Fishbait Miller in the Senate: Murkowski Yes Collens No on Barrett

On the day of the vote I want to see you in the front row. Keep your eye on the doorkeeper. If I don’t need your vote, Fishbait Miller will give you the sign and you’ll be free to vote your district.”…

…when Leo took his seat in the front row, he looked around and saw thirteen other guys that Sam had in his pocket in case he needed them. It wasn’t just Leo. The entire front row was sitting there and waiting for the nod from Fishbait Miller.

Tip O’Neill Man of the House 1988

Today is the day that Amy Coney Barrett will likely become Justice Barrett and the surest sign of this is the announcement that Susan Collins will be a “no” vote on the nomination:

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, took a veiled shot at her party’s leadership in the Senate on Sunday when she announced that she would be voting against the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“Prior to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, I stated that, should a vacancy on the Supreme Court arise, the Senate should follow the precedent set four years ago and not vote on a nominee prior to the presidential election.,” Collins said in a statement.

She added: “Because this vote is occurring prior to the election, I will vote against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”

Collins you will remember was the key vote that put Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the court to the great outrage of the left and as the last national Republican left in New England has a huge target on her back.

So it’s quite Natural that Mitch McConnell having Mitt Romney as the 51st vote and knowing that her election may decide control of the Senate and wanting to give her whatever edge she can get gave her the high sign that her vote was not needed.

One of the reasons it’s not needed is that Lisa Murkowski while voting NO on the motion to end debate and bring Judge Barrett’s nomination to the floor announced that she will be a “Yes” on her confirmation once it gets there.

Today, Murkowski stated on the Senate floor that she will vote to confirm Barrett. She reiterated that, in her view, Republicans should not be holding a vote on Barrett before the presidential election. For this reason, she explained, she will oppose ending debate on the nomination — i.e., oppose having a vote on confirmation.

But once the vote occurs, Murkowski will vote in favor of confirming Barrett because the nominee is well qualified, and it’s not her fault that the process (in Murkowski’s view) is flawed.

This is a reversal from what she has said before and even acknowledes such:

Murkowski had initially said that she opposed voting on a nominee before the November election. Her vote in favor of Barrett all but ends any long shot hopes Democrats had of convincing some moderate and vulnerable Republicans to side against Barrett’s confirmation.

“I believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate Judge Barrett as we would want to be judged: on the merits of her qualifications,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor Saturday afternoon.

One might wonder why Murkowski who voted against Kavanaugh would suddenly decide to vote for Barrett when her vote is not needed? The answer in two words: Sarah Palin:

“Walk back what you have already committed yourself to. You better backtrack. You know, you have already put yourself in this box saying no matter who it is, you’re not going to support the person, not until you have a chance to appoint a judicial nominee under another president instead of this one,” Palin said. “You’re hoping, what, that this president doesn’t win? Otherwise, you’d be cooperating with the president. Really, what it is is cooperating with the majority of Americans who know that it’s now or never for America.”

“So much hinges on the Supreme Court. You know the reason, you know why it’s so important, and that’s why you’re thinking you’re going to go rogue. You know, there’s a time and a place to go rogue. This isn’t the time, this isn’t the place. We sure hope you have it within you to do the right thing this time. So you should walk back,” Palin says, adding in a reference to her 2009 book “Going Rogue.”

“We’ll forgive you. Wait … we’ve done this how many times before, though? And we kept saying we’d forgive this? If you can’t do that, remember my house. I can see a lot of things from my house. … Lisa, I can see 2022 from my house,” Palin concluded, referring to the year Murkowski is up for reelection.

Palin suggested she didn’t want to run for the Senate but would do so if Murkowski voted against Barrett. As Sean Davis put it:

The names and faces may change but the Fishbait Miller rules of Politics remain the same.

A Most Serene Choice

In 301 A.D., a stonemason and Christian named Marinus from a small Adriatic island fled the rantings of a woman gone mad claiming him as her husband, and founded a chapel and monastery on an Apennine mountain to live out his life as a hermit. Marinus became Saint Marinus, and the mountain grew into San Marino, the oldest extant independent sovereign state in the world.

