Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Alive Expo Green Pavilion : Redux

Event Producer Kim Shimmel holds
Oscar winner in her hand.

Peter and The Wolf
Best Animated Short
Hugh Welchman, Producer

Kim Shimmel
Event Producer
Alive Expo Green Pavilion

The Oscar Goes To.................Alive Expo Green Pavilion!
Sundance: Ski & Schmooze 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Boots On The Ground: Teflon Don

The situation in Iraq is far too complex to be represented by one voice.
Sound byte journalism serves an agenda....not the truth.

"Teflon Don"
served in Iraq:

I learned some things the last time I was in Iraq- I learned of courage, and brotherhood. I learned that there is no glory in war- there are few heroes, and many decent, ordinary men too stubborn to realize that their actions are irrational, dangerous, and, well… heroic. I learned of emotional agony and of empathy; I also learned how to be callous. I learned how to tell someone with your eyes that you would kill him if he didn’t cave. I lost some timidity, and gained self-respect. The war did not make me a man- rather; I learned through the war some essential elements of manhood.

Now's he's back again, not as a soldier, but as a citizen journalist embedding with troops.
It's great to read his boots on the ground coverage about the reality in Iraq.

The situation in Iraq is far too complex to be represented by one voice through sound byte journalism which only serves an agenda, not the truth.

As a soldier he served his country in Iraq, and as a citizen journalist he is once again serving his country in Iraq.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Operation Homecoming:Writing The Wartime Experience

Richard Robbins, just walked down the Red Carpet with actor Josh Lucas. Richard directed the impressive evocative Oscar nominated documentary" Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience".

From IMDB:

A unique documentary about troops' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on writings by soldiers, Marines, and air men. Some writings were published in the New Yorker in summer 2006. A larger assortment was published as a book by Random House last September. The film drew upon the submissions by soldiers for the book. It's a remarkable portrait of troops at war - the complexities, doubts, and fears - written with honesty. The 81-minute version of the film (which will be in theatres) includes 11 pieces of writing, with different visual strategies, along with interviews with the writers, and with more established American writers who are also veterans. In the latter group are Tim O'Brien, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tobias Wolff, Joe Haldeman, James Salter, Anthony Swofford, Richard Currey, and Paul Fussell. The visual approaches range from poet Brian Turner reading directly to camera, to archival footage, to an animated "graphic novel," to a still photo sequence shot by photographer Antonin Kratochvil. It's rooted in a program by the NEA that created a series of writing workshops at military bases. After those workshops, the writers submitted pieces for consideration in the book, edited by Andy Carroll. From those writings were selected 11 for inclusion in the film. There is also a 53-minute version of this film which will be airing on PBS as part of the series "America at a Crossroads" in April, 2007. Both of these are different from the other film 'Operation Homecoming" from 2007, directed by Lawrence Bridges. That piece was produced by the NEA as a documentary about their writing workshops

I hope this Documentary wins. Our troops deserve to have an unbiased, honest, emotional, evocative film win an award from the Hollywood community.

Thank you to: Robert Duval, Josh Lucas, Aaron Eckhardt, Christopher Gorham, Justin Kirk, Peter O'Meara & Blair Underwood, who contributed their talents to this project.

Good Luck, Richard!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Oscar Goes To.....Alive Expo Green Pavilion

Alive Green Expo is back.....last month we did Sundance.
This month.......The OSCARS.
Along with my friend Kim Shimmel, Patricia Siewert-Towns, and a great group of other women, I help to produce this fabulous event.

And the Oscar goes to…..all that’s green

From February 21st to 23rd, the ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion returns to the Sofitel Hotel in LA for their pre-Academy Awards extravaganza. Owners Kim Shimmel and Patrycja Siewert-Towns in association with Diamond Girl Public Relations will present all that’s fabulous and green. ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion offers an inside look at the latest and greatest in regards to eco-friendly and eco-chic products. The producers of this Green Pavilion say that, unlike some swanky swag gifting suites, their main goal is to educate the media and celebrities as well as build awareness about improving the environment. From beauty products to delicious eats and cutting edge spa treatments, the ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion strives to stay one step ahead when it comes to making positive changes.

