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  • Fab Four insider answers: Did Yoko Ono really break up the Beatles?
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (1)
    Getty Images.

    Getty Images

    “You’re giving her too much credit.”

    That’s the response a longtime friend and record label manager of the Beatles has for the belief that Yoko Ono was responsible for breaking up one of the greatest—if not the greatest—rock bands of all time.

    For decades, Beatles fans have debated the role Yoko played in the Fab Four split. And much blame has been laid at the feet of John Lennon’s widow for bringing about the end of the group that brought the world “Hey Jude,” “Revolution,” “Eleanor Rigby” and much more.

    But is it accurate?

    In an in-depth interview with The Church Boys, Ken Mansfield, who was the U.S. manager of the Beatles’ Apple Records label, as well as the band’s U.S.-U.K. liaison, says no.

    Listen to the Yoko Ono clip of the interview below:

    Subscribe to The Church Boys on iTunes

    Asked his thoughts on Yoko, Mansfield, who was friends with all the boys from Liverpool, laughed and said, “When Yoko was in the room, you always knew she was there.”

    According to Mansfield, “The problem with Yoko was, when I first started working with them, I was working with four guys, and then one day, I’m working with five people.”

    Photo credit: Emka74/Shutterstock.com

    Photo credit: Emka74/Shutterstock.com

    Not only was her presence an added level of pressure and conflict, she also had serious influence over Lennon. “She did really take over John in a very powerful way,” Mansfield said. “And you knew that, when you said something to John, it went back home with Yoko, it went through her thought process, and then came back through John to you. It wasn’t really John speaking to you anymore—you felt like it was more like Yoko. She got him pretty riled up in some areas. He was very cynical.”

    “It just kind of ruined everything in a way,” Mansfield added.

    What about persistent question about the part Yoko played in breaking up the band?

    Mansfield has an answer: “People say, ‘Well, Yoko broke up the Beatles.’ I say you’re giving her too much credit. There were too many thing going on that broke them up. But Yoko didn’t help.”

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter

    Featured image via Shutterstock.com

  • Donald Trump, Obama and Megyn Kelly get the ‘Songify’ treatment in latest installment of ’Songify the News’
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:18 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (13)

    Donald Trump’s controversial “rapists” comment about illegal immigrants, Megyn Kelly’s interview with Mike Huckabee on the legalization of gay marriage and President Barack Obama’s “you’re in my house” exchange with a transgender protester at the White House make up the latest installment of the popular “Songify the News” YouTube series:

  • What?!? You don’t have a rainbow avatar?!?
    Posted June 30, 2015 at 5:15 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (20)

    You’re not making the mandatory social media statement?

    Who do you think you are? You will be made to show you care.

    The wisdom of Seinfeld is timeless.

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter

  • If Russia invades a NATO country, will the U.S. do anything to stop it?
    Posted June 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (62)

    As Russia continues to push forward in Ukraine with little international resistance, TheBlaze’s national security adviser Buck Sexton asked: “If Russia invades a NATO country, are we going to do anything about it?”

    “We can take a look at the way the Russians have been waging another war, and look at U.S. preparations for the possibility of a Russian incursion into a NATO country, and draw some pretty startling conclusions,” he said. “There are Russian tanks, Russian artillery and even Russian forces who are part of this effort to carve off a piece of Ukraine. Despite all the international talks, despite the sanctions and despite the ceasefire, this conflict is still going on with no end in sight. Over 6,000 have been killed so far.”

    Sexton showed the audience a map of NATO countries, and said the most vulnerable are likely Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speeches in the Haidarabad Palace on December 11, 2014 in Delhi, India. Credit Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speeches in the Haidarabad Palace on December 11, 2014 in Delhi, India. Credit Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

    “So what’s been going on for the last couple of weeks is the U.S. has decided to pre-position in all these countries … forces and munitions, as well as some pretty heavy equipment and vehicles that are ready to respond to a Russian incursion,” Sexton explained. “The problem is, so far, we’re talking about a pretty small element, a brigade-size element that will be in these countries ready for a quick reaction to any sort of Russian aggression.”

    “So what will we do if the Russians try to carve off a part of one of these countries as they have in Ukraine?” Sexton continued. “Would we send a major troop presence or would it continue to be a sort of stalemate like what we’ve seen in Ukraine?”

    Sexton said the preparations so far are “not enough,” and at this point, “if Russia decides it wants to carve off a piece of one of these countries, they may think they can get away with it.”

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

     

     

  • The new pro-Hillary music video parodying a song about a sexy mom that ‘can’t be unseen’
    Posted June 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (43)

    Back in 2003, one-hit-wonders Fountains of Wayne had a hit song with “Stacy’s Mom.” The song and video told the story of a young boy lusting after his friend’s sexy mom.

    Fast forward to 2015 and “Stacy’s Mom” is now “Chelsea’s Mom” — a just-released music video in support of Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House, from string quartet Well Strung.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Not familiar with Well Strung? From the group’s You Tube page: “The all-male string quartet Well-Strung features classical musicians who sing putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele Lady Gaga, and more!”

    The video’s familiar tune makes it catchy and recognizable. That does not mean everyone likes it. Twitter had many positive and negative reactions to the song.

