Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Monday, May 29, 2006

Project Adnon

In April I was directed to the volunteer endeavor of a great kid named Kevin.
Kevin lives in Portland and created Project Adnon

Project Adnon is an all-inclusive grassroots effort to positively affect the lives of children who are growing up amidst the conflict in Iraq. We are working through Operation Iraqi Children to accomplish our goal. This blog is meant to chronicle the progress of this project.

I have been a quiet supporter of Gary Sinese's& Lauren Hillenbrand's Operation Iraqi Children from its earliest inception, so I was thrilled to see that Kevin partnered with them!

I consider one of Project Adnon's chosen photographers, Capt. Dan Bout, to be the brother I never had. I have no doubt he was honored to be a part of such a wonderful project.

I've also been fortunate to come to know Lt. Rich Paetz when I approached him a while back to offer to help promote his documentary. It's through his site that I found out about the wonderful work that Kevin was doing to reach out the children of Iraq.

Rich Paetz documentary, Scouts Out, is evocative,touching, and serves as testimonial to the wonderful heartwarming work our troops do in order to ensure that the twin flames of democracy and freedom never flicker out in Iraq. Joey Coon, who served as part of Lt.Rich Paetz unit, has been a part of Project Adnon from its beginning. It was Joey who first wrote about "Adnon" aka Jimmy.

Jimmy was a kid who we often saw while patrolling our old battle space. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without his bicycle in hand and a grin on his face. He was one of our favorites in the area and he’d often leave us loaded down with gifts for him and his family. Every once in a while Jimmy gave us, and a few other units, information about insurgent activity in his village. He wasn’t looking for payment or gifts he just wanted his family to be safe and to live without fear.

A few weeks ago we learned from the intel team that Jimmy and his ten year-old little brother were brutally murdered. He was killed by insurgents for cooperating with Coalition Forces.
Project Adnon is dedicated to him.

The Islamic Center of Portland is also contributing to Project Adnon. Kevin is building bridges in his local community as well as in the global community.

I live with the hope that someday soon, Iraq will reach its full glory and that Kevin will be able to visit the children that Project Adnon helped.

Kevin Knodell is an inspiration to teens and adults everywhere.

War Like You've Never Imagined It.

America at War on Memorial Day

Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik commanding general of Fort Lewis Army Base(Home of the Deuce Four) and I Corps which encompasses some 40,000 active-duty and reserve troops across the country, including Fort Lewis, has written an OP-ED Memorial Day essay for The Seattle Times.

Memorial Day, as every other day, we are reminded that America remains at war, as it has for four years. But those on the frontline are not the only soldiers fighting this war.

In a conflict where the erosion of your will is a major goal of our enemy, you are a soldier as well.
Please read this entire essay.

America and her allies have fought a hot, sustained, global campaign against enemies who sought to impose an ideology on the world before. Then, however, the threat was clear and unambiguous, for the enemy was a set of nation-states and they fought conventionally. Clarity and conventionality went a long way to sustain the national will necessary to persevere when times were bleak; maintain support for those in uniform and their families; welcome home with open arms those who fought; and rightly continue to show appreciation for their sacrifices year after year, Memorial Day after Memorial Day.

The enemy we are fighting today has chosen means that exploit ambiguity and lack clarity. Eroding our national will is its very intent — all the while acting to achieve its political and ideological aims. There are soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors who are fighting this very day and this very night to prevent the enemy from achieving its political and ideological aims. They and their families need our continued support, our perseverance and our open arms. The shape of our future is literally in their hands.

But in today's environment more than ever before, the future is also in your hands. In a conflict where the erosion of your will is a major goal of our enemy, you are a soldier as well.

Our frontline servicemen and women are doing and will continue to do their jobs — it is my hope that those of us in the rear will match their courage and determination.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Daughter of Canada Rest In Peace

"The longer we are in theatre and the more that we interact with Afghan people,the more I feel that we are really serving a purpose here" Capt.Nichola Goddard.

