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Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Man Godfrey (1936) 1of9

"My Man Godfry"

Recommended:  "My Man Godfry" 1936 with William Powell and Carol Lombard.

Fast paced, funny, witty and very timely for today as it was back in the Great Depression.

Not the remakes, but the original 1936 version.

Screen Actors Guild supports Wisconsin Workers

Full disclosure, as the author of this blog I serve on the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, a union, and have over well over 20 years of unpaid union voluntary service under my belt. My dad was a unionist, as were my grandparents, great grandparents and going back several "greats" before that.


Art Lynch


It has never been more important than now to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin workers and workers around the country -- including Nevada workers -- who are under attack from politicians bent on destroying the labor movement!

Please plan to attend a rally on Monday in either Carson City or Las Vegas. Show your support for workers' rights, and express your outrage at the attacks being leveled against them.

12 Noon        Monday, February 21, 2011
                        Front Steps of the Nevada Legislature
                        401 S. Carson Street
                        Carson City, Nevada

12 Noon        Monday, February 21, 2011
                        Front of the Grant Sawyer Building
                        555 E. Washington Avenue
                        LasVegas, Nevada


Statement from SAG. Because if they can do it to some of us, they can do it to all of us:
In Wisconsin this week, workers, students, community allies and people of faith have joined together to stage massive protests against Governor Walker’s budget proposal which would gut collective bargaining rights for 200,000 public workers. Tens of thousands of people are putting their everyday lives on hold to stand in solidarity.
Workers across the country — from Wisconsin to Indiana, Ohio, and beyond — are fighting back. In this still-struggling economy, our country needs one thing: more good jobs.
But instead of focusing on finding ways to create good jobs, blame for high unemployment and rising poverty levels is being shifted away from corporations and onto workers and our unions.
We can’t let that happen.
Throughout the long holiday weekend, workers, students, faith leaders, and community allies will be holding solidarity rallies in their own states. Search online to find out about actions in your area.

PBS and NPR need your help to keep arts centered non-commercial broadcasting strong

Action to save public broadcasting needed NOW!

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 early Saturday morning, which eliminates federal funding for public broadcasting. This is a blow to public radio and television stations across the country and the 170 million Americans who tune in every month.
But we are not giving up.
You have already had a powerful impact in Washington. We heard directly from Members of Congress that the hundreds of thousands of calls and emails in support of public broadcasting have created momentum that may yet save federal funding for this vital public service.
Now the bill heads to the Senate. You will get a message from us in the next few days when it is time, again, to send a clear message to Washington: Funding for public broadcasting is too important to eliminate. 
What can you do today? Please reach out to your friends and family and encourage them to sign up at and at over the coming week. This is going to be a marathon and we will need any many supporters as possible to prevail in the end.
THANK YOU for all that you are doing! 
170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting is a collaboration of public radio and television stations, national organizations, producers and our viewers and listeners throughout the country in favor of a   strong public media in the United States. This project receives no government funding . 
170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting
480 Cedar Street St. Paul, MN 55101, USA

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

49 years ago, on Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7.

Ten years ago Dale Earnhart was killed at the at that race today to mark the laptime of his death, all flags will be lowered to half mast and fans are asked to hold up three fingers, in honor of Earnhart's number. His son starts the race today in the final pole position, but there is a long race ahead and still the chance of a memorial victory.

In Alabama, the Sons of Confederate Veterans are planning a re-enactment of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis tis afternoon. The group wants to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The ceremony and accompanying parade of re-enactments. African Americans and others are bothered by southern states celebrating their War of Succession and about the use of state and local funds to partially finance events, which organizers say will attract tourist and revenue to the states.

In 1792, on this date in history, President George Washington signed the law creating the US Post Office, with first Postmaster General Ben Franklin charged with formalizing postal delivery that already existed in most of the country under state governments.Today the Postal Service, now a pseudo-government agency, is operating at a loss, with budget cuts looming and the potential of becoming obsolete if action is not taken. What would Washington and Franklin think?

