The Vice Spiral


shutterstock_139513784The beauty of Ricochet is how one thought spawns another, a true ricochet of thoughts bouncing from one member to the next. David Sussman‘s post on Las Vegas got me thinking about the spiraling effects of lawmakers preying on their constituents’ weaknesses in order to wring every last available dollar out of them for, you know, the children.

Nevada has always been the industry leader. When divorce was a complicated procedure in America, Nevada filled the gap. In 1931, the state simplified its divorce laws and reduced its residency requirement to six weeks. They essentially created divorce tourism. By 1940, almost 5% of the total number of divorces filed in the US were in Nevada.


Let Us Gawk at the Weird


shutterstock_156039962Marriage may be one of the more contentious issues around here, but I think the particulars described in this NYT piece about the marriage habits of the fabulously wealthy of Manhattan should unite the Ricochetti in fascinated condescension:

It was easy for me to fall into the belief, as I lived and lunched and mothered with more than 100 of them for the better part of six years, that all these wealthy, competent and beautiful women, many with irony, intelligence and a sense of humor about their tribalism (“We are freaks for Flywheel,” one told me, referring to the indoor cycling gym), were powerful as well. But as my inner anthropologist quickly realized, there was the undeniable fact of their cloistering from men. There were alcohol-fueled girls’ nights out, and women-only luncheons and trunk shows and “shopping for a cause” events. There were mommy coffees, and women-only dinners in lavish homes. There were even some girlfriend-only flyaway parties on private planes, where everyone packed and wore outfits the same color.


Husband Husbandry


shutterstock_237586651We’ve been talking a lot about marriage and divorce around here lately. As someone who’s been married for almost 13 years with some very rough spots along the way, I feel like this is a topic about which I can speak authoritatively. In particular, I’d like to talk about a duty that primarily — though by no means exclusively — falls to wives: ego management.

I like to nap in my car over lunch, particularly during lovely weather like we’ve had lately in Kansas City. As I was trying to drift off Thursday afternoon, I heard a woman screaming into her phone. She was informing her husband in a vulgar fashion that his family hated her for no reason, she hated them, and that — while it was his responsibility to defend her — he was refusing to because he lacked testicular fortitude. I was sorely tempted to scream back in an equally vulgar fashion that if she wanted her husband to have testicles, she should stop performing double orchidectomy surgery.


Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? Or, Reasons Why I’m Still Single


shutterstock_86562538The other day, my sister-in-law commented on an article her friend posted on Facebook titled “Why Men Won’t Marry You.” Naturally, my ears perked up. Yes, I would like to know why I’m still single at my age. Please, Fox News article, tell me!

The arguments laid out are similar to those a member posted on the Ricochet Facebook page that caused quite the, um… stir. The author of the Fox News article makes a more compelling, less rude case for the decline in marriage rates, and breaks it down into two main reasons:


Jim, David, and the Supreme Court


I have this uncle, let’s call him Jim. He and David lived together for decades. They shared expenses, kept each other company, and generally looked out for each other. They were, in many ways, like an old married couple. But when David died, Jim had no right to receive spousal survivor benefits because he was never married to David. Why did they never marry? Because they were gay? No: because they were brothers.

Why shouldn’t Jim and David have married? They were consenting adults. They had a long-term committed relationship. Granted, there was no physical union, but so what? The idea that a marriage must be consummated by a sexual act is surely a relic of a bygone era.


The Cake Vendetta


shutterstock_180008426So this little saga continues. It’s local story that’s made a couple of national headlines and, personally, I find what’s happening to be rather chilling. A couple of years ago, a lesbian couple went to Sweet Cakes by Melissa to order a wedding cake for themselves. Though Sweet Cakes had served one of the ladies in other capacities in the past, they declined to serve the couple in this capacity.

As I’ve written before, the local gay community was up in arms. A complaint was sent to the Oregon human rights bureaucracy, but that wasn’t fast enough for the community. They protested Sweet Cakes. They vandalized their vehicle, sent threats, libeled and slandered, set up a fake Facebook account to spread slurs (which a local news rag then gleefully reported as if it was Sweet Cakes’ actual account, a report that then spread to major outlets long before it was corrected). Suppliers for Sweet Cakes were also threated – told that the same waited for them if they dared to continue to do business with the little bakery. As a result, Sweet Cakes closed its storefront permanently.


Ryan T. Anderson: Public Enemy #1


RTAndersonI’ve met Ryan Anderson, infamous opponent of marriage equality. It was a terrifying experience. The eyes. Those crazy eyes.

I’m joking, obviously. Ryan is a perfect gentleman and clearly entirely sane. He also has a fancy education and no grey hair. (He’s around my age, I believe, so not easily dismissed as a nostalgic old codger who can’t quite get with the times.) Those combined factors make him deeply offensive to the left. In his way, I’m sure he’s far more offensive than your garden-variety Westboro Baptist, because he tricks people into supposing that young, intelligent and reasonable people can still regard marriage as an intrinsically procreative institution involving a man and a woman. Even in 2015.


