A Brief History of the Invention of the Home Security Alarm

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

A hardworking nurse envisioned a new way to know who was at the door

patent application for home-security system and an image of a woman and a man displaying the patent
Left, a portion of the patent plan designed by Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband Albert, right. (Marie Van Brittan Brown and Albert L. Brown, courtesy U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; New York Times / Redux)
 
 

Marie Van Brittan Brown, an African American nurse living in Jamaica, Queens in the 1960s, was working odd shifts, as was her husband, Albert, an electronics technician. When she arrived home late, she sometimes felt afraid. Serious crimes in Queens jumped nearly 32 percent from 1960 to 1965, and police were slow to respond to emergency calls. Marie wanted to feel safer at home.

 

Enlisting her husband’s electrical expertise, Marie conceived a contraption that could be affixed to the front door. It would offer four peepholes, and through these, a motorized video camera on the inside could view visitors of different heights as the occupant toggled the camera up and down. The camera was connected to a television monitor inside. A microphone on the outside of the door and a speaker inside allowed an occupant to interrogate a visitor, while an alarm could alert police via radio. Closed-circuit television, invented during World War II for military use, was not widespread in the 1960s, and the Browns proposed using the technology to create the first modern home security system.

They filed a patent for their device in 1966, citing Marie as lead inventor. It was approved three years later. “The equipment is not in production,” the New York Times reported, “but the Browns hope to interest manufacturers and home builders.

Patent application for bedside door security camera, sketched in black, white, and orange
The Browns’ 1969 patent plan for an elaborate home security system suggests safety and relaxation can go hand in hand. (Marie Van Brittan Brown and Albert L. Brown, courtesy U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

That never happened, presumably because the Browns’ system was ahead of its time. “The cost of installing it would be pretty high,” says Robert McCrie, an emergency management expert at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.

Marie’s invention, though it didn’t benefit them financially, would earn the Browns a measure of recognition in the tech world: The predecessor of today’s home security systems, it has been cited in 35 U.S. patents. Companies first offered CCTV to residential consumers around 2005, but Marie never saw her vision realized; she died in Queens in 1999, at the age of 76.

As the tech has become cheaper and smarter, home security has grown into a $4.8 billion business in North America and is expected to triple by 2024.

Scalia’s Critical Error As The 2nd Amendment Literally Requires Military Weapons Ownership by Citizens

H/T Firearms News.

We conclude … that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment,” Bill Clinton nominee and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert King wrote in the opinion to Kolbe v. Hogan, a challenge to the State of Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban. “That is, we are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are ‘like’ ‘M-16 rifles’—’weapons that are most useful in military service’—which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach.

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage,” he disingenuously whined.

And all the Supreme Court had to do to let this logically and legally indefensible position prevail was … nothing. SCOTUS refused to take the case for reasons that would certainly have included tripping all over its own contradictions.

What the antis disparage as “weapons of war” are precisely what “We the People” are entitled to have. That’s why the militia was deemed “necessary to the security of a free State” by the Founders. And Judge King would not have needed to “extend” anything. US v. Miller, the “landmark” case from 1939, already observed a weapon would need to have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia [or] that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”

 

Gun owners can thank supposed “originalist” Justice Antonin Scalia for perpetuating and solidifying the “confusion,” although it’s fair to suspect his motives were more deliberate than speculative.

 

“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited,” Scalia volunteered, seemingly desperate to apologize for the majority ruling and to make a concession the gun-grabbers could use to later advantage. “Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time’ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

He used that to imply banning weapons such as “M-16 rifles and the like” would not be an infringement. Otherwise, he asserted, “it would mean that the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machineguns … might be unconstitutional, machineguns being useful in warfare in 1939.”

And his point was?

Hell, yes, we’re entitled to M-16s. And hell, yes, NFA is a tyrannical abomination.

Who but someone willfully deluding himself, or a liar, or both, would cite Miller and then deliberately ignore that it recognized the militia as “all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense [and] bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time”? Its function was — and still is — to field citizen soldiers. And these citizens bore arms that were suitable for that purpose, “ordinary military equipment” intended to be taken into “common defense” battles.

The militia did not assemble on the green bearing torches and pitchforks. They came with the intent to match and best a professional military threat. To suggest the Framers of the Constitution meant anything else is to accuse them of being insane, and of codifying into the supreme Law of the Land that sending an ill-equipped citizenry to their slaughter was “necessary to the security of a free State.”

As an aside, Scalia’s opinion should have been no surprise. In a footnote for his 1997 book, “A Matter of Interpretation,” he wrote “”Of course, properly understood, [the Second Amendment] is no limitation upon arms control by the states.”

