‘He’s a fat, f***ing liar’: Families of fallen soldiers slam Trump for saying past presidents never called them – as one reveals Bush ‘listened while I screamed at him and then held me as I sobbed’

Sister of slain soldier lashes out at Trump over troops


The sister of a slain US solider has lashed out at Donald Trump calling him a ‘fat f***ing liar’ after he said that past presidents had never called families of fallen troops. Delilia O’Malley revealed that former President George W. Bush had listened to her scream before hugging her after she was told her brother had been killed while serving in the Iraq War. Her anger at Donald Trump was echoed by thousands of other Gold Star families who say they were insulted by his false comments. A number of ex-staffers who worked with past presidents have also since publicly slammed Trump for blatantly lying. Trump’s comments came during an unexpected press event in the Rose Garden on Monday when he was asked why he hadn’t yet commented on the deaths of four elite US special forces soldiers in Niger who were in an ambush by an ISIS -affiliated group. He said he had written to the families and planned to call them at some point before saying that Obama and other past presidents had failed to phone the loved ones of slain soldiers. The record is plain that presidents, including Obama, Clinton and Bush, reached out to families of the dead and to the wounded, often with their presence as well as by letter and phone.

Sergeant Dustin M Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia.Sgt. La David T. Johnson
Sergeant Dustin M Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia and Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, Florida

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Sergeant Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, WashingtonSergeant Jeremiah W Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio
Sergeant Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington and Sergeant Jeremiah W Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio

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Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David T. Johnson died when militants thought to be affiliated with the Islamic State group ambushed them while they were patrolling in unarmored trucks with Niger troops.

CNN reported that Trump was playing golf on Saturday when the body of 25-year-old Johnson was returned to Dover Air Force Base.

The criticism aimed at Trump came after he addressed for the first time the deaths of four soldiers killed in Niger on October 4. The attack was the deadliest on US troops since Trump became president.

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We Were Eight Years in Power is an unusual book. It collects nine of Coates’s Atlantic essays, one from each year of Obama’s presidency, and one from its savage aftermath. Connecting the essays are lyrical, autobiographical reflections that situate the work in Coates’s daily life, that track his steady evolution as a writer and a thinker.

The most interesting thread of these reflections traces Coates’s slow loss of hope, the rising recognition, long before Donald Trump won power, that Obama’s presidency would not have a happy ending. The question Coates poses, to himself and to us, is this: What does it mean to be hopeful about race in America?

[One of the book’s most persistent, recurrent themes, a shuttle that flies through the loom, is that black progress is always met with a violent backlash — the modern apotheosis of which was the election of Donald J. Trump– Jennifer Senior, NY Times ]

There was a time when Coates believed in hope and change, or at least wanted to believe in it. “It was hard not to reassess yourself at, say, the sight of John Patterson, the man who’d ‘out-niggered’ George Wallace to become governor of Alabama in 1959, endorsing Obama,” he writes. But then, in quick succession, came Shirley Sherrod, and the humiliation of the “beer summit,” and the reaffirmation, for Coates, of “the great power of white innocence — the need to believe that whatever might befall the country, white America is ultimately blameless.”

Coates is not a writer who grasps for easy answers. He does not condemn Obama for firing Sherrod, or for placating the police officer who had arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr. on his own porch by inviting him for a drink in the Rose Garden. “Obama was the first black president of a majority-white country,” he writes. “He should’ve feared white innocence!

Everything had changed, and not enough had changed. It is in moments like these that you see Coates diverge from his critics. There are two ways of looking at the beer summit. It took place on the lawn of the White House, and the occupant of the White House was black. Hope. But even a black president of the United States still had to genuflect before white America’s fear of black men, and its insistence that that fear is innocent and valid. Despair.

Americans venerate progress. Our national mythos is of a perfecting union, a country always striving to come closer to its ideals. To deny that there is hope is to deny that America is getting steadily better, and it is folly to deny that America is a better, fairer, more just country today than it was 50 years ago, or 100 years ago. This is the position of Coates’s critics: There is progress, and therefore there is hope….This is what New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait accused Coates of missing, saying he “defines out of existence the very possibility of steady progress.”

Reading Coates, I do not believe hope, for him, is synonymous with progress. Hope is prediction. It is about ultimate levels, not current trends. To be hopeful about race in America is not to say that slowly things will become less bad. It is to say that they will become good, equal, just. To be hopeful is to believe that America will one day embody its ideals, that it will atone for its past. Coates quotes Malcolm X, who said, “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

There is a paragraph in Coates’s book that I have read and reread. It is, to me, the clearest distillation of his worldview and its power. I do not think there is any doubt that this paragraph is true. I also do not think it is possible to live inside its truth and feel very hopeful:

Any fair consideration of the depth and width of enslavement tempts insanity. First conjure the crime — the generational destruction of human bodies — and all of its related offenses — domestic terrorism, poll taxes, mass incarceration. But then try to imagine being an individual born among the remnants of that crime, among the wronged, among the plundered, and feeling the gravity of that crime all around and seeing it in the sideways glances of the perpetrators of that crime and overhearing it in their whispers and watching these people, at best, denying their power to address this crime and, at worst, denying that any crime had occurred at all, even as their entire lives revolve around the fact of a robbery so large that it is written in our very names.

Though America may improve, its debts will never be repaid, its ideals will never be reached, the barest definition of justice will never be attained. It was, Coates says, his seminal article on reparations that crystallized this knowledge. “The reparations claim was so old, so transparently correct, so clearly the only solution, and yet it remained far outside the borders of American politics. To believe anything else was to believe that a robbery spanning generations could somehow be ameliorated while never acknowledging the scope of the crime and never making recompense. And yet that was the thinking that occupied mainstream American politics.”

