Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Don’t Worry – Just Ask the Right Questions


Last year at a local meet the candidate forum, the State House contender approached the lectern and said somberly and boldly, “Climate change is real.”

He would have accomplished just as much had he said, “The sun rises” or “Dogs bark.” Yet another example of uncritical soundbite over meaningful distinctions.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day – How Freedom is Lost


I left the Soviet Union to escape communism, socialism, Marxism — whatever you want to call it. America was and still is the only place in the world you are truly free, and you are losing it. Now the evil is coming here; it is all around us, especially where I live in California. These people are ignorant, they have no historical knowledge, and they are very dangerous. The ideology is seductive to America’s naive youth and always ends up with people dead. – Svetlana, the pseudonym of a Soviet émigré to the United States, now in her 80s.

The quote comes from a woman interviewed for a Washington Times article on the seduction of socialism. They kept her name secret for fear of the consequences to her if they revealed it. The need for secrecy is real and all very soviet. A SJW mob would show no reluctance to dogpile an eighty-something woman who warns of the consequences of the mob’s actions.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Can Trump Solve the Chinese Puzzle?


Xi puzzle“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” as Ben Shapiro is wont to say. Indeed, John Adams admonishes us: “facts are very stubborn things.” In the midst of all the virtual ink spillage, and pundit and politico posturing, the inconvenient truth is that Hong Kong is a city in communist China. This unfeeling and stubborn fact fundamentally limits what the United States, any other nation, and people inside Hong Kong can do to affect conditions on the ground. Yet, there may be a move, within the larger Chinese puzzle, that President Trump can play now that might slow Hong Kong’s descent into normal Chinese city status.

Cautionary Tales of Careless Words:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Slavery


“Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”

“In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Raging Storms


When the rain falls gently, soothing the leaves on trees, darkening the streets slowly, satisfying the thirst of eager flowers, I welcome those soft showers. But my experience with the “raining cats and dogs” variety of storms has been terrifying, and I could definitely do without them. Unfortunately, nature will have her way.

Three terrifying experiences that have never been duplicated came to mind when I thought of raining cats and dogs. The first was on a cross-country drive, and we were on a Texas highway. My husband drove one car and I drove the other, as we were in the process of moving from CA to MA. We amused ourselves by taking turns being in front, and to make sure I didn’t get sleepy, he would occasionally call me on my cellphone. (This was in 2006* when you couldn’t get arrested for using a cellphone while driving.)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Five Small Poems on the Secret Lives of Creatures


About a week ago, I posted a poem of mine about a toad. It landed with a thud on the Ricochet Member Feed. It was soon a lonely and pathetic thing as it moved inexorably down the morning posts with hardly even a Pity Like.

But that was a week ago. I’ve discovered that my poetic Muse won’t leave me alone, even at the risk of ridicule and shame.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Netanyahu Stands up to Omar and Tlaib


At least someone has decided to stand up to Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda. It’s clear that our Congress will not.

Last month, a visit to Israel by these two lawmakers had been approved. Just two days before the trip, however, both women announced that they planned to use the trip to promote the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) movement, an international effort to cripple the Israeli economy and delegitimize the Jewish state. When their agenda became clear, Israel enforced a law passed in 2017 which prohibits entry to those who promote boycotting the country. Foreign Minister Israel Katz spoke out supporting the ban–referring to their support of BDS, terrorism and minimizing the Holocaust:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Ugly American Tourism


Summer is the tourist season for Americans. There are Americans that believe their passport is some sort of talisman that turns the entire world into Disney World. Disney World is a bit different than North Korea; bad behavior in Disney World means being escorted out of the park, bad behavior outside the borders of the United States can become a nightmare.

Americans regardless of their political beliefs make mistakes when choosing a vacation destination. Trekking across the border of Iran is really not a good choice, and I would suggest taking a visit to Yemen off your bucket list, unless it’s the last item on your bucket list.


