No US Troops in Ukraine, Thank You Very Much


If you’ve listened to today’s flagship podcast, you know it got a bit spicy. (If you haven’t yet listened, you’re in for a treat.) To briefly recap, co-host @jameslileks noted his support for Ukraine. Our guest considered his support insufficient because he does not want the U.S. military sent into the war zone.

This critique struck many Ricochetti as odd since the public agrees with James by a large margin. A recent Reuters poll showed that only 26 percent want troops tromping about the Transdnieper. The guest said, no problem, because public opinion is “malleable” (shudder). After the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention general governmental incompetence over two decades, I suspect we are less malleable than expected.

Deep Dive into the Top Competitive Congressional Races (#1-#4)


by Daniel Brinkman and Jack LaMorte

When you try and find something on the GOP’s odds to retake the house really all you can find are 30,000-foot projections for the entire country or lists of the districts that are rated to be “toss-ups” by RealClear or Cook or 270ToWin. None of them bother to show their math as to how they came up with these lists (mostly they’re derived from a microdata read on the D/R/I splits into these districts or how the districts performed on a macro level last cycle) So my friend Jack and I decided to try and remedy that absence by researching each of these districts and talking about them individually as well as each race and both candidates. We are going to watch hours of their debates and appearances so you don’t have to!

Below are the first four that we researched. If you have greater information on any of these districts or races please let us know, we are confined to what we are able to research so if you are actually living these races or being bombarded with ads, please let us know what we got wrong or are off about.

The Preciousness of Relationships


We have all seen stories in recent years of adults “finding themselves” and then announcing to the world that they are really not who they had been before. In the wake of this disaster, trying not to drown in the turbulent waters, are countless wives, husbands, and children who have discovered that a parent’s need to be “true to myself,” is more important than the well-being of everyone else in their world. It is, of course, a tragedy of our age.

Relationships should be the most important thing we have. Not self-absorption. Not asking whether “we are comfortable in our bodies.” Not “living my best life,” or “living in the moment.” Relationships are how we grow, how we improve the world around us, how we best become fulfilled. And those relationships are in every direction: spouses, neighbors, G-d, children, strangers, etc.

Good People Do Bad Things


I mentioned in a member’s feed post recently that an extremely close friend of mine had recently committed suicide after being accused of downloading child porn.  I mentioned this to one of my daughters, and she said, “Gosh – that seems impossible.  He seemed like such a good person.

Now, again, he’s one of my closest friends, so naturally I’ll tend to defend him.  But I strongly disagreed with her in principle, as well, so I responded with a “Dad lecture” that my kids are probably used to at this point:  “What?  You think that good people don’t do bad things?  Is that what you think?  So good people do good things and bad people do bad things?  That’s it?  Look – that’s just not how the world works, kiddo.  That’s why James Bond movies seem so ridiculous – that’s how they’re written, and it doesn’t seem real.  Because it’s not.  Human nature is not as simple as that.  That’s the whole point of the Bible.  We’re all sinners, just doing the best we can.  C’mon.  That’s why it’s so important to resist the temptation to judge those who sin differently than you do.  Leave that to God.  Us mortals are all just sinners, doing the best we can.

I could hear her eye roll over the phone.  But whatever.

Recreating Worlds That I Have Lost


Today, September 30, 2022, is the fifteenth anniversary of my father’s death.  He’s been the genius behind a number of my posts, so today I thought I’d let him speak for himself.  Not (as has often been the case) as a Colonial Officer in Nigeria, somewhere between 1948 and 1963, but as a son and member of a remarkable family that’s left its imprint on us all:

After Charles Muffett [my Grandpa Muffett] married Mary Louise Stoddard in the chapel on Graham St on December 26, 1904, they spent their honeymoon in London, where they went to see Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windemere’s Fan (considered by mother to be very risqué!) They also witnessed a very large fire, with many engines deployed to put it out.  This made a very great impression on mother too.