Here, again, you see Coates’s insistence that mere progress cannot be the measure of hope. He had written an Atlantic cover story that set the entire country talking about reparations, that forced at least an intellectual reckoning with the idea and its unsparing logic. The article made him a celebrity, a “public intellectual.” That’s progress, and for many, that would be hope. But no matter how sound his argument, reparations were no likelier to come to fruition the day after he published his article than the day before. Progress isn’t enough.

For Coates, progress can, and likely will, coexist with deep injustice and a society ordered around, and constantly rationalizing, its crimes. The villains will not be punished, and the victims, many of them dead, will never be made whole. This is not just American truth. It is a cosmic truth, seen across nations and across times. “Nothing in the record of human history argues for a divine morality, and a great deal argues against it,” he writes. “What we know is that good people very often suffer terribly, while the perpetrators of horrific evil backstroke through all the pleasures of the world.”

When he tries to describe the events that would …end of white supremacy, his thoughts flicker to the French Revolution, to the executions and the terror. “It’s very easy for me to see myself being contemporary with processes that might make for an equal world, more equality, and maybe the complete abolition of race as a construct, and being horrified by the process, maybe even attacking the process. I think these things don’t tend to happen peacefully.”

For Coates, even hope can be covered in blood.




“Jerry Lewis, the brash slapstick comic who teamed with Dean Martin in the 1950s and later starred in The Nutty Professor and The Bellboy before launching the Muscular Dystrophy telethon, has died,” report Richard Natale and Carmel Dagan for Variety.“ Lewis was ninety-one.

“Inside the comedy world, Lewis was revered as a genius,” writes David Hinckley in the New York Daily News. “The 2011 Lewis documentary Method to the Madness featured comedians from Billy Crystal to Eddie Murphy to Chevy Chase praising his singular style of comic lunacy and pathos….

For American audiences, Lewis’s career had three major segments: his early television, stage and movie collaboration with Dean Martin, which ended in 1956; his solo movie career, which peaked in the 1960s; and his return every Labor Day for the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, which he hosted until 2010. . . . Inside the movie industry he was known for pioneering a filmmaking process known as ‘video assist,’ which was eventually adopted by all the major studios. But he made his most indelible mark as a comedian, with a style that featured physical comedy, prominently including facial contortions, and rapid-fire repartee.”

“New Wave critics and filmmakers Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard spurred his popularity in France, where he became known as ‘Le Roi du Crazy,’” notes Mike Barnes in the Hollywood Reporter.

New York’s David Edelstein: His future could be discerned in some of his first, juvenile routines: pantomiming to grand opera and other emotional recordings, his rubber face exaggerating every vocal quaver, enacting a counter narrative that was completely disruptive — yet indebted to the high art of his predecessors. This is a recognizable mode of being for a Jewish comedian, who’ll find a quick route to an audience’s heart as a clown, but secretly wants to be part of the world that he or she burlesques. They all want to play Hamlet, it’s said. Instead, they play the jester, conscious that they’ll one day be dust, like literature’s most famous dead comedian, Yorick.

In 1946, he was working an Atlantic City nightclub when he made the acquaintance of an Ohio-born crooner named Dean Martin.

life: “ To say the least, at one point in time Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were a dynamic duo. On the anniversary of both their debut as an utterly singular comedy team and their acrimonious split ten years later, LIFE.com offers a series of photos —...

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, New York, 1949

 Time’s Stephanie Zacharek argues that “to understand Lewis as a performer, it’s essential to grasp the reach, and the brilliance, of Martin and Lewis, a duo that were like rock stars before rock stars even existed. . . . If not for that partnership, Lewis would never have become the Jerry Lewis we know.” Photos by Ralph Morse for Life Magazine, 1948.

Image result for Artists and Models (1955)

“The pair collaborated on seventeen pictures, including The Stooge, Living it Up and That’s My Boy. You can see their rapport in the movies they made, like the Frank Tashlin-directed Artists and Models (1955) …. But the truest revelation of Martin and Lewis’s grandness, together and separately, comes from watching clips from the show that made them stars, The Colgate Comedy Hour. . . . Martin was Lewis’s ideal partner and perfect audience rolled into one.”

“Following the partnership’s breakdown, Lewis went on to score solo successes. Writing for Trailers from Hell, Charlie Largent suggests that “Lewis’s formidable successes and inevitable failures might best be understood through the lens of his bust-up with Dean; once that rocket ship fell to earth he simply brushed himself off and replaced the easy-going crooner with the movie-going public as the designated victim of both his demands for love and his passive-aggressive tantrums. That so many in the audience would react as did Dean didn’t seem to faze him,

Frank Tashlin is on the left, gently restraining Jerry Lewis.

DAVID EDELSTEIN, NEW YORKBehind the scenes, Lewis spent time learning about cameras and lenses and composition and sound, finding a mentor (and collaborator) in former Warner Bros. cartoon director Frank Tashlin. It was Tashlin who directed the last Martin and Lewis comedy, the 1956 Hollywood or Bust. The duo did not speak off camera during the shoot, Martin having told Lewis that the latter “was just a dollar-sign” to him. Lewis — who professed his love for Martin, even at the pair’s lowest ebb — was thrown out of the nest. But did he fly.

Tashlin brought that anarchic Warner-cartoon sensibility to live action, creating sight gags that were blissfully surreal, and Lewis decided to go even farther out and seize on every chance to break the fourth wall. Tashlin directed Lewis movies include The Geisha Boy (1958) and Cinderfella (1960).