Somehow, through centuries of Duchies and Popes, Borgias and Mussolinis, San Marino has retained its independence, with periods of brief occupation in 1503 and 1739. Even Napoleon never conquered the place. Wholly surrounded by Italy, the Sammarinese number less than 35,000 speak Romagnol and Italian, and are almost all Roman Catholic. And though never even a regional powerhouse, it must have done some things right for its flag to wave over Monte Titano through the centuries.

In fact, San Marino’s diplomatic maneuverings with the French tyrant Napoleon illustrate the wisdom that modern statesmen too often lack. In 1797, with Napoleon’s armies awash over Europe, advancing through northern Italy toward the San Marino’s longtime ally the Papal States, San Marino felt the growing pressure of both the rock and the hard place. The French demanded the arrest of the anti-French Bishop of Rimini. Showing the smiling duplicity essential to successful diplomats, Antonio Onofri, one of the two Captains Regent of San Marino – the offices vested with ruling authority over San Marino since 1243 – promised General Berthier San Marino would do all they could to help the French, even as the bishop fled across the border to safety.

But it was San Marino’s next decision that offers the real lesson. Napoleon was so impressed by Onofri and by San Marino, he sent his personal friend and emissary, the scientist Gasparre Monge, to San Marino with a letter that not only guaranteed its independence, but offered to extend San Marino’s borders – at the expense of San Marino’s neighboring Italian provinces.

San Marino, having befriended the great French conqueror, now had the chance to grow, to gain new land, new people, new riches. This is how the great grow ever greater, isn’t it?

The Captains Regent of the Most Serene Republic of San Marino turned Napoleon down. They would gain no new territory for their friendship. They wisely saw that Napoleon’s conquests might prove short-lived, and those he defeated might yet regain the advantage – and take their revenge on not only Napoleon, but Napoleon’s friends. By accepting Napoleon’s offer, the Captains Regent rightly saw it, perhaps as only the rulers of a state founded by a Catholic saint could, as a devil’s bargain: what might appear as San Marino’s triumph could by the very thing to risk its independence.

San Marino stayed content with its mountaintop, and today, after two more centuries of Italian revolutions, fascist takeovers, Nazi occupation, and communist infiltration, its borders remain unchanged since 1463, and San Marino remains independent.

Would any of our leaders today show such wisdom? To decline conquest, when tempted with it? Come Election Day, will any of the victors show the wisdom to know that, as the Eastern sage put it, “this too shall pass.”

I’m worried that there won’t be a peaceful conclusion to this presidential election

I’ve been considering writing this article for a few weeks but hesitated because I felt some would believe I was just being melodramatic. Just this week I noticed a couple of prominent conservative news sites featured articles sharing the same exact concerns so I decided this was the proper article for me to write at this point in time.

There are so many factors that have led to my anxiety concerning violence and the upcoming election. 

The political left has demonstrated an affinity for violence.  The amount of violence they have perpetrated just the last year is staggering.  In Portland Oregon alone ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter rioted for over 100 days.  How many cities were burned by leftists over police involved shootings this year?   We all have clear memories of leftists rioting on President Trumps Inauguration Day.   What are the chances of leftists rioting if President wins?  I believe they are high especially if it is a contested election.

I believe that there will be a tremendous amount of confusion over election results in many key states thanks to mail in voting.  It is widely believed by us on the political right that mail in voting is a tool to steal the election from President Trump.  There are far fewer safeguards when it comes to mail in voting and a tremendous amount of fraud has already proven to have taken place.  There is a very chance that the Supreme Court will have to settle some state elections and the election will end up in the House of Representatives where President Trump should win.  That would trigger a tsunami of violence from the left.

The news media has been trumpeting very loudly polls declaring that Joe Biden has a commanding lead over President Trump.  I believe these polls are fraudulent and the media are pushing them on purpose to stir up the left even further after a surprise Trump victory.  The author of this American Thinker article How Likely Is a Violent Transition of Power This Election?

Just as in 2016, nearly all political pundits predict a victory for the Democrat candidate.  The vast majority of MSM downplay any polls showing Trump leading the race and overplay the ones for Biden.  This bias toward the Democrat shapes the perception of the Democrat party (Republicans are mostly skeptical about those polls), setting false expectations for the Election Day results.  The pure-evil-fascist-Trump simply cannot be allowed to reign another term.  A wide array of the leftist groups is already coordinating efforts to ensure substantial public protests after the election to “defend the vote counting.”  “If Trump tries to stop the counting of mail-in ballots after Election Day, or otherwise tries to short-circuit the results, the scale of protests would be that of “the BLM protests on steroids,” they warn

How many times have the news media speculated that President Trump may not step down if he looses?  This is an attempt to cast doubt on a contested President Trump victory and to further inflame the political left, resulting in more violence from the left.

