Here's a palate cleanser for your Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
During a Houston Texans game last week former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were caught on the kiss cam.
And now to one of my favorite kiss cam moments:
Electorally, New Hampshire is as unpredictable a state as they come. During this past year’s midterm elections, for example, New Hampshire was one of the only states in the nation where a Senate Democrat running for re-election survived. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hung on by roughly three percentage points, a decisive victory in what was otherwise a terrible election year for her Senate colleagues. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) all lost their respective races.
All of which is to say that New Hampshire has history of bucking national trends and electing and re-electing candidates unexpectedly. It’s also the first-in-the-nation primary state. Thus, it’s somewhat interesting to learn that roughly one-third of GOP primary voters in the state have a candidate in mind who they’d support in 2016. According to a freshly-released poll, presidential also-ran Mitt Romney garnered 30 percent of the vote, followed rather distantly by Sen. Rand Paul (11) and Gov. Chris Christie (9).
National Journal has the scoop:
New Hampshire's all-important stamp of approval is Mitt Romney's to lose—if he runs, that is. The former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential contender leads his potential rivals by a double-digit margin in the early-primary state, with 30 percent of voters expressing their support, according to a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm poll released Monday. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the runner-up in the hypothetical contest, garnered just 11 percent support.
Leading up to the midterm elections, Romney fashioned himself as a sort of thought leader for the GOP, a seasoned luminary who rises above the political fray. Although he has stuck to the line that he's not running, albeit in varying language, his popular support continues to grow.
UPDATE: Also, don't forget about this.
From Cabela’s to Wal-Mart guns will be on sale a everywhere on Black Friday, and what better time is there to load up on a firearm? The manic shopping frenzy lands right before Christmas and right in the midst of deer hunting season.
With the expected increase in gun sales the Federal Bureau of Investigation is gearing up for a dense wave of background check requests. There are more than 48,000 gun retailers in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. For every sale, cashiers must call in a check to the FBI or to other approved agency to insure that the customer does not have a criminal record. When the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, was implemented in 1998, the FBI oversaw around 9 million checks. Last year that number inflated to more than 21 million.
“This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS….
NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day last year. That surged to 145,000 on Black Friday 2013. They're bringing in 100 more workers than usual for the post-Thanksgiving rush this year.”
Seventy-one percent of background checks last year were instantly approved. According to Federal Law, a customer is disqualified from purchasing a gun if he/she is: underage, an illegal alien, a documented drug addict, a convicted felon, a fugitive from justice, underage, mentally ill, dishonorably discharged from the military, has renounced their U.S. citizenship, is subject to a court restraining order, or has a history of domestic violence.
The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls--and its not exactly a hot new store. It's...Obamacare.
In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange.
Westfield malls in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida and Washington will allow navigators and other enrollment workers to both hand out fliers and use other outreach approach methods.
The NCPA will be hosting calls with HHS officials to train pharmacists on how they can spread the word about open enrollment season, as well as using new tactics to share information with its 23,000 members.
Finally, the XO Group will be using its sites — such as The Knot and The Bump — to advertise to women who are set to experience a life changing events such as marriage or childbirth.
The "target" of expected signups has been ticked downward to about nine million.
I don't know about you, but when I go to the mall I make an effort to avoid the majority of the mall kiosks attempting to push products on me. I'm assuming this will be no different. How desperate is HHS getting to resort to invading shopping malls?
Natalie Dubose is a single mother of two living and working in Ferguson, Missouri. Dubose runs her own cake shop in the city called Natalie's Cakes and More, a business she dedicated all of her resources to in order to make a living. Dubose started her cake business by renting out a booth at the local flea market every weekend, selling her product and eventually saved enough money to open up a store, which had it's grand opening in August.
Despite pleading with protestors, her store was severely damaged in riots Monday night, but thanks to the generosity of fellow Americans she'll be back in the kitchen in no time. After learning about the destruction, fellow citizens from around the country donated more than $140,000 to a crowdfunding site dedicated to getting her back on her feet. Hundreds of people have also placed orders for her baked goods.
"It's been amazing. I've been crying but these are tears of joy. I'm just so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from people across the country and I thank them," Dubose said during an interview on Fox News Wednesday. "This [the shop] is my baby."
