Wall-E : Is It Left Wing Propaganda?

There is a building pile of crap over a movie–Wall-E.  First, it is a animated movie, do any of the right wing idiots get that?  OK and the Tele-Tubies were gay–at least one of them, according to people of similar thinking.  These same people really hate it when others see their right wing agenda being portrayed in the media, but yet they continue to see those long dead “socialist” demons everywhere.

This is a piece written in the NY Times by Chris Suellentrop:

Two denizens of National Review ­ Greg Pollowitz and Shannen Coffin ­ think Pixar’s latest is a bit of “leftist propaganda about the evils of mankind,” as Coffin puts it.

“It was like a 90-minute lecture on the dangers of over consumption, big corporations, and the destruction of the environment,” Pollowitz writes at Planet Gore, National Review’s global-warming blog.

“I have been a huge fan of Disney Pixar’s movies,” Coffin writes at The Corner, the magazine’s staff blog. “Parents are usually just as entertained as their kids are. With WALL-E, that’s probably true only if you thought ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was Oscar-worthy.”

Blogland moves at the speed of thought, however, and already the right-wing backlash to the right-wing backlash against “Wall-E” is underway. Jonah Goldberg chimes in with a brief rebuttal at The Corner. He calls “Wall-E” a “fascinating and at-times brilliant movie.”

Goldberg, however, agrees with the critique that “Wall-E” is a bit of “Malthusian fear mongering” from Pixar. Two other bloggers go further and mount a conservative defense of the film.

“I was relieved to see a kids’ movie in which the obligatory message of ecological apocalypse is framed in terms of jeopardizing our own humanity, rather than being mean to poor Gaia,” writes Matt Frost at The American Scene.

Robert Patrick J. Ford of The American Conservative suggests that “Wall-E” is, Coffin’s protests notwithstanding, more right-wing than left-wing. “The real tragedy of these callous conservative critics (say that three times fast) is that they are missing the real lessons of the movie, ones I found immediately attractive to a traditional conservative,” Ford writes. “In the film, it becomes clear that mass consumerism is not just the product of big business, but of big business wedded with big government. In fact, the two are indistinguishable in WALL-E’s future. The government unilaterally provided its citizens with everything they needed, and this lack of variety led to Earth’s downfall.” He continues:

Another lesson missed is portrayed perfectly in Coffin’s claim that WALL-E points out the “evils of mankind.” The only evils of mankind portrayed are those that come about from losing touch with our own humanity. Staples of small-town conservative life such as the small farm, the “atomic family,” and old-fashioned and wholesome entertainment like “Hello, Dolly” are looked upon by the suddenly awakened humans as beautiful and desirable. By steering conservative families away from WALL-E, these commentators are doing their readers a great disservice.

Yet Another American Axel UpDate

American Axle CEO Richard Dauch was awarded an $8.5 million bonus for defeating the three-month strike by 3,650 auto workers and successfully imposing deep wage and benefit cuts on the company’s hourly workforce, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last Friday.

In addition to the bonus Dauch received $1.5 million salary, stock awards and other compensation, which brought his total to $18.7 million in 2007, more than double his compensation in 2006. Dauch, one of the highest paid auto industry executives, has pocketed over $300 million since leading a group of private investors who took over several auto parts factories from General Motors in 1994.

Auto workers in Michigan and New York went on strike last February to oppose wage cuts of up to 50 percent. The bitter 87-day walkout was isolated and betrayed by the United Auto Workers bureaucracy, which had agreed to substantial rollbacks even before the strike began.

The new contract cut wages from $28 an hour to $14.50 and to as low as $10 an hour at the company’s Three Rivers, Michigan plant. In addition, the company is closing two plants and eliminating 2,000 of 3,650 jobs, including 1,100 in Detroit.

The board’s compensation committee—made up of fellow millionaires, including auto executives and Wall Street investors—decided to award higher bonus payments to “reward AAM’s leadership team for their accomplishments and commitment during a period of significant change in our industry and to motivate them.”

Due to the “successful resolution of our negotiations with the UAW,” the statement read, the compensation committee had scrapped its plans to give executives a 4 percent increase based on the company’s posting of a $37 million profit last year. Instead the top executives were given increases of from 44 to 200 percent.

During the course of the strike Dauch repeatedly insisted the company could not afford to pay wages of $28 an hour. He insisted that such wages were not “market competitive” and that it was necessary to eliminate “the Detroit entitlement mentality,” by which he meant the belief that workers should be able to make a decent wage and have certain benefits.

As usual the union bureaucracy came down on the side of the profiteers and left the workers out to dry.  Personal opinion is that it is time for the workers, ALL workers to find new leadership.

Starbucks……..Can we Say Anymore?

Starbucks Corp. may rise in Nasdaq trading today after the coffee retailer, which has doubled in size since 2004, announced plans to retrench, including cutting 7 percent of its workforce and closing 600 stores.