I am worried that the level of violence from the political left will be far greater after a President Trump victory than we have seen so far.  Hopefully governors and mayors take proper precautions.  I fear a lot of Democrats in authority will not.

Just as I was getting ready to publish my article I came across this Federalist article which proves my fears are more than justified.

Riot and protest instigators plan to “make sure Trump leaves the White House” by any means necessary after the Nov. 3 election, according to website posts from the group Shut Down DC and their allies. “W]e’re making plans to be in the streets before the polls even close, ready to adapt and respond to whatever comes our way,” the group says on its website currently.

Report from Louisiana: Senate 2020

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Early voting is underway in Louisiana and in Shreveport the lines are blocks long waiting to get in. As large a city as Shreveport is, there is only one place to early vote.  What these long lines mean is anyone’s guess.

Last month I wrote in this space about the senatorial race in Louisiana between incumbent Bill Cassidy and newcomer Adrian Perkins; Perkins is currently the mayor of Shreveport, elected in 2018.

Word on the street, and in the polls, is that Perkins doesn’t stand a chance in this election, but what is clear is that his eye is on a bigger prize and Shreveport was never anything but a stepping stone to the next rung on the political ladder.

In my post last month, I outline some of the missteps by Adrian Perkins as mayor of Shreveport; this weekend, Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Tyler Bridges covers much the same ground, outlining his background and political rise. Bridges compares Perkins quick rise to that of former Governor Bobby Jindal. This is not necessarily a good thing. Once full of great promise, Jindal left Louisiana in a fiscal mess.

The Advocate article is interesting to me in who it cites as advocates for Perkins; Mary Landrieu, for one. That’s enough to shut me down right there. His personal narrative is compelling:

As a boy, Perkins said, his mother often worked three jobs to put food on the table for her three sons. Perkins’ father left when he was three but returned when his son was in high school. Perkins said the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks inspired him to join the military. West Point recruited him, Perkins said, because he had top grades, had served as class president every year and was an all-state athlete in the 800 meters. At the military academy, Perkins said he was president of his class all four years, was a conference champion 10 times in track and field races and majored in economics. About 18 months after graduation, he was deployed to Iraq, where he was a platoon leader. During two tours of Afghanistan, he was a company commander with over 200 soldiers. After seven years in the military, Perkins, a captain, left at 28 to enter Harvard Law School. “I had already jumped out of planes and rappelled out of helicopters,” he said. “I wanted to do something intellectually stimulating.”

All well and good but his success in Shreveport during his brief tenure as mayor has been nonexistent. Bridges touches on some of the same scandals I mentioned last month but also points out that Perkins has lost a lot of support. Republican leaders who were willing to work with him have turned their backs on him:

A group of Republican businessmen who helped elect him in 2018 turned against Perkins after he awarded an insurance contract to the first cousin of his campaign manager. The man had no experience in that area of insurance. The businessmen said Perkins had broken his promise not to engage in politics as usual. A city internal audit said the new contract appeared to provide less coverage for more money. Perkins said it was a good deal for the city and added, “We introduced minorities into insurance coverage for the first time in the city’s history. Minorities should have an opportunity, outside of the well connected class.”

From my personal perspective, as a resident of Shreveport, I could in no way support Perkins for any higher office because I don’t believe he has fulfilled his promise for this office. He ran for mayor as someone who wanted to do new, fresh things to better this city, and he has failed miserably. Shreveport is not a large city by many standards – in 2018 we had a population of about 188,000. We are demographically 57% black, 38% white. We have shootings every single day and our murder rate is way up. There is no manufacturing in Shreveport and jobs are primarily service industry jobs. The largest employer in Shreveport is the school system, followed by Willis Knighten hospital system. There is little for families to do here unless you like going to casinos or bars.

All that negativity to say that Perkins has a lot of room in which to improve this city, but has not done so. Given that, I don’t think he will do much better for the state, should he somehow be elected senator. I truly believe this is only an exercise in building name recognition and that Perkins wants to take that same meteoric rise as Barack Obama. Presidential aspirations? Maybe. Higher office than mayor of a dying city? Certainly.

