Monday, March 30, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Dues Relief

SAG-AFTRA today announced that it has developed a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill. Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments. As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.

(emphasis added by me, from SAG-AFTRA To Adopt Dues Extension Program for Members Impacted By COVID-19 Work Loss).

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Netflix Support for Their Employees

Netflix is putting $100 million dollars toward helping their employees present and future through the difficulties of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.
In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFCand Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week

(from Emergency Support for Workers in the Creative Community).

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Don’t Forget to Breathe

I wrote this on March 13th, posted it to Facebook and Medium; now I’m reposting it here:

Don’t forget to breathe.

The long haul truck driver who is about to drive the food/medicine/sanitizer to your local store just had to scramble to get daycare for their child because the schools closed.

The cashier at the store had to do the same, and also keeps interacting with hundreds or thousands of strangers so they will still be able to afford to pay their rent, lest they and their elderly family members end up homeless during a pandemic that preys on our elders.

The pharmacist who has dedicated their professional life to trying to get people healthy worries the shipments might not come quickly and the prescriptions might not get filled so they won’t be able to help how they’ve been trained to.

The doctor is also worried, worried that a force of nature, something so small it can’t be seen with the naked eye, something that humanity didn’t know existed 5 months ago (and may not have) may hurt their patients, take their breaths away. They can only hope science and supply chains and luck hold out long enough that triage medicine isn’t all they get to practice in the face of it in the months to come.

We are all connected. We are all charged with helping everyone around us, because we can. And we will thrive. It is what we do, even as we worry, are afraid, are surrounded by unknowns.

For thousands of years our ancestors fought against the tiny enemies that stole their children, their friends, their parents. But they fought without understanding what was inflicting harm, what took their people away. We know, and we have the lessons they learned. We are armed with so much more. We have made cousins of this scourge extinct. We will again.

We have decoded its blueprint, and right now in labs around the world, without fanfare and without rest, people you have never met and never will meet are fighting with test-tubes, and computers and sheer will. It is the will that has tamed fire, that has walked on the moon and split the atom. It is the will that snatches life from the jaws of nature’s brutality and unifies all of humanity to deny death its harvest. These people are imbued with this will inherited from a hundred millennia of our forbearers, and are working to help you, and me, and the people we love. So dear and so great is our ability to care for one another, to cherish our fellow human, to help both stranger and friend.

Wash your hands, muster your patience, find the kindness to help.

Don’t forget to breathe.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Why the News Is Scary

Sometimes, our interconnected-ness, all by itself, can distort the world.

Now let's get a handle on what it really means to have a 1-in-6,500 or a 1-in-13,000 chance of dying. It's as if you lived on an island in the South Pacific with a population of 650. You make your living by swimming around in the azure waters around your idyllic paradise and spearing fish for dinner. Yum, yum. About once every ten years, a stray shark happens by and eats a swimmer. That's a 1-in-6,500 chance of any one person being eaten by a shark, just the same as the odds of dying in an automobile accident in the U.S. in 1992.
Also, about once every 20 years, two men get into an overheated argument over a fish or a woman and one of them kills the other with his spear. That's a 1-in-13,000 chance of being killed in an argument, just the same as the odds of being killed by someone else with a gun in the U.S. in 1992.
These are very sad events, and probably dinner-table conversation for quite a few days, but not the be-all and end-all of life. Fortunately, since you live on an isolated island, these events come and go, and life goes on.
But now imagine there are 392,000 of these islands all linked by television and INN (Island News Network). This brings the total population to about 254 million, less than the U.S. today. Every night, INN reports on the goriest of the 107 shark attacks and 54 spear deaths that day. Suddenly people's picture of the world is quite different. From a peaceful existence disrupted only by a tragedy every few years, you go to a fear-ridden hell filled with crime and terror.
Isn't this interesting? Nothing has changed except the addition of television. Yet now it feels like you're living in a dangerous world, not an idyllic paradise. Same number of shark attacks, same number of spear deaths. What happened?

(from about page 247 of Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie).

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