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I am a member of two creative unions in the entertainment industry.  Without them, I'd have no pension or health benefits.  In addition, without them, employers in my industry (in my case, studios & producers) would be able to exploit my services without crediting me properly - in a business in which your credit & your name is as good as money, in terms of hiring for future jobs.  They would be able to continue to reap financial benefits from my work for years to come, without allowing me to share in them.  These are among the many things being in a union does for me.  I pay dues in proportion to what I make.  The more I make, the more dues I pay.  There are some crazy big money high earners in my union, and they pay their fair share to help level the playing field for those of us in the lower income brackets.

This isn't the only reason I'm pro-union.  Please, will you read more below, and help me out with a reality/fact-based defense of some charges made by an anti-union friend?

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Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM PST

Distractions of 4 Star Generals

by hopesprings

...and other anomalies of this week's political scandal.

“Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” ― Blaise Pascal

In reading the exploits of 4-Star Generals Petraeus and Allen, a persistent image comes to mind. A middle-aged man in uniform hunches over a makeshift table inside a tent in the field...his dozens of medals clanging agianst his chest as he pounds away on his laptop keyboard.  He is deep in concentration.  Is he outlining intricate maneuvers for the troops under his command?  Is he sending top-secret strategy proposals to the Commander-In-Chief and the Pentagon high command?  Is he composing an inspirational letter to his long-suffering wife at home, or his children, who idolize him as the hero all red-blooded Americans believe him to be?

You know that's not what my imaginary general was writing!  Please follow after the cloud:

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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 08:52 PM PST

Romney Team Contests Ohio

by hopesprings

The Romney campaign is not conceding Ohio.  They will not admit defeat until all the Ohio votes have been counted; they claim their numbers show that it's not lost.  "The Romney campaign believes Ohio is not beyond its reach."

We will have to wait for a final tally on the state before we get a concession speech.  

Heads are exploding over at Fox News.  The on-air talent refuse to believe it - Karl Rove staunch denies it and is saying it's 2000 all over again.  Ohio Sec of State John Husted made a cryptic comment and then said, "I won't be at the podium again."

Just can't let it go.


This little item popped up on my FACEBOOK stream (from a right wing friend), so I googled to see if had any merit.  

What came up was a page of links, mostly "Fox News Exclusives", and other right wing-slanted news sources:

The former inmate, Sufyan Ben Qumu, is one of the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan militant Islamist group with a high-profile presence in the east of the country that has already been identified by local officials as involved in the attack on the consulate in Benghazi in which Chris Stevens died.
What does this mean and why is Fox News trumpeting itlike the second coming?

Continued below.

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Not that I'd second guess our President, who seems to be able to keep his head above the fray of petty partisanship with grace and dignity.  

Just that I would'nt have been so polite.

When I heard Wilson's outburst in Obama's speech, this is how an alternate version of the event unfolded in my addled brain:


Obama's handling of Joe Wilson

57%32 votes
10%6 votes
32%18 votes

| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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Are "paper ballots" the same as "provisional ballots"?

If so, a lot of Upper West Side voters at our polling place found themselves fucked this morning.

We vote in NYC in our apartment building; one of the Trump buildings on Riverside Blvd.  Fairly pricey neighborhood (like most of the Upper West Side), upper middle class to upper upper upper middle class residents.  Usually voting here is a breeze; today was the first day I've ever seen lines at all.  Still, the lines were only 5-10 minutes long.  Several buildings - 160,180, and 200 - all vote at the same place.

I had no problem voting.  Gave them my last name, signed the card, pulled the old fashioned lever, felt jubilant and a little emotional.  They'd already run out of "I voted" stickers, so the pollworkers were handwriting them on pieces of tape!

However, my husband - and everyone whose last name starts with A-L in our building - were told that they'd have to cast "paper ballots" because "the machine for your building and your alphabetical numbers isn't working."

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Drove from Rockland County New York to descend on Allentown with hundreds of other committed out of staters.  

Met a like-minded volunteer among all the others pouring into the designated launching point -an empty factory/industrial building; even ran into two friends from my town who had also made the two hour plus trip early in the morning!  The enthusiasm was infectious and I wished this were something I did every day of my life.  

After about four hours of walking (with a lunch break in-between), my canvassing partner and I distributed GOTV flyers - door hangers and other information - in two separate neighborhoods - one, very marginal low-income; the other, solid (but clearly suffering) middle class.  The beautiful flyers have already been mentioned in another diary; they contained information about the recipient's the exact polling place, polling hours, and "how-to's" about your rights and responsibilities as a voter.  Instructions were clear and simple.    We were given Spanish versions for the first, heavily hispanic neighborhood we worked.

How many did we end up successfully placing in those two shifts?  (below the jump...)

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This election cycle has galvanized people who never before took a passionate interest in politics.  Take my husband.  He's more moderate than I am, and while not certainly not apathetic about world affairs - he's constantly interested in current events and history and a voracious reader - was never a "joiner," a debater, or  God forbid, an activist.  He's preferred to keep his head down, stay on the sidelines, and just quietly do the right thing.

Obama's candicacy has changed all that.  

Can you guys please help him with a rebuttal to one of these wingers' emails?  Please stick it out, after the fold...

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Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 05:25 AM PDT

Please Freep an Anti-Al Gore Poll

by hopesprings

This certainly isn't the most significant thing you'll do today, but when I read this poll it just burned me up.  (No Global Warming pun intended, almost).

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I wrote this as a comment on Mike's diary, but I'd like to diary it simply because as an entertainment industry professional, I have a different perspective on this than some.

I have always been one of Mike Stark's biggest fans and supporters.  From way back before CALLING ALL WINGNUTS.  I often wished I had Mike's creativity and cajones when it comes to fighting for what is right.  I think Mike is a huge asset to our community - a gem, in fact - and that progressive politics would not even exist without the Mike Starks of the world.  

But I gotta join the naysayers in regards to his O'Reilly confrontation today - I think it's way, WAY too much to go to a person's house.  

Yes, it's well within your first ammendment rights.  And Yes, O'Reilly is a public figure.  But I think when it comes to going to a person's private home and accosting him and his neighbors, it borders on harrassment.  My perspective after the jump.

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Like many of you progressives who are on every progressive organization's email list, I just received an email from Michael Moore about SICKO, encouraging us all to go out and see it.  What he really means is, see it NOW. Today or tomorrow.

I agree with him.  It's vital to the film's survival that as many of you, your friends and family as humanly possible go see it this weekend.

This isn't about enriching Michael's about keeping the film alive.

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Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 09:11 AM PDT


by hopesprings

Any readers of this blog old enough to remember the 1977 movie, Midnight Express?   Link to it here at IMDB

This award-winning film made a huge splash back then.  It was based on the true story of Billy Hayes, a 20 year old college kid visiting Turkey, who decided the fastest way to pay off his student loans was to smuggle about 2k of hashish back to America, taped to his body.  The kid was a really bad (and obvious) smuggler, he was caught, convicted by the Turkish system, and ultimately ended up with the equivalent of a life sentence (30 years by Turkish law.)  The film detailed the beatings he underwent in prison, the corruption of the system, homosexual rape, etc.  I remember seeing it at age 15 and being shocked - "This poor, innocent kid - one mistake and he gets this?"  

(Much more below the jump:)


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