I first wrote about Capt.Nichola Goddard here. She was a luminous individual, and the first Canadian female soldier to die in combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Christine Blanchford, of the Toronto Globe and Mail, was in Calgary attending Capt Goddards funeral services and has written a wonderful piece which serves as a fitting tribute to Capt Goddard. Considering that this is the eve of Memorial Day in the U.S. the timing serves to remind me that it is not only American troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice that we need to keep in our hearts, but we also need to remember those fallen angels who served with the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

As with many of her fellow soldiers, Capt. Goddard was as steadfast and settled as someone twice her age on the big life questions -- sure of herself in family, marriage, church, duty and her own beliefs -- she remained playful, spontaneous and remarkably open to the people and experiences that Afghanistan offered her.

She wrote lengthy, near-poetic letters home, to her family, of course, and friends, and to the St. Barnabas congregation, who had them compiled in a book yesterday inside the front doors.

"The longer that we are in theatre and the more that we interact with the Afghan people, the more I feel that we are really serving a purpose here," she wrote on March 4. "I think these people, through the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, are trying to achieve something that we in Canada have long since taken for granted . . . They lay down their lives daily to try to seize something that is so idealistic it is almost impossible to define. . ."

That something was what Capt. Goddard called "the awesome power of a democratic government," and while she agreed that "it is easy to poke holes in that statement, and say that the system is corrupt or that violence and poverty make people easy targets for our own agendas . . . we have to start somewhere."

Dr.Goddard, Nichola's father, is an associate dean in the faculty of Education at Univerity of Calgary.

(...) father and daughter had heated discussions. Just last Christmas, he said, they discussed the role of the military in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur. Capt. Goddard subscribed to the view that military force is required to permit the reconstruction of civil society; Dr. Goddard argued that education is the key to development for the poor and oppressed.

"Quick as a flash," he said, "she punctured my professorial balloon. 'You can't do that when the bad guys run things, Dad,' she said, 'they just shoot you. You have to have peace and good government in order for the rest to happen. I do what I do so you can do what you do.'

That truth is one I wish the entire American and Canadian "left" would finally embrace. Capt.Goddard articulated that which those in the Military and on the 'right" understand, but which those on the left fail to grasp - and what Lt.Col Mark A.Smith succinctly stated in his Memorial Day dispatch- " that one has to stand ready to do violence on behalf of the greater good."

Capt Goddard was killed by Taliban hiding in or near a school.

In Capt. Goddard's name, the family has established an endowed scholarship at the University of Calgary open to applicants from three groups -- citizens of Papua New Guinea, where Capt. Goddard came into the world as a scrawny, less-than-four-pound baby; Indian, Inuit or Métis peoples of Canada, in whose company she spent her formative years, and citizens of Afghanistan, the place of her death

Among the last words the gentle, intellectual Dr. Goddard offered were for his child's Canadian and Afghan comrades overseas, "who responded to her death with great vigour and imposed an almost biblical wrath on those who were responsible for it. We thank you for that."

Then he quoted, rather fiercely, the words on the cap badge of the Artillery beret: Quo fas et gloria ducunt, Latin for "Whither right and glory lead."

Capt. Goddard left that church as she entered it, her casket all wrapped up tight in the Canadian flag, swaddled as only a daughter of Canada should be.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Bag of Tools

Isn't it strange
That princes and kings
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings
And common people
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
A book of rules
And each must make -
ere life is flown
A stumbling block
Or steppingstone.

by R.L. Sharpe

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Capt Nichola Goddard - Stand Easy!

Earlier tonite, Capt. Nichola Goddard, of 1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based in Shilo, Man., died in a battle with insurgents at 6:55 p.m. Wednesday (local time), in the Taliban stronghold of Panjwai, about 25 kilometres west of Kandahar city. Capt Goddard was featured in a CTV documentary. She called herself the accidental soldier who became an artillery Captain in Afghanistan; a fighting woman on the frontline, who fell in love with the the work she was doing.She was always concerned for her "crew", her smile was infectious, and today she paid the ultimate price.

Capt. Goddard was killed while Canadian troops were supporting Afghan security forces in an operation against the Taliban, who had massed in the district.Hundreds of Canadian troops are involved in the clash, which was one of the biggest firefights since the arrival of the 2,300 Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Later tonite, the House of Commons in Canada votes whether to extend Canadian troops in Afghanistan for another two years. NATO has asked Canada to take command of the entire Afghan mission starting in 2008.