Seventy percent of the stores to be shut are less than three years old, the company said. Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Peter Bocian said the stores were taking 25 percent to 30 percent of sales from nearby locations.

The closings will hurt long-term revenue projections while helping the company achieve its profit goals, Bocian said on a conference call yesterday, without elaborating.

Other Starbucks stores may recapture $180 million to $360 million of the roughly $600 million in sales lost from the closures, DiFrisco said.

Starbucks’ sales and earnings have declined as cash- strapped consumers facing record gasoline prices cut back on gourmet coffee and other luxuries. The company still plans to open 200 other company-owned stores through September 2009.

Most of the 600 stores set to close were opened in late 2005 and 2006, Bocian said on the call with investors and analysts. During that time, more than 50 percent of the new stores had drive-through service, he said.

Consumers are driving less because of gasoline prices that have soared to more than $4 a gallon, according to separate surveys in the past two weeks by Mastercard Advisors analyst Michael McNamara and JPMorgan Securities Inc. analyst Himanshu Patel.

Since some of Starbucks has been unionized, just how many of the layoffs and closures will effect those in the new union?  Since Starbucks has fought the unions tooth and nail, I would guess that those units with the unions will be the first to get the ax.

Screen Actors Guild Moves Toward Strike

Hollywood is preparing for another crippling strike after the largest actors’ union failed to agree on a new contract with the US entertainment industry’s key studios and networks.

The 120,000-member Screen Actors Guild has been locked in talks with the studios for several weeks, with both sides working towards a deadline of midnight last night.

But it became clear yesterday that the deadline would not be met, paving the way for a repeat of the strike by Hollywood screenwriters that began last November and paralysed the industry for three months. That strike cost the California economy more than $2bn in lost revenues, according to the Milken Institute, a think-tank.

Any strike by actors could potentially cause as much damage to the state’s economy and also hit other US states that rely on the entertainment industry, such as New York, Louisiana and New Mexico.

SAG is also at loggerheads with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a rival acting union, which has accepted a contract offer from the studios.

Aftra, a smaller union with about 70,000 members, has agreed to a contract that would guarantee its members a bigger share of revenues from the airing of their work on new media platforms.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, said the industry was “shutting down” because “SAG’s Hollywood leadership insisted on 11th-hour negotiations and dragging these talks into July so they can continue attacking Aftra”

ConEd Strike UpDate

This from an update reported in the NY Daily News:

Contract talks between Consolidated Edison and the union representing nearly 9,000 of the utility’s workers continued early Wednesday morning as a deadline for a possible strike passed without resolution, a spokesman for the utility said.

“Both sides have agreed to stop the clock and work past midnight,” said Con Edison spokesman Michael Clendenin as the 11:59 p.m. Tuesday deadline passed.

Negotiations resumed Tuesday morning in Manhattan after they were suspended over the weekend when Gov. David Paterson intervened and suggested both sides take a cooling off period.

One major point of contention was the company’s proposal to switch from traditional pensions to a 401(K)-style plan for new employees, said Joe Flaherty, spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, which represents about two-thirds of Con Edison’s 14,000 employees

The union had threatened to walk off the job early Sunday if an agreement wasn’t reached but Paterson, expressing concerning about the potential impact a strike would have on customers during hot weather, stepped in late Saturday.

The utility has repeatedly pointed out that about half of its managers rose through its ranks and would respond to any emergencies if workers struck. However, non-emergency repairs and meter reading could be delayed, the utility has said.

In 1983, a strike by the union lasted more than two months. During that strike, a 20-block area including the garment district went dark for days after a water main break started an electrical fire in a substation. The blackout forced hundreds of offices and stores to close.

See, He Is No Better Than Any Other Candidate

Democrat Barack Obama said yesterday that if elected president he would set aside more than $500 million a year in federal funds for religious organizations to help the disadvantaged, sharply expanding a Bush administration program that has strong support from evangelical Christians.

Political analysts said Obama’s proposal appeared to be part of an attempt to shift to the center and recruit moderate, evangelical Christians and mainstream Catholics, two voting blocs that consistently supported Bush and have embraced Republican candidates.

Groups cannot use the money to proselytize those in need, he said, and they cannot refuse to hire someone of a different religion. Federal dollars granted directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs, Obama said, adding that close monitoring will “ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.” The People for the American Way, a liberal public-interest group, issued a statement yesterday applauding Obama for those safeguards, but questioning why he would allow direct government payments to houses of worship, something that “is neither necessary nor appropriate.”

Obama is just becoming the candidate I was waiting him to become.  In the past I have said that I was not yet an Obama supporter and this is why I wait.  Democratic candidates start getting votes because they are left leaning, then as the general approaches they almost always move to the center.  This is just a pandering piece to try and wrangle the religious from the Repubs.