As a woman earning her own living, although still living at home with her parents, Mary Louise Muffett (as she had now become) was, indeed, extraordinarily emancipated. She always claimed that she owned and wore the first pair of ‘bloomers’ in Birmingham, for she was a very keen cyclist and had attended “Professor Hubbard’s Academy for Young Lady Bicyclists” in Bingley Hall in order to learn how to mount and dismount with due modesty and decorum.

Quote of the Day: John Philip Sousa on Government-Subsidized Music


This quote comes from Sousa’s Memoirs, Marching Along.  He is describing what he found on a band tour of Europe in the year 1900.

I have the programmes of military band concerts given in the Luxembourg, the Palais Royal and other places [in Paris].  At the Luxembourg, Massenet contributes two numbers out of five, Delahaye one, Saintis one, and Weber is represented by a selection from his Freischutz.  At the Palais Royal there is not a foreign work on the programme.  Yet there must be some number in international musical literature that might have been dropped into the concert, if only to flavor it with the spice of exoticism, as it were.

The Rule of the Prince-Electors


During the Middle Ages, in the time of the Holy Roman Empire, there was a small group of men known as the Prince-Electors.  They, and only they, got to choose the next Emperor.  We have something kind of similar in America today.  There is a cluster of influential and would-be-influential people who fervently believe that–while they might not get to actually select the next President–they should have the authority to decide who may and who may not be considered for the Presidential role.  These Prince-Electors include national journalists, Ivy League professors and administrators, and high-level government officials.  Their primary means of action is via the control of communications channels.

A few days ago, Jon Gabriel linked a YouTube video of a 2019 speech by Giorgia Meloni, the newly-elected Prime Minister of Italy.  For at least 12 hours, that video showed a  message: “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.”   It now has been restored.  But the fact that a video platform would take it upon themselves to censor a speech by the elected leader of a major and generally-US-friendly country betrays an astonishing level of arrogance.  Although not surprising, given the recent history, including Twitter banning of Donald Trump and the Facebook suppression of stories about the Hunter Biden laptop–and much more.

‘Pro-Choice’ Was Always a Lie


Tweet from women's march reading "we're not just pro-choice. We are proudly, unapologetically pro-abortion"Today, the official Twitter account for the Women’s March (@womensmarch) tweeted what many of us in the pro-life movement have known for a long time: they are not pro-choice, they are “proudly, unapologetically pro-abortion” (emphasis added).

For years, the left has hidden behind the polite term “pro-choice,” arguing abortion is a solemn, serious medical decision best left up to a woman and her doctor. There was a time they said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” too. Both those arguments have been undermined by what the left actually does.

They wear t-shirts and vagina costumes and march in Handmaid’s outfits. They have abortion parades on television and invade Catholic masses. They burn crisis pregnancy centers and threaten to outlaw them with legislation. They’ve pushed for unrestricted abortion on demand, going so far as to attempt to codify abortion through all nine months of pregnancy at the federal level earlier this year. The Orwellian-titled “Women’s Health Protection Act” failed in the Senate, 49-51.

The Lonely Fisherman….


Is out there this afternoon as my wife and I await a bunch of rain tonight from Hurricane Ian. We rented a beach house at Emerald Isle, NC, for a month. We have been coming here for over 50 years, and in many ways, each visit gets better. Maybe it is just a layer of fresh paint on a fading memory, but it still shines.

The waves are churning with whitecaps as far as the eye can see. The birds are frantically feeding in the choppy surf. The fisherman has been out there almost all day long. I haven’t seen him catch anything but I admire his determination. He is casting a shiny lure into the wind and surf while wading into staggeringly treacherous footing.

Blasted Assumptions


Which came first, the pipeline failures or the explosions? Do not be too quick to answer, as our media, left, right, and populist have done. Some on the right seem to be playing the same game the American left played from the dawn of the Cold War to 2015. No one is blaming America for the world’s ills, no, just the corrupt capitalism warmongers, uhh, the forever war neocons and the powers behind President Biden.