For someone represented by the establishment as an “originalist,” Scalia’s views were anything but. In A View of the Constitution, which colleague Brian Puckett writes “was the standard constitutional law text at Harvard until 1845 and at Dartmouth until 1860,” William Rawle, “a contemporary of the Founders and the man to whom George Washington offered an appointment as the first U.S. Attorney General,” offered a vastly different opinion.

“No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people,” Rawle declared. “Such a flagitious (think “shameful,” “wicked,” “criminal,” “villainous”) attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”

Speaking of shameful, wicked, and criminal villains, fast-forward to the present. There is a Democrat eye-rolling feeding frenzy to strip Americans of what Continental Congress Delegate Tench Coxe called “the birthright of an American,” which he specifically identified as “every other terrible implement of the soldier.”

“[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people,” Coxe continued.

That’s the last thing a “monopoly of violence” wants. He knew this well, and the Coxe & Frazier merchant firm he formed after the War of the Rebellion ended dealt, among other commodities, in firearms. The firm, as the James Madison Research Library and Information Center notes, “made arms for private purchase … for state militias … and for local militia groups.”

Coxe went on to play a “major role … in the Jefferson and Madison administrations by promoting an early version of American industrial policy … Among the articles that he promoted for domestic manufacture were gunpowder and ironworks.” While he opposed taking up arms in the Whiskey Rebellion because he believed a constitutionally imposed tax was “not grounds for a Second Amendment revolution to rescue the Constitution from tyranny,” he “would continue to support the right to arms as a mechanism allowing popular revolt as a last resort.”

And not just for that.

A supporter of the “Philadelphia Aurora, the leading Jeffersonian newspaper of the time,” Coxe promoted armed citizens guarding the paper after its editor was beaten and Federalists set out to destroy the press. But again, it wasn’t just for “collective” actions, as he “signed off” on an article appearing in the paper urging:

“But as men intent upon hostility have associated themselves in military corps, it becomes your duty to associate likewise? Arm and organize yourselves immediately … Do you wish to preserve your rights? Arm yourselves. Do you desire to secure your dwellings? Arm yourselves. Do you wish your wives and daughters protected? Arm yourselves. Do you wish to be defended against assassins or the Bully Rocks of faction? Arm yourselves. Do you desire to assemble in security to consult for your own good or the good of your country? Arm yourselves. To arms, to arms, and you may then sit down contented, each man under his own vine and his own fig-tree and have no one to make him afraid … If you are desirous to counteract a design pregnant with misery and ruin, then arm yourselves; for in a firm, imposing and dignified attitude, will consist your own security and that of your families. To arms, then to arms.”

Imagine a newspaper today taking that editorial stance. That was then, this is now, when gun-grabbing LIARS still are trying to swindle citizens out of their birthrights by telling them the idea of the Second Amendment applying to individuals is a modern fiction, and that it’s an archaic and destructive holdover in any case.

Don’t be surprised to see a federal gun ban introduced soon, whether Joe Biden and the Democrats have enough juice to push a bill through now, or if they decide to wait until the next high-casualty exploitation of a “gun-free zone.” This is what “originalist” Antonin Scalia, revered by most gun owners as their judicial champion, enabled.

When that happens, all Democrats will need are a few gutless Republicans to switch sides, not exactly a rare commodity these days. As we’ve seen with all the scrambling to distance themselves from the “late unpleasantness” at the Capitol, the prime directive for “moderates” will always be political self-preservation.

There’s never a better time to determine true character and priorities than when the ship is perceived as sinking, and the alternative is not so much between who will stay with the band as the waters rise, as whether or not those opting for abandonment will scurry down mooring lines like rats or don a gown and head for the lifeboats, securing their seats and the hell with those they leave behind.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The Founders were brilliant historians who were very well aware of government oppression and genocide since the beginning of time. Their writings state that the purpose of an armed populace is so that the individual could defend his/her life and liberty against a tyrannical government. It is nonsensical for anyone (especially a “pro-gun” politician or gun-rights activist) to state that the 2nd Amendment is a safeguard against tyranny and then in the same breath state that a ban on machineguns or grenade launchers is constitutional. Why would the Founders want the citizenry to be able to defend themselves against a possible tyrannical government yet be at a technological disadvantage? They did not. If that were the case, then the Founders would have stipulated that the citizens can only own crossbows and catapults instead of state-of-the-art muskets and cannons of the time. The 2nd Amendment is a God-given government-recognized right by which the individual can defend their life and liberty. Its primary focus is not defense against robbers and rapists, as “pro-gun” politicians and many gun-rights activists seem only to talk about, it’s about defense against tyranny and genocide. And of course, it’s not about hunting or target shooting.]

