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Film_Fatale

Oliver Stone's "W."

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> {quote:title=MattHelm wrote:}{quote}

> Kyle,

>

> Excellent questions, as always.

>

> I did join the teacher's union eventually because I was scared into it. They approach you with no positive benefits for joining, but they tell you that even if the child perceives you as striking or bullying them, the union will be at your beck and call with lawyers and have a million bucks to pay for your defense. Nice. But that's the way of the education world. I'm surprised that my union rep's name isn't Tony Soprano. If a student doesn't like their reprimand or punishment, they're smart enough, or the parents are, to target the teacher. I feel dirty for submitting to the union because I hate them, but?kids and parents just aren't the same when we were kids. Everyone sees themselves as a victim these days.

>

> As to your question about the price of crude oil, I would also add that the problem with gas prices are the speculators that buy and trade oil contracts. But I think the government's taxes are far worse. I actually wrote (or thought I did) that the combined fed and state taxes were around 60 cents for some states. The federal taxes are around 18 cents and state taxes can range from 7 to 50 cents.

 

 

So, you were scared into joining the union? Please read again what you wrote; and imagine applying Republicans into the scenario of terrorism, and I think that's why so many vote Republican. Fear. I am tired of frightened Americans.

 

Thank you for mentioning the speculation on crude oil. Remember, however, that those taxes are based per gallon, not per dollar. That explains multi-billions in profits. And the Investment Houses own most of the oil contracts. The oil companies just got mega-rich selling them on the world market.

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"I didn't know that the military was privatized. I thought the president was still commander in chief."

 

Slow process, pal. Sorry to run out on you. Got busy.

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I did join the teacher's union eventually because I was scared into it. They approach you with no positive benefits for joining, but they tell you that even if the child perceives you as striking or bullying them, the union will be at your beck and call with lawyers and have a million bucks to pay for your defense.

 

Whatever it is you're being paid (plus yearly increases), whatever health-care benefits you're getting, and whatever pension package you can expect to draw upon retirement, you'd be receiving a hell of a lot less if the union hadn't bargained for them. Those are the positive benefits of belonging to the union (which never would have had the leverage to negotiate any of it without the solidarity of its members). Of course, you'd prefer to be like all those "friends" of Henny-Penny, who only wanted to help eat the bread, not bake it. Bloody parasite.

 

Tell me: how do you get to be a teacher without having received an education of your own?

 

As to your question about the price of crude oil, I would also add that the problem with gas prices are the speculators that buy and trade oil contracts. But I think the government's taxes are far worse. I actually wrote (or thought I did) that the combined fed and state taxes were around 60 cents for some states. The federal taxes are around 18 cents and state taxes can range from 7 to 50 cents.

 

The only way you're going to be taxed at anything like 60% is if your sole source of income is regularly inheriting estates valued over $3 million (we should all be so lucky! Only crooked estate attorneys seem to manage it). Even if you fall within John McCain's definition of upper-middle class (earning just under $5 million a year!), you'd be taxed by the federal government at a rate of about 35%, with another 4% from the highest-taxing states (remember that several states have no income tax at all).

 

Tell me, Matty baby, do you stay up nights in order to make up all the crap you strew around here?

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*"The only way you're going to be taxed at anything like 60% is if your sole source of income is regularly inheriting estates valued over $3 million..."* -CSjr

 

MattHelm never claimed any person's income taxes were at or near 60%.

 

We were discussing taxes on a gallon of gas - which he wrote amounted to 60 cents on a gallon in some states. I did get him to acknowledge that the Federal tax on a gallon of gas was only 17 cents.

