Trump Settles on Afghan Strategy Expected to Raise Troop Levels – New York Times

AMMAN, Jordan — President Trump, who has been accused by lawmakers of dragging his feet on Afghanistan, has settled on a new strategy to carry on the nearly 16-year-old conflict there, administration officials said Sunday. The move, following a detailed review, is likely to open the door to the deployment of several thousand troops.

“The president has made a decision,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on an overnight flight that arrived in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday. “I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous.”

Mr. Mattis declined to say what steps the president had ordered, including on troop levels, saying that the president wanted to outline the new approach himself.

The defense secretary received the authority in June to send as many as 3,900 troops to Afghanistan so that the United States military could expand its efforts to advise Afghan forces and support them with American artillery and airpower. But Mr. Mattis has refrained from building up the American force there until the Trump administration agreed on a broader strategy.

The White House said in a statement that Mr. Trump would address the American public and American troops “on a path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia” in a speech at Fort Myer, Va., Monday night.

American military commanders have argued during the monthslong policy assessment that the additional troops would enable the United States to reverse gains made by the Taliban and militant groups like the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, the Islamic State in Khorasan.

Administration aides, under orders to let Mr. Trump announce the details, hinted that any American commitment to increase force levels would require steps by the Afghans, like doing more to fight corruption.

Mr. Trump’s Monday evening speech will be his first nationally televised prime-time address since he spoke before Congress in January and follows a week of controversy over his reaction to the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va.

When it comes to Afghanistan, Mr. Trump entered office as the skeptic in chief, and any ramped-up engagement there poses political risks for the president, who rallied voters weary of war with his sharp criticisms of American involvement in the country.

“We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money — rebuild the U.S.!” Mr. Trump tweeted about Afghanistan in January 2013, as he considered running for office in 2016.

The Afghanistan question has been the source of a long-running debate at the White House, Stephen K. Bannon, who was recently removed as a top Trump adviser, fought the military’s recommendation for more troops and backed a number of alternative options — including using private contractors instead of United States forces.

The decision on troops is just one component of a military and political plan for the region that Mr. Trump and his aides have been discussing for months, and it is politically important for the president to differentiate his approach from the Obama-era policies he sharply criticized.

Administration officials have been developing ways to try to pressure Pakistan to shut down the sanctuaries there for the Taliban, a goal Republican and Democrat administrations have pursued for years with little success.

A major concern is the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, which American intelligence agencies believe is responsible for some devastating attacks in and around Kabul. Funding for Pakistan, including contributions for Pakistani troops deployed near the border with Afghanistan, may be held up to more scrutiny than it is now, according to Pentagon and congressional officials.

Trump administration officials have also worked to lock in troop commitments from NATO and other Western nations, an important consideration for a president who has demanded that allies shoulder part of the burden.

Trump administration officials say they know they will need to reassure the American public that American military involvement in the nearly 16-year-old conflict will not be open-ended and will help combat international terrorism.

Moreover, many officials believe they need to do so without setting firm deadlines for reducing or withdrawing American troops, a practice President Obama embraced but which Trump officials assert denied the military needed flexibility and played into the hands of the United States’ adversaries.

One way to address that concern, administration officials have said in recent weeks, might be to stipulate that the Afghans would need to satisfy certain conditions, like fighting corruption or improving governance, to continue to receive American economic and military support.

A number of high-level participants in the review have important experience on these issues, especially Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and Maj. Gen. Ricky Waddell, the deputy national security adviser. Each headed an anti-corruption task force in Afghanistan.

Few people think that the war in Afghanistan can be ended anytime soon.

Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of the American-led international force in Afghanistan, told Congress in February that the United States and its NATO allies were facing a “stalemate.”

According to a report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, 57 percent of the districts in the country were under the Afghan government’s control as of November 2016, a 15 percent decrease from the previous year.

An estimated 8,400 American troops are stationed in Afghanistan, most assigned to an approximately 13,000-strong international force that is training and advising the Afghan military. About 2,000 American troops are tasked with carrying out counterterrorism missions along with Afghan forces against militant groups like the Islamic State’s affiliate.

Several hard-line lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had complained that Mr. Trump was delaying his decision as security in Afghanistan was eroding. Earlier this month, Senator McCain announced he had drafted an amendment outlining a new Afghan strategy because Mr. Trump had taken so long to act.

As recently as Monday, Mr. Mattis said that administration was weighing some radically different approaches, including withdrawing American forces and sending contractors to fight in Afghanistan rather than troops. The cost of deploying troops and contributions of allies were among the president’s questions.

“There were several options,” Mr. Mattis said. “The reason we had to get back together was he kept asking questions on all of them.”

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Rookie Cooper Kupp shines, shows chemistry with Goff – Yahoo Sports

Rams

Cooper Kupp has been much talked about coming out of camp. On Saturday night in Oakland, he showed why with six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Kupp has demonstrated dynamic route running capabilities to go along with hands that are impressively secure, especially for a rookie. He quickly found himself working alongside Rams starters, with his level of production that will not be changing anytime soon. His relationship with quarterback Jared Goff is likely his reason for his rapid production. The two have shown very strong chemistry in the offseason program and preseason games.” data-reactid=”22″>Rams rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been much talked about coming out of camp. On Saturday night in Oakland, he showed why with six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Kupp has demonstrated dynamic route running capabilities to go along with hands that are impressively secure, especially for a rookie. He quickly found himself working alongside Rams starters, with his level of production that will not be changing anytime soon. His relationship with quarterback Jared Goff is likely his reason for his rapid production. The two have shown very strong chemistry in the offseason program and preseason games.

Kupp holds many all-time receiving records in the FBS from his college career at Eastern Washington University. Kupp was a third round pick, going 69th overall to the Rams. Many teams did not value Kupp’s statistics as highly as the Rams did due to the strength of his competition. However, even when facing high profile corners such as Sidney Jones, Kupp fared quite well.

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Given his draft position and the numbers he has been producing so early on in his professional career, Kupp is shaping up to be a true steal for the Rams. Kupp’s rapport with quarterback Jared Goff seems to be incredibly strong even though they have not been teammates for too long.

Saturday night Goff targeted Kupp seven times, the most of any of the seven receivers that he completed passes to. This is a clear sign that Goff trusts Kupp, especially given a number of targets that he receives in traffic and in the red zone. Goff often makes throws that demonstrate his chemistry with Kupp. He locates the ball exactly where it needs to be in order for his receiver to make the play in a crowd of defenders.

Teams around the league should be on the lookout for this flourishing young duo. Additionally, fantasy owners may want to be aware of the volume of targets Kupp has been receiving. He is a rookie who has very refined skills. Kupp’s skill level allows him to play at a skill level comparable to players much more experienced than he is. It looks as though the Rams may have found a diamond in the rough in Kupp, and his story has just begun.

Los Angeles Rams. Like and follow on Follow @Andrew_K47Follow @cover32_LAR ” data-reactid=”34″>– Andrew Kelly is a Staff Writer for cover32/Rams and covers the Los Angeles Rams. Like and follow on Follow @Andrew_K47Follow @cover32_LAR

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Raiders’ Derek Carr and Khalil Mack stand for national anthem but still send a message of unity – Washington Post


Marshawn Lynch, left, elected to sit during the anthem once again, while Derek Carr took another approach. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

Their teammate, Marshawn Lynch, chose to sit in protest during the national anthem, but Derek Carr and Khalil Mack had a different statement in mind before kickoff of the Oakland Raiders’ preseason game Saturday.

The quarterback and the linebacker stood together, with Carr placing his hand on Mack’s back as a statement of solidarity as the two stood for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“We wanted to show them that it’s okay for a white kid and a black kid that come from two different neighborhoods [to] grow up and love one another and be best friends,” Carr said (via ESPN), “and that’s what me and Khalil are. We’re best friends and we love one another.”

