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  • Watch one minute of the craziest beards and mustaches from the annual beard festival in Hungary
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 11:01 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (0)

    Aficionados of the extreme hairstyling associated with the sculpted beards and mustaches call their avocation “bearding.”

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Some of the more competitive and passionate bearders believe the growing, trimming, shaping, sculpting and waxing of facial hair qualifies as a sport — there’s even a World Beard and Moustache Championship held annually, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals in 18 different categories.

    This past weekend, the Hungarian village of Kiskunfelegyhaza, south of Budapest, saw the seventh Kunsag Beard Festival.

    In case you missed it, here’s a video compilation of some of the “best” examples from the beard and mustache tonsorialists.

    For the record, Beard Team USA (last year’s American winners) will travel to the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Leogang, Austria, to compete in the 2015 championships on Oct. 3. The competition to select the 2016 Beard Team USA will take place on Nov. 7 in Brooklyn, New York.

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • Is this organ donor ad sweet or creepy?
    Posted May 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm by Zach Noble

    Comments (19)

    It’s got the sad music from “Up,” an old man and a dog — so you know a tearjerker moment is coming up.

    But can you predict the ending?

    An Argentine ad for organ donation is attracting attention online — more than 1 million views on YouTube as of Saturday morning — and while some people are just tearing up, others are confused.

    In the ad, a faithful dog follows its master until the old man collapses, leaving the dog to bond with a seemingly strange new woman outside the hospital — until you realize the message seems to be that the old man died and the woman got his organs.

    “I thought the guy had a sex change, and the moral was that dogs don’t see you for what sex you are,” wrote one commenter on Reddit.

    “I think it more [refers] to the good smelling of dogs, so that it smells his old owner in the lady,” another chimed in.

    Overall, many commenters found the ad sweet, but quite a few were puzzled and found the whole thing a little creepy.

    What do you think? Take the poll below and discuss in the comments.

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • Dog thinks through a problem
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (83)

  • 10 Blaze Books podcasts on freedom, faith and strength for your Memorial Day travels
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 9:00 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (0)

    For your listening pleasure, we have compiled 10 of our most recent Blaze Books audio interviews with leading conservative and libertarian thinkers on topics ranging from the Constitution to national defense.

    Check them out below, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast for in-depth, enlightening and entertaining interviews on Soundcloud or iTunes.

    1) Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document by Sen. Mike Lee

    2) By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission by Charles Murray

    3) Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad by Maj. Stephen Coughlin (Ret.)

    4) The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future by Charles Cooke (more…)

  • Brad Meltzer tells the story of the secret island where Lincoln’s killers were held prisoner at the heart of his new thriller (Blaze Exclusive)
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:30 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (6)

    Bestselling author and host of the History Channel’s “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” and H2′s “Lost History,” Brad Meltzer, has a new thriller coming out June 16 titled “The President’s Shadow.”

    The book centers on the Secret Service, a spy ring created to protect the president and the terrifying history of a government experiment on citizens with decades-long ramifications. Much of Meltzer’s thriller is based in fact, including a key part of the story regarding a secret island where the conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln were sent.

    During our in-depth interview with Meltzer, which you can listen to in full below, Brad told us the story of that island:

    This tiny…secret island that held…Lincoln’s killers was right in my backdoor south of Florida

    … [A]nyone who knows me knows as a long-time guest of Glenn Beck’s programs knows my obsession with Lincoln, like Glenn himself. And I was doing research, right after Lincoln was shot … there were many people who were … guilty of the crime. Four of them were hung … In Washington, D.C. four of them were hung.

    The other four were actually sent to prison. And they were told that they were supposed to go north and they were going to go to some prison up in New York I think it was. And in the middle of the night, these four — Ned Spangler and Dr. Samuel Mudd and others — were pulled out of their cells, they were thrown on a ship, and they could see that the fact that the land was on their right that they were not going north, they were going south. And they kept going south. And they went so far south they went past Key West.


    Now many people think that Key West is the southernmost tip of the United States. Actually there’s an island that’s further than that, and it’s a place called by some “Devil’s Island.” It’s now the Dry Tortugas. It’s the home of a place called Port Jefferson. There’s a real place that exists, and what happened was, it’s literally an island like “Gilligan’s Island …” where there’s a giant almost medieval fort made of millions of bricks.

