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How America’s Iconic Brewers Survived Prohibition

January 29, 2019 in History

By Christopher Klein

January 17, 1920, marked a dark day for American brewers. At the stroke of midnight, America became a dry country under Prohibition, with over a thousand producers swiftly banned from selling their chief commodity: alcohol.

Prohibition forced brewing companies to adapt or die—and many did. According to Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, out of the more than 1,300 brewers in operation in 1915, no more than 100 survived. However, they included some of the most iconic names in brewing—such as Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Miller, Pabst and Yuengling.

“What separated the companies that made it from the ones that didn’t is what they had to begin with at the start of Prohibition,” Ogle says. “The Pabst, Busch and Miller families had all invested in real estate holdings across the United States.”

These now-dominant companies had also expanded into making non-alcoholic drinks some two decades before Prohibition became the law of the land, including soft drinks, malted milk and fruit juices. “They understood that if they wanted to stay competitive, they were going to have to make not just beer but beverages that non-alcoholic drinkers wanted,” says Ogle.

At the start of Prohibition, many brewers pinned their hopes on non-intoxicating beers that were legal under Prohibition as long as they had less than 0.5% alcohol content. But it turned out that near beers weren’t near enough for many consumers. They wanted the real thing, and when the proliferation of bootlegging and speakeasies made real beer easy to come by, the near beer market tanked.

Ogle says not many brewers expected Prohibition to last as long as it did: 13 years in total. “They thought they would be fine if they could hang on for two or three years. But by 1925, it’s clear the near beer industry was a total bust, and more and more brewers shifted into bottling other beverages.” Brewing companies even reconfigured their production lines for dyes, which were in short supply after World War I.

The sale of malt syrup and yeast also helped brewers stay afloat. Prohibition banned the sale of beer, but not the ingredients for making it. Although malt syrup was advertised as a baking ingredient, many buyers used the extract to make beer. An in-store cardboard sign display for a Budweiser-brand barley malt syrup even featured a grocer winking knowingly …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Oval Office Athletes: Presidents and the Sports They Played

January 29, 2019 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

From Gerald Ford’s football days to Barack Obama’s basketball game to George W. Bush’s impressive marathon splits, many presidents were also impressive athletes.

From George Washington, who was a (2006).

Presidents such as George H.W. Bush or Dwight Eisenhower who’ve played team sports, for example, tend to have a team approach to the presidency, relying more heavily upon cabinet secretaries and White House staffers for their counsel, Watterson says.

In contrast, a president such as Herbert Hoover, whose main interest was the solitary sport of fishing, may be more inclined to go it alone—to his potential detriment. “Hoover, if he had played football or been a team player in some other sport, might have had a different approach,” Watterson says.

Here are 11 presidents and the sports that helped define them.

A young Abraham Lincoln splitting logs circa 1830 in Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln

After moving to Illinois as a young man, Abraham Lincoln developed an impressive reputation as an amateur wrestler, according to Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, Vol. 1. In the early 1830s, a saloonkeeper bet the owner of a general store where Lincoln worked $10 that Lincoln couldn’t beat Jack Armstrong, the champion of a nearby town. A match was arranged, and people came from miles around to a town square near the store, where they bet money, tobacco, drinks and other items of value on the contest.

As the two men grappled, the short, muscular Armstrong tried to get in close and overpower Lincoln, but Lincoln—who despite his wiry build, was renowned for his strength—held him off with his long arms.

Finally, Lincoln threw Armstrong and pinned his shoulders to the ground. Armstrong’s friends, angry at the defeat, confronted Lincoln, who told them he would fight, wrestle or run a race against any of them. Armstrong finally diffused the tension by shaking Lincoln’s hand and declaring him the winner, fair and square. The two men eventually became good friends. The tenacity and resolve that Lincoln developed through wrestling undoubtedly came in handy when he had to lead the Union in the Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt

After a sickly childhood, Teddy Roosevelt determinedly built up his body with vigorous exercise. As a college student, according to a 1957 Harvard Crimson article, Roosevelt began entering in boxing tournaments, where he made up in fierceness and ability to withstand punishment …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Ongoing Gratuitous Cruelty of Trump's Travel Ban

January 29, 2019 in Economics

By Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

Donald Trump’s “travel ban” policy barring nearly all entry into
the United States by citizens of several Muslim-majority nations
has mostly been out of the headlines since
the Supreme Court’s dubious June 2018 decision upholding it
.
But it continues to inflict gratuitous suffering. As David Bier of
the Cato Institute explains in a compelling
Washington Post op ed
, it has separated thousands of
children from their families, including many who are American
citizens:

While family separation at the border received significant media
attention last year, a quieter family separation policy continued
under the radar, and the separations have targeted
American families. New research shows that President Trump’s
travel ban — first ordered two years ago last week — has
already separated thousands of U.S. citizens from their spouses and
minor children….

