Contributor Post Created with Sketch. NYC On A Saturday Afternoon In April 2020


This afternoon, I took a long walk around an empty Manhattan, smoking a cigar and maintaining a safe distance. (The cigar has that effect…) New Yorkers are already skilled at giving each other a wide berth.” A very wide berth.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cuomo Wants Our Ventilators and Buffalo is Having None of It


New York State is a microcosm for how elites view America. A tiny little speck of a megacity controls politics, and the overwhelming majority of the area is dismissed as “upstate,” mirroring the “coasts vs. flyover country” view of the nation.

The hospitals in the Buffalo area especially, and throughout the state in general, have been preparing. We have ventilators and are using them. New York City is running out. Despite the state still having a stockpile of ventilators, Cuomo is now ordering the National Guard to take equipment from our hospitals for New York City. Buffalo’s politicians and hospitals are having none of it.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Some Perspective on Viruses


For sixth-grade science, I like to use a text called The Universe in My Hands, which is “a general science course in which the elements of the material universe are ordered by size and the student is introduced to the disciplines of the science as a function of their sizes.” The student encounters the universe by ordering things according to their magnitude. You and I, for example, as humans, are on the order of 1 x 10^0 meters (one times ten to the zero power), which we call the Zero Order of Magnitude, or [0].

A cat is smaller than that, at the 1 x 10^-1 meters or [-1] Order of Magnitude. A marble is at the [-2] scale. A human cell is at the [-5], and a virus is at the [-7], or 2 orders of magnitude smaller than a human cell.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Holy Week


From the weekly newsletter of Rev. George Rutler, pastor of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, in midtown Manhattan:

As I write, the Navy hospital ship “Comfort,” last seen here on the Hudson River after the World Trade Center horror, is passing by our rectory windows. The convention center nearby, usually home to flower and boat shows, is being converted into a huge emergency hospital.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RIP, Bill Withers


Wanted to note the passing of Bill Withers. One of the most unique and instantly identifiable voices in popular music, his songs filled my father’s Los Angeles-area apartment growing up. To this day, every time I hear one of his songs, I think of sunny southern California late afternoons, cool breezes, and swaying palm trees. If you’re not familiar with Withers, take the time. Beautifully smooth melodies and a voice like honey.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Movie Fights Redux


A few years back, I got hooked on a YouTube show called Movie Fights. It still exists but went downhill once its creator, Andy Signore, was falsely accused of sexual impropriety in the early days of the #metoo movement. Signore bounced back and has a new show called Nerd Wars, also on YouTube. I thought it would be fun to have a Ricochet version of Movie Fights. Here is what I propose:

1) Every Saturday, a movie-related question is asked. Find this weeks question here:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. East Coast, West Coast


Numerous studies have documented the leftist bias of our national media. Some of that is clearly intentional, some is simple laziness, but some is also a lack of curiosity. We see this now in the arms-length disinterest in the potentially “game-changing” hydroxychloroquine treatment. Also largely ignored are the order-of-magnitude differences in cases and deaths comparing New York and California.

I spent a half-hour expanding this to an Atlantic Coast (Maine to Florida, DC) vs Pacific Coast (Washington, Oregon, California). As of Friday (per Worldometer), the East Coast has 10 times the cases and eight times the deaths. Yes, the East Coast states have twice the population and 50 percent more coastline than the West Coast states, but this is still an astounding result.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing April: Easter Flowers


Years ago, my daughter asked for us to join our parish’s Altar Rosary Society, which is a group of parishioners who clean the church, launder the altar linens, straighten up the pews and, at Easter and Christmas, we decorate the church. For Christmas, there are poinsettias and ropes of evergreen garlands. Usually for Easter, there are dozens of lilies and hyacinths and daffodils and other beautiful spring flowers to adorn the altar and the statues of Mary and the saints, filling the church with their heavenly smell.