    And at one point in time back during the Civil War, we used to think that castles and fortresses were the way that we were gonna protect our nation. You know everyone in Europe had these big castles. Everyone was making big castles. And so we had millions of bricks chugged out to this island, and what happened was is, eventually the steam engine was invented, and weapons were invented that make a fort and the brick wall look like a pillow fort. And they said, “You know what? Castles are useless. Fortresses are useless.” And they abandoned this island.

    And Abraham Lincoln’s killers were put on this island. Abraham Lincoln himself used to use it for Civil War deserters, but … when he died they used it as a prison. And this tiny, hidden, secret island that held Abraham Lincoln’s killers was right in my backdoor south of Florida. And you better believe I went down there to see it. And what I saw there — you’re gonna see all in the book, I don’t want to ruin the end of “The President’s Shadow” — but what’s on that island, the secret rooms that are on that island. All of those things were real. And it was amazing to walk in the real history of the men who killed Abraham Lincoln.

    During the interview, Brad and I also had the chance to discuss several other topics including: (more…)

  • Hate traffic circles? Maybe some drivers just don’t know how to navigate them properly. Here’s a quick driver’s ed refresher
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (33)

    Yield signs. Inner lanes. Outer lanes. Exits onto offshooting streets.

    Traffic circles are more than just a place to stick a fancy fountain or garden in the middle. According to a recent report by WOOD-TV, traffic circles can enhance driver safety by requiring them to slow down and by, in some cases, taking out the need for a traffic signal. The Federal Highway Administration cites them as safer than your typical four-way intersection.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    But roundabouts can be a frustrating place both for the people who really don’t know how to navigate them and for the people who do but are forced to accommodate those who don’t. Some would say they actually hate roundabouts for other reasons as well, citing them as costing taxpayers more money because there’s more road to create and maintain.

    Regardless of whether or not that’s the case, in some cities roundabouts are simply a reality, so it’s time for a quick driver’s ed refresher course on how to drive in a traffic circle to alleviate the frustrations of your fellow man.

    The Washington Department of Transportation has a breakdown of instructions with graphics depending on if you encounter a single-lane or multi-lane roundabout.

    In a single-lane roundabout, keep an eye out for pedestrians and yield to cars already in the circle before you enter. When there’s a gap, pull in and exit at the appropriate offshoot.

    Multi-lane roundabouts are a little trickier, especially if more than one lane is entering at the same time as well. The key is picking the proper lane when you enter to make sure you’re not cutting over to make your preferred exit at the last minute. Here are some graphics from the WDOT to show you how it’s done:

    Image source: WDOT

    Image source: WDOT

    Image source: WDOT

    Image source: WDOT

    When you enter this type of roundabout, make sure you’re paying attention to all lanes of traffic in the circle before you pull in.

    Watch this video about driving in traffic circles:

    And to hammer the point home, here’s a quick rundown in list form of how to treat a traffic circle from the FHA:

    1. Slow down.

    2. If there’s more than one lane, use the left lane to turn left, the right lane to turn right, and all lanes to go through, unless directed otherwise by signs and pavement markings.

    3. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.

    4. Yield at the entry to circulating traffic.

    5. Stay in your lane within the roundabout and use your right-turn signal to indicate your intention to exit.

    6. Always assume trucks need all available space — don’t pass them!

    7. Clear the roundabout to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

    Also, ye be warned, there is no joy riding allowed in the traffic circle. WOOD-TV reported that you can only take three rounds in the circle and then you have to exit or you could be fined.

    Front page image via Shutterstock.

  • 7 books that will leave you utterly demoralized but undoubtedly smarter about the lawlessness of the U.S. legal system
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 7:23 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (7)

    As we noted on his reading suggestions on the Constitution, libertarian political scientist Charles Murray generously sprinkles a number of recommended books throughout his new ”By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” (more on the book in our interview below):

    One such subject that is the focus of “By the People” is the extent to which America’s legal system has become warped to the point of lawlessness itself.

    Below are seven reading suggestions from Murray on the topic:

    1) The American Illness: Essays on the Rule of Law by F.H. Buckley

    The American Illness

    2) The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America by Philip Howard

    The Death of Common Sense

    3) Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America by Philip Howard

    Life Without Lawyers

    4) The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government by Philip Howard (more…)

  • David Letterman’s Last Show Draws Crowds of Fans and Media
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (6)

    Tonight marks the last episode of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

    Image source: M. Opelka

    Image source: M. Opelka

    Before the final taping started, crowds of fans, paparazzi and a gaggle of local and national media gathered outside the old Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway.