Many athletes of varying ages, across all sports, have elected to make a statement about social injustice since Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality began last summer, but both Carr and Mack strove to clarify the message they hoped came through.

“We see what’s going on in the world and, obviously, everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays, and so we just said this was the best time to do it while still honoring our country,” Carr said. “Because I love this country, more than anything. We’re free to live here and play this game, but we’re also free to show each other that we love one another. And I think that that’s the message, and that’s the only message we were trying to get out.”

[NFL’s Bennett brothers show two sides of activism. For Martellus Bennett, that’s political cartooning.]

The protest came a week after violence in Charlottesville resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and hours after peaceful demonstrations in Boston.

“To show [that] different races can get along, white, black, whatever you are, get along and be friends and … just show unity,” Mack said of their purpose. “Show togetherness. It’s discussed a lot. It’s one of the things I feel passionately about, but I just don’t like the attention, the attention that comes with it. But at the same time, just using my platform for positivity is what’s important for me.”

Carr said he isn’t ready to take the message he and Mack shared any further than the sideline. Still, it was an effective message.

“I’m not a politician, I’m not anything like that. I’m not trying to be a spokesperson,” Carr added. “All I’m trying to show these kids [who look up to athletes] is that I love everybody. And all Khalil was trying to do is show these kids that he loves everybody as well.”

Derek Carr placed his right hand on Khalil Mack’s jersey for entirety of national anthem tonight. pic.twitter.com/hlt2LGqtL2

— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 20, 2017

Last Wednesday, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett called upon white players to join their teammates in accomplishing change.

“It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett said on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it, it would change the whole conversation. Because you bring somebody who doesn’t really have to be a part of the conversation, making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a big jump.”

Chris Long took that to heart and, during the playing of the anthem before the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason game Thursday night, he placed his hand on Malcolm Jenkins’s back as Jenkins raised his fist. Later, Long explained that he had been inspired by those who stood up to white supremacists, like Heyer, in Charlottesville.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say you need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protests,” Long, who attended the University of Virginia, said (via ESPN). “I’ve said before I’ll never kneel for an anthem, because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers. And if you don’t see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don’t think you’ll ever see it. So my thing is, Malcolm is a leader, and I’m here to show support as a white athlete.”

More from The Post:

After the NFL’s white players are called out, Eagles’ Chris Long steps up

Michael Bennett: ‘It would take a white player to really get things changed’

Famed former cop Frank Serpico joins NYPD for rally in support of Colin Kaepernick

Boston, Tampa teams joining athletes to address racial injustice after Charlottesville

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In the kingdom of the clown: Jerry Lewis remasters his life’s work – Los Angeles Times

Film legend Jerry Lewis died Sunday at 91 in Las Vegas. Contributor James Verini spoke to Lewis in 2005 as he prepared to make a comeback after being away from Hollywood for decades.

Jerry Lewis, the comedian, misunderstood director, one-time movie star and crusader for ill children, first came to this city sometime in the late 1940s because he and his new partner, Dean Martin, were booked to perform at the Flamingo. He lost so much money gambling it took him 3 1/2 years to pay it back. Nonetheless, he called Las Vegas “the most joyful city in the world.” He’s now lived here for 25 years.

“I came to get away from the traffic in L.A.,” Lewis says. “Now we have it here.” He’s just answered the door of his unassuming red brick two-story house and does not seem thrilled to be letting a reporter in, though the appointment has been set for weeks. After years of battling serious illnesses, his health is fragile, though the face is still childlike, even in its fleshiness. Lewis, who is 78, is recovering from a cold and trembling visibly. Over his clothing he wears a black kimono-like gown, kimonos and kimono-like gowns being leisure-wear favorites of his. (He spent an entire movie, 1958’s “The Geisha Boy,” in one.)

Absent from Hollywood for 20 years, Lewis, it seems, is preparing to make something of a comeback. He claims to be considering a number of scripts to direct or act in or both. “They want me to star,” he says, not explaining who “they” are.

He’s planning a series of shows at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, where he returns triumphantly every few years for a week of schtick and sentimental standards. This month, he will be honored by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. (despite his well-publicized comments to The Times in 1981 that American film critics are “whores”).

And he’s reissuing his life’s work on DVD. Through a highly unusual deal he struck with Paramount Pictures in the 1960s, he has recently reacquired the rights to nearly all of his movies. Ten have just been released: “The Bellboy,” “Cinderfella,” “The Patsy,” “The Disorderly Orderly” — just saying the titles, Cuban Missile Crisis radio bulletins and the screams of Beatlemania come to mind. Twenty more are on the way, including most of the titles from his years with Martin.

The rooms of Lewis’ Las Vegas house speak to the man — part cerebral artist, part clown. They’re brimming with books, CDs, videocassettes and other interesting ephemera but also with overstuffed furniture, cheap tchotchkes and shelves full of porcelain animal figurines. Lewis’ study faces a large backyard and a pool with a fake mountain jutting from its deck that looks like a set piece from a Siegfried and Roy number. It was built for his 12- year-old daughter, Danielle.

This is not the first time I’ve met Lewis. I’d first gone to see him on the eve of his 39th Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day telethon, a month before. Actually, it would really be something more like his 50th — the first broadcast was in 1955 — but Lewis likes to start counting with 1966, when the telethon went national. Lewis has an eerie memory for dates. He remembers to the hour his first performance at the Copacabana, the first time he met John F. Kennedy, seeing his first bad review.

It was a muggy Saturday morning on the CBS studios lot, and Lewis was sitting behind a desk in the back of a makeshift office — one of several occupied by his huge telethon staff, his huge family and countless handlers, friends and sycophants — in short, brown shorts, a windbreaker and soft black loafers. He wore large red reading glasses and swigged from a can of Diet Sunkist orange soda. His crest, the famous laughing Lewis caricature in profile — cleft chin jutting, crazy hair — was everywhere.

He struck a more endearing figure that day. He was spry and quick on his feet when he deigned to stand, and his hair was still thick and well-Brylcreemed, though no longer jet black. He was quick with a deadpan stare or a whine of mock glee, and every few minutes he picked up his new Nikon digital camera and snapped someone or something.

“Every great film director is an avid photographer,” he said.

All of the company and the pressure animated him. Lewis is the type of person who is not drained but invigorated by people, so long as enough of them are around. The more the better.

But he was nervous too, and with good reason. A bomb scare at LAX had just shut the airport down, and several of his acts, as well as yet more friends — the telethon is a yearly reunion of sorts for Lewis — were stranded in various parts of the country. The hurricanes in Florida had prevented firefighters there from raising money and knocked out television and phone lines.

“I’m the backup act,” Lewis said. “My producer just asked me if I can stall for three hours. I said, ‘Oh, sure, I can do that on hisses alone. Boo! Hiss! Get him out of there! Move the Jew out!’ “

A force for years

Lewis began performing on the vaudeville circuit in his native Newark, N.J., at age 5, was the most popular comic in America by 25 and had a 14-picture deal with Paramount at 32.

He was for nearly two decades, from the late 1940s to the mid- ’60s, The Kid, a wunderkind, one of the biggest things in show business, capable of not only starring in but writing and directing hit movie after hit movie, of headlining TV shows, of cutting a top- selling album of straight-ahead hits. He was the embodiment of the frenetic anxiety of postwar urban life, and he and Martin were almost preternaturally suited to each other.

