Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A True Hero’s Homecoming: Retired USAF Colonel, Congressman Sam Johnson


The news media condemns itself, as does our political class, once more, with their relative silence. A true American hero, whose virtue was proved in the skies of two wars, the hell on earth of the worst part of the Communist Vietnamese torture chambers, and in the halls of Congress that so often corrupt, has been called home. Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, retired Congressman Sam Johnson went home on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at the age of 89. There is a famous photograph of Colonel Johnson reunified with his wife, Shirley, after seven years of captivity. At the end of May 2020, I believe they were reunified a second time. We do not know what Heaven is actually like, but we may well imagine these two people embracing again in bodies not ravaged by this fallen world.

Sam married his high school sweetheart, Shirley in 1950, shortly before graduating from Southern Methodist University. They remained faithfully married for 65 years until Shirley was called home before Sam. Shirley Johnson’s obituary confessed their faith:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hurting the Most Vulnerable: ‘Rehoming’ an Adopted Child


James and Myka Stauffer.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done is forgive the people that put my son up for adoption.

YouTube and Instagram mom Myka Stauffer was famous for her sunny, positive online presence. Her perpetually coiffed and photogenic family could have easily been mistaken for models in a Williams Sonoma catalog, and it earned her lucrative partnership deals with major companies. But on May 26, Stauffer uploaded an unusual YouTube video: a tearful explanation of why she had “rehomed” her special needs child, which she has adopted from China two-and-a-half years earlier. Within 36 hours, the announcement triggered negative articles in People, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and dozens of other publications.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are Cities Over? It’s Time for Some Skepticism About That Idea


I recently did an AEI online event on the future of the American city in the age of pandemics. As a recent Financial Times piece put it: “Almost overnight, cities have gone from being places of dreams and ambition to fearful symbols of mortality. The rich have retreated to the countryside, just as they did in Europe during the Black Death. Until now, cities have always bounced back.”

But will cities rebound this time? That was the first question I asked my esteemed panel. And here is some of what they told me:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Watching the CCP Press


A Chinese factory in Zambia was set on fire. The following quotes are from the Global Times, the CCP news outlet.

The three Chinese nationals from East China’s Jiangsu Province were murdered by three local Zambians who then set fire to the warehouse of a Chinese clothing company on Sunday, outraging the Chinese community in the African country, local sources revealed to the Global Times.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Obama Presidential Center Nuisance


I argued last week before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Protect Our Parks, which sued the City of Chicago in order to stop the construction of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park. The OPC is not a Presidential Library, and it serves no official public function. At this time, it is useful to put the current litigation in its larger context, given the other regulatory obstacles relating to historical preservation and environmental protection that must be overcome to allow the Obama Foundation to build the OPC in Jackson Park.

To set the stage, the social case for keeping the OPC out of Jackson Park is powerful. The entire venture envisions a constellation of four separate buildings constructed on a 19.3-acre site located on the northwest side of Jackson Park, close to the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry. The Park was designed in 1871 by the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Consistent with the original plan, it incorporated large bodies of water, including the east and west lagoon, with direct connections to Lake Michigan. The four buildings of the planned OPC include a 235-foot museum tower, a conference center, an athletic center, and a new branch of the Chicago public library, all serviced by a 400-car underground garage.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. They Tell Us How We’re Supposed to Think


“It really bugs me that someone will tell me, after I spent 20 years being educated, how I’m supposed to think.” — Clarence Thomas

It’s fascinating when you think about it: people on the Left who are supposed to be enlightened, idealistic, educated, and compassionate, especially those in leadership positions, are some of the most naïve, unrealistic, foolish, and bigoted people in society.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. They Also Served: Cold War Casualties


U.S. Army Major Arthur D. Nicholson was called the last Cold War casualty, killed in 1985, 35 years ago. I argue he was not, tell the rest of the story about his death, and offer a brief account of a young soldier who died, as I recall, in 1988. Both Major Nicholson and a number of service members who are known mostly to their families and former unit members died in defense of our nation during the long Cold War.

Major Nicholson was in uniform, accompanied by a sergeant when he was shot dead in East Germany by a Soviet soldier. His sergeant was held at gunpoint and made to watch the major bleed to death. The Soviets were making a point. Major Nicholson was a true hero, not to be confused with “true heroes” as medical personnel who actually face minimal risk of death treating COVID-19 patients.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Letter to a Friend Looking for G-d


I have a new friend who, like me, is exploring her Jewish roots and discovering the rewarding and difficult aspects of some Jewish communities and their practices. I wrote this letter to her yesterday to support her on her journey.

