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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘MSNBC’

July 4th Special: 11 Jews Who Changed America

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Inevitably, when one composes a list of people whose contributions have changed America, or any other country for that matter, the first reaction from the astute readers of the list is an objection to half the choices, and suggestions for far better choices. So we encourage the astute reader to add his or her own suggestions in the comments section, as well as their enraged reactions to our audacity in including some of our choices below.

In making our selection we looked for true pioneers, people who arrived when a certain situation was at point A, and due to their investment over a lifetime, things moved on to B or even higher in the alphabet.

For the record, we wanted to keep our list at 10, but the powers that be who pay our wages intervened and inserted one additional Jewish person. We invite you to guess whom this person is, and we are certain you won’t be able to.

Our list is purely in alphabetical order, because we have no way of telling which of these ten distinguished individuals was more crucial in shaping the way America is today, and we thought going in chronological order was boring.

We’re grateful to the many online sources from which we lifted so much of the copy in this article; they are so numerous, we fear that if we mention some we’d only hurt the feelings of all the others.

And, yes, we’re aware that we’ve actually listed 15 Jews, because one of them is a pair of sisters and the other are three brothers (and then some).

Louis Brandeis Louis Brandeis

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1916 – 1939, Brandeis radically changed the way American Law regards personal freedoms in a modern society.

In 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to the Supreme Court, his nomination was contested by many, because, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible.” And, in that context, “the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.” Justice Brandeis’s opinions constituted some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the Supreme Court.

In Gilbert v. Minnesota (1920) which dealt with a state law prohibiting interference with the military’s enlistment efforts, Brandeis wrote a dissenting opinion that the statute affected the “rights, privileges, and immunities of one who is a citizen of the United States; and it deprives him of an important part of his liberty. … The statute invades the privacy and freedom of the home. Father and mother may not follow the promptings of religious belief, of conscience or of conviction, and teach son or daughter the doctrine of pacifism. If they do, any police officer may summarily arrest them.”

In Whitney v. California (1927), dealing with the prosecution of a woman for aiding the Communist Labor Party, which was promoting the violent overthrow of the government, both Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes expanded the definition of “clear and present danger” to include the condition that the “evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion.” According to legal historian Anthony Lewis, scholars have lauded Brandeis’s opinion “as perhaps the greatest defense of freedom of speech ever written by a member of the high court.” In their concurring opinion, Brandeis and Holmes wrote:

“Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of free speech to free men from bondage of irrational fears … Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty …”

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

This singer-songwriter, artist and writer has changed and influenced popular music and culture for more than five decades.

After initially modeling his style on the songs of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams in the early 1960s, journalist Mike Marqusee wrote that “between late 1964 and the middle of 1966, Dylan created a body of work that remains unique. Drawing on folk, blues, country, R&B, rock’n’roll, gospel, British beat, symbolist, modernist and Beat poetry, surrealism and Dada, advertising jargon and social commentary, Fellini and Mad magazine, he forged a coherent and original artistic voice and vision. The beauty of these albums retains the power to shock and console.”

Australian critic Jack Marx wrote that Dylan “invented the arrogant, faux-cerebral posturing that has been the dominant style in rock since, with everyone from Mick Jagger to Eminem educating themselves from the Dylan handbook.”

J. Hoberman wrote in 2007: “Elvis might never have been born, but someone else would surely have brought the world rock ‘n’ roll. No such logic accounts for Bob Dylan. No iron law of history demanded that a would-be Elvis from Hibbing, Minnesota, would swerve through the Greenwich Village folk revival to become the world’s first and greatest rock ‘n’ roll beatnik bard and then—having achieved fame and adoration beyond reckoning—vanish into a folk tradition of his own making.”

And in June 2014, before the sale of the original lyrics of “Like a Rolling Stone,” written on four sheets of hotel stationery by Dylan in 1965, Richard Austin of Sotheby’s said: “Before the release of Like a Rolling Stone, music charts were overrun with short and sweet love songs, many clocking in at three minutes or less. By defying convention with six and a half minutes of dark, brooding poetry, Dylan rewrote the rules for pop music.”

Betty Friedan Betty Friedan

No one contributed more to changing the way American women view themselves and their male-dominated society than this American writer, activist, and feminist. Her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique sparked the modern wave of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan co-founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which aimed to bring women “into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men.”

Published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique depicted the roles of women in industrial societies, especially the full-time homemaker role which Friedan deemed stifling. Friedan described a depressed suburban housewife who dropped out of college at the age of 19 to get married and raise four children. She spoke of her own terror at being alone, wrote that she had never once in her life seen a positive female role-model who worked outside the home and also kept a family, and cited numerous cases of housewives who felt similarly trapped.

The “Problem That Has No Name” was described by Friedan in the beginning of the book: “The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries … she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all?'”

In 1970 NOW, with Friedan at the helm, was instrumental in the Senate’s rejection of President Nixon’s Supreme Court nominee G. Harrold Carswell, who had opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act granting women workplace equality with men. On August 26, 1970, the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution, Friedan organized the national Women’s Strike for Equality, and led a march of 20,000 women in New York City, promoting equal opportunities for women in jobs and education, and demanding abortion rights and the establishment of child-care centers.

Friedan spoke at the Strike for Equality about “the question of a woman’s right to control her [sic] own reproductive processes, that is, laws prohibiting abortion in the state or putting them into criminal statutes; I think that would be a statute that we would [be] addressing ourselves to.”

Friedan founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, renamed National Abortion Rights Action League after the Supreme Court had legalized abortion in 1973.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century, Heschel, who was a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, believed the teachings of the Hebrew prophets were a call for social action in the United States and worked for African Americans’ civil rights and against the Vietnam War.