People lined up around blocks in the snow at 4 a.m. to see their club act. Bing Crosby was so scared of them he once walked off the set of his own TV special for fear that Lewis would rip his toupee off. Lewis and Martin broke up in 1956 (they did not speak again until 1976, when Frank Sinatra brought a tipsy, slightly dazed Martin onto the telethon) after which Lewis proved himself a solo virtuoso and an intellectual among entertainers, admired not only by Cahiers du Cinema but the likes of Orson Welles and Woody Allen. He taught at the University of Southern California film school, and in 1971 he penned “The Total Film-maker,” a collection of his lectures.

He has been a pariah, an elder statesman, an enigma, an inspiration (Jim Carrey cites Lewis as his greatest influence).

Now, in his autumn years, Lewis’ favorite activity seems to be holding court. On the CBS lot, he demanded hugs and kisses from his endless intimates — including seven children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren — and offered tight handshakes to new acquaintances. He still lapsed into bits of the Heeeeello Laaaady extended-vowel shrillness.

“Heeere’s my daughter!” he exclaimed as Danielle bounced over, a shy friend in tow. “Give me a kiss — a good one!” With an air of patient but juvenile regality, like a precocious l’enfante roi — maybe that’s why the French love him so much? — Lewis had equal time for everyone who came into the trailer. And they didn’t stop coming.

“James Kaplan, good mooorning, my friend, how are you?” he said as the New Yorker writer, who was co-writing a history of Lewis’ years with Martin, stepped in. He fixed Kaplan with a stare and then, as though lifting a rabbit from a hat, tore his reading glasses asunder. Kaplan looked quizzical. The frame, it became apparent, was joined by a small magnet at the bridge.

“Heeeeee!” Lewis squealed, delighted.

A deferential tailor approached with a handful of oversize black silk bow ties.

“What’s your name?” Lewis asked him, after he’d marked off his favorite specimen with a large red pen.

“Arturo,” the tailor said.

“Thank you, Arturo,” Lewis said, meaning it, rising to shake his hand.

He handed someone a joke-autographed vanity shot of Adolf Hitler. (Pictures of Hitler and Eva Braun seem to come up a lot with Lewis.) “This is the way I work,” he said, in an aside. “Somebody’s over here. Then there’s this thing here. Then I remember that other thing.” Lewis’ comedic rhythms, on the eve of 80, were still expert. This is no small feat for someone who’s been in the business as long as he has, who came up in Hollywood’s most debauched decades (Martin, who died in 1995, was a shell of a man by his mid-70s; Sammy Davis Jr. died at 65), who used to be a chain smoker and for much of his adult life had a nasty Percodan habit (the result of a lifetime of pratfalls, including a particularly bad one he took on “The Andy Williams Show”).

It was especially impressive in the case of Lewis, who lately had suffered enough illness to warrant his own telethon. In the early 1990s he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, then diabetes and not long after that contracted meningitis while performing in Australia. Having bettered those, in 2001 he was told he had pulmonary fibrosis. It was treated with the drug prednisone, which blew Lewis’ body up to an unsightly degree. In the last year he’s trimmed considerably, though he is fleshier than he’d like.

Partly because of his health, Lewis has limited his public exposure greatly in the last 10 years, acting in a few critically acclaimed but barely seen movies and doing the occasional guest spot on TV. He appeared in “Damn Yankees” on Broadway in 1995. Though he sunk a good deal of his personal fortune into a series of flops and bad business ventures in the 1970s and ’80s (even investing at one point in a chain of Jerry Lewis movie theaters that never opened), he’s made much of it back. In 1993, he sold the remake rights to “The Nutty Professor” to Universal for $1.4 million and received a percentage of the profits. He’s sold the rights to several other films as well. He does corporate and college lectures, motivational speaking and promotes the pain-treatment company Medtronic.

Lewis has not taken a single year off from the telethon. He begins production meetings in early January, flying from Las Vegas, where he spends most of the year, or San Diego, where he keeps his boat, Sam’s Place (named for his wife; it is his second marriage), to the MDA headquarters in Tucson.

Asked why he does it, he was curt.

“I was personally involved with a dystrophic child. I’ve never ever told the real reason I do it. The important thing is that I do it, not the why. So enough about that.

“They told me I was nuts. They said, ‘You’re gonna ask people on television to give you money for kids? Are you prepared to humiliate yourself?’ But now I sit here with you $1.9 billion later, and I say, ‘I was right.’ ” Like many comics, Lewis is obsessed with numbers. He recalled exactly how much his first telethon raised: $600,000. How long former “Tonight Show” co-host Ed McMahon has been his emcee: 37 years. When he wrote his first bit: age 11.

He also remembers grudges, particularly it seems with journalists. Amid the last-minute chaos in the trailer, he found time to pull from his hulking metal briefcase a photocopy of a Daily Variety review of one of his stage acts and read from it.

” ‘Lewis has plenty of know-how on selling a punch line, but this just isn’t his spot….’ Now understand something. I did a record act — I never spoke. There were no punch lines. I did mimes to pre- recordings, and that was my act. He never saw the show. I knew when I read it that son of a bitch wasn’t there!” The year of the review? 1945.

The conflicted Kid

There is a bewildering and entertaining contradiction at the heart of Jerry Lewis: He is at once selfless and self-obsessed, a mensch and an egomaniac, poignant one moment and bathetic the next. You can see this in his movies, in his house, in his very person. It comes out in single facial expressions, as when he stares at you meaningfully only to lift his cheeks, stick his tongue out and squeal. He is still, at 78, The Kid.

These contradictions do not escape Lewis. The Kid has always been lucid and startlingly candid. His entire film oeuvre can be seen as an effort to explore his conflicted self.

Looking back, it seems clear that it was Lewis and not Woody Allen who first used the movie theater as a substitute for the psychiatrist’s couch. This may help explain the polarized reactions that his work inspires. People who have never met the man either love Lewis or hate him, because they feel that they know him.

Though the Martin and Lewis movies were by all accounts only a shadow of their live act, Lewis’ restless, almost uncontrollable mind still translated indelibly onto the screen. He filtered the great physical comedians of the silent cinema into the sound era (going so far as to travel repeatedly to Switzerland to confer with the exiled king, Chaplin).

So much of their act found root in Lewis’ own insecurities, and those too found their way to a mass audience. In film after film and show after show, he and Martin reprised the relationship that they’d invented early on — “the playboy and the monkey,” as Lewis called it. In “The Stooge,” “Pardners” and “Hollywood or Bust,” for instance, Martin’s characters sashayed about, breaking hearts and crooning, while Lewis’ sensitive, bumbling man-children followed along, entranced. Such was the team’s public persona, and it worked so well in part because everyone believed it was their private one as well.

After their well-publicized and emotional (for Lewis at least) breakup, Lewis carried the monkey into a slew of hits in the ’60s, at first just as the star and then, almost overnight, as an auteur. Varyingly widely in quality, Lewis’ output from that decade was consistent in that it always offered to the audience — one might even say forced on them — Lewis’ unscrubbed id. In films such as “The Patsy,” “The Errand Boy,” and, most famously, “The Nutty Professor,” his deepest cravings for acceptance and his worst immodesties are on full display. He was a half-reluctant, half- gloating star making movies about half-reluctant, half-gloating stars.

After years of this kind of thing, it’s no wonder audiences grew weary, and by the 1970s, after a string of failures, Jerry Lewis had become something of a liability in Hollywood. The Kid still thought he had it, but no one else did. His public downfall has since been encapsulated neatly in the debacle of “The Day the Clown Cried,” in which Lewis plays a German clown who entertains Jewish children in Nazi concentration camps. Made in 1972, the film, which he also directed, has never seen the light of day and Lewis refuses to talk about it. He did not pick up a camera again for eight years.

