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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rude Anyone?

When did it become acceptable to boo the Speaker of the House when she mentions the president's name? When did hate posters of an African-American President become acceptable as free speech and applauded by a supposedly Christian segment of society? When did we find hate speech, lies, villifying our neighbors to be acceptable behavior?

It is not easy to understand how the world who mourned Roosevelt, sat for four days in silence and respect when Kennedy was assassinated and stood by with respect to view Ronald Reagan's coffin went down hill so quickly and forgot basic respect and decorum.

Is is a sign of age, of decrepitude, of the decay of our democracy? Can we reverse ourselves enough to disagree without vilifying, to compromise instead of stand ready to do battle to the death along opposing lines?

Today a decision was made, a difficult one to make, in the House of Representatives. It went party lines. Brave men and women put their office on the line on both sides of the isle. Yet the language of hate prevails and slander and attack rises even in what in a civilized society should be a time of respect, and perhaps regrouping for future battles. Why is that?

My views are public. I have a preexisting condition. I am not wealthy or elite in any way other than, perhaps education level, and even there I feel there is much to learn and no woman or man is below me. I am for reform that goes far beyond what passed the House today. It is not government interfering but rather government doing what it was established to do, protecting the least of its citizens and providing a standard of basic human dignity and rights for all men and women.

This was not a victory for anyone, but it was an historic day of making considerable progress toward something a Republican, President Teddy Roosevelt, proposed and failed at 98 years ago. If he had succeeded the devestating flue pandemic that followed may have been mitaged into something far less lethal. Why knows what tragedy we avoided with the vote today.

Now, if you disagree, that is your right. You have a voice and a vote in June and in November. But is it your right to boo, shout attacks or parade around with hate symbols concerning those who out their lives on the line, dedicate their lives to do what they believe in? To attack the office, the culture and the very democracy in which we live by degrading those who hold office, who work as public servants?


Robert Culp dead after a fall

"I Spy" No More

The star of one of severeal television shows that shaped my childhood, and influenced my interest in writing and acting.

Robert Culp,who rose to fame as secret agent Kelly Robinson on the groundbreaking 1960s TV series "I Spy" and later played Ray Romano's father-in-law on "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died the age of 70. He died of complications from a fall in an LA park. The New York Times reports he was on a walk near his home.

CNN reports Culp not only acted in "I Spy," which aired on NBC from 1965 to 1968, he also wrote several episodes. The series, which also starred Bill Cosby as Robinson's partner (and, as their covers, trainer to Culp's globe-trotting tennis player), was the first to feature an African-American in a lead role and earned Cosby three Emmy awards. Culp's character was flawed, unusual for leading roles the time, choice he brought to the role. 

Remaining good friends for life with Cosby, Culp went on to a long career in motion pictures and television, He starred in the spouse swapping film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," and appeared in "The Pelican Brief".

Energy Lobby fight to keep Yucca Mountain Dump Alive

The energy companies and their lobbyist are hitting back, using congress, to try and give CPR to the Yucca Mountain Dump! The Review Journal reports that the Obama administration is under attack in the house by his own party for taking the funding from  Yucca Mountain, and his Energy Secretary criticized for taking actions toward shutting down the project Nevadans reject. The mildest reaction our of Washington was that Yucca will remain on the table as one possible option to dealing with high level nuclear waste, regardless of the actions of the administration and Senator Harry Reid in the senate.

Not long after a decision to investigate options, all other options were eliminated and only the "wasteland" of Nevada was considered or federal funds to study and eventually build a permanent place to "store" nuclear waste. Despite opposition that peaked at 97% of Nevadans in the polls, and a veto by Republican Governor Kenny Guinn, President George W Bush, for the first time in history, overrode a governor's vegto and signed Yucca Mountain into law.

The personal friendship with President Barrack Obama and his assent into majority leader of the US Senate (the most powerful position for the state any politician in the the history of this state has ever held), allowed Senator Harry Reid to detail Yucca. In he past, through his political connections, and ties to President Bill Clinton, Reid delayed the unwanted project using presidential budget cuts.

Huge amounts of money were spent by energy interests to shift Nevada opinion with no effect. A decrease to the still majority opposition occurred through people moving to Las Vegas from elsewhere unaware of the dump project and not versed in how it was rammed down the state's throat and the state legislature and government openly ignored in its wishes.

-Art Lync

GOP grinds government to a hault

Using rules, including one to mandate the Senate stop working at 2 PM and does not work weekends, Republicans are now working on slowing health care and other Democratic bills by grinding our government to a hault.

Thumbs down on program the gesture made famous

Disney TV / ABC has cancelled the longest running syndicated film review program "At the Movies". Siskel and Ebert were rival reviewers from two of the, at the time, four daily papers in Chicago, the powerful Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, With both of the founding talents, who began the show in the 1960's at Chicago Public Television Station WTTW Channel 11, out of the picture it was perhaps, only a matter of time before the show disapeared. The program went syndicated as "Sneak Preview" and was at its height in the 1980's. Siskel passed away and Ebert's throat cancer left him with an artificial voice. Then too the easy access to on-line reviews and programs patterned after the Siskel-Ebert rivalry have eroded interstes in their televised comments and the now easy to find elsewhere video clips shown on the program.

