Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Maybe It Is You. I Don’t Know.


There’s a question that’s been bothering me for the last five years or so. When I went to the NRA convention in Phoenix in 2009, Harry Reid had a “B” rating from the NRA. There were a bunch of Democrats who spoke at the Saturday ILA forum at the convention. Yet just seven years later, Hillary Clinton named the NRA as the enemy she was most proud of. Why the change? What do you think happened?

It could be that the NRA’s messaging had grown too extreme for the Democrats, but I don’t think that’s the case. Wayne LaPierre’s “jack-booted thugs” comment was way back in 1995 after all and that same style of messaging echoes down through the present day. The gun-control efforts of the Obama administration and other Democrats may have forced the NRA to denounce the Democrats, but gun control is not something new to that party. It may be because the NRA went all-in for Trump, but that happened early on in 2016, and the Dems turned on the NRA long before that.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Two Cheers for HUD


President Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a rule this past week grandly titled “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.” That rule undid an Obama administration rule on the same topic, called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH). In July 2015, the Obama administration adopted an aggressive position that allowed HUD to monitor state, county, and local governments that received HUD grants to see that they had undertaken exhaustive efforts to remediate a wide range of racial disparities in housing markets, thereby raising the costs that arise from accepting government grants. Under HUD’s recently revised regulations, HUD Secretary Ben Carson scaled back the regulations so they concentrated not on the overall condition of local housing markets, but on the risks that individual acts of discrimination pose to individual applicants.

At no point in that order did HUD single out suburban housing for special treatment. Nonetheless, with scant regard to the content of the revised rule, President Trump posted a celebratory tweet: “I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” This ill-advised outburst prompted a cascade of criticism that portrayed the new HUD regulation as a backhanded effort to undo President Obama’s much-needed protections against racial bias. As one critic alleged, whereas Carson carefully cloaked these major substantive reforms in a procedural guise that stressed paperwork reduction, the new rule in reality was intended to “reduce the pressure on local governments to provide space and opportunity for Black families in affluent white neighborhoods.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Drive-in Movies, Popcorn and Car Beds


Taking a family of five to a regular indoor movie could be very expensive in the 1950s, even if you tried to sneak in your own candy (which we did). It was much cheaper to go to the drive-in theater. When I was around 10 years old, my brother was 8 and my little sister was 3 (and always slept through the movie), we would pile into the car to see a movie. Going to the drive-in was a true adventure, full of the unexpected and out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Before we left in the late afternoon, Dad would make a huge batch of popcorn. He used a heavy metal skillet with a heavy glass lid. I would often watch him as he carefully measured the oil, the popcorn, and put on the glass lid, followed by shuffling the pan back and forth on the gas burner. (Obviously, this was long before popcorn poppers or Jiffy pop.) The amount of shuffling was important, since getting just the right rhythm ensured that most of the corn would be popped and not burnt. I was his right-hand girl, breathing in the aroma during the entire process.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. UK: Defending the “Defender in Chief”: John Yoo on Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power




Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Value of Symbols


justice and COVID-19Observed outside a Circle K recently: two men approached on battered bicycles. One black, one white, they were both desert-lean and weathered. They knew long-term poverty.

Said the black man to the white: “They’re so stupid, they pull down a statue and throw it in the river!” Answered the white man: “Thousands of pounds of bronze!”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Grateful for What’s Not Happening


Watching riots, fires, attacks on law enforcement and listening to the idiotic decisions of mayors and governors is enough to drive any sane person over the edge. I try to limit my viewing of these incidents or reading about people taking steps to damage their cities and states.

And then I remind myself that I have so very much to be grateful for, regarding and in spite of coronavirus:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Cancel Culture” is Intellectual Eugenics


A hundred years ago, American progressives were big into eugenics, in an effort to purify the gene pool by selectively killing off and preventing the breeding of people they thought of as undesirables. To the early 20th century progressive, this included blacks, criminals, and those with disabilities.

Today, American progressives are big on silencing dissent, in an effort to purify the intellectual space by squelching ideas and opinions — and sometimes data — that they think might lead people into “wrong thinking.” To the modern progressive, this includes any idea that is contrary to up-to-date progressive ideology: a lot of things that were completely anodyne and almost universally believed as recently as the year 2000 would now be forbidden by the left’s benevolently censorious mobs.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The History, Heritage, and Future of an American Sea


The Gulf of Mexico is America’s sea. The wealth of two continents, from gold and silver in the sixteenth century to petroleum in the twenty-first, passes through its waters. It has provided food and recreation for those in the countries around it.

