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Sunday, February 27, 2011


Academy Awards Winners

  83rd Academy Awards Winners List (in order of appearance):

Best Art Direction
Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara (Alice in Wonderland)

Best Cinematography
Wally Pfister (Inception)

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Best Animated Short Film
Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann (The Lost Thing)

Best Animated Feature
Lee Unkrich(Toy Story 3)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

Best Original Screenplay
David Seidler (The King's Speech)

Best Foreign Language Film
Denmark (In A Better World)

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network)

Best Sound Mixing
Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, Ed Novick (Inception)

Best Sound Editing
Richard King (Inception)

Best Makeup
Rick Baker, Dave Elsey (The Wolfman)

Best Costume Design
Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland)

Best Documentary Short Subject
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon (Strangers No More)

Best Live Action Short Film
Luke Matheny (God of Love)
*Winner at Boulder City Dam Short Film Festival as well

Best Documentary
Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs (Inside Job)

Best Visual Effects

Best Film Editing
Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter (The Social Netork)

Best Original Song
Randy Newman (Toy Story 3)

Best Director
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Best Actress
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Best Actor
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

Best Picture
The King's Speech


There is more to the Wisconsin union fight than what meets the eye - It is not all about unions and the state budget...its about power, change and control.

Having won election with a majority sweeping changes in how business is done in Wisconsin is planned by the statehouse and Republican majority, not unlike changes made in third world countries under the guise of nation building.

There is more to the Wisconsin Emergency Budget than the much publicized end of "collective bargaining" for state employees. The 144 page bill also removes bidding for power and on many state contracts from the competitive open biding process, placing it under the direct control of the governor's office or officers appointed by the governor. The bill includes language allowing appointees to make sweeping cuts and changes in health care coverage for low income families without going through the required legislative process. The bill allows for the sale or state owned heating, cooling and power plants or contracting them to a private company without competitive bidding or legislative approval.  The bill bypasses the Public Service Commission in many areas including pollution, air and water quality and the letting of bids.

As the governor admitted when he thought he was talking with the major campaign contributor for the Republican Party and bank roller of the Tea Party, that this was about changing the way things are done to end interference form unions, the media and other interests in how state finances and state politics are done.

The shift in the bill from checks and balances to executive power has been tried in the past. It resulted in political party bosses, cronyism, profiteering, removal from the public eye of major decisions that impact the citizens of the state and long lasting power legacies.

Could that be the intent all along?

Sequels, Remakes, and 3-D Rip-Offs Dominate 2010 RAZZIE® Award “Winners”

And the Razzie Awards for Bad Movie of the Year goes to...

The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards

 Voting members of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation have sifted through the cinematic rubble of last year’s Berry Worst Achievements in Film, and come up with the “winners” for The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards. Results are announced in satirical ceremonies held at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theatre at 7:30pm PST on Saturday, February 26, 2011 — the now traditional Night Before the Oscars®.
Not quite sweeping the ceremony, but still handily leading the pack among this year’s RAZZIE choices is RAZZIE Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan’s “re-imagining” of the faux-anime’ TV series THE LAST AIRBENDER into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!). In addition toWorst Director and Worst Picture, AIRBENDER also “won”Worst Screenplay, a brand-new RAZZIE category for 2010,Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D, and Worst Supporting ActorJackson Rathbone (who had the misfortune to appear in both AIRBENDER and 2010’s other most-RAZZIE-nominated title,TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE).
The other big “winner” (if that’s the right term when speaking of these awards) was the bling-obsessed superslick chick flickSEX & THE CITY #2, which took gold-spray-painted statuettes for Worst SequelWorst Screen Ensemble (for its entire cast) and Worst Actress (presented jointly to the film’s four principles, Sarah Jessica ParkerKim CattrallCynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis).
Rounding out the field of this year’s sorriest cinematic losers were King of the Twittering Twits Ashton Kutcher as Worst Actor for both KILLERS and VALENTINE’S DAY, andJessica Alba, finally “winning” a RAZZIE with her fifth nomination. Alba was named Worst Supporting Actress for her “performances” in four films, THE KILLER INSIDE ME,LITTLE FOCKERS, MACHETE and VALENTINE’S DAY.Links to all of the “winners” are on right side of this page.
The RAZZIES® were created in 1980 as a logical antidote to Tinsel Town’s annual glut of self-congratulatory awards byJohn Wilson, author of The Official Razzie Movie Guide andEverything I Know I Learned at the Movies. “Winners” were determined by mailing ballots to 637 voters in 46 U.S. states and 17 foreign countries. Electronic voting and certification of this year’s Final RAZZIE® Ballot was handled Among the sponsors of this year’s awards and The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Follow RAZZIES on Twitter @razzieawards, andThe Razzie Channel on YouTube.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