In 1983, Lewis gave a startling performance as the vain, human talk show host Jerry Langford in Martin Scorsese‘s “The King of Comedy,” and a new generation of critics realized, with a start, that The Kid could really act. But by that point, Lewis was thoroughly disenchanted with Hollywood and did not attempt to parlay his resuscitation into a full-blown comeback. In the 1990s, he delivered two more unexpected and astounding performances in the little-seen but masterful “Funny Bones” (as a vain one-time star) and the cult-favorite “Arizona Dream.”

Lewis is acutely aware of his public image, of the apexes and nadirs of his 60-year career, of the access he’s allowed and its accompanying pitfalls. He is, after all, an intellectual who lives in Las Vegas.

“I wouldn’t talk to someone about a particular issue, but I would shoot it,” he said.

Did he ever get over that?

“No. There’s no separation.”

It is these same contradictions that make the telethon, for all its sappiness, such hypnotic watching. Seen one way, it is a piece of streamlined showbiz puffery. Seen another, it is a raw psychological performance piece for Lewis, a cracked mirror he holds to his face once a year. (One gets the feeling that the telethon and not any movie is what persuaded Scorsese to cast Lewis as Langford in “King of Comedy.”) And then of course there is the fact that he’s raised nearly $2 billion for sick children.

At 6 p.m. promptly Sunday, the night before Labor Day, the proceedings began with an antic video sequence. Lewis, in a yellow raincoat, was whisked in an antique fire engine onto the CBS lot. He burst onto the stage to a frenzy of applause.

But barely had the clapping faded than Lewis turned serious and announced that the telethon was dedicated to the memory of Mattie Stepanek, the 12-year-old poet and MDA goodwill ambassador who had died in June. A memorial, complete with bagpipes, was performed. Thus, only minutes after it was laughing, the audience was in tears.

The next 21 1/2 hours wrenched the crowd through this same back- and-forth. Everything hued to a down-to-the-minute script. Comedy acts precede tearful pleas, dance routines follow fast upon video biographies of children in wheelchairs. The atmosphere was almost bipolar — laughing, crying, laughing, crying — and an air of timelessness, however cheap and glittery, however reeking of Brylcreem and too much cologne, hung over the stage. This was a not very good vaudeville variety show, nothing more and nothing less, and aside from Celine Dion’s satellite feed from Las Vegas, it could have been 1958.

Through it all, Lewis sat at his podium, a glass of Diet Sunkist at his elbow, not so much presiding over the ceremonies as taking them in. He looked engrossed at certain moments and hopelessly bored at others. He regaled McMahon with every new monetary milestone, digit by digit: “41 million, 2-6-2, 5-1-6!” He noodled Tony Orlando, his co-host in New York — “You’re the first Puerto Rican who ever spoke to me in person!” — and blew kisses to the crowd.

He laughed like a child when his obese comic friend Max Alexander from Vegas recounted losing $400 to a candy machine and wept inconsolably when crooner Jack Jones hit the chorus of “Joey’s Song.” (It was dedicated to Joe Stabile, Lewis’ late one-time manager.) A stream of suits and uniformed firemen walked to the podium diffidently and handed him whopping checks.

Many years before, the telethon had been an A-list affair. Frank Sinatra, Carol Burnett, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Durante, Johnny Cash, Sonny and Cher were once regulars. The star power had decreased significantly by the 39th year. There were schlocky Vegas magicians and aging comics with hearing aides. Larry King, who filled in for Lewis during the wee hours, was by far the most famous person on hand. Lewis’ style had toned down as well. He no longer stalked the stage, smoking, swallowing the mike, as he used to do. He no longer had that crazed, sweaty-browed stare. He just persisted. Still, by Monday afternoon, the 22nd hour approaching, Lewiswas clearly exhausted. His bow tie hung undone, his jacket open. After a few closing remarks, he sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” leaving the house whimpering and reaching for tissues. And then without another word, he was off in his cart, back to the hotel. McMahon was left to greet the well-wishers.

Lewis did not reach the “dollar more” he strives for every year. 2003’s total was $60.5 million; this telethon raised $59.4 million.

His regal imprimatur

A month later I am in Las Vegas to talk to Lewis some more.

Lewis does not live in one of the wealthy new Vegas suburbs or on a golf course, as one might expect, but rather on a deserted lane in the middle of the city, a few minutes’ drive from the Strip. At the end of the lane is a highway, blocked from view by a large wall. Nearby is a strip mall. The unlikely neighborhood, called the Scotch Eighties, was built before the urban blight of Vegas could have been imagined.

He leads me into his study, whose walls are lined with photographs of Lewis, with and without celebrities and statesmen — Cary Grant, Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, JFK. Neat stacks of videos, DVDs and CDs — comedy compilations, TV anthologies, box sets of all sorts — line the floor. That laughing caricature in profile is affixed to any number of things, and a role of stickers printed with it sits on the desk. An NBC stagehand drew it in the late ’40s, and it has become his regal imprimatur. It’s on the MDA website, on his tricked-out golf cart, all over his office. “If you went somewhere in this country or for that matter in Europe and you saw that logo would you know who it was?” Lewis asks, seeming to earnestly want an answer. “I mean, it’s embedded,” he says.

Does he go to France much anymore?

“Sure, when I need a fix,” he says.

Before the telethon, I’d asked Lewis why he’d curtailed his work 20 years ago. He’d burnt out, he’d said, and wanted to relax for the first time in his life. “The entertainment industry leaves a lot to be desired,” he’d added.

I ask him again.

“The state of the entertainment industry today is the buck,” he says. “The creative aspect of it has been pushed aside. How creative do you have to be to hire some guy from Toronto, Canada, who presses buttons and connects that cut to that cut? Where’s the movie-maker? He’s an electrician. The guy that puts the bulb in your toilet and cuts your movie.” As his assistant brings in two Diet Sunkists — “In the can!” Lewis insists — he plops a stack of his newly released DVDs on the desk.

He relishes the idea that a new generation of viewers will see his work, and he’s been putting in long hours on the project. And yet when Lewis is asked how it feels to go through his life’s work again, he responds simply, “Oh, it was great fun.” Nothing more.

Spurred on by the previous night’s presidential debate, the conversation, such as it exists, moves to politics. Lewis launches into a tirade about bombing Pakistan. If there had been any doubts, it becomes abundantly clear that he is not in a good mood. He’s had a cold for several weeks and is coughing a lot. He trembles slightly. He seems preoccupied, even annoyed at times.

Talking about the presidents he’s known and performed for lifts him for a time. Franklin Roosevelt was the first. Lewis did his act for him in 1945, he says. He was close with Ronald and Nancy Reagan, knew the Nixons and Fords. But the one commander in chief he adored, he says, was Kennedy, whom he met in Chicago when Martin and Lewis were playing the Chez Paris and Kennedy was making his first run for Senate.

“We became very fast friends,” he says. “I never entered the White House like regular people. I was flown on Marine One from Dulles to the Rose Garden and led down into the bowels of the White House, to come into the Oval Office. And that way the press never knew I was there. It was great. It was great.” Lewis begins visibly tearing up.

And then, after a brief rant that progresses from child poverty to prescription drugs to the cost of movie tickets, an odd thing happens. Lewis shuts off. At one point, he begins feeding his dogs miniature Milk-Bones, and the conversation dies entirely.

Surely, his health has much to do with his mood. But it is clear something else is at work too. Lewis’ sudden mood swing has a child’s petulance about it. Endearing and discursive for a time, he is now suddenly, adamantly sullen. Lewis is invigorated by people and pressure; the dark side of that trait is that anything less is like sensory deprivation, and it seems to drain him. Perhaps it is a performative liability. Realizing he’s captured his audience, he loses interest, seems resentful even. It is another easy conquest. He’s had too many of them.

