Joe Clark RIP

January 2, 2021

Retired high school principal Joe Clark died Tuesday at 82 at his home in Florida after a long battle with an unspecified illness.

During the ‘80s, Clark became nationally famous for his tough love approach to education. He turned around one of the worst schools in New Jersey, expelling 300 students in one day to get crime and drugs under control. He painted over graffiti, chained the doors shut against criminals and required students to know and sing the school song on demand. He was also famous for patrolling the halls with a bullhorn and a baseball bat. In a statement, his family said, “Steadfast in his approach, Clark explained that the bat was not a weapon but a symbol of choice: a student could either strike out or hit a home run."

Liberals assailed him for instilling discipline in public school, but President Reagan offered him a White House policy adviser position. The public gave its verdict when “Lean On Me,” a movie of his story starring Morgan Freeman as Clark, became a major hit and audiences gave it a rare Cinemascore rating of A+.

Here are some remembrances of Clark from Morgan Freeman, who called him a father figure to the kids and “the best of the best in terms of education.”

RIP Chuck Yeager

December 9, 2020

It’s hard to imagine being shocked at news that someone had died at the age of 97. But if there were ever a man whom you could imagine being tough enough to take Death’s scythe away from him and chase him off with it, it’s retired Brigadier General Chuck Yaeger, whose wife Victoria announced on Twitter that he had passed away Monday night. We offer our sympathy and prayers for his family.

The legendary test pilot was the personification of the term “The Right Stuff,” the title of the Tom Wolfe book and movie about the NASA space program that appropriately began its story back on October 14, 1947. That’s when Yaeger strapped in behind the controls of the rocket-propelled Bell X-1 plane nicknamed the “Glamorous Glennis” and launched the space age, becoming the first man to break the sound barrier at 700 mph. Just six years later, he was setting new records by flying at 1600 mph.

His daring test pilot accomplishments were only a part of his amazing life story, which included 64 combat missions in World War II (he was shot down once, evaded capture, and made it back safely) and returning to combat flights decades later during the Vietnam War. He was a true American hero, recipient of the highest honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and an inspiration to soldiers, pilots, astronauts and every American.

You can read more about his remarkable life at the link above. And here’s a clip from “The Right Stuff,” dramatizing the moment when Chuck Yaeger piloted America into the space age by breaking the sound barrier. I hope this will make you want to watch the entire film, because it’s a humdinger of a movie.

Remembering September 11

September 11, 2020

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, the deadliest attacks ever on US soil. Despite coronavirus precautions, there will still be memorial ceremonies today in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. President Trump will speak and lay a wreath at the memorial to the heroes of Flight 93. Fox News has created a continually-updated live blog page where streaming video will appear, as well as updated news and links to other memorial events.

As I wrote last year, today is a date that will live in infamy, but also in the annals of heroism.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to the shocking news that we were under savage attack by Islamic jihadists who, before the day was over, would kill nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. The attack was aimed at America, but because it focused on the World Trade Center, the victims were from many nations. But as much as that day displayed the cowardice and animalistic behavior of the terrorists, it also showcased the heroism and selflessness of so many Americans, from the NYPD cops and firefighters rushing toward danger to save others to citizens in cities across America standing in line for blocks to donate blood. Petty differences like race or politics were swept aside as we all came together like family, because our nation was under attack.

Those of us who lived through it can scarcely believe it was 19 years ago, as the painful memories are forever seared into our memories. But we now have colleges turning out students who have no personal memories of 9/11. Thanks to the passage of time and a media and schools that quickly buried the images lest they be too “disturbing” (or too inconvenient to PC narratives), young people have little understanding of what was felt by all Americans in the wake of that horrendous attack. This explains why we now have a crop of young people under the BLM/Antifa banners, attacking police and chanting “Death to America,” just like the people who hijacked those planes, oblivious to the evil they’re aligning themselves with.

Here are some of those 9/11 images that need to be seen and thought about a lot more often.

Young Americans’ naiveté makes them easy prey for those who seek to rewrite history so they can divide and conquer. They lull our youth into blaming the USA for every sin, letting their guards down, and being misled into handing over their hard-fought, God-given rights to those who couldn’t defeat us by force so are now working to defeat us from within.

If you have kids, I suggest a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, which finally reopens to the public tomorrow. Those of you who are concerned about the safety of traveling to New York and would prefer to wait until Bill DeBlasio is removed from office can take a virtual visit here.

