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  • Stand against evil, stand with Israel, and support the IFCJ
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm by Sponsored Post

    Comments (2)

    Stand against Evil, Stand with Israel, and Support the IFCJ

    Whether under the guise of “protection” or in the form of open anti-Semitism, Jewish citizens in the Ukraine are in peril. A short time ago, more than 20 religious and business leaders signed a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin demanding that he stop using propaganda that claims Russian-speaking Jewish citizens need his defense in order to tighten his control on the region.

    Inside Story Image

    “You have stated that Russia wants to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking citizens of the Crimea and all of Ukraine and that these rights have been trampled by the current Ukrainian government,” the letter stated. “Historically, Ukrainian Jews are also mostly Russian-speaking. Thus, our opinion on what is happening carries no less weight than the opinion of those who advise and inform you.”

    “We are convinced that you are not easily fooled. This means that you must be consciously picking and choosing lies and slander from the entire body of information on Ukraine,” the letter stated.

    Stand with Israel today and protect Ukrainian Jews

    Have there been other recent events that suggest Ukrainian Jews are being threatened? Sadly, yes. At a rally in Cherkassy, Ukraine, several ultra-nationalists shed their jackets to reveal aggressive anti-Semitic slogans printed on their T-shirts. “Beat the Zhids,” read the front of their shirts. “Zhids,” which can be translated as “dirty Jew,” is a smear heard frequently in Eastern Europe, and was traditionally associated with past bloody pogroms against the Jews.

    Yet another worrisome anti-Semitic event came in the form of police brutality against a 28-year-old Jewish man, Dmitry Flekman. Allegedly, police officers demanded $10,000 from Flekman as well as the code to his credit card, which was taken from him. Police also threatened that they were planning to search his home and would find drugs there. According to Flekman’s statement, the beating required him to seek medical attention at the hospital for a fractured tailbone.

    As anti-Semitism, civil unrest, and Russian aggression in Ukraine continue to rise, you’re likely wondering what you can do to help. There is an organization willing to stand up for what is right. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Their vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect, and cooperation. Learn how you can help today.

    The Fellowship‘s success has far exceeded expectations. Over the years, they have been leaders in Jewish-Christian relations, building bridges of goodwill that have led to greater understanding and cooperation between members of these two great faiths. They have helped hundreds of thousands of Jews escape poverty and anti-Semitism and return to their biblical homeland, funded humanitarian assistance that has touched the lives of millions of Jews in Israel and around the world, provided life-giving aid to Israel’s victims of war and terror, and much more. Learn how you can be a part of their mission and touch the lives of so many wonderful people around the world.

  • Milton Friedman demolishes Obama’s equal pay argument
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (28)

    Last week, President Obama made his his National Equal Pay Day proclamation, repeating the misleading statistic that “women still make only 77 cents to every man’s dollar.”

    As Major Garrett perceptively noted, the manner in which the President carried out the equal pay push reflected former advisor David Plouffe’s ingenious strategy of “stray voltage”:

    “The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness. This happens, Plouffe theorizes, even when—and sometimes especially when—the White House appears defensive, besieged, or off-guard.”

    While this post itself is perhaps reflective of the effectiveness of Plouffe’s strategy, nevertheless we thought it worth pointing out a video uncovered by George Mason University Professor Don Boudreaux over at Cafe Hayek. The video, which comes from a series of lectures delivered by Milton Friedman from 1977-1978, which were intended to serve as content for the “Free to Choose” video series (which preceded his best-selling book of the same name), deals with the substance of “equal pay” for “equal work” legislation.

    Here is the clip:

    Below are a couple of Friedman’s most compelling arguments: (more…)

  • Buck Sexton: ‘Realization of a Dream’ to Be Sitting in for Rush Limbaugh
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:45 am by Erica Ritz

    Comments (74)

    TheBlaze’s very own Buck Sexton is filling in for “America’s anchorman” Rush Limbaugh while he is away on Friday. It will be Sexton’s first time sitting behind the “golden EIB microphone” (though, technically, he will be broadcasting from New York).

    “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed,” Sexton told TheBlaze. “Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now. I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”​

    TheBlaze's Buck Sexton is filling in for legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh on April 18.

    TheBlaze’s Buck Sexton is filling in for legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh on April 18.

    A former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst, Sexton is TheBlaze’s national security editor. He is also the host of Buck Sexton on TheBlaze Radio Network from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, and a co-host of Real News on TheBlaze TV at 6:00 p.m. ET.

    TheBlaze Radio Network can be heard on TheBlaze.com, TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps, and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s free digital radio service.

    Some of you may have heard-- and yes it's true-- I will be filling in for Rush Limbaugh tomorrow (4/18) on radio from 12-3 ET.
    TheBlazes Buck Sexton Filling in for Rush Limbaugh
    @BuckSexton
    Buck Sexton

    Joel Cheatwood, TheBlaze’s president and chief content officer, said he is “thrilled Buck is a part of TheBlaze team.”

    “He truly is a triple threat for us – radio, web, and television – and brings great passion and energy to everything he’s involved with,” Cheatwood remarked.

    You can follow follow Buck Sexton on Twitter and Facebook. And find a station where you can listen live to the Rush Limbaugh Show here.

  • New book asks: Did ‘crony capitalism’ prolong the Civil War?
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:30 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (41)

    In a new book titled “Uncle Sam Can’t Count,” Burton W. Folsom Jr. and wife Anita Folsom examine the history of largely disastrous government intervention in the American economy, through its impact on the early fur trade to 19th century railroad construction to the green energy boondoggles of today.

    Following in the footsteps of Burt Folsom’s excellent “The Myth of the Robber Barons,” much of the book centers on the constant battle between political entrepreneurs, who seek to use their political influence to capture monopoly profits and stifle competition, and market entrepreneurs, who seek to make a better product or deliver a superior service at a lower price than the crony capitalists with whom they compete.