    Despite getting the decade wrong in her tweet, Jennifer Nedeau, formerly of Air America has dumped Stacy for Hillary:

    Also approving of the parody is Michael Seel, executive director of the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, CA:

    Not everyone was digging it, though.

    The Young Conservatives declared it the “worst parody of all time” and issued a warning:

    The National Review was also in the “not impressed” column:

    Are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Watch the video and decide for yourself:

    In case your pop music knowledge does not go back to 2003, we have included the original:

    (H/T: KFI’s Mike Broomhead Show)
    __

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • What you probably never knew about the word ‘assassin’
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (28)

    TheBlaze’s national security adviser Buck Sexton on Thursday revealed the fascinating history behind the word “assassin,” which he said “has its roots in Islamic terror.”

    “The assassins first arrived on the scene in the late 11th century,” Sexton began. “They terrorized the Crusaders, but also many of the Muslim groups in the region found them to be a terror as well. They would kill people on both sides, and it was known that they would hire themselves out to the highest bidder.”

    Sexton said the first assassins were part of a group called the Nizari Ismailis who followed a religious figure named Hassan I Sabbah.

    “He had a castle … in what is now Iran, then Persia, and from that castle he had a number of individuals who were so devoted to him that they would give their lives in the process of taking lives,” Sexton said.

    There is some dispute over the exact etymology of the word, but some say it comes from “the followers of Hassan,” or hashashin, meaning “hashish eaters.”

    “The original assassins used subterfuge and close-quarters tactics to try to kill anybody that was a political target,” Sexton concluded. “They would get an individual very close to that person and then he would be killed with a dagger. That was their preferred method.”

    The Mongols wiped out the last of the original assassins, Sexton added, but the word and its significance remain to this day.

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    Front page image via Shutterstock

  • You won’t believe how the co-author of one of America’s biggest banking regulations cashed in
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:20 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (30)

    Recently, the financial services company Signature Bank announced the appointment of a prominent new board member.

    Perhaps to the surprise of some, the individual receiving the board seat was none other than the co-author and namesake of one of the nation’s largest and arguably most significant pieces of banking regulation since the Great Depression, former Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank.

    House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., center, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, 2nd right, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., right, announce a tentative deal regarding on the financial crisis on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

    House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., center, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, 2nd right, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., right, announce a tentative deal regarding on the financial crisis on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

    How much can Frank expect to earn for his services?

    Fortune writes that Signature’s non-employee board members earned approximately $375,000 in cash and stock for their services last year. Rep. Frank was reportedly also granted restricted shares vesting in March 2016 with a current market value of approximately $280,000.

    In a statement from the Chairman of Signature Bank Scott Shay included in the press release concerning the Frank appointment, Shay said:

    We are gratified to welcome Barney to the board, which is particularly engaged and energetic. We specifically seek members whose deep and broad experience will prove impactful to the Bank; those who share diverse perspectives and possess strong decision-making capabilities. These characteristics are what help foster the continued success and growth of Signature Bank amid the complicated economic environment in which we compete and truly define the personality of our current board. With a 32-year career devoted to government and his distinguished expertise in financial services, we believe Barney will be an asset to the board, bringing keen insights, far-reaching industry knowledge and vast intellect to his role as well as to our institution and the Bank’s shareholders.

    Frank is just the latest in a series of government officials to have worked on the Dodd-Frank bill only to then leave government for the private sector and work in the financial services industry or tangentially related areas.

    As Peter Schewizer — he of “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” — chronicled in a 2013 book titled “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets,” “the indecipherable Dodd-Frank law” proved lucrative for many “members of the Permanent Political Class who actually wrote it.”

    Schweizer writes: (more…)

  • Catch a Sneak Peek of New ‘After Action’ Show Featuring Marcus Luttrell and Pete Scobell
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (0)

    Back in March, Glenn Beck invited a group of veterans to his ranch, where he gave them some beer and asked them to discuss the events of the day.

    The response to the show was so positive that TheBlaze TV decided to turn the conversation into a monthly series called “After Action.” The show premieres Thursday June 25th at 9:00 p.m. ET.

    Featuring Marcus Luttrell, Pete Scobell, Paul Craig and Chad Fleming, Glenn Beck aired a preview of the show on The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday.

    “We named the show After Action because when you come back from a mission overseas, you sit down and you have an after action brief,” Scobell explained. “But now we’re all out. We all have civilian jobs and it truly is after-action. We are not active duty. We’re just a bunch of friends that sit around and talk. And if you want to listen, then you can listen.”

    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. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!

  • Tom Friedman breaks it to the Upper West Side: Cold War is on and Commies are still a problem
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 11:38 am by Chris Field

    Comments (7)

    “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
    –President Obama, during the third presidential debate, Oct. 22, 2012

    Apparently, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman wasn’t listening.

    In his column today, “Cold War Without the Fun,” Friedman reminds his liberal audience that everything is not sunshine and lollipops, regardless what the man they put in office tells them:

    Let’s see, America is prepositioning battle tanks with our East European NATO allies to counterbalance Russia; U.S. and Russian military planes recently flew within 10 feet of each other; Russia is building a new generation of long-range ballistic missiles; and the U.S. and China are jostling in the South China Sea. Did someone restart the Cold War while I was looking the other way?