His first movie as sole director was the low-budget slapstick comedy The Bellboy(1960), all of it shot in a Florida hotel. It’s a pantomime performance, in which Lewis’s bellboy encounters a series of guests (among them visiting movie star Jerry Lewis) and is both the fount and butt of the gags. In his essential (and worshipful) study of Lewis’s work, Jerry Lewis, Chris Fujiwara cites Lewis’s book The Total Film-Maker, in which the clown deconstructs his “Idiot” persona by invoking one of his favorite director-performers: “Chaplin was both the shlemiel and the shlimazel. He was the guy who spilled the drinks — the shlemiel — and the guy who had the drinks spilled on him — the shlimazel.” Lewis’s idea of character was similarly elastic — or opportunistic.

Image result for Jerry Lewis, Chris Fujiwara


Image result for Jerry Lewis, Chris FujiwaraIn 2015, the New Yorker’s Richard Brody reported on an onstage interview with Lewis conducted at the Museum of the Moving Image by Martin Scorsese: “Lewis discussed one of his most surprising and enduring achievements—he invented, and holds the patent on, the video assist, the little video camera attached to the movie camera, which enables the director to observe, in real time, the movie frame. He devised it in conjunction with Sony (he spent four months in Japan, he said, working on it) and he first used it in The Bellboy. As Scorsese explained, before video assist, the only person who actually saw through the eyepiece was the camera operator; directors, in effect, ‘were blind,’ and had to rely on the operator’s judgment in evaluating a take. Lewis explained why he had to use video assist, from the time he started directing: ‘I can’t stand to ask anyone, “How was that?”’” Film Comment has transcribed the full conversation.

Adrian Martin (1999): As a tender, teenage cinephile, I was knocked out by the vision of a veritable Pop Art tableau in The Ladies Man,” (1961) “Like a true ‘vulgar modernist’—to use J. Hoberman’s apt term—Lewis also became fascinated with foregrounding the very processes of filmmaking and storytelling. Cameras, sets, crews and showbiz cameos were everywhere to be seen; multiple beginnings, open endings, and baroque plots brought Lewis’s gags closer to Bertolt Brecht than Mack Sennett. Lewis’s career is, in truth, a bundle of contradictions. He has effortlessly married the greatest vulgarity to the finest craftsmanship; the ickiest, most sanctimonious messages to the boldest, most daring experiments in form and technique. Even his body is a paradox, expressing extreme chaos and discombobulation with the utmost grace.”

Image result for Buddy Love

Jerry Lewis and Stella Stevens in the film "The Nutty Professor."..Edelstein: 1963’s The Nutty Professor cemented his reputation. Directing himself, Lewis…plays Professor Julius Kelp, a nerdy, buck-toothed, bespectacled chump who keeps blowing up his laboratory with his crazy chemical experiments. No woman could possibly find him attractive. But the hapless professor invents a potion that turns him into a super-sexy hipster, Buddy Love, who reduces women to a quivering jelly. And [in] a bravura double performance: when he makes his first appearance as the groovy Buddy, Lewis’s face becomes eerily almost handsome, as if by force of will he has transformed himself into a cross between Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

If there’s a flaw in the film, it’s that Lewis sometimes seems as if he’s not parodying a Sinatra-like dreamboat — he truly believes he is one. The worshipful camera doesn’t help. 

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“At least theoretically,” wrote Jonathan Rosenbaum in his essay for a retrospective in Vienna, “one can subdivide not only Lewis but most of his pictures as writer-director-performer into two pairs of templates, best represented by …The Ladies Man and The Nutty Professor: (a) nonlinear collections of gags versus linear narratives with beginnings, middles, and ends, and (b) free-form conceptual fantasies versus fictions grounded in some form of social commentary. But in practice, these features rarely opt for one or the other.”Los Angeles in 1994.(ANN SUMMA/GETTY IMAGES

King of Comedy

Edelstein: By this point, Lewis was one of the biggest stars in the world and a very rich man, and he could probably be forgiven for thinking he could do anything. The slide from the top began with a hugely expensive ABC variety series that was an embarrassing shambles from its first to last show — a brief run in which Lewis went from boastful to self-pitying with no pause for reflection. Dick Cavett, who was a writer for the show, told his biographer Shawn Levy that he and Woody Allen have a running joke about a Comedy Black Museum (a play on Scotland Yard’s grisly Black Museum of Crime) and that much of The Jerry Lewis Show would belong in it.

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When a star comedian dies, his comedy team, decides to train a nobody to fill the shoes of the Star in a big TV show (a Patsy). But the man they choose, bellboy Stanley Belt, can’t do anything right. 

The Patsy,(1964) continued his decline with its poor box office reception.It reflected his growing contempt for showbiz and just about everything else, expressed most intriguingly by his obsession with playing Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. (J.D. Salinger wouldn’t take his calls.)… American critics — most of whom hadn’t liked his good films — were merciless toward his later ones. (The dim, imperious Bosley Crowther, the longtime chief critic of the New York Times, was reliably harsh.) He was buoyed by the French adoration, but instead of taking that as a reflection of Lewis’s genius, most Americans took that as a sign that the French were nuts.


Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles in September 1990. (JULIE MARKES/APHis annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, which raised millions to support sick kids, but also showed Lewis at his most maudlin and — as the nights wore on — rambling. He later said he was on both Percodan (for pain, the probable result of doing slapstick stunts for so many years) and high doses of Dexedrine, which was widely used in showbiz circles back then– Edelstein


Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro in The King of Comedy.
For many, his finest film performance came courtesy of 1982’s The King of Comedy, which cast Lewis in the role of Jerry Langford, a successful TV host who finds himself preyed on by a stalker. It was not a comeback as such,” writes the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, “at least in part because the movie itself was not properly appreciated at the time. But Lewis had a sensational charisma. And he did, in his hatchet-faced way, present the metaphorical properties of his own reputation: bound and gagged by De Niro and his partner-in-crime, Sandra Bernhard, held hostage by a younger generation, who derided him, or admired him, or idolized him, but at all events made him mute, refused to let him be fashionable or accepted on his own terms.”

