By John Ruberry

Little Marathon Pundit and I were on vacation earlier this month and our travels brought us to Wisconsin and Michigan. On our final day of that trip we visited the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, just six days prior to the 105th anniversary of the birth of the 38th president.

Of the presidents of my lifetime, Gerald Ford is the obvious choice for the “Most Likely to be Forgotten Award.” That’s partly understandable. His 29 months in office was the shortest term of any president who didn’t die in office. And Ford was the closest thing to a “regular guy” to live in the White House. The media loved Ford for that–delighting on him toasting his own English muffins in the White House kitchen. They loved Ford–yes, he was a Republican–until he pardoned his predecessor, Richard M. Nixon, one month after being sworn in to office.

Immediately Ford became a buffoon and a dope. He now was the media’s enemy and ordinary instances were blown out of proportion. He stumbled and fell from the steps of Air Force One. Have you ever had a misstep on a set of stairs? He sliced a few golf balls into crowds–those onlookers would not have been there if he was still House Minority Leader. Ford was an accomplished skier, but do you know what? Skiers fall. And so did he. Chevy Chase’s impersonations of him on Saturday Night Live portrayed him as dimwitted and yes, a man who could barely remain on his feet.

But Ford was arguably the greatest presidential athlete. He was an All-American football center for the University of Michigan. He was offered contracts by the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Until very late into his long life Ford regularly swam laps, Ford had an outdoor pool built on the White House grounds to replace the indoor one that Nixon converted into a press room so he could remain in shape.

Ford “the dummy” graduated in the top third of his class at Yale law school.

In short, because of the Nixon pardon, Ford was bombarded by, not fake news, but a fake perception from the media.

The museum of course looks back at Ford’s improbable rise from being abandoned by his father two weeks after his birth to becoming an Eagle Scout and a star athlete. After college and law school Ford returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids to practice law. After Pearl Harbor Ford joined the Navy. Shortly after marrying Betty Bloomer in 1948, Ford won his first election as congressman of Michigan’s 5th district. By the mid-1960s Ford was the House minority leader.

The film about Ford’s life, “A Time To Heal,” plays there.

As the Watergate scandal raged. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, pleaded no contest to tax evasion and resigned. Nixon, under the provisions of the recently enacted 25th Amendment to the Constitution, nominated Ford as Agnew’s replacement, which Congress approved. Thus Ford became the first vice president–and the only president–not elected by the American people.

“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots,” Ford said in his brief inaugural address, “and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers.” And alluding to Watergate, he added, “Our long national nightmare is over.”

But Ford was president during an unusually eventful 29 months, which the museum documents. What transpired included: His controversial choice of liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president, rampant inflation and the brutal l974-75 recession, the Mayaguez incident, the fall of South Vietnam, a summit meeting with Leonid Brezhnev, his signing of the Helsinki Accords, two assassination attempts–within a month, a general gloom of the American psyche, and his defeat by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election after a hard-fought primary battle with Ronald Reagan.

Quite a bit of bad stuff, to be sure. But the American Bicentennial was celebrated in 1976.

Oh yeah, Ford pardoned Nixon.

Blogger with Ford

The current special exhibit at the museum is centered on his wife, Betty Ford, the centennial of her birth was in April. Her life was a momentous one too. Unlike her recent predecessors as First Lady, Betty was outspoken. Six weeks after moving into the White House she underwent a mastectomy–which brought much needed attention to breast cancer. Two years after her husband’s electoral defeat she was treated for alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. Rather than hiding in shame, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center, America’s best-known substance abuse treatment center.

Yesterday during the Gerald Ford birthday celebration at the museum a statute of Betty was unveiled.

Jerry and Betty Ford–two Americans who had two remarkable lives.

If you are anywhere near Grand Rapids, a visit to the Ford museum is worth your time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Obviously Ayn Rand didn’t write this book. But she could have…

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?”

I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”

To shrug.

– Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

 

President Trump visited NATO and told them to buck up and pay their fair share. Gee, if only someone had seen that coming…

Continue reading “NATO Shrugged”

During the Presidential campaign Donald Trump came to Worcester and though I had to be at work for 10:30 PM that night I went and covered the event.

For a week there had been a bunch of buzz about the event and people of the left in deep blue Massachusetts assured people that Donald Trump’s rally in the deep blue 2nd largest city in New England, a city with not one, not two but TEN colleges in it would draw a huge amount of protesters so I was determined to get down there to see and report myself.

