Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Tis the Season for Evictions [Updated]

 

justice and COVID-19Mitch and the Gang, along with the leader* of the House Republican’ts, happily played Grinch to all but their paymasters in the corporate elites. They continued to willfully extend the pain and harm to all the Americans they not so secretly hate for electing President Trump twice. The forgotten Americans must be shoved back down the memory hole if the GOPe is to rise again to its lucrative faux leadership role. So, the uncounted Americans facing eviction from home or loss of a small business got only a Life Saver pealed off from a Life Savers® roll into their stocking.

The federal moratorium on home evictions was only extended to the end of January 2021. It was to be left to the 2021 Democrat-controlled new House and Senate to leverage the government-created personal and business debt crisis into a leftist bloodless revolution. Thankfully, President Trump has effectively vetoed this insult to non-elite Americans. He should do more than demand $2,000 per person; he should answer more of the pork-barrel with a non-partisan populist demand for government to assume some of the private debt imposed by government edict.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

 

For those of you who read one of my most recent posts and assumed I’ve reached some peace of mind, you are only partially right. Answers to my questions have raised new questions. More than anything, I worry about my husband’s health; he has a lung condition and is 74.

If you haven’t read the post, I will summarize here:

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

 

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans—and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused—and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” – Sigrid Undset

December 26 is Boxing Day. Although it is mainly regarded as the day for after-Christmas sales, traditionally it is the day when gifts were presented by the fortunate to the needy. Today’s quote, especially after yesterday’s exchange of presents, reminds us of the gifts we have received unasked that are of the greatest value. Take a little time today to reflect on our good fortune in being alive to enjoy the gifts of living on our good Earth.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We Share So Much

 

Several days ago, a dear friend asked me if there was anything meaningful to me about Christmas; she asked with hesitation, since she’s Catholic and knows I’m Jewish and we are close friends. I took my time answering her, wanting to be respectful and loving in my response. And so I said, of course: we all want peace and goodwill at this time of year.

In fact, this year as Christians and Jews, secular and religious, we share more in common than we have differences. When we have losses, we all feel pain and desolation; when others have losses, we remind them that we love and care for them. We all want people to be safe from disease and difficulties. We all want to have joy in our lives, healthy and happy families, warm friendships, and lives of meaning.

We share some of the same aspirations: to learn something new, to explore a new environ, to walk freely without limitations. We want to be free of fear, where we can see each other smile and give each other hugs (except for those of you who don’t do hugs). We even share some of the same frustrations: locked up in our homes, locked out of our churches, many of us pray for each other. We know what it feels like to be isolated and distant. And we aspire to the time when we will be free to be together again.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Covid Adventure

 

In early December, I got Covid – the Wuhan Flu, ChiCom Fever. This is the disease that has California and New York locked down. The one that has us cowering in fear. (That’s not a joke. I have several otherwise-sane friends, who are locking themselves in the house, venturing out only when they have to. Two are MENSA members.)

What was it like? Are you ready?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Some Curmudgeonly Christmas Cheer

 

I’m spending my Christmas alone at my house this year. Thanks to my nephew, I got COVID and no one wants me over. (Actually, I am over it now and exited quarantine yesterday. I’ll write about it this weekend, but have not had time during the week, due to working a new job.)

So, I decided to share some Christmas cheer. This is for all the curmudgeons on Ricochet.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Saran Wrap Can Kill You

 

“I think there are a lot of things out there that are humorous that people don’t realize until you actually show them what is going on. Saran Wrap for one thing. You know, you could pull enough of that out of the box and it will actually kill you. It will get a hold of you, stick to you, and choke you to death.” — Tim Conway

I’m a sucker for physical humor: Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies, Jim Carrey (in his early days), Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Carol Burnett — they all crack me up. But Tim Conway stands at the top of my list.

I think slapstick or silly comedy gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s unsophisticated. Yes, it’s not for everyone. But to watch a person who projects a sweetness or naivete, yet has me falling on the floor with laughter, that person has a remarkable gift.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will There Ultimately be Justice?

 

I’m one of those dinosaurs who actually cares about the truth. I despise people who lie, and especially people who lie and think there’s nothing wrong with it.