    Uncle Sam Can't CountIn the shipbuilding business of the mid-1800s, it turns out that government intervention, specifically its mass subsidization of a handful of steamboat operators, may have literally prolonged the Civil War, in direct contradiction of one of government’s stated purposes for funding the industry in the first place.

    In the steamboat business, Cornelius Vanderbilt was the walking embodiment of market entrepreneurship, breaking up one shipping monopoly after the next by unrelentingly undercutting his competitors and continually improving his fleet. Vanderbilt’s success was so overwhelming that in California, his opponents used 75% or $672,000 of their annual $900,000 subsidy to pay him not to run any of his ships there.

    Such efforts would ultimately lead to the widespread deregulation and ending of subsidies to the industry.

    But before that point was reached, the government lavished crony capitalists such as Edward K. Collins with hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies each year, deterring competitors and disincentivizing innovation, the consequences of which may have included lengthier and more deadly Civil War.

    Here’s the story as told by the Folsoms in “Uncle Sam Can’t Count” [emphasis ours]:

    51B5ZQe663L

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    Title: Uncle Sam Can't Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy

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    Americans were slower to turn to iron ships because their costs of iron construction were higher than those in England. Still, American engineers had been experimenting (more…)

  • Three book Thursday: Conservatism, the Constitution and Elizabeth Warren
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (1)

    Below are some reading materials of interest on three books including “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative” by Paul Kengor (covered extensively by TheBlaze Books), “The Conscience of the Constitution” by Timothy Sandefur, and “A Fighting Chance,” Senator Elizabeth Warren’s soon-to-be-released book.

    1. “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative” by Paul Kengor

    Writing in the American Spectator, former Reagan White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord argues that Kengor’s book is “important — a classic” because:

    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative

    “While Reagan’s name is invoked constantly, all too frequently it is done for show or with misinformation that tries to lead an audience to believe Reagan believed something that in fact he did not. Making of America’s most famous conviction politician an all-purpose believer in everything and nothing simultaneously. Kengor has performed an enormously useful task here by setting out the core tenets of those who call themselves Reagan conservatives.”

    Lord draws a direct line between those who intuitively understand and appreciate Reagan conservatism, and the GOP Establishment:

    “While the above instances [of conservatives turning on Establishment Republicans] focus on Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, in fact the friction between Reagan conservatives and the GOP Establishment shows up time and time again. The move by House Republicans to upend Speaker John Boehner, the popularity of Senator Ted Cruz and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin among others, the fierce divide on when and how to challenge President Obama on Obamacare and other issues — all of these and more have a direct relation to some formulation of the Reagan conservative principles as Paul Kengor has outlined them in 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.”

    2. “The Conscience of the Constitution” by Timothy Sandefur

    Writing in the Washington Post, recent Blaze Books interviewee George Will argues that thanks to the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Timothy Sandefur, America has “what it has long needed, a slender book that lucidly explains the intensity of conservatism’s disagreements with progressivism.”

    The Conscience of the Constitution

    In Sandefur’s “The Conscience of the Constitution,” Will writes that Sandefur’s explication of the stakes of the battle between individual liberty and majoritarian governance explains the “heatedness of political argument today.” Will explains it thusly:

    “The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.”

    Will ends his review with an intriguing statement on Sandefur’s conclusion on democracy and the judiciary:

    “Government, the framers said, is instituted to improve upon the state of nature, in which the individual is at the mercy of the strong. But when democracy, meaning the process of majority rule, is the supreme value — when it is elevated to the status of what the Constitution is “basically about” — the individual is again at the mercy of the strong, the strength of mere numbers.

    Sandefur says progressivism “inverts America’s constitutional foundations” by holding that the Constitution is “about” democracy, which rejects the framers’ premise that majority rule is legitimate “only within the boundaries” of the individual’s natural rights. These include — indeed, are mostly — unenumerated rights whose existence and importance are affirmed by the Ninth Amendment.

    Many conservatives should be discomfited by Sandefur’s analysis, which entails this conclusion: Their indiscriminate denunciations of “judicial activism” inadvertently serve progressivism. The protection of rights, those constitutionally enumerated and others, requires a judiciary actively engaged in enforcing what the Constitution is “basically about,” which is making majority power respect individuals’ rights.”

    3. “A Fighting Chance” by Senator Elizabeth Warren

    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.29.46 PM

    Senator Warren’s book, which comes out next week, has been getting some early buzz related to her recounting of contentious interactions between Warren and then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, as well as President Obama, along with her discussion on the controversy surrounding her proclaimed “Native American heritage.”

    At Blaze Books, we feel it valuable to know what is in the progressive zeitgeist, and as such feel that the following articles on Warren’s book are entertaining, insightful and worthwhile reads:

  • Awesome moment: ‘This was the day I met my son’s heart recipient’
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:10 am by Colin Balfe

    Comments (30)

    At TheBlaze, we’re fortunate to have a truly extraordinary audience. A little while ago, we asked you to send us the best moment of your life captured in a photo. What came in blew us away. We started a Facebook page to share these amazing stories and photos with you. To view them, visit The Blaze Best Moments Facebook page: Facebook.com/TheBlazeMoments.

    Below, you can see one such moment. It comes from Susan Puckett:

    This was the day I met my son’s heart recipient. My son, Thomas, died as a result of a traumatic head injury in August, 2008. He was just a few days away from turning 18. He had made the decision to be an organ donor when he got his driver’s license. We honored his wishes upon his death. Several months later, I wrote to all of his recipients and prayed that we would get a response. In the spring of 2011, I received the letter I had been praying for – from Derrick, my son’s heart recipient. With further correspondence, he was ready to meet us. That was in June of 2011. It was such a blessing to meet this wonderful, young man, who we now refer to as our heart son.

    heart brothers

    (Source: Susan Puckett)

    If you have a photo you’d like to share with us, send it to BestMoments@theblaze.com. We may share your photos with TheBlaze and Glenn Beck audiences and across all of our platforms including TheBlaze.com, GlennBeck.com, Facebook and Twitter.

