Category Archives: Culture

Bryan Stevenson – The Equal Justice Initiative + Marc Bekoff – The Animals’ Agenda

BRYAN STEVENSON is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the US Supreme Court , and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

He will be delivering the Convocation Speech to the incoming Freshman Class at MSU Bozeman on August 24, 2017.

Great-grandson of slaves, he attended “colored” schools. As a young attorney, he created The Equal Justice Initiative to address the hierarchies of inequality in the criminal justice system. He says, “America is a post-genocide society.” “The great evil of American slavery was not the involuntary servitude and forced labor, the great evil was how we created this ideology of white supremacy.”

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Professor MARC BEKOFF

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Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has published more than 1000 essays (popular, scientific, and book chapters), 30 books, and has edited three encyclopedias. His latest book is THE ANIMALS’ AGENDA: FREEDOM, COMPASSION AND COEXISTENCE IN THE HUMAN AGE, co-written with Jessica Pierce, and published by Beacon Press (2017). http://www.beacon.org/The-Animals-Agenda-P1250.aspx

This interview was prompted by his recent interview with Brooks Fahy of  Predator Defense (predatordefense.org), whose investigative work exposes shocking activity at the US Dept of Agriculture, as well as the complicity of wildlife organizations, such as Defenders of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the US, in the “Administrative Removal”, i.e. killing, of wolves in national forests.

There is a separate posting for our full interview with only Professor Bekoff  and more specific citations referenced here:

https://forthrightradio.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/marc-bekoff-the-animals-agenda-freedom-compassion-and-coexistence-in-the-human-age/

 

 

THE PROFANITY PEAK PACK: SET UP & SOLD OUT

http://www.predatordefense.org/profanity/

EXPOSED: THE USDA’S SECRET WAR ON WILDLIFE

http://www.predatordefense.org/exposed/

Wolves and Cows: Individual and Organizational Conflicts

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201708/wolves-and-cows-individual-and-organizational-conflicts

 

 

William Hogeland – THE AUTUMN OF THE BLACK SNAKE: THE CREATION OF THE U.S. ARMY AND THE INVASION THAT OPENED THE WEST

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William Hogeland has written about the American Revolution era in three previous books, THE WHISKEY REBELLION, DECLARATION, AND FOUNDING FINANCE. His latest book, THE AUTUMN OF THE BLACK SNAKE: THE CREATION OF THE U.S. ARMY AND THE INVASION THAT OPENED THE WEST, published by Farrar, Strouse, Giroux in 2017, goes in depth into the history surrounding the American Revolution, and particularly a major defeat of the new United States, in fact the greatest defeat effected by North American indigenous peoples in the history of this continent. But few have heard about it, much less the individuals who made it happen. William Hogeland, is determined to remedy this.

First a bit of history:  On this date, July 19th, in 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention was convened. It was the first women’s rights convention, eventually leading after more than 7 decades to, among other things, the 19th Amendment granting women’s right to vote in the U.S. DEC564-38.jpg

And on July 19th 1692, 8 people were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged in Salem, Mass., including Rev. George Burroughs, the only minister to be executed. maxresdefault.jpg

But now, we’ll fast forward a hundred years to “more enlightened times,” when the American Revolution had been won, and the power elites of that era were looking West across the Appalachian Mountains to so-called “vacant lands” for speculation and expansion. With only one problem, that being the people who had been living there for millennia didn’t agree that it was vacant.

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A young George Washington explored, surveyed and speculated in lands west of the Appalachians, in the process becoming one of the causes of the Seven Years War – the first global war, causing over a million casualties – and also enhancing his own career and making his fortune.
The tobacco export business required ever more new lands for planting, due to severe, rapid depletion of the soil, hence the lust for more and more new land to plant.

thomas_jefferson.jpgThomas Jefferson provided an evolving legal theory of Free Holding, dating back to the Anglo Saxon invasion of England, and disavowing the right of kings to grant tenure of lands, which had begun with the Norman Invasion. He believed anyone could take and hold any land without the permission of a sovereign, i.e Direct Ownership, as long as it was “vacant” .

