Archive for the ‘tv’ Category

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for that
kind introduction. In recent weeks, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting
eighty-nine gracious Senators, including all the members of this Committee. I thank you
for the time you have spent with me. Our meetings have given me an illuminating tour of
the fifty states and invaluable insights into the American people.
There are countless family members, friends, mentors, colleagues, and clerks who have
done so much over the years to make this day possible. I am deeply appreciative for their
love and support. I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom. I am here
today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother Juan and me. Mom, I
love that we are sharing this together. I am very grateful to the President and humbled to
be here today as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.
The progression of my life has been uniquely American. My parents left Puerto Rico
during World War II. I grew up in modest circumstances in a Bronx housing project.
My father, a factory worker with a third grade education, passed away when I was nine
years old.
On her own, my mother raised my brother and me. She taught us that the key to success
in America is a good education. And she set the example, studying alongside my brother
and me at our kitchen table so that she could become a registered nurse. We worked
I poured myself into my studies at Cardinal Spellman High School, earning scholarships
to Princeton University and then Yale Law School, while my brother went to medical
school. Our achievements are due to the values that we learned as children, and they
have continued to guide my life’s endeavors. I try to pass on this legacy by serving as a
mentor and friend to my many godchildren and students of all backgrounds.
Over the past three decades, I have seen our judicial system from a number of different
perspectives – as a big-city prosecutor, a corporate litigator, a trial judge and an appellate
judge. My first job after law school was….
… as an assistant District Attorney in New York. There, I saw children exploited and
abused. I felt the suffering of victims’ families torn apart by a loved one’s needless

And I learned the tough job law enforcement has protecting the public safety. In my next
legal job, I focused on commercial, instead of criminal, matters. I litigated issues on
behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from
contracts to trademarks.
My career as an advocate ended — and my career as a judge began — when I was
appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York. As a trial judge, I decided over four hundred and fifty
cases, and presided over dozens of trials, with perhaps my best known case involving the
Major League Baseball strike in 1995.
After six extraordinary years on the district court, I was appointed by President William
Jefferson Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On that
Court, I have enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful
colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us. I have now served
as an appellate judge for over a decade, deciding a wide range of Constitutional,
statutory, and other legal questions.
Throughout my seventeen years on the bench, I have witnessed the human consequences
of my decisions. Those decisions have been made not to serve the interests of any one
litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.
In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is
simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the
law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous
commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes
according to their terms and Congress’s intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents
established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I
have applied the law to the facts at hand.
The process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the
litigation are understood and acknowledged. That is why I generally structure my
opinions by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary
position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen
both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system. My personal and
professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding
the result in every case.

Since President Obama announced my nomination in May, I have received letters from
people all over this country. Many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles. Each
letter has deeply touched me. Each reflects a belief in the dream that led my parents to
come to New York all those years ago. It is our Constitution that makes that Dream
possible, and I now seek the honor of upholding the Constitution as a Justice on the
Supreme Court.



 This statement was originally put on Auntie War’s Facebook Profile in early July 2014 at a few minues to 1pm on the 8th of July 

 This statement was obviously intendended for Irish news outlets (Papers,radio RTE,TV, blogs like mine and websites


 This statement was obviously intendended for Irish news outlets (Papers,radio RTE,TV, blogs like mine and websites

No member of the extended Farrell family participated in the making of the documentary, “An Unfinished Conversation…”, on the life and death of my only sister Mairead


This is a brief explanation as to why we felt compelled not to participate.


The unjust killing by the British state of Mairead on March 6th 1988 was the most harrowing experience to befall our family and it was one that in my own case has left deep scars. The dramatic nature of Mairead’s short life and brutal death attracted many seeking to document it in print and film. With the wise advice of our lawyer Paddy McGrory we learnt from earlier mistakes and became much more cautious when dealing with the miscellaneous branches of the media.


The author of “An Unfinished Conversation…”, Briona Nic Dhiarmada, had been working with Mairead on a book about her life at the time of the murder. In 1989 Briona produced a manuscript, which I was given the task by my parents of reading. In the family’s view this ‘biography’ was deeply flawed. The main thesis was that Mairead’s political activism from her joining the Republican Movement till her death in Gibraltar stemmed from her need to “fit in” amongst her peers in the Republican Movement. This was not the confident, extrovert, intelligent and determined Mairead we knew and we believed said more about Nic Dhiarmada’s inadequacies rather than those of my sister. For that reason we decided to give Nic Dhiarmada a wide berth.


The above thesis contrasts markedly with Professor (sic) Nic Dhiarmada’s new-found assessment of my sister’s life as reproduced on the website of the US Notre Dame University: “I strongly believe that Mairéad Farrell was a product of her environment and a product of Irish history.”


Where and when she had her Pauline conversion I do not know, nor do I care.


Enter The Republican Movement


In the Summer of 2012 while I was on holiday abroad I received a call from what I will loosely call a leading figure in the Republican Movement. He informed me that Nic Dhiarmada had teamed up with Dublin-based filmmakers with the goal of making a documentary of Mairead’s life. I expressed my serious reservations about Nic Dhiarmada, but agreed to discuss it further on my return to Ireland. However, it soon transpired that filming of the documentary was well underway. The “big shots” within the Republican Movement had already done a deal with Nic Dhiarmada et al without having the common decency to inform us straight away of the proposal. Faced with such a fait accompli I decided to have nothing to do with the documentary and asked family members to do the same.