Congressional Republicans Introduce National Right-to-Work Bill

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

With the DemocRats in charge of both House’s of Congress this bill does not stand a chance of becoming law.

Congressional Republicans reintroduced an act Wednesday that would allow employees to opt out of labor union membership.

The National Right to Work Act would repeal provisions that mandate that employees pay union dues as a condition of employment. The bill would achieve this goal by amending existing labor law that allows for the deduction of union dues from paychecks.

The reintroduction of the legislation comes as Democratic leaders signal their support for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would drastically overhaul national labor laws. The act, which passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in 2020, weakens right-to-work laws passed by more than half of the states in the country and recategorizes millions of independent contractors as employees. President Joe Biden said he would support the enactment of the PRO Act.

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) previously introduced the right-to-work bill in February 2019, but it did not come up for a vote in the Senate. Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) introduced the bill in the House.

“The Supreme Court has already ruled that government employees have the right to work under federal law. My bill makes sure that employees of private businesses, airlines, railroads will get the same protections,” Paul said in a video announcing the reintroduction of the act.

“Kentucky and 26 other states have already passed right-to-work laws,” Paul said. “It’s time for the federal government to follow their lead.”

The introduction of the act comes less than a week after Paul joined fellow Republican senators Tom Cotton (Ark.), Rick Scott (Fla.), and Mike Braun (Ind.) in writing a letter criticizing Biden’s controversial firing of the head of a major labor arbiter.

The Biden administration took the “unprecedented action” of terminating Peter Robb, the former National Labor Relations Board general counsel, shortly after Biden took office.

“Peter Robb’s termination, in defiance of more than seven decades of Supreme Court precedent and Presidential practice, undermines the ability of the National Labor Relations Board to function as the meaningfully independent entity Congress designed it to be,” the letter states.

Becerra Falsely Claims He ‘Never Sued Any Nuns’

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a liar he sued Sisters of the Poor trying to force them to supply birth control to their employees.

President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra misleadingly claimed he never took legal action against religious orders during his confirmation hearing Wednesday.

“I have never sued any nuns. I have taken on the federal government, but I’ve never sued any affiliation of nuns, and my actions have always been directed at the federal agencies because they have been trying to do things that are contrary to the law in California,” Becerra said in response to a question from Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.). “It’s my job to defend the rights of my state and uphold the law.”

Becerra took legal action on a number of occasions over the course of his tenure as California attorney general that resulted in him facing off against the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns. The legal conflicts involved the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandates, which the Little Sisters objected to in court.

The Little Sisters attempted to obtain an exemption to the contraceptive coverage mandate because it violated their religious beliefs. They became locked in a years-long legal struggle with the Obama administration over the issue, which made its way to the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration attempted to resolve the situation by issuing an exemption to the coverage mandate for religious conscience reasons. But Becerra, as attorney general of California, joined Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro in suing the administration in 2017 over the guidelines that exempted religious employers from contraceptive coverage mandates. He sued again in 2019, objecting to the Little Sisters receiving an exemption under the mandate.

After lower courts ruled against the Little Sisters, the order twice appealed their case to the Supreme Court. The High Court ruled in their favor by a 7-2 margin in July 2020. But during his presidential campaign Biden pledged to revisit the legal battle.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) criticized Becerra’s claim.”Xavier Becerra did sue nuns. Like all bullies, he’s just embarrassed now that he has been confronted. That’s why he’s trying to deny it,” Cotton told the Washington Free Beacon. “Becerra also sued crisis pregnancy centers, investigative journalists, and others he perceived as his enemies. Xavier Becerra is unfit to lead HHS.”

Becerra made the claim in front of the Senate Finance Committee during his second round of Senate hearings. Republicans and other conservative groups have been highly critical of Becerra’s track record on religious liberty, abortion, and health care. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which Becerra appeared in front of Tuesday, could meet as early as next week to send his nomination to the Senate floor for a vote.

Washington Appeals Court Unanimously Strikes Down Local Gun-Control Law

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

This is a big win for gun owners in the state of Washington.

Second Amendment activists notch win in fight over state preemption laws.

A Washington appeals court struck down an onerous local gun storage ordinance in a victory for Second Amendment activists, who pushed a state law designed to stop strict gun laws from popping up in liberal localities. 

