Happy Mardi Gras 2017!

Happy Mardi Gras 2017!

Here’s a little history about the holiday from History.com:

A Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations–on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.

Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now Louisiana, just south of the holiday’s future epicenter: New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.

On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating the revelry they’d observed while visiting Paris. Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city. Since then, krewes have remained a fixture of the Carnival scene throughout Louisiana. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake.

Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday. However, elaborate carnival festivities draw crowds in other parts of the United States during the Mardi Gras season as well, including Alabama and Mississippi. Each region has its own events and traditions.

Visit History.com to learn more. How are you celebrating?

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One Day More

It’s not a secret I wasn’t a “yuge” fan of Donald Trump during the primaries. As a staunch constitutional conservative, I supported Ted Cruz, the most principled candidate among all of the contenders. I despised Trump’s disgusting, juvenile smears on Cruz and his family, including the ludicrous claim that Rafael Cruz somehow played a role in JFK’s assassination.

However, taking a cue from Cruz (who put personal animosity aside for the greater cause), once Donald become the nominee, I planned to vote for him, if only to save the country from leftist criminal Hillary Clinton — a presidency from which we never would have recovered. If you think that’s an exaggeration, I recommend watching Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democrat Party.

By the time Election Day rolled around, I cast my vote with enthusiasm and prayed that enough Americans would do the same. Thank God, together we averted disaster.

Surprisingly, most of Trump’s cabinet choices have been solid. And while I cannot admit to liking the guy, he appears to genuinely love his country and desire to make it great again  — unlike the spiteful community organizer who spent the last eight years presiding over a “fundamental transformation” of a United States of America his privileged wife had never been proud of until he’d been elected.

Most admirably, Trump refuses to play nice with our corrupt, biased media, which has largely been an appendage of the DNC, rather than an objective source of news and information, for decades.

Finally, a Republican President who calls them out instead of cowering!

As for the lame duck, click here for Ben Shapiro’s take on Obama’s legacy. If racial division, cop killing, increased Islamic terror attacks at home and abroad; targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS; Big Government bullying of private businesses; destruction of our healthcare system; weakening of our military and national security; alienation of Israel and other important allies; and ruination of our economy were his goals, then yes, his administration was a rousing success.

And, right up until the bitter end, Obama is still inflicting damage with his Pardon Parade of Anti-American Spies and Terrorists.

Still, I pray with renewed hope and optimism that Trump will begin to undo his predecessor’s “deplorable” Executive Orders, as Andrew Napolitano explained in an interview yesterday — even if there’s not a damn thing he can do about freed traitors and terrorists.

One Day More.

One day more until we can begin to restore our nation. Yes we can…make America great again.

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America’s Simple Solutions with Author Mark Werts – UPDATED

I’m excited to welcome Mark Werts, author of the book, America’s Simple Solutions, to Writestream Radio on Tuesday, September 27 at 1 PM Eastern. If you’re sick of politics, but interested in commonsense solutions to our country’s problems, be sure to tune in and call in with your questions and comments at (347) 945-7246:

wt_ass_mark_wertsIn America’s Simple Solutions, author Mark Werts tackles education, healthcare, immigration, taxes, gun control, the environment, gender, equality, and many other issues, and offers Americans simple solutions free of partisan bias, based on how these challenges are handled around the world. Having lived, worked, and traveled across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, Werts has observed how people in other countries have approached the same dilemmas that we face in the United States. “I have come to understand what is practical and works. I have also seen what is impractical and doesn’t work. In our global world, why would America pursue an idea that has been proven again and again not to work in other places?” he writes. Werts also reflects on the views of our country’s Founding Fathers, and suggests that we have forgotten much of their considerable wisdom.

Throughout, Werts emphasizes the importance of expanded freedom, especially for entrepreneurs and business. He also stresses the critical roles played by education and political participation.  “A good, solid education for all of our citizens is the ultimate answer to our many challenges . . . and to get the best teachers, we must offer the best salaries,” he says.  And he laments low voter turnout, urging all eligible Americans not only to vote, but to get involved in local boards and commissions.

With freedom, education, and voting as an underlying theme, Werts believes that we are at a monumental juncture, and that the future of our individual freedom is at stake. In reading, America’s Simple Solutions will empower people to get involved, and make the choices that will fuel both growth and freedom.

To listen to the live show, click on this link to Writestream Tuesday: America’s Simple Solutions with Author Mark Werts on September 27 at 1 PM Eastern.