    Those on the right who have been sending up warning flares (think: Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Glenn Beck) and enduring the mocking that comes from left-wing Pollyannas aren’t surprised. They have repeatedly told the world that we are looking at a Cold War resurgence. Apparently that’s news to Friedman (emphasis added):

    Putin on Horseback, Barechested

    [T]his post-post-Cold War has more of a W.W.E. — World Wrestling Entertainment — feel to it, and I don’t just mean President Vladimir Putin of Russia’s riding horses bare-chested, although that is an apt metaphor. It’s just a raw jostling for power for power’s sake — not a clash of influential ideas but rather of spheres of influence: “You cross that line, I punch your nose.” “Why?” “Because I said so.” “You got a problem with that?” “Yes, let me show you my drone. You got a problem with that?” “Not at all. My cyber guys stole the guidance system last week from Northrop Grumman.” “You got a problem with that?”

    The Cold War had a beginning, an end and even a closing curtain, with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the post-post-Cold War has brought us full circle back to the pre-Cold War and the game of nations. There was a moment when it seemed as though it would all be otherwise — when it seemed that Arabs and Israelis would make peace, that China would evolve into a more consensual political system and that Russia would become part of Europe and the G-8. That was a lifetime ago.

    Now Western reporters struggle to get visas to China, no American businessman with a brain takes his laptop to Beijing, Chinese hackers have more of your personal data now than LinkedIn, Russia is still intent on becoming part of Europe — by annexing a piece here and a piece there — and the G-8 is now the G-1.5 (America and Germany).

    Naturally, Friedman largely (though certainly not entirely) blames the West — despite the fact that Putin is old-school Soviet:

    When did it all go sour? We fired the first shot when we expanded NATO toward the Russian border even though the Soviet Union had disappeared. Message to Moscow: You are always an enemy, no matter what system you have. When oil prices recovered, Putin sought his revenge for this humiliation, but now he’s just using the NATO threat to justify the militarization of Russian society so he and his fellow kleptocrats can stay in power and paint their opponents as lackeys of the West.

    How do we fix it, according to Friedman? Ideas on his list are, among others, a nuke deal with Iran and expanded “U.S.-shaped” (read: Obama-shaped) free-trade agreements with Asia and Europe:

    In short, the attraction of the U.S. economy and the bite of U.S. sanctions are more vital than ever in managing the post-post-Cold War game of nations, including bringing Iran to nuclear talks. We may be back to traditional geopolitics, but it’s in a much more interdependent world, where our economic clout is still a source of restraint on Moscow and Beijing. Putin doesn’t disguise his military involvement in Ukraine for nothing; he’s afraid of more U.S. banking sanctions. China doesn’t circumscribe its behavior in the South China Sea for nothing; it can’t grow without exporting to America. It’s not just our guns; it’s our butter. It’s why we should be expanding U.S.-shaped free-trade deals with Asia and Europe, and it’s why the most important source of stability in the world today is the health of the U.S. economy. We can walk softly only as long as we carry a big stick — and a big wallet.

    Two things Friedman can’t bring himself to say:

    #1: Romney and the right have been correct about Russia all along. Let’s listen to their ideas.

    #2: Reagan knew how to deal with this. We don’t have a Reagan.


    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter.

  • Think the 2016 GOP presidential primary process favors the establishment? Hugh Hewitt has a surprising argument that it actually benefits this candidate
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 11:04 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (13)

    Nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt has a new book out titled “The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary and the Coming of a Second ‘Clinton Era,’“ in which the lawyer and political veteran plays Machiavelli to Hillary Clinton, developing a playbook to ensure her dominance while simultaneously exposing what he believes are her fatal flaws.

    One section of Hewitt’s book concerns his scouting reports on the various Republican opponents she may face in 2016, and how she ought to approach them.

    In this context, Hewitt writes something that may be of interest for those who would assume that the Republican primary rules for 2016 might favor candidates from the GOP establishment. Hewitt in fact makes the case that the rules and calendar favor Sen. Ted Cruz above all other candidates.

    During an in-depth interview in TheBlaze’s New York offices in connection with his new book, I had the chance to ask Hewitt to explain his view:

    In February of this year – the “Reince Reforms,” the [Reince] Priebus rules — require that only four states vote, and those are Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

    And Nevada is a caucus state that Rand Paul will win, but which will be dismissed because the Paul supporters there are deep and organized, and caucuses are really false positives, which is important. But he’ll win it. He’ll win some delegates.

    So the three races that matter are Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And what really matters are New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    51-IB11MFzL

    Featured Book

    Title: The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary and the Coming of a Second "Clinton Era"

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    Ted Cruz has an enormous amount of under-the-radar strength in Iowa among young people. I ran 12 mock Iowa caucuses at the Young Conservative Leadership Conference last summer. I’m going to do it again next week. Ted Cruz won a plurality in each of the six original caucuses and a straight out majority in the re-votes after they had argued, reflecting deep ties into social media. He’ll do well in Iowa, he’ll get some delegates. He’ll go to New Hampshire he’ll finish in the top four or five. He’ll go to South Carolina and finish in the top three. And then they go to Texas. And he will win Texas on March 1st.

    Which means that coming out of the first 31 days of voting, the person with the most delegates is gonna be Ted Cruz according to the calendar. He’s also got $37 million in the bank, the Mercer family behind him, and an almost unparalleled ability – Rubio and Carly Fiorina are very good, Marco and Carly are very good as well – those three are among the most able talkers I’ve ever met. And I think he’ll [Sen. Cruz] be able to run the board, if anyone can run the board.