The Court of Appeals for the State of Washington unanimously ruled Edmonds, Washington, violated state law when it instituted rules for how people must store firearms inside their own homes. The ordinance conflicts with a law that blocks localities from making their own gun regulations. Second Amendment activists advanced so-called state preemption laws to protect gun owners from having to navigate a patchwork of local regulations. Gun-control activists have objected to such laws as being too restrictive on local authority.

The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, which jointly filed the suit against the ordinance, cheered the ruling.  

“Today’s ruling is an important victory for the people of Washington,” Lars Dalseide, NRA Washington state spokesman, said in a statement. 

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told the Washington Free Beacon the win will also “help the cause of protecting preemption nationally.” Gun-control advocates have pushed cities and localities in Washington and across the country to pass gun restrictions in an effort to test the limits of preemption laws. They have had little success at circumventing or overturning them thus far and Gottlieb said Monday’s win will only strengthen the legal case for state preemption laws. 

Edmonds mayor Mike Nelson did not return a request for comment. 

Activists have filed suits to challenge gun-control laws in other cities. They are confident that the precedent set in the Edmonds suit will have a domino effect in other Democratic strongholds in the state. Gottlieb said the ruling provides more ammunition in the gun groups’ case against a gun storage ordinance in Seattle. 

“We have a very similar suit against the city of Seattle, on an ordinance, that’s almost identically worded as this one,” Gottlieb said. “It’s going to be extremely helpful for us.”

 

Gottlieb said the victory will help in similar cases nationwide but it is unlikely gun-control advocates will abandon the push for local gun ordinances anytime soon. 

“I don’t expect them to slow down and go away,” Gottlieb said. “They hate preemption.” 

 

Biden Minimum Wage Hike Would Kill Family-Owned Restaurants, Business Owner Warns

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

There will be thousands of Mom and Pop restaurants that will close if this $15 minimum wage becomes law.

A group of small business owners railed against President Joe Biden’s proposed $15 federal minimum wage increase, arguing that the policy would benefit large corporations while hurting mom-and-pop shops across the country.

Carlos Gazitua, president of Sergio’s Restaurant in South Florida, derided Biden’s proposal as a “one-size-fits-all policy.” He noted that—unlike a minimum wage hike that passed in his home state in November—Biden’s version would eliminate tip credits for waitstaff in the full-service restaurant industry, forcing employers to pay their servers at least $15 an hour on top of any tips they receive. According to Gazitua, the result would be devastating for family-run eateries like his, forcing them to rely on technology in an attempt to cut costs—a dynamic that is already on display due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s going to be slashes to job opportunities in our restaurants as technology replaces jobs,” Gazitua said during a Wednesday call with reporters. “When you go to a restaurant now … you’ll see that there are QR codes on every table. Sooner or later, you’ll be ordering from your phone to the kitchen, direct only.”

The pushback comes weeks after a Congressional Budget Report found that a $15 minimum wage would kill 1.4 million jobs and raise the federal deficit by tens of billions of dollars, with “young, less-educated people” bearing the brunt of the reduction in employment. Some Democrats have since objected to including the wage increase in Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) argued that the provision is “not directly related to short-term COVID relief.”

Corina Morga, who owns and operates C.R. Construction Services in Baltimore, echoed Gazitua’s concerns. She highlighted Amazon’s steadfast support for the wage increase—the online retail giant has recently flooded U.S. media outlets with ads lobbying for a $15 minimum wage. For Morga, the P.R. push exemplifies her worry that a federal wage hike would allow large corporations to price out smaller employers who can’t afford the increased labor cost.

“That’s competing with the job pool that I have. I can’t compete in that market,” Morga said. “Where do companies like mine go?”

The proposed wage increase has stalled in recent weeks as Democrats spar over the provision. In addition to Sinema, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) recently voiced his objection to a $15 minimum wage. He instead called for an $11-an-hour compromise, arguing that such a figure would be better for “rural America.” Far-left members such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), meanwhile, have threatened to drop support for the package should their party strip the $15 minimum wage provision from the final bill, a position that could tank Biden’s ability to deliver on a key campaign promise.

It’s unclear how Democrats will move forward with the proposal. Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for weeks plotted to pass the wage hike via reconciliation, a budgetary tool that would allow the policy to become law without Republican support. Provisions passed via reconciliation, however, are supposed to have a direct impact on the federal budget—a stipulation that does not apply to Biden’s wage raise, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough determined Thursday night.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris could overrule the decision, a move that progressive lawmakers have pushed for in recent days. Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) called MacDonough’s opinion “advisory” in a Wednesday tweet, insisting that Democrats “have the power to pass $15 wage.” But White House chief of Staff Ron Klain said Wednesday that the Biden administration would “honor the rules of the Senate” and not attempt to overrule MacDonough if she concluded that the wage increase could not proceed through reconciliation.