As I walk out of this little shaded cloister in the middle of Las Vegas, I recall something Ed Simmons, a longtime writer for Lewis, said about him in a biography: “Jerry once was very funny. It isn’t that Jerry changed. It’s that he should have changed but didn’t. Because he at 66 or 67 years old is still The Kid. And he was The Kid through all those movies even when he wasn’t The Kid. And he did not grow…. Everybody who does an impersonation of Jerry Lewis does Jerry from the ’50s.” And then, something that Lewis once said, or says he said, occurs to me. It is written on a plaque given to him by JFK that hangs in his study: “There are three things that are real … God, human folly and laughter. Since the first two are beyond our comprehension, we must do the best we can with the third.”

*****************

A Jerry Lewis filmography

Paramount recently released several of Lewis’ film comedies on DVD, a collection of farces that represent the great moments, the good work and the misfires of his career.

“The Stooge” (1953)

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were at the peak of their popularity when they starred in this comedy with dramatic elements about a revue performer on the skids who becomes a success when he hires a stooge to heckle him from the audience. The film was shot in 1951 but delayed for two years because Paramount was unsure about how fans would accept the dramatic moments.

“The Delicate Delinquent” (1957)

Lewis’ first film without Martin was originally envisioned as a vehicle for the duo. But when they broke up, Darren McGavin took over the Martin role as an understanding cop who mistakes a bumbling janitor (Lewis) for a member of a gang and persuades him to join the force.

“Cinderfella” (1960)

One of Lewis’ most popular films thanks to the inventive direction of Frank Tashlin, the former Warner Bros. cartoon director. Lewis is perfectly cast in this gender-bending version of the “Cinderella” story.

“The Bellboy” (1960)

Lewis made his directorial debut with this absurdist comedy in which he plays a mild-mannered bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach as well as himself. Lewis, with Milton Berle, above, shot the film in four weeks while performing at the Fontainebleau.

“The Ladies Man” (1961)

Lewis plays a college grad who, after his girlfriend leaves him, gets a job working in a massive Hollywood boarding house inhabited by beautiful women. The comedy is all over the map, but the huge boarding-house set is an eye-popping wonder — built on a Paramount soundstage, it was four stories high with a working elevator.

“The Nutty Professor” (1963)

This is widely regarded as Lewis’ best film. A surreal, funny spoof of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it has Lewis playing a nebbish college science teacher in love with Stella Stevens’ character who creates a formula that turns him into a slick womanizer named Buddy Love. The Library of Congress last week added the movie to the National Film Registry.

“The Patsy” (1964)

After a famous musical comedy star is killed in a plane crash, his team has to come up with a replacement. And they discover the next big thing in the form of a nerdy hotel employee.

“The Disorderly Orderly” (1964)

Lewis directed his own films after “Bellboy,” but here turned over the reins to Tashlin in what would be their last collaboration. Lewisplays yet another in his long line of bumblers — a hospital employee who can’t do anything right.

“The Family Jewels” (1965)

Lewis plays seven roles in this strained comedy about a young heiress who must choose a guardian from six crooked uncles. The film introduced the song “This Diamond Ring,” which was sung by Lewis’ son Gary and his group, the Playboys.

— Susan King.

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Barcelona attack suspect still sought as investigation expands to other countries – Reuters

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Spanish police searched on Sunday for the man behind the wheel in the Barcelona van attack that killed 13 people, amid growing signs members of the militant group had connections elsewhere in Europe.

Police said security operations were under way in Catalonia and on the French border as they searched Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, the only one of 12 suspects still at large who they believe may have crossed into France.

Others implicated in the attack have been arrested, shot by police or killed in an explosion at a house in Catalonia a day before Thursday’s van attack on Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most famous boulevard.

“We don’t have any specific information on this but it cannot be ruled out,” Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero told a news conference in Barcelona when asked if Abouyaaqoub could have crossed into France.

Spanish media say authorities believe Abouyaaqoub drove the van through crowds of tourists and locals walking along Las Ramblas, leaving a trail of dead and 120 injured. Trapero said he could not confirm who was behind the wheel.

Hours after the Barcelona attack, police shot dead five men wearing fake explosive belts in the resort of Cambrils, further down the coast, after they rammed holidaymakers with a car and stabbed others, killing one woman.

A seven-year-old British-Australian boy, Julian Cadman, was confirmed on Sunday as one of 13 killed in the Barcelona attack.

Family members told Reuters on Sunday that Abouyaaqoub had began showing more religiously conservative behaviour within the past year, and refused to shake hands with women during a visit to his birthplace in Morocco in March.

They expressed shock and anger after discovering the alleged involvement in the Barcelona attack of Abouyaaqoub, his brother and two cousins, all originally from the small Moroccan town of Mrirt.

Hannou Ghanimi, Abouyaaqoub’s mother, told reporters in Catalonia on Saturday she wanted her son to give himself up to police, saying she would rather see him in prison than end up dead.

INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION

Evidence emerged on Sunday that alleged members of the Catalan cell travelled to other European countries.

People gather at an impromptu memorial where a van crashed into pedestrians at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, August 20, 2017.Susana Vera

Hans Bonte, mayor of the Belgian town of Vilvoorde, near Brussels, told VRT television that Abdelbaki Es Satty – an imam suspected of being part of the group – was in Belgium last year looking for work.

Belgium has suffered a number of Islamist attacks and Vilvoorde has been a centre of Islamic radicalism.

“We know for sure that he spent time here between January 2016 and March 2016, in Diegem, Vilvoorde and Brussels. Our local police services screened him intensely,” Bonte said.

“It did not appear that on a federal level … there was any worrying information,” he added.

Slideshow (15 Images)

The Audi used in the Cambrils attack was caught speeding on camera about a week earlier in Paris, Le Parisien newspaper reported on Sunday. Spanish media say the Audi belonged to Mohammed Aalla, who was arrested after the Barcelona attack.

A Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, reported that authorities there were investigating a visit made to Zurich last December by at least one of the Barcelona suspects.

Four people have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks – three Moroccans and a citizen of Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla.

Islamic State said the perpetrators had been responding to its call to target countries involved in a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.

Police believe the group opted to launch attacks using vehicles when their base in Alcanar, southwest of Barcelona, was destroyed in an explosion on Wednesday.

Police believe that foiled the cell’s plans to carry out one or more large-scale bombings in Barcelona. More than 100 butane gas cylinders were found in the remains of the Alcanar house.

Earlier on Sunday Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa joined Catalan leaders for a memorial service to the victims.

The city’s famous football club, Barcelona FC, meanwhile increased security for its opening league match of the season late on Sunday.

“It shows that despite what happened the match has to go on,” said Barcelona fan Fakih Hussein. “It’s probably even safer than usual now with so much security,” said Hussein, 47, who had come with his teenage son.

Additional reporting by Sarah White, Julien Toyer, Adrian Croft, Rodrigo de Miguel, Alba Asenjo, Julia Fioretti and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels, John Irish in Paris and John Miller in Zurich; Writing by Adrian Croft; Editing by Julien Toyer and Jon Boyle

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Spain sets up 800 checkpoints in Catalonia in manhunt for Barcelona suspect – Washington Post

By Souad Mekhennet, James McAuley and ,

RIPOLL, Spain — Desperate to ease public fears and neutralize a terrorist cell responsible for the deadliest attack in Spain in a decade, Spanish police erected 800 checkpoints across the region of Catalonia on Sunday — part of a massive manhunt for a Moroccan-born man they suspect was the driver of the van that killed 13 and injured scores in Barcelona last week.

Authorities could not say whether Younes Abouyaaquob, 22, was still in Spain or had crossed the border into France, but they were clearly frustrated that he continued to elude police.