Edward Rothstein wrote in the NY Times in 2007 that “no modern Jewish thinker has had as profound an effect on other faiths as Heschel has; the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said he was ‘an authoritative voice not only in the Jewish community but in the religious life of America.’ Nor has any Jewish theologian since Heschel succeeded in speaking to such a wide range of readers while rigorously attending to the nuances of Judaism.”

His daughter, Susannah Heschel, recalled that in his 1965 inaugural address at Union Theological Seminary, “my father reminded his audience that the Nazis attacked Christianity as well as Judaism, and he called for both communities to unite against the threat: ‘Nazism has suffered a defeat, but the process of eliminating the Bible from the consciousness of the western world goes on. It is on the issue of saving the radiance of the Hebrew Bible in the minds of man that Jews and Christians are called upon to work together. None of us can do it alone. Both of us must realize that in our age anti-Semitism is anti-Christianity and that anti-Christianity is anti-Semitism.”

In 1963, Heschel was invited to a meeting of religious leaders with President John F. Kennedy. The day before the event, Heschel sent the president a telegram about civil rights, asking him to declare the nation’s racial inequality a “state of moral emergency” and to act with “high moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.”

King and Heschel stayed in close touch, and after the first Selma march, “Bloody Sunday,” Heschel led a delegation of 800 people to FBI headquarters in New York City to protest the Bureau’s failure to protect the demonstrators. Heschel flew to Selma from New York on Saturday night, March 20, and was one of the leaders in the front row of marchers at the next Selma march, with King, Ralph Bunche, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy. The photograph of Heschel walking arm in arm with King has become the symbol of the coalition of Jews and blacks in American politics.

Heschel later wrote: “For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.”

Abigail van Buren and Ann Landers

Ann Landers and Dear Abby

Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer and Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips were born seventeen minutes apart on July 4, 1918. They later became advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail van Buren (Dear Abby). The sisters were in their late thirties when Esther, and shortly thereafter Pauline, entered the advice column business. Esther, known as Eppie Lederer, won a contest to replace the original author of the “Ask Ann Landers” column for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955. By 1993, the Ann Landers column appeared in 1200 daily newspapers with 90 million readers, making her the world’s most widely syndicated columnist. The column has also been translated into more than twenty languages. A few months after Eppie Lederer took over as Ann Landers, her twin sister Pauline Esther “PoPo” Phillips introduced a similar, competing column, Dear Abby, using the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren, which resulted a lengthy estrangement between the two sisters. Phillips wrote her column until retiring in 2002, at which time her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, took over.

Both columns used a straightforward tone, gave practical advice, and a firm but modern moral sensibility. Both sisters used humor, including sarcasm and one-liners, in their advice. “Dear Abby” once published a letter from a reader inquiring whether a woman could get pregnant underwater, responding: “not without a man.” Both columnists won millions of loyal followers. As one reviewer put it, each was “just the person you’d want to go to with a problem—the aunt with the wise mouth and the heart of gold.” Psychology Today credited Ann Landers with having a greater effect on the way people deal with their problems than any other living individual. Both women were politically liberal, and used their columns to condemn racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism and to advocate for women’s rights.

Here are one each of their famous responses:

Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? —Wanting to Know

Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.

Dear. Mrs. Landers: I’ve always regarded most marital mix-ups as very humorous — until now, that is, when the noose is tightening around my own neck. We have been married 10 years and have two sons. I like auto racing, but my wife has no interest in it, so I’ve always gone without her.

I’ve fallen for a woman with three children who is also very fond of auto racing. Her husband is ignorant and impossible. This may sound corny, but I think she would be a wonderful companion for me. I suppose you think I’m a louse — but I am stumped. I would like to have your advice on this problem — MR. K

Dear Mr. K: Time wounds all heels — and you’ll get yours. Do you realize that there are five children involved in your little racetrack romance? Don’t be surprised if you wake up one of these days and wish you had your wife and sons back. You are flirting with a muddy track on Black Friday, and the way you’re headed, you will get exactly what you deserve.

Estee Lauder.

Estée Lauder

A trailblazing American businesswoman, Josephine Esther Mentzer was the co-founder, along with her husband, Joseph Lauter (later Lauder), of Estée Lauder Companies, her cosmetics company. Lauder was the only woman on Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was inducted to the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame in 1988.

Her uncle John Shotz was a chemist who created face creams in a makeshift laboratory, set up behind her family’s house. He discouraged Estée from using detergent soaps on her face and showed her how to make the cream that, years later, she would improve and market under her own name. She launched her cosmetics business during the Depression in New York and later in Miami Beach.

Estée Lauder was an exceptionally talented and ambitious promoter, pioneering the giveaway promotions, and always including a lipstick in the gift package. Women tried her products, liked them, and told other women about them. Much of her initial success came from gift-driven word-of-mouth advertising. She called her strategy “Tell-a-Woman” marketing. She moved on to invest in larger marketing concepts, using beautiful models to sell her products. Estée Lauder chose her models carefully, selecting the “Estée Lauder kind of woman,” rather than the movie star type.

In 1953, she launched Youth Dew, a bath oil with a scent that could be used as perfume. Later she brought out many other popular scents such as Azurée, Aliage, Private Collection, White Linen, Cinnabar, and Beautiful. Lauder trusted only family members with formulas for the various fragrances.

She ventured into the male cosmetic market in 1964, using her son and other men in her company to test her products. In 1965, she came out with Aramis and an entire line for men’s skin, which she re-launched in 1967. Another of her ideas was the fragrance-free Clinique line, which was launched after extensive medical testing.

