Biden: “There’s at Least One Gender”


Disingenuousness is the lifeblood of political lifers, but for Joe Biden, it’s the very air he breathes. How could it be otherwise given the impossible task of appeasing his party’s wild-eyed woke base without alienating those Democrats – namely, African Americans – who still have at least one foot tethered to reality?

Asked how many genders there are at a campaign stop in Iowa, the former vice president answered, “At least three,” which is an improvement, I suppose, on “At least one.” When pressed to elaborate, he replied, “Don’t play games with me, kid.” What’s striking – and endearing – about this last comment is its staggering cynicism. To the young college student who asked the question, gender isn’t a game: it’s an all-consuming obsession. So transparently cynical are Biden’s pseudo-appeals to millennials that I wouldn’t be surprised if his answer to the question “Can men get pregnant?” is “Sure, yeah, why not.”


What Part of “Self-Government” Do You Not Understand?!


PowerLine blog points to an excellent video, “Deplorables,” that highlights that the populist movement that elites so decry is really about the need to wrestle the power from the self-appointed and deliver it to the people’s choice. The video looks at the political earthquakes that Brexit and Trump represented in 2016. But such is the strength of the swells that both Britain and America continue to fight for implementation of the people’s choice.

I am not sure that the resistance in both Britain and America understand how deeply offensive their reaction is to legitimate democratic processes. Maybe they are living so cosily in their intellectual bubbles that they cannot see it. I can only pray that when the next national referendum (or whatever stands in for one) in each country occurs, that the elites get another, more sound, drubbing.


If the World Doesn’t Revolve Around Me Then Burn it Down


In the July 29, 2019 issue of NR-on-dead-tree, James Lileks riffed on the following headline from The Philadelphia Inquirer:

To end fatphobia, we need to dismantle Western civilization, says Philly therapist Sonalee Rashatwar


Autumn Colors: The Utter Confusion of Agnes the Orange


The Utter Confusion of Agnes the Orange

Agnes looks low upon her flat sides.
“How did I ever get to be orange?”
She is baffled by seasonal tides.

Agnes had thought she had green insides.
Now her color is warmer in tinge.
Agnes looks low upon her flat sides.


Quote of the Day: Winning and Losing


“Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi

With a new election coming up we can see plenty of illustrations of this principle – with both parties.


Reviewing a Book I Haven’t Read


A real problem with the Amazon review section is that people can review a book even before it is released. This is particularly true of books by conservative authors. One star reviews flood the page before and shortly after such books are released. Obviously many people who didn’t read the books are reviewing them. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, it’s dishonest to review a book you haven’t read.

But it sure is tempting to post an Amazon review about the book intended to smear Brett Kavanaugh (though perhaps unsuccessfully), The Education of Brett Kavanaugh by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. If I were to write a review, it might be something like this:


The Forgotten Flight Remembered: The Story of UTA Flight 772


From the mid-1980s to early 1990s, I worked in Chad, Africa, for Esso Exploration. There was a lot of oil there and Esso had a group of ten geologists — me being one of them — who rotated to Chad on a 21-21 tour. We worked on the drilling rigs looking for oil and describing the reservoir. In September 1989, two of my best friends — who were also members of the ten — had just finished up a well and one of them was at the end of his tour. Mark was one of those men, and his best friend, Charlie, was the other. Going home after a 21-day rotation after working long hours on a rig was something we all looked forward to. Mark was pestering Charlie to fly back with him (Charlie still had a week to go on his rotation) because the rig was moving and it would be a week or two before we would be ready to drill another well, but Charlie decided to stay to finish up the office paper work.

That decision still haunts him to this day.




One of the many depressing features about this election cycle is the absence of James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column, which would print haikus whenever a presidential candidate dropped out of the race.

Friday morning, New York City mayor and noted groundhog assassin Bill de Blasio dropped out (no doubt another victim of the unstoppable Joe Sestak juggernaut). This has some personal meaning for me. As you might guess from the profile picture, the groundhog is my spirit animal: I’m hairy, I’m from Pennsylvania, and I look funny when I run. Anyway, in the spirit of Mr. Taranto:


Pro-Growth War?


Anti-China hawks in the US are eager for a New Cold War that would disentangle the two mega-economies, especially their technology sectors. They see the inevitable economic disruption as a necessary evil to bolster US national security. And there might be even a partially beneficial economic offset if a slice of Asian manufacturing returns to American shores.