"I am so thankful and I'm so grateful. If I could have arms big enough I would just hug each and every last one of them but I just want to thank everyone that has contributed to helping me rebuild my shop to helping me live my dream and to helping for me to continue to be the mom that I've been to my children, to continue providing them with the support that they need," she said.
All the best to Ms. Dubose, what a wonderful example of the American Dream she is and her cake looks really yummy too! Be sure to check out more about her story here.
Some of my work. Hope you like it.Thanks for the love! Caramel Pecan Cake is great for the holidays! pic.twitter.com/haQEOBxizm— Ferguson's Natalie (@Ferg_Natalie) November 26, 2014
Every year hunters from around the country feed the hungry by donating nearly three million pounds of meat and 11 million meals to those who are less fortunate. Just one pound of ground venison can feed four people.
Interested in donating? Watch the video below about how to get started and learn more about venison donation programs by visiting Nssf.org/Huntersfeed.
You know the pilgrims traveled to the New World on the Mayflower, but did you know about the Steadwell? You know they ate turkey during their first feast, but did you know they also had baked beaver? These are just a couple of the little-known facts author Rod Gragg includes in his book, “The Pilgrim Chronicles,” an eyewitness account of the pilgrims’ journey to America and the first Thanksgiving, as well as what their lives looked like in England before stepping onto that famous boat. Gragg shared some insight with Townhall on the effort that went into compiling this information, as well as his passion for studying the pilgrims. Check out what else he had to say, then buy the book! You might just learn something new on this Thanksgiving about a few of America’s first settlers.
What made you want to write about the pilgrims? Is this something you’ve always been interested in?
“I’ve always found the pilgrims to be a fascinating group of people and I know that their influence on the development of our nation was tremendous. So, they’ve always had an appeal to me. But actually I had written a couple of books in this genre of eyewitness history. You write a narrative and it’s highlighted with the primary source materials, documents, letters, diary entries and so on that make up history to go and find. So I had done a couple of books like that and the publisher came to me and asked if I wanted to do something like that on the pilgrims and that was something I was interested in because I was familiar with it a bit. But my concern was there wasn’t enough primary source material to actually build an eyewitness history of the pilgrim experience. As it turned out, it was far more than I expected and as usual I only thought I knew the pilgrims – I knew far less about them then I thought I did and they really are extraordinary people who have tremendous impact on American history.”
Can you give us a small teaser, maybe share one of the little-known facts that you included in your book?
“The pilgrims traveled to America from the North Atlantic on the Mayflower, but there are actually two pilgrim vessels, two ships. The other one was called the Steadwell and it did not live up to its name. It sprung leaks repeatedly. When the pilgrims left with two ships from England and they went out into the English Channel and then into the open Atlantic, they made two attempts to travel with both ships. But, the Steadwell continued to leak, they brought it back into port and tried to do repairs and it just didn’t work. Finally, they brought it back to Plymouth and decided it was not seaworthy and so they moved everybody that they could onto the Mayflower. Some of them chose not to come. That’s why the Mayflower, which really was a pretty good size ship, was so packed across the Atlantic.”
Can you put into words what kind of faith and courage it took for the pilgrims to leave the Old World and sail toward the unknown?
“Well this book spends about half of its space dealing with the pilgrims in England. That’s the side of the story that most Americans don’t know. It’s really an extraordinary story, very remarkable. The pilgrims were a remarkable people who were extremely courageous and to do what they did took extraordinary heroism. And of course they made a major positive impact on America.”
Another interesting part of the book was when you talk about the first Thanksgiving feast – which didn’t really look like your typical Turkey Day dinner. Could you tell us what was on the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving table?
“Well the pilgrims were not the first to observe Thanksgiving in the New World. The Spanish settlers in New Spain did so, and so did the Jamestown colonists. But, it was from the pilgrims that we get our Thanksgiving tradition. Although, their Thanksgiving feast was probably not what we think it was. In some ways, it was very different from what we expect today. It was a 3-day event. It presumably featured a very joyful worship service, but what is also on record is that it also included recreations. Those were probably the field sports that were so popular to the English people of their day and that would have included wrestling, foot races, jumping contests - these are the kinds of activities that the English people loved at that time. We do know it also included what they describe as either a firearms competition, a shooting match, or some type of firearms demonstration. One of the sources says they exercised their arms and whether they were having a shooting match or whether they were having a firearms demonstration maybe for their invited guests, the Poconos Indians, we don’t know. But those are things we don’t normally associate with the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving.