 

This wasn't like you, CSjr. I don't know if you mis-read his statement or you were just looking to pick a fight. Either way, MattHelm isn't one who comes around here looking to "strew crap". Others may. Others do. But not him. One can actually have a discussion with MattHelm that is thoughtful and reasonable. He might not admit he was "wrong" - but he may say "You could be right." And that's a better attitude than some of the others you and I see around here.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

--------------------------

"Oohh, I bought a goat and his name was Jack. But he got homesick

so I had to give him ba-a-a-ack"

*F.McGee.*

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*"I feel dirty for submitting to the union because I hate them..."* - MattHelm

 

Wow. Want to elaborate? How is it that you "feel dirty"? And what did the teacher's union do to you. (CSjr has already laid out what the union likely did _for_ you.)

 

Kyle In Hollywood

--------------------------

"Oohh, I bought a goat and his name was Jack. But he got homesick

so I had to give him ba-a-a-ack"

*F.McGee.*

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Jr.,

 

It's not mandatory to join the union here, so they don't have the power to force pay raises or anything else on the county or state, nor the power to strike at the expense of the kids. But think of the states where you have no choice but to join the union if you want to work. That's not freedom.

 

Tell me: how do you get to be a teacher without having received an education of your own?

 

You might want to look into getting an education of your own (sorry, my first grade class is all booked up), so you can read my posts better. I never wrote 60%, I wrote that gas prices in some states can be as high as *60 cents*. Hopefully, the bold print will help you.

 

I did a little digging and found where you get your information on oil production. I hope you don't mind my sharing it with everyone.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kME6K8Adoa0

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As I told Jr., they don't have the power to do anything here. They negotiate, but the state and county don't have to cave in to them like they do in states where it's mandatory to join, so we'd most likely get the pay increases anyway. We're on a step up pay increase system where you get more every year until you top out anyway. The union does nothing here. But again, being forced to join a union in some states is criminal. You should always have the freedom of choice even if the unions do great things in some states. This isn't the Soviet Union. The teacher's union takes my dues and gives them to the Democratic candidates without my permission which should be illegal (even if they gave them to Republicans I'd object). If I don't want my money going to someone I don't want to be in whatever office, it shouldn't. But it does and it's always a democrat, same thing with every teachers union in the country. The latest newsletter I got from them says that they endorse Obama. Sorry, but their selling the union as a safe haven for teachers who abuse kids tells me that something is rotten in Denmark to the core. If you had kids (or maybe you do) would you entrust them in the hands of a system like that? A teacher having a bad day smacks your kid when no one is looking and then gets a million dollars worth of lawyers to get him/her off the hook?

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Either way, MattHelm isn't one who comes around here looking to "strew crap". Others may. Others do. But not him. One can actually have a discussion with MattHelm that is thoughtful and reasonable.

 

Just read this, Kyle. Thanks. And I will admit when I'm wrong if my information is proven wrong. Unlike Jr., I admit I'm not an expert on things like oil production, but I bend over backwards to look for objective information so that I feel secure about a topic. But people like Jr. demeaning someone for their opinion is just bad and you're really just surrendering the argument. It's sad that things like oil and the weather have been politicized in this age we're in, that no matter what opinion you have, you're lumped in with a "side."

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*" have the power to do anything here. They negotiate..."* - MattHelm

 

Un-huh. Can I assume the majority of teachers are members of the union? If so, is it possible that all teachers benefit from the negotiations the union makes on behalf of its members? And this would also ensure decent wages for teachers outside of the public school system? (Ever consider teaching at a private school? )

 

And are the benefits for non-union teachers better, worse or equal to the benfits a union teacher receives? If you've got a fixed pension (if they exist any longer), full medical at retirement, access to preferred loans through a Union Savings & Loan (or government teacher's program), tuition reimbursement for continuing education programs, etc., would you have those if _not_ a member of the union? If union and non-union members have equivilent benefit packages, wouldn't it be due to the work of the union for its members?

 

And while I don't like to hear about lazy or abusive teachers being protected from disciplinary actions for their behavior, you said so yourself that that is just as likely that a student or parent will instigate an unfounded retallitory action against a teacher who is being unfair to "little Johnny or Jenny". That the little nippers can be quite savvy and malicious is nothing "new". (see *The Children's Hour* )

 

So, what do you think about "social promotion"? Ever want to pass a student just to get him or her out of your hair? And how many standardized tests do First Graders heve to endure every year?