Tomorrow is President's Day. For the first time since Nixon, the majority of Americans surveyed said they would not like their child to grow up to be president, with 54% voicing that view. Only 34% say that they would be proud to see their child grow up to be the President of the United States. As to who was a greater President, Lincoln wins over George Washington 54% to 28%. Most now see Lincoln as a "modern" president and Washington as "history."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the 14 Democratic state senators who fled the state to delay a vote on a sweeping anti-union bill need to come back to Wisconsin and do their jobs. Democrats say they are battling for the rights of workers in the only way left to them by the governor, since attempts to compromise and make wage and benefit concessions have been rejected by the executive office's "no compromise" stance. Governor Walker told Fox News on Sunday that if Democrats want to participate in democracy they need to be in the arena, not hiding out. The senators' disappearance has left the Senate one vote short of a quorum. Walker's bill would require government workers to contribute more to their health care and pension costs. It would also largely eliminate their collective bargaining rights, a change that could be the largest attack on unions in the nation since the spread of "right-to-work (for less)" legislation. The proposal has spawned five days of massive protests. Walker says unions have too much power and his bill will prevent layoffs and help tackle a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Sixty one billion dollars in cuts passed by the House of Representatives could put us back into a major recession and seriously endanger the position of the United States around the world,

For the first time since the fall of the Shah, Iranian war ships are steaming through the Suez Canal headed to the Mediterranean as a show of support for Syria and showcase expanding influence by Iran in the region.

Sunday is a weekday in Egypt, and today is the first day since the popular uprising that Egyptian banks are open and for the most part things are business as usual. The military remains in control of the country, with the consent of the people. They have promised progress toward the free elections and the return of civilian control.

Dr. Strangelove, Colossus, or simply common sense? Pentagon leaders say that as space becomes increasingly crowded, the military needs to better protect its satellites and strengthen its ability to use them as weapons.A new military strategy for space calls for greater cooperation with other nations on space-based programs to improve America's ability to deter enemies. As the U.S. and other countries depend more on their satellites for critical data, those assets become greater targets for enemies. The Pentagon says its new plan stresses the peaceful use of space. But it also underscores the importance of orbiting satellites in both waging and deterring war.Pentagon leaders say space has become more congested, competitive and contested, and the U.S. needs to keep pace.Cuts in NASA and proposed deep budget cuts in research, hardware and education could endanger our national security, warn Pentagon Think Tank Scholars.

Watson's victory on "Jeopardy" has spun off into a wide range of reports on computers, technology and the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in publications from the "New York Times" to " "Wired", "The Atlantic" to "the National Inquirer." Watson was reprogrammed with over 200 million pages of data, and able to recognize complex patterns of words. But it cannot feel or "think" in the non-linear and often "illogical" ways the human brain uses to come up with creative and often correct solutions. What Watson proved it can do is beat humans to the buzzer. Robots do repetitive tasks, take heavy labor over, can and will increasingly do hazardous tasks (keeping humans out of harms way), may someday fight wars and rebuild from the rubble. Like "Wallee

Cybercrime, the power of Facebook and the Internet (being seen in current events in Africa and the Middle East), potential EM Pulse warfare or terrorism are all threats of concern for the Pentagon and American National and Corporate security. Budget cuts made too quickly or too deep in the military and civilian research, law enforcement, science and math education, in the name of a balanced budget or fiscal responsibility, could cost far more in the long run, warn Pentagon futurists.

Many cities have statues that represent the spirit of imagination of those towns. Chicago's Oz park houses statues of the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. And of course Philadelphia has its statue of Rocky Balboa just beyond the 72 step entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This week an online campaign have begun to bring a statue of a movie icon to Detroit -- Robocop.It is drawing both support and resentment in Detroit, often considered the city worst impacted by job shifts overseas and the aftermath of the Great Recession. Unlike "Rocky" for Phillidelphia, "Robocop" was not shot in the city and painted a very negative image of the future there. While a cult classic, it is also not a showcase Academy Award winning film. But fans are dead set in their mission, saying the statue will attract tourisism and showcase support for maintaining a film industry presence in the state.

