Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

8 actors who have publicly disavowed Woody Allen or donated their salaries to charity after working on his movies

woody allen

As the #MeToo movement gained momentum in Hollywood following the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, Dylan Farrow asked pointedly in a Los Angeles Times op-ed in December, “Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?”

In 1993, Allen faced accusations that he had sexually abused Farrow, his then-seven-year-old adoptive daughter. Allen, who has continually denied the accusations, was investigated but never prosecuted. 

But Farrow has long maintained that Allen sexually assaulted her, after she first discussed the issue publicly in a New York Times op-ed in 2014. 

In her 2017 op-ed, Farrow asked why A-list actors like Kate Winslet, Blake Lively, and Greta Gerwig have continued to work with and praise Allen.

And in an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Farrow described Allen’s alleged sexual assault in disturbing detail. Allen again denied the allegations in a statement, saying the Farrow family was “cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time’s Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation.”

“He’s lying and he’s been lying for so long,” Farrow said in the CBS interview.

Despite his denials, Farrow’s words over the last few months appear to have shifted to the tide against Allen, as a number of actors who played in Allen’s movies (including Gerwig, Rebecca Hall, and Timothée Chalamet) have now either disavowed him or donated their salaries from his films to abuse victims charities in recent months.

Here are all the actors who have disavowed Woody Allen after working in his movies:

SEE ALSO: 19 Netflix original shows that both critics and audiences agree are amazing

Griffin Newman

In October, before the LA Times published Farrow’s op-ed, actor Griffin Newman said on Twitter that he regretted his “one-scene role” in Woody Allen’s upcoming film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” and would donate his salary from the film to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).

“I need to get this off my chest: I worked on Woody Allen’s next movie. I believe he is guilty. I donated my entire salary to RAINN,” Newman tweeted. 

Newman said he “spent a month debating whether or not to quit” the movie, but decided to speak out following the “compounded” list of sexual misconduct allegations in the wake of Harvey Weinstein.

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall, who starred in Allen’s 2008 film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” said in an Instagram post on Saturday that she regretted her brief role in Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York,” and would donate her salary from the part to Time’s Up, a movement in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct.

“After reading and re-reading Dylan Farrow’s statements of a few days ago and going back and reading the older ones — I see, not only how complicated this matter is, but that my actions have made another woman feel silenced and dismissed,” Hall wrote in the post.

“I regret this decision and wouldn’t make the same one today. It’s a small gesture and not one intended as close to compensation but I’ve donated my wage to @timesup,” she continued. 

Timothée Chalamet

Timothée Chalamet, the breakout star of “Call Me by Your Name,” said in an Instagram post on Monday that he would donate his salary from “A Rainy Day In New York” to Time’s Up, The LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN.

“I have been asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a film with Woody Allen last summer. I am not able to answer the question directly because of contractual obligations,” Chalamet wrote. “But what I can say is this: I don’t want to profit from my work on the film, and to that end, I am going to donate my entire salary to three charities: TIME’S UP, The LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN.”

“I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” he continued.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Trump's latest immigration crackdown threatens the economy — both in the US and in El Salvador

El Salvador immigrant deportation

  • Trump administration plans to strip some 200,000 Salvadorans in the US of temporary protected status is likely to be a blow to the economies of both El Salvador and the US.
  • El Salvador will struggle to absorb thousands of returnees, who may displace current jobholders there and in turn cause more migration to the US.
  • In the US, employers face expenses related to laying off TPS holders as well as the prospect of being unable to replace those workers.

The Trump administration announced earlier this month it will end temporary protected status for some 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador living in the US.

The administration cast the move as a corrective for a TPS policy it said had been abused, and it comes as as part of President Donald Trump’s effort to restrict legal and illegal immigration. The president has said this would preserve jobs and raise wages — claims that are widely disputed.

Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans will not expire until September 2019, giving people with that status in the US 18 months to apply for a new immigration status or leave the country voluntarily.

But during implimentation and afterward, uprooting thousands of Salvadorans and their families is likely to create drag on the economy in US and in El Salvador.