According to a press release reproduce on THR (the Hollywood Reporter on-line), from Disney-ABC Domestic Disribution:

After 24 seasons with us in national syndication, the highly regarded movie review show "At the Movies" (formerly known as "Siskel & Ebert" and "Ebert & Roeper") will air its last original broadcast the weekend of August 14, 2010. 
 
This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program's current co-hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips and top-notch production staff, and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we extend very special thanks to the two brilliant, visionary and incomparable critics that started it all, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.

Reid opens Gun Park in NLV while Tea Partiers visit his home town

Harry Reid’s gun party competes with Searchlight tea party
By Lisa Mascaro Las Vegas Sun News
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | 8:05 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- While the Tea Party folks bring their protest to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight on Saturday, Reid will be throwing a little party of his own at the new shooting range he helped build just north of Las Vegas.

Reid will be welcoming gun enthusiasts, including National Rifle Association executives Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, to the Clark County Shooting Park on Saturday for the official grand opening of the facility -- believed to be among the nation's largest.

The majority leader was instrumental in developing the $61 million park on 3,000 acres of federal lands that citizens had wanted for decades. Funding came mainly from Southern Nevada public lands management legislation Reid has championed while in Congress that allows unused federal lands to be sold with money returned to help Nevada communities.

The shooting range began operations in January. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and costs $7 a day to shoot rifles, pistols and archery, or $6 for shotgun rounds.

Help our vets

Las Vegas
Veterans Stand Down

Volunteers and Vets are welcome 
(call ahead to volunteer)


An Event for Homeless Veterans
MARCH 24 & 25, 2010
Doors open at 8:00 AM

 1730 N. PECOS ROAD

Redeemer Lutheran Church (Near Owens)

HOUSING ASSISTANCE - HAIRCUTS - CLOTHING
MEDICAL CARE - DENTAL CHECKS
LEGAL SERVICES - HOT MEALS
EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE - VA ON-SITE
PET CARE (PETS WELCOME) - AND MUCH MORE

SHUTTLES TO THE EVENT: 7 AM & 10 AM
Meet at U.S. VETS, 525 EAST BONANZA ROAD
(Near Las Vegas Blvd.)

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Call 702.366.0456 X 233

First posted March 5, 2010

Stand Down is a “safe zone” for Veterans.

This event is free of alcohol, drugs, and weapons.

Can our democracy survive our two party system?

A posting on another blog was brought to my attention titled: Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann on the impending death of the GOP.


FYI, this is posted for discusion, as related to pervious posts. I do not foresee the end of either party in my lifetime. But it does bring up the issues of what each party stands for, if there can be a center and if we can return to a society without lies, slander, liable, personal attack and hatred stopping the political process dead in its tracks.


I am referring to both, or to put it better, all sides, not just recent Republican behavior. 


Can we survive as a democracy if we are polarized in a constant state of election positioning, 24/7 media talking head commentaries and an uninformed electorate who think they know it all from slogans and special interests group talking points?


I do have to refer back to the behavior of Republicans, their supporters, and to the the Libertarian right, the Tea Party. Revisit "Rude Anyone?", the racist and homophobic slogans and behavior of Republican supporters, and the issue of if government can occur without compromise, discussion and mutual respect.


I refer to how Hillary Clinton supporters treated supporters of her rivals during the presidential primar. 


i am referring to the venom, deserved or not, tossed at the office of the presidency under President Clinton and President George W. Bush...an office that once was respected regardless of who was in the office and where governing was possible no matter what public opinion polls showed. The president is Commander in Chief, the top executive of the nation, and the international face for our country. When we attack that office, we lower America's position in the world and endanger our own futures. Who is it that cheers the Nazi posters of President Obama and draws horns on his posters? Childish, selfish and destructive to democratic discourse?


You know my views. What are yours?


And how can we change, if we should, back to a more civilized society where people can disagree without taking it personally or waging war?



The battle over creative rights and digital theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Screen Actors Guild
March 24, 2010

 
White House Urged to Step Up Efforts to Protect Intellectual Property


Music, Movie, and Television Creators Embrace New Business Models, but Cite Growing Threat to Jobs from Copyright Theft



Washington, DC – A wide coalition representing American movie, television and music industry and labor groups today urged the Federal Government to bolster its efforts to protect intellectual property and protect the jobs and wages lost because of content theft. 

In response to a request for public comment by the White House’s Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) submitted a joint filing that outlined the organizations’ collective views.

