Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Summer Reading for the Kids


Thanks to Drew Klavan, Rob Long, Ursula Hennessey, and the many Ricochet readers who have made suggestions, the summer reading list for the three teenaged Robinson males has begun taking shape:

The mandatory pile

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Someone start a petition


Gov. Jindal needs to borrow a little of Gov. Christie’s moxie. The oil is lapping at the bayou and the Corps of Engineers — one more example of bureaucratic delay and non-responsiveness in the Gulf — is dragging it’s feet on the necessary approvals to let them put in prophylactic sandbags. The Governor needs to take ownership, put on his waders, lead the sandbag brigade, challenge them to throw him in jail, and be willing to go if necessary. Now that would earn him some love!

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A crisis too good to waste


Did FOX this AM on the Administration’s decision to extend the moratorium on drilling. Remember, there have been 3000 deep water wells drilled safely, but we’re not stopping there but including approved sites in Alaska and shallow water wells. Either this is a huge political overraction, or taking advantage of an opportunity by an administration staffed with people who never liked offshore drilling and thinks $5 gas is a good thing. Can we say lost jobs? Higher costs? If we’re going to shut down things which are potentially harmful, any votes for including Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the White House on that list?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. This Sestak-Clinton-Emanuel-Obama Thing


Let’s just get the nonsense out of the way first. I, Ursula Q. “Public,” am not at all “assured” by you, Mr. President, that “nothing improper took place.” Nonsense. However, to my Ricochet political experts, please help me fill in some blanks with this New York Times story about Bill Clinton passing on Rahm Emanuel’s “message” to Joe Sestak.

1) Why would Clinton do this? What does he get out of it?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post


There’s a nasty little portion of the flight envelope for a high-flying jet airplane known as the coffin corner, where the indicated air speed is low due to the thin air but the Mach number simultaneously high. Any slower and the plane stalls, any faster and airflow exceeds the speed of sound, with the resulting […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Transparency And The Despotism Of Data


The brilliant PEG points my eye toward this observation on the limits of transparency in an era of big government:

People who are hip to the we-gov (as opposed to e-gov) concept are beginning to see that in order to bring netizens in as partners in governance, they need to be data literate, and need to be empowered with an understanding of what data actually means. Otherwise data — data that is useless to anyone except an intellectual elite — is largely just another tool for public relations, or a way to lower costs.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Verdict: Dawn may not be the best place to get your news


A Ricochet reader — who can’t comment because she hasn’t yet decided to join — sent me the full transcript of Crowley’s remarks on Pakistan’s You Tube ban. I’m very relieved to see that in context, Crowley does not at all sound the complete cretin he would seem to be from the way Dawn reported it. He actually offers a reasonably robust defense of freedom of expression, apart from that line about protecting citizens from offensive speech.

Note to the anonymous Ricochet reader: You may as well join. You’re obviously into it, and it’s not that expensive.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are Open Primaries a Step in the Right Direction?


Making sense of the California ballot is like reading Chinese. Literally, it actually is — although the state graciously provides English and Spanish translations.

One proposition that I find especially baffling is Proposition 14, which would introduce the open primary process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races. In an open primary, all voters can choose any candidate regardless of political party preference. The two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes appear on the general election ballot.

Member Post


From Hawaii to New York State, the Ricochet Podcast goes coast to coast this week as we talk to Ricochet contributor Heather Higgins about her role in helping to elect Republican Charles Djou in Hawaii. That’s right, Hawaii. Then Col. Chris Gibson joins us to discuss the state of his race in NY’s 12th district, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Meanwhile, as of 3:15 pm on Friday, YouTube is NOT banned in Turkey


To my astonishment, I seem to be able to access YouTube. I haven’t been able to do this in Turkey for years. I can’t find any reference to the ban having been lifted in the news, and for all I know it’s a technical glitch, but let’s be optimistic and celebrate it as a victory for freedom of expression. I’m celebrating it, anyway — especially because I can now watch the video of Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley telling Pakistan that the United States supports the banning of YouTube. This will be rich.

I’m waiting for the State Department to applaud this development in Turkey, but obviously not holding my breath.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Did these words really come out of the mouth of a US State Department official?


Could this be serious? It was reported on the front page of Dawn, in Pakistan. My computer’s been broken for two days, so I haven’t been able to check the news. Has there been any wide reaction to this?

WASHINGTON: The United States has strongly supported Pakistan’s move to ban certain internet sites, saying the Pakistani government had the right to protect its public from offensive images and speech.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Obama’s Press Conf


I don’t know about you, but when I heard Obama mention the dead turtles, I sat in my car and wept for a full hour. Then I collected myself, went into my office and started playing Frogger.