‘Security is still bad. The economy is bad. Corruption is bad’

El Salvador San Salvador police bus homicide crime scene

The Central American country, home to more than 6 million people, has been wracked by violence and is struggling economically.

“El Salvador’s economy is not very strong. Its [GDP is] growing roughly 2.5% a year,” Mike Allison, a political-science professor at the University of Scranton, told Business Insider. “Unemployment’s high. Jobs aren’t well-paying. There’s very few protections for workers.”

Salvadorans depend heavily on remittances — 382,734 households received them in 2016, according to a government survey, and 97% are sent from the US. The more than $4.5 billion in remittances received in 2016 was used to pay for things like rent, school fees and transportation costs, and utility bills.

Any decline in remittances caused by deportations or removals from the US would reduce consumption and increase poverty in El Salvador, Carmen Aida Lazo, of ESEN University in San Salvador, told The Economist.

Many of the conditions created by the 2001 earthquake that first prompted the TPS designation for immigrants from El Salvador haven’t really improved, Allison said.

El Salvador military police

“Security is still bad. The economy is bad. Corruption is bad. What’s helped the country sort of stay afloat has been the billions of dollars sent back each year by Salvadorans living abroad,” he told Business Insider.

“The situation in El Salvador today probably will not be any better in 18 months. If anything it’ll probably get a little worse.”

The absence of Salvadorans in the US sending money back to El Salvador would likely be compounded by the strain their return would put on the government and the local economy.

The official unemployment rate in El Salvador is 7%, but more than 40% of workers are underemployed, and about 66% of them work in the informal sector. The country sees 60,000 people enter the workforce every year, but its economy only creates 11,000 jobs, according to think tank Fusades.

“So the thought that these people are going to be successfully absorbed by the Salvadoran economy is fantastical,” Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Business Insider.

“Whatever the administration says about conditions in El Salvador [having] improved — I don’t actually think they have — but it’s clear to me that even if they were to have improved, they haven’t improved to the condition where the country can accept back that number of people and absorb them into the workforce,” Thale said.

‘What they’ll probably do is displace other Salvadorans’

FILE PHOTO: Deportees wait to be processed at an immigration facility after a flight carrying illegal immigrants from the U.S. arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

The US and Salvadoran governments have an agreement that limits the number of deportation flights to eight a week, each carrying no more than 135 people.

Under the deal, the US can’t send more than 56,000 people back to El Salvador each year. A significant increase in the number returnees would further strain the limited resources the government and civil-society groups have to assist people arriving in the country, many of whom haven’t been there in more than a decade.

Salvadoran TPS holders in the US are typically in their 40s and are used to wages higher than are offered in El Salvador, and many who return are likely to struggle to find work and settle there. Ones who do enter the labor force in El Salvador may take jobs that are already filled, Thale said.

women at work El Salvador

“While they occupy relative low-skilled jobs in the United States, in El Salvador they would look like mostly bilingual, relatively skilled workers,” Thale told Business Insider.

“What they’ll probably do is displace other Salvadorans, and those people, who are less skilled and … pushed out of the workforce in a terrible economy with … a lot of crime and violence, will probably emigrate to the United States.”

The government in El Salvador is looking for a way to relieve the pressure. It is discussing a deal with Qatar under which migrants from the Central American country who lose the right to live in the US could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country.

El Salvador’s foreign minister said Salvadorans in Qatar could work in engineering, aircraft maintenance, construction, and agriculture.

Salvadorans removed from the US may also find work at call centers, which have sprung up in El Salvador in recent years. With few local English speakers in the country, returnees with language skills would stand out. While call centers typically offer higher wages than other local industries, they have been criticized for creating high-pressure work environments with few worker protections.

‘You’ve removed thousands of fully employed people’

El Salvador immigrant immigration TPS deportation

A typical Salvadoran TPS recipient in the US has been in the country for 21 years. Ninety percent of them have jobs, and one-third own homes.

Many, if not most, of them are likely to try to stay in the country, either by securing a new immigration status or by staying without authorization. But without legal status, the role they play in the US economy, and the protections they have while working, will be stripped away.