    Image source: M. Opelka

    Image source: TheBlaze / M. Opelka

    Most of the people lined up were long time fans of the show. One San Antonio man shared his story with TheBlaze about first seeing Letterman in person back in 1993. When he heard about Dave’s retirement, he wrote to the show, expressing his appreciation for all of the decades of entertainment and was rewarded with tickets.

    Ahead of the taping on Wednesday afternoon, few details were known about the last show. Guests were not being announced. But, six trailers, like those seen on movie shoots in Manhattan, were stationed outside the backstage entrance. This attracted a crowd of fans and paparazzi.

    Image source: M. Opelka

    Image source: TheBlaze / M. Opelka

    Among the ticket holders, a pair of young men from Ohio, on their first visit to New York City. They almost did not make it, as one of the men, “Buki,” had surgery last week and was supposed to be resting. He decided a trip to see David Letterman’s last show was better than what the doctor ordered.


    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • My SuperShuttle driver melted down in a profanity-laced tirade — and I got it on video
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:33 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (18)

    I’ll start from the very beginning.

    On Mother’s Day, I was traveling from New York City to California to surprise my mom for the holiday. Since my plane was leaving from Newark, an airport not accessible by the subway, I decided to order transportation service from SuperShuttle.

    It turned out to be a horrible choice.

    On the morning of my flight, I waited patiently for the driver to show up. About 10-15 minutes after he had missed the end of the allotted window, I gave SuperShuttle a call.

    As I waited on hold, I stepped outside my Manhattan apartment. There was a SuperShuttle van on my block, but at first glance, no sign of anyone inside. I approached the van, still on hold, and peered inward. The driver was fast asleep in one of the van’s rows. I tapped on the glass and he quickly woke up. After explaining the situation to SuperShuttle, the company refunded my money.

    I thought that was the end of my troubles, but it was far from it.

    Since I had ordered a shared van service, we needed to pick up two other nearby customers before heading to the airport. 10-15 minutes later, the first of the two passengers was in the car.

    The driver exploded, going on a profanity-laced tirade against myself and the other passenger…

    It was on our way to pick up the final passenger that things spiraled out of control. The driver appeared to have significant difficulty reading road signs and, thus, was unable to follow the GPS instructions. He kept missing a south-bound ramp which resulted in us driving around in circles for about 30-45 minutes in Manhattan.

    The video I recorded begins when I tried to help the driver take the correct ramp to the highway. He was about to go north again and I kindly said something to the effect of, “I think it wants us to take the south-bound ramp instead.”

    I could not have anticipated what he did next.

    The driver exploded, going on a profanity-laced tirade against myself and the other passenger for making the suggestion. He told us that he “did not give a f***.” I started recording about 2 minutes into his rant. He immediately toned down when he saw my phone come out. However, as you can see, he continued hurling curse words at us.

    Things continued to go downhill from there. The driver, running out of time to pick up the other passenger, started running stop signs and red lights.

    The other passenger and I, fearing for our safety, asked him to just let us out of the vehicle. He initially refused and just continued driving. When we demanded more forcefully a second time that he pull over and let us out, he obliged. After dropping us off, the driver peeled out as he sped away in the van.

    We took an Uber cab to the airport. In the car, the other passenger immediately contacted SuperShuttle. The company assigned him a case number and said someone would be in touch. Despite the man’s warning that the driver was unfit to be driving on the road — not to mention, other passengers — the company appeared to treat the case as routine.

    After finally arriving at the airport, I ultimately made my flight by maybe 30 seconds. The other passenger missed his.

    The next day I contacted SuperShuttle’s media relations department seeking a statement. I shared the video of the driver’s tirade with them. The spokesperson reached out to the director of customer care who refunded the cost of the Uber cab to the airport. She told me the company was conducting an investigation into the matter.

    When I later emailed the company spokesperson, she could not say however whether the driver in question had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

    More than a week has gone by and SuperShuttle has not said exactly what steps they took to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Is the driver still shuttling other customers? Was he placed on suspension? Was he fired?

    All those things remain unclear. The one thing that is certain, however, is that I won’t be taking a SuperShuttle ride in the near future.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • You’re probably not pronouncing ‘parmesan’ this way
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:29 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (1)

    This is just a bit of Internet silliness.