In addition to all that’s green, guests can indulge in their own Detox Depot with health diagnostics such as antioxidant screenings, detox footbaths, and even a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion joins forces with a variety of charities, supporting those who support them. This year The Creative Coalition will benefit from proceeds from Olympic Paints “Hands of Fame” along with World Peace One and The Alaska Wilderness League.

With a nod to "Charlie Wilsons War" and "Kite Runner", ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion will promote the works of Kimberly Jackson - Kay Jay Collections at this Oscar week event. Using material hand-woven by the women of Afghanistan, Kay Jay Collections creates elegant red carpet worthy clutches here in the USA with a portion of the sales going towards Women’s Rights Organizations in Afghanistan.

Below is a list of some of the participants scheduled to exhibit at the ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion and help support the organizers' mission of seeking out the coolest new eco-friendly companies and products:

Aubrey Organics ,100% Natural Hair, Skin and Body Care products since 1967; North American Herb & Spice, Organic Oregano Oil; Chi Tea, Organic Green Tea; Len & Joe Inc, natural vitamins& supplements; Olympic Paints, Zero VOC and earth-friendly celebrity "Hands Of Fame" tile painting with Forbo Marmoleum Tiles, flooring made from recycled materials; Organic Crush Eco Kid Couture is made from organic material and eco friendly processes; Dejahmi, Fair Trade jewelry with sustainable materials; Silvane Silver, one-of-a-kind designs; Danny Maltzman, celebrity artist will exhibit works using eco-friendly paint.

Don’t miss this exciting event at the height of Hollywood awards season. For more information please visit www.aliveexpogreenpavilion.com and for all press inquiries please contact Stacy Broff at stacy@diamondgirlpr.com.


Maggie Wagner Interview at Alive Expo Green Pavilion on Real Tv

Maggie having a great time at Alive Expo Green Pavilion gives RealTv the scoop on her latest project: American Cowslip, co-starring with Val Kilmer
Sundance Ski & Schmooze 2008

How Stupid Does He Think We Are.

Kudos to Adam Lawson for articulating what we are all thinking:

So a guy hollows out a book and hides a box cutter in it. The airport catches this on an X-ray scan of his stuff. A box cutter hidden inside of a hollowed out book. Think about it. How likely is it that this is an accident? I vote that there is no likelihood this moron accidentally hollowed out a book and put a box cutter in it, then accidentally carried it with him to an airport. The full story is at Michelle Malkin’s site, linkage. It gets better:

TSA and airport officers charged him because “he was black and carrying the Koran,” he said.

I vote he goes to jail for another year for trying to play the race card and pretending that we’re all a bunch of racist lunatics, when he’s the peckerwood with a box cutter in a hollowed out book. The fact he’s pretending somehow he’s the victim makes me just want to smite him with a Clue Stick.

Can we say "Terrorist Test Run"??!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"The Dirty 30" & "The Cieply Scenario"

Insightful piece in the LA Times on the "behind the scenes" drama unfolding during the WGA Strike.

Private Overture's Lead To Strike Breakthrough

Studio executives and leaders of the Writers Guild of America were barely on speaking terms a month ago when John Bowman took matters into his own hands.

The head of the guild's negotiating committee, a onetime writer on "Saturday Night Live," Bowman asked a talent agent friend to arrange a private meeting with adversaries in Hollywood's languishing labor talks.
From "United Hollywood"

In the wake of the LA Times article talking about the "Dirty 30" and the events leading up to the final agreement, we're going to be running some pieces ourselves concerning those events and, to us more importantly, where we all go now.

From NY Times reporter Michael Cieply:
Even as Mr. Bowman became more vocal, Mr. Young was listening closely to Ms. Kalogridis, who had become a guild confidante. Described by associates as vibrant and impassioned, Ms. Kalogridis — whose credits include the “Bionic Woman” television series — had joined with a half dozen associates to make their United Hollywood site (unitedhollywood.blogspot.com) a rallying spot for striking writers. As recently as last week, the Web site shook the continuing talks by posting a strong critique of the directors’ deal by Phil Alden Robinson, the writer and director of “Field of Dreams” and a board member.