His advice to farmers concerning tobacco’s soil depletion: “Better to move than manure.”

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Blue Jacket, a Shawnee leader, rallied his people to resist American Westward expansion.

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Unlike Blue Jacket, Little Turtle believed that without British armaments, the Americans could not be decisively defeated. His efforts to procure them were unsuccessful.

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Joseph Brant, a member of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy tried to be a diplomat and go-between among the warring factions – American, Indian and British. His efforts only resulted in ever diminishing trust and respect on all sides.greeneville-wells-1923.jpg

One treaty after another was made and broken by the Americans, although for the most part honored by the Indians. As westward encroachment increased – 10,000 immigrants coming down the Ohio River per month – war was inevitable.

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General Arthur St. Clair, who suffered the greatest defeat by Indians in U.S. history, when as many as 1,200 men, women and children – out of 1,500 – were killed, including most of the officers of the U.S. military.

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St. Clair’s defeat by the Miami Indians at the Battle of the Wabash River Nov. 4, 1791.

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Exact numbers are impossible to determine, but according to David Johnson in Fort Amanda – A Historical Redress (1790-1815):

In a 3 hour battle, of 982 soldiers and 250 civilians, 757 were killed, 413 wounded, 34 unwounded, a Total Casualty Rate of 95%. Placed head to toe, the bodies of those killed at St Clair’s Defeat would measure approximately 4,400 feet.

 

Keith McCafferty

Part 1:

Part 2:

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On July 18, 2017, award winning mystery and Field & Stream writer, Keith McCafferty, gave a lengthy interview, which is divided into two parts here, exploring the often lonely life of a writer – writing novels vs. magazine articles – as well as the ideas for his popular Sean Stranahan mystery series, the latest of which is COLD HEARTED RIVER.

Once again, Madison County, Montana Sheriff, Martha Ettinger, has a string of perplexing deaths – likely homicides – requiring her to pressure artist, and sometime investigator, Sean Stranahan to reluctantly get involved.  This time with the added mystery of a trunk once lost or stolen from Ernest Hemingway seeming to be at the center of the deaths.

We began the interview with the psychological impacts of writing novels vs. Field & Stream articles, and his early years in Appalachian Ohio.

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Gar Alperovitz: Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth

If the design of corporate capitalism is unable to sustain values of equality, genuine democracy, liberty, and ecological sustainability as a matter of inherent systemic architecture, what systemic ‘design’ might ultimately achieve and sustain these values? and
How specifically might it be possible to move forward, especially in difficult political times, to lay foundations for a transformation in the direction of a serious new systemic answer?

But before we ask Gar Alperovitz what answers he has explored to these questions, we take a moment to remember the passing earlier this month of Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, the Nicaraguan Maryknoll priest, and practitioner of Liberation Theology, who was his country’s foreign minister under the Sandanista government during the 1980s. In 2008, he was elected to head the United Nations General Assembly, just before Israel’s Operation Cast Lead began, which resulted in the deaths of over a thousand in Gaza, more than a third of whom were children. In his defense of Palestine throughout those weeks of war, and in his later commitment to forcing the UN to take environmental justice seriously, he aimed to transform the General Assembly into a potent force for global justice. His wisdom and perseverance in the pursuit of justice from a place of love, serve as a beacon in a world too often bent on mindless destruction. To honor him, we share this poignant song written by Nicaraguan song writer, Luis Mejia Godoy, based on a poem by Nicaraguan revolutionary, Tomás Borge, co-founder of the SNLF, The Sandinista National Liberation Front, who had been brutally tortured during the Somosa regime. It’s called,My Personal Revenge, here performed by Jackson Browne.

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Professor Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as an historian, political economist, activist, writer and government official. He is a professor emeritus of political economy at the University of MD, as well as a former fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and the Brookings Institution.

