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Local papers report that Brooks Brothers is permanently closing stores all across the country. They may even shut down their three factories in Massachusetts (suits), New York (ties), and North Carolina (shirts). Late on Monday evening, Fox News reported that the company was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and is looking for a buy-out.

Of course, Brooks can be salvaged. Some investor will pick it up and strip its assets. And yet, for the first time in two centuries, they’ll probably have to surrender their “Made in America” boast. It will be a “Maker and Merchant” no more, but a merchant only.

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I’m a third generation Brooks Brothers shopper myself, and I loved the brand more than just about anyone had ever loved it. The salesman I worked with when I was in high school was just a few years older than me, and he became one of my best friends. In fact, he was a groomsman at my wedding. But eventually Signore Del Vecchio’s bungling became too much even for him. He left to start his own custom-clothing business. Speaking to industry veterans, I could see why.

For one, Brooks Brothers did away with commissions for most of their salesmen years ago. The clerks at my local store would make the same hourly wage at the nearby Macy’s, and both stores pay less than Nordstrom. So, when all the experienced salesmen left to find jobs that would allow them to support a family, they were replaced by the kinds of people who are willing to work in retail for minimum wage—namely, students from the local high school. Needless to say, lifelong customers weren’t overconfident in the 16-year-old girls fitting them for $1,500 suits.

Then they started tampering with all the cuts. Their Traditional Fit shirts (the widest) were axed completely, while the Fitzgerald Cut suits—that quintessentially American slim fit—were replaced by a British-style slim called the Regent. Ask anyone who has worked for Brooks in the last ten years and they’ll have stories of customers coming to them with tears in their eyes. “I’ve been shopping at Brooks Brothers since my dad brought me in for my first suit sixty years ago,” they’d say, “but nothing fits anymore. What am I supposed to do?” They’d leave, crestfallen, never to return.

I’m glad to know I’m far from the only guy who has had that exact experience — I was crestfallen last year when I discovered that I couldn’t get traditional cut shirts even at Brooks’ flagship 346 Madison Ave. outlet. Read the whole thing.


New Hampshire man arrested after allegedly assaulting pro-Trump teen at polling site: “Fox News has learned that the suspect got in the face of the teenage boy who was wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and volunteering at the Trump tent at Windham High School, a polling location for the New Hampshire primary.”

Ex-NYPD cop punched at his Nashville birthday party after red cap mistaken for MAGA hat. “In reality, his cap was emblazoned with the words ‘Make Fifty Great Again’ — while his shirt was decorated with an American flag that read ‘Making America Great Since 1970.’”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: New York high school bars National Guard recruiter from distributing National Guard T-shirts (and bars students from wearing them). “The T-shirts in question say ‘National Guard’ across the top and then show the silhouette of a soldier holding a gun in front of the American Flag. The school district says it has a very strict policy forbidding students from wearing any clothing that has a weapon on it.”

Seriously, why would you entrust your children to people like this?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Not safe to display American flag in American high school. “Today’s Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2014) upholds a California high school’s decision to forbid students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. (See here and here for more on this case.) The court points out that the rights of students in public high schools are limited — under the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. School Dist. (1969), student speech could be restricted if “school authorities [can reasonably] forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities” stemming from the speech. And on the facts of this case, the court concludes, there was reason to think that the wearing of the T-shirts would lead to disruption. There had been threats of racial violence aimed at students who wore such shirts the year before. . . . This is a classic ‘heckler’s veto’ — thugs threatening to attack the speaker, and government officials suppressing the speech to prevent such violence.” Leaving aside the First Amendment aspects, this says terrible things about immigration and the state of our public schools.

FREE SPEECH: Not Safe To Display An American Flag In An American High School. “When we’re at the point that students can’t safely display the American flag in an American school, because of a fear that other students will attack them for it — on May 5 or on any other day — and the school feels unable to prevent such attacks (by punishing the threateners and the attackers, and by teaching students tolerance for other students’ speech), something is badly wrong. Here’s an excerpt from the court opinion describing the facts that led the court to uphold the restriction.”