Dear Ros,


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Small Memorial Day Ceremony


This afternoon at exactly 3 p.m., a small group of Scouts from Troop 466 (where I have been as Asst. Scoutmaster for 20 years) gathered in the parking lot of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church in Silicon Valley — joining Scouts around the nation — to hold a short ceremony. Troop 466 is actually quite large — 90 boys and, now, 10 girls in a sister troop — but at the local Council’s request, we kept it to a small group, masked and keeping the proper social distancing.

We began by taking turns memorializing veterans in our own lives. Needless to say, the parents mostly spoke. I mentioned that my family tree is filled with warriors, from the French and Indian War through almost every conflict in American history up to and including Afghanistan. I dedicated the day to my great-uncle John Collins, who died in the trenches in WWI.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Memorial Day: Patton


So we’re celebrating Memorial Day and I wrote an essay on Patton, the greatest American war movie. It’s a good day to watch the movie again, and to remember the great man. In my essay, I talk about the importance of great men in times of crisis, the limits of institutions and the specific character of the modern executive, and the way this ties to American character.

If I may also recommend VDH on Patton, perhaps as good a starter for conversation as the movie itself:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This is Why We Can’t Have…


This is why we can’t have nice things jobs, small businesses, a functioning economy, and the freedoms we took for granted twelve weeks ago.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stan the Man and How He Transformed Comics


Comic books started out in the mid-twentieth century. Originally they were “kid stuff.” As the twentieth century ended they had become a major cultural influence. No man was more responsible for that transformation than Stan Lee. Stan Lee: A Life in Comics, by Liel Leibovitz explores Lee’s life in a biography revealing the man and his influence.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, Lee grew up in New York City. Good with words, Lee grew up a reader, retreating into books and writing as his father’s career collapsed during the Depression. After high school, deciding to become a writer, he shortened his name to Stan Lee. Comics were not adolescent Lee’s main interest. He read and enjoyed the newspaper comics, but his real love was literature. Shakespeare and movies fascinated him.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Revolting Inquisition of K.T. McFarland


In her brief but agonizing stint as Deputy National Security Advisor under General Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland played a key role in helping the new Trump team get organized following the 2016 election. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the efforts of the FBI to destroy Gen. Michael Flynn and McFarland, who had never participated in these types of interviews, and I was horrified at the methods of the FBI. Besides the fact that they really had no legitimate reason to investigate Gen. Flynn, they had even less reason to entrap McFarland. While many of us have generally discussed the inappropriate and radical methods of the FBI in their investigations, I had no way of knowing specifically just how insidious and unprofessional they were.

In her new book, McFarland takes us back to the interviews that the FBI conducted with her. Their actions were shocking and, as I said in my original post, could have destroyed her life. Since literally any American could be subject to their methodologies, unless key FBI leaders are discredited and punished, anyone could be victimized in the same way at any time, for any reason. I felt her specific story should be more widely told as a cautionary tale regarding the abuse of power in general, and the unethical and immoral actions of a government agency unchecked.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Memorable Start to Memorial Day Weekend 2020


It was another week ending with beauties and beast-mode from the White House.

President Trump took a road trip beyond a military port, going to a Ford plant where they converted to ventilator production. The President had a great visit, no thanks to the incompetent fascist Democrat governor of Michigan. He did his usual best with a string of forgotten men and women proudly talking about their part in keeping Ford tough:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Courage


“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature, which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

How much of our government today is marked by a lack of courage? We see it most clearly in the response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The states, counties, and cities whose leaders are most frightened are the ones maintaining the lockdown longest. Especially the politicians who fear the electorate and mistrust the common sense of the average person.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Science is Settled: It is Time to End the Lockdown


The CDC announced new numbers on COVID mortality. For those interested, fatality rates (by age) are now reported as:

  • 0-49 years old: 0.05%
  • 50-64 years old: 0.2%
  • 65+ years old: 1.3%
  • Over all ages: 0.4%

Additionally, apparently 30% of the cases are asymptomatic – so mild you do not know you had it.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Tiiiime … Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!


Professional sports started breaking free from the COVID-19 craziness this past weekend. UFC led the way, followed by a more timid, painfully politically correct NASCAR. Meanwhile, the boys of summer looked to be dropping the ball again, Major League Baseball likely losing bigly in a squeeze play between the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and National Football League. Between the NASCAR messaging and UFC, I’ll likely be watching UFC, not NASCAR, this year.

“It’s . . . TIIIME!” 