For a long time, my friends have told me that in politics, lying is baked in the cake. I refuse to accept that lying must be accepted in politics, but I guess I have to expect that there are people who say it’s a necessary evil.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Obsessed with Media Abuse

 

What does it mean to be obsessed with the media? Some of my friends have declared their liberation from following media because it is so outrageous: biased, distorting, and discouraging. They find they have become obsessed with what is happening in this country, and that obsession leads to dysfunction and unhappiness. It’s not that I don’t understand what they mean, but recently I noticed that the intensity of my own obsession is lessening, and I’m feeling just a little less stressed about the future of this country, so I thought I’d share the reasons I think I’m feeling less anxious. First, let me define my definition of being obsessed with the media:

Obsession is a compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety; a compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion. In pathology, a constant brooding upon any subject, such as the thought of death, until the mind becomes dominated by that one idea.

You can decide if any or all of these definitions apply to you; at one time or another, I have to admit they still apply to me. It’s not a positive, constructive way to live one’s life. When I am in an obsessed state, everything else seems to take a backseat. So, at some level, I think I’ve made up my mind to at least spend less time in that state. Here are some of the steps I’ve taken to move me in a healthy direction:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Tales of the Birth of Legends

 

One day humans may colonize other stellar systems. When Those colonies will have their own histories. They will also have their own founding legends. These may be based on history, but branch off into lessons to be taken from the tales. In our world Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Jean Lafitte were historical individuals. Legends about them differ, often radically, from their actual histories.

“The Founder Effect,” edited by Robert E. Hampson and Sandra L. Medlock illustrates this. It is a collection of stories about a possible first colonization effort by humans of another stellar system. The stories are less about what happens than about how the happenings create future legends and controversy.

“The Founder Effect,” is more a sequential novel written by different authors than an anthology. Individual episodes are independent, but linked by a common background. Earth sends a colony ship to a distant star known to have at least three Earth-like planets. One planet is within the habitable zone. A second is on the fringes. Ten thousand colonists will be sent by a slower-than-light colony ship. Cryostasis, the ability to put humans into hibernation via cold sleep, is used to allow colonists to make the trip.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

 

Music isn’t important to me. I like songs that have words that I can hear and that make sense. I enjoy music well enough, but I’m almost completely ignorant of it and my interest is modest, and mostly in the lyrics. I particularly like ballads. I’ve attended five concerts in my life, and four of them were Billy Joel; that’s about my speed.

But my limited social life includes most weekends, an evening hanging out at a backyard fire pit with friends and relatives. Music and adult beverages are an essential part of that event (though I stick to seltzer since I’m the designated driver and drink only at home). Their musical tastes are fairly eclectic, including a lot of bands I’ve never heard of and songs I don’t know, but toward the end of the night we typically switch to old favorites – the nights usually end with patriotic songs, more often than not country-western, a genre I generally like.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Communists and Anti-Communists

 

“How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” – Ronald Wilson Reagan

Communism only works on the household level. The traditional family is run as a communist society: from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs. In a functional family, it succeeds and succeeds powerfully. Dad and Mom provide the resources and distribute them as needed. The children grow up to be productive adults.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Greatness of America, Part III: Fighting for this Country

 

In my first post, I demanded that the Left stop their actions which are intended to destroy this country . In my second post, a partial list of America’s contributions to the world followed, given that the Left is determined to shame us and discredit those contributions with lies and the re-writing of our history. In this final post, I will declare what actions I am taking to call out the devastation that the Left plans for this country and steps I will take to strengthen those who are being left behind.

I will not engage in your (the Left’s) rhetoric. It’s become abundantly clear that you are not interested in learning the error of your ways; you much prefer to operate in a self-styled echo chamber. Fortunately, for those who oppose you, we will watch you busy yourselves in encouraging each other, so that you are unlikely to notice our ignoring your declarations. You will be speaking only to your co-conspirators, not to those of us who realize the destruction you are trying to wreak. Eventually you may notice that when you look around you, no one but your friends are with you. The rest of us are aligning with each other to save this country.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Greatness of America, Part II: Technology, Medicine and Science

 

If you read my first post on The Greatness of America, you know that I am on a mission. It is multi-faceted and is designed to fight the Left’s efforts to destroy our souls, to brainwash us into false thinking, and to breed a hatred in us for America. They’ve made inroads in their efforts as they try to intimidate us on social media, destroy our confidence, and endlessly condemn this country. We must refuse to accept their efforts and powerfully push back. To follow this theme, I am going to extol the many accomplishments that America has developed and contributed to the world. This post will focus on the technological and scientific; it is only a primer. So, I ask everyone to contribute more developments to the list.