I discovered that the one thing missing from the promised massive protest was protesters.

The doors had just opened and people were filing in but the press entrance was in the back so I went around seeing a pair of guys selling buttons and a small group of protestors, around 10-15 some of whom were being interviewed.
Now granted that it was early but Worcester is the 2nd biggest city in New England, and a Democrat and Union Stronghold it was kind of pathetic.

I commented on this and one of the women shouted back “some of us have to work you know.” I wasn’t aware that Governor Baker was so successful that millions of Democrats were now gainfully employed that were not just a year ago. Given the buildup for days it was a joke almost as bad as the drawing 200 in NYC the largest city in the nation.

During the press availability I asked then candidate Trump about this lack of promised protesters.

His complementary line graces my business card which doesn’t make me a lot of friends in Massachusetts.

Well apparently in Brussels where they were expecting thousands to protest President Donald Trump last week history repeated itself:

But only a couple of dozen people actually showed up.

“Euro News’ Damon Embling reported that organizers were expecting a few thousand people to attend the protest, but just a few dozen turned out,” NTK Network reported.

The protesters were rallying around the slogan “Make Peace Great Again,” a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Embling asked one of the organizers why only a couple dozen demonstrators showed up at the protest.

“I think it’s, what went wrong is not the good question to ask,” the clearly frustrated organizer said.

The organizer blamed Brussels being on lockdown for the low turnout before Embling ended the interview.

Alas I was not there to ask him about the lack of protesters I think his response would be newsworthy, but I seriously doubt that anyone in the MSM would dare ask such a question that might expose their readers and viewers to this reality.

Oh and that supposedly massive balloon?  That was a bust too.

When I saw the Story about Stormy Daniels arrest in Ohio and read the particulars

The report says that when the officers approached the stage, Daniels held the face of the female officer between her breasts. It also says she did the same to a male officer. The report adds that Daniels fondled the buttocks and breasts of another officer.”

It struck me that it sounded very familiar.

With her on it, it’s the center of the room. People start to walk up to it. I walk up to it, $7 in hand from the bottom of my bag. “Material Girl” plays. I genuinely don’t know what I think will happen.

When I hesitate, Stormy takes over, laying my face against her breast, which feels like bouncing into the wall of a marshmallow moonbounce. She whispers in my ear. She kisses me good night. She lets me give her my money.

That’s from a story called: My Night with Stormy Daniels by Amanda Whitting at the Washingtonian. There were other accounts like this one at Reason:

Hey, Big Spender” starts to play and Daniels sashays out from the back in a shimmery pink number that recalls Marilyn Monroe’s Gentleman Prefer Blondes attire. She does a lap around the place first, making people’s acquaintance—Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer was among those who were grabbed and welcomed to her bosom—and vamping it up. At a front-row table where a nice man has offered me a seat, Daniels presses his head to her chest and then pushes it back, propping up her leg and holding up her garter. He is fumbling to find his money, and I so beat him to it, slipping a few dollars into her garter belt first. She plays it up, giving the man disapproving look until he gleefully flings a fistful of dollars at her.

But the bottom line to these stories is that what Ms. Daniels did it Ohio, wasn’t all that different that what she had been doing in DC a few days earlier. That is practicing her trade.

However because the laws concerning what a stripper can do with a “customer” are different in Ohio than DC She was subject to arrest.

It’s something that gun owners around the country can relate to.

Because of draconian gun laws, particularly in states like NY, New Jersey Ct and places like DC people who are exercising their 2nd amendment rights to self defense by owning a gun can find themselves in big trouble when they travel and unlike Ms. Daniels they are unlikely to find charges dropped the very next day.

This doesn’t have to be, Congress has a bill before it, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. If passed it would protect legal gun owners and folks with concealed carry permits who travel from having a national constitutional right twisted against them.

I would think in an election year this would be a bigger winner for the GOP than Stormy Daniels has been for the left, but it remains to be seen if they agree. I’d also think it would be a lot of fun to see red state senators running for re-election have to vote on such a bill.

But until that happens I guess Stormy Daniels ability to exercise her Constitutional rights across state lines will remain greater than the rights of ordinary Americans without the celebrity she enjoys.

Closing thought: I’m not a fan of laws being selectively enforced. If Ohioans don’t like this law it should be repealed, if they do it should be enforced no matter how famous or infamous the person violating it is.