CreditJohn Springer Collection/Corbis, via Getty Images.


Benjamin Ivry for Forward.: “A premier Jewish clown of American cinema, his innovative understanding of the medium ensured that his ethnic identity was an inescapable part of his celebrity in the United States,”

Steven Shaviro: Jerry Lewis’ films, and his comedy more generally, are characterized by an infantile excess, something that knows no boundaries and has no sense of restraint or of good taste…This in itself makes Jerry’s comedic figure both delightfully twisted and utterly embarrassing. Jerry’s persona doesn’t feel any such embarrassment or shame, but this unawareness makes it all the more embarrassing for me to like him and identify with him. There is no sense in Lewis’s comedy of a raging id set free of repression; rather, the persona almost always has an overwhelming desire to please the fatuous authority figures who are set against him and whom he unwittingly destroys.”

Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times.:“Few comedians before him had so brazenly turned arrested development into art, or held up such a warped fun house mirror to American identity in its loudest, ugliest, vulgarest excesses,fewer still had advanced the still-radical notion that comedy doesn’t always have to be funny, just fearless, in order to strike a nerve.”

“There’s a reason Lewis has persisted as a touchstone in conversations about, say, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and a particular brand of juvenile men,” writes K. Austin Collins at the Ringer. “Not only did Lewis, drawing from vaudeville and traditional Jewish comedy, seem to invent that form, but he remains, long after the height of his career-making films, at its apex.”

“I’ve always found Lewis more fascinating than ha-ha funny,” wrote James Wolcott for Vanity Fair in 2011, “and the source of his fascination is the core power he possesses, his prodigious boiler system. So many comedians seem to shrink into themselves when they’re not going for laughs, the light in their refrigerator going out once the door closes. When Jim Carrey and Robin Williams go the sincere route, they lose their elasticity as performers, become ordinary. Lewis is the opposite. When he isn’t ‘on,’ he’s the opposite of off; his presence intensifies with an increase of dark matter, transmitting scary-dad authority even when trussed up and immobile, as he was playing the talk-show host held hostage in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983).”

Back to New York’s David Edelstein, “the truth is that Lewis was monstrous, infantile, narcissistic, pretentious, tasteless—and brilliant, life-affirming, thoughtful, and sometimes visionary. He was a definitive monstre sacré whose likeness we have rarely seen. . . . As zany a formalist as he was, he could also seem like an establishment fuddy-duddy in an era that saw the rise of more scabrous, countercultural comedy. His lovable little man began to seem increasingly phony, as did his films’ sentimentality.




At Least 59 Dead, Over 500 Wounded In Shooting At Las Vegas Country Music Festival.

The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said.


Killed in the Las Vegas massacre: The first of 59 dead and 527 hurt are identified including a kindergarten teacher, an ex-cheerleader, a wife who died in her husband’s arms, two Army vets, and a nurse who saved his surgeon wife

Las Vegas shooting: First victims pictured and identified
Victims, left to right, top row: Sonny Melton, 29, who died saving his surgeon wife Heather’s (pictured together, left) life, Lisa Romero, Neysa Tonks, Susan Smith, Jordan McIldoon, 23, Melissa Ramirez and Bailey Schweitzer. Second row, left to right: Quinton Robbins, 20, Jennifer Irvine, Angie Gomez, Jessica Klymchuk, 28, Adrian Murfitt, 35, Jenny Parks, 19, and Charleston Hartfield. Third row, left to right: Rachael Parker, 33, Carrie Barnette, Dana Gardner, Rhonda LeRocque, Denise Salmon Burditus (pictured with her husband), 50, John Phippen and Sandy Casey, 35. They are among the 59 people killed when 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock of nearby Mesquite, Nevada began shooting from his hotel room across the street at the Mandalay Bay Casino. Another 527 people were injured in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in US history. 


Las Vegas gunman had sixteen guns in ten suitcases
The man who shot dead 59 people and injured 527 others in Las Vegas on Sunday night was a multimillionaire who took a huge arsenal of 16 guns into his Mandalay Bay hotel room, which he transformed into an elaborate sniper’s nest before opening fire on a country music festival on Monday. Stephen Paddock (pictured right), 64, had made millions from real estate deals, according to his brother Eric Paddock; he also owned two planes and several properties across the US, and seemed normal apart from his passion for gambling large sums. He took 16 of those guns into his Mandalay Bay suite over several days and set up two rifles on tripods at windows overlooking the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Thousands of rounds of ammunition were also found in the suite, enabling him to fire for at least 72 minutes. His car had traces of a fertilizer used in bomb-making. Paddock had lived in 27 residences in Nevada, Florida and Texas as an adult, but other than that he had apparently lived a quiet and unremarkable life – and the reason for his assault remains a mystery.

Eric Paddock (pictured) said Stephen was addicted to poker and slot machines, and was one of the 'big fish' in gambling. Casinos would treat their entire family to free rooms, he said

With no children and two amicable divorces at his back, Paddock began to occupy his time with gambling – both in Las Vegas and online.

In fact, it eventually became a major source of income. 

‘It’s like a job for him. It’s a job where you make money,’ Eric Paddock (above) said. ‘He was at the hotel for four months one time. It was like a second home.’

‘He’s known,’ he added. ‘He’s a top player. He’s the small end of the big fish.’ 

He also said that his brother had enjoyed playing high-stakes poker with $100 hands.

Eric didn’t know whether his brother was suffering financial issues or had gambling debts and speculated that he could lose $1 million and still have enough to live on.

