks again, pretty clear-cut, pardon the pun, case of fucked-up-ed-ness. Add in the long-term consequences that survivors of this sweet little trick usually have sex turned into a bout of torture for thier entire life, rendering an entire aspect of thier existence of experience of living into a abominable hell...gee the initial mutilation is just nothing compared to that...

Is an Attention-Getting Swat on the Butt acceptable?

Sure. If it ain't inflicting pain, it ain't wrong. It's the difference between a punch and a pat. I swat my dog on the head with a rolled up newspaper. It makes a lot of noise, and will catch attention even when the mutt is determined to ignore me in favor of a kitten or whatever, but it doesn't cause injury. Same thing for the kids. A swat, such as you describe, ain't spanking. Even the kid-beaters will agree. They'd phrase it more like, 'they won't listen and learn unless you raise a welt,' or 'that ain't a spanking! does it sound like he/she is crying yet? <wham> See ! Now, they'll learn from that!

"What about those who adhere to "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child"? "

Well, they just don't seem to think about how to actually teach a child anything, they are just falling back on that time-honored technique I use with my alarm clock. Hit it until it shuts the fuck up. I daresay anyone can think of hitting something into submission. Real technique, style, art, and effort is shown in thoughtful examination of the situation and developing a solution that works, takes into consideration the perspectives and legitimate needs of all involved as well as possible, and which doesn't involve gratutitous inclusion of violence, no matter how enjoyable and stress-releiving that violence may feel. They should just get a fucking punching bag if they need one.

Usually what gets trotted out at that point is that I'd think differently if I had personal bias - in this case, in fhte form of a screaming wailing kid of my own to deal with. As if personal bias has any sort of positive effect on thinking about a situation...that's why judges and lawyers recuse themselves from cases... so, my usual response is that I don't have to wait until I have a cute lil' daughter of my own to state without doubt that child-molestation is fucking wrong. These things just aren't that complicated. The principles of not being non-excellent to one another have been codified in many ways throughout history, and out culture is immersed in traditions which express several of those codifications. Folks who insist on exceptions being made for them need to get past the notions that 'having fun' and 'going with my impulses' are a universal jusitifier for action, and get into adulthood, where notions of right and wrong are occasionally given consideration.

[ Parent ]
Where we diverge... (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by ti dave on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 03:59:38 PM EST

People that merely choose to not have their male children circumcised, that I have no issues with.

When people adamantly oppose it for all others, that's where I disagree.

I'm circumcised. Do I believe I was assaulted?
No. I believe it was done for my benefit.

Let's use another example;
I had my 3rd molars removed last year, at the age of 36.
According to the Oral Surgeon, I should have had them removed
when I was in High School.
In other words, when I was a Minor.

If my parents had taken me in for that extraction, would I have been "assaulted"?

After all, 200 years ago, my parents would have just let them grow out in to my mouth.
I just would have had extra teeth.

Fast forward to today.
It is done because it benefits the patient's health.

Male circumcision isn't cruel, neglectfully or intentionally botching the circumcision surgery is.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
divergences... (none / 0) (#214)
by migrantatheist on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 10:09:43 PM EST

"When people adamantly oppose it for all others, that's where I disagree. "

Yes, but we are both speaking about a third party whose body will be irrevocable altered for purely cosmetic purposes. Further, it will significantly diminish sensation from a major sex organ. Will the organ still function, sure! The question isn't on or off, it's working 100% or chopped off at 70-80% of full performance for no good reason and without consent. I can and am living with a circumcised penis, but I'm not under any illusion that it was done for anything but reasons of social conformity.

The 'health benefits' of circumcision are mythical. They ain't there. Ask yourself how humans managed to survive quite nicely for, oh, a few million years or whatever, if thier sexual organs were so broken. They ain't. The equipment you are born with works just fine. Do you need to clean around the foreskin? Uh, yeah, and behind your ears, in your armpits, and oh...how about if one just bathes and not worry so much about specific areas? The most absurd argument I heard about removing foreskin was that you'd have to wash it if it was there...like..uh...duh, I wasn't planning on washing my dick...

The myth is also revealed by the many uncut folks wandering about with no problems.

"I should have had them removed when I was in High School. In other words, when I was a Minor."