He is the author of books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy, THE DECISION TO USE THE ATOMIC BOMB: AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF AN AMERICAN MYTH;as well as WHAT THEN MUST WE DO: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT THE NEXT AMERICAN REVOLUTION; and AMERICA BEYOND CAPITALISM: RECLAIMING OUR WEALTH, OUR LIBERTY, AND OUR DEMOCRACY. Gar Alperovitz is the president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives and is a co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, a research institution developing practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change, and the democratization of wealth. He is also the co-chair of the Next System Project, a project of the Democracy Collaborative.

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I began by asking him about the Next System Project and their document, PRINCIPLES OF A PLURALIST COMMONWEALTH, and to explain what is meant by a pluralist commonwealth and what are the structural principles of what it requires?Regionalism.jpg

The House on Coco Road w/Damani Baker & Belvie Rooks

This film is so many things. It’s a family history of sorts, hence the title, THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD, but it’s also a chronicle of the historic revolution in the tiny island of Grenada by the New Jewel Movement (Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation), co-founded by Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard, and the destabilization under the Ronald Reagan regime, leading to the invasion and overthrow of the government there. As if that weren’t enough, it also chronicles the rise – and government repression of – revolutionary Black Activism in the United States, featuring Angela Davis and her sister, Fania Davis, as well as the director’s mother, Fannie Haughton. I don’t know how they got this all into a mere 79 minutes, without making it feel rushed or overfull, but the result is a beautiful, important film rich in both historical facts and emotional, social and cultural realities.

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Damani Baker is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, who is one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 new faces in independent film”. His career spans documentaries, music videos, museum installations and advertisements. Some of Damani Baker’s documentaries include The House on Coco Road, which revisits the events and circumstances of the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, and Return, an award-winning film that explores the genius of traditional African medicine. He directed music videos for Maiysha’s single “Wanna Be”, which was nominated for a 2009 Grammy,  and Morley’s “Women of Hope”, inspired by pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. His first feature documentary, Still Bill, was on the life and music of Bill Withers.  His current projects include over 10 films for museums in Nigeria and Chattanooga, Tennessee. These films include interviews with President Bill Clinton, Dr. Kofi Annan and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  In addition, he is a professor at Sarah Lawrence College’s Film and New Media Department, the director of the Quest forGlobal Healing Film Series in Bali, Indonesia and media collaborator with the International Budget Partnership, tracking government transparency through budgets around the world.

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Belvie Rooks is a producer of The House on Coco Road. She is Co-Founder of Growing a Global Heart. She is a writer, educator and producer whose work weaves the worlds of spirituality, feminism, ecology and social justice. She is a former board member of Bioneers, The Urban Habitat Program, and the Positive Futures Network/Yes Magazine, and is currently Chair of the Board of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, as well as a board member of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. She is a Core Faculty member of Holy Names University’s Culture and Spirituality Program.
Her published works have appeared in a number of books, publications and anthologies including: The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult by Alice Walker (Scribner); My Soul is a Witness: African American Women’s Spirituality (Beacon Press); she was Co-Editor of Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris, which was an American Book Award winner.

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Fannie Haughton is Damani Baker’s mother, whose family moved from share cropping in Louisiana to Los Angeles in the 1950s. After having been told she “wasn’t college material”, she did very well at Cal State LA & transferred to UCLA, where she met Angela Davis, becoming her Teaching Assistant, as well as life long friend and supporter. After experiencing the repression of Black Activists and the deteriorating situation in urban America in the Ronald Reagan presidency, she moved her young family to Grenada in 1982.

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Angela Davis was a young political activist and philosophy professor at UCLA, when she refused to disavow her membership in the Communist Party & was fired under the Ronald Reagan governorship. She was prosecuted for conspiracy involving the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County, CA courthouse, in which 4 people were killed, but she was acquitted.

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Fania Davis is Angela Davis’s sister and good friend of Fannie Haughton. They considered fleeing to Cuba to avoid the repression associated when Angela went under ground after being accused of conspiracy in the George Jackson/Marin County courtroom take over.

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As Governor of CA, Ronald Reagan ordered the firing of Angela Davis from UCLA, as well as other repressive measures, including the closing of most of the state’s mental institutions, without providing for the displaced inmates.