When it went public in 1995, her Estée Lauder Companies was estimated to be worth about $5 billion and she was given the title of founding chairwoman. In 2003, it had 21,500 employees and an estimated worth of about $10 billion. Its products are sold in more than 130 countries across five continents.

The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers

The brothers Julius Henry, Leonard, and Adolph Marx, a.k.a. Groucho, Chico, and Harpo, are on the American Film Institute (AFI) list of the 25 greatest male stars of Classic Hollywood cinema, the only performers to be inducted collectively. There were also Gummo, and Zeppo Marx (Milton and Herbert respectively), but the three zaniest Jews of all times have created, working together from 1905 to 1949, an ingenious merging of Vaudeville and Hollywood that taught an admiring world just what insane things can be done with film comedy.

Five of the Marx Brothers’ thirteen feature films were selected by AFI as among the top 100 comedy films, with Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera in the top twelve.

Pleased with the success of their first two films, The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), Paramount Pictures extended the Marx Brothers’ contract, which they fulfilled with three of their greatest comedies: Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932), and Duck Soup (1933). Among their wildest, most anarchic efforts, the three films mercilessly lampoon moneyed society, higher education, and warring governments. They were filled with Groucho’s verbal effrontery (in lines such as “Remember, men, we’re fighting for this woman’s honor, which is probably more than she ever did!”) and surreal sight gags such as a live, barking dog that emerges from a doghouse tattooed on Harpo’s chest. Monkey Business and Horse Feathers were enormously popular with Depression-era audiences, but the political satire Duck Soup was a box-office disappointment. Today, however, it is regarded as one of the great film comedies of the 1930s.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer then signed the brothers to a two-picture deal, resulting in A Night at the Opera (1935) and A Day at the Races (1937), their most successful financially and among their best efforts. The Marx Brothers’ characters were tamed, though, their surreal elements were minimized, and they were turned into likeable, even heroic characters.

There’s no doubt that the inventiveness and raw chutzpah of the Marx Brothers gave life to countless successors in post-WW2 American film, including Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Peter Bogdanovich, and several generations of TV comedy writers.

Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk

Poliomyelitis, also called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5% of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may also involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. In patients with muscle weakness about 2% to 5% of children and 15% to 30% of adults die. Another 25% of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5% have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.

Small localized paralytic polio epidemics began to appear in Europe and the United States around 1900. Outbreaks reached pandemic proportions in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century.

In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

Three years later, Dr. Jonas Salk became a national hero when he developed the first safe and effective polio vaccine in 1955 with the support of the March of Dimes. In the two years before the vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the US was more than 45,000. By 1962, that number had dropped to 910.

Contrary to the era’s prevailing scientific opinion, Jonas Edward Salk believed his vaccine, composed of “killed” polio virus, could immunize without risk of infecting the patient. Salk administered the vaccine to volunteers who had not had polio, including himself, his lab scientist, his wife and their children. All developed anti-polio antibodies and experienced no negative reactions to the vaccine.

In 1954, national testing began on one million children, ages six to nine, who became known as the Polio Pioneers. On April 12, 1955, the results were announced: the vaccine was safe and effective. As one of the largest disabled groups in the world, polio survivors also helped to advance the modern disability rights movement through campaigns for the social and civil rights of the disabled. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 10 to 20 million polio survivors worldwide.

A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal repeated the popular Jonas Salk statement (in an Edward R. Murrow interview) about his Polio vaccine: “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Many use this statement as the moral impetus for refusing patents on medically important innovations (most notably Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”). However, according to WSJ, Salk could not patent the vaccine if he wanted to. The fact is that whether or not Salk believed what he said to Murrow, the idea of patenting the vaccine had been considered by a team of patent law lawyers, who recommended not to apply for a patent because the law at the time would not have awarded it.

Which makes Salk an innovator also in his role of a scientist who chose not to litigate what he knew he couldn’t get.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, (1902-1994), the seventh and last leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, changed the way many American Jews, and then the rest of the Jews of the world viewed their connection to the Jewish nation. Rather than impose his views and philosophy on the million of unaffiliated and non-Orthodox Jews in America and then in the rest of the world, the Rebbe created a network of Chabad Houses into which they were all invited.

The forty-four years of the Rebbe’s leadership saw Lubavitch grow from a small movement that had barely survived the Soviet Union and the Nazi Holocaust, to a worldwide community of 200,000 members, the finest among whom the Rebbe employed to establish the Chabad education and outreach centers, offering social-service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background. His corps of Lubavitch emissaries (shluchim) went out to build Chabad Houses that reached out to local Jews and to passers by with concrete offerings: a place to stay, a place to eat, a place to pray, a place to study. Today there are more than 1,400 Chabad-Lubavitch institutions in thirty-five countries on six continents.

Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz wrote in the Forward a few years ago that “Lubavitchers are sent into the street as 13- or 14-year-olds to ask passersby, ‘Are you Jewish?’ For those who say yes, they offer to help put on tefillin, the little wearable black boxes containing prayers, or, depending on the season, give them matzos or Hanukkah menorahs. They, too, may not convince others to become observant, but they are always solidifying their own observance.

“But as we know, Chabad is, in fact, quite good at persuading some Jews to become more observant. And the 4,000 or so shluchim, emissaries, who along with their wives and children have dispersed across the globe to do missionary work among lapsed Jews, or those in areas with little organized Jewish life, have also become necessary to hundreds of thousands of Jews’ religious lives. Their schools, summer camps, adult education classes, and weekly Shabbat dinners have fortified Jewish life, often in towns or countries where Jewish life had been left for toyt (dead). And the emissaries do it because the Rebbe told them to.”

