(by Kelly Cheng)
Workers across the European Union have launched an unprecedented string of strikes in a co-ordinated battle against austerity cuts on Wednesday.
The strikes are intended to paralyse factories and public sector offices, and have grounded more than 700 flights. Organisers are urging national leaders to abandon fiscal austerity measures and address growing social anxiety.
Walkouts are expected in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, with other protests planned in Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
It is the first time unions have engaged in simultaneous strikes across the continent, said the European Trade Union Confederation, which organised the “Day of Action and Solidarity”."
It’s 3am (local time) and thousands of people have already started the General Strike in Madrid, Spain.
Sigh. Ohhhh USA.
A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary says the “Holocaust never happened.”
Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family-friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.
“As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.
“The more survivors, the more lies that are told.
I think I have put this off for so long (almost two weeks now) largely because I have no idea what to write. What was my experience in Italy? I know that it was great, that I spent double the time there that I have ever spent backpacking another European country (in fact, besides Chile, when I lived in one place for four weeks, it IS the longest I’ve spent backpacking any one country) but it’s pretty much impossible to sum up. It isn’t even like a “north south” thing. Was the north Turin or Milan or Venice? All have distinct identities. All were great experiences, even if Venice may have been my least favorite. The south… Ischia or Sicily or Stromboli or Naples? All were amazing. And nothing like the north.
And I love the whole thing in a way that is special to Italia.
So. Thanks to everyone who cooked for me, everyone I couchsurfed with in the north, everyone I met along the way, the people who put up with my silly hiking pace and profuse sweating in Cinque Terre and on various mountains, and to everyone else who made my time in Italy amazing. Thanks to the random families in the south who invited me to their dinners and gave me profuse amounts of wine, to the friend of a friend of a couchsurfing host who let me stay in his house in Bolognia despite law school finals and a few earthquakes (and even found time for some drinks and politics), the Milanese oil workers who so passionately love their job and adopted city (ha…. haha) and who took me out for what may have been the most stereotypically Milano night imaginable. And of course, to all the random people who showed me the way when I was stuck.
The Italian lifestyle (particularly in the south) probably pulls off being relaxed while “living the good life” more than any place I have been… the wine, the food, the coffee. I’ll try to bring more of that home to Manhattan with me (or at least get an espresso machine and say I brought the attitude too.)
Word. Thanks people. Now just another week in Tunisia and it’s off to Greece.
Andrew (1 July 2012)
So for anyone seeking a reason to consider me a complete looser, idiot, or clueless nerd, I give it to you here: whenever I am in absolute paradise, I start auditing my financial plans for the future. I know it sounds crazy, and it probably is, but it’s my “pop up indicator” that I’m in an absolutely amazing position.
In all honesty, I don’t think there is that much that is strange about being happy and trying to make sure you can afford to preserve the things that make you happy now and in the future. But. Right. Maybe that’s the German in me.
Stromboli (it is a place. Not just a food. Actually, I haven’t seen any of the food (Stromboli) in the place (Stromboli), a strange coincidence) is pretty much paradise.
It began just a few hours after I wrote my bit about Naples. I arrived in Stromboli, got lost looking for a place to stay (somewhat refreshingly but also overwhelmingly there was nobody trying to push any kind of accommodation on me), eventually found my way, and came to the place I ended up staying. In rough Italian, I asked “Errr… is this the house of the sun? (it sounds less awkward in spanish/italian).” A woman said yes, and that she’d call the owner. Though it took two hours for the owner to come, this woman, who turned out to be another guest, and her husband, both from just outside of napes, ended up making me calamari risotto and a plate of four kinds of cheese and giving me at least a bottle of the best white wine (which came from five gallon plastic water bottles) I have ever had. And I don’t even like white wine.
It was kind of like Naples was a prep course for Sicily. I still have just under two weeks left in Sicily, so perhaps that will end up being the case. Friendly people, great food, very slow everything else. But that’s OK.
