Amy Sohn on the WGA Strike:
Despite the media’s stereotyping of us, half of the WGA members are unemployed at any given time. This means they don’t make the minimum for health benefits and many of them are hence uninsured. Many of them have families, which means their kids aren’t insured. We are not a rich union. We are a middle-class union. This was actually the point that children’s TV writer Sarah Durkin was trying to say when Carr interviewed her at 30 Rock...
Marc Cherry, whom I interviewed for the Desperate Housewives tie-in book I wrote, lived off residuals from “The Golden Girls” for years before he created what went on to be a bonanza for ABC. As described eloquently on “The Brian Lehrer Show” last week by screenwriter Adam Brooks, residuals are an investment in the future of a writer, an acknowledgment that the money that tides us over between projects will allow us to write things that may be more successful than anything we have written before. One of the AMPTP’s first proposals was to eliminate residuals. A horrifying rollback.
Vince Beiser interviews writer/director Paul Haggis for The Progressive about the strike, the war, and his new film, In the Valley of Elah:
Q: Let’s talk about In the Valley of Elah. You started trying to make it in 2003 and had a hard time.
Haggis: Right after we invaded Iraq, I put a sign on my lawn that said “War is not the answer.” That sign was either defaced, ripped up, or stolen every week. I had to replace that sign twelve times. When I ran out, I put up a sign that said “We support our troops, bring them home now.” That one disappeared about ten times. And that’s in Santa Monica, one of the most liberal communities in America!
Even here at that time, every second car had the American flag on it, every second car had a bumper sticker that said “Support Our Troops.” None of those bumper stickers meant “support our troops.” They meant, “support the war.” It was stunning to see how thin the veneer of progressiveness is in this community. When we’re threatened, it’s very easy to appeal to our basic natures.
The radical rightwing pegs Hollywood as a leftist town, which is completely wrong. There are a lot of actors, writers, and directors who talk a liberal agenda of some sort . . . but all the studio bosses, for as long as there have been studios, have all been as far rightwing as you can possibly imagine. And now all the studios are owned by multinational corporations, which are not usually bastions of the left. So all the actors, writers, and directors—or at least a great majority of them—live in fear because we’re all insecure, we all want that next job, we all want to be loved, and we don’t want to piss off some studio chief who won’t hire us for the next movie. That’s why you hear this story that we’re all on the left, but when there’s a demonstration, you count how many actors actually come out. If there’s a half dozen, that would be a big day.
Here's the preview, and there's more on YouTube:
"Still a Puritan Nation? Most '08 Candidates Support Abstinence Education," Alison Bowen, Alternet
An end to abstinence-only sex education was at the top of the list when 600 self-described feminists met in New York recently to rally their ranks and craft a platform for U.S. presidential lobbying.
Abstinence-only -- for which President Bush proposes a 2008 budget of $204 million -- has avid supporters and wary detractors, who want to find a more comprehensive way to present sex education.
In March, three members of Congress introduced a bill to authorize federal funds for states' comprehensive sex education that offers menu of options from abstinence to contraception and abortion. The Responsible Education About Life Act -- or the REAL Act as the bill is known -- was sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; and Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Annalee Newitz on why she voted for Josh Wolf in the San Francisco mayoral election:
There were the sure-to-fail futures represented by good candidates
with no hope of winning, and then there was the dark future of creepy
joke candidates like Chicken, whose mockery of the voting process was
probably part of why so few people turned out for the election. Why
vote when running for mayor had been turned into a joke?
So I voted for the best possible future I could find, the future in
which, eventually, smart young people who care about freedom of
expression online become mature politicians who understand new
technologies and the socioeconomic conditions associated with them.
Maybe Wolf won't grow into that politician, but somebody like him
will. And that person will probably understand things like how to
organize Internet access for low-income city residents and why
entertainment companies shouldn't be allowed to sue people for
hundreds of thousands of dollars because they've been file-sharing.
That person will also understand how easy it is to violate people's
privacy online and will push for regulations that prevent companies
and governments from dipping into private digital data supplies.