The Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Eric Hargan, joins Lanhee to talk about the Trump Administration’s health care policy initiatives and the coming debate over Medicare for All. Lanhee also previews next week’s Democratic primary debates and talks news of the day.


Mike Brown is the editor of the Rockdale Reporter, in Central Texas. He is one of Jay’s favorite newspapermen and writers. Jay and Kevin Williamson took a road trip to visit Mike and the Reporter – and sat down for a podcast in the bargain. You will very much like getting to know Mike Brown. (Jay and Kevin aren’t bad either.)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A Letter to the Ravelry Community


Ravelry is an online knitting and crochet community, a tremendous resource of knowledge and expertise, and the go-to place for its millions of members all over the world for both selling and buying, online knitting, and crochet patterns. It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that politics, when they infect the site, list heavily to port.

But Ravelry has just put itself at the very top of my [expletive] list. I know several members here also belong to Ravelry, and I’d like your help in getting the word out (if you agree with me). Members can contact the site here. I’ve also sent an email to info – at – ravelry – dot – com, which is an address I’ve used in the past, although I can’t be sure it’s still live. Given my Ravelry user name (which has been the same for years), I’m not expecting a chummy response. Still, I have shelves full of knitting books, a huge stash of yarn, and lots of other things to do. I expect I’ll survive.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Buddhism, Secularism, and Socialism


Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to give away the meditation mats and cushions that I had originally purchased for the meditation group I led. (As many of you know, I practiced Buddhism for over 20 years, and broke with my teacher several years ago. I also re-discovered my love for Judaism, and that is where I find myself now.)

I remembered that there was a Zen center about an hour away from here, and wrote them an email, asking if they would like my cushions and mats. They were delighted. When the representative came to pick them up, he asked if I knew a fellow at their center. As it happens, this fellow, a very nice man, had practiced at the same center in San Diego where I had practiced. We’ve agreed to have a phone conversation.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Middle East Players: Iran


The latest news about “Iran” comes across as more irritation from a region that seems to always be in conflict. Moreover, the news and commentary tend to be divorced from actual history, allowing vague hand-waving, finger-pointing, and shoulder-shrugging. What follows is an attempt at a bit more definite hand-waving over the map, placing Iran briefly in their own historic context, touching on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey as the other centers of power over the centuries.

It is not “those people.” It is not “that place.” It is not even “Islam.” Don’t take my word for it:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Hat Talk: The Rest of the Story


While my night on the town began, as related here, at Starbucks, it didn’t end there — nor did it continue in precisely the same vein of tolerance and understanding.

A few hours after I left the iconic cafe with my bag of free coffee and attended a family dinner, I ended up in a local bar doing what I do in bars: acting as designated driver and herder of tipsy friends. I am widely valued for my public temperance, my modestly imposing physical presence, and my capacious vehicle. (I drink, but only moderately and always at home. )


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Trumpism: No Zip Code Left Behind


Did you see the funny video that Trump Tweeted out making fun of the Time magazine article on Trumpism? In the Tweet, the Trump 20xx signs go on to “Trump 4eva” (forever). A nice troll job. But I want to discuss the magazine article and the idea of “Trumpism.”

The Time article goes along with a Vanity Fair article, which was preceded by an epic rant by Tucker Carlson that all describe an emerging school of governance that seeks to spread prosperity throughout America. The effort to move conservatism in this direction started a few years ago with the “Reformicons.” Later, in 2015-ish, Steve Bannon tried to expand the idea of a more populist conservatism, which he referred to as “Alt-Right.” That label got co-opted by White Identity Leftists, so Bannon had to drop that term, but the ideas formed the basis of the Trump 2016 campaign. The movement is now growing under the name of “Trumpism,” but that term has baggage and the promoters will surely choose another term after Trump leaves office.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Bullitt: The Car Chase


What was the greatest car chase scene of all time? I don’t really know; but, if I had to pick one – I’d pick the chase scene from the 1968 movie Bullitt. There were car chase scenes in the movies long before Bullitt (lots of ’em), and there have been even more car chase scenes in the movies since Bullitt. But, Bullitt is a dividing line — car chase scenes after were and still are measured against the Bullitt chase scene. That full scene (a little over ten minutes in length) is below. I should note that when I started to put this post together it took a while to find the complete scene (at least in a form that could be pasted here on Ricochet), which was a little surprising.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. “For Your Own Good”


Forced abortion in England.