Minor legally, yes, but at that point, you are a thinking nearly adult human able to express your views on matters relating to your body. You are also capable of learning related material and making judgements based on evidence. An infant is not. The comparison is deeply deeply flawed.

And of course, there is the question, if you "should" have had them removed way back when, why is that? Doesn't sound like you've been having any medical problems with them until recently. Perhaps he meant you could have opted to have them removed earlier, for preventative reasons, but it's not a problem, you can still pull them now. In any case, it's still not cosmetic surgery, or surgery motivated by social custom/conformity.

"Male circumcision isn't cruel,..."

Um, I'm going to point out, beyond what I've mentioned already, that the surgery is performed without benefit of anesthesia. To attempt an assessment of how this may feel to the infant, place a knife against your penis and lop off an inch or so of skin around the tip. I'm afraid the word 'cruel' is rather accurate.

Even if your are willing to accept a momentary cruelty, look at the long term. An extremely sensitive portion of your sexual anatomy is removed. Permanently. This is costing the victim, without thier consent, significant loss of quality in this experience, that will persist for the duration of thier lives. It's cruel. It's wrong. It's indefensible. It's akin to permanently stripping say 25% of your taste buds off, or blowing out your ability to hear in a certain range. Sure, you can live without that stuff, but wtf? What kind of monster would do that to an infant, to strip them of potential means of experiencing thier environment, right at birth?

And, since I can't resist beating a dead horse, I'll repeat that it has nothing to do with health factors. Nothing. That entire argument is a weak effort, totally refuted by study after study of the uncircumcised, to prop up a centuries old tradition. I'd go grab some links, but the stuff's all over. If you are really interested, you won't have any trouble finding info.

[ Parent ]
You seem irritated? (none / 0) (#221)
by ti dave on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 06:12:59 AM EST

I don't want to make you mad, but I wish to answer some questions you brought up.

it will significantly diminish sensation from a major sex organ.

I can't speak for you, but my penis seems to function at 100%.
I don't have any anxiety about it not functioning at 110%.

Minor legally, yes, but at that point, you are a thinking nearly adult human able to express your views on matters relating to your body. You are also capable of learning related material and making judgements based on evidence. An infant is not.

I think I grew up in a different era than you did.
When I was a lad of the age in question, when my parents said "You're going to the Doctor/Dentist",
my ass went to the Doctor. Period. Not up for debate. I went.

And of course, there is the question, if you "should" have had them removed way back when, why is that?
Doesn't sound like you've been having any medical problems with them until recently.

Yes, it was a definite should have.
Over the past 20 years, my teeth have become misaligned from the 3rd molar growth, not to mention facial bone loss due to periodontal disease in the jaw region and increased risk of chronic abcess.
Could have been prevented by earlier removal.
Those were problems that I had put off resolving for various excuses. I regret it now.

the surgery is performed without benefit of anesthesia.
Perhaps with a traditional Jewish Bris, but Pediatric Surgeons and Urologists perform it with anesthesia.

I'll repeat that it has nothing to do with health factors.

Last studies I saw showed approximately equal risks between disfigurement from circumcision and increased likelihood of penile cancer from lack of circumcision.
Seemingly, regardless of cleansing frequency, smegma has carcinogenic properties.


ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
a teeny bit - i don't see consent as optional... (none / 0) (#223)
by migrantatheist on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 05:05:36 PM EST

...when discussing making irrevocable decisions about another person's body

I find it continually amazing that folks will trumpet rights and liberty, etc blah blah blah until it runs up against a custom of thier own where they'd have to recognize that they are ok with forcing something on someone else, a *helpless and unconsenting someone else*. It's apalling how easily folks dismiss consent in human relations. Yes, that does piss me off. : ) More a disappointment than anger, but still a real pisser.

"I can't speak for you, but my penis seems to function at 100%. I don't have any anxiety about it not functioning at 110%."

I'm going to ask you to think for a second about similar situations and whether you might be going through a similar process. Many many women in the middle east speak as you do about clitorectomies (female "circumcision"). They are adults, and will say it doesn't bother them. I'd suggest that this is normal.

They aren't giving full thought to what was done to them, what it meant for how others devalue thier consent, for how others have molded thier lives and dictated certain aspects of it, or for what they have really lost. They focus on one thing - am I ok today? The answer of course is yes. So then they go and like a convert, proclaim loudly that if it was good enough for them, there can't be a problem with it for thier daughter. Etc etc.

