Derik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Stacey Anderson: Video: The China Syndrome 1979, A Movie That Became a True Story


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you are familiar with Three Mile Island and then you see The China Syndrome, I think you would leave the movie thinking, “wow that could actually happen”. Because the Three Mile explosion which happened at a nuclear power plant outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in March of 1979 happened about two months after The China Syndrome came out in January or February of 1979. China Syndrome is not about a nuclear power plant explosion, but about what could potentially happen at a plant like that if it is not run properly, lets say.

There is a bad vibration at a nuclear power plant in Southern California just outside of Los Angeles and the plant knows about it and decides to if not cover it up, play it down so they don’t get any bad publicity or have to deal with regulators about it. A news anchor and cameraman at a local TV knows something is going on and believes the power plant is not giving the whole story. But their boss’s don’t want to go any further in the story and risk a big lawsuit. Kimberly Wells played by Jane Fonda and Richard Adams played by Michael Douglas decided to look into the story anyway. And that is how this story gets going.

Jack Godell played by Jack Lemmon is a shift supervisor at the power plant and knows something seriously went wrong at the power plant. And he also knows his company is not giving the whole story, but is reluctant at first to say what he knows and believes to the media. Jane Wells finds Jack at the bar and they get to know each other and she gets to open up a little bit about what he knows about what happened at the power plant.

So this is what this movie is about where a nuclear power plant had it been any worst would’ve caused serious destruction of Southern California, at least like getting hit by a nuclear missile. A company knowing that if this story breaks, they would not only lose millions and probably a let more, but get sanctioned by the U.S. Government and other authorities. Two somewhat inexperienced media people looking for a big break and a big story all coming together in one story.

Jane Wells is at best a soft news personal story reporter who covers personalities and the goings ons at supermarkets and amusement parks and other things. Who doesn’t want to do that forever and wants to become a hard news reporter and anchor. This is the story that if she gets it and does a good job will get her off of soft news. And she and Jack are the main two characters who break this story and shed light on what really happened at the power plant. And this is a great movie about how deadly nuclear power plant leaks and explosions can be. And very realistic especially if you are familiar with Three Mile Island.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hezakya Mixologist: Video: The Tenement: Life In Chicago's Black Ghetto 1967


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

At risk of sounding political, but I’ll also be factual here, what you see in this film and community is the failures of public housing in America. And essentially forced segregation of not just the races, but of the economic classes for lack of a better term in America. Where you had middle class communities that are doing well. Upper class communities that are doing very well. And then lower class communities where the people there get what is left. Which is run-down apartment buildings, run-down schools. High crime rates where no one with real money wants to invest. And you create a community that looks like a big city inside of a third world country.

Public housing by itself is not a problem because that has prevented a lot of homelessness in America. But how its been run and managed in America especially for the kids being trapped in such run-down communities in run-down neighborhoods. A lot of times in single-parent families where the father is out of the picture for one reason or another. Where the mother might not even have a high school diploma let alone any college experience. Working two or three jobs to support her several kids, if she’s working at all. And having communities like this has serious costs. For the people who live there obviously, but for the country as a whole that has to try to makeup for what these families aren’t able to provide for themselves.

And the way public housing has been run in America has negatively affected the African-American community probably more than any community in the country other than the American-Indian community. Because African-Americans have generally had a poverty level twice that of the national average. And much higher than the Caucasian-American and Asian-American communities in America. And this is something that we should stop doing as a country and instead having public housing buildings in middle class communities. With education, job training and work opportunities for the people in these communities so they don’t have to live in public housing at all.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Hezakya Mixologist: Video: CBS News 1968 Special: Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed, Starring Bill Cosby


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I think the point of this film is that a lot that has been written about African-Americans about American history has been incorrect and stuff that is true about the community has been left out. Which almost fifty-years later is pretty obvious, but back in 1968 it certainly wasn’t. And that African-Americans themselves probably weren’t very familiar with their history especially the positive aspects of it. And probably weren’t even taught about it. It wasn’t until the 1880s or so that African-Americans were allowed to learn how to read, let alone get an education. Because they were treated by Caucasian-Americans as animals.

