Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Two Pictures, One Coin

 

I present to you two pictures. The first picture is of a police officer using his knee to suffocate George Floyd, a non-violent suspect in a white-collar crime. This police officer needlessly killed Mr. Floyd and will no doubt be charged in his death, likely going to prison for manslaughter along with the other officers that did nothing to stop him.

Because of his position as a police officer, an unquestioned authority figure within our cultural landscape, this officer believes that the law does not pertain to his behaviors. He can shoot your dog, plant evidence, or even kill you during a no-knock raid with no consequences because the public generally respects the police, and they don’t want to be considered “anti-cop.” He feels no shame in hiding his actions behind a badge. The officer regards our silence toward unpunished police brutality as tacit permission to continue and even escalate his casual use of violence. The fact that he eventually killed someone is not a random accident; it is the long-term consequence of a man that was never held accountable for his actions.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Announces Counteroffensive Against China

 

At the end of the social media executive order signing announcement, President Trump made even bigger news. The transcript is now posted, along with the permanent video and the executive order. See the president’s opening remarks and Attorney General Barr’s comments below.* These were a big enough story in themselves.

Looming in the background were the spreading riots on the pretext of the apparently wrongful killing of a handcuffed black man by a white cop. The president addressed that as well, exactly as a president should. The even bigger news came near the end of the question and answer period, foreshadowing the nine-minute speech that may reshape international relations around China. In under 30 minutes, over two days, President Trump was more presidential, and more consequential, than President Obama was in eight years.

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We don’t tend to do location work on this show, but when a major news event happens in the city where one of our hosts live, we get a up-close and personal view. And when that host is James Lileks and Minneapolis, the amount of detail, insight, and thoughtfulness could fill a dozen podcasts. James describes what the last few days have been like, and where he thinks his city is heading. But that’s not all we’ve got for you. We’ve got the NYT’s Bari Weiss on Joe Rogan, podcasting, and why our medium in now a major media platform (it’s very meta conversation). Then, obscure law professor and fast food aficionado John Yoo stops by to school us on platforms versus publishers (guess what Ricochet is?), that pesky section 230, and why Twitter probably should not be fact checking the President.

Music from this week’s show: My City of Ruins by Bruce Springsteen

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Judge Sullivan’s Wicked, Twisted Road

 

Our republic has arrived at a critical moment in its battle with a deadly infection. The threat is hardly a virus. It is a perpetual cancer that any people valuing liberty will have to fight time and time again. As a nation, we were gifted with important tools for the fight. But they have grown rusty, mostly from lack of use and being pushed to the back of the shed for more shiny instruments pretending to be modern while only offering an ancient, destructive blunt force: authoritarian tyranny.

I contend that the latest symbol of this is not the Wuhan Mask Police but one who is supposed to be a guardian of those rusty but vital tools written into our Constitution. He is a living example of how deeply rooted and corrupting this cancer can be.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What to Render Unto Caesar

 

Too many Christians are secularists when it comes to government authority. This is likely to be a hotly debated assertion recently brought to the fore in the David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari debate. And now even the Catholic bishops of Washington state are submitting the lives and souls of the faithful in their care to the governor by awaiting his determination as to when and how to once again offer public Masses and the holy sacraments, rather than exercising the freedom President Trump has reasserted by stating religious services are essential during this crisis. Clearly, this is not what Jesus meant when he said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…”

So, what should we Christians be submitting to government authority? Paul Krause at CRISIS Magazine says, not much. Throughout salvation history, peoples, and nations have gotten into trouble whenever they’ve chosen secular authority over God. This is powerfully foretold in 1 Samuel 8:10-18, when the Hebrews are clamoring for a king:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Democratic Nursing Home Policy?

 

Having failed to bury news of his March 25 order prohibiting nursing homes from rejecting patients with COVID-19, Governor Cuomo tried blame-shifting. He was “following federal guidelines,” he claimed, citing a March 13 order from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The head of CMS rejects the claim.

“Under no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that’s not prepared to take care of those patients’ needs,” Verma said on Fox News Radio. “The federal guidelines are absolutely clear about this.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Technological Advances in Virtue Signalling

 

The American Astronomical Society is hosting its first virtual conference this week, thanks to the coronavirus. I’m not attending, but I understand that it includes a virtual experience, with a lobby and so on. I came across this screenshot of the virtual lobby. You will note that it includes a prominently-labeled “gender-neutral restroom.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Critic Series #38: Dark City

 

This week, I talked to Justin Lee about Alex Proyas’s Dark City, the sci-fi neo-noir cult hit of 1998! (Perhaps eclipsed by the Matrix, which came out in 1999 and told a surprisingly similar story, indeed, the production of the latter bought props and sets from the former…) A man who loses his memory is chased by alien powers through a city of perpetual night, but discovers his super-natural powers in the process. Everything from Plato’s cave to our modern problem with innovation is in discussion.