Democrats Standing behind Bill Clinton Dec 19th 1998
There are some takes on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh that are pretty funny but of all the takes I’ve read the single most tone deaf belongs to Susan Hennessey of CNN

The theory of course being that Ken Starr was hated therefore Kavanaugh will be tarred by the association.

If Ms. Hennessey wants to speak about associations, let me show her one association that I posted about in the past:

If you watch those people filing out I’m sure you’ll find more than one Democrat who is now going nuts over Kavanaugh in that crowd.

Just a few years ago that would have been no big deal, but since the #Pervnado stuck bringing down Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Matt Lauer, Keven Spacey et/al suddenly defending Bill Clinton has a high price.

So while Susan Hennessey is sure Senate Democrats are DYING to use Kavanaugh’s association with Ken Starr against him, I think my tweet reply puts it pretty well:

Or as Andrew Breitbart once said in Lexington: Bring it on!


It’s been a bad tipjar year, we are in July and despite the booming economy we’ve raised barely 20% of last years total (which is why our expansion plans have been abandoned).

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Chick fil-a in New England

A new USA today survey names Chick-Fil-A as the #1 fast food restaurant in the US. As you might guess as soon as the article went up there were commentators urging people not to go there because they supposedly “hate gays”. I submit and suggest that these very loud obnoxious people like the fedoraphobic ones I covered years ago protesting Chick-fil-a at the mall in Burlington MA have a lot to do with their continued success. At the time of those protests (2012) that was the only Chick-Fil-A in Massachusetts and one of only two or three in all of New England. Today I went to the Chick-Fil-A site and asked them to show me stores within 100 miles of my home the map above is the result.

Take a bow you fedoraphobic fools.


My oldest son’s birthday is next week and as a gift he and I are going to go see John Cleese. As he occasionally takes audience questions I was thinking of asking about the assumption that a person like me who has loved Python all his life can’t be a fan of Sarah Palin and of course Donald Trump’s Presidency, but I suspect he just might be more sympathetic to someone like me after this story:

Someone asked [BBC comedy controller] Allen if that would rule out shows like Monty Python in the future. He replied, “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” That didn’t sit well with director and Monty Python cast member Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was asked what he thought of the comments and said he wanted to henceforth be known as a black lesbian:

Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”

He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”

It will be interesting to see if he addresses this during his talk now that the shoe is metaphorically on the other foot.


Yesterday my next door neighbor’s daughter celebrated her 21st birthday, I gave her this advice: she should look at a they any guy she dates not as a potential hookup but as the a person auditioning for the role of father and role model of her children and if they don’t pass the audition, move on at once. I once said that to a girl dating my son and she said: “If it had been anyone other than you saying this I would have left at once.” I would give that same advice for a guy, as my father said: “If she’s good enough to sleep with she’s good enough to marry.”


There have been stories lately about a huge rise in STD’s among the elderly. The explanation is very simple, the same 60’s generation that tossed my dad’s advice is now retiring. It’s funny how people tend to think of old people as a group as opposed to the same individual they were when young only grown older. That’s why I’ve never understood why people find stories of old thieves or murders as weird news. If a violent person or a thief manages to grow old I see no reason why he or she would change his or her ways.


Yesterday I saw news of a flash mob in DC, maybe it because of my age when someone says “Flash Mob” all I can think of is a bunch of old guys in trenchcoats exposing themselves in unison. It’s not a pleasant thought. Of course a real “flash mob” should all be in red suits or metal helmets.


Mediate reported that Steve Bannon was berated by a person while he was at a book store this weekend. What I found interesting about the story wasn’t that this happened or that people are attacking the owner of the story for calling the cops because someone was harassing a customer, but the fact that Steve Bannon still goes to book stores instead of ordering online. There is a pleasure in actually holding a book in your hands that an online or a kindle book just doesn’t convey, plus as long as you have either sunlight or a pair of glasses, your book will not run out of power.


There was a story in the Washington Free beacon about a pair of anti-capitalist-socialist rallies in NY . Instapundit highlighted the very true statement from one of the older marchers that: “None of this is new. This is just the same old stuff they told us to chant in the sixties—and nothing changed then either.. Other than curiosity about who “they” are (I suspect it’s the foreign governments who pay for this stuff as a cheap and easy way to give grief and play the media) I think it’s worth pointing out that in a city of over 8,500,000 people getting a crowd of 8000 is not a very big deal, it’s kind of like getting a crowd of 38 in my home town of Fitchburg MA population 40,000, but the media fall for it every time, mainly because they want to .


