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With large-scale domestic manufacturing off-shored and de-unionized, Hollywood film and television production may now be the most heavily unionized private-sector industry in the American economy. I had no idea when I started in the labor movement in the 1980s that I would get my foot in the (back) door of “the business” by working with some of the entertainment industry unions and guilds. Today’s “above the line” unions include the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild and the newly-merged SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists); “below the line” unions encompass the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees – also called the “IA”), the Teamsters and others.
Though I barely knew which end of the camera to look through, I was first hired-on for some interesting projects by IA Local 600 – the Cinematographers Guild. When three regional camera locals were consolidated in the mid-1990s, I wrote and edited mail-outs to members about the merger and,
We just returned from a week of glorious — and nearly free – recreation in three of California’s state parks and want to reflect for a moment on the amazing resource that our state government manages for everyone.
Despite the recent controversy about the “extra” $54 million that was discovered by the state Department of Recreation, we were reminded about the incredible natural resource that we all have in our state parks. We should also be celebrating the extra money found to keep the parks open. It’s important to remind ourselves periodically that the only thing protecting the redwood forests and gorgeous coastlines from being 100 percent privately owned recreation centers for the rich, or a special resource for the lumber industry, is our government.
We spent a week vacationing in Mendocino County, the home of redwood groves that spill down to the gorgeous rocky Northern California coastline. We were surrounded by exquisite beauty.
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comLast week, much to my surprise, Bill O’Reilly invited me on his Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor.
He was upset that I called him a “right wing buffoon” in my Huffington Post article, “Pete Seeger – In His Own Words – Graces the Colbert Report.” The article was actually about Pete Seeger’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show on Monday night.
In truth, the reference to O’Reilly in my Huffington Post piece was an after-thought. I was praising Stephen Colbert for inviting Seeger on his show and I suggested that Colbert lead a campaign to get Pete nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I wrote that: “Colbert’s show — including his faux campaign for president, his Super PAC, and his nightly send-up of Bill O’Reilly’s right-wing buffoonery — brilliantly satirizes the absurdities of America’s corporate-dominated political culture.
On May 12, 1998, Danny Keysar, a 16-and-one-half-months-old toddler, was strangled at his licensed childcare facility in a Chicago neighborhood. Danny was killed by a defective children’s product where he napped in the afternoons at the childcare home. The product was a mesh portable crib, or play yard — the Playskool Travel-Lite.
On August 14, 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that – for the first time – directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to set safety standards for children’s products and required they be tested to ensure compliance. Infants and toddlers are safer as the commission sets standards for cribs, bath seats, portable bed rails, infant walkers and toddler beds, high chairs, booster chairs, hook-on chairs; gates and other enclosures; stationary activity centers; infant carriers; strollers; walkers; swings; bassinets and cradles, changing tables, infant bath tubs and infant slings.
Before this law was passed,
I have been wading through the three volumes of Taylor Branch’s history, America in the King Years, and reliving the dozen years between Montgomery and Memphis. The Montgomery bus boycott catapulted Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national headlines; Memphis was where he was assassinated. Throughout that tumultuous time, the Reverend James Lawson stood just offstage, a key partner in the nonviolent campaign for full citizenship for African Americans.
While King spearheaded the campaign to desegregate the buses in Montgomery, Lawson trained students in Nashville in the ways of nonviolence. He led small workshops tucked away in church basements. He taught his students not to react to taunts and threats. He gave them tools to remain calm and centered while undergoing arrest or physical attacks. Lawson believed that only by enduring the blows of hatred could haters see their own humanity. He brought Gandhi’s understanding of nonviolence to this country and he trained thousands of civil rights workers during those years.