Contributor Created with Sketch. 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:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. 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.


Roger Kimball, the Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion, discusses highlights in this month’s issue and reads from its opening pages.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. 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.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. 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.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. 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.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Near Side of Space


“This is really important. I need this at the top of your list.”

The boss-man looks haggard. He’s definitely not been getting enough sleep. And, judging by the look in his eye, he knows exactly how silly of a request he’s making. He’s still gotta make it. He and I aren’t the only ones on this call, and the boss-man has boss-men of his own to appease. That’s life.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. On the New York Times and the Rural “Brain Gain”


This story in the New York Times on a “brain gain” underway in rural America is old news for many of us. We’ve long spotted the small but growing trend away from urban centers towards rural communities. It first became evident more than ten years ago, as outmigration become evident in California for the first time in the state’s history it added no new congressional districts after the 2010 Census. Outmigration from high tax northeastern states and cities has been underway even longer and continues unabated.

There are some obvious reasons for that, mostly positive, but not without some emerging conflicts that are already apparent in places like Texas.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Heraldry and Vexillology Series #1: Introduction


A few months back, one of our Ricochet conversations veered off into an abstruse subject. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Only one? Well, which one are you thinking of?” Truth to tell, I couldn’t point to the conversation at the moment, but what I do know is that it involved a flag. And the subject that started to be discussed was vexillology. “What is vexillology?” you may or may not be asking.1 The short version is it’s the study of flags, looking at the colors, the symbols, the history, and how the flags are used. Those in the conversation suggested it might be nice to have a series on the subject.

Vexillology is either a branch of heraldry or an overlapping field, depending on whether the person being asked is a herald or vexillologist. It’s difficult to talk about vexillology without also at least dabbling our toes into the deep waters of heraldry, and specifically into the sub-branch of heraldry known as armory. Armory is the part dealing with coats-of-arms and the full heraldic achievement.


In August, the New York Times launched the ‘1619 Project,’ an initiative that includes school curriculum, videos, and a podcast, which aims to “reframe” the history of America’s founding around slavery. The Times claims that since the year 1619, “[n]o aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.” So what is the Times trying to accomplish with the ‘1619 Project’? Ismael Hernandez, founder and director of the Freedom & Virtue Institute, shows how we can thoughtfully approach it. Afterwards, Joshua Muravchik, author of “Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism,” lays out the history of socialism and explains why socialism has never worked.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Is Concern Over “Cancel Culture” Elitist?


Among those on the Left, I’ve seen a great deal of dismissal over conservative concern over cancel culture, deeming the worry “elitist.” Only comedians and journalists are being canceled, so why is the average conservative so up-in-arms about the widening practice?

It’s an interesting argument, and one I’ve spent the day chewing over. I’m not personally concerned about “getting canceled,” because there’s no way to cancel a conservative writer and homeschooling mother. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop decrying cancel culture, because the mob’s bell could come for any of us. But for many other conservatives working out in the world, “cancellation” is a concern, though it looks far different.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Turning Vice into Virtue


“Even a person who comes to embrace sexual desires traditionally regarded as disordered, and publicly to define his identity in terms of them, will often feel a residual sense of shame and guilt – and this despite the fact that attitudes about sex have liberalized, and the fact that many sympathize with him and are keen to reassure him of his virtue and status as a victim of prejudice. An Augustine or Aquinas would attribute this to the voice of conscience. Knowledge of the natural law, they would say, is never entirely destroyed even in the person most in thrall to vice. It is only ever papered over with layer upon layer of rationalization. And sometimes the truth still shines through, albeit dimly.

“…nothing counteracts lingering feelings of shame and moral failure the way that feelings of pride and self-righteousness can. The former can be masked if one can work oneself into the latter. One can tell oneself: ‘It is those who call what I do shameful who should be ashamed. They are the bad people – they are the bigots, haters, oppressors. And I am doing something noble in rejecting their opinions and fighting against them! Yes, that’s it!’ By a kind of psychological alchemy, vice is transformed into virtue and virtue into vice, and one’s self-esteem is thereby salvaged and even enhanced.” Edward Feser


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Of Energy and Slavery


Democratic candidates are demonizing the energy industry–Bernie Sanders even called for the criminal prosecution of fossil fuel executives–believing or at least implying that America uses fossil fuels only because it is to the benefit of these companies, never considering the vital service that these fuels provide to millions of Americans and indeed to the entire world…which reminds me of an earlier article and discussion.

Christopher Hayes, writing at The Nation in 2014, asserted a connection between human slavery–in particular, human slavery as practiced in the US prior to 1865–and the use of fossil fuels. Specifically, he argues that the reluctance of energy companies and their investors to lose the financial value of their fossil-fuel assets is directly analogous to the reluctance of pre-Civil-War southern slaveholders to lose the financial value of their human “property.”He also asserts that environmentalists attacking the use of fossil fuels are in a moral and tactical position similar to that of the pre-war Abolitionists.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Beating Them at Their Own Game


It’s not a game. It’s war. And the Democrats think they are entitled to set the rules of engagement. I have a message for Jerry Nadler. No matter what you call this obsession of torturing the Republicans through your Impeachment Hearings or Impeachment Inquiries or Impeachment Interviews, it is an affront to this country and its citizens.