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Do you dread video conferences? Elisha Krauss and Mary Katharine Ham are here to help you get your Zoom game on point—with practical tips, make-up recs, horror stories… and one will share how a fake eyelash almost ruined one of the most important moments of her life. Buckle up!

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Covid-19: My New York Experience

 

I can’t help but feel that there are two different experiences in the country with the coronavirus. There is the east coast experience and there is the rest of the country. When one looks at the state by state numbers, the two states of New York and New Jersey make up about a third of all the cases in the country and over 40% of the deaths. And the New York State numbers are incredibly skewed to New York City. I think it’s pretty much acknowledged that New York City and the surrounding suburbs have been the epicenter of the contagion. It does not surprise me then that we are reacting to the lockdown differently.

Here is my experience as a New Yorker, albeit one from Staten Island, which is subtly different than one from Manhattan. But Manhattan has actually been spared, relatively speaking. It’s the outer boroughs of the city that has absorbed the brunt of the pandemic.

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Kelly Sadler, former Special Assistant to President Donald J. Trump, is the Communications Director at America First Action. We talk about Trump’s Social Media crackdown, whether the lockdowns will decide the 2020 election, China and Trade, why blue states are failing, whether Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is STILL in talks to be Biden’s VP, and the state of journalism today.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Bulfinch’s Mythology

 

“Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of either sex, who wishes to comprehend the allusions so frequently made by public speakers, lecturers, essayists, and poets, and those which occur in polite conversation.”–Thomas Bulfinch

Ah. Polite conversation. Remember when people in public life engaged in polite conversation? Me neither, for the most part. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Section 230 in the News Again

 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act prevents web sites from being sued as if they were publishers. Without that, there would be no Facebook or Twitter, or product reviews on Amazon. Any site that allowed users to post could be sued for what they said.

I was a CompuServe Sysop when the Cubby case hit, and if it had been decided differently, the Internet as we know it today would not exist. Now the President has signed an executive order to review Section 230. This isn’t a huge surprise; two of the original authors of the bill have called for reviews based on the changes to the Internet since the 1990s. Here is an excellent article on the subject.

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OK, fair warning: we’re in week 10 or so of this lockdown thing, and the men of GLoP are getting a bit punchy. Add to that some technical issues and being a punching bag in certain quarters, and well, you get a very shall we say, eccentric show. How so? Well, as you’ll hear, we abandon the first take and start the show all over again about ten minutes in. And in the interests of transparency (and comedy) we left our screws-ups in (well, most of them). We cover a range of topics (including this YouTube video tracking hit TV shows of the past 60 years) and go down a host of tangents — too many to list and spoil here. What we can tell you is that you’ll laugh, you’ll marvel at some middle aged juvenile jokes, you may be offended, and you’ll definitely learn a lot about fly and zipper technology. We did.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Worse Chinese Virus?

 

No, it’s not a biological weapon, it’s an economic one. By completely upending its social structure from an agricultural society to an industrial one over very few years, and by heavily subsidizing its manufacturing capacity, China has pushed the US out of vast areas of the tech market. So much so that we cannot launch defensive weapons without using Chinese chips. And you thought COVID-19 was scary.

This information comes from the March 2018 volume of Hillsdale’s Imprimis speech digest by David P. Goldman of the Asia Times. It’s a must-read. In it, he suggests How to Meet the Strategic Challenge Posed by China. Short answer: DARPA and NASA.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Twas the Year Before College

 

Among many people my age there is the expectation of pursuing a college education. Understandable, as college is supposed to improve career opportunities, monetary success, social status, and general edification. In some regards this holds true, however the cost of attending university to obtain these things has proven to be greater than the ever-increasing price tag. 

My opinion is in no way indicative of a generation, or of the population of peers with whom I attended university. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A True Hero’s Homecoming: Retired USAF Colonel, Congressman Sam Johnson

 

The news media condemns itself, as does our political class, once more, with their relative silence. A true American hero, whose virtue was proved in the skies of two wars, the hell on earth of the worst part of the Communist Vietnamese torture chambers, and in the halls of Congress that so often corrupt, has been called home. Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, retired Congressman Sam Johnson went home on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at the age of 89. There is a famous photograph of Colonel Johnson reunified with his wife, Shirley, after seven years of captivity. At the end of May 2020, I believe they were reunified a second time. We do not know what Heaven is actually like, but we may well imagine these two people embracing again in bodies not ravaged by this fallen world.