Once a year we throw open the doors of the faculty lounge and let the Law Talk audience ask questions of Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo. This year’s result: a conversation that touches on everything from acquiring Greenland to whether John Adams was a constitutional scofflaw, from whether federal courts have gotten too trigger happy with injunctions to which foods make the professors wretch. Most importantly: which class did Richard struggle with in law school? The answer will … not surprise you at all.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Friday Food and Drink Post: Have Your (War) Cake and Eat It, Too


To commemorate the 74th anniversary of V-J Day on August 15, herewith, a couple of family recipes for War Cake a more-or-less appetizing (de gustibus, and all that) sop to the sweet tooth of the war-weary denizens from the Old and New Worlds. One is from 1942 and was shared with me by a friend in the early 1970s, and the other we found handwritten on a slip of paper that fell out of my grandmother’s favorite cookbook when we were sorting out her stuff after she died. It and the paper it’s written on are of sufficient antiquity that it’s quite possible this one is from WWI. Our guess is that it was sent to Granny by the branch of the family that emigrated to British Columbia; hence its name, Canadian Cake (click to embiggen):


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. My Poem About a Toad


In the early 1980s, a colleague and I published a poetry journal. That encouraged me to take up the writing of poetry — for a year or so, anyway. Yesterday, I was browsing my bookcase and came across a few of these poems. So I said to myself, “Self, I bet Ricochet people dig poetry, so I’ll lay this one on ‘em.”

The Spadefoot Toad


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The “Say Yes to Love” Garden Ornaments


After two synagogue shootings, a local Episcopalian priest joined forces with the Rabbi and other left-to-moderate clergy to encourage solidarity in spite of differences in beliefs. Soon campaign size white signs appeared upon the lawns of many in our little mountain community that say “Say No To Hate. Say Yes To Love. Love God. Love Your Neighbor.” After much thought and a couple of revisions, here are my thoughts that will likely be a letter to the editor:

The recent proliferation of the “Say Yes to Love Say No to Hate” signs are controversial because we are at a cultural moment where the various factions of our society no longer agree on what love and hate, or good and evil, consists of. A conspiratorial reading of the signs may be that love means “accept all narratives of LGBT advocacy groups without question” while hate means “voting for Donald Trump” or “robbing a woman of the same autonomy men have by advocating for the unborn.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Ricochet Solves Hong Kong


This is what Trump should do: Offer US citizenship to all Hong Kong and Chinese nationals who can ace English fluency and the US AP History test, and, as a condition of immigration, agree to no access to our welfare systems.

This would be a huge boost to our economy and nation, and a massive brain drain for China. Win-Win. (Bonus: the threat alone might check Chinese ambitions.)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Right Place at the Right Time


Saturday evening, my wife and I were in our usual position – rocking chairs on the porch overlooking our neighbor’s hayfield and watching the lengthening shadows. Although we are nominally reading, we mostly look out at the waves across the hay. I happened to look up and saw a large bird high up in the air. It wasn’t flying like a vulture (which is a pretty common occurrence here). Then, I saw the white head and tail feathers – it was a bald eagle. We stood up and watched as it soared higher and higher until it flew west over Short Hill Mountain. It was only visible for about 30 seconds and if I hadn’t seen it in the 15 seconds it was visible from our chairs on the porch, we would have missed it.

We were in the right place at the right time.


“Greenland’s not for sale,” Denmark says, but who discussed money? Jon and Stephen discuss the pros and cons of Trump seizing the frozen island (how hard could it be?) and offer our most likely conspiracy theories regarding Jeffrey Epstein’s death.

The intro/outro song and Jon’s song of the week is “Kill Switch” by Ride. Stephen’s song of the week is “Random Rules” by Bon Iver. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Young Wisdom


“When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.” — Taylia, age 11

A collection of “childhood wisdom” graced my Facebook feed this week; this was one of the standouts, though there were several in the same vein: common-sense lessons learned early in life through personal experience. Some were in the “Things I’ll-never-try-again” category (“Never hold a Dustbuster and a cat at the same time.” — Kyoyo, age 9), and others check the “fool-me-once” box (“Don’t pull Dad’s finger when he tells you to.” — Emily, age 10). There’s even a Joe-Biden-in-training in the mix (“Never squat with your spurs on.” — Neil Kinnock, 1987).


Hey, don’t laugh — we could do it (and another President reportedly thought about it too). So yes, we discuss that, a troubled Congressional trip to the Holy Land, the great Kevin Williamson on his new book The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in an Age of Mob Politics, and the WSJ’s Bill McGurn on the turmoil in Hong Kong (he knows the city well — he lived for ten years. Also, how did the name Ricochet come to land upon this blessed website? You’ll have to tune in for the answer to that one.