"We will not forget her sacrifice," General David Fraser, the Canadian officer in charge of the multinational brigade in Kandahar, told a Globe and Mail reporter stationed in Kandahar.

The best way to honor Capt Goddard's sacrifice and the sacrifice of 17 Canadians killed in Afghanistan since 2002 is for Canada to continuing this mission.

Marcus Gee asks "Will Canada stand up for the values it epouses or not?"

For years, our representatives have stood at podiums around the world to preach Canada's commitment to peace, democracy, justice, women's rights and a better deal for the poor. Afghanistan is the place to put our money where our mouth is. If we shirk our duty there, then all the fine speeches about how "the world needs more Canada" are nothing but talk.


Canada's mission has two aims: The first is to help Afghans rebuild their country and create a working representative government. The second is to repel those, like the Taliban, who seek to derail that effort and put the country in medieval chains again.

Opinion polls show that many Canadians would prefer to do the first part and leave the second to someone else. Is that the kind of country we are, a country that talks big about promoting peace, justice and stability but ducks out of the room when a bully walks in? Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't think so. In his ringing defence of the Afghan mission, delivered during his visit to Kandahar in March, he said Canada does not "make a commitment and then run away at the first sign of trouble." If we want to play a constructive role in the world, we have to stop "carping from the sidelines" and get in the game, with all the dangers that entails. As Mr. Harper put it, "you can't lead from the bleachers."

Yet, that is where Canada often sits, lecturing with great eloquence about the need for goodwill among men but seldom risking Canadian lives to advance it. We played a backup role in the 1991 Persian Gulf war and a support role in the 2001 campaign to unseat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. We stayed out of the Iraq war altogether. Now, for a change, Canadians are on the front lines. It's about time!

This is not about proving our manhood. We're not in Afghanistan to show off our military prowess or to curry favour with the United States. We're there because peacekeeping, mediation and diplomacy can't solve every problem. We're there because, sometimes, evil must be resisted with force, a lesson Canada learned in two world wars.

I know we can do this mission in Afghanistan....Canadian troops are well trained and have learned to adapt quickly to fight a counter insurgency war; they are ready, able and willing to continue in the mission. But I am afraid that the emotional impact of her death will render a decision against our further involvement. As tragic as any death in war is, it would be more tragic if the opposition parties vote not to extend the Canadian mission.

The vote is about to begin shortly, but let me be clear, there will be no equivocation with this Prime Minister. If Harper loses the vote, then he will extend our commitment for one more year, and when the year is up, he will turn the question over to the Canadian people by holding an election. Stephen Harper will not back down on Canada's commitment to fight terrorism!

Capt Nichola Goddard - Stand Easy!

Update: The vote came in....149 to 145 to continue our mission in Afghanistan. The vote was close ONLY because many simply chose to vote against Stephen Harper, NOT against our mission. This means that inspite of the close vote Canada's leaders remain supportive and committed to our mission in Afghanistan, and to our part in the War on Terrorism!

Update II: (Afghan) president (Karzai) expressed particular anguish over the death of the Canadian soldier, Capt. Nichola Goddard, who died Wednesday in a battle with Taliban attackers in Kandahar. "Our land is being protected by a lady from Canada, when we should be protecting her as a guest," he said.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Deal or No Deal..........OOORAH!

Tonite a special episode of "Deal Or No Deal" involved a contestant with a beautiful smile named Renee Stokes. Her smile is absolutely mesmorizing....it's a small reflection of her inner beauty!

Renee is married to Staff Sgt Justin Stokes, a Marine serving in Fallujah. Howie shared that with the audience who broke into loud applause and whoops. "I thank you for supporting him" he said ..."and I thank him for supporting our country with his service" The entire audience was applauding.

Renee's two best friends were there to support her as was Justin's mom.

Renee and Justin had been married slightly over a year and had to spend their first anniversary apart while he serves in Iraq. Rather than go on a honeymoon...she and Justin bought a Harley....it's his Harley. While he's been away...she got her motorcycle driving license and now she wants a Harley!