Ms. Kalogridis and her friends, in fact, had become a pipeline to the guild members holding out for sizable gains, whose support would be needed if any deal was to be reached. And she, like Mr. Bowman, had become convinced that the current round of talks must not be allowed to fail.

Rescuers Script A Possible Ending For The Strike

A New York Times reporter turned the Hollywood writers strike into a battle between good and evil. But was it true? David Blum doesn't think so.

The Cieply Scenario

How the story of the strike was shaped as it was going on.

Last Thursday night, as Michael Cieply put the finishing touches on his gripping 1,260-word narrative for the next day’s New York Times, he felt a mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. His scoop on a possible endgame in the crippling three-month writers’ strike would, without a doubt, captivate everyone with its cast of characters. A little-known screenwriter who’d been brought in to jump-start the negotiations. A powerful agent who’d brokered the peace. A union representative who’d almost blown the entire deal with his obstinacy. Two Hollywood studio chiefs who went eye-to-eye with labor in search of a deal. No one, not even those whiny WGA leaders, could dispute that Cieply had put together a compelling insider’s tick-tock of the strike’s final days. This piece would, at last, earn him the industry respect he so clearly craved—not just for his reportage but also for his skills as a Hollywood-style storyteller.

How did Cieply know all this? In the midst of a media blackout, who could his sources have been? As usual, despite his employer’s rules that reporters either identify their sources or at least characterize them (and explain the reason for their confidential status), he didn’t do either.

In the end, that was no different than any other story Cieply had written in the previous three months about the Writers Guild strike poised to end, at last, this week. With no sourcing to jam up the works, Cieply was free yet again to present his version of events as though it were indisputably true. Anyway, who was to say it wasn’t true? Who would ever doubt it, and why? He was, after all, Michael Cieply, a reporter for The New York Times, the most powerful newspaper in America.
Read: The Cieply Scenario

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sammenhold!!! Solidarity!!

Newspapers in Denmark Wednesday reprinted the controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked worldwide protests two years ago.

The move came one day after Danish authorities arrested three people who allegedly were plotting a "terror-related assassination" of Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonist behind the drawings.

Berlingske Tidende, one of the newspapers involved in the republication, said: "We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper always will defend," in comments reported by The Associated Press.

Newspapers in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands also republished the drawing Wednesday as part of their coverage of Tuesday's arrests


H/T Captain's Quarters

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Code Pink(o) Peaceniks Gone Wild!

The hags at Code Pink and their moronic male fanboys are at it again!

Those peace loving pursuers of life affirming activities like abortion and funding terrorists to the tune of $600,000, physically attacked members of Move America Forward, who were granted the right to peacefully to protest Code Pinko's actions and show their support of the Marine Recruiting Station and our Marines.

Law enforcement agencies refused to intervene when Code Pink attacked members of Move Forward America.

Hey Crips!! Hey Bloods!! PARRRTY TIME!!!! Feel free to loot, rape, steal, sell drugs, and engage in all sorts of criminal activity you normally pursue. Apparently the Mayor, the citizens, CHIPS, and local police won't intervene!

As if peaceniks gone nuclear wasn't audacious enough ---especially after accusing Marines of being baby killers, and using lying and deceptive tactics to recruit mature thinking adults who voluntarily come to explore the option of a career in the Marine Corp --- these delusional wingnuts have also published this LIE on their website:

The initiative was triggered by the unexpected appearance of a Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley in 2007 – a phenomenon never expected nor experienced in this town that historically has always proudly embraced core values such as anti-war and pro-peace. The group has been holding a weekly, and most weeks daily, vigil outside the Marines Station, which includes life-affirming activities like a baby playgroup and mother's breastfeeding circle, yoga, singing, reading, and other activities.

Life Affirming activities like breast feeding and a baby playgroup from the very people who SUPPORT ABORTION.

I have to wonder what would happen if Move Forward America barricaded the doors of abortion centers in Berkeley & San Francisco and held weekly life affirming activities like breastfeeding, baby playgroup, and preventing THE MURDER OF UNBORN BABIES.