Even after Perkins loses this election, it won’t be the last you hear of him.

Mark my words.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Futureworld

Falling asleep in front of the TV the other night, talking heads in my ears, yabbering about the polls — a grim Election Day for Trump and the Republicans in the apparent offing — a vision from the future then seeped into my mind. It came in the form of a news article, dateline: June 19, 2023.

“Former President Donald Trump celebrated Juneteenth today by announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination, throwing the 2024 presidential race into chaos.

“After barbecuing spare ribs at rapper Ice Cube’s Bel-Air estate in celebration of the newly established federal holiday, Trump took to the mansion’s rooftop to make his big announcement before being whisked away by helicopter, a banner emblazoned with the nascent campaign’s slogan, “Put America Back Together Again,” trailing behind in the wind.

“’It’s time we dump that loser broad in the White House,’ Trump said, in apparent reference to President Kamala Harris. ‘All she’s done is lose, ever since she kicked my ass – which, really, she kicked Pence’s ass, if you wanna get technical. And she’s done nothing ever since, absolutely nothing, it’s really quite remarkable,’ he said. He then listed several things Harris did that he would immediately reverse, ‘Starting on Day One, or before, even,’ he promised.

“Among Trump’s proposals was to divide California into five separate states, a single state along the coast, and four states carved out of its more rural, more conservative interior. This, Trump promised, would cancel out the admission of North Puerto Rico, South Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. by the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2021. ‘The coast is iconic, you know, the California coast, I didn’t really think it should be broken up, so we’re keeping it as one state,’ Trump explained.

“Trump promised to increase the Supreme Court by twelve new Justices, and presented a list of forty judges he promised would be considered. ‘Twelve’s a good number, you know, twice as many as Kamala’s,’ Trump said, referencing the six new Justices Harris and the Democrats added to the Court in the spring of 2022.

“The reaction among Trump’s Republican rivals for the nomination was swift. Texas governor George P. Bush, who had been a frontrunner for the nomination once sought by his father, Jeb Bush, immediately announced he was withdrawing from the campaign. ‘I would not sully the good name of political campaigns by continuing to run for the same office as him,’ he intoned.

“Florida Senator Marco Rubio was more diplomatic. ‘I believe competition makes us all stronger,’ he insisted. ‘And no matter what office I may have in the future, I look forward to doing the work of the American people.’

“When asked about Trump’s announcement, President Harris laughed awkwardly. ‘As an American, he can do and say whatever he wants, and I’ve asked the FBI to put an immediate tap on his phone, as he is a known security threat,’ she said to reporters. The reporters had no follow up questions for her.

“In his announcement, Trump also promised to re-open all churches, which the Democrats had deemed ‘dangerous to science,’ free all Republican political prisoners currently housed in the federal prison at Alcatraz, and to review the status of former President Joe Biden, admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center in February 2021 and rarely heard from since.”

After waking up, I felt a little warm, and had to take my temperature. Can’t be too careful, what with the Wuhan floating around. Yeah sure, catching it’s unlikely, but in this world, anything’s possible.

The science behind Coronavirus lockdowns is far from settled

Far too many individuals blindly accept the freedom and economy destroying lockdowns that governors have forced upon us because they believe that the lockdowns are based on science.  That is the narrative that has been crammed down the throats of all of us by the dangerously corrupt liberal news media.  The truth is far different but few are aware it.  That is why I’m writing this article.  On social media I share the truth, however, so many of my liberal friends dismiss the truth because it comes from right wing websites such as Breitbart, American Thinker, and the Federalist.

I was shocked to see actual truth in this New York Times article, which I immediately shared on Facebook and Twitter.  As you can see, Coronavirus is no where as prevalent in the United States as the media trumpets because the most often used test is far too sensitive.

Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.

Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time.

Here is the scientific explanation behind the overly sensitive tests:

The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.

This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

The PCR tests uses too many amplification cycles.

Most tests set the limit at 40, a few at 37. This means that you are positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles, or 37, to detect the virus.

Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, Dr. Mina said.

A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35, she added. Dr. Mina said he would set the figure at 30, or even less. Those changes would mean the amount of genetic material in a patient’s sample would have to be 100-fold to 1,000-fold that of the current standard for the test to return a positive result — at least, one worth acting on.