[T]he travel ban — which currently restricts entry of
nationals of five majority-Muslim countries – is breaking
apart nuclear families every day. New research from the Cato
Institute suggests that as of this January, the policy has prevented more
than 9,000 family members of U.S. citizens from entering the United
States since the Supreme Court allowed the policy to take full effect in
December 2017. That number includes more than 5,500 children and
just short of 4,000 spouses.

If we continue this trend, the separations will hit an estimated
15,000 spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens by the end of
2019. The policy will also keep out an additional nearly 2,000
spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents by year’s
end…

This is despite the fact that no terrorists from the targeted
countries
have killed
anyone in a terrorist attack in the United States
in more than four decades, and no legal permanent resident from
those countries has ever even tried to carry out a U.S. terrorist
attack….

Case-by-case waivers for “close family members” of U.S. citizens
or lawful permanent residents are available, but the president’s
travel ban proclamation
specifically states
that just being separated from your family
is not sufficient for a waiver. Rather, family members must show
that they – not their U.S. citizen family — would
suffer “undue hardship” if denied.

The State Department defined
this term to mean an “unusual situation” in which a delayed
approval would “defeat the purpose of travel.” In other words,
keeping the nuclear family together is, for the Trump
administration, not enough. They need to show that there’d be no
point to coming at all if they didn’t come immediately.
That standard keeps these families apart.

Most of these families are waiting in silent desperation, afraid
to speak …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How to Term-Limit Congress

January 29, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Representative Francis Rooney
(R., Fla.) hope to rejuvenate an old idea, proposing a
constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of
Congress. The measure deserves to pass, but it won’t. However,
states could take up the battle again by challenging a misguided
1995 Supreme Court decision that protected legislators from
accountability to their voters.

America’s political problems run deep, and there is no
panacea, but term limits offer at least a partial remedy. In
effect, they do what elections once did, ensuring competition for
power and rotation in office.

Running for the House of Representatives was once a blood sport.
Passage of unpopular legislation sometimes led to mass political
slaughter, the ouster of a third or more of the House in one
election, such as in 1854. Some House members knew they had no
chance of returning, so they retired. In contrast, today, even when
polls show profound disillusionment with Congress, reelection rates
typically top 90 percent and have gone as high as an astounding 98
percent. Even in so-called wave elections, more than 80 percent of
members are reelected. The joke during the Cold War was that
congressmen had higher reelection rates than members of the Soviet
Union’s Central Committee.

Since Congress won’t
restrict itself, individual states should be able to impose term
limits.

Term limits most directly prevent politicians from turning
office-holding into a career, spending 30 or 40 years as a
congressman or senator, hanging on until they can barely function.
Forcing rotation in office would also hinder the development of
permanent relationships among members and interests/lobbyists. Even
when these ties did develop, they would last only until the
member’s term ends.

By churning offices and encouraging electoral competition, term
limits discourage the creation of a permanent political class.
Forced to run anew for different offices rather than for reelection
as incumbents, a larger fraction of established candidates will be
defeated. More contests will feature non-incumbents, which will
yield a greater focus on issues than on, say, constituent service.
“Disruptive” candidates, of the sort seen in the new
Democratic caucus in the House, are more likely to succeed.

Critics worry that legislative turnover just increases the power
of congressional staffers, but having essentially permanent
chairmen and ranking members leads to near-permanent staff too. In
practice, voters seem no better served by a 30-year legislator than
by a 30-year staffer, since both tend to represent the political
culture, influential interests, and the entrenched state more than
anything approaching the public interest. Public-choice economics
warns us that institutions have interests too, and long-serving
legislators and staffers largely serve the institution to which
they both belong. The …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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2020 Democrats' Progressive Profligacy

January 29, 2019 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

By almost any traditional measure, President Trump should be
extremely vulnerable in 2020. Although the president often brags
about his victory in 2016, it is important to recall that a shift
of just 107,000 votes in three states would have changed the
outcome. That was less than 0.09 percent of all votes cast —
and this when Trump was running against one of the most unpopular
presidential candidates of all time. Since his victory he has done
virtually nothing to expand his support beyond his loyal base. His
approval rating hovers somewhere between low and dismal. A
significant majority of Americans feel the country is on the wrong
track.

