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Local webcast hosts prominent conservatives

Ollie North, Rush and Dr. Laura stream through Mountain View's Ustream

Thanks to a Mountain View company located on Castro Street, an all-star cast of conservative media personalities took advantage of webcasting technology today in what was billed as an unprecedented effort to send care packages to the troops in Iraq.

Names like Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North and Dr. Laura Schlesinger were guests of an eight-hour online broadcast Thursday afternoon originating from the Ustream office at 274 Castro St. The event was a "web-a-thon" fund raiser, with the goal of raising as much as $500,000 by the end of the day.

While most of the big names were not physically present in Mountain View on Thursday, blogger Michelle Malkin joined conservative talk radio stars Melanie Morgan and Mark Williams in hosting the show live from Ustream's Castro Street studio.

Morgan, who is also chair of MoveAmericaForward.org, which sponsored the event, was quoted in the Chronicle this week as saying that "there is no political element to this. It is nonpolitical and nonpartisan." But an hour into the broadcast, the show's hosts were focusing on "domestic insurgency" -- apparently a reference to some Americans' lack of support for the war in Iraq -- and the hypocrisy of the "liberal media."

"You guys are the counterinsurgency" Malkin said to hosts and listeners as she introduced the show.

"The message is that the troops need to feel our support," said Ryan Gill, who helped organize the event as operations director of MoveAmericaForward.org. "Congress doesn't always support them."

Also present in the Ustream studio was Gold Star mother Debbie Lee, who held a large picture of her son, Marc Allen Lee, the first Navy SEAL to die in Iraq.

"He willingly gave up his life," she said. "This is a way I can say 'Thank you.'"

Gill said viewers could use the Internet to donate packages worth $16 to $900 at the click of a button. Through the care packages, soldiers would receive such items as beef jerky, coffee and cookies.

Ustream, a company devoted to making live webcasting easy, recently moved into the small office on Castro Street from its former location near San Antonio shopping center. According to the company's Web site, West Point graduates Brad Hunstable and John Ham started Ustream in 2006 after discussing the business plan as Army officers. They eventually teamed up with a third founder, Gyula Feher.

More information is available at www.moveamericaforward.com and www.ustream.tv.

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