The other point being that a lot that has been written and portrayed about the African-American community has not just been racist, but simply false. The Birth of The Nation film from 1918 is an excellent example of that. And then go to the movies starting in the 1930s or so featuring African-Americans were portrayed as servants to Caucasians. Or were seen as criminals that no man would ever dare let their daughters be anywhere near. That fact is left obvious even back then because all Americans were familiar with the movies and TV and all had access to them for the most part.

I think the whole point of African-American History Month is to correct many wrongs that were written about the community in the past. And not portray the African-American community as perfect, because no community is. But to give a more balance look at the community and to point out that this community has given a lot to America from day one and even before we officially became the United States. And to show that even though this community still has a lot of challenges in America, they are by far the most successful African community in the world. That has contributed a lot to America and then some.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Hezakya Mixologist: Video: CBS News Special Report: Black Power/White Black Lash, From 1966


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

To me at least Black Power wasn’t one movement, but a larger movement with several different sub-divisions. You had the more socialist if not Marxist revolutionary Black Panthers on the Far-Left with their own militia. You had Malcolm X and his movement that was sort of in the middle. That was truly about freedom and individualism for the African-American community and for them to be free to live their own lives. And you had the more social democratic pacifist movement led by Martin Luther King and his organization as well. But all of these groups essentially had similar if not the same goals, but with different tactics in how to accomplish those goals.

All three of these groups wanted power for the entire African-American community. That would not longer be forced to live under poverty, racism and have to be second-class citizens to Caucasian-Americans. I think one of the tragedies of Malcolm X being murdered in 1965 is that he and his movement I believe would’ve been a bumper between the Black Panthers and the MLK group. And perhaps without the Malcolm X being murdered maybe we don’t see the race riots that we did in 1965 and 66. We’ll never know that, but he was moderating before he was murdered in 1965 and maybe we would’ve seen that.

Black Power for the most part wasn’t about having African-Americans throwing the Caucasian community out of power in the 1960s and overthrowing the U.S. Government. It was about empowering an entire community of Americans to be able to live in their own freedom as well. And no longer forced to live under anyone else’s authority. The Black Panthers might have had more extreme leftist goals of overthrowing and entire country. But generally speaking the people in Black Power movement was about empowering African-Americans. And only using violence when it was used against them.



Monday, 16 February 2015

David Hoffman: Video: What The 1960s Did To America


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The 1960s was truly a revolution for American culture and politics. We go from a very conservative collectivist period from the 1940s and 50s to a period where all sorts of groups of Americans were standing up and demanding their freedom. And the freedom to live their own lives for the very first time in their lives. And from that sense at least the 1960s was a very positive time with so many new Americans now wanting and obtaining freedom over their own lives. And a bad time for the conservative establishment that wanted to keep things as is.

The 1960s you have the civil rights movement which was very positive. And not just for African-Americans, but for Latin-Americans, women of all races and ethnicities, as well as gays. And for Americans of all backgrounds now being able to live their own lives the way they want to. And no longer feeling the need or having to live the lives of their parents and grandparents. The 1960s you also have the anti-war movement which led to America finally seeing that the Vietnam War was wrong and that we couldn’t win it.

The negative aspects of the 1960s was of course the violence. We lost two great political leaders in John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. We lost two great civil rights leaders in Martin L. King and Malcolm X. The rise of crime in that decade, the rioting and division of that decade. Things fifty-years later we’re still going through and haven’t recovered from. But revolutions tend not to be all peaceful. There tends to be some casualties in revolutions and the 1960s was no exception to that.

We go from a very stagnant and status quo decade of the 1950s to a revolutionary decade of the 1960s. Where not a lot of new things seemed extreme, except to the establishment that again wanted to keep things as is. Because they benefited most from that America and also believed that was the way for all Americans to live. And if America had to do all over again I believe it would and that it would’ve needed to be done. Because of all the Americans who were denied freedom in America simply because of who they were.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Charlie Rose: Video: George Clooney in 2005 on Goodnight and Good Luck


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

This is one reason why I’m definitely a big fan of George Clooney, besides his great sense of humor and charm, but his intelligence and knowledge about the issues that he likes to film about. Ed Murrow and the Ed Murrow-Joe McCarthy battle in the 1950s over communism and fascism. Who knows Ed Murrow so well and this story so well and you see that in this interview and in the movie. And you also see how much he respected Ed Murrow and how big of a thug and fascist that Senator Joe McCarthy was in the 1950s. Even if Ann Coulter is never smart enough to see that.