During the 1990s the leadership of the Republican Movement created what they call the “Republican Family”. Being the brother of an IRA martyr I have found myself forcibly adopted into this “family”. It has meant receiving calls to establish my views on such absurd things as Martin McGuinness shaking hands with Frau Battenberg aka Elizabeth Windsor. But when it came to something close to my heart, my sister, I receive no call. Of course, such underhand, deceitful actions are par for the course with these “big shot republicans”. One thing is clear: the Republican Movement would not allow its members to participate in a documentary about the families of the “republican royalty” without first getting the assent of these “royals”.


The Documentary


The title of  Briona Nic Dhiarmada’s documentary “An Unfinished Conversation..” puts, as I expected, the filmmaker centre stage. It will no doubt improve her career and help fill the coffers of the Dublin company involved. That is why I believe “On Another Woman’s Wound” would be a more appropriate title for the documentary.





In the greater scheme of things the making of this documentary is of little importance. There are more critical issues to be focused on from Ireland’s participation in mass murder via Shannon airport to mass unemployment, mass poverty, mass emigration etc etc that exists in Ireland. My daughter, newly-elected Sinn Fein councilor Mairead Farrell, and I agree that it is more important that she concentrates on the concerns of her constituents than become involved in this saga.


Gary Sinise is a co-founder of Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He is a three-time Tony-nominee, twice for acting in Steppenwolf’s productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Grapes of Wrath and once for Best Director of Buried Child. Gary has also directed some of Steppenwolf’s most notable productions, including Orphans, the Viet Nam veteran drama Tracers and Sam Shepard’s True West, which he later performed with John Malkovich in Steppenwolf’s New York debut and received an Obie award for directing. He’s appeared in many films including Apollo 13, Ransom, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor for Forrest Gump. On the small screen he’s won the Emmy for Best Actor in George Wallace and a Golden Globe for Truman, and appeared in CSI: New York. He plays electric bass in his band, The Lt. Dan Band, and is committed to Operation International Children, a grassroots program he co-created with author Laura Hillenbrand that sends school supplies to our troops which are then distributed to children in the conflict areas where they are deployed. In 2008 he was awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal for his humanitarian work, the second highest honor an American can receive.

Some of his credits and awards 


Actor The Big Bounce; The Human Stain; A Gentleman’s Game; Imposter; Mission to Mars; Reindeer Games; The Green Mile; It’s the Rage; Bruno; Snake Eyes; Ransom; Albino Alligator; Apollo 13; The Quick and the Dead; Forrest Gump; Jack the Bear; Of Mice and Men; A Midnight Clear. Director Of Mice and Men; Miles From Home.


Fallen Angel (Hallmark); That Championship Season (Showtime); George Wallace (TNT); Truman(HBO); The Stand (ABC).


Golden Globe (Truman); Obie Award (True West); Tony Award nomination (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Grapes of Wrath; Buried Child); Screen Actors Guild Award, Emmy Award and Cable ACE Award (George Wallace and Truman); National Board of Review Award (Forrest Gump); Academy Award nomination (Forrest Gump). Presidential Citizen Medal (2008)

Bluestone 42 research

Posted: May 2, 2013 in tv

One of the most common questions my co-writer James Cary and I get asked when we’re talking about our new comedy Bluestone 42, is about the research process. Did you do lots of research, people ask. Do you have a military background? The last question gets asked very rarely when it’s face-to-face. I can’t think why.
Bluestone 42
Given the subject matter of the show, a counter-IED team in Afghanistan, we knew from the outset that we were going to have to know what we were talking about. When we started developing the show, almost three years ago, we read all the books and watched all the documentaries we could. And we read reams of posts on ARRSE – the forum by soldiers, for soldiers, that gives an inside view of all things to do with the Army.

But more useful than any of that was talking to current and former soldiers first-hand about their experiences of Army life in theatre and back home. We talked to people who had served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to focus on those who did the same job that the characters in our show do. It often seemed to work as a ‘six degrees of separation’ exercise – you’d be surprised at who your family and friends know once you start asking around.
Lots of the material in the show is inspired by stuff that really happened, not least because real life is usually funnier, weirder and more interesting than anything you could make up. However, it’s vanishingly rare that you can just lift someone’s story and drop it into the show. Research gives you a big grab-bag of props, circumstances, rules, phrases and events that still need to be assembled into stories that are driven by your central characters.

Although the idea of research may seem a bit dry – as I’m writing this blogpost I am imagining readers up and down the country clicking over to YouTube and starting to look for videos of humorous cats – the process is incredibly engaging. In fact, it’s too engaging – there’s always something else to read or watch, but at some point you have to remember to write the stories. Research becomes a distraction rather than an inspiration. And if you’re lucky enough to actually make the show, you have to be prepared to let the research be the background not the point of the whole thing. Getting everything right on screen is not the same as not getting anything wrong.
Of course, we have got stuff wrong – there are always limitations, be they in terms of time, money, communication or just knowledge. But the stronger your foundation the better placed you are to avoid too many howling errors.
Throughout the process our touchstone was authenticity: comedy has to have one foot in reality to be funny. If you watch something and don’t believe in the world, it’s hard to laugh at. We were lucky to have an on-set military advisor with us every day during filming, and soon discovered that authenticity is a great trump card to play if you don’t like a script note – just tell them you can’t change it because that’s how it is in the Army. Although I’m pretty sure our producer saw through that one fairly early on!

Richard Hurst is co-writer of Bluestone 42, a brand new comedy drama following the lives of a bomb disposal detachment serving in Afghanistan.