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We bet the romantic-industrial complex doesn’t even know we exist…

14 Feb

On this day of all things heart-shaped and/or fluffy, a look at the economics of Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Feministing’s Samhita Mukhophadyay (writing in The Nation).

(image courtesy of Ben Kling)

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Join the great Internet Blackout of 2012

18 Jan

Today only. You can find out more, sign a petition, find your Congressional representatives phone number and get a handy toolkit, or all through our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who also give a good description of why action is important.

Invest in Main Street, Not Wall Street!

7 Jan

OWS encouraged individuals to take matters into their own hands and move their money on November 5th, 2011 out of  the “Bix Six” banks (Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo) and instead, use community banks or credit unions.  

11/05/11 has passed, but it’s the New Year!, and there’s no time like the present to make a resolution to move at least one account (if you have more than one) to a local bank.  To learn more, check out “The Move Your Money” project at 

http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/

There you can find local banks or credit unions in your neighborhood, and learn more about the foundation in general (co-founded by Arianna Huffington).  According to Moebs Services (an economic research firm), more than 4 million accounts have already been moved out of big banks in the past year!

Join the movement, and make the next big bankers’ “fat bonus” check a little bit slimmer.  (Slimmer…  Hmm, that could be a resolution too! 🙂

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/