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Temperance vs. individual liberty

July 13, 2018

In 1826, a century before Prohibition, Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher wrote, “No sin has fewer apologies than intemperance.” Beecher founded the American Temperance Society, one of America's first such organizations, in 1824. At its conventions, Beecher gave speeches with heavy-handed warnings such as: “. . . of all the ways to hell, which the feet of deluded mortals tread, that of the intemperate is the most dreary and terrific." Preachers such as Beecher are often associated with Prohibition and its precursor, temperance. Prohibitionists argued that their opponents were immoral and un-American. They claimed Prohibition would end crime and poverty and create a ...

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The Stardust Hotel, longtime cash cow for the Mob, debuted 60 years ago on the Las Vegas Strip

One of the Las Vegas Strip’s most iconic casino resorts opened 60 years ago today. The Stardust was renowned for…

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The life and death of Joe Colombo

Three rounds from an assassin’s gun all but silenced Joseph Colombo, one of the Mafia’s most publicly vocal bosses. Although…

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Joe Friday tackled the Los Angeles crime syndicate

William H. Parker, a hardnosed police chief in midcentury Los Angeles, did not want organized crime in his city. In…

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ROBERT F. KENNEDY’S CRUSADE AGAINST THE MOB: PART 3

LAST OF THREE PARTS   In the days following his brother Jack’s election to the presidency in November 1960, Robert…

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Robert F. Kennedy’s crusade against the Mob: Part 2

Second of three parts   The Senate Rackets Committee made national news as soon as it started its work in…

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Robert F. Kennedy’s crusade against the Mob: Part 1

First of Three Parts   In a lengthy memo to his brother President John F. Kennedy, dated January 10, 1963,…

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The Gangsters at the Heart of Russia’s Story

Russian gangsters are often fascinated by the Cosa Nostra, and one once asked me, can one write the history of…

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