    If you happen to visit the Cambridge Dictionary online in search of the correct pronunciation of the word “parmesan,” this is what you’ll see:

    Clicking on the speaker icon, instead of hearing the word “parmesan” pronounced as you’d expect, you’ll hear something very different.

    What, you’ve never asked someone to “pass the Pennsylvania”?

    We’re not sure how long the error has been in place, but it’s likely to be fixed fairly quickly. We suggest you share it with your trivia-obsessed friends as soon as possible.

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • 4 books you’ll want to add to your collection on the Constitution
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:53 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (3)

    For the avid reader, one of the nice things about Charles Murray’s new “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” (in-depth interview with Murray on the book below) is that he provides helpful reading suggestions on a variety of subjects.

    One of them is Constitutional jurisprudence.

    In a section titled “The Talmudic Morass of Constitutional Jurisprudence,” Charles Murray tells us:

    The scholarship that has grown up around the interpretation of the words of the Constitution is dazzling if seen as demonstrations of intellectual agility, but depressing in terms of the sophistry that accompanies much of it. Not being a constitutional scholar myself, I have drawn my description of the key Supreme Court decisions and their historical context in this chapter from the work of Randy Barnett, Richard Epstein, Michael Greve, Gary Lawson and other eminent scholar whose analysis of Constitutional jurisprudence proceeds from a Madisonian perspective.

    The four books Murray suggests include:

    1) The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government by Richard Epstein

    The Classical Liberal Constitution

    2) How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution by Richard Epstein

    How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution


  • Did Hillary Clinton support UN policy that would have criminalized Pamela Geller’s ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest?
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (20)

    Presumed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was recently asked about the “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, TX that was attacked by two jihadists, and what Mr. Bush thought of event organizer and ardent counterjihadist Pamela Geller.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was not, but a new book gives insight into how she might think about the issue given her support as Secretary of State of a policy put forth by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN that comes into direct conflict with the First Amendment.

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), talks with Laurent Fabius (R), Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, before a United Nations Security Council meeting on peace and security in Middle East on September 26, 2012 in New York City. The 67th annual event gathers more than 100 heads of state and government for high level meetings on nuclear safety, regional conflicts, health and nutrition and environment issues.Credit: Getty Images

    NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 26: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), talks with Laurent Fabius (R), Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, before a United Nations Security Council meeting on peace and security in Middle East on September 26, 2012 in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images) 

    As Maj. Stephen Coughlin (Ret.) writes in his “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad,” which we discussed at length here, the OIC put forth a “Ten-Year Programme of Action to Meet Challenges Facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st Century” approved in December 2005, one section of which dealt with “Combatting Islamophobia.”

    In this area, the goal of the OIC — which some argue serves as something of a caliphate representing 56 Islamic states and the Palestinian Authority — specifically was to

    Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation.

    Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia and to call upon all states to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishment. [Emphasis Coughlin's]

    This goal was codified in UN Human Rights Commission (HRC) Resolution 16/18. The resolution entails

    Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief…

    According to Coughlin — who in addition to being a leading advisor to the Pentagon on Islamic law is a practicing lawyer specializing in international jurisprudence — key to HRC Resolution 16/18 in the eyes of the OIC is the notion of criminalizing “incitement to violence,” as a means of “deterrent punishment.” The OIC desires that

    the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and all other non-Muslim countries pass laws criminalizing Islamophobia. This is a direct extraterritorial demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions submit to Islamic law and implement shariah-based punishment over time. In other words, the OIC is set on making it an enforceable crime for non-Muslim people anywhere in the world—including the United States—to say anything about Islam that Islam does not permit.

    The crux of Coughlin’s argument is the language contained in an interlocking web of documents including the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.


    Featured Book

    Title: Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad


    Purchase this book

    Three particular portions of the ICCPR are critical: (more…)

  • ‘Clinton Cash’ author Peter Schweizer talks about the damage George Stephanopoulos has done to ABC
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:59 am by Chris Salcedo

    Comments (3)

    The acceptance of liberal bias and conflicts of interest by the Brian Williams press is quickly destroying any credibility the only profession mentioned in the U.S. Constitution has left. The latest example of a sanctioned double standard comes courtesy of ABC News and their politico-turned-news anchor, George Stephanopoulos.