The beloved NHS strikes again. I wonder what the Brits will make of this. A disabled mother. A baby on the way. A competent caregiver (grandma) ready to help care for it. A case worker who sides with the mother. A judge with a different world view. A “medical” system that knows better than the patient. 


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The End of the End


“It’s the beginning of the end,” Steve said;
I knew it wasn’t. I had known for weeks
The end was on its way. We all are dead
Awaiting our moment as the days leak
Away from us. For some the time is close.
Our modern world knows the signs: hospital,
Home, hospital, home again. Higher dose
Of medication does nothing at all.
If Dad hangs on until Tuesday, I’m free
To travel for a funeral, but will he?
My plans will change, not unexpectedly.
It’s a long, hard drive to South Missouri.
The chapter ends after a good, long age.
We’re left behind to fill another page.


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


“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” – Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was a physicist. (You could tell, couldn’t you?) Yet he hits on one essential truth with this quote: the more rigorous and replicable experiments in a field of science are, the more reliable the results. With physics, mathematics provides the rigor, and if an experiment is not replicable, there better be a really good reason — some reason that when factored in makes the result replicable. Stamp collecting is Rutherfords’s shorthand for ordering and collecting, which is about all you can do absent mathematics and rigorous analysis.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Taking Things for Granted


Today I was reminded of how lazy I am about paying attention to life. The ordinary falls into a morass of the mundane, and I take many things for granted, even though at some level I know what a gift life is. Still, it’s so easy to trudge through a day, not noticing or enjoying those events and relationships that bless our lives. When I gave my life a bit more thought, I found I could divide my existence into two categories: the everyday and the sacred.

What everyday conditions do I take for granted?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. I’m not saying it’s the hat, but…


I ran out of coffee at home yesterday, so last night while I was in town I stopped at the local Starbucks to pick up a bag of dark roast. As I pulled into my parking spot, I noticed an Obama-Biden sticker on the car next to me. I figured that meant overt displays of political affiliation were allowed, so I grabbed my Make America Great Again cap from the dash where it lives, popped it on my head, and went inside.

My favorite gay bartender/barista was on duty, so after nodding a quick hello to him, I grabbed a bag of Verona and walked up to the counter, where a young fellow I didn’t recognize, a bearded college-age kid, was waiting to take my order.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Two Weird Days in a Row in My Front Yard


I got a knock on the door yesterday around 5:00 pm. Upon answering I found a guy with long hair pulled back in a ponytail, a beard, hiking boots, and a dress with a Greenpeace T-Shirt over it.

He introduced himself as Katrina.


Contributor Created with Sketch. How to Build a Computer 33: Atomic Force Microscopy!


Atomic Force Microscopy is a refinement of that long and hallowed scientific tradition: poke it with a stick and see what happens. Picture, if you will, a blind man walking across the street. He taps the ground with his cane, profiling the height of the surface. That tells him where the curbs are; he doesn’t trip because he knows when to step up and step down. Now picture that blind man in a skate park, full of ramps and contours. He could, by painstaking effort, tap his cane up and down the entire area of the skate park and build up a picture in his mind where all the half-pipes lay, even though he can’t see ’em himself. Now picture him in that same skate park, doing kick-flips and grinding like a pro. Because that sounds awesome.

Three square microns of (highly ordered pyrolitic) graphite. A friend of mine measured this as part of a school project we worked on. This is after a metaphorical baseball bat to the head of mathematical smoothing.

Atomic Force Microscopy builds up a portrait of the surface of a thing by rubbing a tiny, tiny needle across it, and reading it like you’d read the grooves on a record. Heck, you could probably play it like a record too, only it’d sound all staticky because nobody bothered to lay down music on that spot to begin with. (Although…)


Contributor Created with Sketch. Holocaust Survivors Speak to AOC


A staggering thing:


Contributor Created with Sketch. The Jussie Smollett Show Lives On


Jussie Smollett /

Jussie Smollett’s acting career may not have ended after all. No, he will not be appearing in the final season of Empire, the show whose cancellation is due at least in part to his misbehavior. And no, he has not been cast in any new productions coming to screens large or small. But, owing to a Friday ruling by a Cook County judge, the Jussie Smollett Reality Show, which was far more compelling and widely watched than Empire on its best day, and which came to an abrupt and bizarre conclusion with the dismissing of all charges against him, will continue.

Recall that the saga began last January when Smollett, who in the small hours of a frigid Chicago night was walking home after purchasing a sandwich, was set upon by two men, both wearing MAGA hats, who beat and poured noxious liquid on him, verbally assaulted him with racist and homophobic epithets, and, in a final gratuitous insult, placed a noose around his head.