As far as what was on the menu, we know that they were on record as saying they served waterfowl, presumably duck or goose and we know that they served wild turkey, which is where we get our tradition, I guess. But they also had venison. The Poconos Indians, their guests brought three deer, which they butchered, and dressed and served. But they also probably had baked beaver. Yes, they were serving the items that they ate later at Plymouth colony and they would have had lobster, baked clams. We know they served fish, cod, bass. And they had Indian corn, they had peas from England, and also probably beans, cabbage, parsnips, onions, biscuits, probably English porridge or oatmeal and probably corn-based pasty pudding.”
Any thought on why it was the turkey that caught on and not the beaver?
“I don’t know why the turkey became the great tradition of Thanksgiving, but probably because it’s a lot easier today to have a turkey dinner then to have goose, duck, certainly baked beaver if they had – or baked venison which we know to have.”
There’s a lot of great imagery in the book. Did you have a say in what graphics were going to be included in the book?
“Yes, as a matter of fact this publisher is very strong on graphics and they designed two of the maps that are there. There’s one map that’s a traditional, historical map from an earlier era. As far as the images, this really is an illustrated book and I really tried to find as many authentic images as I could. Some are from that era but there aren’t many from that time period. Many of them came from the 19th century and the early 20th century and are authentic depictions of various events.
The star of the show, so to speak, of this book, are the eyewitness accounts. They began with an eyewitness account of the people who became the driving force of the pilgrims, the separatists, an account of their standing by the East Coast of England trying to board a ship to Holland to escape persecution and are caught by English soldiers who bear down on them. There’s also I think a very moving account by a young Puritan preacher who’s in the pilgrim tradition, a man named John Henry, who was executed for writing an unpublished theological manuscript. This letter is to his wife and daughters before he was executed, it’s a very touching letter to me. There’s also a behind-the-scenes account of some of the scandalous behavior that occurred at the court of King James I. There’s a description of the separatist worship service that was recorded secretly by a government agent who was sent to infiltrate the people who became the pilgrims and there’s descriptions of the voyage across the Atlantic. There’s a cargo manifest from a similar expedition. It’s probably typical of what the pilgrims carried and then there are period accounts of the pilgrims and when they reached America and New England and what they experienced there. Some of the most interesting eyewitness accounts are those earlier explorers from North America who recorded what they thought they saw and these were accounts the pilgrims probably read as they prepared to make their voyage to the New World. They would read that these folks saw and claimed that in America they would encounter everything from 3-headed snakes to unicorns to giant clams, all kinds of fanciful descriptions that the pilgrims probably wondered what are we going to see when we’re in this wilderness, this new home of ours?”
Some have criticized today’s classrooms for their curriculum as not accurately portraying the pilgrims’ experience and really highlighting their mistreatment of Native Americans. Do you agree that they’re not being taught as they should? What are a few of the worst misconceptions about the pilgrims?
“Well I would say that the history of the relationship between European Americans and later American authorities with the Native American peoples is certainly one of the saddest chapters of American history. But the pilgrims actually set a model of a much better relationship. They really developed a healthy, respectful relationship with the Poconos Indians and with some of the other tribes in the area. They were kind of a model of what those relationships should have been and could have been perhaps with European Americans and later American authorities so it’s really, I think, inaccurate and a lie that the pilgrims would be blamed for some of the terrible relationships that actually did exist later on. I think that, as far as the treatment of the pilgrims today that I hear in some cases, I think that probably reflects the bias of a contemporary American culture toward anything related to faith more than it reflects true accurate history. The pilgrims were a remarkable people who really are deserving of respect. They really probably deserved the tradition that has come down to us about them that is not totally inaccurate. These people came to a New World to try to establish a new home where they would exercise freedom of faith. They tried to establish a respectful relationship with the Native Americans, they were respectful of their environment. They did set up a remarkable legacy for us of how they influenced American culture, law and government based on the two pillars that were the pillars of colonial America and that freedom.”
Black Friday is quickly becoming Black Thursday, meaning families are going shopping as soon as they’re done eating turkey. Do you think our culture is in a sense forgetting the true meaning of Thanksgiving?