“We don’t know where he is,” regional police chief Josep Lluís Trapero said at a news conference in Barcelona, adding that the terrorist cell had planned a “much more serious attack” that was probably thwarted by an accidental explosion Wednesday at a house used to assemble components for a bomb.

Authorities said Sunday that they had identified three more of the victims in the Barcelona attack, including Julian Cadman, a 7-year-old boy with dual British and Australian citizenship who had been missing since Thursday. He was separated from his family in the panic unleashed by the attack and was struck by the speeding van.

One American, Jared Tucker, 42, a father of three, was earlier identified as a victim. He was killed while on his honeymoon.

Inspector Albert Oliva, the chief spokesman for the Catalan national police, stressed that the cell made up of 12 teens and young men — most of them of Moroccan descent from Ripoll, a picturesque mountain town near the French border — were dead, arrested or in hiding.

[How a dozen young men from a small town secretly plotted the deadliest terrorist attack in Spain in more than a decade]

In an emotional plea on Spanish television, the mother of Abouyaaquob, the main missing suspect, begged her son to turn himself in. 

“I prefer him going to jail to him dying,” Hanno Ghanim, the mother, said.

Police kept a close eye on the streets of Ripoll on Sunday, on the lookout for Abouyaaquob and others. Officers were parked outside the family homes of the suspected members of the cell.

Abouyaaqoub’s mother was hospitalized Sunday, suffering from stress, family members said. His aunt told The Washington Post: “Someone brainwashed them. This has destroyed our family. We are devastated. We don’t understand what happened.”

Catalan police officials say they have no concrete information about how the cell members were radicalized and recruited — nor how they plotted their attacks and kept their secrets in a close-knit community of Moroccan immigrants.

The consensus among family members in Ripoll was that the young men fell under the sway of a charismatic cleric who had possibly turned their sons, brothers and cousins toward violence.

All eyes in the Spanish media are on a suspect named as Abdelbaki Essati, who was employed at a mosque in Ripoll and whose home was searched Saturday. Police said Sunday that Essati had not been connected to previous terrorism-related investigations but that an unidentified friend of his had been implicated.

At the small storefront mosque in Ripoll, a handwritten list of members posted on a bulletin board includes several of the names tied to the terrorist cell.

Ali Yassine, the director of the mosque, said that Essati was paid about $1,000 a month to serve as imam. Local benefactors paid his rent and helped with groceries.

As part of his duties, Essati taught younger children the Koran, Arabic language and religious practices. He had worked at the mosque for the past 18 months and had been in the town for about two years.

“He was a normal man, normal, you understand? That is all I can tell you. He did not preach hate. He did not recruit in the mosque,” said Yassine, whose eyes welled with tears as he spoke.

“He was teaching my own sons,” ages 7 and 8, Yassine said. “Do you think we would allow him to teach our kids to kill? We all have families here.” 

[In Barcelona, five minutes of ‘pure panic’ and ‘absolute terror’]

Essati, who was from Morocco, told people in Ripoll that he had a wife and nine children back home.

Members of the mosque said that Essati’s name was given to local police more than a year ago, as part of security protocol to keep a closer eye on Muslim preachers, and that the authorities did not flag him.

A close relative of the Hychami brothers, Mohamed and Omar, who were members of the cell and are both now believed dead, said the Muslim cleric would often drink mint tea in a Moroccan cafe by the local train station. 

“In his sermons, he would talk about how we should all live in peace, how the Moroccans here should work hard and be thankful to the Spanish people for their hospitality,” the relative said, who that asked his name not be used because he had to keep living in Ripoll after the media attention faded.

“Did he show us just one face?” he asked. “Did this son of the devil take the best kids in Ripoll and turn them?”

After the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in June, the cleric told mosque leaders he wanted to take three months for vacation. They said no, that they needed him, but the preacher insisted and left town in July and has not been seen since.

Police searched his empty apartment on Saturday.

Spanish authorities said Sunday they believe the Islamic State’s claimed connection to last week’s violence is real. However, the extent of the militant group’s involvement in the planning remains unclear. 

After its initial claim of responsibility, the Islamic State published an expanded statement Saturday that contained factual errors. Such mistakes are not uncommon and should not rule out an Islamic State connection, security analysts said.

The department’s “thesis,” Trapero said, is that the cell had planned a much more serious attack but had to abandon that after the accidental explosion. 

Trapero said that on Thursday, the attackers used only one van, with a single occupant, in Barcelona. He noted that police have since recovered three rented vans in connection with the attack there, as well as the Audi A3 used in the nearby town of Cambrils and a motorcycle. Searches of the vehicles have produced “positive results,” he said.

In Barcelona, police were ubiquitous Sunday, even as Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, said that the city had “rejected terrorism.”

[In Barcelona, a heartening rejection of Islamophobia]

“Normality has come back to Las Ramblas,” Puigdemont said to reporters, “and we are rejecting openly any sign of xenophobia or radicalism.”

Although the Spanish media has paid much attention to the Moroccan origins of the suspects, Puigdemont was careful to defend the role of the minority group, numbering around 200,000, in the region. 

“The Moroccan people are integrated in Catalonia,” he said, “and they have made important contributions to the community.”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI attended a memorial Mass at Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Family Basilica. Pope Francis relayed a message of condolence, expressing “deep regret” at “such an inhuman action,” referring to the attacks.

McAuley reported from Barcelona. Angel Garcia and Raúl Gallego Abellan also contributed to this report.

Read more

Photo gallery: Terror in Barcelona

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Lewis’ MDA telethons were full of emotion, star appearances – Washington Post

By Bob Thomas | AP,

LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, whose career as producer-director-writer and movie star peaked in the 1960s, may be best remembered by younger generations for the muscular dystrophy telethons he conducted every Labor Day weekend.

While he had done earlier fundraising specials, Lewis appeared in his first Labor Day telethon, broadcast on a single New York station, in 1966. Donations totaled $1,002,114.

He continued each year as the telethon grew into a huge event, seen on more than 200 stations.

By 2007, the yearly take was nearly $64 million, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association said the telecast had raised $1.46 billion to fight the disease since it began.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of muscles that control movement. The most severe and most common childhood form is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which occurs in about one in every 3,500 male births.

Lewis died Sunday in Las Vegas. He was 91.

“MDA would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Jerry’s tireless efforts on behalf of ‘his kids.’ His enthusiasm for finding cures for neuromuscular disease was matched only by his unyielding commitment to see the fight through to the end,” said MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell in a statement Sunday. “Jerry’s love, passion and brilliance are woven throughout this organization, which he helped build from the ground up.”

Lewis had said that there was a special reason why he devoted so much time and energy to the MD cause, but it wouldn’t be revealed until the disease had been conquered or until after his death.

The shows did more than just raise money.

“The telethons have heightened public awareness, not only for MDA victims, but other disabilities as well,” MDA spokesman Bob Mackle once said. “Before the telethons, people with disabilities weren’t seen on television. Children were not allowed in schools, disabled persons were shunned. The telethons changed that by humanizing the victims.”

The shows were an amalgam of musical and comedy acts, Las Vegas spectacles, celebrity appearances, donation pitches and sentiment. Also surprises.

In 1976 Frank Sinatra had just finished a song, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again,” when he told Lewis, “I’ve got a friend I’d like you to meet.”

Dean Martin, holding a cigarette, strode onstage with his usual nonchalance. The audience exploded, and Lewis was stunned. The two old partners hadn’t spoken since they had acrimoniously ended their act 20 years before. They embraced, and Lewis later recalled saying a quick prayer: “Dear God, give me a line. Help me to say something. I don’t know what to do.”