Music from this week’s show: Fight the Power by Public Enemy


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. “Everybody Knew”/”Nobody Knew”


You’ve read the conventional wisdom, and it usually has some truth in it. “Until December 7, 1941, nobody knew that America would get dragged into World War II.” “The A-bombing of Nagasaki was cruel and unnecessary—everybody knew the Japanese were ready to surrender after Hiroshima.” “On October 4, 1957, the Soviets stunned the world. Nobody knew they were on the brink of launching the Earth’s first artificial moon.”

You’ve read the confident cynics, too. “Everybody knew John F. Kennedy was having extramarital affairs.” “Everyone knew the reason Nixon ‘killed’ Apollo was that he was jealous of JFK’s role in starting it.” And of course, “Everybody in Hollywood knew about Harvey Weinstein. They had to know.”


Contributor Created with Sketch. ACF #28: Scarface


The podcast’s going back to the great De Palma–our fifth, after The Untouchables, Blow Out, Body Double, and Carlito’s Way. You’ve got Al Pacino, cocaine, Miami, an Oliver Stone script, and the ’80s: So naturally everything goes crazy and turns into a tragedy. Scarface is both a rebuke to liberals who look at criminals as mere victims and to conservatives who look at them as failures. American liberalism–Jimmy Carter–invites immigrants on moral grounds; conservatism–capitalism–invites workers on economic grounds. But Scarface escapes both morality and business, revealing the weaknesses of an American society that cannot deal with the poor or with narco-capitalism.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Barbarians Outside and Within the Gates


Portland is gearing up for a potential clash between Antifa and the Proud Boys on Saturday, August 17. Some merchants and civic groups have canceled events they had planned for downtown Portland. This includes Kells Irish Pub; they had planned to hold some amateur boxing matches on Saturday. Rather ironic that.

The mayor and a disparate group of civic leaders and community organizers held an outdoor gathering pleading for calm. One Rabbi stepped up to the microphone and defended Antifa; she might have a touch of the Jesuit within her, or at the very least Father Pfleger of Chicago. She was not the only one that believes that Antifa is a defender of Portland’s virtue.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Don’t Smile


Oh, how I hated those words! Nothing so annoys a young kid in a fit of anger or sadness as being told “Don’t smile!” by one’s mom. It ranks right up there with “Now shake hands” or “Hug it out.”

Dag nabbit, no, I want to pout! I want to hold a grudge. I want to cry or complain. Maybe I could even get revenge! Maybe I could languish or indulge. Hey, I’m hurt, so the world owes me a bit of selfish time!


Contributor Created with Sketch. Entry Isn’t a Right


There’s a great deal of outrage this week about Israel’s decision to bar two Congresswomen from entering the country. A sample of the criticism:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. “But I Worked in News Media and Studied Politics!”


Just watched the new Crowder Change My Mind installment. I love these videos and I highly recommend watching all of them. They can be infuriating but they can also be instructive. But I’m not posting this to be an unpaid promoter. Watching the most recent video, Trump Is Not Racist: Change My Mind,


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. New Coaching Job Opening in Atlanta…


Frank DeBoer, the future former coach of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United team, recently expressed skepticism about the equal pay demands of the the US Women’s soccer team. He points out that if they bring in the same number of fans, and the same amount of advertising, of course they’ll be paid the same. But if their draw is different, their pay is likely to be different, and he doesn’t see the problem with that. He is Dutch, so forgive the odd English in his quotes:

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women’s final, that’s a difference. So it’s not the same. And of course they have to be paid what they deserve to [earn] and not less, just what they really deserve. If it’s just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that. But it’s not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t understand that.”


Contributor Created with Sketch. The Art of the Deal: Greenland Edition


Greenland in 10 years?
Donald Trump is eyeing the deal of the century. According to the Wall Street Journal, the President is interested in America purchasing the world’s largest island: Greenland.

The idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland has captured the former real-estate developer’s imagination, according to people familiar with the discussions, who said Mr. Trump has, with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest in buying the ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.