“I think Thanksgiving is really a great, really unique American holiday and it’s a time, if you follow that tradition that has come from the pilgrims, a time for us to really stop, step back and take account of the blessings we have in this country and to have an attitude of gratitude that God has blessed us. There is a reason why the national motto of the United States is ‘In God We Trust’ and it goes back to the States exhibited by people like these pilgrims and in other colonies in the very beginning, that you see reflected even in the language of the Declaration of Independence, this foundational Judeo-Christian worldview that American culture, law and government were founded on and this is a good time to think about that and to remember that despite all of our faults that we have all throughout our history, this is an exceptional nation and it has produced exceptional opportunity of freedom for generations of people throughout the world.”
Last night, Ferguson protests erupted in Washington D.C. and in other cities across the country. Needless to say, some on the left are very unhappy with the Grand Jury decision, but do they condemn the acts of vandalism and looting that occurred in city earlier this week?
[Warning: some strong language]
That was a question the Media Research Center’s Dan Joseph wanted to ask protestors; he even dressed up for the occasion in a suit and tie.
More than a few protestors said that they were supporting the acts of “communal self-defense” that are occurring in Ferguson.
One protestor had the racial composition of the Grand Jury on a sign; there were nine white and three black jurors. When asked by Joseph if she knew how the jurors voted–and if it was along racial lines–she admitted to not knowing the answer.
The Grand Jury vote is kept secret.
In all, Joseph got some great footage of left-wing extremism.
The editorial team here at Townhall would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Here's some of the things we're thankful for in 2014:
Another year has flown by and here we are again celebrating Thanksgiving, hopefully surrounded by family and friends. As cliche as it sounds, I am grateful for nearly everything in my life. It's the big things, the little things, the good things and even the bad things each day that remind me of just how blessed I am. I’m grateful for my health, my incredibly supportive family, loyal friends, life lessons, a warm place to go home to, my work, a good boss, my colleagues, plentiful food, my cell phone, the Internet, chapstick, my upcoming deer hunt, the opportunity I had to travel to Israel this year and so much more. I am thankful today and every day for many blessings, including the blessing of being born an American.
As you sit down with your families today, please remember the men and women serving in our armed forces who won't be at home with theirs, I am certainly grateful for their sacrifice and dedication to keeping us safe. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.
-Katie Pavlich, News Editor
I am truly thankful for my loving family, my fantastic friends, my good health, my fulfilling job, and my wonderful colleagues, both at Townhall and Fox News. It's all too easy to lose sight of seemingly mundane blessings during our frenetic day-to-day shuffle, so I'm also thankful that we as Americans observe a holiday each year that encourages us to take a step back and reflect on our many causes for gratitude. Including, in my case, the Northwestern Wildcats' epic overtime upset at Notre Dame this month.
-Guy Benson, Political Editor
I'm thankful to live in the United States. While the United States is not perfect, and we are working to improve it every day, our nation is without a doubt the greatest country in the world. The brave men and women who defend it deserve our eternal thanks.
I'm thankful for my amazing family, without whose love and support I would not be the same person that I am today. Not everyone is so blessed, and I wake up every day thankful for the people who love me. My wife, my parents, and my siblings are the greatest support network I have.
-Kevin Glass, Managing Editor
This year, as always, I am thankful for all of God’s blessings—my family, friends, health, job, and living in the greatest country in the world, which wouldn’t be possible if not for members of the military, past and present, and their families. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
-Leah Barkoukis, Managing Editor, Townhall Magazine
I am beyond grateful for many things: For my parents’ love, support and commitment to my education when I was younger. For my three siblings: Meaghan, Timothy, and Matthew. For such great friends who would (quite literally) give me the shirts off their backs. They know who they are. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I am grateful to the men and women who defend our freedom. Their courage and sacrifice never ceases to amaze me. Happy Thanksgiving, all!