When he regained his composure, Lewis said to Martin: “Ya workin’?” The laughter rocked the theater, and Martin, who was a big star in films and television, allowed that he got a few weeks’ work at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The encounter was, said USA Today in 2002, “one of the greatest moments in TV history.”

In 2002, another surprise guest came onstage: Sean Hayes, the excitable Jack McFarland on TV’s “Will and Grace,” who was cast as Jerry Lewis in a CBS biopic, “Martin and Lewis.”

Lewis had not interfered with the TV movie and had even offered advice to Hayes: “Always play the 9-year-old kid and always hold onto that innocence.”

In 1970 Lewis introduced Johnny Carson, expecting the king of night shows to appear as his usual dapper self. Instead, Carson waddled out dressed and wigged like the talkative octogenarian Aunt Blabby.

Sammy Davis had been a regular visitor, and in 1989 he served as New York host, despite undergoing therapy for throat cancer. He died a few months later.

More than 2,000 performers, from Bing Crosby and Jack Benny to Adam Sandler and the “Friends” cast, have appeared on the telethon. Ed McMahon became a stalwart. In his first year, he was guest host for 10 minutes. The following year he did eight hours.

“You were terrific; I really leaned on you,” Lewis told him. “I wish you could do the whole show with me.” McMahon became the telethon’s anchor.

Over the years Lewis was criticized for allegedly exploiting young people with muscular dystrophy. In 1985 he opened the show talking to the national poster boy. “You know that I love you? Huh? Answer me,” Lewis said. When the boy said yes, Lewis added: “Now let’s see if we can get the people out there to answer you, too.”

In 1992, Lewis’s charitable crusade was tainted by pickets who protested that the telethon those with the disease appear sad by focusing on the small number of children who died and that it portrayed the living as “objects of charity, forever dependent and forever with a hand out.”

Lewis replied angrily that the protesters were a small minority who “confuse compassion with pity.” He was so incensed over claims of “pity mongering,” he announced he would no longer host the telethon. He rescinded his threat in time for the 1993 event.

In 2000, telethon viewers were surprised by Lewis’ appearance. His cheeks had ballooned and he admitted in an interview that “I look like a (expletive) pumpkin.”

He had gained 45 pounds because of taking the steroid prednisone to treat his pulmonary fibrosis, one of many ailments he suffered.

“I’ve had pain in 37 straight telethons,” he remarked in 2002. He attributed much of his pain to his years of comedy pratfalls.

Lewis was given the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2009. His last telethon MDA telethon was broadcast in 2010 although he remained invested in the organization’s progress throughout his life.

“MDA and the families we serve will always be grateful for the thousands of hours he dedicated through the telethon,” Howell’s statement continued. “Though we will miss him beyond measure, we suspect that somewhere in heaven, he’s already urging the angels to give ‘just one dollar more for my kids.’”

___

Thomas is a late Associated Press entertainment writer. AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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In Barcelona, a heartening rejection of Islamophobia – Washington Post

By James McAuley,

BARCELONA — In the aftermath of Europe’s latest terrorist attack, a set of familiar tensions clouded this sunny, vibrant city Sunday.

Some here insist that Barcelona is a state of mind, a nonstop celebration of the good life where anyone is welcome and anything goes. But then came the almost predictable events of last week. In a scheme that resembled recent assaults in Paris and Brussels, a group of young, local Moroccan Muslim men — some of whom spoke Spanish and Catalan better than Arabic — staged Spain’s deadliest attack in more than a decade. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for their actions.

Suddenly, Barcelona — and the surrounding region of Catalonia — is being put to a test that has faced not just Paris and Brussels, but also Nice, Berlin, Stockholm and London in the past two years. At stake is the place of the region’s Muslim community, the largest in Spain.

[Video: ‘They became like soldiers, but they were so young’]

For now, Barcelona seems to be responding differently than its neighbors, whose reactions to similar violence were often marked by a fierce anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment that, in some cases, even translated into political traction. With the rise of the once-obscure Marine Le Pen, for instance, some saw the French elections in May as a referendum on Muslims in France. The migration issue also looms large in Germany’s elections, slated for next month.

Although there were isolated reports of vigilante violence against Muslims here, Barcelona appears to be generally resisting being drawn into a post-attack culture war. A traditionally left-leaning city where Muslims have lived for centuries, its officials and citizens have mainly chosen to speak out against the potential for the kind of Islamophobic backlash seen elsewhere in Europe.

On Sunday, thousands of local Muslims marched down La Rambla, the scenic, tree-lined boulevard where the first of two coordinated attacks took place. Young and old, men and women, many of whom were veiled, the demonstrators chanted in unison: “I am Muslim! Not a terrorist!” Non-Muslims lined the sidewalks, clapping and crying. Some stepped forward to hug demonstrators as they passed.

At a Sunday news conference on the investigation, Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s regional president, grew most animated when he spoke in defense of the local Moroccan population. “The Moroccan people are integrated in Catalonia, and they have made important contributions to the community,” he said.

[In Barcelona, five minutes of ‘pure panic’ and ‘absolute terror’]

Some, especially in rural Catalonia, might have said otherwise. Home to the largest percentage of Spain’s Muslim population — about 25 percent — the region is also the locus of Islamist militant activity in the country. Roughly a quarter of those arrested on suspicion of radicalized tendencies between 2013 and 2016 were arrested in Barcelona and its environs, according to data released by the Real Instituto Elcano, a Madrid-based think tank.

Carola García-Calvo, a senior terrorism analyst at Elcano, said that part of the reason was that Barcelona has long been a receiving center for immigrants and one of the few places in Spain where the vulnerable generation of second-generation immigrant youths has matured in a concentrated mass.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after the Las Ramblas attack, a small group of demonstrators from the far-right Falange movement — named for a fascist group active in 1930s Spain — protested what they called the “Islamicization of Europe.”

But that was far from a widespread sentiment. Thousands of counterprotesters ultimately turned out in response, drowning out the handful of rightists and forcing them to disband.

In recent days, a number of Muslim citizens of Barcelona said they had not experienced major discrimination before or after the attacks last week, although many emphasized that their experiences did not mean there is no Islamophobia in Spain.

Chaima Jalili, 23, is from Morocco, in the same demographic as the ring of suspects. She came to Barcelona three years ago to study design, she said.

“Actually, Barcelona has been great to me,” she said. “I’ve been to France and Germany, and I’ve never felt more safe and secure.” Every morning before going out, she said, she puts on her scarf. “I’ve never been scared.”

Asked about Islamophobia, she said: “I have never experienced any of that.”

Naoufal, 22, a young Moroccan waiter in a trendy cafe in the city’s Nadal district, said he felt a subtle change in the way he was perceived after the attack. He felt he had drawn heavy scrutiny because of the way he looked.

“They see you in a car with a Moroccan face, and the police tell you to stop. Yesterday I left work, and they stopped me like four times, from here to my house,” he said, emphasizing that it was just a short distance away.

Sana Ullah Gondal, 51, from Pakistan, owns a computer supply store here. He said that his 15 years in Spain have been marked by a notable absence of prejudice.

“There are drunk and drugged people who sometimes speak badly,” he said, in an interview in his shop. “But normal people don’t say anything.”

Vahangir Alam Ali Segum, 52, owns the Turin Supermarket. Born in Bangladesh, he has lived in Barcelona for 26 years and says he has never experienced Islamophobia, either.

“I’ve only had problems with thieves, and then I call the police,” he said. “I live better than in my country — Spain is very quiet.”

“I go to my house. We pray in the mosque. It’s a normal life,” he said. “This store is over 15 years old, and almost the whole neighborhood knows me, and I know them. We live as brothers, as family members.”

At the Muslim march on Sunday, Lourdes Miguel, 50, a lifelong Barcelona resident, stood on La Rambla with her son, watching the Muslim demonstration. She held back tears.

