Saturday, January 12, 2008

American Marines at the Grand Canyon

from Blue Star Chronicles

Friday, January 11, 2008

Problems in France

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla BruniFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy is in love and its causing quite a stir over there.

Here's the thing. His wife of 12 years decided to up and leave him just weeks after he took office. Apparently, she went back to a former lover. He was so upset about her leaving that he had to be hospitalized briefly - but that was a state secret at the time. Well, no sooner did she move on to her former lover than he met a look-alike younger version of her and now he's 'besotted' as they say over there.

Everybody is worried.

His supporters are worried because he's not acting like himself. He's been a workaholic, but now he's daydreaming and canceling appointments and jetting off to exotic vacations with his model girlfriend, Carla Bruni. They are also concerned because its affecting his official duties. For instance, the Vatican wouldn't receive him because they don't receive the girlfriend of a world leader. They say he really needs a First Lady, but many question whether she's the right First Lady. You see, she's got quite the past.

Carla Bruni's nickname is 'maneater' if that gives you a clue. She's been known to break up marriages and date men like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Donald Trump. Plus, she's pretty high maintenance and seems to be leading the President around on a leash. The general consensus is that she will be the end of his career. Many seem to think its her resemblance to his former wife that has him so obsessed with her.

Its not that the French mind affairs.

What they mind is that they are so public. Sarkozy has stated he just won't hide his life from the public. The French find that appalling. They say its just not done. Affairs should be carried on in secret!

It is not at all what the French expect from their head of state. As one Paris-based friend of mine remarked, Sarkozy has "betrayed the national code of honour".

Despite its sybaritic image, France is a fundamentally provincial country which respects social order and prefers affairs to be secret - a situation helped by draconian privacy laws.

"Sarkozy has opened the curtains on a country which was happily eating cheese and climbing up the backstairs to visit mistresses," says my friend gloomily. "France likes hypocrisy. It does not like sexual openness. We are not Italy."

Sarkozy, of course, has a different interpretation. "I broke with a deplorable tradition in our country, that of hypocrisy and lies," he said yesterday.

"With Carla, we decided not to lie. We don't want to hide."

Cecilia SarkozySo are we witnessing an enormous cultural shift in France or a president who has taken leave of his senses?
To make matters even worse his former wife, Cecilia Sarkozy, has written a biography that is very damaging to Sarkozy. This is the third book about Sarkozy's love life in the less than a year that he's been France's president. Not good. Cecilia is now claiming that she didn't intend for her conversations with French journalist Anna Bitton to be published. Bitton says that's just not true and says this about Cecilia: "ice-cold, blue-blooded empress' and a 'poor little rich girl who is addicted to shopping". Ouch!

Some of Cecilia's assertions ....

Sarkozy is "ridiculous, badly behaved and not fit to be president" Cecilia Sarkozy says in a new book, adding for good measure that the women in his life are just a 'bunch of slappers' (or des petasses fardees, as the French would have it).

Even the president's female political colleagues do not escape her barbed tongue: they are just "boring wallflowers, and now that there is no First Lady, he needs to surround himself with pretty young things dressed in Dior".

Hmmm .... nasty, nasty. Pass the milk! Stay tuned ... I'll keep you updated when I find out what the next chapter of this soap opera is. C'est la vie!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

They Also Serve

Tribute to military families. The magic for me in making this video was featuring real military families. They are the true stars of this video. Produced & Directed by John Donegan Productions.

I developed and wrote the treatment (the script) and cast, directed, shot and edited the video. My script received Pentagon approval to shoot with the 101st Airborne at Ft. Campbell and the music video actually premiered in a theater there for the troops before being broadcast on TV. It now can be viewed in almost 200 countries on Armed Forces TV.

Al-Qaeda Threatens Mavis Leno

Mavis LenoIn the video that was recently released by the American Al-Qaeda Member Adam Yahiye Gadahn, he lashed out against Jay Leno's wife, Mavis Leno and First Lady Laura Bush. He called them hypocrites and warns that they, along with other Americans, will be punished.

Mavis Leno's wrongdoing? She has worked to help the women of Afghanistan who have suffered under the Taliban. He threatens the First Lady for the same reason.

He says we are in a fight to the death with islam. Once again, the islamist tell us what their intentions are. Once again they tell us that they intend to kill us all and that they view this as a global war with their ideology. Once again, we don't listen.


The American leader of al-Qaida lashed out at the wife of late-night talk show host Jay Leno in a newly released video-taped message warning fellow Americans of coming "punishment."

Al-Qaida propaganda chief Adam Gadahn, aka. "Azzam the American," singled Mavis Leno out for rebuke for her feminist views and criticism of the misogynistic brutality of the Taliban. He also heaped scorn on first lady Laura Bush, suggesting they are both hypocrites.