My point being that folks who have no choice but to cope with something frequently do. Humans are magnificently resilient. It doesn't mean that what we cope with is trivial, to be dismissed, or less wrong. It means we can cope.

Yes, you have 100% of your current function. Try thinking comparatively. How would you feel if an anonymous stranger came up and numbed about 15-20% of it away? How about a stroke that caused a loss of sensation in your tongue? Feel like going color blind? If these things would bother you, then you have to be honest in admitting that more is better, especially when it's the more you were born with and which is rightfully yours until you wish to give it up.

Don't get me wrong. I'm ok today with what I've got. I'm glad you're ok with what you've got. I'm never going to be ok with someone screwing with my body for arbitrary reasons long before I could express my lack of consent. It's fucking scary. It also has broader implications for how consent issues are dealt with in general in our culture, which also concerns me.

"when my parents said "You're going to the Doctor/Dentist", my ass went to the Doctor. Period. Not up for debate. I went. "

Ditto here. Proper and regular health maintenance is important. However the fact is just that there is very significant debate (though I tend to be dismissive of the pro-cutting side's arguments) over this. It's very difficult to see pro-cutting as anything but a mirror of the struggle in Africa to validate a centuries old tradition in modern medical terms. It can't be done. Trying to invent new reasons for an old crime is, well, pathetic. Not speaking to you, but the medical establishment that refuses to acknowledge that maybe they've been involved in something that lacked a robust medical reason.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of littel minds."

There's also another debate, though the issues are nearly identical, about intersexed children. Pediatrics freuqently insist that such children be sculpted and drugged into a more normal look, not for any medical benefit - it actually causes lifelong complications, like any sex-change operation would in an adult, but simply so that a person without clear male/female sex characteristics can be made more common-looking. There's a good documentary about it. Discovery Channel rocks for publicizing this. Parents are put under huge pressure during a very delicate time to permit surgeons to do radical and permanent things to thier children's body. The weight of the authority exercised by doctors in this case should not, IMO be used to advocate such procedures on infants. Yet they'll argue to the cows come home that it's for the best, despite the adult survivors of such procedure who mostly want it banned. They don't know what's best, silly freaks. : )

Again, I'm just disappointed that consent isn't seen as the trump card. It should be a nearly impossible argument to defeat. Scary that it's not.

Over the past 20 years, my teeth have become misaligned from the 3rd molar growth,

Well, then they should have come out! we probably shouldn't let the comparison to teen-adult dental work blur the issue - too many factors change for the analogy to hold up. Sorry bout your teeth though.

[ Parent ]
What particularly saddens me... (none / 0) (#231)
by ti dave on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:29:39 AM EST

In the Societies that practice clitorectomy, the practice was limited,
in the past, to removal of the clitoral hood.

I won't be a hypocrite and criticize that particular practice, since it is the functional equivalent of male circumcision of the penile foreskin.

These people truly believe they are fulfilling their "pact with Allah", and to attempt to sway them would be akin to standing on the tracks to stop a locomotive.

However, in recent times the practice has been modified to become complete removal of the clitoris, which I find abhorrent and a complete Human Rights violation.

More shockingly, though their boys are generally circumcised as infants, with little awareness and recollection of the procedure, girls are subjected to clitorectomies at the ages of 7-11.
At that age, they're quite aware of the pain, humiliation and the reason for the procedure.
I often wonder if the disparity between the ages is a reflection of misogynistic attitudes.

ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
it's the whole sacred cuture angle (none / 0) (#232)
by migrantatheist on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:21:38 PM EST

These people truly believe they are fulfilling their "pact with Allah",

When actually, even that isn't true. The practice has nothing to do with Islam, but is a cultural practice taken out of its tribal context. The horrific absence of any kind of substantive education results in a sort of general ignorance, even surrounding important cultural prctices like this.