What  happened in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas, at least not from centuries or eons ago. There is no Federal Repository Institution for fossils or archaeological artifacts. For that reason fossiles and relics of Nevada 's geological history are kept in San Bernardino and other museums that qualify for grants and to study, curate and preserve ancient history. Even modern history is lost, not just to the wrecking ball or implosion, but also to collectors from around the world. The bar where Mark Twain held court over the "third branch of the legislature", once located inside the Nevada Capital Building, now sits in a private residence in Taiwan. Relics from the Comstock up until and even more recent than the Janis Joplin pre-San Francisco era of Virginia City's party decades are located spread from Russia to China, Australia to Norway. And with current budgets, the state of endowments and a general lack of interest in history in this state, much of what was Nevada will be lost to state forever.

"This is our moment, this is our chance to change history..." is how Wisconsin's governor told a man he thought was the largest conservative contributor nationally he perceived his efforts to "eliminate" the "conflict of interests" of public service or government employee unions.  He sees cutting employees out of the right to collective bargain is a once in a life time opportunity. The recorded conversation revealed that that is the core issue, and not balancing the budget. While it is a Tea Party platform primary plank and a conservative Republican main stay, public opinion has shifted in favor of the workers, who include teachers and others who are there for voters and their children when they most need them.

Republican officials say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich intends to take a formal step toward a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in the next two weeks. The former Georgia congressman has been traveling to key primary and caucus states in recent months in the run-up to a campaign for the White House.

President Obama has called upon Godhafi to resign. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is prepared to assist Libyans who are trying to organize a post-Moammar Gadhafi government. She isn't saying whether that means providing military help. Meanwhile, two senators, John McCain and Joe Lieberman, tell CNN the Obama administration should recognize a provisional government that seems to be taking shape in Libya's eastern half and offer military aid.

Libya could yet be in a real civil war as pro-Gadhafi forces are surrounding a city 30 miles outside Libya's capital where rebels are in control. Both sides have tanks and anti-aircraft guns. The prospect of a battle is raising anxiety in the city center, where hundreds have gathered, chanting "Gadhafi out!"

Scamsters are targeting women on Facebook in what's becoming an all-too-common ruse: They steal photos of soldiers to set up profiles, profess their love and devotion in sappy messages - and then ask their victims to cut a check. Military officials say they've seen hundreds of similar cases in the past several years. Some of the impersonators have even used photos of soldiers who have died overseas. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., says the Internet impersonators often make ridiculous claims. Some say they need money for special laptops and cell phones. Others say they need cash to buy special papers to come home on leave or a registration form because military officials won't let them talk to family.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

K-12 is the primary topic that will be considered Monday evening at Green Valley High School, however students from CSN and UNLV are expected to be there in force to let the legislature know how the feel. The Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance subcommittees will officially review K-12 education budgets at the 5 PM Green Valley High School hearing. It is also  the only opportunity for higher education advocates to join the rest of the education community in protesting what could be deep cuts.

February 27, 1932 Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, to American parents. She became a star with "National Velvet" at the age of 12. She won her first Oscar in 1961 with her performance as a call girl in "Butterfield 8". She became known for her large number of celebrity marriages, most ended in divorce, with one passing away in a plane crash. Richard Burton is perhaps the highest profile marriage, ending in 1974, with remarriage in 1975 and divorced again in 1976. She travels for charity, with AIDS as her primary passion. She received the Kennedy Center Award for her work in charity. She is hospitalized with heart trouble this Oscar Day...

This has been a weekend for the movie buff, from music to videos to movies and movie making artists. They are all over TV, radio and the Internet, in print and in cyberspace. For some reason one of the slowest, often most boring events in annual television draws from 30 to as many as 80 million viewers a year and is discussed in advance and afterwards at kitchen tables, in living rooms, around water coolers and anywhere people gather...the Academy Awards.