    And it’s highly likely in my view that we’re going to an open convention – a brokered convention at which anything can happen and probably will … It’s gonna be wild and I’m from Northeastern Ohio, so I’m glad the most interesting convention since the won that nominated Lincoln in Chicago in 1860 will occur on the shores of Lake Erie in the city of champions, 2016. We lost this year because Lebron can’t beat five people by himself.

    During the wide-ranging interview which you can listen to in full below, we also had the chance to discuss several other topics including: (more…)

  • A skateboarding, keg-standing and hallucinating ‘Bernie Sanders’ proves he’s not boring in this mock ad
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:24 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (6)

    Could this be a good sign for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential hopes?

    Image source: Funny or Die

    Image source: Funny or Die

    The folks at “Funny or Die” (the people who gave us the “Between Two Ferns” video with President Obama promoting Obamacare enrollment in a fake interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis) produced a mock campaign ad starring funny man James Adomian. For over a decade, the 35-year-old comic has made a name for himself impersonating political figures like George W. Bush, Rick Perry and Jesse Ventura.

    Adman recently told Bloomberg’s David Weigel he likes Sanders and had been working on the impression, but was concerned the three-term senator was not recognizable. The campaign appears to have changed everything.

    With Sanders attracting media attention from all the major news outlets and late night comedy, Adman appears to be the front-runner in terms of Bernie Sanders impressions.

    Watch the new video from “Funny or Die”:

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • NY Times editor admits to bias in climate reporting
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (8)

    For most people on the right, the debate over liberal bias in the mainstream media has long been settled. But very few folks receiving a MSM paycheck are willing to admit what conservatives consider obvious: that there is a left-wing slant to news reporting. Editorial pages are what they are, but news reporting should be straight-up — facts are facts, “truth has no agenda,” etc.

    new-york-times-home-page-getty

    In a refreshing bit of candor, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan admitted to Media Matters that her paper has taken to using “denier” rather than “skeptic” when reporting on people who don’t buy into man-made global warming:

    New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan believes the paper is making progress when it comes to using the more accurate term “denier” — rather than “skeptic” — to refer to those who reject the scientific consensus on climate change.

    In an interview with Media Matters, Sullivan described “denier” as the “stronger term” and the appropriate label “when someone is challenging established science.” Sullivan said that “the Times is moving in a good direction” on the issue, adding that the newspaper is using the term “denier” more often and “perhaps should be doing it even more.”

    This isn’t the first time Sullivan has addressed the skeptic/denier word-choice fight. In a May 7 blog post, she wrote of a letter she’d received from members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry — apparently the self-ordained keepers of the word “skeptic”:

    I heard this week from members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a group of scientists, writers, and academics who “promote scientific inquiry and critical investigation,” and Forecast the Facts, a 170,000-member organization that “supports factual accuracy in climate reporting.”

    They offered praise for The Times’s reporting on climate change but there’s something they don’t like:

    “According to our review of your published content between December 23, 2014 and March 23, 2015, your newspaper accurately described climate change deniers as ‘deniers’ in 18 articles but inaccurately called them ‘skeptics’ in 9 articles. We define climate change deniers as individuals or groups who deny the basic science of climate change: that it is real and it is man-made.”

    Sullivan admits in that column that word choice in these types of reports “matters a great deal.” And she concludes that this effort to liken skeptics of global warming climate change fearmongering to Holocaust deniers is a significant decision for Times editors:

    [T]he readers are right to watch these choices carefully. The difference between skeptic and denier … may seem minor, but it’s really not. Simply put, words matter.

    But remember, there’s no bias in the Times’ news reporting.


    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter.

  • Bernie Sanders kicking Hillary’s tail in first Daily Kos poll
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (7)

    Today, Daily Kos released the results of the first of its biweekly Democratic Primary Straw polls.

    The “inevitable” Hillary came in a distant second place to self-avowed socialist candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator beat the former secretary of State by nearly 3-to-1.

    Self-proclaimed democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

    Self-proclaimed democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

    The final first-round results:

    • Bernie Sanders: 69%
    • Hillary Clinton: 24%
    • Martin O’Malley: 2%
    • No Freakin’ Clue: 2%
    • Other: 1%

    Don’t forget to get your Bernie gear here. You don’t want to miss your chance to be a part of the movement that, if successful, could bring about the end of the U.S. even faster than anyone on the right could have guessed.

    Image source: BernieSanders.com

    Image source: BernieSanders.com


    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter.

  • 10 years later, here’s what happened to the land seized and sold to developers in a controversial Supreme Court case
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:18 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (97)

    As eminent legal scholar and takings expert Richard Epstein notes at National Review, June 23, 2015 marks the 10 year anniversary of one of the Supreme Court’s most controversial cases relating to private property, in Kelo v. City of New London.

    For those unfamiliar with the case, in a five-to-four decision the Supreme Court ruled in Kelo that New London, Connecticut could use the power of eminent domain to seize private property from its owners and sell it to developers as part of a broader economic development plan.

