Happy Monday — More from the John Durham indictment of Igor Danchenko. Basically it was all Hillary Clinton. Apparently some NeverTrumpers are saying that because Danchenko is Russian that proves this was all Russian disinformation. Well, two things there. One, these  NeverTrumpers are so pathetic, don’t let them shift seamlessly to “it’s Russian disinformation” when the original claim was that Donald Trump had treasonously colluding with Putin to steal the 2016 election. Those aren’t the same things. So Danchenko being Russian doesn’t prove anything. Two, according to the indictment, Danchenko got all his information from the Hillary Clinton Campaign, basically. His real main source of information was Charles Dolan, who has been part of Clinton World since 1992 at the latest. What Danchenko is actually being accused of is lying to the FBI about not getting his information from Dolan.

Also 1.66 million illegal aliens have crossed the border this year. Because the election was stolen, and whoever is running the Biden Administration cancelled the wall construction. Of course, the entire wall could have been built in the first two years of Trump’s administration but Paul Ryan wouldn’t allow it. Because he is a Never Trumper and he was more interested in sticking it to Trump than in helping America.

Crime Is ‘Down’


In the mid-’90s, I was assigned to a beat in SE Albuquerque with a large attractive nuisance. This was a huge park with rolling hills only a couple of blocks from Interstate 25. Because of its location and geography, the park was a magnet for all sorts of disorderly and illegal activity. I made it my personal project to aggressively patrol the area on the nights that I worked.

Unfortunately, my efforts resulted in failure. Crime skyrocketed in the park when I worked. Almost every night there were one or more offenses recorded in and around the park: DWIs, criminal damage, drug and liquor offenses, public indecency, outstanding warrants, park rules violations. Meanwhile, on the days I didn’t work only a small handful of crimes such as auto burglaries and thefts, aggravated batteries and homicides took place.

Why I Write About Children


After my last post about a Jewish man who had established an orphanage in Nazi Germany, I realized that in the last couple of years I have frequently written about children, especially those who are struggling. For a person with no children, that seemed (to me) to be an odd choice: what did I know about children? In many respects, very little. So, I decided to reflect on my reasons for writing about children, particularly in the area of education, and see if I had something new to learn about life and the world around me.

I grew up in a family of three children. Oddly, none of us have had children, by choice. At the time we made our choice, my husband said he would support my choice either way; he already had one daughter by his first marriage. I decided for my own selfish reasons not to have kids: I believed that I couldn’t “do it all” (and still believe that) and I lived at a time when women were celebrated for working; I couldn’t imagine “only” raising children (an incredibly narrow and naïve view); and I was terrified that I would be like my own mother (who struggled at motherhood)—I realized years later that she could have done much, much worse.

There was nothing original about my excuses—and they were excuses, even irrational ones. But for many years I didn’t regret that choice. When friends asked me about our decision (and they always asked without obvious judgment), wondering if I felt I was missing anything, I said that I was. But I also pointed out that parents were missing something by having kids. Part of that is the intimacy that comes with a husband and wife only needing to focus on each other. Selfish, yes, but that’s how I saw my life back then.

On the Threshold of a Great Awakening


I have had a strong spell of ‘feeling’ good of late and that’s just not like me. If I stuck strictly to observing events flowing from our government and our industry I likely would not have this uncalled for ‘feeling’.

I’m going to explain this by covering some of the public cultural happenings that I have experienced over my long and mostly enjoyable lifetime. I grew up in the state of Georgia  I went to public schools all the way through high school that were legally segregated by color, white children and black children. This was always promoted as separate but equal but I doubt it, none were really that good, but we did learn ‘reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic.’ Everything public was pretty much divided between black and white. There was no attention given to Latinos, Asians, Catholics, or Jews because if they were around in Georgia, they were not enough to be noticeable. Oh, there was one Latino in my high school and he was also the only Catholic of my acquaintance. And by the way, Republicans were not noticeable in Georgia politics either. There was a Democrat Primary every four years in September that decided who the governor would be and ‘he’ was the only choice on the ballot on Election Day in November.

International Travel?


I used to travel a great deal – often across the Atlantic. That tapered off some years back as scholars in my generation or older passed from the scene and I received fewer invitations. Domestic travel came to a halt in February 2020 — when I realized that what was happening in China would happen here and canceled plans that would have involved me in taking 16 separate flights that spring.