Selma Envy


SelmaHeschelMarchI was never in the military; I was in the last draft class that sent people to Vietnam, but my draft number was 275, so I wasn’t called. Rush Limbaugh likes to recount the story of how Bill Clinton regretted that 9/11 happened on his successor’s watch, thus depriving him of the opportunity to show true leadership.

I say this to make the point that as we look back, we sometimes wish that we could put ourselves into today’s events in such a way as to allow us to be cloaked in the more forgiving glow that the passage of time has given to events that were so raw at the time. Unfortunately, there are also those who will use the glow of past events to shine a light upon things that they can’t justify with reason:


GOP 2016: Drop Anti-SSM Plank or Drop Party Platform Entirely?


platformAt Hot Air yesterday, Noah Rothman asked: “Will opposition to gay marriage disappear from the GOP’s party platform?” Rothman claims that only “vicious partisans” on either side of the aisle care about platforms. I don’t know about vicious, but he’s right to say the whole platform process is outdated.

In national election years, the candidate at the top of the ticket becomes the embodiment of the party platform. Who cares about the student government-like exercise of delegates voting on an official statement of principles? Its sole purpose has become putting a social issues face on the punching bag for media coverage. The prelude to convention coverage becomes a series of divisive stories about how Republicans continue to be out of touch with young voters and emerging trends (as defined by MSM reporters). I do so hate it when they’re right.


Why Would a 43-Year-Old Man Like “Married at First Sight”


My wife and I don’t watch much TV. Last year we cut the cord and now use Roku and Apple TV to occasionally watch movies and shows through services like Netflix and Hulu. This past fall, missing out on NFL broadcasts, we bought the cheapest cable package just so we could get our local D.C. broadcast channels and ESPN.

The cable package comes with a handful of other channels that we never watch. This past Tuesday, after watching the one show we both love (“Jeopardy” — yes we’re nerds) I started randomly scrolling through the other channels.


Member Post


The Presbyterians have voted to recognize homosexual “marriage”. Their definition of marriage has been altered to read “commitment of two people, traditionally a man and a woman…”. This is a major Christian denomination explicitly defying the plain word of God as set down in the Bible (homosexual behavior being “an abomination unto the Lord”). How […]

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Single Mothers and Conservatism


shutterstock_209614678I would like to pose two questions to my follow Ricochet members: What should be the conservative answer be to unwed single mothers? How should the GOP/Conservatives support existing single mothers (to include widows, separated, divorced, unwed)?

I think we have a tendency to focus on the origins of the issue of single mothers — such as the rise of the welfare state and the sexual revolution — without addressing how we would support those single mothers that need help today. Social Conservatives are pro-life, pro-motherhood, and pro-marriage. However, the Left perpetuates the stereotype that Conservatives are not supportive of single mothers, and it works for them politically. In the 2012 presidential election 75% of single mothers voted for the Democratic ticket.


Peter Robinson and the Constitutional Complexities of Gay Marriage


Peter Robinson’s post yesterday cites Robert George’s passionate attack on claims for the constitutionality of gay marriage, wherein George argues that this weighty issue should be decided analytically at the wholesale level. He looks at what he, and many others, think to be bad decisions by an activist Supreme Court and urges that Republicans, both in and out of government, should treat the decision “as an anti-constitutional and illegitimate ruling in which the judiciary has attempted to usurp the authority of the people and their elected representatives.”

This is a very radical claim and the effort to upset the doctrine of judicial supremacy, far from being confined to this decision, could easily be extended to any other ruling that is subject to extensive political disputation. Professor George seeks to make this argument by analogizing the situation with gay marriage to earlier cases. Here’s the relevant section that Peter quoted:


Answering Peter Robinson on SCOTUS and Gay Marriage


Peter posed a question earlier today: If the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, how should we respond? I defer to Richard Epstein’s views on the comparison between Dred Scott, Lochner, and gay marriage. I think that Robert P. George rightly warns of the dangers of the use of the due process clause by judges to advance their personal policy preferences. There are surely similarities between the Court’s use of substantive due process in all three periods. I think that a decision imposing gay marriage on the nation incorrectly reads our constitutional structure, just as Dred Scott mistakenly interpreted the Constitution’s original understanding of federal and state control over slavery and freedom.

But there is an important difference here, one that shouldn’t affect their legal decision but will control the political response. A majority of Americans support gay marriage now, as opposed to 2008. There will be no groundswell of opposition to the Court on gay marriage in the way there was against Dred Scott.


Calling Richard Epstein and John Yoo, or, if the Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage, How Should We Respond?


shutterstock_103670531Constitutional scholar Robert P. George, writing in First Things:

Dred Scott v. Sandford was the infamous case in which the Supreme Court of the United States, usurping the constitutional authority of the people acting through their elected representatives in Congress, purported to deny the power of the United States to prohibit slavery in the federal territories. It is very much worth recalling that Dred Scott was not just a case about slavery. It was a case about the scope and limits of judicial power. It was a case in which judges, lacking any warrant in the text, structure, logic, or historical understanding of the Constitution, attempted to impose their own favored resolution of a morally charged debate about public policy on the entire nation.