Make sure your children are taught the truth about 9/11. It was one of America’s worst days, yet in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and on United Flight 93, we also saw Americans at their very best, coming together and heroically laying down their lives for others, whether they were police and firefighters climbing up into the doomed Towers to search for survivors or simply American citizens standing up against the hijackers and saying, “Let’s roll!,” knowing it meant their own plane would crash but they would save countless lives.

As we reflect on and remember 9/11, let’s not dwell on the murderous monsters who don’t deserve to have their names remembered. Let’s focus on honoring the victims and the many true heroes, both on that awful day and in the days and even years afterward. Let us resolve to end the miseducation of our children and start teaching them the truth about 9/11 and about America’s real history and our people’s true heroic character. And let’s never let our guard down again.

For six decades, Labor Day meant an American tradition: the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA ended its association with Lewis in 2010, although the telethon continued in ever-shorter form until its final broadcast in 2014. But the association of Labor Day with helping the MDA continues. Some local areas still host telethons, and firefighters across America are out this holiday weekend at intersections, collecting cash for their “Fill the Boot” drive. If you see them, I hope you’ll dig into your pocket and give generously.

And the national organization this year is bringing back the Telethon in a new “COVID-19/Zoom”-friendly way. You can learn more and donate directly at their website: https://www.mda.org/telethon

Although Jerry Lewis passed away a few years ago at 91, active right up until the end, I’m sure that he would want you to continue giving generously and remember that it’s about helping the kids. In fact, while Jerry made the telethon the success that it became, he wasn’t the one who started it all rolling. He gave credit for sparking his six-decade mission to wipe out muscular dystrophy to another man -- a man you’ve probably never heard of. Jerry kept the story secret for many years, until the publication of his memoir, “Jerry Lewis in Person.”

Jerry recalled that it was in 1948. He was 22, and he and Dean Martin were the hottest comedy team in show business. His good friend and press agent, Jack Keller, had helped make them stars, but never requested a single thing for himself -- until one day, he came to Jerry and begged a favor. He had a friend who was in trouble and asked if Jerry would talk to him. His name was Paul Cohen. He’d had MD since childhood, and he’d started a group called the Muscular Dystrophy Association to fight it. They had a few patients, their parents and nothing much else.

By chance, Jerry knew someone whose nephew had had MD. He said he’d watched helplessly as that child had withered like a leaf in the winter, and the effect of seeing that would never leave his mind until a cure was found. So he agreed to meet with the handful of doctors who knew anything about MD at the time. They weren’t encouraging. They warned him that research was in the Dark Ages. Nobody even knew what caused MD, and no known medicines helped. It was like fighting an invisible killer. But that just made Jerry more determined to take it on.

He and Dean began hosting fundraisers…until one night, Jerry jokingly ad-libbed at the end of their TV show that viewers should each send in two dollars. He was stunned when over $2,000 arrived in the mail. And that’s when it hit him: the power of television to raise money for charity. So in 1951, Jack Keller put together a special hosted by Dean and Jerry. It aired on just one station and raised $68,000 (over $671,000 in today’s dollars), and the MDA telethon was off and running.

Over the next six decades, Jerry Lewis’ tireless work on his Labor Day telethons helped raised well over a billion dollars to fight neuromuscular diseases and help the victims and their families. He also inspired millions of Americans to join in the effort. That’s why so many Americans will always associate him with Labor Day.

But let’s also salute an unsung hero. If you think one person can’t make a difference, remember that the Labor Day tradition that raised over a billion dollars to help children with MD started because a man you’d never heard of, Jack Keller…for the first time in his life…asked someone for a favor. And as Jerry observed, it was no surprise to him that the favor was a request to help someone else.

So when you see a firefighter out collecting for MDA, doing his or her bit to help the kids, please do your bit and toss something into the boot. You'd be amazed how all those individual efforts add up.

Honor Rev. King This Way

August 31, 2020

Ordinarily, I would have written extensively about Friday’s 57th anniversary of the March on Washington led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a huge inspiration to me as a kid growing up in the South, and his dream of a land in which all the races live together in peace, judged by the content of their characters and not the color of their skin, was an inspiration to my life and those of countless others.

Unfortunately, this year’s observance of that anniversary in Washington, organized by Al Sharpton, in many ways betrayed the spirit of the Rev. King’s message with gratuitous racial slanders for political purposes (i.e., Sharpton calling the President “Bull Trump” – Bull Connor was a Democrat, it needs to be noted again and again) and divisive, anti-American rhetoric. Some speakers couldn’t have perverted the Rev. King’s message more if they’d literally declared that we must judge people by their skin color, not their character.

One praiseworthy exception worth mentioning is the Rev. King’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, who said, “My generation has already taken to the streets – peacefully and with masks and social distancing – to protest racism.” I wish some of the adults there had her wisdom and sense of responsibility.