    Throughout this page, you will find our mission statement embodied in miraculous stories of love, hope, sacrifice and honor. That statement is, “We tell stories of love and courage where the good guys win.”

    We’re so grateful to be able to share these sacred moments to help uplift, inspire or empower others. Thank you for being so generous with your precious memories.

  • Replace ‘Stalin’ with ‘Putin’ in this 1948 newspaper column, and prepare to be amazed
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:16 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (17)

    Recently, conditions in Ukraine have been intensifying, with some predicting a full-on Soviet revival marked by a ramping up of nationalism followed by moves to bring former Soviet bloc states back into the Russian orbit.

    In a throwback to the Cold War, it bears noting that this past weekend, Russian fighter planes made multiple close-range passes near an American warship stationed in the Black Sea as well.

    Ukrainian soldiers take part in a military drill not far from the small city of Goncharovskoye, some 150 km from Kiev, on March 14, 2014. Russia on March 14 declared it reserved the right to protect compatriots in the whole of Ukraine, seen as a threat that Moscow could move its forces beyond the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

    Ukrainian soldiers take part in a military drill not far from the small city of Goncharovskoye, some 150 km from Kiev, on March 14, 2014. Russia on March 14 declared it reserved the right to protect compatriots in the whole of Ukraine, seen as a threat that Moscow could move its forces beyond the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

    In light of Russia’s ongoing revanchist and irredentist exercise, and the West’s response or lack thereof to it, the below article written by Henry Hazlitt, a free-market journalist and author best known for his classic, “Economics in One Lesson,” seems to prove that if history does not repeat itself, it certainly rhymes.

    Hazlitt’s article is especially interesting in light of not only the parallels between 1948 Stalin and 2014 Putin, but in his opinion that the West should take the offensive against the Soviets, given his libertarian philosophy.

    The article, published in Newsweek on September 13, 1948, and collected in Hazlitt’s incomparable “Business Tides,” is titled “Does Stalin Want War?” All emphasis is ours.

    Does Stalin Want War?

    Does Stalin want war? This is not only the most fateful political question that confronts the world today, but the most fateful economic question. Economically, it overshadows inflation, for the extent of inflationary pressure will itself depend in large part on the issue of war or peace. War dictates the level of taxation and the whole structure of production. The recent diplomatic tension has been a major influence on our commodity and security markets, on business sentiment and business plans.

    If it takes two to make a war, it also takes two to keep the peace. And whatever Stalin wants today, he does not primarily want peace. No one who sincerely yearns for peace would turn loose every organ of propaganda against us; would order a daily barrage of vilification; would daily trump up new accusations and new lies against us; would systematically sow suspicion and hatred against the Western democracies; would use his consulates and embassies abroad as propaganda centers and espionage nests against the countries that harbor them; would daily raise new issues, think up new insults, create new crises; would cut off rail access to Berlin,”buzz” our supplying planes (more…)

  • Caption contest! The Obama-Biden ‘first selfie’
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (81)

    As seen on Twitter. Feel free to submit your caption in the comments section.

  • Do your own homework: For The Record’s research for ‘System Failure’
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm by Tom Orr

    Comments (1)

    The article “Ground Broken on Roxbury Islamic Center” shown in the episode.

    The official website for Americans For Peace And Tolerance.

    The March 2000 letter from Muhammad Ali-Salaam while acting in his role with the city: Ali Salaam Letter

    The newsletter from one month earlier showing Muhammad Ali-Salaam as one of the mosque’s major fundraisers: ISB February 2000

    The video of the August 2013 ceremony honoring Ali-Salaam shown in the episode.

    The foundational document for the Islamic Society of Boston showing Abdulrahman Alamoudi’s name: ISB Articles of Organization

    A 2004 Washington Post article on Alamoudi’s sentencing.

    The Department of Justice press release on Alamoudi’s sentencing that was shown in the episode.

    The article “$muggler Linked to Bin Laden” article shown in the episode.

    The article “Outspoken Cleric, Jailed Activist Tied to New Hub Mosque” shown in the episode.

    The article “Hub Mosque Leader Tied to Radical Groups” shown in the episode.

    The tax document showing Yusuf al Qaradawi as a trustee of the ISB. His name appears on page 4: ISB 990 – 2000

    The videos with translations of Qaradawi’s speeches come from MEMRI. You can find them on YouTube here, here, and here.

    The “40 Recommendations for The Muslim Home” page as it appeared on the ISB website in 2004: 40 Recommendations for The Muslim Home

    An article on Aafia Siddiqui, who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque and was later convicted of attempted murder.

    The Department of Justice press release on Tarek Mehanna’s sentencing for a plot to attack a shopping mall.

    The exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert and then-FBI director Robert Mueller is from a June 13, 2013 House Judiciary Committee hearing. Gohmert’s questioning starts at 2:02:45.

    The video of Anwar Kazmi speaking in support of Aafia Siddiqui and Tarek Mehanna shown in the episode.

  • Hillary PAC takes page from Carney family playbook with Communist-inspired Clinton iconography
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (63)

    Last week, we noted that in a profile of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, in Washingtonian MOM magazine, Soviet-era propaganda adorned the walls of the family’s home.

    Today, a photo has been making the rounds, courtesy of the Ready for Hillary Super PAC’s Facebook page, of Hillary Clinton supporters standing in front of a piece of Communist-style, propaganda-esque art. The person depicted in the piece? Ms. Clinton herself.