But some nationalists are more optimistic about the potential economic gains from escalating the current trade conflict into something broader. According to this view, the New Cold War would pit the two economies in a high-stakes competition for technological supremacy — and thus geopolitical dominance — in the 21st century. The sense of urgency would force each side to marshal all of their resources and talent in pursuit of victory. Space Race, meet the AI race. The resulting scientific advances and tech innovation would boost both economies. And with prosperity rising, neither side would risk the cold war turning into a hot one.


How to Build a Computer 37: CVD II, This Time It’s Personal


Last time, if you’ll recall, I discussed the basic idea of a chemical vapor deposition system, and described how you’d use it to deposit silicon onto your wafer. Today we’re following rather directly from that post, where we answer some important questions. Questions like “What if I don’t want to put down silicon? What other things can you offer me?” Well, for starters

SiCl4(g) + 2H2(g) + O2(g) —> SiO2(s) + 4HCl(g) ~900 C


Quote of the Day: One Standard


“The truth is most conservatives are fine accepting apologies for dumb stuff said or done years ago. Unfortunately, liberals refuse to forgive conservatives so we have no choice but to do the same to you. It doesn’t have to be this way. We only ask for one standard.” – Chris Barron (2019-09-18)

It’s not from an extremely famous figure (he is a Fox Business contributor). It’s not an extremely pithy one-liner. In that tweet, however, you have the summary for so much of the current situation in the GOP.


Crystals the Color of Sweat and Blood


I was a minor rock hound — a rock pup, if you will — in my youth. Nothing serious, a small collection, only a few spectacular finds of my own, the rest either dull or store-bought. I liked crystals. But not as “wellness” aids. The folklore surrounding minerals, including their medicinal use, is part of their history. Still, I found myself mildly disappointed by the degree to which even geology shops treated the folklore as true.

Apparently, “wellness” claims for rocks have only gotten worse — er, I mean, more popular — since I was a young rock hound. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, has gifted the world with Goop, like crystal-enhanced water bottles! Yoni eggs! (Warning: these eggs NSFW.) Rose quartz, with its soft pink hue, is particularly popular for “wellness.” Fair-trade certification, which is supposed to guarantee humane treatment of workers, is also popular in wellness products. But — and it’s a big but — most “wellness” crystals are far from fair trade. That pretty rose quartz is the color of sweat and blood.


My Music Contribution for the Week: Hard Times of Old England


Steeleye Span is one of my most favorite groups, and they have been around since the 1970s. For some unknown reason, their rendition of Hard Times of Old England has been playing on my internal tape today. So, I wandered through YouTube, looking for something the Ricochetti might like. There are the usual, just cuts from an album with audio only, or audio and still photos. But I found this unusual recording from 1984. I’m sorry the sound level isn’t what it could be, but the video is pretty cool!


QOTD: A One-Woman Positivity Machine


There is a fountain of youth: it is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. — Sofia Villani Scicolone

And there is much more from the young woman who once competed in the Miss Italia competition (shown at right). She won the title of Miss Elegance 1950, and she returned to the pageant fifty-one years later to crown the winner for 2001.


Thirteen Ideas on Breaking Writer’s Block


Last week on the Ricochet podcast, it seemed that Peter Robinson (@peterrobinson) was suffering from a bout of writer’s block. It made him irritable and had him implying that those writers who didn’t suffer from it might have ridden to their parents’ weddings on bicycles.

I have more than a bit of experience with writer’s block. Half my vanity-project books are unfinished due to it. (Either that, or because I came to my senses and realized those dogs were never gonna hunt.) As part of one project from my past, I started cataloging and categorizing bits of advice that I had for writers, especially poets. In that catalog are thirteen tips for dealing with writer’s block.


Where are Hillsdale’s Touted Conservative Students?


I’ve been hanging around Hillsdale’s campus for nearly a month now. I’ve enjoyed watching workers put the finishing touches on Christ Chapel, which is due to be dedicated by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on October 3rd during the 175th Gala celebration of Hillsdale’s founding. I also attended the Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) seminar on Understanding China. As you might expect, the CCA is where you meet the best of America in the speakers, attendees, and ideas. For example, I was able to greet and sit next to Ricochet contributor Professor and Mrs. Rahe at the closing address by Steven Mosher. I often say, being in Hillsdale is like going on a religious pilgrimage. It lifts you up and gives you hope, this little outpost of Western civilization.

In answer to my title question, I would guess Hillsdale’s conservative students are busy studying and excelling in faith, athletics, music, and the visual arts. But, the one place they’re missing is The Collegian newspaper opinion pages. 


The Real Difference Between Ahmari & French (I think…)


I thought I was taking a risk by ignoring the ongoing “debate” between Sohrab Ahmari and David French over the last few months. After watching their recent debate at Catholic University, I feel much better about my willful ignorance.