The average person assumes, and thier friends agree, that if this practice has so much ritual around it, it must be part of the religion. Making culture sacred through better ignorance. Kinda sickening.

as infants, with little awareness and recollection of the procedure,

See, I don't think the major flaw here is that the victims in one case can't recall the crime, and in another they can. As I see it, the major common factor is the lack of recognition of the right of self-determination of the individual regarding thier own bodies. That, and an appalling lack of interest in considering consent as a relevant aspect of human interaction. The same underlying attitude prevails in both cases, the only difference being in the timing of the forced alterations, which I can't honestly say I view as in any way significant. Kill me now, kill me later, it's all pretty much the SSDD. : )

Back to one bit you mentioned,

which I find abhorrent and a complete Human Rights violation.

Ok, so there is a line that you draw. I really don't want to keep up with this whole circumcision debate, mostly cus it's been done to death on the net. Still, what's the sudden Human Rights violation? More or less, it's still bits getting cut off. Define the issue in terms of general principles that aren't specific to the event. It's not altering another's body without consent that you have a problem with. We've already established that you similarly don't have a problem with diminishing another's sense organs, since they'll still experience 100% of what they are used to when grown up. So, what other principle do you see being violated? Or is it perhaps that faced with the same crime in greater degree, yer wrong-meter is saying what was tolerable before (but still wrong) is now still wrong but not tolerable? If that's so, ,go back and look at what you could tolerate before. Is it really so different in essence? It's like tolerating punches until you see someone bludgeoned. Go back to those punches. They may have been tolerable but they were still wrong.

<shrug> It's been fun, and interesting. : ) But i'm bowing out of this one now. Thanks!

[ Parent ]

Clarification. (none / 0) (#233)
by ti dave on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:46:53 PM EST

what's the sudden Human Rights violation?

To clarify, I categorize total removal of the clitoris as such, due to
the effect of totally removing the ability of the woman to experience an orgasm.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Beating a child... (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:28:02 PM EST

... isn't living "your" life free from the "meddleing" of those pesky "liberals". It is the abuse of another human being. You are NOT living "your" life in peace, you are intentionally and maliciously causing another person (NOT yourself) to suffer.

No matter if it is a government entity (the schools), a husband beating his wife, an abusive parent beating a child, or random thugs beating and robbing a pedestrian, all are equally contemptable.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

To avoid really offending me... (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by ti dave on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 05:02:22 AM EST

try the following phraseology;

... isn't living one's life free from the "meddleing" of those pesky "liberals". It is the abuse of another human being. A person is NOT living their life in peace, they are intentionally and maliciously causing another person (NOT themself) to suffer.

You see, this revised version isn't quite so close to libel.

BTW, You dished out that "1" as if you had observed me beat my own child.
Do you understand the phrase "Devil's Advocate"?

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Point taken. (5.00 / 1) (#210)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 02:38:51 PM EST

I'll openly admit that I'm rathar hot-headed on the issue of child abuse. The reasons are rathar personal, and not for discussion here But I shouldn't have been so quick to judge you. I just kicked that one up to a three.

I would argue tho, that in this case the devil doesn't deserve an advocate. The trash that would abuse a child are beneath all contempt, and are deserving of neither sympathy nor mercy from the civilized members of the human race.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

which is just another instance... (none / 0) (#200)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 09:51:10 PM EST

... of conservatives whinging when someone interfere's with thier being anti-social pricks.

I'm not speaking about conservatives in general of course -- many are kind folks who'd noever abuse a child. I'm just referring to the child-beaters who want me to enable thier habit through silence and looking the other way.

[ Parent ]
hee hee (5.00 / 3) (#178)
by karb on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:46:48 PM EST

There was a comment a week ago about this on kuro5hin. I was thinking about responding, but didn't.

You can argue about whether the left or the right is, traditionally, more vile in concern to imposing its will on its citizens. I think the simplest response would be to compare Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Both were extremely oppressive and killed large numbers of their own citizens. National Socialism is very far right. Communism is very far left. So, I would say the danger is not the left nor the right, but the far left _and_ the far right.

