A great Harper’s–and where the stimulus money has gone.

A great Harper’s–and where the stimulus money has gone.

Instead of reading the NYTimes on my Kindle this morning in the bathtub, I reached for the latest Harper’s instead. It was a great one. There was a fantastic article on election rigging (I am amply vindicated in my conviction that Bush may not have won–either time), another great article about why austerity doesn’t work (that, sadly, Faux News won’t read or probably even understand if they did because it includes–gasp!–numbers), and a piece on writing amidst the homeless in the downtown Seattle library (which, despite its undeniable architectural creativity and yes, even genius, is sadly antithetical to my notions of what a library should be).

But one thing that really struck me was a fantastic piece about stimulus money and where it’s gone. Apparently, most of us see its effects every day–we just don’t know they were funded by stimulus money. Check out the Recovery web site, insert your zip code, and see what projects have been funded around you.

It turns out my zip has received nearly 2.5 million in funding. To be fair, the descriptions are a little opaque, but they seem to be about public works: the community center, some land remediation, some other stuff that makes no sense to me. But still, I promptly emailed the site to my mother, who lives in the woefully conservative town of Julian, CA. (Put it this way: her neighbors have a huge sign that says Buck Ofama that is an ongoing bone of contention). I thought it would be a great topic for her weekly column in the Julian News.

“Did you know that Julian received 1.5 million in funds?” she zinged back. The local public school received a million. There was some brush clearing–great for one of those places that keeps burning to the ground. And the (this is one of the places that keeps burning). And the water district received a good chunk too. Not bad for a town with a population of 1,500.

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