As president, in Ronald Reagan’s imagination, the 10,000 airstrip being built on the tiny island of Grenada (12 mi x 21 mi, population 100,000) with international assistance to increase tourism, and with private firms from the U.S., Britain doing much of the work, could only be explained as Soviet/Cuban militarization. He ordered destabilization of the new government and then, an invasion by the US military.

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9 year old Damani Baker’s experience was quite the opposite. Grenada was a place safe for children, where the Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, was like an uncle, women had positions of power and health care was a right. He & his family hid under their bed during the 3 days of US bombardment of what had been their paradise.

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TRIBAL JUSTICE: Anne Makepeace & Yurok Tribal Judge Abby Abinanti

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Two judges… two tribes… one goal: restoring justice.

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The Honorable Abby Abinanti
Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe on the North Coast of California, is the first Native American woman to pass the California bar exam. She established the first tribal-run clean slate program in the country to help members expunge criminal records, and focuses on keeping young people out of jail, in school and with their people. She has also served as Appellate Judge for the Colorado River Indian Tribe; Judge for the Hopi Tribal Court and Shoeshone-Bonnock Tribal Court; Chief Magistrate on the Court of Indian Offenses for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court; and Tribal Courts Evaluator for the Indian Justice Center and the American Indian Justice Center.

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The Honorable Claudette White
Judge White has served as Chief Judge for the Quechan Tribal Court since 2005. She also rides circuit, serving in tribal courts throughout Southern Arizona and California, including the Fort McDowell Indian Community, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and Tonto Apache Tribal Courts. She is President of the Arizona Indian Judges Association, and is a member of the Arizona Tribal, State and Federal Court Forum and the newly formed California Tribal Court/State Court Forum. She works closely with families, state court judges, probation officers and social workers to ensure the best outcomes for families and children.

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Anne Makepeace has been a writer, producer, and director of award-winning independent films for more three decades. Her new film, Tribal Justice,  premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival just this past February 2017. Her previous documentary, We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân, about the return of the Wampanoag language, had its broadcast premiere on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2011. The film has won many awards, including the Full Frame Inspiration Award and the Moving Mountains Award at Telluride MountainFilm for the film most likely to effect important social change. The $3000 MountainFilm prize went directly to the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, enabling them to launch their first-ever language immersion camp for children. We Still Live Here was funded by ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the LEF Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others. Makepeace was able to complete the film with fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Other recent films by Anne Makepeace include: I. M. PEI: Building China Modern ,(PBS broadcast on American Masters in 2010), and her Emmy nominated feature documentary Rain in a Dry Land (lead show on PBS P.O.V. 2007), which chronicled the journey and resettlement of two Somali Bantu refugee families from Africa through their first two years in America. She won a National Prime Time Emmy for her American Masters/PBS documentary Robert Capa in Love and War, which premiered at Sundance in 2003. Coming to Light, her documentary about Edward S. Curtis, also premiered at Sundance, was short-listed for an Academy Award in 2000, broadcast on American Masters in 2001, and won many prizes, including the O’Connor Award for Best Film from the American Historical Association, an Award of Excellence from the American Anthropological Association, a Gold Hugo from Chicago, Best Documentary at Telluride, and many others. Her first documentary, Baby It’s You, premiered at Sundance, was broadcast as the lead show on P.O.V. in 1998, and screened at the Whitney Biennial 2000.

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Yurok Tribal Judge Abby Abinanti with Humboldt County Judge Christopher Wilson

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Quechan Tribal Judge Claudette White & Imperial County Judge Juan Ulloa

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Judge Abby Abinanti presiding in the Yurok Tribal Court.

“The tribal courts both incorporate traditional values and hold up an example to the nation about the possibilities of alternative dispute resolution. [They] have much to offer to the tribal communities, and much to teach the other court systems operating in the United States.
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The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice

Finding Kukan/Big Sonia

As we have done each May for the last 10+ years, Forthright Radio is going to the movies, specifically reviewing documentaries from the upcoming Mendocino Film Festival. Today our show is in 2 parts. In the first, we interview Robin Lung, producer/director of FINDING KUKAN, a sort of detective story to find a long forgotten, lost film, and the almost forgotten woman who produced it, Li Ling-Ai.