    It started with the below tweet from the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markey:

    Other tweeters noted the photo’s likeness to Communist imagery from American pop culture to Mao:

     

    One of the supporters pictured in the Ready for Hillary photo is named “Dolores,” someone who may be familiar to Blaze readers. As some may recall, the woman pictured on the far right of the Ready for Hillary photo is Dolores Huerta, a life-long community organizer and unabashed progressive activist whose career began with the co-founding of the National Farm Workers Association with César Chávez in 1962.

    Dolores HuertaHuerta, a former co-chair of Hispanic outreach efforts during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, is known for a number of controversial statements and associations.

    Back in 2006, Huerta praised Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez’s policies, asking (more…)

  • Romney family takes Tax Day shot at Reid: ‘It’s how you get your paycheck’
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm by Becket Adams

    Comments (8)

    Millions of Americans grumbled April 15 as they rushed to file their taxes on time.

    Some, including this author, paid online; others stood in line. And some used Tax Day as an opportunity to take a jab at Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

    Yes, that’s a photo of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney standing in line to file his taxes.

    “Hey @SenatorReid here’s a shot of @MittRomney paying taxes,” his son Josh Romney tweeted. “Does it every year. It’s how you get your paycheck.”

    Romney’s taxes became a major focus of the 2012 presidential elections as President Barack Obama and his allies repeatedly suggested the Republican presidential candidate hadn’t paid “his fair share.”

    Reid helped in these attacks, using the floor of the U.S. Senate to accuse Romney of being a tax cheat.

    “He has refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns,” Reid said in 2012. “So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.”

    “We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account. Not making that up, that’s in the partial year that he gave us,” Reid said. “Mitt Romney makes more money in a single day than the average middle-class family makes in two years–or more.”

    Romney later released his tax returns showing that he had indeed been paying the U.S. government all along. Reid never retracted his accusations or revealed his supposed source of information.

    Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

  • The three books George Will believes every American should read
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:45 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (0)

    Last week we conducted an extensive interview with prodigious columnist and author George Will on his new book, “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred,” as well as on 2016, immigration and the state of America more broadly.

    Mr. Will also provided TheBlaze Books [Facebook, Twitter] with some reading recommendations, including the three books that he believes every American should read.

    Below are the three titles he selected:

    1. The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay

    The Federalist Papers

     

    The Federalist Papers lay out in great detail the major arguments for, and rationale behind, the U.S. Constitution. As we have written about before, the Anti-Federalist Papers are also highly valuable in representing the counter-arguments to the U.S. Constitution as conceived by the Federalists.

    2. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville (more…)
  • NYPD shuts down unit that spied on Muslims — new book had warned against just such actions
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:09 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (3)

    Yesterday the New York Times reported that the New York Police Department “has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped.”

    A book published just two days ago warned of the danger of just such actions, and the potentially nefarious motives behind the groups who prompt such actions.

    (Photo: Gothamist)

    NYPD surveillance. (Photo: Gothamist) 

    As the Times notes, the NYPD was the subject of two federal lawsuits in connection with its intelligence-gathering tactics, as well as criticism from civil rights group and a member of the FBI who claimed such practices damaged law enforcement’s standing in Muslim communities by “sowing mistrust.”

    The NYPD announced it was shuttering its Demographics Unit (renamed the Zone Assessment Unit) that carried out its Muslim eavesdropping operations during a meeting between Commissioner William Bratton and new intelligence chief John Miller, and various advocates including a representative from the Arab American Association of New York last week.

    Such communications, and the NYPD’s decision to close down its Demographics Unit, dovetail with Bratton’s stated effort “to try to heal rifts between the Police Department and minority communities that have felt alienated as a result of policies pursued during the Bloomberg administration.”

    Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that the closing of the unit was “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys/”

    But Robert Spencer, a leading counter-jihadist, in a new book called “Arab Winter Comes to America,” argues that (more…)

  • Michael Bloomberg says he has a direct path to Heaven for his gun work — no, really
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:06 am by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (133)

    The end of Michael Bloomberg’s NY Times interview (we covered the part where he plans to make an anti-gun NRA here) has a very odd ending. The former NYC mayor said that if there is a God, he’s getting fast-tracked to him in the afterlife because of his work on guns and smoking:

    Mr. Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.

    But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

  • Pat and Stu hilariously find the ‘worst’ infomercial product Glenn Beck has ever seen in his life
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (0)

    Periodically, Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere review products — typically those advertised in infomercials — live on radio.

    On Tuesday, the group found what Beck described as “the worst product I’ve ever seen in my life.” It was InVinceable, a “powerful all-in-one cleaner” promoted by “the ShamWow guy” Vince Offer.

    The group conducted their own in-house experiments on the product, unsuccessfully attempting to re-create the infomercial. For instance, Offer stuns the audience when he pours InVinceable into a jug filled with “coffee, oil, iodine and more,” and a “regular cleaner” into another jug of the same concoction. Within seconds, the jug treated with InVinceable miraculously becomes as clear as drinking water.

    InVinceable seemingly made the jug on the left completely clear. (Photo: Invinceable Commercial/YouTube)

    InVinceable seemingly made the jug on the left completely clear. (Photo: Invinceable Commercial/YouTube)

    In the recreation, Burguiere used a generic cleanser, while Gray used InVinceable. Neither was particularly successful, but it seemed as though the generic cleaner actually may have worked slightly better.

    In the picture below, the generic cleanser is on the left, while InVinceable is on the right (opposite as the photo above):

    InVinceable, used in the jug to the right, appeared to have no impact on the container of coffee, iodine, and oil. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    InVinceable, used in the jug to the right, appeared to have no impact on the container of coffee, iodine, and oil. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    The two were no more successful when it came to removing stains on clothing:

    Pat and Stu determined that InVinceable was one of the worst cleaning products they'd ever used. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    Pat and Stu determined that InVinceable was one of the worst cleaning products they’d ever used. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    “You look like you’ve been shot,” Beck said, watching his co-hosts scrub at their shirts with InVinceable.

    “Shot with cleanliness?” Burguiere retorted.