“This shows that they march from the heart,” she said, gesturing at the marchers. “It’s not fake.”

Angel García contributed to this report.

Read more:

This French mayor saw a truck plow through crowds in Nice. After Barcelona, he seeks to make European streets safer.

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Jerry Lewis, Comic Icon And Titan Of Telethons, Dies At 91 – NPR

  • Jerry Lewis performs in Paris in 1976. Lewis, who appeared in dozens of films throughout his career, was perhaps nowhere more critically acclaimed than in France, where he earned the country's highest civilian honor.

    Jerry Lewis performs in Paris in 1976. Lewis, who appeared in dozens of films throughout his career, was perhaps nowhere more critically acclaimed than in France, where he earned the country’s highest civilian honor.

    STF/AFP/Getty Images

  • Dean Martin (center) sits with Lewis in 1953 at a boxing match.

    Dean Martin (center) sits with Lewis in 1953 at a boxing match.

    Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

  • Lewis and Stella Stevens in 1963's The Nutty Professor. Lewis retained the rights to his hit film, which was later remade by Eddie Murphy for the big screen and adapted for the stage.

    Lewis and Stella Stevens in 1963’s The Nutty Professor. Lewis retained the rights to his hit film, which was later remade by Eddie Murphy for the big screen and adapted for the stage.

    Paramount/The Kobal Collection

  • Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appear together for the first time in years on Lewis' annual 1976 telethon to fight muscular dystrophy. Frank Sinatra, one of many stars who appeared, brought Martin along as a surprise.

    Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appear together for the first time in years on Lewis’ annual 1976 telethon to fight muscular dystrophy. Frank Sinatra, one of many stars who appeared, brought Martin along as a surprise.

    AP

  • Lewis makes a face in 1981 as President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, receive Christi Bartlett, a child who was suffering from muscular dystrophy.

    Lewis makes a face in 1981 as President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, receive Christi Bartlett, a child who was suffering from muscular dystrophy.

    Don Rypka/AFP/Getty Images

  • Lewis married his wife, SanDee — or Sam, as she's often known — at a small private ceremony in 1983 in Key Biscayne, Fla.

    Lewis married his wife, SanDee — or Sam, as she’s often known — at a small private ceremony in 1983 in Key Biscayne, Fla.

    Doug Jennings/AP

  • Lewis and his wife, Sam, look toward the audience after closing his Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 2000. He helped raise more than $50 million in under 22 hours.

    Lewis and his wife, Sam, look toward the audience after closing his Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 2000. He helped raise more than $50 million in under 22 hours.

    Kim D. Johnson/AP

  • Lewis and his son, singer Gary Lewis, joke around at a telethon in 2004.

    Lewis and his son, singer Gary Lewis, joke around at a telethon in 2004.

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Lewis accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Oscars in 2009.

    Lewis accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Oscars in 2009.

    Mark J. Terrill/AP

  • Lewis, during an interview in Los Angeles last year.

    Lewis, during an interview in Los Angeles last year.

    Rich Fury/Invision/AP

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Jerry Lewis, a comedic fixture on big screens and charity telethons for decades, has died at the age of 91.

His death was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and confirmed by NPR with his publicist and spokeswoman Candi Cazau.

Cazau provided the following statement:

“Famed comedian, actor, and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side.”

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in 1953.

Express Newspapers/Getty Images

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Express Newspapers/Getty Images

The son of small-time entertainers who were always on the road, Lewis spent a lot of time with a rotating cast of relatives. As he told TV interviewer David Susskind in 1965: “I was a rent-a kid-a-day club, you know? Who wants Jerry this week?”

When he got a bit older, he stepped on stage himself and gradually developed his own act — but it was not until 1945, when he met the suave singer Dean Martin, that he found broad stardom. Lewis was just 19; Martin was 28. Together as an odd-couple team over the next decade, Martin and Lewis went on to become the highest-paid comedy act in the U.S., earn their own radio and TV shows, and delight audiences with 16 films.

“They were paying for two men to let an audience see how much fun they were having, and the love that went on between the older guy and the younger guy,” Lewis told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 2005. “When we were able to project that to an audience, we had them in our pockets from Day 1.”

The partnership fell apart in 1956, and Martin and Lewis hardly spoke to each other for decades after — but, Lewis said, “we never, ever fell out of love.”

Going solo freed Lewis to write, direct and star in his own movies. An early adopter of new film and video technology, he pioneered the now-standard practice of placing a video monitor on the film camera to provide immediate feedback to the director on how a scene looks. He used the technique for all of the films he directed — including his biggest hit, The Nutty Professor.

In that comedic spin on The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Lewis plays both the eponymous academic and chemically liberated id, the smug hipster Buddy Love. Co-star Stella Stevens says that when it came time for Lewis to revert from irresistible bully to shy professor Julius Kelp, he could hardly bear to do it.

“Jerry Lewis was as much a chick magnet as Dean Martin was at all times. He did have all those qualities. He didn’t add something in that was not him,” she recalls of Love, Lewis’ twist on Hyde. “Those are probably his fondest wishes of how he could be bad … and that was the baddest he could think of.”

#OTD 1926: Jerry Lewis was born. “People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius” pic.twitter.com/YYgwFBBmI9

— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) March 16, 2017

Biographer Shawn Levy said Lewis’ struggle was not surprising, given the almost confessional air about the film.

“There’s something very, very personal about that film, very revelatory,” he says.

“Jerry as a solo director and performer made a lot of films about multiple personalities,” Levy continues, “there’s two Jerry Lewises in The Bellboy, there’s five or six in The Family Jewels, there’s three in Three On A Couch … but in The Nutty Professor, I think it’s the only one where you have a contrast between the nebbish Professor Kelp, who invents something, and then this guy who kind of destroys it, who much more resembled the off-camera Jerry Lewis than any other character he ever played.”

Levy says that Lewis could be brusque and self-confident. Martin Scorsese, who directed Lewis in The King of Comedy,says Lewis could be intimidating, too.

“Could be gracious, could be difficult, and is the kind of person who walks into his office or an area and people just move aside,” Scorsese says, adding that Lewis was also a great filmmaker — “very precise, very brilliant,” right up there with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

A notoriously prickly personality, Lewis also had a nagging habit of stirring controversy — especially “with insensitive remarks about women, gays and people with disabilities,” as NPR’s Pam Fessler reported in 2011.

By the time Scorsese directed him in 1983, Lewis’ own filmmaking career had largely stalled — but Lewis had found another spotlight in 1966, leading live telethons on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In nearly half a century of hosting the telethon, he helped raise more than $2 billion to combat the disease and aid its youngest victims, dubbed “Jerry’s Kids.”

And Lewis was such an entertainment powerhouse early in his career that he’d acquired the rights to his films, which allowed him to cash in on Eddie Murphy’s 1996 Nutty Professor remake and its 2000 sequel. In 2012 Lewis turned The Nutty Professor into a stage musical, which he directed himself, at the age of 86.

For all his success, innovation and popularity — notably in France, where the government gave him the Legion of Honor, the country’s highest civilian award — Lewis was never much of a hit with the critics. He received few honors for his acting or directing before his lifetime achievement awards, such as the Oscars’ Jean Hersholt humanitarian award, began rolling in.

Still, he never retired, starring as recently as 2016 in the film Max Rose. When asked by the Hollywood Reporter — in a remarkable case study of Lewis’ often abrasive manner — why he and other older comedians kept actively working, Lewis answered simply: “Because we do it well.”

And “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Lewis told Gross in 2005.

“To hear an audience laugh — you go to any extreme, because that’s your lot in life.”

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Comedian Jerry Lewis dies at 91, publicist says – CNN

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