Tomorrow, the day before Palm Sunday, is usually the day we get out our buckets and clean all the wood in the church, and give the whole building an extra-special cleaning for Easter. As everyone knows, Murphy’s Oil is the smell of “clean.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID-19 Data: Survival Rates for Patients on Ventilators


From the UK’s Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC): Report on 775 patients critically ill with COVID-19

The report looks at 165 COVID-19 patients whose status was resolved — they died or were discharged — out of a population of 775 COVID-19 patients who were admitted to intensive care by reporting hospitals.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Sowell on Benefits vs. Costs


“Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.”– Thomas Sowell

In recent days, I have been wishing to hear from Thomas Sowell on our current pandemic predicament. Fortunately, he has already produced enough quotable wisdom to last for millennia. And he saw this moment coming. Whether politicians, or anyone else, will ever truly take heed of the lessons he has taught is another matter. There is so much that no one knows at this point, especially about the true benefits of current stay-at-home policies. We are seeing the costs adding up quickly, and it seems to me that they will only get worse.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Heretical Thinking


Here’s one for you: it is not the federal government’s job to save people from the Coronavirus. I know, to mention this today is heretical and heartless, but nonetheless, it is a fact. The fact that an overwhelming majority of American’s believe otherwise is very sad and perilous. It means that we have completely lost our way. We have allowed our federal government to become a bloated vessel of projected beneficence able to, as need be, marshal all resources and write checks to itself so it can surround us in its glowing, mythical halo of feigned protection.

Thank Wilson’s War Industries Board for this. And thank our politicians for their lack of resistance and discipline.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Apocalypses Ain’t What They Used to Be


When I was a child, I recall seeing ads for the TV movie The Day After. I didn’t watch it, but a friend of mine did — he had a dark obsession with nuclear war. He knew all the grim possibilities, from radiation sickness to flash blindness to nuclear winter. He plotted the distance from his house to the nearest prime target (Mather Air Force Base, then home to a Strategic Air Command squadron of B-52s) and assured me that while we were far enough away to survive the initial blast we would undoubtedly receive a fatal dose of radiation from the fallout.

Thank God that never happened, but I do vividly recall that day in 2001 when a shocking terrorist attack brought down the Twin Towers, killing thousands of Americans in the carnage.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Blue Scream of Death


I always knew there was something Ultron liked about him:

In a lengthy interview with Bill Moyers released today, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates reveals the inspiration for his funding of pro-abortion population control measures.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Crisis, Real and Imagined


“In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.” – Itxu Diaz, National Review

How many times are we supposed to have died? Net Neutrality, Budget cuts, Donald Trump’s very existence were supposed to have killed us all already. How many failed predictions of global warming / climate change / ManBearPig destroying us in 10 years have we seen blow by us without incident? If there was an actual environmental catastrophe incoming, no one would actually believe it.


This week on The Big Show, we attempt to return to some sense of normalcy (while of course maintaining social distancing by at least 1,000 miles). Yes, we talk about that thing we’re all doing and what our new lives are like now. But then, we shift gears to visit with our good friend Ross Douthat, NYT columnist and podcaster (The Argument, which Ross co-hosts is one of our favorites) on the occasion of his new book., The Decadent Society. It’s a meditation on what happens when a rich and powerful society stops advancing and how the combination of wealth, technology, economic stagnation, political stalemates, and demographic decline (among other things) creates a “sustainable decadence” that could stick around for a long time. Needless to say, it’s a provocative conversation that we’d like to get your take on in the comments. Finally, we do round of What Are You Watching,  and do a deep dive on toilet paper, courtesy of the Lileks Post of The Week.

Music from this week’s show: I.G.Y by Donald Fagen


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Surgical Masks: A Tale of Two Paradigms


We are hearing more discussion about encouraging mask-wearing in the US. What is changing? According to this article and what I’m hearing from my hospital, it’s actually a shift in paradigm.