 

*"Thanks. And I will admit when I'm wrong - if my information is proven wrong."*

From what I have seen, you're not 100% ideologically driven on most topics. And always open to new information and insights.

 

Plus you're always respectful of another's opinion on the subject of movies - which is why most of us come here in the first place. (Seen any good movies lately? I hope you're not one of those that thinks *WALL-E* was some sort of environmentalist screed disguised as a kiddie cartoon.)

 

Kyle In Hollywood

--------------------------

"Oohh, I bought a goat and his name was Jack. But he got homesick

so I had to give him ba-a-a-ack"

*F.McGee.*

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Excellent questions. I don't know for sure, but I'd say that most teachers are probably members of the union. Non-union members have the same benefits. There's a pension if you opt for it, or you can have them put the money in an investment fund. I don't get full medical and the insurance company we go through is a joke. I get partial tuition reimbursement. I really don't see what our union is doing for us.

 

We've been under the spell of unions for so long, it's impossible to tell whether we'd get the same benefits or pay without one. But I think schools would be competitive with private and charter schools and want to pay a competitive wage and benefits to keep teachers in the public sphere. Just like private business that pays well and treats their employees well. I worked for Costco while in college and their starting pay was ten bucks back then, with excellent benefits. I still have friends there who cashier and make $50K a year with four weeks vacation. All without a union. So, I think schools if weened off unions could be just as competitive with all the other education options out there.

 

I'd rather stay in public education because I chose that vocation to make a difference. Private schools (which about 50% of public school teachers send their own kids to) are for kids who are mostly better off, I think.

 

The danger of having a kid and their parent accuse you of something is possible and has happened I'm sure, but it's still hypothetical. I'm never alone with any one of the kids. Someone who abuses a kid in front of the class has many witnesses. I help students on my own time after school if they really need it. When I asked the school for permission to do so they told me to make sure that I tutored them in a public spot in the school so I wasn't alone with them, just to be safe. But I did have one student tell another teacher that I threatened to throw him on the ground, when I told the kid that if he didn't behave I'd throw him out of the room. You got to be careful because they'll take what you say literally.

 

I don't believe in social promotion, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Higher-ups may tell you to promote a kid regardless of their failing grades. We joke with each other when we promote a kid who's difficult to deal with by apologizing for not retaining them. I wish people would substitute for one day and see how much the respect for elders has deteriorated since we all were in school.

 

For First Graders we have this sort of standardized test called Fox in a Box that tests them on spelling, reading, comprehension, etc. a couple times a year. We retest them at the end of the year on the same things to see what level they've reached. Then we have one called SAT-10 for reading and math.

 

I didn't see WALL-E and heard about that environmentalist thing, but I've heard even conservative reviewers say it's nonsense. I really don't have much interest in computer animated movies though. To me, they look like animated rubber dog toys.

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*Stone's 'W': His portrait of the president*

Ruthe Stein

 

Sunday, August 31, 2008

 

As President Bush prepares to depart the White House, along comes a movie claiming to explain how the onetime boozing rabble-rouser got there in the first place. The movie, "W.," already is creating controversy just from its trailer, showing an inebriated young Bush driving his car onto his family's lawn and being bawled out by his father, who shouts at him, "Who do you think you are? A Kennedy? You're a Bush."

 

Oliver Stone is steeling himself for an avalanche of criticism when "W." opens on Oct. 17 at the height of a promising fall movie season. The same thing happened with "Nixon," his 1995 movie about the disgraced president.

 

"People said I was going to do a hatchet job on him, but 'Nixon' is not a hatchet job and neither is 'W.,' " Stone said while taking a break from a rush editing job to get the film into theaters before the election. "My Nixon was dark and brooding. 'W.' is a souffle compared to that. It is lighter.

 

"I had a great story to tell about how someone who was a bum and a failure and who hadn't done jack s- until 40 became the most powerful person in the world. I give him full credit for the way he turned his life around."

