Archive for January, 2023

A small victory for sanity

Posted: January 31, 2023 by datechguy in Uncategorized

In Yesterday’s Under the Fedora I noted that it was disgraceful that even a single juror in the Mark Houck case was willing to vote guilty in a case that was all about the basic freedom of religion.

Apparently this disgrace has been rectified.

A Philadelphia jury acquitted Mark Houk, the devoted Catholic father of seven, of federal assault charges for supposedly shoving an abortion clinic volunteer.

Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, said via email: “We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome. Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won. The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”

What’s worth noting is that one juror was dismissed and replaced with an alternative:

One of the 12 jurors deciding the fate of the pro-life father of seven Mark Houck in Philadelphia federal court has been replaced by an alternate.

The alternate took the place of the original juror at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday, when deliberations began again. Defense lawyers for Houck could not comment on the reason for the replacement.

The jury began deliberations on the case on Friday but said they were “deadlocked” and would not come to a decision that night.

Legal insurrection notes that the juror who was replaced didn’t take part in deliberations but once he was out it took only an hour to acquit.

Make of that what you will.

By Christopher Harper

The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Associated Press combined to create arguably one of the worst weeks ever for mainstream media.

Although I realize that most of us have given up on news organizations, the outrage has grown among some of the media’s longtime defenders.

The Columbia Journalism Review, a left-leaning organization tied to Columbia University, published a four-part series that savages The Times’ coverage of Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

“No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers,” CJR executive editor Kyle Pope wrote in an editor’s note. 

Jeff Gerth, the critique’s author and a former Times reporter, said he believes the Times damaged its credibility outside of its “own bubble” and that even famed journalist Bob Woodard told him coverage of the Russia probe “wasn’t handled well.” 

The Associated Press, once a venerable outpost for objectivity, fairness, and balance, has lined up with the woke crowd.

Last week, the AP, where I once worked, issued a directive for its stylebook, once regarded as the most important set of guidelines for journalists.

The organization tweeted advice not to use generic labels for groups of people who share a single common trait, giving as examples the poor, the mentally ill, and the college-educated.

But the AP backed down after the guideline came under fire. The French embassy in the United States joked that it should possibly change its name to the Embassy of Frenchness.

Then The Philadelphia Inquirer weighed in on the foibles of a private restaurant’s failure to uphold political correctness.

Restaurant critic Craig LaBan decried the Union League Club for honoring Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

“At the end of December, the Union League announced plans to build a $25 million rooftop restaurant with an expansive terrace. Imagining the gorgeous city views from atop the elegant red brick bones of this ornate 1865 building, with breezy outdoor dining and a more casual dress code planned to debut later this year, I’d begun to think this grand addition to the city’s culinary skyline might be just the cue for me to finally write about the city’s reviving private club restaurant scene.

“Or maybe not. This week’s gold medal celebration of Florida governor and potential presidential candidate Ron DeSantis was a stark reminder that the Union League isn’t just a private social club with pretty good food: its mission is served with an increasingly MAGA-flavored side of political ideology.”

I realize that business and sports reporting had been taken over by leftists, but I was surprised that food reporting had been usurped by lefties.

Nevertheless, all three of these once-venerable institutions got a fair amount of grief from nearly every slice of the political spectrum.

With God all things are possible but to ask him to get you to the Superbowl with a 4th string QB is a bit much

Apparently the Jury is deadlocked on the charge against Mark Houck who was charged a year after the fact of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act when he confronted a clinc escort who was bothering his twelve year old son.

It’s disgraceful that this charge even made it to trial but I find it even more disgraceful that there are members of an American jury that voted guilty.

The weaponization of the federal government against Christians has only just begun. You have been warned

Last night on sports radio as I drove home there was a lot of buzz about people thinking the fix was in on those games yesterday.

Given the billions that are now bet on them I don’t find that suspicion surprising. Although I would think such a thing risks the entire business model and thus not be worth it but to those who would dismiss it out of hand let me give you a quote from the 1994 movie “Quiz Show” about the scandals there that perfectly illustrates the logical reason for suspicion:

Martin Rittenhome: Young man I sell over $14 million dollars a year worth of Geritol, Geritol, that’s the kind of businessman I am. That show twenty-one, cost me 3 1/2 million dollars year in and year out. Sales went up 50% when Van Doren was on. 50%! So the very idea that I was unaware of every detail or aspect of that show’s operation, well frankly it’s very insulting.

If the case incentive is high enough anything is possible

Last week I saw yet another story where “Transwoman” are stating that lesbian women who don’t draft Trans lesbians are bigots”

Now I don’t claim to be an expert on the “lesbian transwomen” dating scene but a question occurred to me: “How many of these so called “lesbian transwomen” are dating other “lesbian transwomen”?

Because if they’re not then apparently by their own argument they’re a bunch of bigots too.

I think that question should be asked of anyone who tries to play the bigot card. here.