Only a partial list of medical advances by Americans is overwhelming. Just to list a few, we developed use of ether as a general anesthetic during surgery (1849); five different vaccines—cholera, anthrax, rabies, typhoid fever, and plague—were developed between 1879 and 1897; the heart-lung machine used in open-heart surgery (1935); first polio vaccine (1955); first vaccine for pneumonia (1977); a rough draft of the human genome (2000); and many other developments, all produced by scientists in America. Let’s not forget the amazing Operation Warp Speed that has created several vaccines for COVID-19 at a speed never seen before.

Most of our modern conveniences were developed in this country. Railroads, telephones, telegraph, and cars. We only need to look at the many projects of Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, John Roebling, and Charles Steinmetz to see the multiple technological developments. Television, radio, and telecommunications platforms are ubiquitous in our times. And let’s not forget our labor-saving devices, many developed or improved upon by Americans: the modern washing machine, a modern sewing machine, modern vacuum cleaners.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Blame Legislators, not Supreme Court Justices

 

Ballot boxDon’t blame the Supreme Court for the cowardice or complicity of the fools and knaves who populate far too many of our legislatures. From the federal to the local level, legislatures have been cowering behind the other two branches of government, notably since the end of the “15 days to slow the spread” of a new strain of respiratory virus. Long before then, Republicans at the federal, state, and county legislative levels have largely failed to positively assert the virtue of protecting real voters against the real disenfranchisement of ballot-box stuffing, in all its forms. They have, with exceptions like Ohio and Florida, to name two of a few good examples, failed to zealously protect the franchise at the core of our republic’s continuing viability. So, it is state-level Republican’ts, abetted by the United States congressional delegations of Republican’t fools and knaves, who have created the mess that courts are now being asked to clean up, without the proper political backing.

John Fund and Hugh Hewitt, neither one a conspiracy theorist or fringe media person, both wrote serious books on the entirely real problem of voter fraud in our nation. They both published their books on this topic in 2004, shocked into action by the 2000 presidential election debacle. John Fund wrote Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. Hugh Hewitt wrote If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It. That same year, historian Tracy Campbell published Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition-1742-2004 (on loan at archive.org). Fund followed up in 2012 with a co-authored book going further into the subject: Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk. His warning then:

While Americans frequently demand observers and best practices in the elections of other countries, we are often blind to the need to scrutinize our own elections. We may pay the consequences in 2012 if a close election leads us into pitched partisan battles and court fights that will dwarf the Bush-Gore recount wars.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dan Rather Medals for News and Guts

 

I see that the University of Texas has inaugurated a journalism award named after Dan Rather. For those too young to remember, Dan Rather is infamous for attempting — unsuccessfully — to sway the 2004 Presidential race in favor of Democratic candidate John Kerry by launching a smear attack against Republican candidate President George W. Bush based on an obviously fraudulent document allegedly produced in the 1970s but in fact created using Microsoft Word.

In a similar spirit, I’d like to suggest a few more honors the learned folk at UT might like to bestow.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Science Is Clear: End the Lockdowns

 

Our response to the Covid pandemic continues to be incoherent and ineffective. No matter how many interstate comparisons prove that lockdowns confer no permanent benefit, no matter how much economic devastation we endure and how many lives are ruined, we soldier on, refusing to learn from experience.

Our panic-driven approach was originally in reaction to an apparent overall death rate of 3% and the need to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. But we now know that 82 studies worldwide have found a median death rate of 0.2% of all those infected by Covid and supplemental hospital units were mothballed.

Even more encouraging, the virus is not equally threatening to all. The mortality rate for people over 70 is 1000 times greater than for children, who are almost totally protected. In fact, over twice as many children have died from seasonal flu this year than from Covid.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: You Don’t Have to Burn Books

 

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” —Ray Bradbury

For as long as I can remember, books were my closest companions. They took me to exotic countries and taught me about the cultures and the people who lived there. They invited me to go on mysterious investigations and introduced me to bizarre and silly creatures from another world and time. They became friends who let me tag along with them, play with them, and explore new ideas with them. In their presence, life would suddenly become intriguing and fun. There was always something new to learn.

Life would have been empty and lonely without them.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ‘Tis the Season for Bad Christmas Music

 

The Christmas season brings with it holiday music: some quite good, some not so good, and some wonderfully bad. Every wave of popular music brings with it eventual Christmas singles or albums. Singing stars, and others, seem drawn like the wise men following the star. Consider a few examples, but do set your beverage down before listening, as some are inadvertently merry and bright.