Former PA Congressman Sentenced to Prison for Election Fraud


Michael “Ozzie” Myers was sentenced to 30 months in prison for election fraud.  Myers served less than one year in Congress, before he was expelled in 1980, in the ABSCAM scandal. He was the first congressman expelled from Congress since the Civil War.  Three guesses, and the first two don’t count, as to which political party Myers belongs to. Of course, he’s a Democrat.

Here’s the article in The Epoch Times today.  The current ballot-box-stuffing operation was actually pretty complex, with many fraudsters collaborating on it.  The article has a good description of his wrongdoing back in the 1970s, too.  This guy was evidently a practiced election rigger.

Our Own Band of Brothers


Have you ever noticed how the bands of a hurricane resemble the loving and expansive group of people who encircle and surround you through a storm? Many of us have had times in our lives when we’ve reached out to others when we feel threatened or vulnerable. Hurricanes can also inspire those emotions, but it has its own unique qualities.

Unlike an illness when we seek the comfort of others, we can often see the hurricane coming. It comes in small steps, often meandering its way from the African coast. Many of us who could potentially be in its path watch it with a cautious eye, and hope that it will dissipate or go in a different direction. And many times, like an untended flower, it complies.

This time is different. We knew that Hurricane Ian was coming, and hoped that like a few other times over the last 20 years, he would go on his merry way—somewhere else. It didn’t take long for us to realize that he would be showing up as an uninvited guest, and we would have to grudgingly prepare for him. So we did the extra shopping, checked the generator, filled the bathtub, and hunkered down. And as we watched the expanding bands of the enormous storm grow, we could see the bands of our relationships expand.

First Time Reading a Romance Novel


I’ve been trying to add some variety to my reading list lately, and it occurred to me that I had never read a romance novel. I asked my wife to recommend one, and she gave me The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn. One of the blurbs actually says, “If you’ve never read romance novels, start here.”

The characters are all British, and it takes place in New York during the Revolutionary War. Our leading lady has come to NY to look for her brother, an officer who was wounded and has gone missing. Instead, she finds his best friend, also a wounded officer, who is unconscious in a makeshift military hospital. In order to be allowed to stay with him, she lies and says that she is his wife, hence the book’s title. Of course, he eventually wakes up, and she has to decide whether to continue her deception or to risk everything by coming clean. Complications ensue.

America’s Severe Labor Shortage


Suddenly America is facing a severe structural labor shortage. We all feel it, whether we’re trying for reservations at a restaurant that has reduced hours, seeking handyman help, or just trying to get somebody to answer the dang phone.

Nurses and teachers are in short supply. Employers report at least two job openings for each job seeker. Beyond personal inconvenience, when workers produce fewer services and goods for dollars to chase, prices go up, and inflation results.

You can partly blame it on Covid. Politicians shut down much of the economy, then shoved trillions of dollars in “Covid relief fund” to those forced not to work.

Do Republicans Ever Fight Back?


While Republicans were dithering around, trying to figure out if they could stop Biden’s Executive Order for canceling student loan debt, a creative Libertarian identified a way to stop the legislation. Especially valuable was that he identified that he had standing to sue, which was anticipated as a major roadblock to this kind of challenge.

The EO should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Biden first mentioned it during his campaign and then in March 2020. Apparently, no one took him seriously:

Conservative groups have been threatening to challenge debt cancellation since Biden first aired the idea, saying it’s legally questionable and unfairly cancels student debt at the expense of Americans who didn’t attend college. One of the main challenges has been finding someone who faces personal harm as a result of Biden’s plan, giving them legal standing to sue.

“God Save the King!”