So...off she goes to play the game....and the game unfolds as per usual. She opens five cases...all is good...now she has to decide whether to take the bank's offer to continue playing..... Howie tells her that he understands that she may need some help to make this decision..so he asks her to look at the screen.....and OMG.........IT' S STAFF SGT JUSTIN STOKES LIVE FROM FALLUJAH!! Renee and Justin are reunited!!!!

What a surprise....the audience is applauding and crying....... tears are streaming down my face. Now sadly Justin can't see her......but he can hear her...so Howie tells him what's going on...and asks him what Renee should do! Renee also asks Justin what she should do...and he tells her NOT to take the deal...and adds " I brought along alot of support for you, Renee" as the camera starts to slowly pan wide and back, we hear Renee say" Wow....this must be getting serious..... he brought the Infantry with him"...just as camera pulls back and wide revealing the Marines from Justin's unit...some are sitting on Humvees...some on the ground...some on risers built for this moment!

And can I tell you....every Marines was HOTT!!! Dear gawd.....my heart be still!!!!

Howie smiles and tell Renee " They are here to support our country and you and your family" The audience goes wild!!!

She ends up NOT taking the deal....and then Howie breaks for a commercial saying "Let's give you some time alone to talk with your husband" Gawd - I am still teary as I write this!

When we get back from the break....Renee's friend who was in the audience is approached by Howie...and he says " you want to say something don't you" and she points out that her husband...also a deployed Marine...is seated behind and to the left of Jason.......the camera pans onto close up of Renees friend's hubby...she tells him she loves him.

The offer came in a $99K from the banker...and OMG..... wait...Howie asks Renee to look at another screen which shows us the hallway leading up to the studio...and OMG....it's Jay Leno riding in on the Harley that Renee wants!!!

Jay says " Renee this Harley is exactly what you want....and its being included as part of the banks offer to you......and Justin thank you and all those with you for your service...we really appreciate it...." The audience goes wild!! One time offer....$99k PLUS the bike of her dreams......... She defers to Justin..who says..."Hey Renee, the bike would be yours so you have to make the decision...but I say NO DEAL."
So Renee says NO DEAL!

Then Justin's mom says "Hey Howie...can I say something to Justin"....and he says Of course. and she walks up to the big screen and says with tears in her eyes "Hey Justin ..it's Mom...Dad and I love you and I am wearing the Marine necklace you gave me and will wear it until you come home"

*Now I can barely see the screen for the tears running down my face*

The camera pans over to Justin's Dad who is crying and says " We love you son...be good ...get home safe" ....the audience is in tears..and I'm crying even more!

Justin tells his parents that he loves them both!

Renee picks the case....and it is opened s l o w l y ......and it contains.............................................
$ 750k.....awwwwww...damn...but she still has one case to open.......she picks 7..... tht tension is palpable........the case opens s l o w l y.......WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... its only $75.00.... the bank offers her 84k!!!

Renee asks Justin" are you okay with me going one more round?" YES ...NO DEAL...says Justin without flinching! ( He's a Marine through and through(

Renee knows all the models names.........that's impressive! Even Howie can't believe it..not only does she know their names, she knows personal tidbits about them. She chooses Staceywith the number 2 case.......Stacey opens it slowly........... this is a very important case......Renee also knows that Stacey went to law school..........Stacey is knowledgeable educated and beautiful
(I'd like to kill her - I do not need competition like this!!)

And Stacey smiles and says "we have to wait a couple of minutes to open the case...... "Commercial break comes and goes and Renee asks Justin: "Do you miss me"...... He says "YES....I do miss you alot" She says " well l then it doesnt matter what happens here tonite! "
"I just got what I want" She knows whats really important. Justin says OPEN THE CASE......the tension is overwhelming.....OMG....Stacey opens it slowly and peaks in and shit...she looks worried............. but its a RUSE....the case only has $300.

The audience is going wild....my heart is racing...and Howie fills in Justin.....now JUSTIN is beaming...and one of the Marines runs up and gives him a HIGH FIVE!

The bank offers her $112k...... DEAR GAWD TAKE THE OFFER RENEE.....TAKE IT... TAKE IT!!! Justin asks his buddies....."deal or no deal?" The Marines all say NO DEAL......but her Mother in Law says "STOP STOP STOP...take the DEAL......." Renee thinks about it.....then says "NO DEAL" THE MARINES ARE THRILLED.