    The property seized from Susette Kelo as of May 2014. (Image Source: Ilya Somin)

    The property seized from Susette Kelo as of May 2014. (Photo Credit: Ilya Somin)

    Specifically, the Court ruled that the development of the property would qualify as a “public purpose,” constituting a “public use,” thereby representing a Constitutional taking pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, given the public benefits to be gained through the developer’s use of the seized land.

    While government has a right to take private property for public use if it provides just compensation, the case proved highly controversial because the government was taking private property — specifically homes — from several parties, and not using it for say a public school or public transportation, but rather selling it to another private party that claimed it could generate greater economic activity from the property.

    In particular, the homes seized by New London in a neighborhood known as Fort Trumbull were razed to make way for a development project that included among other things a $300 million research center for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, along with a hotel, residential and office space.

    Ilya Somin, Professor Law at George Mason University School of Law, adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, and blogger at the essential Volokh Conspiracy has recently published the literal book on the Kelo case titled “The Grasping Hand: “Kelo v. City of New London” and the Limits of Eminent Domain.”

    On this tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, it bears noting what has happened to the property seized by the City of New London. Somin writes in his book:

    The only creatures making…use of…[the lots] in… intervening years have been…feral cats
    Share:

    As of early 2015, almost ten years after the Supreme Court upheld the Kelo condemnations, the properties that were the focus of an epic legal battle remain empty and undeveloped. Several plans to redevelop these lots have fallen through. The only creatures making regular use of them in the intervening years have been a colony of feral cats.

    61DRk7j-OUL

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    These failures were not simply caused by adverse publicity resulting from the public backlash against the Supreme Court ruling or by the recession and financial crisis that began in 2008. As a 2005 New York Times article noted, the failure was a result of “contract disputes and financial uncertainty” and the unwillingness of investors to commit to a flawed project. As early as 2002, Pfizer had begun to lose interest in utilizing the new facilities expected to be built in the development area. In 2009, the firm announced plans to close down its New London facility and began to transfer the employees working there elsewhere. With Pfizer’s departure, the city lost 1,400 jobs that state officials had attracted to the area by committing to redevelop Fort Trumbull in a way that suited the firms’s needs.

    The city has managed to successfully redevelop the portion of the Fort Trumbull land that was previously part of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center closed in 1995. It is now a leased research and development center. But that property already belonged to the city after the center had closed, and there was no need to use eminent domain to redevelop it.

    Eventually, the condemned land will almost certainly be used for some productive purpose or other. In the meantime, however, it will have stood empty for a decade or even longer, depriving the community of economic benefits of a productive use of the land and the city of potential property tax revenue. Even from the standpoint of economic development, without reference to the constitutional considerations or the intrinsic value of property rights, the Fort Trumbull condemnations have done a lot more harm than good. Governor Rowland was right to predict that Pfizer’s move would “change the landscape of this community,” even if it is not yet clear whether he was also right to predict that the effects will really last “for the next 100 years.” So far, at least, the effects have been very different from those supporters of the project had hoped for.

    For the definitive account of Kelo and its aftermath, be sure to check out Somin’s new book.

     

    Note: The link to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

    Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • See What Glenn Beck Said About Rand Paul’s Tax Plan
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 5:31 pm by Sponsored Post

    Comments (4)


    “That is unbelievable. That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard from any candidate on the IRS yet. Phenomenal. Rand Paul!”

    That’s what Glenn Beck said today about my bold tax plan to drive a stake through the heart of the IRS and rip up all 70,000 plus pages of our tax code.

    I believe Glenn Beck’s enthusiastic response to my tax plan is exactly how the American people will respond once they hear I’ve proposed the biggest and boldest tax cut in American history.

    Today, I’m counting on you to help me share my tax plan with as many voters as possible in key early primary states.

    So won’t you please add your name and chip in a contribution of $20.16 to help me spread my “Fair and Flat Tax” plan far and wide?

    The American people are sick and tired of the IRS ripping money out of their paychecks each year. They’re frustrated with our more than 70,000 pages of confusing tax code.

    And while there are various opinions on the exact solution to our convoluted tax code, polls consistently show “fairness” is one of the top goals of Americans when it comes to reforming our tax system.

    Like most folks, I also envision an America where EVERYONE plays by the same rules.

    That’s why I’m proposing to blow up the entire tax code and start over with a fair and flat low rate of 14.5% for everyone.

    It’s an All-American solution.

    And today I’m counting on you to chip in $20.16 to help my campaign blast it out far and wide.

    Your generous support will help me spread my tax plan in key early primary states. And I’m confident my plan will resonate with the American people.

    If passed into law, my tax plan would:

    • End the workers tax: I will end the FICA payroll tax, the largest tax for many working Americans. It’s GONE! Zero. Nothing.
    • Eliminate the headaches and complication in filing federal taxes by allowing every taxpayer to file a simple, one-page return with a low and fair tax rate of 14.5%, saving American families over $2 TRILLION in the first 10 years;
    • End corporate welfare and special tax breaks, eliminating the army of lobbyists and tax lawyers gaming the system. That means no more mom and pop small businesses paying 40% of their income in taxes, while big corporations — armed with armies of slick lawyers — pay zero;
    • Unleash the American economy from the heavy hand of government, growing our economy 22% faster than anything we’ve seen under President Obama.

    Will you add your name and chip in a contribution to help me spread my tax plan far and wide?

    A few weeks ago, when everyone said it would be impossible, in a Sunday Senate showdown I stared down the NSA and ended Barack Obama’s illegal spying program.