-Dan Doherty, Deputy News Editor
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it forces us to stop and reflect. This year, especially, I am incredibly thankful for my family. Even though hundreds of miles separate us they have been my support system and my biggest cheerleaders as I started this new adventure in DC. I am thankful for the friends I have made living here, and for a wonderful church family I can be a part of on a weekly basis. I am thankful for the freedoms that living in these United States gives us. And I am thankful for the men and women of our armed forces, and for the sacrifices they make to protect our great nation. As the new girl to Townhall, I am thankful for amazing colleagues and a team I love to work with. I pray that you and yours have a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
-Chelsea Courson, Office Coordinator
2014 was quite a year to be thankful for. I’m thankful for Charlie White and Meryl Davis and their gold medal. I’m thankful for the second Royal Baby. I’m thankful for the Hunger Games franchise. I’m thankful for successfully seeing only one Downton Abbey spoiler this year before it airs in America. I’m thankful for I Love Lucy reruns. I’m thankful for Nutella (which is a lifesaver for someone with a peanut allergy.) I’m thankful for Ted’s Bulletin pop tarts. On the political side of things, I’m thankful for the fact that pro-life women will be making history next year in Congress.
Now for my loved ones. I’m thankful for my friends, who make weddings way more fun than they ought to be. I’m thankful for my brother and sister-in-law and their stellar advice. I’m thankful for my parents, who always offer me their listening ears when I feel like venting. Most of all, I’m thankful for my faith in God, which has pulled me through trials I never thought would end.
Happy Thanksgiving, Townhall family!
-Cortney O’Brien, Web Editor
Like I said last year, I’m not the best at emoting via writing, so here’s an unordered list. I’m thankful for the Catholic Church. For my family, including my cousin’s unborn son whom I can’t wait to meet this April. My friends, both old and new, near and far. My amazing job and coworkers. For the fact that my flight was able to successfully make it from DC to Maine for the holiday before the snow hit. For being able to travel to London and North Dakota this past year. For free inflight wifi allowing me to type this (thanks, Verizon!). For the legislative and electoral victories this year, especially the re-election of Gov. Paul LePage. And, as always, I am forever thankful to be a citizen of the United States of America.
-Christine Rousselle, Web Editor
I am thankful for my parents, for my dear friends, and for all those in my life with whom I have loved, laughed and grown. I'm thankful for my very dedicated and hardworking coworkers at Townhall, every day I love working alongside of them and learning from them. I am thankful for being born in America, where people still value and fight for their religious freedom, free speech, and a free press. I am thankful for all those who fight for those rights. I am thankful for my wonderful roommate, and for the dinners we cook together. I am thankful for Taylor Swift, for acoustic guitars, and for my keyboard. I am thankful for technology, coffee and art museums. And I am thankful for all the opportunities I have each day to learn more about the world and those around me.
-Sarah Jean Seman, Web Editor
After lingering in unemployment and internship-land for almost two years, there’s a lot to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful for being raised by a loving and supportive family; my mom and dad, along with my brother and sister, have been my biggest supporters; for being an American, for having amazing friends and co-workers, for having a job, for being part of the amazing team at Townhall.com, and for our men and women serving in uniform at home and abroad.
I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
-Matt Vespa, Web Editor/Community Manager
As a college intern at Townhall, I will not be making the trip back home (Reno, Nevada) for the holiday...It's a little too expensive for my budget. So from 2,000 miles away from home, I am thankful for my family, my dog, and my pickup truck waiting for me when I get back in mid-December. As for my current 'home' in D.C., I could not be more thankful for my experience in this fascinatingly robust city and for the wonderful people at Townhall.
-Ky Sisson, Editorial Intern
As if President Obama’s executive amnesty wasn’t already a slap in the face to out-of-work Americans, thanks to a loophole in Obamacare, it looks like businesses will actually have a financial incentive for hiring illegal immigrants.
The Washington Times reports:
Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare.
President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.
Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover. [...]
A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the newly legalized immigrants won’t have access to Obamacare, which opens up the loophole for employers looking to avoid the penalty.
The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees Obamacare, referred questions to the White House, which didn’t reply to a request for comment.
“If it is true that the president’s actions give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally, he has added insult to injury,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) told the Times. “The president’s actions would have just moved those who came here illegally to the front of the line, ahead of unemployed and underemployed Americans.”
Meanwhile, Obama maintains that bringing undocumented workers into the workforce is a good thing.
“Immigrants are good for the economy,” he said in Chicago on Tuesday. “We keep on hearing that they’re bad, but a report by my Council of Economic Advisers put out last week shows how the actions we’re taking will grow our economy for everybody.”
I’m sure those in the unemployment line would beg to differ.