“I think they’re going to wind up living in illegality here, which will make them more exposed to abuse by employers, make them live more in fear, make them far less likely to cooperate with local police,” Thale told Business Insider. “In those communities, in terms of employment, in terms of schools, in terms of people paying their mortgages, there will be economic ripple effects.”

Immigrants in the US — Haitians and others from Central America, in particular — often make their living in the US in the service industry, doing jobs in industries like construction, food service, and child and elderly care.

“If you get rid of 26% of my employees, I guess I’m going to have to terminate some of the contracts,” Victor Moran, the chief executive of Total Quality, a janitorial services company in the Washington area, told The New York Times.

FILE PHOTO: Migrants attend a workshop for legal advice following the U.S. government's recent announcement it would step up deportations of Central Americans families that arrived since May 2014 when there was a surge of women and minors arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, many fleeing drug gang violence, in south Chicago, Illinois, January 10, 2016.   REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo

Moran said he wasn’t willing to break the law to keep those employees, and the government’s recent nationwide sweep of 7-11 convenience stores indicates the measures it will take to restrict the hiring of undocumented workers.

“There are no Americans out there to take the jobs,” Mark Drury, a vice president at a Washington-based plumbing, heating, and cooling business, told The Times

Drury said his firm would have to lay off its 14 Salvadoran workers and was worried about what would happen to some 30 employees who are in the US under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.

Businesses in Houston have expressed concern about immigration restrictions inhibiting the effort to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

A study by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center found that stripping Haitians, Salvadorans, and Hondurans — who may see their TPS status rescinded this summer — would, over 10 years, deprive Social Security and Medicare of $6.9 billion and shrink GDP by $45.2 billion.

The wholesale firing of TPS holders from those three countries would hit US employers with almost a billion dollars in turnover costs, and deporting them would cost the US $3.1 billion, with an outsize effect on metropolitan areas in Florida, New York, California, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia, according to the report.

“This policy [is] probably going to worsen poverty and the conditions in El Salvador, but it’s also going to do the same thing in the United States,” Allison, of the University of Scranton, told Business Insider. “If you end up deporting or taking away the legal status of 200,000 people, they’re going to lose the good-paying jobs that they have right now.”

“You’ve removed thousands of fully employed people,” Allison said. “And now their kids won’t be able to rely upon the income form their parents, which is going to force, probably, many of them into poverty.”

SEE ALSO: Trump’s latest move on immigration will likely empower MS-13 — a group he’s vowed to ‘destroy’

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'Criminal Minds' Break: Matthew Gray Gubler And Friends Are Off For February [Opinion] – The Inquisitr

Criminal Minds has been given February off by CBS. Fans can still see Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster, and the rest of the current cast in weekly episodes on January, 17, 24, and 31. Then no more until March 7 according to CBS.

CBS has opted out of Criminal Minds in February; instead, they are airing two-hour episodes of The Amazing Race and an episode of Seal Team on February 28. Perhaps fans missing Matthew Gray Gubler will have time to see Gubler’s new movie 68 Kill on Blu-Ray.

Matthew Gray Gubler has been MIA or at least barely there in a couple of Criminal Minds episodes, much to the disappointment of his fans, as explained by Carter Matt.

“[Matthew Gray Gubler’s character Spencer Reid] is still teaching his seminars as part of his condition on his return to work, but he showed up for the last half of the episode. We will take what we can get – this show is very different without him as part of the crew.”

Yes, Criminal Minds would be quite different without Matthew Gray Gubler, just as it is already different without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore. That “no Hotch” difference is no good according to former fans at #NoHotchNoWatch, and Matthew Gray Gubler fans are not pleased with Matthew Gray’s temporary absences either.

Shemar Moore is also sorely missed as Morgan on Criminal Minds, despite his generosity in doing a few cameos now and then. Shemar landed the starring role on S.W.A.T. and so his fans can still see him on CBS each week. Is Matthew Gray Gubler looking for another role as well?

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It is still unclear if Criminal Minds is going to be renewed for Season 14. No announcement has been made about the fate of Criminal Minds, despite the fact that Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon have already been notified of their renewal according to The Futon Critic. Apparently, the jury is still out on Criminal Minds and the rest of the CBS line up.