Warren Buffet often says the challenge with investing is to wait patiently for the right pitch to come, even when people in the stands are yelling,”swing, you idiot!” My sense is that French is the guy at bat and Ahmari is the guy in the stands yelling in exasperation. I guess the punditry would be like two sports commentators trying to tease out a game strategy based on that guy’s outburst. It was difficult to identify two positions and I think that’s because there weren’t two different views, certainly not competing visions of the future of conservatism.


Jesus is Approved


VERONA, Wis. – A religious lunch program for high school students is officially expanding to Verona.
On Wednesday night, the Verona Parks Board approved a request for the Jesus Lunch program to host meetings at Harriet Park for the next six Wednesdays. The program will pay a fee to use the space.

Board members said religious groups have reserved the park for events in the past, so the request is not unusual. The Middleton Jesus Lunch program sparked student protests three years ago because it happened so close to the high school. The program provides a free lunch to high school students while sharing a biblical message.


Do You Remember What Journalism Looks Like?


I’m having a hard time recalling. In pursuit of nailing Brett Kavanaugh and selling some books, some New York Times reporters have shed any semblance of honesty. You know the story by now: They wrote a teaser article for the paper about an unreported assault on the part of Justice Kavanaugh thirty years ago, neglecting to mention a key detail: the “victim” has no memory of it! That seems like a pretty crucial fact, and it wouldn’t have come to light without Mollie Hemingway blowing the lid off of story.

The authors of this new anti-Kavanaugh book sat down for an interview today, and whoa boy, they likely had no idea what they were signing up for. This is how it was teased:


Could Leprosy Make a Comeback in LA?


Icon of Jesus healing the ten lepers.
In the name of public health, California’s Democratic leaders have banned mundane modernities like papaya-flavored vape pods and plastic straws. Meanwhile, they rigorously ignore public health nightmares more common to the medieval era. The sprawling homeless camps of Los Angeles are linked to rat infestations, sewage-strewn streets, and typhus.

The latest health warning from the CDC warns that an even older disease threatens the City of Angels: leprosy. Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine and medical director at Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health, shared his concerns at The Hill:


The Cure for Vanity


I found a quotation by Tom Wolfe about vanity: “The surest cure for vanity is loneliness.” I think he’s right; if we have no one to see us or hear us or flatter us, we can simply be who we are.

Speaking of “being who we are,” at times I envy women who have no interest in make-up or primping themselves for others or even for themselves; their lives are simpler. No budgeting money for make-up, hairstyle stuff, skin toners, wrinkle remover products—just being their natural selves. No time needed for putting all that stuff on or taking it off.


Pogrebin and Kelly: The Problem of Moral Orphans


An elderly priest I knew years ago had an impressive scholarly background in moral theology and philosophy. Despite that wealth of sophisticated moral reference points, he told me even at his advanced age his first consideration in matters of morals and conscience was still whether it was the kind of thing his parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings would do or approve.

His example is very human and normal—in a healthy society. Ideally, each child would have parents who are part of a community of parental peers who inculcate a shared set of reference points that guide us such that we rarely need a formal overlay of explicit rules. We know what is right and wrong by example and intuition. My mother knew that when I hopped on my bike to go off for hours at a time. If I got into mischief that (a) other adults would intervene and that (b) she would hear about it. More importantly, I knew that too.


I Treat Bob in Portland While I Drink Beer in a Bar in Naples


Criminently! I’ve ruined my post by giving out too much information in its title. Now there’s not much to add.

Well, now that I’m down here, I might as well flesh it out a bit.


Status and Statutes of Limitation


Barr Omar and EllisonIt is likely that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar got to this country at age 12 as a matter of immigration fraud by her father, got her citizenship at age 17 as a result of her father’s further immigration fraud, and committed immigration fraud herself in a sham marriage to a biological brother who wanted status in this country. AND. None of this, because of the way the laws are written, will likely result in her being stripped of her citizenship or facing any federal charges. What we can and should expect is a high profile public briefing by Attorney General Barr, laying out the facts and the law and, very importantly, tying the facts of this case to the massive fraud perpetrated on American citizens by Somali “refugees.” Attorney General Barr should then tie the massive fraud to our government agencies and to supposedly do-gooder non-governmental organizations, several with Christian churches in their names. In so doing, Barr should also address the way this past fraud has been revived and multiplied at our southern border.

Ilhan Omar likely got to this country at age 12 as a matter of immigration fraud by her father.