 

The film shows Bush's enormous willpower. After his 40th birthday, he went on a run and felt awful and realized the more he continued on this road the worse it would get. So he quit drinking cold turkey, without the aid of Alcoholics Anonymous. Along with many people, Stone says he believes Bush was saved by his conversion to the evangelical faith and emphasizes this by "shooting a lot in the Bible belt."

 

*Casting the film*

 

For the title role, Stone hired Josh Brolin (after another, unidentified actor passed). "Josh is better looking, but he has something of a rural American about him and a lot of cowboy."

 

The other parts - including Elizabeth Banks as Laura, James Cromwell as Bush's father and Ellen Burstyn as his mother - were relatively easy to fill. But Dick Cheney was a toughie. The film was well into pre-production before Richard Dreyfuss finally agreed. Brolin went directly to his friends John Malkovich and William Hurt, but they turned him down. Robert Duvall told Stone he wasn't interested.

 

"I think people were scared to do this role," Brolin said.

 

Doris Day, or probably her representatives, wouldn't give Stone permission to use her recording of "Que Sera, Sera."

 

Stone was supposed to be in Vietnam this year working on "Pinkville," a war drama about the 1968 My Lai massacre. But when numerous movies about Iraq tanked at the box office, financing vanished for his war movie, even though Bruce Willis was set to star. Stone, who's been around a Hollywood block before, had a fallback script about Bush written by Stanley Weiser, who penned "Wall Street."

 

"I wanted to do it because the man has had tremendous impact on this world, and he is not going to go away in January. His policies will stay around," Stone said.

 

*Former classmates*

 

The 43rd president made absolutely no impact on Stone when they were at Yale together. He didn't even realize they were classmates until Bush told him at their one and only meeting. It was a formal breakfast in 1998, when he was governor of Texas.

 

"I suppose they were reaching out," said Stone, known to be a liberal Democrat. "I got a summons to come. He was very friendly He used a lot of body language and a lot of touching like politicians do.

 

I remember the breakfast vividly. I felt in my heart that this guy would go all the way. His confidence level was so high."

 

"W." covers a lot of ground, starting with Bush at 21 through his rebellious years and almost up until the present. Stone, who got a reputation for playing loose with the facts after his "JFK" movie, said they have tried to make "W." as truthful as possible, using actual dialogue from books written about their subject. But Stone owns up to writing the line about W. being a Bush not a Kennedy.

 

"We're not salacious in our approach. We didn't get into cocaine, although I heard quite a lot about it. But we needed to show (Bush's) rebellion. We show him in jail."

Playing the president

 

Like Bush, Brolin followed his father, actor James Brolin, into the same business. "I didn't use my dad to get into the role other than to know what it is like to want to carve out your own path when you're headed toward the same goal," Brolin said.

 

His daunting task was to convince audiences they were watching someone they see on television almost every day. He viewed dozens of tapes of Bush in action and called hotels in Texas just to hear locals speak. "I wondered how I was going to get his voice down," Brolin said. "I am not a stand-up comic who does 15 seconds of brilliant impersonation. I had to sustain a voice for two hours. Early Bush had this trajectory of getting breathier and breathier."

 

He lost a lot of weight to play the younger Bush, and had to gain it back to be him as president. Gaining was the hardest part until his wife, Diane Lane, who has trouble keeping pounds on when she's acting, advised him to try her avocado and banana milkshakes.

 

Stone told his star to keep in mind an image of James Dean in "Giant." Brolin, however, failed to see the resemblance.

 

"Oliver is from Brooklyn, so what does he know from cowboys?" said Brolin, who spent part of his youth on a ranch in Paso Robles.

 

He recalls "sitting there pining for anything" that might be a key into his character. At a bookstore one day he found it: a huge biography of Steve McQueen. He read it and moved on to documentaries about McQueen.

 

"This is the guy, rebellious, doing things his own way. A bit of an outsider. Not necessarily brilliant, but intuitive and emotionally intelligent." So if you see some of McQueen in Brolin's performance, it is fully intended.