Sam married his high school sweetheart, Shirley in 1950, shortly before graduating from Southern Methodist University. They remained faithfully married for 65 years until Shirley was called home before Sam. Shirley Johnson’s obituary confessed their faith:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hurting the Most Vulnerable: ‘Rehoming’ an Adopted Child

 

James and Myka Stauffer.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done is forgive the people that put my son up for adoption.

YouTube and Instagram mom Myka Stauffer was famous for her sunny, positive online presence. Her perpetually coiffed and photogenic family could have easily been mistaken for models in a Williams Sonoma catalog, and it earned her lucrative partnership deals with major companies. But on May 26, Stauffer uploaded an unusual YouTube video: a tearful explanation of why she had “rehomed” her special needs child, which she has adopted from China two-and-a-half years earlier. Within 36 hours, the announcement triggered negative articles in People, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and dozens of other publications.

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Most advice on how to prepare for a disaster is just plain wrong. On this episode, Jim Carafano explains five attributes an individual should have in order to survive a major disaster.

 

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is There an Unreasonable Fear of Black Men?

 

When viral videos of conflicts between blacks and law enforcement officers, blacks being harassed by white women comedically known as “Karens,” or blacks being criminally profiled by overzealous white males are released, I make it a point to say as little as possible – especially on social media.

Generally, it’s very difficult to know what ensued and render judgment on what happened – and what should happen to achieve “justice” with minimal information provided in a 15-, 20-, or 25-second video clip. The Rodney King debacle should’ve taught us as much (but didn’t). Additional evidence is needed to help contextualize the incident for a better understanding of what exactly occurred and then, what should or shouldn’t happen to the relevant actors going forward. Ideally, prudence would dictate patience until supplementary evidence is made available before people dispense their verdicts and punishments.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 129: COVID-19 Having Trouble Keeping Up Yet?

 

You may recall just last week sometime (it’s hard to identify specific days now that we have been free wheeling our schedules for over two months) that the CDC issued guidance suggesting that the virus was not that easy to catch from surfaces. Well, now they have apparently issued a “clarification.” So it is pretty much what they were saying before, except that there are lots of variabilities in the likelihood a particular surface is actively contaminated by the time you touch it. Pretty much what we always knew.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About That George Floyd Death

 

I am watching some online streams from the “protests” in Minneapolis. The situation involves mounted police, buildings burning, teargas, and strike teams. You can call it a riot and this is the second night.

The people are upset about George Floyd being killed by police. The cops responded to alleged forging and George ended up face down on the ground with a cops knee on his neck. There is video that shows him begging for his life as succumbs. The cops have been fired and Trump has vowed a swift investigation. Protests are starting in other cities. Some rednecks are in a video “armed” up and looking to stop looting. This seems like a big deal as the country is on edge from the 60 days of house arrest. Add in record unemployment and who knows what is going to happen.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Brain on Overload

 

If you’re looking for wisdom and wit, you won’t find much of it here. For the past few days, I’ve been organizing and clearing out my mind, and these random ideas were left over.

1. My dad used to regularly use an expression I rarely hear anymore: “not worth a hill of beans.“ Google tells me that the phrase, “not worth a bean,” goes all the way back to the year 1297. The American variant, “not worth a hill of beans,” appeared around 1863.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unwind from China? Can It Be Done?

 

This is a subject that has come up first in the comments with the @jameslileks post “Watching the CCP Press,” and which @iWe explored further by asking “whether one would trade with Nazi Germany.” We need additional information, indeed hard data, to even begin to look at the practicalities. Some here have mandated that we somehow absolutely cease trade with China. Others (and indeed most, I should think) would argue that an absolute embargo is both undesirable, and indeed impossible in any situation short of open warfare, but that we should certainly reevaluate what we are trading with China, and how we are doing so.

But to even have that discussion we need to know something of the extent of what we buy from China (and really, from everywhere else too), and how that really affects us, otherwise, should the absolutists be granted their immediate wish and all trade cease, the results may be distinctly unpleasant. I own and run a company that manufactures electronics, and so, at least as far as electronics go, I do have rather a lot of insight into what exactly comes out of China, and whether alternatives exist. I have done a Country of Origin query on the bills of materials (BOMs) for a couple of my products, and will detail those below, and what the implications are.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When the Fight Is Over, It’s Over

 

Since I’ve been in the arena, for what it’s worth I’ll comment on the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis. This is the second major incident that indicates there is something wrong with the training model and the hiring model of the Minneapolis Police Department. Every police department and sheriff’s office in the United States should be looking at this incident and assessing their training and hiring model. They should be asking themselves; “Could this happen to us?”

Training is expensive and it should not stop after an officer graduates from the academy. In-service training should continue on a regular basis for officers and supervisors. In-service training is expensive, but the lack of in-service training could cost lives, not just dollars. In-service training also allows trainers to assess a department’s officers on a regular basis.

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