Percussionist Emil Richards has played on 29 Oscar broadcasts and he's been Hollywood's go-to percussionist for decades. He did the finger snaps in "The Adams Family" theme song and played the bongos for "Mission Impossible." He's been on over 2000 soundtracks. You can hear him doing the crazy percussion in "Planet of the Apes" and hundreds of recordings you know. He has a warehouse of exotic instruments, in part collected for him by Frank Sinatra and on trips he took as part of Sinatra's orchestra. He is heard of commercials, and thousands of cartoons, including "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons." To hear some of his sounds and an interview, go to this mornings "NPR Weekend Edition Sunday" broadcast achieved on-line.

The action fantasy "The Last Airbender" -- about people who can command fire, air, water and earth -- now controls something else: the Razzie awards for Hollywood's worst film achievements of 2010. "The Last Airbender" led Saturday's Razzies with five awards, among them worst picture, worst director and worst screenplay for M. Night Shyamalan. The movie also received Razzies for worst supporting actor Jackson Rathbone, who was cited for both "The Last Airbender" and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse") and for a special award, worst eye-gouging mis-use of 3-D. "Sex and the City 2" took three Razzies, including worst actress, a prize shared by co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, and worst sequel.

"The King's Speech" is considered the likely winner for best picture and Colin Firth is seen as a sure bet to win best actor at the Oscars tonight. The King's Speech leads with 12 nominations in all, putting it among and elite number of films to have over ten nominations in any given year. Natalie Portman and Annette Bening are competing to win their first Oscar for best actress. Experts think Portman has the edge for "The Black Swan." In the supporting categories, Christian Bale is the front-runner for "The Fighter." The contest for supporting actress seems to be between Bale's co-stars Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld for "True Grit."

Why are tear jerker films on the outs, replaced by feel good and comedies.? "Terms of Endearment", "Brains Song" and other tragic films have been rock-piled as movie goers grow younger, action adventure oriented and older crowds just want to laugh, or...feel good in the end. And why are foreign imports or American remakes of foreign films so popular over American made films? Why are the best loved American actors actually born and still nationals of other countries? Is there an American film industry or market for American films, or have we all gone global? These are some of the issues examined on NPR, the BBC and CBS Sunday Mornings over the weekend.

The nation's governors have a message for Washington -- don't do anything to undermine states' economic recovery. Governors meeting in the nation's capital are pleading for the divided federal government to avoid a government shutdown, abstain from dramatic spending cuts and end even preliminary discussions about allowing states to declare bankruptcy.

Ireland faces the worst financial crisis in its recent history, and saw their economy go from excellent to among the worst in the European Union. It's the second day of vote-counting in Ireland's election and the shape of the next government hangs in the balance. Ireland's opposition parties have made big gains in the general election focussed on the country's economic woes. Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail (FEE'-na fahl) party is facing its worst defeat in nearly 80 years.The Fine Gael party is leading the pack, grabbing 57 seats in the counting so far. Labour has taken 30 seats while Fianna Fail won 13, Sinn Fein took 12 and smaller parties and independents won another 13 seats. It takes 83 seats for a majority in the Dail, the lower house of the parliament. Fine Gael was widely expected to form a coalition government with Labour. But party leaders also talked about forming alliances with independent candidates.

Residents have held open-air prayers for the dead and missing on the lawns of churches shattered in New Zealand's earthquake. Search teams continue to look for more bodies in what could become the country's deadliest disaster. When the massive quake ripped through Christchurch last Tuesday, the city's churches were among the hardest-hit buildings. Still, many churches found a way to hold mass on Sunday. At the damaged St. Barnabas Anglican church, parishioners set up rows of chairs on the lawn and Rev. Philip Robinson tried to rally a somber crowd. He said: "This is not called Christchurch for nothing," drawing smiles from a few. "We will rise again." The quake killed at least 147 people and officials expect the number to rise.

Tunisia's prime minister announced his resignation this morning on state television.