"Doesn't it seem strange to you that Mrs. Jay Leno and Mrs. George W. Bush ... have failed to express their outrage at this criminal misogynistic behavior which your government and its allies are engaged in and encouraging in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia?" Gadahn said, according to a transcription and translation of the 50-minute screed, spoken in Arabic and English.

Leno has been honored by feminist organizations for working to help the oppressed women of Afghanistan. She was one of the first celebrities to draw attention to their brutal treatment under the ousted Taliban regime.

Gadahn, who is wanted by the FBI for treason, claims U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq are handing over control of parts of the country to Shiite militias who are more brutal than the Taliban, targeting women for gang rape and assassination.

He says they "specialize in sidewalk murders of allegedly immoral women," and their "track record is no better when it comes to their treatment of women." Al-Qaida is comprised of Sunni Muslims.

"Doesn't it seem as though your angry celebrity female activists only spring into action when their campaigns don't conflict with your regime's foreign policies," Gadahn said, "and in fact, serve their colonialist designs?"

Gadahn went on to warn Americans, after tearing up his passport on camera, that "atrocities" against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan "will never be forgotten, nor go unpunished."

"You're now in a battle to the death with the Muslims," he said, adding that only releasing Muslim prisoners, leaving Muslim lands and coverting to Islam will spare Americans from "punishment."

"Don't wait until it's too late," he warned, "until you've seen the punishment with your own eyes."

Gadahn did not make specific threats against Leno or the first lady during the video.

In 2002, Leno told CNN's Larry King that she did not plan to travel to Afghanistan to meet with the women she helped liberate, because she feared for her safety.

"I have not been there because the Taliban are well aware of my campaign," she said. "They know what I look like, they know my name."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Paratrooper Carries the Flag of his Father

Pfc. Alexander Cesario of Somerville, N.J., a forward observer with A Co, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, displays his father Adam's American flag on a rooftop in Baghdad's Suleikh neighborhood. As a Soldier in Vietnam, the elder Cesario flew the flag every day - including a three day period when he was missing in action - and his son now carries it with him on patrols in Iraq. Photo by Sgt. Michael Pryor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs.

Flag of My Father: Paratrooper Keeps Flag Carried by Dad in Vietnam Story by Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Baghdad, Iraq

Like any Soldier, Pfc. Alexander Cesario always makes sure he has all his essential equipment before he goes outside the wire. For Cesario, that means his weapon, radio, and night vision goggles, as well as one special, personal item – an American flag his father brought home from Vietnam.

Cesario, a Somerville, N.J., native serving as a forward observer with Company A., Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, has carried his father’s flag with him on every mission since being deployed to Iraq a year ago.

The flag was first acquired by Cesario’s father, Adam, 61, when he was a young paratrooper serving in Vietnam. The elder Cesario never let a day go by without unfurling the flag, no matter where he was or what he was doing.

“(My dad) flew that flag every day, even if he had to put it up on a radio antenna,” Cesario said.

At one point, a mission went wrong and Cesario’s father was cut off from the rest of his platoon. For three days, he had to hack it out of the jungle alone, with the Vietcong in hot pursuit. But even on the run, he still managed to raise the flag each day.

“He didn’t stop moving at all for those three days, except to fly that flag,” Cesario said.

When Cesario’s father returned from the war, he put the flag into safekeeping. He was so protective of it that even family members were rarely allowed to handle it.

“It was like his prized possession,” Cesario said.

Nothing could make the elder Cesario part with the flag until Alexander, 19, was deployed to Iraq this year. After he began patrolling the streets of Baghdad, Cesario decided he wanted to carry on his father’s tradition. After some arm-twisting, he convinced his dad to mail him the flag.

The flag arrived with step-by-step instructions on how to take care of it, Cesario said. He recalled the final step with a laugh: “If you lose it, don’t bother coming home.”

Despite the threat of exile, Cesario takes the flag with him everywhere. It is his way of paying tribute to his father, he said.

“I wanted to honor him,” Cesario said, “It meant a lot to him, and because of that, it means a lot to me.”

Cesario keeps the flag tucked into the front flap of his body armor, close to his heart. He said he’s looking forward to redeploying and returning the flag – now a veteran of two wars – to its rightful owner. Eventually Cesario, who is single, said he would like to pass the flag on to his own son, when he has one. There’s only one problem.

“I’ll have to pry it away from my dad first,” he joked.

I love the fact that we still have wonderful young men in this country who are still willing to stand up and be counted when the country needs them. Generation after generation, the United States produces these awesome young men (and women).