Charles Jost, Brother Of Dolores Disher Of Portage County, Not Guilty By Reason Of Mental Defect, Could Only Name Reagan As Last President, Dreyfus As Last Governor

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Nancy Grace, we need your help in solving a crime, probably a murder(s).

The intriguing case of Social Security fraud in Portage County took what many felt was a foregone conclusion earlier this week when one of the defendants was found not guilty by reason of mental defect.  Charles Jost, never looking like the brain trust of the checking-cashing scam operation, was ruled to be unable to understand, to a reasonable degree, that his actions violated the law.  Jost will be mentally committed for 16 years, the maximum penalty he faced in the fraud case. Another hearing will be held to determine whether Jost will be institutionalized or placed on conditional release.

This month Ronald Disher will have court appearances.

This whole affair is most perplexing as this blog has maintained since the story first broke.  CP wants to know where the body of Marie Jost and her son, Theodore, are buried.  Marie was last seen in the 1980’s.  Authorities originally speculated that the three might have killed Marie and Theodore and hid their bodies.  Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood has previously told the court that prosecutors believe Ronald Disher has spoken to other inmates in the jail about committing the crime.

This week more of the inside story was made known concerning Jost, and it is quite remarkable.

Jost, along with Ronald Disher, 72, and Dolores Disher, 70, both of Almond, were accused of cashing Social Security checks belonging to the mother of Charles and Dolores, Marie Jost. Authorities have been unable to locate Marie Jost or Charles and Dolores’ brother, Theodore Jost.

Authorities believe both most likely are dead; Marie Jost would be more than 100 years old if alive today, and she has not used her Medicare benefits since 1980. Investigators believe the three defrauded the Social Security Administration of $175,000 by cashing Marie Jost’s checks over the course of several years.

Medical expert Richard Hurlbut testified Monday that Jost suffers from a delusional disorder, and that Jost believes his mother is still alive and even contacted him at the jail. Jost told Hurlbut that the last president of the United States he can recall is Ronald Reagan and the last governor he could recall is “the red sweater guy,” likely referring to former Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus.

Jost maintains that his mother and brother are living in California and fled the state so they wouldn’t have to live in a nursing home.

Hurlbut testified that it was unlikely Jost had any notion that he was breaking the law and lacked the ability to change his behavior to conform to the law, particularity because Jost believed his mother was alive and that he was cashing her checks on her behalf.

Staggering Statistic About South Sudan

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There is a really good article about South Sudan in the newspaper today.  But really disturbing is this statistic.

Though most South Sudanese were not yet born at the time of the massacre in Bor — the median age here is less than 17 years — its legacy helps explain the deep-seated distrust and dissension that continue to plague this young nation.

Who Gets Air-Time On Sunday Morning News Shows?

There has long been a bit of controversy about who gets asked to be interviewed on Sunday morning news shows.  If it seems like the same elected officials keep showing up to be peppered with questions about the latest headlines and pressing matters that need national attention it is because that is the case week after week.  At times the official is someone who has deep institutional memory and a background that makes for insightful programing such as with Arizona Senator John McCain.  Other times the bombastic and headline seeking are allowed more time as they are so peculiar, and therefore seemingly more interesting as in the case of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

I think it worth discussion as to how a select few continually get selected for the shows, when there is a huge number of qualified members of congress to pose questions to on any Sunday morning.

Lets look at the faces and numbers for 2013.

For 2013, the race wasn’t especially close – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) easily came out on top, making 27 appearances this year. That works out to an average of one appearance every 1.9 weeks (or 2.25 Sunday show appearances a month, every month for a year). 

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who led the race for much of the year, ended up in second place with 24 appearances over 52 weeks. As a consolation prize, it’s worth noting that McCain made 21 Sunday show appearances in 2012, so while he couldn’t match Rogers’ 2013 tally, at least the Arizona Republican saw a significant increase.
 
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), who hasn’t served in public office since resigning in disgrace 15 years ago, was tied for third place with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of only a few Democrats to make the cut.
 
In all, 10 of the top 13 are Republicans, as are six of the top seven.
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Federal Judge Upholds Most Of New York’s Gun Law–Bullet Limit Struck From Law

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There was no way for gun control advocates not to be pleased with the tough gun control measure passed earlier this year in New York.  While a federal judge found the law within the constitution when it came to the right of New York to regulate deadly firearms that wreak so much havoc and bloodshed on society on the one hand,  he struck down one of its signature provisions – a seven-round limit on ammunition as “arbitrary” on the other hand.  That may be a legal viewpoint, but when it comes to the on-the-street ramifications of such a ruling it is deadly.  The law when boiled down made it illegal to carry more than 7 bullets in larger magazines more commonly made to hold up to 10 bullets.

It is obvious the intent of the law was to make it harder for a gun user to unload his bullets before being forced to reload.

The bill, in my view, is a model piece of legislation that other states need to consider as it mandates all gun sales be done through licensed dealers, and that all those who purchase ammunition must also pass a background check.  The law also strikes hard against assault weapons.  This is the type of gun control measure that has teeth, and contains the common sense proposals that many in our nation understand to be needed if we are to get a handle on the epidemic of gun violence.

The legal wrangling will continue as New York will press ahead, in my estimation, to appeal this ruling.

CP will be following this story in 2014.

Fantastic Quote From Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

This not only sums up the wonder and promise of New York City, but is a great quote to start off another year of blogging at Caffeinated Politics.

With a subtle lump in his throat and occasional crack in his voice, Mr. Bloomberg thanked the handful of commissioners and deputy mayors in attendance and celebrated the city’s diversity–after quoting a recent speech by the Pope.

“The fact that a Jewish kid can quote the Pope in a secular building built by protestants in front of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders, really, I think, says all you need to know about New York City,” he said with a smile, ending his speech with words of hope.