    So when the American people hear my plan proposing to blow up the entire tax code and drive a stake through the heart of the IRS — they know I mean business.

    And I’m confident they’ll rally behind my campaign and join our movement to Defeat the Washington Machine. So please stand with me by adding your name and chip in a contribution of $20.16 right away.

    Thank you in advance for your generous support.

    In Liberty,

    Rand Paul

    Paid for by Rand Paul for President

  • Do Americans hate their own founding principles? Economist Walter E. Williams says yes.
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 11:19 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (19)

    George Mason University professor and leading libertarian economist Dr. Walter E. Williams has a new book out in which he makes the case that Americans — often times unbeknownst to themselves — harbor hostility towards their own freedoms.

    During an in-depth interview with Dr. Williams, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues addressed in his must-read “American Contempt for Liberty,” including his defense of the position that Americans have contempt for their own liberty. Here’s what he said:

    Americans have contempt for the founding principles. Now what I mean by that is that I think almost everybody will believe — everybody recognizes that James Madison is the acknowledged father of the United States Constitution. And so James Madison ought to know what’s in it.

    51uXh2r5zvL

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    And in 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 to help some French refugees, and James Madison stood on the floor of the House irate, and he said, and I’m quoting him: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the [sic] objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison also said “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

    Now, where the contempt comes in is that imagine that a presidential candidate … is running today, and he makes the same statements that James Madison made. The American people would run him out of town on the rail, because they have contempt for that particular idea.

    And when you talk about Madison saying “Congress can’t spend money on the objects of benevolence,” if you look at the federal budget, two-thirds to three-quarters of it are for the “objects of benevolence.” That is, you can describe two-thirds to three-quarters of the federal government as follows: That is, where Congress takes the earnings of one American, and gives them to some other American.

    Now I think that people should recognize I’m not making an argument against taxes because everybody ought to pay their share of the Constitutionally mandated functions of government. But no person has an obligation to be forced to give money to some other person.

    During the interview, which you can listen to in full below, we had the chance to touch on a number of other topics including: (more…)

  • Two Salon headlines, side-by-side, are causing quite a stir on social media
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 10:05 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (70)

    Take a look and you’ll probably see why:

    Image source: Twitter

    Image source: Twitter

    In the most recent tweet, Salon is referring to the deadly shooting that left nine dead on Wednesday after a gunman opened fire at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The 2013 tweet referred to the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three and wounded hundreds. It was later revealed that the Tsarnaev brothers, of Chechnya, were motivated by radical Islam.

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death earlier this year for his role in the 2013 bombing. His brother, Tamerlan, was killed during a massive manhunt following the attack.

    (H/T: Weasel Zippers)

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Watch this dog’s reaction when he realizes that’s not a rock next to him
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 9:27 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (5)

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Gawker on superheroes: If you hold to traditional values, you’re a ‘f***ing dork’
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (14)
    In this theater publicity image released by The O and M Co., Christopher Tierney portrays Spider-Man in the musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," in New York. (AP Photo/The O and M Co., Jacob Cohl) NO SALES

    AP Photo/The O and M Co., Jacob Cohl

    Give them a point for honesty.

    In a piece for Gawker, Sam Biddle has this breaking news: Spider-Man movies are lame because Spidey’s creators gave him positive traits that are contractually enforced.

    Before we get to Biddle’s anti-values screed, let’s look at asininity in the opening.

    Based on information he gleaned from the famous Sony hack, Biddle begins his column:

    Why are the Spider-Man movies so bad? Maybe it’s because the character has become stale, locked down by arbitrary contractual definitions? A leaked agreement between Marvel and Sony shows us why Peter Parker always looks like Peter Parker.

    Only in recent years has the notion that a superhero (or villain) can be something other than a white man (or cyborg) who wants to impress white women — gay heroes have appeared, but only on the margins. Batwoman recently had a gay comic book marriage, as did Northstar, but the onscreen AAA, marquee heroes and villains still generally resemble a Young Republican luncheon.

    First, are the Spider-Man movies really “so bad”? They’re not my cup of tea as far as superhero movies go — in fact, I’m not a comic book fanboy — but they’re fun. That said, my opinion of the franchise is even less important than Biddle’s: He’s the one actually paid to write columns about that crap.

    But let’s examine his claim that the movies are “so bad” — acknowledging, of course, that it’s based on taste. (You don’t like a movie, you don’t like it. What do I care? Unless it’s the original Star Wars or Indiana Jones trilogies, criticism of which should arguably cost you your American citizenship.)

    Since so many critics tout Rotten Tomatoes (it’s a major source of exposure for them in their chosen career of “I’m going to tell people what to think about movies they haven’t seen”) and moviegoers rely on the site for advice on what movies to see (don’t think you do? check the movie-time apps on your phone), let’s see what the Tomatometer says about the five (yes, five) most recent Spider-Man movies since 2002.

    Spider-Man (2002): Critics gave it an 89%; audiences gave it a 67%.

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Spider-Man 2 (2004): Critics 94%; audiences 81%

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Spider-Man 3 (2007): Critics 63%; audiences 51%

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): Critics 72%; audiences 77%

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): Critics 53%; audiences 66%.

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

    Even with the 53% from critics for the most recent film, that’s not too shabby a run for movies that are “so bad.”