The NFL and its players' union are meeting for a third consecutive day with a federal mediator. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association
executive director DeMaurice Smith arrived for Sunday's session at about 10 a.m. Neither would comment on the talks. Various lawyers and other members of both negotiating teams showed up earlier at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service office. The director of that U.S. government agency has been mediating the talks.The sides met for about six hours on both Friday and Saturday. Cohen announced Thursday the groups agreed to the mediation, which is not binding but is meant as a way to initiate progress in the slow and sometimes contentious bargaining. The current labor deal expires March 3.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

Both sides in the protests over union rights in Madison are expected to face a new foe on Sunday: the weather. The National Weather Service is forecasting snow mixed with freezing rain throughout the day. The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for a large swath of the upper Midwest, including most of Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota.Yesterday, police estimate nearly 70,000 people converged on the state Capitol in Madison to join in protests over what Republicans are calling a "budget repair" bill that would strip public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights. According to the Madison Police Department, 60,000 people gathered outside the building with another 8,000 inside on Saturday. That was easily the largest crowd yet over five days of protests.A few hundred tea party supporters staged a counter rally outside the Capitol, with Tea Party supporters from across the country expected to join a counter rally on President's Day.

China is again cracking down on protests, and as is their habit, free speech. An online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" in China modeled after the pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East doesn't appear to have gained much traction among ordinary Chinese. But authorities aren't taking chances. They've detained activists, disconnected text messaging services and censored Internet postings. Police presence has also been boosted in the 13 targeted cities.

Pentagon leaders say the military needs to better protect its satellites and strengthen its ability to use them as weapons. As space becomes increasingly crowded, a new
strategy calls for greater cooperation with other nations on space-based programs to improve America's ability to deter enemies. The Pentagon says its new plan stresses the peaceful use of space.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundations founder Mikey Weinstein will speak about protecting military members religious freedom next Sunday, February 27 at 2 PM at the Rio Hotel. Issues to consider include potential infringement on individual rights, on the rights of others who not share an individuals religious beliefs, who is paying for the event or venue of any given religious ceremony or event, and freedom of speech.

The Atomic Testing Museum’s Distinguished Lecture Series hosts Christopher J. Bright, author of "Continental Defense In the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Anti-aircraft Arms and the Cold War"  this Tuesday at 6:00pm at Atomic Testing Museum on the UNLV campus off East Flamingo.  

UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute hosts "The Future of American Liberalism" with Barbara Ehrenreich (AIR en rike), Lewis Lapham and Curtis White, moderated by Jon Ralston this Thursday at 7pm at UNLV's Doc Rando Recital Hall.

Clark County managers have stepped up oversight of firefighters' sick leave use amid a public outcry over the issue during a budget crisis. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that under new procedures, battalion chiefs will have more scrutiny when they deal with sick calls from lower-ranking firefighters.The fire chief and deputy chiefs will monitor sick leave in the department, and human resource officials and county managers also will review how sick days are approved and used. More than 230 firefighters each missed at least a month's worth of 24-hour shifts because of sick calls in 2009, and a dozen missed more than three months of work because of sick leave. Sick leave and overtime have helped push a hand full of firefighters' pay to over $200,000 a year.

Republicans in the House rushed through their budget, undoing over 70 years of social reform through budget cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility, but protecting key Republican programs and many special interests. In all fairness there are special interests on both sides of the isle, but apparently on Democrats are accused of being controlled by any outside influence of force. Meanwhile the compromise budget sent to Congress by the president was quickly swept under the rug, despite deep cuts in the presidential budget proposed by Obama in programs he personally supports and which traditionally are Democrat supported programs.

Germany's government has confirmed that the foreign minister held a rare meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran during the release of two German journalists. Guido Westerwelle discussed "human and civil rights" with the president late Saturday, the government said Sunday. It was first visit by a German foreign minister to Iran since before Ahmadinejad took power in 2005.The two journalists, who had been detained since October in connection with a highly publicized stoning case, were released Saturday and Westerwelle took them home on his government plane. A German government official said they had been detained under "poor conditions," and both had suffered great psychological wounds. He spoke on condition of anonymity citing the confidentiality of the information.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

"Arab Spring" is how the BBC is labeling events in Northern Africa and the Middle East, as popular uprisings continue, with reports of over to 200 dead in Libia, where machine guns and snipers fired on a funeral procession, mourning protesters shot down on Friday. Reports are sketchy, as foreign journalist and live Internet are both banned in Libia. Unofficially one city, which was in the hands of protesters, is now in the hands of elite troops. Witnesses told The Associated Press a mixture of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and Gadhafi loyalists went after demonstrators on Saturday with knives, assault rifles and heavy-caliber weapons. That followed days of protests in Benghazi, a focal point of the uprising aimed at toppling Gadhafi after more than 40 years of rule.Similar military crackdowns are reported in Morocco and elsewhere, however protest appear to be less organized in most countires than they were in Egypt.

