Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Through or Worked Over by the Coronavirus?


My parents’ generation has some badly needed perspective. My father commented recently, after I told him I was recovering from whooping cough*, that he and his generation went through every disease my generation was inoculated against: mumps, measles, chicken pox, and German measles. Oh, and they had to dodge polio, against which we were inoculated. And there were bad flu seasons.

A writer in City Journal has now spoken that wisdom in “Say Your Prayers and Take Your Chances: Remembering the 1957 Asian flu pandemic:”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #11: The Three Waves of Liberalism


This weekend, the podcast’s back to cultural criticism–Oliver Traldi and I continue our series of conversations about the world the internet is making. We about the quarrel between Progressives and liberalism, about the noble free speech stand of the Intellectual Dark Web and their difficulties with accounting for that nobility, about generational politics–Boomers, X-ers, Zoomers, and Millennials fighting it out to define American culture anew, the transformation of the internet from a place of anonymity to competitive exhibitionism, and also Aristotle’s treatise on the soul!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What If Your Favorite Song Didn’t Exist?


No, I’m not talking about the plot of that English movie about the Beatles, or the lack thereof. What if you found yourself singing a song from your youth, but no one else remembered it? One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing. In fact, the panopticon of the internet has nothing on this song. But you’re convinced it existed.

It’s smart, honest, funny, and as this episode shows, will go above and beyond what any other podcast would do to answer a listener’s query. Minor language warning, but when one of the hosts drops the effenheimer, it’s hard not to agree.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Up a Playlist for Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine


Just to be helpful, and because there was white space in the monthly theme calendar, I give you my first cut at the Social Distancing and Self Quarantine Playlist.

Let’s start off nice and easy, with a tune from those quintessential boys of summer:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Governor Cuomo Calls Out the Guard: President Trump Should Alert Federal Forces


On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Cuomo called out the Guard to combat coronavirus. He did so to provide skilled manpower to disinfect public areas and to deliver meals to people who have been quarantined in their homes in the New Rochelle hot spot.

The deployment comes as experts debate how long the virus can live on solid surfaces, Cuomo said.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Vow to Never Work!


Don’t misunderstand. I spent a lot of years working hard, starting at age 16: I was a counter girl at a dry-cleaning shop. Later, I worked as a teller in a bank, then in new accounts, then a new accounts supervisor, and finally, a true triumph, assistant bank manager. (It was actually a savings and loan, but does anyone remember those?) Anyway, they were all ok jobs, barely paying the bills.

Then I worked hard at getting my degrees; my B.A. was a little delayed and then an M.A., which I mainly got because I needed the credibility for the work I wanted to do. But I actually very much enjoyed the learning process and became a consultant for 20 years.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are We Overreacting to Coronavirus?


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that since 2010, at least 12,000 Americans have died annually from influenza. In 2017-18, the worst year, 45 million were stricken with the disease, 810,000 required hospitalization and 61,000 died.

Yet life in the republic went on. The economy didn’t crater. Major events weren’t canceled, travelers traveled. Media outlets reported the numbers but didn’t wig out over them. Around half of Americans didn’t bother to take the vaccine.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Coronavirus: What Should You Think?


What you should think about the coronavirus depends, of course, on your chief concern.

If, for example, like the prognosticators in the financial press, you have your eye on the stock market, and if you have no near-term need for cash, you should not sell out – not at this stage, with the market down well over 20% – even though the epidemic will almost certainly get worse and take stock prices down further. For one thing is virtually certain. When the crisis begins to pass, the market will anticipate further good news and bounce back dramatically; and, when the economy subsequently picks up, prices will climb further. Instead of selling now and losing your shirt, you should be patient. The likelihood that you can time the market precisely is exceedingly slim.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About Those Other Immunocompromised People?


While much is being made of the course of COVID-19 in Italy, it is worth remembering a couple of things as we focus our efforts in the United States. It appears that the same disease which we are now encountering found a very different population and medical readiness in Italy.

1. Italy has been committing demographic suicide for decades. Italy is down to 1.3 live births per woman. A major author wrote a decade ago that the big Italian family was a myth today, that an Italian child is most likely to grow up with no siblings and only one first cousin. So, it should be no surprise that Italy’s median age is already over 47. That is, Italy was already vulnerable to a disease that especially threatens the elderly because that is where their population has been shifting. The same holds for much of Europe.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Addressed the Nation, Suspending Travel from Europe


The White House Live page posted the live address announcement, with a link to their YouTube channel. President Trump addressed the nation and also issued a travel suspension on Europe, excluding the U.K. He spoke into the camera from the Oval Office for ten minutes, sticking closely to his prepared remarks. He spoke seriously of both the threat and our nation’s resources to respond to the threat. He did not speak as an authoritarian ruler, instead of revealing that most of the actions he wishes to take require the assent, the action of the legislature. This is as it should be under our Constitution.