    Second, Biddle claims the movies are”so bad” because the central character is “locked down by arbitrary contractual definitions.” Is there a contractual way that Spider-Man is to appear? Yes. Can you believe that? The creators of the character want to define and stay true to the character of the character they’ve poured their lives into. GASP!

    For Biddle to claim to know better how a character — beloved by tens of millions of Americans for more than 50 years — should act in order to be popular is absurd.

    But his desire to project a left-wing worldview — the only acceptable worldview, by the way — on a fictional character is not the most absurd part of this Gawker twaddle.

    According to the Sony leaks, the deal Sony Pictures struck with Marvel included a bulleted list of “Mandatory Spider-Man Character Traits.” Here’s the list that set off the Gawker writer:

    • Male
    • Does not torture
    • Does not kill unless in defense of self or others
    • Does not use foul language beyond PG-13
    • Does not smoke tobacco
    • Does not sell/distribute illegal drugs
    • Does not abuse alcohol
    • Does not have sex before the age of 16, does not have sex with anyone below the age of 16
    • Not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual)

    How did Biddle respond to this list?

    Wow, Spider-Man is a f***ing dork.

    Really?

    What, in the addled mind of a left-winger, makes Spider-Man so f***ingly dorkish?

    It is his refusal to torture or kill? No. “We don’t torture” is one of the left’s mantras. Plus our military, which kills enemies, is bad. And don’t even get them started on capital punishment.

    Maybe it’s Spidey’s refusal to smoke tobacco? Nope. We all know the left’s thoughts on tobacco.

    It could be his anti-drug stance. Since dope-smoking hippies have found a home in the liberal crowd that will take away their old-school tobacco pipes but not their bongs, they aren’t going to be big fans of Spider-Man’s “just say no” attitude. In fact, Biddle makes that view clear at the end of his piece:

    There appears to be one slight, hopeful loophole here: Spider-Man is only barred from selling and/or distributing illegal drugs, which means he’s free to use them recreationally. Give us a bath salt Spider-Man, Marvel, or let the franchise die.

    They might also take issue with Spider-Man’s refusal to abuse alcohol. For obvious reasons:

    The late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) listens Senate committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2007. (AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    The Gawker crowd certainly does not like the “male” requirement. Down with the Patriachy!

    Judging by the writing you can find in Biddle’s archives and throughout Gawker and pretty much every other left-wing site, a proscription on foul language is just godd**n f***ing ridiculous. Amirite?

    But, really, what is it that most likely makes Spider-Man a “f***ing dork” in the eyes of the Gawker-types

    Answer: He won’t “have sex before the age of 16″ and “does not have sex with anyone below the age of 16,” and he’s “not a homosexual.”

    It’s also worth pointing out that Biddle ridicules Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man in plainclothes) as a “total dweeb” for being contractually required to be “Caucasian and heterosexual.” Whiteness and straightness is bad.

    For the left, sex is sacrosanct.

    You cannot make a moral determination about those who choose to have sex as teenagers.

    Or with teenagers.

    Or with members of the same sex.

    Let’s sum up what we learned from Gawker today:

    • If you refuse to put illegal drugs into your body or refuse to sell illegal drugs for others to put into their bodies, you’re a “f***ing dork.”
    • If you believe that abusing alcohol might not be the best for you, you’re a “f***ing dork.”
    • If you don’t use phrases like “f***ing dork,” you’re a “f***ing dork.”
    • If you hold to any sort of belief that sex is for adults within the bonds of one-man-one-woman marriage, you’re a “f***ing dork.”

    The world as the left would have it is revealed by those superhero qualities Gawker and their cohorts would celebrate (or mock and eliminate).

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter.

  • Can you tell which supermodel this is without her makeup on?
    Posted June 18, 2015 at 2:40 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (56)

    Take a look. Can you guess who this is?

    (Source: Instagram)

    (Source: Instagram)

    Not sure? Well, it’s none other than Tyra Banks. Here’s the full post she put on Instagram:

  • ”Ain’t no birds flying, ain’t no people walking’: South Carolina man’s viral rant about the heat wave
    Posted June 17, 2015 at 5:32 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (4)

    A heat wave cut across the southeastern United States this past weekend, making life miserable for millions.

    South Carolina’s Eric Cornell (aka E. Cornell on Facebook) had his fill of the hot weather and decided to record a short video rant about the heat for his family and friends.

    He posted the clip on Facebook and two days later, it had been viewed more than 300,000 times and shared more than 7,000 times on Facebook.

    Check it out:

    When I tell you that it is Hhottt In Columbia South carolina. .Geesh!!!. Yes I'm a Author, Public Speaker, Singer, Master Image/Hair Stylist and Cre8tive Solutions Coach!..but this heat DWARFS IT ALL…. im delirious and AINT NOBADDY TOLD ME NUTHIN!!

    Posted by Eric Cornell on Sunday, June 14, 2015

    __

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Don’t like Sweet Baby Jesus? Fine. How about Smiling Irish Bastard?
    Posted June 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (11)

    TheBlaze Faith Editor (and infamous consumer of large quantities of alcohol) Billy Hallowell has the latest product outrage that many people of faith are tripping over themselves to criticize and demand it be pulled from store coolers.

    I have a suggestion for a replacement brew — one I learned of last week on The Mike O’Meara Show.