Frogger – how old school is THAT?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ‘Top Kill’ — Iranian Thrill?


Per WSJ News Alert:

Before taking questions at a midday news conference, the president said the U.S. is suspending the exploration of two regions off Alaska, as well as off the Gulf Coast and Virginia, and will suspend action on 33 wells currently being explored.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Relocation/Consternation


My four year-old has Down syndrome. Yesterday, I sent her off to school for the first time in our new suburban town. We chose this particular suburb because of its reputation for a committed and loving approach to educating and including children with special needs. In New York City, where we lived for eight years, the best strategy for families with limited financial resources looking to get their special-needs kids into decent education environments was to sue the city. Every year. Until they turn twenty-one. Usually these suits are successful, but we have no stomach for this kind of thing, and we don’t have the finances to keep a lawyer on retainer for seventeen years, so we moved. Even though we’re now in a better neighborhood, I can’t help but worry a little bit extra about my sweet Miss M, since the country seems to be falling apart on so many fronts. Five years ago, the medical team who told us our unborn baby would have Down syndrome advised us to “terminate.” Hearing a diagnosis of Down syndrome is a horrible, terrible shock. All your hopes for your unborn baby, for your family, for your own journey into old age, change in an instant. To have people not-so-subtly reminding you that your child will also be a burden on society is a crushing blow. Yet this is the message that all too frequently gets sent to people in this very unfortunate, and vulnerable, position. We know Miss M won’t be going to Harvard, just as we knew we had to get out of the city in order to find a more hospitable place to raise our family, a place where she has the freedom to pursue her interests and talents. Maybe she’ll end up living on her own, holding down a job, and, at least partially, supporting herself. Come to think of it, that’s what I’m hoping for all my kids. But under a government that seems intent on making ALL of us wards of the state, how long before some of us are deemed too much of a burden? After all, we’re living in a country where the president’s right-hand man feels free to drop the R-bomb in the White House and Mr. Obama himself jokes on late-night TV that his atrocious bowling skills might qualify him for the Special Olympics (remember? he got a few laughs). I wonder what the future holds. Not just for my little Miss M, but for all of us.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Europe at Peace? Thanks to Uncle Sam


Below somewhere, Conor Friedersdorf makes this observation (I know I’m supposed to be able to link to his original post, but I haven’t yet figured out how):

And isn’t it nice, incidentally, that none of us fear the French, German or Italian overreaction that the former German foreign minister mentioned? Given even recent European history, that is an achievement to be celebrated.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Calling Andrew Klavan


At the beginning of each summer vacation, Drew, I like to buy a stack of books, set the books on top of the dining room table, and then command my children to start reading. (“Command?” That’s the way I’d like it to happen. The truer words would be “cajole” and “beg.”) May I ask your advice? My oldest, home from her first year in college, will be reading for courses she’ll be taking next fall, while my youngest, only eight, will devote her time to children’s books. That leaves the three teenaged boys in the middle.

All three of the boys have already read–devoured, actually–your first book for young adults, The Last Thing I Remember, making it more or less mandatory for me to begin my summer book purchases with your second book in the series, The Long Way Home. But where do I go from there? Ideally, I figure, I’d give the boys half a dozen or ten books, including, perhaps, a work or two of American history, a work or two of good sports writing, and maybe a brief volume of good science writing. What would you recommend?

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Question For Our Law Professors


Professors Yoo and Epstein, if you don’t mind a question from the back of the class, I’d like to shift to a different topic and benefit from your expertise.

Word is the DOJ is preparing to take action against Arizona regarding its new immigration law. Specifically, they are contending that the Arizona legislature exceeded its authority by effectively impeding federal responsibility to enforce its immigration laws. From the perspective of a layman, three questions arise:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Kagan, Presidential Power, the New York Times


I wanted to share my piece today in the New York Times, which argues that Elena Kagan is not the great friend of presidential power that her supporters claim. Her academic work praises Bill Clinton for taking the authority to issue regulations from the agencies (which are given that power by Congress) to enact what she calls progressive solutions to national problems. But she says it is not because of any power that the Constitution grants the President. Because of that, I argue that she would not recognize any powers of the President, under the Constitution, to wage the war beyond what Congress allows him — the common view in the academy, I must admit.

I must admit surprise that a) the New York Times would let me appear on its pages, except as a target (let me make clear, that being a moving target for the New York Times can be great fun) ; and b) that it would allow a criticism of her for not supporting presidential power. Thoughts?