Things are now, in a modest way, warming up again. I was in Baton Rouge, LA, in September, in Portland, ME, in early October – and, in late October, with my wife, I took a trip on my own dime, which took me from Detroit to Amsterdam and on to Sicily. It was in a variety of ways instructive.

The Least Surprising News Story of the Day


A college friend of mine from Bernardsville, NJ, messaged me on Facebook yesterday about the victory of the truck driver (Edward Durr) over the president of the New Jersey State Senate (Steve Sweeney). He said something like, “Ha! So elections are fixed, huh? Where are your Republican conspiracy theories now, Mr. Tinfoil Hat?!”

I responded that yes, I was surprised that Mr. Durr had won. And yes, I was surprised that the NJ Democrats hadn’t cheated to keep the Senate seat. I told him that I figured that they would just keep counting until they got the result they wanted, or they would find some new ballots under the couch cushions, or whatever. But that hadn’t happened. And yes, that was surprising to me.

When the news came out this morning that Mr. Sweeney had not conceded, and that New Jersey’s election commission had found thousands of new votes and was in the process of ‘counting’ them, I messaged my friend again:

Tuesday: Another Narrative, Closer to the Truth


All of the reliable propagandist arms of the Big Government machine — major media and their allies in the Democratic Party — will tell you that the dramatic Republican win in Virginia was a victory for White Nationalism and other fictitious bugbears of the radical left.

In fact, what Virginia was was a victory for Martin Luther King, Jr., and for everyone who believes that skin color is less important than character. A man who defended the antithesis of that message, who supported state schools teaching kids that skin color is essential to who they are and how guilty or oppressed they should feel, was defeated by people who are, first and foremost, Americans.

Are We Entitled to Our Own Medical Facts?


Tonight in my local synagogue a liberal neighbor loudly (and sarcastically) proclaimed: “Don’t you know that the vaccine cuts fertility in half?! That is a scientific fact, and nobody can deny it.”

I asked him whether or not the Placebo Effect is a fact. He said that it was, clearly. I then asked whether, if someone believes the vaccine will hurt their chances of getting pregnant, could it not happen, thanks to the placebo effect, regardless of any underlying physical causality?

Questionable Presidential Authority


Limits on presidential authority are something that we’ve discussed before on Ricochet. The topic comes up again with Joe Biden’s mandate through OSHA that companies fire employees who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19, unless they submit to a weekly test. This post is not about arguing for or against vaccines. I don’t care if you are for or against these vaccines, as there are oodles of posts that cover that topic already. What I am concerned about is the trend of making the presidency a more and more powerful office with each generation.

Does anyone claim with a straight face that when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established by Congress in 1971 that members of Congress believed they were giving the agency the power to dictate that companies fire employees? How many people in 1971 thought that it would be kosher for a future president to use OSHA to command companies to fire tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or conceivably even millions of people? There is the black-and-white letter of the law and there is reality. The reality is that government tends to do whatever it can get away with. If the citizenry makes enough noise or files enough lawsuits, maybe government will back down and obey the law. If the citizens shrug, mutter, and get on with things, government will continue to act as if it has a particular authority, regardless of what the law actually says.

The Faded Blue Rug That Changed Everything


“We’re going to sleep in the new house tonight,” my dad announced one summer evening.  There were no beds in the new digs yet, just sleeping bags on the living room floor, yet none of us demurred.  Our current house, a stucco ranch set back in a lot with another brown stuccoed rental in front, had seen us through a year.  I’d finished eighth grade in this place: studied the anatomy of bird wings, made mnemonics for plant terms, recorded myself reading off grammar terms and definitions, and drove my older brother to my door saying “Would you shut that off?!” when I played back the tape. I’d stayed up until the wee hours reading my book report selections the night before they were due to avoid the fat, gaping zero we’d been promised for failing to finish.  (I made it through Gulliver’s Travelers, but had to give up on a tome called Bangkok.)

Brown. The old three-bedroom house was dark brown, from the rugs to the drapes to the trim.  There was the perimeter outdoors where us kids had played a game of hide-and-seek with the neighbor kids, racing to spy each other through parallel windows and laugh. We got in trouble for that–we had trampled the landscaping.  I remember fine black dirt, pepper or eucalyptus providing shade. A chain-link fence bordered a parched back yard where I’d felt mild interest in a tent one of us had put up.