    Laughing, Gray asked: “Have you ever seen a product work less? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it!”

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Get it all with a FREE TRIAL.

  • “I couldn’t be more blessed in life.”
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm by Colin Balfe

    Comments (0)

    “These are my two lovely girls who fight ALL the time. One of them a feisty blond and the other a fiery red head. They bicker constantly and have made me want to scream almost everyday. But…on a rare occasion, I find them together, holding hands..or even more as this photo shows. I couldn’t be more blessed in life.”

    Sisters

    (Source: Chelsea Norton)

    At TheBlaze, we’re fortunate to have a truly extraordinary audience. A little while ago, we asked you to send us the best moment of your life captured in a photo. What came in blew us away. We started a Facebook page to share these amazing stories and photos with you. To view them, visit The Blaze Best Moments Facebook page: Facebook.com/BlazeMoments

    If you have a photo you’d like to share with us, send it to BestMoments@theblaze.com. We may share your photos with TheBlaze and Glenn Beck audiences and across all of our platforms including TheBlaze.com, GlennBeck.com, Facebook and Twitter.

    Throughout this page, you will find our mission statement embodied in miraculous stories of love, hope, sacrifice and honor. That statement is, “We tell stories of love and courage where the good guys win.”

    We’re so grateful to be able to share these sacred moments to help uplift, inspire or empower others. Thank you for being so generous with your precious memories.

  • This book offers an alternative explanation for why Jay Carney might hang Soviet propaganda in his home
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (7)

    Over the weekend, TheBlaze noted that in a glowing profile on White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife Claire Shipman in Washingtonian MOM magazine, what garnered the most attention was the Soviet-era propaganda hanging in Carney and Shipman’s home.

    Image from Washingtonian MOM. Propaganda called out in boxes.

    The controversial picture from Washingtonian MOM’s profile of Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman. Propaganda called out by TheBlaze in red boxes. (Image Source: Washingtonian MOM)

    As TheBlaze noted, one potential explanation for why the family would hang Soviet-era propaganda in their home is that Jay Carney worked out of Time’s Moscow bureau for several years. Moreover, Carney and Shipman first met in Moscow in the 1990s.

    However, Diana West, a Blaze contributor and author of “American Betrayal,” has a different hypothesis.

    Writing on her website this past weekend, West argued that the propaganda hanging in the Carney household reflects a broader Leftist mindset that is at best apathetic towards the tyranny of Communism. West stated:

    “it is certainly the case that Western elites’ zest for Communist iconography is discussed in American Betrayal as a manifestation of the callous indifference to genocidal Communist crime that marks our society, a subject deeply analyzed and weighed throughout the book.”

    In fact, the basis of her controversial book, as discussed on the Glenn Beck program, is that American indifference, willful ignorance and out and out complicity with those who wish to destroy her, as manifested in the West’s dealings with Islamic supremacists today, has a shocking historical tradition. West believes that this destructive pattern of Western behavior dates back to America’s dealings with Communists in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, prior to and during the Cold War.

    West (more…)

  • 10 books that every liberty-lover should have in their library
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 9:40 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (1)

    Back in 1956, Henry Hazlitt, free-market journalist and author most famously of “Economics In One Lesson” penned a book titled “The Free Man’s Library,” a bibliography of sorts containing commentary on 550 books that ”explain the processes and advantages of free trade, free enterprise and free markets; which recognize the evils of excessive state power; and which champion the cause of individual freedom of worship, speech and thought.”

    In order to aid his readers, Hazlitt tips us off to the ‘ten best’ historic classics on liberty and individualism.”

    Below are the all 10 of Hazlitt’s recommendations, along with his commentary on each title.

    1. Areopagitica by John Milton

    Areopagitica

    “This written oration against censorship is the noblest of Milton’s tracts, and one of the great documents on liberty. It is rich in magnificent sentences: “As good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.” . . . “Who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?” John Morley, in an article in the Fortnightly Review (August, 1873) wrote: “[John Stuart] Mill’s memorable plea for social liberty was little more than an enlargement, though a very important enlargement, of the principles of the still more famous speech for liberty of unlicensed printing which Milton enobled English literature two centuries before.”

    2. Second Treatise of Government by John Locke

    Second Treatise of Government

    “His name and writings are not today very familiar to the general reader, because nearly all his principles were translated into practice by other men, famous in their day and tolerably well known to posterity, while Locke is little more than a name, venerated but nowadays seldom read. And yet he is, directly and indirectly, perhaps the most influential writer who has appeared in the last two hundred years…In Civil Government Locke expounds the Individualistic view of private property, and again lays down the quintessence of Individualism: “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.” He qualifies his theory of a Social Contract, Compact, or Covenant, by pointing out that “men when they enter into society give up . . . liberty” of a kind; “yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property,” the power conferred “can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good, but is obliged to secure everyone’s property,” etc., etc. This artful qualification of the common good, serves as a complete defence of the “Glorious Revolution,” which gave us effective parliamentary government…Locke’s victory over all opposing schools of thought was so complete that Emancipation and Liberty became for more than a century after his death the keynotes of English political philosophy…The historical importance of…[his work] in the history of individualism is enormous.”

    3. Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary by David Hume

    Essays Moral Political and Literary

    “Although Adam Smith referred to David Hume in his “Wealth of Nations” as “by far the most illustrious philosopher and historian of the present age,” even professional economists seldom seem to recognize the great intellectual debt that Smith owed to his older friend Hume, not merely in general philosophy but in the special realm of economics. These essays, published more than thirty years before “The Wealth of Nations,” embody many important ideas which Adam Smith later expanded and pushed further. The most important economic essays are Of Commerce, Of the Balance of Trade, Of the Jealousy of Trade, Of Money, Of Interest, Of Taxes, and Of Public Credit. In addition there are political essays, Of the Liberty of the Press, Of the Independence of Parliament, and Of Civil Liberty, that stand among the earlier developments of the modern philosophy of individualism. Hume was hardly less distinguished for the excellence of his literary style than for the originality and acuteness of his ideas.”