Biden will likely now push for a stand-alone bill, with the president pledging a “separate negotiation” on the minimum wage in early February.

 

It’s Not a COVID Relief Bill. It’s Christmas for Democrats.

H/T Town Hall.

This Town Hall editorial cartoon sums up the Covid-19 relief bill.

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Republicans should stop referring to the Democrats’ newest ideological wish list as a COVID-19 “relief bill” or “rescue bill,” or any of the other euphemistic misnomers used by the media. Surely, there is some GOP spin doctor who can come up with a catchier, more precise name for Joe Biden’s $2 trillion partisan monstrosity?

 

Whatever they call it, the media have mobilized to warn us about the devastating fallout that will come if Republicans oppose the Democrats’ plan — not only for the future of the country but for their own party.

Do you remember when the Republican resistance to President Barack Obama’s partisan slush-fund “stimulus” bill sunk them in the 2010 midterms? Nor do I. Though polls told us that a majority of Americans supported Obama’s efforts, not a single House Republican voted for the 2009 stimulus bill. By the next year, a majority had turned on the plan, and the GOP picked up a historic 63 seats, the biggest victory by a party in the midterm elections since 1938. The loss essentially froze Obama’s agenda for the rest of his presidency. By 2014, the Republicans — after maintaining equally intractable positions on other bogus stimulus efforts — would run both the Senate and House.

For the next eight years, Democrats were left to argue that Republican stubbornness was little more than perfunctory racism aimed out our first black president. One imagines this lazy slander will have a harder time gaining traction during the Biden years.

Oh, the endless warnings we heard about the pitfalls of “obstructionism” in those days. When Republicans were sinking the 2011 “stimulus,” Obama adviser David Plouffe warned that it would be an American “tragedy.” Republicans had turned to “nihilism,” roared virtually every liberal pundit for years. When Republicans represent the desires of their constituents, the nation suddenly becomes “ungovernable.”

Well, until they happen to lose Congress.

It is possible that, by the point at which Republicans objected to a second stimulus, the Obamacare fight had already sunk the Democratic Party’s national prospects. But in a sense, that’s the point. There will be scores of other divisive policy debates between now and the 2022 midterms, and, thus far, the Biden administration has shown no inclination to pursue meaningful consensus.

And, anyway, the same accusations will be leveled against the GOP. Republicans have the better long-term argument. “Critics say that my plan is too big, that it costs $1.9 trillion,” was Biden’s Obamaesque reply to questions regarding his $2 trillion plan. “Let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out? Should we not invest $20 billion to vaccinate the nation? Should we not invest $290 million to extend unemployment insurance for the 11 million Americans who are unemployed so they can get by?”

Thank you for asking, Mr. President. How about the $570 million teachers’ unions payoff that offers more “emergency leave” to erstwhile educators who have been paid all year to work from home and now stand in the way of reopening schools? How about the $50 million for abortion funding? How about the $350 billion to prop up the budgets of a handful of irresponsible states that refuse to balance their budgets? How about the perpetual expansions of Obamacare subsidies — the cost of which is unknowable? How about the job-killing minimum-wage hike that many Democrats want to sneak into the bill? The Biden plan provides $852 million for lefty-approved civic-volunteer agencies that have zero to do with COVID-19 relief or stimulus. Why? The majority of the bill has nothing to do with coronavirus.

As once-hero and future-villain Mitt Romney points out in The Wall Street Journal, the Congressional Budget Office’s recent analysis of Biden’s plan found that more than a third of proposed funding, around $700 billion, wouldn’t be spent until 2022, or later, by which time the economy will be doing just fine. It is difficult not to suspect that the plan, like most other massive hikes, is propelled by a desire to create a new baseline for federal spending, so that, in the future, anything less can be framed as a drastic and immoral “spending cut.”

The five previous COVID-19 relief bills were filled with many stables’ worth of Democratic hobbyhorses, but at least then there was a genuine case that the proposals had to pass. There is no such case now. With the pandemic likely to recede, the best stimulus will be a return to normalcy, accompanied by a handful of narrow, targeted bills designed to assist those who were the most adversely affected by the government-induced shutdowns. Before long, there will be a backlash over the government’s zealous and ineffective behavior during the pandemic, and Republicans should make sure they’re on the right side of it. Sure, Republican legislators will be accused of being massive hypocrites on the issue of spending. And in most cases, these accusations will be true. But it is never too late to do the right thing. A minority party that stands against profligate waste, expansion of federal power and corrosive dependency only half the time is better than a minority party that never says a word.