There has been a mini-serge of Coronavirus cases here in Massachusetts which has resulted in Governor Baker halting his tortuously slow reopening plan.  This serge is based on a big lie.

 In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr. Mina said. “I would say that none of those people should be contact-traced, not one,” he said.

A large number of medical experts have recently condemned the Coronavirus lockdowns. Those who rely on the mainstream media for news are completely unaware of this development.  Here is a description of the group from this Breitbart article

The internationally known experts, who identify themselves as “coming from both the left and right, and around the world,” have produced what they call the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which, to date, has been signed by nearly 4,700 medical and public health scientists, 8,900 medical practitioners, and 123,300 members of the general public.

Here are the opening paragraphs ofThe Great Barrington Declaration

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection. 

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. 

The Great Barrington Declaration recommends a must better approach for dealing with the  Coronavirus Pandemic.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity. 

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. 

Instead of placing all of us under house arrest and shuttering all of our businesses we should:

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

The lockdowns are so not backed by science that the World Health Organization has recently reversed course on them,

I’m Old Enough to Remember When People Thought Twitter Banning Stacy McCain wasn’t a test run for this stuff

Way back when my friend Robert Stacy McCain was banned for “targeted abuse” he asked the following:

Well, what is “targeted abuse,” what constitutes “participating” in this behavior, and what are the “rules around” it? Where is the evidence that I have been “violating the Twitter Rules”? Who was “targeted”? What was the nature of the “abuse”? Questions like this multiply, you see, if we can be permitted to ask questions of the arbiters of “Twitter Rules,” but that’s just it: No questions allowed!

“It’s as if the grown-ups left for the weekend,
and the SJW interns are in control.”

This morning, again without explanation, the @SexTroubleBook account — which I created last year to promote my book — was suspended.

Everybody is shocked, shocked!

“Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant,
then it tries to silence good.”

Feminism is evil. But you knew that, right?

The story actually reached Twitchy where the question was asked:

@instapundit @SexTroubleBook Considering this is an election year, how far can this go before it becomes a partisan FEC violation?

Well now we know:

IT’S COME TO THIS: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany locked out of Twitter for sharing the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story.

But what’s really interesting is not that they are banning people like JtLOL for tweeting out the NYPost story on Hunter Biden or even that they are banning NYPOST editors or even that Facebook is trying to kill this story as well.

What I find interesting are reactions like this from people on the left:

Ladies and Gentlemen this is how far the left has fallen into Marxism. That Americans in America would consider this behavior as acceptable and complement it speaks volumes about who and what they are, and perhaps always were.

China would be proud

One can not shame such people. One can only defeat them.

NOTE I’ll be talking about this on my Livestream at 11 AM EST Friday DaTechGuy off DaRadio, Twitter & Facebook Cross the Rubicon edition (moved from 3 PM due to me picking up a shift at work.

Report from Louisiana: Hodgepodge

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Some loose thoughts from Louisiana this morning.

STORMS: Hurricane Delta blew through Acadiana last week, making landfall in the community of Creole, Louisiana in Cameron Parish, less than twenty miles from where Hurricane Laura hit six weeks ago.

When I tell you that people in that part of the state are weary of storms, well, that barely touches how weary they are.

Across Acadiana right now, there are of course trees down all over the place, families are displaced, power is being restored, and linemen are working long, long hours. Overhead video from Lake Charles before Hurricane Delta hit showed a huge percentage of the homes there covered in blue tarps. After Delta, tarps have been blown all over the place, debris piles blown all over the place, and power is out once again across the city. It’s just bedlam.

That being said, communities are pulling together; this is not their first rodeo and they will all rebuild and survive. But please, no more storms for a while.

COVID: Covid is not done with Louisiana. Our hospitalization numbers are rising again, but are still nowhere near where they were over the summer. Little outbreaks are popping up in schools – go figure. At the high school where I teach, the entire football team is in quarantine along with five coaches. But, who didn’t see that coming, right?

Experts expect numbers to climb again as cooler weather moves in, and some believe all of this hurricane displacement and movement has contributed to rising numbers. People in shelters and whatnot.