Before anyone starts accusing me of only saying this because I’m white, read the words of this longtime Democratic Tennessee state Representative and veteran of the civil rights movement who calls it “appalling” and “heartbreaking” to associate the non-violent protests of the Rev. King with “burning and looting and stealing.” He said, "It's like we're trying to live up to the worst of stereotypes, the worst of behavior, the worst of perceptions.”

As I often like to remind people, especially those who forget or try to obscure this fact, the Rev. King was, first and foremost, a great preacher of the Gospel. Some of his most inspiring words came in the form of sermons. I urge you to honor his legacy by reading those, not listening to people who would distort his message for their personal political motives. You can start with this, the final sermon he ever gave on April 3, 1968 in Memphis. You will search in vain to find any encouragement of violence or incitements of race hatred in it.

75th Anniversary of V-J Day

August 18, 2020

Saturday was a landmark anniversary: the 75th anniversary of V-J Day (Victory over Japan.) There’s some dispute about the actual date: Japan surrendered on August 15th, but because of the time difference, that was August 14th in the US. And September 2nd is officially referred to as V-J day because that’s when Japan signed the surrender document, ending World War II. But whichever day you prefer, it must be remembered and commemorated, especially this year. The number of living veterans of the war in the Pacific is dwindling; and this year, because of the coronavirus, public events were not as large or widespread as these heroes deserved, and their advanced ages meant that most couldn’t leave their homes to be honored.

We must remember V-J Day not only for the sacrifices and heroism of our military, but also to ensure that the conditions and actions that led to the horrors of World War II never happen again. Today, there is a vast coordinated effort to erase and rewrite the history of the United States, and to cast this great nation’s heritage as nothing but racism, oppression, and colonialism. That is a scurrilous lie. Yes, there are dark passages, but no other nation in history has ever strived so hard, or sacrificed more blood and treasure, to advance justice and free people from bondage, both here and around the world. In the 1940s, the United States and the Allied coalition literally saved the world. And having defeated the most dangerous foe of all time, we didn’t act as conquerors or colonizers. We left only enough troops to oversee the rebuilding and keep the peace, while most of our military came home, shed their uniforms, and went on with their lives.

At that link is a story about some of the veterans of the Pacific campaign who are still with us 75 years later. But I noticed that the writer has also internalized, perhaps unwittingly, some of the attempts to rewrite history to cast America in a negative light. The article describes the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the point where “nuclear weapons were first -- and so far, solely -- used in anger…”

There’s no question that those bombings were horrific in their destruction and loss of life, and they certainly carried a sobering lesson that we should avoid ever using those weapons again. But it’s flat wrong to assert that they were “used in anger.” They were used in war, which is a very different thing.

It was a war we didn’t start or seek; Japan thrust it on us with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Even after Germany surrendered, Japan’s military leaders refused to stop fighting, and they still had a 2-million-man military to defend their homeland. A D-Day-like invasion of Japan was predicted to cost at least a million casualties. Truman faced one of the most difficult choices of any President in history: use the awesome power of a nuclear weapon – which wasn’t even fully understood at the time – or keep fighting island by island, door to door, for who knows how long or at what cost of lives on both sides. Here’s some more background on what he was facing.

Far from being made in anger, that was one of the most agonizing and carefully considered Presidential decisions ever made. Historians can argue forever about whether it was the right decision, but they don’t have the lives of millions of people hanging on the outcome of their debate, as Truman did.

Finally, as we salute American heroes of World War II on the 75th anniversary of V-J Day, here are some photos from commemorative events that were held in Great Britain and Japan.

Herman Cain

July 30, 2020

Thursday brought the sad news of the death of a friend, Herman Cain.

After a highly successful career as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, this brilliant entrepreneur spent the following years as a radio talk show host and a Presidential candidate, but always he was a tireless advocate for free enterprise, for opportunity for all, and for an America that gave people opportunities to dream big and do big.

I became closely acquainted with Herman Cain in 2007 during my campaign for President in the GOP Primary. Herman was one of the national leaders of the Fair Tax movement, and the Fair Tax was a centerpiece of my campaign. We spent time together throughout the campaign in advocacy for the Fair Tax.

After the campaign and when I became a contributor for Fox News, I would regularly invite Herman on my show to talk free enterprise, conservative values, and of course, the Fair Tax.