A group of Democrat Socialists went after Mitch McConnell while he was at lunch. You might wonder why he doesn’t bother to have security get rid of these fools. I suspect the reason is the same that Trump doesn’t fire Mueller. Each time these fools do this kind of thing to him, or Sarah Sanders or Steve Bannon they help keep the GOP in general and Trump in particular in power. I still think with more Sicilians in government these threats would practically disappear.


I completed my fourth “interviews with immigrants” interview last week, it’s not gotten the reception I’d hoped but then again there is nothing to sensationalize in them. Their answers are their answers and the data is the data and the market for information for the sake of it isn’t what it used to be.


Finally by the time you’re reading this President Trump will have named his Supreme Court pick to replace Anthony Kennedy.  If he takes Barrett as I believe he will, it will be interesting to see how Collins and Murkowski vote, if he picks Ray Kethledge then I suspect it likely means he won’t need their votes this time around, of course he might pick someone else altogether but no matter who he picks I guarantee you that the media/left will declare his pick the greatest threat to American Democracy that the country has ever seen

….until the next vacancy on the Supreme Court comes up, then the person Trump picks for that one will inherit the title.

Maria and Christian
The latest pair in my “interviews with immigrants” series is now up.

First I spoke to Alvin, he is in his mid 20’s and comes from El Salvador

Of the immigrants who I’ve interviewed story was slightly different. The rest of his family was already here but he choose to remain home until the violence became so bad it was a question of life and death.

Two weeks later I interviewed Maria from the Dominican Republic. She was iffy about her english so christian from Puerto Rico agreed to translate (and took that nice picture). Since he has only been here a year and the culture of Puerto Rico is different I included him in the interview as well even though technically he is not an immigrant because Puerto Rico is an American territory.

It worth noting that both Maria and Alvin had college educations where they lived but have been willing to work lesser jobs as they go back to school and learn english, it’s also worth noting that as I alluded to in my July 4th post while Maria wasn’t in the same immediate danger, it was the safety of America that brought her here.

A pair of notes, the delay in posting these interivews were mainly due to Pintastic 2018 coverage , I hope to conduct an interview with a young lady from the Cape Verde Islands this week and am in negociations to speak to another from Australia. My goal is to get 30 different countries before I start repeating countries but it’s likely that I won’t reach that number before that happens.

You’ll note that other than Phillipe from Haiti, who is very interested in politics, I don’t ask much along those lines. That’s because I’m more interested in getting the where’s and why’s about coming here and their impression of America as a country and Americans as a people. Those are the data points I’m trying to fill and educate myself on.


It’s been a bad tipjar year, we are in July and despite the booming economy we’ve raised barely 20% of last years total (which is why our expansion plans have been abandoned).

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USS VIRGINIA (CGN-38), By Camera Operator: PH2 D. KNEISLER (ID:DN-SC-88-06640 / Service Depicted: Navy) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
You can’t stop hearing about the Chinese Navy and their advances in technology. Did you know they have an aircraft carrier?

There is a “considerable chance” the number of aircraft-carrying ships available in the Chinese navy will be seven instead of four by 2025 because of a “lower profile defense program” that has already taken shape, a new report indicates.

Or what about a super cool railgun, apparently better than the U.S. Navy’s?

While the United States spent years dithering over the future of its much-hyped electromagnetic railgun project, China ate its lunch. The Chinese navy plans to field its own secretive version of the electromagnetic railgun on naval vessels as early as 2025, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment first reported by CNBC.

Or the latest Chinese anti-ship missiles?

China unveiled its Type 055 naval destroyer on June 28, the latest step in its decade and a half of military buildup. The new Chinese destroyer outcompetes U.S. destroyers and cruisers, highlighting a major failure in U.S. Navy planning that stretches back to the 1990s. Given the 055’s long-range supersonic YJ-18 and YJ-12 over the horizon (OTH) anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), the Chinese destroyer currently outcompetes U.S. Arleigh Burke class destroyers and bigger Ticonderoga class cruisers.

Man, it’s like so…1971.

Continue reading “China’s Navy is a flashback to the 70’s”

As always we closed Pintastic NE with a final interview with the founder, head man and provider of 20 count them 20 Pinball machines for people to play for free Gabriel D’Annunzio

Gabriel’s efforts bring the first of my ten thoughts about Pintastic into focus. The amount of work he puts in to bring this show together is incredible, he and the volunteers give up a lot of time to make a ton of people happy and they are succeeding.

