Mr Weinstein, et al

Ahh! Harvey Weinstein has been in the news so much. His behavior towards women appalls me, but I’m not surprised. It’s amazing that it took so long for his misdeeds to come to light, but it was the same with Bill Cosby.

What the news hasn’t said though and I suppose they can’t without proof, is that this is common in the entertainment business, and has been for years. Some famous cases involve Fatty Arbuckle, whose victim died, Errol Flynn, Louis Meyer who lusted after and groped Judy Garland in her teens, studio heads who lusted after Shirley Temple, and countless others whose victims probably never became famous and were too afraid to speak out.

As distasteful as this news story is, it’s good that it’s come to light again. From working in Hollywood, though never directly experiencing sexual harassment, I did routinely hear of horrid behavior. Most television writers’ rooms are despicable, i.e. very much like what was presented on The Comeback. Churlish writers will spew all kinds of disgusting talk like jokes about how many abortions they think a particular performer has had. Some secretaries, who had to work amidst profanity and vicious talk, sued Friends because it was a hostile work environment, but lost because the judge figured that kind of talk was necessary for creativity. (I disagree.)

I remember being asked in an interview for an assistant position if I would mind if the producers swore a lot or swore at me. Why would they have to? Note – the producers were women. I remember temping at a studio and hearing violent threats and horrible profanity spewing from more than one executive. When I was working in the human resources office, I remember a secretary calling in fear. She had run out of her office when her boss started throwing staplers and ash trays at her. He frequently used cocaine at work.

I’ve been told that secretaries in some offices are expected to schedule prostitutes for their bosses.

This problem goes way beyond one man. It’s the work culture and civil behavior is the exception.

I hope more people come forward and the business cleans up its act. This behavior should not be tolerated. Is it any wonder how much swearing, violence and salacious sexual relationships feature so much in today’s films and shows? I realize this dates back to the 1920s, when films were innocent by comparison, but do we need brutes deciding what films are made and what aren’t?

I think Harvey won’t be back in the States till whatever statute of limitations passes. His seeking help seems insincere and I hope he’s extradited if charges are made.

I do hope this emboldens women to speak up. I understand how hard that is, but if a man knows what he does will become public, perhaps he’ll act more civilly. Let’s stop this harassment.

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Homework

This semester I’m taking a government documents class and here’s my first round of research answers:

1. Look at the newspaper and find which agencies are involved in a front page story.

Monday’s newspaper had a story on China and cyber security as a lead story under US News. The article refers to:

Segal, A. (2016, February 1). Why China Hacks the World. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2016/0131/Why-China-hacks-the-world on February 1, 2016.

2. Which agencies have leading and which have secondary roles in disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or tsunami?

To find out which agencies have a role in relief efforts after a natural disaster, I checked the U.S. Government Manual (http://usgovernmentmanual.gov/), but didn’t find a clear document

I expected the Federal Emergency Management Agency (http://fema.gov) to top the list, but it wasn’t. FEMA’s website did not provide much background information, but their mission is to manage disasters such as the Flint, MI water crisis, tornados, hurricanes and more.

On DisasterAssistance.gov I found George W. Bush’s Executive Order on Improving Assistance for Disaster Victims (http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayEO.cfm?id=EO_13411_) which lists several secondary agencies under the Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA. Furthermore another search yielded Connecticut’s Natural Disaster Plan, which can be used as an example of how disaster relief is organized within a state.

A chat with an information specialist at USA.gov resulted in getting this document (http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/PDFS/CHAP03/D03-07.PDF), which seemed thorough and easy to read, but rather old.

For emergencies in Illinois, I found http://www.illinois.gov/iema/About/Pages/default.aspx by starting at GovSpot (http://www.govspot.com/state/il.htm) which was listed on a UICU Lib Guide. I would share the emergency management agency for whichever state I worked in with a patron asking about this topic.

3. You’re asked about a new government report on global warming but don’t know more about it. Where would you look for the report?

To find out more about a new government report on global warming, I would take the following steps:

I. Search online for more newspaper articles on the new report using “global warming,” “global change” and “climate change” as keywords.
II. Use our textbook to see which agencies cover global warming. I found on pages 285-288 that in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency (epa.gov) these agencies have a mission to study climate change:
a. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency: noaa.gov
b. US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP): globalchange.gov
Since USGCRP aggregates several government agencies that handle climate change, I would expect to find the report under its “Publications” heading.
III. If I didn’t work at a Federal Depository library and still hadn’t found the report, I would call the closest one, e.g. Northwestern University after locating its phone number from fdlp.gov.

What’s the Consensus?

It’s odd being off in China when all this news about Bill Cosby has broken. My friends and I don’t know what to think. What’s true? What isn’t? It’s a he said, she, she and she said situation.

The internet can offer so much information, but is it good? Is it reliable?

What made this come out now?

I welcome civilized comments.

The Men Who Made Us Thin

This is a fascinating documentary on how Western culture got hooked on diets and the idea of being thin when we really didn’t need to in the 1950s. An insurance executive pretty much changed what “thin” means and convinced healthy people they were fat. The result is perpetual dieting for many that doesn’t work and can just make us gain weight.

Well worth watching.