The latest warrior (what else would be an appropriate label?) to take on the House Judiciary Committee was Corey Lewandowski. Now I’m not a fan of Lewandowski; he’s struck me as a hothead and his pushing a reporter (or whatever he did that led to his firing) was unwise, at the very least. But I was impressed with how he handled himself at his hearing yesterday, and essentially controlled the dialogue with the Democrats. Although others have pushed back on the committee in the past (interim Attorney General Matthew Whittaker, for one), Corey is now a private citizen and was savvy enough to know how far he could push the committee. Others who are called up before the Judiciary Committee should take notes. Here’s what I observed:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Faking Faker’s Faking Faked


You’ve all heard the old line where the “f” word is used as an adjective/noun/verb by a grizzled combat soldier as in ” The [redacted]ing [redacted]’er’s [redacted]’ing [redacted]’d”, right?

This flitted back to mind as I mused on a recent incident while at a conference last week. I was sitting in a room full of people representing various publications in the US, the UK and on the Continent of Europe, when one of the participants asked where they could turn for credible news, mentioning that he was uncertain whether Breitbart News was a trustworthy source. I thought, “Yeah, compared to what? The New York Times?” But I kept my trap shut.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Autumn Colors 16 SEP: The Life and Times of Leif the Red


The Life and Times of Leif the Red

I am Leif the Red, born at the top of a tree!
I have been here since May, ere long I shall escape.
Autumn calls with icy winds, soon I shall be free!

When I was born, I was light green with bel-esprit.
I spread and grew to be a solar-drinking cape.
I am Leif the Red, born at the top of a tree.


Jay does, and you will too. “Who Cares?” is a Gershwin song, which Gershwin arranged for piano (alone). Jay has André Watts play this. He later has Ella Fitzgerald sing the song, accompanied by another André, Previn. In between, he talks about Gabriel Fauré, and plays him. He talks about Arcadi Volodos, than whom there is no better pianist in the world, Jay says. We hear Volodos in Bach—Bach arranged by Samuil Feinberg, an earlier Russian pianist. We hear more Bach, played by Feinberg himself. And some Callas. And some Offenbach. A wonderful menu of music, with tasty comments to go with it.

Tracks played:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Colors of the Constitution [Updated]


ConstitutionWhat are the colors of the Constitution? Tan, perhaps “buff,” and black, oh, and white and red. The tan color comes from the untanned but soaked, stretched, scraped smooth and dried animal hide. The black, fading to grey with the centuries, comes from the iron gall ink.

The actual name of this federal minor holiday, marked with ceremonies but not designated for time off from work or school, is “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Autumn Colors 15 SEP: On the Tragic Fall of Maurice the Yellow


On the Tragic Fall of Maurice the Yellow

I’m up a tree, it seems to me.
My name’s Maurice, and life is hard.
There’s no way to fall gracefully.

In the Spring I was fancy free,
before I saw what’s in the cards.
I’m up a tree, it seems to me.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Greatest Showman, Great Communicator 2.0?


In “Enter Trump,” John Hinderaker points out that President Trump stayed in the wings with Mariano Rivera while “Hail to the Chief” played. Then Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” filled the room and the President walked out with “The Sandman” who put batters to sleep better than anyone else in baseball history. Put this together with his Jamestown speech and his New Mexico rally and there may be an answer to how you overcome a relentless hostile 24/7 propaganda campaign posing as “news reporting.”

If you know boxing and MMA, and President Trump really does, you know the timing he used. Let the formal government riff end. Cue the announcer and bring up the music, walk up through the crowd as your song hits its stride. Showmanship, high level showmanship:


Contributor Created with Sketch. Bank Robber’s Mask Is Soooo Problematic


UPDATE: News story based on bunk, as noted below by Midget Faded Rattlesnake. The general points about “cultural appropriation” stand, although not as related to this story. Fake but accurate!

In which California is fitted with a jet engine, loaded into a rail-gun launcher, and aimed so the trajectory takes it over the shark:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Investment Opportunities in Stupid


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the esteemed Congresswoman from NYC, recently stated that Miami has only a few years until it is inundated by rapidly rising sea levels caused by climate change. As a member of the House of Representatives with access to virtually all the finest government information sources, as a member of the Party of Science, and a trained economist, her take on this issue has to be regarded as highly informed. More importantly for our purposes here, many people (potential investors) might believe it is correct and I urge Ricochetti to recognize the investment opportunities this creates.

Some will discount my advice because my proposed Baffin Bay tropical resort has not yet got off the ground. But if you believe in the climate crisis and the rate of warming inherent in the crisis, there will indeed be palm trees in northern Manitoba in our lifetime. So, when Nunavut turns tropical and Canadian wahines are serving mai tais to my hotel guests on Manitung island (Cha-ching, baby!!) don’t say you were not tipped to the opportunity. Timing is pretty key. Not sure how much longer the pool of potential investors will believe the crisis is imminent but in the meantime, every published picture of a dead polar bear is money in the bank as far as I am concerned.


Contributor Created with Sketch. ACF #31: Lady Vengeance


Today we’re concluding our conversations on Park Chan-wook, the most famous and successful director in South Korea, with the conclusion of his vengeance trilogy: Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. The protagonist is a femme fatale and a loving mother looking for justice and happiness, back to the virtues the harshness of pre-modern Korea cultivated in the situation of the modern new South Korea. This is a wonderful, if mostly tragic story, unusual, especially by American standards, and a show of the very different forms of storytelling in East Asia. My interlocutors are American professors — George Dunn teaching in China, and Peter Paik in South Korea. Listen and share, friends.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Constitution Day


ConstitutionPro [from Federalist No. 10]:

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.