Clashes in Oman today mark a significant escalation in two days of protests to demand political reforms. Police say Omani security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, killing at least one person. The strategic Gulf country shares authority with Iran over the Strait of Hormuz.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters are streaming through Bahrain's diplomatic area and other neighborhoods as demonstrations against the kingdom's rulers show no signs of easing. At least three processions Sunday paralyzed parts of the capital Manama. Some of the marchers claim that authorities still hold more than 200 political prisoners despite the release of about 100 political detainees last week. There are no reports of violence. Nearly two weeks of protests and clashes have left seven people dead in the strategic island nation - home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The embattled monarchy is seeking talks with opposition groups. Government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar says there is no deadline for the offer of dialogue.

Some wobbled in six-inch, platform stilettos. Others padded around in glittery, gold ballerina flats. But whatever they were wearing, the prostitutes walking the hallways of the Nevada State Legislature were stepping out in defiance. Nevada is the last place in the U.S. working girls can openly say they offer sex for a living - and they turned out confident that they'll preserve their enterprise. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid called out the oldest profession in a speech to state legislators Tuesday, telling them the state with
the nation's highest unemployment rate was shooting itself in the economic foot by permitting legal prostitution. But others say Nevada's regulation and health restrictions on the trade offer a model for the future.

Time to take a stand

Dear SAG Members:

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack.

Although Screen Actors Guild is a non-partisan organization, and therefore does not take positions on some of the demands of Save the American Dream, we unequivocally stand together with them, and with all working families, to end the attacks on worker’s rights.

If collective bargaining rights can be stripped away in a strong union state like Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere.

Various anti-labor bills have recently been introduced in dozens of states. It is believed that if this action succeeds in Wisconsin, more and more anti-union efforts may spread across the country and ultimately could affect all labor organizations, including Screen Actors Guild.

All workers have a fundamental right to join unions and to engage in collective bargaining over workplace issues they face.

-From SAG National

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

The news is dominated by Libya, however the Academy Awards are a strong second, on TV 3, 8, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR and the BBC.

Wisconsin continues to be a major story, with Republicans adding a battle to spread "Right-to-work" legislation and in disfranchising or taking away the right to collective bargaining from workers. Arguments of economic boom from eliminating unions is countered by statistics that show that citizens earn less in Right-to-work States, average education level is lower and the percentage of work done by lower paid immigrants is much higher. In other words the real impact is to lower wages and attract outside workers who will work at a lower cost. Financial annalist as well as economist agree that what attracts investments and jobs is not lower paid workers, or Right-to-work or the lack of unions, but education level, social services, solid infrastructure and all of the things Republicans in Washington and most states are set on reducing, eliminating or passing on the private sector.

The New York Times reports that if Governor Walker is successful in Wisconsin Republicans and Tea Party activist will have dealt what amount to a death blow to unions in America, making it difficult to organize, remain union once unions have raised the level of pay and working standards at an employer and will have taken away a major check and balance to corporate special interest during election and legislative sessions. Many believe that is the intent of conservative legislators, and not fiscal responsibility,  as economist have shown that states that are unionized have an overall higher levels of pay in both the private and public sectors, and on both union and non-union jobs. In fact the pubic sector, those who are the target of the Wisconsin budget cuts, earn slightly less than their business counterparts in the same state.

USA Today- Gallop report 2 out of 3 Americans are against eliminating collective bargaining and 3 out of 4 Americans support the protesters and not the governor and Republican legislature in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin itself, the poll shows similar numbers, but the number against eliminating collective bargaining drops to a majority of two out of three polled, a little lower than the national poll numbers. The stand off is to what "the majority" wants, as the legislature defines their mandate as to make the change and the polls and protesters, including the 14 Wisconsin Democratic Senators, show the people of Wisconsin oppose their own government in this stand.

Over one billion people in the world are "chronically" starving from a lack of food nutrition. With this in mind Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University and professor of Economics, Columbia University paints a picture that may not please those who are ethnocentric American or solid supporters of the "no new taxes" mentality.

The professor points out that the world has 7 billion people, so more than one in 7 people on this earth are starving. World population is at an all time high and the crisis is hitting take action or face a world wide depression at a time when politicians and economies are not willing or in a position to take the neccessisary actions, according to "experts" on the Wall Street Journal Report and on the BBC.China alone will use over 70% of the worlds oil output by the year 2040.