The Rebbe’s model of Jewish outreach has been imitated by all Jewish movements including the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Haredi. Peggy Noonan has written that moral issues would be better addressed by leaders such as Schneerson than by politicians, and since his death, Schneerson has been referred to as the Rebbe for all people. His teachings have been published in more than two hundred volumes. He also written tens of thousands of letters in reply to requests for blessings and advice. These detailed and personal letters offer advice and explanation on a wide variety of subjects, including spiritual matters as well as all aspects of life.

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

From 1999 to 2015, Jon Stewart hosted the half-hour “The Daily Show,” a satirical news program on Comedy Central that changed the way younger Americans received and engaged the news. While not inventing anything new, Stewart was able to dominate the airwaves and on occasion the news cycles by lashing out at phenomena and individuals in American politics and society and, even more importantly, by putting the news in a historic and social perspective. He taught a generation of American viewers about context, nuance and morality that no one has been able to do with the same authority since, including his closest protégé John Oliver (alas, not Jewish).

Stewart also attacked with satire but also with straight-forward criticism, media personalities, shows and networks with a devastating effect. His appearance on CNN’s Crossfire on October 15, 2004 eventually killed the show. Speaking to then-host Tucker Carlson, Stewart criticized the state of television journalism and pleaded with Carlson and his co-host Paul Begala to “stop hurting America,” referring to both Carlson and Begala as “partisan hacks.” He insisted that Crossfire had failed in its responsibility to inform and educate viewers about politics as a serious topic, engaging in partisan hackery instead of honest debate. He said that the hosts’ claim that Crossfire is a debate show is like “saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.”

In response to Carlson telling him, “Come on, be funny,” Stewart said, “No, I’m not going to be your monkey.” Later in the show when Carlson said, “I do think you’re more fun on your show,” Stewart retorted, “You’re as big a [expletive] on your show as you are on any show.” Carlson said, “You need to get a job at a journalism school,” to which Stewart responded, “You need to go to one!”

In January 2005, CNN announced that it was canceling Crossfire. When asked about the cancellation, CNN’s incoming president, Jonathan Klein, referenced Stewart’s appearance on the show: “I think he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day.”

In March 2009, exchanges between MSNBC’s financial guru Jim Cramer and Stewart led to a highly anticipated face-to-face confrontation on The Daily Show. The episode had 2.3 million total viewers, and the next day, the show’s website saw its highest day of traffic in 2009. Although Cramer acknowledged on the show that some of Stewart’s criticisms of CNBC were valid and that the network could “do better,” he later said on The Today Show that Stewart’s criticism of the media was “naïve and misleading.” But watch for yourselves, it’s obvious Stewart murdered him.

Stewart frequently accused Fox News of distorting the news to fit a conservative agenda, at one point ridiculing the network as “the meanest sorority in the world.” Stewart criticized Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson – a former Miss America and Stanford graduate – for claiming that she googled words such as “ignoramus” and “czar.” Stewart said that Carlson was dumbing herself down for “an audience who sees intellect as an elitist flaw.”

During an interview with Chris Wallace on June 19, 2011, Stewart called Wallace “insane” for saying that Stewart’s comparison of a Sarah Palin campaign video and an anti-herpes medicine ad was a political comment. Stewart also said Fox viewers are the “most consistently misinformed” viewers of political media. This comment was ranked by fact-checking site PolitiFact as false, with conditions, and Stewart acknowledged his error.

Stewart also used The Daily Show to advocate for causes such as the treatment of veterans and 9/11 first responders. He is credited with breaking a Senate deadlock over a bill to provide health care and benefits for 9/11 emergency workers; the bill passed three days after he featured a group of 9/11 responders on the show. In March 2009, Stewart criticized a White House proposal to remove veterans from Veterans Administration rolls if they had private health insurance; the White House dropped the plan the next day.

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss

Anyone can make a pair of blue jeans, but Levi Strauss & Co. made the first blue jean –– in 1873. Levi Strauss, the inventor of the quintessential American garment, was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria on February 26, 1829 to Hirsch Strauss and his second wife, Rebecca Haas Strauss. Two years after his father succumbed to tuberculosis in 1846, Levi and his sisters emigrated to New York, where they were met by his two older brothers who owned a NYC-based wholesale dry goods business called “J. Strauss Brother & Co.” Levi soon began to learn the trade himself.

When news of the California Gold Rush made its way east, Levi journeyed to San Francisco in 1853 to make his fortune. He established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and served as the West Coast representative of the family’s New York firm. Levi eventually renamed his company “Levi Strauss & Co.”

Around 1872, Levi received a letter from one of his customers, Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada tailor. In his letter, Davis disclosed the unique way he made pants for his customers, through the use of rivets at points of strain to make them last longer. Davis wanted to patent this new idea, but needed a business partner to get the idea off the ground. The patent was granted to Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss & Company on May 20, 1873; and blue jeans were born.

Prior to the Levi Strauss patented trousers, the term “blue jeans” had been long in use for various garments (including trousers, overalls, and coats), constructed from blue colored denim. Originally designed for cowboys and miners, jeans became popular in the 1950s among teenagers, especially members of the greaser subculture. Jeans were a common fashion item in the 1960s Hippie subculture and they continued to be popular in the 1970s and 1980s youth subcultures of punk rock and heavy metal. Historic brands include Levi’s, Lee, and Wrangler. In the 2010s, jeans remain a popular fashion item, and they come in various fits, including skinny, tapered, slim, straight, boot cut, cigarette bottom, narrow bottom, bell bottom, low waist, anti-fit, and flare. “Distressed” (visibly aged and worn, but still intact and functional) jeans trousers have become increasingly fashionable, making pre-sale “factory distressing” a common feature in commercially sold jeans.