But in the weeks before his meticulously planned and terrifying attack, Paddock had gambled more than $10,000 a day – sometimes even more than $30,000 – in Las Vegas casinos.

That information came from someone who had seen Paddock’s Multiple Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) and a casino gaming executive, NBC reported.

A CTR is a report that casinos must file for ‘each transaction in currency involving cash-in and cash-out of more than $10,000 in a gaming day,’ according to the IRS.

The reports don’t say whether he lost the money or not.

Stephen Paddock’s father, Benjamin – who was diagnosed as a ‘psychopath’ – was convicted in 1961 to twenty years incarceration. He escaped in 1968 and while on the lam committed another bank robbery in 1969. 

The robber spent eight years on the FBI’s Most Wanted list before being apprehended in 1978 in Eugene, Oregon, where he had opened a bingo parlor. He was paroled in 1979.

State authorities charged him with racketeering in the 1980s. Mr. Paddock settled the civil charges and avoided jail after paying $623,000, and he eventually left Oregon for Texas, where he lived until his death in 1998.


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Black people aren’t keeping white Americans out of college. Rich people are.



Affirmative action is a consistent hobbyhorse on the right because it combines real anxieties with compelling falsehoods. College admission — especially to the elite institutions most often hit with affirmative action lawsuits — has become more selective and is an increasingly important factor in the creation and perpetuation of wealth and opportunity. Elite colleges serve as steppingstones into politics, finance, law and Silicon Valley; higher incomes tend to follow. Even so, 80 percent of top students who apply are accepted into at least one elite school, if not their No. 1 choice. But measures that help historically disadvantaged populations to take advantage of the same opportunity are nonetheless characterized as zero-sum.


What is essential to understand is that it’s not a vast crowd of black or brown people keeping white Americans out of the colleges of their choice, especially not the working-class white Americans among whom Trump finds his base of support. In fact, income tips the scale much more than race: At 38 top colleges in the United States, more students come from the top 1 percent of income earners than from the bottom 60 percent.


Addressing inequalities in K-12 education, for instance, could help at-risk students of all races increase their chances of attending a top college — or any college at all. Policies such as property-tax-based funding for schools and the curiously slanted allocation of talented teachers (in Louisiana, for instance, a student in the poorest quartile of schools is almost three times as likely to be taught by an ineffective teacher as a student in the wealthiest quartile is) give a tremendous boost in college admissions to children from high-income families, often at the expense of their lower-income peers.

And right up to the application-writing doorstep, the beneficiaries of the biggest extra edge in admissions are more often than not the children of alumni. At Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Georgetown and Stanford universities, the acceptance rate for legacy applicants is between two and three times higher than the general admissions rate. …Trump’s own wealthy-parent-sponsored education at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by the subsequent admission of three of his four adult children, makes that particular initiative seem unlikely.



For many Americans, whose ancestors migrated lawfully to the U.S., it is extremely frustrating that so many immigrants come today outside of lawful channels. Why don’t they just come the legal way, the way that my ancestors did?

Many immigrants do come lawfully, of course, but there are an estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. who either entered unlawfully or, after entering lawfully on a temporary visa, overstayed. Why don’t they just come the legal way?


Those are good and reasonable questions. We have to understand both a bit about our country’s history and something of how current U.S. immigration law to answer them.


The reason that my ancestors migrated lawfully to the U.S.—mine came in the mid-19th century from Holland—is that there was no illegal way for them to come. You see, until 1882, there basically was no federal immigration law: anyone who arrived was welcome to make their life in the U.S.; there were no visas necessary, no consulting with a U.S. consulate before you departed; you boarded a boat and you built your new life in the U.S. That began to change in 1882, with the Chinese Exclusion Act, when the Congress decided that immigrants from China—who some argued were biologically inferior to Europeans—should be kept out altogether. Over the next four decades, we gradually restricted further groups—the poor, the sick, the uneducated, those suspected of holding questionable ideologies—until in 1924, Congress enacted a new immigration quota system that drastically limited immigration. It became extremely difficult to migrate, especially if you were from a country outside of the Northern and Western European countries that were granted the vast majority of the limited number of visas made available.


That changed again in 1965, when President Johnson signed into law a dramatic overhaul of the U.S. immigration system again. America could not and would not go back to an era of open borders, Johnson said as he signed the law, but the new law would base eligibility to immigrate not primarily on race or country of origin, but rather on family connections and employability.


In the nearly fifty years since that last overhaul, that system has worked fairly well for some people-spouses, minor children, and parents of adult US citizen and highly skilled workers with advanced degrees who could find an employer sponsor, for example-but, particularly as our economy has grown but visa quotas have not, the system is not working very well today.  Because the quota numbers are much lower than demand, family members can wait up to twenty years to be reunited through the proper legal channels in some cases.


The employment-based system is equally dysfunctional, particularly for “low-skilled” workers: under the law, a maximum of 5,000 permanent visas are available per year for employer-sponsored workers other than those who are “highly skilled” or “holding advanced degrees.”  The problem is that our economy produces many, many times more jobs for people considered “low-skilled”–jobs that require little to no education, but a willingness to do very hard work–than there are visas.  To put things in perspective, back in 1910, 5,000 individuals, most of whom would today be classified as “low-skilled,” entered through Ellis Island in an average day.


We can tell people to wait their turn in line, but, for example, for a Mexican (or a Guatemalan, a Filipino, a Pole, or folks from many other countries) who does not have a college degree and has no close relatives who are U.S. citizens or green card-holders, there is almost certainly no line for them to wait in: without reform to the legal system, they will not be able to migrate “the legal way” to the U.S., not if they wait ten years, not if they wait fifty years. But if they manage to come unlawfully—and historically we have not made it so difficult to do so, though our borders are much more secure now than they have ever been—they will almost certainly find work—because even in a time of high unemployment, there are certain jobs that most Americans have not proven willing to do. For individuals living in poverty, desperate to support their families, that has been an attractive option. Everyone would prefer to pay a reasonable fee and be granted a visa, but that has not been an option for most of those presently here unlawfully. That, in short, is how we got into this mess, and why so many immigrants—most of them family-oriented people—have ended up undocumented in the shadows of our society.


