Sunday, May 28, 2006

Talked to Lawrence Fishburn Backstage at the Taper

Lawrence Fishburn is onstage at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where he's doing the play Without Walls. When he came into the building today, he said hi as he went by the coffee machine, and I said hi and said I'm a big fan but I just had one question.

He stopped on the first stair and said, "Sure, what?"

I said, "What was it like being there with Stephen Colbert ripping Bush?"

He looked bewildered. I'm sure he's a busy man and that was a few weeks ago. His assistant said, "The Correspondent's Dinner" to remind him.

That big Lawrence Fishburn smile spread over his face and he said, "Man, it was great. Those people had no idea what was going on."

Just as I thought. Washington too wrapped up in itself to realize when they were being made fun of. I said, "Well, you looked like you were enjoying it in the cutaway to you."

He said he thought it was fantastic, and said, "Those people don't have a clue."

So, there you have it from someone who was there. The beltway crowd was completely blindsided by Colbert. No clue. This fact is further proven by the fact that Tom DeLay's people thought Colbert was a real conservative who ripped Robert Greenwald a new one.

Friday, May 19, 2006

My Union Is Locked out of the LA Forum

When the Lakers were winning all those Championships, I think they called it "Showtime." Well, the shows in the Laker's House, the Inglewood Forum (AKA the Great Western Forum), were done by IATSE Local 33. I did several shows there, including Gloria Estefan. We were the stagehands in that building from the day it was built until this past April 10, when Local 33 was locked out by SMG and the Faithful Central Bible Church, the management group and owners of the LA Forum.

Now, Madonna is crossing our picket line. We're having a massive rally down there for her show Sunday, the 21st. We're asking people going to the show to please refrain from buying concessions as a show of support. And we're hoping Madonna might have something to say, too.

To find out more you can do to help us, check out this page about the lockout of IATSE employees from the LA Forum.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Erin Aubry Kaplan: Labor vs. the Lakers' old lair - Los Angeles Times

"I HAVE A DAILY ambition of taking an hourlong walk around the Forum in Inglewood. I don't realize that goal every day, but I have managed to fulfill a few others in the process, including staving off weight gain and literally keeping an eye on signs of life (or decay) in my fair city.

Usually my walk is a reaffirmation of small-town stability and continuity that counters a sense of urban decline; from day to day, not much changes around the Forum. That lack of change, while frustrating in one sense, is also comforting. I was jolted out of that comfort a couple of weeks ago. Turning the corner at 90th Street, I came upon a knot of picketers outside the Forum."
As Kaplan's article goes on to say, the picketers were from my stagecraft union, IATSE Local 33. We're there because, contrary to the SMG position, we were locked out of a venue where we have been since it was built. I would like to personally thank Erin Aubry Kaplan for this article, which does a very good job of pointing out the ironies of this situation, namely that the Faithful Central Bible Church, the owners of the LA Forum, are in a very labor friendly neighborhood, and are bussing in scabs to replace the union workers there. Very awkward. You can see for yourself in the pictures on the downloadable fliers at our union's web page about this action.

We also have pictures of Madonna crossing our picket line, which we found very disappointing. We hope that people will help us by finding out more at our web page, and telling friends, co-workers, and other union members. Please post our fliers at your job and your church. Follow the links on our site to Fax or email a letter to the Church. We appreciate any help we can get.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tom Gilroy: Bush's Trojan Christ

It used to be that Christians were known to all by their good deeds, but after almost four decades of the GOP's cleaving the populace into warring sects to be manipulated at the polls, 'being Christian' is no longer defined by doing good deeds, it's defined by an arrogant mission to tell others how they must live---who they can marry, who they can adopt, what they can say in public, what they must teach in schools---all the way down to what kind of medicine they should have access to.
Seems like there are some really angry people out there. After having it out with a Bush voter today about the effects of FAUX news brainwashing on American voters, I read this. I'd like to be able to strap the guy down, Clockwork Orange style, with his eye lids pried open, and have Tom Gilroy read this to him for about two weeks. But that would be torture. And I'm against that.
And of course there's Tom Delay, the great born-again purveyor of moral rectitude, the man with his hand in so many tills even Texas republicans had to cut him loose. The President salutes him as a great patriot who 'served his country well' and the Rove-minions repeat ad nauseum, 'the Dems don't have their poster-boy for corruption to kick around anymore.' What does that mean, exactly? Did he do it, or not? If he's innocent, then how could he possible be a poster-boy for corruption? And if he's guilty, why is the president saluting his patriotism? And if he's a thief and a liar, what are we to think of his relentless touting of Christian values? Doesn't that mean he's a hypocrite, and that Christian values, in a political sense, are meaningless?
Read the whole thing. Then head over to my wife's site, Questions for Christians, and vent.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Illegal Immigration

I'm so sick of the over generalization that liberals are pro-illegal.

I'm pro legal immigration. The way my Slovakian great-grandparents did it. Through the name shortening process at Ellis Island.

Listen to Big Ed on Air America.

Plenty of liberal American workers like me are very upset at the effects of illegal immigration. Besides the costs, there is the downward pressure on wages, and the fact that big companies that hire these illegals do so without legal ramifications. It allows them to lower wages, bust unions, and reap bigger profits for fat-cat CEOs.

And in case you weren't paying attention, that's Bush's base.

So all you people who have voted Republican for whatever reason, maybe you thought you'd get rich someday and you want those big tax cuts if you do, or maybe you believed the FAUX news morphing of Ossama Bin Forgotten into Saddam Hussein (who 85% of troops in Iraq still think attacked us on 9-11), but you better stop voting against your interests. The Republican party has been taken over by idiots who believe anything Sean Hannity says, Christian Zionist zealots who want to bring on the Rapture, and Big Business sleaze bags like the CEO of Exxon Mobile, who's retirement package is going to pay him $150,000 per DAY.

There are plenty of fiscal conservative Democrats who will not raise taxes on the middle class, who will fight not just to keep unions, but to empower them, and who will ENFORCE the laws we already have to stop corporations from hiring illegals. Unless you do that, you will never stop them from coming. Who can blame them. The ruling class and the Catholic church (c'mon, telling one of the poorest, overpopulated countries not to use birth control, what does that do for immigration numbers?) do nothing for them in Mexico. US agribusiness has ruined the small rural farmer in Mexico, as they have here. We need a comprehensive plan that includes refusal to extend trade agreements like NAFTA unless Mexico does something to stop the waves of people coming here, especially the criminals and gangs.

From a what-can-I-do perspective, purchase fair trade products from Mexico, like the shade-grown organic coffee that we buy at Trader Joe's. This kind of voting with your dollars creates sustainable jobs in Mexico, resulting in less illegal immigration.