 

*Early reaction*

 

On the airwaves, conservative Republicans are already decrying "W." sight unseen. A couple of regulars on "The View" complained that it was going to be another Stone fantasy where the facts had no relation to what's onscreen. The press has made much of both Stone and Brolin being Democrats, and Stone as also an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war. All of this seems intended to imply that "W." can't stand on its own apart from those who conceived it.

 

But Brolin sees "W." as more of a comedy than a political treatise. Scenes show the president passing out goofy nicknames to his pals. Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton) is Guru and Karl Rove (Toby Jones) is Turdblossom. In a flashback, Bush sings the "Whiffenpoof" song at his fraternity pledge.

 

"There's so much humor in his gestures," Brolin said.

 

Stone likes to compare "W." to "The Queen." Since he can't explain why in any way that makes sense, you wonder if this was his pitch raising money for the film. A majority of the financing came from China, and almost none of it from America. There's a political science lesson in there somewhere.

 

W. opens Oct. 17 in Bay Area theaters.

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/29/PKRV12GVMH.DTL

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I really don't have much interest in computer animated movies though. To me, they look like animated rubber dog toys.

 

At last we agree on something.

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*"Excellent questions."* - MattHelm

 

Thank you Teacher. (I feel like I am in the first grade.)

 

*"There's a pension if you opt for it, or you can have them put the money in an investment fund. I don't get full medical and the insurance company we go through is a joke. I get partial tuition reimbursement. I really don't see what our union is doing for us."*

 

Well, from what you've listed, it certainly sounds like it is doing something. And _all_ insurance companies are a "joke" these days.

 

*"I think schools would be competitive with private and charter schools and want to pay a competitive wage and benefits to keep teachers in the public sphere. Just like private business that pays well and treats their employees well.*

 

You don't think that the union/public schools are the ones setting the "prevailing wage" for the profession and that private/charter schools must match that?

 

*"I worked for Costco while in college and their starting pay was ten bucks back then, with excellent benefits. I still have friends there who cashier and make $50K a year with four weeks vacation."*

 

Good point. And illustrates my point above. Here in California, grocery store clerks are unionized and their wages and benefits set the standard for the entire "profession" - whether union or not. Non-union stores often offer incentives - financial or otherwise - to remain union-free. I don't know if cashiers/clerks are unionized in Florida but if Costco is offering "four weeks paid vacation" to senior cashiers, I am led to believe that such a benefit matches or exceeds what the region's unionized clerks in the industry receive.

 

*"I didn't see WALL-E and heard about that environmentalist thing, but I've heard even conservative reviewers say it's nonsense. I really don't have much interest in computer animated movies though. To me, they look like animated rubber dog toys."*

 

I'll admit that I haven't seen *WALL-E* either. But I can't help but admire a film and filmmaker that not only attempts to be a silent movie (gasp!) - but celebrates it. (I agree about the "rubber dog toy" description though.)

 

Kyle In Hollywood

--------------------------

"Oohh, I bought a goat and his name was Jack. But he got homesick

so I had to give him ba-a-a-ack"

*F.McGee.*

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*You don't think that the union/public schools are the ones setting the "prevailing wage" for the profession and that private/charter schools must match that?*

 

Maybe or maybe not, it might go either way. Like I said, it's almost impossible to say since unions have been around forever. But we can't give the union credit for all the benefits. The profession itself is desperate for more teachers so that you don't even need the union to offer incentives to lure people into teaching.

 

In the town I grew up in, the teachers union crippled the town for a while by striking and then making the town meet their demands. The demands were so high that the town couldn't afford to hire anymore police or fire fighters that were badly needed, for a while. They couldn't even hire more teachers.