    As someone who once sat in the anchor chair and was once a news reporter, I can testify that real journalists spend their entire career perfecting their craft. I’ve known some who won’t vote, for fear they’ll cloud their objectivity. Still others have spouses with no clue on how they vote at the ballot box. They guard their impartiality with a fervor and passion that seems to have been lost by the executives over at ABC News. Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera marveled how he lost his ABC job over an undisclosed donation of $200 to a non-partisan mayoral race. He wondered, on Twitter, how Stephanopoulos’ $75,000 donation was OK with ABC execs.

    I don’t have a window into the thinking at ABC News, but it seems their priority is the maintenance of left-wing political operative’s positions and high salaries, rather than preserving journalistic integrity.

    That leads us to Peter Schweizer. Stephanopoulos aggressively grilled Schweizer over his new book “Clinton Cash” and the dots that were connected therein. Stephanopoulos asserted that it was up Schweizer to provide the “smoking gun” rather than show a pattern that would prompt investigation from government authorities.  I don’t remember Stephanopoulos chiding journalists over their reporting, with no smoking gun, of Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; that reporting led to conviction and prison sentence for corruption. Why the different standard for the Clintons, George? Could it be that Mr. Stephanopoulos is still biased toward the Clintons?  With countless charities to choose from, the $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation seems to answer that question. The problem is, ABC and George didn’t feel the need to disclose that to their viewers or to Schweizer. Oddly, a month ago Stephanopoulos appeared on the ”The Daily Show,” telling Jon Stewart that those who give to the Clinton Foundation expect something in return. The question that George and ABC News don’t seem interested in answering is, what did they get in return?

    Click and cue to 58:20 to hear The Chris Salcedo Show”‘s interview with Peter Schweizer:

  • Are you mispronouncing these common words and phrases?
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:44 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (129)

    Are you irritated when you hear a word or phrase consistently being mispronounced? Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

    In defense of the English language, the watchdogs at have collected many mangled phrases and mispronounced words and frequently post them online.

    Of course, social media noticed.


    Listen to a discussion of the jumbled jargon from Saturday’s edition of “Pure Opelka” on TheBlaze Radio:


    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • 7 of the best and worst notes left on car windshields
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:12 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (47)

    It happens all the time — you return to your car in a parking lot and find a note on the windshield.

    Sometimes these mysterious missives are confessions or admissions of guilt for the new scratch on your car. Other times, the notes contain blunt language or a review of how the car has been parked.

    Recently, TheBlaze has covered some of the best and worst messages motorists have received. The crew over at also spotted the trend and gathered “17 of the Most Amazing Notes Left on Car Windshields.”

    For your enjoyment, we have selected six of our favorites from Odometer’s accumulation.

    Of course, there were notes confessing to damaging a car. This one admits to scratching the car, but assumed that the victim could afford it.

    Image source:

    Image source:

    “Jack,” the author of this note also admits his guilt. However, he only wrote it so people watching him would think he was leaving his contact information. He wasn’t.

    Image source:

    Image source: 

    How badly a car is parked is the topic addressed in many of the notes.

    Image source:

    Image source:

    Another terrible parking job was the inspiration for this note. But, it also contained a curse for the driver of the “flashy, brand new Nissan Altima.”

    Image source:

    Image source:

    This note earns the award for “most effort needed to send a message.” It required the author to write it on a computer, print it and return to leave it on the car. It also contained some cursing.

    Image source:

    Image source: 

    We cannot confirm the authenticity of this note, allegedly left by “your friendly neighborhood Spiderman,” but its message is one we can support.

    Image source:

    Image source: 

    Also found in Odometer’s collection, a few notes from drivers. Most were appeals to parking enforcement officers. This one appears to be a pre-emptive strike to ward off would-be thieves.

    Image source:

    Image source: 

    See the rest of Odometer’s “17 of the Most Amazing Notes Left on Car Windshields” here.

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • The crazy easy way you can peel garlic in literally seconds
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (32)

    If, like me, you hate how hard it is to peel garlic, this video could rock your world. Take a look at the simple life hack that the folks at Diply put together that’s so easy, it’s crazy:

    (H/T: HuffPost)

  • Congress to punt on federal highway spending with a two-month extension
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    The House and Senate are taking steps to quickly pass legislation next week that would extend federal highway funding for two months, just days before the so-called Federal Highway Trust Fund expires.

    Democrats have been hounding Republicans for weeks to do something to extend federal highway funding before it expires at the end of May. Without an extension, Democrats have warned that construction around the country would be put at risk, since those projects benefit from federal funding.