‘Messaging’ Is Difficult When Your Message Makes No Sense


Democrats struggle with “messaging,” because their message doesn’t make any sense. Critical Race Theory is not taught in schools, and parents shouldn’t be allowed to stop it from being taught in schools. It’s wrong to give experimental vaccines to dogs, and all children should be required to get a COVID vaccine despite the lack of research. Lack of minority representation in American culture is proof of our underlying racism, and we should remove all minority images from everything from baseball teams to pancake syrup.

Democrats can’t figure out how to unload a cargo ship, but they can control the weather 100 years from now. Blacks don’t have the opportunities that whites do, and it’s wrong when white kids claim to be black on their college applications so that they can get into a good school. Democrats want to spend trillions of dollars that don’t exist to fund projects that won’t happen because of setbacks that aren’t real.

Their message is very complicated – no wonder they have messaging problems.

Zoology as Seen Through Fable


We read Aesop’s Fables as children or re-read them aloud to our children. Their lessons resonate today. But how accurate are the depictions of the animals in the fables? Can crows add pebbles to a pitcher to raise the water level? Are wolves cruel and rapacious, foxes wily, or donkeys stubborn and stupid? Could a tortoise beat a hare in a race?

“Aesop’s Animals: The Science behind the Fables,” by Jo Wimpenny, looks at the answers to those questions. Wimpenny, a zoologist turned writer approaches the answers through the lens of modern zoology.

In individual chapters she uses nine different Aesop Fables featuring animals as a springboard, examining the behavior of these animals and related species. In addition to the creatures previously mentioned, she also looks at dogs, lions, monkeys, and insects (The Ants and the Grasshopper). Each chapter is an excursion studying the behavior and history of the featured species.

Why Me? Inquiring Minds Want to Know


My mother taught me from a young age that good questions are more important – and harder to create – than good answers. As I have grown up, her wisdom has been validated countless times: coming up with your very own question is something few people can do, while anyone can take a stab at an essay answering a question that someone else has posed.

The hardest questions – and answers – are the ones that are unique, the questions that help us find our own path in this world, whether in marriage or career, the ways in which we should invest in our friends, our children, or our parents.  And at some level, they sound self-centered, even bordering on narcissistic. But I think this is not the case: “Why me?” is a great question. You don’t have to take my word for it, of course: Rebecca (Rivka), Issac’s wife shows the way. She was pregnant, and the text tells us:

Quote of the Day: Political Conversations


“You can’t hold political conversations with people that are calling you evil.” – Ben Shapiro

We saw this in the run-up to the November 2 elections. Oppose CRT in the classroom? “Racist! Evil,” cry the Democrats. Oppose vaccine mandates? “Racism! Only evil people oppose vaccine mandates,” cry the Democrats (despite the fact the most vaccine-hesitant groups are minorities). Think daughters should be protected from predatory males who will dress up in women’s clothing to gain access to them?” “Racist! Homophobia! You are EEEEVIL,” cry the Democrats (again despite the fact the rapist was white and very obviously heterosexual, since he was going after members of the opposite sex – wolf in sheep’s clothing anyone?).

About Mr. Fauci


Yes, he admits that he lies to us in order to manipulate us into behaving in particular ways.

Yes, he apparently dissembles to Congress about his involvement in extraordinarily irresponsible research projects in China.

I’ve Been Saying ‘the Heck with It’ and Riding – You Should Too


Long story short, I’ve had enough “fun” in my job that the only way I’ve been able to stay sane is shut the computer/phone and lay off of social media (including, sadly, Ricochet.)

Riding my bike has been a consistent source of joy that continues unabated as our weather in northern Illinois gets frosty. Here are some shots from a summer and fall of unplugging, riding, sweating, burning calories, but still taking time to snap a pic or two. I hope you all have a similar source of joy.

‘This Stupidity of Historical Revisionism’


Mexico’s socialist president is on a quest. He’s demanding apologies from Spain, and he’s being met with more than silence, he’s being met with scorn. From Catholic World Report:

Mexico’s socialist president Andrés Manuel López Óbrador is on a crusade, or perhaps better put, an anti-crusade, to obtain an apology from Spain and the Catholic Church for the conquest and colonization of the Americas. He has insisted on this now for the three years of his presidency, and isn’t letting up, despite rejection and mockery from almost all quarters, including the indigenous he claims to be defending.

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s New Look


Just a few years ago, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, a daughter of actors Angelina and Brad, was all the rage among gender-obsessed Hollywood watchers. Just last year she was listed among nine other children of celebrities being raised as transgender or with a non-binary gender by Insider. They wrote,

Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s oldest biological child, named Shiloh and assigned female at birth, told the former couple that they (the child’s preferred pronoun) would rather be called John in 2014.