 

*I don't know if cashiers/clerks are unionized in Florida but if Costco is offering "four weeks paid vacation" to senior cashiers, I am led to believe that such a benefit matches or exceeds what the region's unionized clerks in the industry receive.*

 

The stores that had unions near where I worked for Costco offered nowhere near those wages and their biggest competitors like ****'s and Sam's Club were still a few dollars behind. I don't think their policies had anything to do with unions since there wasn't any competition with unionized businesses in the area. They just know that a happy employee is a good employee and just about everyone I worked with there ten years ago are still there.

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Maybe or maybe not, it might go either way. Like I said, it's almost impossible to say since unions have been around forever. But we can't give the union credit for all the benefits. The profession itself is desperate for more teachers so that you don't even need the union to offer incentives to lure people into teaching.

 

The "profession" can't be "desperate" (unless its need is for more teachers to bolster, yes, union membership). A particular school district, municipality or county may be in dire need of qualified teachers, but that's not the same thing. And whatever incentives may be offered to induce said teachers to work there may be withdrawn or amended at the employer's pleasure...unless it's guaranteed by contract. Individual teachers are unlikely to be able to negotiate such a contract. That usually takes a union.

 

In the town I grew up in, the teachers union crippled the town for a while by striking and then making the town meet their demands. The demands were so high that the town couldn't afford to hire anymore police or fire fighters that were badly needed, for a while. They couldn't even hire more teachers.

 

Crippled? Did the electricity stop working? The water stop flowing? And how could the teachers' demands be so disruptive, since the police officers and firefighters probably had their own union whose demands had to be met by the town? As usual, you're blaming the wrong people (meaning those who want to make a living wage and provide for their futures); the fault, as is so often the case, lies with those whose shrill politicking make raising the tax revenues to pay for essential services, such as police, fire and education, unpalatable to a broad swath of politicians who are unwilling to speak the truth to a public that's been coddled and suckered by the likes of Howard Jarvis and Grover Norquist, who were and are front men for wealthy interests seeking more and more tax breaks for themselves, all the while the average American is sold a proverbial bill of goods about how their "interests" are being protected.

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*The "profession" can't be "desperate" (unless its need is for more teachers to bolster, yes, union membership).*

 

It's one of the only professions that has to keep up with the birth rate. There are new schools being built every year down here in every county. They are desperate because it's a supply/demand situation. There's a program here, as in other states, where they allow people with Bachelor's degrees to teach as long as they take all the exams and some mandatory courses, to get certified. That's because there aren't enough people going to school to be teachers.

 

*Crippled? Did the electricity stop working? The water stop flowing? And how could the teachers' demands be so disruptive, since the police officers and firefighters probably had their own union whose demands had to be met by the town?*

My hometown, Brockton, MA, had a huge crime rate and without more police it got out of hand. It's much worse today because of those years where they couldn't afford to hire people. They couldn't hire teachers so the number of students in each classroom multiplied. The more students you have, the less time you have to spend with them individually to make sure they understand the lessons. That's how they fall through the cracks.

 

The police and fire fighters' unions must have been content with what they had, because they never made a stink over anything. They can only negotiate about conditions of workers in their unions, not force the town to hire more people. Once the teachers' union did a job on the town, there was nothing left for any other union to demand.

 

People going into teaching know beforehand what money they'll make and what benefits they'll get. I just don't understand going into it and complaining about the money and conditions that you agreed to before you took the job. There are other jobs out there where you can make more money. People who want to be teachers in public schools go into it for reasons unrelated to money. If not, they'd teach college and make six figures a year, working 15 hours a week.

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As I said, "the profession" isn't, and can't be, desperate; it's the employing body that might be since, as you say, birthrates determine the level of staffing eventually needed (there are few things wrong with the United States that a sustained decline in the birthrate wouldn't alleviate, though I'll bet you'll see this statement as an invitation to rail against illegal immigration).

 

As for the police and fire unions, in most states they are generally constrained by laws that prohibit strikes by emergency government workers. That should not be construed as meaning there's any lack of militancy on their part, especially since understaffing in their jobs can cost lives.