In the second segment, we speak with Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday about their film, BIG SONIA. It’s about the amazing Sonia Warshawski, who survived 3 concentration camps, 2 beatings from SS guards, each of which almost killed her, and then, on the very day Bergen Belsen was liberated by the British, a bullet to the chest, which also almost killed her. Today, she is not only alive in her nineties, but she is a thriving, beloved member of her Kansas City community. And if you think this is just another depressing story of cruelty and brutality, you don’t know Sonia. We hope you’ll stay tuned to hear about her.

Among the things that unite these two films are: they are both about women with indomitable spirits, who are determined to get the truth out about unimaginable cruelty and atrocities. They are both about events that happened in WWII, one in Europe the other in Asia. They are both about women with unique fashion sense, of great longevity and spunk.

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FINDING KUKAN:
It’s about an Academy Award-winning color documentary about World War II China, that has been lost for decades. An uncredited female producer from the early days of Hollywood. The mystery behind their disappearance from history.
In the 1930s, China risked collapse under the onslaught of Japan’s military juggernaut. Chinese-American firebrand Li Ling-Ai decided to jolt Americans into action with a new medium: 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hired photojournalist, Rey Scott, to travel to China and document the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital. Their landmark film,  Kukan: The Battle Cry of China,  was screened for President Roosevelt at the White House, and received one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. So, how come we have  never heard of Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of Kukan disappeared? Our guest, Filmmaker Robin Lung, turns detective to uncover this forgotten story.

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Robin Lung is a 4th generation Chinese American, who was raised in Hawai‘i.  For over 15 years, she has been bringing untold minority stories to film. A graduate of Stanford University and Hunter College in NYC, Robin Lung made her directorial debut with Washington Place: Hawai‘i’s First Home, a 30-minute documentary for PBS Hawai‘i about Hawai‘i’s historic governor’s mansion and the home of Queen Lili‘uokalani. She was the associate producer for the national PBS documentary, Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (aired October 2008), Hawai‘i unit producer for acclaimed film Vivan Las Antipodas!, unit producer for NOVA’s Killer Typhoon, and producer/director for numerous short documentaries for the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.

BIG SONIA:

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In the second segment we move to the other theater of WWII, the Nazis’ march across Europe, specifically the invasion of Poland in Sept. 1939,  and what we have come to know as The Holocaust.

Here’s some of the description of the film on the Mendocino Film Festival website:
A “diva” known for wearing leopard print and high heels, Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski, serves as a bridge between cultures and generations, while continuing to run her late husband’s tailor shop in Kansas City. She miraculously survived concentration camps, death camps, and being shot in the chest on Liberation Day, but now she faces new challenges: the mall, where she works at her shop is about to close its doors, and the risk of forced retirement looms on the horizon. And unbelievably, the voices of Holocaust deniers seem to be getting louder & stronger. What will she do?

Leah Warshawski
Producer | Co-Director
Leah Warshawski produces documentary-style features, television, commercials, and branded entertainment in remote parts of the world. Her first feature, FINDING HILLYWOOD (2013) won 6 awards, and screened at more than 65 festivals. Leah’s career in film began in Hawaii, working in the marine department for LOST and HAWAII. She is currently working on the feature doc PERSONHOOD (2017-18), and advises filmmakers on outreach, marketing and hybrid distribution plans. In addition, Leah co-founded rwandafilm.org.

Todd Soliday
Co-Director | DP | Post Supervisor | Editor | Motion Graphics
Todd Soliday is a jack-of-all-trades with 25 years experience in production and post production. He specializes in documentary storytelling and adventure films such as PLATINUM (2007). He was post-production supervisor for FINDING HILLYWOOD. Recent feature documentary projects include OUT OF LUCK (2015) and THE BREACH (2014). He and Leah are married.