I took away the following highlights, and have posted the entire short address text below:*


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why Are Americans Less Mobile Than Ever?


Settlers in the New World didn’t stick to the coasts. The history of the American experience has been one of mobility, particularly westward. “Go West, young man!” and all that.

But not anymore. First, Americans aren’t moving as much generally as they used to. In 2018, fewer than 10 percent of us changed residence within the past year, half of the level of the 1980s.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ridiculing Joe Biden


Any conservatives worth their salt know about the despicable behavior of Joe Biden over the last 50 years: he has lied, touched women inappropriately, misused the power of his office, railroaded Justice Clarence Thomas in his Congressional hearings, and attacked voters. Under the spotlight of the 2020 campaign, his flaws are even more obvious, particularly his verbal gaffes, confusion and other attributes of potential dementia, as described in Brian Watt’s excellent post.

But in our discussions of Joe Biden, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, not about criticisms of Joe Biden from the past, but the efforts to humiliate, ridicule, and shame him for his actions and behaviors during the campaign. Especially notable are shows like “The Next Revolution” on Fox News, which had a segment (preceded by a cartoon of Biden dressed as a clown) with a series of his gaffes. I dislike Joe Biden, but this segment made me very uncomfortable.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Transcending our Illusions


“We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in their place.” — Daniel Boorstin

Trying to get an honest perspective on our lives can be a most difficult venture. You’ll notice that I didn’t call for our seeing reality clearly; every single person’s reality is unique to himself/herself. In fact, I’d argue that there is no objective reality, at least not one that we can perceive and agree upon.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump’s Efforts to Protect American Workers from Coronavirus [Update 11 March]


President Trump made a preparatory announcement Monday evening that he would have a major address tomorrow on dramatic steps to support hourly wage earners, to ensure no one will have to choose between earning food and rent versus practicing good public health by staying home if they start to get sick. This, and the rest of the presentation led by Vice President Pence, conveyed seriousness and competence.

We were reminded again that young, healthy people are at greater risk of death by flu than coronavirus. AND. Young people need to be good family and friends, protecting their vulnerable elders by proper basic public health discipline. The task force promised clear, simple, specific written guidance for every American.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Playing Politics with Coronavirus


Stories of the rapidly escalating responses to coronavirus (COVID-19) dominate the news cycle. There is an increasing number of cases throughout the United States, and many major events have been postponed or canceled, such as the South by Southwest festival in Austin and the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. Many institutions have canceled non-essential travel and public health officials are recommending that people with weak immune systems stay home. Purell dispensers are proliferating in public places, and there have even been modest runs on food supplies and toilet paper.

At this time, the total cost of the combined responses is assuredly in the trillions, and these costs vastly outstrip the number of deaths worldwide from the coronavirus. The New York Times is presently reporting (and constantly updating) a total of 545 confirmed cases across 34 states and DC with 22 total deaths—surely a low estimate of the total prevalence of the disease. By way of comparison, the CDC reports that this year’s U.S. flu season saw between 34 and 50 million infections, between 350 thousand and 620 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 20 thousand and 52 thousand flu deaths. (The wide range of these estimates is due to difficulty estimating the number of flu cases that go undetected through what the CDC terms “influenza surveillance.”)


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Curious Cases of Judge Walton


A senior judge on the United States District of Columbia court is desperate to keep the Russia hoax alive, and is actively interfering in the 2020 election under false color of law, or is that what is really going on? Credit where credit is due. I am no fan of the Wall Street Journal, having ended my subscription well over a decade ago. Even given that the editorial board is still somewhat distinct from the news sections, it was truly remarkable that they would publish an editorial, under their name, condemning a federal judge’s attack on Attorney General Barr. Is the judge a fool, a partisan hack, or true believer?

Judge Walton’s Political Aside
He gets his facts wrong in a broadside against unpopular Bill Barr.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 30 Deaths a Day: Time to Panic!


Yes, my fellow Americans, thirty of us a day are succumbing to a pandemic! It is an outrage that our government has failed to end this slow-rolling catastrophe, even with decades of warnings by experts! Major corporations and governments at every level should show immediate leadership by ending all events that expose Americans to this deadly threat!