Now she has to pick a case......Justin tells her to pick case No. 1. She does...Claudia opens it...... OMG.....SHIT..... its $100000!!!! but wait..... half a million is still in play!!!!!! The banker calls...........the offer is .....wait....the banker doesn't call Howie.....he calls JUSTIN in IRAQ.....and Howie asks Justin to tell us what the offer is!!!!

JUSTIN SAYS ****$121K ***** Now even HE says...TAKE THE DEAL!!!!! but, the question is..... does her case have $500k???? She has a three out of four chance....So she asks Justin....Justin replies "How do you feel about it?" He turns to ask the Marines, "what do you think?" ... He says DEAL. The sat feed goes DEAD....... AWWWWWWWWWW...but wait......IT COMES BACK UP AGAIN!!!! She asks Justin if she can go one more time. He says NOOOO.....she says....."Justin please let me go one more time...." He says"it's your decision" and she says "NO DEAL" !!!!!!!!

Huge gamble......if she knocks out the $500K .....the offer will go way down.........it's too late to turn back now........WE WAIT...as they cut to a commercial.. Now remember Justin wanted her to take the deal....$121K.....but Renee well she is as gutsy as she is beautiful ...she is a Marine's wife.....and she has GUTS. OOOORAH RENEE!. She asks Justin....which case to open. He says 12! Howie says " I notice You seem to ask Justin alot of things.....you just don't listen to him!" Justin and all of us crack up laughing!!!

She isn't sure she wants to take case number 12.......she changers her mind..says 11...... Howie asks her if this is the one she wants........she vascilates..then says yes..Number 11!

The tension is insane.........the case is opened s.l.o.w.l.y.......OMG....we are all shaking...... the Marines are tense okay not that tense...they are Marines after all!!

Katey opens the case.....OMG...it's.... it's... it's....... $500000!! AWWWWWW SHIT!

She should have stuck with JUSTINS choice of 12!! Renee is freaked........... so now the offer is going to drop...ALOT!!!

The bank drops the offer to $28k..... Justin says DEAL!

Renee is feeling horrible she just lost 121K.....but with $28K she can now buy the Harley which is only $16k...and still have money left over for a nice honeymoon with Justin when he deploys home!!! She takes the deal!

Now...they open case #12..which Justin wanted her to take....and it only contained $25 dollars...... so had she gone with Justin's choice...the bank would have gone higher than $121K!

All in all it was an exciting and very touching show! The Marines had a great time... Justin and Renee were reunited and got to have fun together!

"America Supports You" got a big plug on the show from Howie Mandel who mentioned the website address..and encouraged everyone to visit the site and see the different ways they could support the troops!


Staff Sargeant Justin Stokes - Thank You for your service!
Semper Fi!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Strong Ideas

Major Strong, who is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan, has shared a great story about
CSM Roshan Safi, the first enlisted soldier from Afghanistan to train in the U.S.

Over the past three days, we have been paid a visit by one of the most extraordinary soldiers I have ever met, Command Sergeant Major Roshan Safi. Soon to graduate from the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Texas, he is the first enlisted soldier to train in the United States from Afghanistan. A more professional example of the future of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is hard to imagine. A man with a passion for training the best soldiers his nation can have, he is as articulate as he is experienced in the modern world.

Read more about "The New Leadership Climate in Afghanistan" at "Strong Ideas"

I Heart Mark Steyn

How do you connect the dots? To take one example of what we're up against, two days before 9/11, a very brave man, the anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, was assassinated in Afghanistan by killers posing as journalists. His murderers were Algerians traveling on Belgian passports who'd arrived in that part of the world on visas issued by the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom. That's three more countries than many Americans have visited. The jihadists are not "primitives". They're part of a sophisticated network: They travel the world, see interesting places, meet interesting people -- and kill them. They're as globalized as McDonald's -- but, on the whole, they fill in less paperwork

To Connect The Dots....You Have To See The Dots

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gary Sinise & Lt Dan Band ROCK The Pentagon

Actor and director Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band rocked the Pentagon (Friday May 5th), kicking off the second annual "America Supports You" salute concert commemorating Military Appreciation Month.