 

GOP Senator: A ‘LinkedIn Search’ Would Yield Candidates More Qualified Than Biden’s HHS Nominee

H/T Western Journal.

    Xavier Becerra is not fit to lead the HHS.                    

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford slammed one of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks, Xavier Becerra, on Friday as a “radical” pro-abortion leftist who is not qualified to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Becerra, a former Democratic member of Congress who in his current role as attorney general of California sued the Trump administration 122 times, has very little notable experience pertaining to health, except for his time serving on the House subcommittee on health. Becerra has, however, taken numerous actions against pro-life organizations and laws.

“He might be qualified to be attorney general, but just like a doctor shouldn’t be the attorney general, we shouldn’t have an attorney be the head of Health and Human Services,” Lankford told The Western Journal in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“This is the top medical professional for the country in the sense — we need a scientist, we need somebody who’s been in health administration. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and to be able to bring in an attorney to be able to do this is the wrong direction.”

“If I was doing a LinkedIn search of somebody and I put all the criteria in it, his name would not pop up in this, because he doesn’t have the background to be able to do this task,” the Oklahoma Republican added.

Lankford also took aim at some of Becerra’s actions as attorney general of California.

In a 2017 lawsuit, Becerra sought to force the Little Sisters of the Poor — a charity that helps impoverished seniors — to purchase and provide birth control to their employees in order to comply with the contraception coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration had given a religious exemption to the group, and Becerra reacted by suing the nuns.

“Obviously, this violates their religious rights,” Lankford said. “Now [Becerra] would literally be in charge of the issues that he fought against from HHS to then actually enforcing those issues from HHS.”

Lankford added that he believes Biden picked Becerra because of the California attorney general’s “radical” pro-abortion views.

In 2003, Becerra voted against a partial-birth abortion ban. Moreover, he refused to name a single abortion restriction he would support during his testimony before senators on Wednesday.

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“I believe that Biden picked him because he is one of the most radical pro-abortion legislators — when he was a legislator and attorney general — in our American history,” Lankford said.

“I find it very ironic that the head of HHS — Health and Human Services — doesn’t see every child as actually human and deserving of protection. I think every child should be protected, not just some children.”

It’s not the first time Lankford has spoken out strongly against Becerra’s nomination.

As Lankford said during an impassioned Senate speech last month, Becerra “has actually no health care experience at all. It’s a little surprising to a lot of us when we saw it, because we are used to seeing the leader of Health and Human Services be a physician or scientist.”

“Which would make sense in the time of an enormous global pandemic to have a physician leading health and human services, but he actually nominated someone that his biggest qualification is he is one of the most radical advocates for abortion in the country,” he continued.

“He [advocated for it] as a House member. He did as an attorney general in California. And clearly, the promise was made he’ll do it if you put him into Health and Human Services.”

He pointed out that Becerra had sued Mississippi for enacting a law banning abortion if an unborn child was far enough to be pain-capable, voted against the Abortion Survivors Protection Act and “fought to require churches to pay for abortion care in their health care plans when it directly violated their religious belief.”

“It should be baseline for us to be able to say, ‘If a child is actually delivered in a botched abortion and had been fully delivered outside the womb, we should help that child get medical care.’ I don’t understand why that’s so hard,” Lankford said.

“I don’t understand why it’s so hard to say, ‘Some people are absolutely appalled by the taking of a child’s life. Don’t force them with their tax dollars to pay for it.’ I don’t understand why that’s controversial.

“I don’t understand why it’s controversial that when a child can feel pain in the womb, that we shouldn’t dismember a child in the womb. I don’t understand why that’s controversial,” he continued.

“I don’t understand why it’s controversial to some that if a health care provider who has sworn to protect life, that that person shouldn’t be compelled to take life in an abortion procedure by their employer. I don’t understand why that’s controversial. But for some reason, it is.”

Mitch McConnell Reveals What He’ll Do If Trump Is Nominated in 2024

H/T Western Journal.

If the Grim Reaper does not pay a call on Mitch McConnell I want to see him primaried and defeated in 2024.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who earlier this month erected a veritable tower of reasons why he was angry at former President Donald Trump over the events that led to the Capitol incursion Jan. 6, said Thursday he would go with the flow if the Republican Party were to nominate Trump to run for the White House in 2024.

