Can This Magazine Be Saved? By Myrna Blyth

When I was editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal, I once presented the hundredth-anniversary copy to President Ronald Reagan. “Great,” he said. “Something older than I am in the Oval Office.” Yes, this little anecdote acknowledges Reagan’s spontaneous self-deprecating wit, but it also shows that at one time the president of the United States would take time in his busy schedule to salute America’s oldest women’s magazine. That’s because Ladies’ Home Journal, which will cease monthly publishing with its July issue, was then considered America’s premier women’s publication, with a circulation of 6 million.

So it’s a sad ending for the publication that was launched in 1883 by Cyrus Curtis, who also started the Saturday Evening Post. LHJ developed out of the popular women’s page in Curtis’s first publication, a periodical for farmers. His wife was the first editor, and the second, a Dutch immigrant named Edward Bok, was the editorial genius who transformed the Journal into a mass magazine for millions.

Early in the 20th century, Bok had great insight about what would interest “modern” readers. In every issue he featured the celebrities of the day, including Civil War generals, actresses, presidents, and members of the British royal family. He also crusaded against popular patent medicines — distillations of alcohol and opium — which addicted many middle-class women at the time. And he wrote shockingly straightforward editorials warning women about sexual diseases such as syphilis. Yes, Bok seemed to know, celebrities, sex and addiction would become basic subjects for the popular press.

Through the decades, reflecting the nation’s economy, the magazine had its ups and downs; however, many consider the 1940s and ‘50s to be the golden age for LHJ and the other large-circulation women’s service magazines, known as the “seven sisters.” Then at the helm was a husband and wife editing team, Beatrice and Bruce Gould, who published serious news about World War II for wives and mothers on the home front and launched the Journal’s best-known and longest-running feature, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” as a way to teach couples about the value of marriage counseling. The magazine was so prestigious, in fact, that Marilyn Monroe complained to Edward R. Murrow that while she had appeared on many magazine covers, she was unhappy because she had never been on the cover of the Ladies’ Home Journal.

In the 1970s, a group of feminists believed that LHJ was not acknowledging the importance of the incipient women’s movement and the changes happening in women’s lives. They staged a sit-in at the office of editor-in-chief John Mack Carter. Carter agreed to publish their manifesto. Afterwards he said he did it because he was afraid the women were not going to let him go to the bathroom. The Journal’s readers were not enthusiastic about the feature that was published.

I came to be editor of LHJ in the beginning of the 1980s, when the magazine was, once again, in quite serious trouble. It was up for sale only a short time after I arrived, and no major publishing company wanted to buy it. An entrepreneur finally took it over with hardly any money changing hands. But he was supportive of the editorial changes I made. I knew that LHJ was best when it was the most journalistic of women’s magazines. I sent reporters to work with Mother Theresa, locate the injured children of Chernobyl, and interview Margaret Thatcher, Marina Oswald, and Mary Jo Kopechne’s bitter parents. With the help of a talented editorial staff, a strong advertising team, and the appearance of Princess Diana, who frequently graced the cover, the magazine suddenly grew popular and profitable again. The entrepreneur sold the magazine after only a few years to the Meredith Corporation for $90 million.


‘Everyone is in favor of free speech,” Winston Churchill once wrote. “Hardly a day passes without its being extolled.” And yet, he added dryly, “some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”

This aphorism, generally applicable as it is, could easily have been issued to describe the attitude of one Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist and opponent of free inquiry who is currently suing National Review for libel.

Mann, a professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, rose to prominence for his “hockey stick,” a graph that purports to depict global temperature trends between the years a.d. 1000 and 2000. The graph takes its name from its shape, which shows a mostly flat line of temperature data from the year 1000 until about 1900 (the handle of the hockey stick), followed by a sharp uptick over the 20th century (the blade). Based on this graph and related research, Mann has built a noisy public career sounding the alarm over global warming — a plague, he argues, that has been visited upon the Earth as a result of mankind’s sinful penchant for fossil fuels.