Would Medea Benjamin and her band of liars, peaceniks and kooks ---who pretend to be tolerant loving peoples and who PRETEND to embrace life affirming activities and the core values of peace, but who instead voluntarily MURDER unborn babies, physically attack and brutally harass anyone who doesn't share their opinion or 'core values" ------join in??? Would they lend their support by sitting in solidarity through weekly breastfeeding and baby play group life affirming activities in front of ABORTION CLINICS.

How would Medea and Code Pink react if Move Forward America members not only barricaded the doors, but physically prevented women from entering the abortion clinic, insulted them, harassed them, hurled hate-filled epitaphs at them like baby killers, and then physically attacked the members of a pro abortion group who were legally demonstrating across the street?

The law says the Marines are allowed to operate recruitment centers, and the law says doctors are allowed to operation Abortion Clinics. But Medea only cares about the laws SHE favors! The other laws have no meaning and can be completely disregarded by Medea and Code Pink.

Medea Benjamin and the entire Code Pink membership are lying, deceitful, hate mongering, kumbaya singing, attention seeking, terrorist supporting, jihad loving, fetus killing, lawbreaking, scumbag sociopaths.

As is anyone who continues to support their insanity& hypocrisy.
Which explains why liberal loser and wacked out wingnut Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates joined them. Birds of a feather!

UPDATE: Feb 13/07 0840am

The pro-Marines protesters came, saw, and conquered in Berkeley last night–despite massive chaos, anarchy, and police neglect. The City Council partially backed down–conceding it had erred in passing its obnoxious “unwelcome intruders” resolution and granting Code Pink special privileges. The SFChron reports that “some council members added that they felt they owed U.S. troops an apology as well the many Berkeley residents who were ashamed and offended by their position. ‘To err is human but to really screw up it takes the Berkeley City Council,’ said council member Gordon Wozniak. ‘We failed our city. We embarrassed our city.’”

H/T: Michelle Malkin: The Berkeley After-Action Report

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Are You Listening, Europe??

“If we bear a particular responsibility for the role of the mujahedeen and Al Qaeda growing up in Afghanistan, it has more to do with our abandonment of the country in 1989 than our assistance of it in 1979". Robert Gates, SecDef

US Ties Europe's Safety to Afghanistan
I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security,” Mr. Gates said. “For the United States, Sept. 11 was a galvanizing event, one that opened the American public’s eyes to dangers from distant lands.”

In a hall filled with government officials, lawmakers and policy analysts from around the world, Mr. Gates added: “So now I would like to add my voice to those of many allied leaders on the Continent and speak directly to the people of Europe. The threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real, and it is not going to go away.”

Read the entire piece here

Canada to NATO: More Troops To Afghanistan NOW!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Combat Surgeon "No Atrocity They Won't Do"

"I suspect Iraq has run out of post-Saddam supporters and religious zealots. They are visiting Allah. No society has an endless supply of people like that anyway, political pundits notwithstanding. I see IEDs (improvised explosive devices) but no suicide bombers. My headline would read: US Army fighting Syrian funded Mafia-like organization in Mosul.' If something makes no sense follow the money. Many claim they need the money to support their families, as if killing and mutilating is an OK way to pay your bills."

'No atrocity they won't do'

Only about 10 percent of the patients were Americans. The Iraqi Army and police are doing more of the fighting than people realize, Percival said. They made up more than half of the patients. The balance was made up of civilians and enemy forces labeled as suspected insurgents.

Percival expected the enemy to be driven by religion and politics. He didn't see that. Instead, he saw young men with cell phones, gang tattoos and crisp $100 bills that he was told came as payment for planting bombs or sniping soldiers. They shot Americans and Iraqis. They shot women and children.

"These people will do anything. There's no atrocity they won't do," he said, concluding the war, at least in Mosul, was being driven not by fundamentalist Islam but by money. "I met people who appeared to be part of an organized crime cartel, were paid for what they did and there were no lines they wouldn't cross."

Read "Surgeon In Combat"

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Canada to NATO: More Troops to AFG Now!!

Or we won't stay past Feb 2009!