It seems as if Criminal Minds is casting off stars like the original Big Bang, exploding from within. Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson have already departed the show, and completely unsubstantiated rumors and theories continue to buzz that Matthew Gray Gubler will be the next to leave Criminal Minds.

First Shemar Moore left Criminal Minds for a movie role and chose to star in S.W.A.T. rather than return full-time to Criminal Minds. Then Thomas Gibson was terminated by CBS.

Thomas Gibson, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Shemar Moore Kirsten Vangsness
Thomas Gibson, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Shemar Moore, and Kirsten Vangsness
Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

It is unclear if Matthew Gray Gubler’s character Spencer Reid is being phased back into the BAU, or if Matthew Gray Gubler is being phased out of Criminal Minds, but Gubler’s frequent absences are uncomfortable for fans.

Matthew Gray Gubler is staying busy though. Matthew recently appeared to a sold-out house at Largoat the Coronet with the all-girl comedy improv team Wild Horses.

Criminal Minds, once a proud flagship of CBS, has taken a sad turn after all these years. Not only have they lost stars, the story is less interesting as Carter Matt explains.

“For us, we still feel like this season is really lacking something. While we do love the story of the week set up of this show since it allows Criminal Minds to become this brilliant TV comfort food where viewers can dip in and dip out at their leisure without missing some major plotline, we haven’t been as engaged in the Unsubs as we have been in the past, or even earlier this season.”

Criminal Minds with Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, and Matthew Gray Gubler started off as a shocking thriller in the Mandy Patinkin days. Later, with Thomas Gibson as team leader, Criminal Minds, strangely, became a comfort show to viewers. Despite the violent nature of the criminals, the Criminal Minds team seemed to have matters well in hand, and their strength was comforting.

Without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, that protective reassurance is missing for some fans. Now, when Matthew Gray Gubler is away Criminal Minds viewers miss his warmth and comfort as well. Criminal Minds fans became so accustomed to Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson, and Shemar Moore over the years that their absence is jarring.

Will Criminal Minds survive to see Season 14?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported that Criminal Minds Season 14 has been cut from 22 episodes to 17 episodes. CBS has made no indication that the season has been cut, only that no new episodes of the show will air during the month of February.

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Watch a firefighter catch a child thrown from a burning building in Georgia

Georgia firefighter catching child from burning building

A helmet camera captured a firefighter catching a five-year-old child who was thrown from a burning building in Georgia in early January.

The video shows Capt. Scott Stroup catch the child, who was thrown by the father from a ladder three stories up, as people screamed and embers rained down to the ground.

A number of other children were dropped from the building and caught by firefighters as well. 

A four-year-old child was dropped from a balcony and caught by Capt. Jackie Peckrul, according to Inside Edition. Babies as young as one-month-old were also dropped and caught, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

“We were catching babies like a football — literally,” DeKalb County fire Capt. Eric Jackson told the Journal-Constitution. “There were adults that were on the balcony that were dropping their babies right into our arms. We had a couple firefighters catching babies, so it was just really incredible.”

The fire on January 3 in Decatur, Georgia injured 12 people, including 8 children, according to WSB-TV. 

Watch the video from the Washington Post below: 

SEE ALSO: We spent 3 nights in the NYC underbelly with a crime reporter to see how safe the ‘safest big city’ in the US really is

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Arizona's controversial new Senate candidate said Dreamers should be deported and become 'good ambassadors' from the US like Peace Corps volunteers

joe arpaio

  • Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently criminally convicted and pardoned by President Donald Trump, told NPR that young unauthorized immigrants should be deported.
  • He suggested they would make “good ambassadors” from the US in their birth countries.

Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Arizona sheriff who recently announced his intention to run for the US Senate, offered up an unusually aggressive solution for the fate of the young unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

“Deport them,” Arpaio told NPR in an interview that aired Thursday morning. “When we come across these kids, or some are older than just kids … then deport them. You deport them back to the country they came from.”

Arpaio was referring to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, composed of young adults who have lived in the US illegally since childhood.

The Obama-era DACA program is being rapidly phased out by the Trump administration, and lawmakers are rushing to enact a permanent legislative solution to give them a pathway to citizenship, or at least prevent them from losing work authorization and protection from deportation.

Arpaio also suggested that the young immigrants, many of whom have lived the majority of their lives and attended school in the US, would be useful to the countries they were born in and could serve in roles akin to Peace Corps volunteers.

“They can do a lot of good in those countries,” he told NPR. “They have education here and help out and be good ambassadors from the United States to their country. That’s just my idea.”

‘Great’ Peace Corps volunteers

Joe Arpaio Donald TrumpArpaio’s impending Senate race rattled his longtime critics as well as his fellow Republicans. The 85-year-old former lawman is best known for his hardliner immigration views, and his longstanding practice of illegally detaining Latinos and keeping inmates in brutal jail conditions during the 24 years he served as Maricopa County sheriff.

His tactics ultimately led to a conviction for criminal contempt after he violated a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. He was never sentenced, however, because President Donald Trump issued Arpaio a presidential pardon in August.

Arpaio’s hardliner view on DACA recipients is not shared by the bulk of lawmakers, including many Republicans who are reluctant to penalize young immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and lived there illegally through no fault of their own.

Even Trump, who has made illegal immigration crackdowns a cornerstone of his presidency, has questioned why people would want to “throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military.”

It’s not the first time, however, that the Peace Corps program has been mentioned as a solution to the DACA dilemma. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa also made waves last fall when he said DACA recipients would make “great” Peace Corps volunteers in their home countries, and that “none would take more hardship or risk than we ask of Peace Corp.”

SEE ALSO: How former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio became the most hated lawman in America

DON’T MISS: Some of Trump’s biggest supporters are furious about his ‘lovefest’ meeting on immigration

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Galesburg's David Gray to appear on 'Criminal Minds' – Galesburg Register-Mail

GALESBURG — Galesburg native David “Dieterich” Gray filled a key role on Wednesday night’s episode of “Criminal Minds,” a TV drama in its 13th season on CBS.

The episode followed the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit as they investigated a home invasion and attempted murder in a small town in Virginia. Gray described his character, Rick Sturgess, as a “creepy bad guy.”

“He’s a convicted sex offender and we are led to believe he might just be, in fact, the bad guy who perpetrated this crime,” Gray said Wednesday night from Los Angeles. “It’s a horribly violent assault on a wife and mother of two. As bad as this guy is — and he’s bad — he did not in fact do the thing we are led to believe he might have done. It’s a bait and switch.”

Gray auditioned for the role in early November, got a callback a week later, and shot the episode in the last days of November.

“I had been in the ‘Criminal Minds’ casting department a number of times, and we always had a great relationship,” Gray said. “It felt to me as though they were fans of me and fans of the voices I would bring into the audition room. It felt like they were looking for a spot for me, something that would be a great fit.”

Though it was Gray’s first time on the show, it wasn’t the first time he’d dabbled in the dark and disturbing.

“I’ve certainly played creepy,” he said. “I’m either a quirky home economics teacher on Nickelodeon or Disney or I play a serial killer. My career has always ridden in that fashion. Whatever my type or unconventional delivery style is bodes to teen-friendly or the darkest of the dark.”

Gray recalled his callback for the producers session, in which he read a scene in front of a dozen writers and producers:

“These scenes were really dark, and I really went for it. There was an intense moment at the culmination of everything — I was all revved up, I was all emotionality and energy. I was gripping the bottom of my chair and my eyes were closed and I felt all the words come out, and then there was silence. My eyes were still closed, and as my body started to relax, I slowly opened my eyes and I saw these people all staring at me with their mouths wide open. They burst into applause.

“I’m not ‘tooting my own horn’ here, but that was startling to me because that never happens. Usually it’s ‘that was great’ or ‘that was lovely.’ You get good feedback or just a thank-you, which means ‘see you later.’ That round of applause was a first for me. I felt I had done what I was expected to do and maybe more. When I got the phone call with the job offer, I was through the moon.”

Gray reports sharing laughs with show writer Simon Mirren, befriending Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia on the show, and shaking hands with Joe Mantengna (David Rossi), who greeted every person in the room before the first read-through.

“It was a total joy,” Gray said of the overall experience. “Everyone is like a big family. They’ve been doing it so long that both the cast and the crew all know each other. … From the hospitality to kindness to accommodation to friendliness, it was really a joy. … They made every attempt to make me feel welcome.”

Gray got the acting bug while performing with the Prairie Players Civic Theatre in Galesburg. He first appeared there at age 9 in a production of “South Pacific.” It was his mother, Lee Gray, who had shown up to audition, but the directors needed a young boy for the show and persuaded Gray to sing a song, too.

“I guess they thought I was charming, this shy, 9-year-old kid, because they cast me and we performed at the Orpheum,” Gray said. “That was my first introduction to what being a participant in the world of theater really meant. Theater and show biz are like a big family. We all have this common interest, and we’re all a little bit weird, a little bit off; we’re extroverted and we’re excitable. The thing I thought was the most fun were the cast parties. Here I am hanging out with adults — we played theater games and charades and everybody was welcome. It was a lot of fun. And I never really looked back.”

Gray went on to perform in local shows including “How to Eat Fried Worms,” “West Side Story,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and more.

Gray, now 40, attended Galesburg High School, Carl Sandburg College and Illinois State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in acting. He worked as an actor for 10 years in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles, where he has lived for nearly five years. He’s also acted in New York City, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

Gray has had roles on a number of other TV shows, including “Westworld,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “High & Mighty,” “The New 30,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Uncle Buck,” “American Horror Story” and more. He’s appeared in commercials for State Farm, Allstate, GEICO and others. He’s even portraying an “otherworldly god” on an upcoming video game.

When asked for his advice on acting and “making it big,” Gray shared that he recently attended a screening of “Darkest Hour,” followed by a Q&A session with lead actor Gary Oldman — that’s someone who truly made it big, Gray said, and someone he still looks up to.

“I am certainly one of the fortunate ones. That’s not to say everything came my way — I had to procure it and drum it up with blood, sweat and tears, learning how to do this and be good at doing it,” Gray said. “If I had any advice to anybody considering working in show biz, it’s to do the work. Get really good at what you do so that when you walk into room, you can walk in with confidence knowing that you are the expert at what you do in that room. They (the producers, writers, directors, etc.) are the experts in their departments. You have to be an expert in yours — and then persist. And opportunities will come your way.”

And you can’t go wrong with kindness and a positive attitude.

“The most important thing is to be nice to every single person you meet,” Gray said. “The production assistant, the cinematographer, the camera assistant — they will later make a feature film … and they will no longer be a production assistant. I’m not saying falsely be nice, but be genuinely nice. You are not above anybody. You were once an intern or a ‘Character No. 14.’ It makes for a much better environment if you find joy in embracing the new relationships you find on stage, off stage and off camera — and have fun.”

Robyn Gautschy: (309) 343-7181, ext. 265;

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Commentary by Rick Esenberg of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty – Journal Times

While Congress has much to do in the new year, near the top of the U.S. Senate’s to-do list should be the confirmation of Michael B. Brennan to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nominations to the United States Supreme Court have become the occasion of national drama. We pay less attention to the selection of judges for our lower federal courts. That’s a mistake. While we don’t often remember their names, federal judges have had a significant impact on important issues ranging from the president’s proposed travel ban to environmental rules, labor issues and our civil liberties. The Supreme Court reviews very few of these decisions. What our lower court judges do matters.

The 7th Circuit Court, serves as the appellate level for federal cases that originate in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. It consists of 11 judges and two of those seats are “reserved” for judges from Wisconsin. Unfortunately, one of those two Wisconsin seats has been vacant since 2010. This nearly eight-year vacancy has the dubious distinction of being the longest opening in country.

We could indulge ourselves in accusations and recriminations as to how this happened, but that won’t fill the vacancy. But the Senate can fill it by objectively reviewing Judge Brennan’s qualifications for the court and casting a yes or no vote based on that alone. By that standard, I am hard pressed to think of anyone more qualified to serve on the court.

There are two things to keep in mind when reviewing a judicial candidate. The first is his or her experience and capabilities as a lawyer. As someone who has served on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for almost five years, I can tell you that the breadth of Brennan’s experience is unusual. He has been in private practice, having worked at two of Milwaukee’s finest law firms. But he also has experience in criminal law. As an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County, he prosecuted felony and misdemeanor cases and lead the prosecution’s efforts in approximately 50 trials. And he has served on the bench. As a Milwaukee Circuit Court judge, he presided over nearly 300 trials. In 2005, he was affirmed by higher courts more than any other judge in the state. This trifecta of experience — civil law, criminal law prosecutor and judge — is unusual.

Not surprisingly, Brennan has been recognized by the American Bar Association as “well qualified” for this nomination, the highest rating awarded by the ABA. On a personal note, I have known Judge Brennan for 25 years. I have never heard anyone question his legal capabilities. He is a thoughtful and thorough lawyer.

We also want judges who understand and respect the rule of law and the proper role of the judiciary. Judge Brennan once told me something that I have repeated frequently. The role of a judge involves “self-abnegation.” In other words, it involves following the law and not one’s personal preferences. Out of the courtroom, Judge Brennan has been a staunch advocate of “originalism.” The idea that the Constitution should be read to mean what those who adopted it would have understood it to mean. This is not an easy task and it does not mean the old principles cannot be applied to new circumstances or that new constitutional language such as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause should be ignored. But what originalism does do is root the courts in law and not politics. As I noted last year, “By attempting to discern what the people who adopted a constitutional provision understood it to mean, judges seek to limit themselves to those constitutional restraints on democracy that ‘We the People’ actually adopted.” This is what separates judges from legislators. Judge Brennan will not change the legal strike zone regardless of who is on the mound.

Michael Brennan is unquestionably qualified to serve on the Seventh Circuit. More than that, he would be an outstanding selection because of his extensive experience, outstanding ability and deep understanding and respect for our Constitution and the rule of law. There is no reason, apart from petty politics, that he should not be swiftly confirmed by the U.S. Senate when they reconvene in 2018.

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Trump administration resumes accepting DACA renewal applications under court order

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration today scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects from deportation almost 800,000 young men and women who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

  • The federal government is now accepting applications to renew permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. 
  • The Trump administration had begun phasing out the program in September and intended to terminate it on March 5. 
  • A federal judge in California on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to continue processing DACA renewal applications.

Citing a recent court order, the Trump administration on Saturday resumed processing young unauthorized immigrants’ applications to renew their protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017,” the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced on its website.

USCIS said young immigrants who have previously received DACA, and whose protections expired after the Trump administration announced the program’s termination, may file renewal applications. 

The agency added that no new DACA applications will be accepted from immigrants who had not previously been protected under the program.

The Trump administration had said in September it would phase out DACA by March 5, giving Congress six months to enact a legislative solution that permanently resolved the fate of young immigrants who have lived in the US illegally since childhood.

The Trump administration also allowed DACA recipients with near-term expiry dates to renew their two-year protections one last time, so long as they submitted their applications before an October 5, 2017 deadline.

As of September 2017, there were roughly 690,000 young immigrants protected by DACA, but thousands have already begun losing their protections in recent months. An estimated 22,000 eligible DACA recipients either did not or could not apply for renewal before the deadline, and roughly 1,900 of those who attempted renewal saw their applications lost or delayed in the mail and subsequently rejected.

But a federal judge in California on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration from ending the program, and ordering the government to resume processing DACA renewal applications.

DACA was first implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, and offered the immigrants temporary work authorization and protection from deportation.

The Trump administration’s termination of the program launched lawmakers into a frenzy in recent weeks as the March deadline draws near. Democrats vowed to pass a legislative fix by the January 19 budget deadline, but negotiations devolved recently after President Donald Trump and some Republicans demanded certain hardliner immigration reforms in exchange for codifying DACA protections.