Around town, here in Shreveport, we are still under Governor Edwards mask mandate, but I’m seeing a lot of mask-fatigue. One popular diner in town is simply not using masks. None of the employees are wearing them. Ever. Yet people keep eating there, so they are apparently not concerned about it.

Last week, Governor Edwards extended Phase 3 until November 6. Some are calling it Phase 2.5 because it is still pretty strict.

BOOKS: I’ve been reading like a madwoman, and my taste in books is all over the place. I’m one of those people that will read several books at once. I read on NetGalley a lot, and write reviews for publishers for books that are not yet released.

Currently, I’m reading Michael Connelly’s The Law of Innocence (November 20, 2020) and it’s really good; typical Connelly, very tight, very suspenseful. It’s one of the Haller mysteries. It’s everything you want in a Connelly book.

I just finished Margreet’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse (April, 2021). This is a beautifully written, evocative novel that will make you wish you could call your mother one more time.

When Margreete sets her kitchen on fire, Liddie realizes her mother can no longer live alone. Liddie uproots her family and they all move in with Margreete in her coastal Maine home. The novel covers nearly two decades; we watch Liddie’s children grow up, we track the ups and downs of Liddie’s career and marriage, and we fall in love with Margreete.

Eleanor Morse is adept in writing from the perspective of a frustrated husband, a thirteen-year old boy, and a dementia addled woman. All are equally engaging and convincing. We are drawn into the family dramas and are touched by the sweet moments such as when daughter Gretchen can’t bear to hear the neighbor’s mother cow lowing mournfully for her separated calf.  Morse’s writing is never heavy-handed, always on point, and lovely in its simplicity. I really enjoyed this one.

I also read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (April 2021). It is historical fiction set in Oxford and follows Esme who we meet under the sorting table at the Scriptorium where her father works as part of the team compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s mother is dead, and she and her father have a loving, nurturing relationship. The Scriptorium is a shed of corrugated iron in the garden of the home of Sir James Murray, team leader. Esme is fascinated with words and as one word, bondmaid, flutters to the ground, Esme scoops it into her pocket and a lifetime of collecting lost words begins.

The novel is populated with rich, well developed characters. I loved Lizzie, a “bondmaid” in the Murray home, and Mabel, from the market. Tilda and her brother Bill, both irascible, are intriguing characters; Tilda becomes deeply involved in the women’s suffrage movement and Esme flutters around the edges, resisting Tilda’s attempts to become more radical.

We follow Esme from childhood to womanhood and the Dictionary follows pace. Esme remains fascinated with words and collects “lost words” that never make it into the dictionary. We experience her joys and her heartbreaks and more than once I found myself crying with Esme and celebrating her joys. This is a book to be savored.

Not to leave out nonfiction, I’m reading a 2009 book, Last Days of Last Island by Bill Dixon which tells the story of the monster 1856 hurricane that obliterated a popular barrier island on the Louisiana Gulf Coast which was the summer playground for sugar planters, important politicians and businessmen. It’s well researched and the narrative structure reads much like a David McCullough book. 

Me and my stack of books are packing up tomorrow and heading to Acadiana to sit on the bayou for a week and recharge. I won’t be paying attention to any confirmation hearings, presidential races, or anything at all for five days. Glorious!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Joe Biden’s IF/Then/Else Position on Increasing the Size of the Supreme Court.

There has been a lot of speculation on the Position of Joe Biden on increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Quite a few Democrats have come out in favor of this but Joe Biden has not only refused to publicly state his position on it but he has gone so far as to state the voters don’t deserve an answer to that question.

Now the position of Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular seems pretty clear to me, but it might not be so for others so as a former programmer let me express it in the form of an early form of computer codeing namely an If / Then / ELSE statement.

IF

Joe Biden is Elected President of the United States

THEN

Increasing the size of the SCOTUS is a needed reform that Democrats in General and Joe Biden in particular, support.

ELSE

Increasing the size of the court would be a usurpation of power that Democrats in General and Joe Biden in particular, oppose.

END IF

Or to put it another way the Democrats are in favor of “court packing” as long as they are the ones doing the packing.

A few weeks ago I suggested 2 or 3 Constitutional Amendments for the president to introduce and while I still think #1 & #3 are pretty good ideas if I was President Trump instead of my Amendment #2 listed I’d introduce a modified form of said amendment below:

DaTechGuy SCOTUS Amendment #2a

(1) The Supreme Court shall be limited to a maximum of 9 sitting justices

(2) This amendment shall be allotted twelve months from the date of passage for ratification by the states with a single extension of twelve months if requested by single any member of congress.