In the 2010s, jeans are a very popular article of casual dress around the world. They come in many styles and colors. However, blue jeans are particularly identified with American culture, especially the Old West. As well, although jeans are mostly known as a popular fashion garment for several decades, they are still worn as protective garments by some individuals, such as cattle ranch workers and motorcycle riders, due to their high durability as compared to other common fabrics.


Live TV Reporter Caught Red-Handed Lying About Israelis Shooting Unarmed Arab [video]

Friday, October 16th, 2015

For the second time in less than one week there was violence at the Damascus Gate on Wednesday in Jerusalem. This time, like many others recently, was captured on video or the rampaging terrorist with a weapon would surely have been described as an innocent young man, shot down in cold blood. More on this, below.

The first attack took place on Saturday, Oct. 10. A 19 year old Arab resident of Jerusalem stabbed two members of Israel’s border police. The stabber was neutralized at the scene as he continued attempting to stab other officers.

The second incident took place late afternoon on Wednesday, Oct. 14. A Palestinian Arab male, later identified as Basel Sider, 19, was observed acting suspiciously. The man was wearing a camouflage t-shirt and pants. When Israeli officers approached him, he lunged at them and broke through the Damascus Gate checkpoint line. Israeli police repeatedly shouted for him to halt. As the Arab continued running with what appeared and was later confirmed to be a knife blade in his right hand, he was shot dead by Israeli officers on the scene.

Had there been no video, the Israeli officers who shot the terrorist would have been labeled murderers and executioners. Acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been only the most prominent individual to have made such horrific claims, paying no heed to the facts, recently denouncing the shooting deaths of rampaging terrorists as “field executions.”

In Wednesday’s incident, the only thing that was immediately known was that a young Arab man was shot dead by Israelis.

An MSNBC journalist was on the scene when the incident took place. Of course, as with athletic referees before the time of videotape, eyewitnesses are not always accurate in their observations. That is surely particularly so when an eyewitness may have a particular bias. This journalist was removed from Gaza for sloppy reporting during the summer 2014 conflict in Gaza.

What that MSNBC reporter, Ayman Moyheldin, tweeted out on Wednesday was, “I just witnessed the shooting of man running down the stairs towards Damascus gate before being gunned down.” Twenty-five minutes later, he tweeted again, this time writing that just at he was about to broadcast live “Israeli security opened fire on a Palestinian man dressed in camouflage. Killed instantly.”

The MSNBC eyewitness journalist filed a live report to his anchor. According to the report by Mohyeldin, the Arab man was not dressed in camouflage and he had no knife in his hands. The reporter also said that there were no injured Israelis on the scene, the Israelis removed the Arab’s clothes, probably in search of a bomb, and there was none on his body. Moyheldin assured his viewers that the Arab man “did not look to me to be particularly armed.”

In other words, according to “eyewitness” Mohyeldin, Israelis had just shot to death an innocent man.

But Mohyeldin’s anchor in the studio had already seen the video taken by Mohyeldin’s cameramen.

As Jeff Dunetz at The Lid explained, José Diaz Balart interrupted Mohyeldin on-air, and explained to the reporter and the audience that Mohyeldin’s version of events did not track the facts revealed on the videotape.

Diaz Balart then showed a screen capture from the video, which clearly shows the Arab man wearing camouflage shirt and pants, and holding a knife in his right hand.

Knife held by terrorist at Damascus Gate on Wed., Oct. 15, 2015.

Knife held by terrorist at Damascus Gate on Wed., Oct. 15, 2015.

Moyheldin attempted a few more times to rectify himself, but Diaz Balart stopped him cold. In fact, the news show host reprimanded the field reporter, explaining that it was always essential to provide a full context for any incident being reported.

Yeah, what he said.

Watch the video of the on air exchange, as captured by The Lid:

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Netanyahu’s Spokesman: Do You Really Trust Iran to Allow Monitoring?

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Israel took its campaign to ditch the deal with Iran to American media Friday with interviews on Fox News and MSNBC with a single message that Iran cannot be trusted.

That would not seem to be such big news or a surprise on the Israeli side of the Mediterranean Sea, but millions of Americans believe the Obama administration that they can count on Iran to allow monitoring of its nuclear faculties and research.

“The deal leaves Iran with an enormous and extensive nuclear infrastructure,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark told MSNBC. “It doesn’t close down, not even one uranium nuclear facility, not one.”

Regev added, “Why is Iran building intercontinental ballistic missiles? They’re not building them to attack Israel. They can do that. They are building intercontinental ballistic missiles to hit … targets in the United States. They’re a threat to you, too.

The biggest hole in the “key parameters” agreement with Iran is that issue of monitoring its nuclear facilities.

Regev told MSNBC:

We have seen, and I think you would probably agree with this, we have seen over the years monitoring is highly problematic when you’re dealing with authoritarian, totalitarian regimes committed to concealment. There’s a whole question what to inspect, where do you inspect, what do you know, what do you not know? And to base your defense, the defense of my country, the defense of the region, and the defense of the United States on inspectors when their value is at least questionable, we think is very precarious.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warning to Congress last month not to make a “bad deal” with Iran was only the first and certainly not the last step in Israel’s attempt to convince legislators to overturn the arrangement with Iran.