    (Source: Shutterstock)

    The House and Senate are getting ready to pass a two-month extension of federal highway funding, just days before the program expires. Image: Shutterstock


  • Government reports record low levels of bullying at school
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (10)

    The Obama administration said Friday that the rate of bullying at schools across the country has hit the lowest level since bullying episodes started to be tracked tracked by the government a decade ago, in 2005.

    The National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency that studies education data, reported that overall bullying rates fell to 22 percent in 2013, down from 28 percent in 2011. The rate has hovered close to 30 percent since 2005, and in 2007 it rose to 32 percent.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 12.44.40 PM

    Image: National Center for Education Statistics


  • Most Dems vote against bill to authorize national defense programs for 2016
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:55 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    The House passed legislation Friday to authorize U.S. defense programs and policy for the next fiscal year, but only had help from 41 House Democrats — 143 Democrats voted against it, following President Barack Obama’s threat to veto the bill, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s request that Democrats support their president.

    The National Defense Authorization Act has been controversial for Democrats because while it authorizes a total of $612 billion in funding for the Defense Department, it gets there by authorizing $89.2 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO).

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks at the Generation Progress's annual Make Progress National Summit in Washington, Wednesday,July 16, 2014. The summit brings together progressive leaders and young people. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) AP Photo/Cliff Owen

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led the charge against a bill authorizing defense programs for the next fiscal year, and persuaded most Democrats to vote against it on Friday. AP Photo/Cliff Owen


  • Leading libertarian Charles Murray says the political process is hopeless. Here is his radical alternative to restore liberty.
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 9:54 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (41)

    Libertarian political scientist Charles Murray is the rare scholar who not only writes accessibly and eloquently about critical issues, but actually sticks his neck out and proposes practical solutions to them.

    In his new book “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission,” Murray, author of such books as “The Bell Curve,” “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” and “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead” lays out the plan for one of his most ambitious projects yet: Restoring limited government in an America whose political system is broken.

    Apropos the release of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “The 10,000 Commandments” report indicating that in 2014 federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses $1.88 trillion, making the total size of the regulatory pie equal to the world’s 10th largest economy, Murray aims directly at the heart of the regulatory state with a potent but peaceful weapon.

    During an in-depth interview which you can listen to in full here, Murray explained why he believes the political process is “hopeless,” and how he intends to cripple the Leviathan hyper-regulatory system:

    “[T]he system now operates in ways that are indistinguishable from…a kleptocracy”

    I spend five chapters actually in the book making the case that everything is hopeless with the political process, and let me start with the Constitution.

    I used to think if we had five Nino [Antonin] Scalias or five Clarence Thomases on the [Supreme] Court that we could make a lot of progress. And I have been disabused of that notion for the following reason: There were a series of four or five Supreme Court decisions from 1937 to 1943 which changed — well, changed isn’t the right word — unleashed the government from the constrictions of the Constitution. It unleashed them from being stuck with the enumerated powers, it redefined the Commerce Clause to mean manufacturing and agriculture even if it only has indirect effects on interstate commerce.

    Then you had a lesser known decision, but just as important whereby in 1943 in a decision involving the National Broadcasting Company, the Supreme Court said “You know, the Congress doesn’t have to supply a specific intelligible principle in it’s legislation,” which more or less says to the regulatory agency “You’re supposed to do A, B and C.” It can say “Give us fair broadcasting rules,” and that’s good enough. Well, this unleashed the regulatory state to go out and make up whatever regulations they wanted.

    … [O]ur legal system is increasingly lawless. It just doesn’t correspond to what we usually think of as the rule of law. And the other thing is that the political process is systemically corrupt. I don’t mean we have more corrupt people in the government, I mean the system now operates in ways that are indistinguishable from the way that a kleptocracy operates.

    Pretty grim argument, but I think it’s one that you can sustain.

    Murray explains how he came to the conclusion that the solution to what ails us lies in civil disobedience:


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    Maybe I should start by telling you how this whole thing came to me. The origin of the book was a guy who was a friend of ours who was getting in trouble with the regulatory state for idiotic reasons. He was being asked to do mutually contradictory things. He was being fined heavily. And he said to the bureaucrat who was doing this, “I’m going to fight this in court.” And the guy said to him “You try that and we’ll put you out of business.” And he knew that was true.