In the course of his evangelizing, Mann has shown little tolerance for heretics. A recent op-ed he penned for the New York Times is illustrative. “If You See Something, Say Something,” the headline blares, mimicking New York subway warnings and suggesting a not-so-subtle parallel between the dangers of global-warming “denial” and the murderous terrorism that brought down the Twin Towers. In the opening paragraph of the piece, Mann castigates his critics as “a fringe minority of our populace” who “cling[] to an irrational rejection of well-established science.” These aristarchs, Mann contends, represent a “virulent strain of anti-science [that] infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.” Alas, such comparisons are commonplace. In the rough and tumble of debate, climate-change skeptics are routinely recast as climate-change deniers, an insidious echo of the phrase “Holocaust deniers” and one that has been contrived with no purpose other than to exclude the speaker from polite society.

Secure as he appears to be in his convictions, Mann has nonetheless taken it upon himself to try to suppress debate and to silence some of the “irrational” and “virulent” critics, who he claims have nothing of substance to say. To this end, Mann has filed a lawsuit against National Review. Our offense? Daring to publish commentary critical of his hockey-stick graph and disapproving of his hectoring mien.

Ostensibly, Mann’s litigation against National Review is the product of a blog post written by Mark Steyn back in 2012, in which Steyn provided commentary on a separate article (written by Rand Simberg and published on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s blog) that had drawn a crude analogy between Mann and Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child molester and former assistant football coach at Mann’s employer, Penn State. Steyn quoted a passage in which Simberg had stated, “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.” Distancing himself from the Sandusky analogy, Steyn averred that he was “not sure I’d have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr. Simberg does.” “But,” Steyn continued, “he has a point.” After all, “Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus.” (This “tree-ring” remark refers to Mann’s reliance on controversial “proxy” data to gauge historical temperatures — about which more below.)

Ingathering in the Promised Land By P. David Hornik See note please

This is the best memorial of the Holocaust- a home and a haven for Jews who are oppressed anywhere in the world. Israel is the absolute emblem of Jewish will to survive and thrive….rsk
The first three months of 2014 saw a rise in aliyah—Jewish immigration to Israel. A 312% increase from France, 70% increase from Ukraine, 100% increase from Brazil. The absolute numbers are not huge; if the current rate continues, the total for this year will be about 20,000—compared to, for instance, much higher numbers of former-Soviet Union Jews who came to Israel in the 1990s.

The present uptick, though, appears likely to continue and could accelerate. Amid rising antisemitism, about two-thirds of French Jews are considering emigrating, and half of those are considering Israel. Similar, if somewhat less dramatic, numbers are reported among Jewish communities elsewhere in Europe.

I read such reports with elation, as if reading that I personally had won some prize or had some other good fortune coming my way. This is rather interesting in light of the fact that I’ll soon have been living in Israel for 30 years. More than enough time, of course, to get over romantic visions, to be inducted into the many dimensions of ordinary, flawed human reality that constitute Israel as they do other societies.

And yet, after almost 30 years, nothing—essentially—has changed the feeling I had when I came to live here on September 6, 1984. That this is the true home, that no other place where Jews live can come close to it.

About a year ago the Grand Canyon Mall opened in Beersheva about a 15-minute walk from where I live (the name is a play on kanion, the Hebrew word for mall). The publicity proudly trumpeted that it had taken its place as the largest mall in Israel. Its three floors have it all—boutiques, shoe stores, bookstores, toy stores, electronics stores, candy stores, cafes, fast-food joints, a drugstore, a supermarket, you name it.

Thirty years ago there were few, relatively small malls in Israel, and I would have found the Grand Canyon depressing. What, the same chase after material goods? Now, walking to the Canyon almost every day for a reading break in a café, I find the place exhilarating. Yes, the same chase after material goods—so what?


Stories about World War II have been a major part of American popular culture for decades. From the Warner Bros. war films of the 1940s to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and beyond, there is a consistent magnetism towards America’s Greatest Generation and the war they fought against totalitarianism. Many people have relatives who were in the war or have met veterans that have made an impact on their life. Without question, WWII vets are a special, unique group whose stories deserve to be shared.