For a more thorough answer to these questions, we recommend reading chapters 3 and 4 of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang (InterVarsity Press, 2009). To go even deeper in understanding how history and policy relate to this topic, check out the resource page for further book recommendations.


No Way In:
U.S. Immigration Policy Leaves Few Legal Options for Mexican Workers


by Rob Paral*

Executive Summary

Current immigration policies are completely out of sync with the U.S. economy’s demand for workers who fill less-skilled jobs, especially in the case of Mexican workers. While U.S. immigration policies present a wide array of avenues for immigrants to enter the United States, very few of these avenues are tailored to workers in less-skilled occupations. It should come as no surprise, then, that immigrants come to or remain in the United States without proper documentation in response to the strong economic demand for less-skilled labor.

Among the findings of this report:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 48 percent of all job openings, some 27 million positions, between 2002 and 2012 “are expected to be held by workers who have a high school diploma or less education.”
  • Given that 12.5 percent of native-born adults age 25 and older lacked a high school diploma in 2003, compared to 32.8 percent of the foreign-born, it is clear that a large number of less-skilled jobs will be filled by immigrants.
  • According to the 2003 American Community Survey, Mexicans comprised 30.7 percent of all foreign-born workers in the United States, but amounted to 88.8 percent of the foreign-born labor force in “farming, fishing, and forestry”; 60.2 percent in “construction and extraction”; and 51.6 percent in “building and grounds cleaning and maintenance.”
  • Only one of the five categories of visas for permanent immigration status is tailored to less-skilled workers, and it is capped at 5,000 visas per year.
  • Only two of the 16 employment-based visa categories for temporary immigrant status are available to workers in industries that require little or no formal training. One (H2A) is restricted to agricultural workers and the other (H2B) is not only capped at 66,000, but is limited to “seasonal” or otherwise “temporary” work that is defined so restrictively as to disqualify workers in many industries.
  • Roughly 76 percent of Mexicans receiving temporary work visas in 2002 were recipients of only H2A and H2B visas. In other words, Mexican workers are crowded into categories in which few visas are available for most industries.
  • The family-based immigration system is not capable of compensating for deficiencies in the employment-based system due to arbitrary numerical caps. In the case of Mexican nationals, wait times for visas under the “family preference” system are currently 7-10 years for the spouse of an LPR and 10-12 years for the unmarried adult child of a U.S. citizen.

The debate over whether or not the U.S. economy needs workers from abroad has intensified since President Bush proposed a new temporary worker program in a January 2004 speech. In May 2005, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced legislation – the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act – that builds upon the idea of a temporary worker program by also proposing the expansion of pathways to lawful permanent residence for temporary workers (including those already in the country in an undocumented status). This legislation is based on an understanding that the current U.S. immigration system provides very few legal avenues for the admission of workers needed by the U.S. economy to fill less-skilled jobs, thereby creating incentives for undocumented immigration, primarily from Mexico, in response to actual labor demand.

U.S. immigration policies allow prospective immigrants (as opposed to temporary visitors) to legally enter the United States if visa petitions are filed on their behalf by an employer or a family member who is either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). However, there are extremely few employment visas available to accommodate the millions of immigrant workers whom the U.S. labor market demands as construction workers, factory workers, groundskeepers, and housekeepers. As a result, many workers from abroad enter or remain in the country either in an undocumented status or by using the family-based immigration system, which is by definition not designed to be an employment program. In order to correct this imbalance, the U.S. immigration system must be reformed to place a far greater emphasis on the U.S. economy’s demand for immigrant workers, especially those from Mexico, who fill less-skilled jobs.

There is a high demand in the United States for workers in jobs that require little or no formal education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there probably will be about 56 million job openings between 2002 and 2012, and 42 million of those, or 75 percent, “are projected to be filled by workers who do not have a bachelor’s degree and who are entering an occupation for the first time.” Moreover, 27 million of these positions “are expected to be held by workers who have a high school diploma or less education.” That amounts to roughly 48 percent of all job openings in the country. NOTE 1

Given that 12.5 percent of native-born adults age 25 and older lacked a high school diploma in 2003, compared to 32.8 percent of the foreign-born NOTE 2, it is clear that a large number of less-skilled jobs will be filled by immigrants. Some observers nevertheless contend that foreign-born workers in less-skilled jobs displace their native-born counterparts. However, the experience of the U.S. economy in the 1990s does not support that argument. The United States received the largest number of immigrants in its history during the 1990s NOTE 3, including many who lacked much formal education, yet unemployment and poverty rates among the native-born fell substantially. NOTE 4 Moreover, employment in about one-third of all U.S. job categories would have contracted during the 1990s if not for the presence of recently arrived immigrant workers, even if all unemployed U.S.-born workers with recent job experience in those categories had been available. NOTE 5

Recent data from the American Community Survey (ACS) indicate that foreign-born workers continue to be an indispensable part of the U.S. labor force. According to the ACS, the foreign-born accounted for 14.3 percent of all workers in the United States in 2003. However, foreign-born workers comprised a far higher percentage of the workforce in particular occupations. Foreign-born workers amounted to 39.7 percent of the U.S. labor force in “farming, fishing, and forestry occupations”; 29 percent in “building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations”; 21.7 percent in “production occupations” (which includes workers in assembly, food processing, textiles, and apparel); 21.5 percent in “construction and extraction occupations” (which includes mining); and 20 percent in “food preparation and serving related occupations.”


