Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Job and No Mortgage for All in a Spanish Town - NYTimes.com

I posted an article from El País two years ago on the inspiring little socialist town of Marinaleda (Sevilla), Spain, where the local government guarantees all residents housing and employment. They are still at it after 30 years, and I am pleased to link now to another article, this one in English from the New York Times.

Also see the town's website at marinaleda.com. Its section on "fiestas" says, "La alegría es un derecho del pueblo. El dinero no puede ser la barrera entre los que se divierten y los que no pueden divertirse." (Happiness is the people's right. Money must not be a barrier between those who have have fun and those who cannot have fun.")

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to make or break a Depression

"An economy should be set up like a hybrid engine in a car. You have the big, private engine and the smaller public engine, and the private engine turns along and does most of the driving, and it works most of the time. But in certain times, you need that hybrid engine to kick in and take over as the private engine falters. That’s key. That’s bottom line economic understanding."

Comments from Jim Gregory, a history professor I studied with while an undergraduate at the University of Washington. Read the rest of the interview in Real Change News.

Monday, May 18, 2009

History vs. heritage

History seeks to convince by truth, and succumbs to falsehood. Heritage exaggerates and omits, candidly invents and frankly forgets ... Heritage everywhere not only tolerates but thrives on historical error. Falsified legacies are integral to group identity and uniqueness."

--David Lowenthal, as quoted by A. Katie Harris in From Muslim to Christian Granada. Inventing a City's Past in Early Modern Spain (2007), p. xv.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jack Kerouac slept here

When I was 19 and 20, living in San Luis Obispo, I learned that Jack Kerouac worked a brief stint in the trainyards there in 1953, sleeping in a hotel a stone's throw from the railroad.

At the time I was attending community college, working in a bookstore, and cultivating a fascination for the Beats. I emulated my heroes every chance I got, hopping freight trains to Oakland, wandering high or just ecstatic through San Francisco’s streets, hitch-hiking to Big Sur to camp by the river and meet wide-eyed eccentrics along the highway. I imagined that the hotel Kerouac stayed in was an earlier incarnation of "the Establishment," the funky 19-bedroom shared house that I called home, in the railroad district.

These days, I ride trains with an Amtrak ticket in hand and my interest in Kerouac and Co. has waned. Even so, I have often daydreamed about researching his time in San Luis, hoping to prove that the place he stayed was none other than the big green home of dreamers and beautiful souls at the corner of Santa Barbara and Leff Streets.

Turns out, my hunch was right...

Off the road
Jack Kerouac slept here