If you think that conservatives do not feel imposed on by 'progressive' politics it is probably because you just don't travel in conservative circles much and/or espouse conservative values. Here are some examples off the top of my head:

  • Socializing health care. (forcing everybody to pay for everybody else's medical care)
  • Forcing religious organizations (including churches) to hire homosexuals. (A limited case, but as hot an issue to conservatives as a DMCA-rejected serial cable on k5.)
  • Gun control in general, especially since places swimming in conservatives and guns are low in gun violence. (why should I give up my guns to solve somebody else's problems?)
  • I am distressed and disturbed that you dismiss eco-terror as insignificant while figuring anti-abortion terrorism prominently. While eco-terrorism is currently less violent, it is unlikely to remain that way and is far more common, probably by orders of magnitude. (Not saying leftism is more prone to terror, just saying that extremists of both sides are equally prone to resorting to terror.)
  • Affirmative Action.
  • Taking down the southern cross. (I understand many consider it offensive, but others are equally vehemant about it being tradition. Why arbitrarily choose one over the other?)
  • Special rules banning picketing near abortion clinics. (which arguably protect the rights of those going to the abortion clinics, but left-leaning anti-globalists practice similar tactics legally)

I saw an interesting show on book tv. It was by an author of a book that worked to debunk many negative myths about christianity and our culture. He pointed out that many groups lobby the government to get what they want, but when conservative christians do it, they are portrayed as "forcing their will." Everybody tries to force their will on everybody else through lobbying and voting. "Forcing their will" is just a play by people who don't like conservative christians.
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

Just a second (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by karb on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:08:04 PM EST

Before I get potentially flamed out of existance, I want to emphasize that I am not trying to start flinging arrows at the left. I just find that any viewpoint that sees either the left or the right as more oppressive/benevolent/accepting (etc.) is naive.
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]
The freedom to choose fascism (none / 0) (#190)
by I am Jack's username on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:00:44 PM EST

"You can argue about whether the left or the right is, traditionally, more vile in concern to imposing its will on its citizens. I think the simplest response would be to compare Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia" -- karb

Both examples are on the fascist border. While "the right" is a glob in the authoritarian/fascist + capitalist/neoliberal corner, "the left" is in the libertarian/anarchist + socialist/communist corner (there are a few lefties in the authoritarian/fascist + socialist/communist sector (Stalin), and a few rightwingers in the libertarian/anarchist + capitalist/neoliberal sector (Friedman), but they are much rarer).

I agree that progressives imposing their agendas on conservatives is unfair, as is the opposite. I'd prefer a system where communities are free to choose anything between anarchism and fascism, communism and anarcho[sic]-capitalism.
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Green?, could only be Eugene. (4.50 / 2) (#123)
by SmallTime on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:48:13 AM EST

Eugene, Oregon. Home of tree-huggers, pesticide protestors, aging hippies, and the University of Oregon Ducks. Population 130,000. What more could you want? Rains a bunch (provides the green). Economy a little slow at the moment, but could be worse. Some High tech industries. All the non-progressive tolerant former inhabitants have moved to Springfield, our sister city. Some residents consider anarchists a bit left of acceptable, if that gives you an idea.

Moscow, Idaho! (3.00 / 2) (#124)
by pietra on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:48:34 AM EST

Seriously. The University of Idaho is here, and it has an *excellent* computer science/engineering department. Washington State University is right across the border (you can spit and hit Washington from here). Between the two, you can do pretty decently in tech fields, and meet a lot of interesting and intelligent people. It's incredibly cheap to live here, and I've never met such a friendly bunch of people in my life. It's also very pretty. If you like to ski/snowboard, there are some of the best lifts in the world only a couple hours' drive away. The Snake River is pretty close by, and it's stunning. It's also very nice to swim in August. Despite being in the most Republican state in the US, Moscow's remarkably liberal and tolerant by even a former Berkeley and Santa Cruz resident's standards (for one, I have yet to see a homeless person; people can Actually Afford to Live Here, and no one feels okay about letting someone else sleep out in the cold). I'm missing a showing of The Laramie Project right this minute, in fact. For being in the Pacific Northwest, Moscow isn't that cold; there's a fair amount of snow, but it's not overwhelming. Religion ranges from a Tibetan Buddhist center to multiple permutations of Baptists and sundry other Protestant types. I don't think there's a Jewish temple within 100 miles, though; I can't find matzoh bread to save my life, and I like matzoh brei for breakfast. The state of Idaho is rather conservative, but Moscow seems to be the state's primary attempt at progressivism. (There's a town ordinance, similar to Santa Cruz', permitting women to go topless. Not very many women take them up on it, though.) It's not a wild party town, so if you like going clubbing, it's not the place for you.