    And I got so angry when my wife told me about this that I had an image — I’m not making this up — I had an image of a guy in a pinstriped suit maybe riding on a horse who comes up, taps the guy from the government on the shoulder and says: “We are taking this man’s case. We are not going to charge him a penny. We are going to litigate this until you are sick of it. We are going to seek publicity that will embarrass you. And when you finally get your fine levied, we will pay it for him. And if you bother him again we’re going to come back again.”

    That in a nutshell is what I want.

    I have two frameworks: One is what I call “The Madison Fund,” which would be a very large foundation funded probably by rich guys mostly, but for the benefit of ordinary small business people and homeowners. And it would take lots of those cases. It would put enormous pressure to bear on the enforcement resources of the regulatory state, which aren’t nearly as great as most people assume.

    During the rest of our interview which you can listen to in full below, Murray explains in detail how precisely “The Madison Fund” would function in the face of a host of hurdles, the outsized impact that such a legal defense group could have in terms of ending the “arbitrary and capricious” enforcement of regulations and much more including: (more…)

  • Obama dashes Senate Dem hopes for currency bill
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 9:33 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (6)

    The Obama administration warned Thursday that it doesn’t much care for a controversial bill supported by every Senate Democrat that would let the U.S. impose duties on goods from countries that are deemed to be manipulating their currency for a trade advantage.

    The Senate passed that bill Thursday in a 78-20 vote that saw all 46 Senate Democrats support it. Democrats have argued for years that countries like China have purposefully kept their currencies undervalued in order to create more demand for their exports.

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama announce their ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The Obama administration is expanding efforts and directing a variety of federal agencies to work with other countries to help young girls worldwide attend and stay in school. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    President Barack Obama warned Thursday that he’s not a fan of a bill dealing with international currency valuations that every Democrat in the Senate voted for. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


  • George Clooney takes drastic action to prevent David Letterman from leaving ‘The Late Show’
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 9:00 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (1)

    Another day, another big name stopped by “The Late Show With David Letterman” to salute the host’s career and wish him well in retirement. This time, the big name was George Clooney.

    Instead of joking with Letterman about his post-Late Show life, Clooney found a way to prevent him from leaving — he handcuffed himself to the host.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube


    Clooney followed the cuffing by tossing “the keys” into the audience.

    Watch the clip from CBS:


    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Congress gets a say on Obama’s Iran nuke deal
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:27 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (5)

    The House approved legislation on Thursday that gives Congress a chance to review any Iran nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration this summer, and lets members reject it if they don’t think it goes far enough to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

    Legislators passed the bill that the Senate approved a week earlier in a 98-1 vote. The House passed it 400-25, an overwhelming show of support for a bill that ends months of fighting over the precise role Congress will play if an Iran agreement is finalized.

    President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address

    Both the House and the Senate have passed a bill giving Congress a say in any final Iran nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration.


  • Senate Dems run from Obama on trade
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 2:52 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Nearly every Senate Democrat who’s anybody at all voted against a bill Thursday that would give President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate trade deals that can’t be amended by Congress, showing the continuing distrust that Democrats have toward their own president when it comes to trade policy.

    The Senate held a procedural vote a bill to give Obama trade promotion authority (TPA), a day after reaching a deal that first had the Senate vote on two trade bills favored by Democrats. The Senate easily passed those earlier in the day — one to extend trade preferences to sub-Saharan Africa, and another to boost enforcement of U.S. trade laws.

    President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers remarks during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Washington. (Image source: AP/Evan Vucci)

    Senate Democrats agreed to a deal to allow several trade votes to go forward, but in the end, dozens of them still voted against the idea of giving President Barack Obama trade promotion authority. Image source: AP/Evan Vucci


  • Senate passes controversial bill allowing U.S. to retaliate against currency manipulation
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    The Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would give the U.S. government the power to impose duties on imports from countries when those countries are deemed to be devaluing their currencies in order to gain a trade advantage.

    Senators voted 78-20 in favor of the legislation, a broad bill that also looks to extend various U.S. efforts to enforce trade laws and trade agreements. All of the “no” votes were Republicans.

    Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., right, accompanied by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, about the Supreme Court¹s decision in the McCutcheon vs. FEC case, in which the Court struck down limits in federal law on the aggregate campaign contributions individual donors may make to candidates, political parties, and political action committees. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), right, the lead supporter of legislation to address currency manipulation, won a victory Thursday when the Senate passed a bill allowing the U.S. to retaliate against countries with undervalued currencies. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta


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