Ed Murrow knew how dangerous Senator McCarthy was in the 1950s and represented everything that America is supposed to be against and something I believe a large majority if not most Americans are against, which is fascism. And this blog covers fascism from both the Far-Right and Far-Left because it hates fascism. People telling others what it means to be an American and a moral person. Or how we should talk about certain groups of people and who we should communicate with each other.

Ed Murrow and his See it Now team knew exactly what they were up against and that the person that they were up against. And the fact that Senator McCarthy was a member of Congress and could use his power as a Senator to try to punish CBS News and the broader CBS network with their licensing and fines and everything else. And CBS News of course knew this as well which is why they weren’t fully behind Murrow and Fred Friendly. But it believed it was a fight worth taking on for the future of speech and other freedoms that Americans tend to take for granted. And they were very skillful how they took on McCarthy.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

David Hoffman: Video: Hippies Remember The Glory Days


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you are familiar with leftist publications like Salon, The Nation, The American Prospect, AlterNet, TruthOut and I’m sure I’ve left some other out and the Occupy Wall Street movement and what is left of it today, go back to the 1960s and you’ll see where the members of that movement come from today. Students For A Democratic Society, the counter-culture movement and the anti-war movement and even anti-capitalist and wealth movement of the 1960s are the parents and grandparents of the Occupy today.

They were called the New Left back and people with this really far-leftist mindset at least in America are still the New Left today. People who were not only against the Vietnam War which a lot of the country who was a lot more politically mainstream back then was also against. But they were against the liberal democratic establishment in general. Not the Democratic Party necessarily, but the liberal values that govern America then and today and what the country was founded on. Mostly as it related to our military, law enforcement and foreign policy, but also our economic and political systems.

The New Left coming of age in college in the 1960s decided they didn’t like America at least how the country was governed and founded. And put together a movement to not only get us out of the Vietnam War, which I would’ve been against back then as well as today. But they wanted to destroy our system and how our country is governed. And replace it with something a lot more social democratic, that is the democrats who were in this group. I mean if you look at Occupy today and then look at the New Left of the 1960s, they are the same people ideologically and culturally and believe in the same things.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Film Archives: Video: C-SPAN: Goodnight and Good Luck 2005, Life and Career of Edward R. Murrow


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

What I didn’t cover yesterday was how important Ed Murrow was for network hard news and what he meant for it. It was almost like the man was physic and could see what network news would look lets say fifty-years later. He could already see news moving in a more tabloid and entertainment oriented direction. And that news being combined with entertainment. He wanted to run and anchor a hard news show that dealt primarily with hard news. Which is exactly what CBS News the gold standard for network news for the next twenty years starting in the early 1960s became.

What Murrow said was that he knew what entertained Americans and what they wanted to see and get entertained. What he was saying was that he wanted Americans to also get what they needed to know. Why their country and world operates the way it does and why that is important to them. That Americans could have their desserts, but that also should have their entrees. Their meat and potatoes before they have their ice cream and cake. Ed Murrow was a hard news man working for primarily an entertainment network. Which is what CBS was primarily in the 1950s. Which of course changed with CBS News and CBS Sports in the 1960s and ever since.