Moscow is cozy, pleasant, and generally the nicest place I've ever lived. People care about each other here. It's a small enough place that you can actually get to know the waitress at the local Italian restaurant within a couple of months, and she'll remember on a busy Friday night that you like coffee at ungodly hours, and start a pot perking even before you order it. It's a good place to be. Check the whole area out at www.palouse.net.

Heh! (none / 0) (#133)
by valeko on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:13:56 AM EST

Slightly unrelated: What's really sad is when you ask somebody from one of the plains states (Nebraska, say) what they know of Moscow [referring to the Russian capital], and they say, "like, Moscow, Idaho?"


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Up and down the left coast (3.80 / 5) (#125)
by spacefrog on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:52:50 AM EST

I've lived up and down the west coast my entire life and can comment on several areas.

Very progressive. Very clean. Hiking, skiing, etc are close by. Cost of living is very reasonable by west coast standards.

I did not care for the Portland tech scene in the slightest. For starters, the recruiters had a tendancy to not return your calls. It takes weeks to get an answer out of people, they are in no hurry to get their projects done, and it shows. I found the software industry to be about 24 months behind the curve, in general (practices, technologies, etc.).

Climate in Portland is OK, if you can deal with rain. And lots of it. Luckily, it doesn't freeze very often. Summers are to die for.

Bay Area
I lived in the Bay area for a few years. I moved around a bit, and thus spent time in the East Bay, South Bay, and the CityTM.

East Bay
Borring. Quiet. Bridge traffic was awful. 'nuff said.

South Bay
Techie haven. Great wages. Horrible cost of living. I found the south bay very easy to get around by car, although if you plant o rely on public transportation, forget it. I enjoyed my time there, but eventually it gets really old to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of mirror images of yourself.

The City
Lots of fun. The difference in rent as compared to the South Bay was offset exactly by a raise in car insurance premiums. Lots to do, and it was generally easier to get around by leaving the car at home.

Southern California

Stay away. Stay far away. Need I say more?

San Diego
Generally enjoyable. I lived right outside of downtown and enjoyed the diversity and culture. Lots to do, traffic generally isn't too bad, beach and Mexico are close by.

Oceanside, CA (current)
I bought a house in this medium-sized suburban enclave 30 miles north of San Diego. I like it because it is quiet and my neighborhood borders a lake and large wooded area where I can bring my dog. Downsides... Public transportation sucks. Nightlife sucks.

"The City" (none / 0) (#137)
by blankbox on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:53:08 AM EST

By "The City" I assume you mean San Francisco. Some people think it's "New York". ;)

I happen to live in "The City" (san francisco) right now. I don't know if people should live here. Living here too long will make you forget that the rest of the country is entirely different. For instance, we don't have NBC on our local channels and we didn't vote for dubbya bush (well, not all of us).

The food is excellent here. We have a huge selection in San Francisco, but you also have the benefit of other restarants in the neighboring cities.

Don't come here if you can't deal with the cold. The weather here is between sunny and wet and is inconsistant. In Buffalo if it's snowing, it's the same temperature of cold. Here, you may be rained on, fogged on, sunned on in various combination. It's hard to adapted. I've lived here for 20 years and finally got the hang of it.

Don't come here if you want the night life like New York. This city closes early. Liquor is stopped after 2am and a handful of eating places stay open after midnight.

We have plenty of open minded people though. Don't expect too much from them though. They can still be idiots. We are human after all.

[ Parent ]
Tolerance (1.40 / 22) (#127)
by Baldrson on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:56:18 AM EST

Increasing per capita HIV infection rates are a good metric of progressiveness. Areas where HIV has peaked, such as Washington, D. C. are places where a backlash is occuring and should be avoided by AIDS vectors.

As of 2000, the highest per capita HIV growth rates in America are places like Oklahoma, Alaska, Vermont and the midwest. There are still a lot of uninfected people around those areas so you can get cured if you find one of the many uninfected individuals, preferably a virgin girl, to have sex with.

-------- Empty the Cities --------

Best (North American)? Deepfreeze, CHCH, NZ? (4.25 / 4) (#136)
by ragnarok on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:28:21 AM EST

How about the DeepFreeze home base in Christchurch, New Zealand. The DeepFreeze base is legally a U.S.Federal territory, according to the arrangement with the New Zealand Government, so you're still in the U.S. of A.