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Masters #8: Sullivan’s Travels


Since we’re facing a new Great Depression, here’s a comedy for our times: Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges’s adventure through Great Depression America. From Hollywood to the chain gang, from hoboing on trains to a Southern church where black people sing about Moses setting them free. Prof. Zena Hitz has a new book out, Lost in Thought, about the pleasures and the worth of the intellectual life.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Justice Coming for General Flynn?


Judge Sullivan’s weekend has been ruined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That is the court that is the boss of him. For many years, leftists could count on this district to further their interests. It was understood as important to their longer term projects. However, Republican presidents sometimes get to appoint members. In this case, the luck of the draw was in favor of justice. There is a Bush 41, Obama, and Trump judge on the assigned panel, and they all agreed that they should consider motions, a series of papers, on the petition for writ of mandamus on behalf of Gen. Michael Flynn.

Honest attorneys in the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Barr’s protection and leadership, threw in the towel on the wrongful prosecution of Flynn, a key part of the attempted Obama faction and security agencies coup against President Trump. That, as a matter of federal law and federal court practice, should have been the end of the matter. But Judge Sullivan hates President Trump and his voters more than he respects his oath and the Constitution, so he continued his disreputable conduct and sought to keep control of Flynn, looking for some way to play for time until, he hoped, Biden would be elected.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Second Look at Sweden’s Response to COVID-19


It’s not too late to learn from Sweden‘s management of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the first phase winds down and the results can be tallied, it is clear that Sweden is in an enviable position both economically and medically.

Rather than relying on speculative models to justify draconian policies, Sweden’s public health officials noted the lack of evidence that social isolation mandates could reduce COVID-19 deaths over the full course of the virus. Plainly put, you can change the timing of the damage but you can’t make the virus go away.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 3,000 Attend Block Party in Deland, FL


You didn’t misread the title of this post, but it doesn’t accurately describe the actual event, nor does it suggest the dangerous implications of this type of activity given concerns about the outbreak of COVID-19. Gov. Ron DeSantis has done a very good job of managing Florida through COVID-19, but in spite of his efforts, we’re seeing eruptions like the one described in this post. If other states don’t act quickly to lighten the restrictions on its citizens, we may very well see civil violence and destruction across the country.

Let me summarize the way the gathering on Saturday, May 16, took place and how it was conveniently mischaracterized. First, some people tried to characterize its origins with a planned memorial:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fair…and Unfair


This is a story of two world’s fairs, held 25 years apart. The early fair, the one my parents went to as kids, is still justly remembered with fondness and respect, one last good time before World War II. The later one, the space-age fair that my wife and I went to as kids, was also a dazzling, Disneyland-sized tribute to modern progress. It was held in the same place, by many of the same people: companies and designers who created the first one. But this new fair, “our” fair, was scorned by fashionable critics.

Then and forever since, the few writers who mention the New York World’s Fair 1964/65 saw it as ugly and unimaginative if not outright tacky, shallow corporate hucksterism. In the quaint language of the day, the fair was a distraction from pollution, prejudice, and poverty. The New York Times Sunday Magazine said something typical that seemed clueless and unintentionally funny even at the time. It still sticks with me: “Only the people who went to it liked it.” I’m one of them.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Public Health: Personal and Public


But for “public health,” you would not be reading these words. What follows starts with the personal and moves to the public, writ large. None of this should be controversial, as we all kind of know, or knew before the latest political gambit blasted through our collective memories and quickly polarized information into take it all for what it is worth.

The personal: But for public health, you would not be reading these words. My mother graduated from college with her BN in the late 1950s and went to work for the city of Philadelphia as a public health nurse. They called themselves “streetwalkers for the city of Philadelphia” because they walked a beat, bringing front-line medical care to poor sections of town. Mom was very tall for her era, a lean 5’11” white woman perfectly safe in an all-black neighborhood because the drug gangs had not yet arisen and driven off the old men who sat on every stoop keeping a watchful eye over “their nurse.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Conservatism & Progress: A Tale of Two Commencement Speeches


If you’re looking to learn rhetoric, I’m your huckleberry. Here’s a comparison of the varieties of rhetoric in American politics–two speeches by men who are and were respectively senators. Each talk is about the same length — seven minutes and change is a short speech — and with the same purpose, apparently, to congratulate and exhort America’s callow youth. Sen. Sasse of Nebraska is first. He gave this speech, which is alright, not very good, the sort of mediocrity we expect in politics and celebrity culture, broadly speaking. He seems to be a good man, wears his successes lightly, and he’s handsome, so it’s likely to go over well:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Kind: Thinking Well of McConnell and Roberts


“…Judges and Justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules, they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules, but it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.

— Nominee for Chief Justice, John Roberts, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 2005