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New England states fight Black Friday retail creep

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 10:33
Three New England states are fighting back against the holiday retail creep – the extra-early Black Friday sales which have some stores opening their doors as early as 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Food for thought

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 09:44
Much is made about the debates each party’s presidential candidates have in September and October every four years. Those are believed to be the headiest moments of America’s political dialectic in preparation for choosing a commander-in-chief that fall.

Will President Obama’s Immigration Policy Hurt America’s Unemployed?

TownHall Latest columns - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 08:35
President Barack Obama tried to put a positive spin on his decision to issue an executive order to give several million illegal aliens clemency but his move also may have an unintended consequence of creating heightened job competition for Americas unemployed. 2014-11-27T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T13:35:02Z Paul Dykewicz

Some Perspective on What We Have to Be Thankful For

Cato Recent Op Eds - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 08:28

Marian L. Tupy

Of the original 102 Pilgrims who arrived in North America aboard the Mayflower in the fall of 1620, only about half survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, in November 1621. The rest perished through starvation and lack of shelter. The survivors gave thanks to God for a plentiful harvest. And good local harvests were vital, for in a world without global commodity markets or effective transport and communications, food shortages often meant starvation.

Today, most Americans are concerned with eating too much rather than too little. That fact is all the more remarkable considering that between 1600 and 2013 the population of what would later become the United States rose 21,000%, while the proportion of Americans employed in agriculture decreased at least 98%.

Contemporary Americans live longer, healthier, richer and safer lives than at any other period in history. In fact, an ordinary person today lives better than most kings of yesteryear.

To appreciate the astonishing improvements in the standards of living of ordinary people, consider the life of the 17th century’s grandest figure, Louis XIV. The Sun King ruled France and Navarre between 1643 and 1715. During his life, Louis became synonymous with wealth and power. His Versailles palace had 2,000 windows, 700 rooms, 1,250 chimneys and 67 staircases and cost, at a minimum, $3.2 billion in today’s dollars.

Yet here was a man who almost died of smallpox when he was 9 years old and lost nearly all of his legitimate heirs — his son, a grandson and a great-grandson — along with his younger brother, another grandson and a great-grandson, to smallpox. Eventually, he was succeeded by his second great-grandson, who became Louis XV and died (you guessed it) of smallpox.

In America, smallpox is usually associated with the decimation of Native Americans, but Europeans were not immune to the disease. As late as the 18th century, for example, smallpox killed about 400,000 Europeans annually. The overall mortality rate was 20% to 60%. Among infants, it was more than 80% and was one of the reasons for the low overall life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. The disease was eradicated in 1980. Today, we don’t think of smallpox any more than we think of the bubonic plague, which, in five short years, killed almost one-third of all Europeans in the 14th century.

One outcome of that epidemic was to make the Europeans suspicious of bathing. According to some medical experts of the day, “once heat and water created openings (pores) through the skin, the plague could easily invade the entire body.” As such, hygiene got progressively worse. Queen Elizabeth I, for example, who ruled over England and Ireland between 1558 and 1603, supposedly said that she bathed once a month, “whether she needed it or not.” Her successor, James I, however, only washed his fingers.

The “journal de la santé,” which was kept for Louis XIV by his doctors from infancy until 1711, describes the king’s daily life in microscopic detail, but mentions bathing only once. According to the journal, the king was often sick and wore extravagant wigs not only to hide his hair loss, but also to keep him warm. Rightly so, for according to one contemporary account, “people froze in those vast salons of marble and gold.… The wife of the Duke of Orleans wrote, ‘It is so cold here [Versailles] that at the king’s table wine as well as water froze in the glasses.’”

“Contemporary Americans live longer, healthier, richer and safer lives than at any other period in history.”

The palace also was ill equipped to deal with human waste. People relieved themselves wherever they could. Thus, shortly before Louis XIV died, an ordinance decreed that feces be removed from the corridors of Versailles once a week. All that filth meant that disease-spreading parasites were rife. Before the 19th century, people had no idea about the germ theory of disease, and doctors often caused more harm than good.