In 2012, Herman launched his own campaign for President. Feeling that the country might not be able to fully understand the Fair Tax, he created a “Step One” toward the Fair Tax in his simple but profound 9-9-9 plan. The simplicity of the plan caught on, and Herman was like the evangelist in a crusade, brilliantly explaining that a tax fixed and finite is more fair. I was able to spend time with him on the campaign trail and one of my favorite memories is playing bass for a band that accompanied Herman in singing his beloved Gospel music.

He had a great sense of humor and was the eternal optimist. I loved just being around him as his vivacious spirit was truly contagious.

I’ve hated all that the Chinese Virus has done to the world, but I’m especially angry that this awful virus took the life of a great American, a kind gentleman, and my friend, Herman Cain.

At this link, some prominent people from the political world pay their respects.

RIP Charlie Daniels

July 7, 2020

I am still in shock after receiving a message Monday from country legend Charlie Daniels’ representative, letting me know that he had died of a stroke at 83. He was so big, so strong, so omnipresent in music for 70 years, and so bold and outspoken in defense of America and its veterans, police, and first responders that it seems almost impossible that he could have left us so suddenly. I’m proud to say that he was a friend of mine and a friend of our TBN show, where he appeared just recently to promote one of his many initiatives to help our veterans.

Fox News immediately contacted me to write a tribute. I hope you will read it at this link.

This obituary from the Nashville Tennessean includes some highlights from Charlie Daniels’ amazing career and the many fellow icons who worked with him, from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Ringo Starr and Elvis Presley. He was truly a “musician’s musician,” the "best there's ever been" on both fiddle and guitar, and the man the greats called when they wanted to make music history.

Here are some of the many tributes to him that are pouring in from fellow music stars.

To show the deep love and respect that Americans felt for Charlie Daniels, here are some photos of his body being driven to the funeral home, accompanied by a police escort, followed by a group of fans on motorcycles, and saluted by fans lining the sidewalks to pay their respects as they held up the American flag he revered.

Finally, it’s especially unfortunate that he leaves us at a time when so many people are turning on the patriotic American values he fought so hard to protect and defend. I wish he could have lived to see what I hope and pray will be the crushing repudiation by voters of the current wave of violent, ignorant, intolerant and divisive anti-Americanism. But he left us a great legacy of writings and recordings to help inspire patriots to fight back.

One of the greatest was a song that came out during a similarly depressing, if less violent, time in America’s history: 1980, the end of the Carter years when we were told that malaise was our “new normal,” that America was in decline, that we could be pushed around by countries like Iran, and we’d better just get used to it. He released a battle cry of a song that reminded us not to believe the demoralizing lies and anti-American propaganda. Some say he helped save the nation, as that song fired up patriotic Americans to go to the polls, elect Ronald Reagan, and reclaim America’s greatness. He revived it again after 9/11, as you can see in this live video. I think it’s high time we start playing it again, right up to and beyond Election Day 2020. It’s called “In America.”

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate having this exceptional nation and the freedoms it gives us, but we must always remember that we have those things because of all the soldiers who put their lives on the line to secure them for us, from Revolutionary times forward. There’s a story I love to tell that illustrates that for young people.

When I was Governor of Arkansas, I got to know an outstanding high school teacher in Little Rock named Martha Cothren. She was one of my original Huck’s Heroines, and I was always telling her it was my goal to make her one of the most famous teachers in America, because she’d be such a great example to all teachers. Here’s just one reason why.

Martha became concerned that many of her kids didn’t fully appreciate their precious American freedoms. So she prepared an unusual lesson for them. On the first day of school, the kids shuffled back into class only to discover that it was completely empty. Not a desk in sight. So they asked, “Miss Cothren, where are the desks?” She replied, “You don’t get your desk until you can tell me how you earn it.”

The kids were stunned, but they started trying to guess how they earned their desks. By getting good grades? No, that’s not the answer. By behaving in class? No, that’s not it. The first period ended with the kids leaning against the walls or sitting on the floor, but they never had figured out how they earn their desks.

Well, in trooped the second-period class. They were greeted with the same empty room and the same question they couldn’t answer. This went on all day, and by lunchtime, word was circulating all over school that Miss Cothren had gone crazy.

Finally, during the last class of the day, she told the students, “Okay, nobody’s figured out how you earn your desks, so I’ll tell you.” She opened the door, and in walked 27 military veterans, each one carrying a desk. As they quietly placed them in neat rows, Martha said, “Kids, you don’t have to earn your desks because these guys earned them for you.” She said you get free desks, free books and a free education, but it wasn’t free to these veterans…or to their friends who never came home from the wars they fought to give us all that freedom. She said, “Whenever you sit in that desk, try to remember who earned it for you.”

After that lesson, Martha was approached by one of those veterans, a news photographer, with tears in his eyes. He told her that when he returned from Vietnam, he was cursed and spat on, and made to feel ashamed of his service. He said, “Today is the first day since I’ve been home that I felt like someone appreciated what I did.”

Unfortunately, there can’t be a Martha Cothren in every school. I certainly wish I could replace every America-hating “history” professor in every university with a clone of her. But other teachers and parents can make sure their kids know who earned their desks for them. And we can all make it a point to say “thank you” to current and former members of the U.S. military. Seems to me, the 4th of July would be a great time to start.

I’ve been astounded recently by the way the left has been so successful at using the phrase “hate speech” and the fear of school shootings to convince young people to demand that their own First and Second Amendment rights be taken away.

Somehow, they have managed to bamboozle a large slice of the young generation into simultaneously believing that they are wise and mature enough to start voting and even writing laws at 16; yet they are so childish and irresponsible, they can’t be trusted to touch a firearm until they’re 21, or to hear an opposing opinion without rushing to a safe space to cuddle a puppy and schmoosh Play-Doh.

When young people don’t know their rights, where those rights came from, and how much was sacrificed to secure them, it’s easy to convince them to trade them away for empty promises of comfort and security. This is the basis of all those quotes warning not to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage, a bit of advice so ancient and universal that it dates back to Esau in Genesis 25: 29-34. But leftists are still counting on young people not knowing it (no wonder they want to ban the Bible from schools.)

These days, students are taught an ugly, twisted and totally negative perversion of American history. They’re taught to hate their own magnificent heritage, and they don’t learn the most basic facts (or even what the word “pottage” means), let alone all the great stories you discover when you dig into real American history. This seems like the perfect week for a lesson in how America came to be born. And I’ll try to put it into terms they can relate to.

Maybe – possibly – today’s students vaguely recognize the name Paul Revere (although they might believe he was a slave trader. I certainly doubt they had to memorize the poem, the way we did.) But how many know there was another heroic midnight rider who warned that the British were coming, only this one was a teenage girl from Duchess County, New York?

She’s just one of many American heroes that kids don’t learn about because modern textbooks scrub history of everything interesting or inspiring in favor of leftist social and political agendas that downgrade America. They depict it as a land of nothing but racism and oppression, not as a land where people of goodwill have struggled and sacrificed for generations, constantly working to improve things by establishing justice, securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity and creating a “more perfect union” (in the original foundational document, the writers made it clear that nothing’s perfect, but we would strive always to keep working together toward perfection.)

Kids, American history is not a list of personal grievances against people who’ve been dead for 200 years. It’s everything that ever happened to everyone before you came on the scene. Seek it out. Trust me: it can be pretty interesting, and you can actually learn things from it.

For instance: listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of…Sybil Ludington? As the oldest of 11 children, Sybil had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age. She was barely 16 on the night of April 26, 1777. She had just tucked all her siblings into bed when, suddenly, there came an urgent knock at the door. It was a messenger, coming to warn her father, Col. Henry Ludington, that British troops were invading.

His troops weren’t expecting an attack and were scattered all over the countryside. Gathering them meant a dangerous ride over pitch-black roads, through enemy soldiers, wild animals, and hostile Indians (sorry: “Indigenous Peoples.”) Understandably, the messenger refused an order to go. But Sybil volunteered. Her father protested, but she pointed out that only she knew where all his men lived. As any father of a strong-willed daughter (especially one named Sybil!) will recognize, he’d long since learned that arguing with her was futile. So Sybil mounted up and rode off.

It was a rainy night. The British had already set nearby Danbury, Connecticut, on fire, and the flames cast an eerie, red glow on the fog. It spurred Sybil on as she galloped from house to house, banging on doors and shouting that the British were coming. According to legend, at one point, a highway robber tried to intercept Sybil, but she raised her father’s musket and sent him running. Yet another reason why teenagers should think twice before demanding that the Second Amendment be taken away from them.

By dawn, Sybil and her horse were cold, wet and exhausted. She’d roused over 400 troops, who joined the Battle of Ridgefield and helped drive the British all the way back to Long Island Sound. Gen. Washington personally honored Sybil for her heroism.

Today, there are historic markers all along her route, and statues of her in New York and Washington (if they haven’t been torn down by historical illiterates.) But I’ll bet most young people never even heard of Sybil Ludington, a teenager much like them, except she knew what really happened during the American Revolution. Maybe it’s because nobody wrote a famous poem about her midnight ride -- even though her ride was over twice as long as Paul Revere’s. Let’s hope someone turns her story into a hip-hop musical.