In The Fight in the Clouds, author James P. Busha organizes the many interviews he conducted with WWII fighter pilots over the years into one volume. Busha, a pilot himself, is also editor of EAA Warbirds of America, EAA Vintage Aircraft Association publications, and contributing editor for Flight Journal. The book opens with specifications about the P-51 Mustang that will be helpful to those new to the topic.

These pilots, like their planes, were tough as nails. The only accepted defeat was death. The tales range from fun practice runs, harrowing fights into enemy territory, and postwar musings. The Fight in the Clouds begins with a powerful introduction about the story of 2nd Lt. James Des Jardins and his brother, who both lost their lives serving our country in World War II. Their story is told, in part, through primary documents in the form of Western Union telegrams. Reading the words of the time always presents a unique and often influential response. This book, according to Busha, was written for those “who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country as they laid their lives on the line to ensure that future generations would enjoy the freedoms and liberties that have been bestowed upon us.”

One of the many stories that stuck out to me was that of Capt. Clayton “Kelly” Gross, who was in a dogfight with “one of Hitler’s wonder weapons,” a Messerschmitt Me 262:

Cliven Bundy, Racism, Politics, and History By Victor Davis Hanson ****

“And his critics? Most make the usual necessary ideological adjustments. Al Sharpton — former FBI informant [18], provocateur of lethal rioting, homophobe, anti-Semite, character assassin, deadbeat tax delinquent — is not shunned, although his bigotry is central to his career, but rather embraced by Hillary Clinton [19] and given his own MSNBC show [20]. The NAACP is slated in May to recognize Sharpton with a “Person of the Year” award — and had planned to give Donald Sterling a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” When public servants in positions of vast power like the attorney general reference blacks as “my people” or a Supreme Court justice spouts off neo-eugenicist riffs, they must be contextualized and explained as off-the-cuff musings not comparable to the felonious biases of an obscure private cowboy on the Nevada range.

Spare us the bottled piety.”

Cliven Bundy spouted off racist generalizations [1] the other day as reported by a New York Times journalist, stereotyping blacks in negative fashion, with unhinged referencing to slavery — and after that in an ad hoc talk generalizing about Mexican immigrants in positive condescension.

Does that outburst prove Bundy’s resistance to a bullying Bureau of Land Management is racially driven? Or that his cattleman’s existence on the Western range is now tainted?

What are the general rules about assessing issues when the involved parties voice odious creeds?

The difference between a private life and a public career matters. If cowboy Cliven Bundy were organizing a formal resistance to the federal government by emphasizing racist doctrines, then he would be dangerous in the way Rev. Jeremiah Wright was scary in spouting racist diatribes [2] to thousands in his congregation [3] and on his CDs — including to the future president of the United States.

Misfire in Malaysia : Obama Declines to Meet With a Harassed Opposition Leader.

President Obama is on the final legs of his Asian tour that included a two-night weekend stop in the increasingly prosperous Muslim-majority nation of Malaysia. So it’s a shame that Mr. Obama pointedly chose not to meet with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who nearly won last year’s election even as he appeals a second suspicious conviction on sodomy charges.

“The fact that I haven’t met with Mr. Anwar in and of itself isn’t indicative of our lack of concern, given the fact that there are a lot of people I don’t meet with and opposition leaders that I don’t meet with,” Mr. Obama said at a joint news conference on Sunday with Prime Minister Najib Razak. “And that doesn’t mean that I’m not concerned about them.” The opposition leader met instead with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Mr. Obama doesn’t meet with every opposition leader, but he was happy to meet with the leader of Angela Merkel’s opposition, German Peer Steinbrueck, and his former campaign adviser David Axelrod is advising British Labor Party leader Ed Miliband. Malaysia wants to join the ranks of rising middle-income states and be considered a full-fledged democracy, yet its ruling party has never lost an election. Mr. Anwar won an appeal of his first conviction but then faced a second indictment as he prepared to fight an election in which his party won 51% of the vote but only 40% of the seats.


Mr. Popper is a senior attorney for Judicial Watch and served as the deputy chief of the voting section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2008-13.

The president’s selective statistics are red meat to supporters, but still bogus.