Fuel prices are on the rise and Global food prices reached their highest price ever, contributing to the uprisings and unrest in the third world and in politically volatile countries. Young populations, high unemployment, entrenched often military and western backed leadership (senior citizens all), the rise of fundamentalism and

The US faces large deficits at all political levels, from Federal to the smallest towns, and every government is seeking to pass down or pass on to someone else the responsibility to take care of the population and to compete in the financial marketplace. Cuts in education, infrastructure, the social safety net and the very things where the US needs to remain strong to compete and remain a world power into the middle part of this century. Jeffrey Sachs believes that the US is not in the best position to remain a world leader, with current politics poised to cut off the resources we need to continue to be a world leader. Without taxes and revenue there can be no returning to number one in education, construction, manufacturing and maintaining our military dominance will become increasingly difficult, unless Americans make sacrifices that they do not appear willing to make.

Slashing higher eduction, reducing K-12 funding, cutting or eliminating social services and failure to fund expansion or and maintenance of infrastructure will rapidly weaken the position of our states, and of the US itself, to compete in the world market. Meanwhile out under taxed corporations and wealthy invest in our competitors, China, India, Europe and eventually Africa, instead of in US workers and infrastructure. Professor Sachs calls this dogmatic stance against taxes and belief in the marketplace alone taking care of our woes, dogmatic entrenchment in the past and potentially suicide.

BBC reporting and NPR headlines on crackdowns on protests in China, where crowds wanting greater freedom were locked in shopping malls, or dispersed "peacefully" with street cleaners, police and military in at least 7 major cities. No word on the actual size of protests, but Chinese news is downplaying it to the point of only short mentions of

The secretary-general of the United Nations is congratulating the Security Council for taking a unified stand on Libya.Members voted unanimously, 15-0, to try to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's deadly crackdown on protesters, slapping sanctions on him, his five children and 10 top associates.The Council imposed an arms embargo and urged U.N. member countries to freeze the assets of Gadhafi, his four sons and his daughter. The council also backed a travel ban on the Gadhafi family and 10 close associates. Council members additionally agreed to refer the deadly crackdown to a permanent war crimes tribunal for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the text sends a strong message that "gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated."

Anti-government forces backed by rebel army troops are in control of the city closest to the capital Tripoli. An Associated Press reporter who arrived Sunday in Zawiya, 30
miles west of Tripoli, says forces loyal to longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi are surrounding the city of 200,000. But anti-government rebels and troops allied with them are in control of the city center. Police stations and government offices have been torched and anti-Gadhafi graffiti is everywhere. Many buildings in the city are pockmarked by bullet holes. "Gadhafi Out," chanted hundreds in the city center, where army tanks controlled by rebels are deployed. Gadhafi loyalists remain in control of Tripoli.

Large numbers of Libian military have laid down their arms or joined so called "free rebels", starting after news of unarmed protesters being shot down in the streets and alleged use of air power against crowds. That does not weaken Gadhafi as much as it would in a traditional nation, as his support comes heavily from fellow tribesmen and foreign mercenaries. His forces are still well stocked in military hardware and has the expertise to use them.

British Special Forces evacuated British citizens in remove areas of Libya overnight, including oil field workers and many aid and humanitarian service workers. The ferry and several planes evacuated US personnel successfully on Saturday but more Americans and Brits remain in the country. Both countries has shuttered their diplomatic missions.

A member of the Benghazi city council says the Libyan cities under rebel control have appointed an ex-justice minister to lead a provisional government.Fathi Baja says opponents of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi named Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to the provisional leadership post. Baja said Sunday that Abdel-Jalil was chosen by the committees running the eastern Libyan cities now in the rebellion's hands. On Saturday, Libya's top envoy to the U.S. also said Gadhafi opponents were rallying behind efforts to form an alternative government led by Abdel-Jalil, who has criticized Gadhafi's brutal crackdown on protesters. It was not immediately unclear how much support the proposed provisional leadership commands. The uprising against Gadhafi began in Benghazi on Feb. 15. The rebels now control most of the eastern half of the country.

Yemen's opposition parties have announced they are joining young protesters trying to bring down the country's longtime president. This morning's announcement marks the second major setback in two days for President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally. On Saturday, two powerful chiefs from his own tribe abandoned him, and anti-government protesters mustered the largest crowds yet. The mainstream opposition parties had been reluctant to join the protests, preferring instead a wait-and-see strategy. However, on Sunday they said they would hold rallies Tuesday to show solidarity with the protesters. In recent weeks, Yemen has seen daily protests, inspired by successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.