Regev’s appearance on two major American television networks makes it clear to President Barack Obama that the Prime Minister is not concerned about their personal relationship and that Israel will exercise its right to try to change American foreign policy that direct affects the country.

Regev told Fox:

This agreement that is on the table puts a lot of emphasis on the issue of monitoring. But we all know that monitors when they work with authoritarian or totalitarian regimes that they play games with monitors.

We didn’t see monitors work, not in Iraq, we didn’t see them work in Syria; we didn’t see them work in Libya… Monitors cannot work effectively with an authoritarian regime.

It’s an abasement agreement on monitors. ‘Come in and look. ‘ Where are they going look? What – is the Iranian regime really going to allow them to go anywhere they want to go? I doubt it very much.’

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

MSNBC Show Host Says Oklahoma Beheading Was ‘Workplace Violence’

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Put aside any radical and fanatical thoughts that the madman who beheaded a woman in Oklahoma acted out of any beliefs that are connected to his new-found Muslim religion. The murder simply was no more and no less than “workplace violence.”

Who says so?

Sp says Melissa Victoria Harris-Perry, who also is a convert to Islam and is the host of her show on MSNBC. Harris-Perry was backed by her three stooges who nodded their robotic heads approvingly, two of them being controversial Muslim comedians.

Rest assured. The host insisted, “I think this to me is that there is a belief that at the core – I can also probably have breakfast that morning but we don’t think any of those things are relevant. But we do think that his conversion, jailhouse by the way, conversion is what is relevant.”

She has a point – on her head.

Beheading is not your everyday murder, and the fact that ISIS Islamic radicals have popularized the barbaric act has no more significance than Harris-Perry’s eating breakfast?

The question is, “What is Harris-Perry putting in her corn flakes?”

Apparently she is eating with laughing gas. For her, the only connection between radical Islam and the beheading carried out by Alton Nolen is in the imagination of radical and fanatical right-wingers who are looking for a Muslim terrorist behind every beheading carried out by a Muslim who posted radical and fanatical statements on his Facebook page,

All Muslims are not violent, just as all Jews are not money-lenders, an image that has dogged us even until today ever since Medieval Christian rulers barred Jews from respectable professions and left them with little opportunity except to be peasants or lend money..

Normal, moderate mainstream Muslims have allowed radical Islam to hijack their religion, but Harris-Perry has a remedy.

Meet funny Islam.

“We’ve gone on and on and on creating this language between Muslims and violence and we need to have a counter-narrative. We don’t. So what we need — that is what we are trying to do… Muslims are funny. That’s the new stereotype. Pass it around. Muslims are hilarious,” one of her stooges said.

If Harris-Perry were not serious she really would be funny.

Take a look for yourself in the video below of the excerpt from her show in which she calls the beheading “workplace violence.”


Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Angry Liberals in America

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is staring at me with the uncontrolled intensity usually reserved for serial killers and time-share salesmen. “We know how to get the country back to work. The government needs to lead the way.”

He folds a napkin in what looks like some expensive oyster bar, but is probably just a television studio backdrop. “The government has to get us back to work.”

O’Donnell already has a job. His job is to yell angry things on MSNBC. Most of his listeners also have jobs or at least they have parents.

MSNBC is not a news network for the unemployed. It is a news network for aging liberals still addicted to listening to angry liberals yell about George W Bush.

On the television, O’Donnell, doing his best imitation of a strangler, wrings his hands and leans into the camera. Lean Forward, the ad, sandwiched between a drug ad that features smiling families at a picnic while the announcer soothingly tells you all the ways it can kill you and that multiracial Cheerios ad that General Mills hopes to use convince a new generation of consumers that racial progress is more important than good taste, tells me.

