They’ll Be Back

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably thought he was taking a well-deserved break from California’s endless budget crisis when he agreed to film a cameo in Sylvester Stallone’s new action movie, The Expendables.

The Governator’s brief star turn comes at the beginning of Stallone’s new opus, which features an all-star cast of aging action heroes and has been met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception by film critics since its Aug. 3 world premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Arnold was supposed to walk the red carpet at the famous pagoda-shaped film house on Aug. 3, but he had to sneak in through the theater’s back door when he was confronted by angry state workers protesting Schwarzenegger’s decision to order them to take unpaid “vacations.”

With furloughs originally set to take effect on Friday, state workers also have responded by creating a mock-up of The Expendables movie poster. The fake poster is illustrated with a muscular back sporting a tattoo of the state capital with a vulture perched atop it. It lists Arnold as the star of the film and has a revised title:

“The Expendables—State Employees Won’t Know What Hit Them.”

Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the Association of California State Supervisors, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and other unions are suing to stop the furloughs. They say the cuts amount to a 15 percent reduction in pay.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick said Monday that the unions had raised “serious questions” about the governor’s ability to order the unpaid vacations. Judge Brick blocked the furloughs pending a resolution of the court case.

Lawyers for Gov. Schwarzenegger appealed the decision on Tuesday.

We’re just guessing here, but we suspect that if Judge Brick’s wall against the furlough scheme turns into a permanent injunction, Schwarzenegger may be tempted to dust off a favorite old movie script and reprise one of the most famous scenes in his cinematic oeuvre.

Arnold will turn slowly to the camera, eyes glaring, and inform the protesting state workers:

“You are terminated!”

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