"You probably think of Gary Sinise as 'Lieutenant Dan' in 'Forest Gump,' or on 'CSI: New York," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told hundreds of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilian employees who gathered here in the Pentagon's outdoor courtyard for the concert.

"But at the Defense Department", Rumsfeld said, "Sinise is better known as cofounder of the Iraqi Children Fund that sends school supplies to Iraqi children, and as a tireless supporter of the troops who travels the with his band to entertain them."

Read more about this event and "America Supports You".

The War Tapes

Those who attended either in person or virtually the first Milbloggers Convention in DC two weeks ago, had a chance to hear about a wondeful documentary, The War Tapes, produced & directed by Deb Scranton, who also attended the convention.

It premiered at Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and WON Best International Documentary Feature!

This award honors the filmmakers AND the soldiers with cameras, and in my opinion, honors all our troops who serve now and have served in Iraq, and to those who paid the ultimate price!

Please head over to The War Tapes blog and offer your congratulations to everyone involved in this project!

The best war journalism puts its audience in close proximity to combat. It's hard to imagine getting closer than The War Tapes does.

Shot by soldiers on consumer-grade digital video cameras, the documentary offers an immersive, sobering and often shocking slice of life (and death) in Iraq. It premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens in select cities this summer.

Director Deborah Scranton described War Tapes as the result of a "virtual embed." She gave cameras to 10 Iraq-bound soldiers, and then used e-mail and instant messaging to provide them with advice on technique and technical issues.

Read more from this piece, by Jason Silverman, for WIRED News.

"I have lost all faith in the media," says the National Guardsman narrating "The War Tapes," the first war documentary to be filmed entirely by soldiers. A portion of the as-yet-unreleased film about the Iraq war was screened for a UC Berkeley audience last night (March 13) as part of a forum titled "Iraq: Reports from the Frontlines," introduced by San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein. That soldier's sentiment was the backdrop for the discussion that followed among five influential journalists who have reported extensively on the Iraq war — and judging by occasional bitterness-tinged heckling, more than a few audience members shared the soldier's viewpoint.

Read: Top Iraq war correspondents discuss risking their lives to tell a truth that few want to hear — or believe.

Is The Media Telling The Truth About Iraq?
Michael Yon's Frontline Forum
Voices From The FrontLines
War Like You Never Imagined It

Draft Hollywood

"It is hard for those who live near a Police Station to believe in the triumph of violence," as T.S. Eliot wrote. That's us — we Americans, protected by a mighty military that by and large obeys the rules of our republic — safe enough, and keeping much of the world safe enough, so that we find it hard to believe in what would happen if that protection failed.

But these fighters do keep us safe. And because keeping us safe is harsh, dangerous work, we should glorify them, exalt them in story and song by way of appreciation.

United 93" — the film celebrating the heroic civilian attempt to retake a hijacked plane on 9/11 — opened last week. That's great. Well done and about time. But now, let's have some war movies.

By "war movies" Andrew Klaven ISN'T referring to these films slated for production.

We need some films celebrating the war against Islamo-fascism in Afghanistan and Iraq — and in Iran as well, if and when that becomes necessary. We need films like those that were made during World War II, films such as 1943's "Sahara" and "Action in the North Atlantic," or "The Fighting Seabees" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," which were released in 1944.

Read more of "Draft Hollywood"

Thank you Andrew, for articulating what's been in my heart, but what I've been unable to adequately express.


No One In Hollywood Seems To Learn Anything

Hollywood excels at creating and using a plethora of futuristic effects in movies , but when it comes to creating a future vision for its business model, Hollywood remains stuck in the past.

In a recent op-ed, Robert W. Cort, a film producer and author of "Action!," a novel, comments on Hollywood's inability to reshape it' s archaic distribution business model.

Coming soon: conversing cars; psychic superheroes; sinking ships. This week's release of "Mission: Impossible III" kicked off Hollywood's summer movie season, and once again filmmakers have spun enough dazzling fantasies and futuristic visions to keep moviegoers feasting until Labor Day.