Despite the critical role played by foreign-born workers in many less-skilled job categories, the current immigration system offers very few employment-based visas for these workers. Nearly all of the visa “preference” categories that do exist for workers in less-skilled jobs are subject to arbitrary numerical caps that do not even come close to matching the level of labor demand in the U.S. economy. The result is that an enormous number of prospective employment-based immigrants are “crowded” into a small number of highly limited visa categories.

There are five preference categories of visas for permanent immigration status and only one is set aside for workers in less-skilled jobs. Four of the five favor immigrants with higher levels of education or financial capital and are therefore not relevant to less-skilled workers. The remaining category, the employment-based “third preference,” allots only 5,000 visas each year to workers in occupations that require less than two years of higher education, training, or experience. NOTE 7 This visa category, which is designated for “other workers,” is nearly the only employment-based avenue for permanent immigration available to workers in less-skilled jobs. About 71 percent of Mexicans receiving an employment-based visa for permanent immigration to the United States used this preference category in 2001. NOTE 8




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One of the most important and influential early writers in the Off Broadway movement, Mr. Shepard captured and chronicled the darker sides of American family life in plays like Buried Child, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979, and Curse of the Starving Class, and A Lie of the Mind,” writes Sopan Deb for the New York Times. “He was widely regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation, winning praise from critics for his searing portraits of spouses, siblings and lovers struggling with issues of identity, failure and the fleeting nature of the American dream. He was nominated for two other Pulitzers, for True West and Fool for Love, which both received Broadway productions.”

Mr. Shepard brought a singular dramatic voice to the creation of a world that literary critic Walter Kirn once described as “Grass-Roots Gothic, infused . . . with a sense of folksy madness and populist brutality.’’

Michiko Kakutani’s 1984 interview with Shepard, in which she noted that he’d “created a fictional world populated by cowboys and gunslingers, ranchers and desperadoes, but these characters all find that the myths they were raised on somehow no longer apply. Eddie the wrangler-hero of Fool for Love . . . finds that he has nothing better to lasso than the bedposts in a squalid motel room. The Hollywood hustlers in Angel City look out their window and see not the fertile valleys of the Promised Land, but a smoggy city of used-car lots and shopping centers—a city waiting for apocalypse. And the old-time outlaws, who pay a visit to the present in The Unseen Hand, discover that there are no more trains to rob, that there is no place for heroics, that it is no longer even possible to tell the good guys from the bad.”


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Born Samuel Shepard Rogers III on Nov. 5, 1943, he came naturally by his Strindbergian view of love, marriage and family. The father for whom he was named was an alcoholic, nomadic man, and he haunts Mr. Shepard’s work.

He worked on a ranch as a teen and discovered Samuel Beckett—as well as jazz and abstract expressionism—at Mt. San Antonio College before he dropped out to join a touring theater repertory troupe.

When Shepard arrived in New York at the age of nineteen, “he looked up a high school friend, Charles Mingus Jr., son of the jazz great, who got him a job at the Village Gate nightclub, ‘cleaning up dishes and bringing Nina Simone ice,’ as Mr. Shepard once described it.” John Leland for the New York Times: “The two friends shared a cold-water apartment on Avenue C and Ninth Street, paying $60 a month in rent. . . . Even then, Mr. Mingus said in an interview this week, ‘He could walk into a room with a typewriter and not leave until he finished a play. No revisions, just typing.’ When Ralph Cook, a waiter at the Village Gate, started the Theater Genesis at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery in 1964, he gave Mr. Shepard his first break — a pair of experimental one-acts that used disjointed dialogue to ‘change the audience’s cognition,’ Mr. Mingus said. The Village Voice loved it, and Mr. Shepard was off.”



Sam Shepard, second from left, at his wedding to the actress O-Lan Jones at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery in 1969. Credit Michael Evans/The New York Times

“He was blessed with good fortune, always in the right place at the right time,” said Peter Stampfel, who met Mr. Shepard in a pawnshop in the East Village where Mr. Stampfel was retrieving a violin he had pawned to buy amphetamines.

Off Off Broadway in the mid-1960s was wide open. An actor in one theater might be designing costumes in a second, then rushing to see a new play in a third.

It was an incredibly exciting time,” said Tony Barsha, a playwright and director who worked with Mr. Shepard at Theater Genesis. “We thumbed our noses at Broadway and Off Broadway because they were so slick and commercial, and what we were doing was just off the wall stuff,’’ he added. “Nobody was thinking of art for the ages. Sam was just dashing this stuff off. His early work was just what came out of his head. It had nothing to do with dramatic construction or form or history. I think he was using a lot of drugs at the time, speed mainly. I did the same thing.”


The front cover of “Indian War Whoop,” an LP by The Holy Modal Rounders. The band featured Sam Shepard on drums. CreditJ.P. Roth Collection


Mr. Stampfel invited him to play drums in his band, the Holy Modal Rounders, a psychedelic folk group that went on to open for the Velvet Underground, Ike and Tina Turner, Pink Floyd and others. The two shared a taste for drugs and a preference for energy over musical finesse, Mr. Stampfel said this week.

“When we started, he never mentioned writing plays or that he got a grant,’’ Mr. Stampfel said. “We’d mention his name to other people and they’d say, you mean the guy who writes plays?”

With the war raging in Vietnam, and F.B.I. agents storming the apartment on Avenue C looking for subversives, Mr. Shepard avoided the draft by feigning a heroin habit.

When Mr. Shepard married O-Lan Jones, an actress who appeared in some of his plays, in 1969, Mr. Stampfel and the other Rounders performed and handed purple hits of LSD to guests as they entered.