Examining the Idea of Abundance In Daily Life


Sometime in the mid-1990s, I became an acquaintance of a man who had served as a war correspondent in many “hot spots” across the globe. We were members of an online community and occasionally he would post snippets from the book he was busy writing about his experiences in Vietnam.

When I received my copy of his book once it was finally published, I expected to find the opening chapter encompassing some tale of his heroics, perhaps his valiantly saving the life of someone else. Or at least an exciting story well told of his surviving a firefight that had lasted long hours or even days and how well he held up while under attack. He had seemed the sort to promote a macho image, and so that was what I thought his opening chapter would emphasize.

Kevin McCarthy and His Trash Leadership Should Not be Anywhere Near the Speakership


After a humungous win in taking an entire state that had been blue for 12 years, Kevin McCarthy could not use the momentum to keep his caucus away from a toxic Congress and President that had been thoroughly rejected merely 72 hours ago. The writing on the wall was clear from voters as are all the various national polls. They want nothing to do with the Biden and Pelosi agenda. The Democrats have the majority for another year. Let them live or die on what they can come to agreement on amongst themselves. The Democrats promised a plan for the virus, infrastructure, paid family leave, amnesty, climate legislation, and free healthcare for illegals when they ran. They ended up in a civil war between their woke progressive caucus and establishment Democrats who wanted to take what they could get. Under McCarthy’s leadership, they got saved.

This is not just about McCarthy being unable to whip his caucus together to ride a clear message sent from voters against having anything to do with this governing agenda. McCarthy like so much of the frauds who run the GOP is a prime part of the problem. When McCarthy is not busy having a sleepover with Frank Luntz so they can get together into the wee hours of the morning, make s’mores, and craft a losing message, he is recruiting people like this.

On Relishing Pickles


I have always loved pickles.  Dill, sweet, bread & butter – I like the pickled cucumber.  Strangely enough, I do not like unpickled cucumber at all.  This also goes for relish, the hot dog’s eternal companion alongside mustard.  (As far as hot dogs are concerned, I am NeverKetchup.  Chicagoans have more tolerance for conservatives than ketchup on a hot dog)  Relish was spreadable pickles, so naturally it would be awesome.  Since I have been attempting to eat healthy, I have been adding more and more pickles to my diet, including on sandwiches with various flavors of mustard.

Then one day I was (0f all things) playing a video game which had a cooking minigame.  One of the recipes was relish, made with corn and tomatoes without a cucumber in sight.  This was apparently a good topping for a hamburger.  Now I would never get my cooking tips from a video game, but I was intrigued.  What were these relishes without pickles – was this a UK thing?  This led me down a rabbit hole of articles.   Relish covers a huge range of toppings, including onion relish and something called chow chow, which I previously thought was a dog.  Chow chow is apparently a sweet onion/cabbage/pepper relish like a sweet sauerkraut, popular in certain regions of the US.  Sauerkraut is another condiment I love, especially with brats or Polish sausages or pierogi.

Quote of the Day: On Unpopular Presidents


“A U.S. president who is elected amid controversy and recrimination, reviled by a large segment of the electorate, and mired in domestic crises will be hard-pressed to forge a coherent foreign policy and challenge Russia.” — Fiona Hill

“Wow,” you may be thinking. Does this lady have President Brandon nailed, or what? Not so fast. Fiona Hill is talking about President Donald Trump. (Of course she is.)

White Coat Waste Project: Beyond the Beagles


People have been discussing the story of Fauci funding experiments on dogs, which can be rather disturbing. Dogs are wonderful animals, and people do not like to see them suffer. Cruelty toward animals always is undeserved, since animals are not moral agents like we are.

However, this is not sheer cruelty; this is animal experimentation. A massive amount of medical research relies on animal experiments because studies on cells do not capture the whole picture. I honestly do not know if we could safely test new drugs on people without animal studies — it would be much riskier. Animal models behind nearly every medical advance you hear announced in the media.

13 Republican Congressmen Save Pelosi, Biden on $1.2T Infrastructure Vote


Six Democrats voted against the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan (BIF) late Friday night, which should have killed the legislation. Instead, 13 Republicans rode to Nancy Pelosi’s rescue and voted yes. The BIF passed the Senate nearly two months ago, so the legislation will head straight to the White House for the President’s signature.

Here are the Republicans for Pelosi: