Sunday Reads: Joan Leslie, Workers’ Comp and DubyaPosted: October 18, 2015
A few days ago we lost an actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Joan Leslie, who starred in films with James Cagney…Fred Astaire. Gary Cooper, Ida Lupino, and others….(my favorites being Sargent York and The Hard Way.) She was 90 years old.
Joan Leslie, an actress remembered for fresh-faced ingénue roles in movies of the 1940s, including “High Sierra,” “Sergeant York” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. She was 90.
Her family confirmed the death.
Ms. Leslie, who was known in private life as Joan Leslie Caldwell, began her career in a vaudeville act with her two older sisters. Before she was out of her teens she had become known for film roles including Velma, the young disabled woman with whom Humphrey Bogart falls in love in “High Sierra” (1941); Gracie, the love interest of Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York” (1941), a role she landed on her 16th birthday; and Mary, the bride of George M. Cohan (played by James Cagney) in “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” released in 1942.
The young, red-haired Ms. Leslie was admired by moviegoers for the girl-next-door innocence she brought to the screen.
“In my case, I really was a nice girl; my family sheltered me,” she told The Toronto Star in 1990. “Once, at a reception for exhibitors, Errol Flynn approached me” — he was a notorious roué — “and the photographers clicked away. Studio head Jack Warner was furious. He ordered the pictures destroyed, because it might damage my good-girl reputation!”
Born in Detroit, Michigan on January 26, 1925, Leslie’s career began when her family relocated to Burbank, after Leslie’s older sister Mary was signed to a contract at MGM. Her first role was an uncredited part in George Cukor’s “Camille” at age 11.
Leslie died on Oct. 12 in Los Angeles, her family announced. Funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am on October 19 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church.
On a personal note:
Leslie was in the business of designing clothes, with her own eponymous brand. William died in 2000. A year later, she founded the Dr. William G. and Joan L. Caldwell Chair in Gynecologic Oncology for the University of Louisville. Leslie was an adopted alumna of the university for over 32 years. She was involved with charity work for the St. Anne’s Maternity Home for more than 50 years.
In the 1941 film noir classic “High Sierra,” Humphrey Bogart plays a tough guy who falls in love with a seemingly sweet, naive teenager played by Joan Leslie.
The film industry made the same mistake about Leslie.
Though demure in most of her teen roles, as a young woman Leslie filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. to get her out of a contract she described as “slavery.” And she persevered for years until studio executives finally gave in.
“They know I put up a fight for what I believed as right,” she said in a 1949 Times interview. “They know I didn’t weaken, and they don’t consider me now a perpetual ingenue.”
Leslie was a show business veteran by the time she got the role in “High Sierra.” When she was child, she and her two older sisters had a vaudeville singing and dancing act that toured widely in the U.S. and Canada. And she had several small, mostly uncredited parts in movies.
But getting that plum role in the film that also starred Ida Lupino (then a bigger star than Bogart, and thus top billed), directed by Raoul Walsh and co-written by John Huston, was a life-changer.
“I was only 15, you know,” she said in a 1994 interview with a fan, Barry Iddon, while in London to support a children’s hospital. “I wish I had gotten it a little bit later in my career. I think I could have done better by it.”
In a memorable, tender scene early in the film, the two gaze at the stars and he talks about how the earth feels “like a little ball that’s turning through the night, with us hanging on to it.”
“Why that sounds like poetry, Roy,” she tells him. “It’s pretty.”
When Leslie was 16, Warner Bros., which had her under contract, gave her a new Buick and more importantly, the female lead part opposite Gary Cooper in the biopic “Sergeant York,” about an unlikely World War I hero.
Her screen persona was even immortalized in song. In the wartime “Hollywood Canteen” (1944), the Andrews Sisters sang “Corns for My Country” about the condition of their feet after dancing long hours with soldiers on leave. One line of the song:
We’re not petite as sweet Joan Leslie.
But by the mid-1940s, Leslie had had it with the roles Warner Bros. gave her, and when the studio refused to offer her meatier parts, she sued, claiming the contract she signed as a teenager was invalid. She won her case in lower courts, but the studio won in the state Supreme Court.
Leslie pushed on, saying she would file a $2-million civil suit against Warner Bros. The studio gave in, canceling her contract. “I hope this will present me as an entirely new personality,” she said in the Times interview.
But the damage was done to her career, in part because she had been out of the public eye while the court battle dragged on. “I couldn’t work those two years, not even on radio,” she told the Toronto Star. “It was a huge setback for me.”
I was saddened to hear of Joan Leslie’s death earlier this week at the age of 90. She was one of my favorite interviews in recent years. She was incredibly nice, yet at the same time she belied her screen image as a sweet young thing, as you’ll see in this excerpt from our conversation. She had savvy and ambition, and it was no accident that she succeeded in Hollywood. (You can read the complete interview in the book Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy, compiled from back issues of my newsletter of the same name.) She even endured a studio blackballing in the 1950s after leaving her longtime home at Warner Bros. and was forced to work at Republic Pictures—which she did, without complaint.
In 1940 the pretty, adolescent Joan Brodel won the leading role in a Warner Bros. short-subject called Alice in Movieland about a girl’s dreamlike experience in Hollywood: spotted on the set, given the lead in a major movie, becoming a star and winning an Academy Award. Never was casting more ironic—or prophetic—because Brodel’s real-life story wasn’t so different from that piece of fluffy fiction. After several years of appearing in tiny roles she was signed by Warner Bros. and, as Joan Leslie, costarred with Gary Cooper in Sergeant York, Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra, James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Fred Astaire in The Sky’s The Limit—all before she turned eighteen! (Not so incidentally, Warner Bros. reissued Alice in Movieland and re-filmed the main titles to feature Leslie’s “new” name as well as her star billing. You can see the short on Turner Classic Movies, or on the Warner Home Video DVD of The Sea Hawk)
Joan Leslie gave many interviews about her career and her notable costars—she adds a great deal to the hour-long DVD documentary on the making of Yankee Doodle Dandy—but I was curious about her earliest experiences in Hollywood, and I wanted to learn more about day-to-day life as a contract player under the studio system. She was happy to oblige, in 2006, although when I made the mistake of referring to her as a onetime extra she politely but firmly corrected me.
Be sure to look at that link and read the interview. it is great….
Okay, remember during the debate I mentioned how Bernie Sanders reminded me of Larry David’s George Steinbrenner?
Well, check this out…
When Larry David was on “Saturday Night Live” he only got one sketch on the air and the audience didn’t laugh. Thirty years later, the Seinfeld creator returned as Bernie Sanders and the Internet lost its mind with David trending on Twitter well into this morning. […]
The sketch mocked the first democratic debate with a smiley Lincoln Chafee talking about how fun it was to be a senator, Alec Baldwin as Jim Webb who was angry, of course, because he didn’t get to talk before he was introduced, the Hillary Clinton her staff put together for the debate, and Bernie “We’re Doomed” Sanders.
With a perfect Sanders accent and broad hand gestures and finger points, David shouted about revolution asking why the hell the big banks chain all their pens to the desk. His solution for Wall Street reform was to break up the big banks into little pieces and then flush them down the toilet. “Then ya make the bankers pay for college for everyone, and America is fixed! Hey!” he said shrugging and gesticulating wildly. Hillary puts a damper on the idealism saying Bernie is promising a “golden goose” but Bernie assured the debate audience he’s found geese before and he can find them again. “They congregate near ponds. It’s not rocket science!”After Bernie repeated the famous email line Hillary shook his hand and thanked him, commenting that it must be nice to scream and cuss in public. “I have to do it into tiny little jars.”
Bernie Sanders has a pretty good sense of humor. He responded to Larry David’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of him by telling George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that he’d like to take him out campaigning with him.“I think we’ll use Larry at our next rally. He does better than I do,” Sanders said.
Now that is all for laughs, because the next link is disturbing as hell.
This is an important article, read it in full. I think a this quote will be a good example:
Minick and other proponents say while plans can make exceptions, such rules ensure workers get medical care as soon as possible, speeding their recovery.
But public health experts say workers might not report minor injuries right away for valid reasons: They fear looking like troublemakers or worry about child care if they need to see a doctor or stay late filling out forms.
Or, like Rebecca Amador, they simply might not realize an injury’s severity.
Amador, a nursing assistant, was helping a patient transfer to a wheelchair at a Stephenville, Texas, nursing home in November 2013, when the chair’s brake unlocked, causing her to support the patient’s weight.
“I felt like a pinch in my back and I thought well, it’s been a long day, I’m tired,” said Amador, then 51. “So I paid no mind to it. I figured it would go away. Usually it goes away.”
As soon as she got to work, Amador told her supervisor, who sent her to the hospital. Only 19 hours had passed. But her employer, Fundamental Long Term Care, rejected her claim, saying she had failed to report it by the end of her shift.
The company’s decision left Amador in a Catch-22. Even though her injury happened at work, the company’s Texas plan wouldn’t cover it. But because it was work-related, neither would her health insurance or short-term disability plan. Had she worked for Fundamental in one of the other states where it operates, her personal injury would have been covered under workers comp.
Amador sought help at a publicly funded health clinic, where her doctor recommended a specialist. But she couldn’t afford one. She tried light-duty work until her doctor warned she could do further damage.
Since then, Amador said, she’s been living off her son’s Social Security benefits and borrowing from a lawsuit settlement fund set up for him after his father died of mesothelioma. Her daughters help pay for medications, and she’s applying for Social Security disability.
Sitting in her trailer nearly two years after the incident, she said her back burns like she’s in a fire, and she can’t even carry a two-liter soda bottle.
“I would probably still be working there” if Fundamental had workers’ comp, Amador said. “Maybe I could have gotten better, maybe I could have gotten my therapy done, and I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in.”
More stories of horror here, from March of this year:
Injured workers share their stories, revealing the real-life impact of rollbacks that have been spreading across the country.
Injured workers are entitled to compensation for permanent disabilities under state workers’ comp laws. But Texas has long allowed companies to opt out and write their own benefit plans. Benefits for the same body part can differ dramatically depending on which company you work for.
Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.
Each state determines its own workers’ compensation benefits, which means workers in neighboring states can end up with dramatically different compensation for identical injuries.
For the entire series of articles, photos and updates:
There are 17 articles at that link. You can spend a shitload of time at that page….
The rest of the links below in dump fashion, because the day is getting late.
On Friday, Donald Trump generated substantial controversy when he asserted that George W. Bush was president at the time of the 9/11 attacks.
“When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was president, O.K.?”
Jeb Bush immediately pushed back, calling Trump’s comments “pathetic” and insisting “my brother kept us safe.”
The media jumped on to the burgeoning controversy. According to The New York Times the idea that Bush was president on 9/11 and failed to stop the attack is a “break from the GOP.”
epublican presidential candidate Jeb Bush struggled on Sunday to explain how he could blame Hillary Clinton for the attacks in Benghazi while insisting that George W. Bush was blameless for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
While speaking to Bloomberg last week, Trump reminded the interviewer that George Bush was president when the World Trade Center was attacked in New York.
“He was president, OK?” Trump said. “Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”
The comments sparked Bush to respond by calling Trump “pathetic” in a Twitter post. And on Sunday, he continued to defend the 43rd president during an interview with CNN.
“My brother responded to a crisis and united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe,” the GOP hopeful told Tapper. “And there’s no denying that. And the great majority of Americans believe that. And I don’t know why he keeps bringing this up.”
Tapper wondered if Bush’s loyalty to his brother “might be in some ways a political or policy liability blinding you to mistakes he made.”
“It’s what you do after that matters,” Bush insisted. “Does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they’re totally marginalized in our society. It’s what he did afterwards that mattered, and I’m proud of him. And so are a bunch of other people.”
“Obviously al Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” the CNN host pressed. “But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?”
Bush stammered in response: “Well, I — the question on Benghazi, which we will now finally get the truth to, is was the place secure? They had a responsibility at the Department of State to have proper security.”
“And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack?” he continued. “Was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That’s what the investigation is about, it’s not a political issue… Were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates, and during the period, those hours after the attacks started, could they have been saved?”
“That’s kind of proving the point of the critics,” Tapper noted. “You don’t want you brother to bear responsibility for 9/11 — and I understand that argument and al Qaeda is responsible — but why are the terrorists not the ones that are responsible for these attacks in Libya?”
“They are!” Bush replied. “But if the ambassador was asking for additional security and they didn’t get it, that’s a proper point. And if it’s proven that the security was adequate compared to other embassies, then fine, we’ll move on.”
Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) is running full-steam ahead in his long-shot bid for Speaker, while looming redistricting plans in his state threaten his congressional seat.
Webster’s reelection chances in his current district suffered a severe blow Oct. 9 when a circuit court judge give tentative approval to a redistricting proposal favoring Democrats in his area.
While the map plans have yet to be finalized, it raises the prospect that if successful in his leadership bid, Webster could assume the Speaker’s gavel without having solid reelection prospects.
Well, it turns out that Hillary’s emails do contain some scandalous info. The Daily Mail:
A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.
The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.
He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.
The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal.
Breathless tabloid prose aside, it’s still pretty funny that perhaps the most important discovery from a committee that has held almost as many hearings as the 9/11 committee concerns one of W’s fuckups.
For nearly four decades, it remained one of America’s most infamous unsolved crimes: on Dec. 11, 1978, a crew of masked men stole $6 million in cash and jewelry from a Lufthansa Airlines cargo building at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
The brazen heist, which helped inspire the gangster movie “Goodfellas,” left authorities largely frustrated until last year, when federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Vincent Asaro, a member of the Bonanno organized crime family, with participating in the theft.
Most of the other suspected participants in the robbery disappeared, were killed or died, making it difficult for authorities to piece the case together.
“Once you kill one guy, you gotta kill them all, because otherwise they’ll get scared,” said Howard Abadinsky, an organized crime expert and a professor at St John’s University in New York. “He’s one of the few guys that’s still alive.”
Pictures of Joan Leslie: (5) JOAN LESLIE 1925-2015 on Pinterest | Dandy, Actresses and Photo Galleries
So what are you all reading about today?