But when it comes to futuristic visions for the movie business, Hollywood is extraordinarily timid. During my three decades in the industry, I've seen film executives try to shun every innovation from VCR's to digital editing. Ultimately, they've accepted and profited from these new technologies but, by waiting years longer than they should have, left a lot of money on the table. And now studios are committing a far costlier error by refusing to release DVD's and downloads of movies at the same time they make their premieres in theaters.

Read "Straight To DVD".

One inane way Hollywood is contemplating dealing with lost TV revenue caused by those of us who have DVR's(Digital Video Recorders) or PVR's(Personal Video Recorders) and who fast forward through commercials is to adopt a new technical standard — M.H.P., for multimedia home standard — which would enable broadcasters to insert special signals to immobilize the remote control during commercials....UNLESS the viewer PAID for the right to skip commercials!

Read " SomeOne Has To Pay For Tv. But Who? And How?"


Hollywood In The Digital Era
Summer Magic Disappears
Hollywood Vs.America


Saturday, May 06, 2006

From America With Gratitude

A U.S. writer thanks Canada for our sacrifices in Afghanistan - and elsewhere.

Written by David Meadows, a retired U.S. Navy Captain who has served on numerous U.S. warships, the Joint Staff and has nearly 10 years at sea, it's a heartfelt 'thank you' to the men and women of the Canadian Forces, that was published in Canada's National Post after appearing in Military.com

On April 22, 2006, four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Respects go to the families of those heroes who stand alongside the United States in the war against terrorism half a world away.

Canada is like a close uncle who often complains about what you're doing. But when help is truly needed, you can't keep him away: He's right there beside you.

We Americans have a unique relationship with Canada. We have different political positions on many issues, but our unique friendship has weathered world wars, global crises, and occasional neighbourly disagreements.

In February 2006, without fanfare, Canada increased troop strength in Afghanistan to 2,300. With the American military stretched thin against rising instability in both Iraq and Afghanistan, this assistance was very much appreciated.

Katrina was another example of our close family-like relationship. Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. Two days later, the Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team rushed from British Columbia to Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana. The Canadians were the first responders in that area. Indeed, within the devastated Gulf Coast area overall, it appears Canada generally was the first responder outside of local efforts. They worked 18-hour days, going door-to-door alongside Louisiana State Troopers, rescuing 119-Americans.

For those who think that loud voices of dissent towards America and the Bush Administration's War on Terror are representative of the way all Canadians think...I'm hear to say you're wrong!

Canada has been such an integral partner with the United States in the Global War on Terrorism that on December 7, 2004, when President Bush awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to Commander Joint Force South for combat success in Afghanistan, he was also recognizing the secretive Canadian Joint Task Force 2 commando counter-terrorism unit.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded 30 Bronze Star medals for heroism in combat to Canadian Forces personnel. Some of those 30 died in action. Many of the others were wounded. These Canadians earned this American medal for heroism fighting alongside Americans. We must remember that these warriors gave their lives not only for Canada, but also for the United States.

This is why Canada can not, must not, and will not give asylum to American military deserters!

Canada's military stands united with America's military when it comes to dealing with those that will stop at nothing to destroy the freedoms we strongly value.

Canada is more than a neighbour. It is a close family member with the gumption to disagree with its brother to the south, but always there when disaster strikes and America needs help. For that, I salute you, Canada, and extend my respect for the sacrifices given by members of the Canadian Forces.

Some Canadians would rather take the approach of the left wing liberals in the U.S. which involves simply sitting around passively, foolishly convinced that 'talking' will stifle the clearly laid out aims and objectives of Al Queda's Bin Laden and Al Zarquawi.

Thankfully, Canada's Military, led by Lt.General Rick Hillier will NOT stand by idly while our enemy continues his fanatical mission to destroy our lives and liberty! The men and women of the American and Canadian armed forces understand what David Beamer, Todd's father, so eloquently and powerfully expressed on the eve of the release of "United 93":

This film further reminds us of the nature of the enemy we face. An enemy who will stop at nothing to achieve world domination and force a life devoid of freedom upon all. Their methods are inhumane and their targets are the innocent and unsuspecting. We call this conflict the "War on Terror." This film is a wake-up call. And although we abhor terrorism as a tactic, we are at war with a real enemy and it is personal.