    4. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

    The Wealth of Nations

    “Adam Smith is not merely the founder of political economy, but the father of economic liberty. In the 180 years since “The Wealth of Nations appeared,” the case for free trade, for example, has been stated thousands of times, but probably never with more direct simplicity and force than in that volume.

    (more…)

  • The 5 presidents that sported beards in the White House — Can you name them all?
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (3)

    A video produced by the White House and posted online earlier this month examined the history of “presidential beards.”

    Peppered with cool factoids — for instance, did you know Abraham Lincoln was the first president to sport a beard? — the video reveals the five presidents that have adorned their faces with a beard. (more…)

  • Proof of Harry Reid’s ‘Koch’ addiction – watch him mention the Koch brothers 134 times
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:15 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (39)

    We now have what the NFL would call “indisputable visual evidence” of Harry Reid’s much-rumored addiction to bashing the Koch brothers. The video attached here shows the Senate Majority Leader displaying what some mental health professionals might consider “obsessive” or “unhealthy” behavior.

    In this montage, assembled by the Washington Free Beacon, most of these mentions by Sen. Reid happened since February of 2014.

    In mention #97, Reid actually uses the phrase “addicted to Koch.” As they say in most recovery programs, admitting that you have a problem is the first step.

     

    Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain

  • This mesmerizing 2-minute illusion is bound to go mega-viral
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (62)

    We don’t know how this is even possible — but it’s amazing.

    This video currently has about 61,000 views, but odds are it will go viral before the day is over.

    (H/T: BestofYouTube)

  • Christian Planned Parenthood exec explains her views on abortion
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (27)

    Planned Parenthood executive Alexis McGill Johnson recently told the Christian Post that she’s a Christian who believes that the decision to have an abortion should “be left to a woman, her doctor and her God.”

    Johnson, who is chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the outlet that she doesn’t think lawmakers should be making such personal choices for women.

    She also described becoming an activist after seeing a billboard in 2011 that highlighted higher abortion rates among African Americans. Johnson, who said she found the billboard’s message unappealing, explained that it was a catalyst for her involvement in activism.

    Screen shot from the Planned Parenthood website

    Screen shot from the Planned Parenthood website

    “I feel like it’s an assault on black women’s ability to make a decision,” she said. “We all recognize that abortion and terminating a pregnancy is a very complicated decision, but that issue needs to be left to a woman, her doctor and her God, not a politician.”

    Johnson added, “I felt that it was a very insulting way of trying to suggest that we’re not capable of grappling with the implications of the decisions that we make.”

    She also shared that she believes critics mistakenly assume “that abortion is the only thing” Planned Parenthood does — an idea Johnson said simply isn’t true.

    Read the entire interview here.

    (H/T: Christian Post)

  • George Will: ‘I’m quite confident that we’re going to rebel against this abusive government’
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:50 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (233)

    George Will

    In an interview with TheBlaze Books [TwitterFacebook] in connection with the release of his new book, “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred,” we spoke with prodigious columnist and author George Will on all things baseball and his unified theory of beer, and then moved on to the arguably more important topic of the state of the union, touching on everything from the American founding, Will’s affinity for the Tea Party, to 2016, to immigration.

    Among other explosive comments, Will told us that he is “quite confident that we’re going to rebel against this abusive government…sooner or later arithmetic is going to force realism on us.”

    Our interview, which we conducted via phone, is below, slightly modified to include links and italics for emphasis.

    There’s the old cliché that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Is there a time in world history that you think is most analogous to today, and what country do you think in that era represented America? In other words, are we in World War I, and America is the British Empire, or is this World War II, or are we Rome? I’m curious as to your thoughts. 

    Will: Well ever since at about the time of the American founding, Edward Gibbon wrote “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” people have been fascinated by the threat that democracies would decay; that history would be cyclical not linear; that decay and decline was inevitable; that the seeds of destruction were in particular regimes and particularly in democracies. And clearly the American founders worried about this. And Lincoln worried about it at Gettysburg, that the question was “Whether we shall long endure this form of government.”

    I think that we’re in a period today comparable to the American founding period
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    So I think that we’re in a period today comparable to the American founding period in two senses: one, we’re worried about decay — we’re worried about whether we’re squandering our legacy and whether we’re calling into question whether people can really govern themselves — but also because, and this is the heartening part of this, today as never before in my lifetime, Americans have rekindled their interest in the founding era and the founding principles. Look at the wonderful sales of biographies of the founders: Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison. Look at the Tea Party, which I think frankly is one of the great events of my lifetime.

    The American people go through life with a little crick of their necks from looking back at the past, and that’s healthy. We always relate to the Declaration and to the Constitution and here, along comes the Tea Party movement named after something that happened in 1773: the Boston Tea Party. And it’s called us back to reverence for, and understanding of, and insistence upon, the founding principles of limited government. So, in a good sense and a bad sense, I think we’re in the founding period. We’re in a period like our founding when we considered first principles and worried about the possibility of decay.

    What do you view as the greatest threat to America today?

    Will: The greatest threat to America today – there are two of them and they’re related: one is family disintegration, the fact that Americans’ babies are born to unmarried women. We know the importance of a father in the home. We know that the family is the primary transmitter of what’s called social capital, that is the habits, mores, customs, values, dispositions that make for success in a free society. So that’s one threat to America.

    The other is the simple fact that we will not live within our means. We are piling up debts for other people to pay. We used to borrow money for the future. We won wars for the future. We built roads, highways, bridges, dams, airports for the future. Now, we’re borrowing from the future, from the rising generations in order to finance our own current consumption of government services, and that just seems to me as fundamentally and self-evidently wrong as can be.