Plus, from the comments: “If a student were threatened for wearing a LBGT shirt, the school would not ask the student to remove the shirt. The school would remove those making the threats.”

BOB OWENS: High School Where Flag Flap Occurred Hides A Racist Secret. “What’s more divisive: students wearing American flag shirts or administrators sanctioning a racial supremacist group?”

Related: Roger Simon: Identity Politics is for idiot sheep and the LA Unified School District.

CHANGE: Five Morgan Hill students sent home for wearing American flag T-shirts. School officials called the flag shirts “incendiary” because it was Cinco De Mayo.

HERE’S A REPORT from the Washington, DC pro-Iranian-freedom protest:

Amid reports that hundreds of Iranian pro-democracy protesters clashed with Islamic vigilantes and police in Tehran, hundreds gathered in Washington D.C. in a show of support for democratic change in Iran. The demonstrations in both capitals were called to mark the fourth anniversary of violent student protests in Tehran. A sea of red, white and green Iranian flags waved over the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol, as the message of pro-democracy demonstrators was heard loud and clear.

Read the rest. (Via Pejman Yousefzadeh, who has lots more on this subject).

UPDATE: Reader Richard Gardner emails this firsthand report:

I haven’t seen any blog report of the DC protest, and I don’t have a blog, so I’m sending this out FYI.

I swung by the rally On the Capitol’s West-side today, on the grass just below the steps. I’d guess 300-500 participants, almost all Iranian (99%), all ages. Lots of families. There were lots of banners and Iranian flags. The participants were well dressed and focused on their issue, unlike the “anti-war” protests this past winter. But there were few non-Iranian participants (under 10) in the audience. This event was totally different from other protests I’ve seen in this town. (No stilts or funny costumes either!)

The VOA was there, conducting TV interviews in Farsi. I did see some TV broadcast equipment being taken away, but I couldn’t tell if it was there for the protest. I only noticed one probable print journalist. I saw a couple of people that looked like they could be bloggers, taking notes. So don’t expect much press coverage.

Between speakers, there was chanting of slogans in English and Farsi, “Go, go, go, the Islamic regime of Iran must go;” “We want democracy for Iran, freedom for Iran;” “Down with the mullahs, down with Hezbollah;” “Down with the Islamic regime;” “Freedom, freedom for Iran.” (I now know that “down with” in Farsi sounds something like “mag bye.”). Periodic music too.

Several members of Congress came out and gave short speeches of support, including Senators Coleman (R-MN) and Brownback (R-KS), Congressman Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Lots of speeches in English and Farsi (50-50). The Iranian speakers stressed freeing the political prisoners, getting rid of corrupt mullahs and Hezbollah, supporting the student protests, and bringing freedom and democracy to Iran. There was no mention of the monarchy.

The only anti-West theme I saw was on signs against British Petroleum’s activities in Iran, supporting the regime. And only two women had their heads covered with non-Western headgear (lots of regular hats on a very hot day). The only theme I heard that I disagreed with was a chant for the UN to help Iran. My thought was, be careful what you wish for.

In addition to the ever present large Iranian flags being waved about on long PVC staffs, there were quite a few posters with photos of men and women being hung from cranes, the results of whippings and torture, and what seems to be the symbol of the resistance to the mullahs, a young man holding up a bloody T-shirt. (A drawing of it can be seen here

On the sidewalk outside the protest, two Americans were holding a big banner stating “US Hands off Iran.” Some Iranians then stationed themselves in front of these counter-protesters with their own banners, obscuring it. The counter-protesters then relocated across the street. But where were the non-Iranian protesters showing support for democracy in Iran? Nowhere to be found.

The Free Iran, anti-mullah groups have a website,

“Hands off Iran.” How typically amoral, yet schoolmarmish.