About the Author:

Mark Werts was born and raised in Hollywood, California, the third of six children in a large Catholic family. His father, C. Francis, was a family doctor who treated many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and who delivered more than two thousand babies. His mother, Virginia, was a schoolteacher. Mark is a graduate of Loyola High School in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, the University of California-Berkeley, and the Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management (now part of Arizona State University).

wt_markwerts2He began his professional career working for Price Waterhouse, and with his ear for languages, he soon found himself running the company’s offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and later Madrid, Spain. While in Spain, one of his clients, an influential jeans maker, introduced Mark to the world of fashion. A short time later, Mark trekked his way to Holland, where he founded his first vintage clothing store, Salty Dog, by begging, borrowing, and mortgaging his life insurance policy for the initial $21,000 investment. He soon had ten locations throughout the Netherlands, then two more stores in France.

While in Europe, Mark married and had two children, Julian and Zoey. But, after the relationship soured and his American wife took the kids and returned to the states, Mark married a Dutch woman, closed his shops, and also moved to the United States, to be closer to his children.

Mark launched his signature store, American Rag, in the Bay Area of California in 1984. Despite appearances, denim was never intended to be the store’s focus. He started out selling vintage clothing, as well as Paul Smith and several other good labels. As business grew, so did the Werts household. His third child, Mark Oliver (who now works as a vice president at American Rag), was born in 1985, and that same year Mark found himself looking for a new location. Circling back to his roots in Los Angeles, he discovered an oversized warehouse on La Brea Boulevard — miles from the hip fashion avenues of Beverly Hills and Sunset Plaza — and set out to re-invent California retailing without actually knowing he was doing so. Since then, American Rag has grown to several locations, does a brisk online business, and has in-store partnerships with Macy’s, Orta, Sazaby League and Levi Strauss, as well as a strong presence in many foreign countries.

Today Mark is married to fashion designer Amanda Shi, and has young twins, Chloe and Ignatius. He is also a mentor to new generations of would-be merchants. To that end, he can often be found strolling the campus at the University of Southern California where he is on the Board of Counselors. He often lectures there, and teaches a pilot class where he has made opening a store into an assignment.

Looking forward to “seeing” you on Tuesday!

UPDATE: What an informative, enjoyable interview. Mark shared his commonsense solutions for everything from taxes to term limits. If you missed it live, click to listen.

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Independence Day: The Greatest Act of Political Courage in History

LibertyBell

In less than a week we’ll celebrate one of my top three favorite holidays – Independence Day. I purposely refer to it as Independence Day — not the 4th of July or July 4 — because it’s not the date that’s important but the significance of what transpired on that hot, humid summer day in 1776. And every American needs a reminder.

The dangerous thing about freedom is that it’s so intoxicating it can easily lull those who enjoy it into total complacency. Especially after 100+ years of deliberate cultural, moral and intellectual assault upon every worthy American institution from education to pop culture to academia to media to government (the utterly corrupt, excessively overweight, tyrannical present-day version of which is undoubtedly causing our Founders to roll over in their graves).

A few years back I attended a Tea Party rally on Independence Day in West Palm Beach, where they host the annual event, The 4th on Flagler. After our rally in a more secluded section, we decided to mingle with the crowd and watch fireworks. That’s when I heard a typical, condescending, better than you liberal male call out in a voice dripping with contempt: “You people politicize everything!” (Ponder the irony there….then remember lefties are masters of projecting their behaviors and attitudes onto constitutional conservatives).

Anyway, I couldn’t let that go without a retort so I asked him “What exactly do you think we’re commemorating today? The writing, signing and presentation of the Declaration of Independence was a political act. The bravest political act in the history of the world.”

He just gave me a smug look and went back to whatever he was doing. I knew then that freedom-loving Americans fighting to restore the gift of a free nation truly did have our work cut out for us. Doesn’t it feel as if we’re in the midst of a second American Revolution most days? Except this time the monarchy is within in the form of an entitled, entrenched political class comprised of two despicable parties made up of men and women whose only concern is their own self-interest (with a few exceptions).

To paraphrase Mel Brooks as King Louis in History of the World, it’s good to be part of the Beltway elite. And to rewrite another famous saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t become career politicians and punish those who do with excessive taxes and regulations.”

Still, I look upon Independence Day as a way to reflect upon the founding of the greatest country in the history of the world and to recharge my batteries to continue to the fight for liberty. They put it all on the line for freedom. Will you?

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