A face mask will not protect you from being exposed to COVID-19. It will generally cover your nose/mouth and prevent accidentally touching them, but it is not protective from the virus itself. That requires a particulate respirator, like an N95.* However, particulate respirators can be dangerous for people with poor breathing conditions. We saw how our garbage media have run with the fish tank anti-parasite chemical story. All it would take is one lady stuffing an N95 on her asthmatic husband, and media would be portraying Trump as personally choking the guy to death like Darth Vader. Also, people need to shave to use a normal respirator. The media would tun that into Trump wanting to kill orthodox rabbis and Muslim men.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #12: Plague Politics


Pete Spiliakos and I talk about politics in the age of the plague–what’s so insane about supply-side economics, what it means to think politically and prudentially, what the common good requires, and how to understand our weaknesses that we may deal with them. Fear is good, seriousness is required, preparing for the crisis unfolding, and planning for overcoming it is the sequence we need to go through. Pete and I have praise for Tucker Carlson and Sen. Tom Cotton, and a lot of criticism for everyone else.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hold It. Stop. And Wait Just a Dog-Gone Minute.


It should be expected that many would berate President Trump and Jared Kushner for their comments yesterday concerning the federal stockpile of medical equipment. While no expert, my life experiences do include 36 years of direct patient care, state legislative responsibilities that included Health Policy/Finance and a specific role in strengthening my state’s laws concerning response to things like a pandemic. Here is some of what I think I know:

When it comes to the Federal stockpile of medical supplies, Trump, Kushner, and others in the Administration are correct, the Feds were never supposed to be the supplier of first resort. The Bush Administration’s planning documents published in 2005, as a result of the fear of SARS and avian flu threats, clearly outlined the shared responsibility of all levels of government.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Age Distribution: Data from NYC


I found an excellent source of COVID-19 information from the New York City health department (here). As of 4:30 p.m. April 2, it reports a total of 1,562 deaths, about 25% of the national total. The site does note that the recent daily figures are not final, and the page appears to be updated periodically, so the figures and graphs may be different by the time you check.

The site has excellent information on the age distribution of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Here is their graph of deaths per 100,000, by age group:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. April 2, a Two-Act Briefing: Money, Money, Money, and ICU? I See You.


The April 2 Coronavirus Task Force briefing was even better than April 1. Secretary Mnuchin played Santa Claus, followed by Rear Admiral John Polowczyk (Vanna, can I buy a vowel?) announcing, and demonstrating, complete dominance over the supply and demand for relevant critical medical supplies. He truly knows who has been naughty and nice, and who has been crying wolf on supply shortages. State and local officials would do well to understand what he just announced, and get their acts together if their stuff is not already tightly wrapped. America will win; the Navy has arrived, along with every other military service.

Oh, and it should come as no surprise that reporters are calling for Orange Man Bad to become dictator, to seize and command the means of production. Really. They clearly have not thought through what that would mean if President Trump was then reelected. Thankfully, he continues to praise the American people and their beautiful businesses.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Update for April 2, 2020


I have another update for you, with the same general methodology as before. The data is through today, April 2, 2020. I have made one change, which will only affect the scale of my graphs. I previously reported on reported cases or reported deaths per million. I am changing this to per 100,000. This does not affect the shape of any of the graphs. It is only a change in scale. I am making this change for consistency with other sources, as I recently noticed that both Dr. Birx and the NYC health department have been reporting on this basis.

I. Reported Deaths


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: Kevin Warsh and the Long Road Back to Economic Recovery


As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Peter Robinson sat down (virtually over Zoom) with Kevin Warsh, the Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. They discuss the nuts and bolts of the Federal Government’s 2 Trillion dollar (and rising) recovery and aid package, why it was needed, and its chances of staving off a depression. In addition, they discuss how the government can help (and possibly hurt) both small businesses and large corporations. Finally, Kevin gives some reasons to be optimistic (in the long run at least) and makes an argument as to why the U.S. economy is well suited to make a strong recovery.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The World According to Sussman and Carter


Wednesday night I had the privilege and the treat of being on Real Side Radio, where Whiskey Politics’ Dave Sussman was guest hosting. The program is carried on upwards of 70 radio stations across the country, and a ton of satellite stations as well. As this video demonstrates, we had a lively discussion on a variety of topics ranging from the response of various nations to the Coronavirus, to its implications for the 2020 presidential election, to my recent article on the state and local impulse to release prison inmates into local communities. So sit back, grab a favorite beverage, and enjoy the show!