I’d make the Democrats who don’t want to say if they will pack the court vote on this amendment and I’d make every Democrat House and Senate Candidate be forced to have a position on this issue ASAP

If the GOP is smart that’s what they’d do.

An Unexpected Vatican “Yoo Hoo, Bible” (and Catechism) Update

You might remember a few years ago (July 14th 2017 to be exact) I was rather shocked to find that the Bible had been pulled from the Vatican Site.

Here is the text if you can’t read the screen shot:

“The Holy Bible is available in almost every language on earth: the Episcopal Conferences take care of the continuous updating of the translations. In order to have access to the latest Bible version, kindly consult the website of your Episcopal Conference. ”

Seriously you’re the vatican and you TOOK THE &(#$(@(% BIBLE OFF YOUR WEB SITE! You actually think it’s more important to carry a 13-year-old document by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace available for visitors than the Bible?

What on earth is going on in Rome?

And about a week later I noted that the Vatican had restored the Bible to their web site but did not make it visible to people looking for the Scripture:

So the question on the floor is this:  What on earth is going on?  If you are still referring people to the local sites and not providing a link to the Bible, why put sacred scripture back up if you’re going to make it tough to find?

Two logical answers come to mind

A charitable suggestion would be that people realized that even though they wanted people to go to local sites for scripture, every single document on the Vatican site since it went up that had existing links to the former online scripture became dead once it was pulled.  Fixing all those links would be an expensive, time consuming and frankly herculean task. So given the choice between fixing those links or putting scripture back up without a direct link to it they choose the latter.  If I had been their tech advisor that’s certainly the advice I’d have given to fix the problem.

much less charitable explanation would be that the Vatican didn’t like the blowback from pulling the Bible but didn’t want to link to it, so they put it back up without a direct link to allow a spokesman to say “Of COURSE sacred scripture is available at our site, we just prefer you to use our local sites translation.” or in other words: “Beware of the Leopard!”

Here is the screen shot from that date of the page in question

Well there has been a development.

Yesterday I was reading my daily scripture from the Vatican site I ended up clicking not on the back button to get to the reference page of the bible but on the keys of Peter which took me to the front page of the Vatican Web site which I haven’t visited in the three years since those posts.

I thought I’d poke around as I was curious if there had been any change to operation “hide the bible”. You will note that on the front page there is no link to the Bible so most people who might visit looking for it might use the search function

And of course if you did a search for the bible using the Vatican search engine it would to my complete and utter lack of shock, avail you naught.

However I remembered that the Bible had been kept under Archive under Francis rather than linked on the home page as it once was. So on the front page of the Vatican Site I clicked on Archive.

On the Archive page there was a link at the top that said “bible” which was a good sign but there were to other things that jumped out at me.

w of course I remembered that the Bible was on the Archive site if you were going to the Vatican site and didn’t know it was there you might have to do a search for it.

Before we click on the bible link I want to note the addition to the Catechism of the Catholic church link which based on wayback machine searches was added between July 17th and Aug 11th of 2018 meaning that from that date people going to the Vatican site wanting to find that official church positions on various subjects by checking the actual Catechism of the church were dissuaded from doing so at least if you are a person who speaks English because if you read Italian.

or Spanish

Or French, Portuguese , German or even Latin the Vatican Catechism has no such disclaimer. Why it’s almost as if there is a direct effort to keep English speaking folk in general and American in particular unsure of the actual teachings of the church if they wanted to find it online.

Not that they would have found the Catechism anyways as you can see from this result from the Vatican Search engine anyways, but we digress..

Well once we are on the page we can now click on the Bible link and lo and behold we have a different page than before!

While we still have the disclaimer that we had before asking you to look elsewhere we also have a direct link to the Bible online were a person can actually click on it and read it at the Vatican site.

Yeah you still won’t find it in the search engine and yeah you have to know to click on the “archive” link to get there but this still a vast improvement on the whole “Yoo Hoo Bible” game that the Vatican was playing before.

But I still miss the days when we these words from Christ…

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

…were unambiguously at least the public policy of the Holy See.