 

If you went into teaching out of some spirit of altruism, then you deserve to be living hand-to-mouth (you sound like the teacher's husband who slugs George Bailey in the mouth in Martini's Tavern). Teachers want to be as financially secure as any other profession. Growing old and dying in uninsured penury, warmed only by the knowledge that they'd set generations of kinds on the road to good citizenship, just won't cut it any more. The days of GOODBYE, MR CHIPS are long gone.

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OK. I don't want to get too embroiled in this, as you guys seem to have most of the major points covered.

I worked at a privately owned cogeneration plant about 20 years ago. I was a "shift supervisor", which essentially meant I had to somehow cajole union members into doing their jobs. I made a buck more an hour than them, but as soon as we were on OT, they did better than me, and at least 10 hrs of OT was the norm. I was constantly under pressure from management to "make numbers happen" that were pretty darned unrealistic.

I wound up getting hurt, as I was doing something far outside of my "official" job description, something that I did every night, had to to make "Megs Quota". Without me compromising my health and welfare constantly, "numbers" didn't happen.

Union guys had clauses protecting them from such things. I resented the s--- out of them.

Management tried to harass me into returning to work with a cast on my leg, toe to thigh!

My doctor said no way, no how, "NO". Would you believe rugged individualist Mickee felt like he was doing something wrong?

Well, apparently I was, because upon my return, they switched me over to run a dept I knew nothing about, and laid me off two months later.

I should mention that, at that time, I was an extremely loyal "company guy", and never even put together how hard they "jerked me around" until a decade later.

Then I worked in private plants that in no size shape or form, could you talk to picketing unions.

If you did you were gone.

I wound up in a major construction union, due to my backround with heavy equipment. I could not believe that I was in a situation where I was being paid a solid wage for a solid effort. All those years I thought unions catered to lazy "so and so's" standing around drinking coffee.

Well, I DEFY anyone to go up on the "derrick floor" of an in progress "High rise" or "stadium" and find a bunch of lazy 'so and so's' standing around drinking coffee. And if you do choose to say so during a negotiated coffee break, you open your mouth at your own peril.

Now, I sustained an injury on a job site last year, haven't worked since, and just had screws and pins installed in my back about a month ago. Should my career be over, I'll be compensated. In the meantime, the union has made available every avenue possible for help, as the "workmans comp" gives me just about enough to survive. I'm not complaining about THAT either, as if there were no unions, I doubt workmans comp would be as effective as it is.

Now this is strictly my experience, and of course there is more to it than that. But the Unions serve a very valid purpose. In fact, as I've navigated the system, I certainly consider myself lucky to have had support. I can only imagine where I'd be if this injury had happened to me while I was a "shift supervisor", and loyal to our blessed numbers.

Of course big unions are much like corporations now, money making entities with political clout.

I do not want to debate that. I'm just throwing out there what a blue collar guy has experienced in both realms.

"Night and Day" comes to mind.

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cinesage jr wrote: a proud resident of some **** corner of Tennessee.

 

That's actually very offensive since I don't originally come from Tennessee. I lived in Texas before the Bush years there. And for your information, I happen to be part cherokee.

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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/season/2008/10/how-w-plans-to.html

 

*How 'W.' plans to run an Oscar election - Step One: Throw star-studded premiere*

 

Stars, industry honchos and academy members, select press and many actors from the movie all gathered at the Landmark Theatre in West L.A. on Monday night for a first look at Oliver Stone's latest political film, "W.," a surprisingly measured and entertaining take on President George W. Bush.

 

Among those attending the "special screening" (it wasn't labeled a premiere) were stars Josh Brolin (George W.), Richard Dreyfuss, who plays Dick Cheney, James Cromwell (George H.W. Bush), Scott Glenn (Rumsfeld), along with director Oliver Stone.

 

Noted guests included Brett Ratner, Bill Maher, Ed Zwick, Paul Haggis, Al Pacino, Martin Sheen, Diane Lane, Academy President Sid Ganis and Maria Bello. Proud father James Brolin and stepmom Barbra James Brolin and Barbra Streisand at the 'W.' premiere Streisand huddled in a corner of the Landmark wine bar at the after-party with her "Meet the Fockers" director, Jay Roach. Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen and Jonah Hill amiably chatted and posed for photos.