    We used to borrow money for the future…Now, we’re borrowing from the future
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    And to follow up on that, I would imagine that you probably agree that politics is a reflection of the culture – policies can ultimately have an effect on the culture, but politics stems from the culture. So to that end, can you see a time at which our society will so rebel against the Leviathan state that it will actually vote to slash it’s own benefits, and the largesse that it’s receiving?

    Will: I’m quite confident that we’re going to rebel against this abusive government. I think that, you know Winston Churchill said, “The American people invariably do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives.” And I think we’re beginning to get to the bottom of the list of alternatives, and to realize that arithmetic is inexorable. You can’t make 2+2 equal 7, and sooner or later arithmetic is going to force realism upon us.

    I’m quite confident that we’re going to rebel against this abusive government.
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    Now jumping to 2016, the paradigm I see is that the Establishment will coalesce around one figure — and today it seems as if the main flavor is, and I know you wrote about this recently, Jeb Bush — but as I see it an Establishment candidate since we’ve had one since the days of Rockefeller that Establishment folks can all get behind. And then you’ll have a series of other candidates running against the Establishment, likely it seems that Ted Cruz and Rand Paul would fit this bill. And it would seem the Establishment will want Cruz and Paul to savage each other, and split the vote, leading to an Establishment candidate rising to victory in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Where am I wrong in this thesis?

    Will: I think you’re wrong in two particulars. One is the suggestion that there can be a binary choice early on – Establishment against a non-Establishment candidate. I think the Republican bench is so talented and so rich with possibilities right now that there won’t be that kind of binary moment. Second, I think the phrase “Establishment” is tossed around a little too freely. There was a time when there really was a Republican Establishment. Goldwater began to kill it when he got the nomination over Nelson Rockefeller in 1964. In the 1960s, the House organ of the Republican Establishment, the New York Herald Tribune newspaper went out of business,  and that’s sort of symbolic to me. In 1964, when Rockefeller failed to defeat Goldwater in the California primary, as they went to the San Francisco Convention, the Republican Establishment, the editors of Time Life and all that and the Herald Tribune got together and they just conjured up a rival overnight – literally overnight: Bill Scranton, the governor of Pennsylvania. Goldwater turned him aside, and since then the Republican Establishment has been declining, and today I’m not sure there is an Establishment that can behave the way it used to.

    I think the phrase “Establishment” is tossed around a little too freely
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    Furthermore, if any one candidate, Jeb Bush or anyone else, becomes identified as the choice of the Republican Establishment, the one thing you know for sure is he won’t be nominated. And I think, I imagine Jeb Bush understands this. That would be a crippling stigma.

    I saw on one of the Sunday shows probably a month or two back, you had a pretty heated debate with Laura Ingraham on immigration. It seemed that in that debate, both sides were represented quite well – and the arguments were framed quite well on both sides. Make your case to conservatives who are against some form of amnesty as to why there should be some form of amnesty.

    George Will and Laura Ingraham debate immigration on Fox News Sunday. (Image Source: Fox News/Youtube screenshot)

    George Will and Laura Ingraham debate immigration on Fox News Sunday. (Image Source: Fox News/Youtube screenshot)

    Will: Here’s why: there are 11 million people here illegally. They’re not going home. The fact that the American people would not tolerate the police measures necessary to extract these people from our communities, something like 40% have been here five years or more, large numbers have been here 10 years or more, they’ve had children here who are American citizens under the Constitution. 7 million of these people are in the workforce, performing jobs for which the market has a demand. The American workforce as our population ages needs immigrants, needs immigration.

    Conservatives are supposed to be the realists in this life. They look facts in the face
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    Furthermore, immigration is an entrepreneurial act. These are people who uproot themselves, take a risk, come to a strange country and a new culture and a new language in many cases to try and better themselves. And I want this to be a continued infusion of energy into America. And I think immigrants make wonderful patriots because they’re grateful to the country that enables them to help themselves and their families.

    Again, they’re not going home. We’re just not going to – no one has a plan, no one has a proposal, no one is going to uproot these 11 million – so the very fact that they’re staying is semi-amnesty. What we have to do is make it orderly, and reasonable. I’m not one of those who says open borders, certainly not. Control of the borders is an essential attribute of national sovereignty. But, fact is conservatives are supposed to be the realists in this life. They look facts in the face. And the fact is these 11 million are a. not going home, b. are largely employed, c. are needed. So that would be the case you asked me to make.

  • How a friendly golf match gone awry spurred a multi-year battle for ideological diversity on college campuses
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:24 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (32)

    Pervasive Leftism in the hallowed halls of America’s elite colleges is not something new. But a dedicated fight led by professors to balance out such efforts in the interest of academic diversity and fostering a free marketplace of ideas is.

    Just such a campaign was launched this week by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a call to action for all “liberal arts colleges [to] uphold the principles of liberty and fairness.” And it might have never happened were it not for a friendly golf match gone wrong four years ago.

    Bowdoin College (Photo Credit: AP)

    Bowdoin College (Photo Credit: AP) 

    It all started in the summer of 2010, when Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College, the highly rated liberal arts school located in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein during a round of golf near the Bowdoin campus.

    During the match, Klingenstein, a Wall Streeter and chairman of the conservative Claremont Review of Books’ Board of Directors and Mills, an ardent proponent of diversity of the racial, ethnic and socio-economic kind, exchanged words regarding the subject of diversity in academia, among other contentious issues.

    Weeks later, in his 2010 convocation speech in which he grappled with concerns that Bowdoin was too liberal, Mills invoked Klingenstein’s words without attributing them to Klingenstein, noting that in the middle of two of Mills’ backswings, Klingenstein proclaimed:

    “I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons…And I would never support Bowdoin or Williams (his alma mater) because of all your misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.”

    Their exchange left Mills “in despair and with deep concern.” Mills’ speech left Klingenstein feeling angered for what he felt was slander implying racism — so angered in fact that Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books in 2011 to write a response titled “A Golf Story.”

    Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers. (Getty Images)

    Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers. (Getty Images) 

    In his response, Klingenstein disputed Mills’ account of their conversation, stating that he did not in fact speak during Mills’ backswings, but did explain his aversion to “diversity” as implemented on college campuses (“too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference (particularly as it applies to blacks), and not enough celebration of our common American identity”) with which Mills disagreed, and also his belief that former Harvard President Larry Summers “deserved a respectful hearing” with respect to his comments linking the absence of women in high positions in the sciences to their potentially weaker innate ability in such fields, a position with which Mills, according to Klingenstein, took great issue.

    Klingenstein further took Mills to task for his purported dedication to combating liberal bias as a means of achieving intellectual diversity and fairness on campus, arguing that based on the entirety of Mills’ comments during his convocation address:

    Mr. Mills does not have the answers to the problem of liberal bias at Bowdoin because he’s not really convinced there is a problem. When he summarily dismissed me, the Tea Party movement, and Larry Summers, or reflexively embraced [Martha] Nussbaum [a University of Chicago Law professor whose books in Klingenstein's reading reflect a view that patriotism is the primary source of hatred and conflict in the world], or grossly understated the number of liberal faculty at Bowdoin, he demonstrated an unwillingness to take seriously the conservative perspective. This, I propose, is why he was unable to see any way to address the problem that he posed.”

    Klingenstein defined the diversity for which he was advocating as follows in a subsequent 2011 piece for The Bowdoin Orient:

    “I mean this: Is there, within the community, a range of views on “foundational” beliefs and assumptions, such as: whether there is such a thing as human nature (or gender differences determined by nature); whether there are moral truths or just contingent values; whether tolerance is the highest virtue; whether America is a mosaic of groups or a collection of individuals joined by creed and culture; whether America should strive to transcend race or celebrate it; and whether America and the West have been, on balance, a source of good or evil.”

    Rather than merely put the episode behind him however, content or at least resigned to his belief that Bowdoin like other elite liberal arts colleges lacked of diversity with respect to views on such questions, Klingenstein went a step further and actually followed through with his statement that his opinion “ought to be put to the test by further study of the curriculum, student life, faculty attitudes and the like.”

    Indeed, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Klingenstein put his money where his mouth was (more…)

  • George Will explains his unified theory of beer (and speaks with TheBlaze about all things baseball)
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:22 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (1)

    In an interview with TheBlaze Books [Twitter, Facebook] in connection with the release of his new book, “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred,” we spoke with prodigious columnist and author George Will on baseball, the Cubs and Wrigley Field, Will’s view on shortening baseball games to 7 innings, PEDs and his entertaining and informative unified theory of beer.

    Our interview, which we conducted via phone, is below, slightly modified to include links and italics for emphasis.

    A Nice Little Place on the North Side

    Who is this book intended for? And why should non-Cubs fans and even non-baseball fans read it? 

    Will: Well it’s a little bit a book about me, it’s a book about Chicago, it’s a book about 20th century history, and about baseball in general. And beyond that it’s a book about the peculiar chemistry of loyalty that we develop towards these teams. Those of us who are sports fans occasionally sit back and say, “What am I doing? Why do I care so much about this?”

    And the answer is a complex one that we care about excellence, and professional athletes do difficult, dangerous things well, but beyond that I think baseball particularly – the everyday-ness of it – the 162 game season, the fact that going to the ballpark is a big part of being a baseball fan in a way that going to a football stadium is not a big part of the NFL fan’s experience. I served on a Major League Baseball commission that studied this and we came to the conclusion that about 98% of self-identified NFL fans had never been to an NFL game. In baseball the ballpark itself, the experience of coming together with fellow members of your tribe for three hours of shared enjoyment is much more important than in other sports. In cities particularly where we’re kind of a dust of individuals, this provides us with unity – one that may only gather and disperse for three hours, but it does so 81 times a year at home, and on the radio and television, so it’s a very interesting chemistry of loyalty that’s also the subject of the book.

    There’s also some I find interesting and amusing digressions on the history of beer and it’s relationship to baseball, and Babe Ruth’s called shot – alleged called shot in the 1932 World Series – I’m deeply skeptical of the whole myth, and things like that. It was a writing challenge that provoked me as a professional writer – I said “Well, Wrigley Field’s coming up on one hundred years old, must be some interesting things there. Turns out there really were.”

    You mention a couple of stories there – I also thought in particular the Lady’s Day stories with folks being able to stand on the field were quite amusing, along with the sad story you tell of Hack Wilson’s life. Is there any one particular story that most resonated with you, or that you care most deeply about associated with the Cubs and Wrigley Field?

    Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 2.45.40 PM

    Hack Wilson. (Image Source: howstuffworks.com)

    Will: Well let’s go with a couple of things you mentioned. One is the sad story of Hack Wilson who to this day holds one of the almost unbreakable records in baseball: 191 RBI’s in one season. He was five foot six. His shoe size was five and a half (5 ½). Very strange looking man and frankly today we know that some of the curious physical attributes of him are associated with fetal alcohol syndrome. And indeed he was born to a teenage unmarried mother who was herself an alcoholic. He was to die of alcohol-related ailments. But in a blazing career with a sharp rise in trajectory and equally sharp plunge, he dominated baseball for a few years. And there is a melancholy aspect of this because professional athletes generally have a compressed trajectory because they peak a little early in life and have to find something to do with the rest of their lives. He unfortunately didn’t have much of a rest of his life.

    The most amusing story to me was to discover that Wrigley Field had a vendor for awhile who was a “ne’er-do-well,” and he seemed to have ways of sort of cheating his fans and the Cub management kept an eye on him. His name was Jack Rubenstein. He later left Chicago, moved to Dallas, changed his name to Jack Ruby (more…)