The former president had responded to McConnell’s harsh criticism with a Trumpian torrent of angry words that denounced McConnell’s leadership and personality.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said in a statement Feb. 16.

McConnell stepped back from the brink of their feud Thursday during an appearance on the Fox News show “Special Report.”

He said he would “absolutely” support Trump if the former president comes out on top after the 2024 primaries are over.

“There’s a lot to happen between now and ’24,” McConnell said, noting that whatever the 2024 presidential field might seem to be today, it is going to become a lot more crowded.

“I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus some governors and others. There is no incumbent — should be a wide-open race and fun for you all to cover.”

Although Trump had said McConnell could never lead the GOP to victory, the Kentucky Republican gently pushed back.

“The Republican Party is actually in very good shape,” the Senate minority leader said.

“We gained seats in the House. We elected 50 Republican senators when everybody was predicting we were going to lose the Senate. The Democrats didn’t flip a single state legislature. We flipped two [and] picked up a governor,” he said.

McConnell said that on balance, the party as a whole did well in 2020.

“The Republican Party had a very good day on Nov. 3,” McConnell said. “We’re sorry we lost the White House, but the Republican Party demonstrated once again this is a 50/50 nation, we are very competitive and will be competitive again in ’22.”

Suggesting that a few hot words do not an intraparty feud make, McConnell said House Democrats are the real hotbed of internecine warfare in Washington.

“The progressives make it extremely difficult for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi to operate given the narrow margin she has overall in the House,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s lurch to the left upon taking office has helped given Republicans a reason to unite, McConnell said.

“I think the Biden administration is making it easy for us to get together. I think we’ve unified in opposition to this new administration’s extremely progressive approach. President Biden has made it quite easy for us to get together,” he said.

When asked to send Trump supporters a message about the GOP, McConnell suggested putting first things first before worrying about 2024.

“I would say to everybody who’s inclined to support our right-of-center Republican Party, let’s focus on winning the house and the Senate in ’22,” McConnell said. “That will set up the next nominee for president, whoever that may be, [with] the best chance to be victorious.”

Trump is scheduled to speak Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference and is also expected to focus on the future of the Republican Party.

A Brief History of Peanut Butter

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

The bizarre sanitarium staple that became a spreadable obsession

Jars of peanut butter
Veteran food critic Florence Fabricant has called peanut butter “the pâté of childhood.” (Dan Saelinger)
 

North Americans weren’t the first to grind peanuts—the Inca beat us to it by a few hundred years—but peanut butter reappeared in the modern world because of an American, the doctor, nutritionist and cereal pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, who filed a patent for a proto-peanut butter in 1895. Kellogg’s “food compound” involved boiling nuts and grinding them into an easily digestible paste for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a spa for all kinds of ailments. The original patent didn’t specify what type of nut to use, and Kellogg experimented with almonds as well as peanuts, which had the virtue of being cheaper. While modern peanut butter enthusiasts would likely find Kellogg’s compound bland, Kellogg called it “the most delicious nut butter you ever tasted in your life.”

 

A Seventh-Day Adventist, Kellogg endorsed a plant-based diet and promoted peanut butter as a healthy alternative to meat, which he saw as a digestive irritant and, worse, a sinful sexual stimulant. His efforts and his elite clientele, which included Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth and Henry Ford, helped establish peanut butter as a delicacy. As early as 1896, Good Housekeeping encouraged women to make their own with a meat grinder, and suggested pairing the spread with bread. “The active brains of American inventors have found new economic uses for the peanut,” the Chicago Tribune rhapsodized in July 1897.

 

A vintage peanut butter advertisement
“It’s the Great Depression that makes the PB&J the core of childhood food,” food historian Andrew F. Smith has said. (Buyenlarge / Getty Images)

Before the end of the century, Joseph Lambert, an employee at Kellogg’s sanitarium who may have been the first person to make the doctor’s peanut butter, had invented machinery to roast and grind peanuts on a larger scale. He launched the Lambert Food Company, selling nut butter and the mills to make it, seeding countless other peanut butter businesses. As manufacturing scaled up, prices came down. A 1908 ad for the Delaware-based Loeber’s peanut butter—since discontinued—claimed that just 10 cents’ worth of peanuts contained six times the energy of a porterhouse steak. Technological innovations would continue to transform the product into a staple, something Yanks couldn’t do without and many a foreigner considered appalling.

By World War I, U.S. consumers—whether convinced by Kellogg’s nutty nutrition advice or not—turned to peanuts as a result of meat rationing. Government pamphlets promoted “meatless Mondays,” with peanuts high on the menu. Americans “soon may be eating peanut bread, spread with peanut butter, and using peanut oil for our salad,” the Daily Missourian reported in 1917, citing “the exigencies of war.”

