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The Restless City

27 Dec

“You can’t own New York”, says author Joanne Reitano. When our friend Marian, a librarian, was given the opportunity to re-stock a library where she works, we suggested Joanne’s book, The Restless City. It’s a fun, lively and extraordinary look at a city always in transition, always reinventing itself, but also one made great by 400 years of change by conflict – protests, strikes, boycotts, riots, controversies. Not just a book for New Yorkers, but for anyone who is interested in colorful stories of giving “voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless”. You can follow it up with The Restless City Reader.

Got your picture on the cover of

15 Dec

Get a discount on “This Land…” for the holidays!

8 Dec

Ka-chinnng! Starting now until the end of the year, we’re offering 25% off This Land is Your Land on DVD! The perfect gift for anyone interested in issues about citizenry in the age of modern corporatism; head on over to our store and simply enter HARDWORKINGMOVIES as a discount code before checking out, and 25% will automatically be deducted from your order. Santa is unionized in 2012 – go get This Land is Your Land now.

The Austin Motel Revisited

3 Dec

Even though there is an expensive hotel next door, with fancier soap, I couldn’t imagine visiting Austin and not staying at the Austin Motel. Unless of course it’s packed, which is often the case. This time I checked in, but didn’t see the cardboard cutout of Elvis in the lobby. The girl at the front desk said it was put away because it’s faded and old. A little disappointed because even a faded Elvis is better than none at all, but then I saw the picture of the motel’s owner, Dottye Dean, on the wall. I knew Dottye didn’t put that picture up herself but was afraid to ask.

Dottye’s segment in This Land Is Your Land was one of my favorites of the whole film. She tells a story about the fire that hit the motel a number of years earlier. Instead of firing employees when there were no guests to service, the employees were used to fix up the motel, making it ready for them to re-open again. She didn’t have to let go of any employees during that hard time. And, as Dottye says, if she had been a corporate-owned business, accountable to shareholders, she wouldn’t have been able to do that. With one anecdote, she was able to summarize a big problem in American business today. Accountability to shareholders, instead of people.

When I checked out of the motel a couple days later, I asked the front desk clerk what happened to Dottye. He said she died April 22, 2011 after a struggle with illness. Dottye inherited the business from her mother, and the family tradition continues. Her son Mark is now in the process of relocating his family from Massachusetts to run the motel. Asked if he’s hopeful the motel will stay the same place we love, the desk clerk sighed and said, “I will tell you this… I think we’re shocked by just how employee-friendly she was. The profit margins are very low in this place.”

I’m hopeful they’ll keep it going! In 2011, The Austin Chronicle named The Austin Motel the Best Motel in Austin – for the 15th year in a row. We’ll miss you, Dottye. So Close But Still So Far Out!

http://www.austinmotel.com/

“Morale is high, in spite of bologna sandwiches”

4 Nov

So says Rev. Billy in a call to his people from jail. Reverend Billy, Chris Hedges arrested today at Goldman Sachs. 

Adding beauty

2 Nov

Before we fell in love with “Benjamin Smoke”  we marveled at the stunning Super 8mm films of Jem Cohen. He’s been out filming at Wall Street – maybe you will be lucky enough to be captured by his camera like these people in the Gravity Hill Newsreels.

Dress for Success

25 Oct

A Thom Hartmann Sandwich

20 Oct

Well, that’s pretty much what was served on last week’s “Real Time with Bill Maher“; Thom was placed between John Fund, who advocated a national flat tax rate, and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who… also advocated a national flat tax rate, just even lower. Between these two loaves of insanity-bread was Thom – check out the first segment of the show below:

Jim Hightower on Occupy Wall Street

19 Oct

Jim recently posted a blog post about OWS:

If you had any doubt about the seriousness of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that is springing up from America’s grassroots like hardy wildflowers, just note the frantic fulminations against it by assorted Wall Street toadies.The corporate cheerleaders on CNBC, for example, reached back to the nasty days of McCarthyism to smear the youthful protesters as “aligned with Lenin.” Little Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader who loyally serves the banksters as their Washington lapdog, yapped in alarm about “the growing mobs occupying Wall Street.” Then came Mitt Romney, himself a former Wall Streeter, to warn darkly against the protesting rabble: “I think it’s dangerous – this class warfare.”

Read the whole thing!

Clear your Saturday

12 Oct