Or so he claimed.


This week, we reunite the cast and they tell us a bit about their summer trips (or swanky conferences). Then, the EPCC’s Henry Olsen joins us for some rank punditry® on 2020 and Trump’s re-election chances, as well as keeping the Senate and winning back the House. Also, Iran, China, Italy, and yes, Costa Rica.

Music from this week’s show: Volare (Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu) by Dean Martin


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Peg … Don’t Worry … Be Jolly!


Friday at the WSJ, Peggy Noonan’s weekly article is titled, “My Sister, My Uncle and Trump.”

It is notable in much of what Ms. Noonan reveals in the article about her sense of things, her outlook, her instincts … behind the scenes. She has not revealed any of this previously in her own WSJ writings (to my knowledge) as her bias heretofore has decidedly been very never-Trumpish. She is a very talented writer with terrific observation skills. It is my belief that she has allowed her fear to override her natural instincts. But my sense is, she’s moving toward the President.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Transgressive Jokes and Western Civilization


The day that the Challenger blew up, I was sitting in a lounge area adjacent to the cafeteria with some friends when another friend came up.

He said in an obviously joking tone, “Hey, do you know what NASA stands for?”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Aging Flower-Child Wannabes Follow Bernie to Russia. But They Come Back.


I practice concierge medicine in Hilton Head. As you might imagine in an upscale retirement community like this, my patients tend to be older (average age is around 75) and fairly affluent. I’m starting to notice an existential crisis that many of my patients share. I doubt that many of these people were actually hippies in the ’60s, but with peer pressure and societal trends, they’ve grown to admire and adopt the “flower child” persona of the ’60s. But every movement needs a bad guy, and for the flower children, the bad guys were old people and rich people. “Never trust anyone over 30,” and “eat the rich” are really cool ideologies to poor college kids, but it grows harder to keep the faith when you’ve become both old and rich. And white, heaven forfend… So my 75-year-old flower-child wannabes with Obama stickers on their Beamers face an existential crisis, which can lead to odd behavior.

Bernie Sanders has started a trend among aging baby boomers who feel the need to polish their left-wing hippie bona fides. I have had several of my leftist sympathizing patients in their 70’s vacation in Russia recently. Don’t get me wrong – other people vacation in Russia too – I’d like to go. But the flower child wannabes are flocking to Russia (…and Cuba, although strangely, not Venezuela…), and professing to have life-affirming experiences, rather than just fun vacations. Strangely, despite their incredible, beautiful experiences, learning what an incredible, beautiful place Russia is, they always come back. And they come back eager to talk about it. Our conversations are often a bit strange, as they try to make the following points, either indirectly, or more commonly, explicitly:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Joe Biden’s Poodle Has Bit Him in the Backside


Thirty-six years in the television business has taught me many things about my media brethren. Among the ones that stand out are two biggies: 1) No one has a harder time communicating clearly with one another than a bunch of people in the communications business and 2) No one is less aware of how their actions are perceived by the general public than an industry driven by ratings.

This orgy of stories about Joe Biden is a classic case study.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. My Spicy, Saucy Love Affair


Everyone has a preference for spicy food. Some love it spicy, some just want it mild. I wouldn’t say I preferred spicy food ever since I was a wee child, because really, I think I mostly ate spicy food because Dad enjoyed it, and like most young boys I wanted to be like my dad. Oddly enough the first spicy food I remember enjoying was the hot cinnamon salt water taffy. Like a mad scientist, I’d try the regular cinnamon and the hot cinnamon to test my own reactions to the delicious taffy. Sure enough, the hot cinnamon was spicy and I couldn’t eat another right away.

I also discovered Tabasco Sauce from my dad who used it generously on his breakfast eggs. Again, I’d try the same thing and again I discovered I could only eat a few bites at a time at first. Of course, as others have noted, one develops a tolerance for these things and soon Tabasco was a regular part of my breakfast meals with nary a second thought. From there I’d enjoy the hot salsas like my dad. I suppose I may have stopped there and been perfectly happy if it weren’t for the late nineties.


Taylor Swift jumps on the corporate bandwagon for Pride Month and Oberlin College pays dearly for its woke activism. The intro/outro song is “Bells” by The Vacant Lots. Stephen’s song of the week is “Disgrace” by Pixx and Jon’s is “Dark Stone” by Holy Fawn. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!