“The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History,” by John S. Sledge, is a comprehensive history of the Gulf, from its earliest times to the present.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The American Crisis


“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

I have two questions for everyone who is sure that Donald Trump will lose this November:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Black Christianity


Black Christianity again shows what it takes to show a spine. After my piece on Denzel Washington and Anthony Mackie, and after Terry Crews, another brave black man refuses to subscribe to BLM, this time a young NBA player, Jonathan Isaacs, and again it’s in the name of the Gospel–he says, black lives matter and all lives matter. This is now a question — everyone else knelt during the anthem, everyone else had a BLM shirt. A quick transformation of elite America became Kaepernick was a scandal. Everyone with a camera pointed at him seems to be a coward these days. It’s funny… We should stand up and support these brave men. God bless you, Jonathan Isaacs!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Critic Series #39: Novels & Cinema


Today, I’m joined by Jody Bottum and Armond White to talk about novels and cinema–movie adaptations, when they work, how they can improve on literature, and when they fail. We talk about why it’s never been the case that a great novel has been turned into a great movie. We also talk about the difficulties of turning narration into performance.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Listen and Believe When Your Enemies Speak


Ballot boxWhen the enemies of our constitutional republic speak, we must listen and believe they intend what their words betray. Accordingly, everyone should read former President Barack Obama’s political speech at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis. Here is the speech in full, with the politically potent leftist agenda bolded. Understand that Barack Obama has no god but himself, but he quotes Scripture as well as Satan. At the height of his rhetorical power, Obama’s tongue is as smooth as the great Serpent’s. Remember that he devoted his entire presidency to dividing and stoking separation between ethnic groups, amplifying grievances at every turn. Make no mistake. This is a campaign speech, aimed at producing socialist rule after the 2020 election. I inject my opinion in square brackets. You read and you decide.

James wrote to the believers, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Union Pacific RR Derailment: Tempe AZ [Update: July 30]


A Union Pacific Railroad mixed freight train derailed, caught fire, and caused the collapse of the heavy rail bridge over Tempe Town Lake. That bridge reportedly was the site of another derailment in June. The location is a low speed section. with an area light rail bridge next to the heavy rail bridge. Just on the north side of the bridge is a major highway loop, Loop 202, carrying people in and out of Phoenix. The smoke could be rising into one of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport landing flight paths, and they were be keeping an eye on the potential explosion of tanker cars. Reportedly, the FAA redirected flight traffic onto the north runways, to keep further low flying traffic out of the area. Thankfully, no lives have been lost so far in this derailment.

A stretch of Loop 202 was closed for several hours, but ADOT reported Loop 202 reopened in time for afternoon commuter traffic. A traffic camera image from 5 pm showed no sign of smoke left at the west end of the railroad bridge.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Could Democrats Be Lying to Pollsters, Too?


Much has been said about whether polls are reliable or not. Some people believe that voters are lying to pollsters because they don’t want to admit to anyone—not even a pollster—that they plan to vote for Trump. Whether that is true or not is impossible to determine, but the uncertainty dampens one’s enthusiasm for poll results.

Even if you don’t believe in polls, however, it must be a bit disconcerting even for the most ardent Trump supporter to see how Biden seems to be far ahead. But what if the Democrats are lying to pollsters, too?


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. BLM Is a Marxist, Racist Fraud


They claim to be fighting for “social justice,” “black liberation,” and “black sovereignty.” Although it’s unclear how we would know when those goals are met, they promise to “burn down the system” if they don’t achieve success. But black Americans already enjoy full legal equality and civil rights protected by law. Polls reveal that police are well regarded by 70 percent of minority community members. Charges of excessive black deaths at the hands of police have been statistically debunked many times.

So what’s really going on here? BLM was founded by proud Marxists with the avowed intent of spreading Marxist ideology. In a 2015 interview, co-founder Patrice Cullors broke the code, stating “myself and Alicia [Garza] in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.” Nothing said or done since would provide cause for doubt.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #24: Paul Seaton


This is the anniversary of the birth of the patron of PoMoCon, Peter Lawler, and so we’re beginning the second series of podcasts we’re doing in his honor. After talking to public intellectuals–you can find all the links below–I turn to talking to the people closest to PoMoCon, in its First Things and National Review incarnations, as well as now at the American Cinema Foundation. I talk to my friend Paul Seaton, who teaches politics and philosophy at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, who’s known Peter more than 30 years and can speak to his intellectual journey.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You Don’t Ask, You Must Not Want My Vote


Ballot box Dear (appointed) Senator Martha McSally,

If you do not ask, you must not want my vote. You were rejected by Arizona voters when you last ran for the U.S. Senate. Now, after being appointed to our other U.S. Senate seat by Governor Doug Ducey, you appear to be pretending that there is no primary election in this state. But, there is a primary election on August 4, 2020. I have my absentee ballot in hand. Clearly, Republicans and Arizonans who are registered Independent have a real choice. We can vote for you or for Daniel McCarthy. So, why are you hiding? Are you really running at all this year? Do you believe you are a real incumbent who can afford to play the old game of refusing to acknowledge an opponent? You are not.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures


Very few people would have anticipated the level and duration of violence and destruction in the cities of America that have been displayed over the last two months. Even our Republican Senators seem to be throwing up their hands in frustration and complaining at the feckless Democrat mayors and governors in our states.