NATO troop commitment not negotiable!!

The U.S., Britain and France are among countries with the "capability" of meeting Canada's demand for a 1,000-soldier allied reinforcement in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said here today.

"It's a reasonable ask," Mr. MacKay told reporters at the start of a two-day meeting of defence ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other NATO allies fighting the Taliban insurgency.

"A thousand troops into Southern Afghanistan is highly doable, given the capabilities that exist for certain countries," he said, identifying the U.S., the United Kingdom and France as potential sources of more soldiers.

He refused to speak directly about whether speculation of a possible spring election in Canada could affect negotiations with allies on the conditions needed to extend Canada's combat mission beyond February 2009.

But he said the political dynamic will help "focus the mind," and added that success in getting allied help in Canada would send a positive signal to Canadians.

Not Negotiable

Mr. MacKay said the request of 1,000 troops won't be watered down.

"It's not a negotiable item," he said following one-on-one meetings with his counterparts from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

He said Canada's 2,500-soldier mission in Kandahar, which is committed only until next February, is a "linchpin" in NATO's efforts to battle the Taliban insurgency.

Will France Step Up To The Plate?

In Paris, a spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy said the French government was contemplating sending more soldiers to Afghanistan to augment the current 1,900-troop commitment there.

Germany: Chicken shits!!

Germany has announced it will add a 200-soldier quick reaction force to the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan, replacing a unit being withdrawn by Norway. But Germany said the force will remain in the north, where most of its 3,000-plus soldiers are stationed, and won't engage in operations in the more dangerous south.

Read More at The National Post

Friday, February 01, 2008

Afghanistan:The Bad News: REDUX

The Atlantic Council of the United States, 30 January 2008

"Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan. Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak, with regional and global impact. The purpose of this paper is to sound the alarm and to propose specific actions that must be taken now if Afghanistan is to succeed in becoming a secure, safe and functioning state. On the security side, a stalemate of sorts has taken hold. nato and Afghan forces cannot be beaten by the insurgency or by the Taliban. Neither can our forces eliminate the Taliban by military means as long as they have sanctuary in Pakistan. Hence, the future of Afghanistan will be determined by progress or failure in the civil sector
From CTV.Ca

Three independent reports are all sounding alarm bells over the mission in Afghanistan, warning changes are necessary if NATO is to succeed in its objectives.

The reports suggest the nation's future is in jeopardy if government bodies and civilian institutions aren't strengthened, and if the insurgency isn't properly shut down.

They follow the release last week of a Canadian report from a panel led by John Manley. It recommends that Canada remain in Afghanistan beyond the February 2009 exit date, so long as NATO countries provide more troops and Canada's role shifts from combat to one of training and support.

One of the three reports, put together by the Afghanistan Study Group, suggested the nation is at a crossroads and the progress that has been made over the past six years is at risk of being undone. The report cited factors such as the stubborn insurgency, slumping international commitment, regional challenges and rising doubts within the country that Afghanistan's future is secure.

"The study group believes two possible courses of action would have dire consequences -- either withdrawing forces from Afghanistan or adopting a minimal approach," the report states.

"If international forces are pulled from Afghanistan, the fragile Afghan government would likely fall apart, again becoming a failed state while the Taliban and other warlords would gain control of various areas and eventually fight each other."

The two other reports were released by the Atlantic Council of United States and the U.S. National Defense University's Center for Technology and National Security Policy.

On the positive side:

Maj.-Gen. (Ret.) Lewis MacKenzie agrees with some of the contents of the reports. He told CTV's Canada AM that greater co-ordination is needed among the 25 provincial reconstruction teams working on the ground, poppy crops must be replaced with a viable alternative, and said all changes must come with the support of the Afghans.

He also said the report focuses on the negative but doesn't put emphasis on the progress that has been made.

"When we went (to Afghanistan) the Taliban were organized in fairly large groups, now they've been forced to go into a traditional counter-insurgency. The implications for failure were much bigger then, then now," MacKenzie said.

Read more here

Afghanistan: The Bad News Is Just Beginning
Stumbling into chaos: Afghanistan on the brink
Saving Afghanistan PDF