The ads are more soothing than the angry MSNBC segments that they bookend. And soothing is code for upscale. Even Lawrence O’Donnell angrily leaning forward in his imaginary upscale oyster bar where there are no other people smells of that same soothing patina of a moneyed world where nothing can go wrong except minor servant problems.
Strip down MSNBC to its skivvies and you find an angry NPR. It’s as if all the NPR people have given up speaking in their supercilious voices and after a few drinks at a cocktail party began holding forth on everything wrong with the canapés.
MSNBC is chock full of anger, but like Lawrence O’Donnell choking down his fury in an imaginary oyster bar over the inability of some people to understand that the government has to get us back to work in the fifth year of a liberal administration that promised to do just that, it’s an anger that makes no sense.
Liberals like to mock conservatives as a bunch of angry white men, but there are more angry white men yelling at the camera in two hours of MSNBC than in two days of FOX News.
It’s not the kind of yelling that unemployed men do when they get a call from the bank telling them that there will be no loan modification. It’s the prissy raised voices you hear at Starbucks when the Chris Hayes lookalike is shocked to be told that the java isn’t locally sourced and that if he doesn’t like that he can take his MacBook Air and finish his Great Unamerican Novel in some other coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.
MSNBCers don’t quite yell. Instead they tighten up, grind their teeth and treat viewers like the waiters in their oyster bar who got their order wrong. They aren’t going to yell, but they make it clear that they are furious and the only thing keeping them from turning red and breaking down in a screaming fit over nothing is that they suspect deep inside that the only response to their innermost volcanic venting will be a shrug. What angry leftists who grew up convinced of their snowflake specialness fear is that their anger will not change the world. That like a squalling infant in his third rate news network crib, no one will even care.
That is liberal anger, the privileged wheeze of entitled brats who do for politics exactly what their younger counterparts do for music with Pitchfork Magazine. It’s not righteous anger, but snob rage, the frustrated fury of the aesthetes of the Hill who hate what is on your iPod, your Kindle and your news feed.
“Republicans,” they spit with the venom of a Mohammedan rug merchant matching wits and saliva with his camel on a hot desert day.
“Tea Party. Ted Cruz. John Boehner.” These are the dread curses of the MSNBC set and are spoken like obscenities over an overturned car, like a starving urchin cursing the thief who stole his last loaf of bread, like a man sitting in an empty oyster bar speaking the name of the waiter who took his order an hour ago and then never came back.
These are the tales of the tribe that leans forward cupping hands around the smartphones that tell them who their enemies are and how they wronged them in the days of Nixon, the great betrayal of Bush v. Gore and the latest horrible plot just uncovered by the intrepid fabricators at Media Matters.
The tribe has few identities. It isn’t big on religions and nations. The borders of the United States are an outdated detail to them and the only ancestry that interests them is the stark divide between white and official minority. What they have are tastes. Their tastes in music, movies, food and politics are more than interest or enjoyment… these things are their identity. The things that they love in a way that they could never love people… give them meaning.
The left is a creature of trends, it pops up in trendy places as the alternative and it is always changing and spawning alternatives to itself. It is always trying to be edgy as it can before it settles down to the pudgy displays of choked down anger of the man who does not quite dare to yell at a waiter on display nightly on MSNBC.
There is a lot of anger on MSNBC, but it is mostly misdirected anger. It is the anger of men who want to yell at their wives and sons but instead gibber at viewers in empty oyster bars that are as fake as their economics. It is the petty anger of men who have put so much of themselves into their hobbies because their shallow egotism permits them no more human a connection and tolerates not even the slightest slights against the objects of their impeccable tastes. It is the anger of an old elite that has become foolish and deranged and does not really know why it is angry anymore… except perhaps because it is dying.
Liberalism in those northeastern circles used to be a matter of good taste. There is nothing good about it anymore. It has become a suicide pact for angry lonely men who wait in imaginary oyster bars for a waiter who will never come, for an Age of Aquarius that will never be born and a transcendence of government that will never arrive no matter how they twist their hands, tug at their red napkins and lean forward.

Liberalism has become sick with its own disease. It is as dogma-ridden as any Red drinking sour beer in 1920s Chicago. It has nothing to offer to anyone except the ideological denunciation of thought crimes and the attendant superiority of being on the right side of the guillotine. And it has the misplaced self-righteousness of those who are busy pretending that they are angry about what is being done to other people, rather than their own egotistical anger with which they confront their sense of futility.

Liberalism, like all trends, seeks novelty, it burns brightest among the young, it plots to escape from history through the engine of progress only to discover that the mortality that is the greatest fear of the intellectual mayfly outlives the schemes of men.
The left personifies vanity. Its activists and advocates envision an escape from time only to drown it. Anger is their engine of change, but their anger makes only a little light and a little heat before it burns out leaving them alone in a cold dark oyster bar with history behind them, leaning forward into oblivion.
Daniel Greenfield

Al Sharpton and MSNBC – Perfect for Each Other

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

For years, Al Sharpton has been dishing out something – and it sure is not news. And that makes him perfect for MSNBC.

Stuart Stevens, prompted by a New York Times and Retropreport.org documentary, writes in the Daily Beast an expose of the sordid history of Al Sharpton:

[Tawana] Brawley was 15 years old in 1987, when she was found in her hometown of Wappingers Falls, New York, with “Bitch,” “KKK,” and “Nigger” written on her stomach, her jeans burnt in the crotch, feces in her hair, and her tennis shoes sliced open. She said that she had been abducted and raped by a group of white men.

A trio of increasingly prominent, and radical, New York City black activists represented her and her family: attorneys Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Brawley told them said that a cop had been one of her attackers, and Sharpton named that officer as Harry Crist Jr., a police officer from a nearby town who had committed suicide shortly after Brawley was found. Sharpton also named a local prosecutor, Steven Pagones, as one of the attackers. He offered no proof.

Sharpton and attorneys who “represented” Brawley sparked a lot of racial strife with their unsupported accusations, making life miserable not only for the innocent accused but for the rest of the city and country. Eventually, a jury found the obvious: the whole affair was a hoax perpetrated by Brawley, Sharpton and other race-mongerers. Pagones life became a living hell-because of Sharpton.

Sharpton has a long history of racism and anti-Semitism that trails him wherever he goes, though this has been neatly excised by MSNBC, Bill Clinton and others who have found it politically useful to rub elbows with Sharpton. This has been a shameful practice – the likes of Sharpton have done harm not only to fellow African-Americans but to the nation as a whole.

Stevens continues:

The Tawana Brawley case that captivated New York in the late eighties is a shocking reminder of the toxic mix racial exploitation and personal ambition can produce. The New York Times and Retroreport.org have just released a new 15-minute documentary on the despicable hoax, which should be required viewing for the NBC News executives who are heavily invested in rehabilitating a key culprit of this loathsome episode: the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton was a key player inflaming the 1991 Crown Heights riots following the death of a young African-American who was hit by an ambulance driven by a Hasidic driver. Sharpton called Jews “diamond merchants” with “the blood of innocent babies” on their hands. A mob subsequently attacked and murdered an innocent Hasidic Jewish student visiting from Australia. (Twenty-five years later, he wrote a mealy-mouthed not-quite apology for his rhetoric.)

A few years later, an African-American Pentecostal church asked a Jewish tenant of a church-owned property, Freddie Fashion’s Mart, to evict one of his subtenants, an African-American-run record store. Sharpton led protests crying, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” One of the protesters attacked Freddie Fashion Mart, shot several customers, and started a fire that killed seven employees.