But that seems to be all that our Senators are doing.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Portland Goes Over the Brink


The continuing unrest in Portland, Oregon, which has now lasted some 55 nights, exemplifies the breakdown of law and order that has become a daily occurrence in many cities with progressive mayors. Portland police are nowhere to be found at the sight of the protests outside the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, a federal building. On June 26, President Trump issued an Executive Order sending federal troops to protect the courthouse—and so far, they have made at least 43 arrests. The President minced no words when he attacked the protesters as “anarchists and left-wing extremists” spurred on by “agitators who have traveled across State lines” to wreak havoc.

Both his words and his use of federal troops have provoked a fierce reaction. Writing in The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein accused the President of driving an ugly wedge between Red and Blue America to boost his reelection chances this coming November. Similarly, The Atlantic’s Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes insist that it violates the rule of law for plainclothes federal agents to arrest local protestors and cart them away in unmarked vehicles. Meanwhile, Joe Biden accused the Trump administration of “brutally attacking peaceful protesters.” And Nancy Pelosi has likened the federal agents to “stormtroopers.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Hearing of Attorney General Barr Is an Abomination


I can’t take it anymore. Watching the attack by Democrats on AG Barr at his hearing is a demonstration of the worst kind of politics imaginable. The House Judiciary Committee is not interested in receiving any kind of information. They are only interested in insulting, attacking, and silencing the Attorney General. I’ve seen my share of hearings, but this one was beyond the pale.

Grandstanding and false statements by the Democrats are very familiar. But they clearly coordinated their strategy with each other. First, they would insult him, state hyperbole, and eventually they would ask him a question, demanding a yes or no answer. They repeatedly cut him off when he tried to explain his response, or when he asked for clarification of what was supposed to be a question, and they continued to interrupt him. It’s clear they were trying to establish a basis for impeaching him, but every one of them should be removed from office.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Never Leave It to the Judges


Ballot box“Never leave it to the judges.” This admonition of every rule-based combat sport goes double for elections. John Roberts has already amply demonstrated that he is no William Rehnquist. If we leave the 2020 presidential and Congressional elections to the courts, John Roberts will deliver the result George Bush wants: a boot in the face of every voter who dared to vote for President Trump. There will be no repeat of the 9-0 Bush v. Gore opinion. We need far more than President Trump talking about the foreseeable disaster of mail-out vote fraud, which he keeps mislabeling as mail-in voting.

We need immediate administrative and litigation work that spells out the specific, historically documented threat of massive voter fraud and that seeks as a remedy a strict prohibition on issuing ballots to any person or address not validated this year as a live voter address. We simultaneously need to collectively get off our duffs and fight like we have a country to save. I mean that we, you and I, have to be directly involved in getting every single possible real vote into the right box with the right candidates marked. Whatever the local rule, that is the game you and I must play or shut the federalism up!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: Bjorn Lomborg Declares “False Alarm” on Climate Hysteria


This week, a conversation with Bjorn Lomborg, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, and one of the foremost climate experts in the world today. His new book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet, is an argument for treating climate as a serious problem but not an extinction-level event requiring such severe and drastic steps as rewiring a large part of the culture and the economy. Bjorn responds directly to some of the most vociferous climate policy critics, including Greta Thunberg, author David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after Warming), and proponents of the Green New Deal. We also discuss some promising emerging technologies and why worst-case scenarios are often just that—scenarios that are used to motivate the public into action but are not in fact likely to occur. It’s a sobering and even-handed discussion on climate that does not include apocalyptic endings for the planet.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Voice of Sanity from the Film Industry? Or a Cop-Out?


Imagine an actor allowing for racist themes in movies and television! An actor from the UK, Idris Elba, thinks that racist viewpoints should be included in films as long as they are included in the rating systems that we have already accepted. He thinks that censorship is not necessary:

Out of respect for the time and the movement, commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time—fair enough and good for you. But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Governors, Mayors, Congressional Republicans, and All That Jazz


Daniel Henninger in the WSJ, by way of the Dan Proft show, points to the lasting harm of our supposedly national experts’ response to the Chinese virus. The show and Henninger’s column point to a New York City jazz club owner of some renown in the jazz community. Michael “Spike” Wilner writes a weekly e-mail letter posted online from the SmallsLIVE Foundation. Reading this letter surfaces a key issue that governors and local leaders across the country are failing to address, inflicting far more harm than necessary. The massive financial fissure created by government leaders’ edicts and failure to own the consequences of their edicts is unpaid debt: rent, lease, mortgage, and property tax.

Martha McSally, the rest of the Republican Senators up for reelection, and Mitch McConnell own this as well. They have the power to drive legislation that Democrats could not oppose. They can include immediate refundable tax credits for all rent, lease, mortgage, and property tax forgiveness. Instead, they are printing money to paper around the edges of this financial fissure.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is Fox News Censoring Trump?


So I heard about, then saw, this clip of Trump’s Press Secretary showing video from the madness in Portland only for Fox News to cut from the press briefing. I don’t quite understand why — I’ve not heard people more in the know than me talk about it. But it looks really bad for Fox. Can anyone explain these things to me?