The nation’s food scientists are nothing if not ingenious, and peanut butter posed a slippery problem that cried out for a solution. Manufacturers sold tubs of peanut butter to local grocers, and advised them to stir frequently with a wooden paddle, according to Andrew Smith, a food historian. Without regular effort, the oil would separate out and spoil. Then, in 1921, a Californian named Joseph Rosefield filed a patent for applying a chemical process called partial hydrogenation to peanut butter, a method by which the main naturally occurring oil in peanut butter, which is liquid at room temperature, is converted into an oil that’s solid or semisolid at room temperature and thus remains blended; the practice had been used to make substitutes for butter and lard, like Crisco, but Rosefield was the first to apply it to peanut butter. This more stable spread could be shipped across the country, stocked in warehouses and left on shelves, clearing the way for the national brands we all know today. The only invention that did more than hydrogenation to cement peanut butter in the hearts (and mouths) of America’s youth was sliced bread—introduced by a St. Louis baker in the late 1920s—which made it easy for kids to construct their own PB&Js. (In this century, the average American kid eats some 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school.)

Rosefield went on to found Skippy, which debuted crunchy peanut butter and wide-mouth jars in the 1930s. In World War II, tins of (hydrogenated) Skippy were shipped with service members overseas, while the return of meat rationing at home again led civilians to peanut butter. Even today, when American expats are looking for a peanut butter fix, they often seek out military bases: They’re guaranteed to stock it.

But while peanut butter’s popularity abroad is growing—in 2020, peanut butter sales in the United Kingdom overtook sales of the Brits’ beloved jam—enjoying the spread is still largely an American quirk. “People say to me all the time, ‘When did you know that you had fully become an American?’” Ana Navarro, a Nicaraguan-born political commentator, told NPR in 2017. “And I say, ‘The day I realized I loved peanut butter.’”

Though the United States lags behind China and India in peanut harvest, Americans still eat far more of the spread than the people in any other country: It’s a gooey taste of nostalgia, for childhood and for American history. “What’s more sacred than peanut butter?” Iowa Senator Tom Harkin asked in 2009, after a salmonella outbreak was traced back to tainted jars. By 2020, when Skippy and Jif released their latest peanut butter innovation—squeezable tubes—nearly 90 percent of American households reported consuming peanut butter.

The ubiquity of this aromatic spread has even figured in the nation’s response to Covid-19. As evidence emerged last spring that many Covid patients were losing their sense of smell and taste, Yale University’s Dana Small, a psychologist and neuroscientist, devised a smell test to identify asymptomatic carriers. In a small, three-month study of health care workers in New Haven, everyone who reported a severe loss of smell using the peanut butter test later tested positive. “What food do most people in the U.S. have in their cupboards that provides a strong, familiar odor?” Small asks. “That’s what led us to peanut butter.”

Sustainable

George Washington Carver’s research was about more than peanuts
By Emily Moon

 

 

George Washington Carver in his laboratory.
Carver in his laboratory, circa 1935. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

No American is more closely associated with peanuts than George Washington Carver, who developed hundreds of uses for them, from Worcestershire sauce to shaving cream to paper. But our insatiable curiosity for peanuts, scholars say, has obscured Carver’s greatest agricultural achievement: helping black farmers prosper, free of the tyranny of cotton.

Born enslaved in Missouri around 1864 and trained in Iowa as a botanist, Carver took over the agriculture department at the Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama, in 1896. His hope was to aid black farmers, most of whom were cotton sharecroppers trapped in perpetual debt to white plantation owners. “I came here solely for the benefit of my people,” he wrote to colleagues on his arrival.

He found that cotton had stripped the region’s soil of its nutrients, and yet landowners were prohibiting black farmers from planting food crops. So Carver began experimenting with plants like peanuts and sweet potatoes, which could replenish the nitrogen that cotton leached and, grown discreetly, could also help farmers feed their families. In classes and at conferences and county fairs, Carver showed often packed crowds how to raise these crops.

Since his death in 1943, many of the practices Carver advocated—organic fertilizer, reusing food waste, crop rotation—have become crucial to the sustainable agriculture movement. Mark Hersey, a historian at Mississippi State University, says Carver’s most prescient innovation was a truly holistic approach to farming.

“Well before there was an environmental justice movement, black environmental thinkers connected land exploitation and racial exploitation,” says Hersey. A true accounting of American conservation, he says, would put Carver at the forefront.