And this whole time period with CBS executives telling Murrow and Fred Friendly that they want entertainment and with McCarthyism going on in the U.S. Senate and other big news stories of that era was the perfect way to show how entertainment competes with hard news at TV networks. Murrow saying that he knows that Americans want to see Ed Sullivan and Leave it to Beaver and whatever else. But you got these big stories going on that affect the future of America that are frankly more important. And they have to be covered and shown too.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Lionsgate: Video: Goodnight and Good Luck 2005, How a Newscast Brought Down a U.S. Senator


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If I had to rate Goodnight and Good Luck on a scale of 1-10 with ten being the highest, I would give it a 9-9.5. And I saw the movie again a couple of nights ago in preparation for this blog. The only reason I wouldn’t give it a ten, is because it was a ninety-minute movie about one of the most important times during the Cold War between America and Russia and their allies on both sides. This movie should’ve been at least two-hours if not three and they would’ve been able to cover so many more aspects about the McCarthyism in the 1950s.

If you are familiar with the 1950s in America and the so-called red scare about communism and Communists in America, then you are also familiar with U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy and the Army McCarthy hearings that supposedly investigated supposed Communists inside of the U.S. Government. A complete fishing trip inside of an empty bathtub, because Chairman McCarthy and his team didn’t have much if anything to go on. Other than guilt by association. Senator McCarthy saw this as his ticket to the White House after President Dwight Eisenhower.

Edward R. Murrow the anchor and managing editor of CBS News’s See it Now, the CBS nightly newscast before the CBS Evening News, knew what communism was and who were the actual Communists. Because he covered World War II in Europe. And didn’t believe that Americans who weren’t Communists should be stuck with the label of Communists. And he and Fred Friendly and their team at See it Now, without having the backing of CBS News and the broader CBS network, decided to go after McCarthyism and expose Joe McCarthy for what he was. Which was a political opportunist and a right-wing fascist. Who saw Americans who didn’t look at the world the way he did as Un-American.

Murrow and Friendly expose Joe McCarthy for what he really was by going after him the way any good news organization would. By using the truth against McCarthy. Using his own words and documents against the Senator. And with Murrow doing a nightly editorial after their reporting on the McCarthy hearings about dangerous fascism and guilt by association is. And George Clooney who plays Fred Friendly and David Strathairn who plays Ed Murrow, do a great job of showing who the real Friendly and Murrow and the See it Now crew take down Senator Joe McCarthy.

Monday, 2 February 2015

CBS News: Video: Person to Person Classic: JFK and Jacqueline

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The Kennedy’s had just been married by this point in 1953. John Kennedy was about halfway through his first term as a U.S. Senate and already contemplating running for President. And had even considered being Adlai Stephenson’s Vice Presidential nominee in 1956. And this is going to sound hard, but Jack Kennedy was politically smart enough to know that he wasn’t going to get elected President as a bachelor. Especially as a bachelor with a reputation as a playboy. That is where Jackie comes in to make it look like Jack has settled down with one women and ready to start a family. Not saying Jack didn’t love Jackie, but that was not his primary motive for marrying her. He wanted to run for and be elected President in 1960 and the way to do that back then and still today is at the very least be seen as a family man. With a wife and kids and be perceived as loving both.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Dark Documentaries: Video: True Crime With Aphrodite Jones: OJ Simpson 2010


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I can’t say that I’m shocked about what happened to O.J. Simpson post 1997 wrongful death civil case against him that he lost and of course he literally getting away with murder in 1995. Actually not what happened to him, but what he did to himself, but I’m certainly surprised by it.

O.J. will never get mistaken for a genius or for the twin of a genius, perhaps the evil twin of a genius. But I would have to think he was smart enough to at least have people around him who were smart enough to tell him, “look O.J., you literally just got way with murder here. Even with the 1997 judgement against you, you still have the resources to live the rest of your life fairly comfortably. Don’t blow it! And stay out of trouble and enjoy the rest of your live as a free man”. O.J. never figured that out and literally pushed his luck.

The message O.J. got was, “I just got away with murder here! I must be a God or something, lets see what else I can get away with!” Again we’re not talking about a genius here or someone who would be confused as the twin of a genius. And instead figures what the hell and starts his own criminal career around 2006 or so and is apparently broke and decides he’ll steal to support himself. Dumb narcissistic people do dumb things, because they believe they are either untouchable, or don’t deserved to be touched, or a combination of both. And what happened to O.J. is that he finally got caught in 2007. And is now doing the time in prison in Nevada that he should be doing in California for the 1994 double homicide.