There are a lot of angry, twisted individuals in America and Sharpton is hardly alone in having spent decades vomiting hate, leaving innocent victims in his wake. What distinguishes Sharpton is the willingness of powerful people and organizations to look past the hate when they believe it may benefit them.

Stevens notes MSNBC has spent millions of dollars to “rehabilitate and promote” Sharpton as a “credible source of information” and has “made the ethical and news judgment that Sharpton” should be a key influence-maker in America.

Recent events bear out Steven’s criticism.

In the last two days, Sharpton has declared–despite all evidence to the contrary–that there is “no evidence at all” connecting Holder to scandals .

Clearly Sharpton has no problem lying to the American people.

But maybe Stevens should not be so outraged at MSNBC. He sees it as a news organization.

But how does MSNBC view itself?

In a rare moment of truth, the network has all but admitted it is not a news outlet. Bill Carter reports on MSNBC’s slumping ratings at the New York Times:

At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

“We’re not the place for that,” said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. “Our brand is not that.”

The brand, one MSNBC has cultivated with success, is defined by its tagline, “The Place for Politics,” and a skew toward left-wing, progressive political talk, the opposite of the conservative-based approach that has worked well for Fox News.

MSNBC began to commit itself to presenting a liberal spin on political coverage in the middle of the last decade, partly because it had not found success in previous models (like trying to be a news channel for younger viewers) and mostly because it had one host, Keith Olbermann, whose ratings were exploding based on his outspoken criticisms of the Bush administration and the conservative voices on Fox News.

Ever wonder why so much of what is news gets short shrift – if it is covered at all – at MSNBC? They are not in the business of gathering and broadcasting news. This network is the home of Obama-worshipers and GOP-bashers such as Chris Mathews and Rachel Maddow (whose show’s ratings are plummeting) and is merely a spin-machine. They are not a part of the mythical fourth branch of government but are merely a branch of the Democratic Party.

Originally published at The American Thinker.

Ed Lasky

Move Along, No Bias Here

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
            The Media Research Center is out with its annual compilation of the year’s Best Notable Quotables (December 2009 through November 2010) – a collection of dozens of examples of media liberal bias and idiocy that is as dispiriting as it is (unintentionally) humorous.
            One can’t help but marvel while reading the choices:These are the representatives of our elite news outlets? Can their sycophantismtoward liberal politicians be more nauseating, their championing of liberal policies more transparent, their utter disdain for conservatives more apparent?
            A few of the Monitor’s favorites follow. For the complete selection and to find out where all the quotes ranked in terms of ignominy as determined by a panel of judges, go to www.mrc.org.
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, talking about radical Muslims: “Somehow, the idea got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.”
            Host Tavis Smiley: “But Christians do that every single day in this country.”
            Ali: “Do they blow people up every day?”

            Smiley: “Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is – I could do this all day long…. There are folk in the Tea Party, for example, every day who are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people ‘nigger’ as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people. That’s within the political – that’s within the body politic of this country.”

Exchange on PBS’s “Tavis Smiley,” May 25.


“The oil spill is the perfect metaphor for Obama’s presidency so far. It’s been cleaning up a lot of the messes left to him by his predecessors, whether it was bank bailouts, auto bailouts, Afghanistan – which turned out to be a much bigger mess than anybody anticipated – preventing a depression that, you know, began to happen on George Bush’s watch. So this is more of the same.”

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter on MSNBC’s

 “The Daily Rundown,” June 10.


“No one has a quicker mind or tongue than [Al] Sharpton. His political instincts are unmatched, and his personal charisma has been undimmed since high school…. He is out there all alone, still standing on the same principle he first enunciated in his housing project in Brooklyn: poor people have the same rights as rich ones, to justice in the streets and in the courts. If he didn’t exist, we might, in fact, need to invent him.”

Newsweek’s Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler
in their August 2 cover profile of Sharpton.


“The moment was vintage Obama – emphasizing his zest for inquiry, his personal involvement, his willingness to make the tough call, his search for middle ground. If an Obama brand exists, it is his image as a probing, cerebral president conducting an exhaustive analysis of the issues so that the best ideas can emerge, and triumph.”

Washington Post writers Michael Leahy and
Juliet Eilperin in an October 12 story about the
president’s pre-oil spill endorsement of offshore drilling.


“It might be Islamophobia, Obamaphobia, or both, but when loud speakers are blaring ‘Born in the USA’ and signs say ‘No Clubhouse for Terrorists,’ it’s clear we aren’t just talking about a mosque anymore. There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to Ground Zero. But we can not let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values.”

“Evening News” anchor Katie Couric
in her “Katie Couric’s Notebook” posted
at CBSNews.com, August 23.


“I think it’s probably a lesson for the American people of the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it. She has pushed a button and unleashed the Hounds of Hell, and now that they’re out there slavering and barking and growling. And that’s the same kind of tactic – and I’m not calling her a Nazi – but that’s the same kind of tactic that the Nazi troopers used in Germany in the ’30s. And I don’t think there is any place for it in America.”

Author Joe McGinniss talking about
the reaction to his renting the house next door
to Sarah Palin while he works on a book about
the former Alaska governor, NBC’s “Today,” June 1.


Does [Palin] know anything? . Have you ever been an eyewitness to her actually reading something? Have you seen her – no, I’m dead serious about this. Have you ever seen her reading words on a piece of paper? A newspaper, magazine, anything? Have you ever seen her read something?”

Chris Matthews to Alaska’s Democratic Senator
Mark Begich during MSNBC’s election
night coverage, November 2.


Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com
Jason Maoz

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