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Monday, March 21, 2011

Triangle Fire Story on HBO tonight

"Triangle: Remembering the Fire" airs tonight on HBO. The documentary looks back at the "Triangle Shirt 
waiste Fire" that helped spur the union movement, inspired major health and safety reforms and galvanized workers against callas management. Child Labor laws, fixed work hours and collective bargaining, including benefits and working conditions, grew from the fire.

From Wikipedia:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths [1] Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

The truth about the house cutting funds to NPR and PBS

A little history. Before 1967, public radio -- then educational radio -- was a scattered and weak group of local stations with no interconnection and no national network. The Johnson-era creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provided funding to interconnect the stations into a true network and helped create NPR and PBS. In fact, federal funding is still used to provide the infrastructure for network interconnection.

Another fact: All federal funds flow, not to NPR or PBS, but to their affiliated stations. No one listens to NPR in Las Vegas, for instance, without hearing it on KNPR. This is an important distinction, because local stations make the programming decisions, and their largest single programming expense is paying programming fees to NPR. Many rural and marginal stations in small markets may elect, due to budget constraints, to drop NPR and therefore weaken its national reach. That would please those in Congress long opposed to a strong national news network that is dedicated to the old-fashioned notion of objective journalism. Not left news or right news, but the news.

Public radio and TV stations are also regulated by the FCC. They are classified as noncommercial stations and largely relegated to the lower side of the FM dial. Therefore, the lifeblood of commercial media, advertising, is not allowed. So if the federal money goes away, public stations cannot turn to commercial advertising as an alternative, which is also the source of funding for most of the babble of new media.

Funding for public media was always envisioned as a three-legged stool, with individual donations, business support and government funding as the three legs. The federal leg has shrunk to about 10 percent, but is one of the few sources of funding that stations can rely on. Ten percent may not sound like much, but in the case of Nevada Public Radio, that translates into $400,000.

With a recession still raging, where would Mr. Chapman advise we turn? The other two sources are tapped out. Mr. Chapman mentions 27 million people listen to NPR each week. He doesn't mention that less than 10 percent of those listeners are donors. Federal funding at $1.35 per capita provides the support that many listeners cannot afford to make.

Mr. Chapman concedes that public broadcasting is a national treasure, something verified by poll after poll of Americans who consider public radio and television among the most trusted sources of unbiased news. Public broadcasters are aware of the budgetary constraints facing the federal government and will take its cuts, but zero funding smacks more of political retaliation that budget cutting.

The Senate is next to consider the defunding of public broadcasting. I urge everyone to let our senators know your opinion on this very significant question of public policy.

Lamar Marchese
Las Vegas

NAB Convention April 9 to 14

As with last year the Hollywood influence, programs and floor exhibits will grow at this year's National Association of Broadcasters Convention here in Las Vegas. There will be SAG floor discounts (to be announced) and the Screen Actors Guild will have a strong presence on panels and in booths. Click here for show details.

Education D-Day, let your voice be heard NOW!

The student protest in Carson City was on the 11 AM Pacific Time NPR Newscast.

To Add your voice, send an e-mail or call now.

Use this link to find your legislator.

Today is D-Day...let your voice be heard!

Movie and Media Stuff

Narnia, Depp, All My Children May Fade Away, 

Hepburn snubbed Dodd, Wonder Woman and Google


Films Live after being dudds in US: Two films that fared poorly at the domestic box office are finding success overseas. 
"The Tourist," starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp," and the 3-D "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," the third film based on a popular series of children's novels, both passed major box-office milestones abroad this weekend. "The Tourist" surpassed the $200-million mark, while "Dawn Treader" exceeded $300 million.

The two movies both opened domestically on the same weekend in early December. But "The Tourist" has grossed only a weak $67.6 million, causing some in the industry to question the star power of the film's lead actors stateside. Fortunately for financier GK Films and distributor Sony Pictures, however, it appears the A-list movie stars haven't lost as much clout abroad.
Verdict is in.
 David E. Kelley's "Harry's Law," a quirky legal drama starring Kathy Bates, was not supposed to work. NBC didn't really want to put it on, and when it did, critics hated it. Yet since premiering in January, the show has become the network's biggest draw. The Los Angeles Times looks at how the program critics love to hate has become a hit. For Kelley, the timing is perfect since he also is trying to develop a new version of "Wonder Woman" for the network.
Soap down the drain. Deadline Hollywood says ABC is looking to trim the number of soap operas it carries, and the odd man out may be "All My Children." Of course, it's no secret that ABC has a few daytime talk projects in the works, including one with Tori Spelling.
No kiss from Kate, but one from Maureen. When Chris Dodd was a senator from Connecticut, he was snubbed by Katharine Hepburn, the new head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America tells New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. In his new post, Dodd can look for better treatment from Hollywood royalty.
It's not what they say, it's what they do. Google likes to say it is a tech company with a nice search engine but that it has no urge to become a media company. New York Times columnist David Carr makes the case that Google already is a media company.
Looking for work. Several stars of current TV shows are already lining up their next gigs before their current ones are over. Variety looks at who thinks they'll be needing a new job in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the Wrap offers up its list on what shows are on the verge of becoming endangered species.
Photos (from top): Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie star in "The Tourist." Credit: Sony Pictures. Georgie Henley stars in "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Credit: 20th Century Fox.

American Union Supporting AT&T to merge buy T-Mobile from Euro Owners

And then there were three. AT&T said Sunday it had reached an agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA in a deal valued at $39 billion. The pairing of AT&T, the No. 2 wireless provider, with T-Mobile, the fourth largest, will face heavy scrutiny from regulators and consumer activists who fear the merger will lead to fewer choices and bigger bills. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? Details fromBloomberg.

California film tax credit program has generated $2.2 billion in spending

California's film tax breaks haven't put the brakes on runaway production, but they've slowed the race to out-of-state filming locations.
That was the message California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch and others delivered Friday at an Assembly hearing held to evaluate the effectiveness of the state's film tax credit program, which took effect in July 2009.
The program, which offers a 20% to 25% tax credit on film and TV productions, has so far allocated $300 million in tax credits to 113 film and TV projects, generating 41,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in spending, including $728 million paid in wages to below-the-line film crews, according to the California Film Commission, which administers the tax credit program.
Lemisch was joined by various union leaders, business owners and film producers who praised the film incentive, which is funded through fiscal 2014. Supporters have been eager to demonstrate that the program is working, even though there doesn't appear to be a move afoot by California politicians to scrap it.
"This expenditure of limited tax dollars has brought back billions to the California economy and the public needs to know it," said Assembly member Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada-Flintridge), who held the hearing at Pasadena City Hall and has co-authored a bill to extend the film tax credits.
More on this in Tuesday's On Location feature.
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Marisa Tomei, left, and Matthew McConaughey are shown in a scene from "The Lincoln Lawyer." Credit: (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Saeed Adyani)