The Obama administration has been ramping up its rhetoric about the evil of voter identification as part of the run-up to the midterm elections. In January, Attorney General Eric Holder told MSNBC that voter fraud “simply does not exist to the extent that would warrant” voter ID laws, adding that many who favor such measures do so in order to “depress the vote.” Vice President Joe Biden claimed in February that new voter ID laws in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas were motivated by “hatred” and “zealotry.”

In an April 11 speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, President Obama recited statistics purporting to show that voter fraud was extremely rare. The “real voter fraud,” he said, “is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”

These arguments themselves are bogus. Consider the two studies from which Mr. Obama drew his statistics. The first, which he said “found only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation in 12 years,” is a 2012 report issued by News21, an Arizona State University project.

The News21 website explains that students “under the direction of journalism professionals” sent public records requests to state and federal officials asking for information about voting fraud cases. The project acknowledged significant gaps in its data. Several states made no meaningful response. Counties argued that “public records laws don’t require officials to respond at all.” Election officials and state attorneys general admitted that they did not track voter fraud. The Justice Department referred News21 to its 93 local U.S. attorneys but, the website reported, “many of those offices, in turn, referred News21 back to the department.”

Crucially, News21 noted that “nearly all the data” it received had “some vital piece of information that had been requested specifically but that was missing.” Responses lacked “important details about each case—from whether the person was convicted or charged to the circumstances of the alleged fraud to the names of those involved.”

Given these limitations, it is hard to believe any valid conclusions about voter fraud can be drawn from this study.

Mr. Obama also cited an “analysis” showing that only 40 voters “were indicted for fraud” from 2002 to 2005. That number is drawn from an Aug. 2, 2005, Justice Department news release—which describes the department’s “Ballot Access and Voting Integrity” initiative—and from a related list of federal cases. The release mentioned 120 pending election-fraud investigations, 89 prosecutions and 52 convictions.

Obama’s Pretense Empowers Putin by Angelo M. Codevilla

By bold paramilitary action, Vladimir Putin is seizing full power over eastern Ukraine. At the same time his empty threat of outright invasion is leading the Ukrainian government—supported by Barack Obama as a rope supports a hanging man—to agree to a “federative structure” for the country. Thus, by creating facts on the ground and scaring Obama, Russia will control the East, and through it have gained the power to take part in governing the rest of Ukraine. Obama’s pretense—detailed in a sympathetic Peter Baker story in the April 18 New York Times—that he is limiting Russia by the threat of escalating sanctions and that he is playing a long game with regard to Russia, is a shameless attempt to put a brave face on what amounts to helping Putin.

Putin’s Russia has its cake in Ukraine, and can look forward to eating more of the former Soviet empire, thanks substantially to U.S. foreign policymakers’ tendency to live as if the world were as they imagined rather than as it is.

Imagining that the “end of history” was at hand when the Soviet Union broke up, our Euro-American ruling class discouraged the countries of the former Soviet empire from arming themselves sufficiently to maintain their independence. Republican and Democratic administrations urged Ukraine, the Baltic States, Georgia, and even Poland, to entrust their security to a combination of good relations with Moscow and Western assurances backed by precisely nothing.

Vladimir Putin never made a secret of his objective to re-create as much of the Soviet empire as possible, nor that he would use what he calls oppressed Russian minorities as instruments and justification. His 2008 invasion of Georgia detached the Abkhazian and South Ossetian regions, and limited the rest of the country’s independence. This set a pattern for Putin’s pursuit of “the new Russia.” Ukraine, the key to “the new Russia,” would be his major objective. When two successive U.S. administrations and the European Union neither imposed costs on Moscow for what it had done to Georgia nor acted to strengthen any of Eastern Europe’s defenses—indeed when the Obama administration, despite the attack on Georgia, removed even token missile defenses from Poland and the Czech Republic—they virtually guaranteed that Putin would move against Ukraine if and when Ukraine resisted its ongoing subversion.

Western Jihadists in Syria Threaten to Bring Their War Back Home: Maajid Nawaz

Europe and the U.S. must challenge the Islamist ideology that encourages young Westerners to join the most extreme and dangerous factions in the Syria war.