    Think Smiling Irish Bastard, an ale from Geaghan’s in Bangor, Maine, would appropriately raise the dander of the righteous?

    Smiling Irish Bastard beer

    Cheers.

  • This is how newspapers in NYC reacted to Trump’s campaign announcement
    Posted June 17, 2015 at 8:46 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (14)

    The morning after Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential dream to the world, the newspapers in New York reacted.

    The New York Post and the New York Daily News (NYC’s leading tabloid papers) gave Trump prime real estate on their front pages. The Post referred to Trump’s announcement as a “fiery, take-no-prisoners speech.” The Daily News imaged him as a clown, with a headline announcing, “Trump throws rubber nose in GOP ring.”

    Image source: TheBlaze

    Image source: TheBlaze

    The New York Times was not so generous, barely mentioning the Trump announcement. In fact, the news appeared in the final item on the bottom of the left column of the front page. The Times’ coverage was also buried, 16 pages into the paper.

    Image source: TheBlaze

    Image source: TheBlaze

     

    The Post and Daily News dedicated a two-page spread to the billionaire’s announcement, covering pages 4-5 in both papers.

    Image source: TheBlaze

    Image source: TheBlaze

     

  • This video of elephants listening to live violin music might be just what you need today
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (5)

    It’s just a simple clip showing two violinists, reportedly from Belgium’s Royal Chamber Orchestra, playing some classical music for a family of elephants.

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Pairi Daizazoo, a zoo in Belgium, uploaded the video to its Facebook page. It has racked up over 200,000 views on at least one social media site.

    The private concert happened last Friday, as the zoo was about to close. The classical music site, ClassicFM.com said the zookeepers were interested in seeing the elephants’ reaction to the music. That reaction? They appeared to sway in time with the music.

    Proving musical tastes among wild animals can be as different as it is among humans, Buzzfeed reports a zoo spokesperson told them, “The lions didn’t appreciate it, and one monkey climbed on the instruments to stop the musician playing.”

    Présents dans notre Jardin pour préparer les futures Nuits magiques (du 18 au 20 juin à Pairi Daiza), les violonistes de…

    Posted by Pairi Daiza on Saturday, June 13, 2015

    Proving musical tastes among wild animals can be as different as it is among humans, Buzzfeed reports a zoo spokesperson told them, “The lions didn’t appreciate it, and one monkey climbed on the instruments to stop the musician playing.”

    This weekend, the Pairi Daizaoo will be featuring different styles of music, played live for the animals and visitors.

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Hugh Hewitt: 5 bold reforms Hillary Clinton should champion to devastate the GOP and ensure a long ‘Clinton Era’
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 9:55 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (27)

    Playing the role of modern-day Machiavelli, lawyer and nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt has just published a book in which he seeks to provide political foe Hillary Clinton with a playbook to not only win the presidency in 2016, but ensure Clinton dominance for years to come.

    In “The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary and the Coming of a Second ‘Clinton Era’,” perhaps Hewitt’s most provocative suggestion concerns an agenda that he believes Clinton ought to push in order to unite and energize her base while peeling off money/influence typically found on the Republican side.

    (Image Source: Facebook/Hugh Hewitt)

    (Image Source: Facebook/Hugh Hewitt)

    Here are Hewitt’s five proposals for Clinton:

    1. A constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and substituting in its place a direct election of the president by popular vote.

    2. A constitutional amendment abolishing the two term limit on the presidency.

    3. A constitutional amendment mandating that 5% of GDP be spent on the Pentagon’s budget, with safeguards that the money actually be spent on soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and the equipment they need, and not on absurd “tack-ons” like “green energy” production for military bases. Rebuild the military and detach it from the GOP, and do so before a coup becomes a reality in the next forty years.

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    4. An ironclad commitment to massive development of our own energy resources, via fracking onshore and select development of new offshore resources, via out-of-sight platform drilling. Campaign on authorizing the Keystone XL Pipeline, once you have the nomination. What is Mr. [Tom] Steyer going to do? Disown you? The left will think you’re posturing. Some in the center will be seduced. Cite the statistic that for every energy job created, four are generated downstream of it. Sell the true statement that “Energy is freedom,” and cite the knowledge you gained as Secretary of State of the Third World’s desperate need for energy to alleviate poverty and power growth.

    This will be the hardest of all the backflips you must accomplish, a full-throated embrace of the fossil fuels you are on record as saying are destroying the planet. And like Canadian figure skater Kevin Reynolds’ first ever “double quad” on ice in a competitive event in 2010, it will be unprecedented and very difficult to seize a GOP core position and persuade your side it was necessary and indeed worth doing.

    5. A near-complete amnesty for all illegal immigrants coupled with an ironclad commitment to the immediate construction of a long, double-sided, high fence covering at least half the length of the 2,000-mile, Mexican-American border. The GOP has long failed to understand how to make this dual commitment work, to see in it the easiest way to hit the sweet spot. To your supporters on the left assure them the gate in the fence will be wide. Open it soon after construction is complete. Then close it prior to 2020. Then open again thereafter. With the majorities you build in your demographic surge you can put forward the Constitutional amendment removing term-limits on the presidency.

    Hewitt goes into great detail on the rationale behind each of these proposals in “The Queen,” summarized as follows: (more…)

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