The downside is that it is a tiny part of the Christchurch Airport complex, so if you want to stay on U.S. soil, you'll miss the city.

Christchurch is a somewhat cultured - think pearls, bits of sand, pearl divers, and a huge piece of indirection - city, it's got a couple of Universities and a couple of polytechs/community colleges, plus a symphony orc, and an arts centre, and other attractions. It's not a particularly religious city, so not a particularly religious environment. And the employers will welcome you with open arms - solely because you're not New Zealand-educated and trained. That way they can whine and bleat about the cost of employing people, without ever using their intelligence and asking the question, "How about I employ some of the people here?" That involves thought, which is indescribably life-threatening to management.

Anyway, enjoy your job search.

"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies

Madison, WI (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by hardburn on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:29:00 AM EST

OK, so you may not like cheese, but Madison, WI is still a very liberal city. It's got a little over 200k people, and it's a college town. Things are a bit tight everywhere right now, but Madison tends not to get hit as hard when the economy plummets.

I'm not asking for a hippy head-count . . .

Tough, you're going to get one :) The county Madison is in had 10% of its voters going to Nader (and 60% for Gore). Since the old Wisconsin governor, Tommy Thompson (a Republican), left his job to take a position in the Bush adminstration, Tommy's brother (Ed Thompson) decided to run for governor. Intrestingly, Ed is a Libertarian. Making quite the run for it, too.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

Pittsburgh (3.66 / 3) (#154)
by shpoffo on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:47:27 AM EST

you probably won't hear it recommended much because it often seems to be overlooked. Our weather is higly varied, though - and you'll find cynical people who will do nothing but complain about it. They just need to move, though, so the rest of us can enjoy it's little hidden treasures.The arts and cultural foundation is really strong and very open to those who actually wish to create something of cutural worth - I like it better than NYC, but i also don't like the pulse of NYC in general, though..

Pittsburgh is a working town - if you aren't really trying to accomplish something in your life, then you may not find you'll like it too much.

I think this city is great =) If you visit you can contact me for local scenes.


Wrong approach (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by UserUnknown on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:57:56 AM EST

I can tell you Huntsville Alabama is not a place where liberals feel welcome. One thing though, maybe instead of everyone moving to liberal sanctuaries it would be best to infiltrate the towns like Huntsville Alabama and other right wing strongholds, we need to balance these places out. As it is now it's almost pointless to vote here if you are a liberal its already assumed you can't win.


Austin, TX (3.75 / 4) (#158)
by dukethug on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:20:44 PM EST

I actually just joined K5 specifically to recommend my new home town to you. Austin is absolutely fantastic.

Now, I know what you're thinking- Texas. Let me just clear something up for you. "Austin" and "Texas" have very little to do with each other. Sure, you can say that the two places are close to one another, geographically speaking. And I've even heard some people who claim that one of those places is actually contained inside the other. But make no mistake- they are distinct entities.

I went to school at Duke, in the Triangle. On the whole, I would recommend against it unless you are almost 30. The average age of Austinities is 26. UT-Austin is here, whose women were rated by Playboy as among the most beautiful in the country. The entire town is a mix of the university, government, and techies- all 3 generally liberal professions. The cost of living is great (no state income tax!), the live music scene can only be matched by a city 4 times Austin's size, and the water skiing and mountain biking out here is phenomenal. Oh, and did I mention the BBQ?

The only downside I can think of is the traffic, which is worse than the Triangle but better than the Bay Area. There is also the occasional tornado, but you weigh that against the earthquakes. Hey man, it's your call- but if you pass on Austin, you are really missing out.

What does "progressive-minded" mean? (3.50 / 2) (#164)
by Hizonner on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:59:45 PM EST

Seriously, what does it mean? As far as I can tell from the context where I usually see it, it means people who've read too much Foucault (or too much Lenin)... but who gave those people a monopoly on progress?

Interesting question. (4.00 / 1) (#193)
by valeko on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:42:46 PM EST

It's often enough that I expect the definition of "progressive" to mean Leninism or something too, but instead I get "punk rock", "sexual freedom", "garage bands", and other such sillyness. This may all be very interesting, but I'd be scared if this was the canonical meaning of "progress".