Some 3,000 students are protesting at Sanaa University in the Yemeni capital, calling for the country's long serving U.S.-backed president to step down. Sunday's demonstration marks the 11th straight day of anti-government protests in Yemen. On Saturday, riot police fired on marchers, killing one and injuring five. Seven have been killed since the unrest began.The protesters seek to oust longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida, and have been inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.Marching students chanted and carried signs reading "Get out Ali for the sake of future generations." Riot police watched the march but have not yet intervened. Past protests were often attacked by government supporters, degenerating into riots.

China has surpassed Japan as the second largest economy in the world, with 2010 number coming close the US, which remains the largest economy in the world.

Donald Rumsfield's book is being praised and criticized for its accuracy, in accuracy and his hindsight perspective. Among his positions, Rumsfield was Chief of Staff for Gerald Ford, whom he says "restored integrity to the office of President" following the Nixon resignation. He feels George W Bush's actions and the long term cost of the war a worth is for what it has done for "the people in that part of the world." He says that there is no single template to press down on other countries, the "US Democratic" template, however the countries where the people and economies are doing he best is where the people have free poiltiical and economic institutions. On uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere he says the wars in Afganistan and Iraq are the first wars of the Internet Age, where change has sped up rapidly. On the US has relationships in the Middle and East, Rumsfeld feels things are going to change rapidly, where the will need to adapt since our long term beliefs and prosperity depend on "free" economies and the will of the people. We may have short term problems and the US may face a period of having to react quickly to change which in the short run will create great challenges.

President Obama's "cut and invest" agenda was criticized heavily on NBC's Wall Street Journal Report, as could be expected, for continuing to have an annual deficit and not addressing social security, medicate or other "entitlements." Cumulative deficits of 7 trillion dollars remain, down from 8. Experts contradicted the programs view by calling it a negotiating budget, with the long term impact of reducing the deficit more than short term cuts, due to the long term back end costs of cuts the proposed Republican budget would create. Unemployment "persists", and "the housing market is stubborn" in not participating in the "recovery which began 18 months ago." Consumer spending is up, with half of the spending durables during the last quarter of the year. Top heavy homes, all time highs in defaults and foreclosures, over building have house prices falling, 4% last month along nationally. World wide inflation has yet to hit the US, however it will in the long term. Short run inflation is under 2%, with a "unit labor cost" (the increase in non-union labor) down over the last 12 months. But labor and product markets will tighten toward the end of the year and world crisis in food and fuel costs will hit us with a year or two, or so the pundits on the program predict, which could lead to a "return" to recessionary status.

The German purchase of the New York Stock Exchange dominates business news, where it is seen as more of a reflection of the International business reality and 24/7 business clock and declining position of America as the world economy decentralizes, than any decline in New York's influence on the US economy of nature of the exchange. In reality foreign interests have earned a large minority status since the exchange went public.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid will address a joint session of the Senate and Assembly during the third week of the Nevada Legislature that begins Monday.The Democratic Senate Majority Leader is scheduled to address state lawmakers at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Assembly chambers. Bills to outlaw using cells phones or texting while driving will be considered Tuesday by the Senate Transportation Committee.Senate Judiciary on Wednesday will take up a bill to create a 10th judicial district in Nevada, and another to reduce the number of justices of the peace required in Clark County.Money committees are scheduled to review the budgets of the attorney general's office, state treasurer, Department of Corrections, the Medicaid program, Tourism Commission, Public Employee Benefits Program, the DMV and K-12 education.

German pride has been restored in one of their national sports. World Cup champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany ended the women's luge season with a win Sunday, coming from behind in the second run to beat Russia's Tatiana Ivanova.Huefner had already clinched her fourth straight World Cup titleby finishing fourth in Russia last weekend, and completed the season-ending competition with a combined time of 1 minute, 24.679 seconds. Ivanova was 0.013 seconds behind, while Germany's Anke Wischnewski was third in 1:25.187.Huefner made sure Germany returned to the top of the podium after the country's 105-race World Cup winning streak in women's luge ended last weekend when Canada's Alex Gough won in Paramonovo, Russia.Huefner also won her third world championship title last month to add to her 2010 Olympic victory.