Stromboli is, really and truly, paradise found. Great black sand beaches. An active volcano (!!!!) that erupts about every 20 mins (I have seen my first 10 or so volcanic eruptions here, all in a few days). And, of course, the southern Italian hospitality that makes pretty much everyone everywhere else in the world seem unfriendly.
I climbed the volcano (about 2,800 feet/900 meters) of course, with some Germans who were also exceptionally friendly. Really, everything, everywhere has been great.
And yes, I’ve looked over my budget for the next decade or so. Apparently I’ll be able to keep travelling like this while paying off student loans and saving up for my next 2-3 year long travel June extravaganza, only a few years away. And living in Manhattan. Sweet.
Well really I guess I mean Naples. I haven’t spent time more than an hour outside of Naples as yet. So let’s go with that. I have never simultaneously loved and hated a city the way I do Naples. In the beginning the hatred definitely outweighed the love, at the moment I’d say it’s probably the opposite situation.
The biggest factor in this shift? I took the advice of a friend: treat Naples like Africa. Or, not really Africa, but like any place that is more or less underdeveloped, or whatever we want to call it. In the case of Naples, there is a very special difference, of course. This underdevelopment is created by Neapolitan corruption, refusal to pay for transit and tax and many other phenomena, and so responsibility for the state of the city falls squarely on society here itself (as opposed to, say, a developing country, where a history of imperialism and exploitative loans and diplomatic tactics from more powerful nations play the decisive role).
I spent my first two days in Naples couchsurfing, staying probably 30 minutes outside of the city center by car, which of course translated to upwards of an hour by bus. In and of itself, I could have dealt with that… but the fact that the buses come, at most, once an hour, and they don’t follow any form of written schedule (meaning that the shortest time one could reasonably expect to wait for any bus in the city is about 40 mins) makes it a pretty absurdly frustrating place. Add to that the rampant crime that goes unpunished in the streets (something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world, a blatant thief would still be heckled by upstanding citizens just about anywhere but here), and it’s easy to dislike Naples.
But… BUT. It’s just one of the most friendly cities in the world. The people here have been absolutely amazing. Once I learned to treat it like I do any other relatively nonfunctioning place (assuming any trip over 1 hour will take half a day and any trip over 4 will be a full day affair) I was able to see past the dysfunction to the hospitality. Literally everyone has been absurdly friendly to me here. Even now, as I sit here waiting for a ferry to leave for Sicily (a ferry ride which is 4 hours, but which I was required to check in for 2 hours in advance, and which now, naturally, is running late) a random group of Neopolitan guys has sat down with me and started force-feeding me some of the most delicious stromboli I have ever had. Moreso than anywhere I have been on mainland Italy, random people in the streets here are friendly, interested, open, and smiling. They get excited when I try to speak my terrible Italian (except for the rich people. They just say they don’t understand and storm away. But I guess that’s just because most rich people everywhere suck. Hence my obvious support for the common “Eat the Rich” graffiti which coats Neopolitan walls and security gates.).
Beyond that, it’s a beautiful city with color and history and ruins on a beach. Many of my favorite cities are like that…. Istanbul, Lisbon, Beirut (though in a different way) all pretty much fall under this catigorization.
So yeah. There’s Naples. Besides people I met travelling while IN Naples, literally every single traveller I have met in Italy said “What’s in Naples and why would you go there?”
The best food, the friendliest/nosiest people, the most laid back street culture, and yes, the most pickpockets I’ve seen in Italy. Everyone who just goes to touristy Sorrento to the south has really missed out.
Anonymous asked: how does one get over an ex boyfriend? I'm literally going insane. its been more than a year since we broke up. he's with someone else now. and i cant stop thinking about him. what the fuck do i do?
Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
One of the worst things to happen to Islam is the Islamic revolution in Iran.
For all you undecided voters out there...
Take a look at Jill Stein in the Green Party… someone who has truly stood by her...
For the upcoming US elections, think about the way in which the American elites have been able to exclude a large and important amount of people...
Oh, snap.ROMNEY: Let's talk about the other big one --LEHRER (interrupting): No, let's not.