Sheet music of God Save the KingTwo hundred seventy-seven years ago, on September 28, 1745, the still relatively new kingdom of Great Britain was in disarray. The perfidious Scots (I think understanding a writer’s point-of-view is important, so I always try to make mine clear from the start) were in rebellion (again) and the Stuarts, in the person of Bonnie Prince Charlie (at best a vain and difficult man; at worst, perhaps, a coward and a despot) were revolting (again). George II’s reign was thought to be in jeopardy, banks and stocks were failing, and the country was in need of a symbol to unite it.

That evening, at Drury Lane theater, immediately following (best evidence seems to indicate), a performance of Ben Jonson’s play, The Alchemist, the cast and orchestra appeared on stage to sing an anti-Jacobite song written by the well-known composer Thomas Arne. The tune was borrowed from a number of traditional melodies and was mildly stirring,* but it was the words that captured the imagination of the audience:

God save great George our king,
Long live our noble king,
God save the king.
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the king.

You’re Never too Young to be a Constitutional Scholar


As I’ve told you all many times … I got to be an elementary school teacher for a couple of decades. Twenty years ago, I applied for and was selected to attend a weeklong seminar for elementary teachers about the Constitution. It was sponsored by the Center for Civic Education and held at James Madison University, in Virginia. We had field trips to Washington DC and his home, Montpelier, where we got to have a discussion with a James Madison “reenactor” about this wonderful document. This was the first year the Center held a seminar for elementary teachers. Normally, this was a high school teachers’ event. What a great time I had!!

Back then, my district used the book by E.D. Hirsch “What Your 4th Grader Needs to Know” as the basis for our elementary Social Studies and Science curriculum. Each grade level had their version. In 4th grade, we learned about the American Revolution from its roots in the Magna Carta right on through until the Constitution was written and ratified. It was such a fascinating thing to teach.  Anyone who thinks that a nine-year-old isn’t able to understand this material just needs to work with them for a while. They are the perfect age to learn about what is fair, what is unfair, how to create a system that maintains personal rights while protecting the rights of others.

The House of Mirrors


There is an excellent conversation going on regarding the post @unsk ‘s post, Tucker Carlson: Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage: Who is behind it? The problem of course is not one thing, it is a series of things: who did it? what did they think they would get from it? who did they want people/governments to think did it? what comes next?

“What comes next?” is of course the most important question and is entirely distinguishable from “Who did it?”

Quote of the Day: Does Forgiving Always Mean Forgetting?


Over the last couple of years, I’ve followed the Twitter account of Jennifer Michelle Greenberg. She’s a Christian woman who grew up in an abusive home. Her father claimed to be a Christian but abused Jennifer physically, sexually, and emotionally. She experienced churches that would ignore or minimize abuse. She now works to help survivors of abuse and help churches to deal with such issues Biblically.

I just finished her book Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse. I found these definitions helpful. She has dealt with people who demand that abusers must be forgiven (7 x 70) and allowed to remain in one’s life. I found her distinction between two kinds of forgiveness helpful:

I’ve found it helpful to define two modes of forgiveness: Boundaried Forgiveness and Reconciled Forgiveness.

Tracking Hurricane Ian


This may too early a start for the latest hurricane bearing down on Florida, but the last time we had a major threat of a hurricane that hit some of the state pretty hard, one of our Rico members put up a post so that the many Floridians who were impacted could regularly update us (assuming they could get online).

Get ‘Edjicated’ and Save Yourself Some Money


A university, or a college education is expensive. There is nothing wrong with a “good” liberal arts education. I’m not talking about a philosophy department that features Angela Davis, or the latest new shiny platitudes.

As Lord Acton said: “Nothing is more irritating than the discovery of the pedigree of ideas.”

When the FBI Shows Up at Your Door . . .


Why would the FBI come to your house?

There are a number of possible reasons.  They range from the possibility that they are looking for someone who does not live there anymore, to looking for information about another person, to looking to interview a target or even make an arrest. Perhaps you were at home, and the FBI agent has told you some things about your connection to the investigation and you are wondering if you can take the agent’s statements at face value. Or, perhaps you have already agreed to speak with federal agents, and you are wondering if you have made a grievous error.