 

Word on the movie, albeit from this clearly partisan crowd, was a near-unanimous thumbs up. Lionsgate execs were bullish on the picture's box-office chances as it opens Oct. 17 in more than 2,000 theaters and right in the heart of a heated presidential campaign.

 

How it fares among the box-office electorate (and with critics of course) will determine exactly how enthusiastically the distributor will be campaigning the movie for that other important constituent out there: Oscar.

 

Lionsgate execs we talked to weren't too forthcoming even though more than one well-known awards consultant was seen hovering, apparently eager to get the assignment.

 

One exec told us they were most likely going to go with a campaign but wanted to gauge the reaction and test the waters "before committing millions of dollars" on an Oscar bid. A sign of the financially cautious times, even in show biz.

 

Another told us they admired the approach a couple of years ago for eventual best picture winner "The Departed," which ran a sort of non-campaign initially with its consultants trying to play down any talk. "We want people to tell us it's worthy," the exec stated.

 

It's all about lowered expectations, certainly a debate strategy that recently worked for Sarah Palin.

 

In any case, Lionsgate has turned out to be the shrewdest of awards-season players, both at the Oscars with its upset 2005 best picture win for "Crash" and its first-ever (for basic cable) best drama series Emmy win for "Mad Men" last month.

 

Bill Maher with unidentified guest And certainly "W." has the stuff Oscar nominations are made of. It's well crafted from a director with a long history of success at the Academy Awards. Stone's "Platoon" took best picture and director in 1986.

 

He also has another directing Oscar for "Born on the Fourth of July" and a screenplay statue for "Midnight Express." Then Stone's two previous films dealing with famous presidents,"JFK" and "Nixon," grabbed a total of 12 nominations between them.

 

It's not a stretch to surmise a largely liberal academy could shower love on this insightful, funny and oddly empathetic look at our current president.

 

Certainly, you could find no one in the room who wasn't raving about Brolin's spot-on portrayal of Bush, one sure to put him in major contention for lead actor, especially considering the academy's recent penchant for rewarding stars who play real-life figures.

 

Supporting possibilities abound as well, with Cromwell and Dreyfuss, along with Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush and Elizabeth Banks as Laura, all likely to get consideration. On the other hand, disdain for an unpopular president could dampen enthusiasm for any movie focused on his life.

 

"W." was rushed into production in May to make a mid-October release, just in time to become part of the '08 election dialogue. If the plan backfires and the public decides they get enough of the real W. on the news (particularly with an economic crisis accelerating), then the film's Oscar chances could diminish considerably.

 

Costar Noah Wyle ("ER") told us he hopes the film (which is largely about the Bush administration's march into Iraq) works and, if it does, a sequel, "W2," could focus on the president's handling of the economy.

 

It's worth noting another new film dealing with a famous president, Ron Howard's superb adaptation of Peter Morgan's Broadway and London hit, "Frost/Nixon," is purposely sitting out the election cycle even though it was completed last April.

 

Universal decided to release it Dec. 5, a full month after the new president is elected, hoping the film would be looked at on its own and not get lost in the political fever sweeping the nation. A festival premiere is planned for London later this month, farther from the heat of the campaign.

 

These two differing strategies for two very personal and political films each meriting serious best picture consideration may both turn out to be smart ones -- or not. A volatile electorate could mean a box-office challenge that influences award voters down the road. Who wants to be with a loser, in an election or at the movies?

 

After all, no one has ever said the Academy Awards are not capable of some politics of their own.

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>I am so sick of these left wing cooks trying to instill their political ideas and wishes on the public.

 

My goodness. 14 pages of comments. I don't have the patience to read through all of these but I'll put my 2 cents worth in.... Better we should be limited to right wing nuts and their political ideas and wishes.

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