There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war. Can't we just live and let live and pretend every thing is OK? Let's discuss, negotiate, reason together. The film accurately shows an enemy who will stop at nothing in a quest for control. This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life.

Todd Beamer and the brave men & women of United Flight 93 did NOT sit back passively even when they knew death was inevitable. They found the courage to do what was necessary, and acted with valor in the face of inevitability! They FOUGHT BACK.

These brave heroic passengers should serve as an inspiration to all Canadians and Americans to find the courage to stand united in the fight against this unrelenting enemy; and to support those who willingly put themselves in harms way in order to "continue the counterattacks on our enemy, and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact".

Time To Give Back

Project Valour IT was mentioned in Canada's National Post newspaper online edition as part of a story about corporate involvement in showering troops with gifts.

From bikes to batteries and backpacks, Americans are flooding military hospitals and bases with gifts for soldiers -- tokens of appreciation or tools to help them reintegrate their lives post-Iraq.

While this practice is quite common in the U.S., it is uncommon in Canada.

This week, in what could be the beginning of a similar trend here, Hyundai Canada presented a brand new Santa Fe mini-SUV to Master Corporal Paul Franklin, who lost both of his legs after a suicide attack in Kandahar. The car is outfitted with hand controls so that Master Cpl. Franklin can operate it himself.

When it comes to people giving gifts to soldiers, the Canadian Forces has tended to say, "thanks, but no thanks."

However, with Canada now involved in a conflict that will see more soldiers coming home injured and in need of help, some are questioning whether that attitude should change.

HELL YES IT SHOULD CHANGE! The system in place is archaic, unsensible, and needs to be re-thought immediately.

Gifts for Canadian soldiers are not forbidden, but Canadian Forces members must get permission from a senior official to accept a present, says John Knoll, a spokesman for National Defence Public Affairs in Ottawa.

"Such permission is refused only if accepting the gift would create a conflict of interest or would compromise [or appear to compromise] the integrity of the individual or the Canadian Forces," he said in an e-mail.

What on earth could be sent that would be construed to compromise the integrity of a soldier, the Forces, or create a conflict of interest, short of accepting presents from terrorist organizations, or organizations deemed to be funnelling funds to terrorists.

I'm uncertain as to why this isn't an issue in the U.S., but seems to be an issue in Canada.

Capt. Veronica van Diepen, public affairs officer at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, said part of the problem with soldiers accepting gifts from the public is "where do you draw the line?"

Capt. van Diepen added that it is "wonderful" that Canadians want to demonstrate their support, but that the armed forces do not want certain soldiers to benefit to the exclusion of others.

"It's about where you make the distinctions," she said. "We have to decide whether or not it's desirable overall."

"Do you accept things for one wounded soldier and not another? How do you decide who's deserving?" Capt. van Diepen said.

Corporate involvement is not common in Canada, while in the United States, numerous companies and private initiatives also offer up moral -- or material -- support.

(...) One program has been started to provide voice-activated computers for men and women who have lost limbs in Iraq.

Project Valour-It (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops) raises money to purchase and ship laptop computers and specialty software to injured soldiers. The non-profit group, a branch of the Soldiers' Angels network, obtains the computers through private donations and retailer discounts, and sends them to military medical centres or soldier's homes.

The article goes on to say:

So popular is gift-giving to soldiers in the United States that in 2004, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington announced that they had run out of storage space for presents they receive from citizens.

If the U.S. Military doesnt have a problem with this, then why on earth should the Canadian Forces? Canadians and Americans want to generously give gifts to deployed Canadian troops and to those that are wounded. Let's not turn this into a bureaucratic challenge!

Canadians have demonstrated support of US troops by sending care packages, emails, and gifts, so I have tremendous faith that the generousity of Canadians will match that of Americans, and that all our wounded troops, let's hope there are not many) will be able to receive all kinds of gifts from Canadians. I also believe that Americans who have given generously to their troops will not only extend their generousity to Canadian troops deployed in Afghanistan, but also to Canadians wounded in combat.

Allies In The Forgotten War at The Middle Ground. Thanx Kat :>)
War Canadian Style: Bringing The War Home (Hat tip to Kat)