Here is the official government warning:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We’re All Afraid


Fear is a normal state in human beings. At one time another, we’ve all experienced it. Soldiers know fear when they dive from bullets; some of us know fear when we need to drive on black ice; others experience fear when our children are seriously ill. We’ve all known fear.

Fear should also be a temporary state. It heightens our senses and awareness to notice when our safety or well-being is threatened; once the emergency passes, however, our bodies, for the most part, should return to a “normal state,” which is different for each person.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Bat for a Mitt


So, there I was in my dream last night…

…slowly walking, intrigued, down this brightly lit hallway. Bright, but in rich, soft focus. Ethereal, really. So, naturally, when I came upon a door that read “This Is Your Fate,” my heart jumped as did my feet towards the door. And…


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: A Conversation With Vice President Mike Pence


This week, Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson travels to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the nation’s capital for a special one-on-one interview with Vice President Mike Pence. In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss Senator Bernie Sanders’s statements about Fidel Castro, the killing of Iranian major general Qassim Soleimani, the current situation in Venezuela, the US relationship with China, the effect of the Trump tax cuts, the growing popularity of socialism amongst the nation’s youths, and yes, the formation of the Space Force. I end the interview by asking the vice president to speculate on his and President Trump’s chances for re-election this fall (spoiler alert: he likes them).


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. More Fevered Calculations: Working the Coronavirus Numbers


In all the hype and happy talk around the latest coronavirus to cross over to humans, keep an eye on this number in America: 498,000. That is the number of people this novel coronavirus will have to infect to cause as many deaths as the annual, seasonal flu. I tried to make sense of the numbers around notorious coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, in a post about a week ago now.

I now note that the presidential proclamation, suspending travel from certain countries, referred to COVID-19 as “SARS-CoV-2.” The CDC page explains the reason for the changing names. This prompted another look at the numbers, with this math-challenged scribbler doing a bit of stubby pencil, back-of-the-envelope figuring. Check my math as I work through the numbers; hopefully it is better than Ma and Pa Kettle’s.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Critic Series #37: Network


So what kind of society is the TV society? Paddy Chayefksy’s Network suggests it’s one where everything from news to terrorism becomes a fantasy for us to consume, safely, if stranded, in front of our screens. One where human beings are reduced to humanoids. At the end of the age when TV matters, it’s good to look at its beginnings–we might recognize social media as the last form TV takes. For the audience interested in the conversation, my friend Telly Davidson has a book on media and politics, Culture War.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Schumer Should Apologize – Sincerely This Time – for Supreme Court Tirade


“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Thus did Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) address a crowd in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday morning. It was impossible to miss the implication that Schumer was menacing two Supreme Court justices by name with unpleasant if vague consequences, leading Chief Justice John Roberts to issue a rare public rebuke:

Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.


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


“Because our politics has always rewarded those who can successfully claim the mantle of the outsider—now even more than usual—the temptation to approach our institutions antagonistically, or to avoid them altogether, has grown very strong. When we look for solutions, we tend to look not to institutions but to individuals, movements, ideals, or maverick outsiders.” — Yuval Levin, A Time to Build

The preference for the “outsider” is more dominant than ever: that’s probably the reason Donald Trump was elected. He was not only an outsider to the federal government but an outsider to any kind of government. And people were looking for a person who had no ties to government programs or agendas, and who was prepared to stir up the swamp; in many ways, that’s just what Donald Trump promised and what he has done.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who’s Responsible for Educating the Public about COVID-19?


My husband went to get his hair cut this morning. His hairdresser — ahem, barber — is an 80-year-old woman originally from Cuba. And a lefty. I don’t know how the conversation started, but she was beside herself about the coronavirus. Of course, it was Trump’s fault, he was mismanaging the whole situation, what in the world was Pence doing managing the emergency team — you get the drift. She was on her way to get hand purifier (which is probably not in the stores anymore) and masks (which she may never need and won’t work). My husband tried to calm her by telling her the facts. She was not interested; after all, as much as she likes my husband, he’s a member of enemy forces!

Wednesday night, Fox News ran the latest press conference given by Pence’s team, not only providing up-to-date information on the virus, advising pre-cautionary measures to take, and answering stupid questions from the press, but promising to update the public regularly. Unfortunately, the conference was only broadcast on Fox News and CNN. I don’t know who will continue to broadcast these presentations.