The groups commended Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), for embarking on this landmark effort to develop the first Joint Strategic Plan for enforcing intellectual property rights. And while they hailed the promise of online distribution models, in their submission they emphasized that its potential was undermined by the theft of creative content:  

While that threat takes many forms, the growth of online theft of copyrighted works presents the greatest and most urgent challenge.  The Internet in general, and broadband services in particular, offer many new and exciting opportunities to consumers; prime among them are new ways to create, distribute, and enjoy copyrighted works.  But when these networks are abused to provide widespread unauthorized access to these works, that undermines seriously the incentive to invest in the creation of content for this new medium, or for more traditional distribution channels. U.S. jobs, economic recovery and growth, and U.S. global competitiveness are consequently weakened. Unauthorized worldwide dissemination of full-length copyrighted works is clearly unlawful, under U.S. law and that of most other nations; yet it is pervasive online, and this abuse throttles the potential of the Internet to deliver its full benefits to the American consumer.  While in many cases this unlawful activity is stimulated by criminal enterprises that profit from the thefts they promote, it also thrives on the willful ignorance and tacit support of other businesses that are unwilling to take commercially reasonable steps to address it.  Online copyright theft undermines our economy, steals our jobs and threatens our national interest.

The  filing catalogues not only the extensive studies documenting how theft of intellectual property results in lost jobs and wages for Americans all across the nation -- as well as the substantial economic contribution of the copyright industries -- it also examines the profound threat to the creative culture of our society: 

While these studies and data paint a comprehensive portrait of the economic costs of copyright theft to our society, they should not obscure something else that is far harder to quantify but equally as powerful and important to the future of our country:  the threat copyright theft poses to creativity, innovation, and culture in our society.  This far more intangible contribution cannot be captured in terms of dollars or profit and loss.  Making a motion picture or a sound recording comes down to a creative process that is the collaboration of  many talented people – with an end result that is personal both to the creator and the audience.  The motion pictures, television programs and sound recordings that our industry creates are a representation of our freedoms, our culture, and our diversity to the world. They are woven into the fabric of our culture and are part of our national heritage.

The organizations pointed to several emerging problem areas and urged that additional resources and tools be made available to address the increasingly sophisticated means of conducting online copyright theft:   

The online environment has been dramatically transformed by technological and market developments, both with respect to the nature and scope of the online infringement challenge, and with respect to the effectiveness and flexibility of the technological tools available to meet it.  For example, while the dawn of the Internet may have provided us with a glimpse of the possibilities for business, networking, and communication, the problems caused by illicit p2p networks, warez groups, and abuse of social networking sites were largely unforeseeable.  In addition, the evolution of subscription-based and ad-supported services such as online lockers, direct streaming sites and linking sites impose new barriers to enforcement. 

The exponential growth of illegal activity through these offerings has made it increasingly difficult for content owners to take effective measures.  Many of these sites and businesses are specifically constructed to abuse the system and avoid copyright liability. Content owners and authorities need tools to address these illegal activities and the services that facilitate them.

Lastly, the groups’ filing emphasizes that effective strategies to combat theft are a “means to an end” designed to complement the innovative and attractive business models fully embraced and supported by the creative industries: 

These tools, it must be emphasized, are critical, but they are means to an end.  That end is a dynamic, content-rich, readily accessible, and hassle-free marketplace that excites and engages consumers while it also compensates those who, for almost a century, have made it possible for American movies, music and other media to entertain and educate audiences (around the world).  We will continue to do our part: seeking out and embracing innovative new models, transforming how we do business to serve the 21st century consumer and offering fans countless new ways to enjoy their favorite content.   The steps we identify in this submission are designed to bolster these efforts and ensure that both the existing and emerging business models attain their full potential to serve and satisfy both the public and those who create content.

# # #


About the Signers of this Filing:


About AFTRA
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com .


About DGA
The Directors Guild of America was founded in 1936 to protect the economic and creative rights of directors.  Over the years its membership has expanded to include the directorial team - Unit Production Managers, Assistant Directors, Associate Directors, Stage Managers and Production Associates.  Today, through the collective voice of more than 14,000 members, the Guild seeks to protect the rights of directorial teams, to contend for their creative freedom and strengthen their ability to develop meaningful and lifelong careers in film, tape and digital media.

About IATSE
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC (IATSE) is one of the largest entertainment labor unions in the world and represents over 110,000 technicians, artisans and craftspeople employed in stagecraft, motion picture and television production, the trade show industry, and affiliated crafts throughout the United States, Its Territories and Canada. For background information on the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees:  www.iatse-intl.org .

About NMPA
Founded in 1917, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) is the trade association representing American music publishers and their songwriting partners. The NMPA’s mandate is to protect and advance the interests of music publishers and songwriters in matters relating to the domestic and global protection of music copyrights.


About SAG
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century.  With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents over 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at www.SAG.org   or fan us on Facebook at http://fblink.com/ScreenActorsGuild.


About  MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLLP; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

About RIAA
The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry.  Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world.  RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conduct consumer industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales and its new Digital Sales award.