Talks took a further turn for the worse on Thursday after Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during an immigration-related meeting with lawmakers, and asked why the US had to accept immigrants from those places.

SEE ALSO: A judge used Trump’s own tweets against him in a ruling that blocked the Dreamers program phase-out

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Lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal on protections for Dreamers, and the White House just shot down their best bet

jeff flake daca negotiations

  • Lawmakers have been rushing to forge a deal on the young immigrants protected under the soon-to-be-cancelled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
  • Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told reporters Thursday that a bipartisan group of senators had reached an agreement.
  • The White House, along with hardliner Republicans, quickly shot their proposal down.


A major bipartisan effort to resolve the fate of hundreds of thousands of young unauthorized immigrants was underway on Thursday, after a group of six Republican and Democratic senators said they reached an “agreement in principle” that was quickly shot down by the White House.

The news is the latest development in an increasingly chaotic week of negotiations between Republicans, Democrats, and the White House to forge a permanent legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields some 690,000 immigrants from deportation and will be phased out by March 5.

“We’ve got this bipartisan group, we’re at a deal,” Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told reporters earlier on Thursday afternoon. “So we’ll be talking to the White House about that and I hope we can move forward with it, it’s the only game in town. There’s no other bill.”

That hope was shot down later that afternoon, following the White House meeting. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed afterwards that there was no deal yet on DACA.

Yet even after the meeting, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was part of the bipartisan group, said they were “working to build support for that deal in Congress.” He added that the deal touched upon border security, the diversity visa lottery, family-based immigration categories, and protections for young unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

The agreement would offer a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, but only after at least 10 years, a source familiar with the negotiations told Business Insider.

It would also make headway toward reforming family-based immigration — sometimes referred to as “chain migration” — by offering three-year, renewable work permits to the parents of Dreamers, but making them ineligible to be sponsored for citizenship.

“President Trump called on Congress to solve the DACA challenge,” Durbin said in a statement. “We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses … the areas outlined by the President.

The bipartisan group included Durbin, Flake, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Cory Gardner, and Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Michael Bennet.

The Trump administration announced in September it would phase out DACA over six months, giving Congress time to enact a solution. The urgency grows as the March 5 deadline for DACA’s termination draws near, at which point the immigrants will begin losing their work authorization and protection from deportation en masse.

Adding to the chaos is the January 19 funding deadline that could lead to a government shutdown if Democrats withhold their votes until an immigration bill is passed, as they have vowed to do.

Nonstarters and party infighting

trump daca meeting

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, a key Trump supporter and immigration hardliner, called the bipartisan proposal “a joke,” Bloomberg News reported. He argued that it didn’t go far enough in ending certain family-based immigration categories, which some conservatives refer to as “chain migration,” and it didn’t fully do away with the diversity visa lottery program.

Graham, however, fired back at Cotton over his negotiation strategy.

“Sen. Cotton can present his proposal. We presented ours,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “I’m not negotiating with Sen. Cotton and let me know when Sen. Cotton has a proposal that gets a Democrat. I’m dying to look at it.”

And though President Donald Trump and many Republicans have insisted that border security measures include funding for a wall, Flake said Thursday that the physical structure the six senators agreed upon would have been “more of a fence,” according to CNBC. He added that surveillance technology and staffing would also be part of the border security proposals.

Adding to the confusion is a separate bill released by House Republicans on Wednesday, which included a slew of hardline immigration measures that Democrats insist are nonstarters.

That bill, for instance, would merely offer DACA recipients three-year, renewable work permits without a pathway to citizenship. It would also end all family-sponsored immigration except for the spouses and minor children of American citizens, and do away with the diversity visa lottery program.

Democrats, meanwhile, have been coping with their own immigration-related infighting, and disagree on how best to tackle DACA negotiations.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were reportedly lambasted in a meeting Tuesday night by their own caucus for negotiating on family-based immigration and the diversity visa lottery, which Trump and many Republicans want to end.

“We’re willing to give a little when it comes to border security, but we’re not willing to give away the whole hog and farm,” Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona told Politico.

SEE ALSO: A wild White House meeting showed the cognitive dissonance between Trump and Congress on key immigration issues

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