We start, of course, with disco. At the tail end of the disco craze, you could expect orchestras to show they are with it. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra did not disappoint, recording a medley, “Hooked on Christmas” in 1981. The Universal Robot Band released “Disco Christmas” in 1977, straddling street cred and sentiment. Then there were the combined efforts of various session musicians and disco labels. Salsoul released the 1976 album whose cover art you see here. I think the Salsoul OrchestraChristmas Medley” is better than the philharmonic attempt. All of these are better than the perhaps earnest attempt by Charo: “Mamacita, Donde este Santa Clause.” Then there is the album by Mirror Image, a group of studio musicians, turned out Disco Noël with “Silver Bells” as you’ve never heard it before:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Greatness of America: Part I

 

In my lifetime, I have never experienced such deceptive, malevolent, and destructive actions and behaviors from the Progressive Left. Maybe I was just naïve. Maybe their willingness to speak openly about their own devious behavior is how I’ve become enlightened. As a result, I am making demands of the Left that my government representatives, Senators and Congressmen, have been unwilling to make up until now.

But I take these stands, not with malevolence, but firm determination. I will not let you harden me or make me bitter. I will not descend to your level.

You must stop doing the following:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fannie and Freddie Revisited

 

The US Supreme Court heard the oral argument this month in Collins v. Mnuchin, a high-stakes case worth roughly $29 billion. The case was argued on terms that ordinary people would rightfully find utterly unintelligible. At stake was the legitimacy of the key features of the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that dominate the residential home mortgage market.

The bailout began in the frenzied days after the 2008 banking crisis. Initially, the federal government agreed to contribute more than $188 billion to the two companies in exchange for senior preferred stock that carried with it a 10 percent dividend, or $18.8 billion per year. That deal was not negotiated by the trustees of Fannie and Freddie, as they had been ousted from their positions by a conservator, Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which was given power to oversee the residential mortgage market. DeMarco had an obvious conflict of interest in making this deal because he was negotiating against the Department of Treasury, where he had been a senior official between 1993 and 2003.

The 2008 deal remained stable until August 2012, when DeMarco and Treasury renegotiated the transaction, such that the 10 percent dividend was eliminated in favor of a Net Worth Sweep (NWS) in the Third Amendment to the original deal. That NWS took all the dividends in perpetuity from both Fannie and Freddie and paid them into the federal treasury, leaving the companies with no cash, no liquidation preferences, and no voting rights, so that their only asset was a lawsuit against both FHFA and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a stand-in for the United States government.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How to Build a Computer 39: Epitaxy II: The Reckoning

 

I know y’all have been waiting eagerly with your wafer in the chamber, the temperature pumped down and your native oxide layer stripped off for me to finish this two-parter. Well, wait no longer! Okay, maybe wait some as you have to find a tank of dichlorosilane to hook up so you have something to epitax onto your wafer. Di-what now?

Dichlorosilane! Or Tri- or Tetra; really anything from SiH4 to SiCl4 works, though I’m told industry generally works with SiCl2H2. Alright, you pump in dichlorosilane gas and react it on the wafer and it puts silicon on top of your silicon. Neat, huh? That’s it! Join us fortnight next for —

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Vaccine Passports: A Terrible Idea

 

You would think by now that most countries would be trying to reduce the suffering and fear of their citizens regarding COVID-19. Instead, they are upping the ante, trying to make sure that future travelers will be subject to a new demand: proof that you’ve been vaccinated for the virus.

The idea of a “vaccine passport” is repugnant on so many levels: (1) people will not only have to take the vaccine at the demand of governments and airlines, but they will also have to show proof of vaccination; (2) bars, restaurants, and entertainment facilities could require proof for admittance to their facilities; (3) people will be divided into “insiders” and “outsiders”—those who have had the vaccine and those who have not; (4) and questions about whether current requirements must be continued, such as masks and social distancing and for how long will be debated, even after the vaccine has been distributed. Never mind the incursion on privacy.

Why should people have to have more government mandates forced on them? What will be the burden of documentation and the mismanagement of the information for travelers? We won’t know for a while about the effectiveness of the vaccine over time, and how long a person will be protected. We are learning more about the virus every day, but there are still many unanswered questions.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Clinging to the Science

 

When we say “science,” we are talking about a particular process used to answer a certain class of questions. The scientific method is formidable: we know of no more effective technique for understanding the natural world. The successes of science are countless and impressive, and provide incalculable benefit to mankind.

Prepending the definite article gives us “the science,” which refers to the products, the answers, obtained by the application of the methods of scientific pursuit.