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

well, let's check the dictionary... (none / 0) (#202)
by migrantatheist on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:09:35 PM EST

...sorry for the sarcasm, but it's what I did, really!

Progressive @ dictionary.com
Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods

Sure, many think, well who wouldn't be in favor of that? The answer is any reactionary future-phobe who'd like to go back to the old days, who resists the notion that any good can come of coordinated human activity, as in government, and folks who are having problems with things like reform, eliminating favoritism for *thier* social/economic class, party, race, creed, or whatever. I live surrounded by these folks. <shrug> It's not that complicated. Progress is moving forward, improving society a bit at a time.

[ Parent ]
Try LA (3.75 / 4) (#170)
by ocelotbob on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:08:45 PM EST

Yeah, it's an odd town that people either love or hate, but it's definitely an experience everyone should have. Politics change depending on which part of the city you live in - The Westside is full of liberals, down near Palos Verdes is fairly conservative. Housing's fairly expensive; in some parts, one bedroom apartments go for $2500+/month, but OTOH, I pay $400/month for my single. Traffic is something that takes getting used to. Rush hour is horrible, but if you're willing to live unusual hours, you can get around fairly quickly. Lots of diversity, the air's getting better, lots of jobs no matter what your skill set is. Yes, there are a sizable amount of "phoney" people, but there are also a lot of good people as well.

LA's a city of extremes. Half the time, you love it, the other half, you loathe it. It's not for everyone to set roots in, but it is a place to at least try.

Why... in my day, the idea wasn't to have a comfortable sub[missive]...

True in parts (none / 0) (#225)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:23:27 AM EST

but anyone moving to LA expecting it to be progressive had best be careful *where* in town they go; the San Fernando Valley is fairly conservative, and the San Gabriel Valley is worse; meanwhile, Orange County and the Inland Empire are practically the bible belt.

As for the air, I was *shocked* when I recently flew from Burbank to San Jose and the air was *worse* in San Jose.

[ Parent ]

You're kidding about LA... (none / 0) (#238)
by khallow on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 09:33:34 PM EST

LA is the master template for all the little suburbs that have sprouted like sickly mushrooms in the great homeland. I've been there briefly and it sucks - downtown and suburb. Instead maybe you should consider Southern places like Atlanta, Charlotte, or Raleigh-Durham? At least, they add some common sense and southern culture to the progressive mix. Portland and Seattle look pretty good too. California is a giant cultural wasteland.

[ Parent ]
Jobs (4.00 / 3) (#180)
by mujo on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:10:26 PM EST


I've been earning my life working only on linux in Montreal for 3 years now; Some of this time with johnnyc actually ;-).

There are a lot of nice little computer shops around here that are to me technologically open-minded.

Oups (1.00 / 1) (#181)
by mujo on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:17:00 PM EST

This was meant as a reply to this comment.


[ Parent ]
NYC (3.50 / 2) (#198)
by Rainy on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:36:00 PM EST

Move to new york and become a yellow cabbie. You want diversity, right?
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Western Massachusetts (4.00 / 1) (#215)
by leviramsey on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 12:56:43 AM EST

Ya got everything: a decaying metro area (Springfield), a happening college town (towns actually: Northampton and Amherst), *very* progressive politics (they don't call it the People's Republic of Amherst for nothing), lots of rural areas, great skiing, Boston and NYC 2-3 hours away tops, and (of late) good weather [this winter has been really warm].

Even though Massachusetts has had Republicans in the State House since '90, the Massachusetts Republican is to the left of most Democrats in the US....

Birmingham (none / 0) (#237)
by FeersumAsura on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 09:59:47 AM EST

I know you said North American but the UK is quite nice. Well Birmingham, UK is a very nice place to live. It's the second largest city in England, it has a very diverse population, excellent theatres, clubs, cinemas and a relaxed police force.
Downsides are moderately frequent bomb scares near Aston Uni (where I live). The UK garage nights always kick off (not bothered as I hate garage). Parking is terrible, it's almost pointless to own a car but bus passes are cheap. Consider leaving America, you may not regret it, believe me I've been to America quite a few times.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
Best (North American) places to live for the progressive-minded | 233 comments (192 topical, 41 editorial, 0 hidden)
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