If this was the life of Europe’s richest and most powerful man, imagine what ordinary people’s lives must have been like. People lacked basic medicines and died relatively young. They had no painkillers, and people with ailments spent much of their lives in agonizing pain. Entire families lived in bug-infested dwellings that offered neither comfort nor privacy. They worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset, yet hunger and famines were commonplace. Transportation was primitive, and most people never traveled beyond their native villages or nearest towns. Ignorance and illiteracy were rife.

More often than not, we tend to overlook our truly spectacular rise from grinding poverty to previously unimaginable abundance. And so, during this Thanksgiving holiday, let us give thanks for accountable government, market economy and scientific progress that make a king out of each of us.

Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and editor of HumanProgress.org.

Illegal immigrants to be eligible for Social Security, Medicare

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 02:00
Illegal immigrants who apply for work permits in the U.S. under President Obama’s new executive actions will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare, the White House says.

Businesses to receive incentive for hiring illegal immigrants, report says

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 00:00
Businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers under President Obama’s sweeping action on illegal immigration.

Illegal immigrants to be eligible for Social Security, Medicare

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:54
Illegal immigrants who apply for work permits in the U.S. under President Obama’s new executive actions will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare, the White House says.

When The Enemy of The States is The State

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Such testimony was consistent with physical evidence establishing that Wilson had not fired at Brown's back as repeatedly and poisonously alleged. 2014-11-26T15:49:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Diana West

Liberals Willing To Fight To The Last Drop of Black Blood

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
The riot in Ferguson reminds me, I hate criminals, but I hate liberals more. They planned this riot. They stoked the fire, lied about the evidence and produced a made-to-order riot. 2014-11-26T19:19:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Ann Coulter

Slaughter in the Synagogue

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Israel's enemies are as barbaric as any in the Middle East. 2014-11-26T11:57:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Cliff May

Ferguson a Lesson Lost on Race

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Of all the wild talk coming out of Ferguson and the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer -- and all that angry and predictable noise emanating from race hustlers like Al Sharpton -- there are two things I just can't shake. 2014-11-26T11:53:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z John Kass

Parents Offended by "Nutcracker" Christmas Tree

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
We havent even had time to hang the mistletoe and would you believe there are already skirmishes breaking out in the war on Christmas? 2014-11-26T10:27:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Todd Starnes

The Real Lessons of Ferguson

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
When the Barack Obamas and Eric Holders of the world step out to tell us we have much work to do on race, they are right. But the racial progress we need to make is nothing like what they envision 2014-11-26T08:06:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Mark Davis

Putting Politics Ahead of National Security - FDR Style

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
FDRs War Department made it clear that if war was truly inevitable, it would prefer that Japan commit the first overt act. Less than two weeks later, FDRs wish was granted. 2014-11-26T01:16:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Michael Schaus

As The World Burns, Obama Fires Hagel

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
President Barack Obama has fired Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Beltway clerks and pundits tell us Hagel is a political scapegoat, a sacrifice to Obama's electoral drubbing. 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Austin Bay

Obama's Economic Agenda: Higher Health Care Costs, No XL Pipeline, and More

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
President Obama's political barometer moved from bad to worse this week after his ill-conceived, illegal executive action to rewrite our immigration laws. 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Donald Lambro

US Spent 7x as Much on Food Stamps as Customs and Border Protection

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Take a look at an American family's budget and you can tell what that family values. 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Terry Jeffrey

Ferguson, A.K.A. ‘Benghazi West’

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Could it be that Governor Nixon was experiencing the Benghazi Effect? Or was Nixon just frozen into inaction by indecision and incompetence? 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z D.W. Wilber

A 'Do-Nothing' Plan for Republicans

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
The fight over immigration reform was wiped off our TV screens by the fires and tear gas clouds in Ferguson Monday night. 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Michael Reagan

Illegal Executive Orders Reward Illegal Immigration

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 23:35
Like millions of other Americans, I appreciate the plight of billions of people throughout the world who would like nothing more than to find themselves in the United States, where they could enjoy a much higher standard of living and wonderful opportunities for advancement. 2014-11-26T00:01:00-05:00 2014-11-27T04:35:04Z Dr. Ben Carson

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