A year later, shortly after the couple had their first child, Mr. Shepard was playing drums with the band on Bleecker Street, when a journalist came backstage to interview them. The journalist was Patti Smith. “She went straight to Sam, and they went straight to the Chelsea,” Mr. Stampfel said.

Their public affair, loosely echoed in a play they wrote together, “Cowboy Mouth,” lasted until Mr. Shepard and his wife reconciled and before long left New York for London and Nova Scotia.

Michael Feingold in the Village Voice, “…my longtime acquaintance, Sam Shepard, the playwright, that quirky constructor of hypnotically fascinating plays, who had really wanted to be a rock drummer and had somehow settled for being a world-class movie star instead, while continuing to turn out quirky, fascinating plays.”


His name and image earned widespread recognition via film, including his Oscar-nominated turn as U.S. Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager, pictured together, in 1983’s The Right Stuff.

[The movie]“extended the idea of the end of the West into the mid-20th century and showed it playing out through the space program, the media, and the characters’ personalities,” writes B. J. Bethel at RogerEbert.com. “Shepard’s Yeager was the heart of it all. The character didn’t change, but the world around him did.”


Image result for sam shepard days of heaven
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney, “the film role most emblematic of this taciturn neo-Gary Cooper was his first major screen appearance, as the wealthy Texas Panhandle farmer drawn into a deadly romantic triangle in Terrence Malick’s haunting 1978 evocation of early 20th-century American life, Days of Heaven. . . . While the celebrated visuals of that film evoke the painters Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper, its magic-hour shots of Shepard amid sprawling wheat fields—a solitary figure with an unforgiving gaze—could just as well be lifted from the playwright’s own singular body of work.”

“The effectiveness of Shepard’s performance is doubly impressive considering his near-total lack of dialogue,” writes Adam Nayman at the Ringer. “Although he was only six years older than Gere, Shepard evinces the fatigue and sadness of a man several decades his senior.


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Joe Leydon reminds us that Shepard “couldn’t claim actual Western roots. But the minor detail of his being born (on November 5, 1943) in Sheridan, Illinois, mattered very little to his many fans and admirers. . . . Whether it was a frontier lawman who needs a shot at redemption in Purgatory (1999), a former Texas Ranger who reluctantly joins a manhunt in Streets of Laredo (1995), or a burnt-out western movie star who wants to repair frayed family ties in Wim Wenders’s Don’t Come Knocking (2005), Shepard effortlessly conveyed the authority and authenticity that audiences traditionally associate with the strong-and-silent icons who gallop through our collective pop culture consciousness. In recent years Shepard appeared in the Netflix series, Bloodline.”

For Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, the “supreme, and crowning, irony” is “that Shepard had found stardom and glory by portraying, in effect, the living incarnation of the core American values that his stage plays . . . said, in one way or another, had all gone up in smoke. He was playing the soul of an America that no longer existed. Yet he played it so slyly, with such stirring conviction and understatement, that it’s as if he marked the moment when the longing for those values—the ones shredded by the counterculture—began to make a comeback.”

In 2014, writing for Esquire, Nick Schager wrote that Shepard was “something like an archetypal personification of manliness: tall, rugged, handsome, and possessed with a mixture of take-no-shit candor, volatile tempestuousness, and disarming sincerity and compassion.


Sam Shepard adjusts his sunglasses as he arrives for the screening of the movie "The Assasination of Jessie James by the coward Robert Ford" during the 64th Venice International Film Festival in September 2007. Sam Shepard adjusts his sunglasses as he arrives for the screening of the movie The Assasination of Jessie James by the coward Robert Ford during the 64th Venice International Film Festival in September 2007.

“Simply by showing up and inhabiting the frame for a few minutes, Shepard could inject a picture with some essential quality that it needed—gravitas, world-weary intelligence, the weight of lived experience.” Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times: “If a picture needed to assure you of its down-home roots or its western bonafides, there was no better resource than Shepard—even when he barely seemed to last beyond the opening credits, as when he played Jesse James’s older brother in the early train-robbery scenes of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007).
“Shepard wrote the screenplays for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas, and Robert Altman’s Fool For Love, a film version of his play of the same title,” writes Elbert Wyche for Screen. “As a writer-director, he filmed Far North and Silent Tongue in 1988 and 1992, respectively.

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Later in life, he had a nearly 30 year relationship with Jessica Lange, whom he met when he collaborated with her on 1982 movie Frances. They separated in 2009.
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Image result for sam shepard black hawk downBlack Hawk Down (2004)
His almond-shaped blue eyes looked out at the world with wry detachment; they imposed on his passionate nature a mask of cool. . . . Years of living with invasive family aggression—‘The male influences around me were primarily alcoholics and extremely violent,’ he said—had taught Shepard to play things close to his chest: to look and to listen… Shepard was a man of few words, many of them mumbled. Compelling to look at but hard to read—at once intellectually savvy and emotionally guarded—he exuded the solitude and the vagueness of the American West.”

 In Michiko Kakutani’s 1984 interview with Shepard, she noted that he’d “created a fictional world populated by cowboys and gunslingers, ranchers and desperadoes, but these characters all find that the myths they were raised on somehow no longer apply. Eddie the wrangler-hero of Fool for Love . . . finds that he has nothing better to lasso than the bedposts in a squalid motel room. The Hollywood hustlers in Angel City look out their window and see not the fertile valleys of the Promised Land, but a smoggy city of used-car lots and shopping centers—a city waiting for apocalypse. And the old-time outlaws, who pay a visit to the present in The Unseen Hand, discover that there are no more trains to rob, that there is no place for heroics, that it is no longer even possible to tell the good guys from the bad.”