Finally as you get older you get used to endings. Found out about two today. Pat Buchanan has apparently written his last column and Don Surber has apparently decided to drop his daily “Highlights of the News” in favor of his substack columns.

Everything eventually ends and as I’m closing in on 60 I’m wondering how much longer I’ll be writing daily.

Most likely I’ll keep up until it starts losing money hopefully that won’t be for a very long time if at all but we’ll see.

Feinstein official Senate photo, retrieved from her website on January 29, 2023

By John Ruberry

Nearly overlooked earlier this month because of the drawn-out vote for speaker of the House was the breaking of seven decades of precedent in the upper chamber of Congress in the election for largely ceremonial post of president pro tempore of the Senate. Largely ceremonial only up to a point, that is. The holder of that position is third-in-line in presidential succession. Every president pro tempore elected since 1949 had been the longest-serving senator from the majority party. The dean of the Senate is 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein, she has been representing California since 1992. But Patty Murray of Washington, who is a relatively spry 72, was elected president pro tempore, which ups her salary a bit and earns her a security detail.

Feinstein reportedly declined to run for president pro tempore.

Concerns about Feinstein’s mental acuity go back to 2020, when she praised then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) when the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett concluded. “This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” she told Graham before hugging him, “I want to thank you for your fairness.” 

Personally, I think Graham did a decent job during those hearings, but Feinstein overlooked–or should I say she couldn’t remember–that during the Donald Trump presidency it was the duty, in the eyes of the Democrats’ hard-left base, for every Democratic member of Congress to RESIST Trump and the Republicans.

Shortly afterwards, Feinstein stepped down as the ranking Democrat of the Judiciary Committee.

Last spring, her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, spoke to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as ex-Feinstein staffers, about her mental state. And all of them, anonymously, told the Chronicle that because of memory issues, Feinstein appears unable to serve as senator.

More bluntly, in my words, it looks like Feinstein can’t do her job.

“I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone,” a California House Dem admitted to the Chronicle about Feinstein. “She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring. Because there was just no trace of that.” 

The same article offered up this damning quote, “There’s a joke on the Hill, we’ve got a great junior senator in Alex Padilla and an experienced staff in Feinstein’s office,” a former staffer said.

Last year the New York Times described an experience that will be familiar to anyone who has witnessed a friend or relative suffering from cognitive decline.

One Democratic lawmaker who had an extended encounter with Ms. Feinstein in February said in an interview that the experience was akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance. The lawmaker recalled having to reintroduce themself to the senator multiple times, helping her locate her purse repeatedly and answering the same set of basic, small-talk questions over and over again.

Tellingly, a visit to Feinstein’s Senate website offers up a photo of her that appears to be a couple of decades old. That’s the pic you see in this entry. Click here for a more recent photograph.

This month, two Democratic southern California members of the House, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, announced they are running for Feinstein’s seat–her term expires in 2025. Schiff, who repeatedly lied about having evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion, claims he informed Feinstein of his intentions. Believe that if you want to. 

Other candidates are expected to declare their candidacy. Feinstein hasn’t said anything yet, but she’s expected to announce that she will not be running for reelection. 

Clearly, Feinstein should have resigned for health reasons at least three years ago. 

One way to minimize the chances of having senators–and House members–suffering from cognitive decline is to enact congressional term limits, even though that may mean amending the Constitution. Besides, serving in Congress should be a highlight of someone’s career–not the entire career.

Feinstein’s sad situation is not unique in Washington. Two Republicans who served with Feinstein, Strom Thurmond, who ended his 48 years in the Senate at 100, and Thad Cochran, who resigned after 39 years in the Senate, suffered cognitive challenges late in their careers, as well as one Democrat, Robert Byrd–he died in office when he was 92.

For five months in 2001, at the age of 98, Thurmond was president pro tempore. And when Byrd died, he was president pro tempore of the Senate. Hey, hats off to the Democrats for bucking tradition by electing Murray over Feinstein for that post.

Besides congressional term limits, America also needs smarter voters. Although by all accounts Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is a healthy 89-year-old man. Last year he was just elected to his eighth term. Grassley is a former president pro-tempore.

Having wiser and less selfish members of Congress is probably too much to hope for.

Mental issues can burden younger persons too.

In Pennsylvania, 53-year-old Democrat John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke last year, successfully ran out the clock in his successful Senate election, despite speaking struggles in his few public appearances and a disastrous debate performance

Joe Biden turned 80 last year and he’s expected to run for reelection. Biden has had many mental miscues in his two years at president. But that’s a problem well worth another discussion.

Please don’t call me ageist. If heart ailments, cancer, accidents, or infectious diseases don’t conquer me first, I am certain that one day I will suffer from cognitive issues. 

UPDATE February 14: Today Feinstein announced that she won’t seek reelection. Call me ableist, agist, or whatever. But Feinstein should have quit at least two years ago. She can still resign.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.