We are watching the largest mobilization in a generation of volunteers traveling abroad to join a war. An estimated 11,000 foreign fighters have been mobilized in Syria, according to a just-published study by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (PDF). More than a quarter of those combatants are from Western countries, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Belgium. Australians, Canadians and U.S. citizen also have joined the ranks.

But judging by our complacency, you would be forgiven for not knowing this. Partly, that’s because some on the left in Britain and elsewhere have been busy downplaying the conflict or romanticizing it as something akin to the international brigades during the Spanish Civil War that attracted George Orwell and other idealists. But unlike Orwell in the 1930s, these fighters on their way to Syria are not traveling to fight against fascists. Many are young Western Muslims rushing to join a fascist group that is too extreme even for al-Qaeda: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Members have been known to behead even fellow fighters. And it’s not much consolation that the more “moderate” volunteers are joining, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the official Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

The problem is metastasizing rapidly. As the number if ISIS volunteers grows, and as all other jihadists groups — including al-Qaeda — unite to fight against them, they are beginning to leave Syria and spread their uniquely “Western” jihadist-criminal brand to third countries, including next-door Iraq.

So what can be done? We must start by asking why so many Western Muslims are prepared to travel and risk their lives to fight everyone else, including their fellow Muslim rebels, in Syria. Such decisions are not made overnight, and not in an isolated context. No amount of charismatic recruitment alone is powerful enough to achieve this feat if people are not already primed for exploitation.

A Horror Story of True-Life Anti-Semitism in France: Tracy MacNicoll

In 24 Days, opening this week in Paris, filmmaker Alexandre Arcady sets out to expose the motives and the meaning behind a savage crime.

It was a ghastly tragedy that rattled a nation and became a byword for anti-Semitism in France. In January 2006, just weeks after riots had set aflame the troubled banlieues and housing projects throughout the country, a single horrific killing exposed an icy violence that was in its way even more shocking. Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped by the self-styled “Gang of Barbarians” and tortured to death because he was Jewish and they thought his family or other Jews would pay for his freedom.

Now eight years on, the story is coming to cinemas in France. Alexandre Arcady’s 24 Days: The Truth About the Ilan Halimi Affair opens Wednesday, the first of two French feature films on the case due out in 2014. And in a nation where Europe’s largest Jewish community is still reeling from the recent fight to censor a notorious comedian spewing anti-Semitic hate, it is bound to touch a nerve.

Indeed, in the wake of the controversy over the dubious humorist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, which saw his stage shows banned in several French cities in January, the Jewish community has expressed concern that anti-Semitic acts, which were down 31 percent in France last year, could rise.

And when 24 Days director Arcady describes Ilan Halimi as the first person murdered for being Jewish in France since the Second World War, it is lost on no one that he was not the last. During Mohamed Merah’s Al Qaeda-inspired killing spree in 2012, the motorcycle-riding gunman slaughtered three children and a rabbi outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

The beginning of the end for Ilan Halimi came on a Friday night in January 2006. He had left his mother’s Paris home after a Shabbat meal to meet a girl at a café. A femme fatale in the truest sense, “Emma”—recruited as bait for Halimi—had first flirted with the affable mobile-phone salesman that very day in the shop where he worked on the Boulevard Voltaire.

She would lure him to a Paris suburb where the gang waited in ambush. They beat him, bound him and stashed him away in an apartment building in the projects. Halimi was held for 24 days, his eyes and face plastered in duct tape, first in a vacant flat, then in a basement boiler room with the building superintendent’s complicity.

When Halimi’s jailers tired of helping their captive relieve himself, they stopped feeding him. He was found barely alive in the woods near a commuter train line, still tied up, naked, and badly burned. He died before the ambulance reached the hospital.

When Halimi’s jailers tired of helping their captive relieve himself, they stopped feeding him. He was found barely alive in the woods near a commuter train line, still tied up, naked, and badly burned.

Arcady’s 24 Days tells the story from the perspective of Halimi’s mother, Ruth, based on her 2009 memoir. Savage violence goes largely unseen in the film. Instead, audiences sink into the family’s nightmare: The oppressive barrage of rambling, invective-laced phone calls demanding ransom—more than 600 calls over the course of Halimi’s captivity.