Even if you ignore the effort of running the show proper the amount of effort to physically bring 20 pinball machines to and from this location is a herculean task. Pinball machines are not light, even the least expensive of his machines could sell for several thousand dollars and most amazingly he does this in the expectation that said machines will get more wear and tear in those 3 to four days than they might the entire year. I try to treat the machines I’m playing there with kid gloves because they aren’t mine.

The Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club, facebook page here was there in force with over a dozen games. For a $30 monthly membership you get a key to go in and play as much as you like 24/7. For $10 you can get a day pass. They run regular tournaments and have some creative ideas (including Pinball Ninja warrior which we played at Pintastic) Their space was in the old VIP room from last year and it was constantly full.

One of the things I mentioned in my interview with Gabe was the family friendliness of the event, the number of parents and kids, particularly on Sunday was huge. Sights like this were very common.

You can’t grow a hobby without youth and this is a great sign.

Speaking of youth Jersey Jack mentioned something during his seminar worth repeating here. He was giving a tour of the factor and the games and showing how they worked etc and noticed one thing in particular. None of the kids were looking at their cell phones with their head bent down. In 2018 that’s really something!.

While we had downpours the first day of Pintastic the heat that replaced it was MUCH worse, particularly for those hauling multiple games home as Gabriel does. We gave a hand to some folks form Rhode Island who had seven games to put on a UHaul and the Heat was unbearable. I can’t imagine how they got all that stuff on and off the truck without the good folks at Pintastic there to help back home.

The Sturbridge Host Hotel is a perfect place for Pintastic, they have a small private beach on a lake/pond two indoor pools and a small pub and a fancier restaurant right there and best of all the price is right. My only fear is that in a few years Pintastic will grow too big for the venue which would be a real shame as they’ve been excellent hosts. There is also a McDonalds, Burgerking and CVS in practically the same parking lot along with a seafood restaurant so there are plenty of lunch options

One of the newest fads nationwide have been barcades, bars with acrades built in including Pinball. Combined with Pizza joints that include pinball arcades like the one in Bethesda I vised at CPAC and the one in Kansas I hit while out west they are a growing trend and a great one to boot.

For a guy who has lost most of his Doctor Who Mojo I confess I spent a lot of time on the Doctor Who pinball machine which was one of the most popular games in the place

I’m still surprised that we haven’t seen a new one since the series revival but it would be hard to improve on the old one which, with the exception of the backglass art) is an excellent design with some fun voice work from Sylvester McCoy

Finally one of the best parts of Pintastic NE was to get away from the political back and forth. There were plenty of Bernie bumper stickers in the parking lots but I also met someone in a “Deplorable” t-shirt and one head of the college republicans there too. At Pintastic it’s all about the pinball which unites us, there’s plenty of time to argue about the other stuff the other 51 weeks of the year.

“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law….Roe v. Wade is a constitutional right that is well established.”

Thus spake Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), according to a CNN report.

But which Roe v. Wade decision does Sen. Collins stand by? There’s the imaginary Roe, which dictates that unregulated abortion be available throughout pregnancy. Then there’s the actual Roe, which permits states to leave abortion unregulated but also permits many laws protecting the lives and safety of mother and preborn child.

Where does Sen. Collins stand on First Amendment protections for peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities? After all, McCullen v. Coakley is “established decision, established law.” Or does she consider peaceful pro-life witness to be an attack on abortion rights?

How about restrictions on public funding of abortion and abortion counseling? The Supreme Court OK’d such restrictions decades ago. Abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project use terms like “gag rule” to describe efforts to keep abortion providers out of taxpayers’ wallets. In the Senator’s view, do restrictions on public funding amount to “hostility” to Roe v. Wade?

Parental notification for minors’ abortions, reflection periods before abortion, informed consent laws, restrictions on mid- and late-term abortion, protections for children who survive attempted abortion: certain forms of these laws have been found consistent with Roe. Then again, PP and ACLU consider such measures attacks on abortion rights.

The pro-Roe Senator Collins could vote with a clear conscience for a jurist who supports the abortion regulations that have been approved by the Supreme Court since Roe. Such a nominee would not be hostile to the actual Roe decision, even if that nominee displeased PP and the ACLU.

Maybe one day there will be less deference to a precedent that’s inconsistent with human dignity. For now, though, we’re left with wondering what Senator Collins means by “hostility.”

Ellen writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. 

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