Given this terrain, Democrats can be said to have just one job
for 2020: Don’t be crazy. And they are failing at it.

Conventional wisdom says that the Democrats offer no agenda
other than opposition to Trump and various forms of identity
politics. If that were true, it might actually be good enough to
win. Hardly a day goes by without Trump alienating a new swath of
the electorate. As the midterms showed, he remains popular in deep
red states, but Democrats can make big gains in swing districts
simply by not being Trump.

The rapidly growing
Democratic field has collectively moved so far to the left that it
is about to fall off the edge of the political charts.

And while character and culture will be a big part of the
upcoming campaign, elections are also about policy. Maybe not about
the nitty-gritty details of 25-page white papers, but about the
broad strokes of where candidates want to take the country. And
unfortunately for them, the Democratic contenders are not offering
an attractive policy vision.

It’s an agenda not just for big government, but for gigantic,
enormous, jumbo, super-colossal government. In fact, the rapidly
growing Democratic field has collectively moved so far to the left
that it is about to fall off the edge of the political charts.

Consider that in 2016, Bernie Sanders was an outlier with his
call for a $32 trillion government-run single-payer health-care
system, a $15 minimum wage, free college, and guaranteed jobs for
everyone. Today, those are positions held by every major Democratic
candidate. Were Hillary to run again today, she would be considered
far too moderate for today’s Democratic party. And
that’s saying something.

And that’s just the start. The “free” goodies
keep on coming: universal preschool, rent subsidies, expanded
retirement benefits, and, of course, a Green New Deal. Details are
sparse, and plans vary from candidate to candidate, but we are
talking price tags that easily exceed $50 trillion over the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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It’s Not Just Immigrants. Trump Is Separating American Families, Too.

January 29, 2019 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

While family separation at the border received significant media
attention last year, a quieter family separation policy continued
under the radar, and the separations have targeted
American families. New research shows that President Trump’s
travel ban — first ordered two years ago last week — has
already separated thousands of U.S. citizens from their spouses and
minor children.

Virtually no one in the immigration debate openly supports
separating the nuclear family by denying visas to spouses or minor
children of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Last year,
even the White House
promoted
its plan to restrict “chain migration” of
other family members — adult children, siblings and parents
— as “promoting nuclear family immigration.”

If the current
restrictions remain in place, the policy will have broken tens of
thousands of American families by the end of the president’s first
term. This is a crisis that Congress cannot allow to
continue.

Yet the travel ban — which currently restricts entry of
nationals of five majority-Muslim countries – is breaking
apart nuclear families every day. New research from the Cato
Institute suggests that as of this January, the policy has prevented more
than 9,000 family members of U.S. citizens from entering the United
States since the Supreme Court allowed the policy to take full effect in
December 2017. That number includes more than 5,500 children and
just short of 4,000 spouses.

If we continue this trend, the separations will hit an estimated
15,000 spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens by the end of
2019. The policy will also keep out an additional nearly 2,000
spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents by year’s
end.

We don’t know the exact numbers, since the State Department has
not released official numbers of visas denied to family members of
U.S. citizens. But we can estimate how many people were prevented
from coming to the United States by looking at the average visa
issuances before the ban and comparing them with those after
it.

Before the ban, from 2012 to 2016, more than 9,000 spouses and
children of U.S. citizens entered from the travel-ban countries per
year. The current pace predicts just 1,700 will enter in 2019
— more than an 80 percent decline. This decline is a clear
departure from earlier trends in each of the five banned
countries.

The majority of the separations so far — more than 5,000
— have been of Yemeni spouses and children of U.S. citizens,
but nearly 1,500 Iranians, almost 1,500 Somalis, about 850 Syrians
and around 200 Libyans with U.S. citizen spouses or parents were
stranded …read more

Source: OP-EDS